Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

23 Kislev 5761 - December 20, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment

by E. Rauchberger

Netanyahu Bypass Law

This Knesset session began with an amendment to the Government Foundation Law, when Prime Minister Ehud Barak hurriedly passed legislation to change the law and increase the number of ministers and deputy ministers he is able to appoint, and now the session will also end with an amendment to this same law in order to allow Binyamin Netanyahu to run in the special elections for the office of prime minister despite the fact that he is not a Knesset member.

The champions of democracy always maintained that the Foundation Laws are a matter of utmost importance, but now it appears otherwise. And if it needs to be changed for one individual, the change can be made not just once, but twice: once for Barak and once for Netanyahu. The truth is that the more Foundation Laws there are, the better. Every week another clause is added to a Foundation Law, which leads everyone to believe that all of these Foundation Laws are insincere, ephemeral and inconsequential. Gornischt. Another law on the books.

The most ridiculous aspect of the Foundation Law is that the person the amendment is named after, Netanyahu, has no interest in it. The law should not be called the "Netanyahu law" but the "Netanyahu Bypass Law." In exchange for this law Shas and the Labor Party, both of which do not want Knesset elections, made a deal to allow Netanyahu to run for office in prime ministerial elections, while preventing general elections.

The truth is that from a political standpoint, Netanyahu is right in his demand to hold general Knesset elections as well, because if elected, how would he assemble a coalition in the present Knesset?

According to all of the surveys, if general elections are held for the Knesset as well, the right wing would have a chance of increasing and breaking the current tie against the left. (And the Labor Party, according to some surveys, could even fall below 20 mandates.) This appeals to Netanyahu and this is exactly the reason why the left and the Labor Party, headed by Ehud Barak, don't want Knesset elections just now.

The problem is Shas. Internal Shas surveys predict a significant decrease in the party's strength. While the right wing is expected to grow as a whole, Shas is not.

On the other hand Shas cannot afford for Netanyahu not to run. They are sorely in need of a right-wing government in order to fix the uprising created among voter ranks when the party granted Barak the safety net, affording him a lifeline. Thus the Netanyahu law came about, which is essentially a Netanyahu bypass law.

Achitofels and Partners

Two weeks ago motzei Shabbos, in his resignation speech, Ehud Barak announced his intention to bring the secular revolution back into his working plan, particularly before the coming elections. Following the announcement, Meimad Chairman Michael Melchior warned Barak against "Achitofel counselors" who "might induce him to increase the polarization of the people. We must all remember that there is a day after," said Melchior. That was on the day after Barak's announcement.

Then last Monday in the Knesset, when Barak derailed the vote on the bill to institute a temporary measure to delay the induction of yeshiva students, it was proven that given the choice to listen to Melchior or the other advisers, the Achitofels come first. And he has been going along with them since well before the election campaign began. It was very gracious on Melchior's part to ask Barak to avoid increasing polarization, but he did not specify what he would do if Barak elects for incitement and increasing hatred between the two camps, as he demonstrated in the Knesset last Monday. If so, would Melchior depart from Barak's debased ways, or would the partnership continue in spite of it all?

During the previous election, Barak did not stop inciting and making pronouncements against the religious and chareidi public, and particularly against the Torah and yeshiva world. For some reason this didn't seem to bother Melchior and Meimad. Or perhaps it did bother him, but for some reason he did not say anything.

Will things be different this time? Will Meimad avoid a partnership with One Israel this time if it includes the secular revolution and the persecution of the Torah world on its agenda? If there is no change, why wouldn't Barak listen to the Achitofels?

What Delays Induction

On the same day the Knesset was forced to defer the vote on the issue of deferred induction of yeshiva students, Rabbi Moshe Gafni tried unsuccessfully to submit an interesting question. Even if he failed in his attempt to bring the information to the attention of MKs in the Knesset plenum, it is important that at least the public know about it.

According to Rabbi Gafni's information, the IDF defers army service for members of the J. Witnesses. The requirements for the deferment are not too complicated. A deferment applicant must bring confirmation that his membership in the cult has been approved for another year, confirmation that he is a full-fledged member of the cult, and that's it. With this the cult member merely reports to the right room and receives his deferment. No law, no High Court and no trashing in the media. Just bring a letter and go home. Not complicated at all.

The information, by the way, is reliable and not merely speculative, and is based on a letter signed by Captain Dafna Boim, head of the Placement Department at the Recruitment Center in Haifa.

In his question Rabbi Gafni wanted to know what legal authority the IDF bases its deferment of military service on for members of the J. Witnesses, how many people have received such deferments, how many times each of them has received a deferment, and for members of which other cults and missionary groups does the IDF defer military service.

These questions should indeed be posed to the Defense Minister, in his capacity as defense minister. But since the current defense minister is also the prime minister, it is recommended to inquire why he conducted a campaign of incitement on the issue of recruitment against the Torah and yeshiva world alone, and not against members of cults and missionary groups. Don't they have to carry their share of the load? And in the coming elections does he intend to initiate a campaign of incitement against the cults and missionaries, as well, or just against the Torah and yeshiva world once again? Does the slogan, "One People, one recruitment"--which I fear we will soon see in the streets again, or else something similar--apply to this group, as well, or in his opinion, does their case require consideration, understanding and an automatic signature, no questions asked?

All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.