Opinion: The Battle Against the Militant Secularists


moshe-gafniBy M. Shotland

Since the pained, and admittedly sharp, words of MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni last week in the Knesset about Shas joining the World Zionist Organization (WZO) we have heard bitter reactions [from Shas] whose basis is hard to fathom. One who looks at recent events with a little historical perspective rubs his eyes in wonder. What is incensing them?

Are we the ones who are responsible for what happened to the Sephardic Jews in the early days of the State? Did we shore off any payos? Were we the ones who broke into the communities even in the original countries with new “modern” education like the Alliance Israelite Universelle whose effect was to estrange the younger generation from their glorious Jewish heritage? Did we bring them to Eretz Yisroel in a way that would rob them of their spiritual heritage and dignity? And later on did we come with hypocritical offers to right the past wrongs with artificial solutions which involved further exposure to the sinful culture of the West which was in effect only pouring gasoline onto the burning embers?

And do we not – now as always – do our best to truly restore their heritage, even while we have our own struggles and issues, try to help them whenever we can in their spiritual quests. Rabbi Gafni personally is one of the founders of the chareidi community in Ofakim in which Sephardic Jews are the majority.

How is it that you suddenly stand with the atheist and Leftist groups who are the patrons of the Reform movement in Israel?

No sophisticated pontificating nor apologetics will change the facts that these are groups that attack religion in general and the Sephardic chareidi community in particular, both the Leftists and the Rightists. They mean the Torah community no good, and are particularly worried about the threat at the ballot box that Shas represents to them.

May we be silent at such a time, when the boundaries that were set and respected for years are breached?

As Rabbi Gafni said, we have no intention of ceasing, even for a minute, our battle against the militant secularists. We will never recognize the Reform as a legitimate Jewish group, no matter what. We will also protest and criticize anyone else who weakens the chareidi position, and these critical principles.

If anyone is offended by these efforts, let him consider who has attacked him throughout the years, and from whom he has suffered the most. Let him not confuse an upset and pained old friend with a hater who pretends to want to help him.

{Deiah veDibur/Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}


  1. according to an article on ladaat.net rav Menachem Porush the head of the Agudas Yisrael party apologized for the comments made against shas and even went on to say that Agudas Yisrael have been taking money from them for the past 20 years.
    So whats better?
    If its really soo bad why take their money?

  2. Rav Gafni said it like it is. It is unfathomable that Sfardim are now going to join hands with secular Zionists. What are thy thinking? Don’t they see where it can lead? Is everything about the short term and just money?

  3. There are very very few “militant secularists” left today. Today’s secularists are secular out of ignorance and/or indifference. Shunning and villifying them as schemers out to destroy Torah life is misguided, and will not advance the cause of making Hashem’s name beloved and respected in the world.

  4. Zionism now is not the same Zionism that existed when the state of Israel was founded. Yes, the Zionists back then did some pretty terrible things, but that doesn’t translate to the Zionists now!

    The fact remains that even among Chareidim, the Sefardic community is viewed as second class. I have family in Israel who are chareidi, and I hear how they talk about Sefardim – it’s disgusting!

    Don’t blame the Zionists of 60 years ago for the Chareidi discrimination going on today.

  5. Who are the ones who do not allow religious sefardi girls into their beis yakovs? the left? who are the ones who don’t trust hashgacha of Sefardick Rabbonim? The left? Who are the ones against a Chief Rabbi of yerushalaim being a sefardish Rov? the left? Who says one should not question gedolim but have no problem criticizing Sefardic gedolim like Rav Ovadia Yoseph? Who stays in the secular pro reform government for money and jobs and then turn and complain when others do the same?
    Please child, take your head out of the sand and before you or Rabbi Gafni point fingers remember how many of your fingers point back at yourselves. He should publicly ask mechila for being mevazer Talmidei Chachomim. Don’t you demand the same of those who criticize ashkanazick Talmidei Chachomim? They followed their Daas Torah.

  6. When I ear M.K. Gafni say you should boycott the beit yaacov that built a fence (a real sphysical one, I mean) so that precious ahskenazi girls dont comme in direct contact with sefardish one, I’ll beleive he has a right to speak. Until then…
    PS: I am also ashenazit

  7. If one thing is to be gained from reading this article and the comments posted afterward, it is that we must make our voices heard in respect to desegregating the Bais Yakov’s of Israel! Scores of young frum girls have their futures stolen from them each year as they leave the derech of Torah due to being blackballed from the seminaries. The end of segregation should be our true focus!