web analytics
April 18, 2015 / 29 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘MK’

Civil Liberties and the Governance Act

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

I recently received an anxious phone call from an Israeli coalition MK. Due to a mix-up in the Knesset scheduling he left early for an overseas vacation.

“They want me to come back to Israel because of you,” the affable MK said to me. I inquired as to what I had done wrong.

“You are going to vote against the Governance Act,” he replied. “It is a Basic Law and the coalition needs 61 votes to pass it. If you plan to vote against the law, as you did the last time it was voted upon in the Knesset, they will force me to come back to Israel to vote.”

It was a very awkward moment, as the MK is my friend.

“Look,” I said to him, “my problem with this law is not the raising of the votes threshold [required to win a Knesset seat]. I actually support that measure. I also have no problem with limiting the number of ministers in the government. On the contrary, I would be pleased if they would lower the number of ministers to fewer than 10. My problem is with the part of the law that requires 61 signatures in order to submit a no-confidence measure in the Knesset. This will actually neutralize the no-confidence option because if you have 61 signatures, you already have a new coalition; thus no need for no confidence.

“In this situation,” I continued, “I am terribly sorry to say that you will have to come back to Israel. There is no way that I am going to vote in favor of legislation that eliminates the Opposition just to be nice to a friend. But let me check once more. Perhaps the 61-clause was taken out of the legislation. In that case, with or without your vacation troubles, I will support the law.”

I called MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu), head of the Knesset’s Constitution Committee.

“Please explain to me exactly what the new version of the law says,” I asked him. “Does it still require 61 signatures for a no-confidence vote?”

“No,” Rotem replied. “The new version allows for the submission of a no-confidence measure just like it is now, except that instead of allowing for it once a week, it will be once a month. In addition, the prime minister will have to be present during the deliberations.” (I agreed to that immediately). “If you have 61 signatures,” Rotem added, “you will be able to submit the no-confidence measure in the same week. [There will be] no need to wait a month.”

I was very pleased. First, I am happy that my MK friend will not have to cut short his vacation. But more than that, I am happy because I know that I have a part in the transformation that this law underwent: from a bad law to a just and even important law. The farce of bountiful no-confidence votes, which keeps the entire government running back and forth to the plenum in the middle of their week’s work in order to reject every hiccup from Ahmad Tibi (Ta’al), was in dire need of balance. On the other hand, those in the government who thought that they could take advantage of this problem in order to undermine civil liberties also had to change.

“Enjoy your vacation and don’t forget to bring me a souvenir,” I happily told the anxious MK.

IDF: Haredi Yeshiva Deans Cheat, Covering for No-Show Students

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Yesterday, during an in-camera session of the Knesset committee preparing the “equal burden” bill for its second reading before the plenum, the IDF representative at the meeting, Brigadier-Gen. Gadi Agmon, launched a vehement attack on the deans of Haredi yeshivas, accusing them of outright lying and covering up for students who are registered but do not show up for classes, Ma’ariv reported.

The legal arrangement between Israeli governments and Haredi yeshivas over the years, known as the “Torato umnuto” (his Torah study is his occupation) deal, recognized that young men whose only engagement was Torah scholarship would be absolved from enlisting in the army so long as they continue their studies. To be fair, the IDF has been giving similar deals to young men engaged in secular studies, but in many cases those deals involved attending students technical schools who went on to serve a longer stint, often using the skills they had learned.

The “Torato Umnuto” soon became a blanket covering the vast majority of Haredi young men, whether they were actually studying or not. It also turned out to be a two-edged sword, as those young men were barred from legal employment because of their military status, and so many were condemned to a life of dead-end jobs paid for illegaly.

This was the main purpose of the Tal Committee Law, which, back in 2002, was attempting to interject fairness and honesty into a seriously broken system. Many in the Haredi world have pointed to the steady stream of recruits, as well as the steadily rising numbers of Haredim both in the job market and in academic institutions as signs that the Tal law was working. But the Supreme Court, ever eager to equalize the country, was dissatisfied with what it considered lukewarm results and eventually killed the bill in the winter of 2012.

The new law, hammered out by the (Yesh Atid MK and Minister) Jacob Perry committee over the past six months, is a more sweeping version of the Tal law, calling for larger numbers of Haredi recruits in a shorter period of time. But while on paper the numbers might please the high court—in the Haredi world the Perry effort (which they usually pin on Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett’s back) is tantamount to at least the Russian Czar’s conscription of Jews, if not an outright holocaust.

This is the background of Brigadier-Gen. Agmon’s assault on the yeshiva deans, whom he sees as saboteurs of all the arrangements ever reached between the Zionist establishment and the Haredim, whether the Haredi representative were inside or outside the coalition government.

“It is inconceivable that deans of yeshivas would lie knowingly and sign for their students as if they’re present full time in the yeshivas, while in reality they’re not there,” Agmon, who serves as head of the Planning and Military Personnel Dept. in the IDF. “There are thousands who don’t study in the yeshivas [while stating that they are], but we don’t have the apparatus to enable us to identify them and enforce their enlistment,” he added.

Agmon’s appearance marked a distinct change in the IDF’s approach to the new draft legislation being cobbled in committee, this time headed by Jewish Home MK Ayelet Shaked. Until yesterday, the army stayed away from the discussion, essentially committing to carry out whatever the political echelon would decide. But the gloves were taken off yesterday, and all the spades were called out by the general.

MK Shaked decided to keep the session closed to the media, most likely to enable the Haredi committee members to speak frankly, away from their own newspapers which have been frothing at the mouth over the new bill for six months now. According to Ma’ariv, MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ) and MK Ariel Atias (Shas) both agreed that a yeshiva boy who comes of age and is not attending classes should be drafted. Gafni went as far as to say that, should it be needed, those students should go to jail if they refuse to serve.

The problem is that that, too, is part of the Haredi parties’ kabuki theater, whereby they talk a good line, but when it comes to anyone actually encouraging those young men to inject a measure of honesty into their lives and go serve in the army – everybody is collaborating to keep them in the black garb, hat and all.

Hotovely Goes Custom

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) has apparently decided that snoods, hats, and handkerchiefs just aren’t her style.

The newly married MK has (proudly) posted pictures of herself sporting a “custom” wig, with hair imported from Brazil.

It’s a very good wig, she looks exactly like she did before she was married, just happier.

Religious Jewish women cover their hair, in one manner or another, after they get married.

Mazel Tov Tzipi and Ohr

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

MK Tzipi Hotoveli, one of the more activist voices in the Likud party, has a lot more to celebrate than just her recent reelection to the Knesset.

On Saturday night she announced that she got engaged to her boyfriend, Ohr.

Mazel Tov Tzipi and Ohr.

 

 

Condemning Israelis Democracy, While Serving in Knesset

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Jamal Zahalka is an Arab citizen of Israel, and the member of a political party which opposes his state’s existence.

He has received a BA, MA and PhD at Hebrew University.

In April of 2006, after a Palestinian suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, during Passover, killed nine Israelis and wounded more than sixty, Zahalka met, not with families of the victims, but with top Hamas members, in a show of solidarity.

He and three of his colleagues visited Syria and Lebanon in September 2006, after the 2nd Lebanon War in a show of solidarity with Hezbollah.

Hezbollah is an Iranian sponsored Shiite terrorist group in Lebanon whose goal is the establishment of an Islamic government across the Arab world. Their leaders have characterized Israel as a “cancerous entity” of “ultimate evil” whose “annihilation … is a definite matter”, and has called for the murder of Jews all over the world.

In 2009, Zahalka attended a pro-Hamas rally near the Gaza border, on the one year anniversary of Cast Lead, and accused Defense Minister Ehud Barak of enjoying “…killing children in Gaza.”

In 2009, the Israeli Central Elections Committee accused the party which Zahalka belongs to of incitement, supporting terrorist groups and refusing to recognize Israel’s right to exist.

Zahalka has also condemned Israel while speaking abroad in front of anti-Zionist groups, where he has called Israel an ‘apartheid’ state. He has also described the state as a “ethnocracy” and a nation which practices “racial colonialism”.

Yesterday, Nov.  4, Zahalka penned an essay at ‘Comment is Free’, calling for sanctions against Israel, which he characterized as a “racist”, “extremist” state that is suffering form an erosion in democracy.

Oh, and one more thing.

Jamal Zahalka is an Israeli MK, and the leader of the Balad Party (National Democratic Assembly).

Imagine for a second what the reaction would be in the democratic US if a Congressman met with, and expressed support for, al-Qaeda figures or leaders of other proscribed terrorists groups committed to the destruction of the United States.  In fact, such acts are codified as treasonous in the Constitution, Article 3, which prohibits acts which have the effect of giving “Aid and Comfort” to the enemy.

The legal impunity Jamal Zahalka will continue to enjoy – the rights of citizenship, and special rights as an MK, afforded him by the very state whose existence he incites against – represents stubborn proof attesting to the continuing vitality of Israeli democracy.

Contrary to the illiberal politics in most of the Arab Middle East, democracy in Israel is thriving, and Jamal Zahalka is certainly using its full advantage.

Visit CifWatch.com.

Gideon Ezra, Former Deputy Head of Shin Bet, Cabinet Minister, and MK, Dies at 74

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Gideon Ezra, former Deputy Chief of Israel’s Security Service (Shin Bet), cabinet minister, and MK, has died at 74 after a two-year battle with lung cancer.

Ezra, who was serving as a Kadima MK, was born in Jerusalem in 1937. He served in the IDF’s Nahal Paratrooper brigade from 1955-1958, and joined the Shin Bet in 1962. Over a career that spanned 33 years, he rose to become the Deputy head of Israel’s domestic intelligence organization. He received a degree in Geography & Political Science from Haifa University.

After his tenure in the Shin Bet, Ezra embarked on a political career, joining Likud in 1996. In 2003, he joined Ariel Sharon’s cabinet as Minister without Portfolio, and also briefly served as Tourism Minister and Internal Security Minister. Ezra followed Sharon when the latter broke away from Likud and formed Kadima, and in 2006 he was appointed Minister for Environmental Protection in the Olmert government. He was in the midst of his 5th Knesset term.

Prime Minister Netanyahu released a statement, saying “Gideon loyally served the Land of Israel throughout his entire life.” And in a reference to Ezra’s long tenure in the security establishment, Netanyahu said “[h]is contribution to the security of the state was considerable; most of it will remain secret. My wife and I send our condolences to his wife and family. May his memory be blessed.”

Shaul Mofaz, chairman of Kadima, said that “Gideon always stood up for his principles and values. He arrived at the Knesset even when his health deteriorated and was involved in the work to his last day.”

Knesset Minister Rabbi Nissim Zeev: Time To See The Light And Heal

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

According to Sefer Yetzirah, the month of Iyar is the second of the 12 Jewish months. In the Bible, Iyar is called the month of Ziv, radiance.

Iyar is also commonly referred to as the month of (natural) healing because its name is an acronym for the words “Ani Hashem Rof’echa – I am God your Healer.”

Finally, the month of Iyar corresponds to the letter vav, the sixth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The word vav means a link, or connection, and it acts as the conjunctive “and,” in Hebrew. Iyar lies between the months of Nissan and Sivan and connects them together as one through the Counting of the Omer (Sefirat HaOmer), which begins on the 16th of Nissan (the second day of Pesach), continues through Iyar, and concludes on the 5th of Sivan, the day before Shavuot. Thus Iyar binds together Nissan, the month of the redemption (celebrated on Pesach), with Sivan, the month of the giving of the Torah (celebrated on Shavuot).

This is not only symbolic but also has a spiritual lesson for the Jewish people in all generations. The physical redemption of our people from slavery (in biblical times) or from persecution (in modern times) is only valid when it culminates in the spiritual redemption of the acceptance by the Jewish people of the Torah. The Jewish people can shine and heal only when they have accepted and follow the Torah.

Pesach is the time of year when a Jew most closely identifies with his people. He bonds with the Jewish people over space and time, reliving its tragedies and its triumphs. Two dates commemorating events in Israel’s modern history are celebrated in Iyar – Israel Independence Day on the 5th of Iyar and Jerusalem Day, the day Israel conquered Jerusalem during the Six-Day War, on the 28th of Iyar. (The 4th of Iyar, Yom HaZikaron, is marked in Israel as its national memorial day for fallen soldiers.)

The 14th of Iyar is known as the Second Pesach because it was on that date that Jews had a “second chance” at participating in the rituals of Pesach. This is necessary if a Jew had been unable to do so in Nissan because of ritual uncleanness or if they had been far away from home at that time. In particular, they were given the opportunity to bring a Pesach sacrifice and eat it with matzah and marror a month after the original holiday. This is very unusual because the rule generally followed is “avar zemano, bateil korbano – if the proper time for the sacrifice has passed, it can no longer be brought.” However, if one is presented with an opportunity to achieve something good in the world, he or she should be sure to take advantage of it before it is too late.

In our time we must always take advantage of the opportunity for a second chance to revive our identity as Jews in Eretz Yisrael, for without the identity of Israel as a Jewish state, we are truly at a spiritual and physical loss. In these troubled times, when the international community is intent on delegitimizing Israel as a Jewish state, we must do our utmost to revive the Jewish identity of all of our fellow Jews. This will ensure that the world acknowledges that the Jewish people are historically the indigenous people of the Land of Israel, that we have not come as foreigners to “occupy” the land.

But the realization of this goal depends on our ability to heal and to shine as proud Jews devoted to Judaism and the laws of the Torah. The Friends of Shas, recently established in the U.S., will strive to give life to this goal. The organization invites all Jews to strive together for the sake of strengthening am Yisrael.

On the first day of Iyar, King Solomon began constructing the First Temple (I Kings 6:1). On the same day hundreds of years later, Ezra began the construction of the Second Temple (Ezra 3:8).

Let us not fail to take advantage of the “second chance” we have been given to build a Jewish state and to uplift Jewish lives that will reflect the principles of the Torah – in their full ziv.

Rabbi Nissim Zeev, MK, is the founder of Shas, and founder and chairman of Friends of Shas International. You can e-mail your comments to him at friendsofshas@yahoo.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/time-to-see-the-light-and-heal/2012/05/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: