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 


Thursday, September 21

Rosh Hashanah Thoughts



While everybody sits with their families on Rosh Hashanah eve, there may be time to even think about the significance of Rosh Hashanah 1 for many of us. Rosh Hashanah and the Ten Days of Repentance 2 afterwards until Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement - the day of fasting) is a time of reflection.

It is a time when we should be thinking of all the incidents that have occurred over the past year to the detriment of mankind with an emphasis on where we can improve matters that will be beneficial to all mankind irrespective of race, colour or creed. During the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, everyone gets a chance to put things right with other people before asking God's forgiveness 3.

Here in Israel, we view ourselves as “a Light unto the Nations” or as in Hebrew “אור לגוים”. In many respects within Israel itself, apart from the amazing contributions to medicine, computer chips, science and technology as well as token missions to countries, who have suffered from wars and natural disasters, we have failed in our relationships with our own population within Israel.

If we look at the way Israel has treated the refugees, who have fled their countries of origin, because of severe persecution by despotic regimes that threaten their lives and that of their offspring. Israel has not shown them the mercy that they deserve. They are viewed as and referred to as “infiltrators” which is so derogatory. When Jews fled Nazi Germany and were refused entry into many countries in the West, this was viewed by Jews living in the free world as disgraceful and correctly so. Much lobbying was carried out by Jewish leaders in the free world to get these Jewish refugees entry permits to allow them entry into countries that restricted immigration of Jews. Can one imagine the outcry if these people were referred to as “infiltrators”? Why in Israel, where much of the population’s parents including parents of some members of the present Knesset had to flee their countries of origin for similar reasons, there is such lack of sensitivity towards Sudanese and Eritrean refugees?  Draconian laws are introduced to prevent them from seeking shelter so that their lives could be saved 4. We in Israel have forgotten where we have come from and that we were once refugees in the Diaspora.

There is also a trend of increased racism and intolerance towards those who are different from mainstream (or what is accepted as such). There is the concept of “Sinat Hinam”(שנאת חינם) or “Unjustifiable Hatred” This is most visible in Israel’s society of today. The lack of tolerance for those who do not conform to the present government line, whether it is culture, Judaism (used by the various religious parties as an instrument of blackmailing the government for their own narrow religious political interests and agendas). The hatred of non-Orthodox streams in Judaism (Reform and Conservative) by the establishment Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Rabbinate is deplorable.

These streams are not recognized as legitimate and their rabbis cannot marry couples according to their interpretation of Judaism. They have not been allotted a place at the Western Wall, where they can have egalitarian prayer services, despite promises by PM Netanyahu, who reneged on the agreement to give non-Orthodox streams of Judaism a place to pray at the Western Wall 5.  It is a disgrace that the Government of Israel with all its blah-blah about Israel “being the only democracy in the Middle East” denies non-Orthodox streams in Judaism to practice in total freedom and not recognizing their rabbis to perform marriages. Members of Reform 6 and Conservative 7 congregations in the Diaspora applying to marry in Israel must find an Orthodox rabbi to vouch for them since the Chief Rabbinate does not accept letters of certification from non-Orthodox rabbis 8.

The hypocrisy and double standards of the Chief Rabbinate is a disgrace and is far from the spirit of Judaism in its widest possible interpretation according to the School of Hillel. They have “blacklists” of rabbis that they do not recognize from the Diaspora 9. Many are Orthodox and of course Reform and Conservative. The Chief Rabbinate denies this but can one believe them 10. ?

This is estranging many Jews from the US, the majority of who are Reform and Conservative. However, when it comes to money that these non-Orthodox streams donate to causes in Israel, that is “Kosher” of course.

Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians in the occupied territories also adds some moral questions as to whether the treatment they receive is fair and reasonable 11. Nobody denies that this is a very problematic issue and it is very difficult if not impossible to examine this emotional issue without getting into some argument in an attempt to be unbiased and objective. There are security issues involved and in order to maintain the safety of both Israelis and Palestinians in the shadow of Palestinian terrorist attacks on innocent people within the Green-line and beyond is a tremendous challenge that involves many moral issues as well. However, the question remains as to whether it is morally acceptable to rule over a people and keep them disenfranchised under Israeli rule.  It is morally unacceptable no less than the desire of Hamas to destroy Israel and not to recognize Israel’s right to exist. If there are no negotiating partners on both sides of the conflict with no genuine desire to end it, there is no real answer. The only option from Israel’s side is to treat the Palestinian People as humanely as possible at checkpoints until both sides reach their senses and are prepared to negotiate a just and lasting peace that satisfies both sides to the conflict.

References:
  1. "Rosh Hashanah - Wikipedia." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosh_Hashanah. Accessed 20 Sep. 2017. 
  2. "Ten Days of Repentance - Wikipedia." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Days_of_Repentance. Accessed 20 Sep. 2017.
  3.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/religion/judaism/yom_kippur.shtml. Accessed 20 Sep. 2017.
  4.  "Israel: Drop City Ban on Released Eritreans, Sudanese | Human ...." 31 Aug. 2015, https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/08/31/israel-drop-city-ban-released-eritreans-sudanese. Accessed 20 Sep. 2017.
  5. "Chief Rabbinate of Israel | The Times of Israel." https://www.timesofisrael.com/topic/chief-rabbinate-of-israel/. Accessed 20 Sep. 2017.
  6. "Reform Judaism - Wikipedia." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reform_Judaism. Accessed 20 Sep. 2017.
  7. "Conservative Judaism - Wikipedia." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservative_Judaism. Accessed 20 Sep. 2017.9 Jul. 2017, 
  8. http://www.haaretz.com/us-news/1.800371. Accessed 20 Sep. 2017.
  9.    "Israeli Chief Rabbinate blacklists 160 Diaspora rabbis - Israel News ...." 9 Jul. 2017, http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Chief-Rabbinate-forced-to-publish-rabbinical-blacklist-of-160-rabbis-in-Diaspora-499171. Accessed 20 Sep. 2017.
  10. "Chief Rabbinate says list of rabbis not a 'blacklist' | The Times of Israel." https://www.timesofisrael.com/chief-rabbinate-says-list-of-rabbis-not-a-blacklist/. Accessed 20 Sep. 2017.
  11. "Israel's Treatment of the Arabs in the Occupied Territories | The ...." http://www.palestine-studies.org/jps/fulltext/38441. Accessed 20 Sep. 2017.



Friday, September 15

The Commissars of Israel

The present right-wing Coalition Government of Israel, in the eyes of many of Israel’s right to the extreme right-wing section of Israel’s electorate, which, unfortunately, is the majority of the electorate, who view some of the cabinet ministers as representing Israel’s interests. Those on the left to centre left are increasingly viewed as traitors of Israel. This trend is, unfortunately, on the increase. 

Those connected with various criminal files (seen as victims of a hostile left-wing press in right wing eyes) are viewed as “fake news” to use a “Trump Esque” definition. It appears that any news negative to the Likud and its coalition partners, including the latter’s supporters, are viewed as close to treason. The ruling government views the police enquiries of Bibi Netanyahu and the indictment of Sara Netanyahu as a tactic of the left to create a situation conducive to Netanyahu’s downfall.

Even the rearguard, Yair Netanyahu,  Bibi and Sara Netanyahu's son, has been using anti-Semitic memes on his Fb page 1. as revenge for the indictment of his beloved mom, Sara. Papa Bibi never even reprimanded him for his shocking behaviour. No comment from Papa Bibi Netanyahu means tacit support for squirt Yair’s nefarious activity on his Fb page. Is it possible that Papa Bibi is priming Yair for becoming part of the “Netanyahu Dynasty” in the future? Who knows and who can predict?

What is not even surprising even though it should be is the support that Yair gets from many of Netanyahu’s supporters 2, despite the disgust expressed by many Jewish organizations beyond Israel’s borders and even political leaders within Israel itself.

The present Likud is a disgrace to Israel. It is such a far cry from its founding fathers, the Late Ze’ev Jabotinsky and Menachem Begin, who were liberals, believers in democracy and idealists that never sought their own personal aggrandizement like the present lot with its Commissars of Justice, Culture and Sport - just to name two outstanding examples. These two individuals - Ayelet Shaked (Justice Commissar) and Miri Regev (Culture and Sports Commissar) are the most outstanding examples. Another Commissar is the suspected fraudster, Arye Deri, Minister of the Interior 3.


While the police investigation of Netanyahu and his wife have raised speculation on whether Netanyahu will eventually be forced to step down, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said he would not legally be required to if indicted 4.

Ayelet Shaked wants to apply Israeli Legislation to the illegal settlements enterprise within a year and thus have de facto annexation of the settlements that are not recognized as part of Israel according to international law.

Shaked wishes to pack the Courts with conservative judges conforming to her and her party’s agenda of justice that is moving towards a fascist interpretation of the Jewish State that comes first and democracy comes second if not third. There are some very disturbing trends in Ayelet Shaked’s Ministry of Justice that are a threat to Israel’s democracy that appears to be moving towards fascism.
Ayelet Shaked

The other well-known commissar is the Minister of Culture and Sport, Miri Regev 5. She views her job as that of the national censor. In which country of the free world does the Minister of Culture and Sport decide what cultural projects in theatre, art, film and literature are deserving of state funding? Where does the Minister of Culture unilaterally decide that cultural projects that are not in line with her government agenda must be ostracized and viewed as potential fifth column and not deserving of state subsidies? Our Minister of Culture and Sport has become the Commissar of Culture as in totalitarian states under  Communist or Fascist dictatorships.

 She decides what is culture and what is not. She has introduced a "Culture and Loyalty Bill" in the hope that it will pass all three readings and become law. Anything that goes against her personal agenda and that of her party is ridiculed and stands a chance of not being granted state funding for cultural projects as if state funding comes from her pocket. She has a severe problem with cultural projects that do not tow her government line. She views these projects as serving the interests of Israel’s enemies. She is boisterous, loud, and exudes ignorance of culture that is not within her personal party agenda. An example of this was at the Cannes Film Festival, where her disgraceful behaviour brought no honour to Israel in her choice of dress 6.

She threatens artists and calls them enemies of Israel if their projects are not in accordance with her agenda.  She appears to gain admiration for her outspokenness by many of her Likud Party supporters and colleagues, who view her as the “custodian of culture” 7.
Miri Regev, the Commissar of Culture, in her controversial dress
 


  1. Recently the Israeli film “Foxtrot” won the Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize at the Venice International Film Festival on Saturday, Sept 9th, 2017. The paranoiac Commissar of Culture, Miri Regev, viewed this achievement as a move by Israel’s enemies to discredit Israel. She never even saw the film but relied on the information supplied to her by her fellow party cronies 8. She has no idea what culture is and views anything beyond her narrow world view as anathema and inimical to Israel. This film received great acclaim. Only a warped biased mind can view it as being anti-Israel. The latest is that this Commissar of Culture has been snubbed by Israel's Ophir Awards Committee, which is Israel's Oscar Awards and has not been invited. She views herself as the custodian of Mizrachi culture. She deserves the snub as it symbolizes her lack of respect for those who are different and she creates unpleasantness with her threats as well as forcing acceptance of her agenda on culture.This occurred at the previous Ophir Award ceremony when she addressed the audience and created a rumpus. To quote her own words she said they must "Cut the Bullshit". Probably the only English sentence she knows as she illustrates the heights of her own boorishness. She claims that the snub is undemocratic. She, of course, is "democratic and tolerant - a true paragon of culture".



Commissars in cabinet posts in Israel do not bode well for Israel’s democratic future. It bodes well for the seedlings of fascism to take root and those in opposition to the right-wing Coalition Government will continue to be viewed as traitors to Israel as their mouths and minds will be clamped eventually.




  1. "Israel prime minister Netanyahu's son under fire for 'anti-Semitic' social ...." 10 Sep. 2017, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/09/10/israel-prime-minister-netanyahus-son-fire-anti-semitic-social/. Accessed 12 Sep. 2017.
  2. "Yair Netanyahu exposes Israel's own version of the 'alt-right' | The ...." 12 Sep. 2017, https://www.timesofisrael.com/yair-netanyahu-exposes-israels-own-version-of-the-alt-right/. Accessed 12 Sep. 2017.
  3. "Deri questioned, 14 detained in corruption investigation - Israel News ...." 29 May. 2017, http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Authorities-arrest-14-on-tax-offenses-across-Israel-494196. Accessed 14 Sep. 2017. 
  4. 3 Aug. 2017, http://www.newsmax.com/Headline/netanyahu-indictment-bribery-fraud/2017/08/03/id/805640/. Accessed 12 Sep. 2017. 
  5. "Meet Miri Regev, Israel's Trump in high heels - Israel News - Haaretz ...." http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.690943. Accessed 14 Sep. 2017.
  6. "Israeli minister's Jerusalem dress proves controversial in Cannes ...." 18 May. 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/18/israeli-minister-miri-regev-jerusalem-dress-controversial-cannes. Accessed 14 Sep. 2017.
  7. "Miri Regev's Culture War - The New York Times." https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/23/magazine/miri-regevs-culture-war.html. Accessed 14 Sep. 2017.
  8. "Foxtrot Review: The Israeli Film Condemned by Israel's Cultural ...." 10 Sep. 2017, https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/09/foxtrot-review. Accessed 14 Sep. 2017.