Ultra-Orthodox parties: God ended government that ‘tried to destroy Judaism’

Rabbinic leaders and haredi politicians rejoice in coalition’s collapse.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Ultra-Orthodox (haredi) politicians, rabbis and media hailed the end of Israel’s governing coalition, crediting God for causing the Knesset’s impending dissolution.

“His [God’s] name has been publicly sanctified,” said Rabbi Shalom Cohen, the head of the rabbinic council behind the Sephardic Shas party, when he was notified of the government’s announcement on Monday.

“A government that harmed and tried to destroy Judaism and what is holy in Israel and hurt the weak, has been driven from the world. God has had mercy on His people,” he said.

Cohen had recently spoken out again against the reforms being planned in religion-state matters such as kashrut supervision and Jewish conversion, although little headway had been made to date.

“They think they can hurt God; either they will repent or they’ll fall,” he had said.

The Shas newspaper, HaDerech, trumpeted a phrase from the Yom Kippur services: “And all the wickedness was consumed in smoke.”

Shalom’s counterpart as the leader of all Lithuanian (Ashkenazic) Jewry, Rabbi Gershon Edelstein, reacted slightly differently, saying, “It’s in the merit of the public, in the merit of the Torah [they learn].”

The Haredi daily, Yated Neeman, noted on its front page in large white letters on a red background: “The fall of the mixed-multitudes government.” The reference is to the group of non-Jews who left Egypt with the Jewish people during the Exodus, who are blamed for initiating the idolatrous worship of the Golden Calf.

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The unity government was the first in Israel’s history to contain an Arab party, the Islamist Ra’am faction.

Haredi politicians, who had been relegated to the opposition expressed similar pleasure.

“This was a government that never had the right to exist,” said MK Uri Maklev (United Torah Judaism). The coalition, he said, “had broken its promises to the voters, day after day harming kashrut, the Sabbath, the [Jewish] character of the state,” adding, “there is justice and there is a Judge.”

His party colleague, MK Yitzhak Pindrus, called the day the government fell a “holiday” in an interview on Channel 12 News.

Another UTJ MK, Moshe Gafni, echoed the sentiment by quoting part of the blessing traditionally made on Jewish holidays, “Who has kept us alive, sustained us and brought us to this season.”