Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Gafni and Ben Gvir

UTJ member of the Keneset, Moshe Gafni (TOI)
Disgusting. It is the height of Chutzpah for Charedi MK, Moshe Gafni to call Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett a murderer because of Israel’s spike in COVID infections. Especially considering how his own community tried to circumvent if not outright violate all the early COVID mitigation measures implemented by the Israeli government. Which they did in order to minimize deaths from COVID. If anyone is a ‘murderer’ because of COVID, it’s people like him that considered learning in a crowded Yeshiva Beis HaMedrash to be more important than life itself. Early on, his community had a much higher infection rate than the rest of the country.

I have no respect for someone that uses a tragedy like COVID to political advantage. The current spike in COVID cases is not Bennett’s fault - anymore that it is Biden’s fault that COVID is spiking here. The fault (at least here) lies in the low vaccination rate. Health experts are rightly calling it a surge of the unvaccinated. They are the ones getting sick now. Over 90% of COVID hospitalizations are by the unvaccinated. The fault lies with them. They are the ones getting seriously sick and dying - and they are the ones spreading the highly contagious and now dominant Delta variant! 

I don’t know what the situation in Israel is in this respect. But it is no coincidence that serious cases of COVID are rising all over the world right now. I doubt Bennett did anything to have caused the spike in Israel. At most, he is a victim of circumstances. 

But that did not stop Gafni from blaming him and implying that if the previous government (of which the Charedi parties were part) was still in place, this would not be happening since under their watch the infection rate was extremely low.  Well they were low in the US at about that time too. Is the spike here Biden’s fault? Not in my book. 

How low it is to stoop to such tactics –even for a politician. To try and mislead the public about such a serious matter because he doesn’t like what the current government is doing to his constituents is contemptible. 

That is the ONLY reason Gafni is doing this. He wants to discredit Bennett and destroy the coalition. No matter how one feels about the current government and their handling of Charedi issues blaming its leader for something that is clearly not his fault is evil. Especially when that ‘blame’ includes killing people. 

Gafni was immediately called out for that comment:

Deputy Knesset Speaker MK Ahmad Tibi (Joint List) asked Gafni to retract the remark, which he did, saying instead that Bennett “is guilty of those who are dying now of the coronavirus.” 

That is not much of a retraction. He basically stuck with that accusation without using the word ‘murderer’.  

Why is he doing this? As always if you want to find out why anyone does anything these days, follow the money. The Charedi world is about to lose tons of funding – primarily for child day care - because of the way that law is being restructured. If I understand correctly, the only way anyone in Israel can retain the current level of funding is if both parents work – or are at least being trained to work. Torah study alone will no longer be considered a valid reason for daycare. 

I don’t blame Gafni for being upset about that. His consituency is getting hurt. But I do blame him for his tactics in trying to get it restored.  The following comment from Gafni is also upsetting: 

Bennett has “no help from above,” an apparent jab at Bennett’s Modern Orthodox religious beliefs. 

Gafni ought to look in the mirror. If his constituency is losing money maybe – just maybe - he too is getting ‘no help from above' since his party is no longer in a position of power.

While I’m at it, there is this little tidbit: 

Tibi ordered far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir ejected from the Knesset plenum because he called the deputy speaker “a terrorist” and refused to retract the accusation. 

It’s people like Ben Gvir that lend credence to accusations of Apartheid. Deputy SpeakerTibi (an Israeli Arab) is a duly elected member of the Keneset and his party is part of the ruling coalition. Ben Gvir is an ideological follower of Rabbi Meir Kahane who believed that if Israeli Arabs did not agree to live in Israel as second class citizens, they should be forcibly shipped out on trucks if they did not leave voluntarily. 

Gathering a class of people, putting them all on trucks, and shipping them out of the country. Sound familiar?

Because of that attitude -which they considered racist - the Keneset barred Rabbi Kahane’s party ‘Kach’ from serving. They would be wise to do the same thing with Ben Gvir’s party. Because he may be end up being responsible for terrorist murders because of that attitude.