"And the donkey saw the angel of G-d" (from this week's
Torah portion, Balak, Numbers 28:25)
Sometimes even a donkey clearly sees what smart people can't. It is no
surprise. Human intelligence is always accompanied by human fault. Moreover,
true wisdom is not possible without humility, currently known as
Even donkeys understood where the Oslo Accords would lead. The masses
protested and warned of the consequences. But the eyes of the "wise" men
were blinded and they were unable to see the drawn sword of the angel of
reality who was standing in their path.
The entire country is bickering over the question of the draft for the
ultra-Orthodox and Arabs. Even a donkey can see that there is no reason for
compulsory induction of either of these groups. In other words, we are about
to bring down our government over a problem that doesn't exist and a demand
that behind which nobody really stands.
But that is how it goes when human drives overshadow wisdom. Even a donkey
will see what you no longer can perceive.
All four of the prime ministers elected from the ranks of the
Right in Israel were blessed with important talents and characteristics. But
Yitzchak Shamir was the most talented of all. He was the only one of the
four who did not surrender a grain of the Land of Israel to foreigners.
Shamir also expressed his disappointment with the fact that the Religious
Zionists were not taking responsibility to lead the nation.
Shamir was not free of mistakes – even strategic mistakes. His decision to
leave the response to Sadaam's scuds to the nations of the world was his
most serious error. (See Moshe Feiglin's article, "Learning
the Lessons of Shamir's Mistakes )
But in these days of surrender to pressure from within and without; days in
which our government capitulates to every threat and passing temptation, we
will all miss the little man who was as strong as the emery (shamir)
The State of
Israel is bickering over nothing. It is like a fight between a seller who
has nothing to sell and a buyer who has no intention of buying. They shout
at each other, call the police, go to court when all they really want is
attention for reasons of their own. One thing, however, is for sure: No deal
will be struck between the two.
The Left does not want the Ultra-Orthodox in the army. The legions of
Religious Zionists make it feel pressured enough, as it is. The sane
majority of Israelis does not want Arabs in the army, either. Anybody with a
tad of intelligence can understand that when the Arabs' quintessential
representative, MK Ahmad Tibi, opposes the construction of a Space Center in
the Arab town of Taibeh because it is to be named after the late Israeli
astronaut, Ilan Rimon z"l, who was also a combat pilot, the basic loyalty of
Israel's Arabs is not to the State, but to their people - who aim to destroy
So the Right doesn't really want this compulsory draft and the Left doesn't,
either. More ridiculous is the fact that not only is the IDF not interested
in this draft, but it really doesn't need it, either. Drafting the
Ultra-Orthodox en-masse will require the IDF to establish new frameworks and
to adopt standards in which it is not interested. As far as not needing it,
here are some statistics:
In 2006 the IDF presented the Ben Basat Commission established to
investigate reduction of active service with the following numbers:
Approximately 23% of men of draft age are not inducted into the army from
18% of those drafted drop out of the army during their service.
For all practical purposes, the compulsory induction law applies to only 59%
of Israel's young men. According to the Shefer Commission report, there are
ten different types of arrangements with the army that shorten the soldiers'
term of service. So of the 59% who enter the army, most do not serve the
full 36 months of compulsory service. In other words, in total contrast to
the ethos of the "People's Army", less than one third of the men in every
induction cycle truly bear the full burden of army service. This is without
taking into account the fact that only a minority of those men are actual
The gap between the myth of the People's Army and reality is even more
pronounced in the reserves. In the year 2000, approximately 32,000 soldiers
served the full period of reserve duty (26 days). This is only 4%(!) of all
the men who could theoretically be serving in the army.
It is important to note that the IDF's elite units (Golani infantry, air
force and navy) boast an over-abundance of volunteers to their ranks. In
other words, our youth is highly motivated to serve in combat units.
The Compulsory Induction Law requires the IDF to draft everyone; even those
it does not need and does not want.
The result is problematic in many ways:
1. Idleness: Too many soldiers in the army have nothing to do. This is a
well-known fact and can be observed on most army bases.
2. Economy: Too many people out of the work force, burdening the economy.
3. Security: Naturally, the IDF relies on cheap labor instead of
professionalism and technology. This damages our security situation. The
disparity between the Air Force, which is essentially a professional
volunteer force – and the rest of the army clearly highlights this problem.
4. Most important of all – Liberty: Compulsory induction contradicts the
fundamental Jewish value of liberty.
5. Internecine Hatred: Compulsory induction has always been a trigger for
internecine hatred, pitting those who serve against those who do not.
The real solution for this problem is to make
the IDF a professional volunteer army. Not all at once and not in a rush. We
need a long-term plan in which every stage is examined before moving on to
the next stage. The ultimate goal of this plan is to nullify compulsory
In this plan, each and every Jew would be inducted into the army and would
do basic training of a number of days at least and 30 days at most. The
training will be tailored to the needs of the various sectors: There will be
completely separate bases for women, the training will take place during
vacation from the yeshivahs and universities, and the like.
Those who are not interested in volunteering will finish their service at
this point. They can and will be drafted in emergency situations for guard
duty, civil defense and if necessary, for more advanced training.
A soldier who chooses to volunteer in the IDF, and whom the IDF chooses to
accept (!) will receive a good salary, truly professional training that
includes an academic degree and most important of all – the admiration of
Israeli society (as opposed to the situation in the US).
I have no doubt that the supply will outstrip demand and that many of the
volunteers will receive a negative answer. The IDF will be able to choose
who it really wants and to invest all its resources in those who are
actually improving our security instead of vast amounts of soldiers who are
not really necessary.
Only one problem will remain: What will we fight about next?
The Prime Minister survived the Ulpana crisis with the generous
help of the settlers. It is still not clear how the draft crisis will be
resolved, but one way or another, we have entered a new elections phase. The
entire political system is working on this assumption.
Manhigut Yehudit is not part of this scene. Since we entered politics, we
have set clear goals for ourselves. For years, we have been tirelessly
working toward these goals without getting off track. When the political
system works from within itself, for itself and without any purpose above
and beyond itself – the chaos that we are now witnessing is born. We are not
great politicians: But it has become clear that the presence of a goal and
perseverance in reaching it are a first class political asset.
Manhigut Yehudit's political power is growing all the time. Moshe Feiglin is
growing stronger and it is clear that when the time comes for elections,
Moshe will be there, a distinctly unique factor in the leadership arena.
As in every election season, people become confused and fall once again into
the honey trap of enchanting sectoral candidates. It is a seasonal
phenomenon. Just as the sun shines, so new rightist parties are born before
every election. It is always a great temptation to shorten the road. It is
tempting to remain in the comfortable sectoral niche and to think that you
are influencing something; to think that the Religious Zionist
under-representation is due to certain personalities and is not essential.
It is tempting to think that if we would only unite, if we would only find
the most talented leader, we will return to the days of glory of yesteryear.
In short, it is tempting to think that we can declare our affinity to the
Return to Zion but to evade taking responsibility to lead it.
"Feiglin always fails," says National Union MK Aryeh Eldad. Eldad and his
friends never fail – simply because they are not in the arena where the
competition is taking place. They haven't failed because from where they
are, they cannot fail. But they cannot succeed, either.
We are steadily progressing toward leadership of the national camp and of
the nation. This is a revolution that frightens many Religious Zionists, who
will do everything they can to thwart it. In the previous elections, we
proved that it is possible to approach the Nation of Israel with the truth
as we see it, to present it through a candidate with a kippah on his
head and to merit tremendous backing. There are no magic solutions; not for
the settlements and not for the other basic problems from which Israel
suffers. The only real solution is the establishment of a clear goal coupled
with new, faith-based leadership for our country. The fact that we have
established this goal and are progressing step by step has greatly
influenced the political arena. It helps the settlements more than any other
attempted solutions. But we must not be blind to reality: As long as we have
not reached the leadership position, we can do no more than influence on the
tactical plane. Until then, we will not be able to stop the strategic
Two announcements by Manhigut Yehudit
General Director, Shai Malkah:
1. The Likud is gearing up for internal Branch Council elections. If you are
a member of a Likud Branch Council (this is not to be confused with
general Likud membership!) please click here
to ensure that your name appears on the Branch Council roster so that you
can vote. The last day to add your name is tomorrow, Friday, 16 Tamuz/ July
6 by 12:00 pm. The last day to register for candidacy for positions in the
Branch Council is Wednesday, 21 Tamuz / July 11 at 5 pm. If your name does
not appear or you have further questions, please contact
2. Manhigut Yehudit is looking for an office manager for its new Jerusalem
Experience in accounting
Good interpersonal skills
Able to work well under pressure
English language skills an advantage
US Director, Rob Muchnick, creates his own weekly 2-page full-color pdf newsletter, called "Rob's Shul Newsletter"
(which really stands out on the table of handouts in your shul).
In it are included most or all of the articles in the Weekly Update, plus
additional commentary, pictures, quotes and articles by Rob - with his own
down-to-earth, sharp and sometimes irreverent style.
You can help get the ManhigutYehudit message out to
the world! Print out the update in the version of your choice and distribute
it in your synagogue, community center, workplace or neighborhood. Be part of
the Jewish leadership revolution and help to make Israel the Jewish state we've always
dreamed of. The links to both versions are always at the top of this update
No matter where you are,
you can be part of ManhigutYehudit.
Together we can
channel our idealistic energy
into revolutionizing Israeli society. What can I do?
are already a Likud member and you would like to
check your membership status, just email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include
your name, Israeli ID No., and a phone number where it is easiest to reach
you. Or give us a call at our "English
Speakers" office: 02-996-1123 (Israel), or 516-620-2475 (USA).
If you are not Israeli citizen, you can become
International Member. Joining ManhigutYehudit International is much more than just a donation.
Now you're part of the team! If you are interested in arranging a
lecture or meeting in your community with Moshe Feiglin
or ShmuelSackett, either
in Israel or in the USA, please contact DovidShirel at email@example.com,
or call: 02-996-1123 (Israel) or 516-620-2475 (USA).
The Jewish Leadership Movement
Tel: 02-996-1123 (Israel); 516-620-2475 (USA)
Our Aim: To perfect the world in the Kingdom of the