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Hareidi MK: Supreme Court 'Declared War On Us'

MK Gafni charges Supreme Court of 'never ruling in favor of hareidi public,' sees recent ruling against yeshiva funding as 'culture war.'
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 2/5/2014, 11:54 AM

Moshe Gafni
Moshe Gafni
Flash 90

Hareidi MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) on Wednesday attacked a recent Supreme Court ruling, which demands that the government annul funding of yeshivas for 18-20 year-old students who have received enlistment orders in the past and have not enlisted. 

"Since the founding of the state up to today, not once has the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the hareidi public, its children, families and lifestyle," charged Gafni on IDF Radio (Galei Tzahal). "This is a court that represents the secular elite of Israel and is managing a culture war against us."

Last November, Yesh Atid MKs faced off with hareidi MKs amid similar warnings of a culture war. At the time, Gafni accused Yesh Atid for starting the "war" by proposing bills to give equal benefits to same-sex marriages and transportation on Shabbat, aside from the enlistment issue.

"The issue of the army isn't relevant when we see the entirety of the things the Supreme Court does against us," claimed Gafni Wednesday. He called on members of his party to "take off the gloves and conduct a war against the Supreme Court, which declared war on us like a neighborhood bully."

The recent ruling was issued despite Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's postponement of enlistment for full-time yeshiva students until April 2014; the Shaked Committee tasked with drafting new IDF draft laws for hareidi yeshiva students following the annulment of the Tal Law is reportedly weeks away from a decision.

Gafni reports that during the unsuccessful Perry Committee he was told specifically that "criminal sanctions" against non-enlisting hareidim would not be in the new law, saying "there's a coalition agreement on this issue that (Finance Minister Yair) Lapid and (MK Yaakov) Perry (Yesh Atid) both signed."

For his part, Lapid on Wednesday denied there would be "criminal sanctions," saying "this is the application of the Security Service Law, which applies to everyone. That expression is insulting to the hareidim - they aren't criminals."

Meanwhile, MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) reported on the progress of the committee she is heading to draft new enlistment laws, saying "I'm in the middle of the votes; on Monday we decided to pass along the law in the second week of March for a second and third reading."

The Supreme Court decision is not meaningful according to Shaked, because the yeshivas have already received funding for February, and apparently the new law will be passed in time for the next round of funding.

The revelations by Shaked suggest the ruling was little more than political posturing. Among the key figures behind the petition was Uri Regev, who heads the Hiddush organization for religious freedom and is a former head of the Reform movement in Israel and long-time critic of the hareidi community.