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October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘yisrael beytenu’

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.

Liberman Buys Time for Coalition, Hareidim Not Buying Idea of Service in Jewish Army

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

The fierce political, religious, and sociological debate over whether Hareidi Jews should be mandatorily drafted into the Israeli Army like their Religious Zionist and secular counterparts hit a boiling point on Tuesday, with the Kadima party backing out of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition and threatening the stability of the government.  Yet Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman has made it clear that he will continue to pursue the drafting of all Israelis at the age of 18, but will uphold the current administration and keep his party at the center of the action.

“We won’t leave the coalition under any circumstances. We will fight the battle from within,” Liberman said on Wednesday in an interview with Army Radio. “Those who really want universal enlistment must support our bill. You can postpone the end, but you can’t evade a decision forever.”

Yisrael Beytenu has drafted its own version of a national conscription law following Kadima’s departure under the leadership of Shaul Mofaz over the failure of committees to draft a replacement for the Tal law to its liking.

The Tal law, which exempted Hareidi Jews in yeshiva from the military draft was declared unconstitutional by the High Court of Justice earlier this year.  If an alternative law is not drafted, all Hareidim will be subject to the draft beginning on August 1.

On this week’s Jewish Press radio program hosted by Yishai Fleisher, Hareidi tour guide and resident of the eastern Jerusalem Jewish community of Maale HaZeitim, Meir Eisenman, defended the Hareidi position against serving in the army, but also stressed the importance of understanding that despite the disagreements, Hareidi Jews support the IDF.  “I think the first thing we have to do is make a very strong difference [and not lump together Israeli Arabs and Hareidim when ].  The Hareidim are on our side, they support the state of Israel, they support the army, and they are certainly not wishing, G-d forbid, for the army to fail, and we have to make that clear distinction any time we discuss this issue,” he said.

Eisenman cited the Book of Joshua’s emphasis that there is “clear connection of inheriting the Land of Israel through the Torah of Israel” as a case for exempting full-time Torah students from participating in the IDF.  He also tied the last major terror attack – a 2009 attack in Eilat which killed 8 and injured 40 – to the summer “bein hazmanin” yeshiva break, summer vacation for Torah students.  If you look back through the latest 10- 15 years, many of the most horrific terror attacks occurred when the national study level is on a down.” The Sbarro bombing and the Number 2 bus bombing, are among those attacks, according to Eisenman, as well as the Park Hotel bombing which occurred during the Passover break.

Eisenman further said that the success of the IDF is not rational, and that Israelis should attribute at least part of their safety to Torah study.  “To see that the Jewish people, all we need is the soldier that goes and risks his life, however important it is – that he’s the only thing that’s protecting the Land of Israel and the Jewish nation and the Torah of the Land of Israel, you’re just looking at half the picture, you’re not looking at the full picture.”

Fleisher replied by saying the draft is not a threat to Torah study, but rather lets them “fulfill the great mitzvah of being in the Jewish army”.  He said “the best, the most religious” Jews – including Joshua himself – were also the greatest warriors on behalf of the Jewish nation.  “You’re going to mention the Book of Joshua and you’re going to use that as a proof that because he was told to take the Torah with at all times and study the whole time…? He’s the exact example of the Torah student who is the greatest of the generation, he’s the biggest rabbi around, and he’s the number one soldier as well,” Fleisher said.   “To me, what’s missing in this whole discussion is that soldiering and being a Torah Jew in the Land of Israel are one.  Those are connected things.”

But Hareidi leadership has not seen it that way.  In late June, thousands of Hareidi men gathered for an early morning “sack and ashes” prayer service to beseech God to “annul the evil decree” of being forced to serve in the Jewish army.  Shas Rabbi Ovadia Yosef recommended to cancel the “bein hazmanim” yeshiva break and continue Torah study in order that God would hear their prayers not to be drafted.

Ahead of Vote, Liberman Video Touts Importance of Equal Service Law

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

On Monday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s party Yisrael Beytenu released a video stressing the importance of passing a law mandating equal service for all Israelis. The video shows, through dramatic graphics, how in 1948 the vast majority of Israelis served their country whereas by 2020 the majority of Israelis will not be serving.

Titled “One Citizenship. One Obligation. One Opportunity. One Vote,” the clip was released ahead of the planned vote on Yisrael Beytenu’s IDF, National, or Civilian Service Law Proposal this Wednesday in the Knesset.

The bill seeks to establish several principles, which other, similar proposed bills do not necessarily share:

The promise of equal sharing of the burden of service among the State’s citizens.

The establishment of a system in which every citizen, men and women alike, will serve in the army, or perform national or civilian service (in effect, the civilian service in this bill will include today’s national service).

The recognition of Torah study in yeshivas as an important value in the State of Israel and the establishment of a program that combines learning and service – but certainly not with the huge number of yeshiva students who today avoid the draft.

The recognition of equal burden-sharing as an important value in the State of Israel.

The establishment of a state service option, taking into account the nature of the various sectors in Israel and assuring the ability to maintain the provisions of various religions and their customs while serving.

“We promised we would bring our bill no matter what,” declared Liberman on Monday, adding, “We have no choice. We waited until the last minute to see if they come to any reasonable compromise or a satisfying solution to both the Haredi and Minorities draft. Because there is no such solution, we put up our bill to a vote.”

Regarding sanctions against those who would not serve, the Israel Beiteinu chairman said he prefers economic moves. “By putting someone in prison, we’d be playing into their hands,” he explained. “If we take someone and put him in jail, we will make them a martyr, which is what they’re looking for. But once yeshiva boy knows that he’s not getting his support and his scholarship, and the yeshiva, too, will know that it does not get their benefits, that’ll be the most effective thing. Minorities, too, if they realize they won’t be eligible for unemployment and other benefits – they’ll come around.”

As things stand on Tuesday, the chances that the bill will pass on its first reading in the Knesset are low.

Click on the CC button at the base of the screen for English subtitles.

Rubin Reports: One Leader Who Will be Re-elected – Israel Goes to Elections

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2012/05/one-leader-who-will-be-re-elected.html

Israel is apparently going to have elections this autumn and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will almost certainly win by a big margin. Understanding why explains a lot about the country that people think they know the most about but in fact comprehend the least.

According to polls, Netanyahu’s Likud party may go from 28 to 30 seats in the 120-member Knesset. That may not sound like a big percentage but with around 12 different parties likely to win seats that margin would be sufficient.

One key element in this equation is that the country is doing pretty well. True, it faces serious security problems but that’s the norm for Israel. Indeed, with no other trusted leader on the horizon, Netanyahu is the one most trusted to manage that dangerous situation.

True, too, there have been real social problems due largely to the gap between low salaries and high living costs that especially hurts younger people and provoked protests last year. That the protests have dissipated and Israel’s economy is doing better—including low unemployment, low inflation, and manageable state debt–than any other in the West, is partly due to the same economic problems that impose those social costs.

A third factor is the total fractionalization of the opposition. Indeed, one might speak of Netanyahu and the seven dwarfs. Aside from Kadima there are three other mid-sized parties that take votes from the same potential constituency and quarrel among themselves:

–Kadima, the main opposition party which is vaguely centrist, is so discredited by its former, failed leader Tzipi Livni that it will not be saved by its new head, the militarily competent but colorless Shaul Mofaz, from falling as far as losing 20 of its current 29 seats.

–Labor, which has reinvented itself as a social issues party and has an untested leader who is a radio personality, might come in a distant second.

–A new centrist party—named, perhaps in wishful thinking for itself—There is a Future—pushes the same secular centrism that has repeatedly produced one-election parties before.

–Israel Our Home, headed by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, has a solid base among immigrants from the former Soviet Union but by that very fact—and given the fact that Lieberman is widely disliked and close to indictment—should hold but not expand its base.

It is ironic to think that the Obama Administration, whose ignorance of Israel and its politics cannot possibly be overestimated, thought it was going to bring down Netanyahu and replace him with a more pliable Livni. In fact, by its periodic bashing of Israel and ham-handed Middle East policy promoting Israel-hating Islamists, Obama unintentionally mobilized domestic support for Netanyahu.

Speaking about myths about Israel and Israeli politics here are some of the main ones:

–Netanyahu is no longer a “right-winger” in the way he was 15 years ago. He has moved into the center, a key factor explaining his success.

–Israelis do not believe they have a peace option at present, with the Palestinians uninterested in a deal, and Egypt, Iran, Turkey, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, and Syria in an all-out hostile mode.

–There is no faith in U.S backing given the Obama Administration’s views and actions.

–Israeli are neither stupid—giving away everything, as the foreign right often seems to think—or evil, as the foreign left definitely does think.

Rumors Swirl In Israel About Possible Early Elections

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Striking a defiant tone in the face of rumors that coalition partners intend to withdraw from the coalition over the issue of charedi enlistment in the IDF, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that he is “not afraid of earlier elections” and that he would submit “ a more egalitarian and just law” to replace the Tal Law that will “include civilian service for Arabs.”

The comments came a day after Foreign Minister and Yisrael Beytenu Chairman Avigdor Liberman told Channel 2′s ‘Meet the Press’ that his party was “no longer obligated” to the coalition, which could disintegrate if the government fails to enact and implement an alternative to the Tal Law – one that mandates enlistment in the IDF or national service for all citizens. But Liberman said that it was too early to speak of such a move, as withdrawal from the coalition would only be considered after Yisrael Beytenu’s proposed alternative is put to a vote before the Knesset on May 9. The Tal Law, which permitted ultra-Orthodox men to defer IDF service indefinitely, was declared illegal by the High Court of Justice in February.

Israel Army radio reported that Netanyahu was undeterred by Liberman’s comments and those of three other coalition partners. “I will not remain in a situation in which I am a victim of extortion by coalition partners. I’m not afraid of elections.” The Army Radio report speculated that a September date was most likely, and added that the Prime Minister said he would decide on early elections “in the next couple of weeks.”

The Prime Minister also met with representatives of the military reservists “sucker’s tent” protest, and -in a statement also released to the press- told them: “The division of the burden must be changed. What has been is not what will be…I know that there are many hitchhikers who voted to automatically extend the Tal Law. I am not one of them.”

Netanyahu stressed that “[t]he Tal Law will be replaced by a more egalitarian and just law, and I will submit it.

“The new law will also include civilian service for Arabs. This must be done without setting public against public…This is high on the list of priorities for the security of the state.”

Boaz Nol, one of the protest leaders that met with the Prime Minister, told Ynet that Netanyahu said: “If necessary we’ll go to elections over this.”

Jeremy Saltan, a Knesset adviser to the National Union faction, told The Jewish Press that although the media is clamoring for an election, “it is Netanyahu who has to call new elections. The opposition parties’ say doesn’t matter, and any coalition party that brings down the government won’t be in the next government…I think that between January and March of 2013 makes the most sense for Netanyahu, so that will most likely be the date for elections.”

But Interior Minister Eli Yishai of Shas took the recent comments and reports seriously, and said that although he did not want early elections, Shas would not be intimidated by Netanyahu or Liberman. “If the prime minister and the foreign minister want elections, we are ready for elections at any time. The election campaign has begun on the backs of the haredi public because they think that will bring them more mandates.”

A source in the Knesset told The Jewish Press that “Shas is worried about [former Shas leader] Aryeh Deri and, to a lesser extent, [former Shas maverick] Haim Amsalem. Shas needs votes and needs to figure out how to keep the Sefardi charedim with the Sefardi traditionalists…Right now they are doing poorly in the polls so they have no interest in new elections. They do have an interest of pretending they want new elections, because that helps them in polls.

“UTJ, on the other hand, doesn’t want elections because they got a good deal to stick with Netanyahu and they will want to get all the money they are promised through the end of 2012. The Tal law means less to them because they are never fighting for votes and they know some compromise will be made. Their voters come out when the Rabbis tell them to, and that is that.

“As for HaBayit HaYehudi and Ehud Barak’s Independence party, they aren’t passing the threshold in most polls, so they obviously won’t leave the government.”

That really only leaves Yisrael Beytenu, which according to recent polls would either retain its current number of seats or drop to 14, if elections were held today. In light of Likud’s strong showing (an increase of 4 seats – to 31 – in both The Jerusalem Post and Israel Hayom polls), an early exit from the coalition could have Yisrael Beytenu on the outside of the next government looking in.

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/rumors-swirl-in-israel-about-possible-early-elections/2012/04/29/

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