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December 26, 2014 / 4 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi Shai Piron’

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.

Jewish Home Attacking Lapid on Haredi Draft

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

At the start of the debate Wednesday morning of the Perry Committee recommendations regarding “equal burden,” a popular euphemism that stands for (to be blunt) “those Haredi parasites better get off their warm benches and lie down in the trenches with the rest of us,” Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel, a senior member of the Jewish Home Knesset delegation, pointed out the coalition agreements signed between his own party and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, and made it clear that there was an official understanding in those agreements regarding the conscription of Haredim: there would be no criminal sanctions against Haredim who refuse to serve.

Minister Ariel went on to suggest that Yesh Atid has a hidden agenda in this case, an agenda that has little to do with the ultimate purpose of peacefully integrating the Haredim into the Army and, later, into a normative, productive life.

Over the past few months, since the national elections in which Lapid’s Yesh Atid and Naftali Bennett’s Jewish home took in 31 Knesset seats (out of 120), the brotherly partnership between those two parties has been under great public scrutiny, as we’ve all been awaiting that one issue that would force them into opposite corners of the coalition chamber.

Because, let’s face it, ideologically there are vast differences between them. The main thing they agree on is a loose understanding of the free market, which neither one has truly upheld when it came to legislation (Paul Rand would probably consider both Lapid and Bennett rabid communists…).

If you were looking to bet the average Israeli news junky, they would probably have given you odds on the settlements, the 2-state solution, Judea and Samaria, annexed East Jerusalem, E-4n – any one of these hot potato issues was most likely to tear up the perpetual, occasionally nauseating hug between Yair and Naftali.

Turns out it might be the Haredi draft—an issue both parties and both leaders agree on nearly 100 percent. Both parties believe Haredim should serve and should go to work. But the Lapid folks are insisting—as of two days ago—that criminal penalties against Haredim refusing to serve are an essential component of the proposed new law – and Lapid declared he’s prepared to walk out of the coalition government over it.

It’s kind of a Sarah Palin move, if you ask me, except she abandoned her elected office half way through her first term, and Lapid has barely warmed his Finance Minister’s abacus.

The decision to play this kind of hardball came from Lapid, or Lapid’s advisors (I’m thinking Ehud Olmert). But it definitely involves the entire Yesh Atid delegation. Rabbi Shai Piron, a Yesh Atid MK, Education Minister and former dean of a yeshiva, told Ynet: “The parasites will not receive a kosher certificate.”

Seriously? This kind of provocative, and, frankly, antisemitic language, is a sign that the kindly minister (he really is a very nice man) had received his marching orders: rev up the engine, it’s time to score some points.

Minister Ariel accused them of just that: “We asked to be kept in the loop,” he told Jacob Pery and the Yesh Atid reps around the committee table. “You did not act fairly when you prevented communication over the past two days,” he pushed on. “I asked three times” for information “and was rejected. There used to be an understanding between the two parties – a common path. And now it’s being stepped on rudely. I don’t understand what it’s for and why there’s a need to undo the agreements which we spent so many nights and hours laboring over every word written in them.”

And then a representative of the Justice Ministry stated: “We never said it was impossible to impose economic sanctions.”

Justice – that the purview of Tzipi Livni, the Israeli politician who gives narcissism a bad name. Together, Lapid and Tzipi are dreaming of a day when Haredim will be arrested and impoverished, possibly with the same police raid.

Never mind that Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon has been telling anyone who would listen that, as far as he’s concerned, there will not be any mention of sanctions – economic or criminal – in the new draft bill. After all, Yaalon is just in charge of the IDF, which will be charged with applying the new law. Why would Lapid want to be tougher on Haredi recruits than the guy in charge of the Army?

Coalition Finally in Place after Bennett’s Mediation

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

A new government coalition finally took form Wednesday night and is expected to officially take the reins on Monday.

Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett mediated a crisis between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, who had refused to back down from his demands for the Interior and education ministries.

Netanyahu has agreed to replace Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar with a Yesh Atid Knesset Member, Rabbi Shai Piron, while his deputy minster will be a Likud MK.

Lapid gave up his demand for the Interior Ministry, which apparently will be taken over by Sa’ar, and Bennett won his demand for the Jewish Home party to head the powerful Knesset Finance Committee. Lapid will be Finance Minister.

Amir Peretz, who ditched Labor to join Tzipi Livni’s party, will hold a Cabinet post, probably as Environment Minister.

The Jewish Home party will have three ministers, with Bennett taking over the portfolio of Industry and Trade. Most significantly, Jewish Home MK Uri Ariel may head the Housing Ministry, which is a key in building in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as well as in regulation of illegal Arab and Bedouin construction in Israel.

Netanyahu will act as Foreign Minister. He has reserved the post for current Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in case he wins an acquittal in a criminal charge against him.

Moshe Ya’alon will be Defense Minister and Shaul Mofaz and his two-seat Kadima will not be in the coalition, leaving four parties in the government – Likud Beiteinu, Jewish Home, Yesh Atid and Tzipi Livni’s “Movement” party, with a combined total of 68 seats, seven more than a majority.

It’s Not too Late to Save Bennett from Himself

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Naftali Bennett has made a huge mistake. Driven by emotion—blaming Sara Netanyahu for his new pact with Yesh Atid Leader Yair Lapid, and the sense of rage many of us in the National Religious camp feel towards the likes of Aryeh Deri, and towards the Haredim who look down on us as being not much better than the secular in terms of our Jewish merits—he has gotten himself into the worst possible partnership.

Before I proceed, I must add that in many ways Bennett is merely the newest victim of a terrible situation in which wife of the prime minister has been intimidating her husband and through him the politics of the entire country. Everyone in the Israeli media is familiar with this pathological mess, as does the political class, but to date no one has been able to effectively control it. Bennett did not invent Sara Netanyahu, he was simply foolish enough to cross her, and then not smart enough to realize what an enemy he has created. If Bennett’s clashes with Sara Netanyahu lead, God forbid, to the evacuation of Jewish homes, it would be a catastrophe reminiscent of “the modesty of Rabbi Zecharia ben Avkules destroyed our Temple.” (Gittin 56a).

In their declaration of fealty, which they repeat incessantly, both Yair and Naftali are telling the world how, when sitting together in government, they’re going to collaborate on those 90% of the issues about which they both fully agree: they’re both in favor of free enterprise and less red tape, they both favor rational religious legislation—Ayelet Shaked even wants civil marriages for those the Rabbinate has declared unweddable.

Yair (and his two rabbis, Shai Piron and Dov Lipman) wouldn’t mind, I expect, giving the Ministry of Religious Services to Habayit Hayehudi, and appointing the much deserving Tzohar chairman Rabbi David Stav Chief Rabbi. And I suppose Bennett, who is kind of a Libertarian on many issues, wouldn’t get in the way of public transportation on Shabbat for those communities that want it (e.g. Tel Aviv).

And both Lapid and Bennett agree that it’s high time the Haredim carried the burden of military service and full participation in the work force like the rest of us. I mean, how many among us don’t feel that the majority of those Haredim don’t even belong inside a yeshiva, that they should stop living like parasites and stop the pretense of saving “klal yisroel” by warming up a yeshiva bench.

This proud, new Lapid-Bennett axis agrees on so much, except for those meaningless 10% of the issues where their thinking is radically different. That, of course, is the part where the Netanyahu-Lapid-Livni axis freezes construction—any construction—in the homes of half a million National Religious Israelis, and then comes to the homes of 100 thousand National Religious Israelis and puts them on trucks because they live on the wrong side of the security fence.

Check out the Yesh Atid list of MKs and find even one—including the two honorable rabbis—who fought against the Gush Katif mass expulsion of between eight and ten thousand Jews. Back in 2004, Rabbi Piron, when asked for a psak (halachic ruling) on what to do about the Gush Katif plot, prescribed doing what we can to avoid the uprooting, but only with love, because on the other side stood great patriots who felt, innocently—not my cynical interpretation, his—that this way they’ll bring peace to the land. And then the good rabbi added, with love, that “we settled on the hilltops at the expense of settling in the hearts” of Israelis. Meaning, of course, the hearts of the good rabbi’s friends on the left who would like to see all of us in a DP camp south of Beer Sheva.

And MK Dov Lipman had this refreshing thing to say to Paperblog: “If, and I emphasize if, we reach a point where we have an internationally backed agreement which they will sign (not like Gush Katif which was unilateral) which includes our terms including an undivided Yerushalayim, then I believe we would have to accept it even though that means the painful giving up of Jewish homes and land.”

And those are just Lapid’s Rabbis! For heaven’s sake, talk about the camel giving a lift across the river to the scorpion! The Yesh Atid list is comprised of anti-Orthodox professionals. The entire country was talking last week about MK Ruth Calderon’s opening speech, where she taught a blat gemorah from the podium and showed how Jewish tradition belongs not only to the black hats and not even just to the knitted yarmulkes, but to the hatless as well. Marvelous, not a dry eye in the house. But check out Calderon’s anti-Orthodox record, and you’ll discover anything but a yearning for mutual respect and acceptance.

But forget about those relatively harmless wall flowers, whose actual influence on the politics of expulsion has been negligible—because no one has given them the power so far—and look at the number 5 man on Lapid’s list, former GSS head Yaakov Peri, who’s been advocating the expulsion of Gaza, Judea and Samaria Jews his entire career, who signed the Ayalon-Nusseiba petition calling for the splitting of Jerusalem – this is Naftali Bennett’s ally!

If, God forbid, the Lapid-Bennett axis succeeds in forcing itself on Netanyahu “as is,” we will have created the most formidable enemy of the settlements since the time Yossi Sarid and Yossi Beilin held office and brought us Oslo. Moreover, Bennett can make it possible for Lapid to gain some prestige as a brilliant this or that minister—let’s face it, despite his dubious education and occasionally strange notions of history, math and other Core Curriculum (Limudei Libah) problems, the man has flash—in two to four years Lapid can emerge as the new white hope of the left, leading a Nouveau Oslo government—obviously without Likud and without Habayit Hayehudi.

And what is this burning problem of the “equal burden” that must be faced head on this minute? The refusal of nearly eight percent of Israelis—the Haredim—to serve in the army. Man, this burns us up. It makes us sick, just looking at these young men with their hats and their beards, and their Eastern European dress, total parasites—while more than 20% of the population, Israeli Arabs, are just as parasitic on every single issue, except for the fact that they also, on occasion, collaborate with our enemies.

Sadly, Naftali Bennett was not thinking like a Jew this time around, and, I believe, acted on his feelings and not with his head. We’ve all been so enamored with the idea that Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi together comprise 31 MKs, exactly as many as the Likud Beitenu does, and some have even quipped that our own “pact” is stronger than the Liberman-Netanyahu marriage.

But, you know, Habayit Hayehudi together with Shas and United Torah Judaism comprise 30 MKs, with the difference being that it is wholly Jewish, never mind the cultural differences, and that over there Bennett actually carries the biggest stick.

Folks, despite the cultural differences, the more astute—and learned—members of Habayit Hayehudi, working with the likes of Eli Yishai from Shas and Meir Porush from UTJ, could settle the “equal burden” thing in a day. The yeshivas are just as interested in getting rid of their freeloaders, the punks who hang around “Cats Square” in Jerusalem, doing drugs and beating up unsuspecting Arab passersby—they just need to find a way of looking good doing it.

And despite the sad record of Shas in the ushering in of Oslo—the vast majority of Haredi politicians today are not enemies of the settlements, especially since so many Haredim, their voters, live outside the “green line.”

It’s not too late, folks, for the more introspective and astute members of Habayit Hayehudi (I’m looking at you, Uri Orbach) to forge the axis in which we could all rejoice, the axis of Torah Jews who are willing to overcome their relatively minute differences on military service, and compromise over the chief rabbinate, which has been turned into the private property of the Haredim (whose voters don’t even use its services).

Other than that, I’d like to find out I have 30 proud, pro-settlement Orthodox representatives in the Netanyahu government, uniting in offsetting the Livni-Mofaz direction—rather than a leftist government our man Naftali helped create with his sweet, home grown naivete.

Rabbi Piron: Shas’ Election Spot ‘Darkness Judaism’ (Video)

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

The dean of the Petach Tikvah Yeshiva, a major force in the Tzohar movement, and the number 2 candidate on Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid Knesset list “Yesh Atid,” Rabbi Shai Piron, sharply criticized a Shas party election spot which he said “humiliated hundreds of thousands of immigrants from the former Soviet Union” and is “an expression of a dark, racist, offensive and invasive kind of Judaism.”

The spot shows a Russian born bride and an Israeli born groom standing under the Chupah, waiting for the bride to receive her instant giur-conversion document by fax. “Just dial star-giur,” she tells her husband to be, who appears devastated by the fact that he is about to marry a gentile.

“If they get to determine who is a Jew, we’d be forced to live in a racist state which chases loyal citizens who shoulder the national burden and serve their country and its values with love and faith,” Rabbi Piron said. “After trying and failing to gather votes by bringing the ethnic demon back to life, the Shas leaders have decided to abuse the immigrant community. The Shas-style Judaism is not our Judaism. Anyone willing to gain a vote and a half more by humiliating kosher and loyal Jews, deserves widespread public condemnation.”

Piron continued: “The moment of truth is here and we all share a duty to decide who will lead Israel in the coming years. Whether we allow Shas to continue to sow seeds of hatred and division that sharpens the old differences between groups, or mobilize together to strengthen a healthy society.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rabbi-piron-shas-election-spot-an-expression-of-darkness-judaism-video/2013/01/09/

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