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Appeal to Bennett: Don’t Push Hareidi Jews Away

Former Yesha official calls on Bennett not to push away hareidi Jews for Yair Lapid’s sake.
First Publish: 2/26/2013, 9:18 AM

Hareidi enlistment
Hareidi enlistment
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Naftali Bennett has done well as head of the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party, but must take care that his agreement with Yair Lapid does not lead him to take on Lapid’s views regarding hareidi Jews, former Yesha Council higher-up Pinchas Wallerstein has warned.

“While I am for ‘equal burden of service,’ I cannot accept that because Lapid is unwilling to accept a certain religious public, Bennett isn’t either,” he told Channel 10.

 “There will not be ‘equal burden,’” he continued. “Nobody is talking about the Arab population, or about reserves service. It’s a slogan that says ‘I’m against hareidi Jews.’”

The “equal burden of service” slogan calls for hareidi Jews to be required to serve in the IDF as other Israeli Jews do. Hareidi Jews are technically obligated to serve currently, but until recently the vast majority took automatic deferrals under the Tal Law, which provided an exemption to full-time Torah students.

Wallerstein added that he is otherwise pleased with Bennett’s leadership. The union between the Bayit Yehudi and Ichud Leumi factions “is not artificial,” he said.

“I’m proud of what was done, including the appeal to the secular public. Bennett made great steps forward,” he said.

Regarding the possibility that the next government will negotiate with the Palestinian Authority for the creation of a new Arab state in Judea and Samaria, Wallerstein simply said, “I am part of Israeli society, and I will accept any democratic decision.”