Photo Credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90
The Arab town of Jish is located where the Jewish town of Gush Halav stood in the 2nd century, on the northeastern slopes of Mt. Meron in Israel's North District.

Last week, in keeping with the coalition agreements between Likud and Otzma Yehudit, PM Netanyahu’s cabinet debated a proposed resolution placing a decisive weight on Zionist values in the decision-making and policy of all government ministries – meaning, primarily, preferential treatment in housing to IDF veterans. But the Haredim in the government, who are not, you know, Zionists, and, in fact, happen to be ideologically against the Zionist movement, cried Gevalt, forcing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to postpone the debate.

One week later, Israel Hayom reported that the legislation is still in limbo, but that a compromise version is under consideration. According to the revised bill, while prioritizing IDF soldiers in government decisions, Zionist values will also include a recognition of the value of Torah study. The amended text reads: “All this – without detracting from the recognition of the importance of Torah study as defined in the Security Service Law.”


But despite the addition of Torah study as a Zionist value, there is still no agreement on the wording, and the bill is still in limbo. According to government sources, the resistance comes from Shas Chairman MK Aryeh Deri, who initially did not want the IDF soldiers to be prioritized in the text, for fear of harming the Haredim.

Shas claim that they want tight and balanced wording, which will not cause future crises. That’s political speech for “You have such a nice coalition here, would be a shame to wreck it.”

Meanwhile, after public criticism suggesting this is a racist bill that, among other things, discriminates against the Druze, because they were not mentioned in the original version, the revised version states: “including the Druze population and the rest of the minorities serving in the IDF and the security forces.”

The main goal of Otzma Yehudit’s bill is to favor Jewish Israelis seeking residence in the Negev and the Galilee – and while including Haredim who wish to settle in those areas is not a problem, including the Druze most certainly is, seeing it the Druze are among the minorities which stand in the way of adding Jews to northern Israel.

Was this another Otzma legislation destined to fizzle out because it was not thought out by professionals?


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