133 Comments

Shkoiach for the post, well written (as always) and great points. When it comes to politics, I have *only* questions.

1. I'm not quite so involved in Israeli politics, but in American politics we also have this crazy divide with two sides full of very reasonable, smart people. But there is real evil on both sides. I'm not sure which side I relate to less (because relating less with is all there is). On the one hand, the left stands for atheist, openly anti-Torah values, which I'm obviously not happy with. While the right has some pretty awful anti-Torah values as well, such as their terrible anti-immigration laws amongst other social issues. I'm not getting involved in details, but while most of my brethren will staunchly vote republican, I am not quite sure that is the way to go. I've 'fought' with people many a time, and things are pretty grey to me. Basically, the fact that there are two sides and two sides alone shows that things aren't quite so simple. (Isn't it curious that everyone who happened not to care much for covid also just so happens to hate the Iran deal? Along with a plethora of other unrelated ideas, these two are completely unrelated except for their media association.) Question #1: is it like that in Israel?

2. Another question, I'm not particularly happy with a Jewish state to begin with. There is so much obvious baggage that comes along with that. Once it is here, we can't deny the amazing hashgacha to bring Yisroel to the Holy Land and who knows where we'd be today without it? This also may be a path of the beginning of the final ישועה, but it may not be also. We don't know the future. If חלילה אלף פעמים something should happen to make it clear that was not a stepping stone specifically towards גאולה, our אמונה wouldn't change one bit. Meanwhile we can very much see the yad Hashem in what we have in front of us.

But now that we have this Jewish state - those are the facts - what should Yisroel do? Should it be a Jewish state, or a secular state? Having been secular, they've cared nothing about HKBH's Torah and values. To the contrary, they always have to be anti. At the same time should it be a completely frum state? So many people are not even Jewish and extremists ruling a country, even if they have the truth, is not a good look in the world today. Imagine Israel becoming overtly full of frum values; the backwards world would turn their backs immediately. We can easily lose all American funding. We're not Neviim; no one knows what will happen, but we must realize what *could* happen.

Point is, politics are very confusing and very black or white when there is a ton of grey. What do we do when the two sides turn into "frum" and "secular" when no side will be right for now? Until Mashiach comes, what do we do?

I have only questions.

I'm not sure if a simple compromise will help anything, because no side is going to compromise on what's actually important to them. Should the right in America compromise on trans issues? That will only hurt them. Should the left compromise on their tens of effective social issues? Things are far more complicated than this post projects.

I don't think you meant to simplify, but what compromises are you suggesting exactly?

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"Basically, the fact that there are two sides and two sides alone shows that things aren't quite so simple." Right - the very existence of two sides, each with millions, should give anyone pause for thought. Is it really likely that one side is Pure Good and the other side is Pure Evil? That's why I find Jonathan Haidt's book "The Righteous Mind" so helpful.

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Let my words not be misconstrued and let me be very clear about what I mean: just because I can understand another side, does not mean I agree with them at all. For example, to me, trans ideology is black on white unacceptable. Because Hashem said so. Period. This doesn't mean I don't understand the other side - meaning, if there is no God R'l, I could make a strong arguments that these words do mean nothing other than socially. (Not actually getting involved.) But I believe, for very good reasons, that there is a God and as such the trans issue is a non-issue. I understand their side, given their הנחות, but they are dead wrong in those very assumptions.

A lot of people believing something is by no way a reason to think what they're saying is true at all; all it does mean is that they are not *stupid*, that they are picking on the weaknesses of the religious believers and tearing down the real thing based on those false premises (אלא שרפו ידיהם מן התורה אכמ"ל). They can very, very well be completely ignorant of certain facts and are arguing against a straw man. If they understood the opponent, they would agree to them. (To use a משל, again not getting involved, but many people who either care or don't care about climate change simply have a different set of of the facts. None of them are necessarily stupid; each would agree to the other given their data sets.)

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Does anyone have such an unsophisticated view of his political opponents? I can't speak for the left, but the right certainly doesn't think in such cartoonish black and white absolutes. Evil, Not evil - that's God's business, not ours. The left is mistaken, and that's all that matters.

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Levin and Rothman don't argue that the millions of people opposed to their plan are evil. To the contrary. This is from Rothman today.

https://www.kikar.co.il/political-news/rygzya

"אנשים שחוששים שכל נטל המדינה יהיה עליהם והוא יילך ויגבר בגלל השותפות הנמוכה של הציבור החרדי בשוק העבודה ובשירות הצבאי. אנשים שחוששים מכח רב מדי בידיים של דמויות קיצוניות, או שהם מזהים כקיצוניות. אנשים שמפחדים משלטון לא מרוסן שפועל בשרירותיות ובשחיתות.

"לא רק שאני מבין את החששות הללו. לחלקם הגדול אני שותף בעצמי. אבל החשש הזה לא גורם לי לרצות לשבור את הכלים, אלא דווקא לנסות לייצר שיח והקשבה.

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Dovid (tm), I'm surprised you're okay with this post, it has a lot of anti-Torah stuff...

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Shulman, can you make a numbered list of the "anti-Torah stuff"?

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Yah, I'm not sure what he meant exactly by that. I should've responded more clearly

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To quote one example from the article: "Currently, the Right is winning. This means that the majority of tech companies are investigating transferring out of Israel, a significant percentage of the population will simply leave, the country will rapidly get even more extreme right-wing/religious, and the international political fallout will be enormous. The economy will crash, the political alliances will dissolve, and the State will fall prey to its enemies, who are already cackling with glee at what is happening. Israel will end up, just as in the Second Temple Era, falling victim to those who insist on confrontation and are certain that they have God on their side."

I completely despise that silly doomsday paragraph.

I do not stand by everything in the post, not even close. My comment was specifically to the general idea about politix which I felt needed clarification. Also I was extra nice because of Tisha B'Av ;)

Thanks for clarifying.

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Why is anti- immigration anti torah?

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"...*שלשה סימנים יש באומה זו *הרחמנים"

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There is no inyan to have mercy on people that bring in drugs,crime and are a general drain on our economy.

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Funny, that's much like what American goyim said when they severely limited the entry of Jews fleeing Hitler. Oh yes, they also feared some of the refugees might be Nazi spies!

Jews were also forced to be immigrants when England (1290) and Spain (1492) expelled them. Good thing they were able to find new countries that didn't share your ignorant, prejudiced, and ugly attitudes.

I guess you aren’t familiar with Vayikra 19:33-34, which commands us, “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

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And once we are on the subject, what have you done for the Chinese Uyghurs who are systematically being oppressed like the jews in WW2.

Me thinks you have same indifference as the goyim during WW2....

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Yosef, since you don't know me, you have no basis for saying that.

In fact, the plight of the Uighurs, along with the PRC's occupation of Tibet (which I always remind BDSers about, to highlight their antisemitic inconsistency), their treaty breaking and crackdown on Hong Kong, and their threats to Taiwan, are the reasons I regularly cite when urging friends not to attend this year's World Science Fiction Convention in Chengdu, China. Despite the fact that I have been attending the convention since 1971, those are the reasons I'm not attending this year.

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That is the most ridiculous comparison.

1)There is a difference between jews fleeing certain death in Europe and immigrants these days who want to live an American standard of living.

2)Jews that wanted to come to the USA during WW2 would build business to support themselves.

They wouldn't get free health care,free Cellphone, free rent ect.

It isn't fair that my hard-earned money supports that.

3)Jews during WW2 were literally being killed by the nazis.

Far less of a chance to be a nazi spy then immigrants part of MS 13.

Your biblical ignorance is breathtaking.

The verses you quoted uses the word "ger" to mean proslelyte not an immigrant.

See all the commentaries such as Rashi and Sifra.

I recommend you spend your time brushing up your biblical knowledge instead of displaying your ignorance .

I

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Jul 30, 2023·edited Jul 30, 2023

Yosef, I'm familiar with those commentaries from elementary school. But I later concluded that while they describe one possible meaning, it's not the main one, since the passage explicitly compares the position of the stranger among us to our situation in Egypt.

Obviously, our plight there had nothing to do with conversion and everything to do with our being a foreign minority — Asians, from the Egyptian point of view, who came to the country because of famine, the same reason many desperate people emigrate today — who could be oppressed and enslaved.

If you can't see and admit the parallel, you're just using Rashi and Sifra as blinders.

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Agreed. But your presenting a very specific version of the facts.

But as I said to @Leib, I'm not up to having a political discussion now, sorry.

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Um...ok.

Just make sure your facts are coming from a reliable source.

As they say in the programming world..." garbage in...garbage out"

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I agree with most of what you said, but what is evil about anti-open borders? It's downright dangerous! Also when choosing between two evils one always should vote against those that threaten to tear down the country and would do a complete sell-out if they can. In USA, that's the left, and after seeing what Lapid and Bennet did in Israel, then it's the same there too. Nothing about religion here.

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I'm not interested in debating American politics (or any for that matter) right now; all I'm saying is that the issues are always far more complex than they are made out to be. Almost any news sight leaves out half the picture and I am very wary of thinking that half of America is dead wrong. Usually (as always) the answer is somewhere in the middle and personally, whenever I really look into things (boring myself completely to actually read real sources) I usually end up tending to lean more left (bH I've been busy learning recently and haven't had much time:) But really, not for now.

"when choosing between two evils one always should vote against those that threaten to tear down the country" - still not getting involved, but that is one side's portrayal of the other. In reality the 'other side' is not really here to tear anything down, mostly to work within the system and fix the major issues. It's true that they sometimes have less regard for the system but overall its pretty moderate. Especially since they understand that they don't have the power to tear anything down since half the country is against them; those are the checks and balances of having two sides. Point is, things are (almost) never quite so black on white.

EDIT - I should clarify that there is a difference between social issues and religious issues. I am referring to the social issues here when I say I end up leaning left. Religious issues I obviously am far to the right, but even them when it comes to implementation I have only questions as I said above (such as abortion, do we not allow because it's murder, or do we say that imposing a religious definition of murder can also be a bad idea? Like what if they now start mandating other religious principles (which possibly won't be ours)? How much do we have to worry about these kinds of thoughts? And so on...)

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Renaming anti-immigration as anti-open borders does not cover up the terrible Sedom-like policies of the right in America.

It is a policy that teaches people to hate the 'other', to remove their natural empathy for suffering people, and to be scared of anything that doesn't look like them.

On Tish'ah Be'av, we can learn to stop the zero-sum attitude to other people, and learn to fargin.

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Don't know what you've been watching lately but I see much more hate on the left, and if by someone that doesn't look like them you mean racist, well, the left are the worst at that too, they just switch the skin color.

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Nothing to do with the immigration issue. Stick to the point.

Trump's announcement of his running for office should have been a reason for every non-sedomite to keep far away.

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Yea, if you've been following the news lately the other side "far away" is way worse.

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That was exactly my point.

The anti-immigration policies, rhetoric and mindset of the Trump campaign and belief system is straight Sedom.

The Left has its issues.

Identifying with either of them is the problem.

Your immediate circling back to 'but they are worse', is a direct Yaten Ne'eman quote, and displays a disturbing lack of critical thinking. Cancel the subscription to the Yated, it will only make your life better.

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You're right about the different perspectives. But why should I care about the losing party's perspective? They cared nothing for the other side all the decades they were in power, and still don't care about it in pockets where they still have it. If the left can't take it, it means they never believed in democracy in the first place.

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Jul 28, 2023Liked by Natan Slifkin

I feel like this is precisely the wrong approach. Democracy should not be about “settling scores” and taking revenge on the other side once you come into power. That is not a recipe for a healthy society.

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Democracy is about individuals pushing what's best for them personally without the need to have any regard for the other side, and may the best man win. Of course its not healthy. (Aristotle was already concerned about this.)

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Not everyone views democracy the same way. https://www.rationalistjudaism.com/p/the-differences-between-charedi-and

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Interesting, but obviously only those who subscribe to chareidi culture will care what R' Chaim zt'l says, so ultimately is their personal choice to 'obligate' themselves to any party. And the other parties have their own tactics, you know that. We all know the amount of things that are covered up by the media; I imagine Israel works the same way as America in that regard. I would argue that the media's power (at least in America) is way stronger than R' Chaim's was there, even just given the amount of people the media affects...

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I was referring to the part about Dati Leumi rabbis not viewing it as what's in it for them but rather as what will benefit everybody.

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Got it. But yah right. "I'm not just here to help republicans; I'm here to help America!" It just means you're here to help America in the way the republicans see it. Which is anti the other party's way.

You should be very skeptical of such claims in politics, Mr. (Usually) Skeptical. Anyone claiming they respect another opinion either has no actual opinion, which is worse, or, more likely, they're using some political tactic. In this case, they talk about what they consider best for Jews in general, including chareidim, either because that is part of *them*, or because it sounds better. Mind you, the chareidim don't think he's there to help them (in what they deem important) despite his claims.

(Again I'm not aware of specific Israeli political details, but it's all the same every time.)

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Jul 28, 2023·edited Jul 28, 2023

I find that the dati leumi parties like to talk about themselves as if they are that way, but when it comes down to it, its all talk.

So for example, the settlement enterprise is almost an exclusive dati leumi interest, and their political parties push for it the most - despite the fact that most of the nation disagrees with it, even vehemently.

Judicial reform as well. The dati leumi love to talk about achdus and loving every jew, but it is their political leaders (rotman, ben-gvir, smotrich etc.) leading the charge to plow over the other half of the nation in passing the laws without any significant compromise. It doesn't help to pass a law one sidedly, in a way that the other side basically views as the equivalent of a horrible rape of the country, and then to say but we love you and want to be brothers.

I would say that the only dati leumi rabbi's that actually put there money where their mouth is in this regard are the ones like Rav Medan of Gush. Sadly, he's in the minority.

But yes, I completely agree that what is needed is radical centrism. I have no doubt that if a national referendum was held, the majority of voters would vote for a law binding the need for a broad consensus in order to make constitution like changes to the law.

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The "Left" has not been in power for 20 years - and to say they 'did not care' for 'the other side' is nonsensical - if anything, they and the courts facilitated the settlement & annexation of swathes of the conquered territories and consistently ensured the Haredi sector was exempt from any form of (required) national service . The outrage against the first steps in removing checks and balances in IL are not solely shared by an amorphous 'Left' but all tiers of IL society - inc. large parts of the defence & security community - who see what this is - a step towards a national religious ruling junta who can appoint felons & criminals such as Deri & Ben Gvir with impunity and effectively render all checks & balances moot.

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"The outrage against the first steps in removing checks and balances in IL are not solely shared by an amorphous 'Left' but all tiers of IL society - inc. large parts of the defence & security community - who see what this is - a step towards a national religious ruling junta who can appoint felons & criminals such as Deri & Ben Gvir with impunity and effectively render all checks & balances moot."

You're a good example of why Rothman and Levin have no one to compromise with. If you truly believe that Levin's plan amounts to "a step towards a national religious ruling junta who can appoint felons & criminals such as Deri & Ben Gvir with impunity and effectively render all checks & balances moot," you're 1) going to be unwilling to hold discussions on anything, 2) completely detached from reality.

Have you even read the proposed laws? Have you watched Levin explain his proposals? Or Rothman in committee? (Note that I'm NOT asking whether you agree with them- simply whether you're aware of what they actually consist of, as opposed to the grotesquely mangled version the media has presented.)

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"They cared nothing for the other side."

How can anyone write that with a straight face?

Who controls marriage and conversion? Do haredim have to go to the army like everyone else? Who pays the salaries for thousands of rabbis?

The so-called "other side" established and built this successful state from nothing. You have everything you want, except control over THEIR LIVES and more money from the taxes they pay. You will destroy this state with your arrogance and entitlement.

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Jul 30, 2023·edited Jul 30, 2023

The Charedim sacrifice by going to the army. It effectively prevents them from getting work. It is legally permitted to discriminate against them this way, all the while that Arabs are legally excused from the army without a peep of protest from the likes of you.

As for who pays the salaries of rabbis - uh, the same people that pay the salaries of every MK? You do realize you can't buy so much as buy a soda can in Israel without giving 17% of the cost to the government, right?

As for building the state - indeed, yes, 75-100 years ago the left did a lot towards building up the state of Israel. I already acknowledged that. But its been many decades since they contributed anything constructive. And don't kid yourself either - as Ben Gurion well understood, the state would never have gotten off the ground without the support of religious Jewry. Without their support, it would have been just another Uganda, regardless of where it was located. Not even the most accommodating of religious streams would ever have accepted a 100% secular state.

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We should be inspired by the fox, as it makes the story from the end Maccot feel more real.

But we should be even more inspired that the vision of Zechariah which Rabbi Akiva mentions has come true:

כֹּ֤ה אָמַר֙ יְהֹוָ֣ה צְבָא֔וֹת עֹ֤ד יֵֽשְׁבוּ֙ זְקֵנִ֣ים וּזְקֵנ֔וֹת בִּרְחֹב֖וֹת יְרוּשָׁלָ֑͏ִם וְאִ֧ישׁ מִשְׁעַנְתּ֛וֹ בְּיָד֖וֹ מֵרֹ֥ב יָמִֽים׃

וּרְחֹב֤וֹת הָעִיר֙ יִמָּ֣לְא֔וּ יְלָדִ֖ים וִֽילָד֑וֹת מְשַׂחֲקִ֖ים בִּרְחֹֽבֹתֶֽיהָ׃ {פ}

Thus says the Lord of hosts; Old men and old women shall yet again dwell in the streets of Yerushalayim, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age.

And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.

And you don't need a rare photo to see that, every day the city of Jerusalem is filled with laughter of children playing while old men and old women sit in her courtyards -

With all the turmoil and divisions in society we read in the newspapers, we should remember that we are literally experiencing the Prophesy of comfort that Rabbi Akiva and his friends could only dream of.

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Which part of the previous "situation" was "intolerable" to the right or the religious? For several decades now, the religious have received almost everything they wanted---exemption from military service, control over haredi schools (with plenty of subsidies) and much more. The only thing they wanted, which they now won, was the ability to oppress the secular and the Palestinians.

Please do not buy that the frums' battle was to gain fair rights

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So, if you prefer, forget about saying that both sides have some truth. Maybe one side is totally wrong. But a compromise is nevertheless crucial.

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The law IS a compromise. The right could have done away with judicial review entirely, in all cases. It didnt. Read the law, and don't just be taken in by left wing propaganda.

And look at the USA for guidance. The left wing used the Senate filibuster routinely to stymie Republicans. Yet when the left took control of the Senate in 2013, they changed the rules and got rid of it. No media howls, no cries of the sky falling.

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The only thing that changed is that they don’t actually have to stand and talk anymore. They can still call for a filibuster and the other party needs 60 votes to hold a vote

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The fact that the Supreme Court canceled various laws simply because they said it was unreasonable. Talk to the people of south Tel Aviv whose quality of life has been destroyed by illegal Sudanese immigrants who the government tried to kick out but the Supreme Court stopped them. Talk to the families of people killed in terror attacks because the Supreme Court meddled with the route of the border fence.

Here are some simple questions

1. Name one other democracy where the attorney general and her minions have veto power over all government policy. If the AG says no to a policy that it, it’s considered illegal.

2. Name one other democracy where the Supreme Court can cancel legal actions of the government by simply declaring that they are unreasonable.

The Supreme Court in israel has unprecedented power and current legislation is meant to bring back balance between the branches.

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Oslo, disengagement, repeatedly striking down various aspects of status quo arrangement which Ben-Gurion agreed to.

https://www.daat.ac.il/daat/ezrachut/english/hillel.htm

"Athough Israel was widely assumed to be Jewish and democratic prior to 1992, the Knesset's designation of these terms as a reference point for Israel's values accorded them far-reaching significance. Any court asked subsequently to rule on whether a particular restriction on rights accorded with Israel's values would be forced to determine what a "Jewish and democratic state" was. The Barak Court, an activist judiciary waving the banner of individual rights, could expect to face this dilemma repeatedly. Supreme Court justices found themselves under pressure to develop a workable understanding of the phrase.

For decades, Israel's judges had been grappling with the idea of Israel as a "democratic" state. In civil rights cases like the 1953 Kol Ha'am decision on freedom of the press, Israeli courts devoted much thought and many pages to the nature of Israeli democracy.(44) But judges had rarely felt the need to spell out the characteristics or implications of Israel as a "Jewish" state.(45) There was, however, one area where Jewish principles forced their way into a statute, and therefore into the judicial debate. In the Foundations of Law Act (1980), the Knesset determined that where gaps, or "lacunae," exist in the law, the court must turn to "the principles of justice, equity and freedom of the heritage of Israel." This two-paragraph statute sparked a judicial conflagration that raged throughout the 1980s. Justice Menachem Elon, the court's deputy president until his retirement in 1993, understood the term "heritage of Israel" to mean the vast jurisprudence of mishpat ivri -the traditional Jewish civil law.(46) Barak fiercely opposed this reading, preferring to read the term broadly, to include thinkers like Spinoza. In any event, Barak's method of legal interpretation held that the law almost never produced any lacunae, and thus the court almost never had to take into account any distinctly Jewish values and legal principles.(47)

In the wake of the 1992 Basic Laws, however, even Barak could no longer avoid addressing the Jewish character of the state. As Elon observed, the new laws placed a constitutional obligation upon judges to do so.(48) Soon after the passage of the laws, President Barak noted the significance of the purpose clause and, specifically, the formidable challenge facing the courts in interpreting the word "Jewish": "Extensive case law dealt in the past with the character of the state as a democratic state.... More difficult are the questions of what a "Jewish state" is, and of the relation between the term "Jewish state" and the term "democratic state."(49)

Barak's vivid interpretive imagination, however, was up to the task of balancing these two values-and in a manner which matched his beliefs about their relative significance. In an address he delivered at Haifa University less than two months after the Basic Laws went into effect, he pointed the way to a synthesis with breathtaking intellectual legerdemain:

The content of the phrase "Jewish state" will be determined by the level of abstraction which shall be given it. In my opinion, one should give this phrase meaning on a high level of abstraction, which will unite all members of society and find the common among them. The level of abstraction should be so high, until it becomes identical to the democratic nature of the state. The state is Jewish not in a halachic-religious sense, but in the sense that Jews have the right to immigrate to it, and their national experience is the experience of the state (this is expressed, inter alia, in the language and the holidays).(50)

The solution to the challenge of balancing Israel's Jewish and democratic values is to be found, Barak essentially argues, through legal alchemy-the transformation of the term "Jewish" into a synonym for the term "democratic." Of course, such alchemy begins with a basic understanding of Jewish values. In the same speech, Barak elaborated on the positive meaning of the term "Jewish":

The basic values of Judaism are the basic values of the state. I mean the values of love of man, the sanctity of life, social justice, doing what is good and just, protecting human dignity, the rule of law over the legislator and the like, values which Judaism bequeathed to the whole world. Reference to those values is on their universal level of abstraction, which suits Israel's democratic character, thus one should not identify the values of the state of Israel as a Jewish state with the traditional Jewish civil law. It should not be forgotten that in Israel there is a considerable non-Jewish minority. Indeed, the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish state are those universal values common to members of democratic society, which grew from Jewish tradition and history.(51)

Through a selective reading of the values of Judaism, Barak succeeded in creating a "Jewish" state that could slip quite easily into his understanding of a "democratic" one. Creative abstractions aside, Barak essentially concluded that a state which is Jewish and democratic is a state which is democratic.

While it is certainly legitimate to read "Jewish" as referring to something other than halacha-the drafters of the Basic Laws did not have theocracy in mind-it is hard to accept President Barak's unilaterally picking one of the provision's two competing reservoirs of values and diluting it with the "highest possible level of abstraction" until it is virtually identical to the other. No less difficult is his reference to non-Jewish minorities as a justification: The legislators were fully aware of this demographic platitude, and nonetheless decided to draft the law as they did.(52)

Moreover, Barak's abstraction of the term "Jewish" is not paralleled by any abstraction whatever of the term "democratic." In a sharp retort delivered soon after the publication of Barak's formula, Deputy President Elon charged that when discussing a "democratic" state, Barak does not abstract, but rather refers easily to domestic, Canadian, European and international jurisprudence.(53) Speaking at the 1992 Canada-Israel Law Conference-on the same panel as President Barak-Elon did not mince words:

One may wonder: How can it be that there is an entirely different standard for each of the two expressions contained in the same statute and in the same clause-"Jewish and democratic"-when both of them come to describe the same thing-the character of the State of Israel.... How can it be that the expression "democratic"-which by the way appears second, after the expression "Jewish"-is to be given its full meaning and is to be interpreted according to the decisions and literature that was written on the subject inside and outside of Israel, yet the expression "Jewish" must be "abstracted" of all independent and original meaning, to be regarded as an artificial attachment that is subordinate to the concept of "democracy"?(54)"

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To be clear, the court obviously wasn't behind Oslo or the disengagement, but its silence and acquiescence in those irreversible steps was the complete opposite of its repeated shenanigans when it came to right wing policy objectives. For all the hysteria about the laws passed now, the simple reality is that the left only needs to muster 61 seats in a future election and it can roll them right back. By contrast, Gush Katif ain't coming back anytime soon.

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Gush Katif was Sharon's responsibility, not Oslo's, but I get the broader point, and agree with it.

If - God Forbid חס מלהזכיר - Israel ever unravels, the blame can be laid entirely at the feet of Oslo and Rabin. NOT because he so foolishly gave away our land. NOT because of the thousands of dead and maimed. And NOT even because it showed how foolish and naive Israelis could be. But simply because it showed that the left truly didn't care what its screaming brothers and sisters felt. No one ever cried like we did in the weeks before Oslo, knowing what a disaster it would be. No protests were bigger, even "media estimates" couldnt hide the gigantic numbers. And what did Rabin say? "They can spin around like propellers for all I care".

THAT, is the left wing of Israel. And they ask the right now to think of them????

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https://newrepublic.com/article/60919/enlightened-despot

"Enlightened Despot"

"What Barak created out of whole cloth was a degree of judicial power undreamed of even by our most aggressive Supreme Court justices. He puts Marshall, who did less with more, in the shade. (He borrowed from Marshall the trick of first announcing a novel rule in a casein which he concludes that the rule does not apply, so that people get accustomed to the rule before it begins to bite them.) Among the rules of law that Barak's judicial opinions have been instrumental in creating that have no counterpart in American law are that judges cannot be removed by the legislature, but only by other judges; that any citizen can ask a court to block illegal action by a government official, even if the citizen is not personally affected by it (or lacks "standing" to sue, in the American sense); that any government action that is "unreasonable" is illegal ("put simply, the executive must act reasonably, for an unreasonable act is an unlawful act"); that a court can forbid the government to appoint an official who had committed a crime (even though he had been pardoned) or is otherwise ethically challenged, and can order the dismissal of a cabinet minister because he faces criminal proceedings; that in the name of "human dignity" a court ban compel the government to alleviate homelessness and poverty; and that a court can countermand military orders, decide "whether to prevent the release of a terrorist within the framework of apolitical 'package deal,'" and direct the government to move the security wall that keeps suicide bombers from entering Israel from the West Bank.""

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One last one, since I'm a big Scalia fan.

https://www.jns.org/israels-high-court-faces-override-challenge-from-the-knesset/

"The late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said he liked to read Israeli Supreme Court rulings because they made him feel better about his own court. Similarly, Judge Robert Bork in his book Coercing Virtue: The Worldwide Rule of Judges (2003) gave Israel’s high court “pride of place in the international judicial deformation of democratic government.”"

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Richard Posner, former US Court of Appeals judge, labeled the architect of the Israeli Supreme Court’s power-grab, Aharon Barak, “a judicial pirate” and “establishing a world record for judicial hubris.”

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Argument from authority fallacy. You can find plenty of quotes from plenty of people on both sides.

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Here are the facts about the Israeli judicial system and why it so desperately needs reform.

1. Israel is the only Western country in which its constitution was invented by the Supreme Court. Israel’s “constitution” largely rests on the Human Dignity and Liberty: Basic Law and the Freedom of Occupation: Basic Law. The Human Dignity and Liberty: Basic Law was passed in 1992, in the middle of the night, during a lame duck transitional government, with a minority of Knesset members, largely from the opposition. During the votes, the bill’s initiators repeatedly reassured that Knesset members that the Basic Law would not authorize the Court to strike down laws. Almost immediately afterwards, the Supreme Court announced that a Constitutional Revolution had occurred, authorizing the Court to disqualify laws.

2. There are no rules of standing for the Israeli Supreme Court. The Court historically demanded that petitioning parties have “standing”, meaning that they were specifically injured by a government decision or law. Barak abolished those in the mid 1990s. The restriction and practical abolition of standing opened the door for NGOs and public petitioners to challenge any policy that they are opposed to. This has led the Supreme Court to become an alternative policy-making forum instead of the Knesset.

3. Another key example is justiciability. This doctrine meant that there were certain issues in which the court had no expertise, in which no legal parameters existed and in which judicial involvement would be inappropriate. Non-justiciable issues included policy decisions, political questions, inter-parliamentary proceedings and foreign affairs. Aharon Barak however declared that הכל שפיט, meaning nothing is non justiciable.

4. In almost all democratic countries, Supreme Court or constitutional court judges are appointed by the elected officials, whether the legislature or the executive. A 2019 study of judicial appointments to constitutional courts of in the 36 OECD countries (supreme courts or constitutional courts) found that 24 out of 36 countries surveyed appoint their judges in a system that grants the power to elected officials exclusively. In Israel not only are the judges on the committee, they have a veto. In countries in which the judges are appointed by professional committees and not the politicians, namely the UK and Luxembourg, the courts do not have the power to strike down laws.

The only other countries in which the courts can strike down laws without being appointed by the elected officials are Greece and Turkey. The Israeli system has the worst of both worlds: its Court can overrule the elected officials, while being a self-perpetuating clique unaccountable to the public.

5. The attorney general in israel has powers found NOWHERE else in the world. In other common-law countries such as the United States, Canada or the United Kingdom, the Attorney General is a minister and is directly responsible to the government. In Israel the attorney general is responsible to no one and her opinion is legally binding and final. In other words she has veto power over ALL government policy.

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I left out an important Supreme Court power uniquely Israeli.

The Supreme Court claimed the power to cancel any government decision even if they agree it’s legal if they believed that it’s unreasonable. That essentially gives the Supreme Court veto power over all government policy. Whatever they don’t agree with is unreasonable. When you combine that with abolishment of standing, every government decision that someone doesn’t like is appealed to the Supreme Court on the grounds that’s it’s unreasonable.

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No. The arguments stand on their own. I added the quote from Scalia as an afterthought. Did you read the other 2 quotes I cited? You're welcome to explain why they're wrong, with or without quotes.

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Deformation?

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Yes.

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/deformation

"the action of spoiling the usual and true shape of something, or a change in its usual and true shape"

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Good G-d, do you truly have nothing more productive to do on Tisha b'av afternoon? Honestly man, get yourself a freaking life.

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Centrism by its very nature is not zealous. It’s very easy to get people zealous about religious fundamentalism. Likewise on the left. The people in the middle are in the middle and are therefore not zealots.

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I agree completely. As I just explained to a non-Jewish friend on Facebook:

…there may have been a few cases over the 75-year history of the country when the court overstepped right off the deep end. But most of what it has done is defend justice, protect minority rights, tamp down religious extremism, and in general save Israel from the worst instincts of its leaders.

As far as I'm concerned, that means it’s been working as intended. But if there were a consensus that more restraint is needed, there could have been a compromise on more limited changes. But Bibi’s partners won't settle for just a slice when the whole pie seems to finally be within their grasp.

If they get it, there will be nothing to prevent Israel from becoming a repressive pseudo-democracy like Turkey or Hungary with the bonus of theocracy, like poisonous whipped cream, atop the regressive cake.

In additional irony, it’s because of Bibi, who once could claim credit for liberalizing the economy, that capital is now fleeing the country and many of its top innovators are contemplating emigration.

I follow Israeli politics as best I can, but the real experts are those living there. The fact that hundreds of IDF reservists, the bedrock of Israeli society, are threatening to strike, should tell you that the true Israeli patriots understand exactly what is happening and why it must be stopped.

Or to put it another way, a Jewish version of Iran or Afghanistan is not going to remain the “startup nation.”

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Here are very serious issues with the Israeli judicial system as it stands today and why it so desperately needs reform.

1. Israel is the only Western country in which its constitution was invented by the Supreme Court. Israel’s “constitution” largely rests on the Human Dignity and Liberty: Basic Law and the Freedom of Occupation: Basic Law. The Human Dignity and Liberty: Basic Law was passed in 1992, in the middle of the night, during a lame duck transitional government, with a minority of Knesset members, largely from the opposition. During the votes, the bill’s initiators repeatedly reassured that Knesset members that the Basic Law would not authorize the Court to strike down laws. Almost immediately afterwards, the Supreme Court announced that a Constitutional Revolution had occurred, authorizing the Court to disqualify laws.

2. There are no rules of standing for the Israeli Supreme Court. The Court historically demanded that petitioning parties have “standing”, meaning that they were specifically injured by a government decision or law. Barak abolished those in the mid 1990s. The restriction and practical abolition of standing opened the door for NGOs and public petitioners to challenge any policy that they are opposed to. This has led the Supreme Court to become an alternative policy-making forum instead of the Knesset.

3. Another key example is justiciability. This doctrine meant that there were certain issues in which the court had no expertise, in which no legal parameters existed and in which judicial involvement would be inappropriate. Non-justiciable issues included policy decisions, political questions, inter-parliamentary proceedings and foreign affairs. Aharon Barak however declared that הכל שפיט, meaning nothing is non justiciable.

4. In almost all democratic countries, Supreme Court or constitutional court judges are appointed by the elected officials, whether the legislature or the executive. A 2019 study of judicial appointments to constitutional courts of in the 36 OECD countries (supreme courts or constitutional courts) found that 24 out of 36 countries surveyed appoint their judges in a system that grants the power to elected officials exclusively. In Israel not only are the judges on the committee, they have a veto. In countries in which the judges are appointed by professional committees and not the politicians, namely the UK and Luxembourg, the courts do not have the power to strike down laws.

The only other countries in which the courts can strike down laws without being appointed by the elected officials are Greece and Turkey. The Israeli system has the worst of both worlds: its Court can overrule the elected officials, while being a self-perpetuating clique unaccountable to the public.

5. The attorney general in israel has powers found NOWHERE else in the world. In other common-law countries such as the United States, Canada or the United Kingdom, the Attorney General is a minister and is directly responsible to the government. In Israel the attorney general is responsible to no one and her opinion is legally binding and final. In other words she has veto power over ALL government policy.

6. The Supreme Court claimed the power to cancel any government decision even if they agree it’s legal if they believed that it’s unreasonable. That essentially gives the Supreme Court veto power over all government policy. Whatever they don’t agree with is unreasonable. When you combine that with abolishment of standing, every government decision that someone doesn’t like is appealed to the Supreme Court on the grounds that’s it’s unreasonable

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Marty, you raise some important issues and I agree they should be dealt with. But the way Bibi and his allies are going about it divisive, destructive, and dangerous. The better way is for Israel to write and ratify a constitution.

That's probably politically impossible at the current fraught moment, but the process could at least be started by the appointment of a committee of scholars to discuss and research possibilities and create drafts for consideration. Those could be used as a starting point by a constitutional convention (separate from the Knesset), with the eventual result submitted to a plebiscite for approval.

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Do you agree everything is not as intended.

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Here is the bottom line the government can’t implement its policies under the current judicial regime. Let me give you one of the latest examples. Israel is suffering from a very high number of illegal immigrants. Part of them illegally crossed the Egypt border coming from different African countries and another part came to work in Israel by contract and after their work was finished just stayed here. Israeli government tried a number of times to stop illegal immigration and to force the illegal immigrant to return to their original countries:

1. Passed the law that illegal immigrant caught by police will spend 3 years in jail. Supreme court cancelled it as “too severe”.

2. The law was changed - 6 month in specially build camp. The immigrants have only to sleep there and during the day they are free. Supreme court cancelled it as “too severe”.

3. The law was changed - 3 month in specially build camp. The immigrants have only to sleep there and during the day they are free. Supreme court cancelled it as “too severe”.

4. OK. No more jail time. The government passed the law that 20% of illegal immigrant salary will be put in the special bank account ( with interest ) and will be paid in full to any immigrant leaving Israel. Supreme court cancelled it as “not reasonable”.

5. The government passed the law that foreign worker leaving Israel when his/her contract is finished - will get all social security payments in full. However if he/she remains in Israel illegally - these payments will be reduced. Supreme court cancelled it as “disproportioned”.

So what do you suggest the government do? Nothing? The government needs and wants to deal with the illegal immigration issue and the court won’t let it.

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Oh so that’s the problem. Bibi’s coalition are racist fascists 👌

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You completely and utterly missed the point, this was just an example of government policy that the Supreme overturned. The policy was certainly legal. The Supreme Court like you DIDN’T like it like you based on their worldview so they canceled it. That’s not democracy that’s rule by judge.

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Most things are not done because of race.

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Your post proves that anti-immigrantism is part of their agenda thus - bigots

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I'm a subscriber, but I ask your permission to publish the full text on Facebook.

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author

You can share the post on Facebook.

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Thank you

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A very solid column.

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You should have written this (the last part) yesterday. We could have sat on the floor and read it along with the existing kinos.

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author

It is still yesterday for me - I'm in California!

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Are there any educated, moderate sane Israeli Heredim left? Or are they all total trash today?

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Natan Slifkin I think

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Jul 28, 2023·edited Jul 28, 2023

Democracy is a sham and a scam. Once elected politicians not only don't deliver, but often do exactly the opposite. Fascism is the only radical centrism without parties, class struggle, elites and oligarchs controlling the country behind the scenes, but a state in the interests of the nation as a whole. Every political system runs into trouble because of the imperfection of the human nature. Slifkin is a typical liberal hypocrite not willing to honor the choice of the people when it doesn't suit his political agenda.

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I’ll take democracy over theocratic fascists 7 days a week

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Really? So why do you prefer rule by judge in israel? The democratically elected government makes decisions and time again the unelected self selecting Supreme Court cancels those decisions simply because they say they are unreasonable. Not very democratic.

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"But from the perspective of the Center and Left, the country is being taken over by a lethal combination of criminals seeking to avoid legal consequences, right-wing messianic religious zealots, and ultra-Orthodox freeloaders."

Which is why the left will never agree to a compromise. Their own logic rules it out.

https://www.makorrishon.co.il/opinion/646761/

דומה כי הכשל הלוגי הטמון בטענות רבות שמעלה האופוזיציה לא נובע מטעות אלא מהאמת הבסיסית: הבעיה היא לא בתיקונים שבכוונתנו לעשות, אלא בעובדה שאנו הם אלה שעושים אותם. האליטה התקשורתית, האקדמית והצבאית התרגלה במשך עשרות שנים כי היא זו שקובעת מהו סביר, מיהו ראוי לשרת בתפקידים רמי דרג, ואילו חוקים ניתן לחוקק בכנסת. והאחרים, הימניים? שיישארו טובים במה שהם, חוטבי עצים ושואבי מים. תנו ל"משכילים והנאורים" לעשות את העבודה. שלא תחשבו לרגע שאינני רואה את הכאב והפחד של "המחנה השני", רואה ומנסה בכל כוחי להפיגו, אבל עצירת התיקונים, שבהם אנחנו מאמינים ושלשם ביצועם נבחרנו, אינו חלק מזה. לצערי, זה לא המה, זה המי.

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I’m truly sorry for being a downer, but there’s nothing inspirational about seeing that Jerusalem was, indeed, destroyed.

Well, whaddya know? Rabbi Akiva has a bar plugta. Rabbi AKiva drew inspiration from the fulfillment of the prophecy, but Slifkin thinks differently.

A prophecy that is for something negative, can be overturned. A positive prophecy cannot be overturned. See Rambam Hakdama to Peirush Hamishna. In this case, Zecharaya's positive prophecy is dependent on Uriyah's negative one. It was unclear to Rabbi Akiva that Zecharya's prophecy of עוד ישבו זקנים וזקנות would be fulfilled, because it was dependent on the negative one being fulfilled.

Now that the negative prophecy of ציון שדה תחרש was fulfilled, we can hope for the prophecy of בן ברכיהו.

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author

Whoah... are you saying that the State is actually Reishit Tzmichat Geulateinu?

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I am saying that the tzaros of the Galus, including the tzaros of the state, are all part of the process that will bring the geula.

Essentially, it is ראשית צמיחת גאולתינו like the founding of christianity was.

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Gosh. You are more of a Zionist than I am!

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Fine. The label isn't the issue.

Nobody would suggest we build churches just because the rambam writes that christianity paved the way for Moshiach. If zionism is on the same trajectory, we should certainly not help it along.

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גבורות ה' פרק יח (מהרל)

וזה כי מלכות ישראל הקדושה שיש לה מדריגה אלהית פנימית היא צומחת מתוך מלכות בלתי קדושה, שכך ראוי למלכות שיש לה מעלה אלהית מעלה פנימית,

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That could be the Ottomans, the British, the Zionists, the Palestinians, the UN, or anybody.

Either way, there is no actual religious significance to the state of israel.

The Rambam explains christianity as follows:

Nevertheless, the intent of the Creator of the world is not within the power of man to comprehend, for His ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts, our thoughts. Ultimately, all the deeds of Jesus of Nazareth and that Ishmaelite who arose after him will only serve to prepare the way for Mashiach's coming and the improvement of the entire world, motivating the nations to serve God together as Tzephaniah 3:9 states: "I will transform the peoples to a purer language that they all will call upon the name of God and serve Him with one purpose."

How will this come about? The entire world has already become filled with the mention of Mashiach, Torah, and mitzvot. These matters have been spread to the furthermost islands to many stubborn-hearted nations. They discuss these matters and the mitzvot of the Torah, saying: "These mitzvot were true, but were already negated in the present age and are not applicable for all time."

Others say: "Implied in the mitzvot are hidden concepts that can not be understood simply. The Mashiach has already come and revealed those hidden truths."

When the true Messianic king will arise and prove successful, his position becoming exalted and uplifted, they will all return and realize that their ancestors endowed them with a false heritage and their prophets and ancestors caused them to err.

The summary is, the mistaken beliefs that fill the world over time are all ways of cleansing the world of those beliefs. Now we all see how christianity is nonsense. Zionism is busy playing itself out, and we are being clearly shown how it is untenable and will not work. Eventually, we will all come to the realization that without the monarchy of the family of David, from a Moshiach character - as elucidated in the Rambam - we have no chance.

So yes, zionism is an integral part of that process. Making zionisim on par with Islam and christianity.

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Wow this went from a fox by the kotel to doomsday predictions quite fast.

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Jul 27, 2023·edited Jul 27, 2023

But the negative prophecy was already fulfilled in the time of the tannaim. Why would we need another fox on har habayit?

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You are right. But every fulfillment of the tzaros of galus is another way of cementing and crystalizing our belief in the future geula.

Emuna isn't only a logical thing, it's logic needs to be reinforced by the 'chush'.

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"Radical Centrism" is known to the Likud as "Leftism" and to the religious sector as "Anti_Haredism"

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author

Yup. A brilliant political strategy by Bibi.

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You never lived in America. In this country, which is Israel's role model for everything, to oppose affirmative action is "racist", and to oppose certain entitlements is "anti-women."

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Let me first state that literally everything you have stated here is hyperbole.

But FWIW, IL (and the courts) has applied 'affirmative action' vis-a-vis new immigrants, the haredi sector, the arab sector, the settler community and as per so many societies, offers inequitable advantages to social sectors. I assume you are all for abandoning such actions? No more subsidizing of haredi education by the state? No more tax and army exemptions?

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The point is referring to differences of opinion in extremist terms has nothing in the slightest to do with Bibi. This blog itself engages in that type of political gamesmanship on practically a daily basis. Or maybe you missed the past post, calling a simple judicial reform bill "the law to make people hate Torah students."

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author

That bill was nothing to do with judicial reform

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Correct, I meant the proposed bill you posted about the other day.

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It does, indirectly. There wouldn't be a need for it or anything like it if the court hadn't repeatedly upended the agreements hammered out by the other 2 branches of government. https://www.rationalistjudaism.com/p/a-basic-law/comment/21423336 For 40 years there was no law. The defense minister had discretion to exempt the charedim. Then Bagatz in Rubinstein https://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%91%D7%92%22%D7%A5_%D7%A8%D7%95%D7%91%D7%99%D7%A0%D7%A9%D7%98%D7%99%D7%99%D7%9F decided that there needs to be one. The result was the Tal law. Which Bagatz then decided was unconstitutional.

It's an additional irony that for all the hysteria about the 'majority trampling the minority,' it was an arrangement which benefited a minority (as charedim are and have been since the founding of the state) which the court struck down that played a large role in leading to the current morass and attempts to finally rein it in.

Note, that this is completely orthogonal to the debate about whether Charedim ought to be drafted or not. The point is that the court arrogated the right to decide that question for itself. And by doing so, it short circuited the political process, and didn't actually even accomplish its goal of requiring charedim to enlist.

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I must say after reading the the first half I did not see that coming! Regarding the first half, I was actually told by a tour guide back in 2019 that there are foxes living in the tunnels under the temple mount, and can occasionally be spotted in that location (where Warren's shaft is open) or in the valley until about an hour before dawn.

As far as the second half, once again it's the snowball-effect of endless tit for tat. I wish we had a full psychological study on this specific phenomenon, (I don't mean political science) but if all sides are equally as tough it seems its part of the Jewish nature.

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author

I'm sure that there are endless psychological studies on tribalism.

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Definitely. Although every tribe has its nuances and I am sure that studies in such conflict among Jews will teach us fascinating things.

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author

Got the Joke :) But supposing such a split among the irreligious as well, who are the Rationalists and who are the Mystics?

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Jul 27, 2023·edited Jul 27, 2023

'Leib Shachar

1 hr ago

I must say after reading the the first half I did not see that coming! '

Coming from Slifkin it was expected. Slifkin doesn't like democracy when his side loses. It seens that is what he was mourning this Tisha BeAv.

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We like liberal democracy where people have human rights and civil rights that aren’t fungible by the tyranny of the majority. We don’t like fake authoritarian populist ones like Turkey and Hungary where it’s a democracy in name only. Now like Israel

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There are periods when living and the various flavors of the fake democracies is very pleasant. But the end result is collapse and destruction of the nation. When in 1967 the US changed it's laws to allow non-european immigration, nobody had informed the people that in less then a hundred years the europeans will go from 85% of the population to a minority. Nobody asked them to vote on this issue. Hungary's policies under Orban have been aligned with the interests of the Hungarian nation, which couldn't be said about US, EU or Israel. Democracy in the long run is a disaster.

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That may make a little sense, if the United States were an ethnic state. But it isn't.

Hungary is the state of Hungarians, so they have the dilemma of how to remain Hungarian and at the same time a liberal democracy. Of course, the Hungarians themselves are not indigenous to Hungary having invaded the region from the east. Their origins are not in Hungary, so why not let other eastern invaders take over?

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'Of course, the Hungarians themselves are not indigenous to Hungary having invaded the region from the east. Their origins are not in Hungary, so why not let other eastern invaders take over?'

Lolol. Why not let Arabs or African infiltraters take over Israel? It's an evolutionary struggle and democracy ends up destroying nations.

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Jul 31, 2023·edited Jul 31, 2023

The US didn't allow non-european immigration until '67, so they obviously didn't see it as beneficial to the country. The proverbial people were not consulted about the change. This is very simple and similar examples abound.

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