Rabbi Shalom Cohen, the spiritual leader of the Haredi Shas political party and a leading Sephardi spiritual leader, reacted to news of the dissolution of the ruling coalition from Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital where he is convalescing.
“God’s name is praised in the world!” Rabbi Cohen said after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced his plans to call for the dissolution of the Knesset. “A government that harmed and tried to destroy Judaism and the sanctity of Israel and harmed the weak has been driven from the world. The holy one, blessed be he, has had mercy on the People of Israel.”
The rabbi had previously responded to the resignation of Yamina MK Idit Silman certain, which broke Bennett’s majority, beginning the process culminating this week in the coalition disbanding by saying, “They [the coalition] think they can harm God, but they will repent or fall!”
“We say to the Holy One, blessed be He, do it for Your sake, not for the sake of the nation of Israel, but for Your sake,” the rabbi prayed. “They’re destroying all of Am Yisrael.”
The dissolution of the government will send Israelis back to the polls for the fifth time in less than four years.
Rabbi Yehudah Glick, a Temple Mount activist and former Knesset member was not as critical of the Bennett government. He prefaced his statements with the disclaimer, “Everything that happens, big or small, whether pleasant or unpleasant, is Divine Intervention.”
“But I need to update you that I was fired from my job of being God’s spokesman,” Rabbi Glick quipped. “He probably had some very good reasons, but I really can’t speak for Him. I am sure there are many people who can tell you exactly why Hashem made the coalition dissolve, but I am not one of them.”
“Very often, the people who tell you why God did something explain it in the context of someone else’s sins and claim that God is on their side. I don’t think that all the good is on one side because we are all human and are complicated. Even in politics, we must concentrate on what we need to fix ourselves.”
“I don’t think the government is anti-religious. Some people in the government may have said harsh things about religious people, but not all of them and not all bad. We need to keep perspective, put things in proportion, and not paint everyone with the same brush in black or white.”
“It’s not always easy to get along in the Knesset, but everyone there intends to do good for others,” Rabbi Glick concluded.
Despite the coalition leader Naftali Bennett being the first openly religious Prime Minister in Israel’s history, his government is widely perceived as anti-religious. Last week, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of Safed and a member of the Chief Rabbinate Council, sent a formal rebuke to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, warning that the divisiveness fostered by members of his government could lead to a civil war.
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman who has frequently expressed anti-religious views, recently vowed to “put former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the ultra-Orthodox parties into a wheelbarrow and throw them in a garbage dump.”
MK Yulia Malinowski ( Yisrael Beiteinu) has worked to break the rabbinates control over conversions and kosher certification.
Meretz MK Yair Golan has publicly compared Netanyahu to a “malignant disease” and referred to the right-wing as “Nazis.”