MK Yoni Chetboun on Sunday slammed Finance Minister Yair Lapid, demanding that he apologize to Israel's Chief Rabbis for an insulting post on his Facebook page.
Last Friday, Lapid condemned Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi David Lau and Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef for campaigning against IDF service for women. The official position of the Rabbinate since the establishment of the state is that women who wish to serve the state should undertake National Service, and not enlist in the IDF.
Lapid, taking exception, huffed at the Rabbis, saying that they were guilty of “arrogance, and have created a national scandal."
"We will act in the Knesset to have them fired, and attack them through the legal system if necessary,” he stated. As “state employees,” said Lapid, the Rabbis had no right to encourage girls not to serve in the army.
Chetboun, in an angry letter to Lapid, said that the minister's comments “were very unworthy for a leader of Israel. It is shocking that you would demean the honor of the Torah in this way. I demand that you apologize for these remarks.
“Israel is not Germany or France,” said Chetboun. “Israel is a Jewish state. The Chief Rabbis are not 'state employees,' but leaders of large groups and authorities on Jewish law. They will not be treated as mere 'employees' in the Jewish state,” he said.
Commenting on the incident, Chetboun said that it was clear that Lapid sought to “disengage” Israel from Judaism. He appealed to Israelis to recognize Lapid's gambit for what it was. “Do not play into the hands of those who seek to soften the Jewish identity of the state,” he said.