Finance Minister Yair Lapid
Finance Minister Yair LapidFlash 90

Finance Minister Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party, wrote a long Facebook message Tuesday celebrating complex and often self-contradicting Israelis in honor of Independence Day. While thousands expressed support for his message, it may offend hareidi Jews and Israelis living in Judea and Samaria (Shomron).

Lapid wrote:
We are both. We are both good and bad, we both love the country and are very angry with it, we think that like can't go on like this and also know that there is no other choice.

We both pity the illegal entrants from Sudan, and because of the Holocaust we know we have a moral obligation to every five-year-old refugee with an old man’s eyes, and also think that of all the countries in the world it’s not clear why we – Texas alone is 33 times our size – are supposed to solve all of the world’s problems.

We want someone to make the decisions, and also for there to be an inquiry, we want to screw over the rich and we also want to be rich ourselves… We want to be right, because the world is looking at us and we look terrible, and we also want them to know that they can’t mess with us… That the IDF be the strongest army in the Middle East, and also that we cut the defense budget, or at least that they not retire at age 45, because social workers are also important… We secretly don’t respect the Israelis who leave, who sit in Miami and watch Israeli TV, and we also say, ‘You should see the house they have in Miami.’

We both want peace, because just because there aren’t bombings doesn’t mean we don’t feel like everything will blow up at any moment, and also don’t understand why we’re the ones who always have to give in. We know exactly how this will end, that we’ll need to give it back, and we also know who we’re dealing with, that if we tell them that we’re willing to give they’ll want more, that’s how they are, just look what happened after the Disengagement.

We’re both Jewish and democratic, even if it’s not clear what that means. We thank G-d for choosing us from all the nations, and also remember how He disappeared once, just when we needed Him most. We feel that rabbis are good people who dedicate their lives to a moral purpose, and are also shocked each time from anew that the racist nonsense that comes out of their mouths.

We want to have Jewish morals and Jewish tradition here, because otherwise why are we here and not in Brooklyn, and we want the hareidi men to enlist and to work because they all work in Brooklyn and it doesn’t make them less Jewish.

We think that the settlers are the salt of the earth, and also that they are the salt in our wounds. We respect their children who become [IDF] officers, and also fear what will happen if they all decide to refuse orders. We think that the Israeli government encouraged them to live there and that we need to guarantee their quality of life, and also that billions were spent there, billions, and imagine that all that money had gone to education.

We are both. We both believe that we need to help the Ethiopians assimilate, and also think that it’s best for them in their own communities. We rely on the Supreme Court, and want it to intervene less… We’re angry at Turkey and think they can go to hell, and we’re happy that this fight is over because it didn’t help anyone. We’re appalled that Europe is slowly turning Muslim, and we also say, ‘They deserve it, let them feel what it’s like.’

We don’t want America to tell us what to do, and we understand that without it… we don’t want to think about what would be without it.


We are both. We recognize that life is complex, that in a complicated country like Israel, the most dangerous people are the ones who aren’t ‘both.’ The ones who know everything, who don’t doubt, who are sure they know who is right (and it’s usually them).

But we also know, deep in our hearts, that the world of ‘both’ is disappearing, and that on a not too distant day we will need to choose who we are.

Happy Independence Day to everyone.