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September 22, 2014 / 27 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Lapid’

Do We Finally Have a Coalition?

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Headlines are “hinting” that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has finally gotten some sort of agreement with the Bobbsey Twins, a.k.a., Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett.  Those two rookie Members of Knesset have been holding a very nice dowry of over thirty Knesset Members which Netanyahu desperately needs if he’s going to be able to have a workable coalition.

70-strong Israeli coalition nearing completion (Times of Israel)
Lapid to be finance minister, Bennett to be minister of trade, foreign portfolio to be held for Liberman; ultra-Orthodox parties going into opposition

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid is warming up to the idea of becoming Finance Minister, party sources said on Saturday, a week before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s deadline to form a government. Nothing is for sure yet, but the press has been saying that Lapid is willing to take the Finance Ministry.

Lapid and Netanyahu met on Friday, for talks their spokeswomen called “positive, with much progress made,” and on Saturday, in a meeting that was still ongoing (Jerusalem Post).

I can’t imagine a tougher challenge for him.  It’s so much easier to complain from the outside.  He campaigned on a social/financial platform.  It takes money to give the people what he claimed to want to give them/us.  Let’s see if it’s really possible, once he sees the real numbers.

“It all looks different from inside the government” is what many right-wing politicians have insisted when answering complaints about the contrast of their campaign promises and government policies.  I’m curious to see how Lapid will handle the “hot potato.”

If Lapid and Bennett have really come to an agreement with Bibi, I guess they’ll tie up the loose ends by the time Peres returns and United States President Barack Hussein Obama comes for his visit.

But in the meantime, we’ll just wait for the details…

Visit Shiloh Musings.

Anger at Haredim: Who Is to Blame?

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

When one hears the term ‘Hate Crime’ it usually conjures up images of white supremacists beating up innocent black youth or some neo Nazis doing the same to an innocent Jewish youth. But hate is not unique only to cross racial or religious cultures. One can hate one’s own. A Chasidic girl’s school (Bobov) was recently torched in Israel.

This – says MK (member of the Kenesset) Yisrael Eichler of the Haredi Yahadut Hatorah (UTJ) party – is but one example of hate crimes perpetrated against Haredim that is completely ignored by the media. From 5TJT:

“Every day people spit at and curse hareidi Jews, particularly recently, and nobody is horrified by this.” Says Eichler. And yet if a girl gets spit upon bya Chardi Jew an entire party is created that receives enough votes to get 19 seats in the Kenesset!

The arson attack was the tip of the iceberg, Eichler said. “Every day people spit at and curse hareidi Jews, particularly recently, and nobody is horrified by this.”

“But when somebody in Beit Shemesh spits on one girl, a party was built on that spit that got nineteen mandates, and another twelve religious mandates joined them to boycott hareidi Jews and starve their children,” he said, referring to the Yesh Atid party and its pact with the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party.

I don’t know how true it is that crimes against Haredim are ignored by the media. If true his indignation is understandable.

But I think he fails to understand why it is happening (if indeed it is). Did all these secular Jews wake up one day to become haters of Haredim – for no reason at all? To many of us who live outside of his world the answer is obvious. They were not born this way or suddenly cast into an anti Haredi spell by demons from outer space.

It is because of the Haredi sense of being in service to God to the exclusion of all others. They truly believe B’Emunah Shelaima (with complete faith) that they have the only true path to God. Their understanding of Torah supersedes the understanding of all others. And that nothing colors that understanding.

As such they view any opposition to themselves as either ignorant (at best) or outright hostility to God. The latter being the more common attitude.

Does he really think that Yesh Atid got their 19 seats because of bad press? …or from one incident in Bet Shemesh? Is it possible he may just be missing the real reason?

I think it is far more likely that the issue of the day – sharing the burden by serving in the army – is what drove this election. That may not be the only issue that drove Israelis to the polls for, but it was certainly one of the more important ones.

Their attitude about the draft is but one area that they badly stumble over. It isn’t so much the issue itself that polarizes the secular and Dati parties from Haredim. It is the way that Haredim characterize and react to it… that does. Their righteous indignation translates to condescension which is palpable – often turning into outright hostility!

Take for example Rav Shmuel Auerbach recent comments as reported in the Jewish Press. Referring to the requirement to resist the draft he said:

“[S]tand guard without any changes, because this is one of the fundamentals of the faith, in the category of ‘ye’hareg v’bal ya’avor’ (a commandment one must obey even at the cost of their own life). …The issue at hand (the draft) is nothing short of eradicating our religion… (emphasis mine)”

One must die rather than serve one’s country. That is how he refers to military service in Israel. Can either MK Eichler or Rav Auerbach or the many other Haredi rabbinic leaders not imagine how the typical Israeli mother whose son is subject to be put in harm’s way might react to that kind of statement?!

The answer must be that they are incapable of imagining it. The belief in the righteousness of their cause blinds them to the perspectives of others. Anyone who does not see it their way must be an enemy of Judaism to be resisted at the cost of their own lives if necessary. Yehoreg V’Al Ya’avor. Virtually all Haredi rabbinic leaders seem to feel this way to one extent or another.

Coalition Burn Out

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Last night, a bit before I turned off the computer, I posted the following on facebook:

Maybe I’m crazy, or it’s a bit of political “burnout,” but I must admit that I really don’t care which parties are in Bibi’s government coalition. He’s just going to do what he wants, and God will stir as He wills it. I did my bit to vote for the party with the candidates I wanted to see in the Knesset, but they didn’t get in. My blog posts didn’t help, certainly not enough. As much as I enjoy a good political campaign, pre-election period, this long, leak-filled, innuendo flooded, media sabotaged coalition ultra-marathon has become worse than a bore.  When the “negotiations” are double-guessed by the media, we’ve passed the point of absurdity.  It’s hard to distinguish between fact, fiction, guess-work and wishful thinking. Arlene Kushner, as usual, has a much more intelligent way of explaining what’s going on and why we should be worried:

Nothing concrete to report yet on the coalition, as, again, there are mostly rumors. Based on what I’m reading, however, I confess to a great unease that Lapid sees himself as a reformer upon whom formation of the coalition depends — and who thus can, with his demands for entry into that coalition, instantaneously restructure much of Israeli society. Whether he’s right or wrong on specific issues, I fear a heavy-handed audacity that is only going to tear the society apart. Bibi’s “roast beef” has been cooking much too long.  Even if he had been making chulent, it would be overcooked already. And too much of what should be the coalition negotiations are being ki’ilu, sort of conducted “in public” by the media.  We keep hearing politicians, possible cabinet members being  interviewed interrogated, and asked which ministerial posts they demand or which would they refuse.  Instead of politely and firmly brushing off these questions with a “that’s between me, my party leader and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu,” they actually answer the questions and with much too much detail.  Obviously they’ve never taken my media when you’re being interviewed course.  One of the first rules is not to answer theoretical questions.  I’d put the “which ministry do you want question” in that category.  Too much public talking will only make things worse for everyone.

Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid keeps his facebook followers updated.  No, I’m not one of his friends.

Lapid is reportedly demanding the Foreign Ministry, but Netanyahu has reserved the post for faction Number 2 Avigdor Liberman, who stepped down from the post late last year to fight fraud and breach of trust charges. On Wednesday, the attorney general said it was legal for Netanyahu to hold the ministry for an indicted M.K.

Earlier Likud sources told Army Radio that Lapid was “obsessing” about becoming foreign minister, “which isn’t going to happen”…

Lapid, who is also demanding a smaller Cabinet and that the ultra-Orthodox be drafted into national service, said on Facebook that the talk about ministerial posts was beside the point. (Times of Israel). Most people I speak to have great faith that somehow Bibi will do his usual hat trick and pull a nice fluffy rabbit out of his hat before United States President Barack Hussein Obama arrives to “inspect” him and the State of Israel. Besides the fact that the suspense is over, like a balloon which no longer has air, I really don’t think it makes all that much of a difference which parties are in a coalition and who holds which ministerial portfolios.  Too many times we’ve elected Right wing, pro-Land of Israel governments which ended up being davka the ones that gave our Arab enemies portions of the Land of Israel, most notably Ariel Sharon.

It doesn’t really matter who’s elected and who is Minister of whatever.  Sorry for the cynicism, but that’s what is going through my mind right now.

Visit Shiloh Musings.

Jew Against Jew, I Don’t Like This

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Chazal, our sages say that the Holy Temple was destroyed because of baseless hatred, Jew against Jew.  All the recent political infighting, especially  since the recent Israeli Knesset Elections, just make me fear God’s wrath.  What punishment does God have in store for us, God forbid?

Even Jews who claim to be Torah observers, following God’s commandments are dividing rather than uniting us.

Shas: It’s Over, We’re Headed for Opposition: Sephardic hareidi party vows to fight from the Opposition, keep funds from going to “hilltop youth.” And the NRP, a.k.a., Bayit Yehudi’s new leader, Naftali Bennett, has not learned the most important skill needed to be an effective politician, getting along and reaching agreements.  His pact with Leftist leader, who’s also a rookie MK, Yair Lapid, is not good for the country.  People voted for Bennett’s NRP so that he would influence from within the government, and he’s just pushing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu further Left.

One of Lapid’s demands is that he won’t sit in the government with Haredim, so when you add all this together, you have a big problem.

And in the meantime, the modern Amaleks in Iran are making progress on their nuclear weapons.  And is the “free world” (sic) ready for this?  No way.  The United States President Barack Hussein Obama is fiddling on his roof talking the negotiations talk, and Israel is still threatening. But after years of these threats, nobody takes them seriously, especially not the Iranians.

The more Israelis fight among themselves the more we’re inviting Amalek to attack.

Bad news, and I don’t see a good solution to theis.

I also recommend reading Arlene Kushner’s  “Deplorable,” which expresses my feelings, too.

Now I’m referring not to the state of the world, but to the state of Israeli politics. I am so often proud of who we are. But now? I would gladly grab hold of certain political shoulders and shake until the heads that sit on those respective shoulders rattled. Where? I want to ask. Where is your devotion to the state and the greater good during these difficult times?
Visit Shiloh Musings.

When Politicians Take Emotional Positions

Monday, March 4th, 2013

I don’t see how any coalition that forms at this point could possibly survive.

During the election campaign, Likud and Shas acted horribly towards HaBayit HaYehudi and Naftali Bennett, and things didn’t improve afterwards either. And besides the Bennett and Lapid pact, no one trusts one another at all.

And if you listen to the politicians, you can really feel that palpable hatred and mistrust, especially coming from certain Haredi politicians.

There are Haredi politicians who are going so far as openly threatening to help destroy settlements just to get even (which in their anger and hatred, they forget includes ten of thousands of Haredim also living in settlements).

What’s even more absurd is that much of the Haredi street no longer agrees with their political leaders.

Yes, there is that hard-core that would definitely sit in jail for years, rather than go to the army, get a job, and support their families, but much of the Haredi world is opening up to the idea that there is no shame in working for a living while still learning Torah.

Last week, I had the opportunity to speak with a Haredi soldier currently in the Shachar (Air Force) program.

He told me the program wasn’t exactly like they described in brochure (so to speak). There were and are a lot of problems that needed fixing in order for the environment be more kosher for Haredim and he’s not happy with the job he got stuck with. But on the other hand, in another year or so he’s free to do what he wants, whether it will be to get a job, or sit in yeshiva and learn forever.

What was interesting, is that nearly all the other Hareidim in the room had also done army service to one degree or another, and all were working, and all had Havrusahs. In fact, there was a siyum masechet going on at the time for one them, and this week, another will be doing his siyum.

So despite serving in the army, and despite working for a living, these Haredim were still voluntarily learning and living a completely Haredi lifestyle.

Are there problems with the army programs for Haredim? You bet there are. But the biggest problem is that there aren’t enough Haredim in the army to make a difference and fix it.

How can you really expect a non-religious soldier to create a totally kosher environment when he hasn’t the faintest clue what that even means? If there were more Haredim in the army, they would be able to ensure that the environment met their needs, because they actually understand what those needs are.

You can’t force a society to change overnight. You can’t throw an entire sector in jail (they tried that during the Disengagement, and it doesn’t work).

But the reality is that most Haredim want to join Israeli society and share in the national burden, but Israeli society must also be prepared for the changes that will be demanded of it too for that to happen, and for that to work. And I don’t think Israeli society is ready for that either.

But those changes will be good for everyone. But they need to be introduced at the right pace.

But going back to the politicians, if we take them all at their word, I don’t see how this coalition will not evolve into everyone doing their best to hurt one another until the collapse, and that eventually includes even Lapid and Bennett.

Israeli society may be healing and working to repair the rifts, but the politicians? At this point I’m having trouble seeing that happen.

Israel might need to roll the proverbial dice again and go for new elections, because this atmosphere is simply too poisoned.

Visit The Muqata.

We Could Be Without a Coalition for a Long Time

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Thanks to IMRA for posting the details of the government coalition law in English

At present, a period which has lasted months already, the State of Israel has had a version of a “lame duck government.”  It’s not the same sort of “lame duck” that exists in the United States.  In the Israeli version, it has the following characterisitcs:

* the ministers are of the previous government coalition
* the new MKs have been sworn in and are working as MKs
* the MK who has been given the responsibility/opportunity to form a new coalition hasn’t yet done it

Political pundits are floating all sorts of scenarios about possible coalition deals and even possible new elections. Recently, Netanyahu has requested and was granted a 14 day extension to form a new coalition government by President Shimon Peres.

If Netanyahu fails to create/negotiate a new coalition, that doesn’t mean that we’re going directly into elections.  There are a few more stages, and if a majority of this Knesset never manage to agree/compromise enough to work together as a coalition, we won’t have elections for a few months.

Here’s the time table according to IMRA:

Elections
Publications of results
Max 7 days President assigns task of forming government after consultations
28 days first attempt to form government
14 days extension
3 days maximum before assign task to a second MK
28 days to form government by second MK
21 days for a majority of MKs to nominate third MK to form a government
2 days for President to announce appointment of the third MK
14 days for third MK to form government President announces government cannot be formed.
Last Tuesday before the end of 90 days elections held

In all that time the previous Prime Minister remains. So like it or not, coalition or not, Netanyahu may continue as Prime Minister for quite a while.  Who wants to add up the days to see how many months he may last without needing a coalition?

Visit Shiloh Musings.

Bibi in Overtime, but Is a Coalition any Closer?

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

I know someone whose tax dealings would make my CPA father very nervous; that friend says that his accountant uses “creative bookkeeping.”  That phrase “creative bookkeeping” keeps popping into my head when I read all of the articles about how Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu can make a government coalition with various incompatible political parties.

Many of the same people also claim that the same Arabs who want to totally destroy us, men, women and children, (as Haman from the Purim Holiday’s Megillat Scroll of Esther unabashedly had planned) also claim they can be placated with the gift of land and then make peace with us.  You really need a creative, unrealistic imagination to believe that.  To put it simply, it would go against the laws of nature.  Maybe they want to keep a grown tiger as a pet, thinking it’s a tabby on steroids…

Last night, I popped into the living room and checked what was on the news.  I saw the news clip official meeting of the Prime Minister with President Shimon Peres.  Netanyahu had just formally requested another two weeks to form his coalition.

The big question would be: Is it possible for Bibi to form a viable and stable coalition?

The pundits claim it can be done.  Times of Israel’s Yoel Goldman shows that Netanyahu does not need the thirty-one seats Lapid and Bennett could give him:

If Labor, with its 15 Knesset seats were to unexpectedly join Likud-Beytenu (31), Netanyahu could then turn to Shas (11) and United Torah Judaism (7) to complete a 70-seat Knesset majority.

Bennett and Lapid, two newbies, inexperienced first-time MK’s and party leaders have been “negotiating” under the premise that Bibi will buckle and give into their demands.  One of their demands is that the hareidi, aka ultra-Orthodox parties be kept out of the coalition.  Being so adamantly “anti” any sector is Israeli society is a bad sign for ambitious politicians who dream of being Prime Minister some day.  Actually it reminds me of Yitzchak Rabin, who as Prime Minister said he was the Prime Minister for those who supported him, not for the “settlers” — people like me, who opposed his Oslo Accords.

One thing that Netanyahu does understand is that a Prime Minister should have as broad a coalition as possible to represent all sectors in Israeli society.

Bennett and Lapid have been concentrating on the simple arithmetic.

31+31=62
Likud + Lapid + Bennett = 62

Sixty-two are a majority, more than half of one-hundred-twenty.  They have been counting on Netanyahu needing them so desperately that he’d let them write the deal.  At this point, Tzipi Livni is the only party leader to have already signed and she got a great deal.

I wouldn’t bet on this one.  Netanyahu is one wily politician, and he may shock us all, which is what he likes to do.  Considering that the polls are showing Lapid leading Bibi if there were to be new elections, maybe that’s why Lapid isn’t wiling to compromise.  But he should remember that when Netanyahu called for elections a few months ago, the polls predicted that Bibi’s Likud, even with Yisrael Beitenu, should expect at least 50% more seats, so early polls should not necessarily be relied on.  And I highly doubt that your average NRP aka Bayit Yehudi voter approves of Bennett’s fanatically anti-chareidi stand.

Stay tuned….

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