Since the moment Abram became Abraham, the patriarch of Middle Eastern Monotheistic Religions, God sent messengers in the form of Prophets and Angels to warn the people of their impending fall from grace.
From Isaiah, Ezekiel, Amos, Daniel, Habakkuk, Micah, Nehemiah, Lamentations, Jeremiah, the Books of Samuel, Chronicles, Leviticus and Deuteronomy, to the Psalms, God attempted to sound the alarm, wake up and stir up fear in the hearts and souls of the Hebrew people.
Dovie Schochet wrote, “For almost as long as the Jewish nation has existed, it has been persecuted and forced to wander from land to land: starting with slavery in Egypt, to the destruction of both temples in Jerusalem, to the Crusades, the pogroms, the Holocaust and finally, modern day antisemitism.” Chabad Discover the Four Exiles of the Jewish People
Before or after conception, in the womb or at birth, infant or adult, male or female, God’s messengers spoke His words.
“Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth and said unto me, “I have put my words into your mouth and today I have appointed thee over the nations and kingdoms to uproot and to tear down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”
Are these God’s words spoken to Shiva, the Hindu God of Destruction and Rebirth?
No. These are the words written down by the Hebrew Prophet, Jeremiah, 1:9-10.
Misogynist & Greedy Ultra-Orthodox
At the moment, Prime Minister Benjamin ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu has two weeks to pass the state budget. If it doesn’t pass, this will automatically trigger the collapse of the coalition and a quick call for new elections.
To secure the support of his far-right and religious coalition partners – Otzma Yehudit, Religious Zionism, United Torah Judaism, Shas and Noam – Bibi promised them huge sums of money.
From the May 15th 2023 ‘Haaretz’ (daily Hebrew and English newspaper in print and online) Editorial: “In his total dedication to the fight to shore up his rule at any cost, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu isn’t hesitating to forsake the future of Israel’s children. In a sweeping surrender to the coalition demands of the ultra-Orthodox parties, he has decided to sentence large numbers of them to a life of poverty, ignorance and unequal opportunity.
…Netanyahu has surrendered to every coalition demand that was presented to him.” Bibi’s Ultra-Orthodox Budget will Destroy Israel
These coalition partners (controlled by their Rabbinical Puppet Masters) have been promised over $1,000,000,000 (one billion dollars) from the $3.7 billion state budget. Some of the packages they plan to finance include:
- Increase stipends for single and married orthodox men studying in yeshivas
- Yeshiva food voucher programs (increased to ₪1,000,000,000)
- Funding to Yeshivas (increased to ₪2,000,000,000)
- Funding private educational institutions that do not teach basic curriculum ie, Math, English and Sciences
- Visitor’s Center at the “Tomb of the Patriarchs” in the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron
- To encourage Orthodox Jews to move into Arab (and secular) populated towns and cities
- Heritage Center dedicated to accused rapist Rehavam Ze’evi, an assasinated far-right IDF general and minister
- Commemoration at the grave of Baba Sali, a Moroccan born Kabbalah mystic
- Cultural Events for the Haredi Community (with gender-segregation)
- Family and Fertility Programs
- Jewish Identity Programs
- Promoting the legacy of the late Rabbi Chaim Druckman, right-wing advocate for the Settlements
- Counseling and Training on Family Purity
The Religious and Orthodox politicians that represent 13.5% of the total Israeli population are now demanding more funds. They are also demanding legislation that centers around:
- Orthodox and ultra-orthodox male exemption from military duty and/or national service
- Legalization of gender-segregation
Religious Zionism and United Torah Judaism Parties want to legalize the separation of men and women at
- All ultra-orthodox and orthodox cultural events (indoors and outdoors)
- All Educational institutions
- All Classrooms
- All Public services including women forced to sit at the back of public buses
By law, gender separation in Israel is illegal and considered discrimination. However, the ultra-orthodox religious and political leaders maintain gender-segregation is not discrimination.
But That’s Not All…
Although it isn’t new, there is a disturbing trend within the insular, ghetto-mentality of ultra orthodox communities concerning sexual abuse of students by teachers and rabbis.
The headline in the May 18th 2023 edition of ‘Haaretz’ reads, Father of Deputy Israeli Minister Under Investigation for Sexually Abusing Yeshiva Students. Haaretz, Sexual Abuse
Israeli police opened a file on Rabbi Efraim Tessler, the former head of the Damesek Eliezer Yeshiva of the Vishnitz Chasidic community in Jerusalem on suspicion of rape and sexual offenses against students.
This is the second time the police have questioned Rabbi Efraim Tessler on sexual offenses. He was first investigated in 2017 for committing indecent acts on 4 of his students. The case was closed due to lack of evidence.
Efraim Tessler’s son, Rabbi Yaakov Tessler, a member of the current coalition and Deputy Culture Minister hasn’t been questioned by the police on these particular allegations. However, Yaakov Tessler was found to be directly involved in an agreement to pay 100,000 shekels (approximately $27,000) to secure the silence of at least one victim.
The Golden Calf and Israeli Politicians With Sticky Fingers
The warnings received from God through the poetic words of our Prophets, the Psalms and Songs of King David and lyrical Biblical passages, easily allude common sense and greedy human nature.
All too often the seductive Golden Calf sits right in front of us.
Ultra-orthodox men are taught from a young age to fear being in the close proximity with women. Fathers teach their young sons to spit and curse at female soldiers and police officials.
And Rabbis, in their unending efforts to control the lives, the minds and the spirit purity of their flock, demand the use of ‘Kosher Cell Phones.’ These older model cellphones do not have access to the internet or any form of texting/messaging.
Where is our modern Golden Calf? It isn’t a woman sitting on a bus, nor is it a woman’s image on a pharmaceutical package.
However, unfortunately, today’s Golden Calf is deeply imbedded in our government and its politicians.
We can easily start with Knesset Member Aryeh Deri, leader of the Sephardic/Mizrahi political party, ‘Shas.‘
Deri has been convicted of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. He sat in prison for almost 3 years. More recently he made an agreement to resign from the government to avoid yet another court case. However, Deri’s back in the government.
But Aryeh Deri is just one in a list of Knesset Members (past and present, some resigned other still serve) convicted of fraud, moral turpitude, embezzlement, breach of trust, money laundering, or even larceny.
(The list below does not include mayors or city officials nor does it include Knesset Members and politicians convicted of rape, sexual abuse or domestic terrorism).
If curious, you can check it out at Convicted Israeli Politicians
- Aharon Abuhatzira (National Religious Party)
- Shlomo Benizri (Shas)
- Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud)
- Avraham Hirschson (Likud and Kadima)
- Rafael Pinhasi (Shas)
- Gonen Segev (Tzomet)
- Saleh Tarif (Labor)
- Yosef Be-Gad (Moledet)
- Naomi Blumenthal (Likud)
- Shlomo Dayan (Shas)
- Shmuel Flatto-Sharon (Flatto-Sharon)
- Michael Gorlovsky (Likud)
- Yehiel Hazaon (Likud)
- Ofer Hugi (Shas)
- Faina Kirschenbaum (Yisrael Beitenu)
- Yair Levy (Shas)
- Said Nafa (Balad)
- Yair Peretz (Shas)
- Shmuel Rechtman (Likud)
- Omri Sharon (Likud and Kadima)
- Yosef Vanunu (Labor)
- Haneen Zoabi (Balad)
- Oren Hazan (Likud)
Sephardic Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron (1993-2003) was convicted of fraud. Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger (2003-2013) was convicted of bribery, fraud and money laundering.
At this very moment Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is still ensnarled with legal woes and court cases that he wants to magically make disappear. So let’s add to this list Bibi’s former Chief of Staff, Ari Harow who was convicted of bribery, fraud, money laundering and breach of trust.
Modern Israel is a small nation, a young nation.
Let’s hope and pray as the growing masses of Pro-Democracy demonstrators continue to protest against Crime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and his Judicial Overhaul, that as a nation we succeed in laying the ground work to clean up the greedy, corrupt, convicted politicians and religious leaders. That leaders will emerge who will properly educate our young, protect our senior citizens, secure our health care and hospital systems, nurture the arts, seek avenues of negotiations with our neighbors, safeguard our environment and clean up our streets and highways.
May 19th is the anniversary of my entering the Israel Defense Force (Nahal). And in honor of my former army buddies, I dedicate this blog to all the members of Garin Nirim. And to Lone Soldiers who continue to serve.
If we, as a small group of Anglo-Saxon new immigrant women could serve in the IDF, for sure the thousands of young, healthy orthodox men can remove their black jackets and hats, roll up their sleeves, turn their faces to the sun and share in the experience of serving our small modern resurrected State of Israel.
to be continued…