Daily Israel Report

Bennett Praises 'Historic Law' in Video Statement

Jewish Home Chairman hails new law for easing hareidi entrance to job market and army.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 3/12/2014, 1:11 PM

Economics Minister and Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett praised the passing of the Enlistment Law on Wednesday, which calls for hareidim to serve in the IDF.

Speaking in English, Bennett's video statement hails the "historic law" for easing the entrance of hareidim to the job market as well as the army, a move he argues will lead to a boost in the economy.

On Tuesday, MK Ayelet Shaked of Bennett's party similarly praised the law, saying "alongside the Torah scholars, we will see hareidi men supporting themselves and their families with dignity, and contributing to Israeli society in bearing the burden of Torah study, the burden of national defense, and the burden of employment."

However, not all Jewish Home MKs have been supportive of the law.

MK Yoni Chetboun was the only MK to vote against the law, arguing "I see Israeli society being split apart by this law. ...The Yesh Atid party has led a wave of anti-religious legislation, and they are using this law, too, as a tool to beat the hareidi community. I decided today in Knesset that I am not going to play that game.”

Jewish Home responded angrily to Chetboun's opposition to party discipline, threatening "serious consequences." Indeed, the party "punished" Chetboun by removing him from the Committee for Foreign Affairs and Security for the entire summer session, as well as not allowing him to submit laws during the first six weeks of the coming session.

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Chief Rabbi of Tzfat, wrote Bennett a letter on Wednesday before the vote, asking him to "show leadership and allow various members the freedom to vote as they choose."