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Rabbi Yisrael Eichler speaks up for Torah Jewry. Article and translation of speech to the Knesset on eve of 17 Tammuz, (June, ’13) Guest post/translation by RaP
Rabbi Yisrael Eichler, a Belz Chasid and a member of the United Torah Judaism (UTJ – Yahadut HaTorah) party in the Israeli Knesset, is a TV and print journalist by profession and experience and since the latest Israeli elections he has become one of the most effective spokesmen in the Knesset for Charedi Torah Jewry. His father was a member of the Lechi and the Israeli paratroopers. Notable are his ability to formulate and express arguments on behalf of UTJ in the face of the secularist Yesh Atid party that is also headed by a famous secular Israeli TV and print journalist Yair Lapid. Note also that the leaders of the two Israeli socialistic opposition parties are also journalists. In this age of TV and instant communications, much of what transpires in the Knesset is a war of words, images, smiles, propaganda and posturing. This has been something that Yair Lapid as an Israeli media super-star has exploited. It is taking the Charedi Knesset members time to understand that they are constantly in front of the unblinking eyes of the cameras that broadcast live via the Internet. So far, Rabbi Yisrael Eichler reveals that he understands this new reality and he has been presenting arguments that either defend or propose policies and positions in an effective manner. The following is a free translation from Hebrew into English of a short speech he recently delivered. First is the full article from the Behadrey Haredim news site that is then followed by the translation: http://www.bholworld.com/Article_EN.aspx?id=56106&cat=18 “"You want to burn the Torah, you have been chosen for that" Plenary combative speech, interrupted repeatedly by Yesh Atid MKs, declared MK Yisrael Eichler: "We believe that the budget is designed to change our religion and our faith" Watch the video Sari Roth, B'Chadrei Charedim , 26 Jun 2013 23:39 (Israel time) MK Eichler spoke yesterday at the plenary, referring to the fast seventeenth of Tamuz and the disasters that occurred, including breaking of the luchas and the burning of the Torah by Apostamus. "Today, unfortunately, they want to burn the Torah precisely as we are under Jewish rule. Not G-d forbid to burn the Torah itself, but the belief and soul and receiving of the Torah at Sinai.

2 "You incite 24 hours a day throughout the media against the Torah" cried Eichler and was repeatedly interrupted by heckling, especially from the benches of Yesh Atid, and in part by MK Dov Lipman. "You are threatening us with threats," he added. Chairman MK Moshe Feiglin had to clarify: "MK Yisrael Eichler is right and he represents the constituency, and if that's how they feel he is allowed to say it." "You present a budget with economic policies designed to force on the children of Israel an education other than what their parents and their teachers for over 3000 years taught them," Eichler continued to attack. "The nerve, of the Minister of Education, and I want to ask him if a religious Minister would be the Minister of Education, and he would withhold a budget from the schools who don’t teach about Shabbos, would you not be outraged? Would you not take to the streets? In my eyes this is a decree. "We and the Torah sages believe that the budget is designed to stop our religion and our faith. While you're cutting 50% of the yeshiva budget, which is different to any other budget, this budget is war and breaking tools. You want to withdraw their children astray. I have no complaints to Yesh Atid, for that you have been chosen, I have claims to Likud and Habayit Hayehudi who have a part in it. "It won't help you; we have been promised that the Torah will not be forgotten from his descendants."

Full free translation of the speech by Rabb Yisrael Eichler by RaP:
Mr. Speaker and fellow Knesset members: We find ourselves today on the eve of the 17th of Tammuz that is called the “fourth fast” [based on Tanach and the Oral Torah]. Thus said the prophet, ‘so says the Lord of Hosts’ the ‘fourth fast’ that is the 17th of Tammuz, the ‘fifth fast’ that is the 9th of Av, the ‘seventh fast’ that is the fast of Gedalya, and the ‘tenth fast’ that is Yom Kippur, ‘that [in the future] will for the House of Judah be a day of rejoicing and happiness and for good holidays, and truth and peace they will love.’ Five things happened on the 17th of Tammuz; the Gemora [Talmud] at the end of Mishnah Ta’anit counts the five things: The first thing was that the Tablets [the Ten Commandments] were broken, when Moshe Rabbeinu saw that the Bnai Yisrael worshipped the Golden Calf, he smashed the Tablets and that is the source of all the tragedies that followed. Then the Korban Tamid was stopped in the times of the First Temple. Then during the times of the Second Temple the protective city walls of Jerusalem were breached [by the Romans]. [Addressing an Arab Knesset member who was not paying attention:] By the way Knesset Member Tibi you are free to talk, I am not quoting the Koran here, I am quoting from the Mishnah and if you want to listen to what the Mishnah says about the 17th of Tammuz you are free to listen. I wanted to talk but there was some noise [that interrupted me].

3 So the Mishnah says that during the era of the Second Temple the walls of Jerusalem were breached. Then another thing that happened was that the Torah was burned by Apostumus, and then that an idol was placed in the Temple courtyard in the days of [King] Menashe. Gentlemen, those were days when Babylonians and Romans ruled over us, but today to our great regret [misery] , we see that there are those who would like to ‘burn the Torah’ precisely when we are living [in Israel] between [fellow] Jews under Jewish government. So what do we mean to say that people today desire to ‘burn the Torah’? It does not God forbid mean that they want to literally “burn” the Torah, but rather to “burn” the SOUL and the FAITH of Torah life and living as it was given at Sinai. [In response to heckling from members of the Yesh Atid party especially by Rabbi Dov Lipman:] You are ready and waiting 24 hours a day to incite [against the Charedim], as the Minister of Education [a member of Yesh Atid] does against 800,000 children that you want to stop from receiving the help they need, and by inciting against the Charedi Jews who talk up for the crying out of the poor children, and you think you are going to ‘frighten” us? We will not fear because we have our faith and we believe in God. [In response to attacks from Yesh Atid members:] I represent the Gedolei HaTorah [great rabbis of Agudath Israel and Degel HaTorah] and half a million Charedi Jews and students who want to study Torah, but will be penalized if they do not study English. I ask you, why is it necessary to impose English in order to receive aid or graduate? Is this for England? They [the government, with the secularist Yesh Atid in the ruling coalition] now have a “Bolshevist” attitude. They even say that the elected Charedi members of the Knesset do “not” represent their own Charedi constituents who voted for them, but that now they [the Yesh Atid party] will now “worry’ about the needs of the Charedi community. This did not happen in the Soviet Union. We are elected to speak for the Charedi community that trusts that we speak for them. To twist this around has never happened before. There have always been differences of views with Charedi and Chiloni [secular] Knesset members, but that there should be a virtual ‘united front’ solely against Charedim [is unheard of] in this kind of terrible [political] climate. We see that there is now a budget before us, with economic sanctions and decrees against the Charedim that do not have the objective of helping, but rather meant to impose an entirely alien educational policy than what Charedim and their forefathers have adhered to for the last three thousand years. It is a great CHUTZPAH! The Minister of Education [from Yesh Atid] gets up and says he wishes to “educate” us! I would like to ask him if, “heaven forbid”, one religious person would tell the Minister of Education that he would not give him a budget unless Shabbat observance would be taught [in the Israeli secular schools], wouldn’t you be in an uproar? Wouldn’t you want to protest in the streets? What kind of thing is this to take an alien AGENDA (sic) from one party [Yesh Atid] and to impose it by force on the

4 country, [especially] against one group [the Charedim] in order to trash and destroy their faith? In my view this is an [evil] decree, for we and our Gedolei Torah believe your intention is NOT economic [to save money] and that you do not care about us, but that you have one objective [to undermine us]. You hide behind an ‘economic argument’ but rather YOUR TRUE OBJECTIVE IS TO DESIGNED TO CHANGE OUR RELIGION AND OUR FAITH. Many thousands of boys and girls are educated in Charedi schools, so that when you cut 50% of their budget, of the yeshivot, but not of any other sector like that, then that is a declaration of war to economically break Charedi families blessed with many children. All of your decrees are against the Charedi mothers blessed with many children. You [of Yesh Atid] are against all those who can barely survive economically, and you thereby [diabolically] want to [negatively] influence the [vulnerable] Charedi children to abandon their religion and partake in a corrupt and degenerate society. Honestly, I have no real quarrel with the members of the Yesh Atid party because they were created and elected for that [evil] purpose. But I have serious complaints against the members of the Likud and HaBayit HaYehudi parties: Why do you facilitate and enable and join in with this? I conclude and I state: Nothing will help you, you will not succeed, because we have already been reassured in our holy Torah that the Torah will never be forgotten [from the descendants of Israel]. And about the poor children that you are threatening, about that it is said [in the Oral Torah]: ‘Be concerned about the children of the poor because from them shall come forth Torah.’ These children will grow up to be great learners of Torah. They will be God-fearing people. In spite of the decrees you sign and impose on them. [Instructed by Knesset Speaker to conclude]: I do wish to end, but I was interrupted and not allowed to speak by those “democratic” people. They speak about the “freedom of speech” but if someone else they disagree with wants to speak, then they pounce on him with all sorts of quick curses, just as it happens in their secular media. So now I conclude by saying that those self-same poor Charedi children [that face the educational cut-backs], they will be the ones who will in turn establish large families blessed with many children, and with the help of God this will be the greatest “sweet revenge’ that they will continue to learn Torah and teach Torah to the entire nation of Israel, teaching FAITH, and TORAH, and also good character traits.

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