Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

1 Kislev 5764 - November 26, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Politica: Netanyahu's Internal Opposition

by E. Rauchberger

After passing a first reading in the Knesset, the national budget and the Arrangments Law have made little progress, primarily because of Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. One reason may be Finance Committee Chairman Avraham Hirshenson's tight connection with Ehud Olmert, Minister of Industry and Trade and one of Netanyahu's toughest political rivals. Convinced Hirschson will eventually have to yield, Netanyahu would prefer not to grant Olmert's associates any accomplishments.

Netanyahu acts like an economic prime minister. He and Sharon have a tacit understanding: Netanyahu backs Sharon in the political-security arena, while Sharon lets Netanyahu have his way with the economy. Netanyahu is unafraid of Hirschson, for with Sharon's support he knows Hirschson will be forced to submit in the end, even if Olmert speaks up for him.

But there is still one thing Netanyahu has not taken into account: the six Likud MKs on the Finance Committee who are all out to prove themselves, exert an influence and gain publicity. A seasoned politician, Hirschson could bring them onto his side and with their support put a wrench in the works for Netanyahu.

Life has been rough for them ever since they lent a hand in the economic decrees. Dani Benlulu, an Ashdod resident, had to be extricated by police after port workers threatened him over his intentions to privatize the Port Authority. And Ayub Kra was under siege when Haifa port workers demonstrated outside his home near Haifa.

This time they do not intend to make the same mistake. Instead they will battle for the underclass in development towns. Even if they lose at least they will have shown their friends they tried to make a change.

They are demanding alterations in almost every paragraph of the budget and the Arrangements Law, including education cuts, plans to close hospitals in Haifa, plans to impose a border tax on foreign workers, another cut in Child Support Payments, a cut in the Authority for the War Against Drugs, harming the Law for the Encouragement of Capital Investment, eliminating certain medications from the list covered by Kupat Cholim, a cut in pension funds, etc. Although on most of these issues their demands will be rejected, if they rally together around a few selected issues chances are they will be able to overpower the Finance Minister.

Blaming the Rabbonim for the Lack of Vitamin B1

As soon as it was reported Remedia's German supplier had put its production line at Israel's disposal because of kashrus requirements, "ranking Health Ministry officials" found the blame for the lack of Vitamin B1 in Remedia's baby formula: the rabbonim, of course! The German company must have removed Vitamin B1 because it was not kosher, they reasoned.

To reach such a farfetched conclusion they had to overlook the obvious. Not only did the problematic product received a hechsher with Vitamin B1 listed on the packaging, but also other kosher infant formula products contain Vitamin B1 too.

The media, of course, did not bother to check out the claim by these unnamed Health Ministry sources, instead jumping to the conclusion that religion was to blame for the deaths of three babies and for striking down many other babies with "Remedia syndrome."

Shocked by this wild, anti-religious incitement, MK Rabbi Yisroel Eichler sent a letter to Health Minister Dani Naveh demanding he repudiate the illogical claims and ascertain which officials supposedly made such assertions. Rabbi Eichler also contacted the media entities that publicized the crude lie, but of course they made no apologies or corrections, just as Naveh did not conduct an internal investigation to find out who in his ministry made such an unfounded statement.

War Heroes

When the State of Israel recently marked 30 years since the Yom Kippur War, the Knesset released a special information sheet on MKs who took part in the war, including the two MKs most vocal in their demands to draft yeshiva students-- Justice Minister Tommy Lapid of Shinui and Yossi Sarid of Meretz.

What were they doing during the Yom Kippur War? Were they fighting at the front? Did they risk their lives? Not quite.

Our brave fighter Tommy Lapid was serving as a reporter for Galei Tzahal during the war and was discharged with the rank of corporal. Meanwhile Yossi Sarid served in the IDF spokesmen's unit and was discharged with the rank of private.

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