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July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘National Religious’

Bibi Seals Nationalist Policy with Dore Gold Heading Foreign Ministry

Monday, May 25th, 2015

Dore Gold, former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations and director of a right-wing think tank in Jerusalem, was appointed as director of the Foreign Ministry Monday by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Monday afternoon.

He replaces Nissim Ben-Sheetrit, who was named to the post two years ago by then-Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.

Gold was born in the United States, grew up in Connecticut and earned undergraduate and doctorate degrees at Colombia University. He was an adviser to Netanyahu in his first term as Prime Minister in 1996.

The appointment of Gold follows the naming of another strong nationalist, Tzipi Hotovely, as Deputy Foreign Minister but who in effect is subordinate only to Prime Minister Netanyahu, who retains the title of Foreign Minister.

With Gold heading the ministry, Netanyahu retains more control.

Both Gold and Hotovely are religious, which rounds out the Foreign Ministry as solid national-religious domain, one which will be a lot more uncomfortable for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

A powerhouse like Gold takes some of the limelight away from Hotovely, but it also will take some of the heat off her.

No less important is the fact the Gold, a native American and former U.N. ambassador, knows how to talk to the Americans in their language

When asked by CNN earlier this month how he can explain Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statements that “there will not be a Palestinian stage on my watch” and that he still supports a “sustainable two-state solution,” Gold passed the test remarkably.

He said that there will no Palestinian Authority state for the time being because Mahmoud Abbas refuse conditions for Israel to remain secure. He pointed out that Abbas last year rejected the framework agreement worked out with Israel, to leave Israel in a defensible position

He explained that peace must be preceded with the adjectives “safe and secure.”

Herzog Wants New Elections

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Labor party chairman Yitzchak Herzog has called for new elections because it took Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu two months to put together a coalition government that he said will cost the taxpayers an additional $250 million.

He told a meeting of the Zionist Union, the merged parties of Labor and Tzipi Livni’s HaTnuah parties, that it would be best to go again to the polls and let the people decide if they really want what they got.

He reiterated that not only will he not join Prime Minister Netanyahu in a national unity government, but he also will do everything he can to topple the new government.

His call for a new election should not be dismissed so quickly.

There is no question that if elections were held today, the Hareidi parties would retain at least the 13 seats they now have in the Shas and Yehadut HaTorah (United Torah Judaism) parties. They probably would win a couple of more from those who made the mistake of voting for Eli Yishai’s Yachad party, which failed to get enough votes to enter the Knesset.

There also is no question that the Likud would lose at least four seats that Netanyahu grabbed from the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) in his last-minute blitz. Considering how the Prime Minister mistreated Bayit Yehudi in forming the new coalition, the party’s current strength of eight MKs likely would rise to more than 12 because it would also win back one or two seats that voters gave to the failed Yachad party.

Kulanu, led by Moshe Kachlon, would probably take a couple of seats from the Likud and a couple from Yair Lapid, who has succeeded in proving to voters there is nothing but air inside a windbag.

On the left, Livni is a dead duck, and Labor is not going to get any more votes than it now has unless they take them from Meretz, and vice-versa..

Yisrael Beiteinu also would not win any more than it now has and could even be headed for oblivion.

The Arabs would return with more or less the same 12 seats they now have.

The bottom line is that if Herzog wants new elections, let him have them.

The result will be a stronger national-religious government.

And then Herzog can call for a third round of elections, and a fourth, unit he finally figures it out that he represents a diminishing minority.

Bennett Flexes Muscles and Threatens to Knock Out Coalition

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) chairman Naftali Bennett used Twitter late Sunday night to warn Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that he can forget about a right-wing coalition if he fulfills a pre-election promise to give the Shas Sephardi Hareidi party control of the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Bennett was in charge of the ministry in the last government and is not willing to leave the national religious community out in the cold and let a Hareidi party reverse a trend to weaken the authority of the Hareidi establishment.

Bennett wrote:

Unilaterally taking the Ministry of Religious Affairs away from the national religious community and handing it over to Shas means the end of negotiations with Bayit Yehudi.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is asking President Reuven Rivlin for another two weeks to form a coalition.

The truth is that if the Prime Minister had run out of extensions, he and the potential coalition partners would have struck a deal now. As usual, everyone uses the clock to play chicken with each other.

Netanyahu knows that Bennett and Shas chairman Aryeh Deri are not prepared to force him into a corner without a coalition. And Bennett and Aryeh know that that if they do so, there always is the option of a national unity government with the dreaded Yitzchak Herzog and Tzipi Livni. Going that route would make the last Titanic coalition look like the Queen Elizabeth, so you can count on everyone finding common ground.

But how can Netanyahu get out of this mess created by promising the Religious Affairs Ministry to Shas when Bennett blocks it with a red line?

Easy.

Netanyahu can simply declare himself Minister of Religious Affairs and appoint two deputies – Bennett and Deri.

We wanted a Jewish country, right?

So we come up with Jewish solutions.

Two Jews, three ministers.

Rabbis Remain Silent as ‘Price Tag’ Vandalism Worsens

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

“Price tag” vandals struck the small Arab neighborhood of Sharafat between Gilo and the Malcha Mall and Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem Tuesday night, slashed tires of approximately 30 cars and scribbled graffiti on walls.

They sprayed slogans of “No co-existence” and “Arabs=thieves” in the neighborhood.

Yediot Acharonot reported that a security camera showed three masked men carrying backpacks and entering the area around 3 a.m.

Sharafat residents were enraged at the vandalism, which prevented many of them from leaving driving to work because of slashed tires.

Police are investigating, but they have not been able to win a conviction and barely an indictment in hundreds of previous incidents.

The term “price tag’ refers to Jews who take out their anger against Arab terror and more frequently against government anti-nationalist policies by attacking Arab property.

When the fad of crime started, nationalist leaders and rabbis blamed it on undercover agents working for the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and trying to incite hatred of Jews living on outposts in Judea and Samaria.

Many of the attacks have been carried out at churches and monasteries, and when it became overwhelmingly clear that nationalists were involved, their leaders often dismissed the vandals as a tiny minority whose actions may be illegal but pale in comparison with Arab terror.

Be that as it may, on what Talmudic passage do the rabbis base their dismissal of indiscriminate violence as minor pranks and remain silent?

One leading nationalist rabbi, a peaceful Torah scholar who never would encourage violence, told The Jewish Press several months ago he doesn’t believe that Jewish settlers would do such a thing. Sure, there may be a few hotheads, but all of the reports are false or the incidents are instigated by the Shin Bet, in his view.

Last month, several leading national religious rabbis circulated a petition condemning the price tag attacks, but that was the beginning and end of the “campaign” against violence.

But the petition left open huge room for understanding the frustration of attackers.

“There is a wonderful community of thousands of Jews in Judea and Samaria who are loyal to the State of Israel,” the petition said. “This community is often subject to attack by Arab thieves, vandals, and terrorists.

“We truly empathize with the plight of this community. However, we ask the youth and young adults not to allow them to become sucked into acts of revenge and criminal activities as a result,” the petition said.

“The so-called ‘price tag’ attacks are against Jewish law and ethics. They are illegal and cause a desecration of G-d’s Name. Beyond this, the attacks damage the standing of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and stain the names of a large number of law-abiding people.”

“We ask?” That is the best the rabbis can do? “Oh, poor victimized hothead, please be a bit nice because your acts in the name of God may give us a bad image.”

The kind of soft-glove language in the petition is not the way to communicate with young wild idiots who understand nothing but force.

The petition that states that rabbis “empathize” with attackers and sympathize with their being victims is a cop-out of responsibility.

Rabbi Yoel Bin-Nun, unarguably one of the most passive and political compromising national religious rabbis, has been one of the few leaders to label the Jewish vandals for what they are. “Whoever does something like this cannot be included in a minyan or called to the Torah,” he stated.

That is the language these criminals understand.

But no group of rabbis in any of the regional councils of Judea and Samaria has taken the initiative to corner the price tag vandals and threatened them with ex-communication.

Beit Shemesh – We Was Robbed

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

I was at a wedding on Monday night, and sat with some fine, educated and well informed people from Efrat.

I started to discuss the next day’s municipal election in Beit Shemesh.

“Are the elections tomorrow?” he asked me. It transpired that neither he nor his wife were even aware of Municipal Domesday, which was happening the following day…

In many small town elections, a main contention might be whether to have a swimming pool, or a tennis court. Should certain streets be turned into pedestrian-only zones…and other such day-to-day important mundanities.

Here in Beit Shemesh the contentious issues seemed to mainly resolve around God and godliness.

That’s rather a Biggy, and therefore, rather than being a gentlemanly contest between parties for seats on the town council, it resembled jihad.

Try as the non-Chareidi candidate, Eli Cohen, might, to address regular municipal issues, such as parks, cleanliness, safety, education, cultural events and transport….the ever-present issue was really that Eli Cohen’s chosen lifestyle is Sephardi traditional, whereas the incumbent mayor,Moshe Abutbol, is Sephardi ultra-orthodox.

Beit Shemesh has a history of religious flare-ups and civil disturbance, ever since thousands of ultra-orthodox families started to move into the traditional Sephardi town, about twenty years ago.

Today, the town of 80,000 residents is split evenly between ultra-orthodox residents, and “miscellaneous others” (National Religious, traditional Sephardim, secular, Ethiopians, Russians..).

The ultra-orthodox campaign used highly charged language and tactics – blessings and curses (and lies) dispensed by rabbis from pulpits, holocaust imagery in political adverts, slurs of “Nazis!” hurled at anyone non-Chareidi in the streets, production & use of fraudulent rabbinical approbations, criminal use of fraudulent ID cards, cheating during the voting process, stone-throwing at political opponents, illegal use of educational facilities and institutions, illegal use of child labour, importing and paying national religiously dressed school-kids to appear to support the Chareidi candidate, as well as the more humdrum pathological smearing and lying about the competition and provable facts.

Perhaps the most startling chareidi innovation of this election was the ‘permit/heter’ issued to Abutbol supporters to desecrate the holy Shabbos – such as by tearing down ‘enemy’ banners and materials after candle-lighting on Friday nights.

These and many other outrageous behaviors were not occasional aberrations, but were an intrinsic part of the ultra-orthodox campaign.

The message to me was clear – in a Holy War, all tactics are permissible.

Indeed, in the main rabbinical approbation (Kol Korei) of the campaign, signed by over 20 leading Chareidi rabbonim, both national and local, which was republished ad-nauseam, stated that supporting Abutbol and the “Chen” Agudat Yisrael party, was a mitzva (commandment) and that not voting, or voting for someone else, or another list, was an aveira (sin against the Torah).

Ominously, the document’s call to action instructed the public to use “all means possible” to influence people to vote for Abutbol +  Chen list. Although this may have been seen as purely rhetorical – it was clearly interpreted as a carte blanche to engage in criminal and unethical activities for The Greater Cause.

The end results of this filthy campaign, published today (following the soldiers’ vote count) showed an Abutbol victory by around 1000 votes (out of 50,000 registered voters).

[Around 500 were accounted for by the maverick ‘spoiler’ non-chareidi Meir Balayish – the third no-hope candidate in the mayoral race].

The 1000 votes can surely be explained by the criminal/illegal elements – for example, around 200 ID’s were discovered by police as a voting scam (8 people arrested, so far); countless others were also presumably used. Thousands of voters were coerced, blackmailed, misled and intimidated into voting Abutbol.

I am willing to be part of a losing team – particularly one which loses by fighting cleanly and with integrity.  Indeed, as a member of the National Religious camp I have got used to this role – as a group, we endeavor to play straight, and this often puts us at a disadvantage in the cynical rough-and-tumble of the the ‘real world’.

However, I am not willing to be a victim of a crime.

Eli Cohen supporters, and other citizens who do not approve of the behaviour they witnessed, in the streets, in the communal institutions and in the voting stations – have appealed to the Supreme Court to over-rule the election results.

R. Lau to Submit Conversion Rulings to Haredi Review in Backroom Deal

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Three weeks after the stunning knockout a coalition of Haredi and Hardali (National religious Haredim) politicians delivered to Jewish Home and its hapless leader, Minister of Religious Services Naftalli Bennett, Ma’ariv reveals the price that had to be paid before the approval of Rabbi David Lau by the extremist Haredi camp: control over non-Haredi conversions.

Over the past three weeks, we’ve heard nothing but praise for the new Ashkenazi chief rabbi, who, as rabbi of Modi’in, a typical mixed religious and secular Israeli town, has shown the kind of moderation and acceptance one expects of a rabbinical shepherd. Some, like National Religious pundit Menachem Rahat, have gone so far as to suggest that under normal circumstances—meaning before the overwhelming sweep of Jewish Home and the ousting of the Haredim from government—someone as sweet and accepting as Rabbi David Lau would not have stood a chance to be selected, and that he was picked only as a desperate response to the popular Rabbi David Stav, a National Religious scholar and leader who was going to revamp the chief rabbinate.

And it worked. Like Menachem Rahat, the prevailing tone of the National Religious commentators following Lau’s election (and Stav’s defeat) has been that at least Rabbi Lau is a nice guy, a moderate, a uniter, not a divider.

All those well wishers may have to reexamine their praises now. According to Ma’ariv, in closed conversations Rabbi David Lau conducted with some Haredi decision makers before the vote, he gave them his commitment that all of his ruling regarding conversions would be submitted to a review by Rabbi Avraham Sherman, the man who gained his reputation as the killer of Rabbi Chaim Druckman’s thousands of kosher giurim-conversions.

Back in May of 2008, the Supreme Rabbinical Court judges Rabbis Hagai Izirer, Avraham Sherman and Avrohom Sheinfeld annulled thousands of conversions done by two National Religious rabbis, determining that:

“First, all conversions performed since 1999 by Rabbi Chaim Avior and Rabbi Chaim Drukman must be disqualified; second, conversions can be retroactively annulled for those who are not observant.”

Attorney Susan Weiss, founding director of the Center for Women’s Justice (JOFA), told Ynet in 2008 that the verdict had far-reaching implications on thousands of people who underwent conversion in the last few years—and on their children.

Much has been written and said about the case, which had territorial war written all over it. It was the first case of such massive, retroactive annulments of giurim-conversions, and the fact that the injured rabbis were renowned National Religious figures, while the court that destroyed their decades of work—as part of the chief rabbinate!—was comprised only of Haredim, was a sign that the Haredim were determined to annul not just the conversions, but also the foothold of the religious Zionists in the Chief Rabbinate.

In the spring of 2012, Israel’s Supreme Court re-affirmed the validity of the thousands of conversions disqualified retroactively by the Rabbinical Court in 2008, but stopped short of saying the rabbinical courts did not have the authority to annul conversions.

Still, the justices did not spare the rabbinical court their criticism. Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch wrote in the verdict:

“The Rabbinical Court of Appeals rode roughshod over basic procedural rules and the principles of natural justice. It demonstrated contempt for the special conversion courts, and above all, it hurt and did a shocking injustice to the petitioners and their children.”

Maariv spoke to Rabbi Sherman who confirmed the story about the condition for Rabbi Lau’s election. According to rabbi Sherman, Rabbi Lau met with Rabbi Yosef Efrati, a confidant of the late Rabbi Elyashiv, leader of the Lithuanian Haredim.

“Rabbi Lau told Rabbi Efrati that on all matters regarding conversions he would come to talk to me and consult in me before reaching a decision, because I have been involved in these issues as a confidant of Rabbi Elyashiv, and I am familiar with his rulings on these matters.”

And so the circle is complete: the most fundamental driving force behind the candidacy of Rabbi David Stav, the celebrated chairman of the Tzohar organization, dedicated to making life under halacha more palatable for secular Israelis, was the brutal treatment of thousands of converts by Rabbi Sherman and his co-justices. Now it is clear that not only did the Haredi politicians manage to subvert the attempts to ease their hold on religious life in the country, but that Religious Zionism has lost the most crucial battle of that campaign. The forces that gave us the disqualification of thousands of Jewish lives are back at the helm, stronger and smarter.

Rabbi Stav: Get ‘Corrupt Politicians’ Out of the Rabbinate

Friday, June 28th, 2013

National religious Rabbi David Stav has based his campaign to become Israel’s next Ashkenazi chief rabbi on a message of inclusion, friendliness and tolerance. But in an exclusive interview with JTA, he had harsh words for those who have attacked him in recent weeks.

The attacks began two Saturday nights ago, when Rabbi Ovadia Yosef used his weekly speech to call Stav “evil.” Rabbi Yosef, Israel’s chief Sephardi spiritual and legal authority, said that Rabbi Stav, who has painted himself as a reformer,  is “dangerous to Judaism, dangerous to the rabbinate and dangerous to Torah.”

One day later, some Haredi Orthodox youth took the rabbi’s words to heart and literally pushed Rabbi Stav around as he danced at a wedding.

And then last Thursday, the man whom Stav hopes to replace, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, was questioned for fraud and money laundering and placed under house arrest for five days, preventing him from being in communication with other suspects and from leaving the country.

No indictments have been charged, but in Israel, public figures, especially those who are right wing or religious, are considered guilty until proven innocent.

Rabbi Stav wouldn’t comment directly on Metzger’s arrest, but said earlier in the interview that Israel “needs a rabbinate not ruled by corrupt politicians but by God-fearing people. The people of Israel want a Judaism that speaks not in threats and curses but in a pleasant language and ways of peace.”

He insisted that he only wants to make the rabbinate more user-friendly, not to change Jewish law. He’s against instituting civil marriage in Israel and won’t recognize non-Orthodox conversions. But the Haredi orthodox leadership in Israel doesn’t seem to believe him.

Rabbi Stav told JTA that if elected, he wants to strengthen the chief rabbinate’s relationships with Jewish communities outside Israel. One of his goals would be to push for a unified international standard of kashrut.

“The Israeli rabbinate is not just the top institution in the Jewish state but is also a formal authority for Jewish people worldwide,” he said. “We want a permanent dialogue with the different organizations and rabbinates in the United States and different places in the world.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/rabbi-stav-get-corrupt-politicians-out-of-the-rabbinate/2013/06/28/

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