After the reports according to which he abandoned Michal Waldiger's Sukkah following the entrance of Minister Yitzhak Wasserlauf, Rabbi Benny Lau explains to us that he did not see Wasserlauf enter the Sukkah at all, but Knesset member Zvi Sukkot, and this after he had finished speaking and was on his way out.
Rabbi Lau explains: "I did not abandon the Sukkah of MK Michal Waldiger from the Religious Zionist Party in protest. I left when I finished my words and said goodbye to the hostess politely and with thanks."
Rabbi Lau noted: "It is true that just before I left I saw MK Zvi Sukkot enter. MK Waldiger has the right to invite anyone she wants to her Sukkah, but he was not mentioned in the program drawn up by her. From the articles that have been written in the last day, I learn that Minister Wasserlauf also entered, I did not see him at all and I certainly did not abandon the place to his honor."
Rabbi Lau admits that he would not want to have a conversation with him: "Would I like to have a public conversation with him and a photo of "Sukkat Shalom"? Most likely not. I came to talk about religious Zionism with Hili Tropper, Yael Shevach, with the host Michal Waldiger who invited as a guest my friend from the Labor Party Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin. Perhaps the elders here remember that only four years ago the association with the people of "Otzma Yehudit" was a purely technical act. With a heavy heart, Rabbi Rafi Peretz had to agree to the "technical block". The act of assembly became one body.
About Sukkot himself, he said: "His entire public stature was built from the fermenting of Judea and Samaria territories in nationalism, turned from the CEO of 'Otzma Yehudit' to the man of the 'Religious Zionism'. as simple as that. This connection is not a stain on the identity of religious Zionism. It is a deep touch that permeates the whole body. This trend is only expanding and the identity of Religious Zionism is getting further and further away from its roots."
To the question of why Shikma Bresler is a woman of conversation and the people of Otzma Yehudit are not, Rabbi Lau replied: "Shikma today symbolizes the extreme face of the Kaplan protest and it is clear that its goal is to overthrow the government. There are obviously differences between her and me about the image of the State of Israel and after all the disputes it is clear to me that she is a Zionist, a Jew, and wants to fight with all her might for Israel's moral image. The meeting with her was planned in advance, not a surprise."
Rabbi Lau emphasized: "She failed and sinned with a terrible statement that crosses all limits of speech ("Nazis") and repented it immediately and on every possible stage. But the "full right-wing government" is not interested at all. If it is possible to blacken her face, why accept her answer? She also commented on the violent riot against the "Rosh Yehudi" worshipers. At first, she said she would have joined them and later she repented it, in her phrasing and in her voice, and said (and again, but who is listening) that people should not be disturbed in their prayers. Period."
"I was happy to meet with Shikma. She is an ally in the pursuit of building a Jewish and democratic state and I believe that it is possible to reach a deep dialogue of a common home with her. There are people on the far left with whom I will not sit. People whose whole purpose is to destroy and not build, to destroy and not to repair, to erase an identity and not to shape an identity. To these, he says sadly: "Let not my part be with you."
At the end of his speech, Rabbi Lau outlines the depth of the dispute between himself and the people of Otzma Yehudit: "I try to be in contact with as many parts of Israeli society as possible. Judaism is essential to me and in the name of the Torah and the vision of returning to Zion, I fight for the image of the state, even against groups that believe in less Judaism and distance from the Torah. On the other hand, with the people of Otzma Yehudit, I have no pursuit of peace. The dispute with them is about the Torah itself. It is a deep dispute about "what is Judaism" and "who is a Jew" and the purpose of the state and the vision of the return of the people to their country."
"This is a dispute whose foundations are primary and essential. A Torah that discriminates between Jew and Gentile and creates Jewish supremacy is darkness and not light. A Torah that allows itself in the name of the vision of the "complete Land of Israel" to violate human rights is darkness and not light. A Torah that produces violence and harms members of other religions (such as spitting on in front of pilgrims) is darkness and not light. So yes, I admit that I have no place in my soul to reach the "Emek HaShave" (modus vivendi) with nationalists and racists, especially not when they act in the name of the Torah."
And I pray that we will find the forces striving to preserve a common home based on the principles of the Torah, which believes that the people of Israel will exercise their right to a national home only in a way that sees all its citizens as equal regardless of race and religion."