Meir Porush
Meir PorushHezki Baruch

During a discussion in the Knesset plenum on a bill proposed by former Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) and titled, "Mandatory Service for All," Jerusalem Minister Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism) hit back at Liberman, questioning the principles behind the bill.

"I heard that Liberman, with all of his years of political activity, always demanded that young people join the army - but there was a certain period when he veered from this custom," Porush said.

"This was when he was 'at some point' Finance Minister. Then, suddenly he changed direction. Throughout the years, he said that everyone must serve. When he was Finance Minister, he said, 'I will give 54 billion shekel from those who don't serve, to Arabs. Then he changed his path, I don't know why. But a year and a half ago, Mister Liberman was Finance Minister, he sat on the tap, without him no one could put out a shekel from the public purse. And he gave a fifth - he promised - 54 billion shekel."

"Not only do the Arabs not serve, there are those among them who say that it is forbidden to serve. And Liberman the 'Righteous,' who today comes to lecture us about ethics, he was Finance Minister, and he said, 'I will give the Arabs 54 billion shekel.'"

Porush also detailed what he believes to be Liberman's political motive in this: "Today he announced that there is 'no such thing' as someone's Torah learning being his occupation. You were Defense Minister, Mister Liberman. Why are you blushing so much? You were Defense Minister. What is the agreement that you proposed? You proposed that there be no such thing as someone's Torah learning being their occupation? Or maybe today, when you are on a lower level and almost didn't pass the electoral threshold, you are seeking votes and hoping to get them from those who hate the haredim?"

"We never used the excuse that we would not serve in the army because the State does not act according to Torah law. We never said that. We could have said, 'This State is run not according to Torah, and we are not interested in serving.'

"You, Liberman, are today part of a group in which some say that if we do not accept their position on the [judicial] reform, they will stop serving, they will not go to reserve duty. You are part of such a group, which places conditions on military service. You are part of a group that has said it will bring things down if its positions are not accepted. The haredim never spoke this way."

Turning to Liberman directly, Porush added, "You came to lecture the haredim about ethics? Tell me, how many times have you sat with me to do business, with the 'shirkers,' for your friends. You didn't sit with us before the elections? Suddenly you remember that we don't serve?"

"You were Finance Minister for a year and a half, the government was in your hands, you had a prime minister who listened to you, you had an alternate prime minister, you did business with them for a year and a half - why did you not bring the Draft Law that you believed in? You had a Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee head who was from Yesh Atid, why did you not finish with the Draft Law? Because you also understood that it's not worth it to do that. So today, you lecture us about ethics? You are the one lecturing us about ethics? You're going to roll your eyes again and tell us stories?"

Following this speech, the proposal was brought for a vote and rejected by a majority of 61 opposed, versus 43 who voted in favor.