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September 3, 2014 / 8 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Jewish Home Party’

Jewish Home MK Orbach Supports Rabbi Stav for Chief Rabbinate

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Jewish Home Minister Uri Orbach announced Monday night on his Facebook page that he supports Rabbi David Stav, who is part of the Tzohar organization, as Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel. Some other Jewish Home Knesset Members have backed Rabbi Yaakov Ariel for the position, but his candidacy is in doubt because of his age.

The Tzohar organization focuses on bringing non-religious Jews closer to tradition. Rabbi Stav’s open approach “is what the overwhelming majority of the public, including many rabbis who give their quiet support, and most of our voters want from us,” Orbach wrote.

“Rabbi Stav is a great and learned national religious rabbi committed to the People and State of Israel,” he added.

Report: Kerry Won Five-Week Unofficial Building Freeze from Bibi

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been quietly enforcing a de facto building freeze on all construction for Jews in Judea and Samaria and areas in Jerusalem claimed by the Palestinian Authority, Israeli media reported Tuesday.

The Prime Minister promised U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to curtail construction for Jews until mid-June to give PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas time to fulfill his condition for a return to face-to-face negotiations with Israel.

Army Radio reported that Prime Minister Netanyahu told Housing Minister Uri Ariel, who lives in  the Judea and is a senior member of the Jewish Home party, to suspend publishing tenders for 3,000 residential housing units, including those to advance plans and construction of homes in the E-1 area of Maaleh Adumim.

Ariel insisted there has been no building freeze but added that the Prime Minister has delayed progress for new building, and he referred reporters to the Prime Minister, who arrived in China Sunday for a six-day visit.

Netanyahu’s reported agreement to a five-week freeze, much shorter than the 10-month freeze announced in September 2010, might be a gamble that Kerry will not be able to convince Abbas to resume direct talks with Israel.

There have been no real discussions since the 2010 building freeze, which Abbas demanded before resuming negotiations and then refused because it did not include a freeze in eastern, southern and northern Jerusalem, and did not cover public building in Judea and Samaria.

The E-1 area has become red line for both Abbas and Netanyahu. Any building activity there would infuriate Abbas and win him more support to continue to place the Palestinian Authority on various United Agencies.

If Israel were to even offer a hint to surrender the area, the Jewish Home party would probably pull out of the coalition, and it is doubtful if Likud-Beiteinu would agree to continue to rule with a new coalition that would include the Labor party.

However, Israel desperately needs an approved government budget for this year, and any party that forces new elections without a budget is liable to be severely punished at the polls.

Someone is going to have to climb down from the limb.

If Abbas misses another opportunity to miss an opportunity and starts demanding more conditions, Kerry and Netanyahu can walk away from the tree and leave him hanging there.

New Netanyahu Coalition Govt All Cobbled and Ready, Maybe

Monday, March 18th, 2013

On Monday evening, the Knesset will host the swearing in ceremony for Israel’s 33rd government, and Benjamin Netanyahu’s third term—second consecutive—as prime minister (his first term ran from June 1996 to July 1999).

Immediately after the ceremony, Netanyahu will convene a brief cabinet meeting, with a toast. Then the bunch (22 ministers and 8 deputies) will travel to the presidential residence, for the traditional group picture.

The Knesset session will open with the selection of the Speaker of the House. It will likely be Likud MK Yuli Edelstein, who will replace the former Speaker, Reuven Rivlin, who wanted very much to continue in his post but, unfortunately, had committed the ultimate sin of criticizing the Prime Minister’s anti-democratic tendencies, not the kind of slight which Netanyahu’s wife Sara easily forgives.

As usual, Netanyahu never shared with Rivlin his plan to depose him. In fact, as far back as a year ago, he assured the popular Speaker—who is also closely associated with the Settlement movement—that he’d have his support for the post of President when Shimon Peres completes his 7-year term, 2014.

Yuli Edelstein’s life’s story is fascinating: Born in the Soviet Union to Jewish parents who converted to Christianity (his father is a Russian Orthodox priest), Edelstein discovered his Jewish connection through his grandparents. He studied Hebrew back when that was considered a subversive act, for which, in 1984, he was sent to Siberia (the charges were drug related, but everybody knew it was the Hebrew thing). He made aliyah with his wife, Tanya, served in the army, and entered politics, ending up in the Knesset in 1996. He has switched between several parties, until finally landing in the Likud, and has held several ministerial portfolios. And if he doesn’t catch Sara’s ire, he could become as memorable a Speaker as Rubie Rivlin.

But the biggest losers, without a doubt, are the Haredi parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism. They were almost literally kicked out by Yair Lapid, who stated openly that, should he be seen in the government group picture with the Haredim, his voters would abandon him. Surprisingly, Naftali Bennett, his newly found brother from a different father (Yair’s father, the late MK Tommy Lapid, was a true hater of the religion), supported the dubious position that, in order to truly help the Haredi public, government had to first be cleared of Haredi partners.

Shas, a party that depends completely on patronage for its very existence, is seething with anger over Bennett’s “betrayal.” It’s hard, however, to take seriously the victimized self-pity of Shas, whose spiritual father Rav Ovadia Yosef dubbed the Jewish Home party a “Goy Home.” Altogether, it appears that, perhaps counter intuitively, the National Religious leaders as well as the rank and file, have been harboring heaps of resentment against the Haredim. The Haredi slights of several decades, including their occupation of the Ministry of Religious Services and the Chief rabbinate, doling out jobs to Haredi officials who reigned over a population that looks nothing like them—those slighted chickens have been coming back to roost.

Take for instance Rabbi Hayim Drukman, who responded to both the Haredi pols and to Netanyahu, who accused the Lapid-Bennett axis of “boycotting” the Haredi parties. Rabbi Drukman Argued that “the Haredi public are the biggest boycotters, boycotting for years the Torah of the national religious public.”

“Any Haredi apparatchik who gets elected to the Knesset, immediately becomes a rabbi, while the real rabbis of the national religious public are noted in the Haredi press by their first names (without the title ‘Rabbi’). Is this not boycotting?” Rabbi Druckman wrote in the Saturday shul paper “Olam Katan.”

Inside Shas, the short knives have already been drawn and they’re aimed at MK Aryeh Deri, the former convict who came back from the cold to lead Shas into a glorious stalemate (11 seats before, 11 after).

“We were very disappointed in Deri,” a senior Shas pol told Ma’ariv. “He did not bring the votes he promised Rav Ovadia, there was no significant change in seats, and, in fact, Deri is responsible for our failure.”

In United Torah Judaism they also seem to regret their alliance with Shas, it’s highly likely that, in a few months, they’ll opt to enter the government without Shas.

Coalition Finally in Place after Bennett’s Mediation

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

A new government coalition finally took form Wednesday night and is expected to officially take the reins on Monday.

Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett mediated a crisis between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, who had refused to back down from his demands for the Interior and education ministries.

Netanyahu has agreed to replace Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar with a Yesh Atid Knesset Member, Rabbi Shai Piron, while his deputy minster will be a Likud MK.

Lapid gave up his demand for the Interior Ministry, which apparently will be taken over by Sa’ar, and Bennett won his demand for the Jewish Home party to head the powerful Knesset Finance Committee. Lapid will be Finance Minister.

Amir Peretz, who ditched Labor to join Tzipi Livni’s party, will hold a Cabinet post, probably as Environment Minister.

The Jewish Home party will have three ministers, with Bennett taking over the portfolio of Industry and Trade. Most significantly, Jewish Home MK Uri Ariel may head the Housing Ministry, which is a key in building in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as well as in regulation of illegal Arab and Bedouin construction in Israel.

Netanyahu will act as Foreign Minister. He has reserved the post for current Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in case he wins an acquittal in a criminal charge against him.

Moshe Ya’alon will be Defense Minister and Shaul Mofaz and his two-seat Kadima will not be in the coalition, leaving four parties in the government – Likud Beiteinu, Jewish Home, Yesh Atid and Tzipi Livni’s “Movement” party, with a combined total of 68 seats, seven more than a majority.

Report: Bennett Mediates Compromise for Coalition

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett has mediated a compromise between Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that will enable a new coalition government to be formed, Israeli media reported Wednesday evening.

Lapid’s party  apparently hold the position of Minister of Education, in place of Gideon Sa’ar, but Lapid will give up his demand for his party to take over the Interior Ministry, according to the compromise.

Only a few hours before, Lapid and Netanyahu were threatening each other with drastic moves. Lapid said he was ready to sit in the Opposition rater than give up his demands, while the Prime Minister was reported to be ready to ditch Lapid and Bennett and form a government with the Haredi parties and Labor.

Bennett was unhappy with Lapid’s refusal to compromise, and party sources said he was ready to scrap what until now been an iron-tight alliance with Yesh Atid, leaving open the possibility that his party would join the Haredim instead of Labor.

Respect for Rabbis in the Political Sphere

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

In debates with their Haredi peers, national-religious youths will often be heard to demand why the Haredim do not respect national-religious rabbis. “What about our great Torah scholars!”

But why should the Haredim respect national-religious rabbis if those rabbis’ own community does not?

A letter released this week by deputy mayors belonging to the Jewish Home in the most public way possible—it was published on all the usual sites, including Haredi ones—asks the parties’ rabbis not to interfere with political decisions made by the party’s negotiating team or by the party’s Knesset members, even on the topic of yeshiva students’ military service.

Would a Haredi ever release such a letter?

The settlement movement, it is important to remember, was not the work of professionals and businessmen. It was the work of national-religious rabbis holding discussions at the home of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook through the wee hours of the morning. Hanan Porat and Yehuda Hazani are no longer with us, but we still have rabbis: Moshe Levinger—we’ll return to him—Yaakov Levin, Yaakov Novick, Yohanan Fried, Yoel Bin Nun, Menachem Felix. We still have great Torah scholars: Benny Katzover, Yehuda Etzion, Mati Dan, David Be’eri (of Ir David), Ze’ev “Zambish” Hever (of Amana). All of them participated in creating the settlement enterprise from their book stands at their respective yeshivot. That is what gave rise to the settlement revolution. The revolution in national-religious education, for that matter, was likewise the work of wise and devout rabbis, including Hayim Drukman, Dov Lior, Eliezer Melamed, and others.

And now they come and tell us that when it comes to truly important questions of morality and policy, decisions are to be made without the rabbis. Period.

How are they going to distinguish between what is permissible in politics and what is forbidden? How are they going to strike a balance between what is desirable and what is presently available? No problem. That’s the job of the new halakhic decision-makers: the “professionals.”

True, they never imbibed the Torah as did those rabbis, who for their entire lives have dedicated themselves to the Torah (in the vernacular: they put their heart and soul into it day and night. No movies. No Shlomo Artzi concerts). But apparently it makes no difference. Apparently the Torah does not rub off on its students. Apparently it is not in any way reflected in how they live their lives …

It’s all very strange to me. The Haredim, who regard the State of Israel as an entirely secular phenomenon lacking any and all sanctity, consult their rabbis about such matters. Yet the national-religious community—the community that burst forth into the world of national practicalities and leadership with the message that the State of Israel is the beginning of the redemption, that our country is God’s throne, that the politics of Israel is the politics of holiness—sends the rabbis home, the better to leave decisions to politicians and interested parties.

In a recent emergency meeting of Haredi rabbis in Bnei Brak, I saw precisely the opposite. The Knesset members stood at the rear with modesty and obvious veneration. They maybe even have been posing a little. But one way or another, it was moving. Respect for the Torah. A RECENT conversation with a young national-religious activist made clear to me that this is a deep-seated phenomenon among the younger generation. He sees the change as a positive development. “The rabbis don’t understand politics. Let them leave it to professionals.”

It’s not that he doesn’t respect the rabbis. He just leaves them out of the equation. In a debate with a Haredi he would go straight for the line about “our great Torah scholars,” but deep down he doesn’t in fact believe that Torah study improves a person.

Like him, I am not a Torah scholar. So why do I see things so differently? Is it just a matter of age?

Many of today’s young religious people have grown up in a culture that is more in touch with the media and secular literature than with rabbis, and may even be hostile to the latter. In an effort not to be different from the other guys on reserve duty, they run away from their rabbis. Is it realistic to demand they respect rabbis when their role models are businessmen and their commanders in the army? I received my initial education about respecting rabbis from my late father, an Auschwitz survivor. Once he took me to see the rebbe of Gur. Abba stood opposite the rebbe wearing a belt that one of the Hassidim had given him (“You go in to see the rebbe wearing a gartel”)—and burst into tears. The rebbe asked why he was crying. And my father answered: “Excitement.” I was nine years old, but I remember it as if it had happened yesterday.

Who is the Real Naftali Bennett?

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

There’s a phenomena I’ve noticed in both Israeli Knesset Elections and in our local elections for the Mazkirut (sort of town council) here in Shiloh.  The less known the candidate the more votes he or she gets.  I guess it’s because those people haven’t yet made enemies and their weaknesses are still unknown.  In the forty plus years I’ve been living in Israel, I’ve seen so many political parties and “leaders” come and go.

Many people, including a substantial number of English-speaking immigrants, regarded you as a breath of fresh air in Israeli politics. You promised to bridge the gap between all sectors of the population. You promised to honor the Torah and the world of Torah learning. You promised to strengthen the Jewish settlement in every corner of our beloved homeland….

Naftali Bennett is a wealthy man, having made his fortune by selling an innovative high tech company, the dream of many.  Many people had hoped that he’d be the dati le’umi (national religious) version of Jerusalem’s very competent and successful Nir Barkat.  But Bennett has been increasingly disappointing his voters. Arutz 7 has an op-ed/blog by Rabbi Lazer Brody that expresses the disappointment many of Bennett’s voters feel.

Naftali, where are those values in your pact with Yair Lapid? Why have you taken the cheap populist stance of drafting the Haredim, as if thousands of them aren’t already serving today? Why are you strengthening Lapid’s hand in limiting deferments to 2,000 Torah learners? … You could have been the individual that forced the IDF to be more sensitive to the needs of Haredi soldiers. You could have been the one who tripled the size of the Nahal Haredi and the IAF programs for Haredi hi-tech specialists. You could have been the one to make sure that a soldier doesn’t get kicked out of officer’s school for refusing to listen to women singing, or other ridiculous anti-religious excuses. You could also have been the hero that puts an end to the deligitimization of the holy Yeshivot and those who truly learn Torah… Naftali, talk is cheap; your “unbreachable pact” with Lapid shows exactly who you really are. We all make mistakes. We can all correct them, too. I urge you, for the sake of Torah and Eretz Yisrael, to reassess your position…  I implore you to rethink your position. Go out to the field and talk to Hashem for an hour – ask Him if you are doing His will. Seek His help and He’ll be glad to guide you. If you make your “unbreachable pact” with Hashem, you’re bound to succeed…

As my regular readers know well, I’m not an NRP-a.k.a. Bayit Yehudi voter and never was.  The main reason is that I don’t think a political parties should be rooted, labeled as religious or secular.  I prefer an inclusively Israeli-Jewish political party that recognizes the importance and centrality of Judaism to the State of Israel.

The stodgy old NRP-National Religious Party has been around since before the establishment of the State of Israel.  It had been loosing support over the past couple of decades.  The NRP has been looking for an attractive marketable head to bring it back to “its former glory.”  Bennett has been flitting around the Israeli political scene ever since he came back from his great financial success in the USA.  It had looked like a good match, and Bennett also seemed to be coated with teflon.  He had no big problem wiping away the complaints about himself.

His short time with Moetzet YESHA was easy to blame on Moetzet YESHA, and his departure from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s inner circle was even easier to blame on Sara Netanyahu.

Now, the NRP is getting nervous.  They should have looked more carefully before signing the Ketuba, marriage contract with Bennett.  Who are the two people closest to Bennett?  From what I have read, they are Bennett’s wife and his long-time sidekick Ayelet Shaked, who joined him as the token secular in the NRP.  Both of those women are secular.  In the Israeli political/ideological scene that puts them and therefore him in a very different mindset from your NRP-Bnai Akiva circle.

Just think about it…

P.S. This isn’t lashon haraa, evil speech.  Nothing I’ve written is secret, and these sorts of observations are permitted when it comes to public figures who are vying for national leadership.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/shiloh-musings/who-is-the-real-naftali-bennett/2013/02/26/

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