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October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘list’

And Now for Something Completely Different: Accountability and Unity in Israeli Politics

Monday, November 19th, 2012

The National Union will choose its list for the fifth time. I’ve been around for all five cycles and unity in our nationalist camp is more important now than ever.

I have been doing my best over the past couple of months to use my “neutral” position as the Manager of the National Union Knesset Faction, as well as the position of the next MK in line on the National Union list, to unify the ideological, nationalist parties for a joint run in the 2013 general elections.

Years ago, in 1999, I had the privilege of standing alongside Rechavam Ze’evy, Rav Chanan Porat and Benny Begin when they joined together to form the original National Union (HaIchud HaLeumi). Subsequently, as the Chair of the Moledet Party’s Executive Board, I constantly fought for running for Knesset on united lists, against those who, in each election cycle anew, demanded that we break away and run on our own as a soloist party, even at the expense of my own seat. As such, I feel that it is of the utmost importance that we all work together to make sure that the National Union, in its entirety, runs together with the Bayit Yehudi-Mafdal HaChadasha in the upcoming elections.

In 2006, I supported the joint list with the National Religious Party even though that meant my slot as 3rd in Moledet meant 16 on the joint list. I supported running with them in 2009 and I support running with them now in 2013. Once again, I have turned down opportunities to run on a breakaway list because I believe it is crucial to maintain unity in the national and national-religious camp, this time it was the option of running with MK’s Eldad and Ben-Ari. I remind our friends in the nationalist camp that it was these very political splits that enabled the advancement of the Oslo Accords.

Today, the Tekuma party will choose the National Union’s list for the 2013 election. I have decided to run because I feel that I bring three things to the table that no other candidate does – Unity, Experience and Anglos.

With Eldad and Ben Ari choosing to run on their own, it is of the utmost importance that Moledet, the only other constant in the National Union, choose the side of unity versus divisiveness. Only political alliances and running on joint lists will give us the power we need to have a real influence on the decision making process in Israel. This is the very clear lessons of the 1992 and 2009 elections. Together, we are strong. Divided, totally impotent.

I am among a handful of veteran political Knesset parliamentary experts. I started working in the Knesset in 1996 and have held just about every appointed job in Knesset or government, including top level parliamentary and senior ministry positions. There are few people like myself who can step into the position of Knesset member without the need for any on-the-job training or grace period.

I have been the National Union’s official English-speaking candidate for the last three general election campaigns. I was number 10 in the Liberman led list of 2003, number 16 in 2006 and number 5 during this term, in which the National Union won 4 seats. I have been one of the most recognized English-speaking candidates for over a decade.

My friend and neighbor, Jeremy Gimpel, dedicated his high-profile Bayit Yehudi campaign towards connecting with the large voting block of English-speakers in this country. Gimpel’s attempt at bringing accountability to the Knesset echoes my same attempts of the past and is not lost. Although he did not win a realistic slot in Habayit Hayehudi, I hope the National Union chooses me in a high spot to be the strong Anglo candidate that the nationalistic camp knows and deserves. There is no doubt that an Anglo at a high spot will translate into more votes for the party.

If I am selected to a high enough spot in the joint National Union-Bayit Yehudi list, I will be in a position to continue to work towards unifying the joint list with MK’s Eldad and Ben Ari. I will also work towards being your “Congressman” in the Knesset, with the level of connection and accountability that Anglos are accustomed to. Who knows? Maybe some of that will finally even rub off on my Israeli colleagues…

Many Happy Returns

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

I never thought I would see the day when “Yossie” would smile. He was not an unhappy man, but rather very serious in demeanor. He never said hello, or any words, to his customers other than those absolutely necessary.

Whenever I went to his store, I felt uncomfortable. It was as if I was invisible. I would greet him when I entered and thank him when I left, but there was never any response. In time, I realized there would never be one. Despite this personality flaw, Yossie’s business was flourishing. His prices were fair, and he was an honest man.

I had not been in his store for a couple of years. My husband was not as bothered as I was by Yossie’s rudeness, and so he was the one who generally went there. Recently, though, I reluctantly found myself there. I’m glad it worked out that way for a number of reasons. I got to see Yossie in a different light, and I also got the chance to give my sister a special surprise.

I was waiting my turn to be served when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. A woman’s lightweight jacket was hanging on a hook.

Without thinking, I called out to Yossie, “To whom does that green jacket belong?”

He turned to me and quietly responded that it had been left in his establishment about two years ago.

“It’s mine. I can’t believe it. I gave up on ever finding it!”

Yossie looked away, but not before I caught the pleased smile on his face. Who would have ever thought that he would hold onto an abandoned object for such a long time, hoping someone would one day claim it? Who would have thought this could make him smile?

The story does not end here, not without telling you of the story surrounding my missing jacket.

Over the past several years, my sister and I have found ourselves traveling back and forth from Israel to America in order to spend time with our elderly parents.

Whenever possible we chose to fly together, thereby giving each other physical, as well as emotional, support. Most of our trips revolved around our parents, but we also tried to squeeze in quick shopping trips, bringing back gifts for our children and their families.

Two years ago, during the fall season, we found ourselves packing our suitcases yet again. To my dismay, I discovered that I could not find my lightweight green jacket.

I searched everywhere, but concluded that I had simply left it somewhere and would have to buy a new one in America.

I take a limited amount of money with me whenever I travel, and I really am very careful with how I spend it. This way, I can buy something for everyone on my list.

Before I knew it, I had spent almost all of the cash I brought and did not have enough left over to purchase a jacket.

While shopping one day, my sister came over to me with a lovely jacket in her hands.

“Do me a favor,” she said, “and try it on for me. I am too tired to try it on myself, and we are the same size.” I knew she had been planning to buy this particular item herself, and so I tried it on for her.

In the end, she bought it for me. She refused to take it for herself, as she still had another jacket at home while I did not. She said she could always buy the jacket for herself on our next trip.

The next time we traveled to America, as well as on subsequent travels, we searched in vain for another jacket like the one she bought me. We either found one in the wrong size or wrong color, or not quite the same style. I always felt bad to be wearing her “dream” jacket, while she was still searching for hers.

Now, I finally had my chance to rectify the situation.

While still in Yossie’s store, I called her. “Rivky, what is that item you are always searching for in America? Well, guess what? I have it for you!”

On Being Sandy

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

It was William Shakespeare who posed the question “What’s in a name?”

These days, if someone calls you “Shakespeare” it probably means he or she thinks you are pretty bright, or at least can write well.

But a name can take on a whole new meaning when you find yourself sharing an identity with the most destructive storm ever to strike the East Coast.

My first inkling of Hurricane Sandy came approximately six days before the actual winds blew into town, when a friend jokingly e-mailed me a weather map showing the storm’s track.

I admit I was intrigued. When the National Weather Service issues its annual list of hurricane names for the year, they are arranged alphabetically. Honestly, I never realized the list went all the way through the alphabet and had never heard of a hurricane with an S-name. Hurricane Sandy? It sounded pretty cool.

By Thursday I had changed my Facebook profile picture to a graphic of the impending hurricane and got plenty of “likes” on my new photo persona, as well as lots of teasing from my friends. With the projected forecast of Sandy colliding with two other weather systems and during a full moon, which meant really high tides, they were calling me “the perfect storm.”

By Sunday night, my father, who had already been experiencing Sandy’s rain and winds, called me from Florida.

“How could they name such a terrible storm after someone so special?” he asked me in a way that only a loving father could. I told him not to worry. He had always said that if I was going to do something I should do it with a full heart – and it sounded like Hurricane Sandy was going to give her all as well.

And indeed she did. But not in a good way.

Four days after Sandy wreaked destruction, havoc and unparalleled devastation on the Eastern Seaboard, I was ready to change my profile picture on Facebook. How could I, even jokingly, associate myself with something that claimed the lives of innocent victims, washed people’s houses out into the Atlantic, and caused so much heartache to so many?

For those who weathered the storm with minimal adverse effects, it will be just a memory of taking in the lawn furniture in advance of a rainy night accompanied by howling winds. For others, Sandy will go down in the record books as the mega-storm that took out the electricity, leaving us shivering in the dark as we waited for the power to go back on and prayed that our freezers wouldn’t defrost on us.

I consider myself one of the fortunate ones. But in far too many instances, Sandy turned out to be a life-altering experience resulting in catastrophic losses.

In some ways Sandy took me back to 9/11, when we walked around in a daze wondering how something like this could have happened here. We all looked at the pictures of Breezy Point, Sea Gate, and the Battery Tunnel in disbelief, unable to comprehend that this was no movie set, that this was in fact very real, and realizing how in an instant our lives can crumble before us.

Did anyone imagine that the New York City subway system could be brought to a grinding halt? That entire portions of midtown Manhattan could be without power or that lower Manhattan could be submerged? How crippled we would be if we no longer had access to cell phone service or the Internet?

As time goes by and the repairs and the healing take hold, perhaps we may be able to see Sandy not only for the epic catastrophe she turned out to be but also as an opportunity for people to show their true colors, as they turned out in force to do everything within their power, and then some, to help those who bore the full brunt of the storm’s wrath.

But of course it is way too early for those who are suffering to even contemplate looking for the silver lining in clouds that are undoubtedly darker than most of us have ever seen.

Ultimately, Sandy will come to represent many different things to many different people.

For me, Sandy is a sobering reminder that while our lives are, thankfully, so rich and so full of advances and comforts, we haven’t earned them or created them on our own. All that we have we have only through the benevolence and kindness of Heaven, and we must appreciate and value them every single day of our lives.

Jewish Home Party Primary Results In; ‘Anglo’ Jeremy Gimpel Comes in 9th

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

The winners of the top four spots after Naftali Bennett in the Jewish Home primaries are former MK Nissan Smoliansky, Ayelet Shaked, MK Ori Orbach, and Avi Wortzman, the national-religious Israeli website, Srugim, reports.

All but Smoliansky are allies of Naftali Bennett who trounced MK Zvulon Orlev to become the new chairman of the party last week.

The other candidates who did not make the top five are Doron Donino, American-born Jeremy Gimpel, Shuli Meulam, Rabbi Nachman Misimi, Amiad Taub and MK Gila Finkelstein.

Using his Tuesday Night Live talk show as a base, Gimpel and his partner Ari Abramowitz launched a joint campaign for the Knesset several months ago, registering 3000 people, including many English-speakers to the party in hopes that this would propel at least one of them to a realistic spot on the party’s list.

The party’s list will be merged with that of the National Union, and together the two are expect to receive more seats than they would separately, currently seven.

Gimpel received 15,360 and ranked 8th among the candidates competing on Tuesday’s primary, which would make him 9th place on the Jewish Home list. That number which would be pushed even further back after the merger and he would not be expected to make it into the Knesset.

Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

In what may appear as one of the more interesting ironies to some, the Forward has chosen Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel (pictured here with Senator Joseph Lieberman) as one of the top 5 most influential Jews in America. (They did not say which position he holds on that short list.)

To that end they are showing short videos of each of those top 5. They have started off with one on Rabbi Zwiebel. (Could he be at the top of the list?) These 5 Jews head a list called the Forward 50. Which as the title suggest adds another 45 influential names. Rabbi Zweibel’s video can be seen below.

I use the word irony because of the fact that the Forward is often singled out by Charedim as very anti Charedi. Rabbi Zwiebel – for those who don’t know – is the executive director of one of the most publicly active Charedi organizations in the world, Agudath Israel of America.

This list has been heavily criticized in the past for choosing people who many of us in Orthodoxy never even heard of – to the exclusion of people many of us feel are quite a bit greater than those they have chosen. Like various Roshei Yeshiva and Poskim.

Agree or disagree – the Forward has its own guidelines for measuring impact (which they are certainly entitled to have) and they have chosen accordingly.

As executive director of Agudah he promotes the policies dictated to him by his organization’s Rabbinic authorities, which they term the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah – loosely translated as the Council of Torah Sages.

Rabbi Zweibel certainly has his detractors in wider Orthodoxy. There are issues that have stirred controversy. While all of Orthodoxy has more that unites us than divides us, there are some issues that are so controversial that they threaten to tear us apart and separate us forever. Among them are two of 3 which Rabbi Zweibel was asked about.

One is the issue of requiring all suspicions of sex abuse be first reported to a Rabbi before being reported to the police. That is so that the rabbi can determine whether the evidence is credible enough to over-ride the Issur of Mesirah. Even if one holds that Mesirah is still applicable in our era.

Rabbi Zweibel spoke eloquently about this vetting process. But as I have indicated in the past, I disagree with it. My difference with Agudah is that if there is going to be any vetting process about what is and isn’t credible evidence, it ought not be a rabbi that determines it. It ought to be mental health professionals and the police who regularly deal with sex abuse. As I recall it was R’ Elyashiv who Paskined that there are no Mesirah issues when there are Raglayim L’Davar (credible evidence). And he never said that it should be a rabbi that determines it.

The other controversial issue is MbP (Metzitza B’Peh – oral suction of the blood from a circumcision wound). Agudah is fighting New York City’s Health Department requirement of informed consent. Meaning that a Mohel has to warn parents about the dangers of transmitting diseases of the mouth via direct oral contact with the wound.

Again, I have profound differences on this issue. But I hear his argument. For Chasidim – a segment of Orthodoxy that believes MbP is an integral requirement of Bris Milah – asking their Mohalim to warn parents about it sends a message that a Halachic requirement is in fact dangerous! A danger they believe is practically nonexistent.

Although I understand their position and that of Agudah one has to weigh the message’s negative implications for them against the right of a parent to be informed about the possible dangers, rare though they may be. Rabbi Zweibel seems to say that two constitutional freedoms are at stake here. Freedom of speech and freedom of religion. I guess this is the argument they will make in the courts in order to overturn the health department’s informed consent requirement.

We’ll see how that plays out.

A 3rd issue mentioned in the interview was an offshoot of the Siyum HaShas. That Agudah managed to fill a football stadium to overflow crowds of mostly Charedim – seems to indicate that American Jewry’s growth is trending towards a more insular way of life. Thus we are less able to influence greater society by directly participating in it.

Jewish Home Primaries Today, Vote for the Anglo

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Today, the Jewish Home party (formerly known as the National Religious Party) is holding primaries for its list of candidates for the Knesset. It’s not clear how many seats the party will get in the next Knesset.

Its Knesset list will be merged with the National Union, reportedly at a 1:1 ratio. The total number of seats will likely be higher than the two party’s have today in the Knesset, which is seven.

Some polls even show the joint list receiving up to 13 seats. I would guess that those who want to vote to the right of the Likud now no longer have the option to vote for Yisrael Beteinu since those two parties will have a joint list, and they will be forced to vote for the Jewish Home.

The election of a new head of the party – Naftali Bennett- who is well known and who is interested in reaching out beyond the parties traditional base of support, will also give the party a boost.

But this is Israel and anything can happen between today and January 22nd – the date of the general elections.  For those candidate’s running for a spot on the party’s slate, they can’t rely on the party getting 13, 10 or even 8 spots. They need to get as a high as possible on the list.

As the Jewish Home has a total membership of around 54,000 every vote will count in that tight race.

One of the candidates is Jeremy Gimpel, who originates from the U.S.

I have to admit, I wasn’t very pleased at first with the announcement of Gimpel and his talk/radio show partner Ari Abramowitz that they were running for the Knesset.

It was clear to me that even if the party would net five seats either on its own or as part of a joint list with the National Union – two more than it has today – it would be very unlikely that two of the five would go to two English-speakers hitherto unknown in Israeli politics.

I am also very active in the Likud, where members will be voting in a primary race for a party that has 27 seats and is and will be leading the country. I didn’t like the idea of people joining a party to vote for one person when they could be joining a party and have influence over approximately 27 Members of Knesset.

I also see the Jewish Home as a sectarian party. It has its public – the national religious community – and it cares about that sector’s interests.  As a Zionist, and even as a religious Zionist, I believe it is irresponsible for a politician or a party, to behave this way. Laws, the budget, policies: these must be drafted in consideration of the national interest. I understand that the Israeli electoral system promotes this behavior, but it should be resisted.

Perhaps Naftali Bennett, who was only elected party chairman on November 6th, will indeed broaden the party’s scope. But that is yet to be seen.

Nevertheless, Gimpel (and Abramowitz) saw an opening in the generally closed-to-newcomers Israeli political scene. The Jewish Home would be holding primaries for the first time. It did not have a membership base. All candidates running for a spot would be starting from scratch. Whoever they registered by the deadline would become the voters in the upcoming primary.

In the Likud, by contrast, there are 123,000 members, which is a relatively small number, but there is a 16-month waiting period before members can vote. Primaries are held at least 6 months before the scheduled date of the general election. So any Knesset campaign would need to already have registered a bloc of members at least 22 months in advance of the general election date. Practically, it would have to be even earlier since the general elections are almost always held earlier than scheduled.

This election cycle they will be held in January 2013, nine months earlier than scheduled. The primaries in the Likud will be held on November 25th. To be eligible to vote in the primary, one must have registered by July 25th, 2011, more than two years ahead of the scheduled date of the general election.

Updated: Sunday’s List of Rocket Launches, Strikes, Injuries, and Damage

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

We’ve decided to open up a new list of rocket launches/strikes for Sunday. For all the previous launches up to Sunday morning  go here.

Watch a video of a Red Alert in Sderot.

11:18 PM Sdot HaNegev, Shaar HaNegev

9:11 PM Netovot, Rahat, Bnei Shimon, Sdot Negev

8:1 5 PM Eshkol

8:00 PM Sderot

7:58 PM Sderot

7:46 PM Eshkol

7:30 PM Eshkol

7:07 PM Eshkol

6:46 PM Kissufim

6:38 PM Eshkol

6:19 PM Eshkol

6:02 PM Eshkol

5:00 PM Shaar HaNegev

4:56PM Sderot

3:57 PM Ashkelon, Lachish, Shaa HaNegev

1:57 PM Be’er Sheva

1:04PM Ashkelon Beach

12:56 PM Sdot HaNegev

12:35 PM Ashkelon

12:31 PM Eshkol

12:31  PM Ashkelon Beach

12:29 PM Golan Heights (yeah, you read that right)

12:05 PM Shaar HaNegev

11:54 AM Shaar HaNegev. Sdot HaNegev, Eshkol

10:48 AM Double Header (again) – Sderot and Shaar HaNegev

10:17 AM Factory in Sderot suffers direct hit. No injuries.

10:09 AM Double Header – Sderot and Shaar HaNegev

9:50 AM Shaar HaNegev (4 rockets)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/sundays-rocket-launches/2012/11/11/

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