Yeshivat Har HaMor Dean Rabbi Zvi Tau attacked Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett during a lecture he delivered to his students last Sunday.
Channel 2 News quoted the Rabbi in response to remarks made by Minister Bennett in an interview with Ma'ariv about the future of religious Zionism.
"You know that the leader of Jewish Home wrote in the newspaper before the holidays that we shouldn't be such chanyukim (nitpickers) and so Orthodox, and not to be so meticulous about every single thing. His ideal is that the religious will give in a bit, and the secular will also give in a little - everyone will make kiddush on Shabbat, some tradition, and then switch on electricity and drive in cars.
"The Minister wrote explicitly; he took off his gloves, his masks, and said exactly what he wanted, where he was aiming, and what he's planning. Just so you know who we're dealing with; it's the Education Ministry, it's the Education Minister. I hope you're aware."
The rabbi explained to his students how serious he considered the Education Minister's remarks: "He writes his opinions openly, without prejudice, and most worrisome is that he's a smart man, he's a politician, he has his own surveys. We sit in the yeshiva and we don't know what's happening, but he checks exactly how to increase his voter base, how to increase this number, and what he should declare in order to succeed. If he chose this path, it means the situation is very serious."
In an interview with the Maariv newspaper last month, Bennett said "We're not leading towards an halakhic state where women go with head covering and must keep Shabbat. The State is changing, but not in the way Barak describes. It's a fascinating change. Israel is becoming a country with a very large traditional core. Unlike the 1950's and 1960's when the core majority was secular, now it's changing. There's movement toward traditional from both sides, from the religious-haredi and from the secular.
"Take me: I was born secular, married a secular woman. Many religious people who once would have thrown out religion and removed their kippot and become formerly observant Jews now prefer simply to be traditional. To be both. According to religious Zionist birth data, today we should have 40 seats. But we don't. The reason is that many have removed the kippah and many have gone traditional. This is the direction today, and this is an interesting direction that unites many streams and also enables the preservation of the Jewish character in a personal style.
"Look around, it's happening. Many people, instead of taking off the kippah, are just becoming traditional. That's what was in the Mizrahi (Sefardic) community for years, where there was never a clear dichotomy between orthodoxy and secularism like with the Ashkenazim. I think of the State in another 50 or 100 years as a country where the majority makes kiddush [on Shabbat], but also uses electricity. We're moving there from both directions, religious and secular. Not only am I not afraid of it, I think it's a wonderful process. This isn't religious radicalization, but religious moderation. Once, Orthodoxy entered armored barricades for a terrible fear someone was plotting to change it. Today this fear is passing. You can change. It's advisable to change. And therefore the anxiety that we're on the way to a theocracy is baseless."