As the election campaign begins, tension and rivalry between political parties grow stronger. An op-ed posted in the haredi website "Kikar Hashabat," by Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid, in which the journalist-turned-politician claims he does not hate the haredi community, has sparked uproar among the ultra-orthodox Shas Party.
Shas blasted Lapid on Wednesday for calling for a dialogue with the ultra-Orthodox sector. "He doesn't hate the haredim, he just 'impales' them for pleasure in his weekly column."
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In his op-ed, Lapid wrote that he is offended by claims made against him, suggesting that he hates haredim, Jews and religion. According to Lapid, this premise is fostered by the haredi parties as a "scare tactic," in order to create one common enemy for their constituents to rail against.
Lapid wrote: "I am not anti-haredi, heaven forbid, and I don't hate anyone. I want to live in a country that has a Jewish character."
Lapid further called for a dialogue without politicians: "Can't we discuss controversial issues without talk of hate and crying out 'Gevald?' Not everyone who thinks differently is the enemy."
In response to Lapid's article, Shas published a harsh statement: "You will never manage to hide you true opinions and intentions. Your party's agenda on matters of state and religion is similar to that of Shinui."
Shinui was a political party lead by Yair Lapid's father, Yosef Lapid, who refused to join the coalition with Shas in the past.
Earlier on Wednesday, Interior Minister Eli Yishai said he does not object to joining a government coalition with Lapid.
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