Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Natan the Great, and the Implications for Charedim and Palestinians

Today is the thirty-third anniversary of the release of Natan Sharansky from the Soviet Gulag. While he doesn't usually wear a kippah, Sharansky is surely one of the greatest people of our time, a true hero of our generation. His book Fear No Evil is an astonishing testimony to how one man, by virtue of bravery, shrewdness and massive willpower, was able to triumph against a superpower.

Perhaps less well known, but of even greater importance, is Sharansky's book The Case For Democracy. If there's one book that should be required reading for everyone with any say on foreign policy, it's this one.

In The Case For Democracy, Sharansky explains that all societies fall into two basic categories: Free societies, and fear societies. In free societies, people have the right to express dissenting views without concern for repercussions such as imprisonment. A society which does not protect dissent will inevitably be founded upon fear.

(When I first read this, several years ago, I was instantly struck by the parallels with charedi society, which brooks no dissent. Sharansky writes that crucial to the power of a fear society is "a regime's ability to control what is read, said, heard, and above all, thought. This is how a regime based on fear attempts to maintain a constant pool of true believers.... All fear societies are based on a certain degree of brainwashing." The parallels are obvious.)

Sharansky further explains that true democracies can only emerge in free societies. And it requires those freedoms to be well established, in terms of a free press and independent courts. In contrast, tyrannical regimes stay in power by repressing their populations, using a combination of force, threats and information control. It also requires the manufacture of external enemies, to maintain internal stability and justify repression. The important consequence of this is that non-democratic regimes must maintain a constant state of conflict and are inherently belligerent.

(Again, there are clear parallels to charedi society. Every so often, they need to create an external enemy - Steinsaltz, Modern Orthodoxy, Slifkin, Open Orthodoxy. That helps them rally the troops and maintain control.)

Sharansky translates this to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He demonstrates that as long as the Palestinians run a fear society, it will be impossible to ever reach peace with them. The leaders of the Palestinians need to keep Israel as an enemy, in order to maintain power. Any "peace plan" which does not include freedom for Palestinians from Palestinian repression is doomed to fail.

But there is one aspect of Sharansky's argument with which I am not at all sure that I agree. He argues that while it is impossible to make peace with Palestinians with the current structure of their society, most people, including most Palestinians, would prefer to live in a free society. The exhilaration of freedom is vastly preferable to living in fear.

It is not at all clear to me that this true. While people enjoy freedom, they also enjoy emotional security, tribal identity, and purpose. Again, think of the analogy to charedi society. True, there are many secret dissidents. But there are also countless others who prefer to be in a situation where other people do the thinking for them, and in which they are part of a close-knit homogeneous group which valiantly struggles against the rest of the world.

And so, I am not convinced that most Palestinians would prefer to live in a free society. Maybe yes, maybe not. But the crucial point is that as long as such a society does not exist, any so-called "peace plan" is a recipe for disaster. And meanwhile, our task is to explain that to the rest of the world, and to urge them to fight for Palestinian rights - to live in a free Palestinian society.

72 comments:

  1. It's far worse than the fact that Palestinian society isn't free, in terms of free speech, free elections, etc. There's also a stigma for anyone who seeks to normalize with "the Zionist entity". Quite the opposite: belligerence is rewarded! With the pay-for-slay policy, a person earns more money killing Jews and getting imprisoned than he can get in most jobs!
    -Yehudah P.

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    1. Presumably your objections to the glorification of slayers extends to the public space shrine paid for by the local government of Kiryat Arba to the murderous terrorist, feted in the settler da'ati leumi world as "Boruch haGever"

      So yes, significant parts of Palestinian and Israeli society are so sick.

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    2. To the best of my knowledge, the Israeli government had that "shrine" removed.
      And no, we don't have a pay-for-slay policy. On the rare occasions where Jews have killed Arabs for (sick) "nationalistic" reasons, it is treated as murder, no differently than if a Jew had murdered a Jew. Look at the case of the Abu Khdeir murder. The murderer's insanity plea was thrown out.
      Also, there was an incident where some NYC yeshiva students drove into the wrong part of Hebron, trying to get to the Cave of the Patriarchs. Their car got fire-bombed, and they were fortunately saved by an Arab Hebron resident, who hid the bochurim in his house until Border Police came. The Arab who saved them had to conceal his identity, for fear of reprisals from other Hebron residents! He certainly wasn't treated as a hero--at least not by the Palestinians.

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    3. But what would have happened if the Zionists had not imposed martial law on them from day one? In the beginning, the Arabs tried requests, civil protests, strikes. Benny Morris will tell you all about it. What if we had treated them like human beings from the beginning?

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    4. So if I understand Yehuda Posnick correctly, he sees himself and his side as being wonderful and the other side as being terrible. And if we really investigate military justice and show him the hundreds of cases where settlers are not prosecuted for killing Arabs, where soldiers are not prosecuted even for abusing Charedim, what will he say then?

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    5. I can't meaningfully engage with you unless you can work with reality. In 1999 most of the shrine were demolished, but it has since been replaced. It's an empirical fact that a shrine to Boruch Goldstein is in Meir Kahane park in Chevron today. You can see it as a smudge of pale limestone here: -

      https://www.google.com/maps/@31.5294674,35.1166368,356m/data=!3m1!1e3

      You can hear about the history of the structure here: -

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baruch_Goldstein#Gravesite_and_shrine

      I know there is a viedo of the demolition on YouTube uploaded in 2015, but that video was taken in 1999.

      http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/youtube/4cfec2c43a9e64f80319417da7a6466e

      We could swap anecdotes for hours but my point is not to suggest Arabs are more moral than Jews. That would be an amorphous and impossible thing to prove, given the lack of an objective definition of morality. Yes, paying pensions to the family of terrorists is sick in its own unique way. A shrine to the memory of a sick terrorist who died killing innocent men women and children has its own unique flavour of sickness.

      My point is that as a society the daati leumi community is both blind and sick.

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    6. @Hominid: I'm discussing the Palestinian leadership and their pay-for-slay policy, whereas you're addressing only the dati-leumi community, essentially in Kiryat Arba. Honoring Baruch Goldstein is not official Israeli policy, and most of the Israeli electorate does not view him as a "hero".
      @Israel: There are really "hundreds" of cases of Jewish settlers killing Arabs and no one getting prosecuted for it? I think that you're exaggerating somewhat. The Wikipedia website in Hebrew about Jewish terror attacks only lists around 25-30 terror incidents (like Baruch Goldstein or the Eden Natan Zada terror attack).

      My point is this: I'm not saying that Israeli Jews are all צדיקים, or even בינונים, with respect to their treatment of the Arabs. But the Israel has made some real concessions towards peace since Oslo--irreversible ones, in fact--while Palestinian society has become even more intransigent and belligerent. They won't be mollified by giving them more of the West Bank--they'll only be emboldened to push for more.

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    7. @Yehuda: 1) In general, I accept it's possible to draw any number of distinctions between the immorality of Israeli society and the immorality of Palestinian society, depending on which side you bat for.

      I don't accept that those distinctions are objectively necessarily explicable by racial or cultural differences. One also has to consider the effects of Israel's vastly greater military power. I would ask you to remember Etzel and Irgun's policies when they didn't hold that edge.

      I don't accept that the state can resile from what happens in the Kachnik settlements - Kiryat Arba / Chevron, K'far Tapuach, Yitzhar. The state secures these people with entire batallions. For the convenience of the extremists, the Israeli Defence Forces has indefinitely shut down swathes of Chevron to its own residents - for decades now. It provides water and electricity to these people when Palestinians struggle for either.

      But to blame this on the impersonal state is far too easy. The 10,000+ religious people who visit Chevron every Parshas Chayei Soroh - they know what they are visiting. They are lending succor and support for what happens in Chevron, and the ideology of Chevron. So too the annual Yom Yerushalayim
      riots - which attract tens of thousands.

      Too many Israelis are utterly blind to all this. Its not on their radar. They are dimly aware of it, but don't see it for what it is. When someone rattles a shuttered Arab window at 3AM on the walk to the Kotel on Shavuos night -nobody in the throng objects. This extremism goes unchallenged - justified in the name of national security. There's no national security need for the goatherds of Kfar Tapuach to destroy olive trees while protected by the IDF. And while most of Israeli society don't view Baruch Goldstein as a hero, few view those who do as extremist kitzonim, and nobody stands up to them.

      Nothing, that is, apart from a the outrageous, amateurish and and immoral Shabaknik torture sessions, looking for a child scapegoat for the latest outrage , and doing nothing at all about the adult leaders hiding in plain sight.

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    8. “Israelis liked to believe, and tell the world, that they were running an “enlightened” or “benign” occupation, qualitatively different from other military occupations the world had seen. The truth was radically different. Like all occupations, Israel’s was founded on brute force, repression and fear, collaboration and treachery, beatings and torture chambers, and daily intimidation, humiliation, and manipulation.” (Israeli historian Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, p. 341)

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  2. The Open Orthodox have the same status in the NonChareidi Orthodox movements. They are considered NonOrthodox. Whether you agree with the ostracism or not it's the present facts on the ground. The RCA will not therefore accept their conversions if any are and/or were forthcoming.

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    1. He's speaking about how the charedim use them as a boogeyman.

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    2. I don't agree. In official Orthodoxy they are considered a big threat and are labeled the new Conservative movement. The lines are drawn.

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    3. The truth is that the chareidim speak very little about Open Orthodox. They are a much hotter topic in the centrist/MO world.

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    4. The line has been drawn. If someone tolerates Open Orthodoxy they are not considered Orthodox anymore than someone tolerating Conservative Judaism, by any established Orthodox body or organization. In our fast-paced world this happened relatively fast.

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  3. Interesting correlation however not entirely accurate.

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    1. Wouldn't it help to offer an example?

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  4. Does he keep the whole Torah and all the Mitzvot? If not, I do not see how you could in good conscience call him "one of the greatest people of our time". This is not to take away from his accomplishments, only that if you were truly dedicated to Torah you wouldn't word it that way.

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    1. Many great people don't keep all the Torah. Many non-Jews, to begin, but also many Jews.

      As it happens, Sharansky keeps all the Torah. You shouldn't presume. Not that I think this even has to be mentioned. (I don't know why R' Slifkin felt the need to.)

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    2. Rather narrow definition of greatness- living in a cell for 10 years with the only comfort being a tanach- as a result of defending the jewish people doent count as greatness because he doesnt wear a kippa all the time?

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  5. Re Charedim, it doesn't have to be reduced that way. Every society, institution, family, business etc. is likely to have conflict of interest between its members. Sometimes there is one group in the right and the other in the wrong. Power can be held by either one and the same methods to holding on to power used by one type might be used by the other.

    The more important question is not how those in power keep it, but who is in the right. Until proven separately that Charedim aren't in the right, and separately for each example mentioned, STORC, OO, MO, Steinzaltz, each in itself of numerous components, the question of power is of secondary interest.

    Common to the 2 examples, Charedism and dictatorship, is that they are opposed and "besieged" (and have to invest effort to survive). But why? It can be argued that dictatorship is opposed by the "inalienable rights of man" and Charedism is opposed by antipathetic society with even its own Jews joining against it, making the likelihood of conflict virtually inevitable. The "enemies" didn't need to be searched out, they were an unsurprising outgrowth of society.

    So much in brief, but the subject is just too vast to address properly.

    ---

    Another consideration is that Avos considers fear of government commendable:
    אילמלא מוראה של מלכות איש את רעהו חיים בלעו

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    1. Having fluid opinions is good against obstinate resistance to new information, but it can also make one slowly sail through the slippery slope and never notice. This happened in 19th century Germany when the famous historian described the famous rabbi, his former mentor, as a "hermit sniffing around for heretics." Had he left out the word "hermit" he could have elicited some belief for the claim that the rabbi was regularly "sniffing around for heretics." Instead, eyes rolled on both claims.

      But more to the subject, if the same kind of complaint is lobbed indiscriminately at the Charedim, they are in good company. :)

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    2. (That of course was lifted from page 5 here:
      http://www.zootorah.com/controversy/ResponseToRavMosheShapiro.pdf
      Best,)

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  6. President Bush (Sr) liked the book:
    https://www.bookweb.org/news/natan-sharansky-makes-case-democracy

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  7. Natan, you say “while he doesn’t usually wear a kippah, Sharanskyis one of the greatest people etc” implying that in order to be great you need a wear a kippah. Since when have you become so myopic and shallow to believe a kippah is a requirement for greatness?

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    1. Huh? The point of what I wrote is that it *isn't* a requirement!

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    2. A kippah may not be a requirement for greatness - but in Judaism it most certainly is a prerequisite as in following normative halachic Judaism.

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    3. Really? Rav Hirsch only wore one when davening and learning, and even told R' David Tzvi Hoffman to take his off when he came to his school for a job interview. This was generally true of German Jews. Many Sephardim didn't (and many, like Syrians, still don't) cover their heads. So no, it's not "normative" at all.

      (Of course, everyone, men and women, Jew and non-Jew, wore hats outside all the time back then, so that's not a proof one way or another.)

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  8. That's right. Bush - George W. Bush came into office - it would have been a fair assumption to think that this guy was going to be a realist, maybe even a moderate internationalist. Condoleezza Rice wrote an article in foreign affairs so as the campaign 2000 issues where she laid out what the Republican foreign policy was. Just, you know, what's important is balance of power. This business of going around the world using force for moral purposes is really misguided. September 11th happens, that changed. And then Bush started talking about freedom is a gift from God and the point of our foreign policy will be to smash tyranny and spread freedom around the globe. That mainly came or was inspired by Natan Sharansky, the Soviet dissident. Just after Bush won the 2004 election, a friend of his gave him an advance copy of Sharansky's book. Bush told several interviewers that do you want to know what my foreign policy is going to be, read this book. And set about putting it in motion.
    https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18826381


    It's hard to think of an intellectual who has done as much damage to the world as Natan Sharansky and his democracy fever dreams. Meanwhile, 'fear societies' like Singapore enjoy the benefits of efficient government, low crime, and social harmony as 'free societies' rack up their national debt, engage in ever more bizarre moral panics and invite hostile foreigners to rape their women by the tens of thousand.


    And meanwhile, our task is to explain that to the rest of the world, and to urge them to fight for Palestinian rights - to live in a free Palestinian society.

    LOL. Palestinians have an average IQ of 83 and as such are incapable of what we would consider a minimal level of functioning in a technological society and market economy under any conceivable circumstances, but imposing on them the super awesomeness of 'free societies' would be really cruel. When they tried that in Russia, life expectancy fell by four years. To take a more extreme example, here is a short documentary about the least westernised Africans living in their traditional ways. Looks like fun. Here is a documentary about the most westernised Africans who have had the longest exposure to awesome western systems of government. Not so much fun.


    It also requires the manufacture of external enemies, to maintain internal stability and justify repression.

    Honestly, you can't make this stuff up.

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    1. I'm quite happy to have an unabashed factual discussion about the science of IQ and race, without censorship, and be guided by the outcome of that discussion, and I assume that you likewise are willing to engage in good faith and to respect the outcome of rational inquiry.

      You state Palestinians have an average IQ of 83. (a) Do you have an empirical basis for making that very specific claim, or any other claim that Palestinians are in any way materially subhuman and then (b) If there is no such rational basis for claiming Palestinians are materially subhuman, would you then accept the validity of Palestinian nationhood?

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    2. Having a low IQ doesn't make someone subhuman any more than having a different skin color or eye shape does. It's just a feature of their being. The fact that you would use the word twice when Gavriel never did puts the lie to your claims of good faith arguing.

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    3. Then why does having a low IQ make you less deserving of national rights? (and - though I may be corrected - I am not aware of any empirical evidence that Palestinians have low IQs.).

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    4. Who ever said it did? He is suggesting that people with lower IQs are inherently unable to create functioning democracies through no fault of their own, and it is foolish to expect them to. It would be *nice* if they could, but until then...

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    5. You are right that he sought to transfer moral agency for living in a state of suzerainty onto the Palestinians themselves. That's empirically false. There is negligible support for reimposing the occupation of Gaza from its own residents. The overwhelming majority of Palestinians support self government.

      And here we are having this bizarre side discussion al hatzad that Palestinians have low IQs. For which no evidence has been produced. And, absent such evidence, it's a pretty grossly offensive thing to say.

      I'm unclear if you are adopting Gavriel M's position as your own, or merely indulging in some pilpul around it, but such ambiguity does not let you escape your own moral failure for your clear support to what is - absent such evidence - hateful and bigoted discourse.

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    6. The fact that Hominid automatically assumed Gavriel M was calling them "subhuman" reveals more about himself than it does anything else. As we've seen from Hollywood and metoo, the left is rife with hypocrisy and racism. They promote left wing concepts to shield themselves, reasoning that they themselves will not be affected by their ideas. (e.g., they themselves will never have to give up their own job in the name of "affirmative action.") As the saying goes, כל הפוסל, במומו פוסל

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    7. I don't see why Nachum gets get to call people insufficiently human to have universal human rights while obfuscating about it. The only reason a human would be denied universal human rights would be if it was asserted that this person fell below the value of a full human. That this person was a subhuman.

      If the resonances with past dictatorships who have made the same argument are uncomfortable, that shouldn't discomfort me. I disagree with this line of thinking. I believe all humans are made "b'tzelem elokim" and should be treated with dignity. If it discomforts you that you appear to be engaging in the intellectual tradition of Adolf Hitler then you are likely right to be discomforted.

      Your whataboutisms about "the left" - charging them with "hypocrisy and racism" is rebutted by yourself in the next sentence which you then in a rare moment of honesty indicate are values you don't respect as they are "left wing concepts".

      The assertion that because of what you regard as the hypocrisy of affirmative action in America, which you associate with the left, implies that Israel - who you identify with the right - have a complete carte blanche to behave as they will with Palestinians, I must advise that most people would regard this as an utter non sequitur.

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  9. I previously wrote "It is entirely irrational and unscientific to make a-priori assumptions about the relative societal distribution of crime. It may feel good, but it is pure confirmation bias and proves nothing." That applies to Charedim and to Arabs.

    You may as well rename your movement Prejudiced Judaism because absent an appeal to empirical evidence there's nothing objectively rational about it.

    Aristotle's greatest contribution to civilization - a contribution to which the Rambam does not at all engage - was his habit of fact checking theories.

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    1. Hominid, I don't know who you are, but seems to me you are one of the most intelligent web discussion commentors that I have yet encountered on any site, and most certainly frum sites because sadly the discussion on frum sites is very low level, dogmatic, emotional, hysterical, and really, really, seriously, scarily racist, especially when it concerns Arabs.

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    2. Anyone else suspect that this is Yankel Shapiro complimenting himself under a pseudonym?

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    3. Shlomo, YS wouldn't say that about Rambam.

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  10. Since when is the psychotic Israeli left wing press more free and open than the Palestinans?

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    1. You prefer the psychotic Israeli right wing press? Haven't you figured out by now that Israelis are psychotic?

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  11. Do you ever wonder why people aren't buying your idea that the self defined free people (who, you posit, entirely coincidentally happen to be the people with the overwhelming military edge in air, sea and above and below land) get to judge when the not free people are free enough to be given freedom?

    Just listen to yourself.

    Let's be honest. Israel doesn't get to chose on behalf of the Palestinians because of its Freedom and Democracy. It gets to chose because of its F16s and D9s. That's how decisions are enforced.

    And let's talk about the gerrymandering of that democracy. Why not give the vote to Israeli citizens who live outside Israel. People like me. We're free (too free?), right? But we wouldn't vote for the occupation. The only Israelis who live outside Israel and get to vote in Israeli elections live in the West Bank. And the only residents of the West Bank who get to vote on who gives orders to the soldiers with guns are Jews. The threshold for Knesset representation gets fine-tuned according to the needs of Netanyahu at each election. The laws concerning truthful and fair use of social media during elections were vetoed in deference to the interests of Likud. The "logic" of your screed above is that Charedim and Arab Israelis aren't free enough to be worthy of the freedom to vote. The criminal indictments coming for Netanyahu should - according to Netanyahu - be postponed to cater for Netanyahu's electoral interests.

    The price for this complacent democracy is legitimacy.

    And freedom. Israel is authoritarian to to its own citizens. Press censorship abounds. Public administration is corrupted. Police brutality is common and draws no consequences. This is Netanyahu's Israel.

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    1. Am I actually reading words from somebody who questions Israeli democracy on a web site frequented primarily by not only observant Jews but Zionist ones? And the blog host published it. I am tempted to say Hallel. And you even question the occupation. I am stunned and pleased. A man with a mind who appears not to worship the state like a god as so many do today. Bravo for you. Yes, the threshold level on elections is a tool and it's set way too high.

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    2. Well, let's pick one little "fact" from your screed:

      "The threshold for Knesset representation gets fine-tuned according to the needs of Netanyahu at each election."

      The threshold has been increased several times over the course of Israel's history, only once when Netanyahu was Prime Minister (in 2014) and through no special effort of his own. He mentioned revising it downward for this election, there was a public outcry, and nothing happened.

      So let's just say everything else you say is just as suspect.

      By the way, satisfy my curiosity: What exactly makes you Israeli?

      And you do know that most calls for Israelis abroad voting come from the *Right*, correct?

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    3. Nachum: you don't get to discount verifiable facts as "suspect". The fact that West Bank Jews get to vote on the vastly more powerful government - the government that controls the army - and that West Bank Arabs don't - is true. You know it's true. It doesn't cease to be true whether or not Netanyahu did succeed in his efforts to diddle the voting threshold.

      I am Israeli because I was born there and both my parents are Israeli citizens.

      I do know that most native Israelis who leave Israel do so for a reason. Perhaps they want to wash their hands of the endless internal and external strife, the corruption, the parochialism, the lack of economic opportunities - and perhaps that's why they don't raise their voices in the way that the foreign born olim v'yordim do. But perhaps I'm wrong.

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    4. The high election threshold eliminated Eli Yishai's far-right party Yachad, since it was a few thousand votes short. All of those right-wing votes went in the garbage.

      And the high threshold forced the Arab parties to coalesce into Israel's third largest party. It works both ways.

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  12. So why do you agree with Rav Shach that the Haredim shouldn't read your books?

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  13. Democracy is Greek invention. We have Torah. And although many norms of Judaism are democratic, it is pathetic to try introducing secular democracy to Judaism (as you tried by equating Charedim society to totalitarian ones). If Jews followed the norms of secular democracy, they would have returned from the desert to Egypt.

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  14. Agreed that Sharansky is a great mean, and agreed further that we don't know if the Arabs, in fact, would be better off under democracy. The analogy to the world of charedi jews, on the other hand, is very questionable.

    Government and Religion, at least in modern times, are completely different things. The power of one lies at the butt end of a rifle. The power of religion, on the other hand, is purely social. And all of mankind is subject to various forms of social pressure. (Modern Israel and the role of the rabbinate is a unique case unrelated to the inquiry.)

    By the way, equating yourself (in the third person, noch) as an "enemy to religion" on a par with "modern orthodoxy" - don't you think you're sense of self is maybe a tad inflated, just a leeeeeeete bit much? (Broad smile.)

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  15. Agree. The comment about the kippa was an unnecessary dig and irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

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    1. It was misunderstood. It wasn't meant to be a dig at Sharansky. It was a rebuke to people who think that it matters.

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    2. Ha ha, you can't win, can you? :-)

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  16. The Torah itself sentences dissenters to death. What do you want? Equal rights for Reform in Israel.

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  17. One thing I think that is often overlooked is the role of culture in all of this. I think that in order to be able to implement and function in a democratic society, the people have to have a tradition of, an orientation toward, and place a high value on, democracy. This answers the question, "Why don't the people in the Middle East rise up and institute democracy in their own countries?" After all, there are many examples of it for them to use as starting points. But they don't. They don't seem to want to. I seems as if democracy is just not on their radar. The same for Charedeim. Even while living in the midst of democracy and garnering benefits from it, they don't see it as such a positive thing.

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    1. Indeed. It is often pointed out that the American Revolution was a conservative revolution. The colonies had mostly been functioning democracies for well over a century by that point. The UK, in its revolutions and reforms, was building on a democratic history far older than that. Israel was building on institutions that had been set up for about fifty years when it became independent.

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    2. This answers the question, "Why don't the people in the Middle East rise up and institute democracy in their own countries?" After all, there are many examples of it for them to use as starting points. But they don't.

      This is completely and obviously untrue. The Shah was overthrown, Ben Ali was, Saleh was overthrown, Gaddafi was overthrown, Mubarak was overthrown, Assad was almost overthrown. Tunisia became a democracy.
      Lebanon is a democracy. The real problem is that it is very difficult to establish stable democracy via revolution and when it is established, it is not likely to be a democracy where individual rights are protected. This is something that developed over many, many centuries in the West. America inherited the British democratic system before its revolution. As someone above pointed, out, it took a *long* time for France to get it right.

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    3. Nachum,

      Liberty, freedom, and representation for Certain Persuasions
      . democracy !?
      not the same

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    4. @David Ohsie
      "As someone above pointed, out, it took a *long* time for France to get it right".
      I'm not at all sure England stands comparison, it took them many centuries and a lot more murdered kings.

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    5. What's better, to be very frum and poor and lightly observant and affluent? Your answer will tell me whether you are Charedi or Modern Orthodox. If democracy means going light on religion, I'll take a pass on democracy.

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    6. "The Shah was overthrown"

      And replaced with a warmongering theocracy.

      "Ben Ali was,"

      See below.

      "Saleh was overthrown,"

      Result: Bloody civil war.

      "Gaddafi was overthrown,"

      Result: Tribalism and warlordism.

      "Mubarak was overthrown,"

      Replaced by a military dictatorship, an Islamic one, and then another military one.

      "Assad was almost overthrown."

      By a bunch of factions who couldn't get along.

      "Tunisia became a democracy."

      Exception that proves the rule, largely due to unique circumstances, and still not perfect.

      "Lebanon is a democracy."

      Lebanon is a puppet.

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    7. "I'm not at all sure England stands comparison, it took them many centuries and a lot more murdered kings."

      England's been very stable and democratic since at least the late 1600's.

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    8. England's been stable and Undemocratic till
      (late 19th and ) early 20th centuries





      at



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  18. In other news, I saw that President Al-Sisi of Egypt has had his term extended until 2034--another 15 years!
    Actually, I'm pleased with the news, since he has been as close an ally of Israel as any Arab leader can be at this point in time.
    But, if the Egyptians were given the right to vote in free elections? We would probably see a Muslim Brotherhood candidate become President, like Morsi. We only have a firm peace with Egypt precisely because it's not a free society! (Well, not really--with El-Sisi, the country is actually more Western, with women serving in Parliament and the like.)

    And similarly with Jordan: Since they're majority Palestinian, if there were free elections there, they would probably annul the peace agreement with Israel! Again, the Hashemite minority is what is maintaining the peace!

    In short, it's not entirely clear that freedom and democracy in the Middle East will lead to peace and stability.

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  19. Actually a Kippa DOES matter. It's accepted by Jews who abide by Halacha everywhere. We understand that you've been through hard times, but don't you have too much hate in your heart? You can't stand Charedim, we all know that, whether or not you agree. Isn't it time to move on? Fighting against any form of frumkeit that isn't to your liking isn't healthy at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hating Charedim is a kind of anti-semitism. They are too Jewish!

      Delete
    2. How in the world does one misconstrue a show of respect for a great man regardless of kippah into something hateful?!

      Would it be antisemitic of the Agudah or Eidah to not invite Mr Sharansky to speak at one of their events because of haskafic differences?

      Delete
  20. Is Democracy consistent with Torah ? Halacha ?

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    Replies
    1. In the pamphlet, "On the Essence of Chassidus", by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, he brings a story about his father-in-law, who, during one of his travels, encountered people discussing which political system was the most in accordance with the Torah.
      The Rebbe's father-in-law was asked what is his opinion. He said, that, since the Torah is the ultimate in truth and goodness, it contains all of the elements that are good in each of the systems.
      התורה, להיותה תכלית האמת והטוב, ישנם בה כל הענינים הטובים שבכל השיטות.
      You can find it at this link on p. 2.:
      http://www.ma.huji.ac.il/~kazhdan/Shneider/Tanya/inyana.pdf

      So, there are elements in democracy that are in accordance with Torah and halachah--but others that are not.

      Delete
  21. If you ever read the book "Why open orthodoxy isn't orthodox" you would understand why the chareidim are against them and not just because they need a victim. The book just goes many comments and posts that many of there so called "rabbis" and "maharot" there write with many saying things against the torah and many admitting they dont believe the torah is even from G-d or if there even is a G-d for that matter so shame on you Slifkin you see where your hatred against the chareidim has brought you.

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  22. Steinsaltz, Modern Orthodoxy, Slifkin, Open Orthodoxy didn't become "enemies" for nothing. Each was undermining something pillars of Judaism and refused to stop when asked.

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  23. Most Palestinians don't want this fight. It's the leaders. But they do elect those leaders, but that's in part because they are sick of the abuse from the Israelis. And if you don't know that Israelis can be very abusive then you never met one.

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  24. Much of the trouble that Natan had was not because of Charedism but because of Zionism whose militancy has influenced everyone in EY. This idea of clubbing your opponents, slandering them, and hating them, that's from Zionism. It's Zionists who specialize in that.

    ReplyDelete

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A New Martyr

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