Orthodox Jewish leaders accuse Lapid of sabotaging Israel, undermining gov’t

Orthodox Jewish organization warns that “inflammatory rhetoric” from Lapid increases delegitimization of Israel, fans the flames of antisemitism, and endangers Diaspora Jewish communities.

By World Israel News Staff

Senior American Orthodox Jewish leaders penned an open letter blasting Opposition Leader Yair Lapid, saying that the politician is attempting to undermine the Israeli government as he tours the U.S. and is hosted by American Jewish groups.

In a letter published on Tuesday addressing Lapid’s recent comments to the Jewish Federations of America, Am Echad co-chairs Shlomo Werdiger and Dr. Irving Lebovics wrote that the lawmaker is worsening the rift between diaspora Jewry and the State of Israel, as well as fanning the flames of delegitimization of Israel and antisemitism.

Werdiger and Lebovics expressed their “grave concerns” with Lapid’s remarks blaming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the judicial overhaul legislation as the cause for tensions with the Biden administration, as well as Lapid’s characterization of the current government as racist and extremist.

“As an organization devoted to strengthening the relationship between Israel and Diaspora Jewry, we see these comments as sowing discord and delegitimizing not just the current Israeli government, but Israel itself in the eyes of the world, both Jewish and not,” the letter reads.

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“In your role as the Head of the Opposition, you are both entitled and required to critique the government. However, that does not extend to undermining the government outside the borders of Israel, calling on Diaspora Jews to counter the government, and driving a wedge between Israel and Jews around the world,” it continued.

They reference Lapid’s comments to American Jews, in which he charged that the current right-wing government is “the most extremist in history … causing damage to security, economy, social cohesion, and relations with Diaspora Jewry.”

In reality, they wrote, the right-wing government is supported by the majority of Israeli voters, and Lapid’s call for American Jews to “get up in arms to protect Israel from its own leadership” is essentially a call for “undermining Israeli democracy.”

The leaders noted that “when such statements move into mainstream media, they delegitimize Israel itself, and by extension pose real danger to the safety of Diaspora communities. When you go back to Israel, we in the Diaspora will face the potential consequences of even more antisemitism, powered by your words.”

The letter concluded with a call urging Lapid to refrain from “damaging, inflammatory rhetoric against Israel and its government” moving forward.