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October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Beitar Illit’

Bennett Urges Annexing Major Jewish Centers in Judea and Samaria

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Naftali Bennett, chairman of the Jewish Home party and a key government coalition partner, has publicly proposed that Israel annexing Maaleh Adumim, Gush Etzion and other areas in Judea and Samaria where there are large Jewish population centers.

“I favor implementation of Israeli sovereignty over the zone where 400,000 [settlers] live and only 70,000 Arabs,” Bennett, who also is Minister of Economy, said on Israeli radio Sunday. His numbers are way off the mark, unless he was including approximately 250,000 Jews who live in areas of Jerusalem that have been under Israeli sovereignty since 1980. The United States and the United Nations still refer to them as “settlements.”

Bennett did not refer to any specific communities, but Maaleh Adumim, east of Jerusalem, Beitar Illit, Efrat and neighboring communities in Gush Etzion, and the city of Ariel are home to approximately 150,000 Jews, about half of those living in Judea and Samaria.

Even talking about annexing parts of Judea and Samaria could be enough to scuttle U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s “Peace Talk Road Show,” which played another round last week.

Kerry left Israel with triumphant statements, such as “I believe we are closer than we have been in years to bringing about the peace and the prosperity and the security that all of the people of this region deserve.”

Bennett could not have been more negative about Kerry’s cheerleading.

“This is all a joke. It’s as if we’re discussing the purchase of a car with only half of its owners,” Bennett said Sunday.

Add to that juicy comments by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and then ask if Kerry knows what is going in the Israeli government, or ask if chief negotiator is preparing to blow up the whole works by destroying the coalition.

Lieberman told the Saban Center for Middle East Policy in Washington Friday, “Today the trust between the two sides is about zero. It’s impossible to create peace if you don’t have any credibility. I don’t believe it is possible in the next year… to achieve a comprehensive solution to achieve some breakthrough but I think it is crucial to keep our dialogue.”

Ya’alon told the annual Globes Business Conference Saturday night, “As someone who supported Oslo [Accords], I’m learning that on the other side we have no partner for two states for two people. There is no one on the other side, and hasn’t been since the dawn of Zionism, a leadership that is prepared to recognize our right to exist as a nation-state for the Jewish nation, and to recognize an agreement as the end of the conflict and the end to demands.”

Post-Election Construction: Will It Happen?

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Now that the elections in Jerusalem are over, and with murderous Palestinian terrorists having been freed from prison, there seems to be an across-the-board desire to resume Jewish construction in the capital. The question is: Will this new enthusiasm last long enough for tractors to actually start work?

Prime Minister Netanyahu, under whose watch Jewish construction in the outlying areas of the Holy City has ground to a resounding halt, let it be known that together with last week’s release of killers from prison, he will initiate construction in eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria (Yesha). And in fact, the Housing Ministry announced this week plans for 1,000 new housing units in large Yesha towns – though not in the smaller ones that need it most – and 700 more in Jerusalem.

Specifically, Gilo, Har Homa and Ramat Shlomo – among the Jerusalem neighborhoods liberated from Jordanian control during the Six-Day War – are scheduled to gain hundreds of apartments. In Yesha, the 1,030 new units will be distributed among Elkanah, Beitar Illit, Karnei Shomron, Maaleh Adumim, Givat Ze’ev, Adam, and Ariel (in descending order).

It is said that Netanyahu’s sudden benevolence is an attempt to offset the popular resentment and anger at his government’s release of terrorist murderers. Fifty-two such killers have already been freed in the framework of the ongoing negotiations with the Palestinian Authority – half the total set to be freed as the talks proceed.

This could be a case of getting hit with the fish, paying for it, and having to eat it in any event. For one thing, the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party doesn’t accept the gesture. “Don’t do us any favors,” party officials told Netanyahu. “Don’t release terrorists and don’t build.”

The Yesha Council of Jewish Communities responded similarly: “Releasing terrorists is a terrible mistake both morally and politically. We object even if it is bound up with decisions to build.”

In addition, the PA used the occasion to attack Israel for “sabotaging” the talks and violating their pre-conditions, and its top negotiator even announced his resignation. Though their accusations are totally false – Israel agreed beforehand with U.S. Secretary of State Kerry that no restrictions would apply to Israeli construction during the talks – the international damage to Israel’s reputation has been done.

And in the end, who says the construction will actually ever happen? In the face of international condemnation, it could very well be that the building plans – so necessary for the vitality of Israel’s economy, both inside and outside of Yesha – will go the way of last month’s Hebron announcement: Following a murderous terrorist attack, Netanyahu announced that Jews would be allowed to populate the Jewish-owned Beit HaMachpelah building – and the next day the decision was reversed.

On the municipal level, newly reelected mayor Nir Barkat gave a nod towards the nationalist camp when he said, “I believe we must build [in Jerusalem]; we dare not hesitate. If it were up to us [in the municipality], we would run with it.” He specifically mentioned Gilo, Har Homa, Pisgat Ze’ev – all liberated in 1967 – and other neighborhoods.

Barkat’s political opponents don’t take his pledge very seriously, however. Housing Minister Uri Ariel blames him not for not building, but for not protesting: “It’s the fault of my boss,” he told a crowd of supporters, referring to the prime minister’s construction halt, “but why don’t we see Barkat making an outcry?”

Ariel and Barkat actually agree that there must be no linkage between building in the capital and a possible diplomatic agreement with the PA. “The very attempt to [make an agreement dependent on not building] is the true obstacle,” Barkat said. Ariel was even more pointed, saying:

“Can you imagine any other country forbidding Jews to build houses? We would all run out to the streets to cry out and protest – but here it passes quietly… Netanyahu is not even allowing us to make zoning plans. The construction permits of today are from two years ago. The few hundred new units we obtained are far from enough! We need a minimum of 4,000 new units in Jerusalem each year.”

According to the PA-sympathetic Ir Amim organization, last year saw a record number of tenders issued for housing units in post-1967 neighborhoods – a grand total of 2,386. Keep in mind that this brings up the average number for the past 11 years to the grand total of 877 – quite a bit less than the 4,000 Minister Ariel demands.

Gaza Terrorists Attack Israel with Mortar Shells

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

Terrorists from Gaza attacked southern Israel Sunday afternoon with two mortar shells, but the government and the IDF have not commented. No damage or injuries were reported.

The attacks may have been timed with the expected release of more terrorists this week as part of the four-stage plan Israel announced in July to free 104 terrorists in return for the privilege of Israeli negotiators sitting down to talk with their Palestinian Authority counterparts.

Hamas, which rules Gaza, would like nothing more than to embarrass the rival Fatah movement, headed by the Obama administration’s peace partner known as Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, and cause casualties on the Israeli side that might abort the second stage of the plan.

The military policy, dictated by the Defense Ministry, has been to “retaliate” for every mortar attack by bombing a weapon storage depot or a tunnel, leaving a few hundred other “terror sites” remaining. After all, if Israel were to knock all of them out, what could the IDF do next time around when Hamas or Islamic Jihad terrorists strike the country with missiles and mortar shells? Invading Gaza or bombing areas where terrorists hang out among civilians would be considered a “disproportionate” response.

That strategy goes by the boards if, God forbid, one of those mortar shells or Kassam missiles explodes on a kindergarten.

But as long as that does not happen, Israelis living in the Gaza Belt region continue to be victims of the government’s version of Russian roulette.

In between the mortar shell and Kassam rocket attacks, there is no scarcity of attempts to kill soldiers. The IDF last week prevented a possible mass casualty attack when soldiers discovered a large roadside bomb that was intended to be detonated as a vehicle drove by. Army sappers neutralized the explosives, and no one was hurt.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu does not want to rock the boat right now and punish Hamas, face an escalation in terrorist attacks and then risk a suspension of the talks, which are being conducted under the misguided hand of President Barack Obama’s personal Middle East envoy Martin Indyk.

The Prime Minister is dead-set to go through with the second round of freeing terrorists even though it has all of the right reasons not do so. The Cabinet agreed in July to spread out the release of terrorists to test the Palestinian Authority’s ability and intentions to preserve the peace, at least until all of the terrorists are safely home where they can return to terror.

Since the start of the talks, terrorists have murdered four Israelis and tried to murder several others, including a nine-year-old girl.

Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Cabinet Sunday morning, “We have to honor government decisions even if it is difficult and unpleasant; we can’t constantly change our stance.”

But which promise? No, not the promise that Abbas keep up his end of the agreement.

The only promise that Israel has to keep is the one that Netanyahu made to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to resume the so-called negotiations.

There is one other promise that Netanyahu may keep, although almost a year late. He said earlier this year than 3,000 more homes would be built for Jews in Judea and Samaria and in parts of Jerusalem that Abbas wants to turn into the capital of a Palestinian Authority state without any Jewish residents.

To this date, zero new homes have been built in PA-claimed Jerusalem, Efrat, Maaleh Adumim, Kiryat Arba, Beitar Illit and other cities. There have been announcements of new homes, which is good material to keep the nationalists in line, but facts on the ground equal zilch.

In the horse trading that reduces the human factor to a piece of paper on which Abbas can sign another agreement to be tossed in the waste can , Netanyahu is prepared to start building homes in return for freeing terrorists.

Once upon a time, Israel negotiated with terrorists by killing them.

Then, Israel started trading them for a handful of Israelis who had been kidnapped.

And the Olmert government under the leaderless Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, agreed to release heavy-duty terrorists for corpses of IDF soldiers.

Two years ago, the Netanyahu government freed 1,000 terrorists for the release of a single soldier, Gilad Shalit.

The ‘Tznius Chase’: Is This Photo Immodest?

Monday, January 28th, 2013

The extremes of tznius among Haredim was illustrated last week by the picture accompanying this post.

One may ask, what could possibly be wrong with a picture of a group of Haredim bundled up for winter surrounding a snowman. Well this is not just any picture. It is a picture of Beitar’s mayor, Meir Rubenstein and his family. For those who don’t know, Beitar is a very Haredi city. This picture should indicate just how Haredi it is. The mayor and his family look pretty Haredi.

The publisher of this picture was summed to a religious court for publishing this picture in his weekly ad-paper.

What in heaven’s name – one might ask – is wrong with this picture? Obviously those of you who cannot figure it out – are not sensitive enough to know just how sexually arousing it is. (Interesting that the term used in the Behadrey Haredim caption is ‘aroused’.)

Look carefully. There is a picture of a woman’s face in the background. All you see is a face of a woman whose hair is completely covered and whose fully clothed body is blocked by the people standing next to her.

This would be funny if it weren’t so sad. Even though Beitar is Haredi – I do not believe it is comprised of extremists. And yet this picture was considered so provocative that that its publisher was summoned to a Beis Din. I’m not sure the publisher even realized there was a woman in the picture. That’s how obscure her image is.

The incident is really emblematic of a much larger issue. What this says is just how ridiculous issues of tznius have become in the world of right wing Haredism and how far the ‘tznius race’ is taking us.

Ordinarily it wouldn’t bother me that much that the most right wing segment of Judaism wants to reduce tznius to such ridiculous extremes. Live and let live I always say. But Haredim do not live in a vacuum. Beitar is a municipality. People visit it and know about. Their citizens interact with the rest of society in their jobs and in every day life. Beitar citizens are not isolated. People know about Beitar. They are not Neturei Karta or even Eida HaCharedis people necessarily. They are more or less mainstream – albeit on the extreme right of it.

In matters of tznius these days, there is a competition among groups of Haredim. So that even moderate Haredim might latch on to something like this. And once moderate Haredim accept such strictures, it becomes the standard for everyone except the extreme left of Modern Orthodoxy. While Centrist Orthodoxy and most moderate Haredim are not there yet. It may only be a matter of time before the tznius chase catches up with them.

If you think there is no race like that going on, you would be wrong. There is. No where is this more evident these days than at Orthodox weddings. Or even banquets. Seating at weddings and banquets are increasingly sex segregated. Single or married men and women are seated at different tables at opposite ends of a banquet hall – separated by a Mechitza. A Mechitza for weddings might be understandable – even if the seating is mixed. Watching women dance may be problematic in some cases. But banquets do not have any women dancing at all. And yet Mechitzos are increasingly becoming the standard.
The reason for this in my view is the tznius chase. Which is a subset of the Frumkeit race- also known as the move to the right. When one segment sees another segment move to the right they will tend to follow suit so as not to be outdone by those who claim to be more religious.

What happened with seating arrangements is now happening with pictures. Haredi publications are increasingly not carrying any pictures of women. Witness Hamodia, The Yated, Mishpacha, and Ami. ArtScroll still does. But I wonder how long it will take before they too join the tznius chase.

The phenomenon of moving to the right seems to be more about image these days than it is about substance.

Black hats is another example that illustrates this point. When I was in Telshe back in the sixties, the only time high school students wore black fedoras was on Shabbos. No one wore one during the week. Not even for Tefillah B’Tzibur.

Yes, we had to wear caps for that. But it could be any kind of cap, including baseball caps. Which most of us wore in those days. Try that today in a right wing Haredi Yeshiva. Or even in a moderate Haredi Yeshiva.

They will call ‘wearing black hats’ growing in Yiddsihkeit. “We have grown spiritually” – they will say – “since the ‘dark days’ of the sixties.” Spiritually? Really? Black hats? It reminds me of what a recent guest poster said about this issue. When he asked a Rebbe in his Yeshiva why black hats were so important, he was told that we do what the Chafetz Chaim did. He wore a black hat and so must we. We are supposed to emulate the behavior of our Gedolim.

Of course pictures of the Chafetz Chaim even in his old age show nothing of the sort. He wore a cap.

I call it growing in “Frumkiet” not gowing in Yiddishkeit. Frumkiet emphasizes the hitzonius (exterior facade) much more than the penimius (individual character). Frumkeit is not Judaism.

This appears to be the case in Beitar. That they called the publisher of that picture on the carpet because of the “tznius” violation in that picture says it all.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

Terror Attack in Beitar

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

A 17 year old Arab attacked and stabbed a 30 year old Jewish bus driver at the entrance to the town of Beitar Illit. The driver, a resident of Gush Etzion had just finished his shift, and was taking a walk.

The driver was treated by MDA and taken to the hospital with light stab wounds in his neck/shoulder. His condition is listed as stable.

The Arab terrorist was captured at the scene.

Beiter Illit is a mostly Ultra-Orthodox town.

Facebook Pictures Provide New ‘Ammunition’ for the Committee to Preserve Purity

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Here’s the new method for combating modesty problems: on posters that were displayed publicly on Wednesday in Beitar Illit, Israel, signed by the Committee for the Purity of our Camp, a woman’s picture appeared including her full name and the ‘fact’ that she had gotten married not in accordance with halacha (Jewish law), reports Kikar HaShabbat.

This is just one of several instances where the picture of someone involved in issues of modesty and purity is published – based on the judgment of the self-appointed “committee” presiding over matters of modesty in the city.

Reporter Manny Gira related that, in another instance, letters were sent to mail boxes with pictures of men signed up to Facebook, together with their “friends,” alongside accurate personal information about the person.

There was another incident, in Jerusalem’s Sanhedria neighborhood, where the picture of a yeshiva lector who also counsels married couples, was publicized, and the public was encouraged to refrain from using his services.

In effect, this is a new strategic phase in a war. Until now, restraint was employed regarding smearing pictures and personal information on the walls of Haredi neighborhoods. Now the war has intensified and reached the streets.

It’s still not clear whether there is a private group helping themselves to the title of “Committee for the Purity of our Camp,” or if these really are the actions of the committee, which is run by well known individuals, who decided to bring up the pressure.

The “Committee for the Purity of our Camp” is a faction that belongs to the Eida Haredit, and it is involved with “modesty and purity problems” within the Haredi sector.

No Peeking…

Friday, May 4th, 2012

A mother in Beitar Illit (pronounced “ee-leet”), in the Judean Mountains west of Gush Etzion, 6 miles south of Jerusalem, lights Shabbat candles together with her daughter.

Beitar Illit, named after the ancient Jewish city of Beitar, was established in 1984 and initially settled by a small group of young Religious Zionist families. The city has since expanded and the population is expected to reach 100,000 by 2020.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/no-peeking/2012/05/04/

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