The Head of the The Mercaz Harav Yeshiva told Israeli Prime Minister Ehud “the silly comb-over guy” Olmert, that he is NOT welcome to visit the Yeshiva. Then he launched into a well deserved tirade against the hapless Kadima-led government:
Israel’s hollow regime must be replaced by a strong government “which expresses the true will of the people,” Mercaz Harav Yeshiva head Rabbi Yaakov Shapira said Sunday at a press conference in which he lashed out at Israel’s leaders and criticized its spiritual state.Quoting from the Book of Judges, Shapira said “‘In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.'” ‘King’, he said, meant Torah. “If there is no Torah, there is no spiritual strength, and physical strength is lacking as well. We are always on the defensive from our enemies. The people desperately want a change.”
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was told on Sunday that he is not welcome to visit the Mercaz Harav religious school in Jerusalem, where eight students were killed Thursday when a Palestinian gunman opened fire on a crowded library. The yeshiva informed Olmert of its decision in response to the prime minister’s request to visit the school in the wake of the attack. In its message, the yeshiva said its decision was not final, but emphasized that their wish was “to save him and us the embarrassment.” The Prime Minister’s Office on Sunday night denied that Olmert had been told not to visit, according to Army Radio. The PMO told the radio that the yeshiva had actually contacted the prime minister to invite him.
Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi visited the yeshiva on Sunday night, where he met with the heads of institution and with the student who stopped the terrorist from continuing his fire. Ashkenazi said he had come to the yeshiva to strengthen the morale of the students and their teachers. Defense Minister Ehud Barak is scheduled to visit the school in the next few days. In an address to his followers on Sunday night, yeshiva head Rabbi Yaakov Shapira criticized the government, saying: “under this hollow leadership, a strong government, which reflects the real interests of the people, will arise.” “At these difficult times we must bring about the hidden strengths of the entire nation, praise and practice the torah, and establish righteous and rigorous education system for the sake of the whole public, until the ministry which is in charge of the education in this country will get to the very bottom of these strengths,” Rabbi Shapira said. He added that “our slain brothers are calling to us from this very soil. Here, in this holy place, the blood of the best of our sons was shed. May God avenge their deaths.” “When the torah is absent,” Rabbi Shapira continued, “people do as they like. When, God forbid, there is no faith in our righteousness, there is no spiritual strength, and our physical strength is also deficient. This is why we are constantly on the defense. I believe, like the rest of the public, that the nation expects and yearns for a change of perception, of policy, of action. The time is ripe. We are united.”
Angry students cut short Tamir’s visit to stricken yeshiva Education Minister Yuli Tamir was ejected from the Mercaz Harav religious school during her visit on Sunday, after students called her a “murderer” and “Oslo criminal.” Tamir first visited the middle school, where students outside shouted at her to leave. The school’s head rabbis asked that Tamir discontinue her tour, but she insisted on visiting the yeshiva high school as well. Tamir met some 30 rabbis and students, who said the attack had made them feel much less safe. During the hour-long meeting, Tamir’s interlocutors criticized government policies toward the national-religious sector, both politically and in terms of funding. “In spite of the disagreements, this is a sad time, when everyone feels love and sympathy,” Tamir told her listeners. Some students protested Tamir’s invitation, calling it “sycophancy.”
During the meeting, dozens of students gathered outside the yeshiva to protest her presence, saying she consistently “harasses the religious sector.” A plastic bottle thrown towards the education minister hit one of her security guards in the back. Tamir was escorted safely back to her vehicle by police. The head of the middle school, Rabbi Yerachmiel Weiss, told Haaretz after the incident that “many students find the government’s political prospects – be it the division of Jerusalem or evacuating outposts, which for some means being driven out of their homes – very distressing. While there were some who slammed her visit, we told them everyone has the right to hold their own worldview, and we were pleased that the minister came.” Tamir said Sunday evening that “outside the library people gathered. They shouted, behaved inappropriately and ruined the atmosphere of grief. Sadly, some people cannot distinguish between politics and bereavement.” “When I was invited, I didn’t hesitate for a moment,” Tamir added. “Unfortunately, I feel that some people, hopefully only a handful, cannot transcend their propensity for incitement, even in times of mourning.” Also on Sunday, six right-wing activists were detained Sunday afternoon en route to the East Jerusalem mourning house of the perpetrator of Thursday’s attack. A police squad declared the march an illegal gathering and detained several participants. Meanwhile, the Jewish Agency will start a drive this week to raise support for Israel and its fight against terror among Jewish communities around the world, following Thursday’s attack. Hundreds of JA and World Zionist Organization envoys will receive kits with photographs of the attack and information material to hold memorial events and rallies. The campaign is also aimed to counter pro-Palestinian campaigns following the IDF’s operation in the Gaza Strip, which killed 120 Palestinians. The Anti-Defamation League on Friday denounced as “shocking” the United Nations Security Council’s abstention from condemning Thursday’s terror attack.