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

Posts Tagged ‘Minister of Internal Security’

Can You Yell ‘God’ in a Crowded Cemetery?

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Yitzhak Aharonovich, of Avigdor Lieberman’s Israel Beiteinu party, is Israel’s Minister of Internal Security. His first government role was as Minister of Tourism, which probably qualified him for his latest career move.

I don’t like the fact that Israel has a ministry devoted to internal security. The name brings to mind not images of little children playing care free in the park as it does images of long, gray corridors and interrogation rooms. Until 1995, the office was named Ministry of the Police, which brought to mind traffic tickets and cops fighting over their pensions. I liked it better that way.

Israel already has a Ministry of the Interior, which, by rights, should be taking care of Internal security—it’s in the name, even. Who needs, on top of a ministry taking care of the interior, another ministry taking care of the security of the interior?

Here’s what Minister of Internal Security Aharonovich was busy with this week:

As you may have noticed wherever you looked or listened in Israel these past three days, former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon died on Saturday, after a long sleep. No one took the news lightly. The man had admirers, but, boy, did he have enemies. One of his loudest enemies inside Israel were the students of yeshiva Torat Hachayim, who were among the thousands of Jews Sharon had forcibly deported from Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip.

Some of those students reacted with exuberant glee to the news of Sharon’s passing, and even hung up leaflets literally congratulating him on his demise, complete with a citation from the Shulchan Aruch regarding the proper mourning ceremony for Jewish traitors (the terms mumarim and mosrim are subtler, but in this context, they mean traitors).

Our gemora teaches (Bav BB 16b) that a man is not judged for things he said or did in his time of stress. This is not a criminal rule, but a social one, and it also hints at the way Heaven evaluates our speech and actions at such times.

In my opinion, these yeshiva guys were entitled to their expression of satisfaction at the death of the man who ruined their lives. I wish everyone in Israel shared their freedom of spirit. What’s more normal and mentally healthy than to rejoice at the passing of the wicked man who sent brutal cops to drag you and your parents and your children onto the waiting buses, and abandoned your property so your enemies could come and burn it down.

Secular Israelis have a habit of citing bits of verses which turn out to mean entirely different things than the full verse does. Most memorable is the clipped cite “he who steals from a thief is absolved,” which basically means that if I ran off with your car after it had been stolen by someone else, I get to keep it. That’s a distortion of the actual mishna (Bav BK 62b) which says that while a thief must pay back double what he stole, the one who steals from a thief is absolved from paying double and must only return the stolen item to its owner.

A similarly convenient cite is from Proverbs 24:17: “Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice.”

That sounds like a firm warning by Scriptures that when you see your enemy getting what he deserves, you shouldn’t be happy. The only thing missing here is context, which is provided by the next verse, 24:18: “Lest God will see and disapprove of you and turn His wrath away from him (your enemy).”

In other words, this is good advise to anyone taking their relationship with God seriously: God is watching all of us, and if you make a lot of noise, you’re practically begging Him to judge you on your gloating.

New Netanyahu Coalition Govt All Cobbled and Ready, Maybe

Monday, March 18th, 2013

On Monday evening, the Knesset will host the swearing in ceremony for Israel’s 33rd government, and Benjamin Netanyahu’s third term—second consecutive—as prime minister (his first term ran from June 1996 to July 1999).

Immediately after the ceremony, Netanyahu will convene a brief cabinet meeting, with a toast. Then the bunch (22 ministers and 8 deputies) will travel to the presidential residence, for the traditional group picture.

The Knesset session will open with the selection of the Speaker of the House. It will likely be Likud MK Yuli Edelstein, who will replace the former Speaker, Reuven Rivlin, who wanted very much to continue in his post but, unfortunately, had committed the ultimate sin of criticizing the Prime Minister’s anti-democratic tendencies, not the kind of slight which Netanyahu’s wife Sara easily forgives.

As usual, Netanyahu never shared with Rivlin his plan to depose him. In fact, as far back as a year ago, he assured the popular Speaker—who is also closely associated with the Settlement movement—that he’d have his support for the post of President when Shimon Peres completes his 7-year term, 2014.

Yuli Edelstein’s life’s story is fascinating: Born in the Soviet Union to Jewish parents who converted to Christianity (his father is a Russian Orthodox priest), Edelstein discovered his Jewish connection through his grandparents. He studied Hebrew back when that was considered a subversive act, for which, in 1984, he was sent to Siberia (the charges were drug related, but everybody knew it was the Hebrew thing). He made aliyah with his wife, Tanya, served in the army, and entered politics, ending up in the Knesset in 1996. He has switched between several parties, until finally landing in the Likud, and has held several ministerial portfolios. And if he doesn’t catch Sara’s ire, he could become as memorable a Speaker as Rubie Rivlin.

But the biggest losers, without a doubt, are the Haredi parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism. They were almost literally kicked out by Yair Lapid, who stated openly that, should he be seen in the government group picture with the Haredim, his voters would abandon him. Surprisingly, Naftali Bennett, his newly found brother from a different father (Yair’s father, the late MK Tommy Lapid, was a true hater of the religion), supported the dubious position that, in order to truly help the Haredi public, government had to first be cleared of Haredi partners.

Shas, a party that depends completely on patronage for its very existence, is seething with anger over Bennett’s “betrayal.” It’s hard, however, to take seriously the victimized self-pity of Shas, whose spiritual father Rav Ovadia Yosef dubbed the Jewish Home party a “Goy Home.” Altogether, it appears that, perhaps counter intuitively, the National Religious leaders as well as the rank and file, have been harboring heaps of resentment against the Haredim. The Haredi slights of several decades, including their occupation of the Ministry of Religious Services and the Chief rabbinate, doling out jobs to Haredi officials who reigned over a population that looks nothing like them—those slighted chickens have been coming back to roost.

Take for instance Rabbi Hayim Drukman, who responded to both the Haredi pols and to Netanyahu, who accused the Lapid-Bennett axis of “boycotting” the Haredi parties. Rabbi Drukman Argued that “the Haredi public are the biggest boycotters, boycotting for years the Torah of the national religious public.”

“Any Haredi apparatchik who gets elected to the Knesset, immediately becomes a rabbi, while the real rabbis of the national religious public are noted in the Haredi press by their first names (without the title ‘Rabbi’). Is this not boycotting?” Rabbi Druckman wrote in the Saturday shul paper “Olam Katan.”

Inside Shas, the short knives have already been drawn and they’re aimed at MK Aryeh Deri, the former convict who came back from the cold to lead Shas into a glorious stalemate (11 seats before, 11 after).

“We were very disappointed in Deri,” a senior Shas pol told Ma’ariv. “He did not bring the votes he promised Rav Ovadia, there was no significant change in seats, and, in fact, Deri is responsible for our failure.”

In United Torah Judaism they also seem to regret their alliance with Shas, it’s highly likely that, in a few months, they’ll opt to enter the government without Shas.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/new-netanyahu-coalition-govt-all-cobbled-and-ready-maybe/2013/03/18/

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