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October 25, 2016 / 23 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘zionism’

Justice Minister Shaked Issues Manifesto on Jewish Democracy, Based on the Teachings of Chief Justice Barak

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

“The Knesset is attempting to legislate away our lives and the High Court is invading territory to which it is not entitled,” declares Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi), in a lengthy but exciting essay in the inaugural issue of Hashiloach, an Israeli Journal on thought and policy. The essay, titled “Tracks toward Governing” (the Hebrew title is a play on words between Mesilot-tracks and Meshilut-governance), suggests that the behavior of some of Israel’s branches of government is threatening individual freedoms as well as the ability of elected officials to govern. Shaked is urging a return, as soon as possible, to the proper governing on the proper tracks, from within Israel’s definition as a Jewish and democratic state.

“Good governance is not a blind force, certainly not a strong but silent engine,” writes Shaked, stressing that “the ability to carry out goals in the way they have been defined is a prerequisite condition for good governance, but is far from being sufficient in itself: good governance is measured above anything else by the ability of government ministers to establish their own goals.”

“A politician who knows how to bring the train to its destination, but is unable to set the destination, as senior as he may be — is not governing but merely subcontracting; he may have been appointed Minister, and he may get to cut ribbons in the end, but he is nothing more than a contractor,” Shaked argues. “To move down a track laid down by others does not require leaders; any driver could do it just fine. The essence of governance is always setting down directions and posting goals. This requires of elected officials to lay down new tracks only after they had decided for themselves where they would like to take the train.”

Shaked asserts that every time the Knesset votes in favor of any given law, it is also voting against the freedom of individuals to take care of their issues on their own. She calls it a vote of no confidence in the autonomy of communities and individuals. Indeed, as Chair of the Ministerial Legislative Committee, Shaked laments that she has processed more than 1,500 legislative proposals, from amendments to existing laws to fully realized, new bills. Suggesting the Knesset is by far the most prolific parliament in the entire Western world, Shaked describes this abundance of new laws as a hospital that’s being built underneath a broken bridge to care for the people who fall off.

Referring to economist Milton Friedman’s impressions following his visit to Israel in the 1960s, when he predicted that the historic spirit of Jewish freedom would eventually overcome the newly bred spirit of Socialist bureaucracy in Israel, Shaked admits she’s not so sure Friedman was right. “Without our firm push on the brake pedal of this locomotive, week in and week out, those legislative proposals would have created for us an alternative reality, in which government controls the citizens through the regulation of more and more economic sectors, with the individual being left with precious little freedom to manage his own affairs.”

Shaked provides several examples whereby proposed legislation would have, for instance, created a world in which a landlord would be forbidden to raise the rent for several years. Of course, rents would soar on the eve of this new law going into effect, followed by a loss of interest on the part of investors in creating new rental stock, leading to a drop in available apartments and, of course, another rise in rents. It would also be a world in which employers must comply with pensions set by the legislator, until, of course, they go bankrupt. And a world in which police would be bound by a two-strike law that compels them to arrest any individual against whom someone has filed two complaints. Running down some of these “bizarre” proposals, as she calls them, Shaked eventually describes a proposal to compel the state to solve terrorism by distributing bulletproof vests to every citizen against knife attacks, as well as a proposal to eliminate the reference in the law to “Beit Av,” which is the Biblical term for Household, because it has a reference to a father rather than to a mother.

Shaked reports that she requested, for the 2017-18 budget, that the ministerial committee would no longer consider bills that add new criminal offenses to the law books, without a thorough investigation of similar legislation in other countries, of the ramifications of the new criminal law on the books in Israel’s society, and, most important — of existing, non-criminal alternatives.

Alongside the need to restrain the legislator, Shaked sees a dire need to restrain Israel’s expansionist Judiciary. She notes an ongoing war between the Supreme Court and the executive branch, which necessitates the passing of a new constitutional-level legislation (Foundation Laws in Israel’s system) to regulate once and for all this combative relationship. She cites several cases in which government was blocked by the high court in areas that are clearly the executive’s domain, such as the law regulating the treatment of illegal infiltrators from Africa, and the government contract with natural gas companies to exploit Israel’s rich deposits.

Shaked laments the fact that the Supreme Court so often usurps the right to kill an entire legislation, as if it had appointed itself the 121st Knesset Member (or more than that, since it so frequently joins with the opposition parties to defeat a majority coalition). She has no problem with individuals seeking remedy in the lower courts to damages they claim to have suffered from, say, the new gas contract. That’s a legitimate use of the court system. But how can the unelected high court delete an entire legislation passed by elected officials? Who, after all is said and done, is the sovereign, the people or their appointed judges?

As a result, the art of politics in Israel is practiced as follows, according to Shaked: first the different parties vie for the voter’s trust; then, in the Knesset, the coalition negotiates with and fights against the opposition over a proposed bill; finally, after the bill was passed, the opposition parties appeal it before the Supreme Court, which reverses it. That, in a nutshell, was the story of the natural gas bill earlier this year.


President Reuven Rivlin’s eulogy at the funeral of Israel’s Ninth President Shimon Peres

Friday, September 30th, 2016

“Laugh and play with my dreams, I am the dreamer who wanders. Play because in man I will believe, and I still believe in you.” So wrote the poet Shaul Tchernichovsky, and so you played, our dear President, during the uplifting moments of elation, in times of difficulty and crisis, and with the small joys of day-to-day life, “because in man I will believe, and I still believe in you.”

I am speaking to you today for the final time Shimon, “as one President to another”, as you would say each time you called to offer strength and good advice. As I speak, my eyes search for you, our dear brother, our older brother, and you are not there. Today you are gathered to your forefathers in the land which you loved so, but your dreams remain, and your beliefs uninterred. As one man you carried an entire nation on the wings of imagination, on the wings of vision. The “Brave son”, was the pseudonym you chose as a youth, as the name of Isaiah the Prophet, a visionary. Yet, you were not only a man of vision, you were a man of deeds. Like you, I was also born into the Zionist Movement in those decisive years between vision and fulfillment. I was fortunate to look up to you as a partner in the building of the State of Israel from its very foundations. For both of us, the State of Israel could never be taken for granted. However, with much thanks to you Shimon, for our sons and daughters, for our friends – and yes for our opponents – the State of Israel is an indisputable fact.

You had the rare ability, Shimon, to conceive what seemed to be the inconceivable, and see it to fruition. Your eyes saw far ahead, while your feet covered great distances on the landscape of Jewish and Zionist history. You always walked onward and upward, as a skilled mountaineer who secures his hook before ascending ever higher to the peak. This is how you lived your life. At first you would dream, and only when in your mind’s eye could you truly see the State of Israel reaching new heights, would you then begin to climb, and take us all with you towards the new goal. You succeeded in moving even the most stubborn of politicians, and to melt away even the hardest of hearts of our opponents. You strived until your final breaths to reach the pinnacle of the Zionist dream: an independent, sovereign state, existing in peace with our neighbors. Yet you also knew that true peace could only be achieved from a position of strength, and you were sure to secure the path to this goal. Few among us understand, and much more will be written about how many mountains you moved, from the days of the State’s establishment and till today in order to ensure our security and our military qualitative edge. How deep was your belief in the sacred combination of ethical leadership and military prowess, that Israel must act not just with wisdom, but with justice, faithful at every moment to its values as a Jewish and democratic state, democratic and Jewish.

My dear Shimon, you were the only one in the history of the State of Israel to serve in the three most senior positions in government: Foreign Minister, Defense Minister, and Finance Minister. You are the only one to have served as Prime Minister and as President. It is no exaggeration to say that: more than you were blessed to be President of this great nation, this nation was blessed to have you as its President. In all these roles you were our head, but even more so, my dear friend, you were our heart; a heart that loved the people, the land, and the State. A heart which loved each and every person, a heart which cared for them.

Your stubborn faith in mankind and the good of people – in the victory of progress over ignorance, in the victory of hope over fear – was your eternal fountain of youth, thanks to which you were the eternal fountain of youth for all of us. The man of whom we thought time could never stop. With all your love for history and tremendous knowledge of history, you despised wallowing in the past, or being entrenched in a sense of self justice at the cost of the possibilities and opportunities that tomorrow brings. “The future is more important than the past” you said. “What happened yesterday does not interest me, only tomorrow does,” you would say. The love you received, which transcended political divides in the later years of your life – from your supporters and opponents – was an expression of the yearning of all us to be infected by your unequivocal optimism. Even when we did not agree with you we wanted to believe that perhaps you were right. Believe me, it was not easy to refuse your optimism, and at times your innocence.

Who more than you knew the heavy price of innocence, and yet, who more than you believed that heavier still was the price of mediocrity and being of little faith?

Shimon, I unashamedly confess, on the eve of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, at your graveside among the graves of the leaders of our nation, also your forgiveness must be asked. We will ask your forgiveness. It was permitted to disagree with you. Your opponents had a duty to express their opinion. However, there were years in which red lines were crossed between ideological disputes and words and deeds which had no place. You always acted according to what you believed with all you heart was best for the people, whom you served.

As President, you were for us an honest advocate. You taught many around the world to love the State of Israel, and you taught us to love ourselves, not to speak ill, and see the good and the beautiful in everything.

This is a sad day, Shimon, this is a sad day. The journey of your dreams which began in Vishnyeva, comes to its end in Jerusalem our capital, which is also a dream which became a reality. Your death is a great personal and national loss, as it is also the end on an era, the end of the era of giants whose lives’ stories are the stories of the Zionist movement and the State of Israel. This is our profound feeling today. A feeling of the end of an era in the nation’s life, the end of a chapter in our lives. Our farewell to you is also a farewell to us from ourselves. When we see world leaders – our friends from near and far – who have come here to bid you their final respects, we understand that not only here but across the world you will be missed. And all of us already miss you. Farewell Shimon. The man whose ‘ways are pleasant, and all of his paths peaceful’. Rest in peace, and act (in Heaven) as an honest advocate for the people of Israel whom you loved so. “Because my soul aspires for freedom, I did not sell her for a golden calf. Because I will also believe in man, in his spirit, his spirit of strength.” Farewell Mr. President.

Jewish Press Staff

Hudson Institute Awards 2016 Herman Kahn Prize to Israeli PM Netanyahu

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

The Hudson Institute has awarded its 2016 Herman Kahn Prize to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “in appreciation for his leadership and achievements in leading the State of Israel.”

Netanyahu and his wife Sara attended the institute’s gala event Thursday night in New York City.

The prime minister discussed his policies vis-à-vis socio-economic and foreign policy issues in his acceptance speech, and said there was no alternative to Israel’s great alliance with the United States, which is based on shared values.

At the same time, Netanyahu said Israel is working to strengthen its standing in the international arena, so the automatic majority against Israel in the United Nations will disappear.

He noted the strength of Israel is based in its abiding faith and said that its position is strengthening thanks to its strength and its knowledge. Netanyahu also said that in the Middle East, “One makes peace with the strong,” adding that Israel is strengthening daily.

The prime minister predicted that in the end, modernity will defeat radical Islam.

Hana Levi Julian

Zionism Belongs to Jews

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

The Palestinian cause should belong to Palestinians, but sadly it does not, and that is one of the main reasons for its failure. In 1947, the trend was established when the Arab world pushed the Palestinians to reject the UN partition plan and to fight their Jewish neighbors instead of living at peace with them.

This trend has continued since then, with Palestinians being encouraged repeatedly by their “friends” to reject Israeli offers for peace. Today the so-called pro-Palestinian movement, including the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, is driven largely by non-Palestinians and even non-Arabs, and it is far more anti-Israel than pro-Palestinian.

These foreign parties have no interest in helping the Palestinians build a peaceful state. Their interest lies in satisfying an ideological view of what the Palestinians need, which often is very far from reality. For example, they oppose Israeli businesses in the West Bank, regardless of the consequences to the Palestinians. Five hundred Palestinians lost their jobs as a result of the closing of SodaStream which the BDS movement targeted.

Palestinian human rights activists Bassem Eid wrote, “There is no connection between the tactics and objectives of the BDS movement and the on-the-ground realities of the Middle East. Israelis continue to come to the West Bank to do business, and most Palestinians continue to buy Israeli goods. Indeed, if you ask Palestinians what they want, they’ll tell you they want jobs, secure education, and health”.

The Zionist movement has benefited from being driven by Jews and not by foreign parties. This was caused ironically by a negative, which is that the Jews are isolated – they are demonized by Arabs as well as by Europeans who, hypocritically, have not forgiven Jews for the Holocaust. So Jews had to define and implement Zionism themselves, and they did it to meet their own needs, not the needs of ideology-driven (even if well-intentioned) outsiders.

While the Palestinian cause is still today dominated by non-Palestinians, Zionism remains in the hands of Jews, and it is essential that it continues this way. Zionism is a Jewish movement to achieve their own national aspirations. Non-Jews may sympathize with their objectives and may even actively support them, but non-Jews never should dictate the meaning of Zionism or its future direction. If they did so, it would defeat the purpose of Zionism by putting the future of Jews in the hands of non-Jews.

The Jewish control of Zionism is however threatened by non-Jewish groups and individuals who take it upon themselves to define what Zionism should be. An example is right-wing Christian groups who promote Israeli presence in the West Bank – CFOIC (Christian Friends of Israeli Communities) claims that Israeli withdrawal from Gaza or the West Bank is “counter to God’s plan”. At the opposite end of this issue, former head of the IDF’s Central Command, Major General Gadi Shamni, says, “Every step we take should stem from one strategic goal — separation from the Palestinians”.

Jews, particularly Israeli Jews, understand the situation on the ground because they live it every day. For outsiders, no matter how well-intentioned they may be, the issues are abstract and often driven by dogma. Even non-Israeli Jews have a stake in the future of the Jewish state that non-Jews do not. Knowing the difficult history of the Jewish people and the ongoing antisemitism worldwide, that stake is very real.

If non-Jews take a bigger role in driving it, Zionism will suffer from some of the same ills that the Palestinian cause has suffered from, and it will become more anti-Palestinian than pro-Israel. This would weaken Zionism and eventually destroy it because while the Palestinian cause benefits from the absolute support of nearly two billion Muslims, Jews receive no unconditional support from anyone – Jews must remain strong and united if they wish to survive as a nation.

While the non-Jews’ support for Zionism is welcome as it should be, they have a support role, not a leading role. Zionism belongs to Jews, not to outsiders driven by Christian religious zeal or by a need to boost their egos or their careers.

Fred Maroun

Israeli Ministers Advocate for Better Incorporation of Zionism in School Curriculum

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

by Ilana Messika
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett announced plans at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting for the 2016-2017 school year scheduled to begin on Thursday with a focus on the need to instill Zionist values in a more effective manner throughout the school curriculum.

“Our goal is to revolutionize education. This revolution will be based on two things—excellence and Zionism,” declared Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Netanyahu claimed that the basis of Zionist education was the study of Jewish heritage, specifically the Bible. “We have to make a supreme effort [to make this a part of the educational system]. It is the basis for our being here, it is the reason we were here, it is the reason we came back here, and it is also the reason we will stay here.”

The prime minister also stressed the importance of a comprehensive education for all of Israel’s youth.

“Whoever receives an education also acquires skills in computing, mathematics, the sciences, English, and in general history. We want to bequeath all of these to all the children of Israel, Jews and non-Jews alike, religious and secular,” he explained.

Netanyahu insisted that students’ potential could be maximized through the implementation of an internet-oriented system that would permit teachers to better interact with students.

Education Minister Bennett also announced that the education system would now function in a more personalized manner with smaller classes and more assistant teachers in kindergartens, amounting to an addition of 4,600 new professionals.

The education minister also discussed the need to better inculcate Jewish-Zionist values into the curriculum.

“We need to highlight our national values, Zionism, love of country and service to the state, and the strengthening of our shared Jewish roots.” Bennett emphasized.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Palestinians are a Thorn [video]

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

It’s interesting how unintentionally our enemies often manage to fit themselves right into interesting phrases from the Torah.

For instance, in this video from the Palestinian Authority, the singer describes the “Palestinians” as a thorn in the throat of Zionism.

Which parallels the pasuk (sentence) in Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:55 where it says, “But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those of them whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land where you dwell.” Yup.

Singer: “We are not afraid of the enemy – a thorn in the throat of Zionism! Palestinians – We are! We are! The people of Jerusalem – We are! We are! The people of Jenin – We are! We are! … The people of Gaza… The people of Jaffa – We are! We are! The people of Haifa – We are! We are! The people of Lod – We are! We are! The people of Ramle The people of Acre – We are! We are! The people of Nazareth – We are! We are! … We swear in the name of the prisoners In place of one [prisoner], here are ten We have given them [Israelis] a taste of grief We have given them a taste of grief – a thorn in the throat of Zionism!” [Official PA TV, July 30 and Aug. 6, 2016]

Following are all the places in Israel mentioned throughout the song: Jaffa, Haifa, Lod, Ramle, Acre, Nazareth, Galilee, Beer Sheva, Tiberias, Safed, Beit Shean and Jerusalem.

Following are the places in the PA: Jenin, Hebron, Tulkarem, Qalqilya, Nablus, Gaza, Jericho, Ramallah

Video of the Day

Knesset Considers Bill to Require Zionism Course in Universities

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Israel is considering a bill to require Israeli universities to include a prerequisite course on Zionist concepts in their curricula.

The bill was submitted to the Knesset by Yisrael Beytenu Knesset Member Oded Forer.

The measure is intended to counter the anti-Israel trend that has been seen among many of the academics.

It is also hoped the course will help students become citizens who are more aware of their heritage.

The course is expected to include texts from founding fathers such as David Ben Gurion, Menachem Begin, Yitzchak Rabin, and others.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/knesset-considers-bill-to-require-zionism-course-in-universities/2016/08/01/

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