Bennett at Mercaz Harav yeshiva in earlier days
Bennett at Mercaz Harav yeshiva in earlier days Hezki Baruch

Several leading Religious Zionist rabbis have holding talks in recent days to hold an alternative event to the traditional Jerusalem Day celebration at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva which Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will be invited to, Israel Hayom reported.

The rabbis believe that the decision of the Merkaz Harav yeshiva not to invite Bennett to the traditional event has caused unrest within the Religious Zionist community.

A letter distributed to rabbis in the Religious Zionist community reads: "Will the rabbi be willing to consider, following the decision by Mercaz not to invite the prime minister, to be a partner in a gathering of Roshei Yeshivot and rabbis who ... consider it appropriate to invite the prime minister and the opposition leader, focusing on the message of unity and standing above political controversy."

The contacts on the issue are ongoing and no details have been finalized.

"Our goal is to formulate a significant event on Jerusalem Day in which we will celebrate the unification of Jerusalem in a united manner. People from the Mercaz Harav yeshiva are also welcome," the letter continues. "The rabbis who are initiating the event want President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to be the guests of honor."

At the same time, a number of well-known Religious Zionist rabbis who represent the liberal part of the community have condemned the decision of the Mercaz Harav yeshiva not to invite Prime Minister Bennett to the annual celebration. "We were saddened to hear about the decision to boycott the Israeli prime minister from the Thanksgiving event for Jerusalem Day at the Merkaz Yeshiva," they wrote. We call on those involved to act and correct the distortion and serious malfunction that have come their way and to invite the Prime Minister of Israel, as you have done in recent years, and other figures in government positions (Speaker of the Knesset, Opposition Speaker) and celebrate the unification of Jerusalem."

"The path of boycotts and excommunications is not our way," they added.