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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Habayit Hayehudi’

It’s Not too Late to Save Bennett from Himself

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Naftali Bennett has made a huge mistake. Driven by emotion—blaming Sara Netanyahu for his new pact with Yesh Atid Leader Yair Lapid, and the sense of rage many of us in the National Religious camp feel towards the likes of Aryeh Deri, and towards the Haredim who look down on us as being not much better than the secular in terms of our Jewish merits—he has gotten himself into the worst possible partnership.

Before I proceed, I must add that in many ways Bennett is merely the newest victim of a terrible situation in which wife of the prime minister has been intimidating her husband and through him the politics of the entire country. Everyone in the Israeli media is familiar with this pathological mess, as does the political class, but to date no one has been able to effectively control it. Bennett did not invent Sara Netanyahu, he was simply foolish enough to cross her, and then not smart enough to realize what an enemy he has created. If Bennett’s clashes with Sara Netanyahu lead, God forbid, to the evacuation of Jewish homes, it would be a catastrophe reminiscent of “the modesty of Rabbi Zecharia ben Avkules destroyed our Temple.” (Gittin 56a).

In their declaration of fealty, which they repeat incessantly, both Yair and Naftali are telling the world how, when sitting together in government, they’re going to collaborate on those 90% of the issues about which they both fully agree: they’re both in favor of free enterprise and less red tape, they both favor rational religious legislation—Ayelet Shaked even wants civil marriages for those the Rabbinate has declared unweddable.

Yair (and his two rabbis, Shai Piron and Dov Lipman) wouldn’t mind, I expect, giving the Ministry of Religious Services to Habayit Hayehudi, and appointing the much deserving Tzohar chairman Rabbi David Stav Chief Rabbi. And I suppose Bennett, who is kind of a Libertarian on many issues, wouldn’t get in the way of public transportation on Shabbat for those communities that want it (e.g. Tel Aviv).

And both Lapid and Bennett agree that it’s high time the Haredim carried the burden of military service and full participation in the work force like the rest of us. I mean, how many among us don’t feel that the majority of those Haredim don’t even belong inside a yeshiva, that they should stop living like parasites and stop the pretense of saving “klal yisroel” by warming up a yeshiva bench.

This proud, new Lapid-Bennett axis agrees on so much, except for those meaningless 10% of the issues where their thinking is radically different. That, of course, is the part where the Netanyahu-Lapid-Livni axis freezes construction—any construction—in the homes of half a million National Religious Israelis, and then comes to the homes of 100 thousand National Religious Israelis and puts them on trucks because they live on the wrong side of the security fence.

Check out the Yesh Atid list of MKs and find even one—including the two honorable rabbis—who fought against the Gush Katif mass expulsion of between eight and ten thousand Jews. Back in 2004, Rabbi Piron, when asked for a psak (halachic ruling) on what to do about the Gush Katif plot, prescribed doing what we can to avoid the uprooting, but only with love, because on the other side stood great patriots who felt, innocently—not my cynical interpretation, his—that this way they’ll bring peace to the land. And then the good rabbi added, with love, that “we settled on the hilltops at the expense of settling in the hearts” of Israelis. Meaning, of course, the hearts of the good rabbi’s friends on the left who would like to see all of us in a DP camp south of Beer Sheva.

And MK Dov Lipman had this refreshing thing to say to Paperblog: “If, and I emphasize if, we reach a point where we have an internationally backed agreement which they will sign (not like Gush Katif which was unilateral) which includes our terms including an undivided Yerushalayim, then I believe we would have to accept it even though that means the painful giving up of Jewish homes and land.”

And those are just Lapid’s Rabbis! For heaven’s sake, talk about the camel giving a lift across the river to the scorpion! The Yesh Atid list is comprised of anti-Orthodox professionals. The entire country was talking last week about MK Ruth Calderon’s opening speech, where she taught a blat gemorah from the podium and showed how Jewish tradition belongs not only to the black hats and not even just to the knitted yarmulkes, but to the hatless as well. Marvelous, not a dry eye in the house. But check out Calderon’s anti-Orthodox record, and you’ll discover anything but a yearning for mutual respect and acceptance.

But forget about those relatively harmless wall flowers, whose actual influence on the politics of expulsion has been negligible—because no one has given them the power so far—and look at the number 5 man on Lapid’s list, former GSS head Yaakov Peri, who’s been advocating the expulsion of Gaza, Judea and Samaria Jews his entire career, who signed the Ayalon-Nusseiba petition calling for the splitting of Jerusalem – this is Naftali Bennett’s ally!

If, God forbid, the Lapid-Bennett axis succeeds in forcing itself on Netanyahu “as is,” we will have created the most formidable enemy of the settlements since the time Yossi Sarid and Yossi Beilin held office and brought us Oslo. Moreover, Bennett can make it possible for Lapid to gain some prestige as a brilliant this or that minister—let’s face it, despite his dubious education and occasionally strange notions of history, math and other Core Curriculum (Limudei Libah) problems, the man has flash—in two to four years Lapid can emerge as the new white hope of the left, leading a Nouveau Oslo government—obviously without Likud and without Habayit Hayehudi.

And what is this burning problem of the “equal burden” that must be faced head on this minute? The refusal of nearly eight percent of Israelis—the Haredim—to serve in the army. Man, this burns us up. It makes us sick, just looking at these young men with their hats and their beards, and their Eastern European dress, total parasites—while more than 20% of the population, Israeli Arabs, are just as parasitic on every single issue, except for the fact that they also, on occasion, collaborate with our enemies.

Sadly, Naftali Bennett was not thinking like a Jew this time around, and, I believe, acted on his feelings and not with his head. We’ve all been so enamored with the idea that Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi together comprise 31 MKs, exactly as many as the Likud Beitenu does, and some have even quipped that our own “pact” is stronger than the Liberman-Netanyahu marriage.

But, you know, Habayit Hayehudi together with Shas and United Torah Judaism comprise 30 MKs, with the difference being that it is wholly Jewish, never mind the cultural differences, and that over there Bennett actually carries the biggest stick.

Folks, despite the cultural differences, the more astute—and learned—members of Habayit Hayehudi, working with the likes of Eli Yishai from Shas and Meir Porush from UTJ, could settle the “equal burden” thing in a day. The yeshivas are just as interested in getting rid of their freeloaders, the punks who hang around “Cats Square” in Jerusalem, doing drugs and beating up unsuspecting Arab passersby—they just need to find a way of looking good doing it.

And despite the sad record of Shas in the ushering in of Oslo—the vast majority of Haredi politicians today are not enemies of the settlements, especially since so many Haredim, their voters, live outside the “green line.”

It’s not too late, folks, for the more introspective and astute members of Habayit Hayehudi (I’m looking at you, Uri Orbach) to forge the axis in which we could all rejoice, the axis of Torah Jews who are willing to overcome their relatively minute differences on military service, and compromise over the chief rabbinate, which has been turned into the private property of the Haredim (whose voters don’t even use its services).

Other than that, I’d like to find out I have 30 proud, pro-settlement Orthodox representatives in the Netanyahu government, uniting in offsetting the Livni-Mofaz direction—rather than a leftist government our man Naftali helped create with his sweet, home grown naivete.

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?

Latest Coalition Building Rumors and Threats from Israel

Monday, February 18th, 2013

With no coalition in site, threats and insults are what the public is hearing coming from the various Israeli political parties.

Bennett’s Jewish Home (HaBayit HaYehudi) is holding steadfast in their alliance with Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party in negotiations with the Likud, and this alliance is apparently frustrating Netanyahu to no end.

Sources say that Bennett doesn’t trust any of Netanyahu’s offers, particularly when he repeatedly only learns of the offers from pollster Minah Tzemach on the news, days before he actually hears of the offer from the Likud. In response to the poor treatment he’s getting, a source in the Jewish Home party allegedly said that the Jewish Home is no longer the Likud’s lapdog.

Bennett, who has an acrimonious history with Netanyahu, was also the last party leader that Netanyahu reached out to talk to, and that includes the radical leftwing party, Meretz.

Ma’ariv reports that the Likud is threatening to go back to elections if Bennett doesn’t agree to join the coalition with the Chareidi parties.

Reportedly, the Jewish Homes response was that Netanyahu is “shooting blanks”, and that if elections were held today, the voters would punish the Likud down to 12 seats for not first going with their natural partner, the Jewish Home.

The Likud made what some consider a generous offer to the Jewish Home, but in the Jewish Home party they suspect that Netanyahu wants to play Lucy to their Charlie Brown, and pull the offer away from them at the last minute as Shamir did in 1988 to the Hareidim, and the goal is only to break the Bennett-Lapid alliance, and get one for a cheaper price. That they only heard of the offer on the news days before they heard of the offer directly from the Likud, didn’t help the Likud’s credibility

On Channel 2 they are reporting that Netanyahu plans to first create the coalition with HaTnua, Shas, UTJ, and Kadima, and only then invite Jewish Home in, leaving Yesh Atid out.

Other rumors flying around is that if Jewish Home joins without the Ultra-Orthodox parties, the Hareidi parties will retaliate with a “Price Tag” attack, and will vote for dismantling outposts and settlements.

During the elections, the religious parties, particularly Shas, crossed a number of red lines and severely disparaged the Jewish Home party.

Bennett has turned out to be the cornerstone of the coalition. Jewish Home can sit with Lapid in the coalition, or they can sit with the Hareidim, while Lapid can’t sit with the Hareidim without destroying his credibility. And with those restrictions, there simply can’t be a coalition without the Jewish Home party.

This provides Bennett with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to empower the Jewish Home party like never before, and take back some of the powers grabbed by the Ultra-Orthodox over the years and give it to the National-Religious.

New Lapid Bennett Axis Enters Coalition Talks Together

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Now it’s getting real, at least according to the newly right-wing daily Maariv: the chairman of Yesh Atid, the leather-jacketed, cool TV journalist and host Yair Lapid, and the chairman of Habayit Hayehudi, the knitted yarmulke wearing, hi-tech wizard, NRP resurrecting Naftali Bennett have agreed on coordinating their positions when facing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition negotiations team.

Both leaders – the two most distinct winners of the recent election – have been holding their own negotiations, and agreed to present a unified position as their conditions for joining the next government.

Together, their two parties present a formidable block of 31 seats, equal to the Likud-Beitenu yield in the elections. Should they stick by their mutual commitments—which, in itself would be a refreshing Israeli phenomenon—they could easily force Netanyahu’s hand away from a partnership with the two Haredi parties, Shas and Torah Judaism. Those two only have a measly 18 seats to offer the embattled PM.

According to Maariv, which has recently been purchased by Shlomo Ben-Tzvi’s Hirsch Media, owner of the right-wing daily Makor Rishon—and as such is very reliable on issues concerning Bennett and the settlements movement—the two parties agreed that they would either join the coalition together or not at all. (This means that, should both remain outside the government, Lapid would be Opposition leader, to Labor’s Shelly Yachimovich’s chagrin).

Senior Likud officials have confirmed, according to Maariv, that such an agreement really exists, adding that it significantly limits Netanyahu’s room for maneuvering.

Netanyahu’s ideal coalition government would rely on Jewish Home, Shas and Torah Judaism (61 seats) with Kadima’s additional 2 seats and Shaul Mofaz, possibly, as Defense Minister. Indeed, Bibi has no interest in inviting Lapid to a seat of power in his government, which could make him even more popular four years from now.

So that, strangely enough, it is Lapid who depends on Bennett rather than the other way around, to keep his word. But, political nickels and dimes aside, the two men can only help each other by being known to cooperate publicly: two young men, both successful in their own rights, injecting honesty and principles into Israel’s cynical, depressing, old politics. And as such they’re certainly making Bibi look bad.

One man to watch for is Israel Beiteinu’s chairman Avigdor Liberman, who appeared pessimistic on Sunday regarding the possibility of putting together a viable coalition. “It’s very difficult to find a common denominator here,” he said. “The ideological split is sometimes very polar, so the end result is that instead of compromise we get ‘shatnez’ (halachically unlawful hybrid between wool and linen) that doesn’t allow us to move in any direction, and it does not allow us to bring any of the changes that the people are expecting.”

Liberman said that, as far as he’s concerned, the main issue for the next government should be changing the system of government. He said the issue would be determined in the guidelines of the next government, without wasting time on various governance committees. Likud and Israel Beitenu will meet in the coming days to present an offer on this count that would be acceptable to both parties.

According to Liberman’s proposal, the head of the largest party automatically becomes prime minister. Each government will have 18 cabinet ministers and four deputy ministers. The ministers will give up their Knesset membership, to ensure the separation of powers.

The voting threshold should go up three percent, says Liberman. Removing the Prime Minister will require a special majority of 80 Knesset members, and failure to pass a budget will not dissolve the Knesset. Votes of no confidence will require 61 signatures.

All of the above proposals reflect Liberman’s mounting frustration with the workings of government over the past decade or so, as he has experienced it intimately. His notions of a solution are typically direct, if not outright brutal, favoring the larger parties at the expense of the very parties Likud-Beitenu wants to seduce into the next government: Shas and Torah Judaism. It’s no wonder, then, that he is pessimistic about the chances for an effective government.

Indeed, the new pact between the two young mavericks Lapid and Bennett has effectively created two major, right-of-center blocks: Lapid-Bennett Vs. Netanyahu-Liberman, each with exactly 31 seats. Expect Liberman to push for partnership with the other “big party” – even if it requires Netanyahu to overcome his fears of an even stronger Lapid.

Will Sara Forgive Bennett? Will Yair Adopt Mofaz?

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

The weeks between the time the elections committee closes shop and the results are final, and when the president calls in the man or woman who would be the next prime minister are as heady as draft week and as silly as spring break, but without the booze. For the next couple or three weeks, expect to hear—including from yours truly—the wildest speculations and combinations of who’s in and who’s out. Take all of it with a chunk of salt, but don’t ignore the rumors and speculations altogether, because somewhere in there hides the one true prediction.

The problem is, at this relatively early stage of the game, that even the people at the top who are expected to create the perfect coalition don’t yet know where they’re headed. As Ha’aretz revealed this morning, the country’s semi-official king and queen, Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu, are doing their darndest to make sure Jewish Home is not in the coalition, because of their “murky personal relationship with the head of the party, Naftali Bennett.”

This is such a classic tale of no good deed going unpunished. Back in 2006, when Bibi Netanyahu was on the matte, beaten and defeated, probably crying in his sleep and wondering if that furniture chain store would take him back – it was Naftali Bennett and Ayala Shaked who showed up and—as volunteers—picked up the fallen politician and infused his dreadful campaign (he had just led the Likud to a 12-seat presence in the Knesset). But Bibi’s third wife, Sara, was interjecting herself into every aspect of the work, until on one harrowing day that forever changed the future of the Jewish nation, Naftali Bennett asked her politely to get out of his way and let him work. Or unfortunate words to that effect.

You don’t say things like that to your boss’s wife, and you certainly don’t say it to Sara Netanyahu. It was epic, it was Shakespearean – and not the comedies. And the bad blood from that encounter is still alive and piping hot.

According to Ha’aretz, quoting a senior Netanyahu aide, Sara has vetoed Bennett, and “if possible in terms of the government, Netanyahu certainly prefer not to include Bennett in his government.”

Incidentally, Bibi’s other ousted chief of staff, Natan Eshel, is considered Sara’s true and trusted friend, and so speculations abound that he’ll be back at the helm in the new government. He’s the guy who was sexually harassing the office help. But he gets along with Sara, which is the most crucial qualification over there.

The other reason Bibi doesn’t want Bennett in is that Bibi is planning to give back something substantial in order to revive the peace process, not just words and pretense, but an actual piece of land, which may or may not involve removing Jewish residents – and he expects that Bennett would walk out at that point. So why empower him further by giving him a stage off of which he can do a dramatic exit?

What is it with Bennett and exits, anyway?

So, if Jewish Home is out, who’s in? Top choice, of course, is Yair Lapid, the most important man in Israel today, the man who could literally decide the country’s future—even more emphatically than Sara Netanyahu, and that’s saying something.

We’ve been assuming all along that the first partner Bibi picks up would be Lapid: combine Likud-Beitenu’s 31 seats with Lapid’s 19, and you got yourself a solid foundation for a government. All you need afterwards are the Haredim—notoriously easy to buy off—and if you don’t want Bennett, then maybe Tzipi Livni, and Kadima which made it in with Shaul Mofaz and another guy. At that point you can even invite Bennett in graciously, but only give him something like Tourism, or the Ecology.

Except that Yair Lapid, who originally was talking about letting the Haredim off for five years before implementing the crucial “equal burden” principle in army service, has had a change of mind. Realizing his own voters won’t forgive that kind of largess—Five years? Might as well go for Eternity—and now he’s been saying he wants everybody in uniform at age 18, except maybe a 400 Torah geniuses (Do we actually have that many? I’m just wondering – how do you farher—test a genius?).

Netanyahu Finally Called Bennett

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

Two days after the elections ended, PM Netanyahu finally decided to call HaBayit HaYehudi (Jewish Home) head Naftali Bennett.

The two did not set a time they would meet, and rumors from within the Likud before the elections said that Netanyahu would not include the “Jewish Home” party in his coalition.

Netanyahu will not be able to form a coalition of 61 without either one of the religious parties, Meretz, or the Arab parties.

How Will the Mosque be Removed?

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Jeremy Gimpel jokingly mentioned in a video, one method in which the Mosque on the Temple Mount might be removed.

He said explosives.

The question is, even in jest, was Jeremy right?

With all due respect to this future MK, the answer is no, Jeremy was not right.

There are traditionally two interpretations as to how the Temple will be rebuilt.

The first is the one that, for instance, Neturei Karta firmly believes.

For them, the Temple will suddenly come down from heaven only after the Mashiach arrives (and the land is cleared of the Tsiyoinim), and human beings will have no apparent physical role in the matter.

Following the logic of that theory, the Neturei Karta apparently believe that the mosque will be squashed underneath the suddenly dropping Temple.

I wonder if they’ve bothered to mention that to their terrorist friends over tea.

But the more traditional belief is that we Jews will rebuild the Temple ourselves – and that is actually a far, far greater miracle.

So as I asked in the beginning, “What about the Mosque, which is rather inconveniently sitting where the Temple should be, how will it be removed?”

The simplistic answer is that it will be destroyed.

Jeremy (jokingly) said explosives, while others say wrecking balls and bulldozers.

A tractor working on the Temple Mount, Dec. 24th.

An Arab tractor working on the Temple Mount, Dec. 24th.

But both answers are wrong.

According to common Jewish thought, the Arabs, at the time of the Mashiach will remain in Israel – but they will fully repent.

You see, when the miracle happens that we Jews will be united in our vision that it’s time to rebuild the Temple, the Arabs will be there too, and they will lovingly dismantle the Mosque stone by stone on their own volition, and rebuild it elsewhere.

That is the second part of the miracle of the rebuilding of the Temple.

In the end, the Arabs will want peace, will recognize the spiritual value of the Temple, will recognize what they have to gain by being allies of the Jews instead of enemies, and they will then take the peaceful steps needed to properly honor and worship God.

May the Temple be speedily built in in our lifetime. Amen.

Poll: Likud Shooting Back Up, Livni Sinking

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

It was bound to happen: Traditional Likud-Beitenu voters have been shopping around for better options, such as Jewish Home, not because they don’t identify with the Likud’s platform, but because they fear that Prime Minister Netanyahu might turn his back on the same platform, as he has been known to do. That mistrust was only enhanced by the fact that Netanyahu’s partner, Avigdor Liberman, is also not particularly committed to the vision of a greater Israel and the rejection of a Palestinian state. (Liberman’s legal woes couldn’t have helped, either).

But in the end, as the threats of a resurgence of the left-wing parties was becoming a reality, and the possibility of a left-led coalition government was being bandied about, many Likud-Beitenu are coming back to the mother ship. Much like American voters being forced to vote for the lesser of evils, rather than for a “shining city on the hill” candidate, the majority of right-wing Israelis will dig up a laundry clip to affix to their noses, and vote Likud-Beitenu.

Or so it turns out from the poll conducted for the news and public affairs radio channel Reshet Bet by Maagar Mochot (The name literally means “a collection of brains” and can be loosely translated as “think tank”), with a sample of 706 likely voters, with a 4.5% margin of error.

This margin of error translates into more than 5 Knesset seats, which could mean that parties that did not cross the two-seat blocking percentage will make it, while others that appear here to have squeezed through will end up outside. So this poll, like every poll, is but a snapshot of voter sentiment today – except that the closer we get to next Tuesday, Election Day, the more these numbers will start getting nailed in place.

So, with all of that in mind, here are the numbers:

Likud-Beitenu – 37

Labor – 16

Jewish Home – 13

Shas – 11

Yair Lapid – 9

Torah Judaism – 6

Meretz – 6

Tzipi Livni – 5

Kadima – 3

Power for Israel – 3

3 Arab lists – 10

Rabbi Amsalem – 1 (fails the blocking percentage)

These numbers confirm that the left wing Jewish parties are on their way out, amounting to a mere 39 seats, or 32.5% of the overall population. The Arabs, with 10 seats, or just over 8% of the population. That makes right wing and Haredi parties a seemingly insurmountable, 71-seat block, accounting for better than 59% of the overall population, and a staggering 65%, give or take, of the Jewish adult population.

It is safe to say that Israel has never been more right wing or more religious in its history, and such percentages would take more than a generation to reverse.

So, Bibi will be the next prime minister, and from these figures he should be able to cobble together a solid right-wing coalition in half and hour, even without having to invite the “bad boys” of Israel’s right wing politics from Power for Israel, Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben Ari.

The only winner from this severe drop in the power of the left is Meretz, which, unlike the rest of the Jewish leftist parties has never denied its leftist identity. And it paid off: as soon as left wing voters realized the right will stay in charge next Tuesday, they abandoned Labor, Livni and Lapid, who have been denying their leftist agenda, describing themselves as “centrist” – in favor of a truly leftist party.

Sadly, his renewed strength (although Likud-Beitenu is still going to receive fewer seats than its current 42) would also enable Bibi to avoid Bennett and Jewish Home, partnering instead with Shas, Torah Judaism and Yair Lapid.

And the fact that Yair Lapid is the Haredi-hater’s Haredi hater should not keep everybody involved from living long and prospering together. Because, in the end, politics is about jobs and money. Ideology is merely the way you get them…

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/final-reshet-bet-poll-likud-shooting-back-up-livni-labor-sinking/2013/01/17/

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