Yitzchak Levy
Yitzchak Levy Israel news photo: file

Former minister Yitzchak Levy estimated Thursday that the crisis between the Defense Ministry and the Hesder yeshivas could be a sign of worse things to come. “I expect that in the coming period we will have to undergo a process of profound discussion and clarification,” he said. “The clarification will focus on the tension that has formed between Jewish Law and democracy, and this tension needs to be worked out.”

The Hesder yeshiva heads need to decide on a common position, he advised. “The heads of the Hesder yeshivas must first clarify among themselves what the policy needs to be, and then go talk to the Defense Ministry's people.”

The time has come, he said, to go to the public and try to influence it. “We remember the utterance by the Minister of Justice, about the need to follow Torah Law. The secular people railed against that. It is time to explain to them that Torah laws are not Hannibal's laws, that 'an eye for an eye' does not really mean 'an eye for an eye' literally. We need to carry out the discussion and clarification, and then deliver a clear message to the nation.”

Levy said that Barak has “climbed a tall tree” in the conflict with Rabbi Eliezer Melamed. “There is a dispute over what is the best thing for everyone. Is the rule what the Defense Minister said or do we need to allow freedom of expression? We are in an uncomfortable situation, but the Minister of  Defense cannot tell rabbis to shut up. When the Defense Minister made his decision he brought about the closing of a Hesder yeshiva. This is not the way to do it. If he thinks the rabbi was wrong  he should call the rabbi and find out, but why hurt the students?”

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