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October 24, 2014 / 30 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home’

Jewish Home MK: It’s Time to Separate from Yair Lapid

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Yonatan “Yoni” Chetboun, elected to the Jewish Home 11th spot last January, on Tuesday told Galey Israel Radio that it’s time to dismantle the pact that ushered both Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid parties into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government.

The interview is an open announcement of an idea that has been in discussion within Jewish Home for some time now.

An open and serious clash between the two parties, whose two leaders entered the coalition as brothers in arms, united against Netanyahu, has erupted over something called the Jewish Identity Administration, a new program devised by Bennett’s Ministry of Religious services.

The purpose of the new program was to enhance high school students’ love for the Jewish country, nation and history, through “creating live and meaningful encounters between our youth and the treasure trove of Jewish knowledge as well as the historic legacy of the nation of Israel.”

What the program was designed to do is hand out money to organizations that then would go and execute those ideas.

Except that Finance Minister Yair Lapid announced that Jewish tradition and the treasure trove of knowledge should include more than just Orthodox ideas. He wanted to see Conservative and Reform being represented as well.

In other words, take the Bennett et al idea and turn it on its head, because, frankly, much of what the initial purpose of the program entailed would have been fighting against the dangerous influence of non-halachic movements on the Jewish body politic.

In his radio interview, MK Chetboun described Lapid as pushing his own values against that of his National Religious partners. He reminded listeners that Lapid had also lumped Hesder yeshivas, whose students serve in the army in droves, together with Haredi yeshivas, and sucked the oxygen out of all of them. It took an irate intervention of Naftali Bennett to restore the budgets of the Hesderniks.

Meanwhile, the Education Ministry, headed by Rabbi Shai Piron, a Lapid MK, is working on a program to “expand” recognition of non-Orthodox Jewish denominations. Call it a one-two punch.

Chetboun is openly calling for separation from Yesh Atid, even if this would be at the expense of the Jewish Home coalition membership. “Our pact with Yesh Atid positions us in an unhealthy place,” he argued, adding that the party is not commanded to stay in government at all cost, especially not at the cost of abandoning its values, such as the fact that it’s an Orthodox party.

Of course, Yair Lapid is probably the one politician who did the most to bring Bennett and his Knesset list into the government—for purely political and manipulative reasons, but, nevertheless, without him they would have been out and the Haredim in.

The crucial question is whether or not the bridges have been burned to a crisp between Naftali Bennett and the two Haredi parties, Shas and UTJ. Together, they represent a formidable block of 30 MKs – only one less than Likud Beiteinu’s 31. The problem is that a few of the Haredi MKs are anti-Zionist, and some of them have a greater empathy for, say Beduins in the Negev, than for Israeli Jews living in Judea and Samaria.

Still, the Chetboun interview today means that there’s a groundswell within the Jewish Home to sever the ties with Lapid and his minions, and it may not necessarily meet with disapproval on Naftali Bennett’s part.

The Galey Israel Radio interview. Sorry – nothing but Hebrew from this point on…

Shas Balking on Support for Bennett’s Candidate for Chief Rabbi

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Despite reports in the media—most notably by Arutz 7, whose owner, Rabbi Zalman Melamed, has a pony in the race—about a deal that’s been supposedly forged between Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home and Shas (See: New Chief Rabbi Appointment Pitting Bennett Against Lapid).

The deal that’s being touted by Jewish Home includes extending by another ten-year term the tenure of Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, in exchange for a legislative change of the maximum age for the position. That would pave the way for Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, who is over age 70, to become Chief Rabbi.

But a senior Shas official told Kikar HaShabbat that “Rav Ovadia Yosef will not support such a deal with Jewish Home,” in light of that the party’s conduct in the last elections.

“Rav Ovadia Yosef will not give a hand to any deal with the Jewish Home, the party that caused the most damage to Haredi parties,” said the Shas official. We will not support it, even if [our refusal] would endanger the selection of the Haredi Sephardi rabbi.”

Another source in Shas declared that “Rav Ovadia is willing to lose both chief rabbis if getting them means a partnership with the ones who stuck a knife in our back and went with Yair Lapid.”

Meanwhile, Rabbi David Stav published a tortured letter in Srugim, a National Religious website, saying that should Rabbi Ariel become a candidate, he, Rabbi Stav, would remove his own candidacy. Rabbi Stav also bemoaned the personal campaign against him, launched by supporters of Rabbi Ariel.

The struggle between Rabbi Ariel and Rabbi Stav is also creating a conflict within the Jewish Home faction, between the more right wing faction, represented by Rabbi Chaim Drukman, dean of the Or Etzion yeshiva and head of the Bnei Akiva yeshivot, who support Rabbi Ariel, and the Bennett circle, including MK Ayelet Shaked and Minister Uri Orbach, who support Rabbi Stav.

Naftali Bennett is, among other government jobs, Minister of Religious services. But his deputy minister there, Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, is the de-facto minister. Both men will be the final decision makers, at least on paper, regarding the appointments.

But without the support of Shas, chances are limited for Rabbi Ariel’s appointment, which will require changing the law which at this point says one must be younger than 70 when taking the mantle of Chief Rabbi. While Likud-beitenu might be persuaded to support such “personalized legislation,” in exchange for another deal, making former Foreign Minister David Levi Israel’s next president (which Liberman is pushing—Levi’s daughter is an Israel Beitenu MK).

The main reason the age-changing personalized legislation is bound to die in the water has to do with the fact that Yair Lapid’s lieutenant, Education Minister Rabbi Shai Piron, supports Rabbi Stav, as do most of the faction members, and—most importantly—Lapid’s entire agenda abhors special deals that include personalized legislation and similar political tricks. And so, Yesh Atid will vote against the proposed legislation, should it come up, and their 19 votes together with the opposition votes will prevent the move.

A source close to Jewish Home told The Jewish Press that Naftali Bennett is waiting this one out, offering tacit support for Rabbi Ariel’s candidacy simply because he wouldn’t dare stand up to Rabbi Drukman and the Melamed faction inside his party. In the end, Bennett is hoping that the Rabbi Ariel proposal will collapse under its own weight, clearing the way for the appointment of the one man most secular and religious Israelis (who care) are hoping for – rabbi David Stav, the National Religious antidote to Haredi alienation.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/shas-balking-on-support-for-bennetts-candidate-for-chief-rabbi/2013/04/23/

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