Education Minister Naftali Bennett slammed MK Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) following Smotrich's article in the Besheva Hebrew newspaper calling for the heads of yeshivas and mechinot (pre-IDF preparatory yeshivas) to delay the enlistment of their students in the IDF.
"The IDF is us, and we are not threatening ourselves," Bennett wrote on his Twitter account Wednesday afternoon.
"No group, certainly not the religious Zionists, has the right to teach the IDF 'how to behave,' and certainly not to delay enlistment," Bennett added.
Smotrich had written: "The IDF needs quiet and manpower. If it realizes when facing the fear of terrorism against it by the gender organizations and their supporters, that we also know how to cause a ruckus and give it a headache - another equation will be created. Moreover, if the yeshivas and the preparatory programs leave their students for a few more months, to strengthen their Torah study while skipping one recruitment cycle, the army will ask itself what is better for it, high-quality and motivated soldiers, or joint [gender] service in training base 1."
"Today, because we are idealists who always volunteer without taking anything into account, the army doesn't have to face this choice. It can afford to trample on everything holy, knowing that our people will be at the recruitment center in droves. It has to understand that this will not work anymore. The high motivation to serve is not something that comes on its own, but is something that has been taught to us over many years, and it can also work in the opposite direction, " he declared.
MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home) echoed Bennett's objections to Smotrich's article, and said that Smotrich acted irresponsibly. "The harsh words of MK Bezalel Smotrich reflect the crisis and sorrow over the steps recently taken by the IDF on the subject of joint service, and I am also working to correct this situation so that the IDF [can function] properly. But I do not accept my colleague's statement...to set a red line for the IDF and not to enlist."