Edit: It is clear that Lapid reads Jewlicious and changed his position accordingly:

Shinui leaders Yosef Lapid and Avraham Poraz told Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Saturday night that they would back the 2005 state budget in the Knesset this week, assuring that it will pass and that the government will not fall.

At a three-hour meeting Saturday at Sharon’s Sycamore Ranch, Lapid and Poraz agreed to back the budget in exchange for a budget transfer of NIS 700 million[ed. did we mention prostitution and blackmail?]. The money is slated to go to students, recently released conscripts and reserves soldiers, cultural institutions and environmental causes.

After the meeting, Lapid said that he had decided to support the budget after reading a blog called Jewlicious and realizing that he had to vote in favor in order to save the disengagement plan.

Here’s a terrific analysis of what’s going on right now with Sharon deftly maneuvering himself into a position where the referendum idea is probably going to be dropped while the budget passes.

Okay now back to the original post:

Who would have thought that the greatest friends to the anti-disengagement movement would be the secularist party Shinui. And you would think that if they were willing to bring down the disengagement by voting against the state budget – which, if it fails, would force the government to collapse and bring about new elections – that they’d have some deep principled reasons for doing so.


But now is not the time for conditions and coalition achievements. The principal achievement is the disengagement itself. The vote on the budget, under the already shaky political conditions in which the prime minister finds himself, is a vote on the evacuation of the Gaza Strip in the summer. The window of opportunity is a narrow one.

At this point in time, therefore, for the Shinui voters, the evacuation is far more important than the secular positions the party represents, which can be fought for in the future. The desire to seek another achievement to boast of at the last minute is testimony to a leadership that doesn’t distinguish between the wheat and the chaff and lacks a true agenda.

If it votes against the budget, Shinui will go down as having endangered the evacuation, as a party without which and contrary to its vote the disengagement took place – if the budget does actually get through. When election day comes around, one will have to remember Shinui’s contribution to the State of Israel at a critical juncture in its history. It’s safe to assume that Lapid’s explanations regarding his pure motives will no longer interest anyone in the future.

I guess if your only true agenda is some ambiguous anti-Orthodox platform, you really don’t have a broad enough ideology as a party to know how to play a role in government regarding any other issues.

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  • TM! You have to stop that. Sex trade workers have it hard enough. Why blacken their reputations by associating them with sleazeballs like Lapid and Shinui?

  • T_M wrote: Hey, at least those sleazeballs served in the army…as do their supporters.

    As if serving in the army suddenly confers upon you a higher civil status! You know, this guy shuki who sells heroin near kikar tzion? He served and continues to serve in the army too. Those dudes arrested for selling guns to Palestinians? They served in the army too. Right now close to 30% of secular, non-haredi Israelis are exempted from Army service – shall we disenfranchise them? I wonder what political parties they support! I know it aint UTJ …

  • Um, yeah, serving in the army does confer upon one a higher civil status. Sorry.

    Oh, and can you provide the source about the 30% secular, non-Haredi Israelis who are exempted? I don’t dispute the stat but would like to understand better who these 30% are. Thanks.

  • T_M,
    I posted them already twice, probably on jewschool and now that I think about it, just to shut harry up and his ‘seculars contribute more’ attitude.
    But the stats were actually 40% (and increasing) of Israeli Jewish men don’t do the army of which only 9% is ‘torahto emunato’.

    I can’t believe you made me look for this:

    Scroll down to “Mati Golan…”

  • Josh,

    The reasons given are:

    ??????: “????? ???????” (9 ??????), ????? ???????, ????? ????? ??????? ?????

    So for religious, medical, criminal or Arab.

    The Arab population of Israel stands at about 19-20%? Then add another 9% from the Orthodox and you have almost 30% of your 40%.


  • Whacky math! The fact remains that now, the number of secular Israelis not serving in the army is higher than haredim. Furthermore, serving in the army DOES NOT confer upon anyone a higher civil status. All citizens are equal. You may wish to look up the definition of civil in dictionary.com (for which I have provided you with a direct link). The IDF veteran’s vote is just as equal as Haredi vote which is just as equal as the Arab Israeli vote.

  • The number of secular Jewish Israelis who don’t serve by choice is not higher than that of haredim, it is much lower. Don’t forget that many really can’t serve because of medical conditions or former criminal activity. However, even of those who don’t serve by choice, in proportion to the secular population, the segment that doesn’t serve is MUCH smaller than the segment of the haredi population which does not serve.

    As for civil status, forgive me but I didn’t take status to mean legal standing. In the regard, they are equal.

    I took status to mean “standing in society,” and just to doublecheck, the dictionary just informed me that status means “high standing; prestige.” A person who serves in the Israeli military typically has higher civil status than one who does not. Sure, there are exceptions, but it’s not by accident or happenstance that most of the senior politicians, company managers, and large institutional managers in Israel come from the officer ranks of the IDF.

  • Don’t forget that many really can’t serve because of medical conditions

    LOL, so are you saying that medical problems are on the rise in Israel?

    Don’t put your head in the sand now. The army always accepted virtually every single 18 year old human with every medical problem in the Merck encyclopedia. Even people with extreme cases were given deferments but were still allowed to volunteer.

    Now though, the army wants to cover its ass. It would rather let thousands go each draft than take the chance that a few of these people might have real problems and then commit suicide or have their medical problem worsen at the army’s expense. There are plenty more articles out there of Israeli celebrity and high – society teens who got out for ‘medical reasons’, yet are successful able-bodied actors, models, athletes, and tour guides.

    I don’t know which Israelis you hang out with but we are already approaching the situation in the secular sabra population where being in the army (regular and miluim) is detrimental to one’s social status.

    On the other hand, we still see a high motivation of ‘Russian’ kids to serve and excel (I heard one estimate that half the snipers are now ex-Russian), as well as religious kids which are slowly taking over the fighting units way past their ratio in the general population.

    You don’t want to know how many religious kids are serving in Sayeret Matkal. Imagine the questions their rabbis have to deal with – I’m in Damascus on shabbat with no wine for kiddush or do I have to do trumot masserot on vegetables in western Iraq?

    On this case, there’s nothing to argue about, just accept it. If you come on the jewlicious trip, you’ll see for yourself.

  • Josh, I don’t have any dispute with you about the number of religious “kids” who have entered fighting units out there. The transformation of those units began over 20 years ago with ones and twos and progressed from there. I think the Hesder units were also very useful in this regard.

    I also don’t disagree that there are certain social circles, among secular Israelis, where getting out of serving by getting a “se’if” is accepted. But we still have an army that is proportionally more secular than anything else. And the same pride you take in the “religious kids” results from them joining elite units that for generations had been dominated by kibbutzniks who never represented more than 3% of the population.

    The army never accepted everyone, but it’s true that they’re more apt to reject somebody these days for minor reasons. So what? If your point is that religious Jews serve and many serve well, we are in agreement. Many serve in top units and very well. If you look around, you’ll see me saying some nice things about many of the settlers and there’s no question in my mind that part of it has to do with the motivation of these young men. On the other hand, the Haredim serve in very small numbers. Any haredi who serves impresses me greatly, but they are a tiny minority within the haredi community. Certainly, you can’t compare the percentages to the secular community.

    I’m not sure we’re that far apart on this subject.

  • There’s an entire battalion of Haredi soldiers. Said battalion was instituted at the insistence of Haredi Rabbis.

  • Well, the first thing I learned here from the Jaffee Center of Strategic Studies is that my numbers weren’t so wacky.

    Medical 5.3
    Yeshiva study** 9.1
    Unfit 1.8
    Criminal record 1.7
    Living abroad 3.5
    Deceased 0.1
    Total 21.5%

    **Constant growth of 0.6% – 0.7%/year for yeshiva-study deferment

    Arab citizens of Israel, who are not obligated to serve, comprise over 20% of the draft-age population. If we add to this the fact, as shown in Table 1, that about 21% of the Jewish, Druse, and Circassian conscription pool received deferments during the current year, it emerges that, currently, about 42% of the total Israeli citizenry aged 18 are not conscripted into the IDF. Moreover, this number is expected to grow.

  • More than half the deferals, not including death or Arabs are non Yeshivah related.

  • but it’s true that they’re more apt to reject somebody these days for minor reasons. So what?

    My point was not to show how the religious are taking over the army. I was trying to point out that whereas the army used to be a great place for Israeli kids to learn about each other, it is slowly becoming leading to a homogeneous makeup. Someone told me recently that almost half of Jewish kindergarden kids in Israel this year are religious/haredi. I wish the Israeli stats council had a more friendly site to check this out for sure, but there’s no doubt that secular couples don’t want too many kids, and otherwise aren’t too happy with sending their kids to the army anymore.

  • No, ck, take a look at the numbers again. The Jaffee Center’s figures include the 9.1% who “defer” service for religious reasons.

    Josh, if more kids who are religious are serving, how does that make for a homogeneous army? It means more religious kids are mingling with non-religious. I also reject your final remarks. All of our friends who are “secular” (some of them are traditional as well, but not strict, so I have no idea how to classify them) have at least 3 and sometimes 4 children. I know virtually no families that have fewer than 3 children. Maybe that’s not 7 kids, but it means that you are replacing yourself and adding one. As for being pleased about sending them to the army, again I have to differ. I see no indication of that whatsoever. I’ve seen a couple of losers trying to get out of serving, but these were kids who had trouble with their bagrut and never really graduated high school.

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