A senior source in Bayit Yehudi mounted a fierce attack on the Sephardic-hareidi Shas party Monday, after some in Shas accused Bayit Yehudi of cooperating with Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid on the matter of hareidi enlistment to military and national service, often referred to as "equality in bearing the burden of service."
"Shas thinks our memory is short," the source said. "So short, that they will cry 'a rift within the nation,' and we will forget what has been going on here all of these years, and was happening only two weeks ago. Suddenly they remember that the Bayit Yehudi are 'Jews like them' when all along the elections they called Bayit Yehudi 'goyim' (gentiles)."
"Who are their goyim? Yoni Shetbon, a graduate of Har Hamor Yeshiva who received a Chief of Staff's Citation for evacuating Maj. Roi Klein under fire? And Roi Klein himself, who jumped on the hand grenade in the Second Lebanon War is a 'goy'? Maybe the new Knesset Member Shuli Mualem, whose husband was killed in the helicopter catastrophe, is a gentile?
"How cynical can this get? Where are the remainders of the shame? And who are the ones talking about a rift in the nation? The one who, during the Oslo process, ignored the demonstrations, our cries, of the religious Zionist public, and is now again at the head of Shas (a reference to Aryeh Deri who allowed the Oslo Accords to pass– ed.)?"
The sources noted that before the elections, Bayit Yehudi turned to Shas and asked them to coordinate moves regarding the coalition, and Shas did not even want to meet with them. "They were not worried about a rift in the nation then. They were certain that they would be in the coalition. When we warned against a coalition of the Left with Shas, they were silent… When they attacked the rabbis of the Bayit Yehudi, when they attacked their MKs, Shas did nothing…. It seems that 'a rift in the nation' means a rift between Shas and a seat in the government."
The source added that by saying that Bayit Yehudi cannot take care of the religious world without Shas by its side, Shas was making a grave mistake. "It is time that they understand that they do not have a monopoly on the Torah... We will take care of the Torah world no less than those who claim to represent it but cause it harm. If Shas has a monopoly, it is on making the secular public grow sick of the Torah. From the matter of enlistment to the military to daylight savings time – wherever they could have displayed a positive face of Judaism, they missed the boat. In the matter of appointing Zionist rabbis, too, they treated us like lepers. An entire generation of Zionist rabbis has been cut down under the hareidi steamroller."
Religious Zionist rabbis have not commented on the attacks on Shas made by political figures, but are trying to find a solution together with hareidi rabbis for the draft issue - one that will be acceptable and not cause a split in the nation.