Apr 12, 2021

Birkat HaIlanot: The Year of the Truck

Last year was maybe the year of the truck.

With all the lockdowns and restrictions on movement due to COVID-19, in an effort to keep people from going out, cities around Israel did things for the residents via truck. We saw simcha trucks going around playing music to keep people entertained and cheered with some holiday spirit. We saw simchas beis hashoeva trucks driving around neighborhoods. We saw bonfire trucks driving around playing Lag B'Omer music. Add others I am forgetting about.

One of the trucks last year was a truck bearing fruit-bearing trees on its flatbed. This truck drove around the city's neighborhoods so that people could say the special bracha on seeing the blossoms of fruit bearing trees during the month of Nissan.


That is now just a memory of this past crazy year.

With Corona pretty much over in Israel (and hopefully soon everywhere else as well), tfoo tfoo tfoo, it seems we no longer need these trucks to help us fulfill our Jewish needs.

Today is the last day of the month of Nissan 5781, making it also the last day, for this year, for saying the bracha on the fruit tree blossoms. if you haven't said it yet but wish to, this is your reminder. No trucks to rely on this year. Go out and find your nearest fruit tree.







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#51: Behind the Bima - Special Guest: Mrs. Ruth Lichtenstein (video)








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Palestinians: Should you cooperate with Israel on Covid-19? (video)







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Efie's bein hazmanim adventures (video)







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60th Anniversary of Opening of Adolf Eichmann Trial (video)







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Apr 11, 2021

Proposed law: Firing Gantz

Back when we went to fourth elections suddenly everyone realized that Benny Gantz still has a chance to be Prime Minister - if no new government would be sworn in before November 17, the rotation agreement which is still in place would automatically go into effect and Gantz would automatically become Prime Minister.

For this to happen it would require no government being formed after the fourth elections, and also after 5th elections which would presumably take place at earliest in August or September.

While Gantz might still be holding out some sort of hope for this to happen (I don't know that he is, but it would definitely be interesting to see happen), Netanyahu is going to do everything possible, probably short of nothing, to make sure it does not happen. You can be sure he will try everything possible to form a government, even just a temporary one and one relying on the Arab parties, just to get a government sworn in to get that other situation behind him. Once that situation is no longer an issue, Netanyahu can continue through these elections while remaining Prime Minister of all the caretaker governments.

His latest move though is to try to get it over with by passing a law that says so..

MK Shlomo Karhi (Likud) has proposed a law that would put an end to the unity government (which is now a unity transitional government)  with Kachol Lavan. If the law should pass and the unity government canceled, Netanyahu would have the ability to fire all Kachol Lavan ministers, including Gantz himself and cancel the rotation agreement.
source: Behadrei

I am not sure what is required for a law to allow Netanyahu to fire the other members of his government, considering the government already collapsed and went to elections, but it seems there is a way for this to work. 

I also have no idea if the Likud has the numbers behind them to accomplish this, but I guess we wait and see. Maybe there are enough other people upset at Gantz to support it even if they do not support Netanyahu.

This is another example where you see that Netanyahu and his people have that killer instinct to win elections at all costs, and his opponents do not. The opponents have had the chance, and once again have the chance now, to pass laws and replace key Netanyahu people in Knesset, but they do not take advantage. They just do not have that killer instinct. Maybe they don't even want to win. 


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Quote of the Day

We are World Champions in dying together, but in figuring out how to live together we have not yet even finished basic training level.

  -- Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv Rav Yisrael Meir Lau




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Headlines Podcast: 4/10/21 – Show 317 – Yom Hashoah - Should we commemorate? (audio)







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Efie Hercky, the new face of Israel's Foreign Ministry (video)







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Barstool Pizza Review - Prime Pizza (Los Angeles, CA) Bonus Bar Mitzvah (video)







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KOSHER IN IRAQ??!! (Erbil Supermarket Vlog) (video)

he's proably been catching a lot of flak for the last few seconds of this...





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Avishai Eshel and Medad Tasa - Achim, acapella (video)








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Apr 8, 2021

Quote of the Day

I am committed to the way, not to Netanyahu - I said I would be a part of a Right Wing government of Netanyahu - a government with the Arabs is not a Right Wing government, it is pikuach nefesh

  -- MK Betzalel Smotritch

so far nobody is blinking, at least publicly




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Proposed Law: no more putting people into groups

It seems that with nobody knowing how long this Knesset will last, they are trying to get as many laws in as quickly as possible that will draw some favor with their constituents. Elections are coming, they have to win back some of the people who didn't vote for them last time. 

Kol Hai News is reporting that MK Yisroel Eichler (UTJ) has proposed a law that would attempt tp prevent incitement against Haredim in the media.

According to Eichler's proposal, the slander law, aka the lashon hara law, would be amended to include banning slander or shaming of a person due to his or her sectoral or social identity.

Just as a person could sue for damages of slander without having to prove damages, a group could sue as well for damages - a group could sue someone for hurting them, even without proving actual damages. So, as the example given is, someone who says "the Haredim spread Corona" could be sued, or if the report states " a Haredi criminal did..." the reporter could be sued.

Eichler says this law would force reporters and media sites and companies to be more careful with what they say and how they report, to not generalize and stereotype Haredim or any other group.

Whenever something like this comes up it makes me wonder how "Haredi" (or any other group) would be defined legally. Meaning, if someone says Haredim spread Corona, could I sue? Can my secular cousin claim he is Haredi and sue? How do they determine who has the right to sue? Do you even need to be Haredi, or claim to be, to sue or can anyone sue?






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Proposed Law: cancel CoronaVirus fines

MK Yitzchak Pindrus (UTJ) has proposed a law that would cancel most of the fines given out for breaking the Corona guidelines of the past year. Pindrus is proposing this saying that the people have experienced a particularly difficult year and should not be turned into criminals at the same time. According to Behadrei, the other MKs to sign on the proposal were all Haredi MKs in addition to MK Shlomo Karhi of the Likud, which is surprising because the Likud controls the ministry that decided on the fines.

Pindrus would have the fines canceled for most issues, but it would not include fines given to people for breaking quarantine or people who regularly flouted the rules and received multiple fines. 

Pindrus explains in his proposal that frequently the laws were changed form moment to moment, at times with no advance warning and without enough publicity to let people know the new rules, with many new rules at all times and different rules in different places making it difficult for people to keep track. Additionally at times there were complaints of how the laws were enforced, selectively and harshly at times, with fines given in a way that left no room for appeal, children, etc.

Further, at times the fine was not given at the time of the infraction but was sent via mail, which didnt always function properly throughout the Corona year. At times people did not receive the fine yet in the mail before even finding out that they missed the pay date and a file had been opened on them with the fine doubled and interest added, etc

The purpose of the fine is to create deterrence and encourage people to follow the rules. Now, after the fact, with Corona in recession and most of the restrictions already removed, there is no reason to continue enforcing the fines that remain unpaid from the past year. As well, most fines were not paid and many are asking to appear in court to challenge their fines. This will put a heavy burden on the courts.

So as not to encourage people to break the laws, and so as not to reward people who broke the laws, the proposal for canceling the fines would only apply to the first fine of any type for a specific person - so if someone was fined 3 times for not wearing a mask outside, he would only get two fines (or maybe 1 as he also proposed certain infractions get the first two canceled). I dont know if this applies to people who made weddings or other large events against the rules, but presumably it does.
source: Behadrei

I predicted a long time ago that they would try to get the fines officially canceled, so this is not surprising.

He says he doesnt want to "reward the sinner", but that is precisely what he is doing. Some people did not try to break the rules and were surely fined for minor things, mistakes, etc but many intentionally flouted the rules, refused to wear masks, made parties against the rules, etc.

He also does not want to encourage people to break the law, but canceling the fines does just that. Next time there is a situation requiring similar rules, another pandemic or whatever, people will already know they do not need to bother keeping the rules because fines will be canceled anyway. They will even use this as a precedent.




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Interesting Psak: funeral in handcuffs

An interesting question was posed to Rav Yitzchak Zilbershtein, rav of Ramat Elchonon neighborhood of Bnei Braq, and to his brother in law Rav Chaim Kanievsky.

A fellow died of Corona. A tremendous talmid chacham. One of the children of the deceased is someone who went "off the derech" and ended up in jail.

Boychik requested permission to attend his father's funeral. Permission was granted, though the prisoner would only be able to attend in cuffs accompanied by two policemen.

The question posed was if the son should be allowed to attend under these conditions - having him there in handcuffs and accompanied by policemen would be a very strange sight in this community and would draw attention to him. Perhaps this would not be respectful to the memory of the deceased but would be shameful, or maybe he should be allowed to pay his last respects to his father at the funeral?

Rav Zilbershtein paskened that him being at the funeral would bring shame to himself, as he would know everyone is looking at the unusual situation, and this alone would serve to bringing a kapara. Rav Zilbershtein said he proposed this to Rav Chaim Kanievsky who agreed and paskened similarly.
source: Hamechadesh


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