Rav Shmuel Eliyahu, Chief Rabbi of Safed (Tzfat), issued a psak today that people should not buy lulavs for the upcoming holiday that were grown in Gaza. Rav Eliyahu said that this would be a "mitzva haba ba'aveira", and such a person would be giving his money to the wicked people of Gaza.
Rather, one should buy from the farmers of southern Israel and we must assist them by giving them our business and not give our business to the farmers of Gaza or their brethren who burn down the fields of the Jewish farmers in the south.
Rav Eliyahu added that it is prohibited to buy anything from them - even shoelaces. One cannot buy things from people who shoot rockets at Sderot, Ashqelon or Beer Sheva. One cannot buy things from the people who dig tunnels in order to abduct soldiers or attack kindergartens.
Rav Eliyahu called on other rabbonim to refuse to give kashrut certification on lulavs from Gaza. source: Haredim10
I have no problem with this. The one question I have is a similar one to the one asked during shmitta - are our vegetables coming from Gaza, making this moot, or are we careful to ensure that we are not buying our cucumbers either from the terrorists? I am not asking rhetorically - I really don't know the answer as to where our cucumbers and other vegetables come from, but if we only make a big deal out of the big things but are not consistent with the daily little things, the whole thing is pointless.
The fighting between the different factions in UTJ (and add Shas to the picture) over municipal elections in various cities has gone from a minor, and even amusing distraction that I assumed would all be worked out when everyone finishes calling each other's bluffs and as we get pretty close to elections everything will just fall into place. As it usually works out with them.
And it still might. But as of right now it looks to have gotten much worse than in previous years and each faction is holding their ground, and even taking additional steps to ramp up the conflict even further to the point of no return. They all still might be bluffing and work things out at the last minute, but the way it looks now that would be much more surprising.
It is kind of sad to see this deterioration in the relations between them. It is really based on nothing significant. The parties all believe in almost exactly the same ideologies and have almost the same positions on almost all the issues. The difference between them is minimal, if at all. In one party the representatives came 70 years ago from Poland, and in the other they came 70 years ago from Morocco and in the third from Lithuania. Besides for that, they want to increase the level of kedusha, the level of public shabbos observance, to keep the yeshiva boys who want to learn out of a forced draft to the army, to keep money flowing to the frum school systems and yeshivas, and the like. The differences between the factions are extremely minimal. Yet they can't get along.
The main differences that keep them from getting along are if the guy with Polish descent should be the mayor in this or that city or if the guy with Lithuanian descent should be the mayor or the sefardi guy should be the mayor.
It is like watching a slow burn. And yes, it is sad. It is sad that the frum leadership can't get along and it is only because of this issue - Polish or Lithuanian or Russian or Moroccan descent and not because of the need to promote different ideals or policies. As if the mayor is hassidic or litvish or sefardi makes such a major difference in anything. It is sad the issues are not what is considered important but the personalities are, and that that is what is used to divide.
After denials for many months, the plan of Deri and Lieberman to try to take control of Jerusalem has been exposed by running Moshe Leon again as a candidate - a candidate who receives single digits in all the polls of the residents.
-- Minister Zeev Elkin, candidate for mayor of Jerusalem, after Rav Shalom Cohen, spiritual leader of Shas, came to a deal to support Leon for mayor after initially expressing support for Yossi Deutsch.
Doesn't every candidate, and the party running and supporting that candidate, in every city with mayoral elections, plan to "take control of" the respective city? I am not sure what is different, or bad, by Deri and Lieberman having a plan to "take control of Jerusalem" by running a candidate they prefer..
Phineas T Barnum supposedly said there is no such thing as bad publicity.
The veracity of that expression is debatable, but both the Rabbanut and the Ethiopian community are getting a lot of publicity nowadays, somewhat leaning to the side of bad, and perhaps soon they'll each be able to offer an opinion on Barnum's claim.
The latest is a report that the rabbi of Kiryat Gat, Rav Moshe Havlin, banned a couple of female Ethiopian employees from cooking for a catering company in Kiryat Gat until their Jewish status can be clarified and confirmed.
"כל הגויים האלה": רב אסר על בנות ממוצא אתיופי לבשל בקייטרינג - YouTube
These Ethiopian employees are not new and have worked there for years, but only now are they being banned from cooking due to their Jewishness being unconfirmed at this point.
Rav Havlin's lawyer clarifies that Rav Havlin did not ban Ethiopian employees from cooking, but banned all employees whose Jewish status has not been confirmed and is questionable.
In the previous case, with the Barkan winery, it was somewhat understandable, even if upsetting. That was the Eida Hachareidis and they do not follow the psak of the Rabbanut or accept Rabbanut rulings and decisions, just as they do not accept anything else from the State of Israel. The Rabbanut decided the Ethiopians are Jewish, or need to undergo conversions lchumra - very nice, but that does not obligate the Eida (in their eyes).
In this case it is more surprising and even shocking because this is the Rabbanut itself making problems and raising questions against its own decisions. You want to check the status of these people out, go check them out - it should not take long. They have been cooking for 3 years, how long will it take to find their paperwork and computer files in your own Rabbanut offices and confirm their statuses one way or another? Why do they always seem to shoot first and think later, as Justice Sonia Sotomayer put it?
If there is a halachic problem it surely needs to be dealt with. There is surely a sensitive way to deal with it without destroying people's lives. If there is no halachic problem, people who create halachic problems that do not exist should be punished for it. There are lives and people at the other end of these problems.
History has been made with the first "country club" being built and opened in the Bedouin city of Rahat in southern Israel. "Country Club" in Israel usually means swimming pool and perhaps a gym. The Rahat Country Club definitely has a pool, built to the tune of 32 million shekels and form the video below, it looks beautiful and I am sure the residents will enjoy it.
לכם חם? לראשונה תיפתח בריכה ברהט - YouTube
Itamar Ben Gvir, a lawyer and right-wing activist, has petitioned the Attorney General with a threat to go to the Supreme Court. After the Supreme Court required the town of Kiryat Arba to open its municipal pool to reasonable hours of mixed swimming, despite the vast majority of the residents opposing it and only wanting separate swimming options, Ben Gvir says the same rule should be applied in Rahat and the pool should be required to be open for mixed swimming, despite the fact that the local residents are opposed.
The Attorney General has accepted the argument and informed the city of Rahat that based on the Supreme Court decision in Kiryat Arba, the local government is not allowed to separate between men and women, even at the behest of the residents. Being the first pool built in the Bedouin sector, this takes on extra urgency as it would be precedent setting. source: Kan
Are we now going to see suits and counter-suits all over the country forcing pools with separate swimming to change to mixed swimming due to discrimination? Can the courts not find a way to allow residents to swim gender-separate should they consider this important? The courts recently allowed an academic leadership course in the Haredi community to continue on as planned as gender separate. I don't know what case can be used as a precedent for what, but if it can be allowed in that course, and if the recent Chabad event in Tel Aviv was allowed by the courts to function with a mechitza, there should be some way to allow separate swimming as well. If not, where does this end? Will the courts ban every religious behavior in public because it discriminates against something in some way?