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November 27, 2014 / 5 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘MK Aryeh Deri’

Naftali Bennett’s Blackest Day

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

It’s official: to be a chief rabbi in Israel you have to be Haredi. Mind you, the group in Israel that most openly and brazenly ignores the chief rabbinate (other than the Arabs) are the Haredim, who rely exclusively on their own religious court system and their own kosher supervision.

The only interest Haredim have in the chief rabbinate are the jobs.

So it turns out that the National Religious public, who actually abide by the chief rabbinate’s ruling and eat their hechsherim – is not good enough to run the thing. And secular Israelis, who barely tolerate the rabbinate and have zero interaction with Haredim – they, too, must obey Haredi rulers.

This complete defeat of the National Religious took place while Jewish Home was not only a senior member in the coalition government, but they had possession of the Ministry of Religious Services. How do you lose the vote—both votes, really—when it’s your office in charge of it?

This was an outright failure of Jewish Home and its chairman, Minister of Religious Services Naftali Bennett.

The Sephardi National Religious favorite, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, was not my personal choice. But his loss, 49 votes to Rabbi Yosef’s 68, is a major disappointment to many on the right. I could live with it, there was a huge leftist campaign against Rabbi Eliyahu, I could understand his loss.

But for Rabbi David Stav, head of Tzohar, an organization whose mission is to make religious services more available and palatable to the public at large in Israel, for him to have lost by 55 to 68 votes, means there were 68 voters in the body that includes 150 mayors, city rabbis, rabbinic judges and a handful of women, that the Haredi establishment was able to secure.

Now, I have no doubt in the wisdom and scholarship of both winners. I also think they would work hard to open up the rabbinate to the needs of secular Israelis, who have been greatly alienated by the public image of corruption and bureaucracy associated with the rabbinate. I’m a huge fan of Rabbi Lau’s father, former Chief Rabbi Israel Lau, and I admire the scholarship (but not the shenanigans) of Rabbi Yosef’s father, Rav Ovadia Yosef.

So, I for one, could live nicely with these two choices, although many of my National Religious friends are grimacing tonight.

But as a test of the political skills of Naftali Bennett and his Knesset team – it’s a big, fat F. And at a time when we’re going to need them the most, as the dark clouds of a Palestinian state are starting to gather above our heads – this was not fun to watch. At this point my personal confidence in Minister Naftali Bennett’s ability to throw his political weight around, twist arms, issue quiet threats, intimidate and punish the enemy, all the stuff a political representative I send to the Knesset must do – not great.

Bennett was supposed to win this one. He had the power base. How did MK Aryeh Deri and his band of merry Haredim take his lunch money so skillfully?

Moving Left, Rav Ovadia Recrowns Deri as Shas Boss

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Shas’s spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef said that his appointment of MK Aryeh Deri as the party’s new chairman is tantamount to “returning of a deposit to its lawful owner,” and was not intended as a move to humiliate MK Eli Yishai.

Yishai served as party boss during Deri’s three years in prison for accepting $155 thousand in bribes. In late 2012, Rav Ovadia created a triumvirat at the head of the party, with Yishai, Deri and Housing Minister Ariel Atias. Late last week, a Shas spokesman announced that Deri has been returned to his original, pre-prison post.

During his weekly Saturday night class, Rav Ovadia remarked that after Deri had been sentenced to prison, he, Rav Ovadia, promised to keep for him the party chairmanship as a deposit, until he returned to political life.

Rav Ovadia added: “If you judge us positively [over this decision] so will God judge you positively.”

He also insisted that the new appointments did not reflect badly on Eli Yishai, whom he said had served him loyally.

Rav Ovadia’s decision has been slammed by many, including Rabbi Amnon Bezek, a dean at Har Etzion Yeshiva, who noted that “this Haredi-Orthodox party, is doing what no other political party in the country would have dared to do: give the leadership post to a man convicted of serious bribery crimes, in place of a man who had served the party faithfully for years and with flawless morales. This decision is blasphemous, and also conveys the message that money and bribery offenses are not serious enough in Jewish law to disqualify a person from serving in such an important public position.”

During the most recent elections, serving as one of Shas’s three leaders but actually running the party’s campaign, Aryeh Deri “released the racial demon out of the bottle,” as the Israeli saying goes. He slammed Liberman’s party directly, alluding that it was pushing easy conversion for Russians of a dubious Jewish association. He also refused a call for an alliance with Naftali Bennett’s Habayit Hayehudi, saying it was a known thing that Prime Minister Netanyahu was not going to let Bennet et al into his coalition government.

Later, when the Bennett-Lapid axis led to a government without Haredim, and Shas found itself in the opposition, Deri became a furious left-winger, declaring he had more in common with the Arabs of the country than with the middle class-based coalition.

Deri has been held responsible for Shas’s inability to rise beyond the 11 seats it had held in the 18th Knesset, but that, apparently, is not much of a concern for Rav Ovadia.

What should be a concern is the fact that Deri was a supporter of the Oslo plan, as well as of returning large chunks of Eretz Israel to the Arabs. It is not improbable that Netanyahu could opt to replace the Lapid-Bennet axis with a Labor-Deri axis which, along with the 7 Torah Judaism votes could give him a majority should his two youthful partners balk at any of his proposed policies.

Next Israel Shekel Bills to Feature Sephardi Jew

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

The Netanyahu government is going “politically correct” and will make sure the next serious of Israel shekel bills will feature a Sephardi Jew following last year’s four new banknotes that featured only Ashkenazi Jews.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Sunday he personally prefers that the “Sephardi shekel bill” feature poet Rabbi Yehuda HaLevy, calling his poetry “genius.”

Knesset Member Aryeh Deri of the Shas Sephardi religious party sharply criticized the monopoly of Ashkenazi Jews on the most recent series.

“Money adorned with an image of a Mizrahi figure is not worth less,” he said.

The Rambam, Moses Maimonides, was featured on a banknote in 1980 but is only widely-known Sephardic to be seen on Israel money.

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.

Israel Has New Government

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Reshet Bet announced early Friday morning that the Likud and Habayit Hayehudi have resumed their talks, after a 12-hour disconnect, and reached a final agreement on a new government, which will be introduced later today, Friday.

The agreement was reached after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called up Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett and asked him personally to overlook the slight of not receiving the title of Deputy Prime Minister. He told him that in the new government there will be no Deputy Prime Ministers at all.

Both Bennett and Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid responded curtly to a news item they heard over the radio on Thursday, that the Deputy positions, about which they had reached a verbal agreement with the Likud-Beiteinu negotiating team, were taken away.

Likud circles not particularly enamoured with the PM spread the rumor that it was Sara Netanyahu, Benjamin’s wife, who insisted, at the last minute, on sticking it to her husband’s new coalition partners.

The PM’s circles denied the rumors, saying it was just another vicious attack on Sara Netanyahu, and her personal arch-enemy, Naftali Bennett.

Habayit Hayehudi circles said in response that it was not a reassuring way of ushering in a new coalition—killing unilaterally an item everybody had shaken hands on.

The Bennett people refused to attend the meeting Thursday evening in which the government deal was supposed to be finalized, and the first coalition crisis appeared to have erupted even before there was a coalition in place.

Netanyahu had to swallow a frog in apologizing to Bennett personally, and Bennett and Lapid in return swallowed the frogs of not becoming acting PMs when Bibi is away touring the world.

Now the fact that Sara’s contribution effectively killed the position of Deputy PM, Netanyahu will not be able to dole out bites at this honor to senior Likudniks, such as MK Silvan Shalom, who won’t receive a real portfolio. Thank you, Sara.

The Shas and United Torah Judaism factions are livid, obviously, arguing that if they’re out of office, their constituency is going to be ignored. Well, not exactly ignored, more like enlisted and made to study Math and English in yeshiva.

MK Aryeh Deri, who was reinstated in the Shas Knesset list with the hope of increasing its size (they ended up with 11 – just like the Knesset before), was making the rounds all day Thursday, promising to be part of a fighting opposition, whose utmost goal would be to topple this government. A renowned Haredi leftists, who pushed his party into signing on to the Oslo Accords, Deri said he had no problem cooperating with Labor, Meretz, and the Arab lists, to bring down Netanyahu.

Unless he get a government seat sometime down the road.

Habayit Hayehudi will possess five portfolios in the new government, although those will be divided among only three ministers. So Naftali Bennett is now also Minister of Religious Services.

The 20 Likud MKs are competing over a mere 15 positions of power: seven ministerial roles, four deputy ministers, four heads of Knesset committees and the role of Speaker of the House. The portfolios of Homeland Security, Agriculture, Tourism and Absorption has been given to members of the Israel Beiteinu, while members of the Likud will take Interior, Transportation, Communications, Homeland Defense, and the Strategic Affairs Ministry.

A big improvement would be the appointment of former IDF chief of staff Moshe “Bogie” Yaalon as Defense Minister. Yaalon, whose boss at the time, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, opted not to renew his contract in 2005, because he did not trust the former to pursue zealously the evacuation of thousands of Gush Katif Jews. Mofaz appointed Dan Halutz to the job, and Halutz promptly bungled an invasion of Gaza and a war in Lebanon.

Beginning next week, probably on Monday, Israel’s 33rd government—Netanyahu’s third—will be sworn in, featuring 22 ministers, including the Prime Minister, and eight deputy ministers. The Speaker is expected to be the current Minister of Information and Diaspora, MK Yuli Edelstein.

In the almost-final compromise agreement reached Thursday, Netanyahu agreed to give up the education portfolio, which will go to Yesh Atid’s MK Rabbi Shai Piron, Likud-Beiteinu will get Interior, and Habayit Hayehudi will head the Knesset Finance Committee.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-has-new-government/2013/03/15/

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