Wednesday, March 17, 2021

The Election Post

And, for the umpteenth but probably not the last time, it's elections again. I don't have any particularly strong opinions, and I think that good arguments can be made for many different choices, but my personal thoughts are as follows:

The fundamental question is: Bibi or Not Bibi? I used to be an enormous fan of his, and I'm eternally grateful for everything that he's done for the country, but it's time for him to go. He's gotten to the point where his own needs - specifically, staying out of prison - trump everything else. And he tries (and often succeeds) to run the country like an autocrat. Such a situation is intolerable.

I'm not a fan of voting for any small parties - it destabilizes the country - and there's only a few big ones. Lapid is all show and little substance. Saar is not a terrible choice, but seems to be just another old-style Likudnik. The person with the most outstanding real accomplishments and leadership skills, who will work hard to improve the country because he wants to actually help the country and not out of desire for personal aggrandizement, is Naftali Bennett. 

Another huge point in Bennett's favor is that he's the only one with a real, viable plan to solve the problem of the charedi destroying the economy - namely, to lower the age of the draft exemption. You can read a fascinating interview with him at this link: https://www.timesofisrael.com/bennett-im-more-right-wing-than-bibi-but-i-dont-use-the-tools-of-hate/. So, for whatever it's worth, my opinions is: vote Yamina!

37 comments:

  1. Too bad
    The last thing this country needs is another matcalist in charge.

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  2. I'm commenting from thousands of miles away so obviously take with a decent does of salt, but I agree on the "time for Bibi to go". It's so hard to say that about someone that I genuinely think has done so much good both as PM but also before. Personally I think he should be given a pardon on condition he leaves.

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  3. I agree with you that Yamina is the best vote.

    As you said Bennet has solid plans to deal with Carona, and defense, and the economy. He also has a good grasp of State-Religion issues, that trying to force Haredim into the army is counter-predictive as it builds an "us vs them" mentality, rather we need to find ways to encourage Haredim into the army, and more importantly find ways to make it easy for them to get a good education and join the workforce.

    The other reason to vote for Bennet is that he is prepared to sit in a Bibi-lead government, even though I believe his preference would be to sit with Saar. This means that if there is no way for Saar or Lapid to build a coalition, and the only option is a Likud Government, or back to elections, Bennet would sit with Bibi to prevent another election, which I think is in the country's best interest (even though I would prefer Bibi step down)

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  4. Rabbi Slifkin, if you really think chareidim will destroy the Israeli economy, you can easily profit off your prediction. If the Israeli economy goes under, so will Israeli companies. You should buy long-term put options in publicly traded Israeli companies and reap the profits (which you can then use to help poor Israelis devastated by the economic downturn, a win-win).

    But I think the ehm says your predictions is almost certainly wrong.

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    Replies
    1. @happygoluckypersonage It's always nice to get some stock tips in the comments section of an internet forum. It makes WallStreetBets seem so useless. Unfortunately, there are multiple issues with your advice including:
      1)Per Rabbi Slifkin, bennett has a real plan to deal with the chareidim so buying options might be worthless
      2)The stock market isn't always a reflection of the economy
      3)In the words of John Meynard Keynes "the market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent"

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    2. @Yeravom
      1) So he could wait until when (if) Netanyahu gets reelected. Or he could hedge
      2) Usually true, but if we are talking about "destruction" of the economy, the stock market declines as well
      3) Good point, that's why I didn't tell him to short

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    3. Happy, chareidim will make the government and economy go under. Anyone with open eyes can see this. Not even Nostradamus saw this coming!

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  5. 1) A vote for Bennett is a vote for Netanyahu, and, by extension, for a free pass on venality, autocracy, and lack of accountability.

    2) A vote for Bennett is for the same reason a vote for continued friends with benefits deals with the Charedi machers who keep the poor in poverty in exchange for political patronage.

    (Parenthetically 3) A vote for Bennett is a vote for a smaller party?)

    I disagree with you profoundly politically but your own analysis is wholly inconsistent with your final decision. Why not be honest and vote for Prime Minister Champagne himself.

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    1. Bennet is not part of the current government headed by Bibi and explicitly did not say he will support him in the next one.

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    2. per Rabbi Slifkin's own link https://www.timesofisrael.com/bennett-im-more-right-wing-than-bibi-but-i-dont-use-the-tools-of-hate/ one paragraph in "Bennett won’t definitively rule out a coalition partnership with Netanyahu."

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  6. The honest truth is that from the standpoint of anyone serious about serving G-d and keeping his Torah (meaning not those who merely pay lip service) all of these politicians all highly problematic.

    It is the summit of insolence when one of these clowns stands up and talks about King David and the long history of the land and Am Yisrael blah blah blah.

    Because if they ever opened the Tanach they would see that the prophets state over and over again that the Land of Israel will only remain in their power if they keep the laws of the Torah of Moshe. Moshe says this. Yirmiyahu does. Yeshayahu does. Its everywhere.

    Take your guy bennet as an example. He loves to sport, from what I have seen, a fully shaved head.

    There is a lav in the Torah to shave off the corners, I am sure a rabbi like you must know. Moreover, if I recall correctly, Rambam (who this blog loves to pretend is on his "side"), when writing about those who openly go against the Torah and are considered not part of the Jewish people, gives the example of someone who goes publicly with such a haircut which is prohibited in the Torah.

    The publicity of the sin turns him into one who raises a hand against the Torah of Moshe (I am writing from memory but I know he uses this example).

    (Its funny how Slifkin loves to quote the Rishonim about the things that fit into his agenda but ignores them when they don't.)

    Of-course we vote according to the dictates of our Torah leaders. But that doesn't mean we fawn over the politicians we vote for. Aside from voting, the Torah Jew tries to ignore these low-lives as much as possible.

    And you know what? It doesn't matter if one is charedi or leumi or Yemenite or whatever you want. If he is a loyal Jew that keeps the Torah, all serious Jews love him. Not like you that hates. But we don't love the disloyal.

    Having read your blog and seen your blind prejudice and clear agenda of revenge, my opinion is that generally whatever you push for is the opposite of truth.

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    Replies
    1. Dude... You can easily see in the picture that the corners are not shaved. Chill...

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    2. I don't think you have read Tanach. The Prophets talk about the need for צדק ומשפט.
      They don't say anything much about the Laws of the Torah of Moses.

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    3. Look at the picture. Bennett doesn't shave his head. He's simply going bald.

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    4. Bibi is a better man than King David. Some think the messiah is here now, among us. I think Bibi will lead Israel well. He's been doing a good job and we need him now, more than ever before. As for Rambam, Rambam could agree with Slifkin. Find a source where he says he disagrees with him? You can't because it doesn't exists.

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    5. There is also an issur of rechilus, which is funny how you leave out to fit your agenda. How do you know Bennet didn't use a cream or have a genetic condition? Perhaps he did, then your frumkeit is actually rechilus about Bennet and Rabbi Dr. Slifkin.
      Your notion of loving a jew only if they keep the torah is about as jewish a concept as taking the eucharist at mass. Hint, what is a "klal gadol betorah"?

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    6. The responses are idiotic. No, I am not referring to the specific picture in this post where I imagine he hasn't received a haircut in some time.

      I am talking about pictures where he sports a bald head. Google is your friend.

      Fozziebear says the prophets talk about tzedek and mishpat. Sure. They want us to perform tzedek and mishpat as per the will of Hashem through Toras Moshe.

      If we follow only what we think is tzedek and mishpat, and not what the Torah tells us it is, we will certainly not be performing tzedek and mishpat.

      There is what some term “the fifth section of Shulchan Aruch” but that assumes that the first four aren’t ignored. A Jew that ignores halacha but shouts for tzedek and mishpat is a complete fake.

      Non- orthodox Jewish groups like to highlight themes such as tzedek without caring to actually follow those laws as per Chosen Mishpat. What they really mean is, let’s follow what we think is right and ignore whatever Shulchan Aruch tells us is right. They are as hollow as can be.

      You say I don't study Tanach. Then you say that the prophets don't say anything about the Law of the Torah of Moses! Who are you kidding? Clearly it is you who doesn’t know Tanach.

      Here are two very clear verses that come to mind:

      Joshua 1,7: "Just be strong and very courageous to observe and do in accordance with all of the Torah that Moses My servant has commanded you. Do not stray therefrom right or left, in order that you succeed wherever you go."

      Malachi 3,22: "Keep in remembrance the teaching of Moses, My servant-the laws and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel."

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    7. Mr. Truth, don't talk about hate when your post is dripping with condescension and disdain.

      If there was a Torah Jew who was a reasonable candidate and had a good track record in leadership and government, then there is a good chance that he would have a lot of support.

      But to say that someone who has a good track record of successes will not be a good leader because he violates this or that mitzvah is ludicrous. I'm sorry, but voting for the frummest is a recipe for national disaster. We have seen many times in the past twenty years alone that the parties that claim to be rabbinic and Torah-true are just as prone to corruption and bad political decisions as much as anyone.

      I do not know a thing about Mr. Bennett - I am not in Israel. (I just read the linked interview.) But the man is not antireligious (would you prefer that?), he proudly talks about how he is a Baal Teshuva, he does not seek to marginalize chareidim, so why bash him on the grounds that he doesn't keep all mitzvot? He is a candidate for being a government official, not your rebbi or all around role model for your children!

      And don't twist the Tzedek U'Mishpat thing! Time and time again the Neviim cry out for Tzedek U'Mishpat AGAINST being overly frum! From David vs Sha'ul all the way to Yirmiyahu and heichal Hashem heichal Hashem - they say Stop focusing on Bein adam lamakom details and do better at bein adam lachaveiro!

      Of course we need to keep the Torah, and ideally our leaders should as well. But if all you have is "hey look, he violates pe'as harosh!" I think you have to look a little further.

      You want to argue with R' Slifkin about political choices? So say why your candidate is better. You reveal your hand in your last line - you believe that everything written is with an attitude of hate. Clearly, you need to remove the beam from between your eyes.

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    8. (More generally, as I reiterate that I really do not know Bennett - or anyone - a great way to argue would be to take Bennett's interview and bring a counterpoint to his points. He claims that he did such and such? Well, he was not the one who was the prime mover, or perhaps yeah he did do that and it turned out to be a disaster...)

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    9. And I just did a Google Image search on Bennett: NOT A SINGLE IMAGE was of him with a cueball head. There were maybe two out of the first 20 or so with a very thin layer of hair, so one can argue that this was growing back after such a cut, or one can argue that that gufa is his haircut.

      So the whole argument is based on castles in the air in the first place!

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    10. Yosef R:

      You are twisting my words. I did not say someone who keeps the Torah cannot be a good candidate for violating this or that mitzvah. I referred to someone who seems to be perfectly fine showing how he does not care.

      What do you say about, for example, this picture from a Wikipedia page?
      https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naftali_Bennett

      To your other point, whenever Tanach condemns something understood as over-frumkeit which clashes with Tzedek and Mishpat it means that such a type of frumkeit is really not frumkeit at all and it is NOT in accordance with Toras Moshe.

      It is in fact like I wrote. Tzedek and Mishpat cannot be something that violates Torah. Unorthodox people that raise the banner of Tzedek are hypocrites.

      By the way, you write that Tanach cries for Tzedek U’Mishpat against being overly frum. To clarify, you mean cases where something seems like great frumkeit but is really wrong. For example, Shaul was told to kill out every single Amalekite without exception. Even a baby. And eradicate everything else.

      It was a sore test. He spared the king and some animals. That is what you term “being overly frum” because Tzedek U’Mishpat means following Hashem’s command there and not having any mercy at all.

      But don’t take that to mean that being very frum, even beyond the letter of the law, is by definition not Tzedek U’mishpat.

      No that is very good. The problem is if it clashes with the will of Hashem, like not killing out every single Amalekite. That is a case of actually not being frum and going against Toras Moshe.

      My main point was and is that anyone not honestly committed to Toras Moshe shouldn't be fawned over even if the Torah leaders say to vote for him. It’s a matter of best choices, not allegiance.

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    11. @The Real Truth

      I'm going to respond to a few of the things you said. I'll ignore the comments you made that display a contempt and disrespect for non-observant Jews that were just plain nasty.

      You contend that the Prophets cared for the Laws of the Torah of Moshe, which you suggest refer to what we might as well term basic Halacha, or the first four books of the Shulchan Aruch. Let's address that claim a bit.

      First, the Nevi'im hardly every talk about Moshe. You brought two quotes that mention him, but let's be honest. Moshe is almost entirely absent from Nevi'im. Which alone says דרשני.

      Second, the Neviim talk a lot about צדק ומשפט. Particularly the Neviim Rishonim. Why you would interpret that as other than what it clearly means is beyond me. I would assume you have a frum agenda and therefore reinterpret the Tanach to fit your modern agenda.

      Third, the Neviim mainly deal with the role of Kings and leadership. Thus it is understandable that they talk about צדק ומשפט. That's what you need to run a state that can claim to be befitting to bear the name of the Kingdom of G-d. You need a just and good ruler at the very least. Whether the people follow halacha is a secondary concern for the Nevi'im. What they do say about the 'common' people is that they wish they would give up on the korbanot and on shabbat if they aren't going to be fundamentally moral people. So perhaps you can infer from that what they think about the relative importance of the first four books of shulchan aruch versus the fifth.

      Finally - since most of halacha wasn't written at the times of the Neviim (no Anshei Knesset HaGedola to write prayers or brachot, no mishna or gemara) that one has to consider what it meant to be an observant member of am yisrael at the time. Mainly korbanot (and most people didn't keep too much of the rules of tuma and tahara), which was an occasional thing and some version of shabbat. So, perhaps one can understand why the Prophets didn't consider it really important. It was 'small beer'.

      Whether Bibi or Bennet better represent a leadership of צדק ומשםט is now up to the law-courts.
      Given the current state of haredi leadership, it is quite clear to anyone with a pair of working eyes that those leaders 'honestly committed to Toras Moshe' shouldn't be fawned over.

      This is why studying Tanach is important. It reminds us that, although Gemara is important, the books of Nach show us that it is actually only of secondary importance when it comes to assessing what it means to be a good Jew.

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    12. Fozzie, you are right in some aspects and wrong in others. There most definitely was halacha in the time of Tanach, just not written down but rather Torah sheba'al peh. It was not "some version of the Sabbath", it was the actual Sabbath. The neviim indeed don't talk much about halacha. That's because the Jews were doing worse things, such as serving avoda zara.

      But that doesn't mean that one who violatea halacha would be considered an observant Jew, he most certainly would not. But back then there were worse problems, that is what the neviim dealt with.

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    13. It was the actual Sabbath, but it didn't look that much like it does nowadays. There weren't nearly as many derabbanans. You could probably do whatever you wanted as long as you did it with a shinuy.

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    14. Mr. Truth, your reply to me was more measured and even-tempered than your initial post, so thanks for that.

      Just to clarify - "being overly frum" for Shaul indeed included being merciful to those whom Hashem had decreed should die, but often referred to being overly concerned with korbanos and the Mikdash in general. It is not against the Torah in any specific way, nor was it against an explicit nevu'a, for the people to want to bring korbanos and to want to support the Mikdash, yet neviim still said that that stuff should take a back seat to Tzedek U'Mishpat.

      Of course, if you are going to say that these people were going against Yirmiyahu's word and therefore dvar Hashem, then we're gonna argue about No True Scotsman and this conversation is over. Today we live without a Navi, and therefore that aspect of the interaction is not one we can replicate.

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  7. I'm for voting for Bibi. Bibi saved the country and protects us from the real threat: the Arabs. It's bad enough when our allies support our enemies.

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  8. "Bibi or not Bibi??" Okay guys, you keep a lookout, I'll bring the slings and arrows. :-)

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  9. (Mrs. Shevin observes that "Bibi" is two "Bi," so the sentence can be read... I can't bring myself to say it.)

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  10. We need Bibi, because Bibi built the wall and without it we would be flooded by immigrants.

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    1. I thought the wall was to keep out terrorists, not immigrants. No matter what Trump says, they are not the same.

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  11. It's frustrating how Anglos totally don't understand Israeli politics. It's clear to everyone, and Bennet himself pretty much stated explicitly, that if together with his party netanyahu reaches 61, then he will sit with Bibi.

    This means a vote for Bennet is basically a vote for Netanyahu as prime minister. Oh, and his agenda that he talked about? If he's in a coalition with Likud and the chareidim who will obviously oppose it all - irrelevant.

    Voting for Bennet means voting to carry on with a corrupt prime minister who's dragging the country to the abyss and voting for a coalition with chareidi parties who will prevent any meaningful improvement in the chareidi sector.

    Bennet doesn't really care about any of this. He's a totally cynical politician who wants to be defence minister on his way to replacing Bibi as the leader of the right after his departure. He presents his 'agenda' to naive Anglos who don't understand he has zero interest in carrying out any of this stuff.

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    1. I agree broadly.

      Bibi's MO for years has been to keep the RZ and Charedi parties in his coalition. As long as he provides funds for both of them, he gets peace and quiet. The two partners dont cause him any trouble. Everyone knows the deal. True the economy gets screwed because noone tackles broad societal problems and millions get passed out to these two sectors. But who cares as long as Bibi stays in power? Certainly not Bibi.

      I think Bennet is a bit less cynical than Bibi. He would certainly prefer a government without Bibi (and maybe even a government without the chareidim.) But when push comes to shove, as you wrote, a vote for Bennet is a vote for Bibi and the chareidi parties.

      Vote Lapid and you have a chance to stop this happening.

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    2. Exactly this. Bennett serves as the fig leaf for highly educated / higher socio-economic class voters to vote for Netanyahu while thinking they escape responsibility for the logical moral decline which follows from voting for the grasping populist.

      Charedi politicians will dance the familiar dance, Netanyahu will try to get his immunity bill passed, and then there will be more elections.

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  12. No matter what party or person can make a coalition, it will be more of the same. Just Bibi/Likud under a different flag. The Wuhan virus policies will continue and never end, just as Wuhan and its variants will never end. Bibi says that there is a post Wuhan world...nope. The only change is the erosion of freedom and more government control. But again it does not matter what party, etc gains control...it will not change. So vote for nobody, because will help you nor change much of anything. Also remember Bennett's infamous state of children being ticking time bombs during part 1 of the Wuhan lockdown. Also Bibi during last Passover telling kids they were going to kill their grandparents...both real morale boosters. If any party does anything concrete asides from imposing more control on its citizens...stop trade with China as their govt declared war on the west, just not the messy, traditional way.

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  13. Bibi is the leader of the largest political party and by far the most skilled politician. He will be the next prime minister. Nothing will change and nothing can change regardless of who is the prime minister because of the deadlocked coalition government and a corrupt political system. Ben-Gevir deserves to get in for all his good work he's been doing. Yigal Amir deserves to be free by now, but Mishpat Zedek doesn't stand a chance right now and that leaves us with Ben-Gevir. But nothing will change regardless.

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  14. Many years ago Bennett spoke in Baltimore. When he opened up to questions from the audience, I asked why, as Minister of Education, he had done nothing to stop the vitriolic anti Jewish propaganda being taught--and allowed-- in Arab schools, from even the elementary school level. He replied that his hands were tied due to his inability to challenge the Oslo accords which had taken place many years prior. Meanwhile Bennett did nothing and I mean nothing to improve Israel's school system, or set policies against school violence or bullying, which is a rampant problem

    Bennett has a dream. It's to be prime minister. He will do anything to accomplish this. And I mean anything.

    He will not get my vote.

    I threw away my vote the last several elections by voting for a minor party.

    I've since learned my lesson.

    Should Bibi go? Yes. But is there a true leader to replace him? No. It's all about which candidates will sell their souls to form a coalition. Answer: every last one of them.

    Until major reform of this system ensues, it's gonna be same old, same old until Mashiach. While we must do our hishtadlut, clearly HaShem is calling the shots, for even the most stalwart politicians have reversed themselves, shockingly so (Rabin, Barak,Sharon). The real miracle is that we've survived these malfunctioning governments until now.

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  15. What happened to the post with a picture of Rabbi Kanievsky voting?

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