Jerusalem – Israeli Secularists Find Their Lost Voice In Yair Lapid


Israeli politician Yair Lapid arrives at the Yesh Atid headquarters in Tel Aviv January 27, 2013, for a party meeting. Photo by Flash90 Jerusalem – After a stunning success in last week’s election that positioned Yesh Atid as Israel’s second largest party, its leader, secular talk-show host Yair Lapid, said his party’s campaign slogan “sharing the burden” will be a core principle when negotiations begin to seat Israel’s next governing coalition.

Originally, Lapid’s catchphrase ‘sharing the burden’ spoke more directly to mainstream secular issues in Israel’s ongoing national identity battle. It called for a lifting of draft exemptions for the ultra-Orthodox, subsequent integration into the workforce, and a realignment in the balance as to who pays taxes and who qualifies for government aid. But with last week’s victory, ‘share the burden’ will now cover a broader sociological shift with regard to gender issues, over-reaching rabbinical controls with regard to marriage and divorce, and lopsided ultra-Orthodox influence in the public sphere.

The NY Times reports ( that Mickey Gitzin, director of Be Free Israel, advocates for equality and religious pluralism, said, “All of a sudden there was a change in seculars in Israel–they see themselves as a group that needs to fight for themselves. People say, ‘Wait a minute, I don’t see myself as part of a society where a woman cannot sit in the front of the bus.”

Ultra-Orthodox rabbi, Shmuel Jakobovits agrees. Jakobovits, who runs the Torah Institute of Contemporary Issues in Jerusalem, said, “The community is growing, and it’s perceived as a potential threat to the character of the rest of the country. The underlying issue is that there’s an ideological contest over the soul of the state of Israel and the Jewish people.”

Over the past decade a population shift has seen the ultra-Orthodox population–known as Haredim–grow from 6 precent to 10 percent–resulting in public clashes in heavily populated neighborhoods. Buses have ceased to run, images of women have been routinely vandalized, and drivers pas sing through on the way to Sabbath have been harassed.

In 2011, an 8-year-old Modern Orthodox girl was spit upon and called a prostate because her clothes were not deemed modest enough.

The first test for Yesh Atid, according to Lapid, will be the draft. A spring 2012 Supreme Court ruling invalidated a law exempting yeshiva students from serving, but to date the government has failed to introduce a plan for integration. Lapid wants to limit exemptions to a few hundred, while imposing sanctions against those who do not serve.

Lapid is also committed to working towards reform of social issues as well; including civil marriage for same-sex couples and inequality in family laws.

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  1. I think they finally got it right. Let’s all share the burden. The charedi will go to Tzhal and the not yet charedi will go to Ponevezh. That way the left will have it’s way and the Torah will not be abandoned in Eretz Yisroel. Yair can start tomorrow at Machon and lead the way. If you see your brother’s burden fall you help him pick it up, if the level of learning will be diminished by the yeshivaleit going to the Army, Yair will to the Yeshivah to pick up the slack. Perfect solution.

    • “represantation in the next knesset falling to 3-4 eats”

      Do you only think about food and fressing, DRE53? Do you live for a huge plate of chulent every Thursday night to the exclusion of logical thought?

    • “In 2011, an 8-year-old Modern Orthodox girl was spit upon and called a _prostate_ because her clothes were not deemed modest enough.”

      And David Gold, who wrote that tripe, should be fired and sent back to Remedial English-101.

      • Perhaps it is as simple as the typesetter (although most newspapers are computerized) had a bad day.
        It is good to know that Norden never made a mistake. If only Moshe Rabeynu spoke to you before the incident with the rock…..

      • The person who spit on the girl is someone who doesn’t vote in the elections, and was severely reprimanded in private for the chilul Hashem he made and the community doesn’t deserve to carry the brunt of the idiocy of an individual

        • You have totally, completely and utterly missed the point of my message, Yawvous #23.

          As for your assertion that “the person who spit on the girl … was severely reprimanded in private”, this cuts absolutely no ice at all with the majority of Jews.

  2. The tide is shifting. Haredim are multiplying too rapidly and becoming an existential threat to a functioning Jewish state because they are a political, social and economic burden and disruption for Israel. Plus, Haredim are becoming more vocal, radical and extreme than they were 25 years ago. Then you have the National Religious which is another right-wing block with its own crazy ideology morphing more into extreme with their settlement fantasies. Sooner or later the bubble will burst because it’s unsustainable socially, politically and economically and majority of Israelis are starting to feel it. Natanyahu better get the message.

    • You got one thing right. We are blessed with large families while you guys commit your abortions. Every day we are closer to becoming majority even in the secular zionist state, while your numbers will continue to dwindle no matter how many goyim you will attempt to bring to the zionist state to fix the demographics in your favor: you are at the historical dead end.

      The only way this trend will reverse itself is if you adopt moral life style, disavow abortions and morally repugnant “relationships,” marry early and have children. But then you will be almost indistinguishable from the chareidim you love so much. Ironic, isn’t it?

      • I just love the way ShmuelG does more and more to perpetuate the gap he perceives between charedi Jews and all the rest. Clearly the principle of “live and let live” has no place in hs hashkafas olam.

        Has our darling and ever-compassionate little Shmulik ever considered setting up a chapter of the KKK in Baltimore? He and his ilk could wear black hoods and gowns and terrorize his fellow Jews – the ones he apparently considers to be ‘untermenschen’..

    • “a functioning Jewish state”- which has a society threatened by youth groups attacking buses who bash bus windows, attack passersby, steal from the elderly and attack even small children and their mothers- these are the models of the “functioning Jewish state”. “The majority of Israelis are starting to feel it” as you say- and are turning to Teshuva as a solution. The effective functioning of religious neighborhoods with stores and businesses is a thwart to your illusion to the “political,social and economic burden” of the Haredim and the name “enlightened Yid” instead of being enlightened needs to take off his dark sunglasses.

  3. The politics of the Kenesset are such that he will not get any of his legislation passed. By the next election he will be known as the guy who couldn’t deliver on his promises.

  4. there must be a compromise here. haredim living in eretz yisroel should SHARE some of the burden. there’s no such thing as a free ride in life. if the haredim don’t like it, let them pack out and live somewhere else. not all haredi young men are qualified to be learning in a full day kollel. we must develop a system whereby those who are really qualified can continue in kollel, and those who are not should serve in the army or some other national service. that group can still have shiurim and continue learning a couple hours a day. it’s not all or nothing. and it’s only fair.

    • I disagree. The army should be cleaned out of all of those misfits who utilize it as a brothel, all those toting pornographic photography to be expelled and replaced with a total religious body of soldiers and let the streets have those sick soldiers show the society what really is the level of the army soldier without mitzvos. And “sharing the burden” should be implimented in the jails as well, it isn’t fair that only non religious are behind bars. The religious also need to comprise a part of the prison society.

      • you’re missing the point! it’s simply unheard of in any country in the world that an entire sub-population should be excused from defending the very existence of that country. the gemara tells us that no one knows “whose blood is redder”. why should only the secular put their lives on the line? the haredi population must share this burden. regarding your concern, haredi soldiers have always been keep in separate units and will continue to have a connection to torah learning while serving their country. the low-lives that you speak of can be found in every segment of society. does that mean haredim shouldn’t engage in business, commerce, or professional life as well?

  5. Had ALL the Chardeim voted in this last election, perhaps Lapid wouldn’t be in such a pivotal position. Maybe the Eibeister is telling us something?
    We’re always so quick to connect the dots in other events (this disaster happened because of lack of tzinnus, Hurricane Sandy happened to tell NY Yidden to move to E’Y, the Shidduch Crisis is because of internet, etc.) so maybe the message of this last election is that if you want to make sure E’Y has a strong Torah value system, ALL frum Yidden should vote?

  6. What about the arabs sharing the burden. The arabs get funded and supported by the government. The arabs even have a judge in the supreme court of Israel but Chareidim are kept out. I say no chareidi should join the army until they draft all the arabs. The sole reason for drafting chareidim is to weaken them spiritually. You can not trust the secular government with your kids spiritual or physical lives.

  7. I love this guy. I am frum and a capitalist and if i lived in Israel I would vote for him. he will go after the welfare cheats and predatory capitalists who suck the Israeli people’s blood.
    kol ha kavod.


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