Friday, March 6, 2015

The Peculiar Challenge of the Forthcoming Elections

For people with the values of most of the participants in this forum, the forthcoming elections in Israel present some peculiar and frustrating challenges.

Let's say that you share Jonathan Rosenblum's concerns about the problems of the economic catastrophe in the charedi world and its potentially devastating consequences for the country. And you recognize that if UTJ joins the government, it will do so in exchange for making the problem massively worse. So you don't want to see UTJ in the government.

But at the same time, you recognize that there is no viable partner for peace on the Palestinian side, that any land given to them will almost certainly be used as a base from which to attack Israel, and that there is no way that Israel can ever defend itself from attacks launched from civilian areas without incurring global condemnation. And so you don't want to see a left-wing government that will give away land to the Palestinians.

The problem is that there is no party which stands for both of the above. Every party currently running for Knesset will either pay off UTJ to join them, or will support a left-wing government.

So you have to weigh up which of the above issues is more important. Now, let's say that you decide that the security issue is more important. Therefore you want to empower a party that won't take foolish risks in the futile short-term hope for international legitimacy - let's say, Bayit Yehudi. But who do you vote for, if you want Bayit Yehudi to be in the government? There is a real risk of Labor being the largest party and being able to put together a left-wing coalition. So the bizarre nature of the forthcoming election is that if you want Bayit Yehudi to be in the government, then there's a very strong argument for not voting Bayit Yehudi, and voting Likud instead!


  1. Bayit Yehudi makes a statement that the president will consider the "likelihood of being able to form a stable government" as a parameter in deciding who is offered to do so. And, in the previous-previous election with Kadima, this is what happened (where Likud was given the opportunity though Kadima had won more seats.) Further, the president has outright said in a comment that this will be a consideration.

    On that basis, Bayit Yehudi remains a valid choice. Yet indeed, there is some additional risk in doing so. Personally I feel that's offset by the strong NEED for some rational economic actions to be taken (or rather some economic rationalization actions), of which Likud has a very limited history (and Labor a history of the opposite), which Bayit Yehudi provides.

    On the religious rationalization side, Yachad besides offering the unique entity of a party of mixed dati leumi, charedi and settler list also offers a strong land of Israel position and moderated charedi positions, as well as a variety of positive economic positions. (Email me for a copy in Hebrew.)

    So I hear your concern, but don't think the left wing has the numbers to form a coalition without including the arab party.

  2. Rav Slifkin-
    I have to disagree with your analysis that says if UTJ enters the next coalition, the Likud will capitulate to their demands to revoke the reforms that have been made regarding Haredi budget demands. There is pretty much an open alliance between Netanyahu and the Haredi parties and most people seem to think they will be in the next coalition. I do not believe that this means that the reforms will be rolled back. The public will not stand for it. I have several reasons for believing this.
    First of all, the Center Bloc, which under Lapid's party pushed hardest for these reforms seems to be a quite stable group of around 20 seats, now divided between Lapid an Kahalon. These tend to be younger, middle-class people who are most interested in economic reforms, with much less concern about the so-called "peace process' so they can join a gov't headed by Netanyahu., Thus, Netanyahu can tell the Haredim that if their demands are too excessive, he can leave them out like the last time and go exclusively with the the two center parties. Secondly, although Netanyahu promised to nullfiy the sanctions against those Haredim who refuse to go the the IDF (although how he can do this against the will of the Supreme Court rulings is not clear), Herzog says he opposes cancelling the sanctions. THus, we see the Haredim can no longer play off the two big parties and the Labor Party, due to internal pressures of its own, can no longer justifying capitulating to the Haredi parties using the excuse that "we need their support for the 'peace process'". Since there is no longer any "peace process" they can't use this excuse to pacify their own supporters who have never been sympathetic to the Haredi groups.
    Thirdly, the Haredi parties have isolated themselves from most of the rest of the population, including the Religious ZIonist camp with the virulent, extreme rhetoric some of their spokesmen emply , which I think they realized damaged them and which they have somewhat toned down. Whereas both RZ's and Haredim used to view themselves as part of the "Torah and Mitzvot" camp, many Haredi spokesmen have drawn a very strong line between themselves and the RZ camp. A few important RZ Rabbis have left the Bayit Yehudi and have gone to Eli Yishai's YAHAD party, but the large majority are remaining with the Bayit Yehudi and Nisan Slomiansky, currently the BY head of the Knesset Finance Committee answered a question of mine by saying that BY is committed to continuing the economic reforms in the Haredi community even assuming that the Haredim will be part of the next coalition..
    Thus, I am pretty confident that the changes that have begun can not be rolled back, no matter how the elections come out. (Full disclosure-I am a strong Bayit Yehudi supporter)

    1. The problem with your analysis is that Likud plus the "center block" (Lapid/Kahalon) will not be enough without Habayit Hayehudi as well, and that is basically the same government which fell apart this time, leading to the shortest time between elections in the country's history.

    2. Wasn't Ehud Barak's government only 18 months?

    3. No. During that time, elections for prime minister were separate from Knesset elections. He was prime minister for 18 months, but it was not due to a coalition collapse. The same Knesset remained.

    4. Bibi has already announced he will roll back the reforms. It's really simple. Bibi can create a majority by adding Bennet and the Haredim (and Lieberman). And the deal will go like this:

      Bennet will agree to back funds sloshing to Haredi yeshivot and to roll back the reforms in return for lots of money for outposts in Yehuda and Shomron. The Haredim will scratch Bennet's back in return and Bibi gets to sit out four more years in quiet as PM whilst the country burns. It already happened immediately after Bibi fired Lapid (see here for example

      We should be fighting for a better future because things can be better around here.
      When Lapid was in the government he stopped this sort of monkey - business. But if Yesh Atid isn't there, then so much of your tax money will get slushed straight to these two purposes that the periphery won't be left with a bean.

    5. I am very happy to see money getting sent to settlers who are the heroes of Israel and sit on the front lines against the enemy. The reforms aren't going away. If they get modified a bit, who cares? The haredi economic situation was an unsustainable catastrophe waiting to happen before Lapid, and it is the same after Lapid. The changes simply started dealing with it. Lapid did not solve any crisis or create a solution. Neither will moderating his legislation undo anything. This is a long-term problem and Lapid was step 1 to even BEGIN addressing it. There will be a long road to go until things change on the societal scale. A crumb or two to haredi politicians along the way so they can say they did their job for their constituents won't mean a darn thing.

  3. When it came to a conflict between Palestinian livelihoods and your posited security needs of Israel, you showed no hesitation to trample over the former because of your black and white absolutist 'rationalism.' But now when it comes to your other non life threatening pet peeve you are conflicted..... My conclusion - Arab rights mean less to you - you are a racist Rabbi.

    1. And what's wrong with that? Explain, please. Tossing around insults is not good enough.

    2. A fair question.

      In addition to the 6 million Jewish victims of racism in the period 1939 to 1945, I suggest you consider Rwanda, Sebrenica, the rapes (yes, good Jewish boys raped Arab women), lootings, forcible expulsions and murders in Lod and Ramlah, the Etzion massacre, the 1929 Hebron massacre, the Deir Yassin massacre, the Ramallah lynching, the Goldstein massacre...

      In short, I ask you to build a better world for your children.

    3. Are you Jewish? Just thought I'd ask.

    4. The allegation of a massacre in Lod and Ramle has been thoroughly debunked. What happened in Deir Yassin is less clear.
      Last I read, the IDF was called racist because there were NO rapes.

    5. No they haven't. Ben Gurion wrote about it and so did Amos Kenan who served as a platoon commander in 1948. And we complain of incitement in Palestinian history teaching...

    6. Nachum - the view I am espousing are rachamim, bisha and gemilus chessed. Are you Jewish?

  4. I see no basis for assuming that Herzog, if he is able to form a coalition, won't give UTJ just as much (or more) than the Likud will.

    1. Absolutely correct. Remember how Herzog walked out of the vote on equality in the draft for the IDF? (See here: )

      I'm surprised he didn't just give Deri and Litzman a blank check there and then. It's exactly what he will do as PM.

      Read this:
      Lapid harshly criticized the opposition for boycotting the vote, accusing it of "shirking its duties."

      Opposition leader Isaac Herzog "shirked his responsibilities and there is no other way to view this absence from the plenum," Lapid said.

      "In order to suck up to Shas, the Labor party failed to show up for a vote about an issue as critical as IDF enlistment. (Shas leader Aryeh) Deri manipulated Herzog," Lapid added.

      He also warned there would be consequences to the opposition's decision to boycott the vote.

      "Those who did not vote in favor of equality in the national burden will not get even one vote from us in the race for the presidency," he said. "One who, for petty political reasons, did not come to support army service and going out to work, and instead preferred to have a photo op alongside Deri and (MK Ahmad) Tibi, cannot be a president and will not get our votes."

      From here:,7340,L-4498477,00.html

  5. To clarify what Akiva said, even if the Zionist Camp gets more seats than the Likud (which seems likely at this point; see, that doesn't mean that they will form the government. So if someone supports the right wing and Bayit Yehudi, they could vote their "conscience" even if they consider "strategic voting" as you suggest.

    Then again, I apparently don't share "the values of most of the participants in this forum", so take my words with a grain of salt. :)

  6. The more I see of Naftali Bennet, the more impressed I am. He is EXACTLY what Israel needs.

    I don't see the risk of Labor being the largest party. That party hasn't won an election since 1996, and the country has only moved more to the right since then. In the last elections it barely won more seats than Bayit Yehhudi, and BY has only grown in stature since then, while Labor, under Bouji Herzog, has diminished itself.

    1. He would be what Israel needed if he actually did what he pretended to be.

      Bennet pretends to be the glue in Israeli society between the religious and the secular. In truth, he's a fig-leaf for the far-right of the Religious Zionist world.
      Try reading this and see how much his party actually voted against causes that would have made Jewish life more tenable for most of the Jews in Israel because his party is totally under control of the far-right rabbis. Bayit Yehudi is more Hardal than Religious Zionist. You have been warned now. Vote accordingly.

    2. I read a fascinating article by Evelyn Gordon (she's one of Jerusalem Post's best columnists, but this was in Commentary:
      describing how the entire Israeli political spectrum has shifted left. If it seems there are more right-wing parties and people now in Israel, it's because the Labor of today has the two-state solution platform of Peace Now of 25 years ago, and Likud has the platform of pre-Oslo Labor! (or something like that) The change has been almost imperceptible, but if you would take Yitzchak Rabin's speech a month before his assassination, and the resolution to the Palestine-Israel conflict that he proposed--you would think that it is Bennet' speaking! [And it's not because the Arabs are any more amenable to peace now than they were then--Israelis views have changed, due to the education system and the media.]

  7. UncomfortableTruthMarch 6, 2015 at 4:17 PM

    "But at the same time, you recognize that there is no viable partner for peace on the Palestinian side, that any land given to them will almost certainly be used as a base from which to attack Israel, and that there is no way that Israel can ever defend itself from attacks launched from civilian areas without incurring global condemnation."
    You know, I bet the Palestinians are making the same calculation:
    We realize that there is no viable partner for peace on the Israeli side, any concessions we give like witholding from prosecuting them at the ICC only serve to sanction the IDF's oppresive and illegal military tactics, there is nothing us Palestinians can do to make the world realize how much we suffer under the Israeli regime--we have to rally under Hamas, they will provide true leadership!

    1. Actually, they decided that they want to destroy Israel even before 1967, and they've never wavered from that.


    3. All of those flowery peace quotes from Mr. Abbas, the holocaust denier and glorifier of terrorists as martyrs and freedom fighters, can be contradicted by other quotes of things he has said in Arabic that are the exact opposite. He threatens taking Israel to the ICC, even though we fought Hamas in Gaza, not Abbas. He threatens ending a security arrangement between Israel and the PA. He threatens a third intifada. etc. etc. Either he is lying in his peace quotes, which means that he is unreliable as a leader, or he is schizophrenic, and he is unfit to be a leader. His conduct, not his flowery peace quote words, is what counts, and they do not indicate the actions of a peacemaker. Even if you tell me that he glorifies terrorists and terrorism because it's just מן השפה ולחוץ, that is not the conduct of a leader. A leader leads, and doesn't follow what his people just want him to say and do.

    4. All of those flowery peace quotes from Mr Netanyahu can be contradicted with his statement in Ofra in 2001 boasting "Why does this matter? Because at that moment I actually stopped the Oslo Accord."

      He threatens taking the PA to the ICC, even though cooperated continuously with Israel and saved countless Israeli civilian and military lives from armed attack. He has withheld all of our own tax monies in a desperate attempt to provoke an Intifadah and gain an electoral advantage thereby. In 1989 he said this: -

      "Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrations in China, when world attention focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories"

      Either he is lying in his peace quotes, which means that he is unreliable as a leader, or he is schizophrenic, and he is unfit to be a leader. is conduct, not his flowery peace quote words, is what counts, and they do not indicate the actions of a peacemaker. Even if you tell me that when he supports anti Palestinian state politicians like Bennet and Lieberman because it's just מן השפה ולחוץ, that is not the conduct of a leader. A leader leads, and doesn't follow what his people just want him to say and do.

      Of course they're lying. They're politicians - you can tell when they are lying when their lips move. In fact both leaders are feckless populist chickens*** more concerned with their own power-base then with service to the nation. Abbas is the more cantankerous and irascible and Netanyahu the more devious and cynical. But my feeling is that both we, and the Palestinians, both deserve our extraordinarily poor leaders....

    5. The impossibility of making peace with the Palestinians is not only because Netanyahu is in power. Even with your omniscience, seeming to know how things will turn out after we give the Palestinians 40% of Israel, and even if you were the Prime Minister, I assure you that you would not succeed in making peace with the Palestinians. We have seen left wing, far left wing, center, right and far-right Prime Ministers in the last 20 years and they have all failed to bring about peace with the Palestinians. And it is not for lack of trying. It is because the Palestinians have not backed down on their demands to pre-'67 borders and the right of return of 5 million "refugees" to Israel proper. Nor do they truly wish to see an end to the conflict. Why didn't they agree to Barak's offer in 2000, if all they want is a state and to live side-by-side with Israel in peace? Because it was predicated on that being an end to the conflict, and they could have no further demands. But yielding to their demands have until now just led to further demands.

      In the previous thread on this topic, you yourself said 1) that you hate Abbas, when I pointed out all the times he praises murderers as freedom fighters etc. etc., but at the same time you say 2) "we have a partner for peace". When Eddie Murphy sang a song, "I'm gonna get me a shotgun and kill all the whities I see", I laughed, because I know he's just being a comedian. But if I would hear Martin Luther King sing that (and I don't think he did), I would sort of have misgivings about how much of a civil rights leader he was. I cannot take the Palestinians seriously that "all they want is peace and statehood" when they show such support for aggression and terror. Can you really compare Netanyahu's relationship with Bennet and Lieberman, who are just against a Palestinian state, to Abbas' relationship to Arab terrorists, when he writes poems and sings the praises of Arabs that murder people in a synagogue during shacharis? Your logic is skewed indeed.

      You ignore the fact that the Israeli Board of Education has been inculcating the Israeli children towards peace with the Palestinians, even if it will be at the expense of ceding the West Bank--"painful concessions", as we're told. The Palestinian Board of Education does not teach Arab children to recognize any right of Israel to the land, not historically, not legally, nothing. You ignore the fact that the Palestinian media is terribly anti-Semitic--printing cartoons depicting Jews the way Der Sturmer did. Would you find such racist depictions in Ma'ariv or Yediot against Arabs? [Funny how you accused Rabbi Slifkin of being a racist upstairs in a previous comment, just because he thinks giving the Palestinians land would weaken Israel's security--you're not perturbed in any way by the Palestinians' racism?]

      Yet despite the left-slanted education system, and despite the left-slanted media, 70% of Israelis think that it's impossible to cede land at this point, even though all the political parties in the present Knesset, except for Bayit Yehudi, are in favor of a two-state solution. It's interesting what would finally convince you that territorial concessions at this point are impossible--not because those 70% of Israelis are racist, as you charge, but because the Middle East is presently too volatile--1) due to radical Islam, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad and 2) because the PA leadership is unreliable--to put our security at risk.

    6. It's fair to say that many of the things I write are foolish. No, any pretentious I may have to omniscience are misplaced. Nothing is guaranteed to succeed,

      The only politician who really tried to make peace with the Palestinians was Olmert. And they turned him down at the alter. It was foolish, it was wrong. Abbas thought he could cut up a better deal on Maale Adumim with Obama in power, then Gaza 2008 intervened. In retrospect, it is clear to me that he threw away tens of thousands of lives. It's not my job to defend Abbas.

      Sharon tried the unilateral approach, bypassing Abbas. Netanyahu's chicanery is wondrous indeed to behold, but the honest truth is that the only real political belief Netanyahu holds to strongly is that he should be the prime minister, the correct specifications for the prime minister's bed on his state funded 747, and the correct shade of mauve to paint his state funded residence, and what colour tie (state funded also) to wear when addressing the US congress. Taking risks like making peace are well beyond his ken.

      Now it is obvious Palestinian political opinion is more radicalised than Israeli political opinion. We do have several thousand bearded charismatic men with guns, propagandists, clerics, and apologists - but they have far more per head of population. We have 30% of the population who, like Rabbi Slifkin, are relatively indifferent to the sufferings of Arabs, because they are Arabs - which is why I called him a racist. But they probably have around 70%, who feel the same way about us.

      Why is this? Is it because the Arabs are genetically inferior to us, hell bent on our destruction, perhaps religiously mandated to make war on us to the bitter end? Well, actually are genome is functionally indistinguishable from their own; and our religion is also open to violent interpretation. And while the violent reverberations of decades of misrule has swept up and down the Euphrates and Tigris, it has noticeably not touched our lands.

      Surely the reason for Palestinian radicalism is this - because while we live fairly normal lives, their lives are lives of iron bondage enforced at the barrel of the foreigner's gun. Of course the Palestinians are going to be more radical than the Israelis - of course the antelope has stronger feelings than the leopard.

      People on this blog describe me as a left winger. I always thought that the principles of self autonomy and respect for human life were reasonably universal across the political spectrum. I am fed up of excuses for the bad behaviour of the Palestinians. I am fed up of the international intensive care they get. I am fed up of nihlisitc mindless Jihadi videos, boys dressing up as suicide bombers, the cult of fighting the occupation.

      I am utterly fed up with Israel having to take responsibility for the Palestinians plight. Let them have their own state, and sink or swim as any other nation. Yes, probably like Hezollah did in 2006, they will get overexcited about their victory. Certainly we will have the military means to defend ourselves. Do you see many Lebanese eager for another war with Israel? They are still sick to the back teeth of the thought of the last one. Can I guarantee you security? Absolutely not. Can you? The only person who is making guarantees is Netanyahu and "shrapnel in the butt" Bennet - they promise continual low grade conflict. But can they guarantee that things won't get out of hand? Also not.

      What I think really terrifies many Israelis about peace is what the history books will say about us afterwards. How a nation, oppressed so cruelly for so long, so quickly became the oppressor.

      How we defiled our heritage.

    7. Rabbi Slifkin cares a lot more about Palestinian suffering than you do because he knows taht the creation of a Palestinian state would INEVITABLY lead to a bloody civil war there just like there is in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen. The Palestinians would suffer a lot more under that than they do under the inconveniences they have to put up with today because of the security threats their own people are responsible for.

    8. You actually have many interesting ideas, among them a sort of "carrot and stick" approach, to better the Palestinians' lives, while at the same time fighting Hamas to the end. I don't think any politician in Israel has quite that combination right now.

      On the other hand, about Palestinian statehood: I once read a chess player's accounts of some of his more interesting experiences. Once he played against the grandmaster Oscar Chajes. The author describes how he noticed a combination of 20 moves which would win. However, as his excitement grew at the thought of beating a grandmaster, he confused move #18 with move #19! He was so distraught that, instead of a brilliant win, he barely eked out a draw.
      I feel the same way about Palestinian statehood: The actual ceding of land should be the final move. Presently we should work on improving mobility, removing roadblocks, improving infrastructure, providing utilities, etc. etc. gradually gaining the support of the Palestinian population. Then "handing them over the keys" to statehood would no longer involve as much of a security risk as it does now, with so many terrorist organizations among them.

    9. I cannot agree to any arrangement which keeps us locked in this loveless marriage for a second longer than necessary. And in practical terms, a declaration of statehood signifies.... nothing. The boots on the ground haven't changed. For me it's the easiest and first thing to hand over.

  8. It's a no-brainer you go with the bigger threat, which is the Charidy problem - you have to kill the parasite from within before you tackle any external danger.

  9. Rabbi Slifkin here's is why you can vote bayit hayehudi without worries:
    If the current polls (and those of the past 2 months) are correct, it is impossible for the left to form a coalition.
    The arabs have sworn up and down that they will never join a labor coalition and they mean it. Although to you labor is left, to the arabs they are just as bad as the rest of the zionists parties (they would also bomb gaza). So lets give labor 24 seats. add 12 for lapid and 7 for meretz. thats 43. lets even add kachlon (which isnt so pashut) so thats 10 more, to 53. thats it, and i've been pretty generous. who else would join? every other part is hard right and they all have sworn never to join such a coalition. especially the chariedi parties who wound never join with haman harasha himself (ie. lapid). so unless there is a huge suprise in the elections you really have not much to worry about. even if labor gets a few more seats then likud, its not the largest party that forms the government, but rather the one who can actually make a coalition of 60. the right can easily do that with likud (23) bayit yehudi (12) yisrael betenu (6) shas (7) UTJ (7) yachad (4) all of whom who have said that they want a natanyahu government. and kachlon (10) who would also join such a goverment and there you have it. the ikar is to just vote for a right wing party and all will be ok.
    shimmy miller

    1. I don't think so - Shas and UTJ would join with Herzog and Lapid if they got enough concessions, and I am sure that Herzog would oblige. Would Lapid? Probably.

    2. are you kidding me? lapid has vowed a million times that he will never give up on his flagship legislation to draft the chareidim with criminal sanctions. the chareidm will never join with him as long as thats the case, and herzog has no chance without lapid in his coalition (even though they aren't really compatible ideology wise). (even if you replace lapid with the charedim thats still only a net gain of 2 seats. still short of 60.)
      shimmy miller

    3. I hope you're right, but I think you are relying too much on politicians' promises. Lapid knows very well that the coming Knesset is his last chance to accomplish something big, which he can't do from the opposition. Shas likewise is desparate to enter the government, and UTJ will not be far behind. It is very likely that, given this confluence of interests, they will be able to find some formula which is acceptable to all of them.

    4. i think you will find that the arab parties don't need to be part of the coalition and that in theory herzog can form a minority government as long as the arab parties don't vote against it. In practice if rivlin gives the first opp. to herzog, he needs 60- (no. of arab party seats) so that there won't be 61 votes against him. Something which is very possible.

    5. Polls are always garbage. At this point in the last election Yesh Atid was polling at 11 seats and they got loads more.

      If you vote for a right-wing party you are condemning the country to burn whilst the only things that get money are settlements and haredi yeshivot.
      It's not a joke and it's not extremist.
      The rest of the country is more important than the small percentage that Bibi-Haredim-Bennet's next government is actually going to help.

      Yesh Atid has actually made things a lot better around here (see here: )

      But there's a lot more to do. If you want to help Israel as a whole, vote Yesh Atid.

    6. it is extremely naive to believe all that lipman writes; he is a politician desperate to get elected. Bennett is also trying to 'make things better' as is kahalon and most of the other parties. The lapid claims he managed to give more money to holocaust survivors is very nice but not really relevant. According to all other reports lipman lied in the article when he says y.a. didn't want the criminal sanctions and be aware that y.a. were by no way the only ppl working on the draft law.

    7. Bennet is trying to make things better for settlers, not for anyone else really.
      Bibi is trying to make things better for himself.
      Herzog / Livni are trying to make things better for the Palestinians.
      UTJ is trying to make things better for Haredim.
      Kahlon wants things to be better but doesn't have any concrete ideas as to how to do it.
      Shas wants things to be better for Sephardi Haredim.
      Lieberman wants things to be worse for Arabs.

      Yesh Atid wants things to be better for the majority of Israelis who live here, haredim, sephardim, secular Jews, young couples, those getting married, holocaust survivors, etc etc.

      So you should vote for them. Because that's what a political party is supposed to do and they are the only ones doing it.

  10. "Uncomfortable"/Moniker/Whatever-your-name-is/

    I don't know what you expect to gain using your preposterous "moral equivalence" argument here. Although many Israelis (wrongly) believe that territorial concessions may bring peace (it has already been proven that they won't) few are going to be swayed by your turning around our arguments.
    You claim that HAMAS is providing "true leadership". I realize that those in the West Bank say in polls that they like HAMAS, but I am CERTAIN that in Gaza, most of the residents would welcome Israeli troops that would enter and throw out that vile, repressive, corrupt regime, at least for a week or two. The Gaza/HAMAS regime, like the regime in Iran and like Assad's regime in Syria before the outbreak of the civil war there justify their repressive regimes by maintaining a state of permanent mobilization against an imaginary enemy, Israel. They squander huge amounts of money buying useless weapons, and in Iran's case, trying to build an atomic bomb which they would also find would not help them very much. What we are seeing in Iran, is a repeat of what happened in the USSR. A big bully regime keeping its population poor and repressed in order to build up massive armaments, using the excuse and memories of a war fought decades before (Germany in the case of the USSR, and Iraq in the Iranian situation). All of this is cynically done in order to prop up a corrupt oligarchy that is impoverishing their population. In the end, all the thousands of tanks and missiles and nuclear warheads did not prevent the collapse of the USSR. It is just a matter of time until the same thing happens in Iran. On a smaller scale, Gaza is is in the same situation. The HAMAS regime has imposed immense suffering on its population there and it will collapse, one way or another eventually as well. We Israelis just have to tough it out and that means not making the dangerous concessions people like you are pushing on us all the time.

    1. "I don't know what you expect to gain using your preposterous "moral equivalence" argument here. "

      Neither do I. Reading this blog is so depressing. It brings me close and closer to the conclusion that Boycott Divestment and Sanctions is the only way to deal with the 30% of the Israeli population, who, like the esteemed Rabbi, appear to be inveterate and irrational racists.

      "You claim that HAMAS is providing "true leadership""

      Truly I don't. Unlike Netanyahu I advocate engaging and destroying them. So the remaining meanderings are irrelevant. I don't fetishise militarism.

    2. Uncomfortable TruthMarch 8, 2015 at 3:55 AM

      Y. Ben David,
      Evidently you did not read my comment carefully. Nowhere did I say that Hamas provides true leadership, I said that Palestinians can easily view them as doing so because they offer a clear alternative to their current situation. Much like the Israeli parties glorified on this blog, Likud, Habayit Hayehudi, and Yachad, Hamas presents a sharp moral binary: Israel is evil, we are not. Unfortunately, nuanced sentiments like those of Moniker are not in vogue in fundamentalist circles--whether they be Arab or Jewish. But the echo-chamber must be quite comfortable.

    3. You make it sound so easy to destroy Hamas. Once I was on a tour of Yad VaShem, given by Rabbi Asher Wade of Heritage House/Ohr Sameach. He said how historians write the history of WWII as if some alien race called "the Nazis" came and take over Germany, then suddenly were whisked off after the war is over. The same "Nazis" simply took off their uniforms and melded with the rest of the German population.
      Eradicating Hamas is much more difficult even than hunting down former Nazis. It is an ideology. At least the Nazis in WWII had identifiable uniforms; here, with Hamas, even during combat, the combatants dress as civilians, making it look as if Israel is killing only civilians. We might be able to take out the leaders, but the Muslim Brotherhood ideology will just produce replacements. Look at how much trouble Egypt is having trying to destroy Hamas--and they are not impeded with having to worry about what the media says about them, and have pretty much free rein to do whatever they want.

    4. Would just like to point out that I and Uncomfortable Truth aren't the same person.

      No, it isn't easy to root out an ideology. It's not the mission of an army to win hearts and minds. That's the political leadership's role. I'm asking that we use our 7% of GDP million - man army for the purposes it was intended for - engaging the armed enemy , securing hostile territory to be handed over to the PA.

      Instead we spent the summer lobbing several thousand tonnes of exquisitely well aimed and but blindly targeted explosive - often at elaborately (and sometimes less than elaborately) evacuated civilian residences - in a grim race to out-terrorise the terrorists.

      Yes, Gaza is a tough and challenging operational environment. Did you expect war to be easy, press a few buttons and your problems go away? That's why we have an army as well as an airforce.

    5. "Boycott Divestment and Sanctions is the only way to deal with the 30% of the Israeli population"

      Boycott Divestment and Sanctions is the creative way to harm both Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs at the same time. It does allow lefties in the west to feel smug about their moral superiority, though.

  11. Rabbi slifkin,
    Just out of curiosity, why would you not vote for yachad? they are a heartening mix of moderate chareidi and dati leumi with a klal based perspective. they are much more genuinely loyal to torah ideals then bennet (who uses religion/rabbis as a way to placate his dati leumi/settler base. he would really like bayit hayehudi to be a more secular likud 2, just more right wing. this is obvious in many of his moves and is why many of the dati leumi have had a falling out with him (hence the drop in the polls from 16-18 to 12-13)). But they are far from the radical charedim and their agenda.
    shimmy miller

    1. Actually, their agenda is pretty much identical to that of the "radical charedim." I don't see how you can't see that.

      By the way, Bennett got 12 seats in the last election, so he has no drop at all and maybe even a gain. So the idea that "many" dati leumi have a problem with him is a myth. Add up Yishai's and Deri's seats and you see it's all just Shas, and maybe a sprinkling of people who voted for Ben-Ari last time anyway.

    2. The Anti-Torah ChareidimMarch 8, 2015 at 9:40 AM

      Can you explain more of Yachads positions? I appreciated your initial description Do they support most Chareidim.working and serving while still.respecting true halachic valhes as oppsed to chumras and chareidi halchic perversions?

    3. I have to disagree that the drop in the Bayit Yehudi's poll results is due to people defecting to YAHAD because Bennett is supposedly "not religious enough". A few Rabbis have made this move, but the large majority of Religous Zionist Rabbis are sticking with Bayit Yehudi. The big drop in support for BY from which it has not recovered came in the wake of the Ohana Affair. If you follow the polls, drops in the Likud support correspond to increases in BY's support and vice-versa. Thus, there are a signficant number of people wavering beteween Likud and BY, and less so between BY and YAHAD. I would guess that between 1 and 2 seats of people have shifted from BY to YAHAD, and some of them are doing it for "strategic" reasons and not ideological ones, fearing that if YAHAD does not pass the electoral threshold, then the Right is giving the (undeserving) Left a gift of up to 4 seats.

      I believe YAHAD"s economic agenda is close to that of the Haredi...."helping the poor" so I wouldn't expect their demands to roll back the reforms passed regarding the Haredi society will be any less than that of SHAS or UTJ. Thus, if you really believe this is important, you should NOT vote for YAHAD and vote BY instead.

    4. It's so sad to see how far the religious zionist world has swung to the far right. Your comments here, Anonymous, show that you consider that to be properly RZ you have to be more in line with Yachad and the Hardalim.

      Religious Zionism never used to be this way. It's been torn apart for years - which is what destroyed the Mafdal party - because the moderate Religious Zionists never had the back-bone to stand up to the extremists and to tell them to knock it off. They never stood up to them and said 'you guys are going off the rails with this eretz yisrael shelema shtick. You guys are going off the rails by allowing the undertones of racism to become part of the daily conversation. you guys are not sticking to the game plan of Rav Kook, but to his son Rav Tzvi Yehuda and it's a different thing altogether."

      It's time we took back the Torah from the extremists, whose vision is just not in keeping with the mainstream thrust of Judaism throughout the ages, whose Torah is corrupted by simplistic nationalistic, hate filled ideology.

      See here for a more nuanced approach:

    5. are you aware that yesh atid want to empower reform rabbis so they can do things like weddings? Do you really want the reform to have more power? Is that what you think religious ppl should support? Likud and bayit yehudi will eventually make halachic laws less extreme but once you give power to the reform, there is no going back. And you are the one supporting it. Have patience, support a religious party, and give bennett some time.

    6. Israel Future, you seem not to realize that Bayit Yehudi is just as right-wing on land issues and the like as Yachad supposedly is (but really isn't- they are charedim, after all). The differences are in matters of religion, not Arabs or land.

      Then again, you probably do realize this, and are just using the old "things were so much better in the old days" shtick in reference to a party you never liked anyway in order to support your guy, and we all know who that is. Knock it off.

    7. David,

      It's a sad reality that I have heard so many times in this election campaign is religious people distorting Yesh Atid's views on issues of 'Religion and State' in order that they can easily dismiss the party or denigrate it.

      Yesh Atid believes that State is the home of the Jewish People, and that government is a tool of the people to ensure that decisions are made that reflect the wishes and needs of those who live there. It is not a tool of the religious authorities to impose their will on the population as a whole.

      Bayit Yehudi is clearly, and sadly, following the trend towards greater extremism in religion and there is no sign of it becoming more moderate. Quite the opposite really, given that it now has it's own Council of Sages that it follows (a bit like Shas, actually).

      Nachum is correct that there is little difference between Bayit Yehudi and Yachad in terms of their both being determined, based on their own religious standards, to oppose any territorial compromises, regardless of the security implications for Israel as a whole. (And in Yachad's case, regardless even of what Rav Ovadia held on that issue...!)

      My guy is clearly Yair Lapid, - that's obvious by the fact that my blog is an unofficial pro-Yesh Atid blog and I've never hidden that fact - quite the opposite in fact.

      One of the reasons I do support Yesh Atid is because on issues of religion and state they are bringing back the one common and now rarely heard voice of moderate public halachic leadership. Reading Rav Kook and Rav Uzziel and comparing them to the rabbis of Bayit Yehudi makes for sad reading as you realize how harsh, strict and uncompromising the voice of Torah has become. We need more rabbis like Lipman and Piron.

      Please all you vote for Yesh Atid.

  12. The more seats bayit yehudit gets, the more difficult it becomes for labor to form a leftwing coalition. Not sure what logic there could be that would suggest otherwise.

    It would also be true that the more seats bayit yehudi has, the easier it will be for likud to form a coalition with them as one of the partners.
    Not sure what logic Rabbi Slifkin is employing here

  13. What's done is done. We are not going back in time. The lapid measures were implemented and the establishment wanted them. Even if utj enters the next coalition, the best they can hope for is a dialectic evolution. Ie lapid put in something they consider extreme, so it might get modified a bit to ease the pressure on them (from their perspective) and it ends up somewhere in the middle. Sort of like compromise but without the actual compromising from 2 stubborn sides. But the idea that all change is erased is not realistic. Change is a coming and it can't be stopped now.

  14. While Yachad does have some token DL types to "prove" how moderate they are, Yishai has said he is against any sanctions on Charedim who do not serve in the army; So while they might be a little more open to the idea of men working for a living, with regards to the army they are not much different from Shas or Gimmel. You may recall that their main DL representative, Yoni Chetboun, when he was part of Bayit Hayehudi, actually voted against the Draft Law.

    1. Yachad is pro serving in the army. chetboun only voted against the draft law because of the criminal sanctions it included. he holds (as do many others) that the way to get the charedim to join the army is not through throwing them into jail. that will only harden their resolve to never join and is completely counter productive. believe them when they say that they would rather go to jail en masse rather then be drafted.
      shimmy miller

    2. No, no, and no. Yachad is opposed to charedim serving, period. Their spiritual leader Mazuz is quite clear on this. They are in favor of other people serving, much as all charedim are, even if they are perhaps a bit more hypocritically open about it.

      Face it: Yachad is charedi in all ways with some non-bearded window dressing.

  15. Rabbi Slifkin, if you just censored my last two comments, would you care to set out why, or accept that you and cross currents can't deal with dissent.

    1. I did not censor any comments on this thread.

    2. Charlie, it's nice that you're being considerate to the Palestinians' interests. Forgive me for observing, however, that your consideration is also somewhat self interested.

      If you live the lives that Palestinians live - think military occupation, random settler violence, discriminatory non-provision of public services, and a somewhat concomitant economy funded by international donations - I don't think that further economic difficulties arising from a boycott of Israeli goods would be terribly material.

      I hate the prospect of BDS from the gut. Because it was neo colonialist. Because it would cause enormous hardship and suffering in Israel, like it did in South Africa.

      Because it would work.

    3. Apologies, overzealous comment

  16. " you don't want to see a left-wing government that will give away land to the Palestinians."

    I have often thought that just as it took a Nixon to go to China, it will take a Netanyahu to make peace with the Arabs. This will involve some land give-aways (the so-called "two state solution") unless the Palestinian Arabs can be convinced to become Israeli (Caroline Glick's version of the "one state solution"). Last week's news indicated that Netanyahu was willing to try. I've often said that Netanyahu is not the right wing extremist that his political opponents claim he is (or that some of his supporters wish he were).

    1. Of course you are right, Netanyahu is not very different from Livni. Except he speaks fluent english that Americans can understand, he's a good speaker, he's credible, etc. In terms of politics very similar. They all want a 2 state solution. That is the establishment's goal. I can't stand the blindness with which they adhere to that delusion still 20 years later.

  17. All this political analysis is very interesting, but, as far as I can see, has nothing to do with rationalist Judaism. Of course, we all of us believe that political positions we prefer are the rational ones.

    Lawrence Kaplan

  18. Israel Future-
    There is no correlation between being "religiously liberal" Orthodox and one's position regarding the settlements and relations with the Palestinians. Many if not most liberal Tzohar Rabbis are "Right-wing'" regarding the settlements. The Rabbis who have left Bayit Yehudi for YAHAD say they are doing it not because of disagreements over the settlements but because Bennett and BY are to "liberal" for them. Many Haredim are quite hostile to the settlements and would ideally prefer a Left-wing gov't but they are quite conservative and hard-line on religious issues.
    The MAFDAL almost 10 years ago because of the double game they played with the destruction of Gush Katif, saying they opposed it but in practice they voted to keep Sharon in power and they helped him to carry it out. It was when Bennett came along and made a clear, articulate statement about what the party stood for regarding supporting the settlements and opposition to a Palestinian state that they went back from 3 Knesset seats to 12. This is because these are the positions that many, many Religious Zionists support, whether or not you consider them "racist" or whatever other epithets you choose to call them.
    Bennett has a tough job keeping together a wide spectrum of views on religious issues in the party and has succeeded until now. I was disappointed that he failed to get Rav Stav elected as Chief Rabbi, but in Jerusalem there was success afterwards in getting a RZ rabbi elected as Chief Ashekenazi Rabbi of the city. He still has a lot to learn but I think he is the best thing that has come along in the political world in a long time and I am willing to overlook mistakes at this point (e.g. the Ohana affair) as long as he admits and corrects mistakes.

    1. But the Ohana affair was the one thing that gave the game away (to those who still hadn't seen that Bennet is the Emperor in no clothes). What the Ohana affair showed was this:

      Bennet wanted to give his party a face-lift to non-far-right voters. He found a patsy - Ohana. His religious leadership blew their stack and he had to bow dow to them and give up Ohana.

      On every issue, if Bennet tries to bend towards less zealous Judaism or less zealous Israel, then he will be shouted down by the religious leadership in his party.

      I was at a debate recently between Uri Bank (Bayit Yehudi) and Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid) in which Uri admitted outright that the only reason that they brought in Ohana was because they need the votes that he would bring them - and NOT because their party actually represents the needs of more moderate Israelis.

      It's the greatest shame that Bennet does not have the integrity or the strength to be who he wants to be or to stand up to the far-right religious zionist leadership. But let's recognize that fact, please. He is the more acceptable face of the RZ world, but he doesn't call the shots. You are right, Bennet does oppose separation from the Palestinians, but that's because he (still) doesn't get that there are 2 million Palestinians living here who aren't going to disappear any time soon.*

      But there are strong moderate religious leaders who are zionist and who are not beholden to extremist rabbis. They aren't in Bayit Yehudi - they are in Yesh Atid.

      So voters who want a strong Jewish voice in Israel, who want sensible government that favors all Israelis and not just the settlers and who care deeply about the country as a whole can vote Yesh Atid as a zionist and as a Jewish vote.

      *You should read this Times of Israel interview with Yair Lapid about the last round of negotiations with the Palestinian leadership to get a better idea of what happened and of Lapid's stance on this issue:

  19. I think you left out a few potential concerns. For example:

    1. The concern that the present administration is severely damaging our relationship with the international community in general, and the United States in particular. Or are we confident that the Republican party alone is sufficient to ensure a United States that is friendly to Israel, or do we think that Israel can endure international isolation?

    2. The concern that if we do not propose reasonable solutions on our own, a solution will eventually be imposed upon us by an international community that is tired of dealing with the Israel-Palestinian conflict, a solution that would probably be more dangerous to our security than a negotiated solution. Or are we confident of our ability to stand alone against the world?

    3. The concern that as much as we may yell and scream whenever anyone mentions the word "apertheid" in connection with Israel, a semi-permanent situation in which several million people live under our jurisdiction with no right to vote, no citizenship, military occpuation, little or no infrastructure investment in their communities, separate and inferior transportation systems, and little or no hope of this situation changing, seems more and more like the situation that ugly "a" word once described.

    4. The concern about African migrants being herded into concentration camps, with no opportunity for a hearing, and no heat in the coldest part of the winter. I know all about the tough situation in South Tel Aviv, and yes, we have to protect our country from being overrun by migrants, but I don't think you have to be bleeding heart liberal, at least I hope you don't have to be, to want these people to be treated like human beings, which they are, and to be ashamed of a country that treats them in a way which, if Jews were being treated in such a way, we would be screaming to high heaven.

    Just suggesting that the issues in this election, and for the country in general, are a little more complex than suggested in this post.

  20. Baruch Gitlin-
    (1) Israel is not facing serious "international isolation". I heard recently that exports to Europe are increasing and trade with Turkey (!) is booming. Israel has good relations with more nations than ever, including ones in the past that kept their distance such as Russia, Japan, China, Vietnam and others. Yes, Arab petro-dollars are greasing the palms of politicians in the US and Europe who harp on us, but there is no real pressure, even if there is a lot of nose. I am not saying there isn't any pressure, but it can and is being dealt with.
    (2) No solution will be imposed, nor can one be imposed. No one can force the Palestinians to make concessions that would be suicidal for them, primarily recognizing Israel as a Jewish state and, more importantly, giving up the right of return. For the Palestinians, no agreement and no Palestinian state is better than having one. Their conflict with Israel is existential, and can not be solved by a compromise peace agreement. Most of the world COULD NOT CARE LESS about the Palestinians, the settlements and all the other hot-button issues we Jews obsess about. Even the Arabs are indifferent to the Palestinians, just as they are indifferent to the fratricidal slaughter their brothers are perpetrating on one another. Their hatred of Israel has nothing to do with the situation of the Palestinians and no peace agreement with them would end fact it would exacerbate it because the Arabs would say that the Jews are now weak and more pressure through terrorism and diplomacy should be applied.
    (3) The Palestinians are living under an autonomy regime that deals with their day-to-day lives. They have citizenship in that autonomy. The fact that it is massively corrupt and has squandered the BILLIONS of dollars in aid they have received since Oslo in 1993 and thus they have a poor infrastructure compared to Israel is not Israel's fault. Hong Kong was under British occupation for 150 years and they had a good infrastructure, because they worked hard and built it. Palestinian poverty is structural and is not Israel's fault, in fact their standard of living is higher than that in most non-oil producing Arab states. Security restrictions are due to the fact that both the HAMAS and FATAH regimes ruling them encourage terrorism to one degree or another. Movement would be greatly eased if they would stop trying to kill us.
    (4) I always find it amusing when people like Olmert, Peres and Livni say "it will be very bad for Israel if there is no Palestinian state". Well, isn't that what the Arabs want? Do you think Abbas will say "fellows, we have to make suicidal concessions to Israel like giving up the right of return of the refugees so that we can help Israel and ease the pressure on it?" Of course not. They believe time is on their side BUT IT ISN"T. The Arab world is destroying itself, formerly formidable enemies like Iraq and Syria have blown themselves apart and Egypt is stuck in stagnation and poverty. Also, the demographics have turned around with the Jewish birthrate rising (!) and the Arab birthrate plunging even faster than did the European one.
    (5) Time to think positive for a change!

    1. (1) Israel is not facing serious "international isolation".

      (2) "recognizing Israel as a Jewish state"

      Nobody knows what this mean. Does this mean the Druze policeman who died defending Jews in the Har Nof massacre was a second class citizen? Is this not a fine peace of Netanyahu procrastination - all presentation and no substance.

      "giving up the right of return"

      "Most of the world COULD NOT CARE LESS about the Palestinians, the settlements and all the other hot-button issues we Jews obsess about."

      In fact John Kerry complained that the UN was "obsessed" with them. But enough about John Kerry. Do you as a decent Jew not CARE LESS about the Palestinians?

      "The Palestinians are living under an autonomy regime that deals with their day-to-day lives."

      Would you be happy living under foreign military occupation? Would you be happy if you grew olives and wanton settlers uprooted hundred - year old trees and the police just were not interested? Would you be happy if your place of worship was firebombed? If a foreign government wittheld your tax revenues? Your Jewish neighbour dumped rubbish in your garden and called your wife and eight year old daughter" sharmuttah"?

      "Palestinian poverty is structural"

      Correct. Economic restrictions, lack of development, and withholding of consent for infrastructure approval has meant that there is no large scale private sector.

      "is not Israel's fault,"

      Do you not think the millitary occupation should take responsibility?

      "in fact their standard of living is higher than that in most non-oil producing Arab states" - true - they are on life support from international donors (some of it cynically aimed at local populations I know. But not the EU money). Turns out most of the world COULD CARE about the Palestinians.

      "Movement would be greatly eased if they would stop trying to kill us."

      Oh, so there are restrictions on the economy in Palestine arising from military occupation after all. I have a feeling there would be even less restrictions and checkpoints if all the illegal outposts - illegal under Israeli law - were dismantled. But we must have our priorities - defy the international community, or defy Boruch Marzel - it's got to be the international community every time, right?

      "Well, isn't that what the Arabs want? "

      Nope. Mainly they want the same things that you want - peace, dignity, security, prosperity.

      "Jewish birthrate rising"

      Charedi birthrate anyway.

      "Time to think positive for a change!"

      Here at last, Mr ben David, we have a meeting of minds.

    2. Moniker-
      (1) The recognition Israel as a "Jewish state" was first raised by Olmert, not Netanyahu. Yossi Yonah, the far-leftist candidate of the Labor Party who is very attuned to Palestinian demands says he accepts that Israel should insist on this. In any event, the Palestinian constitution says that the Palestinians are an integral part of the Arab nation and that Islam is recognized as the official religion. The official name of Egypt is "the Arab Republic of Egypt". The official name of Syria is "The Syrian Arab Republic". Anglicanism is the official religion of the United Kingdom. If these things don't bother you then a "Jewish state" shouldn't bother you either.

      (2) The SECULAR Jewish birth rate has increased in the last decade, against all predictions of demographers, while the Haredi birthrate has fallen somewhat. The Arab birthrate among the Palestinians and other Arabs plus that of the Turks and Iranians has plummeted.

      (3) Your statement about Israel being responsible for the the structural problems in the Palestinian economy is ridiculous. Look around at the other non-oil-producing Arab states. Show me ONE that has a prosperous economy. The pseud-socialist corrupt economies of all these countries shows an endemic problem. Egypt is poor and it is NOT because of "Israel occupation" or "settlements" or what have you. The Palestinian government is corrupt and inefficient just like those of the surrounding Arab countries.
      (5) Yes, the UN is obsessed with Israel because its functionaries and the national rulers, including many American leaders, are paid off with Arab petro-dollars. The UN does not represent the "world". The populations of the UN members, including the Arab people DON'T CARE about the Palestinians, just like they don't care about the fratricidal slaughter their brother-Arabs/Muslims are doing to each other.
      (4) Your picking of anecdotal stories of incidents in the West Bank in which Jews are supposedly not acting very nice to Arabs don't prove anything. You could also talk about how the Palestinian media, under official PA control, incites violence and dehumanizes Jews, but, of course, you choose to ignore that.
      (5) Your comment:
      Mainly they want the same things that you want - peace, dignity, security, prosperity.

      You are like so many "progressives" I have assume that everybody in the world is like you, you are nice, you want peace, you respect other people and nations, so its just GOTTA be that everyone is like me. WRONG!
      "Justice" as they see it, in their official Palestinian propaganda, is more important than "prosperity". That is why the HAMAS regime in Gaza impoverishes their population in order to build rockets and tunnels. That is because, as they see it "THERE CAN BE NO JUSTICE FOR THE PALESTINIANS AS LONG AS ISRAEL EXISTS" regardless of what borders Israel may have. The only "justice" for the millions of Palestinian refugees is to implement fully, the so-called Right of Return of the refugees to within Israel An independent Palestinian state will never agree to accept them because the refugees are viewed as aliens who would disrupt their society. This the reason there is NO POSSIBILITY of a compromise peace, whether or not you like that fact.

    3. Well, after reading the continuous blabberings of "moniker", his latest comments inpelled me to answer. He has swallowed, hook , line and sinker, the arab propaganda and the anti-semitic siren songs.
      He imputes virtually every sin to israel and totally absolves the Arabs. Every Arab wants to live in dignity...etc. Sure, ISIS and Hezbollah and Hamas are just pussycats that want ot live in dignity...etc... What a crock!
      It is Israel's fault that the Palestinians live in poverty.etc.... Yup- after untold billions of aid and decades of keeping them poor for political purposes,we find that all that money went to build tunnels to kill jews and arms to shoot children.Yup- great economic depravation ,all of it israel's fault...not counting the billions that their corrupt leaders (headed by Arafat himself) stole and banked in Switzerland. But no, it must be Israel's fault.
      He asks whether we would not want to live free of "military control". Does my memory play tricks or did israel and its "totalitarian army" leave Gaza totally ten years ago? After all of those greenhouses (paid for by the same credulous jews that moniker represenst) are blooming, the beaches are full of tourists, the hotels are packed with visitors..oh, they are not? You mean to tell me that the Palestinians are still ruled with an iron fist, that no sane tourist would dare visit gaza? Well it must be israel's fault, of course..
      "Moniker"-' stop insulting our intelligence- we can read, we can see, we can hear, The (very) few instances that you point out of violence against Arabs pales in comparison with the killings and bombings that Arabs commit virtually every day.
      Stop insulting our intelligence and claim that the UN (for g-d's sake!) is an impartial body ,cloaked in righful indignation agaisnt those dastardly Israelis.
      Stop insulting our intelligence by claiming that the Palestinian situation is the most important problem for the world- that, when ISIS is rampaging everywhere, where Iran is undermining countless of other governments, but no, israel is the biggest problem.
      Stop insulting our intelligence and go peddle your propaganda elswhere
      Moshe Dick.

    4. Moshe it's hard to extract exactly what point you are making. I get from your general piece the feeling that I am upsetting you. I can assure you that this is not my intention

      I can assure you that I never stated anywhere that I felt the UN was impartial. I don't absolve the Arabs of responsibility. In fact I am fed up of playing mother to them, and wish they would make their own state, take responsibility for their own fate, and leave us in peace. But life is never simple, and doesn't follow simplistic ideologies. Sometimes military threats must be confronted. There is no guarantee of peace whatever path we choose. I am however reasonably confident that our policy must never be directed by the need to make Gaza safe for tourists or greenhouses.

      You claim you know of the suffering of the Palestinians. Yet you seek to exclude discussion of the same, claiming it is propaganda. The truth is not propaganda. Claiming Mohammed Abu Khedeir was killed by his own family for being gay is propaganda. Claiming that no live fire was used at Beitunia, or that the footage was fake, or that the kids who were shot there while rioting is propaganda. The Israeli right is alive with propaganda.

      You state that ISIS and Iran are larger problems than the Palestinians. It follows that we should stop dissipating effort on a secondary threat.

      I don't seek to minimise our own suffering; I seek to challenge your faulty commutative geometry of justice; I was taught in nursery that two wrongs do not make a right.

      I apologise for disturbing the gloomy hauteur of your echo chamber with the fresh air of reality. I will leave you to the burning issue of the day: people's front of Judea or Judean people's front.

  21. Assess what is the biggest short term threat and who is most likely to deal with it properly.

  22. Israel Future-
    Your comment :
    But there are strong moderate religious leaders who are zionist and who are not beholden to extremist rabbis. They aren't in Bayit Yehudi - they are in Yesh Atid.
    I have come to the conclusion that you are not coming across as a "concerned citizen'" but as a PR man for Lapid whom you seem to think is the only man of integrity.
    Regarding religious issues....I support the approach of the liberal "Rabbanei Tzohar". But Lapid's people are ultimately not the ones who can really reform the Rabbinate and the religious Establishment. I should point out that it was the Bayti Yehudi that democratically placed Rav Ben-Dahan in spot number two and he knows the Rabbinate inside and out, wants real reforms and is in a position to do something about it.
    Piron and Stern are deeply polarizing figures who turn off a lot of liberal religious people like myself. An acquaintance of mine had a run-in with Stern in the IDF years ago when Stern was chief education officer and Stern behaved in a very negative, unfair manner with this fellow, which already showed that he, like many Leftist IDF officers was motivated more by advancing himself politically rather "the national interest".
    Piron has made statements that infuriated many religious people and he has burned his bridges with much of the religious world. Whether you like it or not, Bennett has succeeded in pulling together a lot of religious people with varied views on what the role of the Rabbinic leadership should be in the party and how to reform the Rabbinate, so it is Bayit Yehudi that is best placed to carry on with the reforms for the long-term future.
    You are well aware that every "centrist" party has fallen apart after 2-3 electoral terms. Your party will be no different. Lapid has painted himself into a corner regarding his relations with the Haredi parties. If he goes into a coalition with them, he will be forced to give up at least some of the reforms he is pushing, particularly IDF conscription, and if he is pushed into the opposition, he will have to sit on his hands and he will not be able to show any accomplishments. Since your party is a one-man dictatorship, tensions will inevitably break out and the image of the party will be tarnished.
    I can also not get it out of my mind Lapid's statement supporting the destruction of Gush Katif in which he said something to the effect that it was done NOT to get security and not to give the Palestinians "self-determination" but rather simply to make the RZ pro-settlement people suffer. Well, he made the people of the South suffer too. Add to that his deliberately calling a press-conference on Shabbat a few months ago which sent a bad message to his liberal religious supporters, and he comes across as just another cynical politician who will fade out like all the others like him.

    PS-Those of us who support the Judea/Samaria settlement are very aware of the Palestinian population. Your statement that supposedly BY doesn't care about them is ridiculous. Lapid himself in the past has stated that he doesn't see a compromise peace in the offing so if he is claiming that Netanyahu is pushing hard enough for one he is being dishonest. He joined Netanyahu's gov't knowing the situation so if he is now claiming he is a "peace candidate" he is further damaging his reputation.

    1. Your statement, that Yair Lapid had said the evacuation from Gush Katif was made to punish the religious Zionists, arrested me. I thought you must have been mischaracterizing his remarks, that nobody could say something so stupid. So I googled it. It was published on Ynet on 10/15/06 under the headline "things we couldn't say during the disengagement." Unfortunately, you characterized it correctly. That is what he said. Terrible, shameful comments.

      I'm not a Lapid voter, though I do agree with their programme of restructuring charedims (the details being debatable.) But after reading those remarks, I don't know how anyone in the world could ever vote for such a man.

  23. "We have 30% of the population who, like Rabbi Slifkin, are relatively indifferent to the sufferings of Arabs, because they are Arabs - which is why I called him a racist. "

    Excuse me??!! Yes, I am relatively indifferent to the sufferings of enemy nations. How on earth does that make me a racist? In WWII do you think that the Allies were racists for being relatively indifferent to the sufferings of Germans?

    1. It may have seemed that this was a novel and brilliant stroke. By recasting all members of a race or ethnicity as "enemies" one appears avoids the charge of racism. However, this is not a new idea. Hamas defends its attacks on civilians on the grounds that all Israelis are part of the "Zionist War Machine" In fact , the very redefinition of all members of an ethnic group as enemies because of their ethnicity is the essence of what most people mean by racism.

      This is the mad road of paranoia and hatred, which leads to the tragic deaths this summer of four boys - Gilad Shaer, Naftali Frankel, Eyal Yifrah, and Mohammed abu Khedier, may they all rest in peace.

      I have said that I think that about 30% of Israeli Jews are racists like yourself, and that about 70% of Arabs also share a mirror image of your repugnant views. Insofar as I don't believe your views constitute a reasonable cause to attack you militarily, I don't believe the Palestinians who hold such views - though they are apologists for terror - are sufficient grounds to attack them, or to be indifferent to their suffering.

      I fully support attacks on armed terrorists, and other active terror operatives insofar as it has a strategic purpose. I estimate this would apply to some 5% of the Palestinian population in Gaza, and less than 1% in Judea and Samaria. In theory I would support similar use of armed force against settlers aggressively terrorising civilian populations. However, as DF points out below, and as I agree with, we are all racists to an extent. I don't like to see my own people die. I will be honest with you - I don't feel the loss of Mohammed abu Khedier like I feel the loss of our Jewish brethren. But the counterbalancing force to our innate kin preference, or racism, must be the awareness that objectively, our blood is no redder than theirs, and that which is hateful to us, we must not do to others, so that we may both live in peace.

      Incidentally, as I made clear in my comments on this blog over the summer, my position is that the practice of carpet bombing German civilians in World War 2 was objectively both outrageously morally repugnant and militarily pointless. This is not to be conflated with the issues around collateral damage where a military target is intended which will cause damage to a civilian area, in which case the rules of proportionality would apply.

    2. as Kissinger once said about paranoia...there are some real enemies out there!
      It is outrageous that you keep on accusing every israeli of being full of hatred, as if they are taught that in school-wait- that is what the Palestinian children are taught, never saw that in any israeli schoolbook. Any real hatred is coming squarely form the arabs- and if you call me -and others- a racist for that, well, then so be it!
      i am not even going to comment on your views about war in germany- because you were not there and never fought any real enemy. Your approach to war is straight out of the bleeding liberal corner- a corner that has been more responsbile for human suffering that any other belief- because they allow evil to roam this earth. Moshe Dick

    3. Moniker, I don't actively hate all Palestinians - I'm sure that there are some who are decent people. But I still care less about them than about members of my own nation. That is not something that I feel any need to overcome. Every nation in the world cares more about its own citizens than about citizens of other countries. There is nothing immoral in that.

      It also amazes me that you consider Palestinian Hamas supporters and their like to be "mirror images" of people like me.

    4. No. I consider Palestinians who are indifferent to terrorist attacks on Jewish people because they are Jewish to be mirror images of you.

    5. You lumped the entire Palestinian nation together as "the enemy" which was clumsy You've retracted in your next comment. I think in conclusion that I don't object to the position you espoused in the second comment.

      There's a difference between "cares more about own citizens" and "indifferent." As I pointed out you are stoically indifferent to maintaining a military occupation which occasions great suffering to Palestinians, which you justified as required by the security situation. However you now admitted to feeling a dilemma only when faced with the choice between hard-line policies on Palestinians and hard-line policies on charedim. It shows your "security considerations" are really a lack of consideration for the lives of others. I consider this unacceptably racist for a civilised society - not in the faddish left wing "hurt feelings" or "politically correct" sense but in the old fashioned sense that people are loosing their lives, human dignity and livelihoods as a result of your and other Israelis' choices. I say "civilised society" - what I precisely mean is societies who have looked into history's abyss of interracial blood-letting and decided that we cannot bear to continue like this for the sake of our children.

    6. Moshe Dick were you taught in school about the rape committed by Jewish soldiers in Lod and Ramlah? Or that the bleeding liberal Winston.Churchill also was disgusted by the bombing of Dresden and ordered an end to the bombing of civillians?

    7. that's the problem with hindsight, "moniker'. Everyone has 20/20 (maybe 40/20) vision. Whether Churchill regretted the Dresden bombings, is debatable. Certainly, at the time, he gave the green light. According to you, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not needed either. but then, no military operation is ever needed with hindsight. This is the preposterous position that bleeding liberals always have and, at the end, it brings total catastrophe upon humanity. Appeasement by well-meaning liberals brought us Word War II, a stalemate in Korea brought us North Koera, the communist travelers in the 1930's helped Stalin kill tens of millions of Russians and right now, our distancing from any military solution is bringing ruin upon millions of Arabs and muslims. you may feel very smug in opposing any military operations until it hits you,of course.
      As far as rape by Israelis in Lod and Ramla, no ,I was never taught that. So, now you are indicting millions of jews because of the (possible) acts of a few? Acts which are universally condemned by all Israelis. Contrast that with the daily accollades given to suicide bombers by the Palestinians. Moshe Dick

    8. Everyone has 20/20 vision on hindsight if and only if they're not too scared of what happened to look. I don't get your point - that your historical heroes could commit no wrong? Or that I hurt your feelings by pointing out that nobody is perfect?

      It's not my job to defend Palestinian terrorism. What I am trying to do is to the lift the veil of national forgetfulness about our own sins. There is blame to share - perhaps not to share equally - but there is blame to share.

      Ill thought through aggression by well meaning aggressors brought us World War 1, a loss in Vietnam, the facist 70s South American states, and Lebanon in the 80s.

      If there is a common thread running through your thought process it is that there is a single policy prescription which works for everything. It's the kind of slightly obsessive synthetic absolutism to which this blog subscribes, without room for organic ambiguity. I should point out that my attacks on Rabbi Sliffkin use his own hyper literal style of focussing on a very narrow part of his writings. Of course this isn't how human beings work.

    9. I don't know how relevant it is to bring up possible war crimes committed by Israelis during the War of Independence--certainly the IDF nowadays doesn't lump all the Palestinians as enemies. I read that the IDF commanders, when talking to soldiers that were part of the Protective Edge offensive this summer, would refer to the enemy as "terrorists", never as "Arabs" or "Muslims". [Especially since there are Arabs and Muslims in the IDF.]

      The blog Elder of Ziyon had a link [] to a report by several American generals about the Hamas strategy in Protective Edge being "the new face of war"--Hamas trying to increase their own casualty rate, putting civilians in harm's way, [despite all the phone calls and "knocks on the roof" that Israel would perform to tell civilians to leave], in order to discredit Israel and paint them as genocidal butchers. I think the only way to fight against such a strategy would be to develop a phaser like in Star Trek, that would just stun people unconscious without actually killing anyone. [like in "Piece of the Action", in the original series.]

    10. I object to the sanitising of history which goes on today.

      Knock on the roof is a 50k USD PR stunt.Every civillian residence attacked in a knock on the roof attack where there are no secondary explosions was evidently not a millitary target.

    11. "Every civillian residence attacked in a knock on the roof attack where there are no secondary explosions was evidently not a millitary target."--then you believe Hamas' version, that Israel was blowing up civilian targets indiscriminately? The "civilian target" probably was the source of either sniper fire or rocket fire.
      You don't believe the reports of Hamas forcing civilians to stay in their homes? Firing rockets out of civilian areas? Using children as human shields, as well as having them fire rifles and throw hand grenades at Israeli soldiers? I'd love to hear how you would have fought Operation Protective Edge--remember to set your phaser on "stun".

    12. When we had a real military target - Mr Deif, of less than blessed memory - there were no stunts, no gimmicks, no fireworks. Just 4 x GBU-28 2 tonne bunker busters. And so may all our other enemies perish.

      On the other hand, when we attacked the Zafer 4 tower block and made 240 families homeless, there was over two hours of elaborate theatrics before some of the most expensive demolition work in history could begin.

      So I have to ask you, who is being gullible, and who is making a critical evaluation of the known facts? When the military spokesman says "we do not target civilian targets" you have to ask "really?" They don't target civilian humans, but over and over again such offensive structures as bridges, sewage works and power generating plants.

      Rockets leave secondary explosions when it. Snipers can also run away when there are knocks on the roof. They can also be far more effectively targeted without much risk to civilians by a laser guided weapon through the window. And if there were snipers in Zafar 4 they were wasting their time - the ground troops were no where near.

      I'd have fought Protective Edge the way Sharon fought the battle of Abu Agheila in 1967, and the battle of the Chinese Farms in 1973 - combined arms assault and aggressive combat. I'd have taken the fight to the enemy, not beat my chest and made bellicose speeches like our very own ageing silverback gorilla did. I'd have not systematically destroyed bilateral relations with Mahmoud Abbas to the extent that there was no strategic value in fighting Hamas in the first place.I'd have set up refugee camps in the kibbutzim for the Gazan civillians who were displaced. I'd have evaccuated the Israeli inhabitants of the kibbutzim until the war had been won given that there is no defence against 120mm mortar fire. And certainly, several thousand of Gazan civillians would have died. But in Netanyahu's version, 1,500 civillians also died, and there's no reason not to believe we're going to go through the whole tired, bloody charade once more in 2016 - but this time with bigger, deeper tunnels; bigger, more accurate rockets; more journalists.

      How about this for a suggestion - next time we go to war with Hamas we pick the time and place, not them?

    13. "I'd have not systematically destroyed bilateral relations with Mahmoud Abbas to the extent that there was no strategic value in fighting Hamas in the first place."
      The same Abbas that was offered concessions by the evil Netanyahu just last April--I don't know if they were like Olmert's offer, but it was an offer nonetheless. Abbas' response? He never responded to Netanyahu, but he made a unity gov't with Hamas. But somehow you keep insisting that he's a moderate and a partner for peace.

  24. We are all racists. Just yesterday Israeli leftists Joshua Sobol and Yair Garbuz said the right wing was full of superstitious mezuzah kissers, and accused the right wing of racism towards Arabs. The right wing hit right back to accuse the left wing of racism towards sefardim.

    We are all racists to one degree or another. The accusation has been so over-used, it is only a short period of time before public figures begin to respond to such accusations with "that's right, I am." And the public will love it. That's dangerous, but it will be a danger caused by the left's over use of the concept and its associated laws and baggage.

    1. I agree, except that the right also overindulges in declarations of a second holocaust and rampant anti-Semitism.


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