Monday, March 18, 2013

What Disturbs Me The Most About The New Israeli Government Coalition

There isn't yet a festive photo of the crew, that exclusive new club, THE ISRAELI CABINET MINISTERS.  But the Jerusalem Post describes the results of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's wily ego shuffling.  It's like trying to fit the contents of a mansion into a small apartment.  I'm copy/pasting the most important parts of that article:
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu late on Sunday night appointed Yuval Steinitz as Minister of International Relations and Silvan Shalom as Energy and Water Minister, resolving feuding over portfolios in a series of late-night meetings with Likud MKs, Army Radio reported.
Shalom is to also maintain his role as Minister of the Development of the Negev and Galilee and Regional Cooperation, Army Radio reported. Shalom will also be a member of the ministerial committee in charge of the negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.
In negotiations earlier on Sunday, the prime minister appointed Moshe Ya'alon Defense Minister.
Likud's Danny Danon will serve as Deputy Defense Minister.
Gideon Sa'ar will become Interior Minister, as expected. He said on his way out of his meeting with Netanyahu that he plans to bring reforms to the ministry, as he did as Education Minister.
Gilad Erdan received the Home Front Security and Communications portfolios, with a few extra responsibilities.
Erdan, who was considered a candidate to replace Ambassador to the US Michael Oren, will be responsible for the strategic relationship with the US. The position essentially means he is in charge of strategic dialogs with the US twice a year. In addition, he will be a member of the security cabinet, along with Netanyahu, Ya'alon, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett and Hatnua leader Tzipi Livni.
The Communications Ministry will be expanded to include the Israel Broadcast Agency and the Government Publications Bureau.
As planned, Bennett will be Economy and Trade Minister, Uri Ariel will be Housing and Construction Minister, Uri Orbach received the Pensioners’ Affairs portfolio, and Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan will be Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs.
Nissan Slomiansky, who was an MK for over 10 years, will be chairman of the powerful Knesset Finance Committee, and Avi Wortzman, former deputy mayor of Beersheba, will be Deputy Education Minister.
I don't know if anyone's happy, at least not in the Likud and Yisrael Beitenu parties.  There weren't too many pickings left over after Bibi handed out the goodies to Livni, Lapid and Bennett.

There's something that really bothers me about this coalition.  I felt it in my kishkes, and I had trouble saying what it really is.  Then I saw the latest Dry Bones, which put my feelings in clearer terms, not that Ya'akov says it in his cartoon.

Dry Bones

There's something inherently undemocratic in a government coalition which aims to change the lives of a large and growing sector of the country/society while refusing them the rights to join the coalition and help draft the laws to make the changes just and possible.

Yes, I'm referring to the forcing of chareidim to be drafted into the IDF.

Now please get me right.  I am not in favor of their (chareidi) universal policy idealizing a life a just learning Torah.  I don't see it as Jewish.  It's not.  It's more like the Christian monasteries and nunneries with the crucial difference that the chareidim marry and are encourage to have lots of children.  It's also a Christian, not Jewish, belief that "men of the cloth" shouldn't bear arms, serve in armies etc.

But I don't think its just nor moral for some sectors of society to try to legislate major changes in the lives of others.  It unfortunately smacks of the early days of the State of Israel when religious immigrant children were sent to secular Aliyat Hanoar schools and worse.

The making of changes must be done gradually and with the cooperation of the affected sector of society.  That means the the only fair, just and democratic way to increase the draft of charedim must be done with their cooperation.  In recent years more chareidim have joined the army, and more chareidim are studying key secular subjects and professions and working.  This will take time. 

Blocking chareidim from the government coalition means that the government will seem like (or actually be) a dictatorship, rather than a democracy.

Netanyahu, Lapid, Bennett and Livni are making a big immoral and undemocratic mistake.


goyisherebbe said...

No. The hareidim were not excluded. They excluded themselves. Refusing to share the responsibility for common defense and economic welfare and decreeing enforced poverty upon their entire sector is a problem they have created by inflexibility. Had they agreed to participate in a national dialog on the subject they could have connected with Feiglin's ideas to go over to a professional army. But they want to keep guys who should not be learning all day in a situation which really doesn't work for them, juggling gmachim all the time while the women try to both work and raise large families. It's time for a paradigm shift. The Chazon Ish declared an all hands on deck to replace the numbers of Torah scholars lost in the Shoah and it worked. It's now time to move on. Jonathan Rosenblum talks about that, among others.

Hadassa said...

The Chazon Ish and other gedolei hador of the time called for a two generation "all hands on deck". The Sages of the post-Holocaust generation realized that a society in which all the men learned full time permanently was untenable, and for the record not all men learned full time for their entire lives in pre-Holocaust Europe. Full time yeshiva for life was for the best of the best, and we should never stop that.

Anonymous said...

Honestly Batya, I just think that you hate Bennett. Initially you said that he was a novice who didn't know how to play the political game. Well now that he's in and the hareidim are out, you are playing the hareidi card. The hareidi parties didn't exactly behave honorably towards Bennett and have only themselves to blame for the state of affairs.

There is a right to vote, but no right to be in the coalition. There is also a right in a democracy to make laws that affect every citizen. What Israel needs is to move away from tribal affiliations and towards a true democracy, where the law applies and is enforced with respect to every citizen regardless.

Regarding the army, personally I am in favour of a short service/basic training for every Jew (including women), including self-defense, fitness, handling a weapon, and first aid, and a professional army, with really good benefits for those who serve (housing, fast track education etc).

And by the way, I didn't vote for Bennett but I wish him well.

Cosmic X said...

The Bennett-Lapid pact was an absolute necessity as far as Bennett is concerned...without it Bibi would have excluded him from the government. None the less, the exclusion of Hareidim from the coalition has left a bad taste in the mouth of many, including myself.

What happened is the result of the hegemony of the High Court of Justice. The previous government(s) should have put the Court and its judicial activism in its place a long time ago.

Since they did not, they should have at least fixed the law to make it acceptable to the Court. They did not do so.

It is not too late for the Hareidi parties to suggest changes to the law that is being proposed.

Batya said...

goyish, I agree that they've made themselves a bad "bed," but they must be included in figuring the solution. It would have had been better for Bibi, Bennett and Lapid to insist that the chareidim be in the govt with the job of finding they way to make the changes, even challenging them by saying "the first party to agree gets special deal."

Yes, Hadassa, two generations are long over.

a, I don't hate Bennett; I just have different political priorities.

cos, yes,

Anonymous said...

The only comment to your very good post here, Batya, is Cosmic X. What was done here to the chareidim is unconscionable. Why did Bennett join at the hip with Lapid, a complete opposite in idealogy (& am sure his goal is to continue his father's work)? There are many questions that should be answered. From what I gather from reading and seeing what is happening all over, is that there is a rapid push for the deJudaization of Israel and the biggest obstacle are the chareidim. Lapid was voted in (& truthfully, only G-D's knows why) to bring this about. Chareidim do work and support their families and their are many sectors within their community that do not accept any government handouts and most who receive tzedakah are from private institutions. The propaganda (which always works so well with an uninformed public) has done its job well. We, who care, all know the beginnings of the creation of the State. Ben Gurion only gave in because at that time, he saw it was not worthwhile taking the chareidim into the army, and so they made a pact. This status quo should NOT have been broken. Just read where a Rabbi Melamed (the Hesder movement) said that 25% of the yeshiva boys go off the derech or are very watered down after army service. That reason is the reason that the Rabbis in the Chareidi communities are so adamant about non-service. Many chareidim on their own have opted for serving in the IDF, but many were very disillusioned when the agreements were not upheld to honor their requirements for stringent kashrut requirements, women serving, etc. A commander just recently made a chareidi in the chareidi unit shave his beard. These are things which they will not put up with, and rightfully so. The chareidi bashing is a disgrace and chilul and is true sinat chinam. I am definitely not a chareidi, but right is right. Wake up; this whole spiel is for the main reason of watering down Judaism in the Land of the Jews. Most likely, everything happening are the birth pangs of Moshiach - hopefully very soon.

Anonymous said...

but the "first party to agree" ===did=== get the special deal. Tzipi Livni kept her eye on the prize.... and it looks like she outsmarted all the charedi menfolk. Oh dear!!!

Batya said...

a's are you all the same?

There is something to remember. The more religious Jews in the IDF the more religious it will be. And even 40 years ago the rule in the army was that if you enter with a beard it stays on, so the beard story sounds unlikely.