Mar 23, 2010

It was all Litzman's fault

Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman is coming under heavy fire for his decision to not move the graves (non-Jewish graves according to the Rabbanut) to build the new emergency room at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon. Instead he has pushed a plan to move the emergency room and build it on the other side of the hospital, at much greater expense (4x, I think).

One of the main points of crticism his opponents are harping on, is that Litzman enabled Ariel Sharon to disengage from Gaza, a plan that included the removal of graves. Where was Litzman then? Why did he not force Sharon to give up the plan, so as not to move graves?

With all due respect, and I am not a fan of Yaakov Litzman, Litzman does not deserve this criticism. the disengagement was not his fault, and Ariel Sharon would not have given up the disengagement just because of a problem with the graves. UTJ did not oppose the plan strongly, and stayed in the coalition, giving Sharon the power to actualize the disengagement.

While UTJ's actions were reprehensible, it is wrong to blame the disengagement on them, or specifically on Litzman. The media that supported the disengagement, and shved it in our faces as the thing that needed to be done, is now pushing it back as if it was Litzman's fault. Litzman was wrong at the time, but the disengagement was not his fault.

(this has nothing to do with the debate about the graves in Ashkelon, but is only about the specific point of criticism)


  1. Dear Rafi,
    Well said. Have a gut yontoff

  2. Sorry Rafi, I disagree. Litzman may not have been able to singlehandedly stop the disengagement but he and his party could have spoken out about the graves then if it was such a concern. He could have destabilized the coalition just like he's threatening to do in this case.

    Yet again UTJ is applying halacha selectively for purposes of blackmail.

  3. Rafi, you're missing the point. Nobody is blaming UTJ for Gush Katif in this context. At issue is the reaction of UTJ. Once again this highlights the hypocritical nature of what the UO will choose to fight over. Jameel at the Muqata as done a great job of outlining just how perverse Litzman's stand is.

    That said, I don't think this is a big issue for anyone but bloggers. IMHO for most people it's just another case of misplaced Chareidi priorities.

  4. Pretty arrogant of you to claim this as "another example" of misplaces priorities.

    Funny how I bet Litzman would think you have misplaced priorities.


    In any event, not being privy to the exact nature of the politics involved, it seems that there is a glaring distinction between disengagement and the hospital, and that is simply the ability to win the fight.

    As Rafi points out, disengagement was not an options. It was happening. Simply being in the coalition was not was caused it to take place. Meretz, who was out of the coalition, was a more than willing cover for the UTJ votes. Being that its a fact, the question remains should you stay in the coalition or should you bolt.

    Regarding the hospital, Litzman is in a position of power on this issue, being the Deputy Health Minister. Therefore, he should do what he can to stop the desecration of graves.

    Actually, you can say that to make a fuss over the graves in Gush Katif would have been nothing more than politics, being that there was nothing to be done about it, so why makea balagan for nothing?


    Lastly, the issues of graves is something that we overlook sometimes. It is NOT merely the fact that there is an issur which poses a problem (though I am not minimizing that). The problem is the whole hashkafa of the chilonim to life after death. See, for us frum Jews, who believe in the Torah, we believe that there is a reason not to desecrate the graves. We believe that there is a reason to treat the graves with respect.

    However, these ideas are not only an anathama to those who dont believe, but they feel it a threat and a reminder of their own lack of a Jewish belief system.

    All these platitudes about "caring for the dead more than the alive" are just ways of shifting the issue. Do you really think RYSE, or Litzman for that matter, cares more about graves that saving lives.

    Call a spade a spade, here. This is a monetary issue. This is a power trip. This might be a hashkafic issue. But this is not about who cares about the living people more.

    If you cant see thru the political garbage, I am sorry, but wake up and get real.

  5. Interesting thought from the RAYLS video --

    To those who think that these Gedolim are not "with it" and out of toch with reality, and just small weak men who dont know right from left, the RY seems quite coherent and when given all the facts, he seems quite capable of making a proper decision.

    I have heard similar testimony from those who have spoken to RYSE as well. His mind is sharp.

    Now, if he is not given the correct information .... thats a different story. But when he has what to say, he knows how to get his point across quite clear.

  6. Seems like way too many people have been smelling oven cleaner lately....

    "If he cared about graves he should have voted against the disengagement."

    Moving the graves to protect them from vandalism was a side issue regarding Gush Katif. If the only important reason to stay was to maintain Jewish graves.... how many WWII refugees opted to stay in Europe and live out their lives as caretakers of Jewish cemeteries?

    But perhaps Litzman should take the message that UTJ has been characterized as a party of pure self interest - even when it comes to national security, the welfare of Jewish communities, and critical medical care.

    "Litzman is just exercising his political muscle."

    Too simplistic. Maybe he had a reason to slant the shaila he asked Rav Elyashiv - we don't know. But this isn't the Cold War: if Litzman does have a political reason, it's deeper than just showing he can waste others' money and energy. What is it?

    I did hear one suggestion for why UTJ is opposing moving the graves - if Israel routinely does not consider graves as sacred, it is politically difficult to make a case for protecting Jewish graves worldwide.

    (And here the Gush Katif example actually strengthens the argument - those graves were moved to protect them from certain desecration.)

  7. "All these platitudes about "caring for the dead more than the alive" are just ways of shifting the issue. Do you really think RYSE, or Litzman for that matter, cares more about graves that saving lives."

    Absolutely. Actually, they care more about charedi power and money than saving lives. They really don't give a hoot about the graves. They're just using the graves and halacha to cover for their own naked power hunger. Which is what makes this even more disgusting and an even bigger chillul Hashem. But keep drinking the Kool Aid and sniffing the oven cleaner fumes.

  8. Abbi I dont know who you are, but I feel really sorry for you that you think anyone frum, let alone Rav Elyashiv, values money and political power more than saving lives.

    Aside from the stupidity of such a comment, it really shows your lack of knowledge of ANYTHIN about RYSE. I mean, have you seen his home ever? this is a man, that if he wanted could get a sponsorship of the biggest house in all of Israel. I mean, he could get the money to buy the entire RBS G and own his own little island. With all due respect, youre talking out of the place where the sun dont shine, and you sound like a real fool. To say the least.

    Please let us know your Jewish name, with your mother's name, so we can daven for you

  9. Rafi - I am amazed that you let such a comment so laden with LH and MSR against RYSE go unchecked on this blog. You dont have to be a follower of RYSE to realize that this comment was uncalled for and ridiculous.

  10. Wow, you are truly naive. This has nothing to do with RYSE's house. This is about the entire charedi power machine, money for kollelim, mosdos, communities, askanim's pockets. RYSE and other gedolim are the cover (a cover which is getting more tattered by the day, after signing a letter to support the monster Elior Chen, y'msh) the askanim and the politicians run the show. And the excuse the "the gedolim don't really know what's going on" doesn't wash with me.

    I would rather not have anyone who supports such a system daven for me, thanks.


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