Shas Chairman Eli Yishai sharply criticized Yair Lapid and his new party Yesh Atid on Thursday, according to a report on Army Radio.
Yishai, who spoke at a ceremony at the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council, where he was given honorary citizenship, was quoted in the report as having said, “Lapid is acting like the wolf in the story of Little Red Riding Hood: He's trying to hide his sharp teeth and his hatred. He learned the lesson from his father, Tommy of blessed memory. He is indeed anti-hareidi but he knows how to hide his extremism.”
Tommy Lapid, Yair’s father, headed the staunchly secular and openly anti-hareidi Shinui party, which gained 15 seats in the Knesset before disbanding.
Earlier this week, Lapid outlined his plan for equal service for all Israelis. Lapid’s plan would give, in the first stage, an automatic exemption from serving in the IDF to all hareidim.
The second stage of the plan would be implemented five years later and as part of it, every citizen who turns 18 will be required to enlist in the army or perform civil service. Those who refuse to serve will lose all their rights to benefits and scholarships with the exception of national insurance.
The Shas party criticized the plan, which is meant to be an alternative to the Tal Law, which exempts hareidi-religious soldiers from service in the IDF and was struck down by the Supreme Court in February.
“Mr. Lapid, we do not hate you but the public is getting tired of your hypocritical language games,” Shas said in a statement.
“If you had only studied the matter a little deeper you would have found that those individuals who study Judaism do not receive special allowances and that the vast majority of the members of the traditional-religious community served in IDF combat and specialized commando units while you were attacking old newspapers on the hills of the Bamachane newspaper,” added Shas, referring to Lapid’s military service as a journalist for the IDF newspaper.
“For once,” the party told Lapid, “try to study seriously without using shady methods in the academia.”