Opinion: While Liberman’s statement that he would send the Haredim and Netanyahu to the nearest dump’ is deplorable, the ensuing outcry draws focus from real problem of state’s problematic relationship with the sector

Israel Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman recently took it upon himself to go on TV and declare that he would send “the ultra-Orthodox and [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu to the nearest dump in a wheelbarrow.”

The backlash was immediate and fierce, causing a fuss over an infantile comment.

אביגדור ליברמן בריאיון באולפן
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman (Photo: Hadar Yoavian)


Liberman’s statement was deplorable and deserving of every condemnation. The Haredi community and Netanyahu obviously do not belong in the trash.

But ultra-Orthodox Israelis are the very last people who have any right to complain about such comments. Their own incitement, which they believe they are entitled to express freely, has long since crossed the line of decent discourse.

In 2009, an article in the ultra-Orthodox newspaper HaTzofer said: “Do fallen IDF soldiers who have not studied the Torah have a place in the afterlife?… Truthfully – the afterlife is only for those who learn and strengthen the Torah.”

Ten years earlier, Menachem Grilack, one of Israel’s best-known ultra-Orthodox journalists, wrote in the Haredi newspaper BaKahila that election rally held by the left-wing Meretz party was filled with “little Fuhrers.”

In 2013, United Torah Judaism MK Israel Eichler announced on the Knesset floor that “reform Jews are anti-Semitic, worse than our enemies.”

A Shas election poster showed Liberman with a black yarmulke, with the statement that “only a strong Shas can prevent Jewish assimilation.”

Ultra-Orthodox MKs in the Knesset
Ultra-Orthodox MKs in the Knesset (Photo: Ido Erez)


Just last month, United Torah Judaism MK Yitzhak Pindros said a female soldier who converts to Judaism during her military service is a “shiksha” – a derogatory term used to describe non-Jewish women.

I could keep going, but I would be here all day.

The story here is not the name-calling and profanity, but that such statements are a diversion from the true issue: the state’s twisted relationship with the Haredi sector.

They do not have participate in society; they do not have teach math and science in their schools; they do not have to serve in the military and they can behave as though the law does not apply to them.

On one condition: We are not footing the bill. Not a single shekel of the state budget should go to those who do not believe in their obligations to the state.

It is safe to assume that a sizeable part, if not the majority, of the ultra-Orthodox sector does want to be a functioning part of Israeli society.

No one need give up on their practices or beliefs to do so and indeed the workforce already includes thousands of Haredi workers – and that number may increase.

בנימין נתניהו יעקב ליצמן
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former health minister Yaakov Litzman of United Torah Judaism (Photo: Amit Shabi)


The real blame lies not only with the Haredi leadership, but also the politicians who are willing to turn blind eye again and again just to save their own skin.

Netanyahu could have kept the ultra-Orthodox in his coalition with far fewer concessions, but he insists on handing them out like a fire sale.

For he wants to make sure that the Haredi parties will keep supporting him and him alone, thereby making the state into his own personal bank.

Haredi Israelis are not the enemy, but the state’s relationship with the community must change. There is no need to resort to hate to achieve this, just electing a new government.

As reported by Ynetnews