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November 25, 2015 / 13 Kislev, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘draft’

Get Serious

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

We have reached the red line for Jonathan Pollard. If President Obama doesn’t bring our brother, Jonathan, who has been captive in his country for 28 years, with him to Israel, he is liable to die in prison, God forbid. With this heavy ethical weight on our necks, this horrible betrayal of an agent that we sent to risk his life for us, we may all be thrown into a reality that begins with a “small” destruction at Ma’aleh Rehavam – with seemingly no end in sight.

There is a connection between the two. When you are not loyal to your brother, when you do not practice basic solidarity, when there is no moral glue that ties you to your brother rotting in jail – everything falls apart. If we have disengaged from Pollard, then get ready for the next Disengagement – in the name of security, of course. And get ready for a solution regarding the Iranian problem – brought to you by Uncle Sam.

In the end, we will find ourselves without Pollard, without Judea and Samaria, without the Americans, and with a nuclear Iran. Just like in the Lodz ghetto, where they gave up a few poor children to save all the rest. Nothing has changed since then. The Jews are the same Jews, and the mindset is also the same.

Last week I called upon my fellow Knesset members to boycott Obama’s Knesset speech if he does not bring our brother, Jonathan, with him. Meanwhile, in the face of the approaching political tsunami, we are all busy bickering over the proverbial tempests in the teapot.

When it comes to the haredi draft issue, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. After all, the last thing that Yair Lapid wants is for the IDF to suddenly grow a long beard and put on a black suit. And the IDF does not want or need the extra manpower, as it already drafts many more recruits than it really needs. On the other side of the coin, there are many young haredi men who want to serve in the Army and work – namely, lead normal lives. Here’s the problem: the IDF does not offer them enough frameworks that are appropriate to their levels of observance. Nobody actually expects them to exercise with women instructors. So what is the debate really all about? It’s about political capital.

The second tempest in the teapot is jumpstarting the “peace process.” What are they talking about? In all of history, there has never been a collection of people for whom the entire world, including those who should surrender their sovereignty, has rallied full force to recognize a state – and the state has not even been born. A Palestinian state will never be born because Golda Meir was right. There is no Palestinian nation and this non-nation harbors a primal fear of a state. Just look at how Arab MK Ahmad Tibi and company reacted when then-Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman made his generous offer to move the border west of their towns, effectively removing them from Israel proper.

The goal of Palestinian self-definition is not sovereignty in the land of Israel, but rather the negation of Jewish sovereignty in the land. That is why a Palestinian state has never been established in Judea and Samaria and why there was never such a demand when Jordan or any other Muslim entity ruled here. Their focus has always been on the very last centimeter of Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel. As then-British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin defined the issue at the League of Nations when the British returned their mandate over the land of Israel to the world body: “The goal of the Jews in the land of Israel is to establish a state for the Jews in the land. The goal of the Arabs in the land of Israel is to ensure that the Jews do not establish a state in the land of Israel.”

The tsunami is approaching, and the Jews in the land of Israel are fighting over total non-issues. If it weren’t so sad, it would be comical.

It’s time to get serious.

This column was translated from the Hebrew version, which appeared in Makor Rishon.

Jew Against Jew, I Don’t Like This

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Chazal, our sages say that the Holy Temple was destroyed because of baseless hatred, Jew against Jew.  All the recent political infighting, especially  since the recent Israeli Knesset Elections, just make me fear God’s wrath.  What punishment does God have in store for us, God forbid?

Even Jews who claim to be Torah observers, following God’s commandments are dividing rather than uniting us.

Shas: It’s Over, We’re Headed for Opposition: Sephardic hareidi party vows to fight from the Opposition, keep funds from going to “hilltop youth.” And the NRP, a.k.a., Bayit Yehudi’s new leader, Naftali Bennett, has not learned the most important skill needed to be an effective politician, getting along and reaching agreements.  His pact with Leftist leader, who’s also a rookie MK, Yair Lapid, is not good for the country.  People voted for Bennett’s NRP so that he would influence from within the government, and he’s just pushing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu further Left.

One of Lapid’s demands is that he won’t sit in the government with Haredim, so when you add all this together, you have a big problem.

And in the meantime, the modern Amaleks in Iran are making progress on their nuclear weapons.  And is the “free world” (sic) ready for this?  No way.  The United States President Barack Hussein Obama is fiddling on his roof talking the negotiations talk, and Israel is still threatening. But after years of these threats, nobody takes them seriously, especially not the Iranians.

The more Israelis fight among themselves the more we’re inviting Amalek to attack.

Bad news, and I don’t see a good solution to theis.

I also recommend reading Arlene Kushner’s  “Deplorable,” which expresses my feelings, too.

Now I’m referring not to the state of the world, but to the state of Israeli politics. I am so often proud of who we are. But now? I would gladly grab hold of certain political shoulders and shake until the heads that sit on those respective shoulders rattled. Where? I want to ask. Where is your devotion to the state and the greater good during these difficult times?
Visit Shiloh Musings.

Shas and UTJ to Join Coalition by Week’s End

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Both Shas and UTJ are claiming they will be in the government by the end of the week and perhaps as early as tomorrow, according to a report in Kikar Shabbat.

Other sources report that the parties have reached a compromise on the universal draft issue that the Gedolim (Torah sages) can live with, as well as the Likud.

JewishPress.com sources say that Shas may again receive the Interior Ministry. The Srugim website confirms that, and adds that Shas was also offered the Minsitry of Religion, an additional ministry to be named later, and Deputy Minister of Education.

The question still stands if Bennett and Lapid will be in the government, or perhaps, if Labor will go in, in their place.

On Israeli TV tonight, Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) said there is no alliance with Lapid, just understandings on specific issues, implying that they could join the government even if Lapid doesn’t. Jewish Home has no problem sitting with the Hareidi parties, while Lapid does.

For the Jewish Home, one of the important issues that they want agreed upon for them to enter the coalition is that the Edmond Levy report be adopted by the government.

Once Netanyahu approaches the needed 61 seats, he can then ask for a 2 week extension to close the last party that pushes him over the top.

But will that last party be Jewish Home, Yesh Atid, or Labor?

Netanyahu Not Discounting New Elections, Likud Says

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not discounted the possibility of holding new elections, senior sources in the Likud-Beitenu faction say, according to the Israeli publication, Ma’ariv.

Netanyahu has had a hard time forming a government because of the feud between the Yesh Atid and Jewish Home parties on the one hand, who desire a universal draft policy, and Haredi parties Shas and United Torah Judaism, who want to maintain the status quo in which the vast majority of Haredim do not serve, pursuant to an exemption for yeshiva students.

Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid and Jewish Home chairman Naftalli Bennett have reportedly agreed to enter or stay out of the government as a bloc. The two parties comprise 31 Knesset Members between them, and Netanyahu will not practically be able to form a coalition with out them.

Forming a coalition with them will not be easy either, as Shas and UTJ would not join due Yesh Atid and Jewish Home’s insistence on a universal draft plan. In that case, Netanyahu would likely have to include Tzipi Livni, and possibly also Kadima to form a stable coalition of seventy seats.

The possibility of new elections is only the latest in public posturing by the various parties engaged in coalition negotiations.

By law Netanyahu has 28 days to form a government which has the backing of the Knesset and can ask for an extension of 14 days. If Netanyahu cannot form a coalition by then, the President would then ask another Member of Knesset to form a government, who would then have fourteen days to form a government. If a government could not still not be formed, new elections would have to be held.

Hareidim – N.I.M.B.Y.

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

Hareidim – obviously they’re worse than the Settlers. Who wants them? Worse, who wants them next living next door to you.

For a supposedly open-minded and tolerant society, some Israelis are very intolerant of Hareidim. So intolerant that they don’t want them as neighbors, while simultaneously complaining about Hareidi neighborhoods being enclaves of intolerance and isolation.

In Friday’s (Jerusalem Post) In Jerusalem, the paper went on its usual rant about Hareidim (legally, mind you) acquiring more property in Jerusalem for their growing needs.

In this latest story, the (secular) residents of Ramat Sharett, who share a border with (Hareidi) Bayit V’Gan woke up nearly too late to stop the “machinations” that put them on the “forward position on the frontlines of the ongoing haredi-secular battle in Jerusalem”.

But luckily these secular residents managed to block the legal hareidi acquisition and construction, and reach a “compromise” with the city, thus acquiring one of the two plots in question for themselves, keeping it out of Hareidi hands who had legally already won it.

This of course follows up with their previous articles on Hareidim making inroads into Kiryat HaYovel, and other “last bastions” of secularism in Jerusalem, to the dismay of the less primitive and more open and tolerant secular residents.

But don’t be concerned, all these people say that Hareidim deserve to have a place to live, just not in their back yard.

But what happens when it’s not in their back yard?

Not surprisingly, it turns out these tolerant secular open-minded progressives don’t want Hareidim to have a place to live there either.

In the Jerusalem Post’s weekend magazine, they interviewed Brian Lurie, the new president of the New Israel Fund (NIF) and Naomi Paiss, their VP of public relations.

There’s so much disgusting stuff to talk about in that article, but one particular paragraph caught my eye.

As you may have guessed from above, there are so few communities that want to let Hareidim in, for fear of them taking over.

As a result, the Hareidim have been working on building in their own towns and cities (one in the Negev, one in Wadi Ara), where they can let their hair down, and not worry about bothering secular Jews with the threat of encroachment.

But, the NIF and other progressive group don’t like the idea that Hareidim should build all-Hareidi towns for themselves. And so they try to block it.

The Jerusalem Post quotes Naomi Paiss, NIF’s VP for public relations,

“…the NIF was involved in a campaign to change what was set up to an all-haredi 50,000-person city placed in the Harish wadi area [JS: think Baqa Al-Gharbiya and Umm el Qutuf] between a regular middle-class town of ordinary Jewish people, a kibbutz down the road and an Arab village up the hill.”

Paiss says the new city would have ruined an area where pluralism is working by artificially throwing in a new ghetto.

She says she has no problem with Hareidim moving into the new development, but the NIF is proud it has suceeded in making the new development open to all.

So let’s analyze her statement, down the road is a left-wing kibbutz ghetto. Up the hill is an exclusively Arab village ghetto (Baka Al-Gharbiya – Arab population 32,000+, Jewish population: 0). And somewhere nearby is a ghetto of middle-class ordinary (presumably secular) Israelis (who would of course welcome in Hareidim with open arms to their town).

So despite all those other ghettos nearby, a new Hareidi ghetto would have ruined the pluralism of the the area. Really.

I don’t know about you, but the hypocrisy is just reeking.

And perhaps there’s something else that Paiss isn’t actually telling us either.

This area, Wadi Ara, is actually an area overwhelmingly populated by Arabs, and not Jews, though it appears to me that she wants you to think otherwise by mentioning a kibbutz and Jewish town alongside and Arab village.

If I were a suspicious fellow, I’d wonder if perhaps the NIF fears that Hareidim moving in, with their high birth rates, would Judaize the Wadi Ara area. While a “pluralistic” town, “open to all” would prevent that from happening.

But I’m not a suspicious fellow, and I’m sure that wasn’t a consideration, even if she implied that there was only a small Arab village nearby, and not a few, including one with over 32,000 Arab residents.

The Winds of Change

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

There was an amazing editorial by Rabbi Moshe Grylak in last week’s Mishpacha Magazine, in which hereflected on the newly elected Israeli Knesset. He applauded the fact that so many members of the new Knesset will be observant Jews. In fact, he pointed out that it has almost become fashionable for a political party to have at least one religious Jew on their list. Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid has two rabbis who will be sitting members in the Knesset. He contrasted that to an earlier time when wearing a Kipa in the Knesset was seen as anything but an asset. Here is how he put it:

I, for one, feel this is a refreshing change. It tells us that the kippah on the head of an MK does not, in and of itself, frighten the secular public in Eretz Yisrael the way it once did. Two weeks ago Yair Lapid, head of the celebrated new Yesh Atid party, declared publicly and unabashedly that he believes in G‑d and in Divine involvement in earthly affairs, a departure from the faith of his father, Tommy Lapid, who was an avowed atheist.

A journalist from the left-leaning Haaretz once told me that in her opinion, Tommy Lapid didn’t hate the hareidim so much as he looked down on them pityingly, considering them victims of some mass delusion. Yet his beloved son Yair is standing up and bareheadedly declaring his adherence to that very “delusion.” How that belief affects his personal life, if at all, is not the question now.

The point is that he felt he could make such a statement without fear of losing the election, and that attests to a change in the public’s attitude. In the past, one such remark by a candidate could have lost him any chance of sitting in the Knesset. Indeed! An astounding 40 or more members of the Knesset will be Kipa wearing Jews. That is at least 1/3 of the Knesset! That is a Kiddush HaShem!

But as a card carrying Haredi, Rabbi Grylak considers this to be a mixed blessing. While applauding this new statistic he laments the fact that so many of these new members seem to be opposed to the views of ‘Daas Torah’ on the subject of drafting Haredim into the army. The Haredi position is well known by now. They are opposed to drafting Haredim.

How opposed? It seems like it might be a Machlokes HaPoskim. Here is what Yahadut Hatorah’s Menachem Eliezer Moses said. From YWN: “If we are so compelled, we will all accompany the bnei yeshivos to prison.”

But Brisk Rosh Yeshiva, HaGaon HaRav Meshulam Dovid Halevy Soloveitchik has said that if the draft is enacted into law, then “we (Yeshiva and Kollel students) will be compelled to leave the country.”

Jail or exile. What a choice.

None of this surprises me. That is all I’ve been hearing since the Tal law was allowed to lapse. The Tal Law offered Haredim a path into the workforce by satisfying their military obligations with minimal service after leaving Kollel. And even that law was considered anti Torah by some Haredi rabbinic leaders.

This is one area where differences between Haredi factions disappear. When it comes to drafting their youth, they all unite in common cause. The Eida HaHaredis, the Lithuanian Yeshiva world, the world of Hasidim… even HaGoan Rav Ovadia Yosef… all keep repeating the same “Hell no… We won’t go!” type mantra:

What is disturbing to me is not so much their argument that learning Torah is more important than army service. It is the way they articulate it. Here for example is what Rav Meshulam Dovid Halevy Soloveitchik said in a Shmooze (informal lecture or conversation) with his students. From YWN:

“The kavona of the haters of Israel by trying to draft bnei yeshivos is to destroy the major foundation of Torah, to destroy the yeshiva world, and to uproot everything R”L

The rosh yeshiva refers to the share the burden effort as an “existential threat against the Torah world and Yiddishkheit R”L”.

…they seek to uproot everything” he adds, “to uproot Klall Yisrael’s neshama from its roots, the yeshivos hakodesh.”

“When we refer annually in the Pesach haggadah (In every generation they stand against us to destroy us) refers to the gezeiros of the haters of Torah seeking to uproot the Torah HaKadosha R”L.” I’m sorry. With all due respect to Rav Soloveitchik does he really believe that the goal of… not only the secular government but of many religious members of the Knesset is to destroy Torah Judaism? If so – he is wrong and clueless about their goal and their motives.

A Solution to the Draft Controversy

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

My proposal regarding the contentious issue of Israel’s universal draft represents a unique approach that cannot only solve the problem but will also provide leverage to strengthen the IDF and Israeli society.

To begin, I object to the premise that army service is a unifying factor, i.e. the melting pot, of Israeli society. Today, a large part of Israeli society – not necessarily the Haredi – finds a way to evade mandatory service. Also, only a small percentage of the entire society serves in the reserves.

Mandatory military service is one of the factors dividing and fragmenting Israeli society. The discussion being conducted now is one of the proofs of that. Additionally, the obligation to draft everyone is actually a burden on the army and economy, as it cultivates hidden unemployment and lack of professionalism.

Proposal’s Main Points

● Create a process that will transform the army into a professional, volunteer force. ● On the other side of the coin, we must exchange our exclusive reliance on the army as an apparently unifying factor in Israeli society with a true investment in the strengthening of our shared national and cultural identity. This entails authentic dialogue between all the main sectors in Israeli society.

Army Service Proposal

● The Mandatory Draft Law will remain on the books, but the IDF will draft only those it is interested in drafting, according to the tracks to be specified below. ● Most of the recruits will serve in a shortened training track (not more than two months) that will prepare them for various roles in times of emergency – and will then be discharged.

● Recruits who volunteer for military units will be drafted for at least three years. They will receive minimum wage during their training and standing army wages during their military service.

● Recruits who volunteer for special units will be drafted for a longer term (5-6 years), in accordance with the training invested in them. They will also receive minimum wage during training and standing army wages during their military service.

● The National Service and Civil Service frameworks will continue to play their roles in society, in accordance with the civil needs.

● Reserve units will receive high pay and high national classification as detailed in the following point.

● A classification on a point system will be set in place. Points will be allotted relative to reserve time served. These points will afford the reservists preference for anything that society honors (academia, housing, employment, etc.) in order to encourage those who give of themselves for the good of the whole.

Proposal Application

● This proposal does not require a change in legislation but rather a change in perspective. The army must be allowed to draft those individuals who it can professionally train and from whom it will truly benefit. Those not needed by the army could give to society in National Service or Civil Service, as well as in their preparedness for active duty during emergencies. Those not wishing to do their part in any way will remain at “the end of the line” in any domain in which society encourages those who give to it.
● This proposal will make the army more effective while freeing those currently forced to perform mandatory conscription (be it in the army or in yeshiva) to enter the work market. Instead of funding unemployed soldiers and yeshiva students who do not want to enlist, a wave of young workers will enter the workforce and create a more just distribution of the economic burden on the shoulders of Israel’s citizens.

MILITARY SERVICE is a privilege – not a burden. Mandatory conscription is not really needed. It weakens our security and economy, creates unnecessary conflicts and fragments society.

I call upon Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet to adopt this new, fresh approach on the draft issue. I call on them to channel their efforts to truly unite Israeli society – by investing in our national identity and its meaning.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/moshe-feiglin/a-solution-to-the-draft-controversy/2013/02/13/

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