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December 6, 2016 / 6 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘revolution’

Emes Ve-Emunah: Status Quo? Or a Quiet Revolution?

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website,  Emes Ve-Emunah}

I have always said the Charedi model of full time Torah study for all men is an unsustainable one. And yet this ideal has been instilled in all Charedi children in Israel since at least the founding of the state.

That has resulted in a society where their educational curriculum  had virtually no secular studies and no preparation at all for the workplace. Their curriculum in Israel  is – and always has been – devoted to full time Torah study. Which has resulted in a community of very bright people most of whom live in poverty or near poverty unable to support themselves or their families.

That poverty should not be taken lightly.  Far too many Charedim in Israel get by on a combination of factors that include reliance on government subsidies, free loan societies, and working but underpaid wives. There is a constant struggle to just make ends meet. Many are forever in debt.

When the last Keneset tried to impose financial sanctions to Yeshivos that did not offer the core curriculum required by law – it was fiercely and successfully opposed. The current Keneset has basically restored the old status quo. Thus perpetuating the system and the poverty it generates.

As I have said many times in the past, I believe that full time Torah study for everyone is not the ideal for every male. It should only be for the most elite of students. Even they should be better prepared in secular studies. But for purposes of argument – let us leave that out of the equation and grant that they could be exempt from any studies other than Torah. Everyone else should study Torah as the primary focus but not as the only focus. And certainly not at the expense of ignoring their future as breadwinners.

I believe emphatically that their curriculum should mimic the model of Charedi education in America where until recently every top level Charedi Yeshiva high school devoted a good portion of their afternoons to a relatively decent secular education. Which enabled many American Charedim to pursue advanced educations for career purposes when they were ready to leave the Beis HaMedrash. I believe that the Charedim in Amercia that have chosen this path make up the majority of the Charedi world in America. I have called them moderate Charedim.

Israel’s Charedi educational system did not pursue this model. The opposite is happening. The American Charedi educational system is shifting towards the Israeli model by decreasing or completely eliminating secular studies. That is in and of itself a huge problem but beyond the scope of this post.

As I said, the Israeli model is not sustainable despite protestations to the contrary by Charedi politicians. I have also said that at some point there will be a revolt that would change the model. It seems that it is already happening. Significant changes are quietly taking place. There is a moderate Charedi faction in Israel that seeks better opportunities by taking advantage of career programs designed specifically for them.  From the Times of Israel:

(The established Charedi paradigm) is increasingly being challenged by a new generation of ultra-Orthodox Jews who are demanding academic degrees, satisfying professions, a bigger role for women and greater immersion in Israeli society.
She said the ultra-Orthodox leadership’s aversion to progress and integration is mostly about maintaining political power rather than serving their constituents. Until recently, such open criticism was unheard of, but it is gaining traction as people like Karlinsky try to change their world from within…
Gilad Malach, a researcher who specializes in the community, said reform was already underway. He said a majority of haredi men now work, compared to just a third in 2003. Women continue to be the primary breadwinners, and their employment rates of close to 75% are comparable to the general public, he said.

This is welcome news. It’s just too bad that the ‘party line’ of the Charedi politicians is to insist on their status quo. That Torah study is to be pursued by all men to the exclusion of everything else. That they may quietly approve of this new trend is to say one thing publicly and to say another privately. Which to me is dishonest and counterproductive.

Why not just admit that the goals of their spiritual mentor, the Chazon Ish, to rebuild the Torah world lost in Europe because of the Holocaust was long ago achieved. And that full time Torah study for every single male was never intended. That there are other ways to serve God and that not everyone has to be doing exactly the same thing.

Unfortunately the party line has not changed. Form the Timesof Israel:

As the senior representative of ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel’s government, Health Minister Yaakov Litzman is unapologetic about the insular lifestyle he advocates, despite irking mainstream Israel and endangering its long-term economic prospects.
He insists that shirking compulsory military service, rejecting secular education and raising large families on state subsidies all serve the noblest of purposes: a life devoted to the study of scripture that has preserved Jewish traditions over centuries and will ultimately bring about the coming of the Messiah.
“To sit and learn is a mitzvah,” or commandment from God, he told The Associated Press. “It is the most important thing.”
“There is always new ways and new things which we have to get used to and check out if we can live with it, but there is no change in halacha,” or Jewish law, he said. “Until the Messiah will come, it will stay like that.”

What Rabbi Litzman fails to understand – it seems – is that no one is saying Torah study should be abandoned. Nor is anyone saying that there shouldn’t be a cadre of Torah scholars involved in full time Torah study. The only question is whether it should be full time for everyone to the exclusion of everything else.

It seems that in increasing numbers – the Charedi public is beginning to understand this themselves. And doing something about it. It’s just too bad that there is not more positive reinforcement – or even better – a change in their own educational model instead of insisting on – and promoting an unsustainable status quo as the ideal for everyone to pursue.

 

Harry Maryles

Why US Policy Betrayed the Moderates

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

In 1848, the new Communist movement issued a manifesto. It began with the opening line:

“A specter is haunting Europe—the specter of Communism.”

For our purposes today, this threat might be reworded as:

“A specter is haunting the Middle East—the specter of America.”

For example, about a year ago Dubai’s police chief addressed a major international Gulf Arab security conference. He said that there were about three dozen security threats to the Gulf Arab countries. But this well-respected security expert said the number-one threat was the United States.

Since that time, this American specter has become vivid. For instance, The New York Times had a recent editorial which stated that the only protection for Egypt’s democracy–meaning Muslim Brotherhood participation in the next Egyptian government–was the United States and Europe. The Egyptian regime, Israel, and Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab states were bad for wanting to protect their societies from Islamic ideology, revolution, and anti-Western Sharia states!

Might the United States and its allies rather be expected to battle Turkey, Iran, Hamas, Hizballah, Tunisia, Bahrain, and Hamas or otherwise might it support Islamists while Saudi Arabia fought Europe’s and America’s response as too soft on Hizballah?

But what if a crazy notion seizes policymakers, blessed with the mush of ignorance about the Middle East, that they can take control of the troublemakers? Perhaps Germany (World War One and Two jihads), or the Soviet control of radical nationalist regimes in the 1950s and 1960, or the French rescue of the Palestinian leadership in the late 1940s, or Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Iran during the 1970s, or America in the 1950s (Arab nationalism), or the 2010 Muslim Brotherhood would turn nominal extremists into friends?

Imagine, dunderheads in Washington, London, Paris, and so on thinking they are masterfully preserving stability, making peace, and harnessing Sharia in the cause of boosting democracy!

How smug would be the smiles when those who perpetrated September 11, 2001, were supposedly defeated by those mentored into power a decade later by the West in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, or in the Arab Spring or the Syrian revolution!

Look at it through the eyes of the Arabs, Iranians, Turks, Kurds, and Israelis who think they will try to impose a new order the region?

Consider a famous speech by Winston Churchill at Fulton, Missouri, on March 5, 1946. In contrast to the Communist Manifesto,100 years later, Churchill began, “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain is descended across the continent.” It might be strange that these two statements are compared to the current situation in the Middle East. But actually, they make a lot of sense.

The intention of great powers seemed to impose one (European) system on the region. In the first case, it was Communism. In Churchill’s case, it was anti-Communism he advocated, which in parallel would be Anti-Islamism.

But today, what is the system that Arabs, Iranians, Turks, and Israelis think they will try to impose on the region? The answer for those who have been watching in recent years is revolutionary Islamism.

It might seem strange that this is the thinking, but it isn’t. The question is whether there is a system that Western Europeans want to impose. And the answer is that to the Arabs and others in the region–although this does not mean it has to be true–since the 1979 Iranian revolution, they have supported radical Islamism. In fact, it should be understood that after the Arab Spring, Arabs did not generally identify Western interests with support for moderate democracy, but with support for Islamism.

Incidentally, Churchill’s title was the Sinews of Strength, and he favored policy leading a coalition of the Free world which would be welcome today.

To summarize, in the 1930s, Churchill favored anti-fascism and advocated a united front against Nazi Germany. After World War Two, he supported an alliance of the Free World against the Iron Curtain.

Where is the Churchill of today?

Well, directly his bust was quickly chucked from the White House because he was the symbol for Obama of Western colonialism.

Who was the genuine symbol of anti-colonialism for Obama? The left wing anti-Western revolutionary ideological movement represented by the Muslim Brotherhood or Chavez, and other demagogues.

Barry Rubin

Egypt Turning Into Syria as Youths Thrown off Roof (Graphic Video)

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

In a graphic reminder of how close Egypt is to the edge, if it hasn’t crossed that line already, Islamic supporters in Egypt were caught on camera throwing  two youths off the roof of a building. If that wasn’t enough, they began beating the boy’s crushed bodies, reminiscent of the act of cannibalism that underscored the complete breakdown of civilization in Syria, when a Syrian rebel ate the heart of a Syrian soldier, on camera.

The youths were celebrating the overthrow of the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohammed Morsi. The Islamists decided to put an end to that.

Islamic and revolutionary opponents have been fighting in the streets since the military coup. The Islamists seem to have an actual majority in Egpyt, where between 30% – 50% of the nation are illiterate.


Warning: Graphic!


As an aside, following the precedent of Hamas’s violent coup in Gaza, Judea and Samaria will clearly descend into the same chaos and anarchy if Kerry has his way, and a Palestinian state is created on this side of the Jordan river.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Egypt’s Systemic Collapse

Monday, February 4th, 2013

The Egyptian flag is red, white and black with an eagle in the center. Until quite recently, this flag has been a symbol of national consensus symbolizing that all citizens of Egypt, without regard to their political orientation, are sheltered together beneath the wings of the eagle. But this consensus may be starting to crack, and because of the complex nature of the crisis – constitutional, governmental and economic – a growing number of citizens in Egypt believe that the continued existence of the state as one political unit is doubtful. It seems that Egyptian society has been undergoing a corrosive process, ever since the beginning of the “Arab Spring” two years ago, which is undermining the sense of unity and shared destiny in the Land of the Nile.

This process began to be apparent after the unprecedented step taken by the Egyptian judiciary, when it sentenced to death 21 people in Port Said, a port city near the Northern opening of the Suez Canal, because of their involvement in the deaths of 74 people during a soccer game that was held in the city in February of 2012.

When they heard about the sentence, the enraged residents of the city burst into the streets in stormy demonstrations in which more than forty people were killed. It must be noted, however, that some of the fatalities were caused by a barrage of heavy gunfire at the mass funeral of 31 people that had been killed in previous demonstrations.

Disregarding any political consideration, the death toll in Egypt testifies to the fact that the value of life in this densely populated country has been depreciated. Ninety million men, women and children are crowded into the length of the Nile Valley and its delta, with a few concentrations along the canal and the coasts. About one half of them live below the poverty line, which is low to begin with, and about one third of them live in “unplanned neighborhoods,” some in wooden crates, without running water, sewage, electricity or telephone, without employment, without hope and without a future, but crime, violence, drugs and alcohol abound.

In demonstrations in Port Said, there are demands to secede from the state of Egypt. In a graphic illustration of these demands, the demonstrators waved flags where they had changed the color of the upper part of the flag from red to green, with a clear Islamist reference, and instead of the eagle, the name of the city “Port Said” was in the center.

The curfew that was imposed on the city did not help quiet stormy spirits either, and the masses burst into the streets despite the curfew. The police used tear gas against them but to no avail. The army took up a position near the government offices in order to defend them from the raging mob. Military officers claim that they did not open fire and they have no idea how forty people were killed. The Egyptian in the street, who knows the truth, doesn’t buy the story because he understands the matter well: if forty people were killed despite the fact that the army “didn’t shoot”, they wonder how many would have been killed if the army had actually had opened fire

A local group calling itself “The Port Said Youth Bloc” issued a declaration, stating:

We, the people of Port Said, declare the cancellation of Morsi’s legal status; he is no longer the president of Egypt. We call for masses of the Egyptian people to express their solidarity and join the people of Port Said who are being murdered in the streets by the armored Egyptian police before the very eyes of the Egyptian government. The people of Port Said will continue to stand strong even if, as a result of these demonstrations, all of its sons will fall. This expression, “the people of Port Said,” which is repeated a number of times in the manifesto, is an expression of the mood of the residents of the city.

The demand of the people of Port Said to secede from Egypt horrifies the heads of the Egyptian government, because if indeed they do actually separate the area of the Canal from the state of Egypt, the state will lose its main source of income – fees of passage paid by ships that traverse the Canal. If this should happen, considering the recent loss of tourism and foreign investments, Egypt will go bankrupt immediately.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

The Breakneck Speed of Islamist Transformation in Egypt

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

A critical moment has arrived for Egypt. But in what way?

President Morsi has rescinded much of his decree claiming total power right now. But he could accomplish much the same thing after the Constitution is confirmed and perhaps by forcing reinstatement of the parliament whose election was declared invalid by a court. At any rate, Morsi’s concession has not quieted the demonstrations–another sign that concessions in the Middle East don’t bring agreements–and so this crisis isn’t going away.

There are three broad possibilities: the regime will fall; the opposition will be repressed; or there will be an increasingly violent civil war.

The regime will not fall due to these demonstrations. Remember what happened to the previous, Mubarak regime. It fell for the following reasons:

–The army would not defend it.

–The army then overthrew it.

–The Muslim Brotherhood-led opposition would not compromise.

–The West would not support the regime.

These conditions, except possibly the first one, are not in place today. Ultimately, Mubarak’s regime—not just Mubarak but the whole regime—fell only because the army overthrew it. There is no sign of this happening now. And the West, ironic as that might be, supports the Muslim Brotherhood government, especially because it is willing to go ahead with almost $10 billion in aid. And the Brotherhood will not give in to the opposition on any substantive point, whatever cosmetic maneuvers it makes.

Let’s remember that Western, and particularly U.S. policy has spent the last two years talking about how terrible it is to have a dictatorship or military rule. The armed forces have been systematically discouraged by the West from being in government.

By definition, of course, the Brotherhood regime is supposedly not a dictatorship because it won two elections and is probably about to win a third one. So an elected regime cannot be a dictatorship? Yet this regime has declared that it is above all court decisions and all previous laws. Isn’t that a dictatorship? It intends to impose a highly repressive law on its society. Isn’t that a dictatorship?

The opposition thinks so; the West doesn’t. But what does the army think? Well, it does not take a principled stance against having a dictatorship. It is happy to live with a dictatorship that meets the military’s conditions. These are:

–The army chooses its own leaders.

–The security services set their own budgets.

–Nobody interferes with the military’s vast economic holdings.

The regime has already met the second and third conditions and to retain the military’s backing would give in on the first as well. But the regime wants more: that the armed forces actively put down the demonstrations and this is something that the generals are reluctant to do.Now Morsi has given the army the power to arrest civilians but does it want to do so? The army doesn’t want to be hated, shoot down people, and set off a civil war in which it has to round up hundreds of thousands of people and launch scores of operations each day. True, the police are obedient and will act against these demonstrations just as it formerly tried to repress the anti-Mubarak demonstrations. But the police alone aren’t sufficient.

What happens, then, if the regime doesn’t give in and the army doesn’t stop the demonstrations? The logical conclusion is that the Brotherhood and Salafists will increasingly send violent vigilantes into the street to defend their government. (As this article predicted, on December 11 gunmen opened fire on anti-government demonstrators in Tahrir Square, wounding nine.) They want to ensure the Constitution is adopted on December 15—whether the opposition boycotts the vote is irrelevant to them—and afterward the Brotherhood regime can operate under that Constitution.Then, the opposition will be told: you’ve lost, accept it; you have no choice. And besides, we are acting legally under this Constitution that the people accepted.

President Morsi will have to decide whether to try to override the courts and reinstate the previously elected parliament (almost 75 percent Islamist) or make a concession and allow elections for a new parliament (that might be only 55-60 percent Islamist).

Thus, the key issues are how high the level of violence will rise and whether the current conflicts will make the regime speed up or slow down the fundamental transformation of Egypt into a Sharia state in which Islamic law is strictly interpreted.

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

Barry Rubin

Israeli Flag Burned in Front of Budapest Synagogue

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

An Israeli flag was burned in front of a Budapest synagogue on Tuesday by members of an ultrarightist Hungarian party as part of their celebrations of an anti-communist revolution taking part in the country in 1956.

Israel’s ambassador to Hungary Ilan Mor appeared on the opposition’s television program that same day, calling on Hungarians to reject this “unacceptable anti-Israel act”.

Hungary’s foreign ministry condemned the act on Wednesday in a statement, saying “the government of Hungary is committed to fighting all forms of anti-Semitism and racism, and stands firm, employing all means necessary, against the dangerous manifestations of extremism… “

Malkah Fleisher

Naval Response in Syria, Christian Alliances with Shia, and Border Conflict in the Far East

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai is off to reserve duty in the Israel Defense Forces and presents audio clips compiled from media outlets including news and perspective regarding the revolution and potential international naval response in Syria, the alliance between Christians and Shia Muslims throughout the Middle East, and ends the segment with a discussion about land conflict between China and Japan.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Moshe Herman

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/multimedia/radio/yishai-fleisher-on-jewishpress/naval-response-in-syria-christian-alliances-with-shia-and-border-conflict-in-the-far-east/2012/10/18/

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