Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

29 Sivan 5765 - July 6, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Politica: An Opposition in Favor

By E. Rauchberger

Disengagement opponents are trying every way possible to thwart the plan from taking effect. They block roads, organize demonstrations, hand out ribbons, stop cars, fill intersections with signs and a long list of other activities all aimed at swaying public opinion and influencing the government to withdraw the plan.

But they have already abandoned parliamentary channels, i.e. the Knesset, after trying to prevent the passage of the Disengagement Plan and the Evacuation-Compensation Law, trying to pass a referendum and even toying with hopes of blocking the transfer of state funds in order to topple the government. This week the settlers are trying their luck again, hoping Netanyahu will back an unlikely law to postpone the implementation of the Disengagement Plan.

Now the Knesset finds itself in an unheard-of situation. Although the opposition's ostensive mission is to bring down and replace the government, the majority of opposition members are currently making every effort to keep it in power — whether that entails voting against their conscience, their view or their party platform — whatever it takes to press forward with the Disengagement Plan.

Officially the opposition consists of 54 MKs, but at least 30 of them do not want to see the government fall. Could anything be more absurd? Dozens of coalition members work against the government and even submit no-confidence motions, yet the Prime Minister can sleep soundly at night knowing he has plenty of other MKs on his side.

Badge of Honor for Ravitz

The Knesset recently released a list of MKs late in responding to questions directed at them, including explanations for why they are so overdue. One of the few names not on the list is that of Deputy Minister MK Rabbi Avrohom Ravitz. Unlike his fellow ministers and deputy ministers, since assuming his post three months ago Rabbi Ravitz has not avoided having to provide answers to questions that can be quite embarrassing.

Questions from the Knesset plenum often require the ministry to take action to correct certain failures. Although Rabbi Ravitz has only served as deputy minister for a short time, on several occasions he has already provided answers essentially saying, "The Ministry agrees the issue raised in the question demands attention and we have already done so- and-so and have improved or intend to improve in the immediate future in such-and-such a way to rectify the situation."

On the other hand Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has accrued over 65 questions waiting for answers. In fact Netanyahu has never really responded to any questions. After all he's probably too busy hammering out various reforms and programs — including programs to take from the poor and give to the rich — to deal with such matters.

Far behind the Finance Ministry is the Ministry of Commerce and Trade with 35 unanswered questions, the Ministry of National Infrastructures with 15 unanswered questions, the Ministry of Transportation, with 15 unanswered questions, the Ministry of the Interior with 11 unanswered questions and the Ministry of Internal Security with 10 unanswered questions.

Cheat Sheet for Principals

Government offices are very strict and exacting over every cent provided to the yeshivas and any other funding earmarked for the chareidi sector. They conduct audits and inquiries again and again, including surprise checks, to ensure nobody is cheating them or lying to them or submitting deceitful or inaccurate reports. On the other hand at a recent meeting of the Knesset Education Committee to discuss supplemental funding for Jewish studies it turned out there are those who submit official, orderly documentation to openly cheat the Education Ministry while the media of course remains silent.

An organization identified with the Conservative Movement called Panim Lehitchadshut Yehudit instructs schools associated with their heretical program on how to receive Supplementary Jewish Studies Funding intended to reconnect Israeli youth to its Jewish roots by providing them at least rudimentary knowledge of Judaism, Jewish holidays and Jewish heritage.

In an official document sent to schools Panim Lehitchadshut Yehudit explains, "In order to receive Supplemental Jewish Studies Funding we recommend giving a portion of the courses new names suited to Education Ministry criteria. We do not recommend changing the contents, but only the names on the course schedules in a way that accords with Education Ministry criteria."

And if the principal does not know how to go about implementing this fabulous idea, the organization provides detailed suggestions, such as renaming a history course "Jewish History," renaming an education course "Education for Jewish Values" or renaming a Land of Israel course "The Land of the Tanach."

What could be easier?

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