Lieberman Fumes: “Kollelim Are Sprouting Like Mushrooms”

Avigdor Lieberman (Knesset spokesperson)

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Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday complained that “kollelim are sprouting like mushrooms.”

In response to a question by a Kikar H’Shabbat reporter about his planned decrees against lomdei Torah, Lieberman said: “There’s a big difference between yeshivot gevohot and kollelim that are sprouting like mushrooms.”

“I want to remind you that there was an original agreement between the Chazon Ish and Ben-Gurion regarding ‘Toraso Emunaso’ – they spoke about 400 lomdei Torah. Today there are 160,000 – much more than the Israeli economy can bear. It needs to be put in order.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. 1. Lieberman said mushrooms, which are delicious. He did not say toadstools, which are poisonous.

    2. Is there any truth to the statement about the understanding between Ben-Gurion and the Chazon Ish about 400 vs. 160,000 Iomdei Torah? And should it be adjusted for a bigger Israeli population and economy?

  2. Tit-for-Tat: EU just announced the resumption of sending millions to the PA – You want to starve the chareidim – the international community will feed our enemies!

  3. A gvir once complained the same thing to Rav Steinman. He replied that why are are you not asking why there are so many rich people today? To support the kollelim.

  4. huju:
    The truth is that the Zionists took a gamble and B”H lost. They never imagined that real Judaism would survive their idolatrous/Nationalist onslaught.

  5. @Huju:
    In Hebrew, mushrooms have a direct linguistical connotation to fungus that grows on one’s skin, which sprouts uncontrollably, itches and annoys, etc.

    Secondly, he would do well to discuss the billions of shekel that Israel pours into terrorist hands, as well as generally enemies of the state who not only don’t aid the country but quite the dark opposite, if we’re going to talk about what the economy can bear… Certainly there’s not much to worry about for a tiny fragment of the budget. In fact most of the upkeep of the kollelim are through private donors, hardly anything from the anti-Torah government

  6. Unfortunately he missed the boat. He doesn’t understand the chashivus of limud hatorah. I’m not sure if there’s any point in publicizing this.

  7. The only reason that Eretz Yisroel is protected from a “mushroom” bomb is because of the Koach Hatorah including the kollelim!!! its like a little kid cutting a small rope he “seemingly” needs, which connects to a huge chandelier that ultimately dastroys the whole palace!!!

  8. BRW, the concept of career learning is Toraso Umanuso. It means his learning is his “craft” or occupation. It’s not “Emunaso” which means “his faith”.

  9. huju > 400 vs. 160,000 Iomdei Torah

    This was about exempting 400 (at the time) lomdim from military service. Here is what Ben Gurion considered on education and military service. The focus of that meeting on “how can observant and non-observant (Jews) live together harmoniously in the State of Israel?” is still relevant.

    David Ben-Gurion, “Status-Quo Agreement,” June 19, 1947
    From: The Jewish Agency for Palestine, etc.
    To: The World Organization of Agudath Israel, etc., Jerusalem
    Full autonomy will be guaranteed to every education network … and the state will not infringe on the religious philosophy or the religious conscience of any part of the Jewish people.

    1952 meeting: PM D. Ben-Gurion met privately with Rabbi A. Y. Karelitz (“The Chazon Ish”) in Bnei Brak yesterday. The purpose of the visit was to exchange general views regarding the following issue: How can observant and non-observant (Jews) live together harmoniously in the State of Israel? The question of recruiting women (to the army) was not discussed and the visit had no relation to current political matters.

    Contrary to the report, the meeting was much more than a “general exchange of views.” The prime minister made a gesture towards the ultra-Orthodox community by agreeing to continue the exemption of a limited number of Torah scholars from military service. As early as February 1948, before the State of Israel had even been formally established, a limited number of young ultra-Orthodox men were exempted from being drafted into the armed forces, which were already fighting in what would come to be known as Israel’s War of Independence. On January 9th, 1951, the prime minister ordered the Israeli army’s chief of staff to exempt yeshiva students from regular service.

  10. “Is there any truth to the statement about the understanding between Ben-Gurion and the Chazon Ish about 400 vs. 160,000 Iomdei Torah? And should it be adjusted for a bigger Israeli population and economy?”

    I don’t know if there was any such conditions stipulated about numbers by Ben-Gurion but I do know that he wrote to Levi Eshkol later on that he only made the deal with Chazon Ish because the Chareidim were in small numbers and if they would continue to grow it could be detrimental to the “honor” of the State.

  11. It is a מצוות עשה in the Torah: שֵֽׁשֶׁת יָמִים תַּעֲבֹד. The modern institution of the kollel is a repudiation of this commandment. The canard that the kollelim guard Israel is mythological bunkum. When rockets rain down on a given area, the charedi kollelim in the vicinity clear out, thus showing their חוסר אמונה to the world.

    Besides which, why should the Almighty protect the treif Medinah anyway, right? I hear this from many of my Lakewood and Monsey friends, who while not chassidic spew Satmar-esque talking points vis-a-vis Israel.

    But then there is so much dishonesty in the charedi world in general. Just observe what so many of these future kollel parasites do to their potential fathers-in-law, demanding apartments and piles of cash as a dowry. This is a direct disavowal of the ketubbah, wherein the groom pledges to provide for his wife materially.

    What kind of human being thinks the world must cater to his appetites and subsidize his life of sloth? Our greatest sages worked. Whether they were physicians, vintners, woodcutters, or sandal-makers – they WORKED. To get up every morning and go to work is part of what it means to be a mensch. Thank G-d, my beloved parents עליהם השלום, who survived the Holocaust, taught me the values of hard work, honesty, and decency. Sadly, these are not the ideals promulgated by the Kollel.

    I hope those age-old values have a resurgence very soon.

  12. The only problem is that establishing a Kollel takes a LOT of koichos from the rabim who should also be pushing quality of life, like parks and garbage collection.

  13. as the falsehood of Zionism as authentic jewish identity becomes more apparent 75 years after the statehood was declared, the reality of traditional Judaism rises to replace it.

  14. However terrible the things he says may be, the neshomo Hashem created in him is pure, and I daven every day that the pure neshomo of Avigdor ben Esther should prevail over the klipos that have gotten such a strong hold over it. We say in Neila on Yom Kippur that Hashem doesn’t want the wicked to die, He wants them to do teshuva and live. May that speedily apply to Avigdor ben Esther, Yair ben Shulamis, Naftali ben Betty (she brought him up to be a straight Modern Orthodox and probably has a proper Hebrew name, but I don’t know it), Benyamin ben Tzila, Anat bas Varda, and all the others. It’s said that the Chazon Ish told BG, “Don’t draft frum girls into the army and you’ll live a long life.” BG got the hint and lived to 87, the Chazon Ish was niftar not so long afterwards.

  15. Lieberman is lying as usual. He cannot know what was discussed between the Chazon Ish and Ben Gurion, because nobody knows. Neither of them told anyone what they talked about.