The backlash against Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who called on Friday for the dismissal of Israel’s Chief Rabbis, continued Sunday, as hareidi-religious Knesset members slammed Lapid for his comments.
MK Uri Maklev (United Torah Judaism) said that Lapid’s comments were an indication of his megalomania.
“When he speaks about army service in the mud and cold, from where is he familiar with such service? From the comfortable studios of Army Radio which have heating and air conditioning? Or is it from his huge salary at Channel 2?" mocked Maklev.
Lapid “has been exhibiting megalomania and tyranny lately,” he charged.
MK Meir Porush, also of United Torah Judaism, slammed Lapid as well and said, “Yair Lapid crossed a red line when he violently lashed out and brazenly incited against the Chief Rabbis only because they expressed a halakhic position. Let us not forget that during the election he made sure to collect the votes of Druze whose girls do not serve on grounds of religion.”
"Lapid’s serious comments are understandable in the wake of the polls that are predicting his downfall due to his series of failures in his capacity as finance minister, as it becomes clear by the day that he and this senior government role have no connection," said Porush.
"Lapid is going down in the polls and hits the Chief Rabbis, but this will not do him any good, because even the general public understands that besides his arrogance and unbridled incitement, he has nothing to offer. This is a bubble that will burst and a party that is already crashing,” he added.
Porush called on Lapid to apologize to Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef and Rabbi David Lau, saying, “For the first time in history, an Israeli minister challenged the Chief Rabbis because they are carrying out their duty. This is why they were elected, and they are acting according to the Torah and Jewish law.”
Lapid’s scathing attack on the two rabbis was a result of their ruling that Jewish law forbids religious girls from enlisting in the IDF.
He did not settle only for expressing his objection to the ruling but went as far as to threaten to work to ensure that they are fired.
"It is insolent and a national scandal, and we will act to have them dismissed, both in the Knesset and in the government and even in the legal sphere if need be,” he declared.
"These civil servants who are employed by the State of Israel and receive a very lovely salary are sitting in their comfortable offices with their state-provided vehicles and announce that they do not agree that women should serve in the mud and cold as fighters, in aviation courses, in the Border Police,” he added.
In making the decision, the Chief Rabbinate stated that it "forbids any type of enlistment to the IDF (by women), and in doing so continues the tradition of the previous Chief Rabbis."
The decision came right after the IDF opened the position of kashrut (Jewish dietary law) inspector to female soldiers, following the opening of the position to women by the Chief Rabbinate and the Religious Services Ministry.
Earlier Sunday, Lapid was also slammed over his comments by MK Yoni Chetboun (Jewish Home), who called for the Finance Minister to apologize to the two rabbis.
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.”
The head of the Bnei Akiva yeshivas, the venerated Rabbi Haim Druckman, accused Lapid of “first class chutzpah” over his comments.
"The Finance Minister has forgotten that we do not live in communist Russia,” said Rabbi Druckman in an exclusive Arutz Sheva interview, “and it is not just the right but the obligation of the chief rabbis to make their opinions known on all matters of Torah and halakha.”
"I am amazed at the unbridled attack by the finance minister against the chief rabbis,” he added.
"I do not know who will be fired first – the chief rabbis or the finance minister,” the rabbi noted; “the elections to the Knesset precede the elections to the chief rabbinate.”