Lobstergate and the Hypocrisy of the Israeli Opposition

Some faces in Israel ought to be turning lobster-red from shame, instead of gloating over Bibi and Sara dining at a non-kosher restaurant in London on Shabbos.

The opposition piled on to Israel’s First Couple. Chief among the critics was Yair Lapid. “There is no limit to Netanyahu’s hypocrisy: He eats in a non-kosher restaurant and then runs home to vote for the hametz law.”

Hypocrisy? Bibi does not claim to be halachically observant. He has shown many traditional leanings at times, and he does not show the contempt for the observant communities that the Left does. Neither of which can be said for Yair Lapid.

Not that we take lightly that Israel’s face to the world found nothing wrong with being stuffed with treif food. Guaranteed – it won’t happen after mashiach arrives.

In other words, what Bibi demonstrated is that he can work with coalition partners whose views he does not share, without finding those views threatening to his personal conduct, or the platform of his party. He has shown that there is a limit to the rein that he will give to some of the loud-mouthed Knesset member extremists in both the Religious Zionist and charedi parties. They can make stupid statements and introduce bills that are tone-deaf to the sounds of the rest of the world, but he will hold them in check. Exactly what the protesters claim they want to see: an Israel in which different groups can live together without anyone forcing their views down the throats of others. An Israel in which the Jewish character of the State can be accommodated by a chametz law that allows hospitals to take into account the needs of its traditional patients and their families, even if he will decide to celebrate his seder eating tortellini in a Rome restaurant. (Not excusing the treif part. Guaranteed it won’t happen after mashiach arrives.)

Bibi’s behavior should be reassuring to the State of Tel Aviv, not reprehensible. There should be dancing in the streets near Kaplan, not more incitement by Lapid et al. There would be, were it not for the fact that the protests have little or nothing to do with preserving democracy, and everything to do with their fear that the demography of the country has turned in favor of a more Jewish Israel than they would like to see.

Shame on the inciters! But if you are looking for some signs of crimson color, don’t look to the faces of the Opposition. You’ll have to turn to the infamous lobster, lying in state at the table next to the Netanyahus’. Probably planted there by the Iranians, trying to topple the government.

[Image by Craiyon]

You may also like...

26 Responses

  1. Avi Levin says:

    protests have little or nothing to do with preserving democracy, and everything to do with their fear that the demography of the country has turned in favor of a more Jewish Israel than they would like to see.

    Rav Adlerstein, I’d have expected of you to treat those who disagree with you with the same respect as those with whom you agree.

    • Yehoshua Kahan says:

      Is there any evidence that the people demanding the perpetuation of oligarchical rule by a small and self-selected panel of left wing ideologues want democracy? Any at all?

  2. william l gewirtz says:

    I remember many Israeli PM’s showing respect for our traditions regardless of their personal lack of observance. Partnering with Haredim and the ultra-right remnant of the RZ party Netanyahu has brought Israel to the brink of disaster. Tofastah merubeh lo tofastah; as Likud implodes, the next government is not that far away. The revenge it will extract will rightly be draconian. What the Rav ztl predicted might happen to the RZ about 45 years ago and the lament (about 30 years ago) of the late and rather prescient Prof. Yaacov Katz is happening. Each claims adherence to tradition.

    Lapid is not his father. Hareidim would do well to listen to his message (and that of Stanley Fischer.) The laws of economics will not allow a state where an increasing number of citizens do not and are not trained to participate in the economy. This was never our tradition.

    We are racing towards a crossroad. Ha’Shem Yerachem.

    • Yehoshua Kahan says:

      If you would like Charedim to be trained to participate in the economy, you should be in favor of single-sex college programs which they can attend. Of course, you can’t have that while the Supreme Court retains the power to forbid such programs.

  3. mb says:

    Don’t be libelous, they were eating Hermolis, of course. Or maybe that’s libelous!

  4. Natan Slifkin says:

    Nobody doubts that Bibi can work with anyone. That’s actually the problem – he has no platform or values, he’ll just work with anyone who will help keep him in power, and he’ll do anything to keep himself in power, even if it means ripping the country apart, crashing the shekel and weakening the IDF.
    The hypocrite in Lobstergate is not Bibi, it’s Gafni, who slammed Lapid for eating at a non-kosher restaurant in the UAE (where they certainly don’t serve lobster) but has been silent about Bibi doing the same thing.

  5. joel rich says:

    Fascinating – can you understand how at least half of the population in Israel doesn’t see it this way?

  6. Nachum says:

    Say what you want about Lapid- and I am hardly his biggest fan- but I’d like to see some evidence that he shows “contempt” or “incites” toward religious people. The man is an am ha’aretz and a tinok shenishba, not an apikores. (In fairness, he seems to be ignorant of a lot more than Torah.)

    “An Israel in which the Jewish character of the State can be accommodated by a chametz law that allows hospitals to take into account the needs of its traditional patients and their families”

    Every hospital in Israel is kosher and thus does a lot more than “take into account” those needs. You write as if this isn’t true, which is surprising. (Our youngest was born on Erev Pesach; the hospital- not a religious one- gave my wife a full seder meal.) The chametz law will not add one iota to the kashrut of hospitals, and its absence will not deduct one iota. But does it rile up secular people- secular people who, by the way, are very strict about chametz themselves? Oh yeah it does. And that’s what Lapid was referring to. It’s a *wee* bit hypocritical to tell, say, an Arab that his family can’t bring him a pita on a Jewish holiday and then go eat at Gordon Ramsay’s the first chance you get.

    You keep mentioning Mashiach as if his arrival is a requirement for Prime Ministers to keep kosher. Obviously that’s not true.

  7. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    It seems to me that by gradual movement to the traditional/right direction we might end up with a sufficiently traditional PM not to eat in a treif restaurant even before Mashiach. What, if any significance would that have? Does it mean there is a metric to measure how much closer we are getting to the ideal, or do we just say that we will KNOW when it happens and anything less is minor? R. Adlerstein’s statement might be an interesting opening to a discussion, or not? What do you folks think?

    • Nachum says:

      We just had a fully religious, kippah-wearing prime minister. Lots of religious people acted like it was a disaster.

  8. joel rich says:

    suggested reading to see how natural likudniks see it now:


  9. Bob Miller says:

    The hypocrisy the political opposition gloats about is nothing next to its own destructive insanity. The anti-democratic Supreme Court and AG are exalted by power-mad politicians, in the name of democracy, of course. Last I looked, the nations of the world are arraying themselves against Israel, which needs all the unity of purpose it can muster. Instead, Israel’s loonies are inspired and funded by America’s to set off the unraveling of society.

    • mb says:

      Bob Miller,
      Ah, there lies the rub. Who are Israel’s loonies? Those that disagree with you by the sound of things.

  10. Mark says:

    Netanyahu’s behavior should not be excused, but the Israeli Left are not the ones to call him out on it.

    Sadly, the Israeli left has no shame.

    The Chareidim should be the one’s to make a fuss over it. It’s a shanda that an Israeli leader should be eating lobster, but sadly, until Moshiach comes, we’re stuck with it.

  11. Reb Yid says:

    Eh, this is a red herring–or shall we say Reb Lobster–to distract from the tremendous embarrassment that this Prime Minister has become, in matters having nothing to do with where he eats. Turns out we were correct and you were not–these issues resonate with many in Israel–it’s not about a few folks from outside of Israel or about a dying elderly breed, as you claimed in previous posted. The banks (hardly a bunch of leftists), the military (ditto), even Yoni Netanyahu’s comrades at Entebbe (that his brother has cynically used in the past for his own political purposes)–all are against what Bibi is doing.

    Personally, it does not matter to me how observant a Prime Minister of Israel is in his or her private life. However, Mr. Netanyahu fails to understand or care that as PM he is representative of his entire nation. Plenty of PMs in the past, though not observant in their personal lives, have nonetheless made sure that, for example, if they had to be at an official function overseas on Shabbat, they would nonetheless stay within walking distance and not take motorized transportation.

    But Mr. Netanyahu does not care because, like a certain former leader in this country that we got rid of at the first opportunity, he only cares about himself and the enormous ego that he needs to feed. The country is getting ripped apart and he is isolating himself from it all.

    Somehow if the PM were from a more progressive party, I seriously doubt that this post in his/her defense would have been written at all–we’d hear plenty instead about his/her lack of “religiosity”.

    • Bob Miller says:

      Attempt to address the main topic, a Supreme Court that makes its own law and picks its own members. Would you be happy if SCOTUS, regardless of its political makeup, did both routinely?

  12. c-l,c says:

    a)So the anti zionists were correct all along since way back?
    The secularist forces will destroy the state (though they and their mouthpieces incessantly trumpeted how important it was/is),
    rather than tolerate any Democratic based substantive changes or improvements?

    b)On the other hand, charedi tipshim.
    Rothman ,Levin, & The others are doing now their cause for them.Instead of massive appreciation they will pull the rug out from underneath & cave in

    “The country is above all. It doesn’t matter now who is right”
    Nuch an idiot .
    THIS IS The country AT STAKE. It’s direction onward
    The left has as usual got that better figured out

  13. Michael Lipkin says:

    It think your premise is incorrect. Nobody here is under the assumption that Bibi is a Frum Yid. The hypocrisy being talked about is in the fact that the right, especially the Chareidi political leaders, relentlessly denigrate and excoriate other political leaders, ones they don’t like, for their irreligious behavior, yet remain silent when their guy engages in the same behavior.

  14. A Thinking Talmid says:

    Obviously, when an Israeli PM is mechalel Shabbas and it’s non-kosher food, it is a Chilul Hashem.

    The fear l is that the current coalition will restrict rights and impose on the “average” Israeli while some well-connected people, especially Netanyahu, will be able to enjoy personal freedoms.

  15. Pete Bloss says:

    Great! Citizens should acknowledge that all leaders have flaws and no one is perfect. Even so, Bibi leads with policies that make sense. I just finished his biography and enjoyed it greatly.

    I do hope he can find some better way to rein in an out of control Supreme Court without destroying independence of the judiciary. There must be some way to create a high court that applies and interprets law rather that making it whole cloth. Legislative override seems too blunt an instrument.

  16. c y says:

    A rerun of the Tageblatt vs Forverts
    The former would attack the Forvets for anti clericalism, fervent socialism, anti religious attitudes,etc.
    While the latter would attack the editor of the former for hypocrisy:He ate treif,etc.
    Deja Vu

  17. c y says:

    typo publisher of the tageblatt
    The editor,Gedalia Bublick (after an earlier radical lapse),was observant strongly orthodox

  18. Steven Brizel says:

    Poltics as LBJ pointed out in one of Robert Caro’s magisterial volumes is the art of the possible and practical as opposed to adhering to ideological principles. LBJ commented in rather ribald terms about the passage of the first civil rights bill in 1958 , which was the first such bill passed since Reconstrruction, that once the first such bill is passed, subsequent bills become easier to pass-so too withjudicial reform-I think the HCJ is a self perpetuating institution with a self created type of jurisprudence which protects the interests of the secular Ashkenazi elite who can’t win elections-but reform, which is definitely necessary is better achieved incementally issue by issue with negotiatoons and the passage of a series of reforms as opposed to radically turning the tables

    • Bob Miller says:

      Because they understand your logic and LBJ’s, the left will attack each baby step under consideration as if it was the whole thing.

      • Yehoshua Kahan says:

        The leadership will want to, certainly, but will the masses have the sustained interest and energy? A doubtful thing, at best.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This