This week, we read Parashat Ki Teitzei, which concludes with the injunction to destroy and forget the tribe of Amalek, the worst enemy of the Jewish people. In this season of repentance, at least one Haredi Jewish leader is discussing who he sees as modern-day Amalek. Ynet News reports that “Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman, a prominent leader in the haredi world, says that [Yair] Lapid [Israel’s Finance Minister and head of the Yesh Atid party] is Amalek, the archetypical enemy of Israel from biblical times. This Saturday, when the parasha of Amalek is read, Shteinman instructed his disciples to have Lapid on their minds as they utter the words telling of the great enemy of the Israelites….Sources close to Shteinman also said that he tells pupils to think of Lapid and of Education Minister Shai Piron when saying Birkat haMinim, which is said three times every day other than Shabbat, and that is read with the purpose of destroying the enemies of Israel: ‘And let the arrogant government be speedily uprooted in our days. Let the noẓerim [idol worshippers] and the minim [Jewish separatists] be destroyed in a moment. And let them be blotted out of the Book of Life and not be inscribed together with the righteous.’”
A leading Haredi rabbi, “inspired” by the Torah, instructs his followers that Jews who serve the land of Israel and want Haredim to become educated participants in Israeli life, with the civil obligations of all Israeli citizens, are the greatest enemy of the Jewish people. The followers of this rabbi are praying three times per day, every weekday, that Jews should be “destroyed in a moment” for supporting an Israel where all of its citizens live together in shared responsibility and unity.