Hareidi men (illustrative)
Hareidi men (illustrative) Israel news photo: Flash 90

Rabbi Yehoshua Shapira, the rabbi of the Ramat Gan yeshiva, announced Sunday that he has changed his mind regarding the ongoing hareidi prayer rally in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Shapira had said last week that religious-Zionist Jews should join hareidi Jews at the rally, which comes in wake of the government’s decision to impose criminal sanctions on hareidi Torah students who do not enlist in the IDF.

Organizers said the rally was intended to express pain at the blow to the Torah world – including both hareidi  and religious-Zionist yeshivas.

However, on Sunday morning Rabbi Shapira declared that religious-Zionist rabbis who had planned to attend the rally would not do so due to recent expressions of disrespect in the hareidi community.

“We are brothers… The fact that the Jewish Home party, even if it had good reason, joined a government that is cutting funding for Torah students and promoting legislation against Torah means we must take part in the rally and clarify that we stand together with all parts of the Jewish nation,” he said. “Particularly those who study Torah day and night.”

However, he said, “Today the official daily paper, which is under [hareidi rabbinic] supervision, included insults to our rabbi and teacher Rabbi [Chaim] Druckman. We cannot be a part of this, we cannot be partners in disrespect for Torah.”

Instead of joining the rally, Rabbi Shapira and other religious-Zionist yeshiva heads will hold prayers in their yeshivas at the same time that rally participants are praying in Jerusalem.