NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING
DONATE TODAY


The 200K Spring Challenge!

every dollar pledged will be matched by a generous donor

MICHELLE ALEXANDER

EDDIE CONWAY

CORNEL WEST

In Historic Protest Israel's Orthodox Break with Settler Right


Following the passing of a law proposal that will extend forced conscription to Jewish orthodox, half a million ascend on Jerusalem -   March 10, 2014
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here


Audio

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter



Because news is only as honest as the intentions of those who report it. - Joel L.
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

Precis

On Wednesday, March 6th the Israeli government’s Shaked Committee approved a law proposal that would extend forced conscription to the Jewish Orthodox. Today in Israel, military service is mandatory for all Jewish citizens, except the ultra Orthodox. The history of this exemption goes back to the founding of the state and has caused increasing tension between the secular and religious communities. Despite the law proposal only moving into the Parliamentary plenum next week and potentially being impossible to implement, the three main sects of the Ultra Orthodox held their own historic meeting and joined forces against it. On Sunday, nearly half a million ascended on Jerusalem. Shutting down the entrance to the city, they held a massive prayer demonstration. The Real News' Lia Tarachansky spoke to Shahar Ilan, a lobbyist in support of forced conscription and Itzik Sudri, the former spokesperson of SHAS, the biggest Orthodox party.

Transcript

In Historic Protest Israel's Orthodox Break with Settler RightLIA TARACHANSKY, PRODUCER: On Wednesday, March 6, the Israeli government's Shaked Committee approved a law proposal that would extend forced conscription to the Jewish Orthodox. The proposal will be brought before the parliament this week and is expected to pass, despite the 18 seats held by Shas and other ultra-Orthodox parties in the opposition.

Today in Israel military service is mandatory for all Jewish citizens except the ultra-Orthodox. The history of this exemption goes back to the founding of the state and has caused increasing tension between the secular and religious communities.

Following the 2012 social justice protests, a new party, under the leadership of journalist Yair Lapid, was formed with the promise of equalizing the burden when it comes to military service. The slogan has become the party's political crutch, and after the law proposal passed just the first reading, its leader rushed to declare a historic win for the nation.

YAIR LAPID, ISRAELI FINANCE MINISTER (YESH ATID PARTY) (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): A distortion of the rules, which lasted 65 years, has been resolved today because we were determined and stood our ground.

TARACHANSKY: Writing in Haaretz last week, Yossi Klein says "Coca-Cola's catchphrase "love life" is a good motto. Who doesn't love life? "It's a good slogan", even though it doesn't actually say anything and has no connection to pop drinks. "Equalizing the burden" is also a good slogan. It's catchy and convincing, despite not saying anything.

Shahar Ilan is a lobbyist for Hiddush, an organization supporting the conscription of the Orthodox.

SHAHAR ILAN, VICE PRESIDENT, HIDDUSH (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): There is something completely absurd here as one government took on a very difficult decision whose meaning is a head-on confrontation with an entire population and says to the next government, you enforce it.

The law proposal says that Orthodox who do not enlist will be arrested, and no one really believes that we'll arrest thousands of Yeshiva students. But the intention or the declaration that we'll arrest those who don't serve in the army enrages the Orthodox community.

TARACHANSKY: Despite the law proposal only moving into the parliamentary plan of next week and potentially being impossible to implement, the three main sects of the ultra-Orthodox held their own historic meeting and joined forces against it. On Sunday, nearly half a million ascended on Jerusalem. Shutting down the entrance to the city, they held a massive prayer demonstration.

[crowds chanting]

The committee that brought forward the law was formed by the union of Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid Party with the settlers party the Jewish Home. While the Jewish Home Party is also religious, its members do serve in the army, and unlike the ultra-Orthodox, both men and women work.

Today there are roughly 120,000 male Yeshiva students over 18 on whom the law may apply if it gets implemented. Itzik Sudri is the former spokesperson of Shas, the biggest ultra-Orthodox party, which today leads the religious bloc in the opposition.

~~~

INTERVIEWER (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Much of the rage is directed at the Jewish Home Party, which is also a religious party, but a different kind of religious.

ITZIK SUDRI, FMR. SPOKESPERSON, SHAS PARTY: That's right. The nationalist-religious parties are known as the Settlers. The Orthodox's disappointment with the Jewish Home is tremendous. While it's true we always had differences in our world view and lifestyles, but there was always a mutual respect. And this alliance was an unwritten agreement, where the Orthodox said to the settlers, you will help us protect the Torah of Israel [by praying], and in exchange we will help you protect the land of Israel--which are two completely different things. The moment the Jewish Home, the party that represents the settlers, violated this alliance, saying they will no longer help us protect the Torah, the Orthodox replied, we are no longer obliged to help you protect the land of Israel.

~~~

ILAN: As Israel is becoming more and more a society of polarized minorities, the harder it is for it to reach agreements, to solve issues without conflict. The issue of "equalizing the burden" of the Orthodox's army service has been tearing the Israeli society for over 60 years. But because the Orthodox community has grown so much, it is no longer a moral question of equality, but a very practical question of the future of the economy and the future of the army.

TARACHANSKY: The ultra-Orthodox have traditionally been included in the hard-right bloc, but for the most part they're not even Zionists. Most believe that the Jewish rule over biblical Israel can only be resurrected after the return of the Messiah, and so range from active anti-Zionism to accepting the state retrospectively.

~~~

SUDRI: As the Shas Party, as someone who's a part of the movement, we see ourselves as the most Zionist, because we have our view of what is Zionism. So if you ask me if I'm a Zionist, you have to first define Zionism.

INTERVIEWER: So define Zionism.

SUDRI: In my view, it is to see the state of Israel as a Jewish state, first and foremost seeing it in its Jewish identity.

INTERVIEWER: So different sets of rights [for Jews]?

SUDRI: Jewish and democratic, but Jewish above democratic. Where its Judaism clashes with democracy, in our view, the Judaism is more important than democracy.

~~~

ILAN: They feel attacked because of the demand, which is quite justified, that the Orthodox education system start teaching general subjects, because in the Orthodox education the Israeli government is funding they barely learn mathematics, which violates a number of international conventions and hurts the ability of Orthodox boys to work in the future. The Orthodox's biggest fear is that if their young enlist, they will not remain Orthodox, because of the army's secular influences.

INTERVIEWER: So it's not the morality of war, or of the occupation, or of even being in an army?

ILAN: The Orthodox are the most right-wing in Israeli society. I mean ... if you poll their positions, you'll find more Orthodox with right-wing positions than settlers.

~~~

SUDRI: The stereotype [in Israel] is to see a religious person and assume he's ultra right-wing, to put him on the far-right margins with the insular groups. And while the Orthodox community is very conservative in its world view regarding its daily life, but regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict we have a principle, a faith-based, religious principle that forbids provoking the nations of the world. The Orthodox perspective agrees with the idea of two states for two peoples and returning lands for peace.

TARACHANSKY: The historic unification of the three streams of ultra-Orthodoxy to organize the Jerusalem demonstration may create a new bloc in Israeli politics, according to Sudri, becoming the determining voice in fateful decisions.

ILAN: The Orthodox members of Parliament, when they arrived to the [organizing] meeting of the Great Rabbis, said they had to thank Finance Minister Lapid for uniting them. The competition between the Orthodox streams is very high, and the cultural differences between them are very big.

SUDRI: In essence, the political map in Israel is completely changing. There have always been two major political blocs, the left and the right blocs, and the Orthodox parties were always counted in the right bloc. So in that sense the political map has totally changed. Now there's a left and right bloc, and also an Orthodox bloc. So all kinds of important, fateful decisions in Israel that will change/determine the agendas of the Israeli society, the Orthodox will be the tipping scales. They can no longer be automatically counted on the right. That's the dramatic change that's currently taking place.

TARACHANSKY: For The Real News, I'm Lia Tarachansky in Jerusalem.

End

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


Comments

Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

Comments


Latest Stories


Grand Jury Indicts 6 Officers in Death of Freddie Gray
TRNN Debate: Are GMOs Safe?
As Senate Debates Patriot Act, Is Privacy Possible with Current U.S. Foreign Policy?
Post Conflict Fragile States, Will They Overcome?
Pressure Mounts on Baltimore Police Union as Protests Continue
Five Big Banks Plead Guilty to Rigging Currency Markets and No One Goes to Jail
U.S. Might Support UN Resolution That Leaves Palestine with a "Garbage Dump" - Norman Finkelstein on RAI 2 (3/3)
Baltimore Residents Say Anger Over Freddie Gray Could Affect Mayor's Race
Can the DOJ Reform the Baltimore Police Department?
Julian Assange May Be Exiled in the Ecuadorian Embassy, But Wikileaks Continues
Warren Pushes Back Against TPP Fast Track
Illinois House Passes Bill to Stop BDS Campaign Against Israel
Israel's Iron Dome and Palestinian Armed Resistance - Norman Finkelstein on Reality Asserts Itself 2 (2/3)
NAACP Accuses Baltimore Police Union of Intimidation
Former President Morsi Sentenced to Death
Scheer and Hedges: They Know Everything About You (7/7)
EU Plans to Destroy Migrant Boats Leaving Libya
Israel's Descent into Barbarism - Norman Finkelstein on Reality Asserts Itself 2 (1/3)
The Beneficiaries of Republican Budget Bill: Arms Manufacturers
Obama Takes Small Step Towards Demilitarizing Police
Scheer and Hedges: They Know Everything About You (6/7)
Cornel West, Eddie Conway and Rev. Sekou on Building a Mass Movement
Graduating Class of 2015 Most Debt Burdened in History
Scheer and Hedges: They Know Everything About You (5/7)
20% of Africans Live in Post-Conflict Fragile States
Amtrak Budget Cuts Amount to Derailed Priorities in Washington
Scheer and Hedges: They Know Everything About You (4/7)
New Hoops in Gilmor Homes
How to Use Economics and Not Be Used By Economists (6/6)
Cubans Press for Embargo to be Lifted

RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting