Op-ed: Court’s decision to strike down law allowing mass ultra-Orthodox exemptions from military service is an important milestone against political cynicism in which a minority repeatedly prevents State of Israel from being a slightly more decent and civilized country.
This is a day of celebration for most Israelis. It’s not that the problem has been resolved. It’s not that a new dawn of equality in sharing the burden of IDF service is about the break tomorrow morning. We still have a long way to go, a very long way.
ut the High Court ruling is an important milestone against the cynicism in which an ultra-Orthodox minority repeatedly prevents the State of Israel from being a slightly more decent and civilized country.
We should remember the affair began with an insignificant, tolerable exemption of a few hundred yeshiva students in the David Ben-Gurion era. But the exemption intensified. It went beyond any acceptable limit. The percentage of Haredim exempted from military service kept growing. It’s not that the process can’t be stopped. The previous government passed a law which began—just began—to deal with this disease and the damage it has caused.
Haredim outside IDF recruitment center. In the not-so-distant future, nearly 50 percent of Israelis will be exempted from military service (Photo: Ofer Amram)
The Haredi draft, also known as “equality in sharing the burden” of IDF service, is just part of a much bigger problem. Nearly one-quarter of first graders today belong to the Haredi sector. This means that in the not-so-distant future, they won’t enlist. If we add the Arab sector to the equation, the result is that nearly 50 percent of Israelis will be exempted from military service. That’s an intolerable situation.
What makes this whole issue even worse is the fact it’s part of a much more troubling package deal: those who don’t enlist also skip core curriculum studies, receive huge allowances and vanish from the labor market.
Things began changing in the previous government, but like with the Western Wall and conversion crises, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is willing to give the Haredim everything, ignoring the fact that even if he didn’t give them anything—they would have no other option.
This is causing serious, gradual damage to the national interest. Instead of a democracy, we are getting a minocracy. There’s a majority both among the public and in the Knesset for equally sharing the burden of military service, for core studies, for encouraging integration into the labor market. But who cares about the majority and who cares about the national interest when concessions are being made without a second thought.
In a normal state of affairs, the High Court of Justice shouldn’t intervene. Overturning laws and overturning cabinet decisions should be used as an emergency weapon and only in rare cases. There have been too many times in which the High Court’s intervention was irritating and unnecessary. Not this time.
The ruling is justified for two reasons: First of all, because waiving an equal share of the civic duty is unconstitutional and undemocratic, and although we have gotten used to it, it crosses a red line. Second, unlike precedents in which the High Court ruled in favor of a minority while crushing the majority’s will, this time the High Court ruled in favor of the majority and became the public’s servant against political cynicism.
It’s unclear whether Tuesday’s ruling will lead to a change. The destructive coalition majority, in which Knesset members vote against their personal views, will likely persist. But the public aversion will grow accordingly. It joins the aversion over the conversion legislation empowering the Haredim and the decision to nix a planned egalitarian prayer section at the Western Wall.
All it takes right now is six or seven lawmakers from the Kulanu and Yisrael Beytenu parties to do exactly what they promised their voters regarding these issues. They can erase the disgrace. They have to. The High Court ruling offers them another chance. For our sake, for the sake of the national interest, they should seize the opportunity. The ball is in their court.
Jeremy Corbyn leads a pro-Palestinian demonstration in London in 2014, one year before becoming Labour Party leader. Photo: File.
This marked a massive rise from the previous such survey, in which only 39% of Jews believed Corbyn was antisemitic.
British Jews also expressed an extremely low opinion of the Labour Party in general. The poll showed that 85.6% believed Labour suffered from “very high” levels of antisemitism.
Corbyn and his party have been beset with a series of high-profile antisemitism scandals for several years, which has resulted in the resignation and suspension of several prominent officials. Corbyn himself was recently caught on video saying that “Zionists” did not understand “English irony” despite “having lived in this country for a very long time.”
Makuya in Jerusalem 201 (YouTube)
Like an apple tree among trees of the forest, So is my beloved among the youths. I delight to sit in his shade, And his fruit is sweet to my mouth. (Song of Songs 2:3)
For ten days in late August, Israeli Rabbi Benny Lau and his wife, Rabbanit Noah Lau, traveled from Jerusalem to Japan to lead Bible study for groups of Makuya Japanese Christians. The Laus traveled to five Japanese towns and spent three days together at a weekend conference with 3,400 members of the Makuya group.
Makuya is Japanese for the Hebrew word Mishkan, the tent of meeting, where human beings come into contact with God. The Mishkan was the portable sanctuary that the Israelites used in the desert, before entering Israel and building the First Holy Temple.
The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. (Psalm 11:5)
Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro. (Credit: Agencia O Globo)
Jair Bolsonaro, the front-runner in the upcoming presidential election in Brazil, was stabbed during a campaign rally Thursday and was undergoing surgery.
The far-right politician, whose heated rhetoric has electrified some voters and angered others – -who accuse him of racism and homophobia – in a deeply polarized electorate, was attacked amid a crowd in the south-east state of Minas Gerais. Bolsonaro has performed strongly in recent opinion polls.
Those same polls suggested that he will likely receive the most votes in next month’s presidential elections, especially if the country’s former president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva (‘Lula’) remains blocked from standing. He is currently in prison, but is appealing against his candidacy ban – imposed after his conviction for corruption.
Republican lawmakers have made it clear they have no intention of repealing Obamacare in the current Congress.
Republicans in the nation’s top lawmaking body have never really wanted to get rid of Obamacare. They would prefer to present the program, which David Horowitz correctly describes as “the greatest assault on individual freedom and individual choice in our lifetimes,” as a villain and whip up sentiment against it and run against it every election. They view Obamacare as good for the business of politics. They may chip away at it from time to time or tinker with it at the margins, but make no mistake: these creatures of Washington want to keep it in place. This is the Republicans’ dirty secret.
The Trump administration has decided to reopen a case brought by a Zionist group against Rutgers University, previously closed by the Obama administration in 2014, alleging that the university had allowed Jewish students to be subjected to a hostile environment in violation of Title VI of the U.S. Civil Rights Act. The issue, ignored by the Obama administration, was whether the students were discriminated against based on their actual or perceived Jewish ancestry or ethnicity. Kenneth L. Marcus, the new assistant secretary of education for civil rights, decided that the case deserved another look.
Nestled in the Han River in the middle of South Korea’s bustling capital of Seoul, Yeoui Island is hardly where one would expect to find the largest mega-church in the world. Home to the city’s business and financial district, its skyline dotted with skyscrapers, the island boasts some of the country’s most powerful institutions, such as the Korean stock exchange and the headquarters of LG, the international conglomerate.
The AfD’s opponents, who often brand the party as “far right” or “extremist,” claim that the party’s alleged ties to neo-Nazi groups pose an existential threat to Germany’s constitutional order. The AfD’s supporters counter that Germany’s politically correct establishment, afraid of losing its power and influence, is attempting to outlaw a legitimate party that has pledged to put the interests of German citizens first.
Israel’s Palestinian foes regard “martyrdom” as the supremely highest expression of Islamic sacredness. Nonetheless, there are certain conspicuously prominent disjunctions between the relevant obligations of faith and expectations of international law. Unambiguously, only the latter set of obligations can offer a suitably authoritative source for assessing Palestinian resorts to armed force.
This is the case even when the stated objective of such resorts would be “self-determination” and/or “national liberation.”
“Setting fire to the ground,” a “major catastrophe,” bringing “new instability” are the headlines that have greeted Donald Trump’s unorthodox decisions over the past year. Withdrawing from UNESCO, moving the US Embassy, leaving the Iran deal and cutting funding to UNRWA and funding for Pakistan were seen as extreme decisions in the Middle East and around the world. Insofar as there is a “Trump Doctrine,” it has been to call this bluff.
In the mind-set of Trump and his team, the time has come for the United States to move quickly to reverse decades of foreign policy norms, ending the status quo, and ripping up what the previous administrations did.
The jihadi assault on and massacre of Christians continued unabated throughout the Muslim word. According to one report titled, “Armed gangs WIPE OUT 15 villages in mass Christian slaughter in Nigeria,” several Islamic terrorists “stormed through 15 villages to massacre Christians and destroy their churches in a violent crackdown against the religion…. Dozens of people have been killed after the gangs ransacked towns and villages to clear them of all aspects of the Christian faith.
Wars are raging in various parts of the Middle East, although there is a tendency not to call the conflicts by that name because of the fear conjured up by the word.
One conflagration is the war Iran is waging against those – headed by Israel – who stand in the way of its plans to take over the entire Middle East.
Another is the Assad regime’s war to take back control of the entire country, and a third is the PLO’s battle for survival.
Much has been written about the first of these wars, and reports have claimed that from early 2017 on, Israel has launched over 200 attacks in Syria, mainly at targets connected to Iran.