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September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Ulpana’

School Fires Unmarried Pregnant Teacher: The Whole Story

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

An Israeli “national religious” girls high school (“ulpana“) fired a teacher who was pregnant…and single.

This headline has been floating around the web yesterday, especially in light that the teacher sued the school in court for damages, specifically for having broken the law which prevents women from being fired if they are pregnant.

When an ulpana expects their teachers to be more than educators, but also role models for their students, did the school do the right thing even though they broke the law?

I could almost understand the ulpana’s point of view until I looked around and found that our story above is missing some important details (courtesy of The Marker):

1. The teacher is religious, and observes a religious lifestyle in school and outside of it. 2. The teacher was 41 years old and single. 3. Not finding a husband by her age of 41, the teacher decided to undergo artificial impregnation so she could have a child and she would raise the child as a single parent. The Ulpana claimed they fired the teacher not because she was pregnant, but because she was not observing a religious lifestyle (i.e., had she been married and pregnant, they wouldn’t have fired her). The plaintiff’s lawyer stated that the Ulpana should have taken into account her unique situation of being a single, religious teacher who wanted to have a child before she would be biologically unable to.

The court ruling stated an important point:

The court does not make light of the defendant’s right to determine their school policy, but the right of the defendant is less than than the right of plaintiff, and doesn’t justify terminating the plaintiff’s employment while violating her right to parenthood. The court awarded 180,000 NIS in damages to the teacher, which is a rather expensive lesson in democracy and “freedom of employment” to the Ulpana. In my opinion, if the ulpana truly wanted to act as a role model for their students, they should not have fired their teacher.

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90 New Homes for Beit El

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Construction of ninety new apartments in Beit El has been given approval by the Ministry of Defense.

The construction is part of the 300 apartment compensation plan for Beit El following the evacuation of the Givat Ulpana neighborhood.

As tenders have already begin to be issued, construction could begin in just a few months time.

Last of 30 Ulpana Families Expelled, Hope Bibi Keeps Promise

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Following a year and a half long struggle to hold on to a swath of land mired in political and judicial controversy, the remaining residents of Givat HaUlpana – Ulpana Hill – were expelled from their homes and transferred to temporary housing across town in the biblical city of Beit El on Thursday.

Though residents have agreed to go peacefully, a morose air hovered over the 6 buildings which had once housed 30 idealistic families, and now contained teams of movers, army personnel, and somber parents and children preparing to say goodbye.

Residents and their supporters agreed not to put up a battle against security forces who oversaw the evacuation, in exchange for the promise of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to go ahead with a plan to build 300 new homes in the pastoral Samarian community of 6,000 people.

Yet their hopes that Beit El will swell in growth did not ease the pain of parting from the homes they had cultivated on the same mountain upon which Jewish tradition states Jacob had a dream of angels ascending and descending a ladder – the mountain upon which the Jewish people earned the name Israel.

“This is the hill upon which Jacob was promised that the land upon which he laid he laid his head would be for him and his descendants, and at which Jacob – now Israel – swore he would return and build a house for God” said Alex Traiman, resident of Ulpana Hill who moved with his family to Jerusalem when it became clear that the evictions would be carried out.  “The people who are leaving today are the fulfiller’s of Jacob’s promise –t hey came back to build a house unto God.  It also says that Israel renamed the place Beit El – it used to be called Luz. The government and Supreme Court are literally taking us back to Luz – we are going to be “Losers”.”

“It’s amazing how fast the government can work to kick Jews out of their homes and build a temporary neighborhood across the town,” Traiman said.  “If the government would work with the same kind of motivation, drive, and work ethic to build the rest of the nation, the state of Israel would flourish at even a much faster pace.”

“Thirty-three families are undergoing their own personal tragedies these last few days, but I think they’ll be fine,” Traiman said.  “It’s the nature of the Jewish people to endour tragedies but to move forward, to keep building, to not give up hope, to not stop living life.”

Many residents grappled with explaining the move to their children, raised in the Religious Zionist framework, which teaches strong adherence to Torah and Jewish values, as well as pride in and commitment to the State of Israel. “[Our kids]have been asking [about this move] for 2 or 3 months,” Ulpana Hill resident Guy Sagiv told Jewish Press’s Yishai Fleisher on Jewish Press Radio. “Actually, we don’t know what to say to them.  It is our good fortune that they don’t and we don’t need to see soldiers coming to get us out [with the use of force].”

Though Guy and his family will be relocated to caravilla homes on the other side of town, and will remain together with the members of the Ulpana neighborhood, they are not actively participating in their move, quietly protesting the event by forcing government-issued movers to pack and move their belongings.

Sagiv said he would not use violence because “all of us are part of the nation of Israel, and we don’t want to hit one another,” he said.  “We are like the body of a human being.  The left arm is trying to destroy the buildings but the right hand will not strike it because it is one – it cannot be separated.  We are one nation, we have to inculcate the idea that we are indeed one nation, and we hope we will get stronger from out of this weakness…”

“I think the one consolation is that the actions were carried out with great care and consideration and nobody got hurt physically, and the international community didn’t see pictures of Jews fighting each other,” Traiman said.  “But we shouldn’t need to knock down  30 apartments to build 300 more in a Jewish State, so it’s not exactly a consolation.

‘This is the Torah’

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Hundreds of Jewish men taking part in a mass prayer on a street of the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El.

Negotiations over the fate of the neighborhood are in full swing, with the government looking for quiet removal of residents over a dubious High Court order. The final decision on how residents will act rests on the shoulders of the dean of Beit El’s yeshiva, Rabbi Zalman Melamed.

Ulpana Resident Bemoan Relocation Ordeal

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

In the coming days, following the High Court of Justice’s order and the Israeli Government’s decision, thirty families living in the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El will be forced to leave their homes. It is yet unclear what will happen to the families that will be evicted, or what will happen to their homes. The homes were purchased legally; the purchasers received government grants and mortgages from banks. The reason they are being forced to leave their homes is because of two Arab plaintiffs who filed a petition to the Supreme Court claiming ownership of the land on which these homes were built. As the issue of land ownership is not debated in the Supreme Court, the hearing was transferred to the Jerusalem District Court; the opening session is scheduled for July 2012. The plaintiffs have yet to prove their ownership over the land, and yet the families living in these homes are being forced to leave.

Tazpit News Agency spoke with Vardina Biton, a resident of the Ulpana neighborhood, about what she faces in the future. Vardina, 30, mother of three, had lived in her home for the past six years. She and her husband initially came from northern Israel, and decided to live in Beit El after studying at the yeshiva and in schools in the vicinity. When they purchased their home they were not aware of any issues regarding the legal status of the land. Vardina says that when they decided to live in Beit El, they felt like emissaries, living in a part of Israel with strategic and historical importance.

Since the final decision to remove them from their homes, Vardina has been coping with mixed feelings and many uncertainties. She says she has not begun to pack, even though she stands to be evicted from her home in only a few days. “I have been primarily preparing myself mentally and emotionally, trying to contain the injustice that is being done to us,” she says. “I feel much pain and frustration. A person can do right and be right, and there are other solutions other then expelling us from our homes, and yet we must endure these wrongdoings. I am a 7th grade teacher. I witness brawls between my students, and see that the girls can come to a fair solution to the problem at hand. Somehow, the government failed to do likewise, proceeding with a discriminating solution instead.”

Police and right wing activists are bracing for possible violence during the removal of the Ulpana neighborhood residents from their homes. Various options to protest the expulsion have been suggested. Vardina is ambivalent regarding the pending battle the may be waged over the houses. She believes there should be a rabbinical leadership that should decide on the nature of the struggle. She says she can understand those who are talking about violent resistance. Many people are deeply pained by the court’s decision and by the government’s conduct, feeling that a great injustice is being committed. As for herself, she says she is not a violent person and has no desire to harm anyone. She does not know how she will react when the police knock on her door and demand that she leaves her home.

After the attempt to pass the “Regulation Law” in the Knesset failed, Vardina believes there are still better ways to resolve the current predicament. She explains that as of now, no legal ownership has been proven in a court of law. The land that the homes are built on has been purchased by the current residents. The alleged Arab owner claims the land was purchased from the wrong person. “No one had malevolent intent; no one intended to steal anyone’s land,” she states. However, the High Court of Justice ruled that the houses must be evacuated and demolished. Vardina says there are other plausible options: the land can be purchased from the alleged owner or the government can declare the land state owned and offer him compensation. She feels that the court ruled hurriedly, and that the government did not work hard enough to find a proper and just solution. “The fact that I live in Beit El doesn’t make me a second rate citizen. We serve the country and pay taxes. My husband fought in the IDF during The Second Lebanon War, just weeks after his wedding. It seems that there was not a real desire to save the homes, and therefore they did not work hard enough to find a solution.”

Beit El Caravillas Herald Ulpana Destruction, Massive Expansion

Monday, June 11th, 2012

In line with the government’s projected plan to destroy 5 apartment buildings in the Ulpana Hill neighborhood of the biblical town of Beit El, six caravilla mobile homes were delivered on Monday to house evicted families.

The southern Samaria town, immortalized in the Bible as the site on which Jacob, fleeing from the wrath of his brother Esau, had a dream of angels ascending and descending a ladder, is bracing for the court-ordered destruction, after last-minute efforts to save the buildings in the Knesset failed.

A total of 33 caravillas are expected to be delivered to house expelled families in a new neighborhood in Beit El, carved out of an army base adjacent to the town.

The Defense Ministry issued a statement saying the ministry is “operating around the clock” as directed by the prime minister and minister of defense, and would have the new neighborhood completed “as soon as possible [to] allow residents of the Ulpana Hill to leave their homes in the most respectable and convenient way”.  A specific date has not been publicized, but the court gave the government until July 1 to destroy the homes.

It is unclear to what degree residents of Ulpana Hill and the surrounding community of Beit El will cooperate with – or fight – the impending destruction.  However, Director of Development for Beit El Institutions – the original purchasers of the disputed land upon which the condemned apartment buildings sit – Baruch Gordon, says he is optimistic that not only will the buildings not be torn down, but that the fight for Ulpana Hill will result in a drastic expansion of the town.

“Something sweet is coming out of something bitter,” Gordon said, in an interview with The Jewish Press.

“Instead of taking on the court head on, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  is bowing to the dictates of the court, but at the same time is removing the harsh bite they intended to have.   He is saying ‘If the state prosecution wants to dictate to us, we will build ten houses for every one you are taking down’.”

On June 7, the prime minister’s office announced that permission for 300 new residences had been approved, as well as 551 in other communities in the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria.  The announcement evoked both elation and skepticism amongst supporters of Jewish development in the area, who celebrated the significant potential for growth, yet expressed concern that the announcement would never come to fruition, and was rather a cynical attempt to diffuse tension over the destruction of the Ulpana Hill homes.

“Even if [Prime Minister Netanyahu] can only do half [of the 300 homes in Beit El], that is a tremendous boost to our community,” Gordon said.  “So Beit El will grow by 10% as a result of this court case, even if he only keeps half of his word.”

Gordon noted that despite the best efforts of Yesh Din – the original complainants in the case charging that the Ulpana buildings had been built on Arab land – their lawsuit resulted in the advancement of Jewish life in Judea and Samaria.

“The executive director of Yesh Din apologized in a statement to the press for the results of his actions, that it is causing Beit El to grow,” Gordon said.

“The civil administration has already approved taking part of the army base and officially making it part of the town of Beit El and there it will place the 30 temporary homes,” Gordon said.  “I sat with mayor Moshe Rosenbaum to discuss the plans to expand Beit El, and he showed me on the map where the homes are being planned.  Approximately 150 homes will be built without any problem, and another 150 which Netanyahu promised will be a little bit of a fight against the legal advisors of the PM who are hesitating on giving their approval.”

“All in all, it seems that Netanyahu’s policy is to bow down to the court and then fire back by expanding the towns of Judea and Samaria for every suit which is filed by the European -funded NGOs in Israel like Peace Now and Yesh Din.”

The Peace of Treblinka

Monday, June 11th, 2012

As an impressionable teenager, I learned the truth of Jews and Israel. It was so simple then and in reality, is so simple now. It is only as adults that we confuse it; only politicians who hide the truth from us. As a young adult, I came across The Revolt, by Menachem Begin and the powerful words he spoke to me, only to me, always to me.

“I have written this book,” he began “primarily for my own people, lest the Jew forget again – as he so disastrously forgot in the past – this simple truth: that there are things more precious than life, and more horrible than death.” This is the crime I accuse the Likud and Benyamin Netanyahu of committing – forgetting this simple truth.

On May 15, 1948, Menachem Begin broadcast a speech to a nation already at war. It was a war that was to continue beyond his lifetime – and may well continue well after my life and those of my children and perhaps even my grandchildren. His words should be read and remembered for they speak to us today, as they did to those who listened to him then. This is the speech that should be broadcast on the radio today, through the Internet and the television and in the halls of the Knesset:

“The State of Israel has arisen. And, it has arisen only thus – through blood, through fire, with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm, with sufferings and with sacrifices. It could not have been otherwise…It has been difficult to create our state. But it will be still more difficult to keep it going. We are surrounded by enemies who long for our destruction. And that same oppressor, who has been defeated by us directly, is trying indirectly to make us surrender with the aid of mercenaries from the south, the north, and the east. Our one-day-old state is set up in the midst of the flames of battle….There must be no surrender, no favoritism. There must be reciprocity. Enmity for enmity, aid for aid, friendship for friendship.

“We must foster friendship and understanding between us and every nation, great or small, strong or weak, near or far, which recognizes our independence, which aids our national regeneration, and which is interested, even as we are, in international justice and peace among nations….

“Whoever does not recognize our natural right to our entire homeland, does not recognize our right to any part of it. And we shall never forego this natural right…We cannot buy peace from our enemies with appeasement. There is only one kind of ‘peace’ that can be bought – the peace of the graveyard, the peace of Treblinka. Be brave of spirit and ready for more trials. We shall withstand them.”

The speech is much longer; I’ve only shared a portion. But the concept of “the peace of Treblinka” weighs on my mind. What a brilliant phrase. It says so much about what is wrong with this government and so many others. We say we are seeking peace with our neighbors, but which peace? Is it true and lasting peace? Is it the bastardized peace the Arabs call hudna? Is it the worst of all peace – the peace of Treblinka?

The peace of Treblinka is what Ariel Sharon was trying to buy by destroying Gush Katif and, in some ways perhaps, what Menachem Begin himself did when he destroyed Yamit. It is what Benyamin Netanyahu’s government has now voted for in the Ulpanah neighborhood and it is what too many loyal Likudniks practice when they stay in the Likud long after it has moved away from the ideology that attracted them to join.

I was opposed to the unilateral withdrawal of Gaza and Northern Shomron because I believed that unilateral decisions simply encourage more violence. Whatever compromising may need to be done in the future should only be decided upon when we have a peace partner, so long as the peace we get is not the peace of Treblinka.

I voted for Ariel Sharon, to my eternal shame, because I believed his promises, his calls for security and negotiating from a position of strength. I believed and I voted for him, as the leader of Menachem Begin’s party. And so, Gush Katif was evacuated with my vote. I protested. Our family went to Neve Dekalim and to the other communities to show support and we believed that it would never happen; that the government of Ariel Sharon would not destroy the homes of 9,000 people for nothing. It was the Likud/Kadima hammer that rammed through those settlements – and it was my vote that helped give them that hammer. I will live with that…always.

I won’t have to live with the Ulpanah decision and other unilateral decisions because I resigned from the Likud many months ago. We parted and I am eternally grateful for that because the Likud is sinking. Weighed down by having too many who believe too differently from each other. You cannot have a Moshe Feiglin and a Bibi Netanyahu in the same party; you cannot have those who will vote to surrender parts of our land with those who believe, as Menachem Begin did, that to unilaterally surrender some is to surrender all.

For too long, there has been a quiet voice in the Likud begging for sanity. How long will it take for those who disagree with Netanyahu’s path to admit they will never succeed in turning the Likud around? I don’t know the answer to that – but what I do know is that while they remain in Likud, it is their hand on the hammer that destroys the Ulpanah houses and whatever else Netanyahu will do for his peace of Treblinka.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/the-peace-of-treblinka/2012/06/11/

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