Bennett Slams Chareidim Just Before Being Sworn Into Knesset


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Bayit HaYehudi Party leader Naftali Bennett, hours ahead of being sworn into Knesset as a MK, lashed out against the chareidi parties.

Bennett released a message on his Facebook page that “The existing situation in which tens of thousands of chareidim do not study, work or serve cannot continue. It is immoral and unsustainable. The Israeli economy will not endure this. There is no such situation in the world. In New York the chareidim study but they work as well.”

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. In New York they do not conscript hareidim (or hareidiot), and for all purposes never have (from the military’s perspective, they are too much bother).

    Also for purposes of qualifying for a profession, in the USA a yeshiva education is considered the equivalent a classical/humanities education or a Jewish studies degree (so if a college degree in any subject is the required credential, it qualifies – though obviously not if the degree has to be in a specific subject such as math or biology) – in Israel a background is learning Torah is considered as “zilch” for purposes of getting a job – as if you had spent the time playing computer games and getting stoned. The Israelis suffer from the fact that their upper class hates hareidim for representing a culture they reject, and cherish the idea of “freedom from religion” as a national goal – in America the opposition to hareidim is limited to a small minority, mainly secular and modern orthodox Jews, and the rest of the country takes great pride in America’s religious diversity on in “freedom of religion”.

    There are no indications of any hareidim who are neither learning or working – though many are working “off the books” in order to avoid conscription. Given that Israel does not consider failure to accomodate religious practices in the workplace to be illegal, it won’t be all that different even if they were exempted from the army and could work “on the books.”

    Israel has European-style welfare policies with an economy that is borderline third world, but that isn’t a “Jewish” issue

  2. Actually he is right. Most Chareidim after a few years in kollel do go out and get jobs.

    If there were actually tests to test the levels then they would be able to count it towards something.

    That’s kind of not right that they take stipends while working off the books.. that’s not fair to those who are doing things above board and are paying tons of taxes.

  3. #3 – I didn’t say it would. For example, for Federal civil service (the largest employer in the country) many jobs require a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent. No questions asked about the subject. Your degree can be in medieval literature, or history of college football, or photography or… talmudic studies. If you have the degree, you can apply for the job. If you don’t have the degree, no matter how well qualified, you can’t. If the job doesn’t have more specific qualifications, they are saying anyone with a certain level of education is welcome.

    In the US, four years in a yeshiva after the age of 18 and you have the equivalent, and can apply. In Israel, you are still considered to have no education, and you can’t apply.

    If a skill is required in addition to a degree, you still need the degree. For example, if they want a college graduate to file papers that requires knowledge of Klingonese – how you learned Klingonese is one factor. The other is having any sort of degree, but it in computer gaming or talmud or whatever.

  4. Bennett is soon to be a loser. His attacks on Charadim are only to win support from the anti religious. The dati leumi rabbis are furious with him for saying such anti charadi statements.

  5. Look what an upside world we live in! The Rambam writes that the only difference between now and when moshiach comes is that when moshiach comes all of the jews will be free to learn toyra and not have to work. And it is the chareidim who believe that the establishment of the zionist state is the coming of moshiach while the religious zionist who believe we must still go about working and wait for moshiach to come.

  6. What a Chillul Hashem! To come from a so called “Chareidi” “leader”! There is no reason to make such public statements. I expected such language from Lapid. Interesting how Bayit Hayehudi was complaining about Shas making inflammatory comments and now they’re engaged in their own stupidity!

  7. One important difference between the US and Israel is that in the US, the vast majority of Chareidim have at least a basic secular education. I attended American “yeshivish” yeshivos in New York, and they all offered the necessary courses and regent exams to get a high school diploma. There were some corners cut (we took Hebrew as our foreign language, and learned Navi in that class), but we did learn math, science, civics, and English – basic skills that equiped us to move on once we were no longer going to stay in learning.

    In Israel, on the other hand, the vast majority of Chareidim stop learning any secular subjects once they finish elemenary school. They move on to what is known in Israel as “Yeshiva Ketana”, where only limudei kodesh (and for the most part, only Gemara) are taught. There are a small number that move on to “Yeshivot Tichoniot”, but those that choose that route are frequently looked down on as “not really Chareidi”. Accordingly, most Israeli Chareidim are just not equiped to go out into the working world in anything other than the most menial jobs.

    an Israeli Yid

  8. In the US, four years in a yeshiva after the age of 18 and you have the equivalent, and can apply.

    Once again, FACTS that are not factual. Some yeshivas offer an equivalency degree after 4-5 years of learning post high school, not ALL DO!!!! In order to go on to higher learning you have to have an above level knowledge of math, reading, writing, communication and some civics info. Also there are online and clepping that is done in US which is not available in Israel, now that is something for parties to start to work on in Israel. This past month, the medical exam that all new doctors needed to pass in order to practice in Israel was deleted, and can begin work without an Israel certification.

  9. Bennett is right on the policy prescriptions, although he should probably look to Rav Yosef, shlita, for guidance on how to be a bit more subtle, politically astute and avoiding inflamatory rhetoric.

  10. #7 – Maybe a few of the Charda”lniks are ‘furious’ (although I haven’t heard about it) but virtually everyone in the Dati Leumi camp agrees with him. Indeed, in what way is it ‘anti-charedi’ to say that the current situation is unsustainable? Indeed, is it sustainable in your opinion?

    And what right do you have to be ‘furious’ at such a thing (and by what right does YWN cast it as ‘slamming charedim’)? For decades, indeed – generations, the D”L camp guarded and protected the Charedim in E”Y and treated them with respect while, in return, they and their rabbis were openly derided by the charedim. So little regard have the charedim shown the D”L camp that even when thousands were about to be expelled from their homes in Gush Katif and the charedim could have stopped it, they shrugged their shoulders, asked ‘why should we care?’ and voted for the expulsion (in return for a little money from the government). Only recently, they have been called no less than ‘goyim’ by a prominent Gadol and their conversions (and thus, implicitly, their rabbis) have been derided as being worthless (the ‘cochavit giyur’ ad recently run by Sha”s). And now you think the D”L camp should be ‘furious’ because Bennet has dared to say that the current situation is not sustainable? Really? The D”L camp has been an exemplar of ‘ne’elavim ve’einam olvim’. I have seen no change in their attitude although, honestly, who could blame them?

    #8- Clearly, Mashiach has not yet come. See #7 above.

  11. “akuperma says:
    February 5, 2013 at 10:49 am
    In New York they do not conscript hareidim (or hareidiot), and for all purposes never have (from the military’s perspective, they are too much bother).

    In New York “they do not conscript hareidim (or hareidiot” for one simple reason: the United States Armed Forces are not short of candidates who want to volunteer for recruitment.

    In the United States the religious denomination of an enlisted person is of absolutely no interest to anyone.

  12. Its an embarrassment to the Jewish people that Jews go around begging because they can not put food on t he table. Nowhere in history has this ever taken place, Jews always were at the top in education, wealth and society. He is correct that this is unsustainable. Every Amora in the Gemorrah had a trade.

  13. In general, I think Naftali Bennett is a good man. But in this statement, he is intentionally misleading the public for political ends.
    In Israel, someone who learns cannot legally work. If one is registered as learning, he cannot be simultaneously registered as working, as all workers must have served in the army. In the past, if someone removed himself from the learning registration and registered himself as an employee or owner of a business, he was served with a demand to appear before the draft board and he would be, pending qualification examinations, drafted.
    I might add that this also applies to the teachers of Torah. Anyone who is a melamed or rebbi, and qualifies for the army, cannot legally hold this profession without being drafted. How they retain their jobs despite this persecution of our Torah-oriented educational system, can only be imagined, and I am sure that out there lie pundits that will scream “dishonesty” when contemplating how it is achieved. The alternative is to close our day schools and Yeshivos.
    Therefore, if Rabbi Ben Dahan claims they are not planning to close Yeshivot, he is a two-tongued snake, or completely ignorant about the situation. True, Dati-Leumi rebbeim do serve and disrupt their educational year often when in the reserves. Well, they consider their service in the IDF to be a sufficient achievement for which to sacrifice their pupils’ education. That is their right, according to their opinion.
    But just such a right, confers on the chareidi community a right to a more consistent educational emphasis, according to their opinion.

  14. “Once again, FACTS that are not factual. Some yeshivas offer an equivalency degree after 4-5 years of learning post high school, not ALL DO!!!! ”

    In the UNITED STATES the government offers the equivalency exam (the GED), and in most states the only requirement to take it is age (e.g. you have to be 16). The books to study for the test are readily available. Many people just get the books and sit down and study for it. Frum boys are especially good at learning on their own or with a partner, since that’s how yeshivos do things.

    The other tests necessary for college are the SAT, the APs and the CLEPs. There are no requirements to take them, and one can easily prepare on your own.

    You can even do all or most of college online. There are no restrictions based on religion, race or past military service.

    P.S. To Rainus above: Teachers in a yeshiva are still “learning” in the yeshiva. Actually, this is how a traditional university worked (as a community of scholars, rather than teachers as employees). The Israelis therefore regard all the teachers in Torah institutions as unemployed and shiftless, when in fact they are hard working and employed.

  15. Enough already. All of you — especially akuperma and his opponents — make the novice debaters mistake of taking a decent argument, and pushing it to the point where the argument looks foolish.

  16. #17 – You wrote: “if Rabbi Ben Dahan claims they are not planning to close Yeshivot, he is a two-tongued snake”. What a beautiful sentiment, such respect for their rabbis, and what a delicate turn of phrase!

    Subtle little points of style aside, nu, and why is the (truly) learned and honorable Rabbi Ben-Dahan um … misleading? He has no intention of closing yeshivot, only of requiring the bochurs to serve as well. Like Hesder bochurs, they can spend a few years learning before and during service, and as much time as their hearts desire after service. Adrabba, if today rebbis indeed must cheat to teach, under this arangement that will no longer be necessary (and, who knows, maybe they will be better rebbis for not cheating). Not one yeshiva need be closed.

    As for your ire at the fact that those who wish to work must face the draft, what can I say, the dastardly Zionists see learning Torah as more important than work and while they’ll exempt or shorten service for the first, they won’t for the second. Gott in Himmel!

  17. “The Israelis therefore regard all the teachers in Torah institutions as unemployed and shiftless, when in fact they are hard working and employed”

    They are hardworking and employed YET not paying TAXES since they are receiving Kollel stipends. Therefore they are unemployed according to govt critique.(not sure what shiftless means??)

  18. Um, bklynmom, sorry but you have your facts wrong. NO melamed gets a kollel stipend. Neither do ramim or roshei yeshiva. And they all pay municipal and property taxes, as well as bituach leumi.

    The only tax they might not pay is income tax. And that’s not because they are chareidi; it’s because anyone with a salary and family size equivalent to theirs is exempt from income taxes, as they don’t pass the income tax threshold.

  19. EY Mom – you’re incorrect on Rabe’im not paying tax in Israel due to family size. Under Israeli law, an individual gets a certain number of “credit points” that are used to offset the tax they owe on income. The number of points depends on a variety of factors – including army service, Oleh status, if one is disabled, and, as you state, the number of children one has. HOWEVER – the credit points for children can only be used by the MOTHER, not the father, unless the father is a single parent. Accordingly, if my wife and I have the same gross (bruto) income, she will take home significantly more net (neto) income.

    So, no, the reason Rabe’im don’t pay income tax has nothing whatsoever to do with the number of children they have.

    an Israeli Yid (and CPA)