web analytics
July 29, 2014 / 2 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 

Posts Tagged ‘Knesset’

Bennett Walks Out on EU President: I Won’t Be Rebuked in German

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

The President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, started a small riot in the Knesset Wednesday afternoon, when he rebuked the MKs on the lack of equality which, evidently, forces people to blow up their Jewish neighbors. Not a lot has changed in the Fatherland, it appears.

“There is no alternative to peace if we want to give people an honorable life,” Schultz said, adding, “The Palestinians, too, have the right to self determination and to justice. Tell me, and I ask you if this is right, that Israelis are allowed to use 17.5 gallons of water a day, while the Palestinians only 4.25 gallons.”

One of the most celebrated studies to date on the issue of who gets more water, is the 2012 The Israeli-Palestinian Water Conflict: An Israeli Perspective, by Prof. Haim Gvirtzman of The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

The paper details the water agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, refuting any criticism against Israel for not adhering to its commitments. “Israel has not only fulfilled all of its obligations stemming from the 1995 Interim Agreement signed with the PA,” writes Prof. Gvirtzman, “but has met all water commitments requisite of a permanent status agreement as well.”

The study documents the fact that “there is almost no difference today in the per capita consumption of natural water between Israelis and Palestinians. The large difference that existed in 1967, when the administration of Judea and Samaria was handed over from Jordan to Israel, has been reduced over the last 40 years and is now negligible. As well, the per capita domestic water consumption of the Palestinians is significantly higher than the minimum human needs defined by the World Health Organization.”

And here comes the point which the EU president should probably take back to his hosts in Ramallah, “While Israel has ensured that nearly all Palestinian villages and towns are connected to running water, the Palestinians have violated their part of the agreement by refusing to build sewage treatment plants (despite available international financing). Moreover, the Palestinians have drilled hundreds of unlicensed wells and set up unauthorized connections to Israeli water supply pipelines.”

Jewish Home MKs calling Schultz's lie, moments before they stood up and left the plenum in disgust. Photo by Flash 90.

Jewish Home MKs calling Schultz’s lie, moments before they stood up and left the plenum in disgust. Photo by Flash 90.

Many Jewish Home MKs reacted with appropriate rage, and Chairman Naftali Bennett, MK Orit Struk and a few others yelled: “It’s a lie!”

Jewish Home MK Motti Yogev yelled at Schultz something about the fact that Eretz Israel was given to the nation of Israel, and was promptly removed from the plenum. He was followed by a few colleagues from his faction. MK Struk said: “When the president of the European Parliament spits on you, you can’t keep quiet, wipe your face and say it was the rain.”

Bennett wrote in his Facebook page a short while later: “I will not accept a lying sermon against the nation of Israel in the Israeli Knesset, certainly not in German.”

Naturally, the left condemned mightily the Jewish Home reaction, which, as Minister Uri Orbach put it, was a quiet protest. The same left kept mum only two weeks ago, when Arab MK Ahmad Tibbi screamed uncontrollably at Canadian PM Stephen Harper.

Prime Minister Netanyahu was critical of Schultz’s speech, suggesting it reflected the selective hearing which has become rampant in many European circles. He added that the figures Schultz had picked up in Ramallah about the water consumption gaps are simply wrong.

Netanyahu to Meet Obama in March

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be visiting the U.S. next month, to meet with president Barack Obama.

In a meeting of the Likud Beitenu faction in the Knesset today, Netanyahu said his visit has four goals: continuing the political struggle to deny Iran a nuclear weapon; advancing the “peace process”; recruiting investors in Israel’s technology market; and encouraging tourism to Israel.

Netanyahu is expected to be a guest of honor at the AIPAC conference, to be held March 2-4 in Washington, DC.

Rumor: Draft Committee to Launch Special Chabad Track

Monday, February 10th, 2014

The Knesset committee working on the new draft bill have decided to add a third special track, in addition to the “hesder” track for religious Zionists, and the Haredi track: the Chabad Lubavitch track, Kikar Hashabbat reported.

Over the next three days, the Knesset committee working on the conscription law, chaired by Jewish Home MK Ayelet Shaked, will prepare its final draft that will include, among other changes, shortening the service period for all enlisted IDF soldiers, adding a month to the hesder yeshiva track, and creating the Chabad track.

According to a Chabad rabbi speaking to Kikar hashabbat, the Chabad track will have different, and presumably easier conditions than those offered to Haredi yeshiva students.

The bill presented for a second vote on Tuesday permits Chabad yeshiva students ages 18-20 to leave the country to one destination: 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, NY, the world center of Chabad Lubavitch. They will stay there for two years, come back home, get married and spend one year in Kolel. Then they will enlist, as per the determination by the IDF. They, too, like Haredi students, will be permitted to ask for a delay of service until age 24.

This will end, once and for all, the ongoing problem faced by Lubavitch youths who stay in America and then face charges of desertion upon their return, with some actually serving jail time. Now they can take their time and stay in Crown Heights with the IDF approval.

According to the current draft, before the Tuesday vote, the hesder students will be serving an additional month, as prescribed originally by the Perry Committee, totaling their service at 17 months. Non-hesder soldiers will serve 32 months, down from 36.

Minister Naftali Bennett, chairman of the Jewish Home, celebrated the new bill on his Facebook page, saying that, “for the first time in many decades, the government is acting to connect the Haredi public with the world of employment and service.”

“Without this move, the State of Israel would have been trapped in an enormous socio-economic crisis in a few years,” Bennett added, promising: “in a few weeks we will change the reality in Israel.”

It might be a sign of a good law when it is hated by many in the Haredi public as well as on the left. MK Eliezer Stern of Tzipi Livni’s movement, who served as head of HR in the IDF and wears a yarmulke, accused Jewish Home of hypocrisy, by making a mockery of the idea of equal burden, which the new draft law was supposed to fix. According to Stern, the hesder yeshiva track, which started out as a great thing, has become corrupt over the years, with men who are registered in hesder yeshivas actually doing other things and getting to serve a shorter term.

Minister Yaakov Perry, whose committee actually wrote the original draft with the 17-month allotment to religious Zionist hesder soldiers, now accused Jewish Home of weakening the demands from Haredim. He promised a fight on the Knesset floor over the special terms awarded Haredim, seeing these as a rehashing of the faults of the Tal Law, which the Supreme Court annulled for its failure to introduce changes fast enough.

It’s true that the Tal Law was moving slowly, getting between 2,000 and 2,500 Haredim into the army each year. But even Perry’s version of the new law only envisioned 3,200 IDF recruits, out of 5,200 recruits altogether, with the remaining 2,000 doing national service in their own communities.

The additional 1,000 Haredi soldiers will hardly make a difference in terms of the IDF means, but will provide a wedge issues to be used effectively by both the left and the Haredi political parties, each riling up their voters to resist the “injustice.”

MK Who Excluded Reform Jews from Judaism Was ‘Misunderstood’

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Reform Jews really are not another religion after all, says Likuid-Beiteinu Knesset Member David Rotem, who claimed on Thursday that his reported remark to the contrary was “misunderstood.

There is no video available to see and hear what MK Rotem, an Orthodox Jew, really said at the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee that he heads.

He was quoted on Wednesday as having stated, ““The Reform movement is not Jewish … they are another religion,” during a discussion on a bill concerning adoption.

Such comments are par for the course in Israel, where the remark was duly noted as another moment of entertainment for the Israel public between soccer games. The Reform Movement in Israel, of course, was furious, but most secular Israelis have too much respect for Jewish tradition than to consider the Reform idea anything more than a curiosity, if not one of those strange concoctions that could succeed only in the United States and , lest we forget, pre-Nazi Germany.

“I have never said belonging to the Reform Movement makes anyone less Jewish,” Rotem wrote on Facebook Thursday. “While as an Orthodox Jew, I have theological differences with the Reform Movement’s perspective, I maintain the greatest respect for all Jews, regardless of their denomination and background. I apologize for any misunderstanding and all offense generated by the content of my comments yesterday.”

His quick apology was smart, much smarter than his faux pas. Many if not most  Reform Jews indeed are Jews by any definition of the term. But a disturbing number of Reform Jews are far from Jewish under Jewish law, and some of them are even “rabbis.”

The whole question of whether a Reform Jew, or any other person, is  a Jew or not brings into focus the entire problem with the reform Movement, parts of whose theology often appear to be not a stream of Judaism but a stream apart from Judaism.

Like the Biblical Korach, it has decided that their leaders whom they call rabbis can decide just as well as Orthodox Jews who is a Jew and what is Jewish law. It is somewhat like a natural health therapist calling himself a doctor. Why study medicine for six years, and why study Torah for many more years,” when you can take a shortcut through McDonald’s, eat a cheeseburger on the way to Yom Kippur prayers, and call the congregants Jewish because they like being called that?

Regardless of the theological problems with Reform Judaism, Rotem made a big mistake by saying that fellow Jews belong to another religion just because they are Reform.

“I hope that this clarification can generate the necessary debate on how to further unify the Jewish People, both in Israel and the Diaspora, around our shared vital interests and concerns, rather than limiting it to the differences that exist among us,” Rotem added on Facebook.

Israeli politicians like Rotem who are Israeli from top to bottom have no knowledge of the Diaspora. They don’t realize that Jews outside the country, especially in the United States, may be armchair Zionists  if not armchair Jews, but that doesn’t mean they should be shunned as “non-Jews.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called Rotem’s comments, although he later said they were misunderstood, “inappropriate, offensive and unjustified.”

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, wrote MK Rotem, “We are deeply disturbed by reports of comments attributed to you about the Reform movement ‘not being Jewish.’ Such views are inappropriate, offensive and unjustified. The suggestion that Jews throughout the world who identify with the Reform movement are somehow not a part of the Jewish people is an unacceptable characterization of a proud, highly engaged and committed group of Jews.

“Among many U.S. non-Orthodox Jews, rejectionist rhetoric of this kind fosters divisiveness and feelings of alienation towards elements of Israeli society. As someone who has long been engaged in the issue of Jewish identify, we are surprised and saddened that you expressed these views. For the sake of Jewish unity and in the spirit of the pluralistic ideals of our beloved Israel, we call on you to retract your comments and issue a quick and unequivocal apology for your statements.”

Rotem has apologized, and whether he actually said what was reported makes no difference. The damage was done on two fronts.

He wrongly wrote tens of thousands of Jews out of the pale and he also missed an opportunity to characterize the Reform Movement as one whose roots in the United States are strongly pro-American and blatantly anti-Zionist and which claims an increasingly larger following by redefining the term “Jew.”

Lapid Freezes Funding for Draft-Delayed Haredim

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Finance Minister Yair Lapid on Wednesday froze the money going to Haredi yeshivas, following a Tuesday Supreme Court ruling that ordered the state to halt all payments to yeshivas whose students’ draft has been postponed.

Lapid instructed the Finance Ministry’s comptroller to freeze the payments, but on Thursday he issued a statement saying that, after discovering that the funds had already been sent to the Education Ministry, he convened an emergency meeting with his comptroller following which he ordered her to block those funds as well.

Lapid’s statement said that this was done in an effort to obey the high court’s ruling.

Now the two offices will be cooperating to separate the 18- to 20-year-old yeshiva students with an August draft postponement, who will not be paid, from the rest of the yeshiva students.

“These will no longer receive state funds,” said the Lapid statement. “Only once the Education Ministry’s examination of their cases is concluded will the Finance Ministry release the funds to those yeshiva students not included in the court ruling.”

The Supreme Court ruled on several appeals from so called good government groups. The court ordered government to issue an updated announcement by March 31 regarding the pay, saying the justices might issue a new decision should the Knesset not come up with new legislation by then.

Meanwhile, the justices have prohibited government to transfer any funds “intended to support Torah institution students born in 1994, 95 and the first half of 96, who received their draft date starting in August, 2013, and who have not shown up to be drafted based on general decisions to postpone their draft made by the IDF Chief of Staff.”

So, everybody wins: Lapid gets to show his few remaining potential voters that he’s tough on parasitic Haredim; the Haredi yeshiva deans get to show the world that Israel hates Torah; and Yeshiva students and their families get a rare opportunity to drop their nasty habit of eating several times a day and living in homes.

Yisrael Beitenu MK Says ‘Reform Movement Is not Jewish’

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Likud-Beiteinu Knesset Member David Rotem, chairman of the Knesset Committee on Constitution, Law and Justice, said Tuesday “The Reform movement is not Jewish… they are another religion.”

The Reform Judaism in Israel movement said in an e-mail to its members, “The expression ‘another religion’ was not used by MK Rotem by accident. The Israeli Law of Return uses this exact term to exclude non-Jews from making Aliyah, and therefore according to him, Reform Jews have no place in Israel. ”

Israel Reform Movement’s Executive Director, Rabbi Gilad Kariv responded, “We were witness to this unrestrained declaration of MK Rotem about non-orthodox streams of Judaism. An assertion such as this makes it impossible for MK Rotem to continue to chair discussions on sensitive issues such as conversion, who is a Jew and other topics that are associated with Religion & State matters and the relationship between Israel and the diaspora.”

That may have won over a few Orthodox liberals, but Kariv then showed the Reform movement’s penchant for interpreting the Bible for its own principles of showing how little it knows and quoted Proverbs 3:17, which states, “Its ways are the ways of pleasantness and all her paths lead to peace.” It follows, according to him, “We must all ask ourselves, with which religious heritage MK Rotem identifies.”

Chances are that the MK would answer, “I identify with the Torah and Jewish Law as handed down by sages and Torah scholars and not with some kind of instant heritage created by those whose Judaism is defined by their own personal interests.”

Bennett’s Jewish Home and Labor Up in the Polls

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

A poll by the Knesset Channel released on Thursday confirms the trend of increased popularity for the Jewish Home party, headed by Naftali Bennett, and lesser support for Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party.

Unlike recent polls, strength in the Likud-Beiteinu party dropped a bit. Labor and Meretz gained backing at the expense of Yesh Atid, and the other parties drew more or less the same support as in recent polls.

If elections were held today, according to the new survey, Likud-Beiteinu would win 30 seats in the Knesset, one less than it has today. Labor, which recently elected Yitzchak Herzog to replace Shelly Yachimovich as its leader, would replace Yesh Lapid as the second largest party, with 19 Knesset Members.

Third in line is Jewish Home with 17 seats, five more than it holds today.

Yesh Atid would drop from its current 19 to only 12. Meretz, as in previous polls, would be the biggest winner in terms of percentage gains. The survey gives the left-wing party 12 seats, double its current strength.

Shas would drop to seven seats, the Ashkenazi Haredi United Torah Judaism would hold its own at seven, and Tzipi Livni’s party continues to be in the dumps, this time with four projected MKS. The remainder of the Knesset seats would be occupied by Arab parties.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/bennetts-jewish-home-and-labor-up-in-the-polls/2014/01/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: