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Yair Lapid Photo: Yoni Hamenachem
Yair Lapid Photo: Yoni Hamenachem

Capitulation not an option

Capitulating to haredi violence would mean rule of law’s demise in Israel

Yair Lapid
Published: 06.17.10, 15:05 / Israel Opinion

Had I been a haredi functionary, I would have gathered my followers last night and told them: “Guys, stop it. You’re giving them ideas.”


Why? Because my taxes fund the religious school in Emmanuel and the Beit Yaakov network that protects it. Had it been up to me, I would stop paying for it tomorrow. Instead, I would send a letter to the State of Israel saying that I’m unwilling to earmark even a penny for funding a bunch of racists, as this contradicts everything that is holy in my view.


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However, this is not up to me. If I stop paying the bill of the heartless gang from Emmanuel, the police shall come and lead me to prison. Why? Because that’s the law.


What happened at the High Court of Justice the other day may be new for the haredim perhaps, but to most citizens of this country it happens every day. It happens in respect to the question of army service, the transfer payments, the core curriculum, and the blatant and shameless extortion exercised by the haredi parties.


Time after time, we find ourselves infuriated and we consider violating the law, and time after time we bow our heads and adhere to the law nonetheless. Decent haredim – and there are many like that – are always surprised to discover how angry the seculars are. This time they won’t be able to tell themselves they didn’t know.


Because if everyone is allowed to do whatever he wishes, then we too are allowed to reexamine the laws. Should the police again capitulate to haredi violence, it would mean that the rule of law in the State of Israel has been annulled.


Be careful, MK Gafni

Should the State fail to stand up for itself in the face of people who defend a pathetic disgrace like discrimination against Mizrahi girls at school, what would it tell us when we refuse – an incredibly justified refusal – to fund schools that do not teach math or English?


The haredim may think that the law isn’t fair, but if they go down this path, they will be hurt more than anyone else. After all, unfair laws safeguard their ability to make a living without working, unfair laws enable them to study at yeshivas while our children join the army, and unfair laws safeguard the outrageous possibility to open education networks that put up a wall in the face of a girl whose only sin is being the wrong color.


Speaking at the Knesset Wednesday, Knesset Member Rabbi Gafni said: “These images will be
published worldwide, and there will be no escaping the thoughts of things that happened in other countries in other times, with haredi Jews being put in prison because of their children’s education.”


For the benefit of those who missed the point, Rabbi Gafni compared the State of Israel to the Nazis. Be careful about going down this path, Rabbi Gafni; be very careful – especially when you are trying to defend people who throw children out of their school because they’re of a different race.


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