A Dangerous Move

COMMENTARY

Since Am Yisrael became a nation, none of those who tried to prevent Jews from learning Torah were able to attain their goal. It didn’t happen in the past, and we fully believe it won’t happen in the future. Empires of foreign countries have failed, and a government of Jews in Israel will not succeed either.

It won’t be simple. Truth to be told, it already isn’t simple after the Netanyahu government, supported by Ministers Bennett and Lapid, negated many of the rights of lomdei Torah, slashed their budgets, and is still doing everything it can to harm Torah institutions. But, with all the difficulties and complexities, chasdei Shamayim will be on our side — and we will overcome.

Our children will continue to learn Torah, and anyone who falls under the category of Toraso Umnaso will not be uprooted from the beis medrash. Our daughters will continue to build Torah-true homes and will be instrumental in inculcating their children to be mekadesh Shem Shamayim and perpetuate the legacy of Har Sinai. But the decision in favor of a law whose essence is “lomdei Torah to jail” is a shameful stain on those who voted to support it.

The man who began his political career with the slogan, “Netanyahu is good for the Jews” has proved to everyone that this is not the case. He is good for himself, for his political survival, but not for the Jews who seek to preserve the traditions of our fathers and who — among other things — contributed throughout the years to his political career. He is responsible for what has happened. True, he is not alone and he had partners — “brothers” — who bonded together to carry out their designs, Bennett and Lapid, but the responsibility lies with the prime minister. Despite all the talk and all the efforts of those from within the National Religious camp, Bennett not only agreed, but arrogantly set the patronizing tone that implied, “We will reeducate them.” In fact, just last week he said that the most important thing is to “take them [chareidim] out of prison,” referring to our holy yeshivos. Since he made that declaration, MKs and pundits have begun using the catchphrase “open the doors of the prisons to let the chareidim out” in reference to the yeshivos.

The approval yesterday in the Shaked Committee is not good for the Jews. Not only is it not good — it is dangerous. It is harmful and it arouses the opposite of limud zechus. The state of Israel is standing at a crossroads. There are major, crucial issues that relate to the existence of the state and its future. Anyone who is a partner to the destruction of two of the three pillars, Am Yisrael or Toras Yisrael, will also be faced with danger to the third pillar, Eretz Yisrael. If that happens, Netanyahu will be ready, with Lapid at his side, to harm Eretz Yisrael as well.

It is impossible to continue business as usual, because nothing is usual anymore. For 65 years, Israel was the Jewish state, and despite the arguments and disagreements within it, there was an appreciation and value for learning Torah and for lomdei Torah. From now on, it is a state in which learning Torah can be considered a criminal offense.

From a Jewish point of view, the government is not only going to bring about a two-state scenario, it is also going to be for two nations, if not physically, then certainly ideologically. An aggressive coalition majority is unraveling the strings — without emotions, and without limits. And it is all happening at a time when Israel is standing at a dangerous crossroads, with serious problems from inside and outside. A rift of such proportions is the last thing it needs.

Torah Jewry has a high tolerance for suffering. It has the strength of emunah. We have the words of our Rabbanim who illuminate our paths, whose words we will heed even if they come at a steep price.

The Committee can do what they want. Their ministers can decide whatever they want — we will not be “reeducated.” We will not leave the beis medrash. We say this with confidence, our heads raised in pride: “Ani Maamin, I believe, that this Torah has no alternative and there will not be another Torah.”