Thursday, October 17, 2013

No comment!

Two topics that I refuse to write about are the death of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef at 93 and the interview of Minister of Finance Yair Lapid with Charlie Rose, that made the headlines because of some controversial comments he made publicly. Writing about them gives them more importance than they deserve.

Rabbi Yosef, a former Sephardic Chief Rabbi, was undoubtedly an outstanding Torah scholar, who had a great following. His funeral last week in Jerusalem was one of the largest ever gatherings in Israeli history, some 850,000 people attended. But, it was as a political leader that he really made his mark, he was credited with founding the political party Shas, and was considered its spiritual leader until his death. He brought together the three concepts of religious observance, Sephardic ethnicity and political power. Shas is one of the largest parties in the Knesset, but fortunately it is currently in the opposition. It has been shadowed by claims of corruption and its first leader Aryeh Deri did a prison sentence for taking public funds and distributing them to his own party's schools. Their rationale for this kind of corruption is that the Sephardim have been exploited by the Ashkenazi establishment for years and this is pay back. Now that the Rabbi has gone, it is likely tha the three princelings who have inherited his political mantle will viciously fight it out for predominance and hopefully Shas will fade into the woodwork.

Several commentators complaining about Yair Lapid's comment to Charlie Rose in an interview that Jews are safer in New York than in Israel. This loose statement is not borne out by the murder statistics, there are far more people/Jews killed in NY by random murder than Jews killed in Israel by terrorism. But, aside from the facts of the matter there is the question of why a supposed Zionist and Minister in the Israeli Giovernment would make such a statement. However, I find his other comment about the Palestiniansnot needing to recognize Israel as the Jewish State even more worrying. Why? Because this was a statement made by PM Netanyahu only days before in his speech at Bar-Ilan University. In the context of the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, this is one of Netanyahu's stated requirements. Such a comment by Lapid, that he does not find this requirement necessary, not only undermines his own PM, but also undermines Israel's position at the bargaining table. One would think that a Finance Minister in a Government would show more loyalty and common sense and just keep his mouth shut on such delicate matters. One further strike against Lapid (this paragraph was published as a letter to the editor of the J'sam Post, 14/10/13).

Well, I commented on these matters, even though I don't think they are worthy of any further consideration or comment. This also applies to the 18th anniversary of the assassination of PM Yitzhak Rabin, it's time to say "so long chaver."


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