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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Manhigut Yehudit’

Bibi Capitulates to Muslim Threats, Orders Feiglin Off Temple Mount

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

For the past ten years, MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud-Beitenu) has been visiting the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on the 19th of the Hebrew month, every month. But on Sunday, April 28, 2013, Feiglin received a phone call from Deputy Commander Moshe Barkat, Chief of the Israeli Police David Precinct, which includes the Old City of Jerusalem.

He informed me that, on direct order from the prime minister, I would not be permitted to enter the Mount tomorrow,” MK Feiglin wrote in his Facebook page.

A source close to Feiglin told The Jewish Press that the deputy commander told the MK that the Waqf, the Jordanian charity organization which runs the Temple Mount, warned the Prime Minister’s office that should Feiglin go up on the Mount on Monday, it would “start World War Three.”

No one wants that. Except that the same Waqf has been cautioning about new world wars frequently, and is often involved in organizing, rather than trying to prevent them.

According to Feiglin, the prime minister has no legal authority to give such an order, because it violates three basic laws:

1. Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, which gives each person freedom of movement, and requires the state to protect this right.

2. Basic Law: The Knesset, which grants every MK complete immunity in carrying out his duties.

3. Basic Law: Jerusalem, which says: “The sacred sites shall be protected from desecration and any other violation and from anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the religionists to the sites they hold sacred, or their feelings concerning those sites.”

Also: “Any and all authority applying to the area of Jerusalem that is granted by law to the State of Israel or the Jerusalem Municipality, shall not be transferred to a foreign entity, political or governmental, whether permanently or temporarily.”

“The only legal way to prevent me from going up to the Temple Mount tomorrow (without changing existing law),” says MK Feiglin, “is if, in the opinion of the officer in charge of the place there exists an immediate, clear and present danger.”

But, having given him the warning a full day in advance, Feiglin argues, security forces should have ample time—had the prime minister only told them so—to organize and prevent dangerous gathering and violence.

According to MK Feiglin, the Prime Minister’s decision “confirms what I was told by the police command when I asked to tour the Dome of the Rock, that the Temple Mount is under Muslim sovereignty.”

This unfortunate decision, writes Feiglin, can be added to reports this week about transferring broad supervisory authority to UNESCO in Jerusalem, as well as the reality of a de facto construction freeze in Jerusalem, as Housing Minister Uri Ariel warned last week.

The source close to Feiglin says the MK will obey Netanyahu’s directive, but that as of tomorrow Feiglin would no longer be voting the Likud-Beitenu party line.

“When, just before Jerusalem Liberation Day, the Prime Minister orders an Israeli Knesset member that—contrary to Israeli law— he not to go up to the Temple Mount, it means that the Prime Minister has officially and openly revoked Israeli sovereignty on the Mount and given it to the Muslim Waqf,” MK Feiglin wrote.

“This is an entirely new situation, more severe than before, and I must consider now how to force the Prime Minister to respect the sovereignty of the State of Israel in its capital Jerusalem,” he concluded.

It’s a Good Thing She’s in the Knesset

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

“I pledge my allegiance,” Arab MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) scornfully spit out at the Knesset inauguration ceremony. She gathered her belongings and demonstratively exited the plenum.

At that moment, I was reminded of a different Arab woman. That woman sat next to me, not in the Knesset but in the Schneider Children’s Hospital in Petach Tikva. I sat in the hospital room, next to my unconscious son. She entered at night, in traditional dress; perhaps she was from Gaza. She was accompanied by a fifty-something Israeli woman. She looked like she had just come to the hospital from an ivory tower.

The Israeli woman ran to and fro for the Arab, serving her as best she could. She filled out forms, made sure she was comfortable, brought her a chair, a cup of water. This went on and on, into the night. Not once did I hear the Arab say “thank you” or anything similar. On the contrary, she projected hostility. The more the Israeli served her, the more the Arab hated her.

In the morning, I concluded that she was right.

“What do you think?” the Arab woman accuses the Israeli in her heart. “That you can steal my land and afterwards bring me a cup of water and everything will be fine? You are on my land, Mrs. Wealthy. This is my land, this is my place, this is my hospital. You occupied me and now you expect me to thank you for helping me fill out forms in your language?”

The educated Israeli woman is intelligent and very moral. She is bursting with guilt feelings. The Arab doesn’t have to say a thing. The Israeli woman already knows that she is nothing more than a guest here, that the salt of the earth, the bedrock foundation of this land, is the Arab. She tries to appease her, to merit just a drop of legitimacy from the owner of the stolen house.

Somebody made a mistake one or two generations ago. Instead of assimilating into Europe, they were enchanted by a foolish idea and came to Israel for a complicated adventure of identity exchange. They came to find a place for the Jews under the sun in the land of their forefathers – under a new identity. The exile Jew fled to Israel – justifiably – from the religion of the exile. He tried to establish a new nation instead of the Jewish nation. He attempted to establish the Zionist nation, Israeli instead of Jewish.

The new Jew needs the Arab to adopt the Israeli identity that he invented. For if only a Jew can be an Israeli, we have accomplished nothing at all and will still remain alone with our Jewish identity. We have not found a place among the nations, but a place separated from the nations – precisely the exile condition from which we attempted to flee. Zoabi understood that the Israeli needs the Arab to help him forget that he is a Jew. “True, I broke the law,” Zoabi once insinuated at the High Court. “Let’s see you stop me from running for the Knesset. My entire party will drop out of the race and we won’t be there to hide your Jewish identity for you.”

I thought of Jonathan Pollard, whose life is slipping away from him in an American prison. I thought of him and his Jewish judges. I thought of the American Jews who bent over backwards to prove their loyalty to America. There, the Jews are hostages of their hosts. Here, in Israel, the Israelis are hostages of their guests. Of course it all depends upon to whom this land belongs. Those who feel like guests live on borrowed time; they always have to please the hosts.

It’s a good thing that Haneen Zoabi is in the Knesset. Her colleagues still suffer from a type of correctness toward the occupiers. They wait for the national anthem to be sung before leaving the plenum. As if all we have to do is let them skip the anthem and bring them a cup of water and the problem will be solved. But Zoabi isn’t playing around. She doesn’t allow us to flee from ourselves. She holds an intelligent, scathing and vital mirror to our faces. It is a mirror that constantly reminds us that we cannot exist in Israel for long without our Jewish identity.

A Messianic Vision: An Interview with Likud MK Moshe Feiglin

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

For over a decade, Moshe Feiglin, a Jewish Press weekly columnist, has been working toward becoming prime minister of Israel with the aim of “turning the state of the Jews into the Jewish state.” He still has ways to go, but on February 5, he advanced one step closer when he was sworn in as a Knesset member for the first time.

Ahead of a dinner celebrating his victory in the Chateau Steakhouse in Queens, NY on February 25, MK Feiglin spoke to The Jewish Press.

The Jewish Press: You’ve been trying to get into the Knesset for a long time. Now that you’re in, what do you hope to accomplish?

Feiglin: I hope to advance the concept of Jewish leadership to the state of Israel – a state that is based on its Jewish identity and not just the concept of survival.

What does that mean?

One example is the two-state solution. If you understand that we came back to Israel after 2,000 years of exile to achieve a goal and not just to survive, then you understand we need the whole country. We long for Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, Schechem, Chevron – all these places that connect us to our identity.

When the goal is survival, Tel Aviv is enough. When the goal is to create a special society that carries a message to the entire universe, then questions like [surrendering land to the Arabs] are not even considered.

You often write that you want to create a Jewish state. For some people, this means a halachic state.

No, I’m talking about something much, much wider. I’m talking about making the Torah part of our culture.

Some people argue that a Jewish state means a state where Torah law reigns supreme – with police enforcing the laws of tzniyut, for example, as they do in Iran.

No, nothing can be forced. The whole concept of force is against Judaism because Hashem tells us, “U’bacharta ba’chaim” – you should choose, and if you’re being forced, you cannot choose…. The difference between Judaism and Islam is exactly that. God wants us to choose between life and death. Therefore, the whole concept of force is totally irrelevant.

Are you saying there was no force in the times of the Bayit Rishon or Bayit Sheini?

I’m saying that this is what we need today – a state that carries a message of freedom.

A number of years ago, you wrote that Israel should make Sunday a day off like it is in America. You argued that Israelis who love soccer, for example, would gladly move all professional soccer games from Saturday to Sunday and possibly observe Shabbat if Sunday wasn’t a workday.

That is a good example of how to build a modern Jewish state that gives its citizens the capability to have a real Shabbat even though they’re not religious right now. What we need to do is to be more open and give Israelis the ability to be who they [truly] are. If you give them the opportunity to choose, most of them will choose the right thing.

Some people would claim this argument is silly since Israelis are, by and large, secular.

I think they’re totally wrong. When you ask Israelis what they are first – Jewish or Israeli – more than 80 percent say first of all, and above all, they’re Jewish. When you ask Israelis to describe themselves, only 19 percent say they’re secular, 50 percent say they’re traditional and the rest say they’re dati or haredi. So those who say that [Israelis are secular] don’t really understand where Israeli society is holding.

In your articles, you often write about the importance of building the Beit HaMikdash, calling it “the direct link between the Almighty and His world” – a place that allows us “to synthesize between the physical and spiritual…to create a life of harmony between the two.” Your average Orthodox Jew, though, believes we must wait for Mashiach to build the Beit HaMikdash. You evidently don’t agree.

We just read in last week’s parshah,V’asu li mikdash” [“You should make a Sanctuary for Me”]. It doesn’t say “V’asu li haMashiach mikdash”[“Mashiach should make a Sanctuary for Me”]. “V’asu” means the people of Israel. So what can I tell you? It’s written clear and simple right there.

NGOs to Promote Social Change in Israel through ‘Forgotten Mitzvahs’

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Last Thursday, at the modest offices of the Likud’s Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) faction, representatives of several organizations got together to develop common strategies for applying Jewish laws and principles in Israel, including, possibly, future Knesset legislation.

Manhigut Yehudit, established more than 12 years ago by now MK Moshe Feiglin, is pushing a policy of taking Orthodox Jewish political power away from the sectarian, religious parties, to the general, preferably larger Israeli parties.

According to Michael Puah, formerly the director of Feiglin’s movement, and until recently special advisor to Social Affairs Minister Moshe Kahlon, the fact that religious Jews are so influential in Israel and in the new Knesset, presents new challenges in promoting change in Israel through core Torah values.

The informal assembly drew a couple dozen representatives of existing NGOs who are already engaged in active promotion of a variety of issues. Anthropologically speaking, the room was about half knitted yarmulkes and a couple settler-sheitels (headscarves), and half Haredim in the black and white uniform. But if you closed your eyes and just listened to what they were saying, it was difficult, often, to tell them apart. In language and in their complete embrace of the idea of the Jewish state, they all shared a deep, well thought out view of the modern miracle of Jewish rule in Eretz Israel.

“Our joint goal is to have the Torah guide our agenda in all areas of life,” said Puah. “The ideal of ‘Tikun olam b’Malkhut Shadai’ (setting up the world in light of God’s kingdom) requires us to create and innovate from within the Torah, which is the task that each organization participating in this conference has taken on, in each particular field of involvement.”

Rabbi Yehuda Amichai, head of the Torah and Eretz Institute, gave a comprehensive overview of the efforts being made to promote proper Shmita year observance in Israel, during which the land will truly lay fallow.

Rabbi Amichai noted that the Knesset Shmita Committee was supposed to begin its preparations for the year 5775 (2015), the next sabbatical year in which Jewish farmers may not work their land. Except that the current political reality does not allow for assembling it and for allocating a budget for its activities—seeing as the freshly elected 19th Knesset is still in the process of getting its act together, and coalition talks are yet to reach their results.

Amichai complained that these conditions cause uncertainty and a lack of preparedness on the part of farmers about the concrete aspects of observing the Shmita, most crucially creating a fund to support them through the sabbatical year.

“It is urgent that we start applying political pressure to set up the Shmita committee and to allocate the needed resources for its operation,” said Amichai.

Rabbi Amichai also stressed a more common problem—since it applies once a week, every week—Shabbat observance in Israel. “The economic and business reality force people to work on Shabbat, which is a form of slavery. These people are just slaves, they have no choice. We express first and foremost a social message: we can change it.”

“Regarding Shmita legislation for the year 5775, our top agenta issue is supporting a bill proposed by MK Uri Ariel, which aims to regulate through legislation the tax deductible savings by farmers in the six years between Shmitot. These savings will allow farmers to survive through the seventh year without government support.”

A group called Jewish Banking, represented by Rabbi Eliyahu Soloveitchik and writer Ehud Tokatly, introduced the project of creating the legislative conditions that would permit the foundation of a kosher bank, which would provide most banking services without transgressing the severe prohibitions against usury, and without resorting to the so-called Heter Iska, which was created in the diaspora, in times of duress.

Tokatly told the conference that in the West there are several credit union and Islamic banks which have survived the economic crisis while many commercial banks crashed a few years ago.

“They learned from us how to live without charging interest, and now we have to learn back from them what we originally taught them,” lamented Tokatly.

The Jewish Banking group has also built banking models that facilitate kosher financial liquidity in a global economy.

The Road to Serfdom

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

“I am Hashem your G-d Who took you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage” (Exodus 20:2).

Values always come on a ladder. They have no significance if they are not set out in the proper order of preference; what is more important, what comes first, is the foundation for all the rest.

The first commandment of the Ten Commandments is the starting point and the foundation for the entire structure of values that follows. There is a G-d who redeemed us from slavery. We serve Him and Him only. Throughout history, despots who desired to rule the entire world have found themselves in serious conflict with the Nation of Israel. From Pharaoh to Ahashverosh, from Hitler to Stalin – these despots concluded that they must destroy the Jews simply because the Jews cannot be enslaved: They already have a King, “I am Hashem, your G-d.”

Many values are held aloft in our world: Equality, liberty, liberalism and more. They are all fine and good. But usually, they are not founded on the first of the Ten Commandments. “My Nile River is mine and I created myself,” said Pharaoh according to the Midrash, just one example of a king who thought he was a god. The more that a leader puts himself at the focal point, the more he diminishes G-d and attempts to “replace” Him, the more that slavery takes root until the entire state becomes one large concentration camp: a “house of bondage.”

The danger of enslavement has greatly increased in modern times. The state’s ability to control and revoke its citizen’s liberty is very enticing to a regime that has no G-d. The excuse will always – always – be security. “We must revoke your liberty so that we can protect you.”

Do we really need to be biometrically marked like animals just to counter the plague of forged identity cards? Is there no technological solution better than a simple photograph that can easily be removed and replaced? Of course there is. Smart chips are already in place in all sorts of identity cards, and they are extremely difficult to forge. But the prime motivation for the Orwellian biometric law is the abrogation of liberty; to entice us all into a house of bondage – in the name of security, of course.

Wherever G-d has been completely removed from the picture – in atheist or communist regimes – human life and honor have no value at all. In China they raise people in locked farms so that they can sell their organs for transplants or horror shows, like the one that recently featured in Israel.

So when you hear someone talking about lofty values, be sure to check his entire message. Who is his G-d? Who works for whom? Does he work for G-d, or vice versa?

No More Likud Primaries

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

PM Netanyahu said on Tuesday night, that he plans on canceling the primary system in the Likud, according to Channel 1.

Instead of Likud party members voting for which candidates they want to run for Knesset, it appears that Netanyahu wants to personally select and place each candidate.

Netanyahu’s message is that the party  list is what caused the Likud’s poor showing in the election, as opposed to his attacking his natural allies on the religious and the right, while not going after Yair Lapid at all, as well as the poorly organized and unfocused campaign that Netanyahu ran.

Investor’s Guide to the Political Market

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

The 2013 elections were supposed to have been boring. “The final result is already clear and there is nothing new under the sun,” the pundits promised. However, with just about three weeks until the polls open, we are in the throes of one of the most fascinating election campaigns that Israel has known: It is a campaign that faithfully reflects the deep currents of change in Israeli society. Nobody can yet predict its final outcome.

Let us try to analyze what is taking place, from Left to Right. First, though, we must understand the factors that influence the power of any political party:

The political world is very similar to the financial world. The “stock exchange” of the political world is elections. The value of the stocks – the political parties – is actually determined by a number of parameters. There is the stock’s current value: how many people voted for the party in the previous elections. There is also its real market value and the value at which it is traded at the given moment.
For example, as these words are being written, the current value of Kadimah is 27 mandates. But the real market value of the party (which has established mechanisms and registered members) is much lower. At the current moment, Kadimah is being traded even below its low value and will apparently disappear off the charts.

When we try to understand what is happening now in Israel’s political arena, we must first assess the true value of the different parties. In this way, we will be able to differentiate between deep processes and processes that have no long-term significance.
The true value of a party is determined by the following 6 factors:

1. Message. When all is said and done, political parties are supposed to herald some sort of message. That is why they are established.
2. A consistent nucleus of voters that identifies with the party. (In the financial world, this is called trademark)
3. Identification of voters at large (the market) with the party’s message.
4. Identification of voters at large with the party’s actions or accomplishments.
5. The party structure. In other words, an independent party that has established respectable party institutions, an internal voting mechanism and member participation in decision making and choice of representatives.
6. The party leaders.

When Kadimah was established and leapt to a decisive victory, I claimed that it would disappear off the political map within a few election campaigns. The reason for this evaluation was the understanding that Kadimah’s “stock” was overvalued. The party did enjoy an extraordinarily strong Factor #6 – its powerful and charismatic leader, Ariel Sharon. However, it lacked all the other components and it was clear that it was living on borrowed time.

At the same time, when many were already eulogizing the Likud, I already publicly went on record with the assessment that the Likud would return to the helm of government. The reason for this evaluation was that the Likud, on one level or another, enjoys all the other components above. So if it won only 12 mandates due to a political “accident”, its market value did not reflect the true value of the stock, but rather, its current value at that given time.

With these 6 components in mind, we can now analyze the current political picture:

On the Left end of the political spectrum in Israel are Meretz and the Arab parties: Hadash, Ra’am, Ta’al and Bal’ad. No real change can be expected for any of these parties. They have all six components and we can expect them to more or less maintain their strength.

On the Right end of the political spectrum, things are a bit more complex. Otzmah L’Yisrael (Eldad and Ben Ari), the rightist parallel of Meretz, certainly has a clear message, public identification with its message that should get it past the 2% threshold and well-known leaders. But it is a new party with no clear party structure.

The same is true for Am Shalem, Rabbi Amsalem’s party. It has a message and leadership, but it is not clear if it has the critical mass of the other components to create a real party and get it over the threshold.

The Ashkenazi Haredi parties, just like the Arab parties, enjoy all six components and will likely maintain their current strength.

The picture is less clear for Shas. For many years, Shas was overvalued, due to the major dominance of its leader, Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef. The Rabbi’s dominance is naturally diminishing, but the party does enjoy all the other components. It will not disappear, but in the future, Shas will contract to its real market value. I assess that at approximately 8 mandates.

It is important to remember that while the Arabs will not enter a rightist coalition, the Haredim are certainly willing to enter a leftist coalition and have done so in the past.

Let us now analyze what is taking place in the relevant Left. ( As opposed to Meretz, the ideological Left that is not confused by the facts.)

The shattering of the Oslo vision has left the Israeli Left with no relevant message. When there is no message, things get out of control and the first to be affected are political parties. Their politics become personal and not ideological, tension within and between the parties grows and break-offs and new, strange bedfellows flourish. In the past we have seen the same phenomenon in the Right, also as a result of lack of relevant vision. There have always been hatred and jealousy in the Left and in the Right. But when the passengers believe that the driver knows where he is going, they fight for a good spot behind him – and not for the driver’s seat.

The Labor Party

The Labor party has always enjoyed all six of the components above. In addition, it is a party with history and a leadership mentality that knows how to address the entire public. For this reason, Labor will always be a leadership option. I estimate that Labor’s current market value is between 25 and 30 mandates. The party that under Ehud Barak’s leadership deteriorated to an all-time low, lept back to its real value as soon as it rid itself of its problematic leader and put a young and charismatic new leader at the helm. Sheli Yechimovitz understood that she must propose a new vision to replace the shattered Oslo, and had the wisdom to focus on social and economic issues. However, the founding ethos in Israel was and remains the security ethos. In Israel, “It’s the security, stupid.” As long as Labor will not be able to establish a political/security alternative, it will not surpass the Likud. In addition to this basic fact, competition from Lapid and Livni on the one hand and problematic primaries that put anarchistic candidates at the top of the list, on the other – have eroded Labor’s value. Today, the party’s market value is lower than its real value (17 mandates, as per the latest polls).

Lapid’s Party (I Can’t Remember its Name)

Clearly, Lapid’s current market value (11 mandates) has nothing to do with its real value. The party lacks all of the components except #6 – a young and widely recognized leader (thanks to his media career). The reason that I don’t remember the name of the party is that it really isn’t a party: It is a person. Lapid’s party is a shopping cart picking up dissatisfaction and hopelessness without proposing any real alternative. Just like Kadimah and Lapid Senior, this party will disappear off the map in a short time.

Livni’s Party (I Can’t Remember its Name)

Clearly, Livni’s current market value (11 mandates) has nothing to do with its real value. The party lacks all of the components except #6 – a widely recognized leader. The reason that I don’t remember the name of the party is that it really isn’t a party: It is a person. Livni’s party is a shopping cart picking up dissatisfaction and hopelessness without proposing any real alternative. Just like Kadimah, this party will disappear off the map in a short time.

Likud

Except for a clear message, the Likud enjoys all the other components that make up a real party. Like Labor, the Likud is also a ruling party. But unlike Labor, the Likud boasts a large membership that plainly reflects Israeli society as a whole – as do its voters. The method for internal elections in the Likud is far from perfect. The political mechanism is problematic. Nonetheless, the party manages to faithfully express the main will of its voters and to ensure (with safe slots on the party list) a high-quality roster that authentically represents the multi-faceted Israeli society.

The Likud evades its own message, preferring to be “not Left.” This is an effective method when there is no alternative to the Right. But it becomes problematic as soon as such an alternative appears. In my estimate, the true value of the Likud is approximately 40 mandates – even more. But for a long time, it has been traded well below its market value. This is due to the Russian vote that has migrated to Lieberman’s party, the Sephardi vote that migrated to Shas and Likud’s inability to establish a political/security alternative to the Left’s platform. In the current elections, the Religious Zionists are also retreating into sectoral politics, thanks to Naftali Bennett. The Likud’s ridiculous fight against Bennett has accelerated the under-market-value phenomenon.

The Likud’s attack on Bennett’s declaration in favor of a sort of insubordination established it in the eyes of the Religious Zionists as a party that could once again initiate large scale expulsions. When Bennett reneged, the Religious Zionists understood that once again, their party would be a tool in the hands of possible future evictions. But the Likud’s attack saved Bennett from the results of his zigzag and featured him in the right place nonetheless: His proponents heard him say that he would fulfill expulsion orders, but they don’t believe him.

Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu)

When people thought that Lieberman would be prime minister someday, we explained that Yisrael Beiteinu would disappear from the political map. The reason is that, like Kadimah, Liberman’s party is also about a person and not about a party. Lieberman is a talented and very charismatic leader who created a party with a steady and loyal voter base. The real market value of Yisrael Beiteinu (as long as Lieberman is able to head it) is 8 mandates. In the previous elections, the Likud lost approximately 10 mandates as a result of Netanyahu’s battle against yours truly. Most of those mandates migrated to Lieberman and raised the party’s market value way above where it should really be. As the State’s Attorney has managed to sideline Lieberman, his party will shrivel up and its voters will disperse (temporarily) to a number of parties – primarily to the Jewish Home party.

The Jewish Home (The New NRP) – Naftali Bennett

This is undoubtedly the most fascinating story of the election campaign. For about twenty years, the NRP stock has been traded way below its true value, which I estimate to be about 8 to 10 mandates.

The reasons for the political downfall of Religious Zionism are a combination of irrelevant ideology and aging leadership that did not have the wisdom to involve the public in choosing the party’s ideological path and its leadership. Of the six party-building components, the first (message), fifth (mechanism) and sixth (leadership) were extremely problematic.

The general public that in the 70s expected the “new generation of crocheted kippot” to take responsibility and lead – despaired of the Religious Zionists and turned to other alternatives. Over the years, those who had represented Israeli hope turned into a type of “nudnik.” The NRP, which had won 12 mandates in 1977, was hounded by infighting, split time and again and practically disappeared.
Religious Zionism is a unique sector that feels all-inclusive responsibility for the Nation of Israel. It contributes to society, volunteers and serves more than any other sector in the country. But it is this very sector that has found itself harassed, expelled from its status and sometimes even from its own homes.

The Haredi parties do not participate in the Zionist endeavor and the Religious Zionists tended to scorn them. But they have many more mandates than the NRP. The Religious Zionists, more numerous and higher quality, looked on for an entire generation as Israeli society turned its back on them, stopped taking their needs and opinions into account, ignored their great contribution to the state and cozied up to the sectoral politics of its Haredi competitors.

The NRP’s message is not sectoral; it appeals to the general public. But its political tool is sectoral. The Religious Zionist nationalist/rightist ideology prevents it from skipping between Right and Left, as the Haredi parties do. This built-in political glitch leaves them empty-handed on both ends. They don’t really enjoy the privilege of turning to the general public, for this privilege is reserved for those parties that truly are not sectoral. On the other hand, they don’t enjoy the bargaining advantage of sectoral politics. After all, the Jewish Home party will never endorse Sheli Yechimovitz as its candidate for prime minister.

If the Likud continues to lose height in the polls until its continued rule is in danger, the Jewish Home voters will rush to vote Likud because the Jewish Home really does not supply the merchandise. It does not offer a ruling alternative or sectoral advantage. All it really supplies is a psychological sense of ease.

So what caused the Religious Zionist stock to almost double its value? After all, it did not solve its basic problem, the dissonance between its all-inclusive ideology and its sectoral political tool. In these elections, the Jewish Home party provides the opportunity to restore the lost honor of an entire generation. Once again, “we” matter. A long list of very worthy representative of the Religious Zionist community will enter the Knesset, making the Jewish Home party the third largest in the parliament. Once again, the Religious Zionists feel, they are taking their rightful place in Israeli society.

The successful registration drive and primaries restored a well-run party mechanism (fifth component) to the Jewish Home. It reconnected the party to its natural membership base and its ideological supporters (components 2, 3 and 4) and installed a new and charismatic leader at its head (component 6). Jewish Home head Naftali Bennett does not project himself as sectoral. This has opened the party to people who, until now, did not have the tools to connect to it.

The Jewish Home is now being traded for 13 mandates and counting. It can certainly get more in the elections. But in the future, it will shrink back to its real value. This is because its charismatic leader does not really herald a new message and does not really solve the dissonance described above.

It is no accident that the contentious subject of conscientious objection was laid at Bennett’s doorstep from the very start. This issue digs deep into one of the most basic dilemmas in the National Religious ideology: the relationship between faith and state. The conscientious objection issue is the civil language that frames the faith-based question that asks who is King. G-d? Or the State? Bennett’s zigzag and the fact that his entire roster stood behind him when he gave his second answer placed the amazing achievement of the reunification of the Religious Zionism on a very shaky ideological foundation. It also negated its ability to herald the message that it pretends to carry. Voters for the Jewish Home can be absolutely sure that their party will not expel Jews from their homes – on Shabbat!

Before the elections, the Jewish Home candidates have managed to remain silent and to close ranks in the face of theoretical challenges. They all stand firmly behind their ascending leader who avoids ideological statements. But when faced with reality’s challenges, the arguments and divisions will begin, highlighting the fact that the party is sectoral and driving away voters who are not from the sector. The Jewish Home party will return to its natural size.

What is Going to Happen in the Next Elections?

With great “talent” and partly due to its assault on Bennett and its decisive stand against conscientious objection, the Likud has distanced the Religious Zionist public which had been joining the party over the last number of years.

The votes that should have been coming in from Yisrael Beiteinu will disperse in every direction when their leader is forced to step down. The person most likely to benefit from this is – once again – Naftali Bennett. But he is not the only one. Some of those mandates will remain in the Likud, nevertheless. Some will migrate to Lapid, the Russian party or even to Otzma L’Yisrael.

It is reasonable to assume that despite all the setbacks, the Likud will form the next government. This is not a sure thing, though. It is enough for some other factor (like criminal charges against a senior minister) to enter the picture in the remaining weeks to redirect more mandates away from the Likud. If the Likud goes under the 30 mark and Yechimovitz rises above 20, Deri (who certainly prefers Yechimovitz) will abstain from endorsing Netanyahu for PM. In that scenario, Deri’s move would enable the president to appoint Yechimovitz to form a government, and she could certainly succeed. (A “social” platform with Shas).

One way or another, the Jewish Home will win 15 mandates – possibly more. If Netanyahu will add Bennett to his government, Bennett will be forced to go a very long distance with him in the face of negotiations and political surrenders. For after all, Netanyahu could always exchange him for Sheli, Livni, Lapid – or all of them together. The Jewish Home will never have any option at all except for the Likud. It is also very likely that Bennett will never make it into the coalition at all.

There is no choice for those loyal to the Land of Israel but to remember that the game is not between Likud or Labor or Likud or NRP. The real name of the game is leadership of the national ruling party; leadership of the State of Israel.

The generation of Yamit did not understand this crucial point and did not draw the obvious conclusion that a faith-based alternative must be established. Instead, it rolled the ball to the next generation: the generation of the expulsion from Gush Katif. It seems that the Disengagement generation also did not understand and despite the great progress that Manhigut Yehudit has made in the Likud, Religious Zionists are now returning to sectoral politics. If this trend continues, our children will also find themselves negotiating between a leftist government that wants to expel them and a rightist government that expels without asking.

The solution is not to jump off the train. The solution is to progress slowly but surely to the steering wheel. Those who understand this do not leave the Likud and consider the true market value of the various parties and not the current political fads. We should not make light of the parties being traded under their value, but we must also not become overenthusiastic when a party leaps way above its true value.

From this perspective, the Likud was and remains the party with which to build faith-based leadership for the State of Israel. It is the only party that gives political hope for a true solution. We must remain loyal to the political earth under our feet – even when it is trembling. Those who choose to vote now for the Jewish Home party are basically removing themselves from the relevant arena.

The Likud is not a rose garden. It has expelled Jews in the past and is still capable of doing so. But we cannot ignore the fact that within the parameters of its tactical abilities (when there is no political plan on the table) the Likud does more for settlement than any other party.

In a 12 year struggle, we have led the Religious Zionists deep into the ruling party. The Likud, in turn, gladly opened its gates wide. There are more settlers at the top of the Likud list today than on any other list. We must not stop this important process – the only process that is the right solution for the real problem: The process that will create authentic Jewish leadership for Israel.

Medicinal Cannabis and Dr. Johnny

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Toward the end of his life, my father suffered indescribable pain. He was at the stage where the doctors in the oncology ward focus on other patients, and you run – helpless and harried – between doctors who don’t know how to work outside the book. “Your father is finished, we’ve done all that we can,” they would say, adding, “Johnny. Talk to Johnny.”

The government recently closed Dr. Johnny Greenfield’s pain clinic in the Tel Hashomer hospital. It was only from the media reports that I realized that Johnny is a highly respected oncologist. There, in the hospital, he would sit behind a tiny table in a tiny cubicle, helping his pain-wracked patients. In that tiny room, he was simply Johnny.

Johnny would talk to my father. He would calm him. He would explain that it is legitimate to want the pain to stop. My eyes fill with tears when I remember those searing moments. Johnny is one of those people who are really card-carrying angels.

And Johnny helped – a lot. More than the medicinal cannabis that he prescribed for my father, he helped with his love for others and his completely unorthodox approach. No “Do these tests and come back with the results,” and the authorizations and all the running around that turns people suffering their most difficult moments into miserable mice running down unfamiliar halls, pushing and pressured between all the other equally miserable people. Anyone who has experienced this can understand what I am talking about.

Johnny wants the pain to stop. He is a professional and explains the exact implications of each drug, telling my father what part of his cognizance may be impaired and the consequences of every drug he offered. He is a true healer. For the first time in a long time, my father relaxed. The cruel world suddenly looked different. A world with a person like Johnny looks beautiful, nurturing and warm.

After a few meetings, I told Johnny that I had read that Israel is one of the leading countries in its use of medicinal cannabis. Johnny didn’t have to hear more than that to pour his heart out. He spoke of all the patients who could not get treatment, and about how good cannabis and cannabis products would be for a vast array of illnesses. Perhaps the economic interest of the drug companies has something to do with the obstacles that the state places in the path of those who wish to be treated by this amazing drug. “I believe that if God created it, he did it so that we can use it,” I say to him.

Since my father died, I have not heard from Johnny. Suddenly this man, considered an angel by so many, is publicly denounced.

Have a good, sweet year, Johnny. It makes no difference what they write. In your merit, there are so many people that can smile a little bit at the end of their lives.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/moshe-feiglin/medicinal-cannabis-and-dr-johnny/2012/10/05/

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