Sunday, December 10

President Trump's Recognition of Jerusalem



President Donald Trump never fails to surprise. It is always the context in which he makes his predictable announcements and the timing that could not be worse. This president is the most unconventional president that the US has ever had in all its history. His announcement that the US will officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital and that he will be ordering the US Embassy to be moved to Jerusalem will create repercussions in the Palestinian world if not the whole Arab world and its allies.
Image result for trump jerusalem capital
Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital, reversing longtime U.S. policy


 In Israel, these announcements of Trump have met with great applause. Naturally, the Government Coalition is head over heels in euphoria and is close to dancing the hora. Was this Trump announcement really necessary?

We are all aware that Israel’s Knesset is in Jerusalem and this makes Jerusalem de facto capital of Israel and this does not warrant Trump’s announcement on this issue. The status quo at present on Jerusalem was never an issue and its final status has been recognized as an essential part of a final settlement between Israel and the Palestinians when both sides re-negotiate a lasting peace. Trump has put the cart before the horse because of his usual hubris and total lack of foresight. It is doubtful whether he has any plan as to how to get peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian initiated.   

What Trump has done may reap praises from the present right-wing in Israel as well as providing an excuse for the Palestinians to threaten Israel with terror attacks that will result in unnecessary suffering for both sides. Trump does not understand that the Palestinians do not resemble the Swiss or any other European nation in their logic and rationality with whom one can negotiate a “peace deal” (to use Trumpist terminology). They are driven by mantras of fantasy and hatred for Israel and if it is not the Jerusalem issue it will be another issue that can ignite the Palestinian leaders to goad their people into committing violence against Israelis. The issue of the status of Jerusalem has been a hot potato since Israel’s establishment. The problem between Israel and the Palestinians is an existential one and will always remain glowing embers until some world statesman puts his/her foot in it by saying things that are best left unsaid for the sake of preventing violence and bloodshed.

Already there are threatening rumblings in the Palestinian leadership about Trump’s announcement that will reverberate across the Middle East and may even threaten the trust that is in its very initial stages between Israel and Saudi Arabia and may even threaten Israel’s tenuous relations with Egypt and Jordan. Is this really necessary? We, in Israel, do not need Trump’s announcements on Jerusalem as it is like waving a red rag to a bull. It is also detrimental to the interests of the US as well as Israel. In fact, there are reports of Israeli soldiers clashing with Palestinians who are protesting Trump’s Jerusalem decision. The clashes have already started between the Palestinians and the IDF. Trump has already struck a match on the already glowing embers. This is the first time that a US president must bear the blame for an unnecessary provocation.

There is an old Jewish saying that says that it is better to be wise rather than to be right. This is most applicable to Trump, who is far from being wise. There are certain things that are better left unsaid in order to avoid senseless violence and bloodshed. This is so true in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Trump appears to have blown it.

Thursday, December 7

Corruption in High Places

The Knesset in Israel has been plagued with a new Bill up for the third reading - a notorious Recommendation Bill that prevents the general public from knowing about police enquiries into sitting prime ministers suspected of breaking the law as well as weakening the police system and the law courts. If this Bill becomes law it will be another slap in the face of Israel's democracy.
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Coalition chair David Bitan leaves his home on his way to be questioned by police on suspicion of corruption, December 6, 2017. (Screen capture: Ynet)
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The architects of this disgraceful Bill are two of Netanyahu’s loyal supporters or “keepers” - the Two Davids - MKs David Amsalem 1 and David Bitan 2. The former has a shady history with the police and the latter is under investigation by the police for bribery, corruption and money laundering. He was questioned for 14 hours by the police - Lahav 433 3. He will undergo a number of sessions of police enquiries as suspicions of criminal activity against him are high. This resulted in the shelving of this Bill for the present. If MK David Bitan, the Likud Coalition Chairman, is found guilty he will receive a prison sentence. The future of David Bitan in the Knesset is now uncertain.


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Husam Jarushi, a reported mobster linked to suspected wrongdoing by Likud MK David Bitan,

It is quite possible that the Two Davids were in a great hurry to get the undemocratic Recommendation Bill passed into law as soon as possible as both of them had personal issues with the police. Amsalem was questioned by the police some years ago but nothing was found, while Bitan must have known that he is soon to be questioned by the police. Both abrasive, bulldozing Davids were keen to pass this law each for their own reasons, using the Netanyahu investigation as an excuse to get the Bill passed into law. Netanyahu decided that the Recommendation Bill should not apply to him and with David Bitan out of the picture with an uncertain political future, left his partner, Amsalem high and dry, this Bill was shelved for the time being.

The present Likud has become a party of arrogant scoundrels involved in all kinds of cartels and scandals directly or indirectly. It is a far cry from the Likud of the Late PM Menachem Begin 4 and the Revisionism 5 of Ze’ev Jabotinsky 6 - who can be viewed as the founding fathers of the Likud ideology. Whether one agrees with the Likud ideology or not, there is no doubt that these founding fathers were true statesmen and had the interests of Israel in their hearts. The present lots of Likud members are far from that mould. They have become self-righteous and arrogant, connected directly or indirectly with all kinds of shady business deals to “make a quick buck” at the expense of the electorate they purport to represent.

In a democracy, this incident including the police investigations of a sitting prime minister and the criminal investigations of his close associate and supporter, David Bitan, would result in recommendations for the government to resign and a call for new elections. Israel being Israel this is not going to happen. Even if elections were called, there would be no change for the better. Israel has moved toward the right and extreme right, even the new Zionist Camp leader, Avi Gabbay, is pandering for votes from the Likud by playing populist right-wing politics.

PM Benjamin Netanyahu does not seem to be phased by the criminal investigations against him and will probably be re-elected as prime minister in the next elections. The old cry “Benjamin Netanyahu is the best Prime Minister Israel has ever had. There is nobody to replace him!” This mantra will undoubtedly be the case in the next Israeli General Elections.

Despite all these misgivings about Israel’s political future under a Likud Government that is becoming increasingly corrupt, we, Citizens of Israel, must draw the necessary conclusions. We must vote against the corrupt Likud and its band of cartel-serving politicians, many of their high ranking MKs are connected with shady financial deals for their own personal enrichment. The corrupt rot has set in the Likud Party. It has been in power too long. A sitting prime minister should not be allowed to be elected for more than two terms. Israel has set the example of what happens when a prime minister holds office beyond that. He ceases to serve the country and views the country as his personal property. Even Israel’s UN Representative, Danny Danon, has criminal suspicions in creating jobs for pals as well as nepotism in allotting these jobs. We cannot allow Israel to become a banana republic resembling ANC ruled South Africa.


THE LIKUD MUST GO!


Refererences:


  1. "Dudu Amsalem - Wikipedia." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dudu_Amsalem. Accessed 5 Dec. 2017.
  2. "Coalition chair MK David Bitan suspected of receiving bribes, money ...." 3 Dec. 2017, https://www.timesofisrael.com/coalition-chair-mk-david-bitan-suspected-of-receiving-bribes-money-laundering/. Accessed 5 Dec. 2017.
  3. "Lahav 433 - Wikipedia." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lahav_433. Accessed 5 Dec. 2017.
  4. "Menachem Begin - Wikipedia." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menachem_Begin. Accessed 5 Dec. 2017.
  5. Revisionist Zionism - Wikipedia." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revisionist_Zionism. Accessed 5 Dec. 2017.
  6. "Ze'ev Jabotinsky - Wikipedia." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ze%27ev_Jabotinsky. Accessed 5 Dec. 2017.

Thursday, November 23

The "Zumarization" of Israel's Democracy

We have been witnessing an erosion of the rule of law in Israel. The present Coalition Government of Israel wishes to pass a law preventing the Police Force from investigating a serving prime minister suspected of breaking the law (in this case, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been summoned under oath about suspected involvement in various cases under police investigation). Netanyahu’s fellow party cronies are up in arms in the Knesset and wish to pass laws preventing the prime minister from being investigated by the police while in office. 

Those pictured below are PM Netanyahu's "keepers" in the Knesset:

Miri Regev- Lack of Culture Minister
Oren Hazan - MK of ill repute

Dudu Amsalem - Likud Party Hack
David Bitan - Boorish Likud Coalition Chairman
















The Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit, has expressed his opposition to this Bill as it weakens the power of the Courts of Law. The corrupt President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, who also has a number of criminal cases pending against him, has a battery of lawyers and spooks surrounding him. Their job is to keep him out of prison.

It appears that Netanyahu has a similar setup in the name of his loyal cabinet ministers, who are the devil’s advocates. Even the Chief of Police has come under criticism on investigations of PM Netanyahu. If this bill is passed into law, it opens the door for felons, with a suspected criminal past, to take a pot shot at becoming the future prime minister of Israel.

Mouths will be clamped and draconian laws will be introduced to place the ruling Government Coalition above the law. This is a definite threat to Israel’s democracy. As it is, the buds of fascism have found fertile ground in Israel’s present government.

Latest reports of further erosion of checks and balances are reports of MK Bezalel Smotrich, of the extreme right-wing Jewish Home Party, introducing a bill to curtail the activity of the State Comptroller. The role of the State Comptroller is to oversee and inspect the executive branch of Israel's governing administration. The Comptroller is elected by the Knesset by way of the secret ballot to one seven-year term, and the Knesset retains the ability to remove or replace him during his tenure. Fortunately, this Bill to limit the State Comptroller's powers was rejected. MK Smotrich, (even though he will deny this, at the end of the day, this is what he desires), is interested in his strong illegal settler agenda in the occupied territories to give them state funding without any State Comptroller “interference” or condemnation.

The present Israeli Government Coalition under Benjamin Netanyahu claims that this is a democracy. Netanyahu views his government as the democratically elected government of Israel which automatically gives them the power to do as they wish. They are the law! The police, law courts, state ombudsman are a challenge to their power and must have their power diminished by law. Bibi Netanyahu has his keepers who are doing all in their power to erode Israel’s institutions of law and order thus allowing potential Likud felons, friends of Netanyahu, to do as they wish. MK David Bitan1 and Dudu Amsalem 2 are Bibi’s protectors and keepers in the Knesset. They are closely followed by Minister of Culture and Sport, Miri Regev, who has no idea what culture really is apart from her idea of so-called Sephardi culture, which in her eyes is not against her party’s agenda 3. She threatens to withhold funds for a cultural activity that she, in her narrow perspective, views as inimical to Israel 4. There is also the pleasure-seeking MK, Oren Hassan 5 with his disgraceful, arrogant outbursts against those who disagree with him. MK Miki Zohar is another example of arrogance and boorishness in the Knesset.

In South Africa under the corrupt criminal, President Jacob Zuma 6 and his ANC shenanigans and crooks, have been embarking on similar measures for many years. Zuma 7 has evaded paying his taxes 8 to the SA treasurer and he simply replaces honest and hardworking employees in SARS (South African Revenue Services) with his own men to ensure that his crooks, tax evading businessmen engaged in smuggling, illegal imports of hard drugs and avoidance of excise duties payment and continuance of money laundering are ensured. Zuma owes the SA Treasury billions of rands in tax. He has succeeded so far in getting away with paying his taxes including those spooks who are serving him and keeping him in power. South Africa, like Israel, is a democracy.

Both countries have free elections. Both countries say that their respective governments or coalitions represent their electorates who voted for them in free elections. This in practice gives them the right to abuse their powers which in Israel’s case has resulted in various files or cases being investigated. Case 1000, Case 2000 and Case 3000 and soon Case 4000 are being investigated by the police. Many of the suspects in these cases are close Netanyahu associates.

President Jacob Zuma of SA
In South Africa, the ruling ANC is corrupt and milking the SA treasury and appointing their rogues in SARS to ensure that influential scum and their illicit businessmen get a cut from the state treasury for protecting Zuma from prosecution.

Is this not an uncanny similarity to what is happening in Israel’s lawmakers today? Is this not a sign of “zumarization" of Israel’s democracy with eroding checks and balances against the abuse of power? In both Israel and South Africa there is a form of state capture -  a type of systemic political corruption in which private interests significantly influence a state's decision-making processes to their own advantage.

  1. "Which direction does the strongest man in Israeli politics want to take ...." 4 Oct. 2017, https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.815717. Accessed 19 Nov. 2017.
  2. "Israeli MP floats law to protect Netanyahu from criminal inquiries ...." 10 Aug. 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/10/israel-law-protect-benjamin-netanyahu-criminal-inquiries-david-amsalem. Accessed 19 Nov. 2017.
  3. "Miri Regev's Culture War - The New York Times." https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/23/magazine/miri-regevs-culture-war.html. Accessed 19 Nov. 2017.
  4.  "Slammed by Israeli Minister of Culture Miri Regev, 'Foxtrot' wins award ...." 9 Sep. 2017, http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Culture/Israeli-film-Foxtrot-wins-silver-lion-award-at-the-Venice-film-festival-504628. Accessed 19 Nov. 2017.
  5. "Meet Oren Hazan, Israel's most scandalous lawmaker | The Times of ...." 27 Nov. 2015, https://www.timesofisrael.com/meet-oren-hazan-israels-most-scandalous-lawmaker/. Accessed 19 Nov. 2017.
  6. "Jacob Zuma - Wikipedia." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Zuma. Accessed 19 Nov. 2017.
  7. "State Capture: Jacob Zuma, the Guptas, and corruption in South Africa ...." https://qz.com/825789/state-capture-jacob-zuma-the-guptas-and-corruption-in-south-africa/. Accessed 19 Nov. 2017.
  8. "President jacob zuma - EWN." http://ewn.co.za/Topic/President-Jacob-Zuma. Accessed 19 Nov. 2017.










Recommended Reading: “The President’s Keepers” by Jacques Paauw. There appears to be an uncanny similarity in as far as the defenders of the leaders of the two countries are concerned even though the circumstances are very different. The lowest common denominator is corruption and the defence of the respective leaderships. This is a real eye-opener on the corruption of President Zuma and the ANC

Tuesday, October 24

An Unholy Alliance with US Neo-Nazi White Supremacists and Israel's Right Wing

This week Richard Spencer 1, the US White Nationalist neo-Nazi Leader uttered a statement that we should all find very disturbing. According to a report in Haaretz 19th Oct 2017, Spencer stated, amidst cries of protest during a controversial speech at the University of Florida on Thursday, that Israel is an example of an “ethno state” he aspires to create in the United States at the University of Florida on Thursday. Hundreds protested Spencer's presence outside the auditorium.

Spencer is associated with the Alt-Right 2 movement that is allied with Donald Trump. He stated proudly stated that under his (Trump’s) watch, Spencer’s white supremacist movement has gained strength. The Charlottesville riots in August resulted in the exposure of the macabre mix of Alt-Right Trump supporters, neo-Nazi, White Supremacists going on the rampage against anti-fascist groups resulting in the death of a demonstrator by car-ramming. Trump’s response was a lukewarm condemnation of all sides when in reality his Alt-Right supporters and neo-Nazis were to blame. He acted with an unhealthy expediency in order not to upset his apple cart of Alt-Right Neo-Nazi supporters.



At least, on the surface, there seems to be an uncanny similarity between the Spencer ideology and the Netanyahu Coalition ideology when it comes to the occupation settler movement (They have never had it so good under the present Israeli Government) as well as the attitude of the present government towards “legitimate Jews” (Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox) and “illegitimate Jews” (Reform and Conservative). This is bound to backfire on Israel.

The apparent macabre alliance between the extreme right wing in the US and Israel’s right-wing extremists seems to be a phenomenon that is beyond logic. This US extreme right-wing or Alt-Right composed of Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists and racists of all kinds despite their anti-Semitism have shown increased support for Israel's right-wing policies. Apparently, this support is not only from the US Alt-Right but also from similar right-wing Neo-Nazi groups in Europe. Let’s face it, the Bayit Hayehudi Party in the Netanyahu Coalition with extreme right-wingers, such as MK  Bezalel Smotrich, have a very similar ideology to the Alt-Right in the US.

Heinz-Christian Strache, the head of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party, and who is widely tipped to become deputy chancellor following last Sunday’s legislative election, was affiliated with neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic groups in his youth, and once compared the criticism he and fellow members of his racist, anti-immigrant party faced to Kristallnacht. Yet he is also a staunch supporter of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and even visited Israel last year at the invitation of Likud MKs. The waltzing of the Netanyahu Government with neo-Fascist Parties in Europe strengthens the hand of the Neo-Nazis of Europe and we in Israel should hang our heads in shame that the present Israeli Government remains silent about these developments including their anti-refugee and Islamophobic attitudes that are gaining support in Israel today.

It is quite possible to be pro-Israel as well as being anti-Semitic. The present government of Israel seems to be honeymooning with the extreme right-wing parties in Europe and view it is quite legitimate. They overlook the anti-Semitic nature of these parties because of their “pro-Israeliness”. The reason - these parties are anti-Islam and anti-immigration. So is Israel - even towards their own kind. An example of this is the Jews of Uganda that seem to show an interest in coming to Israel. They will not be made welcome. There are other South African and Zimbabwean groups that consider themselves as being Jewish. The Lemba, Rusape Jews and the Anusim whose origins are from the Iberian Peninsula. This country categorizes Jews that it wants and those it does not recognize. Can the readers imagine the rumpus that would occur if these two African tribes were to decide to come and settle in Israel? It would cause the Great Rift Valley to slide resulting in an earthquake of unimaginable dimensions in the Establishment Orthodox Rabbinate that is the watchdog of Jewish purity and these people would never be recognized as Jews. Jews pass through rabbinical selection when it comes to getting married in Israel. There is no civil marriage in Israel.

The Israeli Government intends to pass a controversial law in the coming Knesset session that is not in the interests of democracy. This law, if passed, will be another stepping stone on the road to a neo-fascist dictatorship which is on the horizon. MKs David Amsalem 3 and David Bitan 4 inject fresh impetus into legislation designed to make an incumbent premier immune from the criminal investigation; 'The public that is the sovereign chooses the prime minister,' says Amsalem; legal officials contend the bill unnecessary. The proposed legislation to shield the prime minister from police investigations for corruption, fraud or breach of trust would constitute an amendment to Israel’s Basic Law 5: The new bill stipulates that criminal investigations against a sitting prime minister cannot be conducted The aim of this proposed legislation is clear. It is an attempt to quash investigations against Netanyahu. Even Israel's state prosecutor attorney and attorney general have united in their unreserved opposition to a Likud-sponsored bill designed to shield a sitting prime minister from being investigated, with the former warning that the rationale behind its drafting is “a total mistake.”

At the same time, Netanyahu is carrying out his own personal vendetta against the police, the law courts, the press and his pet hate - the leftists.  He has his cronies surrounding him, who will push heaven and earth to shield him from police investigations. It would be really bad if the PM of Israel (who is undergoing police investigation for corruption) cannot be investigated while in office. Even President Ruby Rivlin gave a speech at the opening of the Knesset for the winter session attacking the right-wing government in its attempts to weaken the courts. Netanyahu’s reaction was a speech justifying his government approach and of course himself. It was another speech that was divisive and threatening democracy. As Israel slides down a dangerous path towards totalitarianism, it is not surprising that it will accumulate friendships from the right wing that have recently had electoral successes in Austria, and cut into Angela Merkel’s power base in Germany as well as Donald Trump’s rule in the US.  

The apparent alliance of the right wing to extreme right wing in Israel, (which happens to be the present government coalition) making overtures to the various right-wing government coalitions in Europe that share a common dislike of immigrants and refugees of the Muslim faith will be bad for Israel. Apart from that, there is hidden anti-Semitism in these governments. This potential unholy alliance must be opposed by all who value human rights and democracy.

References: 
  1.  "Richard B. Spencer - Wikipedia." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_B._Spencer. Accessed 23 Oct. 2017.
  2. "Alt-right - Wikipedia." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alt-right. Accessed 21 Oct.
  3. 2017."Dudu Amsalem - Wikipedia." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dudu_Amsalem. Accessed 24 Oct. 2017.
  4. "David Bitan - Wikipedia." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Bitan. Accessed 23 Oct. 2017.
  5. "Basic Law: The Government - 1968 (Original Version)." https://www.knesset.gov.il/laws/special/eng/basic1_eng.htm. Accessed 23 Oct. 2017.



Wednesday, September 27

Yom Kippur Thoughts


Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) is the Holiest Day in the Jewish Calendar, surpassing even Shabbat. On this day, it is customary for religious or even non-observant (“once a year” observant) Jews to fast for 25 hours. The secular Jews, who view themselves as non-believers may or may not fast depending on their motives if any. Some secular do fast and may attend Kol Nidrei (All Vows)1 services and maybe go to synagogue the next day for a bit in order “to identify” with their fellow Jews whatever that means.

 As for the rest, well, it is the “Day of the Bicycle” when thousands of kids of all ages take advantage of the traffic-free roads and ride their bicycles, many of whom land up in the casualty dept at the various hospitals around the country.

Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur

 
The Israeli news website Mako published a provocative article three years ago, questioning whether there is a point in a secular person fasting on Yom Kippur when he or she continues sinning the next day 2. I would go even further and ask if there is a point of pseudo-religious people fasting for the same reason such as the Chief Rabbinate and its political shenanigans in the Knesset? In any case, the day after Yom Kippur, the routine of most people returns and the lesson of Yom Kippur is forgotten very fast the moment the stomachs are full after ending the fast.

Many of us sit at home quietly and do not see any purpose in fasting as it has lost its meaning for many of us (including Yours Truly) and has become a frivolous competition to see who can last out the longest, a sort of a competition of physical endurance without any self-examination involved.

What is the purpose of Yom Kippur? Yom Kippur means "Day of Atonement" and refers to the annual Jewish observance of fasting, prayer and repentance 3. Leviticus Chapter 16 וַיִּקְרָא
gives an idea from where the tradition comes.

The Morning Service of Yom Kippur the Torah portion is Leviticus Chapter 16 and Numbers Chapter 29 7-11 בְּמִדְבַּר is read. Both portions explain the rituals involved and are meaningless to many people as it mentions all kinds of animal sacrifices that must be performed.

The Haftorah portion Isaiah Chapter 57  -  Isaiah Chapter 58 יְשַׁעְיָהוּ of the Morning Service of Yom Kippur -  is more relevant and is directed towards those who fast as a ritual without Kavanah (Intent) to better oneself is as if he/she has not fasted at all. This applies to the majority of people who fast on Yom Kippur to this day. (See the inserted commentary from the Soncino Press Edition of the Pentateuch and Haftorahs below).


From the “The Soncino Press Edition of the Pentateuch and Haftorahs. Hebrew Text, English Translation & Commentary (Second Edition) 1969 p 960”

During the Yom Kippur Service, the prayer Ashamnu is recited by the congregation a number of times as well as the prayer Al Het. These prayers are really the heart of the Yom Kippur service. People beat their breasts as they recite these two prayers. I often think to myself “What hypocrisy! What double standards!” Hardly anybody who attends Yom Kippur services intends to better their relationships with their fellowmen or improve themselves or even ask their fellowmen to forgive them for the wrongs they may have committed towards them. According to Jewish tradition, one must be granted forgiveness from one’s neighbour before asking forgiveness from God. This must be done before entering the synagogue for Kol Nidrei.

Perhaps the Al Het prayer should be updated to make it more relevant to our modern times. Many people say that one should never mix politics with religion. Here in Israel the establishment certainly does. It starts from the Chief Rabbinate and filters its way down the line. The religious political parties in the Coalition Government of Israel are calling the tune on religious Jewish Orthodox observance. Reform and Conservative Jews are considered persona non grata. On a recent visit to Paris, Rabbi Shlomo Amar, Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem and former Chief Sephardi Rabbi of Israel stated that Reform Jews were worse than Holocaust deniers.  He was picketed by the French Jewish Community for his divisive statements. The Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, Yitzhak Yosef, is on record saying that non-Jews should not be allowed to live in Israel and some chief rabbis of Israel in the past have made disparaging and insulting remarks 5 concerning them. Have they ever asked forgiveness from them before they enter the synagogue on Erev Kol Nidrei? The religious parties - Shas, Torah Judaism and the Jewish Home are politicized Orthodox to ultra-Orthodox Jewish Parties in Government, each with their own agenda of blackmail and bribing the government to satisfy their own agendas whether parasitic yeshivas or illegal settlements in the occupied territories captured after the Six Day War of 1967. They are certainly not the moral compass in Israel - far from it! These “paragons of virtue” in the Coalition Government, have played their part in dividing the Jewish People and inculcating intolerance towards the minority non-Jewish population.

Israel’s Government treatment of Sudanese and Eritrean refugees by not giving them permits to work in Israel and imprisoning those who have nowhere to go when they are threatened with deportation. Where is Israel’s “moral compass” within the Religious Orthodox parties? They have forgotten their history of being deported in the past from the Diaspora. The Minister of Interior- the former jail-bird, Aryeh Deri, the head of the Shas ultra-Orthodox Party, also being investigated and interrogated at present for crimes of corruption and bribery supports this move to deport Sudanese refugees.

There are the aged who get very low old age pensions after paying all their working lives to National Insurance 
(2 400 Sh a month to live on). It reminds me of the ancient  Eskimo legend of putting their aged out on an iceberg with sufficient food until they starve to death. The handicapped of Israel fare no better and are largely ignored as well as having the extra burden of various accessories that must be paid for. Those who fare the best under the National Insurance handouts are the eternal yeshiva students in the ultra-Orthodox community, who never paid a shekel for generous handouts.
Now we get to the Palestinians in the occupied territories, a subject that is avoided and overlooked by many traditional Israelis. Their situation could be improved upon 4. Here too there are human rights violations by Israel.

Perhaps all these sins of the Israeli Government, which the people have elected, should also be added to the Al Het prayer and hopefully, the liturgical poem (Piyyut) - Unetanah Tokef could be recited or sang with more conviction than the automatic uttering without kavanah as is the practice today.


[Just an afterthought, Israel's Government seems to have lost its moral compass when it comes to condemning fascism in all its forms, as in the case of Germany. The AfD (a neo-Nazi Party in Germany that received the third highest amount of votes in the recent German General Elections) has a history of xenophobia that is a cause for concern.  If the fascism is not directed at the Jewish Community, the xenophobia is overlooked and we can expect an official invitation from the present Israeli Government to the leader of this party for a state visit.]




References:

  1. "Kol Nidre - Wikipedia." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kol_Nidre. Accessed 24 Sep. 2017.
  2. 22 Sep. 2015, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/09/yom-kippur-fasting-secular-religious-jewish-identity-rabbi.html. Accessed 24 Sep. 2017.
  3. https://reformjudaism.org/jewish-holidays/yom-kippur-day-atonement. Accessed 24 Sep. 2017.
  4. "Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories - Amnesty International." https://www.amnestyusa.org/countries/israel-and-occupied-palestinian-territories/. Accessed 24 Sep. 2017.
  5. Racism and Gender in Israel  Israel Religious Action Centre Publication see p 32