Bennett: Army Doesn’t Want Too Many Chareidim

Education Minister Naftali Bennett. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool)

In an interview on Kol Chai radio Wednesday, Education Minister Naftali Bennett repeated that in his opinion, the entire brouhaha surrounding the Draft Law was “a manufactured crisis from the start. The idea that a law will prevent or enable the IDF to draft all the chareidim the day after it is passed is ridiculous. The entire notion is based on the cowardice of the politicians to tell the public the truth.”

In actuality, Bennett said, “the IDF does not know what to do with masses of chareidim, and all the issues that are involved in drafting them. The easiest thing for a politician is to attack the chareidim, and I will not be a part of that.”

Bennett also had some sharp words for Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) and Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid), both of whom have made drafting the chareidim a priority. “I served in a combat unit no less active and important than Liberman and Lapid, and I served for years in reserve duty. I was also a commander of an elite unit, so they are in no position to lecture anyone. I know just as well what the army is all about as they do.”

The compromise that averted elections Tuesday was the agreement between Liberman and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for the appointment of a committee to be appointed by the former that will evaluate the issue of the chareidi draft objectively. While the results of that committee could trigger another coalition crisis – if, for example, it recommends a full draft for chareidim of army draft age – Bennett does not believe that will occur. “One of the tenets of this committee is that the IDF will be a part of drafting the law. I believe that when it does get involved in writing the law, we will see that the IDF and the chareidim have very similar opinions.

“I believe that the chareidim need to get involved in education and work, and little by little the army issue will resolve itself,” Bennett added. “The issue cannot be forced. Politicians who attack the chareidim find their political fortunes negatively affected, you see them fall in the polls. We in Jewish Home will continue to tell our truth. Israelis are tired of the fighting and division, they want unity.”