Thursday, September 12, 2019

Voting Strategically

For the last few weeks I haven't been able to decide who to vote for. Finally, I figured it out. There's a party whose ideals I agree with, and whose leadership I respect.

But I'm not going to vote for them. Instead, I'm going to vote for a party whose ideals I don't agree with, led by people who I don't respect.

Because of the strange way that Israel's electoral system works, I think that this is strategically the correct move. Allow me to explain.

The party whose ideals I do agree with, with the leaders that I do respect, is Bayit Yehudi (now part of Yamina). But the problem with the religious right wing receiving a lot of votes is that the coalition that Bibi would build with them includes Shas and UTJ. And this means nothing less than the gradual destruction of the State of Israel.

Those sound like crazy, extreme words. But it's all based on simple math and measurable facts. I cannot strongly enough urge everyone to read a terrifying article, titled Demography, Democracy and Delusions, just published by Prof. Dan Ben-David, an economist at Tel Aviv University’s Department of Public Policy who heads the Shoresh Institution for Socioeconomic Research. It's important to read the article in its entirety, but here are some highlights. First, spelling out the basics:
"...The next few years will not only determine Israel’s future character but also whether or not the country will even exist for our grandchildren. Life is not a computer game. It’s not possible to click “undo” or “reset” in the future if it turns out that we messed up today. When those who threaten our very existence are plowing ahead in their efforts to obtain game-changing weapons, our national security will continue to require that Israel have a first world army, and that’s contingent on having a first world economy. "
That's an indisputable, basic fact. Unfortunately, many people do not recognize that having a first world economy is not about living a materially comfortable lifestyle - it's required in order for this tiny country to survive. (In the article, he explains at greater length why this is the case.)
"Israel’s future ability to maintain a first world economy is being determined in the country’s schools today. Only a very small portion of Israeli society belongs to the hi-tech, the universities, and the other parts of the Start-Up Nation. Most of the country’s population is not receiving either the tools or the conditions to work in a modern society – and it has been dragging down the entire country since the 1970s."
Also an indisputable fact. The notion that charedim can today nevertheless adapt later in life, via various "catch-up" programs, is a myth. It's too little, too late. And those programs have an astonishing 75% drop-out rate.
Next comes a point that many people don't even realize at all:
"The implication of Israel’s multi-decade retreat from the leading countries is reflected in large and increasing gaps between what Israel’s most educated are able to earn abroad versus their earning possibilities in Israel. Just a very small portion of society has been responsible for keeping Israel in the first world. If a critical mass from this group decides to emigrate, the gap between the leading countries and Israel that has been steadily growing over the past forty years will be blasted to the heavens with the force of a booster rocket."
Modern Israelis - the ones who ensure that Israel's economy and army keep it alive - are not going to hang around while the country turns into Bnei Brak or even Beit Shemesh. They'll leave, and the country will not survive.

The goal of chareidi politicians is short-term voter appeasement via giving them cash handouts and preventing any societal change, in particular in the field of education. Consequently, they are dragging down charedi society. But even worse, they will take down the rest of the country with them:
"If a population group this large continues to exercise considerable influence on the direction and amplitude of flows from the government faucet in a manner that only further enhances their exponential growth, while concurrently depriving their children of the vital tools necessary for integration into a competitive global economy and a modern society, Israel will cease to exist."
Lest you think that only a secular hater of charedim could talk this way, I would like to stress that I personally know people in charedi society who think exactly the same way. And no less a person than Yonasan Rosenblum, one of the premiere spokesmen in the charedi world for decades, also stated it explicitly. Noting that "20% of the school children in Israel between first and sixth grade are now in chareidi educational frameworks," he asked “who will fund the maintenance of this army if Israeli society is poor?” He also notes that “the modern economy puts a high premium on education, and ever more jobs require academic or vocational training of some kind.” Of course he couldn't spell out the consequences of nothing significantly changing, but they are exactly as Ben-David said: Israel will cease to exist.

That is the single most relevant issue in these elections. On security matters, there is no significant difference between any of the large parties, because there is no left wing to speak of any more (due to the Second Intifada and the disaster of the Gaza disengagement). The only significant issue is whether there will be a religious right-wing government with Shas and UTJ, or a national unity government with Likud and Blue-And-White. The latter will also include some smaller parties - perhaps Yisrael Beiteinu (Avigdor Lieberman), perhaps Bayit Yehudi.

It's the latter option that is crucial to implement now, in order that the country will still exist twenty years from now. The way to help it happen is to vote either Blue-And-White or Yisrael Beiteinu (which strongly advocates for a national unity government and will not join a coalition with UTJ). And so, much as I dislike both of these parties, I will be voting for one of them. I urge everyone to put aside their emotions and to think about what the facts state about the long-term survival of our precious country.


For further reading:
Demography, Democracy, and Delusions
Rosenblum: We All Need Charedim To Get Academic Education And Professional Employment



74 comments:

  1. Wow - you've truly gone off the deep end...

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    1. If you've got a better solution, I'm all ears.

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    2. Yup he's flipped. Ganz's wife is a lefty anti army person, imagine her having political clout. RNS you may be all ears but I think you have wax in them.

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    3. Go ahead Natan, shoot yourself (and us too) in he leg.

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  2. Your analysis does not take into account long-term changes that are currently occurring within charedi society. Am I the only one who's not sure where these changes will lead?

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    1. The changes are happening way too slowly. It will be too little, too late.

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    2. These changes in charedi society are like band aids on a bleeding stump of a leg. They wont solve the problem and are only drops in the bucket used as fig leaves by those who oppose any changes at all

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    3. Rav Slifkin's response is correct. Statistics show that the changes are happening way too slowly given the demographics of the Haredim. A number of governments ago, when Bennet and Lapid cooperated to keep the Haredim out of the government and prevent economic blackmail, employment rates for Hatredi men started to inch up beyond the 50+% mark. When that government broke down and the Haredim were welcomed back into the government the numbers of Haredi men in the work force started to slide back down. More than that, as time goes down to be part of a modern economy it will take increasing amounts of education that the typical Haredi college will not be able to provide (also taking into account that only a quarter of the male students who enter fail). So in sum the given changes in Haredi society are not enough to keep up with their demographic explosions. And also to quote Rav Slifkin again, if you have a better solution to this problem that takes into account this demographic explosion that doesn't involve a radical transformation of Haredi society (and not just the incremental changes that are really happening) please suggest it.

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    4. JD, how was the national economy effected under Bennet and Lapid, and the 50+% Hareidi employment rate?

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    5. Re: "Too little too late"
      IF that is true, and IF that doesn't change its pace at all in the next handful of years (Why is an acceleration of the pace impossible to you? Who knows what may happen now that slow changes have started), The idea that Lapid (Or Lieberman lol) will ride in on his horse and save you from all of that is infantile at best.

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  3. Wow. I think you're going a bit too far here.

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    1. If you've got a better solution, I'm all ears.

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    2. Israel has been, at multiple points in its existence, far poorer than it could ever become based solely on a charedi demographic overrun.

      Second, even if an entire generation of charedim grows too old to be retrained, the generation after it won't be. And if that generation is larger (which it must be, otherwise the prophesied disaster can't come to pass) it will be able to support it - in much the same way we non-charedim already are.

      And in order to forestall a potential demographic problem twenty or thirty years down the line (how many times have we heard predictions of demographic doom in other contexts? how many times can demographers cry wolf?) you're going to vote directly for somebody who despises you - yes, you personally - and will implement the following disastrous policies, none of which have anything to do with security:

      * Removing as much of Israel's religious character as they can.
      * Putting Nissankorn in the Finance Ministry and bringing Israel back to the days of perennial strikes. When was the last time the school year failed to open on time? Do you want to go back to the days when it didn't do so every other year? How about the post office, the ports, other government offices? The eighties were awful.
      * Potentially giving Blue & White the option of putting Meretz in charge of selecting Supreme Court justices, which will have far-reaching effects on... well, on everything.
      * Higher import taxes. Higher gas taxes. More direct government control over the economy in the form of price controls and product quotas and import quotas. If the Left had been in control when the high-tech industry was created, we'd have six technology companies in the entire country and the government would be waffling on whether or not to approve a seventh - just like the government decides how many universities there are, how many telecom companies there are, and how many eggs we're allowed to produce each year. We wouldn't have the start-up economy that we have now. Remember what Israel was like in the 80s and 90s? Do you want to go back to that? Remember, just a few years ago, the Left - including Lapid - clamored for Israel to outright steal the natural gas fields from the businessman who invested his fortune into discovering them, simply because they turned out to be bigger than expected. That kind of action will permanently damage the future of investment in this country in far more drastic terms than a charedi demographic overrun ever could.
      * The last time Lapid's party was in the government, his Health Minister stopped fluoridating the water based on pseudoscience; I shudder to think what those populists will do about vaccination.
      * For all that Lapid likes to claim that he believes in liberalism, it was his party and Lieberman's that voted in favor of banning a newspaper just a few years ago. While hypocritically claiming that Bibi is a danger to democracy.

      All this, because you're afraid that twenty years from now we *might* have too many charedim to handle and nobody in either community will be able to mitigate the problem with integrationist (rather than hostile) social policies. This isn't cutting off your nose to spite your face, this is cutting off your head to spite your nose!

      And finally, what exactly do you expect a national unity government with Blue & White and Lieberman to actually accomplish in preventing the foretold disaster? Lapid and Lieberman already had their chance to run amok with anti-charedi legislation, in 2013-2015. They passed a couple of laws on conversion and stuff. And then the charedi parties came back into power and undid all those laws in less than a month. Why should it be any different this time?

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    3. Well said Yerushalmi. I'm voting Yamina and I urge others to do as well.

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    4. Politicians who claim that we have to vote or them, otherwise there will be a catastrophe in 20-30 years, in reality just don't have a plan to solve acual problems, i.e. Al Gore and the clima...

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    5. Excellent analysis. Thanks for pointing out the obvious. It's a shame an out of control agenda can obfuscate things for some people.

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    6. Your response Rabbi Slifkin?

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    7. Your points are certainly taken, but having Nissenkorn as finance minister is a worst case scenario probably not relevant in a unity government, which in any event pales in comparison to the picture painted above

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    8. Yerushalmi makes some great points. RNS is basically a one-issue voter, but the country isn't a one-issue country. Even assuming arguendo BW is right on the Charedi issue - and I don't think they are, I think they are dead wrong - but even if they were right, there are other issues on the agenda which outweigh that concern. The free market economy, for one among many he raises, which has had much more of an impact on the country over the past twenty five years than anything related to religion. I don't know the various positions of the parties, but this issue and others like it are equally if not more important than the charedi issue.

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  4. There are a number of important dimensions along which there are differences between a right-wing government and a unity government and you might prefer different outcomes depending on which dimension you regard as most important. We have one more year of a friendly American government and we can either use it to lock in long-term security benefits, as only a right-wing government would do, or not. It is true that on the haredi dimension, you might find a unity government more congenial, but it is unlikely to yield any meaningful results because cultural changes are slow and subtle and rarely respond to political manipulation the way you think they will. In short, if we get unity government, we will certainly pay a high security price, but are unlikely to get the social benefits you want.

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  5. Voting for Blue and White is likely to lead to a faster and less controlled development of Palestinian autonomy or statehood, which could lead to another, far more dangerous Gaza on our doorstep. Israel will likely perish in such a scenario.
    Netanyahu's most valuable gift is his ability to blather about peace for decades and not move an inch.

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    1. This is nothing but fear mongering or pure ignorance. Have you even heard what Gantz said? He's basically identical to Bibi on security and territorial concessions. There's no difference between them. I hear Moshe Ya'alon last night and he said explicitly that there's no way there will be a Palestinian state under their watch. They might have political independence, but a state will take a long time (if it ever happens). The above statement is simply fake news.

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    2. We know what Netanyahu has been doing and Gantz is an unknown. Words are cheap. Better to stick with the devil you know.

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    3. @Blasberg Gantz has nothing but effusive praise for the Gaza Disengagement and believes it's a model system to implement in the future. That should tell you everything you need to know about where he stands.

      I wonder, was Gantz also among those generals who threatened to resign over Netanyahu's discussions of plans to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities? It sure wouldn't surprise me.

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  6. Kol Hakavod! This is our greatest existential threat and, as the article makes clear, time is running out.

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  7. I agree with you that changes are needed in the Haredi educational system, however I don't think that it can be forced upon them by politicians who are perceived as anti-Haredi (such as Liberman and Lapid).
    If a politician who is perceived as anti-Haredi tries to dictate to the Haredi community what they should teach in their schools or how many should go to the army, the response will be a strong push-back which will hurt the limited progress that has been made over the past decade in Academic Haredi institutions, a growing number of Haredi schools that offer Bagrut, and more Haredi army units.

    The solution must be to work within the Haredi community to strengthen these programs, try to get financial support for them, and to get backing from the leadership. As long as the Hardei leadership feel that they are under attack, they will not support the changes that are needed, and without the support of the leadership, these changes will fail.


    Yes it would be nice if the government could increase the rate of change within the Haredi would so that all Haredi children receive an education that will help them to be a driving force in the start-up nation and the future of the Israeli Economy, however government action without the support of the Haredi leadership is bound to fail.

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    1. Michael is absolutely right. Rabbi Slifkin may be correct about the potential danger, but Kachol Lavan/ Lieberman could only exacerbate the problem (as well as failing to take advantage of a US president who appears happy to allow us to strengthen our hold on the country).

      I also believe that for another reason, the doom and gloom is exaggerated. The economic argument is all correct - what it fails to take into account is the growing numbers of those opting out from the Charedi way of life. In a society where such a high stress is put on intellectual study, the leadership is increasingly unable to control the population in the way they may like (arguably, the leadership is also moving towards modernity, managing a balancing act to also placate the extremists).

      Thus Yamina, who strongly support the various educational programmes aimed at the Charedi population, whilst being against making a war against them, are the party to vote, for this and other reasons.

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    2. Please STOP saying Lapid is anti-Hared. He isn't. He's anti-corruption (which Haredi leaders are full of) and he's against 20% of the population not sharing the burden. He's also against religious coercion (which is NOT the same as hating Haredi).

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    3. If the government set a three year progress schedule, and then entirely cut off funding to any school that did meet timelines and provide an actual education, how would they stop that?

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    4. @E. Blasberg, I was very careful not to accuse Lapid or Liberman as being anti Haredi, rather I said that they were perceived (by the Haredi community) as being anti-Haredi, In this game, perception is everything. If Bennet or Bibi were to institute a program to increase secular studies in the Haredi system, it would receive less resistance than if the same program was proposed by Lapid - because the Haredi community regard Lapid as an ideological opponent.

      @Yitz - do you really think that a government without the Haredim has a chance of lasting 3 years? In any case, the Haredi community have made it clear that they will not accept any outside demands on their system, even if that would involve loosing all funding - cutting off funding would increase the poverty in an already poor segment of society, and make them more reliant on foreign aid, but would not by itself get them to change the educational values of the school.

      Change must come from within the system.

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  8. 1. Why the assumption that chareidi education is useless and nontransferable? Although it is weak on some skills and lacking in some areas it still promotes analytic thinking. In the US only 6% of all employment are in STEM fields (with about half of them in computers.) A population can support a larger number of non-doctors and non-engineers than you give it credit. 2. Positioning itself as a religious centre has economic benefits as well. Movies are not technology or terribly important but Hollywood seems to have made a living from it. Chareidim bring in a different kind of international dollar( Fun fact: Jeffery Epstein donated $250 to Rabbi Meir Baal Hanes). Rabbi Slifkin I would include a Biblical Zoo in this category of international wealth generation. 3. Free markets mean that as there is a deficiency in one area demand grows and higher income follows. You cannot assume interests to stay the same as supply and demand factors change. If you worry about Israel's wealth note the dramatic changes that have taken place since it moved away from socialism.

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  9. The fact that you think Liberman can be trusted is extremely surprising. Never before has he delivered on any of his election promises.
    Second, the fact that you take the rather good security state in the country for granted, is also surprising. We've had former generals as PMs before, and they brought very dangerous times with their policies.
    Third, why do you think a secular government promising free "education" 0-3, which the means secular families will be supporting haredi families, will manage to change anything in the haredi community?

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  10. BTW, since B&W's main issue is to get rid of Bibi, if they have a choice between a secular government with BB and a non secular government with the haredim, guess which they will take?

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  11. Quite frankly, I am very tired of these so called left wing "experts" giving their "accurate inevitable predictions" of doom and gloom I heard it in 1980s when the Arab birth rate was going to overtake Israel, therefore we must give them a Palestinian state before it's too late. Now the latest left wing propaganda - if the religious parties teach their children Torah, the country will soon cease to exist. Are you serious?

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    1. The point is that this ever growing demographic does not contribute to IL society in a manner that is sustainable.

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  12. By supporting the parties you propose, you are doing immense immediate damage to Israeli security in order to prevent a longer term issue. While I believe in the necessity of change to the Chareidi system, I believe that taking advantage of the current opportunity to change the security and political system in Yehuda and Shomron is much, much more important, particularly given the possibility of an unfriendly US administration coming to power in 2021. There is a need for prioritization that your argument fails to address.

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  13. I don't know how wise it is to rely on Shoresh Institute.
    See here:
    https://www.globes.co.il/news/article.aspx?did=1001159577

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  14. The "labor productivity" graph is somewhat exaggerated in its presentation (i.e. the Y axis does not start at zero).

    If you run the numbers from it, Israel's productivity was 71% of the G7 average when the graph begins in 1970, and 65% now. That is a decrease, but much less of a decrease than you get at first impression.

    If you look at the year by year results, Israel actually tracks the G7 results pretty closely except for the period 1990-1997, when the G7 grows and Israel actually shrinks. Not coincidentally, this is the period when Israel had to absorb a huge number of Russian immigrants who took lower-paying jobs on average (many being under-employed due to their lack of Hebrew skills or their credentials not being recognized) and this dragged down the GDP per hour worked for the entire country. G7 countries did not have a challenge like this.

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  15. The importance of working is taught many times in:
    Tanach, Mishnah, Talmud, Midrash, Halachah and Mussar books.

    These quotes are a very small sample:

    ===================================
    Mishnah, tractate Avot, chapter 1, paragraph 10:

    Shemayah taught: “Love work...”

    ===================================
    Mishnah, tractate Avot, chapter 2, paragraph 2:

    Rabbi Yehudah the Prince taught:

    “Torah study is good together with Derech Eretz,
    because the labor required for both of them causes sin to be forgotten.

    And "all Torah that is not combined with work,
    it will eventually be forgotten and cause sin.”

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    Tanna DeBei Eliyahu Zuta, chapter 18, paragraph 1:

    Rabbi Yochanan taught:

    “I testify that any Torah Scholar, who studies with sincere motives and works to support himself, will be fortunate in this life and the afterlife.

    He will be revered by: his wife, his children and Gentiles.
    Angels will help him, and G*D will love him completely...”

    ===================================
    Midrash Tanchuma, Parshat VaYetze, chapter 13:

    “A man must work with both hands,
    so that the Holy One Blessed Be He
    will send His blessing.”

    ===================================
    Midrash Rabah, Seder Bereishit, parshah 2, paragraph 2:

    “If you want to eat in this world, you must work.”

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    Rabbeinu Yonah commentary on
    tractate Avot, chapter 2, paragraph 2:


    “Not working brings a man to poverty
    and this causes many sins and great evil.”

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  16. I don't understand why you don't respect the leadership of Blue & White (B&W). They want a JEWISH democratic country. One where if you're religious, you can practice your religion in peace but will not be allowed to coerce others into your way of life. They are NOT against religion or the religious (at all!). They are against the religious leadership which is corrupt and acting in a destructive way against us all.

    How can you not respect their desire to:
    - build hospitals in the north and south,
    - increase hospital beds (have you visited a hospital lately? My mother was quite ill and we spent many days in the hallway),
    - Fund 0-3 education/day care
    - Bring down the cost of living
    - Increasing housing and make it affordable for young people
    - protect the environment
    - have the HIGHEST security for our country
    - open trade and diplomatic relations with as many nations as possible.
    - pass a law that no one can serve as MK if they have been convicted of moral turpitude, bribery, fraud or breach of trust (why are these criminals in our government anyway?)

    What's not to respect about this and so much for that B&W stands for. Ultimately, they represent the actual enactment of the Jewish principle of justice and equality for all. They are against corruption (which the Torah so adamantly and correctly despises and yet is practiced by some of the most "religious" people in the government). They are putting Israel first above all else. How can you not respect that?

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    1. I don't know you and you have a right to your opinion, but only someone not religious himself, and thoroughly ignorant of their needs and concerns, could write the above comment. It's like those COEXIST bumper stickers, that spell out the word with religious symbols - no one who actually IS religious, in any religion, puts out such silly things.

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    2. Indeed. But Jews - esp. of a certain religious and political inclination - need hyperbole. Bibi is smart - he knows that his 'Gevalt' tactics work when dealing with Jews who despite their successes live in existentialist fear of themselves.

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  17. Do you really believe God would allow Israel to cease to exist? The one proof of God you believe in is the miraculous return of the jewish people to Israel.
    Josh Kosovsky

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    1. It happened twice before...

      And as for this attitude, see Sefer Yirmiyahu: "Heichal Hashem Heichal Hashem Heichal Hashem heima."

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    2. Yes but the previous 2 times it happened because the people abandoned God and the Torah, not because they got closer to it...
      Josh Kosovsky

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  18. Lot of "chareidi phobia" being exhibited here. Change will come and is coming from within.

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  19. This is 100% on the money, almost word-for-word what I've been saying for months - there's the party I "fit" with and the ones that I can vote for. Liberman has a long list of flaws, but he's got spine. He stands for something - almost literally the only one who does. I do have hopes that we'll end up with literally Likud and Blue-white (pulled to the right), leaving out ALL other small part parties. No negotiating, no blackmail, no tricks. Bibi has a dominant enough position that it won't slide left. Only a B&W win taking Labor/meretz would be a scary PA scenario. But I think, overall, your sentiments are right-on, and held by many people who've done the same analysis.

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  20. You've gone into full Der Sturmer territory here. "The Haredim threaten the existence of our country!" If you want to educate your children in a different way (as you obviously do), that is your choice. The distance between your words here and outright calls to exterminate Haredim is extremely small.

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    1. "The distance between your words here and outright calls to exterminate Haredim is extremely small."

      Could you cite some evidence?

      The issue is not that the Chareidim are a threat per se to the existence of Israel. Rather, Israel's adopting the fiscal and educational priorities of the Chareidim as the state's priorities is a threat to the existence of the state.

      Slifkin further provides a process by which those priorities would constitute an existential threat. Are there any flaws in the line of reasoning that Slifkin cites from Ben-David, or do you just consider the reasoning wrong because they point to conclusion you don't like?

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  21. Dear Rabbi Slifkin,
    Usually I enjoy much to read your posts, but this time you are completely wrong.
    First, you may be not aware ,the but Left did not disappear and did not regret. They are eager to resume the destruction process.
    Second, to keep people in Israel it is not enough to prevent it look like Bnei Brak. There are always will be safer placed with larger salaries and hotter sea. People need reason to stay Israeli, to stay Jewish. This is that the leading rabbies should provide, and they do not.
    The lack of a reason to be Jew is the real existence threat, worse than mis-education and Iranian bomb. It's separate question what could be done with this threat, but, anyway, Liberman and other Tora haters don't solve the problem, they make it even worse.

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  22. Incidentally, an article was posted today with a video that addresses secular myth about "cost" of Haredim to society: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/268787

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    1. It doesn't remotely counter the basic charge. So they do a bit of volunteer work. Big deal.

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    2. Yeah, a bit of volunteer work that saves state billions shekels and save thousands lives. But of course, the most important remember Dvarim 11:13-15 on why the state succeeds and why has problems.

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  23. "The next few years will determine...Israel's existence" is basically the same bromide as "this election is the most important election of our lifetime." Which we hear in the US every election. So while important, one election does not make or break a republic.

    And while not differing from you substantially in your political views (at least re Israel), recognize that these dire warnings about Charedim have been said for decades, at least since the 80s that I personally can recall.

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    1. There were some elections that were truly pivotal: If Netanayhu would have lost to Peres in 1996, he would have gone totally gung-ho with the Two-State Solution, even with the suicide bombings in all of Israel's major cities. Sharon defeating Barak effectively ended the Second Intifada, when Barak demonstrated that he wasn't capable of leading at that point.
      But that's a far cry from saying that Lieberman and Lapid will succeed in getting all of the Charedim a good education and integrated into the IDF--in what will be no more than 4 years until the next election anyway!
      -Yehudah P.

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  24. Learn from the YAFEED debacle that just happened in New York. The brilliant minds behind that proposal thought they should use govt to force chassidim to change the curriculum. So the lefty govt responds by attempting to force ALL religious schools to change.

    LEARN FROM HISTORY. The enemies and opponents of Jews and religious Jews don't distinguish. To the former, a Jew with a yarmulke is a Jew without. To the latter, a Jew in a shtraimel is a Jew with a Srugi. There's no difference. כיון שנינתנה רשות להשחית, שוב אינו מבחין בין טוב לרע. One has to know who his friends are.

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    1. Wow. After I wrote this someone emailed me wishful thinking article currently posted on the Haaretz website. The article is by YAFEED Board Member Eric Yoffe. The headline: AT LAST, ISRAELIS ARE TURNING AWAY FROM THEIR MEDIEVAL RELIGOUS MANIACS.

      Yep. Medieval religious maniacs. And they tell you they're not anti-religious. Like J-Street tells you its not anti-Israel. Incredible that some Jews still fall for this.

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  25. I'll add one element to your analysis. The more mandates the Yisrael Beiteinu receives, the more likely that a Likud-Kahol V'Lavan coalition will be Likud led. For that reason, if I had a vote I would vote Yisrael Beiteinu, but I would recommend voting based on whom you want leading a unity government.

    Another way of looking at what the consequences of the election is that there are five blocs: Right, Center, Left, Chareidi, and Arab. The conceivable coalitions are: Right-Chareidi, Right-Center, Center-Right, and Center-Left-Arab. If the Chareidim and Right parties willing to enter a coalition with the Chareidim (willing Right) have more than 61 mandates, there will be a Right-Chareidi coalition. If the Right (including both willing and unwilling) and Chareidim have less than 60 mandates, there is a risk of a Center-Left-Arab coalition. If the unwilling Right, consisting exclusively of Yisrael Beiteinu in the current election, has enough mandates, the only viable coalition would be either Right-Center or Center-Right.

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  26. And this about Haredim not being able to bring parnassah without secular studies: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/leticiamiranda/amazon-orthodox-jews

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    1. The success of *American* yeshivish with Amazon *sales* has nothing to do with *Israeli* charedim and *professional careers.*

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    2. Not so sure we should “toot our horn” about this. Here is what is happening with Amazon, I have knowledge with several Successful Amazon businesses. Most “others” do not know this and that is why “unzerer” are more successful. Here is how it is done if anyone wants to get in.
      1 – Open an Amazon business and right away make several accounts. Sell anything you get you hands on – Go to alibaba and buy something that looks like a good deal. There will be a trial and error period.
      2 – Get the Pakistanis that can break into Amazon algorithm and they will get you on the first page. That is the whole key – getting on the first page, as 82% never go to the second page. It doesn’t make a difference what you sell as long as you are on page 1 – the item will be flying out the door. Price by Pakistanis are about $1,000 per year per item. Careful, if you have just 10 items that is $10,000 operating fees per year
      3 -Eventually Amazon will catch on to you and kick you off – No problem just pull out you next account that is already being used a bit, and just continue operations as before.
      4 – There will be some gaps, as Amazon keeps changing the algorithm and it can take the upto a month to re- hack the new system. Just remember no system that big is fool proof from hacking
      Be very matzliach in your new Amazon business and give a lot of Tzdukah

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    3. That all sounds very ehrlich.

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  27. The only future that would secure IL is one as a strict secular democracy wherein everyone can live as they see fit and wherein civil and social rights are applied equitably. If Jews wish to keep shabbat then they keep shabbat. If Jews wish to ride buses on shabbes and marry a shiksa in a civil court then they should be able to do so (same thing for Muslims by the way). These are the rights due to ALL Israelis - esp. secular Jews who - despite the 'start-up nation' hysterical narrative - are leaving in significant amounts. Anything less is a betrayal of the founding principles of the state. And yes, the State will - eventually - cease to exist as a viable entity. It will be a Jewish Turkey at best, more likely a Jewish Iran - yet without a vast secular population. The latter will all leave and the the exceptionalist experiment called IL will end - again. Jewish history has shown that when Jews become extremists, messianist zealots and inward looking fanatics, then Jewish sovereignty ends.

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  28. From Manchester now in IsraelSeptember 12, 2019 at 10:32 PM

    R' Natan

    If you really want to assess Charedi contribution to Israeli society (from a purely secular perspective) then you surely have to factor in the huge financial contribution the Olam Hatorah brings. Hundreds of millions of dollars are invested into Israel on an annual basis by foreigners who invest in Yeshivos and Kollelim etc. This money will not be invested in Israel by these people if you close the Yeshivos and Kollelim.

    As a person who has been involved in finance and law for almost 20 years, I can tell you that higher education is no longer a guarantee to steady employment in any way. Society is going to face a very big problem (and not just in Israel) in the not too distant future (maybe as little as 5 to 10 years) as AI takes over the roles that many people have spent years training for. A recent Swedish trial project paid people for not working.... Read the transcripts of the recent debate between Jack Ma and Elon Musk on the potential effects of AI. Heck you could just speak to some of the techhies in Israel who are engaged in AI. By scare mongering about Israel losing its competitive edge because of the Charedim, you are not seeing the wood for all of the trees.

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  29. Very bad idea. Letting the left win on the idea that they will keep your archenemies (the haredi parties) out of Knesset forever is one of the most myopic approaches to politics I've ever seen. This is the same left that made a coalition with ARAB PARTIES in order to shove Oslo down the public's throat. Eventually, the left will also want the seats of the haredi parties, and they will make deals with them too. (Maybe even this time - we've seen parties betray their principles many times). I dare say it's ignorant of history to believe this approach makes sense.

    There will not always be a potential national unity govt. Those are very difficult to put together. Which is why they have been so rare. There will probably never be another Donald Trump in the White House (in terms of how friendly he is to Israel and how hawkish he is against Palestinian nationalism), and Bibi is well-positioned to take complete advantage of that situation as his good friend to establish facts on the ground that will make it more and more difficult for the Palestinian nazis to succeed in their goals of wiping out Israel. The country needs Bibi's leadership to continue. I'm not saying I agree to your premise entirely, but granting you that, if Haredi population growth as well as haredi parties sitting in coalitions in the Knesset is truly going to destroy the country, that will happen even if you elect Blue and White in this election.

    So that's really not a good idea.

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  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  31. This is an extremist post. There is more to life in Israel than trends in the haredi world. And this post assumes that most Israelis of all stripes are not sufficiently educated. If so, this is not a haredi problem, even if it is as pressing as you assume...

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  32. When a Gantz-Lapid government brings us missiles on Netanya and Tel Aviv we will remember how vital it was to engage in intellectual somersaults to assume that the charedim are the real threat.

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  33. On the bright side, having received the infamous Slifkin kiss of death, Yisrael Beiteinu will now fail to cross the threshold.

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    1. It has happened more than once that the person who called for new elections and made the previous gov't fall was later the one to find himself out of politics in the next Knesset. That happened to Benny Begin and Avigdor Kahalani, if my memory serves me right. I would enjoy seeing it happen to Lieberman as well.
      כל הנותן עיניו במה שאינו שלו, מה שמבקש אין נותנין לו, ומה שבידו נוטלין הימנו
      --Yehudah P.

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  34. The post I put was accidently posted before completion. Here is the post as I posted after: Has anyone considered how the population of Baalei Teshuva increase from exposure to the Orthodox. If Israel will have a majority of Jews being Orthodox of any of the varieties and then these in turn have lots of children the demographics will change and this is in addition to new responses that will be in the Chareidi communty like the Chareidi community in the States. Also the threats to Israel and the political alignments will not be all the same. The article assumes a static future and a dynamic present. The future is more dynamic in potential than the present. Further a lot of secular Israelis will not leave Israel. First because moving isn't everyone's idea of coping. Second you have Israeli secularists who want to be in Israel because it's Israel. Third many are traditional. Further is the premise correct that a military's strength is dependent on the majority of the population's education? Also if one calls Israel a miracle for its birth its survival is not likely to follow the pattern? For sure its survival and that of the Jewish people are a miracle.

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  35. Natan!

    We all agree that there is a problem here and that the situation cannot continue as is.
    The question is what to do.

    There are two approaches:
    Lapid, Lieberman, et al want to use force (fines, imprisonment) to “integrate” the Haredim. To implement this they are conducting a hate campaign against the haredim and fomenting conflict between the religious and secular.
    This method will never work and they know that! But that does not bother them because they do not really want to integrate the Haredim! They want to isolate and ostracize them and make them disappear. (That will never happen.)

    The second approach by Shaked, Bennet, et al is to smoothly integrate them into productive society by creating incentives and conditions that will make this happen. You may have noticed that is already beginning to work.

    The problem is that the hatred incited by Lieberman- Lapid is making the integration more difficult. Lieberman- Lapid are doing the opposite of what you want to be done.
    Natan, please think about this.

    We are facing war on all our borders. The last thing we need now (or ever) is an internal civil (cultural) war. That is what you are voting for if you vote Lieberman- Lapid!

    Natan! Think!

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  36. Great analysis (I may be biased, because it's almost exactly my own).

    In past years, I've only ever voted Bayit Yehudi (like you) or Likud. I don't see myself voting Bayit Yehudi again, but I'll probably always be at or around the Likud's position on most things.

    Last election, however, I voted Blue and White, for all the reasons you mention above. However, I found their post-election coalition negotiations so off-putting, and their current negative-campaign-to-end-all-negative-campaigns so disgusting, that I find myself forced to vote for Israel Beitenu, despite MANY misgivings.

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