'Threats on My Life Don't Scare Me'
Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) made a strong statement on his Facebook page Wednesday night, after Israeli media revealed that he had been the subject of death threats for his involvement in the hareidi draft, or Equal Burden of Service, law.
"Quite a lot of people were afraid after it was published that hareidim have threatened to kill me," Lapid posted. "I'm not one of them."
"First of all, whoever is a believer [in G-d] is not afraid," Lapid stressed, "and I believe that the Equal Burden of Service law is the right thing at the right time. After the storm subsides everyone - including the hareidi community - will understand that it will constitute a major correction [to the system]."
"But there is another reason: because I know that the hareidi community [in general] is not like this," he continued.
"There are obviously hareidim who are violent, but that does not say anything about hareidi society in general or its values - just as there are in secular society, and I would not want anyone to draw conclusions about me or secular society [from a violent minority]," Lapid emphasized.
"I have a deep disagreement with the hareidi community on the question of military service and joining the workforce," he continued, "but this is an argument out of love, between brothers."
"An absolute majority of the Haredi community is not violent, does not want a crisis, does not want a rift within," he concluded, "It is actually now, when things have become the stormiest, that we must reach out to them and hug them."
Lapid's comments come hours after the Israeli police announced that an investigation had been launched into incitement against him, as well as against Economics Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home).
Attorney and rabbi Dov Halbertal declared on Galei Yisrael radio Wednesday that Lapid would be "murdered" by hareidi dissidents over the moves to push for a draft, making comparisons to the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin; a picture showing both ministers dressed as Nazis and burning Torah scrolls also made the rounds on social media earlier this week.
The police noted that the incitement is being taken "very seriously" and that the possibility of adding security staff to Lapid is being weighed.