web analytics
November 22, 2014 / 29 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



A New Beginning?

The era of Godless leadership in the Knesset ended with Menachem Begin. One might even say it ended with the Six Day War.
MK Dr. Ruth Calderon

MK Dr. Ruth Calderon
Photo Credit: Flash90

The repercussions of the last Israeli election are still reverberating and we have not yet seen the full impact it will have on Israeli society and the very character of the Jewish State. And it took a woman, Dr. Ruth Calderon, to precipitate it.

Although it did not really start with her. It started with her ‘boss’ – Yesh Atid’s leader Yair Lapid, the son of an avowed atheist who many saw as anti religious.

How different this Knesset is from the Knesset of the founding fathers! I have already pointed out in a previous post that there are 38 observant Jews in the new Knesset. They occupy nearly one third of the 120 Knesset seats. I have also pointed out that it is now fashionable for even secular parties to have at least one religious member.

This turns on its head the founding fathers’ idea of a nation devoid of Torah except in its historical and cultural context. As I also pointed out – back in the old days, wearing a Kipa was the kiss of death when it came to running for the Knesset. Only a handful of religious parties had such people… and they were elected almost exclusively by the religious segments of the population.

In the years between then and now two things were happening. The Haredi population grew and the enmity between secular and Haredi populations grew along with it. This has finally reached its peak in the current controversy about the Haredi draft. An issue that has yet to be resolved.

The Haredi narrative has always been that the secular world is anti-Torah and ‘out to get them.’ They also believed that as their own population grew and representation in the Knesset increased they would be able to exert more power. Thus having their financial needs met by cold calculated political power – making financial demands in exchange for joining a ruling coalition. All while maintaining their enmity toward the secular their counterparts in the Knesset – claiming they were anti Torah. This was a serious miscalculation. They were wrong.

The era of Godless leadership in the Knesset ended with Menachem Begin. One might even say it ended with the Six Day War. In my view with the exception of a few of the ruling elite in Israel, I don’t think the secular Jewish population was ever entirely Godless. The majority of Israelis may not have been fully observant. But they were not fully secular either. And since the Six Day War there has been a renaissance of observance among many Israeli Jews.

The same is true of the government. There was a time where an Israeli leader wore his rejection of Halacha as a badge of honor. I will never forget what I had heard about Yitzhak Rabin when he was ambassador to the United States back in the early 1970s.

There was some sort of banquet the United States government had for him. It was a kosher catered meat meal. The people in charge of such things believed that Jews keep Kosher and that a representative of the Jewish State would require it. During the course of the meal someone mentioned to Rabin that it was a Kosher catered one. He then immediately asked for a glass of milk to prove that the Israeli government rejects Halacha. Although this may be an urban legend, it is not too far-fetched to believe a story like that. Israeli leaders did in fact reject Halacha.

Contrast that with Menachem Begin who while Prime Minister never recited the holy words of the bible without donning a kipa. He never publicly desecrated Shabbos while Prime Minister. Who can ever forget the kiddush HaShem he made when he attended the funeral of Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat. He walked in the procession instead of being driven in a car – because it was Shabbos! There were many instances like that.

I need not go into all the various examples of how the majority of Jews in Israel are religious in their own ways if not fully observant. (Who can make that claim anyway?!) Suffice it to say that the majority of the Jewish population in Israel has some level of observance. Like fasting on Yom Kippur for example.

What is happening now is a monumental step forward. Not only is one-third of the Knesset observant – Torah study has never been more valued than it is now. Not only The Torah SheB’Ksav (written Torah), but Torah SheBal Peh (oral Torah) in the form of the Talmud. In the very same Knesset where the founding fathers rejected Halacha and looked down on the observant Jew there are now 38 observant members and many secular Knesset members who not only respect them but are willing to learn Torah from them!

According to a story in Ha’aretz, a secular party, Yesh Atid, is setting up regular Torah study sessions in the Knesset which will have Shiurim given by a variety of teachers on a rotating basis. Those teachers will include the entire spectrum of Jewry from the secular to the Haredi.

Imaging that! Haredi rabbis teaching Gemarah in the Knesset to secular members! This is unheard of. The founding fathers must be rolling over in their graves. And who do we have to thank for this? Not the Haredi parties who have done their level best to alienate every secular Jew they can. It is the secular party of Yesh Atid, and Dr. Ruth Calderon, a secular woman from that party.

Unfortunately there are some die-hard Haredim who see this as a negative development… more dangerous than what the past had to offer. In the past the enemies of Torah were clear. They openly fought the Torah. What we have now are secular Jews learning the Torah- thinking that they will no doubt use it against them.

Hopefully their view will be drowned out by the words of Torah themselves. Words heretofore rarely heard and certainly not heard on any kind of regular basis. Now it will be taught by some of their very own Haredi members.

A positive Haredi attitude has already been demonstrated by acting Knesset Chairman, Yitzhak Vaknin, from Shas – a Haredi party. He spontaneously interjected a comment related to the Talmudic discourse that was part of Dr. Calderon inaugural address to the Knesset. It seems like there will be a lot more of that happening now.

Of course there are still unresolved issues between the Haredi parties and the non Haredi parties. Not the least of which are whether Haredim will be drafted into the army; what percentage will be exempt – if any; and what their service will look like. The two sides are far apart. And who can ignore all the name calling of even the religious Jews who believe that there ought to be some form of mandatory military service by Haredim. Like when HaGoan Rav Ovadia Yosef, Shlita called the observant head of HaBayit HaYehudi, Naftali Bennett a heretic.

We are far from a rapport between the two worlds. But we are nonetheless far closer to it than at any time since the founding of the State. In my view all it will take is a little more tolerance from the Haredi side and some compromise from both sides to come to an acceptable resolution to this crisis.

Perhaps history will record this moment in time as the dawning of a new age of achdus where all Jews can be seen as brothers with unconditional love and respect for one another.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at hmaryles@yahoo.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “A New Beginning?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I don't agree with the comment "Not the Haredi parties who have done their level best to alienate every secular Jew they can." That is completely false. The haredim are on the front lines of this amazing bal teshuva generation. Its them who are giving lectures and reaching out to their alienated brothers with chavruta learning and programs and love that have brought 100's of thousands back to the Torah. This is possibly the most significant event that has transpired in Israel in the last 20 years. Of course politics and religion does not mix well and the political conflicts leads to dislike of the political religious leaders and their constituents. Nothing important is usually easy or perfect Never the less we all owe them a big thank you. Their mesirut nefesh for their brothers has lead to Israel slowing becoming the Light unto the nations that it is meant to be. "Thank you Hareidim"! Continue spreading the light of Torah.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I don't agree with the comment "Not the Haredi parties who have done their level best to alienate every secular Jew they can." That is completely false. The haredim are on the front lines of this amazing bal teshuva generation. Its them who are giving lectures and reaching out to their alienated brothers with chavruta learning and programs and love that have brought 100's of thousands back to the Torah. This is possibly the most significant event that has transpired in Israel in the last 20 years. Of course politics and religion does not mix well and the political conflicts leads to dislike of the political religious leaders and their constituents. Nothing important is usually easy or perfect Never the less we all owe them a big thank you. Their mesirut nefesh for their brothers has lead to Israel slowing becoming the Light unto the nations that it is meant to be. "Thank you Hareidim"! Continue spreading the light of Torah.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Binyamin and Chaya Maryles, uncle and aunt of Emes Ve-Emunah author Harry Maryles.
Current Top Story
Colleagues of the hanged Arab bus driver whose death continues to be referred to as murder despite autopsy finding of suicide. These are Arab drivers of Egged buses, claiming they suffer discrimination by Israelis.
Arab Pathologist Singing New Tune: Murder (By Jews) Not Suicide
Latest Blogs Stories
President Ruby Rivlin

President Rivlin’s recent statements are only half right, and that’s why he’s completely wrong.

i_love_jerusalem

This is our song “Learn to Love;” May joy and light be restored to Jerusalem speedily in our days.

Free-Jonathan-Pollard-Poster

I have a dream…President Obama will go to that prison, Pardon Jonathan Pollard and set him free

Rabbi-Twersky-112114

The burden of proof that a person is against Israel but not anti-Semitic rests on that person.

Bibi’s promising a good battle, not a victory in the war; We need to WIN the war against terrorism!

For 1000s of years it was perfectly OK for Jews to pray on Herod’s Extension of the Temple Mount.

The focus on the “Occupation” since 1967 is yet another invention to justify hatred and murder.

It should be clear Israel’s existence is not the real issue; the issue is Islamic fundamentalism.

But I am not afraid.I know this is Jewish land, not because of UN/foreign gov’ts saying we can exist

A grassroots initiative of hundreds of Chareidim from Har Nof is underway to attend the funeral of Zidan Saif and to pay their respects to the fallen policeman and to the Druze community in the village of Yanuch-Jat in Northern Israel.

Discover the world of NY high society and its intrigue.

A Jew is no more exempt in this war by living in the US or UK than I am enlisted by living in Efrat

Officer Zidan Sayif saved lives in the Har Nof Massacre, but was shot in the head and is now fighting for his life.

“Y.E.” a United Hatzalah paramedic was injured while treating the wounded under fire in the Har Nof Massacre.

It is time the leaders in Israel and the world realize this has nothing to do with settlements or the Temple Mount or a fake claim of occupation and everything to do with radical Islamic barbarism!

The Leftist Israeli media has always been unabashedly political;To them “objective”=”in my opinion”

More Articles from Harry Maryles
Rabbi-Twersky-112114

The burden of proof that a person is against Israel but not anti-Semitic rests on that person.

Peter Kassig, American aid worker, former Army Ranger, next to be threatened with beheading by ISIS.

It should be clear Israel’s existence is not the real issue; the issue is Islamic fundamentalism.

Artifacts are not what make the Jewish people great; it is our conduct that does.

The RCA stated their review will add protection for the convert and not tamper with Halacha.

It undermines the tenets the rabbi preaches to his congregants when his wife does not live by them

Argue with Rabbi Gordimer on the merits;Go ahead. What Rabbi Katz did went well beyond the pale.

Fiddler on the Roof moved some Jews to explore their roots; it actually led some to become observant

It is the acceptance of all Halacha that is important – not the immediate knowledge of them.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/a-new-beginning/2013/02/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: