It was 3:00 on Wednesday afternoon in the Knesset plenum. In Yerushalayim, Purim was still over a day away, but many of the members of the Knesset, along with many of their staff members and hundreds of Knesset employees, live outside Yerushalayim. Not all of them were concerned about hearing the Megillah, but there were many who were, and they were beginning to shift uncomfortably in their seats in the Knesset plenum as the time for Minchah drew near. As long as the Knesset was in session, no one could leave. With the coalition as narrow as it is, that would be taking too great a risk. In the current government, every vote counts. In fact, the events that were about to unfold would make it very clear that this is so.
Earlier that week, the Knesset presidium, which consists of Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and his ten deputies, had decided that the Knesset plenum would end its sitting on Wednesday no later than 4:00 in the afternoon. Over the course of the day, the speakers were urged to keep their remarks brief.
By 2:00 in the afternoon, the Knesset had begun dealing with the final bill on the day’s agenda. It seemed that the goal had been achieved; the Knesset was about to conclude its business for the day. Prime Minister Binyomin Netanyahu was in his seat at the government table, the center table in the Knesset plenum. The session was chaired by MK Tali Ploskov of the Kulanu party, and the bill under discussion was the umpteenth legislative proposal of Michal Biran of the Zionist Camp, dealing with the limitations on the fees collected by companies managing pension funds. The vote was held and the coalition was shocked by the results. The screen on the ceiling of the plenum showed that 42 votes had been submitted in favor of transferring the bill to a committee for further discussion, while only 39 votes were cast for it to be removed from the Knesset agenda. Ploskov announced the results and there was an uproar in the plenum.
The prime minister indicated that his vote hadn’t been recorded by the system and Ploskov replied, “Mr. Prime Minister, I am adding the prime minister, MK Binyomin Netanyahu, to the protocols as another vote in opposition to the proposed bill.” As the babble of voices in the plenum rose in volume, she called out, “One moment. I can’t hear, and I want to understand what he is saying. Please calm down, ladies and gentlemen. I want to hear the prime minister.”
“The display didn’t light up,” Netanyahu said. “I couldn’t vote because it wasn’t working.”
“Okay,” Ploskov said. “I am adding one more vote in opposition. But we still have 40 opposed and 42 in favor. Therefore, this bill has passed its initial reading and is being transferred to the Finance Committee.”
The eyes of the coalition leaders blazed with anger. The issue wasn’t a particularly critical one, but the sense of defeat was unpleasant, especially since it was the last subject to be addressed before the sitting would be closed. On one side of the room, I saw David Bittan and Tzachi Hanegbi standing with a group of Likud party workers; both were clearly enraged. They asked to be shown a list of the Knesset members who had voted, so that they could determine which parliamentarians had shirked their voting duties. Just two days earlier, at a Likud party meeting, the prime minister had rebuked the Knesset members who exhibited such behavior, reminding them that the previous government had fallen because of the same conduct. He never would have imagined that the same thing would happen in the Knesset later that same week.
It was soon revealed that three members of the Knesset had simply disappeared, without receiving permission to leave and without making certain that there would be corresponding absences among the opposition. From the left side of the plenum, where the opposition sits, applause was heard. The opposition members shouted in joy and embraced each other. Meanwhile, as the members of the Knesset prepared to leave for the day, it was revealed that there was one more subject on the agenda – not a bill, but a motion for the agenda. And the topic caused the Knesset members to rub their eyes in disbelief.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” Tali Ploskov announced, “I understand that the legislative work of the day is over. We now have one motion for the agenda: ‘The struggle is not against the Reform Jew, but against the Reform cult or religion, which dares to claim that the Torah is not relevant.’ This is motion 3476, submitted by MK Yigal Guetta. MK Guetta, we are waiting for you to speak.”
At the sound of voices raised in protest throughout the plenum, Ploskov announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, I ask all of you to please calm down. I ask all of the aides and parliamentary advisors to please leave. Everyone who is speaking, please leave. We are continuing the discussions in the plenum.”
Yigal Guetta, a Knesset member from the Shas party, then approached the podium, and we discovered that he had prepared a sharp, forceful address whose purpose was to explain the reason for our opposition to the Reform movement. The chilonim, after all, also desecrate the Shabbos, even occasionally driving to shul on the day, yet we are tolerant of them, while we have declared war on the Reform. Guetta’s objective was to explain why this is so.
“Madame Chairman, honored Prime Minister, and my friend, the Minister of Religious Affairs,” Guetta began. “I would like to begin with a comment about this period of the year. As you know, today is Taanis Esther, and tonight we will be celebrating Purim. In the Megillah, we will read Haman’s words to King Achashveirosh, which were spoken 1,660 years ago: ‘There is one nation that is scattered and dispersed among the nations in all the states of your kingdom. Their laws are different from those of every nation, and they do not keep the laws of the king, and it is not worthwhile for the king to leave them unharmed.’ Haman thought that he could obliterate the Jewish people for one reason: The Jews were scattered among the nations of the kingdom. Our strength lies in our unity. When we are not united, the result is tragedy. Even the wicked Haman, the mortal enemy of the Jews, understood that.
“Since that time, 1,660 years have passed, and the Jewish nation is now living through another attempt to create a rift among us. To our great chagrin, this time it comes from within. The attempt is cloaked in the guise of liberalism and democracy. It is called ‘progressive Judaism.’ It is an attempt at modernization that is liable to lead to physical and spiritual disaster. The Reform movement in Israel – or, as they call themselves, the movement of ‘progressive Judaism’ – is…. Madame Chairman,” Guetta interrupted himself as the clamor of raised voices in the plenum rose sharply, “can you protect me from this noise?”
“I will try,” Ploskov agreed. “Please just give me a few moments. Members of the opposition,” she announced, “I would like to ask anyone who wishes to continue speaking to step outside. MK Svetlova, I am asking you to leave. Thank you.”
Yigal Guetta continued, “The Reform movement in Israel – or, as they call themselves, the movement of ‘progressive Judaism’ – is seeking to undermine everything good in the Jewish people and in Eretz Yisroel, and the result is a rift between various parts of our people. This rift is being created by the Reform cult or religion; I do not know which is the more appropriate term. They are the primary cause of assimilation, and they are eradicating the Jewish people. The next generation of Reform Jews in America, by and large, knows nothing about Judaism, and presumably nothing about the State of Israel. The recognition that the Reform Jews receive from the State of Israel is primarily because of their political and financial support, especially the financial part of it. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, there is a connection here between money and power, but it is a connection that will bring destruction in its wake.
“Several days ago, at the AIPAC convention, in an interview with Channel 10, Rabbi Rick Jacobs delivered a blatant threat to Prime Minister Netanyahu. He declared that the continued support of the Reform movement for the prime minister would be contingent on the arrangement regarding their prayer area at the Kosel. If this isn’t an act of the underworld, then what is? This is a blatant bid to buy recognition with money. The Reform Jews know that money can buy them anything, even a decision that a non-Jew is Jewish.”
What happened at that point was exactly what I foresaw: The members of the Meretz party, enraged by Guetta’s words, began to scream in protest. Michal Rozin shouted, “The underworld?”
“Absolutely,” Guetta responded. “If the decisions of the government of Israel are driven by money, then it is most definitely the underworld.”
“MK Michal Rozin, please calm down,” Tali Ploskov said, but Rozin continued screaming.
“Do you know what?” Yigal Guetta said. “It is more than that. It is simple extortion. Not only is it the work of the underworld, and not only is it power acquired through money, it is extortion. Because of their influence in the American government and the money they give us, they expect to dictate to us how to run our state.”
“This is unbelievable!” Michal Rozin exclaimed. “Maybe you should recognize the fact that it is important to preserve Judaism.”
“I ask you,” Guetta said, “what is the next thing that they are going to want? They are going to demand a Reform chief rabbi.”
“Why not?” Rozin demanded. “Why not? What’s wrong with that? Enough with the Orthodox monopoly. Enough!”
“Then let’s give everyone the same thing,” Guetta said. “There are other religions here as well.”
“There has been a monopoly here for 67 years,” Rozin continued to rant. “Enough!”
“The Reform movement is a religion of irreligiousness. It is not a religion at all,” Guetta said.
“It isn’t a religion in your eyes!” Rozin shot back. “Who are you to decide? Who are you at all?”
“Michal Rozin,” Tali Ploskov interrupted, “I am calling you to order for the first time.”
“Do you think you can decide what is a religion and what isn’t, and what Judaism is?” Rozin continued. In response, Tali Ploskov called her to order again.
“No,” said Guetta. “Their objective is to completely dismantle the Jewish religion. They want to demolish Judaism.”
“You have no monopoly on Judaism!” Rozin exclaimed. “What you want is a monopoly!”
“They wear tefillin only when Channel 2 comes to the Kosel,” Guetta went on. “If they don’t receive a chief rabbi, then they will simply donate a little more money, or they will threaten us again, or they will stop donating altogether, and then everything will be done as they wish.”
This time, Mickey Levi of Yesh Atid called out, “But they are Jews, Rabbi Guetta. They are good Jews!”
Guetta’s response was soon to come. Meanwhile, Michal Rozin was removed from the plenum by the female ushers. Guetta continued speaking with great sincerity. Ploskov said to him, “MK Guetta, please continue your own address and do not respond to the members of the Knesset who are heckling you.”
A Chiloni Doesn’t Deny the Torah
Guetta continued, “Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz, the ‘high priest’ of the Israeli left, said the following about the Reform movement: ‘If religion becomes a device for satisfying a person’s desires, if it must be tailored to his personal ambitions, then what is the difference between a shul and a movie theater?’ He also understood this point. Madame Chairman, I am saying these things with great pain, but these are things that must be said. The agenda of the Reform movement is to take all the things about Judaism that are most precious and to cheapen them, to turn them into nothing more than an empty pastime. This represents an existential danger to the Jewish people no less significant than the physical dangers that are facing us. It is a spiritual danger, rather than a physical one. There is one thing I do not understand: If Orthodox Judaism is old-fashioned and out of date, then why do the Reform Jews insist on having a place for themselves next to a stone wall that was built 2,000 years ago, whose significance is based entirely on Judaism and its ‘old-fashioned’ Torah? Why does it interest you? Go find a wall in Herzliya and do as you please!”
The members of the Knesset listened in silence, and Guetta continued reading aloud from a prepared script. It was clear that he had worked hard on this speech. “I am speaking from the heart, ladies and gentlemen,” he asserted. “I feel that many people do not understand our struggle against the Reform movement. There is a certain blurring of the issues, a certain lack of clarity. People think that the chareidim are fighting against the Jews of the Diaspora, but that is absolutely untrue. It is a lie.
“The Reform Jews prefer to present the situation this way in order to gain popularity,” Guetta went on. “We are not at war with the secular Jewish public. The Torah itself teaches us that there is bechirah. If you want to keep the Torah, keep it. If you don’t want to, don’t keep it. But there is also reward and punishment. We will reach out to the chilonim and attempt to draw them closer. A chiloni Jew is not a person who denies the Torah. He simply admits that he is incapable of keeping it, that it is difficult for him to be observant. Today, for instance, it is Taanis Esther, but many Jews are not fasting. Would we consider ourselves at war with someone who says that he is naturally too weak to fast? Not at all. Unlike the Reform Jews, he doesn’t mock or deride the Torah. He doesn’t say, ‘Who needs this fast?’ He doesn’t declare that today, in the age of hi-tech, the mitzvos are no longer necessary. He simply says, ‘It’s true that my father fasted and my mother fasted, but I am less observant than they were, because it’s too hard for me.’ We are not at war with a person like that. It is a mitzvah to be mekarev even an anti-religious Jew, and it is a sin to drive him away. We believe that every Jew has the potential to be brought closer to his Father in Heaven.”
With that, Guetta came to the main point of his speech. “However, ladies and gentlemen, we are at war with the Reform Jews – and it is quite a war. The Reform Jews have an approach that belittles the Torah and denies its authenticity. They are seeking to create a new religion, one that will be built on the ruins of real Judaism.”
“Call it a struggle, not a war,” Mickey Levi called out.
Guetta continued, “The Reform movement is a religion whose essence is defiance of the Creator of the Universe and His Torah.”
“A struggle, not a war!” Levi repeated.
“A struggle,” Guetta acknowledged and continued his speech. “What does a Reform Jew say? ‘Matzah? Who needs matzah? Today, in the modern age, there is no reason not to eat chometz.’ Have you ever seen a Reform Jew taking a lulav and esrog on Sukkos? I have never seen that. And do you know why? The Reform Jews do not even know that those mitzvos exist, and if they are aware of them, they reject them, just as they reject all the mitzvos of the Torah. This is precisely the problem. These women put on tefillin at the Kosel only when the reporters from Channel 2 are there to document it. That should help you understand their true connection to tefillin. The Torah, in their eyes, is irrelevant. They know nothing and have learned nothing, yet they want to change the Torah and make ‘improvements.’ Let them not dare say such things! They have even made changes in the siddur and thereby ruined it.”
Merav Michaeli of the Zionist Camp interjected, “Insanity! This is insanity!” It was a reference, of course, to Guetta himself, not to the Reform Jews who were the targets of his address.
“Do you know that there was a time, decades ago, when the Reform movement erased every mention of Tzion and Yerushalayim from its siddur?” Guetta asked. “Do you know why? You don’t know? Then let me explain it to you. In Germany, the Reform Jews and the Maskilim erased these words because they were too much in the style of the ‘Diaspora’ for their tastes. The Reform Jews do not have a Shabbos day or even a day of rest. The day that we call Shabbos Kodesh is nothing but ‘Saturday’ to them. They have no shul; they merely have a temple, with an organ and with a ‘rabbi’ who looks like a priest. Sometimes they even have an actual priest. After all, it is a ‘temple’; that is what they call their houses of worship. Ladies and gentlemen, it is a joke, but it is also very sad. As the old story goes, a father once saw his son engaging in all sorts of mischief and laughing uproariously at his shenanigans, and the father said, ‘I would laugh too – if he wasn’t my own child.’”
In an effort to make himself understood, Guetta reiterated his point. “I emphasize again that we are not involved in a struggle against a chiloni in Netanya or Tel Aviv who is mechallel Shabbos or who eats treif. We are pained by this, but these people are not our enemies. On the contrary, they are our brothers, and we must embrace them and reach out to them. But we are involved in a struggle against those who claim that it is permissible to violate the Shabbos or to eat treif. Our war is a war against the new religion that claims to permit all of the things that the Torah forbids, based on the horrific argument that the Torah is irrelevant, chas veshalom. That is the reason for our struggle – that, and our objective of preventing the Reform Jews from deceiving all of you.”
A Quote from Rav Nebenzahl
Guetta went on to quote something that I myself cited in the Yated two weeks ago: Rav Moshe Feinstein’s stance on the subject. “Madame Chairman,” he said, “thirty years ago, Rav Moshe Feinstein passed away. He was known as the posek hador and was the supreme halachic authority in the United States. In 1972, a rov in Boston asked him…” As the noise level in the plenum rose again, Guetta said, “Can there be silence in the gallery, please? MK Bittan, seriously, it is very disruptive.”
Ploskov interjected, “Chairmen of the parties, please. It is very difficult for anyone to speak when others are talking somewhere else. Please be silent.”
Guetta resumed his speech. “Allow me to quote from the halachic responsa of Rav Moshe Feinstein, and let us show respect for him. He wrote, and I quote, ‘First, it must be known that one of the foundations of our pure faith is that the entire Torah, both the written component and the oral component, was given by Hashem Himself at Har Sinai through Moshe Rabbeinu, and it is impossible to alter even the smallest detail, whether to be more lenient or to be more stringent.’ With regard to the women who were the subject of the question, he ruled that even though they truly desired to fulfill a mitzvah, since they were motivated by the principle of equality and by resentment of the holy Torah, they had the status of heretics. ‘This is not an act of a mitzvah at all,’ he said. ‘On the contrary, it is a forbidden act.’ If that is what he said about a group of women who wished to perform a mitzvah, you can certainly imagine what his position would have been regarding those who seek to uproot mitzvos from the Torah.”
Next, he quoted Rav Avigdor Nebenzahl, who is one of the leaders of the struggle against the Reform efforts to claim part of the Kosel as their own. “In conclusion, I would like to quote another distinguished rov. In the Jewish Quarter of Yerushalayim, there is a rov who is one of the gedolei Yisroel, a very modest Torah scholar who scrupulously avoids public attention. He is also the rov of the Jewish Quarter. He grew up in an Israeli Zionist home. His father was Dr. Yitzchok Nebenzahl, a man who came to Israel before the founding of the state and who served as the state ombudsman. His sister, Pliah Albek, was a remarkable woman, a great baalas chesed and a senior official in the attorney general’s office. This man is Rav Avigdor Nebenzahl.
“Several years ago, Rav Nebenzahl wrote an affidavit to the Supreme Court, as the court was about to discuss an appeal from the Reform movement regarding the Kosel. He wrote, ‘When Moshe Rabbeinu, the humblest of all men, first heard the Word of Hashem, he asked, “Who am I?” This was in contrast to the wicked Paroh, whose first reaction to hearing the Divine Word was to ask, “Who is Hashem?” The Jewish sages throughout the generations have always followed the example of Moshe Rabbeinu and have subjugated themselves to the Word of Hashem to the point of mesirus nefesh. Those who have rebelled against the path of the Torah in every generation, meanwhile, have made the Word of Hashem subject to their own desires. When the Greeks were in power, they became Hellenists, and when the Jews overcame the Greeks in the days of the Chashmonaim, they became Tzedukim. When the Romans took over Eretz Yisroel, they connected to the Romans. The Reform Jews have also followed this pattern. They thought that they would be secure in Germany, so they removed Lashon Hakodesh from their prayers and they erased every mention of Yerushalayim and the Bais Hamikdosh, considering Berlin to be their holy land and viewing themselves as Germans. During the Holocaust, the Reform rov of Sweden, Rabbi Ehrenpreis, tried to dissuade the Swedish government from taking in Jewish refugees. One of the leaders of the Reform movement in America, Stephen Wise, tried to block an appeal to President Roosevelt to save the Jews who were being taken to the gas chambers.’ This was the text of his statement to the Supreme Court.”
Guetta concluded, “On Chanukah and on Purim, ladies and gentlemen, attempts were made to destroy the Jewish people, and these two holidays will never be abolished. On Purim, the non-Jews attempted to destroy the Jewish nation physically, and on Chanukah they tried to destroy our spirituality, our figurative flask of pure oil. Chazal teach us that the attempts to destroy us spiritually were worse than the efforts to destroy us physically – and that is exactly what the Reform movement is attempting to do!”
Merav Michaeli spoke up again. “How is it that you haven’t used up your allotted time with all these slanderous words?”
“It is because of you,” Guetta replied. “Since you keep interrupting me, I keep getting more time to speak.”
“It’s slander!” Michaeli repeated.
“And you haven’t even heard me,” Guetta said.
“I have stood here and heard everything,” she replied.
“You listened to me for half a second and then you left, so how can you be calling this slander?” Guetta demanded.
“No,” Michaeli insisted. “I have been standing here since the beginning of your speech and it is completely slanderous.”
“MK Guetta,” Ploskov interrupted, “your time is up.”
“Listen carefully,” Guetta said. “They are tearing out pieces of the Torah and of Judaism. Members of the Knesset, this is how we can understand the fact that Rav Ovadiah Yosef, who was a paragon of love for other human beings, came out so strongly against the Reform Jews, and the fact that Rav Shalom Cohen, the rosh yeshiva of Porat Yosef, has instructed his representatives not to give in on this subject. It is because we are at war with them – not with the individual Reform Jew from Baltimore or Chicago, for those people are considered personally in the category of ‘tinok shenishbah…’”
“Thank you,” said Tali Ploskov.
“I am finishing,” Guetta said. “I am referring instead to the leaders of the Reform movement. It is against them that we are waging this struggle, and we cannot and will not give in. The Torah is eternal, and no mortal being can change even a single letter of the Torah – even if he donates money to the State of Israel, and even if Netanyahu is afraid of him. The most important thing is for us to have no fear. Thank you very much.”
“We Will Stand Strong”
MK Dovid Azulai, the Minister of Religious Affairs, was chosen to deliver the government’s response to Guetta’s motion, even though Azulai himself is known for his rigid stance against the Reform movement. About half a year ago, Azulai declared in an interview that he does not view the Reform Jews as Jewish. The uproar over that comment was so great that the prime minister released a statement of support for the Reform Jews and announced that he had reprimanded Azulai. Now, too, Azulai unleashed a fierce attack on the Reform movement, although he was careful not to repeat the sentiment that they are not Jewish.
“Madame Chairman and members of the Knesset,” he began. “My good friend, MK Yigal Guetta, I congratulate you on your heartfelt and penetrating words. Throughout the generations, Jews of faith throughout the world have had to contend with Jews of a weaker character, who sought to diminish the faith of the general Jewish public and weaken its commitment to Hashem’s Torah and mitzvos. This happened in Mitzrayim, when Doson and Avirom sought to erode Jewish society from within, and it happened in the days of the Hellenists and all the other apostates throughout our generations of exile, as well as the Maskilim in the period preceding the Holocaust. This has happened throughout Jewish history: People from within our nation, Jews who were born to Jewish mothers and who were full-fledged halachic Jews, have risen up with all sorts of ideas and proposals about the need to make innovations and institute reforms. They have agitated for Judaism to be tailored to the times and have claimed that there is a need to eliminate the old mitzvos, chas vechalilah, and to update our religion for the modern era. They have called to make it possible for Jewish men and women to marry non-Jews, to abrogate the mitzvos that are difficult to fulfill, and to make it easier for those who are not like us, who are not part of our nation, to convert or be considered observant.”
With that introduction, Azulai went on the offensive. “It must be made clear: Judaism is not a program that can be adjusted as one pleases. We do not have the ability to change even a single word that is written in the Torah. This can be compared to a person who wishes to send an email to his friend, but who leaves out just a single period or letter in the email address. Would any of us be surprised at the fact that the email will never reach its recipient? We would simply tell the person that it is impossible to send an email in that way. He must check the address and follow the rules. And the same is true of Judaism. There are people who call for the Torah to be changed, who are agitating day and night for changes to be made to the Torah that was given to us at Har Sinai and has been passed down from father to son in every Jewish community, from Yemen to Poland and from Ethiopia to Aleppo. These are people who will stop at nothing to ensnare the innocent and to achieve their goals through any means necessary. These people are investing a fortune in their efforts. MK Yigal Guetta, you spoke about the money that is used to influence the government, and I agree with you. All of this is being done in order to destroy Hashem’s Torah. Our response to them is that this will never happen. We will not allow it. Just as our forefathers stood strong throughout the generations against all those who rose up against us, just as they kept the flame burning, we will also stand strong. All of those who love the Torah and are loyal to our tradition will continue to oppose them.”
A United Stand
The Knesset plenum emptied. It was almost 3:00 in the afternoon. Yigal Guetta needed to return to Bnei Brak, which is only an hour away by car, but Azulai still needed to make it to his home in Acco, a trip that would take him over two hours. He made an effort to conclude his remarks on a conciliatory note. “Anyone who wishes to observe the Torah as it is written,” he said, “will receive our blessings. We will support them anywhere in the world. A Jew who wishes to keep the laws of kashrus, taharah, minyan, and all the other mitzvos that Hashem has given us can do so in any Jewish community in the world. Even in the remote places where there are no Jewish communities, a person who wishes to observe the Torah properly will have our support. I promise you that the proper observance of the mitzvos, which is our joint responsibility as Jews, will never end, for those mitzvos are the eternal testament to our right to exist anywhere and everywhere in the world.”
Like Guetta in his own remarks, Azulai contrasted the story of Purim with the salvation from spiritual danger commemorated by Chanukah. “We cannot allow such a thing to happen in our generation,” he asserted. “As my friend, Yigal Guetta, said, we love every member of the Jewish people. I do not love those who deliberately mislead other Jews, who drive innocent Jews astray when they wish to keep the Torah and its commandments. Look at what is happening to us in the United States, with the level of assimilation that is rampant there. Chas vechalilah that this phenomenon should reach Eretz Yisroel. We will do everything to prevent that and to stand strong against it. We are united on this point, like one man with one heart. We will not allow it! And in these days, as we celebrate Purim, we wish the entire Jewish people a time of light and joy. Thank you very much.”
Azulai suggested to Guetta not to pursue the subject any further, and Guetta agreed. He had no interest in referring the subject to one of the Knesset committees and giving the Reform Jews an opportunity to use the Knesset podium for their own propaganda. His objective was solely to make his statement and to have his words recorded in the Knesset protocols, to let the subject of the battle be known. The point was for the chilonim in Eretz Yisroel to understand that they are not the targets, and that the battle is directed solely against those who deny the Torah’s eternity.
With that, Tali Ploskov made her closing statement. “Thank you very much to the Minister of Religious Affairs. Okay, so we are not voting. We will suffice with the minister’s response. Okay, members of the Knesset, our schedule for the day has ended. I wish everyone a happy Purim. The next sitting will be held on Monday, the 18th of Adar Sheini, 5776 / March 28, 2016, at 4:00 in the afternoon. This sitting is closed.”