Timeline

11 p.m.: The tension was mounting as the draft law was about to be presented. The electric atmosphere brought many security guards and Knesset personnel to the plenum, far more than is usual for Knesset sessions.

Midnight: When Minister Perry rose to present the law, the UTJ members — MKs Rabbis Yaakov Litzman, Moshe Gafni, Meir Porush, Uri Maklev, Menachem Eliezer Moses, Yisrael Eichler and Yaakov Asher, donned their hats and convened near the entrance to the plenum, near the attendance and voting board, in order to recite Tehillim and Selichos. They were joined by the Shas MKs, among them Rabbis Aryeh Deri, Eli Yishai, Avraham Michaeli and others, along with parliamentary aides and guests.

The Tehillim and Selichos were recited aloud, passuk by passuk. During the Selichos, the words of Adon Haselichos were sung in the Sephardic nusach, after which the shofar was blown and Maariv was recited. Dozens more MKs and parliamentary aides gathered near the plenum to observe this unprecedented scene.

2 a.m.: The session went on and on. More than 60 MKs asked to express their opinions at the lectern, and many of them said that if it weren’t for public opinion that obligated them, they would vote against the law.

3 a.m.: The Shas MKs each presented their objections to the law, and harshly condemned those who brought it to the Knesset and those who support it.

4 a.m.: Now it was the turn of the UTJ MKs. One by one, they rose and warned the plenum of deepening the rifts, the hatred, the incitement and harassment of the one who refuses to be described as hateful, inciting and harassing. They made it clear that in any case, not a single yeshivah bachur would stop learning because of this law or any law.

4:30: The Knesset Chairman announces a vote. The UTJ members rose again and tore their clothes, a symbolic kriah. Knesset security personnel hurried towards them, and retreated only when they realized that they had no plans to generate a ruckus or disrupt the proceedings.

5:18: The Knesset session came to an end. The Chairman hit the gavel, closing the plenum. The “Night of Lapid” ended in deep pain. And if anyone needed any proof of this, they could have observed many of the Knesset employees who escorted the UTJ members out with tears in their eyes, as they barely managed to utter: “We’re so sorry. It’s so painful.”