Several of Israel's highest officials have commented on the violent clashes that erupted at a public Yom Kippur prayer service in Tel Aviv.
The confrontation centered around the traditional partition between men and women, which a court had banned from services in public areas a few days previously claiming that it violates a law against putting obstructions in public places. The planners got around that by using Israeli flags as a separation.
Prime Minister Netanyahu commented: "The people of Israel sought to unite on Yom Kippur by asking for forgiveness, repentance, and unity within us. To our astonishment, precisely in the Jewish state, on the holiest day for the Jewish people, left-wing demonstrators rioted against Jews during their prayer. It seems that there are no borders, no norms and no boundaries for hatred on the part of the extremists on the left. I, like the majority of Israeli citizens, reject this. Such violent behavior has no place among us."
Opposition Chairman Yair Lapid published a post on Facebook at the end of the holiday in which he wrote: "It's a shame that in God's name Yom Kippur was spoiled. For years I have given Yom Kippur as an example that Judaism does not need to be enforced. It becomes ours only when we consider each other. Until this year. Until the haredi core that came to the neighborhood decided to bring the war to us as well. They insist on gender segregation outside as well. They make sure to explain to us that there is only one version of Judaism, their version."
Yair Lapid wrote an article in Yediot Aharonot before he went into politics decryiing the rabbis' decision to call a fast on the tenth of Tishrei, claiming it is not in the Torah - had he checked, he would have found that it is clearly stated in Leviticus. In a Hebrew interview several years ago, he said he would eliminate Purim, if he could due to the violence.
Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir wrote "On this Yom Kippur we saw haters who are trying to expel Judaism from the public sphere. Israel is a Jewish country and a democratic one. Next Thursday I will hold an evening prayer in the square, the public is invited!".
Minister of Finance and Chairman of the Religious Zionism Party, Bezalel Smotritch, commented: "While millions of Jews in Israel and around the world prayed in the synagogues and in public spaces, fasted, united, asked for forgiveness and connected to our roots and tradition, a handful of violent individuals backed by Yair Lapid lit a fire and desecrated the holy day. I have no doubt that the absolute majority of the people, on the right and the left, disavow them In full force. At the end of Yom Kippur, I call on all of us not to be drawn into these provocations and to continue the hatred and controversy. We are Jews. We are brothers."
Minister Moshe Arbel commented: "The sights of Yom Kippur from Tel Aviv evoke deep sorrow and sadness. My people chose division, both Jewish and democratic ones no longer. This is not a legitimate protest but hooliganism for its own sake."
Minister Ofir Sofer commented: "It is very unfortunate the attempt to threaten, disrupt, and prevent prayer in the public space on Yom Kippur. It is clear to me that this is an extreme and powerful minority, it must not be allowed to do so."
Minister of Culture and Sports Miki Zohar commented: "Anyone who tries to use the ruling of the Supreme Court to justify the disgraceful behavior of those who disturbed the Yom Kippur prayers should be ashamed. The time has come to stop this burning hatred against any Jewish symbol. This is crossing an intolerable line."
Minister of the Negev, the Galilee, and National Resilience, Yitzhak Wasserlauf, commented: "This has not been about the reform for a long time. This is their attempt, by a small but dangerous handful, to dismantle the Jewish state. To trample on everything that is dear to us. We will not bow down to them. This Thursday - we will come to the evening prayer at Dizengoff Square in Tel Aviv and will not let the haters of Judaism spread horror and fear in the streets."
Communications Minister Dr. Shlomo Karhi commented: "It turns out that they don't want "democratic" because they are unable to contain "Jewish". Tolerance and democracy are only for them. Barbarians. We are not impressed. You are a deranged minority who sing their swan song in despair and rudeness while rampaging uncontrollably. Your time has passed. We will continue from here."
Minister of Construction and Housing Yitzhak Goldknopf commented: "The people of the left preach at every opportunity inclusion and acceptance of the different and the other. Yesterday in Tel Aviv the sword came out of its sheath; apparently this is only true for infiltrators and Palestinians, but when it comes to the public who keep tradition, the Torah and the commandements, acceptance and inclusion end and give way to violence. The mask of hypocrisy has been exposed in all its ugliness. It is very unfortunate that on the extreme left there are those who have probably forgotten what Judaism is and in the name of the war on reform are ready to desecrate the holiest day of the year. I call on the leaders of the left to show responsibility and stop in time, before it is too late," said Goldknopf.
Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri commented: "The demonstrations on the holy day against Jewish prayers in the heart of Tel Aviv, break the heart and cry out to the heavens. Unfortunately, all borders have been crossed, everything that unites us has been broken: Jews against Jews in the heart of the country. We must not put up with this."
National Unity leader MK Benny Gantz criticized the Prime Minister's response: "For 75 years, a large majority of Israelis managed to come to an agreement on the public space on Yom Kippur, so that it would be adjusted according to the community. For 75 years, communities managed to respect each other despite their differences and did not bring politics into Yom Kippur. Now, someone who decided to separate us succeeded also in desecrating this holy day with coercion and gratuitous hatred. And who else but the Prime Minister, the biggest generator of hatred, is the one who now chooses to light the fire, together with politicians who have decided to turn our public space into a disaster zone."
"I call on all the leaders to show responsibility and to stop the discourse and actions of the debaters. I would like to say to the public, it makes sense to allow the public space to be conducted according to the characteristics of the population, and in this case a correct ruling was received, in my opinion, which authorized the Municipality of Tel Aviv to determine the procedures. But more importantly, we must remember - where there are those who degenerate us into a civil war, it is everyone's duty to prevent it.''
Noam party leader Deputy Minister MK Avi Maoz commented: "There is one word that describes the harsh scenes from Yom Kippur in Tel Aviv, and not least, the far-fetched reactions of the leaders of the left-wing camp Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz - Shame. Shame. Shame. Where are Gideon Sa'ar, Ze'ev Elkin and troopers from the "Unity" party? Do we hear any condemnation from them?" Maoz wrote.
The Chairman of the Constitution Committee and the Chairman of the Religious Zionism party, MK Simcha Rothman, commented: "The absolute majority of the people of Israel have been immersed in prayer, in self and community reflection, and in their relationship with God. A small, violent and marginalized group was busy harassing and intimidating the worshipers."
MK Eli Dellal (Likud) commented: "As someone who was born and raised in Tel Aviv, I had the chance to participate in quite a few mass prayer events in the public space. On Yom Kippur and not on Yom Kippur. There was never any disruption or humiliation of these prayers. I am sorry that the most special day of the year has turned into a sad day in the city due to wild incitement by elements who hate religion. The pictures from yesterday are heartbreaking and these events remind us of difficult days in Jewish history. The leaders of the opposition must show leadership and not be afraid of the bullies and condemn it and work for the freedom of prayer properly for those who request it.''
MK Gilad Kariv (Labor) criticized the Prime Minister's response: "Even before he broke his fast, Prime Minister Netanyahu returned to his evil ways and launched a wild incitement to violence and bloodshed. Instead of condemning the blatant attempt to violate the court's ruling, the national instigator chooses to back the disdain for the rule of law. The last of the elected officials who can condemn an interruption of prayer is Prime Minister Netanyahu who is silent about the incessant attacks on the women of the Western Wall and the equal prayer rights."
Israel's Chief Rabbi, Rabbi David Lau, commented: "I heard with great sadness about the events that happened around the prayer on the holiest day for the people of Israel. The most special day of the year turned into a sad day due to wild incitement by elements who hate religion. There are those who forgot the essence of the day and continued the waves of seething hatred. The residents of Tel Aviv came to the prayer service and only wanted to pray according to Jewish law without imposing anything on anyone, but only for those who are interested and interested in it. Then we saw that under the guise of freedom, a very broad public is prevented from praying according to their customs. The events remind us of difficult days in Jewish history. The State of Israel, was established as a home for the Jewish people, and should have a place where they can live as Judaism requires. All those who claim that the State of Israel is a Jewish and democratic state, please remember that being Jewish is no less important than being democratic. As a native of Tel Aviv, I have no doubt that the majority of Tel Aviv residents are averse to disturbances and protests against Yom Kippur prayers on the streets of a city, and I call on those who continue to stir up the controversies to stop, stop before it's too late.''
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai responded to the incident: "Unfortunately, last night, religious and messianic extremists decided to trample on the court's decision and established a partition between men and women at the Yom Kippur Eve prayer."
"A crowd of protestors and city residents prevented the prayer in Dizengoff Square from taking place in its illegal form. Since the Yom Kippur War, 50 years, I have not been called during the holiday. I want to make it clear - I will not let the character of our city change! In Tel Aviv-Yafo, there is no place for gender segregation and exclusion in the public space."
The Shas party representative in Tel Aviv-Yafo and deputy mayor Elhanan Zvulun commented: "Throughout the thousands of years of history, the holy day of the year - Yom Kippur - has been a consensus and will continue to be so in the future, God willing. It pained me to see an extreme minority that came with only one goal - to violate the consensus that exists on this day. I strongly condemn the attempt to damage the Yom Kippur prayer by an extreme minority. Unfortunately, on Yom Kippur, we received another proof of how important the fight for the Jewish and traditional character of Tel Aviv-Jaffa is.''
The deputy mayor of Tel Aviv and chairman of the Ma'aminim party, Haim Goren, commented: "The first Jewish city is ashamed of the events of Yom Kippur. During Yom Kippur, a red line was crossed in Tel Aviv-Yafo. Intentional and planned damage to the holy day prayers throughout the first Hebrew city. Unfortunately, we have to say that the rioters who horribly and violently damaged the prayers and the public of believers, received a vindication from the mayor of Huldai and extremist councilors."
"I make it clear: We will not lower our heads and we will not give up. The religious and traditional community has a part in this city and the public space also belongs to it, and of course to the Jewish identity on the basis of which this city was founded. As early as the upcoming Simchat Torah we will go out and dance with the Torah scrolls in the street of the city as was customary since the 1930's in Tel Aviv", Goren's words.
The Rosh Yehudi organization, which organized the service, said in a statement: "Even before the Kol Nidrei prayer that starts the holiday, about 100 organized protesters arrived ahead of time to disrupt the legally planned Yom Kippur prayer in Dizengoff Square. The rioters staged a show of screaming and bullying and succeeded in pushing away from the square the hundreds of Tel Aviv residents who wanted to pray on Yom Kippur. Kilns passed. We left the square to prevent the desecration of the holy day and we moved to the synagogue out of responsibility and maintaining the honor of Yom Kippur."
The leftist NGO Darkeinu has announced that they will sue Rosh Yehudi for contempt of the court.
Hotem, an Orthodox NGO, commented: "On the eve of the Day of Atonement, we received a painful reminder, while crossing every possible border, what is the main struggle today in the State of Israel. On the one hand, Jews who want to observe the High Holy Day prayers religiously and legally, and on the other hand, the judges of the District and Supreme Court and their representatives, a handful of auto-antisemitic thugs, who continue to offend consistently and systematic at heart - in Judaism, and the Jewish nature of the country. All this while Muslim prayers are held every year in complete segregation in the public space in Tel Aviv without any interference or obstruction. The discriminatory policies of the judicial system must be stopped, as well as the abominable bullying and hatred of Jews on the streets of Tel Aviv . We support the Rosh Yehudi movement and the majority of Tel Aviv residents who want Judaism. We will win, because the Jewish people will never give up their Judaism.''
The Ne'emanei Torah V'Avoda movement commented: "The sights of Yom Kippur in Tel Aviv are first and foremost painful. This is not how the holy day of the year should look. The violence that was used there against the worshipers deserves all condemnation. At the same time, the conduct of a Jewish leader, who did not respect the court's ruling and created a sort of partition, is also obscene. Such conduct does not bring Judaism closer, but only brings division and rift closer, and the controversy could have been foreseen in advance. We wish for a day when all parties will act more wisely and in a way of compromise instead of fighting for uncompromising justice, which destroys us from the inside."
The leader singer of the Israeli band Teapacks, Kobi Oz, commented: "You broke my heart. Without going into who started it and who exacerbated it. There was something rare and inclusive in Kippur in Dizengoff, a full variety of Israelis and Israeli women together, even with the women behind a partition. You gave it a flat tire and sent me and my family back to the synagogues where we were forced into order as men and women. It is no longer possible to be a general/variety Jew."
Israeli singer Dikla, who was present at the service, was filmed saying that the protesters were violating her rights by telling her not to use a partition: ''There is nothing worse than this, when you tell me not to pray separately. This is not democracy, but dictatorship!''