Oct 23, 2017

Quote of the Day

the initiative to lower the minimum threshold is a dangerous move that could lead to allowing extremist groups into the Knesset who only serve small groups and don't take into account the good of all Israeli citizens and the character of the State

  -- MK Yoav Ben-Tzur (Shas), upon Netanyahu's decision to shelve plans to lower the electoral threshold

1. is this the kettle calling the pot black? It is ok for Shas or UTJ or Habayit Hayehudi or Meretz or UAL to worry about limited groups of constituents and not the entire State and its character, but it is not ok for others to do so?
2. the threshold was 2% until recently. Extremist groups did not really make it in on a regular basis. The threshold was raised for other reasons, but there is no reason to assume lowering it back to the original level will open the door to extremist groups.
3. this seems undemocratic. Who is to say which group is too small, who worries about the character of the State and who worries about his own constituents or the general public?
4. There are reasons to keep it high, and in my opinion even raise it higher. And that is mostly stability of government and efficiency of governance. I think lowering it is bad, because it makes the government less stable. I don't think the reason to keep certain people out is a good enough reason. And if it is, maybe we should rethink which other parties we want in or out and raise it above those levels as well. Why does one party (Shas has been the only party vocal in opposition to this proposal) get to decide which other parties are worthy and which are not?




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Picture of the Day


We don't have control over other people and can't stop them from being violent in the streets and making a chilul hashem whenever they want to, but people can do good things all on their own and make a kiddush hashem and show the public that not everyone is like those in the streets. And while normally, buying ice cream for some soldiers might not be quite a kiddush hashem, as beautiful an act as it might be, I think relative to what is currently in the news this definitely is.

This frum couple was having ice cream in Mamilla Mall in Jerusalem when they saw nearby a tour of a group of 50 soldiers. They immediately invited them all in and bought them all ice cream.
source: Yediot FB






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Police find and arrest pashkevil distributors

During the Peleg protests in the streets, the police arrested a secular man who distributed flyers with inappropriate and hurtful materials on them at the protest. The offender tossed the flyers around and then left the scene.

Police investigated and picked someone up for the crime and will hold him accountable.
source: Actualic

I wish they would show equal competency and professionalism in finding the authors and distributors of the pashkevilim in the "chardak" campaign and holding them accountable.




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PM Netanyahu lowering the threshold

Reportedly, PM Netanyahu is beginning to work on a plan to lower the minimum electoral threshold back to the 2% it used to be. This seems to be some form of gerrymandering as just a couple of years as he led the efforts to raise the minimum threshold to the current 3.25% (which translates to about 4 mandates).

The Likud will definitely pass the minimum threshold, so he isn't doing this for the Likud. The question is what Netanyahu's goal is - one day raising it and another day lowering it.

There are lots of theories out there. Initially it was publicized that the goal is to help ensure Shas pass the minimum threshold in upcoming elections, considering the recent polls that show it at just about that line. Aryeh Deri took umbrage at that saying he does not need the help of the Likud and the changing of the minimum threshold to pass, as they will definitely pass and even grow instead of shrink. He seems insulted when he says that and says they will not support this initiative.

Personally, being a big fan of irony, I would now love it if the idea gets scrapped (which it should anyway) and Shas fails to reach the threshold. I highly doubt that will happen, but it would be wonderful irony if it does.

Other theories floated:
   - this is to help Eli Yishai's Yachad party get in and waste less votes, avoiding what happened in the previous election. Deri might be opposed to it for this reason as well

   - lowering the threshold would likely cause the Arab parties to split up into separate parties as they used  to be and would lessen their political power. Possible, but being that they never join coalitions, they don't really have much power anyway. And there is no guarantee they will split up.

   - saving votes on the right in general. There are a number of right-wing parties that might either split off from other parties or join the electoral fray as new parties, and not passing the minimum threshold could hurt the right wing bloc by wasting hundreds of thousands of votes. The right always refuses to learn its lesson and new right wing parties cause many wasted votes in every election - Netanyahu might be trying to preserve at least some of those votes by helping at least some of those parties succeed.

   - Eli Yishai. I have no idea why Netanyahu would want to help him, considering what that means to Deri who has been so supportive of Netanyahu, but there is a theory that this is to help him get in to the Knesset. Maybe just to avoid wasting his votes, maybe for other reasons. Maybe Netanyahu is planning for a possible indictment of Deri that would force his resignation and hurt Shas - without Deri, bringing in Yachad is less problematic, and there are the polls so this might be a backup plan.

   - Bibi will always do anything possible to hurt Bennet and Habyayit Hayehudi. This might weaken aHabayit Hayehudi by allowing more, smaller, right wing parties in, thus diluting Bennet's electorate and influence.

   - Another possibility is the Ashkenazi Haredi parties might split. It seems unlikely but each of the factions making up UTJ threaten each other every now and then with splitting off. Possibly lowering the bar could help them in the event of such a split.

I don't know what else it might be. Personally, I would prefer the threshold get raised more instead of lowered, but politicians rarely look out for the benefit of the country and are more interested in what benefits themselves.

The bigger question might be if this indicates elections are on the horizon...


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One on One with Alan Dershowitz - Oct. 19, 2017 (video)







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Israelis: What is right wing and left wing in Israel? (video)







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Kehillas Shivtei Yeshurun (KSY) Ramat Beit Shemesh: Entering our new home. Hoshana Rabba 5778 (video)

mazel tov!

After years in planning, on Hoshana Rabba 5778 KSY finally moved to their new home. With great emotion and happiness we danced the Sifrei Torah from our old premises to our new one. It has since been full with men, women, and children from all parts of the community. The new building still has to be finished and we are working hard to acquire the funding needed to complete this remarkable achievement.





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Happy Hatzalah Bar/Bat Mitzva project! (video)







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Avremi Roth Kumzitz (video)







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Oct 22, 2017

Another Chabad booth gets closed down

Once again a Chabad tefillin-stand in a secular neighborhood has been dismantled and removed by local authorities.

It happened recently in Herzliya, and the mayor was "Jew-shamed" into condemning the removal and allowed them to put it back into action. Now it happened in Ramat Aviv Gimmel. City supervisors forced the closure of a tefillin-stand while the Chabadnik was putting tefillin on people. I don't know about the booth in Herzliya, but the one in Ramat Aviv has supposedly been active for upwards of 20 years and only now has been dismantled.

The argument offered is that it is incomprehensible that in the Jewish State, in the first Jewish city (i.e. Tel Aviv), they cannot operate something Jewish like helping people lay tefillin and hand out parsha sheets.
source: Actualic

I am obviously not against Chabad helping people put on tefillin, but I don't think the argument holds water. You can't just do anything you want anywhere you want just because you are doing something Jewish and are in the Jewish State. You want to put tefillin on people and don't want to pay the relevant fees for the necessary permits, do it without a booth. I see plenty of Chabadniks on the trains and walking around malls and wherever else without a booth and putting tefillin just fine on plenty of people. If you want a booth and want to put it in a place that doing so would require a permit, go get the permit. If it requires paying a fee, pay the fee or request an exemption from the fee based on being a non-profit or whatever. Or


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Proposed Law: no funding for anti-State yeshivot

With the Knesset back in action tomorrow after some long vacation periods, Yisrael Beyteynu has announced it will immediately be proposing a new law that would revoke any government funding of yeshivot whose rosh yeshiva calls for evasion from the army in any capacity.

According to MK Oded Forer, who submitted the proposal, anyone who wants to isolate itself form the State, should isolate itself from State funding as well.
source: Actualic, Kikar

The expectation seems to be that the Haredi parties in Knesset will oppose this law, despite it specifically targeting the Peleg-affiliated yeshivot, those responsible for the recent riots, protests, and violence, and being those within the broader Haredi community that call publicly for draft-refusal (including not even signing the papers for exemptions or deferments). The "mainstream" Haredi community along with its yeshivot and its rabbonim oppose the Peleg and have been fighting with them in many ways and arenas. Despite that, the mainstream haredi leadership will oppose this law as they will not allow any law designed to hurt yeshivot, even yeshivot of extremists they oppose. As well, they ask why does the law target only "torah institutions" and not "academic institutions" that call for army evasion and at times, not infrequently, incite against the IDF?

Once again we see the Haredi MKs giving lip service against the extremists but when push comes to shove they continue to give them protection and cover for them.




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Picture of the Day


this is a picture from the Peleg protests... I have absolutely no idea why there is a cyclist on top of the bus



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Israelis: What do you think of Israeli human rights organizations? (video)







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Israeli Frenemies - Oct. 20, 2017 (video)







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HAMAS WANTS ME DEAD (video)






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Synagogues of New York (video)









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