Jews at war

Joseph Aaron

Well, it’s clear now that the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians is as dead as that thing on top of Trump’s head.

Among the many loads of lying baloney we were sold by that ultimate con man, our orange-faced president, is that he was going to make the “deal of the century” and bring peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

He was going to do that by putting his son in law, Crown Prince Jared Kushner, in charge of it. Jared, the most brilliant son in law in the history of the world, was going to figure out how to do what experienced statesmen, diplomats, politicians, and experts have all failed to do. Only Jared, who possesses the wisdom to be born into a wealthy real estate family and marry into a wealthy real estate family, has the secret to bring the two sides together, to bring peace to the holy land.

Only Jared could pull off the “deal of the century.” Problem is we didn’t understand it would be the next century. It’s been more than two years and the wizard hasn’t even been able to tell us what his plan is. Guess he’s been too busy colluding with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia about how to successfully cover up the murder and dismemberment of a journalist. Indeed, according to a new book, one of Jared’s suggestions to MBS was that he immediately murder all those who murdered the journalist. You know, to keep them from telling the truth. That evidently is how Jared rolls.

I must admit that while I have long advocated that all Jews respect and love all other Jews, I have had to make a Jared exception. I hate the guy. And what sealed it was Trump’s trip to Britain to celebrate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Did you see Jared and Ivanka and the smug, arrogant, entitled look on their faces? Jews are taught to be humble, modest. These two Jews are the exact opposite, even though they have so much to be modest about, having achieved exactly nothing in their privileged lives.

Anyway, I believe the peace process is now totally dead based on an interview Jared just gave. It had so many nauseating, frightening moments but this one stood out. When Jared was asked how he could expect to be trusted by the Palestinians as a negotiator considering everything he’s done has been to demean them, he said this: “I’m not here to be trusted” by the Palestinians. Showing how much he understands what is absolutely vital for a mediator in a dispute.

Showing his keen understanding of what Palestinian aspirations are, he said they actually don’t want their own state, that’s only what their leaders, who he referred to as ‘technocrats,’ want. What the people really want, he said, is “the opportunity to live a better life. They want the opportunity to pay their mortgage.”

Yep, that’s what Palestinians want — to pay their mortgage.

So as long as Jared is in charge of making peace, it’s clear there ain’t gonna be no peace. While that saddens me as much as it tickles the delusional right wingers who just love Jared’s ineptness, what really frightens me is that the issue we’re going to be dealing with is making peace between Jews and Jews in Israel.

For we are about to enter into a Jewish religious civil war.

I’m not kidding and I’m not exaggerating. While there has been all kinds of analysis as to what caused Israel to hold an election right after holding an election, something that has never before happened in Israel’s history, something that I never thought could happen under the wily political leadership of Bibi, who always seems to manage to cobble a coalition together so he can continue to be prime minister for life, the cold hard truth is that what caused a total breakdown of Israel’s political system resulting in one election after another is that a religious war is about to break out between the Jews.

When the state began in 1948, Ben-Gurion came to an agreement with the leading rabbi in Israel that 400 yeshiva students a year would be exempt from military service. While every Israeli, male and female, has to go to the army when they turn 18, Ben-Gurion recognized the value of having the very best yeshiva students devote themselves full time to learning Torah.

But what began as a wise arrangement has turned into a scam, where part of the population doesn’t serve the country like all the rest of the population. Today more than 50,000 yeshiva students are exempt from military service. Lots of Israelis, who all send their kids to the army, are not happy about that.

But it’s been allowed to go on because Bibi is totally dependent on the religious parties to form his coalitions. So he always gives in to their demands to have virtually all yeshiva students exempt from military service.

But last year, Israel’s Supreme Court said that needed to stop and a law needed to be passed that would require most yeshiva students to do some kind of national service when they turn 18.

Enter Avigdor Lieberman, head of a small party which began as one that appealed to Russian Jews in Israel. Thing is that increasingly Russian Jews, having been in Israel for a while now, identify less as Russian and more as Israeli and so see no need to vote for Lieberman’s party.

And so Lieberman needed a new reason for being. The cause he chose was yeshiva students doing their duty. And so while the religious parties were ready to join Bibi and form a new government in which he promised them he’d continue the yeshiva student exemption in exchange for them voting for a new law saying a sitting prime minister can’t be indicted, which would save Bibi from being indicted in a couple of months, Lieberman, who Bibi also needed to make his coalition work, said no, he would only join if Bibi promised to support a law ending the draft exemption for most yeshiva students.

Obviously, Bibi couldn’t please both Lieberman and the religious parties and so we have an election after an election. The next election isn’t until September and between now and then you can bet that the long simmering tensions between religious Israelis, who make up ten percent of the population, and secular Israelis, who make up 90 percent of the population, are going to come out into the open as never before.

It’s begun already, Lieberman saying he is happy to be “part of a right-wing government, but we will not be part of a halachic (Jewish law) government.”

Meanwhile, we learned that as part of his efforts to entice the religious parties to join his coalition, Bibi agreed to their demand to allow for gender segregation in public spaces. A leaked draft of the Likud’s agreement with the Yahadut HaTorah party stated that “within 90 days the government will amend the law in such a way that it will be permissible to provide public services, public study sessions and public events in which men and women are separated. This separation will not constitute discrimination according to the law.” The draft agreement also barred individuals from filing a civil suit against municipal organizers of such events on the grounds of gender discrimination.

You read right. Israel, the country for all Jews, would, if Bibi had had his way, have allowed gender segregation in public spaces. Think of how that would have gone over with the 90 percent of the Israeli population that is secular.

As one of the heads of the centrist Blue and White party put it, “The fact that Bibi surrendered to the demands of United Torah Judaism to introduce a law on segregating men and women in public spaces is nothing short of madness. The man who has been speaking out against Iran for 20 years now wants to import it.”

Meanwhile, Bibi, who just fired his justice minister and is looking for a new one, had a member of a union of right wing parties that Bibi himself put together, say he wants the job so he can “restore the Torah justice system” in Israel. He added that Israel needs to “return to the way it conducted itself in the days of King David.”

Yes, make Israel great again by returning to the days of King David. Think of how that will go over with the 90 percent of the population that is secular.

And as the religious parties advocate a Torah justice system and gender separation in public spaces to make Israel the country 10 percent of the population wants, a new survey showed that a majority of Israelis want it to be easier for people to convert to Judaism.

Respondents were asked about whether they want conversions to be performed as leniently as possible according to Jewish law. Fifty-two percent of Jewish Israelis want that to happen. Among secular Jews, 68 percent want conversions to be easier; that number is only two percent among the ultra-Orthodox.

By the way, I’m not giving my view of any of the above. I actually think both sides are right and both are wrong. It is wrong to say all yeshiva students should do national service. I believe some reasonable number should be exempt because it is vital that there are some devoting full time to Torah study. And it is wrong to say no yeshiva students should do national service. They need to take responsibility as do all other young Israelis. It is so sad that most Jews are either/or, not recognizing that Torah Jews need the Jews who serve in the army and that Jews who serve in the army need some Jews to learn Torah.

My point of pointing out the shenanigans going on in Israel right now is to show that the stage is being set for some very ugly words and deeds, some very nasty, destructive, hateful conflict between Jews and Jews.

I’ve given up on achieving peace between Israelis and Palestinians. I truly hope I don’t have to give up on having peace between Israelis and Israelis.

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