Haredi factions under attack for supporting Nationality Law

Eida Haharedit group angry at UTJ, Shas, for supporting Nationality Law defining Israel as a Jewish State.

Tzvi Lev ,

Anti Israel haredim (illustration)
Anti Israel haredim (illustration)
Flash 90

The hardline Eida Haharedit faction is angry at the haredi political parties for voting for the Nationality Law defining Israel as a Jewish State.

The Eida Haharedit, which is based in Jerusalem's Meah Shearim neighborhood, is known as one of the most dogmatically anti-Zionist sects. It refuses to recognize the State of Israel and calls on its members not to vote in national elections, even for haredi parties, and not to accept any funding from the state, including National Insurance payments.

On Tuesday, the faction released a statement slamming the haredi United Torah Judaism (UTJ) and Shas parties for voting for the Nationality Law, which enabled its passage. The sect contends that support for the legislation was an unconscionable vote of support for the Zionist ideology and decried the "spirit of nationalism" it said the legislation caused.

"It is already seventy years of exile between the wicked people of Israel who took the lead in taking power and government against the Torah and started a terrible rebellion against God," read the missive.

"Since then, haredi Jewry has been besieged by new decrees against the Torah lifestyle and religion," continued the statement.

"Now the spirit of nationalism has overtaken the wicked of Israel and joining them are the haredim who are participating with them to enact the Nationality Law, thereby reaffirming Zionism and putting nationalism back above the holy Torah."

The Eidah Haharedit reiterated that it opposed any attempt to forcibly settle the land of Israel, which it said "should wait until the Messiah comes".

The Nationality Law, which passed two weeks ago, establishes the status of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people and the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in its homeland as a unique right for the Jewish people. It also anchors the symbols of the state, Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the Jewish calendar as the country's official calendar, and the Hebrew language as the official language.

The law has come under sustained attack ever since its passage by Israel's Druze, Arab, and Circassian minorities, who contend that the legislation violates their rights.

In a secret recording released immediately the law passed, senior haredi politician MK Moshe Gafni can be heard telling rabbinical leaders that the haredi parties had only supported the bill in order to receive the coalition's support for the Draft Law granting yeshiva students draft exemptions.