'If family planning becomes part of haredi discourse, Lapid has done the most ethical thing'
Photo: Motti Kimchi
Photo: Itzik Biran
Hanoch Daum
Photo: Itzik Biran

Not from our pockets

Op-ed: State cannot encourage high birth rate while financing it at the expense of Israel's working population

The haredi dream has come true. Deputy Finance Minister Mickey Levy blurted out an inappropriate word, and they can now shift the discussion and claim that haredim are hated, that haredim are persecuted, that haredim are eaten for breakfast by the Lapid family.


But that is not the truth. Because forcing haredim to study core subjects is not done by those who hate haredim, but by those who care about them. And creating programs allowing haredim who do not integrate into yeshivot to enlist in the army is not something that stems from hatred of haredim, but from a basic sense of justice that every child, especially if he is not (United Torah Judaism Knesset Member Israel) Eichler's son, can understand.


There was a wonderful moment at the Knesset during Lapid's speech. MK Gafni cried out, 'Why do you write on Facebook on Shabbat?' This is the kind of outcry that would paralyze politicians in the past, destroy them. In Israel, after all, there was always a sort of false game in which seculars disguise themselves as haredim once they become senior ministers. Suddenly they don’t desecrate Shabbat and they visit Rabbi Ovadia Yosef with a skullcap.


But Lapid presents a new Israeliness. He looked at Gafni and simply said, "I write on Facebook on Shabbat because I don't observe Shabbat." That was an important moment. Gafni was shocked, but many Israelis experienced a catharsis. Lapid doesn’t hate haredim, but he won't have the haredi sector holding the majority which serves in the army hostage.


I know that it's a sensitive issue, and the Yated Ne'eman newspaper already dedicated a spiteful article to me several days ago, but I'll still ask with all honestly: Is it okay for a state to pay a family with eight or nine children many thousands of shekels a month? Is it right to encourage the haredi sector to have such a high average number of children compared to any other figure in the Western world?


Let's take this one step forward: Does a 19-year-old haredi girl have the right not to have children? Does she have the privilege to say that it's a bit too early for her? That she doesn't want to be the mother of five at the age of 26? Does the state have to fund this dubious ethos that that a mother of 15 children is a hero? Where exactly is the heroism here?


The State cannot ban reproduction, and no one is dreaming of doing that, but the State shouldn't encourage a high birth rate either and finance it from the pockets of working people who are collapsing under the burden of taxes and work.


Let me say it like this: If because of the child benefit cuts, family planning will become part of the haredi sector's legitimate discourse, then Lapid has done the most ethical and decent thing a public figure can do for a population in Israel.



פרסום ראשון: 04.28.13, 20:29
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