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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘list’

Lapid Tells Haredim ‘Go Work’ as Child Subsidy Cuts Go into Effect

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

On Tuesday, the severe cuts in government assistance to large families is going into effect, representing a new peak in Finance Minister Yauir Lapid’s war against the Haredim. What began as an election slogan, touting the need for an equal share in the national burden, is now policy, and as so many things political go, this one is hurting the weakest members of society.

Here’s the list of changes in the amounts paid to families—it is divided into children before and after 2003.

Families with children born before 2003 will receive $39 a month—down from $49—for the first child; $39 a month—down from $74—for the second child; $48 a month—down from $82—for the third child; $94 a month—down from $129—for the fourth child; and $99 a month—down from $109—for the fifth child and on.

The effect on a family of 10, which would be almost certainly religious (or Arab) is a 20% drop, from $988.00 to $814.00.

Israel’s social security administration objected to these cuts, arguing that they expect them to send some 35 thousand new children below the poverty line. In fact, they said the new cuts, sold as part of the “equal burden” package, will actually introduce a huge, new gap between rich and poor, as the percentage of poor children will rise from 4 to 40 percent.

In his Facebook message (today’s politician’s alternative to press conferences, where they might ask you embarrassing questions), Lapid said he was fulfilling one of his key promises to his voters. He also offered the following factoid, possibly something he read in a Maggie Thatcher interview:

“For years upon years it’s been proven that child allowances don’t get people out of poverty, they only make poverty permanent. Only one thing allows families exit the cycle of poverty – and that’s working.”

According to a 2011 report on poverty issued by the Israeli social security administration, 39.3% of Israeli families have been freed from the cycle of poverty due to receiving a variety of subsidies, including child allowances and income tax breaks, and the figure includes 15.1% of the children in Israel. The poverty line before government subsidies are paid out stands at $39.3%, and with the old subsidies dropped to 19.9%, which is still the highest poverty level among developed countries, and highest among all the OECD member countries…

For Haredi families, this severe cut in income comes coupled with a severe curtailing of funding for yeshivas and kolelim—by 30 percent this coming year, and by 60 percent the following year.

Four Haredi families are planning to sue the government in the Supreme Court over the cuts, which they say were made haphazardly and in a manner that does not befit proper legislation. A similar appeal was rejected a month ago by Justice Noam Solberg, on the ground that it was issued too early on in the legislative process. He urged the plaintiffs to come back once the bill becomes a law. Well, today it did.

Minister Lapid received a lot of praise when, during a duel with MKs from the Torah Judaism party, he said from the podium, in response to an accusation that his office was starving children:

“We will not allow any child in the State of Israel to go hungry. It’s our duty to make sure no child in Israel will be hungry, and we will honor it. But I want to remind [you], the institution responsible for caring for children is called their parents. When you bring a child into this world, [you] are the primary person responsible for it. Bringing a child into the world is a heavy responsibility, and so you should bring children into the world not based on the assumption that other people would care for them, but rather based on the assumption that it’s your obligation to take care of your own children.”

But that was many months ago. Today it has become clear that Minister Lapid—continuing his late father’s legacy of Haredi and religious hatred—has declared war on religious Jews in Israel. So far it’s been a three-pronged attack, hitting the issues of draft, child rearing in large families, and the education budget. Granted, in every one of these areas the Haredi public could do a lot to improve its relationship with the state and to create more goodwill between religious and secular in Israel. But to hit them with these three massive jabs all at once is not an act of repair but of destruction.


The Likud’s Alleged Rightward Shift

Monday, December 10th, 2012

On the night the Likud’s top 35 candidates for the Knesset were announced, the Israeli media immediately came to several conclusions about the Likud, which it did not even attempt to veil: the Likud had decisively shifted rightward, Moshe Feiglin had conquered the Likud, and the Likud could no longer be the true Likud as Benny Begin, Michael Eitan and Dan Meridor, who did not win secure spots on the list. At best these conclusions were sensationalism and at worst Leftist bias.

A Right-Wing Takeover?

The Likud’s list today is very similar to what it was in 2008 and the next Likud Knesset faction will be very similar to the current Knesset faction. Of the first 25 spots on the Likud’s list (prior to the merger of the list with Yisrael Beitenu’s) 20 are part of the current Likud Knesset faction. Several more would have been part of the first 25 (like Begin) if not for the fact that the Likud reserves about 15 spots on its list for new candidates, in this case spots 22-37.

True, some new Likud Members of Knesset like Danny Danon, Yariv Levin, Ze’ev Elkin and Tzipi Hotovely who comprise the party’s right flank did much better than expected and it was true that Moshe Feiglin finally earned a secure spot on the party’s list.

But Feiglin ranked only 14th in the primaries. That’s hardly conquering the party. He had already ranked 20th in the 2008 primaries and was only moved down on the list after district and demographic spots were moved up by virtue of an internal Likud court decision which changed the rules of the game after the game was over. So in a way he had already succeeded in the 2008 primaries and was simply re-elected. He is also incredibly active politically and has been for twenty years.

Elkin was previously number 20 on the list, having been elected on the first “oleh spot” (immigrants spot) on the party’s list in 2008. This time he won spot number nine. While Elkin takes pride in the fact that he lives in a caravan in Judea and Samaria he is also very close to Netanyahu. He is currently the coalition/Likud faction chairman. The 21st spot on the Likud’s list for an oleh candidate (not necessarily a “new oleh”) this time around was a safety net for him, having been put in place by Netanyahu.

Levin won in a district spot in 2008 (number 21). This time he ranked 11th. While he is a very trusted friend of settlement-based factions in the Likud, he never publicly challenge Netanyahu. He was also a member of an internal Likud committee and in the Knesset was the chair of the House committee which  controlled the flow of legislation. He was hardly an outsider to the party.

In addition to the more nationalist MKs who succeeded, many others also did well who are not ideological: Silvan Shalom (previously number 7, now number 4) supported the Disengagement. Tzachi HaNegbi was a member of Kadima, now he is number 17. Yisrael Katz (then 11, now 5), Haim Katz (then 14 now 13), Carmel Hashama Cohen (then district spot number 25, now 21) are not considered ideologically motivated Likudniks.

Miri Regev (then 27, now 14) is considered one of those extremist young MKs and she also did well, but my impression of her is that she isn’t very ideological. She was the IDF spokesperson during the Disengagement and a very ideological person would have resigned from such a position when the citizens’ army was turned against about 8,000 citizens in Gaza and the Shomron. My feeling is that she realized after the Central Committee elections in January that the settlement-based groups controlled a large bloc of votes and were well organized, so she made a decision to pander to them.

Many other more middle-of-the-road Ministers ranked high: Gideon Sa’ar and Gilad Erdan were the top vote-getters in 2008 and today, ranking 2nd and 3rd on the list; Moshe Ya’alon ranked eighth in 2008, and now seventh; Yuli Edelstein remained at number 12; Yuval Steinitz and Limor Livnat retained secure spots, despite dropping on the list (Steinitz dropped from nine to 16, and Livnat from 13 to 18).

Celebs Who Love Sufganiyot: HuffPo Lists Jewish Candle-Lighters

Monday, December 10th, 2012

In honor of Hanukkah, the Huffington Post has put together a list of celebrities lighting the menorah this year – bet there are some you didn’t know are Jewish!

Among well-knowns like Billy Crystal, Sarah Jessica Parker and Sarah Silverman are some little-knowns – Gwyneth Paltrow, Rashida Jones, and more.

Sen. Hagel Likely Obama Man at Defense, No Friend of Israel

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

President Barack Obama is expected to announce his nominees for secretaries of state and defense in the next two weeks, with former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel on the short list of potential choices to head the Pentagon, senior administration officials told Reuters on Tuesday.

The Republican Jewish Coalition reminded readers that, in the past, Jewish leaders have made their concerns about Hagel clear. The last time President Obama had to pick a new Defense Secretary, in 2010, a report by the Washington Jewish Week included red-flag quotes from numerous community sources – including pro-Obama Democrats:

Washington PAC Director and former AIPAC Executive Director Morris Amitay said, back then: “Hagel would be in a position to reinforce the worst aspects of the administration’s current Middle East policies, which would be very dangerous for Israel.”

Rivlin Offers to Trade Spots With a Female Candidate

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Speaker of the Knesset Rueven Rivlin (Likud) said Wednesday that he would be willing to be moved lower on the joint Likud Yisrael Beitenu (“Likud-Beitenu”) list in order to ensure that a female candidate were included in the list’s top ten candidates, Ma’ariv reported.

Rivlin is number 10 on the joint list.  The first female candidate on the joint list is Sofa Lindbar who stands at number 11.

According to Ma’ariv, Rivlin’s request is likely to be accepted.

The last day for parties to submit lists to the Central Election Commission is Thursday, December 6th.

My Miraculous Hospital Experience

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Since suffering from colitis as a teen, I finally adopted a strict diet in my 30s that ended my torment. It wasn’t easy to forgo white flour, white sugar and all chemical additives, but it meant that I spend the last 40 years pretty much free of doctors, medications and illness, thank God. Thus, I was surprised when two weeks before Rosh Hashanah, I began to experience increasingly severe stomach discomfort – until I was barely able to move. Despite what I was soon to endure, it helped greatly to focus on the moment-to-moment miracles. For example:

Miracle #1: My son Moshe, who is one of the busiest people on the planet, called on a Wednesday night to say, “I have a free morning, so let’s finish your new set of Sanity Cards,” a project to help children deal with stressful events in a positive manner. Miraculously I had no clients that morning, which is usually a busy time, and miraculously he has never before called with such an offer. So I immediately agreed. He came promptly at 10 a.m., as promised. His presence helped distract me from the pain, which I was sure would soon fade.

Miracle #2: We finished around 10:30 a.m., when he said, “Mom, this is ridiculous. You’re in too much pain! Get a doctor.” I promptly called the service that sends doctors to one’s home. The clerk at the health fund said that the doctor could not come until 3 p.m., but less than half an hour later, he showed up unexpectedly. After a brief examination, he promptly sent me to the emergency room.

Miracle #3: Since my son was with me, he was able to drive me to the hospital. He also stayed with me most of the time – returning home at 2.am.

Miracle #4: After sitting in terrible pain in the emergency room, a bed finally became available at around 3:30. I was able to lie down, which I hadn’t been able to do before, and was given an IV, which included a pain reliever. At 5:30, the results of the CT finally came back. A group of doctors determined that I had a massive infection, as well as three large blood clots near my pancreas. The nurse told me to not move around, as things looked grim. But I was relieved that there was no obstruction, as my greatest fear was that I would need to undergo intestinal surgery.

Miracle #5: I was given antibiotics and heparin intravenously to dissolve the clots. I was told not to move, lest the dangerous blood clots travel to my lungs or brain, God forbid. As I looked at the bags hanging from the poles, I thought to myself, “This is how I need to feel Hashem’s love, as if it is flowing into my veins 24/7.”

Miracle #6: At 2 a.m., I was transferred to the hospital ward. Although my roommate was having a hard night, her husband was the sweetest person imaginable, constantly soothing her with words of reassurance and helping her with all the little things a person needs right after surgery. Thus, the energy was very positive and loving. I was grateful that there were only the two of us and grateful for buttons that allowed me to adjust the bed myself.

Miracle #7: The next day my son brought me lots of reading material, including all the Mishpacha magazines that I hadn’t gotten to and a book I had been wanting to read for months – that he just “happened” to find. I was soothed and inspired during the long nights.

Miracle #8: On Friday afternoon, at around 3 p.m., a group of ten young men with guitars, flutes and drums entered my room singing Shabbos songs. They even asked for my favorites. Pure Gan Eden! After they left, a chassid walked in with a sweet two-year-old who was holding a basket of taffy candies. Her father motioned to her to give two candies to each patient. What a lesson in chesed! I disposed of the candies, as I do not eat sugar. But her smile will stay with me forever.

Miracle #9: At around 5 p.m., my brother walked in with a box of grapes, which I had asked him to bring – just in case I could eat something. Since my daughter, who insisted on coming to visit, had gotten mixed up and had gone to Ein Kerem hospital instead of Shaare Zedek, we had time to talk, which was important to us.

Former Foreign Office Director Says Likud Demanded Ayalon’s Ouster, Liberman Denies

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Before we start, you should know that a senior adviser at the Yisrael Beitenu party who read this article says it’s completely wrong, but doesn’t know the real reason for Ayalon’s dismissal.

Now we can start:

The morning after the surprise dismissal of Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon from the Likud Beiteinu list by his party boss Avigdor Liberman, Israel Channel 2 News interviewed Alon Liel, a former director of the ministry of foreign affairs and the Israeli ambassador to Turkey, who said that the career ending move stemmed from an old dispute between Likud Minister Silvan Shalom and Ayalon.

“When Danny Ayalon was ambassador in Washington, he had a bad falling out with his boss then, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom,” Liel told Channel 2 news. “From what I know and remember, when Ayalon finished his assignment, he wanted to join the Likud and was unequivocally vetoed by Shalom.”

“I think those old wounds were opened now,” Liel continued. “Maybe (the removal of Ayalon) was even one of the preconditions for the consolidation of Israel Beiteinu and Likud. That’s how I see it.”

The office of senior Vice Prime Minister and current Minister for Regional Development and the development of the Negev and Galilee Silvan Shalom said in response that they have no knowledge of the allegation. “This misinformation has no connection to reality,” they concluded.

The Foreign Minister’s office was a great deal harsher in its response (you can almost hear the Russian accent emanating from the text): “Alon Liel will say any nonsense to get air time, and he takes advantage of the fact that he served for about three months as director of this ministry to express his insignificant opinions.”

The ministry’s response went on to remind readers that Liel used to head an organization that advocated giving back the Golan Heights to the Syrian regime, “and the consequences of such a move are realized by everyone today.”

You must remember, after sticking in the knife, ya’ gotta’ turn it a couple times…

Incidentally, rumor has it that Liberman and Ayalon were riding together to the press conference where Liberman was about to announce his list of candidates to join the list elected in a democratic primary by Likid members (silly notion, right?), when Liberman turned to his deputy and said, “By the way, you’re not running.”

Again, The Jewish Press source in the foreign ministry says Ayalon had known about his own dismissal for some time. But Ayalon’s facebook page yesterday offered this comment:

“Today, I was informed by Yisrael Beytenu Chairman Avigdor Liberman that I will not be a candidate for the next Knesset.”

And that’s all she wrote…

On Politics and Circumcision

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Late Tuesday night, December 4, 2012, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, also iron fisted boss of Yisrael Beiteinu, announced his slate for the January 22 elections, a slate he’ll be cohabitating with PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud. It’s going to be a “ritchratch” (zipper) list, with Likud 1 coming first, followed by Yisrael Beiteinu 1 in second, Likud 2 in third place and YB 2 in fourth.

I’d like to see Nate Silver crack this one…

And, as iron fisted leaders often do, Liberman (who doesn’t like his name spelled Lieberman, like Joe’s) decided to shed a few celebs from his current list of candidates, including MK Danny Ayalon, his deputy foreign minister; Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov who resigned from political life (Driver, take me to your finest Gulag); and MK Anastassia Michaeli, the lady who never met an Arab she liked and became world famous for emptying a glass of water on Labor MK Raleb Majadele.

In light of all of the above, here’s the reason for making this the photo of the day. It has to do with the curious connection between the Hebrew word for “word” – Milah, and for “circumcision” – also Milah (brit milah means covenant via circumcision).

Liberman’s election slogan, Milah Zu Milah (A Word Is a Word, meaning you can count on my word) can also be interpreted to mean Circumcision is Circumcision – and so it came in handy on the night a fifth of the old party list was cut off.

Siman Tov U’Mazal Tov…

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/on-politics-and-circumcision/2012/12/05/

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