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August 29, 2016 / 25 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Labor’

Herzog Slams UK’s Corbyn, Says ‘Views Represent a Consistent Hatred of Israel’

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

by Jesse Lempel/TPS

Israeli Labor Chairman Isaac Herzog slammed comments by his UK counterpart Jeremy Corbyn on Thursday that some criticized as comparing Israel with the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist organization.

“Corbyn’s suggestion of moral equivalence between Israel and ISIS is outrageous, unacceptable, and a betrayal of global Labour values,” Herzog tweeted on Thursday afternoon. “Corbyn’s views represent a consistent hatred of Israel. Like the notorious Ernest Bevin failed, so too will Jeremy Corbyn.”

During the launch of a review of anti-Semitic incidents in the party on Thursday, Corbyn decried stereotyping Jews, explaining: “Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our Muslim friends are for those of various self-styled Islamic states or organizations.”

The comments received resounding applause, yet after a questioner asked about the comparison Corbyn attempted to clarify: “The point is that you shouldn’t say to someone that just because they’re Jewish you must have an opinion on Israel, any more that you say to anyone who’s a Muslim you must have an opinion on the vile actions being taken by people misquoting the good name of Islam in what they do.”

Yet it appears that some in Israel and around the world, including Herzog, interpreted Corbyn’s remarks as drawing a “moral equivalence between Israel and ISIS.”

Another Israeli Labor MK, Itzik Shmueli, tweeted: “Corbyn has finally lost it! Leadership that disgraces Labour. I suggest to my friends in Labour to kick him out on the grounds of losing contact with reality.” Shmueli, however, argued that Israeli Labor should remain affiliated with British Labour in order to influence the “internal struggle” in the party.

Meanwhile, MK Yair Lapid, of the centrist Yesh Atid party, called upon Herzog to sever ties with the British Labour party, describing Corbyn’s comments as “pure anti-Semitism.”

“I call upon the Labor Party in Israel to cut all ties with their counterpart in the UK until the Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, is replaced,” Lapid wrote on Facebook on Thursday. Lapid referred to the deadly terror attack earlier in the day, in which a 17-year-old Arab terrorist broke into a Jewish family’s home and stabbed 13-year-old Halel Yaffa Ariel to death.

“It is unacceptable that on such a difficult day for the State of Israel the Leader of the Opposition in the UK compares Israel and ISIS,” Lapid added. “It’s not only infuriating ignorance, it is pure anti-Semitism. The State of Israel lives by democratic values, morality and justice and fights every day against terror organizations sworn to the murder of innocents.”

MK Tzipi Livni, a leader of the Zionist Union faction partnered with Israeli Labor, tweeted: “Just as not all Muslims are responsible for ISIS, not all Brits are responsible for Corbyn.”

The latest controversy follows a months-long debacle in the British Labour party over anti-Semitic comments by several members who have since been suspended, including calling for the mass deportation of Israel’s Jews and claims that Adolf Hitler supported Zionism.

At the height of the affair in May, Herzog told Israeli media that he was “considering suspending ties” with the British Labour over the anti-Semitic comments, many of which pertained to the Holocaust.

Herzog even sent a letter to Corbyn inviting him to bring a delegation to visit Israel’s Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, “to engage and better understand the scourge of anti-Semitism.”

Corbyn replied several weeks later, declining the invitation.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Knesset to Vote on Paternity Leave

Monday, June 20th, 2016

The Labor, Welfare and Health Committee on Monday unanimously approved for its second and third readings at the Knesset plenum a bill presented by MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) making Israeli fathers eligible for five days of paternity leave after their spouse has given birth.

The leave, to run parallel to the leave granted mothers, will consist of three vacation days and two additional days on the account of the father’s sick-pay allocation—this in addition to the father’s permitted absence on the day the baby is born.

Since May 1998, fathers have been allowed to take paternity leave instead of — rather than in addition to — their wives, as well as one day of leave when the baby is born and a second day for the circumcision ceremony if the baby is a boy.

“This is nothing less than an historic achievement,” Zandberg said. “For the first time, a father will have the legal right to be at home during the first days after the birth, and this is the first time the term ‘paternity leave’ will enter the book of laws in Israel.”

“A birth is a family event which does not belong to the mother alone,” Zandberg continued. “The proposed bill was born of necessity — out of employers’ lack of support for their workers.”

Zandberg thanked Minister Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi) for his support in advancing the legislation.

Labor Committee Chairman MK Elie Elalouf (Kulanu) said, “This is a real improvement. Families should be together during these important moments.” Elalouf added that he would promote legislation that would enable the 270,000 self-employed Israelis to also take paternity leave.

MK Dov Khenin (Joint Arab List) said, “This is the beginning of a significant revolution. I stayed at home for three months with each of my children after they were born, and I enjoyed it very much.”

JNi.Media

Likud, Labor MKs Conclude First Official Visit to Muslim Tajikistan

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

Knesset Members Sharren Haskel (Likud) and Yoseph Yonah (Zionist Camp-Labor) on Sunday concluded their official visit to Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, where they held a series of meetings with senior state officials, including the speaker of Tajikistan’s parliament, the country’s labor and agriculture ministers, and Members of Parliament.

The Republic of Tajikistan is a mountainous, landlocked country in Central Asia with an estimated 8 million people, bordered by Afghanistan and Pakistan to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east. Tajikistan became an independent nation in 1991, following the breakup of the Soviet Union. A civil war erupted almost immediately after independence, lasting from 1992 to 1997. Since the end of the war, newly established political stability and foreign aid have allowed the country’s stability and economy to grow.

The MKs’ discussions centered on intensifying the cooperation between Israel and Tajikistan – mainly with regards to agriculture and health, and establishing permanent ties between the friendship groups of the countries’ parliaments. The MKs invited senior government officials to visit Israel.

MKs Haskel and Yona (center) in Tajikistan / Courtesy

MKs Haskel and Yona (center) in Tajikistan / Courtesy

The visit marked the first time members of Israel’s political echelon visit Tajikistan in an official capacity. Relations between the countries were established in 1992, and they are defined as “friendly.” Israel is represented in Tajikistan by a non-resident ambassador. In October 1995, Tajikistan’s president, Emomali Rahmon, met with then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, but, generally, contacts between the countries were maintained by lower-level officials.

The MKs said they received a particularly warm welcome in Tajikistan. MK Haskel, head of the Israel-Tajikistan Parliamentary Friendship Group, said the visit by the Israeli parliamentary delegation is “historic and groundbreaking in our relations with a country which, until now, has not maintained parliamentary relations with the State of Israel.”

“Tajikistan is a Muslim state that has close economic, social and cultural ties with Iran,” she continued. “Tajikistan supported Iran’s nuclear program, opposed the international sanctions against Tehran, and has stood by the Palestinians in their disputes with Israel and the UN. Particularly because of this, their wish to establish parliamentary relations with Israel for the first time is extremely significant. The breakthrough in improving Israel’s status in the world will come from cooperating with countries that are not necessarily our natural partners.”

MK Yona said the visit was meant to “strengthen the friendly relations between the countries and examine possibilities for fruitful cooperation. I expect that in light of our visit, official Tajikistani work delegations will visit Israel to give a practical expression to the developing cooperation.”

JNi.Media

If You Will Labor In Torah Study

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

“If you will follow My decrees and observe My commandments and perform them…” – Vayikra 26:2

 

The Torah lays out two divergent destinies for the Jewish people: “If you will go in the ways of my statuesI will give you rainfall in its time, the land will give forth with abundance, the trees of the field will produce fruityou will eat until you are satisfied…. There will be peace in land…”

However, “If you do not guard my statutes you will suffer diseases and famine…you will plant and not harvest…your enemies will chase you the skies will turn to iron…wild animals will attack…[and finally] an avenging sword will come into the land.”

Rashi explains that the pivotal point of these two paths is if you will labor in Torah. If you will labor in Torah, then you as a nation will find great success. Your enemies will fear you, and you will rise ever higher. If, however, you cease to labor in Torah study, then curses will befall you. In short, our success or failure as a nation hinges upon this one activity.

However, as Rashi also points out, this concept of laboring in Torah study is not found in the pasuk. The words are “If you will go in the ways of my statutes.” Nowhere does it specify what this refers to. Rashi explains that it cannot refer to keeping the mitzvahs because that is specifically mentioned at the end of the pasuk. So by process of elimination, he reasons that this must be referring to laboring in Torah study.

This Rashi is difficult to understand. There seems to be no indication of the concept in the pasuk. Granted, learning Torah is very significant, and we may know from other sources that laboring in Torah study is central to serving Hashem, but there doesn’t seem to be any indication here that this statement is speaking about laboring in Torah study. How does Rashi know that this statement of “If you will go in the ways of my statutes,” refers to laboring in Torah study as opposed to any other mitzvah?

The Inner Workings of the Human

The answer to this question stems from understanding the inner nature of man. Chovos Ha’Levavos (Sha’ar Avodas Elokim) explains that Hashem created man from two very distinct elements. Part of man is pure intellect and wisdom. This part of the person only wishes to do that which is noble and proper. It desires to be generous and giving. It needs to do that which is good and right. This part deeply hungers to experience Hashem. Chazal call this segment the nefesh ha’sichili – the pure soul.

However, there is another component of the human personality that is pure instinct and desire. That part of the individual doesn’t care about anything but fulfilling its needs and wants. It is comprised of base appetites and inclinations. This is referred to as the nefesh ha’bahami – the animal soul.

When Hashem created man, He took these two diverse segments and mixed them together, creating a new synthesis called man. Man has two competing sides to him, each one crying out to fulfill it needs, each one demanding its fill. These two elements are in competition for dominance of the person. Much like a muscle that grows stronger with use and atrophies with disuse, each side is constantly being strengthened or weakened. If a person gives in to his animal instincts, those instincts become stronger and more dominant. If a person listens to his spiritual soul, it becomes stronger, gaining primacy over his personality. The human is in constant flux, with one side or the other always growing, always gaining supremacy and control over the person.

Man was put on this planet to grow. By resisting the pull of the animal soul and allowing the pure soul to flourish, man elevates himself and reaches the state of perfection of which he is capable. On the other hand, if he gives in to the cries of the animal soul, he elevates it, allowing it to take control of him. His appetites become stronger and dominate him until they effectively rule over him. He becomes more animal than man.

The Ultimate Guide for Human Perfection

The Torah, which is the ultimate guide for human perfection, warns us against certain activities that give an unusual advantage to the nefesh ha’bahami. These are the sins as outlined in the Torah. We are cautioned to avoid certain foods, and we are warned against certain activities because they give an unfair edge to the animal soul.

However, any activity a person engages in strengthens one side or the other. When a person eats, sleeps, works, or goes about all of his daily activities, these physical actions strengthen the nefesh ha’bahami. In a sense, there is an unfair lead given to the animal soul. All day long it is in its element, and by being utilized, it is thereby strengthened.

To bring balance to the equation, Hashem gave us specific mitzvos to nourish the nefesh ha’sichili. The single greatest nutrient of the neshamah is learning Torah. When a person learns Torah, his neshamah is strengthened and invigorated. It becomes fortified and then takes the lead in the battle against the nefesh ha’bahami. However, without it, the neshamah doesn’t stand a fighting chance because the animal soul is so much more in its element in this world.

This seems to be the answer to Rashi. Since the expression “If you will go in the ways of my statutes” is the pivotal point of the Jewish people’s destiny, it must be referring to that element that is the key to the equation: laboring in Torah study.

There is a great lesson for us in this concept. The Jewish nation is never stagnant. We are either going up toward great heights or down to the lowest abyss. The single greatest nourishment for the soul of the individual, and therefore for the soul of the nation, is laboring in Torah study. If we engage in it, support it, and actively pursue it, we will flourish as a people and enjoy unparalleled success. But if not….

 

To view Rabbi Shafier’s parsha videos, click here.

Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier

Netanyahu Tells Knesset He Wants ‘Broader Government,’ Herzog: Stop Zigzagging

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

During Monday’s special plenary session honoring the memory of Theodor Herzl, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) said, “I wonder what Herzl would have said had he seen the massive construction, the building of roads, the economic growth, the absorption of immigration, the scientific innovations and the fact that the state of the Jews discovered gas at sea and will extract it for the benefit of its citizens.”

“I met today with the French Prime Minister and stressed that [the Israeli] government wants peace,” Netanyahu also said, relating, “I told him that I seek to move forward in the diplomatic process on the basis of the outline of a demilitarized Palestinian state which recognizes the Jewish state. [But] the two principles of demilitarization and mutual recognition are not preconditions for the opening of negotiations. The process must be direct, bilateral and devoid of international dictates.”

“I am working with all my power to expand the coalition,” the PM told the Plenum, speaking as he did on the eve of signing a new deal with MK Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu to join his coalition government, expanding it from 61 to 67 members. “I said I would do so when we established the government, and I am continuing with these efforts to form a government that is as broad as possible. The door is open to anyone who wants to [join] for the good of the country. There is much to do and a lot to fix, but there is no justification for the complaining that is rampant in certain circles. Israel is a stable, advanced, innovative and democratic state, and this House is proof of that.”

Following the Prime Minister’s speech, opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog (Zionist Camp – Labor) addressed last week’s political storm in which many have depicted him as being used by Netanyahu for leverage to bring in Lieberman. “During the past couple of weeks I have stood upright against unprecedented attacks, against an incited crowd and against violent exclamations which I have never heard before,” Herzog complained, adding, realisticly, “It is possible that I have jeopardized my political seat, and have shaken it so much that it will be difficult to stabilize. But as opposed to other leaders – I did not join politics to pass the time. In an era where leaders change their minds according to the morning wind blowing on Facebook, I have chosen to stick to my words.”

Herzog’s poison arrow was shot unambiguously at MK Shelly Yachimovich, the former Labor chairwoman Herzog had unseated, whom he nicknamed “Princes of Facebook,” for her frequent—albeit effective and biting—posts.

“In the past couple of months, due to the terror wave and the futile feeling which characterizes the relationship with our neighbors, I have tried to evaluate the situation [based on the statements] of senior leaders from around the world and our region,” Herzog continued to make his case. “Some may seem familiar to you and some less, some are part of the senior leadership of the area and some are younger, whose names cannot be revealed yet. These leaders have a crucial influence over our fate, the fate of our families and children. I wanted with all my might to identify the glimpse of light in the darkness. I have reached the conclusion that we are facing a rare regional opportunity based on a group of Arab leaders who are moderate, young, powerful and lack the Israel complex that their predecessors have had, and who are willing to take action and lead a powerful and stirring process against our neighbors.”

“I have chosen to risk my internal political status and extend a hand to the rival political leader about whom I have said during the elections – ‘it’s either us or him’ – in order to recruit all possible national power and together change the present and the future of our children,” Herzog continued his gallant attempt to explain his abysmal failure in negotiating with his “rival political leader.”

“I know I have let down many of my supporters, my colleagues and friends and a broad public that did not believe Netanyahu in the first place, but I had decided anyhow to not let the opportunity slip away as it stands right in front of our eyes and depends upon Israel having a different, more moderate, government. That is the condition. I chose to give it a try,” Herzog stated.

“Sadly, at the end of the day, while choosing between being a leader that will be remembered in history as going against the flow, and a leader that goes with the flow into the ocean of forgetfulness, Netanyahu has made his choice,” Herzog lamented. “He has slammed the door on the European and American leaders and became a captive of the extremist political group which will lead him and us into a national disaster which we are already a part of, and some of us decide to live in the illusion that everything will be fine.”

In this context, Herzog did not explain how a 55% majority of the House can be considered “extremist” while the remaining 45% are the proverbial moderates. In effect, he described anyone on the right as extremist, while anyone on the left, including the Joint Arab List’s MKs Hanin Zoabi, Jamal Zahalka, and Basel Ghattas, who stood at attention in honor of Arab terrorists killed by Israel, are part of the moderate center.

“I am sorry Mr. Netanyahu that you have chosen to zigzag again,” said Herzog, whose zigzagging during the 2015 campaign included landing MK Tzipi Livni and five colleagues in top spots on his party’s candidates list, and changing the party name from the traditional—and honest—Labor to Zionist Camp, which includes renowned Zionist MK Zouheir Bahloul, who declared earlier this year that Arab attacks on IDF soldiers manning check posts are not acts of terror. “I am sorry that you are the one who slammed the door,” said Herzog, who had fled the negotiations when he finally realized Netanyahu had been double-dealing with Lieberman. “I am sorry that you have chosen to abandon the benefit of the State in favor of your narrow political interest. Your Twitter may remember you favorably, but history won’t.”

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud), who opened the House debate, said, “We have a serious problem with the culture of argument here; with the ability to listen, which has deteriorated [greatly]; with the lack of respect, the blatant contempt and the obscene language. Our ideological and cultural richness is a source of uniqueness and strength, but we all have a lot of work to do in order to narrow the artificial gaps between us which some make certain are nurtured, because, truthfully, we have more things in common than things that separate us.”

“A [government] is also judged by its ability to bridge the gaps between positions and converge in order to better serve the public,” Edelstein said, concluding, “Therefore, there was no other choice but to work towards expanding the coalition. The first step in this direction should be welcomed, and I hope additional Zionist parties will join. We must stand together, better and more united, in front of the great challenges facing us. This is an important message, internally, for the Israeli public, and also externally, for all those who are eagerly waiting to see our internal disintegration – God forbid.”

MK Yair Lapid, chairman of the Yesh Atid faction, said “Herzl envisioned a state with equal rights for women at a time when such a notion was almost avant-garde. He wrote that every citizen will be obligated to give two years for military or civil service and that religious coercion would be forbidden. He spoke of the need for a clean country that would protect the environment. He wrote about a country where education is free for everyone, where there is a clear separation between the military and politics; a state that is technologically advanced. He believed that the Arabs of the land are entitled to equal rights.”

OK, that last part, about Herzl advocating for Palestinian rights is a bit of a stretch. As Ernst Pawel noted (The Labyrinth of Exile: A Life Of Theodor Herzl, Farrar, Straus, Giroux), “His attitude toward the indigenous population was one of benign indifference at best. He never questioned the popular view of colonialism as a mission of mercy that brought the blessings of civilization to stone-age savages… He fully believed that the Palestine Arabs would welcome the Jews with open arms; after all, they only stood to gain from the material and technological progress imported by the Jews.”

Some things never change.

JNi.Media

Netanyahu-Liberman Meeting Successful

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beytenu Chief Avigdor Liberman met today at 4 PM to discuss the possibility of Liberman’s party joining the coalition.

According to reports the meeting was successful, and both sides will be setting up negotiation teams to finalize the terms of Liberman joining the coalition. The two sides hope to conclude negotiations by Friday.

Before the meeting Liberman set three conditions for entering the coalition, which he shared with journalists at a news conference Wednesday morning. The former minister of foreign affairs said his party would demand the defense portfolio, imposition of the death penalty for terrorist murderers, and pension reforms.

The Likud’s rumor mill is running full force, and it’s saying that Liberman will be getting the position of Defense Minister and Moshe Ya’alon will be getting the boot. Reportedly Netanyahu also offered Liberman the Aliyah (Immigrant Absorption) portfolio as well, to sweeten the deal. Ya’alon is very much out of favor within the Likud these days as he hasn’t stopped running off his mouth with a range of statements that have angered much of the Likud’s rank and file, even causing PM Netanyahu to call him onto the carpet the other day.

Update: PM Netanyahu spoke with Defense Minister Ya’alon and informed him that Liberman had accepted the position of Defense Minister if he joins the coalition.

Labor chief Yitzchak Herzog is also facing problems, and if it looks like Herzog failed or got played by Netanyahu, he could be facing a putsch within his own party.

Shalom Bear

Herzog Suspends Talks on Entering Coalition: ‘Netanyahu Must Choose Me or Liberman’

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

By Jesse Lempel/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Opposition leader and Labor Chairman Isaac Herzog announced on Wednesday that he was suspending talks about entering into the coalition with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, citing Netanyahu’s planned meeting the same day with Avigdor Liberman, chairman of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party.

“If Netanyahu wants to take Liberman to his government, he can do so and we will give them a hard time from the opposition. And if he accepts our demands, I already said and say again that we will consider it,” Herzog said in a Jerusalem press conference.

“Now more than ever, the choice is between Liberman in the Defense Ministry or us in the Defense Ministry. The choice is between craziness and sanity, between political and economic isolation and prosperity,” Herzog added.

Herzog’s announcement follows weeks of rumours and political maneuvering about the Labor party, an historically left-wing party, entering Netanyahu’s right-wing government. Herzog and Netanyahu met on Sunday night to discuss a potential “unity” government, a move that has provoked furious opposition among a segment of Labor’s own ranks.

A press conference by Liberman on Wednesday announcing that he would meet Netanyahu and consider joining the government, however, forced Herzog to take a step back. Herzog explained that he would not negotiate with Netanyahu “in parallel” with Liberman.

“I do not follow Liberman’s agenda or whims,” Herzog said. “I go with my truth. And just like in the past I was not swayed by threats or insults, I will not be now either. I preserved my principles and insisted on our path throughout the negotiations, and that’s why we do not have a coalition agreement with Netanyahu.”

“Avigdor Liberman’s press conference today clarified the historic choice Netanyahu is facing: either going to war and having funerals or going on a journey of hope for all Israeli citizens,” Herzog added. “Those are the choices and there is no other choice.”

Michael Bachner and Jonathan Benedek contributed to this report.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/herzog-suspends-talks-on-entering-coalition-netanyahu-must-choose-me-or-liberman/2016/05/18/

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