‘Evil gov’t hurting observant Jews’ – Prominent rabbis blast Bennett’s budget

Bennett’s “wicked” government, the men charge, is “carrying out their plot against Torah learners in every way possible.”

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Two prominent ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) rabbis signed an open letter slamming the current Israeli government headed by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, saying that the state budget put forth by the ruling coalition is seriously harmful to religious Jews.

Published in Haredi newspaper Yated Ne’eman on Tuesday, the letter entitled “Shouting to Raise Up Our Cry” was signed by influential figures Chaim Kanievsky and Gershon Edelstein.

Bennett’s “wicked” government, the men charge, is “carrying out their plot against Torah learners in every way possible, interfering with married yeshiva students by [stopping childcare] aid to the institutions for their small children.”

A plan devised by Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, who has previously clashed with Haredi politicians, to slash childcare allowances for the children of yeshiva students sparked outrage in the ultra-Orthodox community.

Liberman stated that for married couples seeking subsidies to send their children to daycare, both partners must work at least 24 hours each per week in order to be entitled to the funds.

The “evil government is also “raising various taxes in order to make life difficult for Torah students,” the letter continued, “hurting kashrut for the entire nation in Zion, and increasing recognition of elements foreign to Jewish tradition while uprooting the rule of Jewish law by desecrating the site of the remains of our holy Temple.”

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Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana recently unveiled a plan for opening up the kosher certification system in Israel to multiple entities, arguing that taking the monopoly for such certifications away from the Rabbinate would create competition, driving down prices for consumers.

The reference to the desecration of the Temple could possibly be in response to a perceived relaxation under Bennett’s administration, which has seen more Jews to ascend to the Temple Mount – an act which many Haredi rabbis consider to be expressly forbidden.

The “desecration” may also be referring to a potential mixed-gender egalitarian prayer plaza at the Western Wall, plans for which were initially approved by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2016 but frozen due to pressure from Haredi political parties in 2017.