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September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Yair Lapid’

Lapid Freezes Funding for Draft-Delayed Haredim

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Finance Minister Yair Lapid on Wednesday froze the money going to Haredi yeshivas, following a Tuesday Supreme Court ruling that ordered the state to halt all payments to yeshivas whose students’ draft has been postponed.

Lapid instructed the Finance Ministry’s comptroller to freeze the payments, but on Thursday he issued a statement saying that, after discovering that the funds had already been sent to the Education Ministry, he convened an emergency meeting with his comptroller following which he ordered her to block those funds as well.

Lapid’s statement said that this was done in an effort to obey the high court’s ruling.

Now the two offices will be cooperating to separate the 18- to 20-year-old yeshiva students with an August draft postponement, who will not be paid, from the rest of the yeshiva students.

“These will no longer receive state funds,” said the Lapid statement. “Only once the Education Ministry’s examination of their cases is concluded will the Finance Ministry release the funds to those yeshiva students not included in the court ruling.”

The Supreme Court ruled on several appeals from so called good government groups. The court ordered government to issue an updated announcement by March 31 regarding the pay, saying the justices might issue a new decision should the Knesset not come up with new legislation by then.

Meanwhile, the justices have prohibited government to transfer any funds “intended to support Torah institution students born in 1994, 95 and the first half of 96, who received their draft date starting in August, 2013, and who have not shown up to be drafted based on general decisions to postpone their draft made by the IDF Chief of Staff.”

So, everybody wins: Lapid gets to show his few remaining potential voters that he’s tough on parasitic Haredim; the Haredi yeshiva deans get to show the world that Israel hates Torah; and Yeshiva students and their families get a rare opportunity to drop their nasty habit of eating several times a day and living in homes.

Feiglin Says Israel Better Off without Yesha Council

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Knesset Member Moshe Feiglin condemned the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria to the gallows Monday, explicitly saying that Israel would be better off without it.

The Council, whose title included “Gaza” before the expulsion of Jews in 2005, has been the voice of Jews in Judea and Samaria for decades. It has been praised and damned for its failed efforts to prevent the Oslo Accords and the expulsion of Jews from Gaza and four northern Samarian communities in 2005.

Feiglin, the most hawkish nationalist in the Likud party, stepped smack in the middle of a controversy brewed by Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who charged on Sunday that the Yesha Council has misused government funds by funneling them for political purposes, such as media campaigns against the government’s policies towards the “peace talks.”

The Council vigorously denied the charges and said that all money could be accounted for as being spent for non-political activities.

However, Feiglin said on the national religious-oriented Galei Israel radio station Monday, “The attack on the Yesha Council is based on politics and not economics, but it is justified… Yesha has caused only damage to the Land of Israel and has no benefit.”

“Israel would be better if this body [Yesha] would disappear from the world,” he stated. “Whoever outs his hand in my pocket and does not consult with me is in effect stealing from me.”

The Yesha Council was a holy cow to Jewish residents in Judea and Samaria years ago, organizing dozens of demonstrations, some of them in the tens of thousands and even in the hundreds of thousands, against Oslo and later the expulsion.

It was successful at organization protests but a failure in realizing that they had little political effect against the massive support from Israel’s popular media for the “peace movement.”

Peres Demand for ‘Jewish State’ Recognition an Obstacle to Peace

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

President Shimon Peres has told diplomatic officials that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s demand that the Palestinian Authority recognize Israel as a “Jewish State” is “unnecessary” and is an obstacle to a peace pact, the Yisrael HaYom newspaper reported Wednesday.

The “Jewish state” issue has been one of Netanyahu’s’ favorite ploys to make PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas look stupid. The more Netanya raises the issue, the more Abbas gets his back up, while at the same time insisting that no Jews will be allowed to live in a Palestinian country.

That puts even J Street in a tough position.

But Peres, like Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid, don’t understand the Big Picture that Netanyahu sees, a picture of diplomatic chess to put the opposition in a defenseless corner.

Instead, they make out the matter of recognition of a “Jewish State” to be a useless principle.

Not surprisingly, relations between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Peres are not the best, but then again, that parallels Netanyahu’s relations with another president, Barack Obama. His statements have leaned towards Netanyahu’s demand and away from Peres and Lapid’s efforts to finds a way to let Abbas off the hook.

Polls Show No Chance for Obama to Wreck Netanyahu Coalition

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Two new polls show that Israel is marching rightward and that the nationalist and religious parties would even be stronger than in the current coalition if elections were held today, mostly at the expense of Yair Lapid

The Likud Beitenu party, which reflects the merger of Likud and Yisrael Beitenu that still may be dissolved, would increase its strength from 31 in the current Knesset to 34, according to a Channel 1 poll, and 40 according to a survey by Geocartography. The second poll also showed that if the two parties were to split, they would win a combined number of 55 mandates

The Jewish Home party, headed by Naftali Bennett, would hold its own, with one poll showing a gain of one seat and the other a loss of one seat. If Likud and Yisrael Beitenu were to split, the strength of Jewish Home would sink to seven.

The left-wing Meretz party, which now has six Knesset Members, would gain one or four seats in the next Knesset, depending on which poll is accepted.

The increased strength of Likud Beiteinu comes at the expense of Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid party, which was the star of the last election by winning 19 seats. The Channel 1 poll gives it only 9 seats and the Geocartography survey came up with 13.

Despite the difference in the results, the trend is clear – a sharp rise for Likud Beiteinu and a punch in the pace for Lapid. The “champion of the middle class” has lost its luster as the truth quickly emerges that he represents the upper middle class.

He has an ace up his sleeve if he can bring down the price of housing, but that is not about to happen tomorrow, next month or even this year.

The gain of Meretz and Likud Beiteinu at his expense indicates that Lapid’s charisma attracted leftists and center right secular nationalists.

As for the other parties, Shas still is around and will stay or more at less with 11 seats, according to the polls.

Labor, now under the lead of Yitzchak Herzog instead of Shelly, Yachimovich, would drop from the current 15 to 11 or gain one seat.

Both polls reveal that Tzipi Livni’s HaTunah party would be cut in half in the Knesset, from the current six MKs to only 3.

One surprise result is that former MK Aryeh Eldad, Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir, all of them to the right of the right, would win three seats.

Yesh Atid Education Minister’s Ruling Challenging Lapid on Draft

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Last Friday, Yesh Atid Chairman and Finance Minister Yair lapid threatened that he would fight to get both of Israel’s chief rabbis fired, because of their objection to drafting women into the military.

The website Srugim quipped that it had taken Lapid a mere 65 years to discover that the rabbinate has always opposed enlisting women, and so in his Facebook entry he responded to the news as if it had just happened:

“Israel’s chief rabbis have announced that they forbid girls to enlist in the IDF,” he wrote, with a sense of indignity that gave a freshness all its own to the “sin” committed back in 1948, give or take a year.

“This is chutzpa and a national scandal, and we will act to get them fired in the Knesset and in the government, and, if need be, through the justice system as well.”

Not exactly a Churchillian “We Shall Fight on the Beaches,” but close enough.

“These are state employees receiving a nice salary from the State of Israel, sitting in their comfortable offices, with their official cars, and announcing they disagree that girls would serve in the mud and the cold as infantry warriors, in flight school, in the Border Patrol, in Navy school,” Lapid pontificated, signing off with the threat: “David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef are not worthy of serving as chief rabbis of Israel.”

Israeli politicians do that every once in a while, making total fools of themselves by jumping head first into a complex issue about which they know next to nothing, only to emerge on the other end battered and bloody.

In this case, the sucker punch response came from Lapid’s Yesh Atid party’s no. 2 minister, Rabbi Shai Piron, formerly dean of a yeshiva; or rather, it began with an irate former student of Piron, who dug up a rabbinic ruling by hs rosh yeshiva, where he writes explicitly that he could not find a halachic scholar who permits drafting women into the army.

Piron wrote, originally: “The problem with the military service is the general atmosphere which does not permit life without needless moral capitulation. The pressure, the abnormal reality, is liable to emphasize the less pure aspects of the meetings between young men and women.”

Profoundly true and eloquent, in my vie. Rabbi Piron concluded that we should not go some places not because we’re certain something untoward would happen, but because we fear that the potential exists for such an outcome.

Piron’s student, Ran Churi, a community activist (yes, just like our president used to be), turned to his former dean and demanded to know whether he agrees with his party boss, that both chief rabbis should be fired on account of their objection to the women’s draft.

And Churi didn’t go easy on Rabbi Piron, challenging him: “I call on you to prove that the political game has not eroded your values, the place from whence you came, the title you acquired through hard labor and its very meaning. How should you prove it? You choose. But now you’re at a crossroads between being a politician with obligations to his party and a man with obligation to his values.”

Piron’s office released a short but clear statement, in response to an inquiry from Srugim: “Minister of Education rabbi Shay Piron believes that there are nearly no halachic authorities (poskim) who gave religious young women permission to enlist in the army. That’s what the two-year national service is for. But this position does not detract from the duty of all the young women to serve in the army.”

Obviously, Minister Piron is not interested in a fight with his boss over this issue. He picked a truly clever way to avoid such a fight with his student as well. His argument goes (say it with a yeshivish niggun): On the one hand, all the young women must serve in the army; but on the other hand, religious young women are prohibited from military service by practically all the halachic authorities. So if you’re not adhering to halacha, you should go in the army (good with boss); but if you’re religious, you shouldn’t (good with student).

Lapid Puts Cheeses under Price Control; Consumers Say ‘So What?’

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Finance Minister Yair Lapid called a press conference to announce great news for consumers – soft white cheese and whipped cream now will be under price control.

Lapid’s move is a belated populist reply to the :”cottage cheese” protests of three summers ago, but Monday’s publicity stunt did not make an immediate positive impression on Israelis.

The Israeli consumer has woken up the past several years and no longer is so dumb.

Placing cottage cheese under price control is like “giving aspirin to a cancer patient,” said Itzik Alrov, who founded the Israeli Consumers Organization.

He said it makes more sense to break up the monopolies that control the food market, For example, Tnuva, Strauss and Tara hold 90 percent of the white cheese market.

Lapid said that an accountant hired by the government examined the market and discovered what Israelis have known for years – that Tnuva’s profits on soft white cheese and whipped cream is “exceptional and unreasonable.”

Lapid’s price controls will reduce the price on “5 percent” soft white cheese by approximately 38 percent from the current price of 6.54 shekels to approximately 5.23 shekels.

During the “cottage cheese protests,” a public boycott forced the price down to 5 shekels.

“The markets in Israel are run like a Soviet system,” said Alvor.

Lapid can count on his Yesh Atid party’s gaining zero seats in the next Knesset in the next poll, and his insult to the intelligence of consumers might even cost him a couple of seats.

Lapid Stages Slight Comeback in Polls

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party would win 14 Knesset seats if elections were held today, compared with 11 in a poll in November, according to the Hebrew-language Walla! website.

The increased strength is attributed to recent bills on more rights for homosexuals that Yesh Atid has sponsored, although they not yet been passed into law. The results still show Lapid is far from returning to his present Knesset representation of 19 Knesset Members.

The poll gave the Jewish Home party 11 seats, one less than it now holds in the Knesset, while Shas would nine seats, two less than it now holds. Shas is holding its own better than expected since the recent death of the party founder and spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

Party chairman Aryeh Deri and his predecessor Eli Yishai are in in a power struggle that could divide the party.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/lapid-stages-slight-comeback-in-polls/2013/12/25/

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