Bennett slams leftist MK: 'Michaeli lied'

Bennett slams MK Merav Michaeli for accusing Religious Zionist volunteers of 'brainwashing' secular schoolchildren.

Tzvi Lev ,

Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett
Shlomi Cohen/ Flash90

Jewish Home leader and Education Minister Naftali Bennett slammed Zionist Union MK Merav Michaeli for her assault on Religious Zionist national service volunteers.

Earlier this week, Michaeli had released a video accusing Religious Zionist national service volunteers of "brainwashing" secular children in an attempt to make them follow an observant lifestyle.

Writing in the Religious Zionist weekly Matzav Haruach, Bennett said that Michaeli "adopted a pattern in which everything is permitted" in her battle against the Jewish tradition.

"Michaeli ignored the most basic details and wrote the facts to fit the distorted reality she wanted to create," wrote Bennett.

"It seems that in the war against the "mock Religionzatoin', Michaeli and others have adopted a pattern in which everything is permitted - to lash out, to distort, to generalize an entire public," added Bennett.

The education minister alleged that Michaeli's attack on Religious Zionist volunteers in secular public schools was just another step in a campaign that seeks to stamp out Israel's Jewish character.

"It is important to understand that Michaeli is not alone," said Bennett. "This video is only a small part of the attacks that are being intensified by organizations that wish to erase all Jewish symbols from the State of Israel, the army, education, and public sphere."

"We must make it clear to everyone that it is forbidden to spread lies about us, that it is forbidden to harm the daughters of the National Service, we must not engineer data, and religious Zionism will not shut up when they close the Mechina program."

The issue is part of a larger debate regarding the role of religion in Israel's public sphere. Over the past year, numerous stories have surfaced in the media concerning alleged cases of increasing religious coercion in Israel. Led by the radical Secular Forum, the stories have targeted courses in Jewish history and tradition in the school system, the influence of the IDF's military rabbinate, and popular Lag Baomer events given by Chabad at malls all across Israel.