2 Tammuz 5777
26 June 2017
The News on the Israeli Street
The news from the neighborhood:
*Approximately (the IDF hasn’t released an exact number) 10 more mortars exploded on the Israel Golan Heights yesterday as fighting rages on the Israeli-Syrian border around Quneitra.
*It was another bad day for Hezbollah in Syria with a dozen fighters killed (including two senior commanders) at Quneitra. Of course. many Hezbollah “fighters” are now boys as young as 13 and 14 years old.
*Egyptian security forces arrested six IS members in Alexandria who were planning to blow up a Coptic Church on June 30, Egyptian Revolution Day.
*A drone aircraft of unknown origin blew up a convoy of 10 Al-Qaeda vehicles in the mountains of Libya.
*The Emir of Qatar announced that his country will be expanding ties with Iran–thereby thumbing his nose at the other countries in the Gulf.
*The cholera epidemic in Yemen is rapidly spreading with nearly 2000 people now afflicted. Projections are that as many as 300,000 could contract the disease in the coming months.
Guess what went up in downtown Tehran yesterday?
You’ll never guess . . . well, maybe you will.
A digital clock which is counting down until “the destruction of Israel”:
And this is from the regime that the Obama Administration and the U.S. Democrat Party made a Nuclear Weapons Appeasement Deal with.
As “the holy month” of Ramadan of Islam “the religion of peace”has now ended . . .
We can assess its spirtuality. One Israeli policewoman was slaughtered. In Egypt, 29 Coptic Christians were murdered. In Iraq, 32 civilians were blown up by suicide bombers. 150 more were blown up in Afghanistan. 105 were murdered in Somalia. 67 were killed in Pakistan. 8 were run over and stabbed to death in England. One man was murdered in Australia.
All told there were 174 Muslim terror attacks around the world which killed more than 1,600 people.
Orthodox Eyes Are Smiling: The Chickens Come Home To Roost
It has been a very good week for the orthodox in Israel as they have scored victories on three major fronts. At least one of these victories was a Pyrrhic one and another was a temporary one–but overall United Torah Judaism (the Ashkenazi orthodox party) and Shas (the Sephardic orthodox party) have reasons to smile today.
First came the news four days ago that Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz in conjunction with PM Netanyahu had decided to halt all work on railroads in southern Israel on Shabbat. As small as this may seem, it is a foot in the door for the orthodox to protest many other “governmental” activities that also take place on Shabbat. As was pointed out in the announcement of the cessation: ” . . . the relevant bodies will “act to prevent the recent expansion of Shabbat desecration in the field of transportation and work on Shabbat.”
As you may not know, the battle over Shabbat is an intense one here in Israel, with the orthodox constantly fighting against businesses operating, stores opening, and transportation functioning from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. Here in Ashdod where your humble servant lives the most recent fights have been over “Big”, a large shopping mall at the southern entrance to the city. The orthodox in town have been threatening a boycott of the mall because the stores in it are open on Shabbat.
Second, the orthodox scored an explosive but preliminary victory yesterday when their proposed “conversion” law was approved by the Cabinet and sent on to the Knesset. The law would have a dramatic impact in that it would:
1. stop Reform and Conservative converts to Judaism from being recognized as Jewish by the Israel Interior Ministry. For example, a person converted to Judaism by a Reform rabbi in the United States would not be eligible for Israeli citizenship under the law of aliya.
2. stop recognition of all conversions to Judaism administered by “private” orthodox rabbis in Israel and elsewhere. In other words, any rabbi who is not authorized by the Israeli Chief Rabbinate would be unable to perform a conversion.
In short, if the proposed law becomes law, the state of Israel would only recognize conversions carried out by rabbis of the Chief Rabbinate. Of course, the proposed law is far from becoming a law (it must pass three readings in the Knesset), but the approval of the cabinet is a dramatic slap in the face to the Reform and Conservative movements in Israel and around the world.
The third “victory” for the orthodox also occurred yesterday when the Cabinet vote to indefinitely freeze its decision made two years ago to create a large egalitarian, mixed-gender, prayer area at the Kotel (Western Wall).
This victory is Pyrrhic at best. This morning was the deadline (there have been many ignored deadlines) for the government to answer why the egalitarian section has yet to be built in accordance with a high court ruling several years ago. Almost certainly, another ruling will shortly be forthcoming reaffirming the the construction of that egalitarian section. What will happen then is anyone’s guess.
Nevertheless, the overwhelming vote in the Cabinet–with only two Ministers voting against the proposal–was again a stinging rebuke of Diaspora Jewry, and of course howls of protest were immediately heard from Rick Jacobs, the head of the U.S. Reform Movement, and the leadership of the group Women of the Wall here in Israel.
You might remember that yesterday, your humble servant wrote in advance of the Cabinet meeting that we might find out which is more important to PM Netanyahu, placating Diaspora Jewry which is mainly composed of Reform and Conservative Jews or placating the orthodox Jews in Israel and keeping them in his coalition.
Yesterday, we had that question answered in spades. Nothing is more important to Netanyahu than keeping his Coalition intact–and remaining in power.
But, your humble servant believes that something else is in play concerning the conversion law and the egalitarian section at the Kotel, namely the dramatic shift to the “left” of Reform and Conservative Jews abroad.
Whatever collegial feeling that Jews here in Israel had with their Jewish sisters and brothers outside the country has been constantly eroded by the incessant Reform and Conservative meddling in Israeli affairs–particularly on the side of the Palestinians.
How many times do we Israelis have to see the head of the U.S. Reform Movement sitting in Ramallah and issuing statements in support of the PLO before we finally get the idea that the Reform movement is an anathema to this country?
You may remember this quotation from Rick Jacobs after he met in Ramallah with “President” Mahmoud Abbas on March 9th of this year:
“I was impressed with the president’s clear and unequivocal commitment to the two-state solution. He clearly is frustrated with the lack of progress, or even the existence of ongoing negotiations. I share that frustration.”
The two votes in the Cabinet yesterday were at least partially a result of statements like the above.
The chickens have come home to roost.