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October 9, 2015 / 26 Tishri, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Shas’

Israel Railways Claims 150 Shabbatot Equals 2 Years

Friday, September 25th, 2015

Shas chairman and Minister of Economy Aryeh Deri sparked a political fire on Friday by ordering a halt to work on Shabbat on the high-speed Jerusalem-Tel Aviv train line.

The route is supposed to start operating by 2018.

Halting work on Shabbat would mean a delay of approximately 120 days, but Israel Railways charged that Deri’s order will delay the project by up to two years.

Apparently, people who work on Shabbat work at a far faster pace than they do on weekdays.

Work on public facilities and in industries on Shabbat in Israel is allowed if there is a special labor permit, which is issued in areas of public need, such as the water and electric companies and at factories where on-going processes cannot function practically with a weekly shutdown and start-up.

Deri’s order seems to be a ploy for political points with his Hareidi constituency.

The Transportation Ministry said that work permits are issued by the Minister of Economy, but Deri maintained that each minister is responsible for issuing permits for projects under its jurisdiction.

Since no permit for working on Shabbat has been granted for work on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem train line, it is illegal for construction to continue on the Day of Rest, according to Deri.

It is very likely that the proper permits eventually will be issued, allowing the work to continue while Deri carries home points with his constituents.

Quick, Somebody Tell the Messiah — No Soccer in Israel this Shabbat

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

(JNi.media) The Jerusalem Talmud (Ta’anit 1a) promises the arrival of the Messiah as soon as the Jews keep one proper Shabbat—the Babylonian (Shabbat 118b) requires two consecutive Shabbat days. As things look now, this coming Shabbat will offer an opportunity to Jews in Israel to usher in the redeemer since a state court has decided that Shabbat games are a criminal violation of Israel’s labor laws.

For as long as the good people of Israel can remember—some say at least 100 year, major league soccer was played mostly on Shabbat, because that’s the country’s day off. Even a number of religious Jews would walk to their local stadium as soon as services in shul were over.

But then, in August, the union of Israeli soccer players asked a labor court in Tel Aviv to suspend soccer games on Shabbat, because they’ve been conducted illegally. Working on Shabbat is against the law in Israel, and a business that wishes to stay open on God’s day of rest must acquire a special permit. It so happens that in 100 years no one has thought to get the permit.

Labor Court Judge Ariela Glitzr Katz told both parties in the dispute, the players and the league: “Holding football matches on Shabbat is a criminal offense and will not permit for employment which is contrary to the law.”

The judge mentioned one remedy: the league should request a proper permit from the Minister of the Economy, who is in charge of labor issues in Israel. It so happens that said Minister of the Economy is Aryeh Deri (Shas), a Sephardi ultra-Orthodox Jew who would issue such a permit only if he desires political suicide.

This may be the most critical turn in the already fragile status quo between state and religion as well as between secular and religious Israelis. Soccer is almost a state religion for many Israelis, and the idea of a Shabbat without games is intolerable to millions.

MK Avigdor Lieberman (Israel Beiteinu) advocated toppling the Netanyahu government over its failure to deliver soccer on Shabbat.

The league management sent a heartfelt, lengthy appeal to Minister Deri, citing the risk of teams collapsing, despondent adults and children wandering the streets aimlessly, social programs collapsing — the minister is yet to respond, which also means that Deri is choosing to ignore a deadline imposed by the league, demanding that he answer their call by Monday or there would be no soccer on Shabbat.

Meanwhile, many players have been sharing online and with the media how delighted they are to be able to spend Shabbat with their families.

Israel Radio announced on Monday afternoon that the league has announced the cancellation of all the league games this coming Shabbat. Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, who previously declared her support for the players, is now suggesting that the Attorney General could issue a temporary permit for the next two months, a time that would be used by a task force to come up with an alternative.

The fact is that most Israelis are off on Fridays, too, and could probably hit the stands by 1:00 PM and still make it home in time for candle lighting, even on a winter Friday.

Otherwise — prepare for the arrival of Messiah, and dress lightly, temperatures in Israel have been in the 90s since mid-July.

Knesset Approves Part of Natural Gas Framework Deal

Monday, September 7th, 2015

The Knesset approved part of the natural gas framework Monday by a 59-51 vote after two years of constant threats by natural gas companies to pull out of the development of off-shore energy fields.

However, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu postponed a vote on the critical part of the deal that gives the government full authority over contracts with the companies. Minister of Economy Aryeh Deri, chairman of the Shas Sephardi Hareidi party, wants the authority in his hands.


Israeli Government Again Faces Fight Over Noble-Delek Gas Outline

Monday, September 7th, 2015

Natural gas field developers Noble Energy and Delek Group (which includes Avner Oil & Gas), may eventually be forced to turn to arbitration in order to move ahead on developing the gargantuan Leviathan natural gas field to finally produce the treasure that lies within.

Snarled Israeli bureaucratic red tape combined with an epic power struggle in the government are responsible for this ever-lasting fiasco which will eventually cost the consumer billions of shekels in energy price cuts wasted at the pump and at home.

Even though the government came to an agreement with the Noble-Delek gas consortium, the deal is now being held up by … wait for it … the antitrust commissioner, still, and by default, the economy minister.

Moreover, there is still some doubt as to whether the government will be able to muster a majority in the Knesset today (Monday Sept. 7) for its proposal to transfer authority from Economy Minister Arye Deri (Shas) to the full cabinet to enact the gas deal with the Noble-Delek consortium in the coming months. If a majority looks unlikely, the issue may again be taken off the agenda as it was in July.

The fact that this is even necessary in the first place is beyond embarrassment to the nation. The question of doubt in finding a majority to pass the vote is worse.

The Knesset is being asked to vote on transferring the authority to use Article 52 of the Antitrust Law – allowing an economy minister to circumvent objections of the antitrust commissioner in the case of national security or foreign policy issues – to the government itself, since Deri, the current economy minister, is being intransigent about doing his job.

If the Knesset does not back the government’s solution to this ridiculous problem, the gas outline will be held to a standstill. No deal. Again.

One would think these firms meant to harm this country, the way some of the legislators are behaving, when the truth is, the discoveries of these gas fields were the greatest gift Noble Energy and Delek Ltd and Avner Oil could ever have given the Jewish State. How else could these companies possibly continue to function and carry out the development of the fields – which costs millions of dollars – if they cannot recover the cost of the operation and also make a profit for their own shareholders?

Not only are protesting Israeli citizens being misled about what is happening, but they are deliberately and cynically being manipulated by those who have other agendas, and whose own power struggles are getting in the way of the good of those citizens and the future of this country.

Meanwhile, the Italian Eni firm is galloping ahead to develop the mammoth Zohr gas field discovered this month off the Mediterranean coast of Egypt, as well as the smaller gas field found in the Nile Delta region.

The quicker Egypt moves and the longer Israel takes, the more likely it is that any possible business deals Noble and Delek might have had, will have disappeared by the time the government finally gets itself sorted out.

Knesset Approves Budget in 1st Voting Round as Shas Threatens to Pull Support

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

(JNi.media) On Wednesday night, at the end of a seven-hour debate, a majority of 57 coalition MKs supported the Netanyahu government budget proposal, versus 53 opposition votes, with Minister of the Economy Aryeh Deri absent from the session during a vote so closely related to his office. Deri threatened that should the issue of zero VAT on essential products not be resolved by the following voting round, his party, Shas, would oppose the budget.

The Knesset’s first voting round approved the Budget bill for the years 2015-2016. Immediately thereafter, the Knesset passed the Economic Arrangements bill in a first vote, with Economy Minister Deri absent from that vote as well.

Immediately thereafter, the Knesset passed the Economic Arrangements Law first reading with the same. This vote also absent Economy Minister Deri.

The Economic Arrangements Law includes all the necessary changes in legislation needed to implement the measures the government wants to enact as part of the state budget. A new economic arrangements act has been presented annually to the Knesset since 1985, adjacent to the state budget proposal. The law is a set of proposed changes in many areas, each of which requires special legislation. Instead of drafting a bill on every individual subject, the government packs all those provisions in a single bill.

The state budget for 2015 will reach $84 billion, and $89 billion in 2016. The deficit target in 2016-2015 would be 2.9% of GDP. For comparison, Israel’s next door neighbor, Jordan, with roughly the same size population — about 8 million — has an annual budget of $10.5 billion.

A senior Shas official explained that Shas MKs approached Minister Aryeh Deri Wednesday night and expressed anger that the issue of the zero VAT on essential products has not been finalized with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, despite having been agreed on at the cabinet budget meeting. At a consequent meeting with his faction members, Deri ordered them to vote for the budget in the first round, but threatened that if the zero VAT legislation would not come through, the Shas faction would not support the budget.

Deri, who was absent from the vote, struck an offset deal with an opposition member who committed to also abstain. Altogether, the MKs did not permit the fact that not all coalition members were on hand at the vote to be turned into a consequent vote of no confidence, since such an attempt would have ended in little more than theatrics. On Wednesday night, MKs were more interested in addressing real issues.

Israel Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman slammed the budget proposal, calling it “Isra-bluff.” Lieberman asked, “How can we approve a budget without knowing the size of the defense budget, which counts for its largest part? How can we approve a budget when we’re told about 4%, across the board cuts?”

According to Lieberman, the problem is that the Prime Minister doesn’t know how to make decisions, only how to babble and chat.

Finance Minister Kahlon said the proposed budget is one of the best Israel has had in recent years. “The budget brings good news on the cost of living,” said Kahlon, adding that the greatest threat to the country’s stability are the social gaps: “This is a national task and this Government is working bring the periphery closer and promote competition,” he said.

“I became Minister of Finance in awe,” Kahlon told the Knesset. “What I’m trying to pass is an Israel in which there is equality, there is compassion, there is a mutual responsibility and there are social values. There are weak and poor among us, converts, widows and orphans. We mustn’t be cynical about this.”

Secular Leftists Applaud New Hareidi Minister

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

The lion and the lamb are at peace with each other in the Knesset, at least for a day.

Hareidi Knesset Member Yaakov Litzman took the pledge of allegiance to the government Wednesday and became the first Ashkenazi Hareidi minister since the days of the Ben-Gurion government.

He said at the swearing-in ceremony:

“I, Yaakov Litzman, pledge…to be faithful to the government of Israel and to its laws.”

Unlike the Shas Hareidi party, Yehadut HaTorah (United Torah Judaism) has refrained from allowing its Knesset Members to become a full-fledged Cabinet minister, which would obligate them to government decisions.

Until today, the prohibition was carried out with a wink and a nod by virtue of simply allowing a UTJ MK to hold the position of “Deputy Minister” without being subordinate to a minister. In Litzman’s case, he has been “Deputy Health Minister” but a de facto minister, reporting to no one but himself and without being a member of the Cabinet.

The High Court put an end to the practice by agreeing with a complaint that there cannot be a “de facto minister.”

Torah sages last week met and agreed to allow Litzman to become a full-fledged member of the Cabinet. Today’s swearing-in ceremony was applauded by most of the opposition, including Merav Michaeli, one of the most leftist and secular members of the Zionist Camp party headed by Yitzchak Herzog.

The party, the result of a merger of the Labor party and the faction that was headed by Tzipi Livni, was part of the overwhelming majority in the 83-10 vote in favor of the appointment of Litzman.

Yisrael Beiteinu, headed Avigdor Lieberman, voted against the appointment, as did Meretz, which added that it had nothing personal against the Hareidi MK.


Ashkenazi Hareidi MK Now Cabinet Minister for First Time in 60 Years

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Hareidi Knesset Member Yaakov Litzman now is a full-fledged Cabinet minister, the first time since the days of the Ben-Gurion government that Ashkenazi rabbinical leaders have approved the position.

Unlike the Shas Hareidi Sephardi party, the Ashkenazi Yehadut HaTorah (United Torah Judaism party always has insisted that its Knesset Members not take a full Cabinet post, even if in effect they serve as minister, such as Deputy Health Minister Litzman.

The party did not want its members to carry out the responsibility of a full-fledged Cabinet minister, a post that could place Hareidim in a conflict with issues of Jewish law, such as abortion.

An appeal by an NGO to the High Court that a deputy minister cannot serve as minister without being called as such. The judges ruled in favor of the petitioners, leaving the Torah sages little choice but to allow Litzman to become a Cabinet member, with certain unspecified limits.

Torah sages from several Hareidi sects, including Vishnitz, attended a meeting Thursday morning that the Rebbe of Gur organized to discuss the spread of Shabbat violations in the country.

When the topic of Litzman’s becoming a Cabinet minister came up for discussion, and after a telephone conversation with the Rebbe of Belz, approval was given for Litzman to become a Cabinet minister, and he was blessed to “sanctify G-d’s name.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ashkenazi-hareidi-mk-now-cabinet-minister-for-first-time-in-60-years/2015/08/27/

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