On the surface, the fact that Israel is headed back to elections only weeks after the last one looks like a system failure. It’s never happened before in Israel. The Israeli government will now have spent the bulk of a year in election mode rather than governing mode. There’s something wrong with this picture.
And yet, if we look at the reason for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s failure to cobble together a coalition — one party’s refusal to kowtow to religious parties — this “do-over” election presents a unique opportunity for a political upgrade.
Religious parties crave political power because it enables them to fulfill their religious agenda, from refusing to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to forcing Torah laws on the public. Over the years, because Netanyahu has desperately needed their seats to form a majority coalition, he has tolerated their demands.
He probably figured the same thing would happen this time around, but one man stopped him. Avigdor Lieberman, the chairman of the right-wing secularist Yisrael Beiteinu party, decided he had had enough and refused to compromise on a bill to draft Charedim into the IDF.
Normally, Bibi is able to pull things together at the last minute, because Knesset members are loath to jeopardize their positions by going to new elections. In this case, it didn’t work. The Charedi parties threw a few bones of compromise, but Lieberman held firm on sticking to the original draft bill.
This dispute is rooted in the founding of the Jewish state, when Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion made the fateful decision to exempt Charedi men (only a few hundred at the time) from enlisting in the IDF. A well-known Modern Orthodox rabbi in Israel once told me that decision did more to turn off secular Jews to religion than anything else.
“With this unexpected new election, Israeli voters have a chance to put the religious parties where they belong — on the sidelines of political power.”
This makes sense. If you’re an Israeli parent whose children are risking their lives to defend the state, why should Charedi citizens be exempt? And if you see Charedi leaders fighting to keep their community out of the army, how would that make you feel about religion in general?
There are countless other ways that political power in the hands of Charedi parties has become corrosive.
“For too long, this country has been ruled by a Haredi minority,” writesJerusalem Post Editor-in-Chief Yaakov Katz. “This one group has controlled all matters of religion and state while holding the government hostage, either by preventing public transportation for millions of people who depend on it, or preventing the creation of a civil marriage option for the nearly 450,000 Israelis who might have served in the IDF and risked their lives for Israel, but cannot get married since their father is Jewish but not their mother.”
Charedi intolerance is also a key contributor to the growing schism between Israel and Diaspora Jewry. The equitable compromise to allow egalitarian prayer at the Kotel, painstakingly negotiated by Natan Sharansky a few years ago, was sabotaged by Charedi parties. The list goes on, from overly stringent conversion rules to the rejection and humiliation of non-Orthodox streams of Judaism.
How could this be good for the Jews or for Israel?
The crazy thing is, I feel at home in the Charedi world. I love praying with them. I love their shtibls, their chanting, their learning, their passion and intensity.
What turns me off is when they become power-hungry politicians.
“Religion ought to be a beautiful thing, not a political thing.“
I’m not naive. I get that Charedi politicians must love their political power and will do whatever it takes to keep it. I’m sure they’ve convinced themselves they’re doing God’s work when they impose their religious ideals on the public.
But the majority of Israeli voters don’t like it. They’re as turned off as anyone by religious coercion. Now, with this unexpected new election, they have a chance to put the religious parties where they belong — on the sidelines of political power.
There are some problems in Israel that are intractable, like making peace with the Palestinians. Reducing the enormous influence of Charedi parties should not be an intractable problem. It should be a top priority for voters and for any future leader trying to put together a governing coalition — if not Netanyahu, then for whomever succeeds him.
Religion ought to be a beautiful thing, not a political thing. Religious leaders have every right to inspire people to become more religious and God-fearing. But when they impose rather than inspire, they end up hurting what matters most to them —their own religion
Published in the LA Jewish Journal
Rabbi Shlomo Tawil, co-director of the Chabad House in Rosario, Argentina. Photo: Facebook.
JNS.org – Rabbi Shlomo Tawil, director of Chabad-Lubavitch in Rosario, Argentina, was recovering at home after being assaulted by three youths on Sunday night during the holiday of Shavuot.
According to neighbors who came to the rabbi’s aid, the attackers shouted antisemitic insults at the rabbi, and began hitting him in the head and abdomen, reported Chabad.org.They then threw him to the floor, kicked him and trampled his hat before fleeing.
A Palestinian man inspects the site of an Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza Strip, June 14, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa.
Thousands of Palestinians rioted on the Israel-Gaza Strip border on Friday, hurling rocks, firebombs and explosive devices at IDF troops.
Also on Friday, numerous blazes were ignited in southern Israel by incendiary balloons sent over the border from Hamas-ruled Gaza.
Early Friday morning, the Israeli Air Force struck several Hamas targets in Gaza, in response to a rocket attack the previous night in which a religious school in Sderot was damaged.
On May 31, the cry went out from Times Square, New York City, to annihilate Israel and extend the terror war against the Jewish state to America.
As they did in Beirut, Berlin, London, Tehran, and Dearborn, Michigan, Israel-haters gathered at Times Square to call for Israel’s dissolution on the day the Iranian regime has determined to be “Al Quds Day,” that is, Jerusalem Day.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) posted a video of the event. In it, a series of speakers called over and over again for Israel’s annihilation, voiced support for terrorists and terrorism and called for the war against Israel to come to New York.
Nate Chase from the World Workers’ Party led the crowd in chanting, “We don’t want not two state! We want ’48!”
Leftists have never been as humorless, unfunny and touchy as they are now. And they’ve never poured as much time and money into late night comedy, Netflix comedy specials and assorted people angrily shouting things about Trump and their confused sexual identities into a microphone, as they are now.
Comedy, as supported by billion-dollar media corporations based in blue states that would legalize killing babies and heroin before they would permit gun ownership, has returned to its roots in Greek political life. Except the ancient Greeks thought that people insulting each other’s politics was funny and the modern Proggies think that the insults should be one-sided and delivered in an echo chamber.
The UCLA Daily Bruin and its editorial staff have made a mockery of the concept of a free press, opening their pages to terrorist political organizations and closing them to the opponents of terrorist propaganda and Jew hatred. The Bruin’s allegiance to the destroy-Israel left and failure to observe the core principles of journalism in a democracy was glaringly obvious in its coverage of a recent student government ruling.
The resolution passed on Tuesday, May 21, by the UCLA Undergraduate Students Association asserted that—contrary to all evidence and a long history of spreading the genocidal lies of Hamas terrorists, and harassing Jewish students and their invited speakers— the group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is not anti-Semitic.
The long-running dispute revolves — most recently — around an effort by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims, a cross-party formation of around two-dozen MPs in the British Parliament, to institutionalize the definition of Islamophobia in racial rather than religious terms.
The proposed definition has been opposed by many Britons, including British Muslims, who warn that it would effectively shield Islam from scrutiny and valid criticism.
The New York Times claimed that President Donald Trump does not care about his re-election campaign or about the policies he would seek to enact during a second term.
“In a recent overarching state-of-the-race briefing in Florida with Brad Parscale, his campaign manager, Mr. Trump was consistently distracted and wanted to discuss other things,
The New York Times got quite a scoop when, in an interview with its Jerusalem bureau chief David Halbfinger, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said that he favored Israel’s annexation of the West Bank. That was the lede of Halbfinger’s article, as well as in the headline. And that was also the way the story was played in virtually every one of the many publications that picked up on the story.
Every movement has a mission statement. “Make America Great Again” is the conservative one. (It’s the “Again” part that makes it conservative.) The enemies of making America great have one too.
If the radicals had red hats, they would say, “They’re Out To Get You.”
TOTGY has been the leftist motto since before Marx learned to shave and then decided to stop doing it. The arc of history may bend toward many places, but the black rainbow serviced by a snarling leprechaun with a PhD and a cocaine problem always begins and ends in the same paranoid place.
In certain circumstances, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said last week, Washington would recognize the annexation of Palestinian territories by Israel.
As expected, Friedman’s comments led to fierce criticism. The Palestinians already call him the “settler spokesman.”
But in fact, instead of blaming the settlers, the Palestinians can only blame themselves. And given that we are in the era of “narratives,” namely, lies that pretend to be history, we should pay attention to the facts.