Virulently anti-religious Shinui leader Tomy Lapid has
confirmed that Barak did make a remark about him and
chareidim to Hilary Clinton at a reception, but he said that
intent was not as reported in the media.
Rabbi Moshe Gafni attacked Ehud Barak for his most serious,
unfortunate outburst against the chareidi community. His
words were first published in the local Jerusalem newspaper,
"Kol Hair," as reported last week in Yated Ne'eman.
According to the article, Ehud Barak hosted a reception in
honor of Hilary Clinton during her visit to Israel a few
weeks ago. Chairman of the Shinui party, Tommy Lapid, who
very anti-chareidi, was also in attendance.
Barak introduced Lapid to Mrs. Clinton. Perhaps in order to
define Lapid's place in Israel's political spectrum, Barak
told her that Lapid could teach her how to handle the
chareidim in the United States. A most unforgivable, terrible
Rabbi Moshe Gafni strongly denounced Barak's words,
protesting on behalf of the entire chareidi public. Chairman
of the meeting, Maksim Levi (One Israel) continually
interrupted Rabbi Gafni's speech, claiming that the facts had
been denied by the Office of the Prime Minister.
A few hours earlier in the Knesset at the meeting of the
Coalition Administration, Rabbi Yaakov Litzman had asked for
an urgent motion on the subject. However, Chaim Ramon,
liaison between the Government and the Knesset, asked that
the topic be removed from the agenda, since Barak completely
denied that he ever said the words attributed to him,
claiming that the incident was a complete fabrication.
Rabbi Moshe Gafni expressed his amazement that the denial
came only after the matter had reached the Knesset: not
immediately following its publication in the local newspaper.
However, his question remained unanswered.
In speaking to the Knesset plenum, Chaim Ramon denied the
entire incident over and over, stating that Barak never
uttered these words.
So, did he say it or not? The one that should know the
answer, aside from Barak and Mrs. Clinton, is none other than
Tommy Lapid! What does he have to say about it? Surprise:
Lapid says Barak did say it -- and how.
Here's the story according to Lapid: Hilary Clinton is
running for Congress in the State of New York where, of
course, there are quite a few Jews, including a lot of
chareidim. Mrs. Clinton is evidently not doing too well with
the Jewish vote. During her recent trip to Israel, she
discussed the problem with Ehud Barak. When Lapid was
introduced to her, Barak told her -- ironically -- that here
was someone who could help her with her problematic votes:
those of the chareidim.
In other words, Barak did say what was attributed to him, in
spite of the repeated denials. Of course, his remarks were
meant to be sarcastic. Barak didn't really mean that Lapid
would coach Clinton how to take care of the chareidim in a
negative way; this was not her request and she certainly has
no interest in such a ploy. He simply was being facetious,
saying that since Lapid was an "expert" in chareidi Jews,
maybe he could help her enlist their support. A prime example
of caustic, sardonic "humor." And a bad joke.