Hareidi MK Yaakov Asher (United Torah Judaism) accused Finance Minister Yair Lapid of retroactively canceling the funding for all yeshivas this week to spark protests between hareidim and police as a political ploy: "he doesn't want us in the army, he wants hareidi violence on the streets. That gives him mandates."
One protester in Jerusalem named Ya'akov pontificated his position to Arutz Sheva Thursday, declaring "we're 'equal burden,' whoever fasts on Tisha B'av, that's called equal burden. ...We don't get married with non-Jews like the prime minister, his son goes to Europe. ..We'll survive our stupid country."
Ya'akov added "we'll sit in jail, there are enough jails, they don't build apartments, instead of building apartments build more jails. There's enough land in the country. Afterwards they worry why should we return territories to Kerry? To the Americans? Let them return them, but first of all build some jails, and we'll sit."
MK Asher warned of a "long period of pushing the hareidim to the wall that will bring extremism. This is how the 'hilltop youth' phenomenon started when the right-wing felt pushed to the wall."
The funding cut followed a Supreme Court ruling targeting yeshivas whose students had their enlistment postponed by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon until a new law is drafted in the coming weeks. Violent protests erupted in Jerusalem, Ashdod and Bnei Brak on Thursday; in Ashdod the confrontation reached a peak as hareidi protesters set a police car on fire. 13 hareidim in the city are expected to be indicted over the clashes.
Speaking at the protests Thursday, organizer Rabbi David Zicherman declared "we survived Stalin in Russia, we survived Antiochus, and we will also survive Lapidus. We had a physical Holocaust in Europe, and here they want to carry out a spiritual Holocaust against us."