Yair Lapid
Yair LapidIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Hareidi-religious representatives in Knesset must not let themselves be drawn in to personal arguments with Finance Minister Yair Lapid, MK Moshe Gafni (Yahadut Hatorah) has said.

Gafni told his fellow MKs, “MK Porush came up and submitted a no-confidence measure… The Finance Minister came and answered him – not according to the topic, but according to the questioner, about the hareidi Jews.”

“I suggest to my fellow hareidi MKs not to play into his hands,” he continued. “He wants to avoid discussing all the things he talked about until now – the middle class, social welfare cuts, what the previous government did… He comes and says, ‘we’ll deal with the hareidi Jews,’ and the media talks about the argument between Yair Lapid and the hareidi Jews,” Gafni said.

“The Sabbath issue is the same thing,” he added. “Why does he publish things on Facebook [on the Sabbath]? Because he loves it, he wants the fight.”

The hareidi world must refuse to be drawn in, he said. “Let the Finance Minister give an answer regarding the budget cuts his ministry is planning.”

If Lapid admitted to not having a plan, that would be fine, Gafni said. “If he would come and say: I’m studying the issues, I still don’t have a plan, that would be totally acceptable. ‘I think that we need enough time for the government to debate this before bringing it to Knesset’ – I would say nothing,” he stated.

Instead, he said, “Every week he has a new spin about his plans. First it’s furs, then it’s luxury cars, then it’s Mrs. Cohen from Hadera. Each time something new, some spin to hide the fact that he does not know what to do.”

Addressing Lapid, Gafni said, “I have a request, do not talk to us about the hareidi community. We will not answer you anymore on that issue, we will not be a hiding place, letting you talk to us about hareidi issues instead of giving answers regarding the economy.”

A political source told Arutz Sheva that hareidi MKs met privately following Gafni’s address and agreed not to respond to future criticism of the hareidi community from Lapid.