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August 26, 2016 / 22 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Aryeh Deri’

President Rivlin: Israel Is Democratic and Jewish and Tribal, and There Are Arabs, Too

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

The 16th Annual Herzliya conference opened at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, with a discussion by Israeli senior ministers and political party leaders on the joint initiative “Shared Israeli Hope.” President Reuven Rivlin opened his keynote address saying Israeli society has transitioned from being made up of a clear majority and minorities into a society made up of four main sectors or tribes, which are becoming more and more equal in size: secular, Modern Orthodox, ultra-Orthodox and Arab.

“We must speak the truth; this is not something that we expected,” he said, noting that many had called him a post-Zionist following his previous Herzliya conference address and questioned, “Is anyone who discusses the issues of Israeli identity, post-Zionist?” He explained that Israel was “Four tribes, four competing, different stories, about who we are, and what we want to be.” He noted that “the headline of the conference should have been, ‘Israeli hope: to be or not to be.’” He said that “a year ago there were those that interpreted my words as yet another typical, joyful presidential call… but first and foremost, my words were intended to serve as a call to wake up to the gaps and inadequacies between the reality of Israeli society and the system of Israeli institutions.” Looking ahead he said, “We are obliged to strive for institutional and systematic changes which must be conducted as a national effort… we must recognize that there are material and structural barriers to forming shared rules of the game for the different sectors… The creation of a shared Israeli identity and a shared Israeli hope is a mighty and noble process which will take a generation.”

One of the main engines for change Rivlin discussed was that of academia and employment. “Academia and the Israeli labor market will become an engine of real change, only when academic institutions and employers view the establishment of the Israeli dream – for a young man from Ofakim, a young woman from Bnei Brak, a young man from Jatt and a young woman from Binyamin – as a national mission of paramount professional and economic interests… Academia and the labor market today cater mainly to two tribes, but there are two more.”

He noted that if Israeli society were willing to embrace the necessary changes, the State of Israel would serve as a model for others, “A Jewish and democratic state; democratic and Jewish is one in the same.”

Following the president’s keynote address, senior ministers and political party leaders were given the opportunity to respond.

MK Naftali Bennett, Minister of Education and Minister of Diaspora Affairs, and Chairman of Habayit Hayehudi party, began his address by taking the audience on a journey to 3,000 years in the past: “We are in a sovereign state. A Jewish State under the rule of King David with great economic and political power.” He traced Jewish history through the periods, explaining how Jews in the Diaspora lived in survival mode, “Zionism was based on survival and security.” He noted that now, back in the Jewish homeland, Jews no longer needed to be afraid and could “break into a new creativity without being afraid,” adding that the new generation of Zionism needed to be based on “destiny.” He stressed that Judaism was a religion focused on contending “with the reality of the world and bringing values into it.”

Directing his address to his role as minister of education, Bennett said, “I am the minister of education of all children in Israel… they are all my children and they are equal regardless of their color, religion, politics or anything else. We express this with an intensity unlike anything else in Israel.” He also noted how his office had adjusted budget allocations to ensure that adequate funds were appropriated to areas in need in Robin Hood fashion: “We take from the strong and give to the week… when I took on my position… per capita more funds were invested in wealthier areas.”

MK Aryeh Deri, Minister of the Interior and Minister of Development of the Negev and Galilee, and Chairman of the Shas Party, said, possibly ignoring the entire books of Numbers and Deuteronomy: “It was never the dream that one [nation] should get rid of the other.” He stressed that the Arab citizens “truly want to integrate within us and be a part and parcel with us… We need to show them that we respect their culture, heritage and history… We have no desire to mix cultures but rather to live together in one state” with full equality and egalitarian rights. Also paying an homage to the man from Sherwood Forest, Deri said, “There are steps, even as painful as they may be, where we will take from the big… and give to the smaller ones.” He added that any “discourse of hatred” needed to immediately be stopped. To a round of applause he stated, “In our state it is prohibited that we should accept any racism or discourse of racism.” He should have possibly share this with the minister of Religious Services from his own party, who announced a while back (I paraphrase) that non-Orthodox Jews are not really Jewish.

MK Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint Arab List, opened his address noting all the ideals and values that he shared with the president: “Bringing the various populations closer to one another. Advancing the general welfare of all citizens. Building shared citizenship.” But he added that there are “important things that we cannot ignore… The basic thing that guides me in politics is my deep internal conviction that the guiding interests of both people are equal. Everyone wants the blessing of life.”

He emphasized the principles of nationalism: “What does it mean to be a citizen? What does it mean to be a national? We want complete equality on the national level and the civil social level.” He said that it was impossible to only talk about the economy and citizenship without nationalism. He also noted how he was always steered to discuss the future rather than the past: “We have a deep pain. In the heart of every Arab. The injustices of the past. And it hurts me so much when I hear narratives of 3,000, 4,000 years and I am told not to talk about the narratives of 60 years but to look into the future.”

By that narrative, MK Odeh referred to the fact that the Arabs of Mandatory Palestine had a chance to receive two thirds of the land if only they accepted that the Jews could have one third — and they refused. They wanted instead to murder all the Jews of the land with the help of the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. They failed and have yet to recover from the shame and disappointment of that terrible failure.

Odeh focused specific attention on the subjects of unrecognized villages and said that it would not hurt anyone for the state to “state recognizes the terrible massacre of Kafir Qasim and the massive injustices and confiscation of land.” He stated that his party’s stance was two states for two people, side by side with complete equality for both but “crimes occurred and we have to talk about that… There are citizens of the State of Israel who are not allowed to return to their land… Will it harm one Jewish person…. If people of Mahalul are returned to Mahalul… To build 80 villages… Will it harm one Jewish person?… We need to talk about civil and national rights for Arabs in Israel and it doesn’t have to harm anyone. The opposite. That is what will heal these two people.”

Naturally, when MK Odeh speaks of two states, he really means four states: three purely Arab — Jordan, the PA and Gaza, and one 20% Arab — Israel.

MK Zahava Galon, Chairman of Meretz, said that the “elephant in the room” was that the Arabs do not have their own state and we are “50 years into the occupation of the territories.” She said that no discussion could take place regarding the demographic question without talking about occupying this nation and controlling their lives.

Taking on the judicial perspective of “Shared Israeli Hope,” Chief Justice Miriam Naor, president of the Supreme Court, noted that “Our image as a democratic society requires a balance between the individual and society.” She said that the legal system plays a role in advancing Israeli partnerships and creating boundaries. “Discrimination undermines social solidarity. The courts are responsible for eradicating discrimination.”

Which is why they are appointing their own judges, evading the control of the legislator on judicial selections — because as soon as you let the people make their own decisions they’re bound to start discriminating.

David Israel

16 International NGOs Condemn Israel’s Refusal to Support BDS Founder’s World Travels

Monday, May 30th, 2016

Earlier this month, Israeli authorities refused to renew the travel documents of Omar Barghouti, a founding committee member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Barghouti was born in Qatar, grew up in Egypt and later moved to Jaffa and then to Acre in Israel as an adult, but he insists on counting himself as part of the indigenous people, as when he told the AP back in 2007, that the “Palestinians cannot possibly observe the same boycott guidelines as asked of internationals” and that the “indigenous population” is entitled to all services they can get from the system.

After marrying his wife, an Israeli Arab, Barghouti, was granted permanent residency in Israel, which he has enjoyed for the past 23 years. He holds a master’s degree in ethics from Tel Aviv University, and is pursuing a PhD. A petition drew more than 184,000 signatures asked the university to expel him, but he was never expelled.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) has threatened to revoke Barghouti’s residency on the grounds that “he is using his resident status to travel all over the world in order to operate against Israel in the most serious manner.”

Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) called for a campaign of “targeted civil elimination” of BDS leaders with the help of Israeli intelligence.

Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs and Information Gilad Erdan (Likud), who is in charge of the fight against the BDS, said that activists including Barghouti should “pay the price” for their work.

Well, the Israeli system this month decided to deny the BDS leader one vital service: they will not renew his travel papers. Barghouti told the Arab press in response: “I am unnerved but certainly undeterred by these threats. Nothing will stop me from struggling for my people’s freedom, justice and peace.”

They could take away his Internet connection, of course.

Sixteen organizations from American, Asian, and European countries are demanding that Israel make it possible for Barghouti to travel around the world to sabotage Israeli commercial and national interests. But rather than addressing Israel’s foreign ministry (which is currently headed by PM Benjamin Netanyahu), these NGOs sent their protest to the foreign ministers of 14 countries and international organizations, including, naturally, John Kerry of the USA, Federica Mogherini, High Representative for the European Union, Margot Wallström of Sweden, and Charles Flanagan of Ireland.

After relating Israel’s repressive attitude against its enemy within, the NGOs demanded that the foreign ministers “use the power and influence that resides in your office to impress on the Israeli government the absolute necessity of ceasing its repressive measures against Palestine’s civil leaders, and in particular to permit Omar Barghouti to play his full role, both inside Israel and without, in representing the aspirations of the Palestinian people.”

Incidentally, any one of the 14 countries addressed by those NGOs could offer Omar Barghouti residency or citizenship and travel papers galore. There must be a reason why they haven’t so far.

David Israel

Supreme Court Wants Interior Ministry to Explain Why Reform Converts Aren’t Recognized by the State

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

Israeli Supreme Court Chief Justice Miriam Naor on Wednesday issued a temporary injunction against the Interior Ministry ordering it to explain within two months why 11 petitioners who underwent Reform or Conservative conversion in Israel should be refused a Certificate of Oleh (immigrant) based on the Law of Return, and why they should not be registered as Jews in the Population Registry.

The Law of Return (Hok Ha-Shvut) was passed in 1950, giving Jews the right of return and the right to live in Israel and to gain Israeli citizenship. In 1970, the right of entry and settlement was extended to people with one Jewish grandparent or people married to a Jew, although they were not considered Jewish under Jewish halakha. Those who immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return are immediately entitled to gain citizenship in Israel.

According to the halakhic definition, a person is Jewish if his or her mother is Jewish, or if he or she converts to Judaism. However, Orthodox Jews do not recognize conversions performed by Reform or Conservative authorities. But the Law of Return states that any Jew, regardless of affiliation, may immigrate to Israel and claim his or her citizenship.

In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that all conversions performed outside of Israel would be recognized by the authorities under the Law of Return. The court had already ruled in 1989 that conversions performed outside of Israel were valid for the Law of Return, regardless of whether they were Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform. The 2005 ruling extended that decision, finding that overseas conversions were still valid even if the individuals did the preparatory work for the conversions while residing in Israel.

Now it appears that the Supreme Court is prepared to bring down the last vestige of halakhic Judaism regarding conversion, in an attempt to authorize Reform and Conservative religious courts in Israel to covert, forcing the state to accept their converts as Jews.

The current Interior Minister, Aryeh Deri, is an ultra-Orthodox Jew, and will most likely fight the court’s obvious plan tooth and nail. But in the end, he will have one of three choices: obey the court (not going to happen), resign (not likely), or change the law, which is, in fact, anchored in the Haredi parties’ coalition agreement.

Can the Law of Return be changed today? Can the 1970 dreaded ruling allowing non-Jews to be accepted as Jews also be revoked, while the Knesset is at it? The fate of Netanyahu’s government may depend on it.

David Israel

Rav Ovadia Joins Kerry, Obama and Rivlin on Baratz’s ‘Hit List’

Sunday, November 8th, 2015

Israel media have put another nail in the political coffin of Ron Baratz, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s nominee to be his national political adviser.

The late revered Rabbi Ovadia Yosef also was on Baratz’s hit list, according to the Chedrei Hareidim website, which published on Sunday a message that Baratz had posted on Facebook in December 2014.

It was revealed last week that Baratz previously has labeled one of President Barack Obama’s remarks as anti-Semitic, said Kerry has the mind of a 12-year-old, and had unkind words for President Reuven Rivlin.

He wrote of Rav Ovadia, the founder and spiritual leader of the Shas party:

Rav Ovadia gave a feeling of honor to many people. Nevertheless, in my opinion, his activities generally were negative.

He damaged not only the State of Israel but also, to a large extent, the same people he was trying to help.

Baratz added that besides his and Rav Ovadia’s having opposite political ideologies, the nominee for media adviser also does not relate to the late rabbi’s decisions on Jewish law and Torah wisdom.

Shas sharply condemned Baratz Sunday, and party leader Aryeh Deri joined the chorus against his being accepted as media advisor.

The party stated:

Baratz’s comments against Rav Ovadia proves his lack of good judgment and his being unsuitable to be the national media adviser.

Baratz’s Facebook post had some kind words for Rav Ovadia, stating that despite his criticism,” Every time I see him I love him and forgave him for everything.”

 

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Deri to Leave Ministry of Economy

Saturday, October 24th, 2015

Aryeh Deri, chairman of the Shas Sephardi Hareidi party, will leave the Ministry of Economy and be given another Cabinet post following the failure of the Netanyahu government to convince him to relinquish authority over the roadmap for governing Israel’s off-shore natural gas fields.

Deri will continue to serve as Minister of the Development of the Negev and the Galilee along with another post yet to be determined. Taking over the Interior Ministry from Silvan Shalom is one possibility, but that could not take place without the agreement the senior Likud member.

The stalemate over the authority for the natural gas development has kept the Knesset from voting on the budget. Once it is passed, probably in mid-November, authorization is expected for the framework for natural gas.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Deri Backs Down on Shabbat Work Halt on New Rail Line

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

A court order overruling Deri’s “stop work” decision allows Israel Railways to continue maintenance and construction work on Shabbat.

Israeli Railways can continue carrying out maintenance work and construction of the new high-speed Jerusalem-to rail line on Shabbat after the Justice Ministry and the Supreme Court out-maneuvered Shas leader Aryeh Deri, who also is Minister of Economy.

As reported here last week by the JewishPress.com, Deri scored his political points with his Sephardi Hareidi constituency knowing that his stop work order would not last very long.

Deri’s has backed down from his order against work on Shabbat following a Justice Ministry petition to the Supreme Court against the Ministry of Economy. The court obliged and overruled Deri, who then withdrew his order.

He stated:

The permits to be given or extended shall be valid until a different decision is made, given the court proceeding.

Deri had claimed that Israeli Railways did not obtain a legal permit for working on Shabbat, and he ordered that work on the rail line be halted. Israel Railways claimed that Deri’s decision would delay the inauguration of the high-speed train by 2 years, which mathematically does not make any sense but at least gave the company another excuse for another postponement in completing the massive and oft-mismanaged project.

One delay earlier this year was caused by tunnel engineers who were off the mark during work from both ends of one of the tunnels. It returned out that the opening from each end did not meet in the middle.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Israel Railways Claims 150 Shabbatot Equals 2 Years

Friday, September 25th, 2015

Shas chairman and Minister of Economy Aryeh Deri sparked a political fire on Friday by ordering a halt to work on Shabbat on the high-speed Jerusalem-Tel Aviv train line.

The route is supposed to start operating by 2018.

Halting work on Shabbat would mean a delay of approximately 120 days, but Israel Railways charged that Deri’s order will delay the project by up to two years.

Apparently, people who work on Shabbat work at a far faster pace than they do on weekdays.

Work on public facilities and in industries on Shabbat in Israel is allowed if there is a special labor permit, which is issued in areas of public need, such as the water and electric companies and at factories where on-going processes cannot function practically with a weekly shutdown and start-up.

Deri’s order seems to be a ploy for political points with his Hareidi constituency.

The Transportation Ministry said that work permits are issued by the Minister of Economy, but Deri maintained that each minister is responsible for issuing permits for projects under its jurisdiction.

Since no permit for working on Shabbat has been granted for work on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem train line, it is illegal for construction to continue on the Day of Rest, according to Deri.

It is very likely that the proper permits eventually will be issued, allowing the work to continue while Deri carries home points with his constituents.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/israel-railways-claims-150-shabbatot-equals-2-years/2015/09/25/

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