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  • February 26, 2013

    Bibi, Bennett, Yair Talks Breakthrough: Shas Gets Boot

    By: Yori Yanover, JEWISH PRESS

    After several weeks in which it seemed that the gaps between the sides in the coalition negotiations on burden equality could not be bridged, we’re now being told, according to Maariv, that a solution is near. Senior Likud negotiators said Tuesday night that they are close to an agreement with the Jewish Home over an outline for equal burden legislation. According to those sources, the Jewish Home team told them they are authorized to negotiate on behalf of Yesh Atid as well.

    At this point, sources in both teams are saying they are close to an agreement, at least over the recruitment age for Haredim: 21. This figure is a kind of compromise between age proposed by the Likud-Beitenu: 24, and the Yesh Atid position: 18.


    There were huge problems with the age 24 idea, which was, in essence, a Trojan horse pushed in by the Haredi parties through the Likud-Beitenu team. First, in terms of the recruit’s usefulness to the IDF, at 24 he is basically unavailable to combat duty. Also, by the time he is 24, the average Haredi man could be the proud father of several children, which entitles him to a significant military stipend. In other words: at 24 he is more trouble than he’s worth.

    Also, the Jewish Home team was arguing that the same Supreme Court that killed the previous Tal Law on grounds of inequality will no doubt reject the age 24 idea on the same grounds. Even at age 21, the Haredi recruits are only expected to serve two years—which is very likely to be challenged in front of the court by anyone who didn’t make it into the government and isn’t Haredi.

    Incidentally, according to Maariv, Jewish Home and Yesh Atid do not agree on the enlistment of another, much larger segment of the population, the Arabs, who have been just as useless to the community at large as the Haredim, but comprise 20-25% of the population, as opposed to the estimated Haredi 8%. While Jewish Home would like to see the Arabs shouldering the burden like the rest of Israel’s young men and women, Lapid’s party is not as shocked and anguished over Arab inequality, possibly because they like them more than they do Haredim.

    One message is clear, for now: according to Jewish Home sources, the Likud-Beitenu team has given up on trying to split the Bennett-Lapid pact. This might mean that Benjamin Netanyahu’s and Avigdor Liberman’s worst nightmares could be realized over the next four years, namely that those two young, sassy winners will use their stay in power to push their respective parties to an even bigger share of the vote next time around.

    On the other hands, when you’re in charge of actual government ministries, things can happen…

    Finally, whether or not the next coalition will include Shas and Torah Judaism, the 17-seat strong Haredi block, it appears that their two “traditional” portfolios, Interior and Housing, Shas’s source of patronage jobs and huge influence over Israeli society, is lost to them, at least for now. It isn’t clear yet, however, whether those two rich portfolios will be given to Bennett’s party or kept in Likud-Beitenu’s embrace.

    Being kept apart from its traditional lifeline could spell the beginning of the end for both sectarian Haredi parties, who’ll start losing followers to the broader-based Jewish Home. Coupled with the probable, at this point, appointment of National Religious Rabbi David Stav to Chief Rabbi, this could mean the beginning of a new golden age for Religious Zionism.

    Put that in Obama’s pipe and let him smoke it.

    Posted by Ted Belman @ 7:43 pm | 13 Comments »
  • 13 Comments to Bibi, Bennett, Yair Talks Breakthrough: Shas Gets Boot

    1. retired says:

      The problem with Shas & the Haredi party is not that they are too Jewish.The problem is they are too European!
      They never left the Ghettos of 19th century eastern Europe.Each sect feels that they are the only Jews left in the world & all others are not kosher.The Haredi leadership in Israel seem to think that the rest of the country is run by & for Gentiles who are out to get them.This alienation from the rest of Israeli society leads to cheating & stealing from a nation they hate.When they gain power in the government they see that as an opportunity to sell their vote to the highest bidder.
      These sects need to change their ways,They must integrate with the rest of Israel to the degree that their religious beliefs allow.This would be wonderful for the whole country.

    2. yamit82 says:

      retired Said:

      They never left the Ghettos of 19th century eastern Europe

      Shas are Sephardi, no Eastern European Ghettos in that group.

    3. ArnoldHarris says:

      I think the Haredim should begin their national service at age 18, like all the rest of the Jews in Israel. As for the Israeli Arabs, I would set up two classes of citizenship for them, based on whether or not they volunteer for national service at the same age as their fellow Israelis. A country cannot long operate with one set of standards for 67% of the population, a second set of standards for 25% of the population, and a third set standards for the remaining 8% of the population.

      When I finished high school at age 18 in 1952, the Korean War was starting its third and last year. Which meant either joining the military or getting drafted by the Selective Service system. I joined the US Army Reserves, started a first semester of college, then got called to two years of active duty the following year. I never complained about that. I just carried out my duties like everyone else, finished my military service, came home, and got on with my life. As far as I’m concerned, the Haredim kids can pick up their religious studies at age 20 when they finish their military service. And that would be advantageous both to Haredim and to their fellow Jews from the secular side of Israeli life. Maybe it’s time for the two groups to get to know one another better.

      Arnold Harris
      Mount Horeb WI

    4. ArnoldHarris says:

      Actually, there were some significant numbers of Sfardim who found refuge in the Turkish Empire after the main Sfardi community was expelled from Spain and Portugal late in the 15th century. Some of them settled into the Balkan south slavic lands, settling into cities such as Sarajevo and Dubrovnik. Some of them survived the Nazi occupation of those countries.

      When my wife and I studied in Israel, we met met Jews from just about everywhere, including some authentic Jewish Gruzim from Georgia in the Caucasian mountain area, and not a few Jews from then still-united Jugoslavija, where my wife Stefi grew up. One of the leaders of the Partisan struggle against the Nazis in Jugoslavija was a Jew from Crna Gora (Montenegro) named Moshe Pijade. Wartime conditions and fighting the Mazis up into the Dinaric Mountains made these guys hardened tough guys.

      Arnold Harris
      Mount Horeb WI

    5. SHmuel HaLevi says:

      @ retired:
      Fascinating! Please tell me how does Shas represent European styled Jewish shtetales. I am very interested.
      Otherwise… Netanyahu, Lapid and Bennett are all three Ashkenazim. Could it be something else lurking there?

    6. SHmuel HaLevi says:

      @ ArnoldHarris:
      …like all the rest of the Israel 18 years old”…
      You sure about that? Most… of the Tel Aviv, particualrly those we affectionally call “northies”, find ways to bypass service. Further. People in perennial “high places” find ways to set up sweet deals to protect their youn’ ones from actually doing military service.

    7. Honey Bee says:

      @ ArnoldHarris:

      Very interesting,Thak-you for the comment.

    8. I’m offended as an economist in calling Haredim “useless to the community”. As I understand it they pay taxes, provide some jobs, and conduct education of at least their own. They also participate in other ways.

      Please correct me if my view from Los Angeles is inaccurate.

      As to the draft, it is common in many countries to grant deferments for many reasons. Israeli policy is what it is, and can be changed, but demonizing the beneficiaries is unconscionable.

    9. @ David Sternlight:
      And another thing. Secular Israelis may not like it, but Haredim play an important part in preserving Israel’s and the Jewish people’s historical heritage.

      I am not Hareidi, but will defend their right to their culture Israel is, after all, “the Jewish State”.

    10. the phoenix says:

      David Sternlight Said:

      Haredim play an important part in preserving Israel’s and the Jewish people’s historical heritage

      doctor sternlight,
      with due respect, meah sh’arim and bnei brak is NOT, (to my thinking) a way to preserve jewish historical heritage.
      i am TOTALLY for preserving this heritage and wish the country indeed be A JEWISH LAND and not the t-a/herzlyiah, ‘pride parade’ etc that it has become.
      nonetheless, i would find a lot more comfort in seeing israel take a religiouscharacter as espoused by feiglin and sackett, where an observant jew, is REACHING OUT to a non observant jew with a smile and a word of encouragement, AND NOT WITH ROCKS TO STONE THOSE driving on shabbat…

      on another thread,i believe it was joe hamilton, was pointing out THE HYPOCRISY of these…these…these people.
      it would indeed be nice to see some unity and understanding AMONGST US …
      sadly, i do not pin too many hopes on that.

      and on a totally different note… happy birthday to you sir
      it’s around the corner, n’est ce pas?

    11. Honey Bee says:

      @ David Sternlight:

      Bueuo compleano a Ud., y muchos mas.

    12. Thanks for your birthday wishes. The big 80 was earlier this month.

    13. I don’t have a problem with people shaking fists and crying “Shabbos, Shabbos!” That’s free speech. Throwing stones is quite another matter.
      Note also that both kinds are usually objections to driving through Hareidi neighborhoods on Shabbos, which some might think is itself disrespectful.

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