Channel 13 News aired a clip of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu comparing the actions of the Peleg Yerushalmi group to those of various cults around the world.
One of the defining characteristics during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in Israel was the absolute refusal of certain elements within the Chareidi world to follow the instructions of Israel’s Health Ministry which included the prohibition against davening in a minyan.
The refusal to adhere to the rules originally began among the extremist groups within the Chareidi world such as the Peleg Yerushalmi, but dragged the entire Chareidi public down with them, leading to a public discourse of hatred against the Chareidi public in the mainstream and social media.
In a Zoom call that was held between the Health Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office, Dr. Yakir Kauffman from the Health Ministry said: “These are the most densely populated areas in the entire country, and it is there where the infection rate is the highest. If we do not solve this problem, we will be creating our own ‘coronavirus ship’ inside Israel.”
Later, while former Health Minister Yaakov Litzman was not on the call, Prime Minister Netanyahu said: “This is absolutely crazy. The unsupervised, crazy actions, that also occur in the secular community, in much smaller quantities as you have seen… I’m talking about the actions of a cult, let’s call it that. It’s a joke.”
“If a person sacrifices themselves, that’s one thing. But a person isn’t just sacrificing themselves here. He is sacrificing everyone around him.”
Following the publication of the conversation, the Prime Minister’s Office stated: “The Prime Minister was referring to the actions of the Peleg Yerushalmi who did not follow instructions and not to the Chareidi public in general.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)