Elections in Israel: Fiddling on the roof

It's not as if Rav Rafi Peretz has not been pointing out the dangers represented by the gay war on traditional morality. He's been lambasted plenty by the liberal press for his courageous, correct stand. Simply: who needs Noam? 

Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Hirsch

Judaism קלפי

"There is no reality outside of Halakhah and Torah" (Rav Yehoshua Eichenstein*, the Zidichoiver Rebbe of Chicago). 

Living in Eretz Yisrael, I would add "Shechina" (the Almighty's presence in our lives), but the Rebbe lives outside the Land of Israel, so the quote is as above.  

Reality for Jews has always had the aspect of the dangerous and precarious. Jews have fiddled precariously throughout history:  from Avraham Avinu (Abraham) on we have been a minority, a vulnerable "sheep among seventy ravenous wolves (the nations of the world)". Of course, now we Jews have a state of our own, and so one would think that with our destiny in our own hands, things would be improved.  

Unfortunately, we Jews continue to fiddle. Take, for example, the upcoming elections in Israel on September 17. Both the Jewish Home and Feiglin's Zehut parties missed the election threshold by about 0.1%.

The history of this threshold is interesting: from 1948 to 1992 , the threshold was 1% of the total votes, and a party was in the Knesset. In 1992, the threshold was raised to 1.5%; in 2004, 2%; in 2014, 3.25%. The logic behind the move was fascinating: "These little parties are making it impossible for the Knesset to function. The majority is always subject to the blackmail of the whims of some small, sectorial, narrow-interest party. Therefore, in the name of democracy and the ability to govern, we must eliminate the small parties". 

I always found such logic absurd, an oxymoron that only Chelm could produce. However, one must remember that the ideal political candidate in Israel is "the bulldozer", an Ariel Sharon-type who gets the job done (both constructively and destructively). Since it's much easier to bulldoze sectors of society than to negotiate with them, the threshold went up. 

Of course, if no one had fiddled with the threshold, then in April, 2019, Jewish Home and Zehut would now be in a Knesset for the last  6 months. Liberman would be a tiny party in the opposition with no ability to sabotage the State of Israel (at a minimum cost of 750 million shekels for extra elections, plus the weakness of a lame-duck government). So much for democracy working better when you can bulldoze minorities that don't agree with you.   

More fiddling:  

Yemina features MK's Betzalel Smotrich and Rav Rafi Peretz. I 've known Betzalel since he grew up 3 doors away. His party incorporated the Otzmah Party in the April round of elections, but not this time- to me, inexplicably. This will lead to lost votes, as Otzmah will siphon off thousands. It's hard to imagine that Smotrich's statement that:" My wife, like most mothers in Israel, doesn't want to give birth and lie in a hospital bed next to an Arab mother who just gave birth to the potential terrorist who may kill our son" is very far from some of the statements by Otzmah. Yet, the Supreme Court fiddled with the elections and disqualified  Otzmah's ben Ari, Marzel and Gopstein, while allowing Smotrich and the Arabs to run. Democracy, I guess.                 

Then we have Smotrich's statements about hoping for a Medinah Hilkhatit a state run by Jewish law. Caused quite an uproar. Never mind that a significant percent of our population is religious in the sense of believing the Rambam's principle of "we believe in the coming of the Messiah". But Jewish law IS a cornerstone of the legal system of this country anyway, laws have been passed based on it for seventy years.  

Moreover, anyone who rides the buses and sees the ads has learned that the Noam party has woken up to the fact that there is a war of cultures here. Rav Tau has decided to fiddle with the election math and has entered the fray in time to stop the war on traditional morality that the gays and the Reform Jews have been waging for the last thirty years (or more). Of course, the Noam party is right in everything that they say- but didn't they learn the lesson of April, when too many parties saying the same thing just siphons off right-wing  votes and leaves the possibility of a PM Gantz and/or Lapid. Also, it's not as if Rav Rafi Peretz has not been pointing out the dangers represented by the gay war on traditional morality. He's been lambasted plenty by the liberal press for his courageous, correct stand. Simply: who needs Noam? 

If one doesn't think a good dose of traditional Jewish morality and Halakhah isn't in order, ponder this: in the Zidichoiver Rebbe's reality of Halakhah and Torah , doctors are allowed to try to heal people, and meddle with G-d's imposed illness, only because of several permits in the Torah. One, והשבותו לו  , one must return a lost object to its owner(Deuteronomy 22;2). In this case, the lost object is the patient's lost health. Other sources are "love your friend as you love yourself"(Vayikra 19;18) and the famous ורפא ירפא, "and you shall heal him"( Exodus 21;19).

In judging the surgeries done to transgenders, I cannot fathom what lost health is being returned to a mentally ill patient, who is fighting against the  reality of her/his own DNA, by fiddling with his/her body with this surgery and hormones( see my "Chukat (Diaspora) and LGBT", this website 7/14/16) . These physicians are in this for the cash. The State of Israel issues the medical licenses to these practitioners and to the hospitals that allow this surgery to occur; there is, however, no sanction within existing Mishpat Ivri (much less in a future Medinah Hilkhatit) for these procedures. 

Finally: the issue of security. Fiddling with the security of Israel's citizens has gone on willy-nilly since the Oslo Accords of 1993 brought Arafat and the PLO within striking distance of Israeli citizens. The Prime Minister's son Yair is correct:  2,000 Jews, people who were callously dismissed as "sacrifices to peace", would be alive today if not for the terror of Oslo.

Halakhah recognizes the "City of Refuge for accidental murderers" and the Eglah Arufah ceremony (both in Parshat Shoftim- Deuteronomy 19; 1-13 and 21; 1-9) because government is supposed to be responsible for human life in Israel. With an Army whose generals believe that "Israel needs the Palestinian Authority as a peace partner"- a mantra that flies in the face of reality- there simply can be no security.

Generals from Rabin to Gantz/Ashknazi/Ya'alon of the Blue and White party, fighting with one hand tied behind their backs, begrudgingly provide security to Judea and Samaria- and because Israel is one small system, the whole country remains in danger from terrorists .

Examples are limitless; here are two: 

Nine months ago Shira Ish-ran and her husband were shot at on route 60 outside Ofrah, killing their unborn fetus. The next day, three soldiers were gunned down on the same route, two kilometers south. Access to route 60 from the north end of  Ramallah was therefore denied to Arabs (so-called "Palestinians") - a great idea: they killed Jews, they lost something. But two months later, things went back to normal and the Arabs were allowed access to this segment of road. Not very responsible. 

Second: for the last two months, the Army has been collecting weaponry that it issued to Israeli civilians  in Judea- Samaria for protection. The stated reason was because the Army is turning over a large portion of security here to the Border Police, so it claims that the Police can later re-issue the arms. In the meantime, what do the citizens use for protection? Desperate calls from the local town governments have gone unanswered. This fiddling  is not a responsible attitude to security.  

This is reality,  one week before elections. We certainly are much better off than those Jews of Tevye the milkman's Anatevka- but we have a long way to go to reach the level envisioned by Halakhah and Torah for a country called Israel. 

*Please daven for a Refuah Shleimah for the Zidichoiver Rebbe, Reb Yehoshuah Heshel ben Shartzeh Bab'tshe