Rabbi Shimon Badani, a member of the Shas Council of Rabbis and Torah Scholars, made a number of inflammatory remarks against the Religious Zionist community Saturday night at an event in Ramat Beit Shemesh, meant as a show of support for hareidi mayoral candidate, Moshe Abutbul.
According to Kikar Hashabbat, Badani began by calling Yesh Atid Chairman and Finance Minister Yair Lapid "Amalek" - the nation the Jews were commanded in the Bible to annihilate for attacking the Israelites in the desert - and opined that Jewish Home was following Lapid willingly.
"[Lapid] wants to destroy everything, destroy the world of the Torah, the yeshivas, the kollels [Torah study halls - ed.]," the Rabbi continued. "This is terrible, only Amalek could do this."
"He even pulls religious people along - I don't want to say their names - how are they following him?" Rabbi Badani continued, indicating Jewish Home. "Idiots! Animals! Amalek is taking over - even their Rabbis [Religious Zionists - ed.] are following him - these Rabbis are the ones really handing down the laws against the kollelim, G-d help us."
"We have to fight with all our might against these evil people," Rabbi Badani continued, "to fight with all our might that they don't destroy our religion, we each are personally obligated in this." He then compared the current coalition government of the State of Israel to Amalek as well, citing this week's Torah portion, which calls on every Jew to remember the evils the Biblical enemy imparted on the Israelites.
This is not the first time a public figure from Shas has used the highly inflammatory term "Amalek" to describe opponents. Last July, senior Shas Rabbi, Rabbi Shlomo Cohen, caused an uproar after he called "knitted kippah wearers" Amalek, a reference to the garb typical of the Religious Zionist community in Israel.
Shas later backpedaled on the comments after the ensuing media circus, but clarified that he was really referring to the Jewish Home party - and then refused to comment further on the matter.
Incitement against the Religious Zionist community has escalated recently, after the hareidi community has taken the calls for a draft as a personal attack not only by Yair Lapid - who helped spearhead the Shaked Committee which is behind the new draft laws - but also against Religious Zionists, who they accuse of deliberately harming the hareidi public.
Hareidi leaders have spit fire at the Religious Zionist leadership; a major hareidi newspaper published inflammatory comments about major Religious Zionist rabbi, Rabbi Haim Druckman; and an incitement campaign against Naftali Bennett, who leads the Jewish Home party that is largely seen as representing the Religious Zionist public, has been initiated depicting the MK as a Nazi burning Torah scrolls.
Hareidi leaders have compared the backlash against the draft to resistance against Nazi Germany, political uprisings in the Ukraine, a "fight to the death" for Torah values, and the struggle against the ancient Persians in the Purim story.