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August 1, 2015 / 16 Av, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Yesha’

Will Leftists Boycott Elections because Ballots Printed in Samaria?

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

Ballot slips for the March 17 elections are being printed in Karnei Shomron, a Jewish community that is located in Samaria and part of the “occupied territories: whose produce is boycotted by leftists.

The Sirugim website reported Sunday that “Yisrapot” won the tender to print the slips of paper with the acronyms of the 16 parties running in the elections.

Two weeks ago, Meretz leader Zahav Gal-On refused to accept a bottle of wine given to her because it was produced in Judea and Samaria.

If the “Boycott Yesha” movement is true to its ideology, its cheerleaders won’t vote March 17.

Immanuel: G-d is With Us!

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

Life for Israel is definitely heating up of late: The northern boundary with Lebanon is suddenly the “hot” border which is to say that we are getting along about as well with Hezbollah as we are with President Obama, and the election season is increasing in intensity with voting fewer than 4 weeks away.

Political campaigns bring not only promises but criticism and condemnations of the competition and of the “other” in society as well. It is sadly ironic that in Israel when the real enemy lurks just beyond every border and sits in the Knesset under a unifying Arab bloc, groups within the country still find fault with other Jews. Divides amongst the population are sharply delineated and discussed during campaigns: Left-Right; Arab-Jew; Religious-Secular; Hareidi-Religious Zionist; Settler-Non-Settler. Seemingly, each party represents merely a microcosm of the country generally in direct competition with another group.

Of this demographic breadth, amazingly the group in which I had the fewest acquaintances was the Hareidim. I mentioned this to a good buddy of mine, Elie Pieprz, Director of External Affairs for the Yesha Council, and he told me not far from where he lives in the Shomron is the only Hareidi community in the Shomron, a community that almost single-handedly dispels the preconceived negative stereotypes of Hareidi Jews held by many Israelis. This community has both large and small industry, a top-notch furniture maker with prices the best prices around, and even some Hareidi soldiers. Intrigued, I asked the name-Immanuel-and decided to learn more about the community. So I spoke with Rabbi Moshe Zinger, the Chief Executive Officer of Friends of Immanuel, an organization dedicated to getting the word out about his beloved community.

Immanuel is located in the Shomron region of “YESHA,” an acronym representing 3 areas: ‘YE-huda,’ ‘SH-omron’ and ‘A-za’ (Gaza). Despite the Israeli government’s shameful retreat from Aza in 2005, the ‘A’ remains. YESHA is a ridge of land retaken by Israel in the miraculous 6-Day War, stretching from the southern Hebron Hills to the northern Shomron. YESHA is where most of the Tanakh occurred and is an integral part of our historic identity as Jews.

Most of the communities of YESHA, are “Religious-Zionist,” with several exceptions of mixed or non-religious settlements. Fewer still are the “Hareidi” communities, most notably Beitar, in Judea, Modiin Ilit in the Binyamin region, and Immanuel, located in the Shomron. Immanuel sits on the seam of land separating the territories given to the tribes of Efraim and Menashe, located in a natural and rustically beautiful area of the rugged Shomron hills under an hour’s drive from each of Israel’s celebrated Hareidi centers, Bnei Brak and Jerusalem.

Immanuel is a town of approximately 3500 Hareidi Jews, covering the spectrum of the Hareidi world: various sects of Hassidim (Slonim being the largest); a minority of Litvish; and a good balance between Sephardi and Ashkenazi. The community was founded and incorporated in the early 1980s and intended to be an alternative to the densely populated Hareidi enclaves throughout Jerusalem and of Bnei Brak, without sacrificing the intensity or quality of Torah existence. Immanuel, set in the beautiful Shomron countryside, offered the one thing neither Jerusalem nor Bnei Brak could: space. The intention was to attract young couples who could not afford housing in established Hareidi areas and provide them with attractive, large apartments for their growing families without sacrificing or compromising commitment to Torah and mitzvot. The Slonimer Rebbe (z”l) was so impressed by the community he encouraged his followers to move there, which they did.

Soon after the beginning of the Second Intifada, Immanuel was devastated by 2 horrific terror attacks on buses occurring just outside Immanuel’s gates. Relative to its size, no community in Israel suffered more at the hands of terror during the Intifada than Immanuel. As a result, many residents left Immanuel. But due to the Slonimer Rebbe’s belief and confidence in Immanuel its values, and quality of life, he encouraged his followers to remain there. Immanuel not only survives, it thrives. Recently, more than 120 families moved into Immanuel continuing the trend of a sharply increasing population and a sharper increase in housing values resulting in a growing number of kollels and shuls; schools for every age; a breadth of shiurim; and any and every facility needed for a vibrant Torah life.

There is another, unique, component to life in Immanuel beyond its dynamic Torah existence. Through the efforts and initiative of Friends of Immanuel and its engaging CEO, Rabbi Moshe Zinger, several respected professional training centers opened, offering training in electrical engineering, computers, accounting, and architecture preparing residents who wish to enter the professional world to have the skills to do so. Numerous cottage industries (i.e. sheitlach), the previously mentioned furniture maker, and a thriving Judaica and Silverworks factory provide employment and commerce for much of Immanuel.

Though Immanuel is unique in the region as the only Hareidi settlement in the Shomron, its neighboring communities greatly value its presence assisting and benefiting from its proximity. Immanuel shares and contributes to the very fabric of the existence of the Jews of the area. Its singularity is not based on an insular approach to life but rather the desire to interact with neighboring communities and to be a partner in life in Israel. Examples: A Slonimer Hassid from Immanuel travels daily to give a Daf Yomi shiur at my friend’s knitted-kippah community and the men in the shiur are devoted talmidim to him; several young men in Immanuel serve as members of the Israel Defense Force and while enlistment is not encouraged in Immanuel, the community is supportive of their decision. Even the Slonimer Rebbe gave psak that soldiers may wear their uniforms in Immanuel’s Beis Medrash when on duty; the community is built around an uncompromising dedication to Torah but attempt to “fund” their Torah learning through the training and jobs mentioned above.

So what have I learned about Immanuel? Most notably, it is a community which defies stereotyping. It is a Hareidi/Hassidic community which in many ways resembles my Religious Zionist community: 3500 or so people, parents working, trying to support themselves and their families; nestled in the beautiful countryside of YESHA; learning and living Torah; some men serving in the army. Bottom line: Though their clothes and kipot may be different than in my community the values and love of Torah are the same. Isn’t that what ultimately matters?

Despite the travails of its past, everyone who knows anything about Immanuel is optimistic about its future. The reason is simple; the name Immanuel says it all: “G-d is with us.”

Jewish Home Unity Overcomes the ’Yesha Faction’

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

The “Tekuma” faction, headed by Housing Minister Uri Ariel, decided Saturday night to remain in the Jewish Home party and not join forces with Eli Yishai’s new party or run separately in a move that saves the right-wing from another weak if not useless party based on Judea and Samaria.

Ariel, whose integrity and intellectual honesty often place him in contradiction with the art of compromise in politics, has been upset with the Jewish Home party and its chairman Naftali Bennett because of the ostensibly democratic system of primaries, which is susceptible to wheeling and dealing even more  than a party’s central committee decision to decide who will be candidates.

Ariel last week met with Eli Yishai to discuss the chances of running on Yishai’s new party, following his leaving Shas.

Ariel left the decision up it his rabbinical advisers, who were split. The Tekuma Central Committee decided Saturday night to make the smartest decision and remain with the Jewish Home party.

A split would have been disastrous both for Tekuma and for the Jewish Home party.

The decision also leaves the “Yesha” rabbis and their followers weaker than ever, another blessing for a right-wing faction that has been hampered by decades with the mentality that a Jewish presence in the Judea and Samaria and that national religious yeshivas are the only issues that are important for Israel. They have tried to make Judea and Samaria the most important region in Israel and have tried to establish Beit El, dominated by prominent national religious rabbis, as the capital of Yesha.

The establishment of the Jewish Home party, which incorporated the Tekuma faction and the old-guard National Religious Party (“Mafdal”) was a political revolution because it finally made Yesha, the acronym, for what once was known as the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, a part of the country and not apart from the country.

The Yesha platform of “Greater Israel” in practice was concerned only with Judea and Samaria and yeshivas and not with the rest of the country. It operated on the principle “if you are for Yesha, or you are against the country.”

Bennett, who is religious but lives in metropolitan Tel Aviv, changed that. He also brought in a secular MK, who, horror of horrors to some rabbis, was a woman. Her name is Ayelet Shaked, and her presence helped the party win 12 seats in the Knesset. All polls show the party will win at least 16 as of today.

If Tekuma had split, it would have taken seats away from the Jew Home but also might have made it itself extinct, wasting tens of thousands of votes.

Joining with Yishai’s party became problematic because his rabbinical adviser decided that a woman’s contribution to the country is cooking in the kitchen and not making trouble by being a Knesset Member.

That was a big problem for Ariel, whose Tekuma colleague MK Orit Struk was anxious to bolt the Jewish Home and follow Tekuma.

Ariel, too well-rooted in the kibbutz movement to ostracize women, would not have accepted keeping Struk out of the new party. If he had set up a new party, it is questionable if he and Struk could have garnered the minimum number of votes needed to enter the Knesset.

The inability of his rabbis to take a unified stand on the future of Tekuma shows indicates how much the “Yesha bloc” no longer is in charge.

Their correct rulings of Jewish law that Judea and Samaria are part of Israel, and that it is a mitzvah to live there, only enlarged the black image in the eyes of Israelis that all settlers are religious and robots to rabbis.

Secular Yesha Leader Dani Dayan Bolts Likud for Jewish Home Party

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

Dani Dayan, a secular leader in Judea and Samaria, announced Sunday he is leaving the Likud party and is joining the Jewish Home party where he will run for the Knesset.

Dayan, who is not a Knesset Member, is almost a shoe-in to win a “sure” spot on the list and the addition of another secular Knesset Member turns the screws tighter on Jewish Home Knesset Members Uri Ariel and Orit Struk, who are threatening to leave the party.

Jewish Home party chairman Naftali Bonnet welcomed Dayan, former chairman of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria, known by the acronym “Yesha.”

“He is a real fighter for the Land of Israel,” Bennett said, adding that bygones will be bygones, referring to former differences between them. Looking forward to a new coalition next March with the Likud party, Bennett said the addition of Dayan will strengthen the next government as more nationalist, without the inclusion of Tzipi Livni, who shoved the “Peace Process” in the faces of Bennett and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu even when Mahmoud Abbas was praising terrorists.

Dayan joins Ayelet Shaked as the two most prominent secular members of the Jewish Home party, highlighting Bennett’s strategy to open the nationalist camp to everyone and not follow the old-line National Religious Party ideology of keeping its doors closed to secular Jews.

Knesset Member Orit Struk, who is part of Housing Minister Uri Ariel’s Tekuma faction that joined the Jews Home in the last elections, said that Dayan’s appearance on the scene is further evidence that Bennett does not want Tekuma in the party.

“They are turning the Jewish Home into a second-rate Likud,” Struk told Israel radio Sunday.

She accused Bennett of spreading lies about the Tekuma faction concerning its ties with rabbis, exactly the image that plagued the old National Religious Party and which Bennett wants to erase from the memory of the voters.

Bennett has rejected Ariel’s to reserve top spots for his Tekuma faction on the list of candidates.

Ariel and Struk are throwbacks to the hard-line attitude that a “true” nationalist has to be religious, that yeshivas and Judea and Samaria are all that are important to the country,  and that a non-religious nationalist party will turn into a watered-down Likud.

She said Tekuma has several options, including running as a separate party  or joining party expected to be established by Eli Yishai, who appears to be hours or days away from splitting off from the Shas Sephardi Haredi party.

Ariel and Struk’s ideology is scantly what has handicapped national religious factions in the past. Hey trust their rabbis, whose mixture in politics almost always is catastrophic, and don’t trust secular Jews.

There is one unmentioned element t as large as their ideology and which may put the brakes  on Ariel and Struk. It is called “money.”

The Tekuma faction, like any other faction, mist take with it 25 percent of the current party’s Knesset Members in order to carry a wad of money from Jewish Home’s treasure chest, money that will be needed for Tekuma’s own election campaign.

Tekuma faction MK Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan already has decided he will run with the Jewish Home party rather than take a chance of losing a Knesset seat by running with Ariel on a separate party list that might not even win the minimum number of votes needed to enter the legislature.

That leaves Yoni Chetboun as Ariel and Struk’s only possibility, unless they want to go on their own without a suitcase of a few million shekels that Bennett would be happy to keep for himself.

Yitzhar Leaders Finally Urge a Halt to Violence against IDF

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Leaders of the community of Yitzhar, in northern Samaria, finally have come out with an appeal to its youth to stop violence against the IDF.

Dozens of attacks against IDF vehicle and bases have taken place throughout Judea and Samaria over the past two years, many of them allegedly caused by a band of hooligans from Yitzhar.

Last week, a Yitzhar teenager allegedly slashed the tires of an IDF commander’s vehicle, apparently in revenge for the government-ordered demolition of a home. Following more demolitions earlier this week, dozens of residents, some of them grown men, went on a  rampage. They threw rocks at police, injuring several of them, and ransacked an IDF post manned by reservists who were stationed to defend Yitzhar from Arab terrorists. For their trouble, the soldiers’ personal and army equipment was trashed.

Two days later, Yitzhar leaders decided to announce they are opposed to violence, but their calls were limited to attacks against the IDF. No mention was made of “price tag” attacks against Arabs through collective punishment.

The leaders also explained that they understand why the vandals take action. Indeed, everyone is frustrated by the government’s demolitions of homes, a policy that the leaders called an attempt to eliminate Yitzhar.”

But they hastily added that the explanation was not intended to justify the violence.

Communities in Judea and Samaria, and the umbrella Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria known  as Yesha, always have had a problem distinguishing good settlers from bad settlers.

In the rare instance when the leaders, and once or twice even rabbis, condemn violence, it always includes a “but.”A letter from Yitzhar leaders stated that the violence “produces a very negative response’ and gives Yitzhar a public black eye.

The message is that violence is wrong because it damages the reputation of Yesha.

There is not one sentence in the letter that condemns violence against Arabs.

The letter states, in part, that “recent incidents of violence against the IDF…are contrary to the polices of residents and leaders” of Yitzhar and also against the rabbi of the community.

“We strongly opposed attacking IDF soldiers and security forces and causing property damage.“

Rabbis Remain Silent as ‘Price Tag’ Vandalism Worsens

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

“Price tag” vandals struck the small Arab neighborhood of Sharafat between Gilo and the Malcha Mall and Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem Tuesday night, slashed tires of approximately 30 cars and scribbled graffiti on walls.

They sprayed slogans of “No co-existence” and “Arabs=thieves” in the neighborhood.

Yediot Acharonot reported that a security camera showed three masked men carrying backpacks and entering the area around 3 a.m.

Sharafat residents were enraged at the vandalism, which prevented many of them from leaving driving to work because of slashed tires.

Police are investigating, but they have not been able to win a conviction and barely an indictment in hundreds of previous incidents.

The term “price tag’ refers to Jews who take out their anger against Arab terror and more frequently against government anti-nationalist policies by attacking Arab property.

When the fad of crime started, nationalist leaders and rabbis blamed it on undercover agents working for the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and trying to incite hatred of Jews living on outposts in Judea and Samaria.

Many of the attacks have been carried out at churches and monasteries, and when it became overwhelmingly clear that nationalists were involved, their leaders often dismissed the vandals as a tiny minority whose actions may be illegal but pale in comparison with Arab terror.

Be that as it may, on what Talmudic passage do the rabbis base their dismissal of indiscriminate violence as minor pranks and remain silent?

One leading nationalist rabbi, a peaceful Torah scholar who never would encourage violence, told The Jewish Press several months ago he doesn’t believe that Jewish settlers would do such a thing. Sure, there may be a few hotheads, but all of the reports are false or the incidents are instigated by the Shin Bet, in his view.

Last month, several leading national religious rabbis circulated a petition condemning the price tag attacks, but that was the beginning and end of the “campaign” against violence.

But the petition left open huge room for understanding the frustration of attackers.

“There is a wonderful community of thousands of Jews in Judea and Samaria who are loyal to the State of Israel,” the petition said. “This community is often subject to attack by Arab thieves, vandals, and terrorists.

“We truly empathize with the plight of this community. However, we ask the youth and young adults not to allow them to become sucked into acts of revenge and criminal activities as a result,” the petition said.

“The so-called ‘price tag’ attacks are against Jewish law and ethics. They are illegal and cause a desecration of G-d’s Name. Beyond this, the attacks damage the standing of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and stain the names of a large number of law-abiding people.”

“We ask?” That is the best the rabbis can do? “Oh, poor victimized hothead, please be a bit nice because your acts in the name of God may give us a bad image.”

The kind of soft-glove language in the petition is not the way to communicate with young wild idiots who understand nothing but force.

The petition that states that rabbis “empathize” with attackers and sympathize with their being victims is a cop-out of responsibility.

Rabbi Yoel Bin-Nun, unarguably one of the most passive and political compromising national religious rabbis, has been one of the few leaders to label the Jewish vandals for what they are. “Whoever does something like this cannot be included in a minyan or called to the Torah,” he stated.

That is the language these criminals understand.

But no group of rabbis in any of the regional councils of Judea and Samaria has taken the initiative to corner the price tag vandals and threatened them with ex-communication.

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.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/feiglin-says-israel-better-off-without-yesha-council/2014/02/03/

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