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October 22, 2016 / 20 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘United Torah Judaism’

New Poll Sees Israeli Left Collapsing, Purely Rightwing Coalition Government

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

Following the surprising results of a GeoCartographia poll a week ago, showing Likud down from 30 to 25 seats, the Zionist Camp (Labor) dropping from 24 to 8 seats, Habayit Hayehudi soaring from 8 to 16 seats, and Yesh Atid rocketing from 11 to 22 seats, on Thursday a new poll by Maagar Mochot (Heb: Think Tank) showed a more moderate reflection of the same trend. The new poll, conducted for FM103 Radio, shows Likud still in first place with 27 seats (3 fewer than its current mandate), Habayit Hayehudi rising, but only to 13 seats (a +5), Yisrael Beiteinu gaining 4 seats to rise from 5 to 9 seats, and Yesh Atid still soundly beating its identical twin at the center, Kulanu, as Yair Lapid’s party rises from 11 to 21 seats, while Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu drops from 11 to 6 seats.

On the left, the Zionist Camp (Labor) slows down its sharp drop, and scores 10 seats, compared with its current 24 (the other poll gave it only 8). Meretz picks up one seat to rise to 6 seats, and the Joint Arab List maintains its 13 seats.

The Haredi block stands at 15 seats (last poll gave it 18), with Shas at 8 (+1) and United Torah Judaism at 7 (+1).

The ideological map reflected in the new poll is most encouraging to the rightwing parties: 49 seats go to the three rightwing Zionist parties, and 15 to the Haredim, meaning that Prime Minister Netanyahu, in his fifth term, could easily put together a rightwing government relying on a workable 64-seat majority, without ambiguous center-right partners such as Kahlon. The question then would become, does Netanyahu actually want a purely rightwing government, which would likely expect him to impose Israeli law in Area C, change the rules of engagement, invest heavily in Jewish expansion in Judea and Samaria, alter the undemocratic way in which Israel’s judges are picked, and a myriad other burning issues which so far he had been reluctant to pursue, blaming it on his more secular, centrist partners.

The rightwing parties could possibly combine their numbers to boycott either Kahlon or Lapid, or both, from the future coalition government — the Haredim because they despise Lapid, Habayit Hayehudi and Yisrael Beiteinu because they’d like to pursue an aggressive agenda in Judea and Samaria, where a good portion of their constituency resides.

Our friend Jeremy Saltan, a.k.a. Knesset Jeremy, who moonlights as HaBayit HaYehudi’s Anglo Forum Chairman, has launched the Israeli Poll of Polls, strictly for political addicts. Here’s his most recent handiwork, copied from his website.


Party KnessetJeremy Polling Average (June/July/August) Change since previous KJPA (April/May) KJPA (April/May) All Polls since Elections 2015 Election
Likud 25.3 -1.4 26.7 26.4 30
Yesh Atid 20.3 0.3 20 19.3 11
Bayit Yehudi 13.5 2.2 11.3 12 8
Joint List 13 0.2 12.8 12.8 13
Zionist Union 11 -1.8 12.8 14.4 24
UTJ 8.8 0.8 8 7.5 6
Yisrael Beitenu 8.2 -0.8 9 8.4 6
Kulanu 6.8 0 6.8 6.7 10
Shas 6.7 1 5.7 6.5 7
Meretz 6.3 -0.5 6.8 6 5
Right-Religious 69.3 1.7 67.5 67.4 67
Center-Left-Arab 50.7 -1.7 52.5 52.6 53




Army Radio Poll: Netanyahu Down to 25, Bennett Up to 16

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

A survey conducted for Army Radio in 500 Households by GeoCartographia shows a drop for Likud from 30 to 25 seats, a jump into the abyss for Zionist Camp (Labor) from 24 to 8 seats, and a rise for Habayit Hayehudi from 8 to 16 seats.

Yair lapid’s Yesh Atid would have been another big favorite had the elections been held this week, with 22 seats, up from 11. Lapid’s arch-enemies, United Torah Judaism, also jump significantly, from 6 to 11. Interestingly, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu is boosted by only one seat, from 6 to 7, possibly because Liberman is yet to fulfill his promise to kill Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya within 48 hours of taking office.

Here is the complete list, current number of seats in brackets:

Likud — 25 [30]

Yesh Atid — 22 [11]

HaBayit HaYehudi — 16 [8]

Joint Arab List — 13 [13]

United Torah Judaism — 11 [6]

Zionist Camp (Labor) — 8 [24]

Shas — 7 [7]

Yisrael Beitenu — 7 [6]

Kulanu — 6 [10]

Meretz — 5 [5]

In terms of political affiliation, the Knesset factions would have experienced a serious tilt to the right were the elections held this week:

72 [67] Right-Religious

48 [53] Center-Left-Arab

David Israel

Knesset Passes Law Killing Core Curriculum Requirement

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

The Knesset Plenum late Monday night passed a law which annuls the requirement to teach the “Core Curriculum” in Haredi schools. The government-sponsored bill was merged with a proposal submitted by MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) and a group of Knesset members.

41 MKs voted in favor of the amendment to the curriculum law in its second and third readings, and 28 opposed. The curriculum law, submitted by the Yesh Atid party in 2013, aimed to slash state funding for some Haredi institutions down to 35% from the 55% of the budgets that Israeli schools that comply with the core curriculum requirement receive.

Instead of requiring the Haredi schools to teach 10 to 11 hours of secular studies per week, as the Yesh Atid law stipulated, the new law now gives the Education Minister the authority to fund these institutions, regardless of their attention to subjects like English as a second language, math, and the sciences.

It should be noted that those Haredi schools that rejected the government-imposed of a Core Curriculum did so not necessarily because they object to teaching their students many of the subjects on the list, but the very idea that a secular authority insert itself into the intellectual and, inevitably, spiritual milieu of their students. Teaching of “secular studies” is practiced in most Haredi educational institutions around the world.


Knesset Passes Law Assigning Running State Mikvahs to Chief Rabbinate

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

Following a lengthy debate and numerous objections, on Monday night the Knesset plenum passed the amended Jewish Religious Services Bill by a 41 to 35 majority. The amended law, proposed by MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) and endorsed by several MKs, will require that state-run mikvahs-ritual baths be subject solely to the directives of the Chief Rabbinate. The law will take effect within nine months of its passage in order to allow preparation for the new amendment.

The explanation attached to the bill reads, “Since the inception of the State of Israel, the mikvahs have been used for halakhic traditions and customs, and for this purpose they were allotted public funding for construction and maintenance. In the wake of petitions by entities wishing to destroy the accepted foundations of Judaism that have been in existence for thousands of years, the High Court has ruled that various sects should be permitted to use the mikvahs to their various ends.”

MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) said that “this is the first time that a mikvah, which is a place of purity, has become a place of exclusion. We view this as discrimination under primary legislation.”

“Others who are hurt by this are, of course, our Jewish brothers and sisters in the Diaspora,” Lavie continued. “Once again they receive the ‘heartwarming’ message that the State of Israel doesn’t count them in. Not at the Western Wall, or in marriages, or in conversions, and now at the mikvahs, too — you have no place in the State of Israel.”

“This law is neither Jewish, nor legal, nor democratic,” Lavie added.

Meretz Chair MK Zehava Galon said the law is part of a “battle over the face and character of Israeli society.” Turning to the ultra-Orthodox MKs, Galon said, “You feel threatened? Why? Because someone is trying to undermine your monopoly over the Rabbinate, over Orthodoxy, over a pluralistic and equal life here?”

MK Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Camp) said, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated so many times that every Jew, wherever he may be, should consider Israel his national home. So what do they do in order that a Jew feel at home in Israel? They do not allow him to wed in a civil marriage; they do not allow him to be buried next to his loved ones if he is defined as someone who is not worthy of burial in a Jewish cemetery; they do not allow him to convert in an appropriate and respectful manner; and then they pass the Mikvah Law which deals a devastating blow to all those who underwent a Reform or Conservative conversion, which is about 20 percent of all converts.”

MK Yehuda Glick (Likud), who is an Orthodox rabbi, also expressed his objection to the legislation. “MK Gafni, why does it bother you that a Reform woman immerses in a mikvah?” Glick asked the bill’s author. “She does not stop you from immersing. Why do we need this divisiveness? You said the Jewish Agency will build mikvahs (for the non-Orthodox), but a representative of the Agency told me they do not plan to build any,” he said. Glick held a 30-second moment of silence in the plenum in protest of the legislation.

MK Gafni argued back, saying his law is not discriminatory. “All the claims made here that this constitutes a ‘selection’ are baseless,” he said, adding, “There was a violation of the status quo by the High Court of Justice; we asked that the status quo not be violated. Reform Jews in the US don’t have a single mikvah. All of a sudden they need a mikvah over here? This law aims to prevent the Reform from getting this legitimization through the back door.”

Jewish Agency of Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky has released a statement in response to the passage of the bill, saying, “This bill, which offers no solution to the non-Orthodox denominations, circumvents the rulings of the High Court of Justice. It is unfortunate that the bill passed before such a solution was ensured.”


Coalition Kills Core Curriculum Prerequisite for Haredi Schools

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

After the previous Netanyahu cabinet set a prerequisite requirement for all Haredi educational institutions to teach core curriculum subjects such as English and Math, a new bill will change the rules to absolve the same institutions of those requirements, Israel’s Channel 10 News revealed Wednesday.

During the coalition negotiations for the current Netanyahu government, United Torah Judaism and Likud agreed that the core curriculum law would be revoked. Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) has objected to this move earlier this year.

According to Channel 10, the elimination of the obligation to teach core curriculum subjects will not result in reducing the budgets of Haredi yeshivas who pass on the extra material. This way these institutions will get more money but will not incur new expenses.

The current law sets three prerequisites for declaring Haredi educational institutions as eligible for state funding: teaching core curriculum subjects, testing to measure growth and effectiveness, and eliminating discrimination against students from non-Ashkenazi ethnic groups.

According to the emerging legislation, advanced by Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush (UTJ), Haredi institutions will be absolved of having to teach any foreign language at all. They will also not be obliged to teach math if they don’t want to. These same institutions will also be absolved of participation in testing.

The only change the new legislation introduces is stronger controls on the prevention of discrimination in Haredi yeshivas.

David Israel

Knesset Committee Slams Finance Minister on Fear of Fighting Monopolies

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

“Five years have passed, and prices have not gone down, and in certain cases they have gone up,” members of the Knesset Finance Committee told government representatives during Monday’s meeting marking five years since the summer of 2011 popular social protest in Israel.

The committee members slammed Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon for “being afraid to fight the monopolies,” but members of Kahlon’s Kulanu party said in response, “We are advancing many reforms, and we can already see the results on the ground.”

Finance Committee Chairman MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) said that “with all due respect to the Finance Ministry and talks of reform, in practice the prices have not gone down.”

MK Uri Maklev (United Torah Judaism) said, “Five years after the ‘cottage cheese’ protest, not only have the prices not gone down, in real terms they have increased, because the prices of commodities around the world have dropped 30-50%, and this is not being reflected in the Israeli market. Prices are 20% higher, on average, than in Europe. The prices of inputs have also decreased, as has the price of gas and energy, but this has not had any effect. What happened is that the monopolies and chain stores have gained huge profits at the consumers’ expense.”

MK Manuel Trajtenberg (Zionist Camp) explained that “the expense basket of a young family has three main components: housing, education and food. In housing the prices have only gone up; in education there has been some progress regarding ages 3-4, but not a week goes by that we are not asked to answer questions regarding family expenses related to education. An average family with three children spends some $1,300 a month on education, day care, afternoon child care, camps, and more. As far as food is concerned, some positive steps have been taken, but that nut has not been cracked and, ultimately, too much power has been left in the hands of a small number of companies.”

MK Yitzhak Vaknin (Shas) charged that the Trajtenberg Committee, which examined and proposed solutions to Israel’s socioeconomic problems, was established only to “ease tensions” and “take the wind out of the social protest’s sails.” In practice, he said, “nothing has been done.” Vaknin called to restore price controls, saying “in the absence of competition, this is the solution.”

MK Oren Hazan (Likud) said the problem is “greed.” The chain store owners and the major wholesalers “earn tens of millions on the public’s back,” he stated. “And meanwhile, here in the Knesset, people are strong at talking. The finance minister can make bold decisions and change the market without fearing his friends the tycoons. Here in this committee we have the power to advance a plan to dissolve the monopolies. We will enact a law to that effect.”

MK Roy Folkman of Kulanu said, “We have waged an all-out war on the monopolies. In Israel there is a very high concentration of market controls, and a finance minister who does not fear them has now arrived. We launched reforms in the importing of fresh meat and the prices have dropped. With fish as well, we created parallel importing. For years no one has dared to deal with the monopolies, which maintain a stronghold on Israeli politics, and we have started doing so. A change can already be seen in toiletries, food items, children’s toys and other items. The fight takes courage and ability. Increasing competition is the only way. Price control does not work; [corporations] would only raise the prices of other items. The business sector is more sophisticated than the regulator.”

MK Rachel Azaria, also from Kulanu, said “We are making great efforts, but every issue that reaches the Knesset gets stuck there. Every reform encounters objections, and it is nearly impossible to pass anything, including the fight against black market capital. I belong to the finance minister’s faction and it is my job to pass things, but nothing can be advanced; there are always dramas here; in some cases it’s the kibbutzim, in others kashrut – everybody has an interest. We have to be brave and deal with the basic problems: monopolies, quotas and interested bodies that prevent change. In the Arrangements Law we will introduce important reforms, and then we will see if all those who are yelling here will support them. We are the cause of the high prices. We have an opportunity to lower the cost of living, and I hope everyone here will support [the measures].”


Reform Insulted by Haredi Walkout in Knesset Committee

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

The Reform movement in Israel has launched a complaint to the Knesset Ethics Committee against United Torah Judaism MKs Moshe Gafni, Israel Eichler, Uri Maklev and Yakov Asher, for walking out of a Knesset Interior Committee room during a debate over the Mikvahs Law. The Ethics Committee has forwarded the complaint to the UTJ faction, requesting an explanation.

The complaint was sent by attorney Gilad Kariv, who serves as Executive Director of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, said: “In the name of the Movement for Progressive Judaism in israel we’d like to launch a complaint against the Knesset Members from the UTJ and Shas factions over their repeated behavior of leaving in a demonstrative manner Knesset committee debates whenever a speaker associated with Reform or Conservative Judaism gets the floor.”

“This behavior has been going on for several years,” Kariv wrote, “and it was most recently exposed in a debate of the Interior and Environmental Protection Committee, June 13, 2016. The debate revolved around the proposed Religious Jewish Services bill (Regulation of Intended Use of Ritual Bath amendment) 5776-2016, which directly touches on these two movements, their rabbis and members. As yours truly received the floor from Committee Chairman MK David Amsalem, MKS Moshe Gafni, Israel Eichler, akov Asher and Uri Maklev left the room in a demonstrative manner.”

Kariv argued that the departure was particularly egregious since these four MKs were among the endorsers of the bill, and their refusal to attend a hearing with citizens about the new legislation is an affront to the parliamentary process and to democracy. After all, Kariv argued, “this is why the legislator has decided on committee hearings airing a variety of opinions, including those which contradict the position of the one who proposes the bill.”

Kariv called the MKs’ behavior vulgar and said it undermines the principles of the legislative process, as well as the public and ethical obligations of MKs.

The website Bhol.co.il which reported the complaint noted that Haredi MKs have been for many years in the habit of leaving the room whenever a Reform speaker gets the floor.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/reform-insulted-by-haredi-walkout-in-knesset-committee/2016/06/22/

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