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Monday, July 22, 2013 

Draft bill for Haredis passes 1st reading, and the Haredi MKs whine

It's not even fully a law yet, and the Haredi MKs are playing victimhood already:
[...] Haredi MKs exited the hall en masse in protest and, joined by some constituents in the adjoining hallway, read psalms and prayers of supplication, and blew a ram’s horn. After the first reading passed by a wide margin, the ultra-Orthodox lawmakers tore their clothes in a traditional sign of lamentation.

MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) called Tuesday’s vote “a dark day” for Israel and said Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid), who spearheaded the push for the bill, “a man with a smug, stinking smile.”

In a theatrical display of protest at the podium, MK Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism) handcuffed himself to the microphone, and it took Knesset ushers several minutes to extricate him from his fetters. Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein upbraided Porush and said he would be dealt with by the Knesset Ethics Committee.
Well do cry us all a nice bath. Exploiting old customs to mourn a positive step that biblical Moses would support. Shame on Gafni and all other Haredi MKs who did that. By the way, where did he get those cuffs from? Keeping a pair of handcuffs around should be illegal, since they could be used for kidnapping; exactly why only police, military and government sources should be allowed to maintain them.
The bill has been vehemently opposed by portions of the ultra-Orthodox community, many of whom have vowed to fight the new law and go to jail rather than serve in the military. Community leaders fear enlistment in the army will make it harder for the ultra-Orthodox to keep a strict interpretation of Jewish law and will cause spiritually perilous mixing with the secular population. Tuesday morning’s vote came amid a spate of violent assaults on ultra-Orthodox soldiers by members of their community who oppose enlistment of Haredim into the military.
Which Gafni and company failed to condemn convincingly. Speaking of which, I hope the authorities are going to make a serious effort to make the streets safe for Haredis who do join the army. The enlistees should be able to walk freely around their neighborhoods without even having to fear wearing their uniforms, and the violent hoodlums should be sent a message that they'll pay dearly for lawbreaking.

Update: The Jewish Press has more.

Update 2: Yair Lapid says the Haredis are giving their sector a bad name:
Finance Minister Yair Lapid addressed the Knesset plenum on Monday during deliberations on no-confidence motions and addressed the rift between him and haredi MKs.

"We read haredi papers that say all secular women are promiscuous," Lapid said, adding that an editorial in an ultra-Orthodox paper has compared him to Hitler.

"The problem is not that you are haredim, but that you give haredim a bad name," the finance minister added, insisting that he does not defame haredim but rather works to bring about equality. [...]

The minister added that the Torah said that one is to work six days of the week, "not six days you shall sit in the yeshiva and let someone else pick up the check; not six days you shall receive stipends; not six days the secular shall work from dawn till dusk."
That's one thing where he's quite well spoken. An extra article is here.

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