Jewish Home MK Yoni Chetboun is suffering more than just party discipline for voting against the chareidi draft law. He has become an outcast in his own party, a target of scorn for acting according to his conscience.
“This is like sticking a knife in our back and twisting it,” said faction whip Ayelet Shaked at a recent meeting, Arutz Sheva reported on Thursday.
MK Uri Ariel told Chetboun that what he did reminds him of an officer who fires into the backs of his soldiers as they charge forward in battle.
The law, which includes criminal sanctions for yeshivah students who refuse to be drafted, a provision Jewish Home had itself publicly opposed until the final votes, was passed by a Knesset vote of 67-1, with Chetboun the lone vote against, and opposition parties boycotting the proceedings.
Chetboun has already been punished by his faction, taking away his right to propose legislation in the first six weeks of the summer session, and removed him from his seat on the prestigious Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
In addition, party leader, Economics Minister Naftali Bennett, made clear that he expects Chetboun to announce his resignation from the position of Deputy Knesset Chairman “by the end of the week.”
But his party colleagues have taken the matter personally, and Chetboun’s dissent is costing him more than parliamentary priveleges.
Chetboun has said that he apologizes to any of his colleagues who felt personally hurt by his actions, but is at peace with himself for doing what he believe was the right thing.
Nevertheless, the 34-year-old parliamentarian is not without friends. He has been lauded by chareidi MKs for his courageous stand, and has also won the support of leading rabbinical figures in the national-religious community.