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Bennett: Ultra-Orthodox MKs’ ‘hysterical outburst’ won’t prevent Meron probe

Yamina leader Naftali Bennett responds to harsh comments by his ultra-Orthodox political colleagues, who called him “wicked” and urged him to remove his yarmulke after he formed a government with Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid.

“I was very sorry to hear the harsh comments used by MKs Gafni, Deri and Litzman,” says Bennett, accusing them of “losing their grip.”

“Just a year ago, when the current unity government was formed, Yamina remained outside of it and the Haredim were in it. You didn’t see me call Gafni to take off his kippah. There was a government, we weren’t part of it, and the sun rose the next morning,” says Bennett.

“The Haredi Knesset members won’t teach me what Judaism is, and certainly not what Zionism is,” he continues. “As prime minister, I will care for the Haredi public and the world of Torah. To the Haredi citizens of the state, I repeat: You have nothing to fear.”

Yamina leader and Prime Minister-designate Naftali Bennett speaks at the Knesset, June 6, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90)

“To the contrary, the past year has shown that you are literally paying with your lives due to a political culture of neglect, cronyism and the perpetuation of problems,” he continues, referring to the Haredi parties’ poor handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If your intention, with your hysterical outburst, was to deter us from forming a commission of inquiry into the Meron disaster — it won’t work. Forty-five Israelis were killed. Someone must provide answers,” continues Bennett.

That’s a reference to the deadly crush at the Lag B’Omer festival in northern Israel, which killed 45 people, most of them ultra-Orthodox. Attempts to form a commission of inquiry were blocked by Haredi lawmakers.

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