Lapid singles out Orthodox Zionists for contempt

“Netanyahu has sold out the country to the ‘hardalim'” – slang for haredi Zionists, Lapid complained in a tweet.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid slammed Orthodox Zionists on Monday, suggesting that Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu had made a grave mistake in granting authority within the Defense Ministry to lawmakers from that sector.

“According to the agreement between the Likud and Religious Zionism parties, Smotrich will be appointing the Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories [COGAT] and the head of the Civil Administration, which until now have been appointed by the IDF Chief-of-Staff,” Lapid tweeted, referring to Religious Zionist chairman Bezalel Smotrich.

“Netanyahu has sold out the country to the hardalim,” Lapid added.

The word hardalim is a portmanteau of the terms haredi (ultra-Orthodox) and Dati Leumi (Religious Zionists.) Hardalim is a plural noun, referring to multiple people. The word hardal (singular) in Hebrew also means mustard.

Unlike some of their ultra-Orthodox counterparts, hardalim are strong Zionists; they participate in the workforce and serve in the army, many in combat units, while adhering to a strict interpretation of Jewish law.

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It’s unclear why Lapid, who has repeatedly agitated against the haredim and is vehemently opposed to the tax incentives and exemptions from military recruitment granted to the community, would single out those who have integrated into the workforce and serve their country.

Indeed, over the years, Lapid has called for those who disagree to do so with “respect.”

According to a portion of the coalition agreement between Netanyahu’s Likud party and the Religious Zionism party chaired by Betzalel Smotrich, the latter has been granted significant powers within the Defense Ministry.

Smotrich had originally requested to be appointed defense minister, and Netanyahu’s refusal stalled coalition talks for some two weeks.

The Religious Zionism lawmaker will be appointed to a newly created role, as the head of “Jewish settlement and open lands,” a position that will fall under the scope of the Defense Ministry.

Additionally, Smotrich will have the authority to appoint the heads of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) and the Civil Administration, bodies who manage policy regarding settlements in Judea and Samaria.

Smotrich has hinted that he will use his authority to legalize currently unrecognized Jewish communities in the region and may scale back COGAT and the Civil Administration in order to advance de facto annexation of Judea and Samaria.