The Satmar and the Value of their Money – De Blasio’s Presidency Bid and the Money in His Coffers…

Orthodox Jews stroll in Borough Park | Bebeto Matthews/AP Photo

Satmar Chassidim Helping DeBlasio Presidential Campaign Stay Alive

The following is via Politico:

Mayor Bill de Blasio is turning to reliable allies in New York City’s Orthodox Jewish community as he scrambles for debate-qualifying donations to his presidential bid.

A fundraising request for 10,000 donors giving just $1 each is circulating online and on WhatsApp — an encrypted messaging app — among those in the Orthodox Satmar sect, which is prominent in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The message, written in Yiddish and translated for POLITICO by three different people fluent or conversant in the language, acknowledges the mayor’s long-shot chances. It says it is not a request to support his White House bid, but rather to help him qualify for the September debate.

Failing to secure a spot on the national stage would be a blow to his struggling campaign.

The pitch also implies the donations would yield favorable treatment in the future.

It opens with a donation request on behalf of those “who work together with the faithful askanim [loosely translated to influential people] who are in constant contact with the government to lobby on a number of issues on behalf of our holy institutions and communities and for individuals who need help and to represent your interests,” according to one translation from a fluent Yiddish speaker.

It says the mayor “personally asked” for the support and then asks donors to extend the request to their wives and adult children.

“By donating the dollar you support your needs, the entire ultra-Orthodox public and our rights and needs by answering the call of askanim who need to show that the public recognizes those who understand our interests,” it reads.

Finally, it notes, “with the dollar you do not support his candidacy but you can help get him to the debate.”

De Blasio needs to show the Democratic National Committee he has raised money from 130,000 individuals in order to qualify, and as of his campaign filing this month, he only had about 6,700.

The message, shared with POLITICO by two people involved in Jewish politics who declined to be named, was signed by people they identified as Satmars.

The sect is divided into two factions, based upon loyalty to brothers locked in a succession feud following the death in 2006 of their father, prominent rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum.

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In search for debate-qualifying donors, de Blasio finds help among Orthodox Jews

From Politico.

Israel’s Complicated Politics and the United Right – a Nationalist Conservative, Zionist, Radical Woman-Lead Faction

Ayelet Shaked

How Ayelet Shaked, a secular woman, came to dominate the right-wing religious camp in Israel

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Late last month, as Israel prepared for yet another round of elections, Ayelet Shaked ascended to the leadership of the United Right, a joint list comprising the primary factions representing the nation’s religious Zionist community.

While women have led Israeli political parties, none has ever risen to the pinnacle of political power in a bloc representing the traditionally patriarchal Orthodox community.

And even more remarkable, the 43-year-old mother of two is a secular Jew from Tel Aviv.

So who is Ayelet Shaked and how did she overcome decades of political tradition?

Growing up as a middle-class child in the Tel Aviv of the 1980s, Shaked could have been expected to develop into a left-leaning Labor or Meretz voter, a proponent of two states and liberal policies. But as Shaked told The New York Times in 2015, she experienced a personal revelation at the age of 8 when she watched Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir debate an opponent on television: She was swayed by his nationalistic perspective.

During their mandatory military service, some Israelis tend to shift to the right, at least for a while, and a stint as an instructor in the storied Golani infantry brigade helped Shaked strengthen her conservative political outlook.

“I just realized there will not be a solution right now,” she told The Times.

Like the coalition she represents, Shaked is staunchly pro-settlement and hawkish on defense.

Although she studied computer engineering and began her career working for Texas Instruments, Shaked pivoted to politics in 2006, going to work for then-opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu as his bureau chief. She brought along with her the future Jewish Home party head and frequent collaborator Naftali Bennett, helping him make a similar transition from high tech to the dog-eat-dog world of Israeli parliamentary politics.

The two worked for Netanyahu for four years but left following a reported falling-out with his wife, Sara. In 2012, Bennett and Shaked entered the world of right-wing, pro-settlement politics. That was the year that Jewish Home — a party composed of the old National Religious Party and several smaller right-wing factions — held its first open primaries. Bennett, religiously modern Orthodox and politically hawkish, entered the Knesset in 2013 at the top of its list. Shaked took its fifth seat. 

By the 2015 primary Shaked, having only finished her first term in the Knesset, was popular enough with the party base that she came in second behind Bennett, establishing her position as a leader of the nationalist camp. In a party traditionally led by older, gray-haired men, Shaked at 39 not only was an ideological torchbearer but literally a fresh face: a young, stylish woman.

A stint as the country’s justice minister under Netanyahu further cemented her popularity. With mixed success, Shaked sought to overhaul an activist judiciary that in her view handcuffed the military and undermined the right-wing elected government. She also helped pass a controversial bill that defined Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Supporters said it made an obvious reality into law, while opponents attacked it for prioritizing an ethnic identity over democracy.

Her critics say she is a threat to that democracy.

“While Shaked was ‘polite,’ she was also a bulldozer that would run roughshod over liberal democracy,” Tamar Zandberg, a lawmaker representing the liberal Meretz party, said in a Facebook post. Her attempt to remake the judiciary is “not a misunderstanding of what democracy is, it is a desire to destroy it and establish the Jewish state, the settlements, and Jewish supremacy instead of the state of equality.”

In March, Shaked’s team produced a mock perfume ad featuring “Fascism by Ayelet Shaked” in which she posed like a model while a narrator taunted her liberal critics.

Whatever it takes to win

Both her effectiveness as a politician and Jewish Home’s move toward open primaries helped Shaked advance in the religious sector, according to Yair Sheleg, who researches the religious Zionist sector at the Israel Democracy Institute.

In many ways, he said, its followers consider the nationalist aspect of religious Zionism — settling all of biblical Israel, asserting Israel’s Jewish character — as more fundamental than the religious aspect. Many leaders in the community “can live with Shaked as the leader because she brings many more voters” than other politicians.

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Oded Forer – Creating a Civil Law Free of Radical Influences, the Draft, an Israel for All Jews [Video]

 

Parliamentarian Oded Forer: ‘Make Israel Normal Again’ (with VIDEO)

The number two on Yisrael Beitenu’s list wants to end power of Israel’s religious parties

In a TLV Internationals event moderated by The Media Line, parliamentarian Oded Forer, number two on the list for the Yisrael Beitenu party, spoke to a crowd of largely new immigrants about why they should support his party in the September 17 national elections. The gathering was the first in a weekly “Sunset Series” taking place in August, with different parties represented each week.

TLV Internationals serves as an advocate for new immigrants to Israel with the national government. With a following of over 60,000 young men and women from a multitude of nations, backgrounds and professional fields, the group has built the largest expat community in Israel.

he September vote is the second to take place this year, after Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party failed to garner enough support to form a government after the April 9 vote.

Forer highlighted three major components of Beitenu’s platform: Creating a government free of religious influence, allowing public transportation on Shabbat and requiring Haredim, or ultra-Orthodox Jews to be subject to the military draft.

“What we want to do is make Israel normal again,” Forer said. “We want to allow people to live the way they want.”

Forer expressed his belief that his party can double the number of seats it received in the first election to 10 or 11 this time by focusing on the increasing discontent of secular Israelis over the demands of the religious parties.

If Beitenu wins enough seats in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, he said it would advocate for forming a center-right unity government together with two other parties, Likud and the Benny-Gantz-led Blue and White faction. Such an alliance would almost undoubtedly garner the minimum 61 seats in the 120-member parliament needed to form a coalition.

“It doesn’t matter who the prime minister is, but what kind of government we have,” Forer said.

One of those attending the event was Brian Shaposhnik, who made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) from Toronto in 2013. He did not vote for Yisrael Beitenu in the April election but believes the party is pro-LGBT rights.

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Justice for the Abused, Holding Israeli Minister Accountable for his Complicity and His Complacence

Police call for Israeli minister to stand trial over paedophile case intervention

UTJ head Yaakov Litzman accused of attempting to prevent the extradition of teacher wanted over child molestation charges in Australia

Police in Israel have recommended indicting the country’s deputy health minister for bribery, fraud, witness tampering and breach of trust, with the politician accused of using his influence in the government to prevent the extradition of a child molester.

Yaakov Litzman, who is also chair of the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism (UTJ) party, is suspected of – among other accusations – standing in the way of former Jewish religious school headteacher Malka Leifer being sent to Australia.

Leifer is wanted on charges of 74 accounts of rape and sexual assault in Melbourne. However, despite being arrested in 2014, attempts to extradite her have been blocked and delayed for multiple reasons.

In a statement, the police said the Lahav 433 anti-corruption unit and the National Fraud Investigation Unit said they had gathered enough evidence to put Litzman on trial over his involvement with Leifer, as well as for intervening to improve the conditions for a number of other imprisoned sex offenders.

Litzman was originally questioned by police in February over allegations that he had intervened in a medical assessment over whether Leifer was mentally fit to be deported.

Both Leifer and Litzman belong to the same ultra-Orthodox Jewish religious denomination.

Litzman’s office has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Since the scandal first erupted, the Jewish school that hired Leifer has been ordered to pay more than $1.1m in compensatory damages to the alleged victims.

Leifer fled to Israel in 2008 shortly after the allegations against her were first reported – prior to her arrest she lived in a settlement in the occupied West Bank. She is currently being held in Neve Tirza prison.

Jerusalem District Court is set to hand down a final decision on Leifer’s mental fitness for an extradition hearing on 23 September, according to the Times of Israel.

A report on Israel’s Channel 13 news in May reported that Litzman had helped at least 10 serious sex offenders improve their prison conditions – including securing home visits and other benefits- and applying pressure on state psychiatrists and prisons service officials.

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Jewish Law Does not Address How a State Should be Run… A “Halachic State” is Unworkable, Ben Gurion’s Misjudgment

Bezalel Smotrich.

WHY IS RELIGIOUS-ZIONIST SMOTRICH DREAMING OF A HALACHIC STATE? – ANALYSIS

For the second time in the course of the current election campaign, senior United Right MK and Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich has talked openly about his desire for the State of Israel to be run by Jewish law.

In June, he said he wanted to “restore our judges as of old,” “restore” Torah law to the Jewish state and for the country to be governed “as it was governed in the days of King David and King Solomon – by Torah law.”

The general perception is that it is ultra-Orthodox (haredi) lawmakers who are more stringent on matters of religion and state issues and more willing to wield their political power on such issues.

So why is it that the most prominent politician speaking about a halachic state, a state of Jewish law, is actually from the religious-Zionist community and not the ultra-Orthodox?

“The haredi belief is that we are still in exile,” said Avrimi Kroizer, a haredi political strategist and former adviser to former Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat. “On the ideological level, they do not believe that it is the path of God to bring the redemption through a secular state.

“Any participation and recognition in the haredi world with the state and with its institutions is a post-facto, flawed recognition with no ideological basis,” said Kroizer.

Eli Paley, chairman of the Haredi Institute for Public Affairs and publisher of Mishpacha Magazine, puts it even more starkly.

“The haredi community is dedicated to Jewish law but doesn’t see a state, in its modern concept, as the right vehicle for promoting Jewish law,” he said.

“Jewish law is something the ultra-Orthodox want to implement in their daily lives, but it is not relevant to how a state should function.”

In short, the haredi community does not view the State of Israel differently from any other country where Jews might live, be in the US, Australia or anywhere in between, and see no religious significance in it or its establishment.

Therefore there is no grand vision of running the country in accordance with Jewish law.

The ultra-Orthodox parties do intervene on matters pertaining to the so-called status quo on religion and state, arrangements involving Jewish personal status issues such as marriage, Shabbat, independent education systems and kashrut.

But these issues were part of a set of guarantees made by David Ben-Gurion to the ultra-Orthodox community in pre-state Mandatory Palestine over such matters, and the haredi parties state, frequently, that they simply seek to preserve these arrangements.

THAT IS NOT the case when it comes to the religious-Zionist community, and specifically the hardline wing of the sector.

Rabbi Ronen Lubich, president of the religious-Zionist activist organization, points out that the founding principles of the religious-Zionist movement hold the State of Israel as something holy, the “foundation of the throne of God in the world,” as Rabbi A.Y. Kook, the founding father of religious-Zionism, expressed it.

“The State of Israel isn’t just an ordinary state for Jews or a refuge to protect them from antisemitism for religious-Zionism, it is meant to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation,” said Lubich.

Indeed, the religious-Zionist movement refers to Israel as the first sprouting of the redemption, an idea which anathema to the ultra-Orthodox community.

The rabbi also observed that in the early years of the state senior religious-Zionist rabbis such as Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Neriah, a student of Kook, and former Chief Rabbi Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog openly talked of the application of Jewish law in the state because of the belief that the Jewish people needed to be redeemed not only physically through the establishment of a state but spiritually too.

These and other rabbis eventually stopped discussion such ideas in the 1950s when it became clear that they could not be implemented and would also frighten the secular public.

But in recent years, the hardline wing of the religious-Zionist community has grown in numbers and influence, and now leads the traditional religious-Zionist parties, as well as many yeshivas and educational institutions in the sector.

Bayit Yehudi leader Rabbi Rafi Peretz, for example, is a student of Rabbi Tzvi Tau, president of the Har Hamor yeshiva in Jerusalem and one of the most senior and influential leaders of the hardline community, while Smotrich too belongs to this wing of the religious-Zionist movement.

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Israel and the Most Radical of Its Ultra-Orthodox – In Pictures, Those who will be in their Pursuits Israel’s Undoing

Pit an Ultra-Radical Jew Against an Ultra-Radical Muslim and the Muslim Wins… Why?

Because while Muslims are learning the Koran (the sacred book of Islam), which Muslims believe is the “actual word of G-d”, they are also learning to be soldiers, to speak other languages, the importance of education and how to function within their own society.

Fundamentalist Muslims, in contrast to radical Jews, understand the importance of education. To even the most religious, there is a power to knowing the languages of one’s neighbors and his laws.

To even the most educated of Koran scholars, there is a strength in learning to fight in an army, to learning to defend one’s land.  Moreover, unlike the most fundamentalist Jewish Israelis, who have the audacity to live in Israel, accept Israeli social services and social healthcare, but would be more than happy to hand over the land to Israel’s many enemies, the most fundamentalist Muslims in the surrounding countries are nationalistic as much as they are religious.

The governmental authorities in Islamic countries would not be tolerant of the behavior that the government of Israel permits. And there is a wisdom in that for Israel’s surrounding Arab neighbors.

When Israel’s fundamentalist Jews gain a majority in Israel, parliamentary control and a religious rule of law, which the numbers tell is an inevitability, Israel will be wholly unable to defend itself and its destruction will be imminent. On the one hand, Israel’s most radical want all Israelis to be radicalized. On the other, were that to happen, who would defend Israel against its neighbors? While Israel’s most radical are burning flags and soldiers in effigy, they are doing no more and no less than playing into the hands of Israel’s far wiser neighbors. When Israel’s government permits the most religious to occupy its land without participating in Israel’s army, Israel is making itself vulnerable, at the expense of the secular society that at some point will be powerless to defend against its neighbors.

The following is a photo-essay of Israel in pictures. In our view it is emblematic of  the greatest danger to Israel, the danger of the radical forces within Israel proper.

Out of respect for those photographed, we have not posted the article below in its entirety. We only took pieces. Some of the pictures are not with the captions in the original article. We therefore encourage you to click on the link and view the photo essay as it was intended. We believe it is extraordinary.

We have posted without permissions and our posting the below should not be viewed as an endorsement of this site by the authors of that article or their blog.  It should also not be presumed that they would have come to the same conclusions we have. They may feel quite differently.

We ask that you draw your own conclusions.

In pictures: The ultra-Orthodox Jews who back Palestine

The community in Jerusalem neighbourhood of Mea She’arim are rarely photographed

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Women of the Wall – Being Attacked by ultra-Orthodox Protesters and Referred to as a “Provocation”?

Women of the Wall at the Western Wall on August 2, 2019 (Courtesy Women of the Wall)

Women of the Wall at the Western Wall on August 2, 2019 (Courtesy Women of the Wall)

Protesters, worshippers skirmish at Western Wall during female-led service

Head of Conservative movement says he was accosted by ultra-Orthodox, had his kippa and prayer shall trampled on

An ultra-Orthodox protester was arrested Friday after allegedly attacking the head of Conservative Judaism in Israel, as a monthly prayer service at the Western Wall by a women’s group was marred by scuffles and loud demonstrations.

Yizhar Hess said an ultra-Orthodox minor tore off his prayer shawl and snatched and threw his skullcap to the floor as he attended morning prayers Friday at the holy site in support of the monthly Women of the Wall service.

A female supporter of Women of the Wall said she was also attacked by ultra-Orthodox protesters.

Meanwhile an ultra-Orthodox woman said she was pushed by a supporter of Women of the Wall and had her head covering torn off, and the group was accused of having tried to spirit a Torah scroll into the site by hiding it in a bathroom the night before.

“A bunch of enraged Haredim surrounded me and started pushing, kicking and spitting — and tore my tallit off of me,” Hess told Hebrew-language media. “My kippa was thrown to the ground and trampled on along with the tallit.”

In March, Hess said the same thing happened to him during skirmishes at the holy site.

The confrontations came despite heavy police presence deployed to secure the prayer service. Police have attempted to crack down on violent protests by ultra-Orthodox that have in the past marred the female-led prayers, held on every first day of the Hebrew month.

In a statement, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which administers the site, said it condemned “the provocations by Women of the Wall every month and the sharp violence on the other side.”

The body also accused the group of hiding the Torah scroll in a bathroom, in contravention of Jewish tradition, which generally forbids holy objects from entering bathrooms

Women of the Wall denied hiding the Torah scroll in a bathroom, and said it had been subjected to “hatred and violence.”

“Thousands of young men and women opposed us with screaming, pushing, hitting and serious interruptions of our prayer,” the group wrote on Facebook.

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