Yehuda Lapian
Building bridges in Israel and supporting IDF veterans

Knesset and Yeshivas resting during war? Spare me beyachad nenatzeach!

The mantra “Together we will win” echoed hollowly in my mind as I prepared my bag again for another month of reserve in Gaza. I love my country and respect my government, even when I disagree. I love the sweet Torah and try to live according to it, but hearing about the despicable and immoral decision of the Knesset members and the Yeshiva leaders to go on vacation during the war makes me ashamed that these are our leaders and our Yeshiva boys. While our strong soldiers are bravely risking their lives, our weak politicians and yeshiva leaders cowardly decide to prioritize leisure over solidarity.

This taking time off decision reflects such a disconnect from Israeli society and its struggles since October 7 and is a slap in the face to the hostage families and soldiers who are still fighting. This behavior is not just disappointing; it’s deeply humiliating. It undermines the core values of unity and collective responsibility and sends a message of callous indifference to the sacrifices made by those who protect our country. After all, if studying the Torah protects and saves lives, how, for God’s sake, do you dare take a break while soldiers are being killed? 

The moral decay becomes evident when political leaders, entrusted with the welfare and security of the nation, retreat from their duties during moments of crisis. Instead of providing guidance and support, they disappear into seclusion, leaving the hostage families disillusioned and vulnerable. The slogan “together we will win” rings hollow when confronted with the reality of politicians evading responsibility and Yeshiva boys taking a break. How can we speak of unity when there is such a glaring divide between different segments of society?

For those who are willing to sacrifice everything and don’t go on vacations while a whole nation is in crisis with a broken heart, one thing remains clear: true unity and victory can only be achieved when all members of society are willing to shoulder their share of the burden and confront the challenges that lie ahead. In Parashat Bechukotai, we learn that “all Jews are responsible for each other.”‘ I’m waiting for our Knesset members and the Yeshiva leaders to prove it in action! 

As long as our soldiers are fighting and there are hostages in Gaza, don’t stop the Torah study; increase it. The hostage families (and many Israelis) are angry that Knesset members are taking a break? So don’t! The Israeli public who serves (without a vacation in between) will not forgive you for this move.

Prove to everyone that “beyachad nenatzeach” is in action. Until then, the notion of “together we will win” will remain an empty vessel, devoid of meaning and substance.

About the Author
Yehuda Lapian is a community manager at the Peace of Mind program, working to support IDF veterans in their transition to a healthy civilian life. Formerly an advisor at the Knesset, he worked to strengthen the relationship between Israel and America and inspire influencers to learn the truth about Israel. Yehuda graduated from the Ma'ale Gilboa Yeshiva and Elul Program in "Beit Prat" and had the privilege of getting to know Rabbi Sacks Z"l, who motivated him to move to Tel Aviv and to stay in Israel and be connected to tradition. Yehuda recently completed 120 days of service in Gaza. Since returning, he's been speaking publicly at different demonstrations and TV channels about equal drafting in the IDF and helping post-traumatic veterans. A lover of books and movies, a competitor for the Israeli ice swimming team, and although usually losing, playing chess online.
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