Photo: Gil Yohanan
Mickey Levy
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Lapid deputy dubs haredim 'parasites'

Mickey Levy later retracts abusive term, insisting ultra-Orthodox must join job market; Shas MK lashes out at 'delusional' Lapid

Deputy Finance Minister Mickey Levy on Wednesday described the ultra-Orthodox demographic as "parasites," saying they represent a heavy fiscal burden to working Israelis. He later retracted the use of the offensive word, calling on the haredi public to join the job market.


Levy, of Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid party, made the statements in the wake of his minister's highly publicized fracas with United Torah Judaism MKs at the Monday Knesset plenum where Lapid introduced a proposed budget for 2013-15, which introduces a series of heavy cuts in order to reduce the budget deficit.


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Speaking on an Israeli radio program the deputy said the ultra-Orthodox "should share in the burden, to integrate into the job market, stop being parasites drawing on the Israeli public's resources." He immediately added "I'm only saying you can't keep leaning on those who pay taxes, who enlist to the army, who serve the country.


Saying he apologizes for the use of the "unnecessary" word, Levy was adamant it should not override the larger point he was making. "You are citizens of equal rights, thus you should be equal in your obligations as well," he said addressing the haredi public.


"My best friends are members of the ultra-Orthodox community," Levy continued. "I still visit the rabbis and pay them respect, I harbor great respect for this tradition and culture. I hail from a religious home, I cherish these people. The only thing I'm saying is 'come and enter the workforce,' as it is no longer financially feasible to bare this burden."


"The dialogue with the Haredi people will continue in a congenial spirit."


On Monday, answering haredi criticism of the impending budget cuts, Lapid cynically said: "I understand you're going through tough times. Weren't you sitting in the government which created the deficit? Where you on Mars? You were in every government, and you were costly partners."


Shas MK Nissim Zeev told Ynet on Wednesday Lapid "continues the agenda of his father, may he rest in peace. He wages a war against the ultra-Orthodox public coating it in professional terms and seemingly good intentions."


"'Go out to the job market,' Lapid tells the haredi people, failing to understand they are not wanted there. They always the last priority," Zeev added.


"Lapid will not educate the haredi people, or change them. He cannot withhold bread and butter from the community. Perhaps he's in a state of euphoria, but soon he'll find himself in a different state of mind. He isn't the landlord of this country. His policy can only result in dictatorship."


Zeev rounded off his remarks saying "We heard him refer to "cuts to children." But who is he to say how many children should one bring into the world? He is out to abuse and to take the bread away from people. The man is delusional."



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פרסום ראשון: 04.24.13, 13:46
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