Beyond the Cusp

July 3, 2012

Plesner Committee Drafting New Tal Law Dissolved by Netanyahu

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday scrapped the Plesner Committee, tasked with drafting a replacement for the controversial Tal Law. The committee was in response to a ruling by the Supreme Court striking down the Tal Law removing the longstanding deferment for Hareidim from serving in the IDF or perform public service as other providing they were in full time Torah study, forcing a replacement be found by July 31. This initiated a response from Kadima party chairman, Vice Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz, threatening to quit the government if Netanyahu did not follow through with the committee’s recommendations. Mofaz was quoted saying, “I reject the announcement of the prime minister and pledge my full support to Plesner’s committee. The committee was formed by all the parties together, and its unilateral dissolution by the prime minister does not obligate Kadima (to comply. These recommendations are) the basis for any real attempt to fix the historic problem of the unequal burden. If the prime minister chooses not to go in that direction, the national unity government will end.”

This is likely how this story will be presented along with the seeming mandatory references to Prime Minister Netanyahu and his heavy handed, dictatorial style of leading his coalition. Never mind that MK Avigdor Lieberman and his Yisrael Beiteinu Party walked out of the committee over their refusal to even address a recommendation that Arab Israelis also be included in required IDF or public service the same as the Hareidim as both have similar deferments. Add that Habayit Hayehudi (Hebrew for “Jewish Home”) also decided that they were being shut out and ignored as they also believed that the committee should be at least looking at universally equal treatment under the new law. Shas and United Torah Judaism Hareidim religious parties’ representative Attorney Ya’akov Weinroth also withdrew from the committee though his motivations were considered suspect as he might have been insistent on a new version that would be a carbon copy of the struck down Tal Law. There was an obvious problem with the make-up of the Plesner Committee from the beginning and from this writer’s perspective it did not come down to as much the dictatorial imposition by Prime Minister Netanyahu than it was the attempts to dictate every iota of the new law by the Kadima leadership in the committee and Shaul Mofaz, the leader of Kadima who likely interpreted the mandate given by Benyamin Netanyahu as a license to lord over the committee and write whatever law he pleased while ignoring any input by other Parties’ representatives assigned to the committee. This may be the beginning of a fraying of the coalition as the nationalist and religious parties are not going to ever form a cordial relationship with the liberal members in Kadima. It might even get to a point where the strengthening of the coalition by merging Kadima will lead to Yisrael Beiteinu and numerous of the other current members will depart over the necessary catering that will be required to keep Shaul Mofaz and the Kadima Ministers content. Such an exodus would completely defeat the entire move of folding Kadima into the coalition and could lead to total collapse.

There is one result of dissolving the Plesner Committee which might turn out to be a blessing in disguise. This has presented Prime Minister Netanyahu with a golden egg in the form of Kadima Head Shaul Mofaz threatening to pull Kadima out of the coalition. The first and most obvious result would be to allow him to make good on his threat and continue with the narrower coalition that includes a more homogeneous combination of parties. But the most likely advantage would be for Prime Minister Netanyahu to call Shaul Mofaz’s bluff and once again announce that he plans to call for new election should Kadima depart the coalition. Such a threat would silence Shaul Mofaz as he is fully aware that with new election Kadima loses half of their seats in the Knesset and such a loss is not something Shaul Mofaz desires or could survive. Such an occurrence might very well cause a vote of no confidence by the membership of Kadima and a new election to choose a new party chairman. Sometimes it is best not to scream too loudly in public when the soapbox you’re standing on has broken boards and is about to collapse.

Beyond the Cusp

May 31, 2012

Ominous Clouds Gather Over Beit El Community

A pair of salvos fired, one intentional, one indirect, at the Givat HaUlpana section of the Beit El community in the Judea and Samaria areas east of the Green Line are raising concerns among those opposed to the demolitions of Jewish neighborhoods. The first shot was made by Defense Minister Ehud Barak when as part of his speech to the Conference of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv where he stated, “If it is impossible to reach an agreement with the Palestinian(s), we should consider an interim arrangement, or even a unilateral disengagement.” The second salvo came from IDF Judea and Samaria Division Commander Brigadier General Haggai Mordechai when he met with Beit El Mayor Moshe Rosenbaum and requested that the Mayor ask the residents of Givat HaUlpana to voluntarily leave their homes in order to avoid a confrontation.

Judging from the long record of Ehud Barak favoring demolitions as an expedient and preferred method of dealing with any challenge to the legal ownership of areas east of the Green Line upon which Jewish housing or businesses have been built makes any such reference from him as a direct threat, even those built at the request and with the assistance of the Government. Defense minister Barak has even gone so far as to find avenues in order to remove Jews from their legal residences after agreeing to a compromise to delay such as was the case of Beit Hamachpelah where Barak fabricated out of thin air a danger to the peace in order to order the removal of fifteen Israeli Jews from their legally purchased small apartment building. Now the Defense Minister who has near total control over such actions in Judea and Samaria making a statement directly making reference to the option for unilateral disengagement from Judea and Samaria as occurred in Gaza in 2005 is indeed a chilling event. It immediately produces visions of Katyusha and even larger rockets being fired from the Judean hills overlooking central Israel just as has been the rule resultant from the unilateral disengagement from Gaza. Such a threat would endanger the lives and livelihoods of over three-quarters of the Israeli population.

When you add in the request from the commanding general over the forces which would be tapped in order to execute such a disengagement making a request for the residents of a long established community to surrender their homes for demolition just adds to the perception of impending doom. This also begs the question of where does Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu stand on this issue. When one looks at the Prime Minister’s recent actions concerning attempts by numerous members of the Knesset, including many from his own Likud Party as well as others from his original coalition before Kadima joined, his spoken commitment to do whatever it takes to save these neighborhoods becomes rather suspect. When legislation was being proposed to alter the selection process for Supreme Court Judges, as well as all other judges, which would give elected Knesset Ministers the predominant advisory role in the process replacing the Supreme Court Judges, Attorney General and high officials from the Lawyers Guild, once again Prime Minister Netanyahu demanded the Knesset bury the proposed legislation. Despite the method used in almost every Western country giving elected officials direct approval over candidates for judgeships, Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed with the elite far leftists who claimed doing such would destroy the democratic system by neutralizing the court’s near monopoly on power and subjecting judges to review by elected ministers. While agreeing with the far leftist view, the Prime Minister first ordered strict coalition discipline to defeat the motion and then used his position to press for the legislation to be refused introduction to the Knesset floor. The legislation died in committee. He has demanded that coalition members withdraw motions to legalize the challenged settlements in Judea and Samaria. After the first time Prime Minister Netanyahu killed legalizing legislation, Defense Minister Barak used the opening to have two separate housing communities destroyed well in advance of the deadline set by the Supreme Court in their ruling. Just last week he requested firmly that Knesset Minister Yaakov “Ketzaleh” Katz to withdraw the latest motion to legalize the communities in question claiming the need for more time to find a different avenue to save the communities in question.

It has come to be time for a small revolution by those who support legalizing the communities which are under judicial assault by the Supreme Court in conjunction with leftist NGOs which bring charges of Arab ownership of properties on which exist established Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. The purpose of utilizing the Supreme Court for these demolition rulings is that the Supreme Court is not tasked with verifying the ownership claim and can rule purely on political emotions and slant. With the Supreme Court being extremely slanted to the leftist progressive post-Zionist political philosophy, they will take virtually any opportunity to rule to destroy Jewish homes east of the Green Line. When cases have been adjudicated in the lower courts where proof of ownership must be proven, there has yet to be a proven case of Arab ownership of these lands. Past President of the Supreme Court Dorit Beinisch made a ruling in the last month of her term setting a vindictive precedent for all future cases. She made a ruling that all lands which were not State Owned Lands, regardless of who held deeds of ownership, were to be considered and adjudicated as Arab owned lands. This immediately voided every deed which denotes Jewish ownership of lands in Judea and Samaria. These are the typical actions and attitudes taken by the Supreme Court, Defense Minister Barak, B’Tselem plus similarly oriented NGOs, and numerous European backed Arab and leftist groups which make the need for a sweeping piece of legislation that neuters all these enemies of Zionism and as such, Israel, and unilaterally end this onslaught against the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria. To legalize these homes and communities one-by-one is too risky and has proven unworkable. There needs to be definitive steps taking care of the two threats which have reared their heads and threatened the destruction of Israel through stages just as Yasser Arafat had predicted would occur.

The courts and black robed tyrants need to be neutered and their wings clipped placing sane limits on the overbearing application of judicial activism. Also, security has to be legislated for the Jews living in Judea and Samaria as the ceaseless incremental destruction of homes and neighborhoods slowly digesting every vestige of Jewish life in Judea and Samaria simply must to be ended once and for all. So, allow me to make a plea, Prime Minister Netanyahu, be brave, forget your desire to be loved by all; that can never happen as you must act and action by its nature will displease one side, the other, or both. Take the bull by the horns and allow coalition members freedom to vote their consciences and let legislation to legalize all of Judea and Samaria to be vetted and voted. Secondly, it would restore the balance of Israeli democracy if the appointment of new judges would be vested outside of the judiciary and related interests. The people must be given some selective voice and having the Knesset approve the appointments of judges even if the initial selection is proposed by the judges themselves. The current allowance of the complete appointment procedure being virtually monopolized by the Supreme Court and related influences does not serve democracy, it preserves a strictly enforced hierarchy that has produces a priesthood consisting of lawyers and judges who are usurping the powers which should lie with the other branches of the governance. Trust the people and their elected representatives. The more power placed with the people, the better the government will serve the people and not serve an elite cadre with narrow interests.

Beyond the Cusp

December 29, 2011

Their Rush to Judge and Condemn the Innocent

The majority of the Israeli Press being so cosmopolitan, so progressive, and so Tel Aviv centric could not help themselves in their rush to condemn the “Hilltop Youth” for the riot that occurred at the Ephraim Brigade Base in Samaria in response to rumors that the IDF soldiers from the base had orders to destroy community of Ramat Gilad. The riot at the base was committed by teens and there were rumors of another settlement destruction despite ongoing negotiations to avoid such an event thus it had to be those “Settler” teens who build outposts on hilltops which are regularly destroyed by orders from Defense Minister Ehud Barak even against the wishes of many of the ruling coalition. After all, those settlers and their children live off the land, build their own homes without hiring architects or employing reputable contractors, and it shows. Why those people are so unsophisticated and uncultured, not at all like the cultured and civil society of north Tel Aviv and surrounding suburbs where most of the reporters and media reside. They had them convicted and were calling for allowing the IDF to shoot to kill those people if they resisted having their neighborhoods destroyed. Why couldn’t those crazy idealistic Zionists just live within the Green Line like good Jews? Why do they insist on stealing Palestinian lands? Who cares if many of the neighborhoods were originally built with the blessings and often funding of the government, so what? So some of them are building on land they have deeds of ownership that predate the Jordanian occupation. Didn’t the Jordanians revoke all Jewish ownership of those lands and give it to friends of Jordanian King Abdullah? Anyway, Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch ruled that all non-State lands in Judea and Samaria are to be considered and treated as Arab owned land all evidence to the contrary be damned. Why can’t these way too Jewish Jews take the hint and leave the whole area where they are not wanted and let the Palestinians have their land back and then we will have peace, finally peace.

Well, I do agree with the Tel Aviv snobs that any riot against the IDF or disruption of the IDF in fulfilling their given orders should be punished to the full extent of the law. Where I differ is I prefer to wait until the investigation finds the actual culprits before jumping off the deep end and frothing hatreds from the mouth like a rabid dog. In some ways, I am even more distressed with who it now appears were the miscreants that attacked the IDF Ephraim Brigade Base in Samaria. It turns out that it was some Nationalist Extremists which is not a complete surprise and they need to be kept within the law with their protests and actions. The sad part was these particular Nationalists were from the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem. The Mercaz Harav Yeshiva had no part in the planning or commission of this crime. This was done completely independent of the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva by a group of students who overreacted to a situation and should and will be held responsible for their crimes. The Mercaz Harav Yeshiva and the leaders and faculties of numerous other Yeshivas have condemned these acts as they should. The perpetrators of these heinous crimes have almost all been identified and will be tried for their crimes. Hopefully, whatever punishment the State decides to mete out will very likely be insignificant than what these Yeshiva students will face when their Rabbi gets his turn with them. They have disgraced their Yeshiva which has shamed their fellow students, their Rabbis, their teachers, the alumni of the Yeshiva, and worst of all committed a great sin before G-d. The punishment from the State will probably pale in comparison to what they have coming from their Yeshiva. They very likely will be expelled, the worst fate possible, and especially since they would have great difficulty being accepted at another Yeshiva after their shameful acts. The only bright light that will come of this disgraceful event is it will be used to assure that such does not ever occur again; at least such will never again be perpetrated by Yeshiva youth.

Fortunately, there also might be a few other turns for the better from this whole affair. First and foremost is that the Settler population has had their names cleared and the hilltop youth have been vindicated as every one of their groups denied having taken part in the riots at the base. With some luck, perhaps a few of those progressive and self-righteous urbanites will be less likely to simply jump to conclusions and falsely accuse and virtually convict those who have chosen to reside in the biblical heartland of Eretz Yisroel. Let us hope they have seen the pitfalls of leaping before all the facts have been made available. Maybe, with hope against hope, some of these Tel Aviv elites might take a trip and meet some of the people who live in Judea and Samaria. They might just lose some of their preconceived conceptions of who lives out on the front lines and who make Tel Aviv all that much safer by doing so. They may be in for some shocking truths. Not every person or community in Judea and Samaria are the knit Kippah crowd, a semi-derogatory reference to the religious Jews. Many are secular and are professionals who actually work in Tel Aviv. They may even find that some of the “settlers” are people from their office who they work with and joke with at the water cooler every day. You never know as the population of Judea and Samaria is probably the most derided and misconceived group in all of Israel. They span every dimension of Israeli society and it might be a real eye-opening experience to take a weekend tour of some of the communities and actually meet the people. They really are not from another planet; they are Israeli Jews just like the media who so often malign them. I realize that the Israelis living in Judea and Samaria tend to be more religious than the Jews living in north Tel Aviv and surrounding suburbs. Who would be surprised by such a finding? Not this writer.

Beyond the Cusp

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