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September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Naftali Bennet’

Extreme Cut: Israel Eliminates Budget for Yeshiva Foreign Students

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

If you suspected that Rabbi Shai Piron, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party’s education minister, was on a warpath aimed to bring the Haredi yeshiva world down to its knees – you may have been right all along. It is difficult to put a positive spin on the good rabbi and minister’s recent decision regarding the flow of mostly American rabbinic students to Israeli yeshivas – a decision that is likely to simply kill that flow.

A letter sent out yesterday, Sept. 30, from the Dept. of Torah Institution in the ministry of education to yeshiva deans and other heads of religious institutions, under the title: “correction of qualifications for support,” states:

1. Elimination of support for students from abroad starting in 2014. From the time the correction has been finalized until the end of 2013, a reduced stipend will be issued to students from abroad, at 30 percent of what an Israeli student receives, and as of the start of 2014 the support for students from abroad will be stopped.

Over the past 40 years, a large number of yeshivas catering to Americans have sprouted in Israel, creating a strong bond between the Orthodox community in the U.S. and the Jewish state. These included “ba’aley tshuva” yeshivas, like Ohr Sameach and Aish Hatorah, Hesder Yeshivas, as well as yeshivas and seminaries for Orthodox men and women. Many of them depend on American government funding, in addition to money from the Israeli government.

According to Kikar Hashabbat, the cut is a death blow to yeshivas that have been catering to students from abroad, the majority of whom are American.

A yeshiva dean who spoke anonymously to Kikar Hashabbat said that, following the recent budget cuts for yeshivas, which will only get cut further next year, eliminating foreign student supports could cause the collapse of many yeshivas.

“This is not a smart or wise move on the part of the state of Israel,” the anonymous dean said. “You should know that the students who arrive in Israel bring foreign currency and are lavish consumers. Also, donations to religious institutions increase in correlation with the number of foreign students enrolled there. Now all of it will collapse. It will hurt the state, too, but mostly the yeshiva world.”

But Haredi journalist Israel Gelis is not as worried about the ability of yeshivas to survive. He believes they have already found ways of increasing the U.S. government support, since they are considered to be the equivalent of academic institutions.

Incidentally, there has been no reduction, much less elimination, of Israeli government support for foreign students attending local universities.

Sources in the ministry of education are saying the budget cuts were not initiated by them, but were decided in coalition budget negotiations, and Minister Piron had to decide where to apply the cuts imposed on his office. So he was merely in charge while those cuts were being decided.

Gelis anticipates a clash between Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennet and his political adopted brother Yair Lapid over these draconian cuts. Bennett has already objected to forcing Haredim to enlist at age 21 – when the law permitted them originally to wait until age 26.

Yesh Atid is fuming over the hurdle imposed by Jewish Home, since this would mean lower enlistment figures, as well as higher costs for each older recruit.

The theory behind Yesh Atid’s latest assault on the yeshiva world has to do with their desire to “dry up” Orthodox institutions, so that they would have no choice but to comply, send their students to the army and then let them go get jobs. But it’s hard to understand how that bit of complex social engineering would be supported by making it tough for American youths to attend a yeshiva in Israel.

Instead it just seems like petty vindictiveness.

New Chief Rabbi Appointment Pitting Bennett Against Lapid

Friday, April 19th, 2013

In Jewish Home circles they appear certain that the National Religious party’s candidate, Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, will be the next appointed Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel. But Naftali Bennet’s BF Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party is not prepared to give them this one. In fact, Yesh Atid officials said on Thursday that they’re ready for an all out war in support of Rabbi David Stav for the post.

But the conflict between the two buddy factions is not just over who would end up as Chief Rabbi, but also over one of the illnesses of Israel’s legislative system, known as “personalized laws.” These are laws that are enacted for a singular, temporary purpose, which can only be done, seemingly, in a country without a binding constitution.

In this case, the Jewish Home faction’s candidate is over age 70, and so his backers are proposing a new law that would eliminate the age limit when it comes to appointing a Chief Rabbi.

This is exactly the kind of calloused approach to the law that Yesh Atid’s idealistic, middle-class voters hate with a passion.

Rabbi Ariel is the personification of Religious Zionism in Israel, possibly its most respected scholar. So much so, that Rabbi Stav, who gained popularity in Israel as founder and leader of Tzohar, a rabbinic organization seeking to integrate religious and secular Israelis, announced that should Rabbi Ariel run, he, Stav, would remove his candidacy.

But Education Minister Rabbi Shai Piron, himself a product of Religious Zionism, said on Thursday that he spoke with Rabbi Ariel, and the latter does not consider himself a candidate for the job.

“I will oppose the law (to loft the age limit) in the government and the Knesset, and will do anything in my power to make sure it will not pass,” Piron said privately, as reported by Maariv. “This is not the proper way to choose a chief rabbi.”

MK Aliza Lavie, also of Yesh Atid, also opposes listing the age limit by tailor-made legislation. And she’s been a supporter of Rabbi Stav since before her election to the Knesset. “There is room to amend the Chief Rabbinate,” she said, “but not through personalized legislation.”

Incidentally, MK Lavie got under the skin of Haredi politicians (would that constitute negiah?) recently, when she proposed appointing a female “Morat Halacha” (halachic teacher) alongside the two chief rabbis. The title “Morat Halacha” is in use as an alternative to the “Rabbah” among the Conservative and Reform. There are about 70 certified, Orthodox, female Rabbinic Advocates, who are permitted to argue in front of rabbinic courts in Israel – perhaps one of them could be chief rebbetzen?

Meanwhile, Jewish Home pols are telling everyone that they’ve got this one in the bag, and their 76-years-old candidate has received the approval of Shas’ leader Rav Ovadia Yosef and, hence, a majority of the votes needed.

Personally, I like Rabbi Ariel’s credentials very much, but I’ve been truly excited by Rabbi Stav’s achievements in the most crucial area of religion and state in Israel – helping secular Israelis feel better about their tradition.

Meanwhile, MK Moshe Feiglin is proposing the elimination of the two-rabbi deal, no more separate Ashkenazi and Sephardi authorities, we’re no longer in diaspora, he argues, all we need is one Chief Rabbi.

But what about all the patronage jobs that go with the office? You have to think before you make those grand announcements, Feiglin – what about parnassah?

51% Want Lapid, Bennett, Livni, Mofaz in Government, No Haredim

Monday, February 25th, 2013

A full 51 percent of the public want a coalition government composed of Likud-Beitenu (31 MKs), Yesh Atid (19), Habayit Hayehudi (12), Tzipi Livni’s The Movement (6) and Kadima (2), according to a new Ma’agar Hamochot survey presented on Monday on a Channel 10 program.

According to the survey, only 35% of the public support letting the Haredi parties join the new government in place of Yair Lapid’s party.

A full 76% do not want new elections and prefer the new government be established based on the current Knesset’s makeup.

44% of respondents said they would rather the party they voted for compromise on principles, in order to join the coalition. Only 33% prefer that their party stick to its principles, even at the cost of sitting in the opposition.

And then there are 23% who want their party to maintain its principles, and also join the government. Talk about eating your cake and staying trim, too.

MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home), appearing on the same Channel 10 show, revealed that “more serious talks” are being conducted between Likud-Beitenu and her party. “If Netanyahu wants he can form a stable government with a Jewish home,” she said, but cautioned that “the Kendall outline is not a real solution” to the “equal burden” issue.

According to Haredi and Likud-Beitenu sources, Professor Eugene Kendall has proposed a solution to Haredi conscription which would make it easier for Haredi youths to enter IDF service. The proposal has not been published anywhere, but there is reported to be a wide gap between it and the Lapid proposal.

“We are working with Yesh Atid on an agreed equal burden solution,” Shaked told Channel 10.

“If Netanyahu wants to make a change, can lead the way together with Jewish home, Yesh Atid and The Movement,” Shaked concluded, emphatically ignoring the Haredi parties. “We and Yesh Atid agree on almost 100% of the socioeconomic issues, and disagree on the political issue.”

By “the political issue,” Shaked referred to the peace process, conveniently ignoring the fact that both Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid advocate the transfer of some 100,000 Jews living on the wrong side of the security fence in Judea and Samaria.

Shock Knesset Poll: Lapid Runaway Victor in New Elections

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

A monthly poll carried out the Knesset Channel shows that Yair Lapid’s Future (Yesh Atid) party would win 30 seats in the Knesset if elections were held today, and Likud Beiteinu would be sliced to 22 seats.

The Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party, headed by Naftali Bennett, would dislodge Labor as the third largest party with 15 seats.

The poll results by party:

  • Future – 30
  • Likud Beiteinu – 22
  • Jewish Home – 15
  • Labor – 13
  • Arab parties – 9
  • Shas – 9
  • Hareidi United Torah Judaism – 6
  • Livni – 4
  • Otzma – 3
  • Kadima – 2

The poll indicates that the surprising strength of the Future and Jewish Home parties in the January elections was not a fluke but rather reflected a serious demand by the Israeli public for a change, not only in faces but also in political honesty.

Bennett and Lapid are the only political party chairmen who are first-time Knesset Members, and they also campaigned with clear-cut red lines that won resounding approval. Lapid focused on his demand for the military draft to include Haredi men, and Bennett insisted that the time has come for the Palestinian Authority to start making concessions.

The Knesset poll shows that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s sluggish coalition efforts have made Bennett and Lapid even more popular.

The option of new elections is the least favorable to almost everyone, but the poll shows that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has more to worry about than anyone else.

His coalition-building efforts have sparked a full-fledged pre-Purim Fest among politicians.

Everyone is wearing masks to the point that some people, like Livni, already have lost their identities.

Netanyahu made a deal  with Tzipi Livni and appointed her in charge of the Justice ministry and the peace process after she did everything but spit on the Prime Minister in the elections. The deal threw the Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) into a frenzy, to the point that it supposedly is preparing for new elections.

Bennett wants the Prime Minister to cancel the deal, and he said Thursday night he wants to be named Finance Minister while Lapid, feeling his oats, now wants the post of Foreign Minister.

The See-through Yarmulkes and the Right of Return

Friday, January 4th, 2013

At this juncture, two and a half weeks before the coming elections for the 19th Knesset, the big surprise – unless we due for some shocking turn of events – is going to be the success of the Jewish Home list led by Naftali Bennett. All the polls are promising the Jewish Home will triple its power, and some optimists are predicting an even bigger victory.

In any event, this will be the first time that the Jewish Home party, built on the ruins of the old NRP, has turned from a purely sectoral party into a wide-ranging Israeli party supported by voters who are religious and secular, Ashkenazi and Sephardi Haredim (it’s a fact!), young people voting for the first time and older people, men and women.

Now, it’s true that King Ahab of Israel has cautioned: “One who puts on his armor [before the battle] should not boast like one who takes it off [after the victory].” (Kings I 20:11) Perhaps for that reason, or perhaps because he wants to stop Jewish Home activists from resting on their laurels, Naftali Bennett has been trying, in meetings with supporters and on other occasions, to cool down the excitement and to lower expectations. He speaks “only” about 12 seats, which is also, you’ll have to admit, a nice figure compared to where he started.

The big questions, of course, are where does the Jewish Home get its new votes? Where do these 7 to 10 additional seats that are adding up in the polls come from? And who are the Jewish Home’s new voters?

We’ll start with the most natural pool of voters: the National Religious public that in the past rejected the politics of both the NRP and the National Union, deserting both of their organic parties to roam instead in foreign lands. The stale image that stuck to the brand NRP also did it in. The National Religious are used to joking that there’s no such thing as a guy under 40 wearing a knitted yarmulke who’s ever voted NRP. Young people who graduated from the national-religious school system—the NRP’s baby—studied in Hesder yeshivas—also cultivated by the NRP—and went to college in Bar Ilan—once again, a creation of the NRP, for some reason have been opting in their later years to kick the NRP down, ignoring the most basic obligation of gratitude. Let’s not go into a long discussion of their reasons for the moment.

THE RIGHT OF RETURN

The enormous pool of voters whose ingestion and birth took place inside Religious Zionism has been scattered in the wind. It landed in the Likud, in Shas, in Labor, in Torah Judaism and in Kadima. Their slogan used to be: anything but the NRP. The image—not necessarily true—of their organic party as an assembly of hacks seeking patronage jobs has kept them away from their natural home.

Now they’re coming back. They utilize their right of return. They’re returning from the Likud, following a list of deep disappointments:

Netanyahu’s commitment to the concept of “two states for two nations,” and his insistence on holding on to it even nowadays (never mind MK Hotoveli’s utterly nonsensical claim this week that Netanyahu’s 2-state slogan was only a tactical move).

 Netanyahu’s housing construction freeze in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, reminiscent of the British “White Paper” of 1939, a decree no leftist government had ever imposed.

 The indifferent, even criminal attitude regarding to infiltration by 60 thousand Muslim illegals from the Sudan and Eritrea, most of whom are criminals and certainly not refugees.

 The torpedoing of the Certification Law proposed by MK Zevulun Orlev, which would have prevented the needless destruction in Migron, Ulpana Hill, and other places.

 The bowing before the corrupt “Cult of Justice,” whose nine high priests on the Supreme Court only this week empowered terror-supporter Haneen Zoabi to run for the Knesset, depriving the State of Israel of its right to defend itself against the fifth column within.

Had the Likudniks minded public opinion, they would have taken more seriously the findings of the Ma’agar Mochot survey from November, 2011, which reported that a huge majority, 75 percent of the public, thinks the high court has a leftist bias. Leftist? They’re leftier than leftists. If only the Likudniks were loyal to their voters… How did it happen that out of the 55 thousand attorneys practicing law in Israel, only the anti-nationalist Yehuda Weinstein was picked for the job of Attorney General? Have they not yet internalize the idea that justice must also be seen?

Likud Continues to Sink, Left Rising, Jewish Home Third Largest

Friday, December 28th, 2012

It’s three and a half days before the January 22 election in Israel, and the major story continues to be Likud-Beiteinu’s downhill slide. The unhappy union of two major right-wing parties, which has been losing a seat a week since its inception, on Friday sank to 33 vote (down from their current 42) in the Yedioth-Dahaf-Mina Tzemach poll, which included an unusually large sample in Israeli terms – 1,250 likely voters, with a 2-3 seat margin of error.

The other big story is that the new beneficiary of Likud’s losses is no longer Naftali Bennett’s HaBayit HaYehudi, but the “near left” parties of Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid. These two personality-based lists are also siphoning off votes from Labor, which in Friday’s poll was clipped down to 17 seats. Lapid and Livni are holding 11 seats each

Naftali Bennett’s National Religious coalition received 12 seats in Friday’s poll, while Power to Israel scored 2 seats, same as its current presence.

Among the Haredi parties, Shas increased to 11 from its current 10 Knesset seats, Torah Judaism maintains its rise to 6 from the current 5 seats, and Rabbi Amsalem gets 2 seats, an increase of 1 from his current 1 seat.

The extreme leftist Meretz retains its 4 seats. The Arabs receive 11 seats – same as their current number.

The gap between the blocks is narrowing: Likud-Beiteinu, Jewish Home and Power to Israel get 47 seats, Labor, Livni, Lapid and Meretz get 43, the Haredi factions Shas, Torah Judaism and Amsalem get 19, and the Arabs 11.

The lower Likud-Beiteinu’s count, the less able will prime minister apparent Benjamin Netanyahu be to pick and choose among his potential government partners. In my humble opinion, his ideal coalition will include his own 33 seats (if the slide stops), Shas and Torah Judaism (17) and labor (17) for a stable, 67 member coalition.

This will create an interesting conundrum on the opposition side. According to the Knesset protocol, the head of the largest opposition party is appointed Opposition Leader – receiving a salary comparable to a government minister and getting monthly updates from the PM. However, should Naftali Bennett have the honor to head the largest opposition party, he would be facing 11 Arabs, 4 Meretz, and 22 Tzipi-Lapid members, all of whom fiercely oppose his platform.

In the past there was one case of rebellion against a coalition head under reverse circumstances, when Shas and Torah Judaism refused to accept the anti-Haredi Tomi Lapid (late father of the current Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid) as their representative.

This has a Supreme Court appeal written all over it. And guess who loses in Supreme Court appeals…

‘Jewish Home’ Chairman: Bennet Is an Opportunist, His Plans Are Empty Spin

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

“The zigzaggy conduct of Naftali Bennet is classic opportunism, and the public will judge him for it, his plan is nothing but empty spin,” said on Monday Minister Daniel Hershkowitz, head of the “Jewish Home” Knesset faction, during an online event held at the website of TheMarker.

Hershkowitz was referring to the candidacy of MKs Zevulun Arlov and Naftali Bennet, and quoted an opinion piece published last weekend by Makor Rishon’s pundit Sofia Ron-Moria, where she quipped that she “won’t buy a used car from Bennet or Orlov.”

In regard to the party, Hershkowitz noted that “the Jewish Home is not a sectoral list. Rather it is a movement that has something to say on every subject, but I see no contradiction between a general look and a concern for the National Religious sector which today carries this country on its back. And there is no other party that looks after the needs of this public.”

He noted that when he was called to head the party, three years ago, he did it in order “to usher it into becoming a wider and bigger movement that would have a say in every area of life, and at the same time take care of the needs of the National Religious public.”

In regard to the struggle between the Jewish Home and the Likud, Hershkowitz stressed that “The Likud is not concerned with religious education. The Likud was the leading partner in bringing about the Haredization of the religious courts, conversion process, religious councils. The social and national values of the Likud are not necessarily rooted in Jewish Heritage.”

According to the Kippa website, the Bennet camp responded to the above attack by saying that “Rabbi Professor Hershkowitz has a lot of good qualities and we appreciate his work.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/jewish-home-chairman-bennet-is-an-opportunist-his-plans-are-empty-spin/2012/08/14/

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