Netanyahu Agrees to Give Back Special Haredi Privileges

Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud party may have won reelection, but they have to put together a new ruling coalition. In order to do so, they’ve had to make promises to ultra-Orthodox Haredi parties to roll back laws that ended some of the special privileges for the Haredi.

A coalition agreement signed last week between the Likud Party led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the haredi Orthodox United Torah Judaism faction promises to dismantle a raft of legislation enacted in the last two years that chipped away at several longstanding entitlements enjoyed by the haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, community. Shas, the Sephardic haredi party, signed its own coalition agreement with Likud this week that will cement the power of religious parties in the next government.

Led by the Yesh Atid party, the last government passed laws to include haredim in Israel’s mandatory military draft and encourage the teaching of math and English in government-funded haredi schools. The government, which did not include the haredi parties, also allowed dozens of municipal Orthodox rabbis to perform conversions, vastly increasing the number of conversion courts from the four controlled by the haredim. Other laws cut subsidies to haredi yeshivas and large families, many of whom are haredi.

The Likud-UTJ agreement promises to repeal the conversion decision, increase subsidies to yeshivas and large families, and relieve haredi schools of the obligation to teach secular subjects. The agreement also gives the incoming defense minister sole authority to decide whether to implement the draft law, effectively allowing him to choose not to enforce it. A UTJ lawmaker will head the powerful Knesset Finance Committee, while Shas will control the Religious Services Ministry, which handles most religion-state policies.

“In the last Knesset, people tried to blur Judaism and to strengthen democracy at Judaism’s expense,” said Yair Eiserman, a spokesman for UTJ lawmaker Uri Maklev. “We have an opportunity in the present government to strengthen Israel’s definition as a Jewish state.”

Haredi Israelis are celebrating the agreements as a return to a comfortable status quo, but advocates for religious pluralism are struggling to figure out how to advance their cause, which has significant public backing. A September poll by the religious pluralism advocacy NGO Hiddush found that two-thirds of Jewish Israelis back legalizing civil marriage and 64 percent support recognizing Conservative and Reform conversions. A 2011 Hiddush poll found that 87 percent of Jewish Israelis supported the drafting of haredim into the Israel Defense Forces.

The Haredis are the ones who are behind nearly attempts to oppress and discriminate against women in innumerable ways, and behind the oppression of gay people as well. They are the far-far-right of Israeli society the way Christian Reconstructionists are the same in America. The difference is that in Israel they have enough influence to keep getting government funding and a raft of special privileges that exempt them from the laws that everyone else must follow.

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  • http://www.gregory-gadow.net Gregory in Seattle

    Israel may be a secular republic in theory, but it sure ain’t one in fact.

  • daved

    Yeah, well, the same could be said of the US, especially these days; Ed’s whole blog is a testament to that fact.

    Still, even if Bibi had gone down to a well-deserved defeat, would his opponents still have had to cut a deal with the odious Haredi? I don’t know enough about Israeli politics to have any idea what a coalition would require these days.

  • raven

    The secular, modern Israelis are starting to live our nightmare. A fundie takeover.

    Ironically, while the Haredi get a lot of special privileges, the Israeli taxpayers pay for them. And most of those taxpayers are seculars. 60% of Haredi men don’t work, supposedly for religious reasons.

  • erichoug

    It’s hard to argue that Israel is not a Theocracy (a form of Government I absolutely will not support) when they have laws on the books like this.

    My opinion is that they are literally cutting their own throats by allowing religious fanatics to determine the future of their nation.

    Hey, that sounds familiar.

  • gronank

    Hiddush poll found that 87 percent of Jewish Israelis supported the drafting of haredim into the Israel Defense Forces.

    Let me surprise you by saying that 9.9 of Israeli Jews are haredi.

  • raven

    and 64 percent support recognizing Conservative and Reform conversions.

    What is up with this anyway?

    Israel and Judaism are highly fractured. Worse than the USA, hard as it is to imagine.

    The orthodox and ultra-orthodox don’t much like Reform Judaism. Which is ironic since Reforms are the largest sect in the USA.

    And ironically again, they ordain female Rabbis. Must make Haredi heads explode seeing female Rabbis walking around Jerusalem.

  • dmcclean

    Can anyone explain what a “conversion court” is or what it would mean to “recogniz[e] Conservative and Reform conversions”?

  • raven

    My opinion is that they are literally cutting their own throats by allowing religious fanatics to determine the future of their nation.

    Hey, that sounds familiar.

    Indeed.

    It’s one of the themes of the Old Testament bible. And look at how well that worked out. It’s basically the story of the Israelis genociding the Canaanites and then getting overrun by Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans, who eventually kicked them out of Jerusalem after the Bar Kochba revolt.

  • raven

    I wouldn’t be too sure that Israel even has a future.

    Netanyahu is on record as believing peace with the Palestinians is impossible. He may even be right since it hasn’t happened since the modern state was founded before I was born.

    1. But this is a self fulfilling prophecy. If you believe peace is impossible, this means you will have perpetual war. And a warrior always wins every battle. Except for the last one. You can figure out how that works.

    2. A perpetual war with and against the Palestinians starts to look like a slow moving genocide. At some point, they will either end up kicked out or put down in the ground.

    3. I don’t have a solution for any of this. The best minds in the world have spent generations and haven’t come up with much. The Jordanians just gave up which made sense and there is at least a cold peace with Egypt. The Syrians right now are too busy killing each other to even bother with Israel.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    @2:

    Still, even if Bibi had gone down to a well-deserved defeat, would his opponents still have had to cut a deal with the odious Haredi?

    Unlikely. When a center-left party wins a parliamentary election, they typically form a coalition with one or more left-wing parties, not the farthest right-wing party they can find. That would be their last choice.

    @7:

    Can anyone explain what a “conversion court” is or what it would mean to “recogniz[e] Conservative and Reform conversions”?

    Based on the full article, it seems that Israel only recognizes people who convert to Orthodox Judaism, not away from it, and you have to go to court for that conversion to be formalized. Why the last government wanted to expand the number of conversion courts isn’t quite clear, since they apparently did the Reformers and Conservatives no good.

  • colnago80

    This is what the US will look like if the Rethuglicans win the election in 2016. The only positive thing to be said about the new Government in Israel is that it probably won’t last very long having only 61 our of a hundred and twenty Knesset members and not much chance of increasing that number.

    Re raven @ #9

    The Egyptians have their own troubles with terrorists in the Sinai and can hardly be bothered to worry about Israel. In fact, the current Egyptian Government is a lot tougher on the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip then the Israeli Government is.

  • Michael Heath

    Ed reports:

    The Likud-UTJ agreement promises to . . . relieve haredi schools of the obligation to teach secular subjects.

    Ed concludes:

    The Haredis are the ones who are behind nearly attempts to oppress and discriminate against women in innumerable ways, and behind the oppression of gay people as well.

    Let’s not forget the Israeli government will now be allowing the Haredis to abuse students under their control.

    I think, and hope, that 50 years from now one of the failings people then will condemn this generation for is how this generation protects the rights of parents and other authority figures to abuse children under their control. We here in the U.S. are also guilty of this sort of insidious institutionalized abuse.

  • raven

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/singham/2015/05/11/liberal-zionists-on-the-gloomy-future-for-israel/#more-30686

    Peter Beinart:

    For many Diaspora Jews, this transition will feel painful and unnatural. It certainly does for me. But there is now no other way. We know in our bones, even without Meir Dagan telling us, that Israel is headed toward moral disaster. We know that a non-democratic Israel is a dead Israel. We know that if Israel makes permanent an occupation that reeks of colonialism and segregation, an America that is becoming ever more black and brown will eventually turn against it. We know the BDS one-staters are winning. We know that if Israel continues on its current path, our children will one day live in a world without a Jewish state. We know that our grandparents’ generation of Diaspora Jews will be remembered for having helped birth the first Jewish country in 2,000 years, and that ours will be remembered for having helped destroy it.

    Mano Singham FTB, has a blog post on this, today. Follow the link and read it.

    Peter Beinart describes himself as a liberal Zionist.

  • colnago80

    Re raven

    Singham is an antisemitic Israel bashing piece of filth whose presence as a professor at Case/Western Reserve University is a blight on that otherwise august institution. He’s right up there with Arthur Butz.

  • colnago80

    Re Michael Heath @ #12

    It should be pointed out that child abuse in Haradi families is endemic in both the US and Israel. Instances of rape in that community rival that found in the Raping Children Church. And neither government does much of anything about it.

  • raven

    ??? I hadn’t noticed that. If you don’t like Mano, don’t click on the link.

    Peter Beinart wikipedia:

    Beinart has been notably outspoken in support of liberal Zionism and critical of the Israeli settler movement.[2] He is a senior columnist at Haaretz and contributor to The Atlantic and National Journal.

    I thought the quote was interesting if perhaps a little overdramatic.

    If you want to call Beinart antisemitic, feel free. Just remember he is a liberal Zionist Jewish antisemite who writes for Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper.

  • colnago80

    Re raven @ #16

    I didn’t click on the link and haven’t visited Singham’s site in several months, just like I don’t visit Don Black’s Stormfront site which is the right wing equivalent.

    As for Beinart, he’s a Jino and hardly worthy of spending time reading his stuff.

  • thomasmorris

    @raven

    You have to put all of colnago’s comments related to Israel through the Slimy Fuckwit Decoder Ring™. When SLC says that Mano Singham, a pretty decent guy based on his blog posts, is “a piece of filth,” he really just means that he’s upset that Singham actually has some common sense.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    daved “Still, even if Bibi had gone down to a well-deserved defeat, would his opponents still have had to cut a deal with the odious Haredi?”

    I remember when The Odious Haredi took the belt, way back in Wrestlemania 2.

  • colnago80

    Re thomas morris @ #18

    Well, there may even be people out there who think that Don Black is a pretty decent guy who actually has some common sense.

  • dingojack

    I thought Odious Haredi got cut from the final version of the Cantina scene.

    Dingo

  • dmcclean

    Claiming that Prof. Singham is somehow equivalent to Stormfront(!) is so far beyond ridiculous that it may set a new low for colnago80. I hardly thought it was possible for him to lower the bar any further, but there it goes.

    Can someone call James Cameron?

  • colnago80

    Re dmcclean @ #22

    I’m not sure what the citation to James Cameron, who I presume is the motion picture director, has to do with anything.

  • whheydt

    Wait a minute…the Haredi object to teaching *math*? What’s up with that? Are they suspicious of, say, algebra?

  • dmcclean

    Colnago80, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O94_pm56CIQ

    The whole episode is pretty good, but this will give you the gist.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raising_the_Bar_%28South_Park%29

  • Martin Lefebvre
  • JustaTech

    Whheydt @24: That was my thought too! I mean, I’ve heard stories (probably apocryphal) of some Christian fundie parents not wanting their kids taught geometry because of pentagons, but this sounds like not covering even basic arithmetic.

    Actually, what it sounds like is a “school” where “students” memorize a very long piece of religious literature, but nothing else. Let’s see how not knowing any math does you in the real world, eh? Those poor kids.

  • daved

    ” Are they suspicious of, say, algebra?”

    Well, hell yes! “Algebra” is a word that comes from Arabic. Need I say more??

  • eric

    From just the barebones coverage that pops up maybe one or twice a year, it appears that the Israeli court system is pretty secular and fair. Here’s hoping that a switch (back) in policies may create an opportunity to legally challenge those policies in court.

  • busterggi

    So a country that was created because of a three thousand year old mythology is ruled by magical thinking – not a surprise. The historical kingdom of Israel barely existed in the real world and was nothing like its mythical counterpart.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    JustaTech “Actually, what it sounds like is a ‘school’ where ‘students’ memorize a very long piece of religious literature, but nothing else.”

    LIKE THE MADRASSA BARACK HUSSEIN WENT TO?!!!

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    Actually, what it sounds like is a “school” where “students” memorize a very long piece of religious literature, but nothing else. Let’s see how not knowing any math does you in the real world, eh?

    Seeing as how they don’t have to serve in the IDF, they refuse to work, and the Israeli state puts them on the dole, it sounds like they have no need for math skills. Or any others.

  • laurentweppe

    It’s hard to argue that Israel is not a Theocracy (a form of Government I absolutely will not support) when they have laws on the books like this.

    Actually, Israel’s more like a patrician ethnocracy (things are good if you’re a wealthy Ashkenazi, if you’re an arabic -whether druze, muslim, or mizrahim- or an african plebeian, things are… not so good as evidenced by the recent violences against Israelis of ethiopian descent) which gives a few cookies to the theocrats to keep them on the Powers That Be’s side.

    ***

    If you want to call Beinart antisemitic, feel free. Just remember he is a liberal Zionist Jewish antisemite who writes for Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper.

    You know this type of people: sometimes they claim that anyone who doesn’t submit to the rich-kids-serving GOP is anti-american, or that not singing the praises of the pro-oligarchs Putin betrays anti-slavic racism, or that it is islamophobic to openly state that whichever parasitic satrap currently ruling over some middle-east country is in fact a parasitic satrap…

    For SLC, it is everyone who doesn’t lick the boot of the notoriously corrupt israeli upper-class that is an antisemite. It’s a lie, he knows it is a lie, and he knows that everyone knows it is a lie: he’s roleplaying the bold defender of the oppressed and demanding that people pretend alongside him that he genuinely believes his self-aggrandizing masturbatory fantasy.

    ***

    So a country that was created because of a three thousand year old mythology is ruled by magical thinking – not a surprise.

    Actually, this country was created because a journalist from 120 years ago held a pretty dismal view of Europeans and Humanity in general: after witnessing the (glaringly obvious) bad faith and (disgusting) murderous appetites of french antisemites during the Dreyfus affair, he concluded that

    1. Europeans would never become mature enough to cease being seduced by antisemitic demagoguery

    2. Better find a place when he and his peers would be the dominant bullies and not the bullied metics.

    He was wrong on both count (although in Europe’s case, it’s the demagogues who opportunistically decided to target another boogeyman while a still large portion of the population and political leaders keeps playing along), but it’s not hard to understand why a 19th century intellectual who grew up during what seemed to be the eternal triumph of the tech-savvy supremacist colonialist bully would reach such a conclusion.

    For all intent and purpose, apart from being invoked time and again as a self-justification by elites who very often aren’t even religious believers, Judaism itself doesn’t plays much in Israel’s colonialist and apartheidesque behavior.

  • anat

    Re: Haredi education: Ideologically Haredim believe any moment available should be spent on studying Torah/Talmud/other religious pursuits. If they are taking a 5 minute bus ride, they’ll be reading Psalms, any longer time should be spent on more serious religious studies. Not doing so is considered ‘bitul torah’ – idleness from Torah. Secular studies beyond the very basic fall into these categories, at least for boys. They are more open to girls and women studying secular subjects because girls and women don’t have the same religious requirements as boys and men. (They are also more open to women being engaged in gainful employment, as long as they follow their community’s modesty rules, including avoiding any physical contact with unrelated men and spending any time in private with any unrelated men.)

    Due to one of David Ben-Gurion’s worst mistakes, the status of Haredi men is such: as long as they are registered as full time Yeshiva students and are not gainfully employed, they are exempt from military service, and receive a government stipend. Haredi families generally have 3 sources of income: support from parents or grandparents who worked in their day (this lifestyle has only been around since the 1950s), government stipends, and women’s earnings. The first source of income has for the most part dried up by now, the other two don’t often suffice for their family size, so they tend to live in poverty.

    In recent years there has been a push from people interested in the welfare of Haredi families to improve educational opportunities. There are Haredi-approved technological schools, the Ministry of Education approved a set of Matriculation exams intended for the Haredi public (includes very minimal requirements in language arts and literature, history with a Haredi-tilt, civics, plus the lowest level required of math and English as a foreign language, not sure about any electives required). Supposedly starting from 2014 Haredi high school students were supposed to be required to take the exams, but with the new coalition agreement I suppose they become optional again.

    Regarding the conversion issue: Conversions matter for 2 main issues in Israel. One is acquisition of citizenship for immigrants – anyone who is considered officially Jewish can be fast-tracked for citizenship. The other is marriage – in order to be able to marry in Israel one must do so via one of the religious denominations recognized by law. This means that if one partner is Jewish, so must the other be (though they have the option of marrying civilly abroad). For the purpose of the law, one is Jewish if one was born to a Jewish mother or was converted into Judaism, and one does not follow a different religion (the latter clause was added after a Jewish-to-Catholic convert demanded the fast-track to citizenship). This raises the question of which conversions are recognized by law. Despite years of demand otherwise, Reform and Conservative conversions are not recognized by the Israeli government. Back in the day a ‘normal’ Orthodox conversion was OK, but it looks like the Haredim took over the system.

  • anat

    To laurentweppe: Well stated.

    To those who are not aware – Zionism was for the most part a secular-leaning movement, though it always had a religious faction. Herzl himself was a secularist – he dreamed of keeping the rabbis in the synagogues and away from state matters (just like he thought the military should be kept in barracks and away from state matters). Zionism had a large socialist faction, and a secular right-leaning romantic-nationalist faction.

  • Hoosier X

    colnago80@14

    Singham is an antisemitic Israel bashing piece of filth whose presence as a professor at Case/Western Reserve University is a blight on that otherwise august institution.

    I read Mano almost every day and I have never noticed that that he is “an anti-Semitic piece of filth.” Could you perhaps provide a link to one of his posts that supports this accusation? Because otherwise people who are familiar with your opinions might suspect you are just venting because Mano doesn’t agree with your views on Iran.

  • Hoosier X

    Unless you are one of those people who gets mad when asked to support a vague generalization with a few specific references to things that actually happened. Don’t feel obligated to respond if you don’t care what people think about your debate skills.

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    Netanyahu can count on Canada to join his ruling coalition.

  • http://kamakanui.zenfolio.com Kamaka

    Don’t feel obligated to respond if you don’t care what people think about your debate skills.

    You must be new here.

  • colnago80

    Re Hoosier X @ #36

    I haven’t read Singham’s blog in several months. And no, AFAIK, I have not been banned from commenting, although several of his regular commenters made that suggestion. I just found it a waste of time to go over there and cast pearls before swine.

    Singham has said that, if Israel has nuclear weapons, Iran should also be allowed to have nuclear weapons. The fact is that the Ayatollahs and their running dogs in Hizbollah have stated over and over again that the State of Israel must be removed from the Middle East. Nobody in Israel has stated that Iran must be removed from the Middle East. I consider Singham’s position to be tantamount to advocating an Eichmann solution for the Jews in Israel.

  • colnago80

    Re Weppe @ #33

    Gee, sounds like the 1% run things in Israel, just as they do everywhere else in the West.

  • eric

    I just found it a waste of time to go over there and cast pearls before swine.

    Ah yes, your “pearls.” Like the latest, ‘anyone who supports a nuclear Iran = Nazi-like person who secretly wants a new holocaust.’ Real rational, that. Almost as pearly as your ‘they can’t have any because one nuke could wipe out all of Israel’ from a few months back.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    The only positive thing to be said about the new Government in Israel is that it probably won’t last very long having only 61 our of a hundred and twenty Knesset members and not much chance of increasing that number.

    Wishful thinking: that’s all the Likudnik Chickenhawk has left to justify the country he supports so mindlessly.

    Singham is an antisemitic Israel bashing piece of filth whose presence as a professor at Case/Western Reserve University is a blight on that otherwise august institution.

    FUCK YOU, chickenhawk, Singham has far more credibility than you will ever have, despite being wrong here and there. Your level of pure stupid hatefulness is approaching that of Larry Fafarman — and it’s long past time you joined him on Ed’s list of banhammered cranks, bigots and assholes.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    I haven’t read Singham’s blog in several months.

    Yeah, I figured you’d need some excuse for your total failure to back up any of your accusations against him.

  • StevoR

    @9. raven :

    I wouldn’t be too sure that Israel even has a future.

    Israel does have a future certainly – but it is also under a lot of threat and attacks from some really extreme and hateful enemies. It is uncertain how these threats will end and when but I really cannot see Israel going away anytime – unless it is destroyed in a war that will make the current and past wars in the region look like teddy bears picnics. If Israel is destroyed in a future bout of horrific all out warfare it will almost certainly take out much of the region with it.

    There are all sorts of possibilities for Israel into the future , some of them are even positive scenarios where the Arab side -and the Iranians too (stressing the too to aid Raging bee’s struggle for reading comprehension no doubt in vain!) – finally get over their hatred and learn to live in peace alongside Israel and the Jewish world with everyone globally befitting from that.

    Netanyahu is on record as believing peace with the Palestinians is impossible. He may even be right since it hasn’t happened since the modern state was founded before I was born.

    Same thing works with saying “Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad (et al) are on record as believing peace with the Isrealis is impossible. ” Reality is neither Hamas , Hezbollah and the other Palestinian terrorist groups nor Israel’s extremists such as some of the Jewish settlers make real peace possible or at least likely. Reality is we won’t see peace in Israel or a true Palestinian state until Hamas go or change beyond recognition from what they (to name one) are currently.

    1. But this is a self fulfilling prophecy. If you believe peace is impossible, this means you will have perpetual war. And a warrior always wins every battle. Except for the last one. You can figure out how that works.

    Yes, well, kinda.

    Actually, Israel did lose wars against say, Lebanon though and are still here despite that. They also withdrew from Gaza which ended much less well.

    It is also possible -not necessarily likely or to be recommended but possible – that the metaphorical warrior ends the war and ceases needing to be a warrior by means of total victory of over his opponent. In this case, well for example how Sri Lanka finally ended the war with the Tamil Tigers. If I were, say, Hamas that particular prospect & example might just about be enough to make me see reason – but then if one was capable of seeing reason one wouldn’t be Hamas would one? It isn’t a pleasant thought or something I’d like to see happen and I am NOT advocating it but if Hamas (Hezbollah IJ et al) keep up the way they are, well, where do you think its going to lead them?

    2. A perpetual war with and against the Palestinians starts to look like a slow moving genocide. At some point, they will either end up kicked out or put down in the ground.

    Again, substitute a word and a side and the equation still holds. “A perpetual war with and against the Israelis starts to look like a slow moving genocide. At some point, they will either end up kicked out or put down in the ground.” There have been many attempted genocides against the Jewish people over history. Many times the Jewish nations has been kicked out and thousands, millions of Jews put into the ground. Never again. Never again?

    3. I don’t have a solution for any of this. The best minds in the world have spent generations and haven’t come up with much. The Jordanians just gave up which made sense and there is at least a cold peace with Egypt. The Syrians right now are too busy killing each other to even bother with Israel.

    People arguing online and without a direct influence and power over the situation aren’t going to change anything. None of us here , I think, can alter Israeli policies or get their enemies to see reason.

    I hope that eventually Israel’s enemies manage to overcome their endless hate and agony and face reality squarely and then sit down and negotiate a genuine peace, offering Israel what it needs to allow them some of what they want. They can have a Palestinian state beyond merely the Gaza area they already control if it is made acceptable to those that have to live with it. First the Palestinians and others (Iran etc ..) need to end the terrorism and end the hatred and drop some of their ambit claims. (Eg. the “right” of second, third and later descendants of Palestinian refugees living outside the land to flood Israel with non-Jewish hostile migrants, the idea of dividing Jerusalem again, the idea of them having military power sufficient to threaten Israel’s existience, their acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state etc ..)

    The people who can change things and make a difference are those in charge on each side – the Israelis and the Palestinians of all the various sorts and the Iranians and others.

    (Egypt may well end up back in charge over Gaza – probably best case scenario, there may or may not one day be a state of Palestine in parts of the West bank / Judea and Samaria perhaps also included in Jordan which is already (& always was) the de facto’ ‘Palestine’ and increasingly fuller of Palestinian-Syrian refugees. Most Palestinians living outside these areas are going to have to accept resettlement as citizens of wherever they are now living. previous deals and resolutions are frankly, long since gone as missed opportunities.

    It is a complicated, awful and seemingly interminable situation there but blaming, attacking and trying to somehow delegitimise Israel helps absolutely no one.

  • StevoR

    Mano Singham actually has Jewish friends with whoem he has stayed and treated well :

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/singham/2015/04/03/family-secrets/#more-29962

    Which I must admit surprised me given his frequent and very one-sided attacks on Israel. He seems to think this reflects badly on me, I tend to think it speaks volumes about the tolerance and respect and kindness of his Jewish friends!

    I rarely now comment on Mano’s blog but he does write well and have a lot that’s good to say on a lot of subjects although with some very partisan and when it comes to Israel I think dubious and biased views. Oh and yes, when it comes to Israel too, I’m also biased in the opposite direction hence why we’ve clashed quite a lot over the years. Its a very polarising and triggering subject for a lot of peope

  • StevoR

    IOW. I don’t agree that Mano Singham is anti-Semitic as he really does have Jewish friends but he does bash Israel a lot and opposes the Jewish state.

  • colnago80

    Re StevoR @ #46

    Mano Singham actually has Jewish friends with whoem he has stayed and treated well :

    I’m sure he does, people like Max Blumenthal and Glenn Greenwald.

  • Hoosier X

    @colnago

    Singham has said that, if Israel has nuclear weapons, Iran should also be allowed to have nuclear weapons.

    So your argument really does just come down to “Mano is an anti-Semitic piece of filth who is just like Adolph Eichmann because he disagrees with me on Iran.”

    Thank you for your cooperation.

  • colnago80

    Re Raging Bee @ #43

    Wishful thinking: that’s all the Likudnik Chickenhawk has left to justify the country he supports so mindlessly.

    Hey Bee, can’t you come up with some new material. You are starting to become boring.

  • dmcclean

    Are you disputing “mindless”, “chickenhawk”, or “Likudnik”, because all three seem pretty incontrovertible.

    And I gave you some fresh material but it went over your head.

  • dmcclean

    i.e. You can try to argue that being a chickenhawk isn’t a bad thing (you might even have something of a point), or that being a Likudnik isn’t a bad thing, but it’s pretty clear that you are both. And you are definitely supporting Israel mindlessly.

  • M Milligan

    Why the last government wanted to expand the number of conversion courts isn’t quite clear, since they apparently did the Reformers and Conservatives no good.

    The existing conversion courts were run by Haredim. For all practical purposes, they only approved conversion for people who agreed to practice Judaism as understood by the ultra-orthodox. The additional conversion courts would have been run by “ordinary” Orthodox Jewish rabbis, whose understanding of Jewish observance is much more in line with reality. But yes, would-be Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist converts would still have been screwed.