Eretz Yisrael Time

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Friday, July 30, 2010
Will Ehud Barak go down in history as a(nother) Jewish leader who destroyed a Yeshiva and Synagogue?

It would appear that Barak is on that road to self-destruction.

(I guess its better in his eyes, than going down in history as as the guy who always runs away).
Thursday, July 29, 2010
One of the cornerstones of Israeli law and society is the Law of Return. This is a law that is deeply grounded in the ethos of Israeli citizens.

The law enacted in 1950 gives Jews or anyone with a Jewish spouse or Jewish ancestor the right to move to Israel and acquire citizenship.


The law is not based on who is actually Jewish, but rather based on whoever would have been persecuted under the Nuremberg Laws.

In the 70’s, the question started to came up as to who is a Jew, and the law was amended to exclude people who converted to another religion (even though Judaism would still consider them Jewish – just failed Jews).


But that didn’t resolve the underlying question, and during the large scale immigration from the former USSR, many people moved to Israel who had only the most tenuous connection to the Jewish people, and that has caused some of the problems that the Rotem bill (which the Reform movement has tried to kill) was trying to fix.


The Law of Return, as it was originally formulated, was meant to be the legal framework for the state to facilitate the "Ingathering of the Exiles".

It was also supposed to be a response to the Nazis, to the British, and to whomever else banned the entry of Jews into their country when seeking refugee (including even into the Land of Israel) due to their Jewish ancestry (regardless if they were actually Jewish, or thought themselves such).

And that’s the problem.

This law is a combination of a refugee law and a citizenship law. In 1950 they didn’t understand that, because they were dealing with a set of different realities. But today, we are dealing with issues they probably didn’t foresee.

While there are calls from the Post-Zionists (and other Lefty groups) to abolish the Law of Return as they believe it prevents them from causing Israel to lose the “Jewish” in “Jewish Democratic”, those people have removed themselves from the national consensus.


I personally think the Law of Return needs to be amended and split in two (or three).

1. The actual “Law of Return” should state that citizenship can be granted to any Jew - as defined by Halacha.

 2. There should be a second “Law of Refuge” that states that anyone persecuted for their ancestral or familial relationship to Judaism (based on the Nuremberg Laws definition) may be granted refugee and residential status in Israel, but not automatic citizenship.

3. There possibly may be an additional category needed for existing nuclear family units, such as a spouse or children under 18, but not automatic citizenship. Not because we should accept these intermarried situations, but because it recognizes that this unfortunate, preexisting condition already exists.


Does this create a second class citizen in Israel?

No less than a Green Card does to a holder in the US.

In fact, we can call these refugees Yellow Card holders (providing the connection to the Nuremberg Laws).

And a Yellow Card holder could even get priority status in the process of converting properly in a recognized court and gaining full citizenship.

The Rotem Law could assist those refugees who wish to become Jews and gain full citizenship.

 If Israel is to remain a Jewish and Democratic state, then it needs to differentiate between those who have the right as Jews to become automatic citizens, while maintaining the moral ethos to provide refugee for those persecuted for their connection to Jews, while simultaneously providing an entry path into the Jewish nation – that is acceptable to all member of the Jewish people.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
I know B'tselem published this video thinking it would make the IDF officer look bad, but finally we see an officer who knows what his job is, and isn't afraid to stand up to enemies of Israel.

Most of the Jewish commenters on YouTube clearly think this officer is great too.

Monday, July 19, 2010
This post was written by an anonymous member of the Muqata Think-Tank with some assistance from the rest of us. The author felt it is an important issue to discuss.

The link to the actual bill that the brouhaha is based on is here: http://www.knesset.gov.il/Laws/Data/BillKnesset/342/342.pdf

There are specific minor modifications to the proposal that we don't have available online at the moment, that are referenced in the post. (Thank you to Rabbi/Dr. Jeffrey Woolf and Yisrael Medad for those documents).



The Rotem Conversion Bill, an important bill, which should have been passed without any problem, has instead has become a political knife that is being used to promote various agendas and attack various people.

Unfortunately, certain people and organizations with very specific religious and political agendas are disingenuously trying to manufacture a storm by upsetting US Jewry with an issue that (a) doesn't affect them, and (b) might actually be better for them - if they moved to Israel and needed to deal with a conversion issue.

The bill was created to resolve some very specific internal Israeli issues – bureaucratic, political, and religious.

As Israel is a Jewish state, issues of Jewish law are important and central to a functioning society, as they are part of our legal system and they also prevent a permanent schism in the nation.

This law is a domestically-applied procedural law that shifts control and certification of who may perform recognized conversions in Israel – and only in Israel.

It does not change the status quo that Israel recognizes non-Orthodox conversions in the Diaspora for the purpose of the Right of Return. It does not have any affect on American Jewry or for that matter have any connection to Diaspora Jewry.

In Israel, two groups are coupled in the conversion process (1) The (State’s) Office of the Chief Rabbinate, and (2) the Religious Courts - the official religious court system in Israel.

The problem arose that due to Israeli domestic politics, the Religious Courts have become mostly populated with Ultra-Orthodox (Chareidi) judges, as opposed to “religious-Zionist” (Orthodox) judges and Rabbis, who better represent the country’s religious needs and character.

Consequently recently there have been cases where the Chareidi-controlled Religious Courts attempted to annul, retroactively annul, or not accept the conversion of some non-Chareidi Rabbis (a halachically questionable act in of itself), and have made it difficult, if not impossible for the non-Chareidi Rabbis to perform conversions if they don’t base it on the various criteria set by the Ultra-Orthodox (a combination of religious philosophy, and strict interpretation and application of certain safeguards - Chumrot - built into halacha).


This bill proposes to decentralize the conversion process and remove direct oversight and control from the Religious Courts, while decentralizing and localizing the process down to the community level.

It places the conversion process into the hands of Chief Rabbinate-appointed community leaders - the officially appointed and recognized local Rabbi of Israel’s towns and cities.

These Rabbis will be trained and certified in Conversion law, and will create special local courts trained and certified to handle conversions at the local level.

These local conversions will automatically be recognized by the Chief Rabbinate, the official Rabbinate of the State of Israel, and thus the State of Israel for all relevant matters.

The concept is that local Rabbis are more likely to know and have a relationship with the potential convert living in their community - perhaps even being involved with the conversion studies of the applicant, than a Chareidi Religious Court’s Rabbi in Jerusalem, and will hence be in a better position to assist the potential convert in the Conversion process, as well as better equipped to decide if a potential convert should or should not be accepted into the Jewish nation - it is not, nor should it be an automatic process.

Furthermore, the bill does not limit the certified Rabbis and Courts to their own community members. If any Israeli citizen, permanent resident (similar to a US Green Card holder), and according to one version of the bill, a foreign citizen who gives explicit permission, wants to go to a specific community’s authorized Rabbi and Court for conversion, they will be allowed to.

This decentralization bill should actually make it easier and perhaps faster for more people to convert. It will be particularly helpful to segments of Israel’s large Russian population who are not Jewish, but want to officially join the Jewish nation.

The law also creates a special Conversion Oversight/Appeals Court whose sole responsibility is to oversee and decide on questionable or problematic cases of the local Rabbis, should any such problems arise. It specifically requires that the Oversight/Appeals court make all decisions within 30 days, so that no case will drag on for months or even years – a problem that can exist today.

This is a reform (not Reform) bill that should help improve, smoothen and perhaps even speed up the conversion process in Israel.

The opposition to the bill is coming from two quarters.

The bill was introduced by the Yisrael Beiteinu party. This party primarily represents the secular, Russian, Zionist population in Israel. They would be among the primary beneficiaries of this bill. The bill happened to have been introduced by a religious member of the party, with full support and backing of his party.

On the political side, in the Knesset, a number of MKs and parties want Yisrael Beiteinu out of the coalition or at least knocked down a few notches. This currently includes Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Likud party who are seriously fighting with their coalition partner over a number of issues. Other parties outside the coalition are involved too, as they want the current coalition government to collapse, which it could as a result.

Furthermore, this bill is a two-prong bill. The second part that Yisrael Beiteinu is working on is a Civil Marriage bill for those who cannot marry under Jewish law. If the first bill falls, the second will certainly never be introduced or passed.

On the religious side, IRAC (an organization which receives funding from the NIF), the activist arm of the Reform Movement in Israel, is leading the fight. The Reform movement does not have much in the way of a significant number of constituents or followers in Israel, just a lot of money from various funds.

Just like the bill will prevent the Religious High Court from interfering with conversion, it will also make it harder for Israel's judicially activist secular Supreme Court to bypass the government, and overturn long-existing laws regarding conversion in Israel. A key project IRAC has been working on for years.

IRAC has been trying for a while to destroy the carefully balanced status quo, ensconced in law, not by convincing the public (which they’ve failed to do over the past 2 decades), but rather by attempting to bypass the government and the people, by going through the Supreme Court, which happens to share a similar world view to them on this matter.

So to reiterate, this bill is primarily being introduced to help resolve the issue of the many non-Jewish Russians in Israel who want to join the Jewish nation, generally ease the conversion process, and resolve the problem of potential intermarriage that could otherwise split the nation.

The bills opponents oppose it due to coalition politics, or because it blocks their attempts to destroy the religious status quo that would otherwise split our one nation in Israel apart.

The opponents are trying (in a very organized fashion) to obfuscate and inflame the discussion to promote very specific agendas (both religious and political) through hysterical polemics, half truths, and false insinuations.

But when it comes to facts on the ground, this is a very good bill that will help resolve some serious issues in Israel.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Jonathan Pollard has already spent more than 9000 days in prison. That's a punishment 10 years longer than that given to any other spy caught in the US spying for a friendly country.

In fact, the median sentence is 2-4 years. Jonathan Pollard has been kept in jail for 25 years.

25 years.

It's long enough

If Obama really wanted to boost his ratings in Israel, he would announce he was freeing Pollard immediately.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
There's on thing I'm sure of.

The freeze may officially be supposed to be over on September 26.

But on September 19, when the Obama opens up his daily briefing, he's going to see satellite photos of Israelis massively construction in Jewish neighborhoods all over Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.

(Will  Barak give orders to tear it all down?)
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Received this update the other day:

Israel sends aid to burn victims in Congo

Following the fuel tanker explosion in the city of Sange, Congo, on July 2, in which more than 250 people were killed and almost 200 injured, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is sending aid to the disaster area through Israel's National Agency for International Cooperation (MASHAV). A delegation of six doctors from Sheba Medical Center, together with medical equipment, flew to the Democratic Republic of Congo to treat the seriously injured.

The doctors, all specialists in plastic surgery and burns, arrived this morning (12 July) and will be treating people with serious burn injuries in the towns of Sange and Uvira, located in eastern Congo, near the border with Burundi.

The team was sent in coordination with the Congolese authorities and with the blessing of President Joseph Kabila and the Congolese ministers of foreign affairs and health. A UN task force in the field (MUNISCO) came to the aid of the humanitarian mission and was instructed to facilitate the reception of the delegation and to ensure their security during their stay.
No surprising, Israel is the first foreign country to send doctors to treat the injured.

I would also add that many Arabs from Gaza (not to mention from other enemy states) come to Israel every day for advanced medical care in our local hospitals.
Sunday, July 04, 2010
The Gilad Shalit march took a political turn last week when they announced that the slogan would be "At any price". Subsequently Bnei Akiva pulled out  the march.

Unfortunately, the march is starting to look like a repeat of Vicky Knafo, or worse, "4 Mothers".

Vicky Knafo was a poor person from the South who decided to march to Jerusalem to protest her economic condition. Along the way, her march was taken over by left wing political activists who converted both her and her cause from a cry for help into a political tool which they abused and eventually threw away.

"4 Mothers" were a small group of leftwing activists that pushed the Ehud Barak government into running away (something he's good at) from Lebanon, which as a result ignited the next Intifada a few months later, the empowerment of Hezbollah over Southern Lebanon up to our border, and eventually the Second Lebanon War.

The first problem with the march is there is only one price the Shalit activists are talking about here - releasing terrorists. They are not talking about military actions, tightening sanctions on Gaza, bombing Gaza, or other activities like that. That is not the price they are referring to. They are exclusively talking about having major terrorist released, and releasing them in Judea and Samaria (not even Gaza). Terrorist with a recidivism rate of around 50% in terms of killing Jews once freed again.

The second problem is just as serious.

They are matching to Jerusalem, to the Prime Ministers house - not to Gaza (border).

The Shalit activists are trying to make the claim that the keys to Gilad Shalit's freedom are in the hands of the Israeli government and not in the hands of Hamas who are holding him captive and playing games with his life.

The Shalit activists are playing into the hands of Hamas who are enjoying the show as this turns into a political attack and pressure on the Israeli government.

The Shalit family has every right to personally demand whatever they want to get their son freed, but the country can not, and should not pay "any price" (as they define it) when that price guarantees more terror and many deaths as a result.


The Free Gilad campaign has been hijacked and is being used for political purposes - solely to the benefit of Hamas - not Israel and definitely not to the benefit of Gilad Shalit.

When the march redirects to Gaza, I'll change my mind.
Boycotts, as our enemies are finding out can be a double-edged sword.

Last week, Iran announced a boycott of Coca Cola, Nestle, IBM, and Intel because of their Zionist connections. I can supply them with a much longer list if they really need want to go back to the stone age.

The Canadian Boycott movement has backfired because of Buycott.

And now Turkey needs to decide if they want their economy tied to the first world or the Arab third.

You see, while percentage-wise Israelis weren't the largest group that went to Turkey for vacation, Israeli were the biggest spenders while on vacation in Turkey.

Turkey's annual take from Tourism is around $21 Billions dollars.

In 2008, over 500,000 Israelis visited Turkey.

In just a month's time Turkey, because of their anti-Israeli politics, has lost over $400 million dollars in revenue in just 1 month's time. You do the math.

Besides that it's good that Israelis are beginning to show some self-respect, it's time that the world starts to understand what it is they are giving up when they attack Israel.

Because that means no more Intel based computers, no more cures for various diseases, no more cherry tomatoes, no disks on key, and no more Jewish money that they are always complaining about.

Can you really imagine no Coke? That just so retro USSR.
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