Matan Kahana
Matan KahanaDani Shem Tov - Knesset Spokesperson

Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana responded to the motion of no confidence submitted against him in the Knesset plenum by the haredi parties and criticized MKs from the Shas and United Torah Judaism parties, who repeatedly interrupted his remarks.

"The truth has been revealed. The last conference organized by the haredi MKs against me explained everything to me. I understood who you are fighting against: not against the Reform [Movement], and not against me. You are fighting against my rabbis and against the study halls where I and my friends grew up," Kahana began.

"You are fighting against Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, whom most members of religious Zionism study and the rulings from his excellent halakhic books that have been printed with about a million copies. Against important Rosh Yeshivot Hesder such as Rabbi Yaakov Medan, Rosh Yeshivat Har Etzion, and Rabbi Re'em HaCohen Rosh Yeshivat Otniel. Rabbis who connect Torah to practice and raised generations of G-d-fearers. You are fighting against Rabbi Shtern and against Rabbi Stav. Against municipal rabbis in Israel, who do not do what you want and therefore you dare to call them 'Reform,'" he said.

"For you, there are no Orthodox study halls of religious Zionism. There are either Reform or haredim. You are fighting against the right of religious Zionism to self-determination. You want religious Zionism small and submissive. You are willing to accept the 'haredi-lite' ... but the mainstream rabbis of religious Zionism do not exist for you. Our rabbis are Reform to you and our public is Reform to you.

"I wasn't the one who said that. MK Deri said this: In the [High Holy]days of mercy and forgiveness, Deri took the trouble to slander religious Zionism and accuse it of spending Shabbat at the club and in the sauna. MK Deri does not believe that it is possible to be Orthodox and not haredi. You do not accept our rabbis. For months I have been working on a state conversion plan that I am formulating together with Rabbi Chaim Druckman. You think it is a mistake, which is your right. You think it will do harm, you're welcome to explain why. But that is not what you do," Kahana added.

"Once again you do the dance of your Reform madness when this time the victim on duty is a group of rabbis from religious Zionism, led by Rabbi Druckman, the elder of the rabbis of religious Zionism, who has now joined the nation's destroyers. You have no respect for our rabbis. Stop patronizing religious Zionism. We observe the commandments no less than you. The Torah is dear to us no less than to you. In my term, religious Zionism will no longer be meek and submissive under your feet," he declared.

He also turned to members of the Religious Zionist Party and wondered: "Why are you cooperating with this? They want to erase entire study halls from religious Zionism. They do not accept you. You repeatedly try to be their friends, and again they spit in your face. Why do you insist on being Deri and Gafni's errand boys? When Bibi threw religious Zionism out of the government he formed with Gantz, did they even tweet? It did not interest them. When they organized a war conference a week ago 'for the salvation of Judaism,' who didn't they invite? The people with knitted yarmulkes. Why didn't they invite you? Because they do not accept you. For them, even though you are 'haredi-lite,' you are only semi-religious to them, you are not considered part of Judaism. To them you are not religious enough."

"MK Deri and Gafni, hear this well, the days of stepping on us are over. The days of telling us who deserves to be a judge or a rabbi and who is disqualified are over. We are no less strict about the law and we are no less G-d-fearing, and we are not going anywhere, we and our beloved rabbis," the minister concluded.