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Posts Tagged ‘the Knesset’

Evolution Vs. Revolution in Struggle over Haredi Draft

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

The Knesset was humming with the sound of bells on Wednesday as the call to vote for an equal service bill filled the building.

“You have a responsibility to contribute to your country, to the state that you get benefits from,” FM Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu spokesperson said. “Those who serve will receive.”

The proposed bill was shot down by a 74-20 vote.

The opposition in large part came from the Haredim. Avraham Chasida, 32, is a Chassid from Jerusalem and an army veteran. He believes that the army is a method for protecting the Jewish people. In turn, he also said that continuing to learn Torah is the only way the Jewish people will really be protected.

Chasida set up a tent in Wohl Rose Park outside of the Knesset in protest of the new bill. He explained that there has already been a natural increase in army service in the Ultra Orthodox community without force or punishment. In 2007, 305 Haredi men were serving, and in 2011 that number has increased to 2,372. The sentiment was a confusion at changing something that is already working.

“Don’t just be right, be smart,” he said. “After 64 years, you can’t take people and turn it around and switch it in one shot.”

Knesset members are also aware that the transition must be smooth. “We can’t have a revolution, we have to have evolution,” MK Tzipi Hotovely said, adding that the Army needs to be prepared for the Haredim just as much as the Haredim need to be ready for service.

However, time is of the essence, and not only because of the August 1 deadline posed by the Supreme Court. Hotovely said that the window of opportunity exists now – because in the near future Knesset representation will change.

A spokesperson for Yisrael Beytenu echoed her statement. “We’ve had 64 years to evolve,” he said. “Demographically, it will be impossible to pass this bill 20 years from now.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu is now working on a bill that is quite similar to the Tal Law, and if all goes well, should be passed before the end of the month.

Despite Declarations for Equality – Knesset Shoots Down Universal Service Bill

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

The Knesset was humming with the sound of bells on Wednesday as the calls to vote for an equal service bill filled the building. The Supreme Court’s decision to cancel the Tal Law has caused a crisis in the Knesset to create a new and acceptable law before August 1.

The Yisrael Beytenu party, under Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, proposed the bill. Yet despite previous claims of fairness and equality by many Knesset members, as well as the government’s previous support of the bill, an overwhelming majority (74-20) voted against the bill.

This concept of equal service is one that the Yisrael Beytenu party has always supported, and they promised to vote for any bill that included that statement, according to a spokesperson for the party. This proved to be true when the party voted for an almost identical bill proposed by the Ha’atzmaut (Independence) party of Ehud Barak.

“Despite all the talk, there is no seriousness about change coming from any other party, as no one has created a written law in response,” someone close to the Yisrael Beytenu party told JewishPress.com. “We’re days away from the end of the Knesset and the August 1st deadline is looming,” he said.

The vote occurred the day after the Kadima party pulled out of the coalition and entered the opposition, specifically because of the draft issue.

The service options covered under the new bill could include military service, national service or community service, but the point is to create one rule for everyone to create a greater equality among Israelis.

“You have a responsibility to contribute to your country, to the state that you get benefits from,” a Yisrael Beytenu spokesperson said. “Those who serve will receive,” he added, using a phrase very similar to one Prime Minister Netanyahu used regarding compromising and negotiating with the Palestinians.

The opposition in large part comes from the Haredim.

Avraham Chasida, 32, is a Hassid from Yerushalayim and also an army veteran. He believes that the army is just one tool for protecting the Jewish people. But in turn, he also said that continuing to learn Torah is the only way the Jewish people will really be protected.

Chasida set up a tent in Wohl Rose Park outside of the Knesset in protest of the new bill. He explained that there has already been a natural increase in army service among the Ultra Orthodox community, without force or punishment – and specifically because of the Tal Law. Annually, there are around 7500 Chareidim who come of draft age. In 2007, 305 Haredi men were enlisted, while in 2011 that number has increased to 2,372. The Tal Law was working, he told us.

“Don’t just be right, be smart,” he said. “After 64 years, you can’t take people and turn them around and change them in one shot.”

Netanyahu also believes that it’s not practical to force the Ultra-Orthodox into service and is therefore attempting to create a proposition with more carrots and less sticks.

Some Knesset members are also aware that the transition must be smooth. “We can’t have a revolution, we have to have evolution,” MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said. That is in reference to society from both sides. The army needs to be prepared for the Haredim just as much as the Haredim need to be ready for service.

However, time is sensitive, and not only because of the August 1 deadline. Hotovely said that the window of opportunity is now, because in the near future, it may not be possible to pass due to Knesset representation changes.

A spokesperson for Yisrael Beytenu echoed her statement, but with some criticism. “We’ve had 64 years to evolve,” he said. “Demographically, it will be impossible to pass this bill 20 years from now.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Netanyahu is now working on a bill that is a variation of the Plessner bill, that if all goes well, could be passed before the end of the month.

An Anglo in the Knesset: Catching Up with Jeremy Saltan

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Why don’t you tell our readers a little about yourself. Where are you from? When did you make aliyah? What is your professional and education background?

My name is Jeremy ‘Man’ Saltan. I am 28 years old and I am married with one daughter. I made aliyah with my family from Chicago to Bet Shemesh in 1995 at the age of 11. I have been a resident of Mevaseret Tzion since 2006.

I spent my IDF service as a commander in the PDCs (Palestinian Detention Centers) for Security Prisoners. My first post was in Jenin during Operation Defensive Shield. I had an eventful service, and received ‘soldier of the year’ honors in 2005 for the Efraim district near Tulkarem. By the end of my service I was Deputy Warden of one of the jails. I’ve been in the reserves since my release from active duty, and I am a veteran of the second Lebanese war.

Following my army service, I worked for the OU (Orthodox Union) in Jerusalem as Assistant Director of NESTO (Native English Speaking Teen Olim), a sister youth group of NCSY that helped integrate Anglo teens into Israeli society.

I also opened Israel’s first comedy club in Jerusalem, Off The Wall Comedy Basement, with a partner. I served as manager for the club’s first two years before taking a more backseat role. I am in my fifth year as a house comedian. My routine focuses mostly on Israeli politics.

Aside from comedy, I have been active in other areas of the entertainment industry as a director, producer, actor, writer and model in theater, television and film.

I also spent a short while as managing director of a Jerusalem commercial real estate company.

I founded “Knesset Jeremy,” the only blog in English that documents all plenum discussions and bills passed, in 2010, and I write about Israeli politics in the Times of Israel.

I graduated two ICPT (Israel Center for Political Training) Bar-Ilan University programs on Knesset legislative work and political campaign management. I have an associates degree in political science from Liberty International University. I also completed various Dale Carnegie Business and Managment programs.

What do you do in the Knesset? How did you get that job?

I work in the Knesset for National Union Chairman Ya’akov “Katzeleh” Katz. I work on his social media and run his personal website. I also draft legislation and persuade Knesset Members from other parties to co-sponsor his bills. My most well-known work was on the Grunis Law, which canceled the minimum tenure for the Supreme Court president position, clearing the way for Asher Dan Grunis to get the job. I also worked very hard on the Outpost Bill which did not pass. I also work for the Faction Manager Uri Bank and help him with the factions’ daily Knesset tasks. When Bank was on vacation I led the weekly faction meeting with the MKs and I take over Bank’s role when he serves in the reserves.

I have volunteered for the National Union in each election since 1999. In the 2009 election I was the head of the party’s campaign in the Bet Shemesh area, which gave the National Union the highest percentage of the vote among the top 20 largest cities in Israel. After completing my studies at the ICPT in 2010 I started working with MK Katz.

Are there many Anglos in Israeli politics? Do you work with many? If so, what do they do?

I wouldn’t say there are many Anglos in Israeli politics but there are around a dozen of us. I work with them from time to time. To name a few of the Anglos I work with: National Union Faction Manager Uri Bank; Jonathon Javor, the Foreign Affairs Advisor to the Knesset’s Defense and Foreign Affairs Deputy Chairman Otniel Schneller; and Jonathon Daniels, who works for the Knesset’s Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee Chairman and Deputy Speaker Danny Danon.

What would you say is the general attitude towards Anglos amongst Israeli politicians, if any?

Most Israeli politicians don’t understand why Anglos would make Aliyah because of the financial difficulties of living here. Some of the more cynical politicians think that Jews will do a better service to Israel if they stay in their home countries and make Israel a campaign issue there. The ideological politicians appreciate Anglos the most.

Voting in US Elections and Knesset Update

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Jewish Press Columnist Yishai Fleisher is joined by Knesset-insider Jeremy Man Saltan.  They begin by discussing a bill that was recently presented that requires those that are evacuated by the Israeli government to be moved into finished homes that are ready for those that are evacuated and then move on to talk about the Levy Commission Report.  Yishai and Man Saltan talk about the potential of the ultra-orthodox serving in the Israel Defense Forces and at 18:45 they shift gears to present a talk, attended by Yishai, to American-born Israelis to why they should vote in the upcoming American elections which features former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Use Every Political Tool Hashem Has Given You

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

I have said time and again, that the overwhelming majority of Israelis don’t realize the political power they have. While most eligible Israeli citizens vote on national election day, 93% of these same people sleep through primary day. Primary day is much more important than you think. It is the only day you actually vote for a person and not just a party. This is the day when the party of your choice decides who its representatives to the Knesset will be. This is the day when the Knesset slate is chosen and if you are a member of one of the few democratic parties in Israel, you – yes, you – get to choose who is on that list!

Will the Knesset list from your party be filled with people who identify with your ideology or will they be people who are opposed to it? You decide!

Will the Knesset list from your party be filled with honest politicians (yes, a few still exist!) or will they be ones who built their careers around bribes and payoffs? You decide!

Will the Knesset list from your party be filled with strong individuals with steel spines or spineless jellyfish who retreat, disengage, and surrender? You decide!

93% of Israelis are not members of any political parties and therefore decide on nothing. They come to the polling booth on national election day with the Knesset slate already set and locked. Their only vote is for which party gets in – not which person represents that party. Yet, like clockwork, that same Israeli will be the first in line to complain about this MK or that MK. What a shame. What a wasted opportunity.

For the last 12 years I have urged people to join a party, specifically one that has primary elections for the Knesset. My personal preference all these years – and I will explain why to anyone willing to listen – has been Likud, but if Likud doesn’t talk to you, then join a different party – just get MAD. This word is an acronym for Make A Difference. Don’t just sit on the side and complain but Make A Difference. Join a party where your voice will be heard and where your vote will be counted.

Today, several political parties have begun to have open primaries for their members. I salute these parties and urge all people to get involved. This is the boxing ring of Israeli politics. This is where changes can be made and where Knesset members can either be promoted or sent home on early retirement. Trust me on this one: You have that strength!

This political tool, like everything else in life, has been placed here by Hashem for us to use or ignore. Sadly, as stated above, 93% of our brothers and sisters in Israel ignore this tool, yet complain about how things are broken.

But there’s more. There is another tool that must be used in the battle for Jewish strength, unity and pride. This tool is the ability for every US citizen, even those living outside the USA with dual citizenship, to vote in USA elections. For me, this is simply another aspect of the M.A.D. program. Imagine this: You live 6,000 miles away from the closest USA city, haven’t visited America in over 10 years and no longer even eat Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. Yet – as long as you maintain your USA citizenship – you can vote in American elections! This is vital! I don’t need to tell you how important these upcoming presidential elections are and you can be a part of that! Don’t look at the numbers. Don’t ask: “Will my vote really matter??” Simply register (with no cost involved) and Make A Difference. Let the powers in America see how many expats voted. Make your voice heard in these presidential elections and in all elections in the States. That’s right, you can vote for Congress and the Senate from Israel as well! Use these tools, use every tool that Hashem has put at your disposal.

If registering to vote and voting required a tremendous investment of time, effort or energy, I would agree that they should not be done. But they don’t. Joining a political party in Israel means filling out a form and paying (based on the party) between 40 and 60 shekel per year! Once your form is processed, you will be asked to vote approximately once in 3 years! Did you read what I wrote? Once in three years. Do you think you can fit that into your schedule?

Yitzhak Shamir, 96

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir passed away on Saturday night at age 96.

Yitzhak Shamir (Jeziernicky) was born in Rozhinoy, Belarus, October 15, 1915. He studied at a Hebrew High School in Białystok, Poland. As a youth he joined Beitar, the Revisionist Zionist youth movement. He studied at the law faculty of Warsaw University, but left to make aliyah in 1935. In 1944 he married Shulamit Shamir (1923–2011). They had two children, Yair and Gilada.

Shamir joined the Irgun, a Zionist militant group that opposed British control of Eretz Israel. When the Irgun split in 1940, Shamir joined the more militant Lechi faction, known as the Stern Gang.

In 1941 Shamir was imprisoned by the British. After Avraham Stern was killed by the British in 1942, Shamir escaped from a detention camp and became one of the three leaders of the group in 1943. In 1944, he was exiled and interned in Africa by British Mandatory authorities. He was freed, along with the other detainees, after the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948.

In 1955, Shamir joined the Mossad, serving until 1965. He directed the assassinations of former Nazi rocket scientists working on the Egyptian missile program.

In 1969, Shamir joined the Herut party headed by Menachem Begin and was elected to the Knesset in 1973 as a member of the Likud. He became Speaker of the Knesset in 1977, and foreign minister in 1980, before succeeding Begin as prime minister in 1983.

Shamir served several terms as prime minister throughout the 1980s. He maintained a hard political line, which strained his relations with the U.S. Shamir opposed the Madrid peace talks, and then President George H.W. Bush retaliated by holding back approval for loan guarantees to help absorb immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet Union. Shamir gave in and in October 1991 participated in the Madrid talks. After the talks, his government collapsed and in 1992 he was defeated by Yitzhak Rabin.

 

Talking to a (Man on a) Horse

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

   יְהִי-דָן נָחָשׁ עֲלֵי-דֶרֶךְ שְׁפִיפֹן עֲלֵי אֹרַח הַנּשֵׁךְ עִקְּבֵי-סוּס וַיִּפֹּל רֹכְבוֹ אָחוֹר

Dan will be a serpent by the roadside, a viper along the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider tumbles backward. (Gen. 49:17)

Right wing activist Itamar ben Gvir was arrested by police on Wednesday during a demonstration outside the Knesset, as protesters reacted  to the rejection of a bill that would have saved their homes from needless demolition.

It appeared, as the verse in Genesis suggests, that when dealing with the folks on horseback, the well thought out, logical argument rarely wins the day.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/talking-to-a-man-on-a-horse/2012/06/07/

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