UTJ’s Porush quits in protest as minister in charge of Meron pilgrimage

Senior United Torah Judaism lawmaker Meir Porush has resigned his government role as the minister overseeing the annual Jewish pilgrimage to Mount Meron, amid Haredi political protests over a lack of government support for ultra-Orthodox budgetary requests.

In a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Porush says he made the decision due to a lack of authority, claiming that the annual event, which draws hundreds of thousands to a northern shrine for a single night, was being organized by an outside firm which he had no role in choosing.

United Torah Judaism MK Meir Porush handcuffs himself to the microphone on the lectern in the Knesset plenum, during a speech about efforts to draft Haredim, on Tuesday, July 23, 2013. (photo credit: Flash90)

The Kikar Hashabbat news website reports that Porush is also considering quitting the cabinet. His letter notes that he only agreed to become a minister because of a legal ruling that only a minister could oversee the Meron pilgrimage.

The pilgrimage was the scene of Israel’s worst-ever civilian disaster in 2021, when 45 people were killed in a crush caused by overcrowding on a faulty walkway.

The announcement comes as Haredi parties have expressed anger over a lack of budget earmarks for Haredi education and public transportation in areas where many ultra-Orthodox people live.

An unnamed lawmaker from UTJ tells Army Radio that he may vote against the budget.

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