Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

13 Elul 5763 - September 10, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Legislation to Restrict Government Investigatory Commissions

by E. Rauchberger

Several Knesset members have announced they will table a bill as soon as the winter sitting begins to alter or abolish government investigatory commissions such as the Or Commission. Minister Uzi Landau, for instance, opposes these commissions on grounds they are used to wage wars against Jews by Jews. He says no other nation in the world has such commissions because the body responsible for investigating cannot be the same body that issues recommendations, reaches conclusions and passed judgment. Therefore he claims they should only be granted the authority to investigate.

Landau lodged criticism against the very setup of the Or Commission, claiming this is not the first time the State of Israel has accused its best people of deeds committed by others. Following the massacre at Sabra and Shatila, he says, Israel was accused of acts perpetrated by Lebanese Christians, and now top Israeli officials--including high- ranking police officers--have been accused of causing the deaths of 13 Arab-Israelis in the case of a riot out of control that endangered the lives of policemen.

Manufacturing Incitement

The Knesset Finance Committee is scheduled to visit factories owned by millionaire Stef Wertheimer in the Tefen Industrial Area in the Galilee region. Committee Chairman Avraham Hirschson (Likud) explained that MKs will take the time to travel all the way to Tefen to mark Wertheimer's important contribution to developing industry in Israel.

Wertheimer has achieved renown not only for developing industry, but also infamy for a wealth of provocative statements against the chareidi sector. In the past the organization Manof sent a letter asking Attorney General Eliakim Rubinstein to arrest and investigate Wertheimer for incitement following remarks such as, "The chareidim are more dangerous to the country than Hizbullah," or "Secularists must hold riots against the chareidim and prevent them from [exercising their] right to vote." Copies of the letter were also forwarded to the State Prosecutor and the head of the police's Department of Investigations.

Along with the letter, Manof sent a copy of a Yediot Achronot interview with Wertheimer in which he was quoted as saying, "To the sensible-minded secular public I say, `Take to the streets, riot, do not rest easy until the Election Law is changed. They should not be allowed to vote . . . If we do not rein in the chareidim they'll kill us. Yes, they'll kill us.'" Rubinstein rejected the request.

Wertheimer is thoroughly convinced that the chareidim pose a greater threat to the State than security issues, more dangerous than Syria and Lebanon combined. "No, I'm not exaggerating at all. I am here to say this is the end of Israel. The chareidim are barely 15 percent of our population but they buy votes in a way disproportionate to their size. A hundred times, a thousand times greater than their [numerical] strength. They do not believe in the State, they do not pledge their allegiance to it, they do not pledge their allegiance to the flag, they will not defend either you or me in war, they scorn the law, they take money from us. There is no other way to put it: they are simply stealing the country away from us."

Now the Knesset Finance Committee has decided to bestow a prize upon this ignominious figure, a good friend of Tommy Lapid, by visiting his industrial plants. Yaakov Litzman (UTJ) and Nissim Dahan (Shas) asked Hirschson to cancel the visit, claiming if a leader anywhere else in the world were to make such remarks the State of Israel would be quick to denounce him as an antisemite. "Were he to say about the Arab sector what he said about the chareidim would these same noble-minded people keep quiet?" asked the two MKs.

Yet Hirschson denied their request claiming, "Wertheimer is a serious and valued industrialist, a man who combines vision and reality, and his central contribution to Israel is in manufacturing important industrial products that have a large market abroad."

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