Minister of Finance Yair Lapid today sent a conciliatory message to the haredim (ultra-orthodox), whom he called "brother", telling them that the equal sharing of the burden law would benefit them and give them a sense of participation and dignity in Israel. Earlier today, the Perry Committee on drafting haredim approved its recommendations, including criminal penalties for haredi draft dodgers.
"In recent years, this committee has brought down coalitions and ended careers," said Lapid about the Perry Committee. "The fact that we have resulted in that, in three years, 70% will be drafted is a badge of honor for the government. I am pleased that this government again demonstrated that can change the most explosive issues."
In a direct appeal to the haredim, Lapid said, "I want to talk to my haredi brothers, to talk to 28-year Asher with five children who lives in a matchbox in Jerusalem, not to the haredi dealmakers. He looks at his sleeping children and asks himself how I can give them a better life than mine. I want to talk to 16-year Haim who studies Torah in Bnei Brak and does not understand why God gives him this ability if he cannot use it. This cannot continue. The 'Torah as Life' arrangement included 400 yeshiva students in 1948. This cannot continue.
"Such a large community cannot stand on the sidelines and say that this is not its problem. If Syria disintegrates, you will be affected too. We also need Asher and Haim. If Iran develops an atom bomb, it will affect you too. Terrorists do not distinguish between us. They don’t think that you are more or less Jewish than us. The principle of 'All Israel are brothers' helps us just as much. Do not set yourselves apart and close yourselves off. Do not treat us as if we are goyim. If you do not believe that this is possible, and you think we are oppressing you or hate you, look at the love and respect Israelis receive because they feel you share in the honor.
"This law will enable us to remove barriers. Not everyone is Rabbi Avraham Yeshayahu Karelitz, not everyone is Rabbi Elyashiv or Ovadia (Yosef). Haim who is talented in mathematics will be happier as a financial adviser and his rabbi will be pleased when he can devote time to his brilliant student brother. This law will protect those who study the Torah. People should not have to study Torah like thieves in the night. For the first time, Israel ratifies Torah studies. Our commitment is to help you get through the process. We will do to ensure that, in a few years, there will be haredi doctors and engineers. More than anything else, we will have haredi brothers."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 29, 2013
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