Secular Party Head: 'Amnon Yitzchak an Embarassment'
Yaron Yad'an, a former secular Israeli who became religious, adopting a Hareidi lifestyle and then recanting, said that Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak, who heads a party that rivals his in the upcoming Knesset elections, was an “embarrassment” to the Hareidi community. “We were ashamed and embarrassed by Yitzchak's tactics,” Yad'an said of himself and his friends when he lived a Hareidi lifestyle.
Yad'an is no longer religious, and currently heads a party called Ohr (Light), which has as its main platform the cessation of all public funding for religious purposes. In Ohr's television commercials, Yad'an lists a litany of complaints about the “abuses” of the religious establishments among Jews and Muslims, and calls for the government to completely withdraw all funding for all religions and religious functionaries and organizations.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Yad'an said that Yitzchak was a religious extremist who took advantage of crises in the lives of individuals and families to “brainwash” them into becoming his followers. “He takes secular couples who are having problems and convinces them to become religious as a solution to their problems.” He then gets them to undertake a Hareidi lifestyle, even though they do not wish to do so.
Yitzchak is known among Israelis for his distinct speaking style and large rallies. Considered an excellent orator, Yitzchak holds thousands of people spellbound as he describes modern social ills, and instructs listeners that observance of the Torah is the solution to those problems.
Yad'an himself grew up in a secular household and chose to become religious at age 17. He went to study at the Ohr Sameach Yeshiva and adopted a Hareidi lifestyle, marrying and establishing a family of seven children. However, about a decade later, he reverted to a secular lifestyle, expressing frustration with Hareidi society.
Despite his opposition to the religious establishment, Yad'an said that he has had extensive discussions on politics and society with leading rabbis. “But not with Amnon Yitzchak. He insults the Zionist public, speaks disparagingly of the heads of the Zionist movement, like Herzl, and denigrates many of the values Israelis believe in,” Yad'an said. “I am very upset by him.”