'Ministers are silent as haredi soldiers are attacked'

Likud MK slams haredi leaders for standing by and allowing incitement and violence against haredi IDF soldiers.

Shimon Cohen ,

Haredi soldiers learning Torah
Haredi soldiers learning Torah
Flash 90

MK Yisrael Eichler (United Torah Judaism) recently said on the Kol Belz radio program that "The Sephardim are going to the army because, unfortunately, their level of study is weaker. There are many of them there [in the army]."

MK Eichler's statement was one of the attacks on haredi IDF soldiers which prompted MK Amir Ohana (Likud) to slam the haredi leadership for its attitude towards IDF soldiers from their community. Speaking at the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee last week, Ohana said that "the blood that will be spilled here ... is on the hands of [Health Minister] Litzman and his men who allow incitement to rage unchecked."

In an interview with Arutz Sheva, MK Ohana explained that he singled out Minister Litzman in his remarks because the Health Minister is "the most senior member of the haredi delegation and is the only minister in the Ashkenazi haredi faction." He differentiated between the Sephardic Shas party and its Ashkenazi counterpart.

"The majority of the haredi delegation does not approve this incitement and violence. They denounce it and want to get rid of it. But there is a small and extreme minority that dictates the tone because the majority is silent and I expect the majority to remove them from the party," Ohana said.

Ohana was asked if his expectation is naiive, since the position of the haredi leadership against enlistment in the IDF is well known. He responded by saying that the issue is not the haredi acceptance of IDF service, but "what happens to the recruits who are the subjects of the incitement and violence."

"Litzman says, and his people say that the instigators and the violence are not from his constituency, but come from the Satmar sect who oppose the existence of the State of Israel. But if you remain silent, how will you bring this faction down? Why are we in the Likud, in the Jewish Home party, and in Yesh Atid able to condemn this and they are not? Suddenly Litzman can't find the time to condemn this. It began with [shouts of the slur] 'Chardak!' and with brochures, and continued with the hanging of effigies and sending a fake bomb to a haredi soldier. It will end in blood," Ohana said.

Ohana said that he is trying to get other ministers to speak out against the phenomenon, but it is difficult to criticize the leaders of the haredi parties when they are partners in the coalition. He said that the haredi soldiers cannot be taken for granted and must be helped, because "they are cut off from everything they have been told so far, and therefore they should be strengthened."

The anti-haredi soldiers' groups include Satmar, but also Neturei Karta and the Jerusalem Faciton.