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October 26, 2016 / 24 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Religious Zionism’

Shaked Drops Bomb: Habayit Hayehudi Ready for New Elections

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi), who is also a member of the Netanyahu security cabinet, on Sunday morning delivered a punch to complement her party’s chairman, Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s confrontational stance regarding the need to revamp the communications between the security ministers and the IDF. Shaked told Army radio that Habayit Hayehudi is prepared to vote against the appointment of MK Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) as defense minister, thus blocking the entrance of his faction to the coalition, as long as Netanyahu refuses to appoint a military attaché to every security cabinet minister.

Shaked said this demand is not new, but has in fact been posed to Netanyahu by Bennett several times this year, and received no response from the PM. “Sooner or later, as cabinet members, we are given the responsibility in times of war, which is why we need to receive all the relevant information and be able to see the entire picture.”

Shaked revealed that Bennett had raised the issue at the coalition negotiations a year ago, and Netanyahu said this was not a matter for the coalition agreement, promising he would take it up with Bennett later. But, as is often the case with Netanyahu’s promises, later never came.

“This is not a party issue or a portfolio issue,” Shaked insisted, making clear that “we will vote against Lieberman and Yisrael Beiteinu entering should this issue not be resolved.” She explained that the issue is not very complicated: decision makers in war-time should be updated on the facts on the ground in order to make good decisions. “We just want to make sure the issue has been resolved,” she reiterated.

Naftali Bennett on Sunday morning has issued his most combative press release to date, stating, “I left hi-tech and entered politics after seeing, as a commander during the second Lebanon war (2006), what happens when the state leaders send soldiers into battle without knowing what they’re doing.”

I didn’t need a job or the money,” Bennett noted, “I swore to myself that I would not allow what I had seen to happen again. Our demand is as simple as it is dramatic: we want that the commander of the chief of staff and of the IDF, meaning the security cabinet, the body that makes life and death decisions, will stop being blind.”

Bennett insisted that “Right now it is blind by choice.”

Citing his fight with the IDF chief of staff and the defense minister during the 2014 Gaza War over the threat of Hamas terror tunnels that led into Israeli territory, Bennett accused the security apparatus and the prime minister of intentionally keeping the security cabinet in the dark, and, in fact, discouraging IDF commanders from sharing relevant information that might contradict the official military line. He blamed the fact that the war began too late and without consideration of the tunnels’ threat for the fact that the war lasted way too long — 51 days — and cost so many lives (63 IDF soldiers).

“I am not able to give in any longer,” Bennett declared.

Shaked rejected the announcement by Netanyahu’s office that yet another committee would be appointed to examine the Habayit Hayehudi demands. “There have been many committees,” she noted, pointing out that their recommendations have never been applied.

Finally, a coalition member party who votes against the PM’s legislation, in this case the expansion of his coalition, is subject to a swift dismissal of its ministers from the cabinet. When asked, Shaked said she was not worried. “We don’t believe this should lead to new elections,” she told Army Radio, “but if it does, we’re ready to run.”


Justice Minister Commits to Enforcing Sovereignty in Area C

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) on Monday stated that she is working, together with AG Avichai Mandelblit, on an outline for imposing Israeli law on the Israeli-controlled part of Judea and Samaria. Established by the 1993 Oslo accords as Area C, it covers 60% of Judea and Samaria and is home to an estimated 350,000 Jews who live in 225 communities (including outposts yet to be approved), and 30,000 Arabs. Israel already has control over security and land-management in Area C, and many in Israel view the area, for all intents and purposes, as a future part of Israel, as opposed to Areas A and B, which were designated as the foundation of a future Palestinian autonomous territory.

Speaking to Army Radio, Shaked said she plans to appoint a committee based on the new outline, to examine every law passed by the Knesset and decide whether it can be imposed concurrently on the Jewish communities in Area C as well, via a military decree (Tzav Aluf). Past attempts to impose an automatic application of new Israeli laws in Judea and Samaria have failed, including two separate attempts by Habayit Hayehudi. These included a minimalist bill to apply Israeli laws in the “Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria,” and even a bill prohibiting discrimination in the supply of goods and services to Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, which has been waiting for a Knesset vote since 2011.

Shaked is hoping that establishing “a team who will examine every single law” for its applicability in Judea and Samaria will indirectly create a promotional device that would be on hand to pressure the IDF General Officer Commanding (GOC) and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) to pay better attention.

At the moment, the legal picture in Area C is very complex, whereby the law there is comprised of Ottoman and Jordanian laws, combined with military decrees of the GOC, with the Supreme Court playing referee. In recent years there has been a growing tendency on the part of the GOC to apply new Israeli laws as soon as they had been passed. Last March the Knesset passed a law enabling settlers to receive on gains inside the green line the same tax benefits they are entitled to in Judea and Samaria; and a law coordinating home buying taxes so settlers won’t have to pay twice. Despite the fact that both laws—which were passed late at night when the leftwing parties were not paying attention—the legislation was condemned as “crawling annexation” of the “occupied territories.” MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Camp) said it was a quiet way for the Netanyahu government “to impose its ideology.” Which, presumably, is what you do when you win.

The last time Livni’s party was the big electoral winner, she and her partners used their power to transfer some 8,000 Jews from their homes, the first time a Jewish community had been forcibly evicted from its homes since the end of WW2.

On Sunday, in a similar vein, Shaked said that she intends to equalize the legal conditions for Israelis on either side of the green line, either by using the military decree or by new legislation. Speaking at the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, Shaked added that “It’s important that the Justice Minister have political power and political ability.”

Yes, it is, and this Justice Minister appears to be using hers wisely and bravely.


Rivlin Tells Bnei Akiva, ‘We Must Not Let This Happen Again’

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

President Reuven Rivlin expressed deep concern Thursday over an attack on a Bnei Akiva building containing a synagogue in northern Israel after learning about the desecration from an Arutz 7 reporter who called asking for a comment.

Vandals torched a Bnei Akiva synagogue in the northern Israeli city of Nazereth Illit this week, just before the start of the Shavuot holiday that marks the giving of the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai.

Siddurim and other holy books were torn apart, burned and desecrated in other ways. Elsewhere in the Bnei Akiva building, Israeli flags were defiled, cabinets were upended, paint was splattered all over the place and flourescent lights were smashed.

Bnei Akiva has long been a source of pride in the community; the religious Zionist movement has maintained a branch in Nazareth Illit for 40 years. Five years ago, a hesder yeshiva for Torah scholars entering army service was added to the program there as well.

According to spokesperson Naomi Toledano, President Reuven Rivlin has expressed his shock over the attack to Bnei Akiva Secretary-General Danny Hirshberg.

Rivlin expressed support for a plan by Bnei Akiva to hold a meeting between the young members of the branch and neighborhood Arabs immediately following the upcoming Jewish holiday of Shavuot, which begins at the close of the Sabbath, on Saturday night.

“Only dialogue will lead to closeness and understanding,” Rivlin said. “We must not let harsh and shocking incidents like this one happen again.”

He praised plans by the branch to hold its traditional all-night Torah study session for the Shavuot holiday despite the attack.

Although it is not yet clear who perpetrated the damage and desecration, there have been numerous incidents of harassment of the Bnei Akiva youths by local Arabs in the past.

Hana Levi Julian

Fifty Years In Israel

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

How old does one have to be to be a member of Bnei Akiva? Here in Israel, if we place the word “former” in front of the word “member,” there is no age limit. Several years ago, after the 70th anniversary celebration of Bnei Akiva of North America held in Jerusalem, a small group of former chaverim decided that we would like to maintain our friendship and contacts. It was time to create an organization of former Bnei Akiva of North America members who have fulfilled the dream of living in Eretz Yisrael.

Many of those involved in organizing the group have been living in Israel for 50 years or more and we decided that the cutoff age for membership should be 70 years of age. That meant, of course, that you had to be at least 70 to join our group. The oldest members are in their 90’s. The chairperson of our group is Leah Abramowitz and the committee includes myself, Rachel Karni, Hadassah Klaman, Eli Klein, Rivka Merzel, Pesach Rogoway, Naomi Rotenberg, Shoshana Silbert and Rina Wasserberg.

Our first event was a very successful Shabbat weekend in Jerusalem some three years ago and we have been thinking about our next event ever since then. We finally got our act together and planned a one-day Yom Iyun symposium that was held at the beautiful meeting center of Yad Sarah, in Jerusalem. Leah is a volunteer of Yad Sarah and she helped make the arrangements for the gathering.

Yad Sarah, the largest voluntary organization in Israel, provides free or at nominal cost services designed to make life easier for sick, disabled and elderly people and their families. Yad Sarah has 103 branches throughout Israel and is run by more than 6,000 volunteers. Yad Sarah’s mission is to keep the ill and the elderly in their homes and out of institutions as long as possible. Yad Sarah`sbest-known service is the lending of medical and rehabilitative equipment on a short-term basis free of charge to anyone who needs it – from a stock of over 250,000 items, from crutches and wheelchairs to oxygen concentrators and electronic monitors.

A reservations committee was set up and some 80 seniors, all former North American Bnei Akivaniks, pre-registered. Almost 200 seniors showed up for the event. The first hour of the event was dedicated to socializing and renewing old acquaintances with old friends and fellow chaverim. Kadish Goldberg of Kibbutz Tirat Tzvi, a former rosh moshava both in Gelatt, Penn., and in Canada, was the master of ceremonies who kept everyone laughing with his usual funny monologues. I presented a short memorial for Yoshke Shapiro, ob”m, a former member of Israel’s Knesset, the former director of Tehilah, an organization that helped new immigrants from the U.S. and western countries settle in Israel, and a former emissary to Bnei Akiva of North America, who played a significant role in many of our lives, especially those of us who had been in hachshara in Kibbutz Yavne in the late 1950’s.

Rabbi Dr. Pinchas Kahn presented an interesting d’var Torah that was followed by a light lunch. The keynote speaker of the event was Professor Natan Aviezer, an Israeli physicist who writes on creationism, evolution and cosmology from an Orthodox Jewish perspective. He is a professor of physics and former chairman of the physics department of Bar-Ilan University. He received his doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago, and subsequently held a research position at the IBM Watson Research Center near New York. In 1967, he and his wife, Dvora, made aliyah to Israel. He is the author of more than 100 scientific articles on solid-state physics. In recognition of his important research contributions, he was honored by being elected as a fellow of the American Physical Society (1984) and a research professor of the Royal Society of London (1992). Professor Aviezer gave a very dramatic review of life in Israel and what needs to be done in the future.

Dov Gilor

Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Forty-One: War

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

After a year of prayer, and hard, back-breaking work on the soil, patches of greenery reappeared in the fields of Olat HaShachar. Fruit trees budded. Tomatoes sprouted once again on their vines. God’s anger seemed to have passed, leaving the settlers with a new hope for the future. Even Shilo was filled with a revitalized spirit. As it turned out, his eyes never feasted on the money-paved streets of New York. His Rebbe had answered his letter asking for permission to go to America with the command that he stay in Eretz Yisrael, where with patience, everything would work out for the best. With the Rebbe’s encouragement, the carpenter set back to work with a renewed belief in his mission of rebuilding the Holy Land.

While their life wasn’t easy, Tevye strove to be content with his lot. As the Sages taught, the truly rich man was the man who was happy with what he had. Tevye was naturally optimistic by nature, and it was important to be a beacon of faith for the morale of the community. True, there was a long list of things to complain about, but who had the strength? After a long day of labor, Tevye would eat and gladly collapse into bed. On the Sabbath, he studied a little Torah with Guttmacher’s son. But his greatest pleasure came from his son. The golden-skinned toddler could walk and even put simple sentences together. He spoke Hebrew, the language which his father and mother spoke in the house. With an indescribable pleasure, worth more than all of the wealth in the world, Tevye taught his son the words of the Shema Yisrael prayer. When Sharagi asked Tevye why he didn’t teach the boy Yiddish, Tevye answered that Yiddish belonged to the past. Their future was in the mountains and plains of Eretz Yisrael, and not any longer in the confines of a ghetto.

The east winds which had brought the locusts were replaced by winds from a different direction. Each time a wagon arrived from Jaffa, settlers ran to meet it to hear the latest news about the war which was raging in Europe. At the beginning of the bloody conflagration, the battle between Germany, Russia, England, and France didn’t affect the small Jewish colony in Palestine, but when Turkey became an ally of the German Kaiser, things began to change. At first, many of the settlers wanted Germany to win and crush the Czar’s army, to punish the Russians for their oppression of the Jews. But when the Turk’s secret pact with the Germans was revealed, the Jews sided with the British, hoping that England’s forces in Egypt would roust the Turks and expel them from Eretz Yisrael.

One Friday afternoon, Hava and Isaac arrived in Olat HaShachar for a family reunion. Hava was pregnant with a child, and her Talmudic husband was pregnant with news. The former Hevedke had changed so completely that he bore no resemblance to the Russian poet of the past. His beard was longer than Tevye’s. He wore glasses, and covered his barbered blond hair with a hat. His baggy black jacket hid his muscular build, and he no longer held himself straight, but rather stooped in a humble pose which made him seem much smaller than he was.

With shining eyes and great excitement, he spoke at the evening meal, telling them everything he had heard about the war, and about Rabbi Kook’s visit to Europe. Hodel and Hillel, along with Ruchel with Nachman, joined them for the meal, and of course, Nachman listened intently to every word which Isaac related about the revered Rabbi Kook. For Tevye, it was a supreme Sabbath joy to have his family together. Like the cluster of glowing Sabbath candles which his wife and daughters had lit, a radiance shone on his face.

“Before the war broke out,” Isaac related, “the Agudat Yisrael organization in Germany invited Rabbi Kook to come to Berlin to participate in a rabbinical congress against the Zionist movement. Agudah represents the German ultra-orthodox who are adamantly opposed to the secularists. They believed that by having Rabbi Kook at their assembly, they could deal a blow to the Zionists who had been trying to win world approval for the creation of a Jewish State in Palestine. At first, the Rav couldn’t decide whether to attend the congress or not. He said it was extremely painful for him to leave the Holy Land’s shores, but he felt he might be able to influence the Agudah rabbis to moderate their opposition to the Zionist cause. Finally, his doctor recommended that a few weeks stay in a Swiss sanatorium might be beneficial to the Rebbetzin’s ailing health, so the Rav agreed to make the journey for the sake of his wife. When the war broke out, the congress was canceled, and the Rav was stranded in Switzerland with no way of returning to Jaffa. Apparently, all passenger ships have been refitted and turned into ships of war.”

Tzvi Fishman

Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Thirty-Six: Tevye the Builder

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

As weeks passed, Tevye felt more and more invincible. An inner transformation was taking place which he himself couldn’t explain, as if a new soul had entered his body. He felt like he was not only Tevye, but someonc much greater, as if the spirits of Goliath and Shmuelik, Bat Sheva and Golda, Tzeitl and Guttmacher, along with the heroes of history, had all become a part of his being. The strength of generations impelled him forward in his tasks. He was tireless in his labor. In addition to draining the swamps, he dug ditches throughout the night. When a wave of hot desert winds made work in the swamps too dangerous, he plowed fields and planted, sawed wooden planks and hammered the foundations of buildings. Unable to sleep more than a few hours a night, he did double shifts of guard duty, chased away snooping Arabs, and greeted the sunrise, wrapped in tallit and teffilin. Instead of mourning, he worked and he built. On the Sabbath, he rested, just as God had commanded. But come Motzei Shabbos, with the appearance of the first three stars in the sky, Tevye rushed back to his labor.

Busy with the endless work on the settlement, Tevye fought off moments of doubt and philosophical reflections. He knew that thinking too much could get a man into trouble. Why the Almighty did what He did was something no human could grasp. Nothing could be gained by complaining. It was God’s world to run things the way He saw fit. It was a mortal man’s duty to accept his fate in contentment and song. As Nachman always reminded them, that was man’s task and trial on earth, to trust in the Lord, in good times and bad, whether we understood God’s mysteries or not.

Which isn’t to say that Tevye turned into a saint. Many times he was angry. And often, there was more fury than joy in his work. And he was still wont to turn a questioning eye up to Heaven, and occasionally, even to sneer. But, for the most part, he kept his lips sealed. If anything, he shared a private battle with God. Like a boxer dizzy with blows, he was determined not to fall down. And if he fell down, he was determined to get back on his feet. He wouldn’t be beaten. His faith wouldn’t die. His body could ache and become food for mosquitoes, but his soul couldn’t be touched by a swamp. Where once he had been cautious, now he didn’t feel any fear. Tevye wasn’t worried about meeting the Angel of Death. “Come and take me!” he roared.

Like the Jewish People, he would live on forever. Tevye’s revenge was his work. He became an example for everyone. Summer arrived, bringing along hot, sandy winds from the desert. There were days a man couldn’t open his eyes without being blinded. While the settlers sought shelter in their tents, Tevye stood in the swamp, his eyes tightly closed, scooping buckets of water out of the swamp. The heat was scorching. There were no cool drinks to quench the nagging thirst, no ice, no shade, no air to breath in the oppressively humid lowlands. Even the ocean was warm. And nights were so still, no relief from the merciless desert sharav could be found, even by sleeping outside of their airless tents.

Still, work in the swamp continued. If not by the settlers, by the fiery rays of the sun. As if the Lord was pitching in some help of His own, the swamps began to evaporate and dry. By late August, the canal to the sea approached completion. Only a pipe-length section remained. When that last piece was set into place, the remaining swamp water would be drained off into the ocean. Only one small obstacle stood in the way. The pipe had to be laid in the most dangerous part of the swamp, where the mosquitoes had built their main encampment. Whoever connected together the last two sections was sure to be eaten alive. Descending into the nest of mosquitoes meant almost certain death. A general meeting was called which everyone had to attend. Lots were to be drawn to determine the unlucky hero.

Tzvi Fishman

What Are They Crying About? (Conclusion)

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

The ultra-Orthodox were also on a sort of automatic pilot.

Their society did not talk about the redemptive process and all types of glorious concepts. They simply waited for Mashiach. They learned Torah, fulfilled the directive to settle the land of Israel in their own way, and protected their communities from the winds of heresy with all their might. The irreverent Zionists who suddenly decided to play state making reshuffled all their cards. After all, it cannot be that the Mashiach wears an Israeli farmer’s hat. For the ultra-Orthodox, a serene prayer at the Western Wall under the enlightened flag of her majesty is ten times better than the unnecessary wars that the “heretics” brought upon us.

But somehow, their logic continues, the “heretics” actually established a successful state. And to prove how serious they were, they even asked us to join in on the democratic game. Now that you have engaged us against our will in a state that we do not want, we will try to salvage as much as possible for our communities.

At first, it seemed that the competing religious ideology that viewed Zionism as a positive development was flourishing. The National Religious Party had 12 Knesset seats. They controlled the religious institutions. They were the source for Israel’s chief rabbis and engaged in dialogue with the state. The ultra-Orthodox approach seemed to have reached its end.

But then everything changed. The religious Zionists began to sink, their rabbis looked to the ultra-Orthodox rabbis for approval, their political institutions became increasingly less influential, the state scorned them, and their leaders paid homage to the rabbis in ultra-Orthodox Bnei Brak – not to the rabbis in religious Zionist Kiryat Moshe.

For an entire generation, it seemed that the ultra-Orthodox ideology was more realistic. Proof of that was Aryeh Deri’s consistent observation that no government could be formed without Shas – true, until the past elections. And then it turned out that a government could be formed without Shas – with those very same religious Zionists whose influence had almost dissipated.

That is how the ultra-Orthodox ideological self-confidence evaporated – to be replaced by cries of pain and insult. It is always easiest to blame the rest of the world and not to make an accounting of your own ideology. That’s fine. The religious Zionists did the same thing. But ultimately, reality prevails.

In truth, the religious Zionist ideology was not destroyed. Its foundations were genuine. Those foundations also exist in ultra-Orthodox ideology.

The religious Zionists correctly understand the redemptive process. But their abundance of love caused them to relate to the state as a means – not as an end. Danger! From this point, it is very easy to descend into a soft type of fascism. It is a kind of idol worship, as the halachic decisions made by some religious Zionist rabbis obligating soldiers to obey orders to drive Jews from their homes testify. When the individual belongs to the state and not vice versa, when the state is both father and mother to its citizens, the resulting crisis is just a matter of time.

For their part, the ultra-Orthodox correctly understand the danger of the state – any state. But they completely miss the redemptive process, leaving them outside of history and even outside of society.

Just as the Gush Katif crisis opened the religious Zionists up to their surrounding Israelis, creating diversity and new options, the same will happen now to the ultra-Orthodox. Everybody will gain from this process – first and foremost, the state of Israel and Israeli society.

The state of Israel is stuck, and not only because it does not have an answer for the missiles from Gaza. Bereft of its faith, it is incapable of dealing with all the deep-level challenges of our era. That faith, existing among believers of all stripes and all ideologies, will rise out of the crises to create a faith-based Israeli culture – a new type of vision.

Moshe Feiglin

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/moshe-feiglin/what-are-they-crying-about-conclusion/2013/04/17/

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