Check out this speech from Rabbi Yisrael Eichler, MK from United Torah Judaism, a Haredi party representing the Litvaks (non-Hasidic Haredim).  (Alas, it is in Hebrew…)

He delivered this speech on the occasion of a memorial session of the Knesset in honour of assassinated Prime Minister Itzchak Rabin. He took the opportunity to tear into the current government, specifically its coalition partners, for its incitement against the Haredi population. (Which, if you think about it is not really the most appropriate time to make political speeches, but I digress…) The pull quote from his invective (translation mine):

The incitement against the Haredi public will not bode well for any of this country’s citizens.  I wish I could express the same optimism expressed by the Prime Minister that there will not be a war between Jews.  What I can say is that we will not raise our hands against Jews or citizens of this land, but, God forbid, if we cannot live in this land, according to Jewish tradition, as a consequence of the government’s persecution, we will pick up our wandering staff and the centres of Torah will move from the Land of Israel to the Exile.

To which I respond: Are you gonna bark all day little doggie or are you gonna bite? And does it count as yerida (i.e., “descent”) if you leave Israel for religious reasons, as opposed to those maligned folks who leave for economic reasons – or, like Nobel Prize winners Arieh Warshel and Michael Levitt, who leave because of career concerns? So, are you going to back that threat and start booking airplane tickets for Brooklyn or Monsey or Lakewood (refundable tickets, of course!) … or are your words merely the flailing and last gasp of a political movement that use to hold disproportionate power in Israel for decades but now, has been, due to the electoral process, put in its natural place – as a minority party sitting in opposition? Time will tell, Rav Eichler. And by the way, regardless of your digs against secular Jews and Reform Judaism, we welcome you to our tainted shores where you are guaranteed the right to believe and practice – but, SPOILERS, you cannot compel anyone else to tow your particular Litvak line. You might want to reconsider…

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