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September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Equal Burden’

Lapid Tells Haredim ‘Go Work’ as Child Subsidy Cuts Go into Effect

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

On Tuesday, the severe cuts in government assistance to large families is going into effect, representing a new peak in Finance Minister Yauir Lapid’s war against the Haredim. What began as an election slogan, touting the need for an equal share in the national burden, is now policy, and as so many things political go, this one is hurting the weakest members of society.

Here’s the list of changes in the amounts paid to families—it is divided into children before and after 2003.

Families with children born before 2003 will receive $39 a month—down from $49—for the first child; $39 a month—down from $74—for the second child; $48 a month—down from $82—for the third child; $94 a month—down from $129—for the fourth child; and $99 a month—down from $109—for the fifth child and on.

The effect on a family of 10, which would be almost certainly religious (or Arab) is a 20% drop, from $988.00 to $814.00.

Israel’s social security administration objected to these cuts, arguing that they expect them to send some 35 thousand new children below the poverty line. In fact, they said the new cuts, sold as part of the “equal burden” package, will actually introduce a huge, new gap between rich and poor, as the percentage of poor children will rise from 4 to 40 percent.

In his Facebook message (today’s politician’s alternative to press conferences, where they might ask you embarrassing questions), Lapid said he was fulfilling one of his key promises to his voters. He also offered the following factoid, possibly something he read in a Maggie Thatcher interview:

“For years upon years it’s been proven that child allowances don’t get people out of poverty, they only make poverty permanent. Only one thing allows families exit the cycle of poverty – and that’s working.”

According to a 2011 report on poverty issued by the Israeli social security administration, 39.3% of Israeli families have been freed from the cycle of poverty due to receiving a variety of subsidies, including child allowances and income tax breaks, and the figure includes 15.1% of the children in Israel. The poverty line before government subsidies are paid out stands at $39.3%, and with the old subsidies dropped to 19.9%, which is still the highest poverty level among developed countries, and highest among all the OECD member countries…

For Haredi families, this severe cut in income comes coupled with a severe curtailing of funding for yeshivas and kolelim—by 30 percent this coming year, and by 60 percent the following year.

Four Haredi families are planning to sue the government in the Supreme Court over the cuts, which they say were made haphazardly and in a manner that does not befit proper legislation. A similar appeal was rejected a month ago by Justice Noam Solberg, on the ground that it was issued too early on in the legislative process. He urged the plaintiffs to come back once the bill becomes a law. Well, today it did.

Minister Lapid received a lot of praise when, during a duel with MKs from the Torah Judaism party, he said from the podium, in response to an accusation that his office was starving children:

“We will not allow any child in the State of Israel to go hungry. It’s our duty to make sure no child in Israel will be hungry, and we will honor it. But I want to remind [you], the institution responsible for caring for children is called their parents. When you bring a child into this world, [you] are the primary person responsible for it. Bringing a child into the world is a heavy responsibility, and so you should bring children into the world not based on the assumption that other people would care for them, but rather based on the assumption that it’s your obligation to take care of your own children.”

But that was many months ago. Today it has become clear that Minister Lapid—continuing his late father’s legacy of Haredi and religious hatred—has declared war on religious Jews in Israel. So far it’s been a three-pronged attack, hitting the issues of draft, child rearing in large families, and the education budget. Granted, in every one of these areas the Haredi public could do a lot to improve its relationship with the state and to create more goodwill between religious and secular in Israel. But to hit them with these three massive jabs all at once is not an act of repair but of destruction.


Perry Committee Haredi Recruitment Plan: Sanctions on Draft Dodgers

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

The Jacob Perry Committee program, which includes financial rewards to yeshivas with a high percentage of recruits among its students, and sanctions against those who do not report to the recruitment offices, is triggering many different reactions in Israel today, Thursday.

The enlistment reform on which the committee has been working for the last two months, examining all the necessary balances between the value of military service versus the value of Torah study. The reform will replace the Tal Law, which lapsed following the Supreme Court’s decision last August. The reform determines a gradual process ending with all the Israeli citizens serving the state under the conditions prescribed by the law of security service.

The recommendations determine new rules for sharing the security burden equally, by including yeshiva students as part of the Security Service Act (and taking them off the “temporary” rules which have been in existence for ages), and thus the the duty of the civil service would apply to Haredim. At the same time, the law is also considering the value of Torah study in the mix.

In addition, the proposed law shortens the service of men in the army to 32—from 36—months, and extends the service of women in the IDF to 28—from 24—months.

The new law, should it be approved, will take effect in August, 2013.

But the actual recruitment of Haredim will begin only three years later, a fact that raised the ire of equal burden activists. Three years are an eternity in Israeli politics, which could mean that by the time the serious part of the law comes into effect, an entirely different government will be doing the enforcing.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Haredim, who until now have been limited in what they could do for a living, since going openly to find work could end up with them wearing a uniform, will now be free to pursue real jobs on the open market.

Torah Judaism MK Israel Eichler suggested a complete revamping of the IDF recruitment program, turning the army professional, with good salaries that would attract the very best from all parts of society.

Most Haredi leaders argued that the new law is a blatant attempt to destroy the Torah world in Israel. At the same time, many detractors of the new proposed law on the secular side argue that it needlessly exempt 28 thousand Haredim today, with vague promises about recruiting their younger brethren four years from now.

Still, no one so far has objected to the idea that yeshiva deans will have to account for their students, and decide whether they really belong behind a stander.

35 Thousand Haredim Protest Draft, 10 Cops Injured

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Ten police officers were injured, one seriously, six required medical care in hospital, at a Thursday night demonstration of an estimated 35 thousand Haredim (police estimated the crowd at 25 thousand, the higher estimate comes from Channel 10 News), in front of the recruiting office in Jerusalem. Three demonstrators were also injured and were taken to hospital. Eight Haredi demonstrators were arrested for questioning.

 

Thousands of Haredim protested in front of the IDF recruiting office in Jerusalem, May 16, 2013.

Thousands of Haredim protested in front of the IDF recruiting office in Jerusalem, May 16, 2013. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

The demonstrators rallied “against the evil decree of conscription,” following publication of the proceedings of Minister Yaakov Perry’s “Equal Burden” Committee. Driven mostly by the more radical members of the Haredi community—while the established Haredi parties and political institutions did not urge their supporters to join, and some, including Rav Ovadia Yosef, discouraged participation—demonstrators threw stones and water bottles at the crowd control police, pushed garbage collection carts at them and set fire to garbage containers.

Jerusalem Police Chief Yossi Parienti said the protest organizers failed to meet the terms of their license and the police will investigate them.

Giant ads posted in Haredi neighborhoods called for a “rally of tens of thousands” against “the Zionist regime in the Holy Land,” which is engaged in a culture war against the Haredi population.

“Remember, your fate and the fate of your descendants is in your hands,” said the rally ads issued by Haredi community leaders, arguing that only participation by tens of thousands in the protest would save the public from the scourge of the draft.

The head judge of the Eda Haredit (Haredi Community) court, Rabbi Tuvia Weiss, told the protesters that the Haredi Community opposes any compromise on the draft. Finance Minister Yair Lapid said that his party will fulfill its promise to voters on the equal burden. He wrote on his Facebook page that serving in the IDF is not an “evil decree.”

The office of Minister Yaakov Perry response to the rally was that the emerging new bill regarding the draft is part of a much needed reform necessitated by the reality in Israel and the current state of sharing the national burden, alongside the preservation of the value of Torah study. According to the committee, the recommended path for Haredi society begins with military service and continues into civilian employment.

Rabbi Auerbach: Army Service Means Eradication of Judaism

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

Speaking on Saturday night, Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, one of the leading Lithuanian poskim (halachic authorities) for Haredi Ashkenazi Jews living in Israel, pursued his hard line on military service for yeshiva students: “This means the uprooting of religion, this problem concerns ‘klal Israel’ (all the Jews),” Kikar HaShabbt reported.

“I’m not here to deliver sermons,” Rabbi Auerbach opened his speech, calling for Haredi Israelis to “stand guard without any changes, because this is one of the fundamentals of the faith, in the category of ‘ye’hareg v’bal ya’avor’ (a commandment one must obey even at the cost of their own life).”

“If we wanted to compromise, we could have done it 2000 years ago, and yet throughout all those years many gave their lives for the sake of Torah. If we stick to our position, it will influence those who are far away from us as well, ” Rabbi Auerbach stressed.

“If we stand up for ourselves and make it clear that there is nothing to compromise about, then everyone will understand it. There’s no room for compromise on matters of ‘ye’hareg v’bal ya’avor.’ The Torah is the foundation of the existence of Israel. The Torah is the breath of our noses and we literally depend on it. The issue at hand is nothing short of eradicating our religion, which concerns all the Jews and we must stand as a bulwark to prevent it,” Rabbi Auerbach concluded his harsh message.

According to Kikar HaShabbt, prior to his attack on any attempt at instituting an “equal burden” regarding military service, Rabbi Auerbach had spoken at great length with Rabbi Yizhak Tuvia Weiss, head of the Haredi court, at Auerbach’s residence in Shaarei Chesed, Jerusalem, and it can by surmised that the unrelenting position expressed Saturday night represents a consensus with the Haredi world.

Almost at the same time as the Haredi leader’s speech, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was meeting with President Shimon Peres on live television, decrying the fact that his two largest potential coalition partners, Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett, were “boycotting” the Haredi parties and refuse to sit with them in his government.

Netanyahu blatantly accused the two parties of “baseless hatred,” which is easily as harsh a statement as Rabbi Auerbach’s, seeing as our tradition blames the destruction of the second Temple on baseless hatred.

For their part, Lapid and Bennett are arguing that it makes no difference to included in a government that sets out to reform Haredi enlistment the very parties that would do everything in their power to jeopardize such a reform.

Bibi, Bennett, Yair Talks Breakthrough: Shas Gets Boot

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

After several weeks in which it seemed that the gaps between the sides in the coalition negotiations on burden equality could not be bridged, we’re now being told, according to Maariv, that a solution is near. Senior Likud negotiators said Tuesday night that they are close to an agreement with the Jewish Home over an outline for equal burden legislation. According to those sources, the Jewish Home team told them they are authorized to negotiate on behalf of Yesh Atid as well.

At this point, sources in both teams are saying they are close to an agreement, at least over the recruitment age for Haredim: 21. This figure is a kind of compromise between age proposed by the Likud-Beitenu: 24, and the Yesh Atid position: 18.

There were huge problems with the age 24 idea, which was, in essence, a Trojan horse pushed in by the Haredi parties through the Likud-Beitenu team. First, in terms of the recruit’s usefulness to the IDF, at 24 he is basically unavailable to combat duty. Also, by the time he is 24, the average Haredi man could be the proud father of several children, which entitles him to a significant military stipend. In other words: at 24 he is more trouble than he’s worth.

Also, the Jewish Home team was arguing that the same Supreme Court that killed the previous Tal Law on grounds of inequality will no doubt reject the age 24 idea on the same grounds. Even at age 21, the Haredi recruits are only expected to serve two years—which is very likely to be challenged in front of the court by anyone who didn’t make it into the government and isn’t Haredi.

Incidentally, according to Maariv, Jewish Home and Yesh Atid do not agree on the enlistment of another, much larger segment of the population, the Arabs, who have been just as useless to the community at large as the Haredim, but comprise 20-25% of the population, as opposed to the estimated Haredi 8%. While Jewish Home would like to see the Arabs shouldering the burden like the rest of Israel’s young men and women, Lapid’s party is not as shocked and anguished over Arab inequality, possibly because they like them more than they do Haredim.

One message is clear, for now: according to Jewish Home sources, the Likud-Beitenu team has given up on trying to split the Bennett-Lapid pact. This might mean that Benjamin Netanyahu’s and Avigdor Liberman’s worst nightmares could be realized over the next four years, namely that those two young, sassy winners will use their stay in power to push their respective parties to an even bigger share of the vote next time around.

On the other hands, when you’re in charge of actual government ministries, things can happen…

Finally, whether or not the next coalition will include Shas and Torah Judaism, the 17-seat strong Haredi block, it appears that their two “traditional” portfolios, Interior and Housing, Shas’s source of patronage jobs and huge influence over Israeli society, is lost to them, at least for now. It isn’t clear yet, however, whether those two rich portfolios will be given to Bennett’s party or kept in Likud-Beitenu’s embrace.

Being kept apart from its traditional lifeline could spell the beginning of the end for both sectarian Haredi parties, who’ll start losing followers to the broader-based Jewish Home. Coupled with the probable, at this point, appointment of National Religious Rabbi David Stav to Chief Rabbi, this could mean the beginning of a new golden age for Religious Zionism.

Put that in Obama’s pipe and let him smoke it.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/bibbi-bennet-yair-talks-breakthrough-shas-gets-boot/2013/02/26/

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