Meeting with a small number of chareidi Likud activists in Bnei Brak on Wednesday night the eve of 18 Tishrei 5773, Deputy Prime Minister (Likud) Silvan Shalom had some interesting remarks pertaining to Israel’s relationship with the White House and Nachal Chareidi.
He began by stressing no one wants early elections, well-aware of the chareidi opposition to the proposed state budget. He explained “no one wants elections moved up but nonetheless, we are being led like sheep to slaughter”, explaining that Shas and Yahadut HaTorah are opposed to the budget being prepared and insist they will not support it, preferring to go to the polls.
Regarding the security situation today and threats facing Israel, he stated “No one can live with hundreds of missiles with nuclear warheads pointed at Israel, one of which can wipe out the Jewish state with a push of a button”.
He added that if one reads newspapers, one might think Israel is at war with the United States instead of with Hamas, Hizbullah and Syria, but he assured his colleagues this was not the case and “Israel and the United States see eye-to-eye on almost all matters and there is total cooperation”.
One of the avreichim present asked how the IDF is prepared to accommodate the many chareidim that are expected to serve. The minister’s response took everyone present by surprise.
“Do you know who the major opponent to Nachal Chareidi is? The IDF! They say if you want to come and serve for three years, outstanding. But if you serve in a curtailed plan and then expect the IDF to make special provisions to accommodate your lifestyle. They want badatz and then comes the argument which badatz, Landau or Beit Yosef. Then you say ‘no females’ and then tefilla and mikve. It’s problematic and not simple [to accommodate]. Today we begin seeing a possible solution as the rabbis are also beginning to understand that we can and must find a solution.”
He also shared his plan for a day off, Sunday, explaining he has met with gedolim towards enlisting their support for such a move, a day of week off in addition to shabbos.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)