Yair Lapid
Yair LapidIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The hareidi-religious newspaper Yated Neeman published a provocative column by writer Chaim Walder on Sunday. Walder spoke about the issue of what he termed anti-hareidi incitement, and compared statements from Finance Minister Yair Lapid to a speech given by Nazi leader Adolph Hitler.

Walder began by noting evidence of anti-hareidi sentiment in Israeli society, including recent polls showing that hareidi-religious Jews are portrayed more poorly in television than any other group.

He noted the many public figures who have called on the hareidi-religious community to examine itself. “If we look at the psychological roots of this phenomenon, we’ll see that behind the ‘concern’ and desire for self-examination lies repressed guilt over the hate they feel for us,” he wrote.

Walder then quoted “somebody famous” saying that Jews must begin “productive work,” or else the result would be “a catastrophe… not Jewish victory, but the destruction of the Jews.”

He revealed that the quote was from Hitler. “Let it be clear: I am of course not comparing anything to the Holocaust, in any way. Obviously those who hate religion do not want to physically destroy hareidi Jews,” he said.

“But they have wicked plans regarding quality of life, the ability to live a normal life. To strip us of basic rights like payments, tax discounts, welfare, food for our children… there are even those who speak of taking the freedom to vote, or of leaving Israel, which is true dictatorship,” he continued.

He then quoted Lapid from a column Lapid wrote two years ago, “Forget ideology, forget that I don’t understand how it doesn’t bother you that you live at my expense. I can’t pay for it anymore. It’s over, there’s nothing left. I don’t just have nothing to give your children, I have nothing for my own. Do you understand how that makes me feel?”

Lapid ended that column with a warning, “We have to find a way, friend, or this will end badly. What does it say in [the book of] Taanit? ‘Friendship, or death.’”

“You tell me how different that final sentence is,” Walder wrote.

A statement from Lapid’s staff accused Walder of making cheap political use of national wounds. “The comparison between Lapid, the son of a Holocaust survivor, and the greatest oppressor of the Jews in history, is nothing less than outrageous incitement,” the statement said.

“We’re sorry that instead of dealing with the issues, some choose to take refuge in dangerous incitement,” it added.