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December 20, 2009

A7News: Hesder Rabbis Attempting to Present United Front

Filed under: Uncategorized — jewishupdates @ 2:12 pm

logo.jpgTevet 3, 5770 / Sunday, Dec. 20 ’09

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  1. Hesder Rabbis Attempting to Present United Front
  2. ‘Barak Only Understands Force’
  3. MKs on Anti-Yesha Military Plan: Where’s Netanyahu?
  4. Columnist Warns Barak: We Won’t Forget
  5. Settlers: Secret Plan Renders Barak ‘War Criminal’
  6. Leftist Provocation Near Hevron
  7. Israelis View Foreign Media as ‘Anti-Semitic’
  8. 3 Al Qaeda Men Nabbed in Africa, Running Drugs for Money

1. Hesder Rabbis Attempting to Present United Front

by Hillel Fendel

60 deans of Hesder yeshivas are convening and trying to formulate a uniform response to Barak’s removal of Har Bracha from the “arrangement.”

On the agenda are two very loaded questions. One is whether Rabbi Eliezer Melamed – head of the Har Brachah yeshiva – will sign a statement expressing his opposition to political protests in the army. Rabbi Melamed long ago wrote that he would have advised against holding such protests, though he added that once such a protest was held, its positive points should be recognized.

Rabbi Melamed has agreed to sign the statement, but his consent is under reconsideration in light of Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s statement Sunday morning that it will not change his decision regarding Har Brachah.

“Why should he sign,” some rabbis asked, “if it won’t make a difference?”

The second question is whether the Hesder Yeshivot Union will present a unified front in support of Har Brachah and against Barak’s decision. An unknown number of rabbis currently feel that this is a battle that should not be waged, while others feel that Barak’s decision, if left unchallenged, will render every statement made by a Hesder yeshiva head subject to “review” by the Defense Ministry.

The rabbis began their meeting around 9:30 AM, but by 1:30 PM had not issued a statement.

The head of the Hesder yeshiva in the Negev city of Arad, Rabbi Yinon Ilani, has already announced his position, however: “If the Hesder Union does not issue a strong, unambiguous statement to the effect that rabbis are not under the army’s thumb, our yeshiva will be forced to quit the Union, despite the heavy price we will have to pay.”

The Defense Ministry subsidizes Hesder yeshiva students to the tune of millions of shekels each year per yeshiva. A yeshiva that loses or gives up its Hesder status will thus lose a significant chunk of its financial base.

A group of Deans of non-Hesder religious-Zionist yeshivot have joined the head of Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav Kook, Rabbi Yaakov Shapira, in a statement against the closure of Yeshivat Har Bracha as a Heser yeshiva. They are:

Rabbi Shabtai Sabato, Yeshivat Meor Tuviah in Mitzpeh Yericho
Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed, Yeshivat Beit El
Rabbi Yitzchak Ben-Shachar, Yeshivat Kedumim
Rabbi David Chai HaCohen, Yeshivat Orot HaTorah in Bat Yam
Rabbi Yitzchak Shapira, Yeshiva Od Yosef Chai in Yitzhar
Rabbi Uri Cohen, Beit Medrash Meretz, Mevaseret Zion

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2. ‘Barak Only Understands Force’

by Gil Ronen

Dr. Aryeh Bachrach of the Almagor Parents’ Forum advised the Hesder yeshiva heads to select more aggressive representatives who will “put Defense Minister Ehud Barak in his proper place.” in the current crisis.

"Rabbi [Chaim] Druckman is an important personage but he is least suited for the goals,” Bachrach told Arutz Sheva Sunday, referring to the head of the Hesder Yeshiva Union. “What we need now is not a man of peace but a man of war."

“Just as we must not exhibit weakness before the Palestinians, so we must not be weak with Barak," Bachrach continued. "The State-oriented attitude approach is not the proper one at this time. When the doctors went on strike, no one asked them how far they were willing to go in their protests, so why do people who fight for their homes have to draw boundaries and red lines to their struggle? This is not Barak’s private army and we will not be threatened by him.”

The yeshiva heads should be the ones threatening Barak and not the other way around, Bachrach said: “As long as he does not take action against the [leftist] lecturers who incite in the universities, he should not be taking action against us. If he does not want the Hesder yeshivas, we will be the ones to throw the ‘divorce papers’ at him; we will not wait for him to hand it to us.”

Asked whom he had in mind as tough representatives, Bachrach mentioned Rabbis Dov Lior and Yisrael Ariel. He voiced doubt regarding the Hesder yeshivas’ ability to handle the crisis properly. “I did not see them speaking out until now, except for Rabbi [Eliezer] Waldman. It is time to fight and stop being such nice guys.”

The heads of the Hesder yeshivas convened Sunday morning under the leadership of Rabbi Chaim Druckman to try and find a solution to the crisis between the Defense Ministry and Har Bracha yeshiva. Barak decided to stop the ‘hesder’ arrangement with the yeshiva, because of the opinions of its head, Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, regarding conscientious objection in case of an order to expel Jews from their homes.

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3. MKs on Anti-Yesha Military Plan: Where’s Netanyahu?

by Hillel Fendel

Responses to Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s military plan against Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria have been sharp.

The Civil Rights Organization of Judea and Samaria released this statement: “This plan against the settler public will trample into the dust their most basic human rights. We call upon the government to wake up before it loses its right to be called the only democracy in the Middle East.”

MK Prof. Aryeh Eldad (National Union): “The police and army are cooperating in a rape of the settler public. This set of commands is formulated as if the intention is to conquer an enemy country. It shows the insanity of subjugating the Central Command, its intelligence branches, and the Shabak together with the Air Force for the purpose of destroying Jewish homes.”

“The crime is two-fold,” Eldad said: “Using the IDF for a political mission against Jews, and not using it against the Arab enemy. Netanyahu and his entire government are to blame for their collaboration.”

Even MK Ophir Akunis (Likud), a political ally of Prime Minister Netanyahu, came out against the plan, and MK Tzipi Hotovely, also of the Likud, called on Netanyahu to "intervene and revoke this disproportionate deployment."

MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) said the document is “shocking” and “shows that the Likud government has declared war on the settlers. Bibi [Netanyahu] is continuing the path of [comatose former Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon who destroyed the IDF in his war against the Jews and left a crushed IDF to deal with Hizbullah [in the Second Lebanon War].”

“The IDF’s function is to fight our enemies and to prepare for that,” Ben-Ari continued, “and whoever changes its function, thus tears the nation in half and destroys the State.”

Danny Dayan, the Chairman of the Yesha Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria, said, “This plan is simply a deployment for an army operation against an enemy.”

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4. Columnist Warns Barak: We Won’t Forget

by Gil Ronen

Columnist Menachem Benn of Maariv attacked Defense Minister Ehud Barak in a scathing weekend column, following Barak’s decision to cut off the Har Bracha yeshiva from the Hesder arrangemen with the Defense Ministry.

"After he destroyed his party and left it bleeding hatred and divided, Ehud Barak is more than ready to destroy the country, too, if we only let him,” Benn wrote. “He is already dividing the IDF and pitting its finest knit-kippah combat soldiers against it. He is already traveling to Turkey… and trying to convince us, against the will of the Foreign Minister who is trying to block the move, that the anti-Semitic Erdogan can be an excellent broker between us and Syria.”

"Barak is also maneuvering the Prime Minister of Israel, after long talks with Obama and Mitchell, into a damaging and grave partial freeze, which Netanyahu never wanted from the outset, and promises to give Abu Mazen at least what he already gave Arafat: agreement to a near-full withdrawal from all of Judea and Samaria and full territorial repayment inside tiny Israel, in accordance with the terrible formula offered by Olmert, who was willing to sell everything in order to be liked by the Left, in the hope that he would be ‘etrogized’ as Sharon was etrogized.”

In Jewish tradition, an etrog is a citron fruit which is kept wrapped and stored in a special box throughout the Sukkot holiday. The term has recently also come to denote a politician who enjoys special treatment from the media and law enforcement establishment, because he is carrying out policies that are to their liking.

Barak desperately needs “etrog” status now, Benn states. “We shall remember the PR firm established by his wife after he was already appointed Defense Minister, promising all sorts of millionaires to utilize all sorts of connections for them. We will remember the State Comptroller’s investigation about sums in millions that were transferred within his family, after he was appointed Defense Minister. We shall remember the luxurious hotel in Paris. We shall remember his illegal Philippine housemaid.”

"How is it that he never bothered to ask his wife and find out if the Filipina was legal or not? How could he not understand that there was something wrong with his wife’s PR firm, when she promised to make use of connections with the world’s rich and powerful people? And why does his party hate him so much? Can this person be trusted with all of the diplomatic and security matters? This is a man who now wants to rob the public of its right to determine, through referendum, if it should – G-d forbid – retreat from the Golan. Barak, being Barak, expects us to trust his judgment, without bothering to keep us in the loop. After all, this is the man who was about to sell Arafat everything, without asking anyone, at a time when it had become completely clear that the nation would boot him from office. Barak is a danger to himself and trips himself up all the time, but this is something we can live with. The problem is that he trips up Israel as well.”

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5. Settlers: Secret Plan Renders Barak ‘War Criminal’

by Hillel Fendel

A secret document that has been made public shows that the IDF is planning something close to war against the Jewish population of Judea and Samaria (Yesha), local councils accuse.

The secret document, which has clandestinely reached Arutz-7, shows that the army is planning to enforce the government-ordered construction freeze on Jewish towns in Yesha with the help of six brigades, the entire Border Guard forces of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, Israel Air Forces helicopters and drones, the Shabak (Shin Bet) and police, intelligence forces, and IDF reserve units. The forces are required to submit a daily report to the General Staff and the Defense Minister by 1 PM each day.

The Shomron Residents Committee released a sharp statement in response: “This war plan formulated against the pioneering settlement enterprise in Samaria and Judea, together with the plan against the hesder yeshivot which produce the best of Israel’s soldiers, turns [Defense Minister] Ehud Barak into a war criminal.”

“With the full backing of Netanyahu, who so cynically called us ‘brothers,’ Barak is wasting billions of shekels of the People of Israel’s money in order to promote his own standing in the Israeli left – instead of investing the money in building and developing the Galilee, Samaria, Negev and Judea. We will fight without compromise against Barak’s criminal actions, and we will continue to build our land wherever Arab nationalism threatens to turn it into terrorist states.”

The document states that the plan is on the “General Staff” level, and outlines the plan to destroy new Jewish buildings throughout Judea and Samaria. It appears that the plan is set to be put into operation within two weeks.

“The security forces will display zero tolerance vis-à-vis violence against the forces engaged in enforcing the construction freeze, demolitions and evictions,” the document states.

Other excerpts from the military plan:

“The basic assumption is that no one will agree to leave when required to, and therefore the eviction will require force. The settlers will see these actions as the beginning of the disengagement [i.e., unilateral withdrawal from Judea and Samaria – ed.], and they will therefore attempt to block the demolition in any way they can.”

“There is no concrete information that the settlers will use weapons, but every scenario must be taken into account.”

“The sector must be isolated; very large forces must arrive in order to carry out the eviction, based on the assumption that ‘tremendous force will silence any opposition.’ There must be tactical surprise, and those who disturb the peace must be dealt with in the courts as quickly as possible, including publication of the verdicts.”

“The media must not be allowed to enter the inner circle [of the action].” Some media outlets are already planning to protest to the Supreme Court against this violation of freedom of the press.

“The nearby communities must be totally closed off, and people may be allowed to leave only for urgent needs. Cellular communication will be blocked off for the entire area in order to prevent [the settlers from] alerting and calling each other to arrive at the site.”

Barak’s Response: Just Do What You’re Told
Defense Minister Ehud Barak responded to the release of the plan and to the criticism as follows: “All that is required of the settlement leaders and the settlers is to fulfill the government decision regarding the freeze of new construction during this defined period [of ten months], and then there will be no need for force or hostilities with the security forces.”

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6. Leftist Provocation Near Hevron

by Gil Ronen

Physical altercations broke out Saturday between Jews from the Mitzpeh Asael outpost in southern Mount Hevron, and a group composed of Arabs and non-Arab leftists.

The Arabs and leftists showed up at the spot, ostensibly to cultivate fields near the outposts. This – despite the IDF ban on visits to the area, which has been given the status of a Sealed Military Zone.

One report said that an Arab tractor driver who refused to leave the place was arrested and transferred to police questioning at Hevron Precinct.

25 left-wing activists were arrested Friday in the course of a demonstration at the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem. About 150 demonstrators tried to enter the neighborhood and encountered a police force that demanded they disperse because the demonstration was an illegal one. They refused and police used force to break up the demonstration, arresting 25.

Several demonstrators were lightly hurt.

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7. Israelis View Foreign Media as ‘Anti-Semitic’

by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Nearly three-quarters of Israelis view the foreign media as being negative towards Israel, according to a recent poll revealed by Professor Avraham Tzion of Ariel University Center, located in Samaria. Speaking at the annual conference on media and communications held there, he said the survey also showed that 88 percent of the respondents cited anti-Semitism as the main reason for Israel’s negative image.

The Palestinian Authority’s information campaign and poor public relations by the Israeli government were close behind as reasons for the bad image.

The poll of 500 Jews from all sectors of society also revealed that about two-thirds view foreign reports in Judea and Samaria as being unfair and unreasonable.

Left-wing groups, such as Peace Now and B’Tselem, were viewed as contributing to Israel’s negative image by 64 percent of the respondents, while residents of Judea and Samaria (“settlers”) and nationalists, known as the “right wing,” were blamed by 58 percent.

U.S. President Barack Obama ranked relatively low as being a cause of the negative impression, with half of the respondents blaming him.

A breakdown of the statistics disclosed that anti-Semitism was cited more often as the main reason for Israel’s image problem among female respondents and people under the age of 35. Respondents who defined themselves as on the right side of the political spectrum were inclined to point the finger left-wing groups and President Obama, besides anti-Semitism.

Those on the left end of the spectrum blamed the government’s information campaign and “settlers” as the main negative influences.

One surprising result of the poll was that 18 percent of Israelis are not aware of the legal standing of Judea and Samaria.

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8. 3 Al Qaeda Men Nabbed in Africa, Running Drugs for Money

by Hana Levi Julian

For the first time, three Al-Qaeda operatives have been arrested and charged with drug trafficking as a means of raising funds to support their terrorist activities. The international terror group has increasingly been turning to this form of activity, although its spread to Africa is a new twist in the pattern, according to evidence gathered by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

The agency has long been concerned about the group’s ties to the heroin trade in Afghanistan – but according to DEA director Michele Leonhart, the current case reveals a “direct link” between the terror group and drug traffickers in western Africa.

The three suspects were arrested in a four-month-long sting operation involving a French-speaking informant posing as “a Lebanese radical committed to opposing the interests of the United States, Israel, and, more broadly, the West and its ideals,” according to court papers. The informant presented himself as a supporter of the Revolutionary Armed Force of Columbia (FARC), listed in the U.S. as a terrorist organization and considered in the South American nation to be a rebel force.

During negotiations taped by the informant, Al-Qaeda representatives offered to protect – at a cost of about $4,200 per kilogram – a large amount of cocaine to be smuggled by truck through the Sahara Desert from western to northern Africa and then on to Spain. According to the criminal complaint filed with the court, the terrorists “confirmed that the protection would come from Al-Qaeda and the people that would protect the load would be very well armed.”

The three suspects – Oumar Issa, Harouna Toure and Idriss Abelrahman — all in their 30s and originally from Mali, were arrested by local police in Ghana last week and then turned over to U.S. authorities. They were arraigned Friday afternoon in a U.S. federal court on charges of narco-terrorism conspiracy and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, after arriving in the country earlier in the day.

All three suspects netted in the sting required French-speaking interpreters, and were members of an Algeria-based group in the Islamic Magreb that joined the international terror network in 2006. The group, an Al-Qaeda North African offshoot known as AQIM (“Al-Qaeda of Islamic Magreb”), originates with militants who fought the Algerian government. Its members have since spread beyond the country, acting as terrorist mercenaries throughout northwestern Africa. The group is known for kidnappings, human trafficking and other crimes throughout the region, including drug smuggling.

Mini-Map of Africa-Israel Relations
Located at the western end of the Mediterranean Sea, which forms its northern coast, Algeria is bounded on its western border by Morocco, and on its eastern border by Tunisia to the north and Libya further south, whose eastern neighbor is Egypt. Bedouin tribes in the Sinai Peninsula have been involved in cooperating with Palestinian Authority terrorists in smuggling drugs and weapons into Gaza through tunnels dug under the Egyptian border.

U.S. forces installed monitoring equipment to detect smuggler activity in the tunnels in an effort to reduce the ability of terrorists to maintain the flow of ordnance into the region, but it has had little effect. Just last week PA terrorists launched rocket attacks on southern Israel on two separate days; it was later discovered that the terrorists had used a new type of Russian-made rocket never before seen in the region. The special monitoring technology that was supposed to prevent the "import" of additional weapons into Gaza had been installed months after it was promised as a condition of the agreement for Israel to withdraw from the region following the IDF’s counterterrorist Operation Cast Lead last winter.

Sudan, currently wracked by internal violence that has resulted in the mass emigration of thousands of refugees to Israel and other lands, borders Egypt to the south. Ethiopia borders Sudan to the east. Algeria’s southern border is bounded by Mauritania, Mali and Niger. Ghana, where the three suspects were arrested, is located south of Mali and on the western borders of Niger, and to its south, Nigeria.

At present, Israel has no diplomatic relations with Libya, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Sudan or Tunisia. Sudanese refugees, many of whom are Muslim, have continued to try and infiltrate into Israel through the Egyptian border. Thousands have succeeded, creating a demographic dilemma for the Jewish State.

Citizens of Egypt, Ethiopia, Mauritania and Nigeria do not require a tourist visa to visit Israel, according to Israel’s Ministry of Tourism.

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