Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

7 Cheshvan 5762 - October 24, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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

Opinion & Comment
Ze'evi had Close Links to Religion

by E. Rauchberger

Although the late Tourism Minister, Rechavam Ze'evi Hy"d who lost his life last week at the hands of Palestinian terrorists was the head of a non-religious party and he himself was not a practicing Jew, anyone who was in contact with him knew that Ze'evi was a warm Jew with a connection to Judaism. He put on tefillin every morning for many years, and even participated in Torah and gemora shiurim many times.

Deputy Education Minister Rabbi Avraham Ravitz recalled last week how Ze'evi had visited him in his house about 16 years ago before either of them had been elected to the Knesset, for a certain purpose. They sat together with a few other people all night and in the morning Ze'evi asked to put on tefillin, saying that he was making a resolution to put on tefillin every day from then on.

Two weeks ago Prime Minister Sharon held an "integration meal" in his house prior to the commencement of the Knesset's winter session, to which all the members of the coalition were invited. Ze'evi decided to sit together with the UTJ MKs. Joining them too were Minister Efraim Sneh and the Minister of Infrastructure Avigdor Lieberman.

The chareidi MKs had been promised a "glatt kosher" meal, but this did not materialize for some reason. The issue of the missing "glatt kosher" meals soon became the major topic of conversation at this table and the other tables as well. Ze'evi shared the anger at the lack of consideration shown for the needs of the chareidi MKs. He also expressed an interest in the differences between the various mehadrin kashrus committees and in what makes food "glatt kosher" as opposed to "plain kosher."

The chareidi as well as national-religious parties knew that when it came to any religious topic in the Knesset Ze'evi's vote was there. He never voted against any religious topic or legislation, even if this went against his conscience, such as the topic of army service for yeshiva bochurim (Ze'evi was a retired Brigadier General in the IDF). He would always cast his vote against any anti-religious initiative or piece of legislation.

Rabbi Ravitz said last week that before the 12th Knesset, Degel Hatorah ran for the Knesset for the first time as did Ze'evi's party Moledet, and that was when both of them entered the Knesset for the first time. Somehow it turned out that the representatives of Degel Hatorah and of Moledet sat near each other in the Knesset plenum. That was when Ze'evi told Ravitz that with respect to any religious topic their two parties would be like one enlarged party, and he and his colleague would vote whichever way the MKs of Degel Hatorah would tell them to.

He kept this promise from that day onwards. His vote could always be relied on to torpedo any vexatious Bill sponsored by Meretz or another anti-religious MK and to pass any legislation of a religious nature.

A Mysterious Announcement

According to a government decision the General Security Services are responsible for the security of government ministers, as well as for the security of the President, the mayor of Yerushalaim, past Prime Ministers and others. On the other hand, the police are responsible for the security of MKs, assisted by the Knesset officer and guards.

Last Wednesday the Knesset spokeswoman was quick to issue to statement to the press explaining the situation with regard to the security of MKs in order to reassure the media that everything was in order in this respect and that the necessary measures were being taken.

The problem is that nothing of substance was contained in the announcement, which contained the headline, "Details about the security of MKs." It says there that the Knesset officer has recently published a refresher leaflet to MKs containing rules of caution and behavior. According to MKs, this leaflet contains no special information beyond standard and acceptable rules, such as who to inform of suspicious situations and so on.

The announcement to the press issued by the Knesset spokeswoman also contained a paragraph which caught the attention of journalists covering Knesset affairs. This was due to the difficulty of understanding its contents. It said: "Intensive staff work has recently begun in cooperation with the police and has just been completed. Operative decisions connected with the security of MKs were adopted, and are due to be put into operation over the coming few days." Nobody understands this sentence. Does it mean that safety measures to protect MKs will be intensified; will each MK be assigned a policeman to guard him or another form of protection? Anyone with an insight into the above is kindly requested to send an explanation to Knesset journalists who were not able to make heads or tails of it.

Incidentally, Minister of Internal Affairs Uzi Landau lives in an ordinary apartment block. One of these apartments was recently burgled. What would have prevented these same burglars from entering another apartment in the same building, namely that of Landau? Do the GSS intend from now on to set up a guard, inspector or jeep outside every minister's house or every MK's house for that matter?

Securing the safety of MKs, ministers, and other public figures is no simple matter. It is very difficult to guard them 24 hours a day, unless a decision is made to grant every public figure the status of a Defense or Foreign Minister, who have close protection around the clock. Even in this case, who can guarantee the safety of a minister's family members? In brief, a lot may be spoken about security and operative decisions, but it is very difficult and almost impossible to supply absolute security.

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