Implementing Shinui's Campaign Platform
The economic plan for Israel has been proposed but not yet
approved. The struggle against it has begun with work actions
early this week and could widen to strikes all over, and even
a general strike.
There is no doubt that the situation in Israel (as in many
parts of the world) is very serious and requires drastic cuts
in government programs. However as proposed by the Finance
Ministry and its new Finance Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu,
there is a significant piece of social engineering buried in
all the plans, and the object of this effort is us -- the
"You are the first ones who should support me. You may not
know this, but I am implementing your campaign platform."
According to senior journalist Nachum Barnea, this is a
direct quotation from Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
appealing to MKs from Shinui to support his plan for the
Israeli economy. The main content Shinui's campaign platform
was attacks on the chareidi community, and in particular the
demand that we not be part of the government and that
everything possible be done to harm us.
The Finance Ministry bureaucrats have for years had an array
of proposals, big and small, designed to hit the chareidi
community and the Torah world. However up until now not one
prime minister or finance minister has dared to propose those
draconian cuts as actual policy. The reasons were not just
coalition agreements with chareidi parties. The fact is that
these targeted cuts are manifestly anti-democratic and
discriminatory against a significant sector of Israeli
The current finance minister, seemingly adopting the anti-
Jewish spirit that underlies the Shinui party and that was at
the basis of the current government's coalition agreement,
was the first to embrace all the proposals of the Finance
Ministry bureaucrats: severe cuts in child support, drastic
cuts in the budgets of Torah educational institutions (which
were always underfunded), cutting off government funding for
yeshiva students from chutz la'aretz, a big reduction
in support for kollelim -- in short to make every
possible reduction in government support for the chareidi
community, even if its impact on the budget is minimal.
Even though Netanyahu granted an interview to several
chareidi journalists who did not resist the temptation to
meet with him, in which he claimed that he is worried about
the harm to the chareidim and that he was forced to make the
cuts by the coalition agreement, actions speak louder than
Barnea writes: "The approach that gave birth to the economic
plan is very controversial. The means are cruel, and on the
borderline of the legal. The pace is brutal. The preference
for the rich is disgusting . . . This government is the least
socially-oriented of all governments of Israel."
Barnea claims that most of the ministers did not review the
plan carefully before voting for it. Given the speed with
which they were forced to decide, they had no time to do so.
Now it is said that the government hopes to have the plan,
which is revolutionary for Israel, approved by the Knesset
within a week!
Be that as it may, the five ministers of Shinui certainly had
no need to go through the voluminous details. Their only
concern was to see if the prime minister and the finance
minister fulfilled their coalition commitment to hit at the
chareidi community. Once they were satisfied on this score,
their support was assured.
We regard Hashem as the source of our existence and not any
government of men. He has promised us that the Torah will
persist, despite those who try their hardest to stamp it out,
chas vesholom. Yet that certainly does not free us
from the obligation to speak out and try our best to stop
this widespread assault on us.
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