In a video prepared for the first men's-only Kinneret crossing, Knesset Members wonder, "Smotrich goes mixed swimming?"
The video, prepared by Etrog Studios, begins with a stately-looking Smotrich answering a phone request to participate in a Kinneret swimming event. "Friday, the 2nd of Tamuz, 9:00 AM, Kinneret beach. I swim mixed, yes; I swim mixed. Ok, I'll see you, bye!"
The video then follows the ripple-effect caused in government by the incongruous revelation. While MKs Karin Elharar (Yesh Atid) and Mossi Raz (Meretz) praised the news and said that "finally Smotrich got enlightened," Jewish Home MKs were shocked and appalled: "Betzalel?! Mixed swimming??", asks a stunned MK Shuli Mualem upon receiving the spreading rumor. Deputy Defense Minister Eli ben Dahan exclaims, "Betzalel? Rubbish. People are just making up slander..."
Shas MKs Yinon Azoulay and Michael Malkieli are seen sharing a moment of delicious intra-religious gossip, and from there the dominos fall as wider circles within parliament and government struggle to absorb the news. A Jewish Home ministerial and Knesset Member WhatsApp group chat concludes that someone must investigate the matter. MK Mualem phones Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked with a formal intervention request.
"Is it true that you swim mixed?", Minister Shaked demands of Smotrich.
"What's the problem, Ayelet?"
"In a religious party they don't swim mixed," Shaked patiently explains while keeping a straight face throughout the satirical sketch. "What will the Rabbis say? How can you do such a thing?"
"Ayelet, I really don't understand the problem. I can't do the entire thing swimming freestyle; I'll do partly breaststroke, some freestyle, a little backstroke, then I'll go back to breaststroke... What's the problem?"
"Betzalel, you know what? It's unprofessional. Start with breaststroke, and finish the entire thing with breaststroke. Not mixed!"
Smotrich finally caves in and says, "You convinced me. I won't swim mixed."
Arutz Sheva's Rafael Levy explains that Bnei Akiva Yeshivot and Ulpanot have nine hesder yeshivas, each of which has a social project they adopted. Yeshivat Hesder Or Etzion operates the Ohr m'Ophir program, which develops the spiritual and educational leadership of the Ethiopian community.
The hesder yeshivas in Ma'alot and Nazareth receive the Bnei Menashe immigrants from India, accompany them upon their arrival in Israel, assist them in social absorption and even find them jobs. The hesder yeshiva in Acre took upon themselves to adopt students with disabilities and integrate them into Beit Midrash life.
"These are just some of the examples of social and national tasks undertaken by the yeshivas," explained Yavne Center Development Department Director Naftali Kandler. "This is where the spiritual leadership of religious Zionism and the State of Israel grows," describing the activity's importance.
To carry out the social projects and assist in scholarships for students, the first Kinneret crossing for men only will take place on June 15th. All income from the event will go for the yeshivas' social activities.
Knesset Members including Smotrich, who will also participate in the swim, explained that "Hesder yeshivas are important, and it's essential to promote sports that they be accessible to those who live a life of Torah and giving."
The video ends with Smotrich inspecting a snorkel which he notices is "small", the Hebrew word for "the Left" ("smol").
"Guys what did you bring me here? Small? No way I'm going with Smol..."