Israel's New Goverment:
Where is it going?

 
 

Monthly Report: May 2006
Iyar-Sivan 5766

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May 2006 MaozIsrael Report
 

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By Shira Sorko-Ram
There are few parliaments in the world with such a splintered composition.  “Our pure proportional system creates a dependence on small minority parties that exact a disproportionate price for their participation in a coalition.  And when the views of such parties are outside the national consensus, as is true with the ultra-Orthodox parties, the dilemma becomes all the greater,” says Former Knesset Member Amnon Rubinstein.

He further warns that undermining a government’s stability and its ability to rule is just as dangerous to a democracy as a military uprising. Similar instability led the Weimar Republic to fall and strongman Hitler to rise to power.  That is why, according to Rubinstein, one of the first tasks of the new government should be to propose a reform that will bring about the kind of compromise the vast majority of Western democracies have opted for.  However, because of the vested interests of the small parties, there is little chance such a reform will pass. (Jerusalem Post,7Apr06)


SECURITY ISSUES

Ehud Olmert, the successor of Ariel Sharon and head of the Kadima party, has come to the conclusion that there are no Palestinian partners for negotiations; and therefore, the only way to free Israel from the demographic threat (of being outnumbered by the growing Arab population in the West Bank) is to transfer the settlers from many small settlements (one report said 68) into the larger West Bank Jewish cities such as Ariel and Maaleh Adumim. He is calling his plan “convergence.” 

The second part of his proposal is to build a final-status wall between Israeli and Arab areas and unilaterally declare that wall as the permanent border of Israel.  His plan, he says, is to move 70,000 of the 250,000 settlers from their homes within 18 months.  The cost, he believes, will be approximately $10 billion.  His goal is to enlist the U.S. administration to help him gain broad international support for this unilateral initiative.

The parties against this plan include Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.  They are against unilateral borders because they think it is not reasonable to give any land to the Palestinians until they agree to recognize the State of Israel (which of course Hamas refuses to do) and to stop the terrorism.  Therefore Likud probably will not be part of Olmert’s coalition.

The constituents of the Orthodox parties are against giving land back; however, their party leaders’ desire for funds to support their various institutions such as their yeshivot, (adult Talmudic schools) wherein thousands of non-working Orthodox study their entire lifetimes, exceeds their reluctance to withdraw from Biblical lands.  In the past, the Shas leaders have been successful in converting many Israelis to their brand of Judaism by running fine educational institutions for children with state money.  Many Israelis send their children to Shas schools because they receive better education; and often the children then become Orthodox.  Also, when the Orthodox parties are part of any coalition, they can protect their control over important civil functions of the country. Nevertheless, Shas may join the coalition (which almost certainly it will); and then if and when Olmert does begin moving on his convergence plan, Shas could decide to pull out of the coalition and bring the government down.

Avigdor Lieberman’s Israel Beitenu party is against withdrawal of any part of the West Bank, but he is extremely desirous to get his party into the new coalition.  Some fear that Israel Beitenu is another party that might jump ship and possibly bring the government down when Olmert begins his convergence plan.  Because Avigdor Lieberman is a Russian immigrant with many Russian constituents, he wants to take the monopoly of recognizing marriages out of the hands of the Orthodox who have made it very difficult for Russians who are half Jewish or who do not have papers to show their Jewish roots.

The Labor and Meretz parties will go along with Olmert’s plan of convergence.  However, there is a hitch.  Meretz says they will not join the coalition with their five seats if Israel Beitenu joins because of Lieberman’s proposal to transfer Israeli Arab towns into Palestinian control. They contend that this plan is racist.  (In actuality, Lieberman’s strategy has no chance or justification to become a reality. Certainly, the majority of Israeli Arabs have no desire to leave Israel to become a part of the Palestinian people; and they view themselves as loyal Israeli citizens.)
 
Israel 2006 Elections

FROM LEFT: LABOR’S AMIR PERETZ, LIKUD’S BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAEL BEITENU’S AVIGDOR LIEBERMAN, SHAS’ SPIRITUAL LEADER, RABBI OVADIA YOSEF


Lastly, the Pentioners party wants a return of funds cut from the budget for the elderly along with gradual raises over the coming years.  They will probably go along with Olmert’s security plans.
ECONOMIC ISSUES
 
 
The economic challenges are as politically complex as the security needs.  In March 2003, Benjamin Netanyahu became Minister of Finance.  He faced a completely empty treasury, a dangerous deficit in the balance-of-paymens and, as he put it, “the most bureaucratized and centralized of world economies that generate GDP  (Gross Domestic Product) exceeding $10,000 per capital in other words, westernized economies.  Netanyahu came to the ministry with the goal of eliminating as much bureaucracy as possible and converting government-owned companies to free enterprises.

He did an amazing job by turning the economy around and brought Israel’s economy in 2005 to a growth of 4.7%. (U.S. grew by 3.5%, U.K. by  1.7%)   (cia.gov factbook) He also added 200,000 to the job market within two years. (We felt the change in our own congregation as more and more of our people that had previously been unemployed began to find jobs.) In doing so, Netanyahu cut a lot of fat off the bureaucracy, lowered unemployment benefits, and initiated programs for retraining the hard-core unemployed and cut extra benefits for large families a move that affected many ultra-Orthodox families.
 
During this time, the number of those who fell below the poverty line grew to about 500,000 persons.  Part of the reason is that the ultra-Orthodox have an average of 7.6 children per family while the secular Israelis have 2.3 children.  The fathers of these large families prefer to study in their yeshivot (the plural of yeshiva) rather than work.  Today, 54% of the ultra-Orthodox Sephardic men attend yeshivot meaning they neither work nor do military service.  This puts a tremendous strain on the Israeli economy. (firstthings.com)

Therefore, though Israel’s economy began to take off over the last couple of years, the greatest growth was in high tech, banking and insurance, while the unemployed suddenly found they did not have the socialistic safety net of endless unemployment checks coming to their mail boxes.  The TV news screens were filled with poor families, single parents and immigrants who fell under the poverty line. Then, before the poor of the country began to feel the benefits of a growing economy, Netanyahu left office last summer over the Gaza pullout.

The poor of the land then swept Amir Peretz, the long-time union head of Israel’s one and only union conglomerate, the Histadrut, into the leadership of the Labor party, the party of the workers.  He began to campaign for a return of all benefits cut by Netanyahu.  Another group whose benefits had been cut, the pensioners, also began to campaign for a return of their benefits.  Shas and the other ultra-Orthodox parties saw that sympathy was rising for all those below the poverty line; and they also promised their constituency that if given enough votes, they would pressure the government for greater social and medical benefits.

The Pensioners scored some real points in bringing forward their claim that retiree benefits needed to be protected for elderly citizens of all backgrounds - benefits that had already been promised to several generations of hard-working Israelis.  However, even the left-leaning press is warning that if Labor, Shas and the other ultra-Orthodox parties, plus the Pensioners get everything they want, it would add $6 billion onto the budget. (Anshel Pfeffer, J.P. 3Apr06) Of course, this would plunge Israel back into a sluggish, socialist economy and the benefits that Netanyahu accomplished could go down the drain.

Most definitely, Ehud Olmert, as the new head of government, must find the balance to help the weakest sectors of Israeli society. He must do this in a constructive way that creates new jobs, rather than just increasing the public dole.  Said journalist Calev Ben David, “Those who can’t work, such as the severely handicapped or the elderly, must be taken proper care of; but those who won’t work must understand there is no free lunch, even in a government that includes Labor, Shas and the Pensioners.” (J.P.7Apr06)

We cannot conclude this article without mentioning what is so important to the Messianic Jews - and that is freedom!  Freedom to practice our faith and to live in this land like all other Jews.  In 2003, after many difficult years for the Jewish believers, Shas had to yield up the office of the Interior Ministry to Shinui, an anti-Orthodox party that loosened up the tight hold the ultra-Orthodox held on who is allowed to enter the country and who is allowed citizenship, including the Messianic Jews.  Actually, since 2003, the Orthodox lost so much power that in this election no one voted for the anti-Orthodox Shinui; and the party went out of existence!  But the danger of Shas returning to the Interior Ministry is again a possibility.  Anyone who is Minister of Interior has at his disposal massive funding which is supposed to be evenly distributed among the various sectors of the nation.  This distribution did not happen when the Orthodox ran that ministry; instead, publicly and blatantly they poured huge amounts of funds into the coffers of their own ultra-Orthodox institutions. 

Liberal Rabbi Gilad Kariv of the Israel Religious Action Center says, “It’s quite clear that the return of Shas to the Interior Ministry is terrible news for hundreds of thousands of immigrants.  Shas made life as difficult as possible…for anyone that didn’t seem Jewish enough to the clerks working there.”  (Ibid.)  Certainly, one of the prayers that will most help the Messianic believers would be that Shas not receive the Interior Ministry.
 
And so we can see how much there is to pray about!  Whether or not Ehud Olmert has already put together his coalition, when you read this article, please pray: that the Lord, in His mercy and loving kindness, will give him the tools needed in areas of security, economics and freedom of religion and that the message of salvation in Yeshua will continue to spread through the believers in the land.  Pray together with us that God will open doors for the Messianic Jews to have increasing opportunities to preach the Good News to our nation that is in such need.
 
 
At this writing, Israel does not yet have a new coalition government.  However, the main issues and challenges, though somewhat complicated, are quite clear.  Here are the main issues facing Israel:
  1. Israel’s poor parliamentary system that allows for many small political parties with many different agendas, each to receive a few seats.  Any prime minister finds it difficult to govern and to keep a majority coalition under this type of system.
  2. Israel’s economy, built on a socialist model, is attempting to move into a more capitalistic system. At the same time, the goverment struggles with the needs of the very poor, the unemployed and the Orthodox who will not work.
  3. Israel’s security challenges have increased with a Hamas Palestinian government bent on destroying the Jewish nation and Iran’s threats to bomb Israel out of existence with nuclear weapons.  Many polls report that Israelis no longer believe there will be peace.
  4. Israel’s struggle between Orthodox parties who would like to get their hands on the Interior Ministry, thereby giving them massive funds and control over who can receive citizenship and who cannot, plus many other such government powers; and the parties to the left who want to see more freedom for all Israeli citizens.


ELECTION RESULTS 

Out of a population of 6,276,883, of which 5,021,506 are Jewish, only 63% cast their votes in this election, a sign of apathy or hopelessness.

The results for the 120 Knesset seats were as follow:

Kadima 29 seats.  Ehud Olmert leader.  Ran on a platform of unilaterally pulling out of much of the West Bank and drawing its own permanent borders. (Israel has never had permanent borders because the Palestinians have never agreed to the existence of Israel.)  Middle class voted for Kadima
Labor 19 seats.  Amir Peretz leader.  Former union leader with strong socialist philosophy.  Ran on a platform of raising benefits for the unemployed and poor.

Likud 12 seats.  Benjamin Netanyahu leader.  Ran on platform of not unilaterally withdrawing from the West Bank, but allowing a Palestinian state only after the Palestinian Authority makes peace with Israel.

Shas 12 seats.  Eli Yishai leader. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader. Party of Ultra-Orthodox Sefardic (Jews from Arab countries).  Ran on platform of getting more benefits for the Orthodox sector, including the tens of thousands of men who have chosen to study in yeshivot and not to work holy loafers as Ze’ev Chafets in the Jerusalem Report calls them.

Israel Beiteinu (Our Home) 11 seats.  Leader, Avigdor Lieberman, Russian immigrant.  His party seeks to transfer some Israeli-Arab areas with its population to the Palestinian state. Lieberman also wants to require the 1.3 million Arabs to take a loyalty oath to Israel as a Jewish state in order to hold onto their citizenship. The police have been investigating Lieberman for years over his reputed financial and political connections with Russian mafia figures.  He wants the office of Minister of Internal Security i.e. the police.

The National Union-NRP 9 seats. United Torah Judaism 6 seats.  The first two Ashkenazi (European Jews) Orthodox parties merged on a platform of no withdrawal from Biblical Jewish lands.  The UTJ, also an Ashkenazi Orthodox party, is mainly interested in receiving funds for its institutions.

Pensioners 7 seats.  A new party representing 750,000 Israeli pensioners.  Their platform is restoration of the cuts in old-age benefits made by Netanyahu, followed by a gradual 25% increase in these benefits, and a doubling of government subsidies for medicine.  Sixty-three percent of retirees have no pension.
Meretz 5 seats.  A leftist party for peace and security.  Their goal is to exhaust every opportunity to return to the negotiating table and reach a political settlement with the Palestinian Authority.

United Arab List, Balad and Hadash three Arab parties with a total of 10 seats.  No Israeli government has ever included them in its coalition; but they can be expected to support ruling governments when they feel actions are beneficial to Arabs.


PITFALLS OF BUILDING A COALITION


On March 28, Israel held new elections.  Although prime ministers are supposed to serve for a full four years, Ehud Olmert will be the seventh prime minister in 16 years, meaning that the governments tend to fall after about two years.  All ruling coalitions must have a minimum of 61 out of 120 seats - therefore the largest party must establish an alliance of enough parties to meet the 61 seat requirement.

If a coalition partner leaves the government and the number of coalition seats dips below the 61 minimum, the opposition can initiate a vote of “no confidence”; and the government falls.  Therefore, for Israel to have a stable government ideally, it is best to have an alliance consisting of more than the 61 seat minimum requirement. The larger the coalition, the harder it is for some small party to bring down the government at will.  The major obstacles to building a coalition is that (1) every party has its own leaders, all of whom want a ministerial position; (2) every party wants an oversized piece of the budget for their constituency; and (3) parties that have a security policy want the government to deal with the Palestinians their way.


Seven Deadly Sins that will bring Judgment upon Israel

Part Two

By Shira Sorko-Ram

 

Last month we listed three sins:
(1) sex slaves
(2) Tel Aviv becoming a homosexual world center
(3) an abortion culture that are either spearheaded or tolerated by the government of Israel. 

This month we will address two other national sins that are in direct opposition to moral and righteous principles of the Torah (the Law of Moses), the prophets of Israel and the teachings of Yeshua the Messiah.

Why write about these serious failures practiced by Israel’s public servants?  The first reason is that Israel must understand that the only way she will receive respite from her enemies bent on destroying her is to repent of her transgressions, turn to her Redeemer and show the fruits of salvation which is righteousness and justice.

The second is connected.  This information will help believers who love Israel pinpoint their prayers and intercession for the Israeli people - that salvation will soon come, as promised by the prophets.  Yes! All Israel shall be saved!

May 2006 MaozIsrael Report

 


Abandoning our Arab Allies

Nir (not his real name) was born in Gaza, apparently from a family of Arab collaborators for Israel, although his father never admitted as much to him.  However, when Nir was small, his family had to flee several times and was resettled by the Israel security services in the West Bank.  They were finally resettled in Israel proper in a mixed Jewish-Arab area.

 

He escaped death
several times from
Arab terrorists who
suspected him of
being a collaborator
or spy for Israel

 


In the 1990’s at the height of the first intifada, Nir was enlisted by Israel’s Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Services); and he supplied them with many names of terrorist gang members.  During that time he escaped death several times by Arab terrorists who suspected him of being a collaborator or spy for Israel.  His Israeli controller then gave him instructions to write a letter to the Palestinian Liberation Organization, asking to volunteer “to go out and kill Jews.”  The Shin Bet wanted him planted within the PLO. 

Ironically, the Israeli Border Patrol picked him up and found a copy of the letter in his pocket and without checking his story they beat him unmercifully for hours.  All his pleas and explanations were useless.  However, now he was exposed as other Arab prisoners had heard his explanations and were bent on killing him when he was put back in a cell.  Only after the Shin Bet identified him as “one of theirs” was he put in a hospital to recover from his injuries.

After his release from the hospital, his Israeli controller would no longer speak to him (possibly because of embarrassment of being responsible for such a blunder.)  Though Nir was able to receive a residency permit in Israel for a few years, the Israeli security personnel stopped issuing his permit five years ago.  Nir knows if he goes back to the West Bank he will be murdered; and so he hides out in an Israeli construction site where a contractor (who could be fined big money) gives him the equivalent of around $200 per month for cigarettes and food in return for guarding the grounds at night. 

He sleeps in a hidden “room” on the site. He is a fugitive, constantly afraid that he will be picked up by the Israeli authorities and tossed over the border to the West Bank where he will certainly be killed.  Other Arabs, also illegal workers on the construction site, bring him food.  They suspect him of being a collaborator but thus far are helping him stay alive.  He has not seen his wife or his four children, aged 11-17 since 2001; although they are less than half an hour away.  His brother, who was also a collaborator, hid together with Nir from the Israeli authorities.  Unable to visit his family, he drank himself to death.  Even when he was dying, Nir was afraid to take his brother to the hospital, terrified that they would both be caught and dropped off in the West Bank.  And so his brother died. (Haaretz 10Mar06)

This is clear, unadulterated injustice.  For an Arab who had chosen, for whatever reason, to help Israel ward off suicide bombers and terrorists, Israel has an obligation to help these men stay alive and give resident permits to their families in Israel. These permits will then enable them to work in at least minimum-wage jobs, have medical care and send their children to school.

Israel has helped many Arab allies resettle; at least 1000 families now live in Israel.  Yet even with all the social help, the life of these Arab families is extremely difficult.  Even most Israeli Arabs look upon them as traitors.  Few Jewish neighbors wish to mix with them.  They are outcasts.

May 2006 MaozIsrael Report But worse yet, there are many hundreds, if not thousands of Arabs who helped Israel at the risk of their lives until they were exposed.  Now, no longer useful to the Israeli security services, they have basically been discarded and their lives are totally wrecked.  Collaborators who have been forced to stay in the Palestinian areas are often murdered by terrorist organizations, and so these broken men are hiding out in Israel with nowhere to go. 

 

Although there is no official number, some human rights organizations say there are currently altogether about 15,000 Arab collaborators several thousand of whom have been exposed and no longer can safely return to the PA controlled territories. (csmonitor.com) 

Israel has a moral and Biblical responsibility to protect these people.  When Rahab of Jericho, at the risk of her life, collaborated with and protected the two Israelite spies, they promised her, “We will deal kindly and faithfully with you.”  Josh. 3:14  And so she and her family were spared by the Israeli army and they “lived in the midst of Israel to this day.” Josh.6:25  Her loyalty and friendship to Israel were honored and respected. The Scriptures admonish:

And you shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.  Ex. 22:21  May we add, especially an ally. 

Today, the Israeli government’s neglect of Arabs who risked their lives and the lives of their families for the sake of helping Israel is an injustice that cries out to the heavens.

Forcing Many Israelis into Life-Long Debt and Poverty through Draconian Debtor Laws

One of the most distressing and grievous national afflictions causing poverty and suffering in Israel is the huge percentage of Israelis who are entrapped in perpetual, hopeless debt.  Israel is a nation of prisoners of debt.  Obviously, some Israelis are in debt because of carelessness; but others are in debt because of misfortune or fraud (against them) or other reasons.  The point here is that Israel has enacted laws which mete out life-long punishment to debtors who cannot repay. The government closes their bank accounts, takes away their passports and makes it illegal for them to own a business.  Next, the banks add on ever-increasing interest that usually causes the debt to rise beyond anything the debtor can ever hope to pay back in ten, twenty, thirty or more years.  The courts then begin a pay-back scheme by deducting a hefty amount from the debtor’s pay check if he or she has a pay check. 

 

May 2006 MaozIsrael Report

Since many of those in debt make minimum or low-paying wages, taking a few hundred shekels out of their salary puts them and their families at or below the poverty level. Then the debtor has to take on more debt to feed his family and to make ends meet. 

The worst dilemma occurs when the debtor fails to continue to make the court-ordered debt re-payments and he or she then goes to jail.  Often Israelis, anticipating such a court decision, leave their jobs for fear of being forced to pay an amount for life that they do not believe is possible. 

As economist Asher Meir says, the person in such a situation can never make a fresh start.  “You are basically condemned to a lifetime of poverty, because all your earnings will be eaten up by your creditors who don’t get any benefit from the arrangement, since the court has already approved a laughably inadequate payback scheme [as far as the creditor is concerned].” (J.P. 3Feb06) 

 


In other words, the payback scheme is more to punish the debtor than to pay back the debt, which when compounded with interest, is often an impossible goal.  These laws have generated a culture of poor people who then attempt to survive by living hand-to-mouth with low-paying temporary jobs wherein they don’t report their taxes. 

This tragic situation is far more complicated and far reaching than what we are able to report fully in this article; but suffice it to say that once a person gets hopelessly in debt in Israel; there is almost never a legal way  to earn enough money to survive and live a normal life. Leading a congregation of many new believers, we have seen time and again hopelessly in-debt Israelis accept Yeshua’s salvation.    No doubt, often the economic stress causes them to search for God; and thus they came to faith. But breaking this stranglehold of poverty is one of the most difficult tests our members face.

One of our most outstanding members, who came to know Yeshua nine years ago after he had had a business failure resulting in a debt of $300,000, has struggled without respite for years to pay off his debt and to settle with the banks - simply to get free.  The pressure we have seen this hard-working man and his family live under is inhuman.  Today, he is still struggling, praying and believing that one day he will be free of debt and that he will able to work as a normal citizen.

Another strong middle-aged believer in our congregation has led many people to the Lord.  After losing everything in a failed business, he sought the Lord and found Him - no doubt with the help of the faithful prayers of his own brother.  However, no matter how many times we talked to him, he has refused to go out and get a regular job.  He has been  fearful that the courts will claim such a high percentage of his wages that the result would be that he would end up in jail, unable to pay.  And so to this day he lives with his family and does not work.

Through the donations of our Maoz contributors to istandwithisrael.com, we have been able to help a few worthy believers to settle large debts by negotiating directly with creditors who agreed to accept a small percentage of the entire debt - arranged by lawyers that we hired.  For example, after several years of praying and working to get free of a large business debt, one of our members, with our help and after many court appearances, is now debt free and studying for a new career.

In other countries such as the U.S., England, New Zealand, Australia and Canada, where there is a process in dire circumstances to declare bankruptcy and to start fresh again, the economies are far more entrepreneurial and successful, says Asher Meir. (ibid.)

Obviously, we are not for easy release from legitimate debt; and whenever someone is able to pay back his debt, he has a moral obligation to do so.  But this country is plagued with financial hostages who have made a mistake or had bad fortune and are doomed to never have another chance to live normally again.  Since they can’t give their children a decent upbringing, the poverty cycle often becomes generational. 
The Lord loves the poor and the Bible lays down a precept in the law of the Jubilee.  The principal of freedom from suffocating debt is found in Leviticus 25:35: If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him…so he can continue to live among you. 

Thus God created a plan to free his people from debt every seventh and every fiftieth year:  At the end of every seven years you shall grant a remission of debts.  Deut. 15:1 Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty [from debt, loss and slavery] throughout the land to all its inhabitants.  It shall be a jubilee for you…Lev. 25:10 

Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you show ill will toward your needy brother and give him nothing.  He may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin.

There will always be poor people in the land.  Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.  Deut. 15:9,11

Rather than advocating these exact laws to be reinstated in Israel, we are pointing out the moral, ethical and Biblical principle that no state should sentence multitudes of its own citizens to a lifetime of financial slavery and object poverty.

Asher Meir sums it up:  It is ironic and a bit of a shame that Israel, which gave the world this inspiring vision for a society with a built-in mechanism for a fresh start, has such a primitive system for realizing this vision.  (Ibid.)

Final section to be continued next month...
 

 

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To “I Stand with Israel”:
 
Thank you so much for your help! We received our check of NIS 5,000* today. What a wonderful help from the Lord!
 
We just started a business and have gone into deep debt due to problems with our car and other difficulties which we didn’t anticipate as we started our new business and moved to a new place.
 
We bless the Lord for His kindness just as “the water was up to our neck,” your help lifted us up and showed us how good God is!!
 
Efrat and Arie
Congregation “Shemen Sasson”,
Jerusalem


Dear “I Stand with Israel”,
 
We, Yariv and Natali, thank you for your help and support of NIS 3,000*.  At the time you sent us your financial support, we were in a very difficult situation due to our low salaries which are not sufficient to cover our living expenses. We were so grateful when we heard from our congregational leader Yuri Kalmikov that you wanted to bless us by helping us to pay for our studies.
 
After finishing the army service, we wanted to get married but because of our faith in Yeshua the Messiah, we experienced difficulties marrying in an Orthodox ceremony, which is the only type that is recognized in Israel. We then had to fly out of the country for the wedding, and that expense was covered by money which had been intended for our studies.  Because of that, I was concerned that I would not be able to complete my studies which would result in continuing the cycle of low-paying jobs.  I wanted something better for my family.
 
We thank you so much for your help and for the blessing of being able to continue my studies. Thank you, Yeshua the Messiah, for taking care of us.
 
Yariv and Natali
Congregation “Mayim Chayim”.
Haifa


Dear “I Stand with Israel”,
 
I want to express our thanks for the funds of NIS 4,000* that has been donated to Alexander B. a member of our congregation.  

Alexander, the father of four, is the sole provider of his family. Your financial assistance made it possible for his wife to take a course in early education, which is her first opportunity to study and get professional training in Israel since their immigration in 2002.
 
Thanks to your help, she is now studying and equipping herself so that eventually she will be able to help supplement her husband’s income.  I believe that this course of study and subsequently going into the workforce will also assist her in getting better integrated into Israeli society as she will have much to contribute. Thanks to istandwithisrael.com, yet another family of new immigrants will be helped as they make a new life in Israel; they will be a good testimony and honor the Name of Yeshua our Messiah.
 
Thank you for your blessed  ministry.

Leon Mezin
Congregational leader “Shavei Zion,
Haifa

---------------------------------------------------------------------
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Israel's New Goverment:
Where is it going?

 
 

Monthly Report: May 2006
Iyar-Sivan 5766

Click for PDF
May 2006 MaozIsrael Report
 

EMAIL THIS PRINT THIS

 

By Shira Sorko-Ram
There are few parliaments in the world with such a splintered composition.  “Our pure proportional system creates a dependence on small minority parties that exact a disproportionate price for their participation in a coalition.  And when the views of such parties are outside the national consensus, as is true with the ultra-Orthodox parties, the dilemma becomes all the greater,” says Former Knesset Member Amnon Rubinstein.

He further warns that undermining a government’s stability and its ability to rule is just as dangerous to a democracy as a military uprising. Similar instability led the Weimar Republic to fall and strongman Hitler to rise to power.  That is why, according to Rubinstein, one of the first tasks of the new government should be to propose a reform that will bring about the kind of compromise the vast majority of Western democracies have opted for.  However, because of the vested interests of the small parties, there is little chance such a reform will pass. (Jerusalem Post,7Apr06)


SECURITY ISSUES

Ehud Olmert, the successor of Ariel Sharon and head of the Kadima party, has come to the conclusion that there are no Palestinian partners for negotiations; and therefore, the only way to free Israel from the demographic threat (of being outnumbered by the growing Arab population in the West Bank) is to transfer the settlers from many small settlements (one report said 68) into the larger West Bank Jewish cities such as Ariel and Maaleh Adumim. He is calling his plan “convergence.” 

The second part of his proposal is to build a final-status wall between Israeli and Arab areas and unilaterally declare that wall as the permanent border of Israel.  His plan, he says, is to move 70,000 of the 250,000 settlers from their homes within 18 months.  The cost, he believes, will be approximately $10 billion.  His goal is to enlist the U.S. administration to help him gain broad international support for this unilateral initiative.

The parties against this plan include Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.  They are against unilateral borders because they think it is not reasonable to give any land to the Palestinians until they agree to recognize the State of Israel (which of course Hamas refuses to do) and to stop the terrorism.  Therefore Likud probably will not be part of Olmert’s coalition.

The constituents of the Orthodox parties are against giving land back; however, their party leaders’ desire for funds to support their various institutions such as their yeshivot, (adult Talmudic schools) wherein thousands of non-working Orthodox study their entire lifetimes, exceeds their reluctance to withdraw from Biblical lands.  In the past, the Shas leaders have been successful in converting many Israelis to their brand of Judaism by running fine educational institutions for children with state money.  Many Israelis send their children to Shas schools because they receive better education; and often the children then become Orthodox.  Also, when the Orthodox parties are part of any coalition, they can protect their control over important civil functions of the country. Nevertheless, Shas may join the coalition (which almost certainly it will); and then if and when Olmert does begin moving on his convergence plan, Shas could decide to pull out of the coalition and bring the government down.

Avigdor Lieberman’s Israel Beitenu party is against withdrawal of any part of the West Bank, but he is extremely desirous to get his party into the new coalition.  Some fear that Israel Beitenu is another party that might jump ship and possibly bring the government down when Olmert begins his convergence plan.  Because Avigdor Lieberman is a Russian immigrant with many Russian constituents, he wants to take the monopoly of recognizing marriages out of the hands of the Orthodox who have made it very difficult for Russians who are half Jewish or who do not have papers to show their Jewish roots.

The Labor and Meretz parties will go along with Olmert’s plan of convergence.  However, there is a hitch.  Meretz says they will not join the coalition with their five seats if Israel Beitenu joins because of Lieberman’s proposal to transfer Israeli Arab towns into Palestinian control. They contend that this plan is racist.  (In actuality, Lieberman’s strategy has no chance or justification to become a reality. Certainly, the majority of Israeli Arabs have no desire to leave Israel to become a part of the Palestinian people; and they view themselves as loyal Israeli citizens.)
 
Israel 2006 Elections

FROM LEFT: LABOR’S AMIR PERETZ, LIKUD’S BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAEL BEITENU’S AVIGDOR LIEBERMAN, SHAS’ SPIRITUAL LEADER, RABBI OVADIA YOSEF


Lastly, the Pentioners party wants a return of funds cut from the budget for the elderly along with gradual raises over the coming years.  They will probably go along with Olmert’s security plans.
ECONOMIC ISSUES
 
 
The economic challenges are as politically complex as the security needs.  In March 2003, Benjamin Netanyahu became Minister of Finance.  He faced a completely empty treasury, a dangerous deficit in the balance-of-paymens and, as he put it, “the most bureaucratized and centralized of world economies that generate GDP  (Gross Domestic Product) exceeding $10,000 per capital in other words, westernized economies.  Netanyahu came to the ministry with the goal of eliminating as much bureaucracy as possible and converting government-owned companies to free enterprises.

He did an amazing job by turning the economy around and brought Israel’s economy in 2005 to a growth of 4.7%. (U.S. grew by 3.5%, U.K. by  1.7%)   (cia.gov factbook) He also added 200,000 to the job market within two years. (We felt the change in our own congregation as more and more of our people that had previously been unemployed began to find jobs.) In doing so, Netanyahu cut a lot of fat off the bureaucracy, lowered unemployment benefits, and initiated programs for retraining the hard-core unemployed and cut extra benefits for large families a move that affected many ultra-Orthodox families.
 
During this time, the number of those who fell below the poverty line grew to about 500,000 persons.  Part of the reason is that the ultra-Orthodox have an average of 7.6 children per family while the secular Israelis have 2.3 children.  The fathers of these large families prefer to study in their yeshivot (the plural of yeshiva) rather than work.  Today, 54% of the ultra-Orthodox Sephardic men attend yeshivot meaning they neither work nor do military service.  This puts a tremendous strain on the Israeli economy. (firstthings.com)

Therefore, though Israel’s economy began to take off over the last couple of years, the greatest growth was in high tech, banking and insurance, while the unemployed suddenly found they did not have the socialistic safety net of endless unemployment checks coming to their mail boxes.  The TV news screens were filled with poor families, single parents and immigrants who fell under the poverty line. Then, before the poor of the country began to feel the benefits of a growing economy, Netanyahu left office last summer over the Gaza pullout.

The poor of the land then swept Amir Peretz, the long-time union head of Israel’s one and only union conglomerate, the Histadrut, into the leadership of the Labor party, the party of the workers.  He began to campaign for a return of all benefits cut by Netanyahu.  Another group whose benefits had been cut, the pensioners, also began to campaign for a return of their benefits.  Shas and the other ultra-Orthodox parties saw that sympathy was rising for all those below the poverty line; and they also promised their constituency that if given enough votes, they would pressure the government for greater social and medical benefits.

The Pensioners scored some real points in bringing forward their claim that retiree benefits needed to be protected for elderly citizens of all backgrounds - benefits that had already been promised to several generations of hard-working Israelis.  However, even the left-leaning press is warning that if Labor, Shas and the other ultra-Orthodox parties, plus the Pensioners get everything they want, it would add $6 billion onto the budget. (Anshel Pfeffer, J.P. 3Apr06) Of course, this would plunge Israel back into a sluggish, socialist economy and the benefits that Netanyahu accomplished could go down the drain.

Most definitely, Ehud Olmert, as the new head of government, must find the balance to help the weakest sectors of Israeli society. He must do this in a constructive way that creates new jobs, rather than just increasing the public dole.  Said journalist Calev Ben David, “Those who can’t work, such as the severely handicapped or the elderly, must be taken proper care of; but those who won’t work must understand there is no free lunch, even in a government that includes Labor, Shas and the Pensioners.” (J.P.7Apr06)

We cannot conclude this article without mentioning what is so important to the Messianic Jews - and that is freedom!  Freedom to practice our faith and to live in this land like all other Jews.  In 2003, after many difficult years for the Jewish believers, Shas had to yield up the office of the Interior Ministry to Shinui, an anti-Orthodox party that loosened up the tight hold the ultra-Orthodox held on who is allowed to enter the country and who is allowed citizenship, including the Messianic Jews.  Actually, since 2003, the Orthodox lost so much power that in this election no one voted for the anti-Orthodox Shinui; and the party went out of existence!  But the danger of Shas returning to the Interior Ministry is again a possibility.  Anyone who is Minister of Interior has at his disposal massive funding which is supposed to be evenly distributed among the various sectors of the nation.  This distribution did not happen when the Orthodox ran that ministry; instead, publicly and blatantly they poured huge amounts of funds into the coffers of their own ultra-Orthodox institutions. 

Liberal Rabbi Gilad Kariv of the Israel Religious Action Center says, “It’s quite clear that the return of Shas to the Interior Ministry is terrible news for hundreds of thousands of immigrants.  Shas made life as difficult as possible…for anyone that didn’t seem Jewish enough to the clerks working there.”  (Ibid.)  Certainly, one of the prayers that will most help the Messianic believers would be that Shas not receive the Interior Ministry.
 
And so we can see how much there is to pray about!  Whether or not Ehud Olmert has already put together his coalition, when you read this article, please pray: that the Lord, in His mercy and loving kindness, will give him the tools needed in areas of security, economics and freedom of religion and that the message of salvation in Yeshua will continue to spread through the believers in the land.  Pray together with us that God will open doors for the Messianic Jews to have increasing opportunities to preach the Good News to our nation that is in such need.
 
 
At this writing, Israel does not yet have a new coalition government.  However, the main issues and challenges, though somewhat complicated, are quite clear.  Here are the main issues facing Israel:
  1. Israel’s poor parliamentary system that allows for many small political parties with many different agendas, each to receive a few seats.  Any prime minister finds it difficult to govern and to keep a majority coalition under this type of system.
  2. Israel’s economy, built on a socialist model, is attempting to move into a more capitalistic system. At the same time, the goverment struggles with the needs of the very poor, the unemployed and the Orthodox who will not work.
  3. Israel’s security challenges have increased with a Hamas Palestinian government bent on destroying the Jewish nation and Iran’s threats to bomb Israel out of existence with nuclear weapons.  Many polls report that Israelis no longer believe there will be peace.
  4. Israel’s struggle between Orthodox parties who would like to get their hands on the Interior Ministry, thereby giving them massive funds and control over who can receive citizenship and who cannot, plus many other such government powers; and the parties to the left who want to see more freedom for all Israeli citizens.


ELECTION RESULTS 

Out of a population of 6,276,883, of which 5,021,506 are Jewish, only 63% cast their votes in this election, a sign of apathy or hopelessness.

The results for the 120 Knesset seats were as follow:

Kadima 29 seats.  Ehud Olmert leader.  Ran on a platform of unilaterally pulling out of much of the West Bank and drawing its own permanent borders. (Israel has never had permanent borders because the Palestinians have never agreed to the existence of Israel.)  Middle class voted for Kadima
Labor 19 seats.  Amir Peretz leader.  Former union leader with strong socialist philosophy.  Ran on a platform of raising benefits for the unemployed and poor.

Likud 12 seats.  Benjamin Netanyahu leader.  Ran on platform of not unilaterally withdrawing from the West Bank, but allowing a Palestinian state only after the Palestinian Authority makes peace with Israel.

Shas 12 seats.  Eli Yishai leader. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader. Party of Ultra-Orthodox Sefardic (Jews from Arab countries).  Ran on platform of getting more benefits for the Orthodox sector, including the tens of thousands of men who have chosen to study in yeshivot and not to work holy loafers as Ze’ev Chafets in the Jerusalem Report calls them.

Israel Beiteinu (Our Home) 11 seats.  Leader, Avigdor Lieberman, Russian immigrant.  His party seeks to transfer some Israeli-Arab areas with its population to the Palestinian state. Lieberman also wants to require the 1.3 million Arabs to take a loyalty oath to Israel as a Jewish state in order to hold onto their citizenship. The police have been investigating Lieberman for years over his reputed financial and political connections with Russian mafia figures.  He wants the office of Minister of Internal Security i.e. the police.

The National Union-NRP 9 seats. United Torah Judaism 6 seats.  The first two Ashkenazi (European Jews) Orthodox parties merged on a platform of no withdrawal from Biblical Jewish lands.  The UTJ, also an Ashkenazi Orthodox party, is mainly interested in receiving funds for its institutions.

Pensioners 7 seats.  A new party representing 750,000 Israeli pensioners.  Their platform is restoration of the cuts in old-age benefits made by Netanyahu, followed by a gradual 25% increase in these benefits, and a doubling of government subsidies for medicine.  Sixty-three percent of retirees have no pension.
Meretz 5 seats.  A leftist party for peace and security.  Their goal is to exhaust every opportunity to return to the negotiating table and reach a political settlement with the Palestinian Authority.

United Arab List, Balad and Hadash three Arab parties with a total of 10 seats.  No Israeli government has ever included them in its coalition; but they can be expected to support ruling governments when they feel actions are beneficial to Arabs.


PITFALLS OF BUILDING A COALITION


On March 28, Israel held new elections.  Although prime ministers are supposed to serve for a full four years, Ehud Olmert will be the seventh prime minister in 16 years, meaning that the governments tend to fall after about two years.  All ruling coalitions must have a minimum of 61 out of 120 seats - therefore the largest party must establish an alliance of enough parties to meet the 61 seat requirement.

If a coalition partner leaves the government and the number of coalition seats dips below the 61 minimum, the opposition can initiate a vote of “no confidence”; and the government falls.  Therefore, for Israel to have a stable government ideally, it is best to have an alliance consisting of more than the 61 seat minimum requirement. The larger the coalition, the harder it is for some small party to bring down the government at will.  The major obstacles to building a coalition is that (1) every party has its own leaders, all of whom want a ministerial position; (2) every party wants an oversized piece of the budget for their constituency; and (3) parties that have a security policy want the government to deal with the Palestinians their way.


Seven Deadly Sins that will bring Judgment upon Israel

Part Two

By Shira Sorko-Ram

 

Last month we listed three sins:
(1) sex slaves
(2) Tel Aviv becoming a homosexual world center
(3) an abortion culture that are either spearheaded or tolerated by the government of Israel. 

This month we will address two other national sins that are in direct opposition to moral and righteous principles of the Torah (the Law of Moses), the prophets of Israel and the teachings of Yeshua the Messiah.

Why write about these serious failures practiced by Israel’s public servants?  The first reason is that Israel must understand that the only way she will receive respite from her enemies bent on destroying her is to repent of her transgressions, turn to her Redeemer and show the fruits of salvation which is righteousness and justice.

The second is connected.  This information will help believers who love Israel pinpoint their prayers and intercession for the Israeli people - that salvation will soon come, as promised by the prophets.  Yes! All Israel shall be saved!

May 2006 MaozIsrael Report

 


Abandoning our Arab Allies

Nir (not his real name) was born in Gaza, apparently from a family of Arab collaborators for Israel, although his father never admitted as much to him.  However, when Nir was small, his family had to flee several times and was resettled by the Israel security services in the West Bank.  They were finally resettled in Israel proper in a mixed Jewish-Arab area.

 

He escaped death
several times from
Arab terrorists who
suspected him of
being a collaborator
or spy for Israel

 


In the 1990’s at the height of the first intifada, Nir was enlisted by Israel’s Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Services); and he supplied them with many names of terrorist gang members.  During that time he escaped death several times by Arab terrorists who suspected him of being a collaborator or spy for Israel.  His Israeli controller then gave him instructions to write a letter to the Palestinian Liberation Organization, asking to volunteer “to go out and kill Jews.”  The Shin Bet wanted him planted within the PLO. 

Ironically, the Israeli Border Patrol picked him up and found a copy of the letter in his pocket and without checking his story they beat him unmercifully for hours.  All his pleas and explanations were useless.  However, now he was exposed as other Arab prisoners had heard his explanations and were bent on killing him when he was put back in a cell.  Only after the Shin Bet identified him as “one of theirs” was he put in a hospital to recover from his injuries.

After his release from the hospital, his Israeli controller would no longer speak to him (possibly because of embarrassment of being responsible for such a blunder.)  Though Nir was able to receive a residency permit in Israel for a few years, the Israeli security personnel stopped issuing his permit five years ago.  Nir knows if he goes back to the West Bank he will be murdered; and so he hides out in an Israeli construction site where a contractor (who could be fined big money) gives him the equivalent of around $200 per month for cigarettes and food in return for guarding the grounds at night. 

He sleeps in a hidden “room” on the site. He is a fugitive, constantly afraid that he will be picked up by the Israeli authorities and tossed over the border to the West Bank where he will certainly be killed.  Other Arabs, also illegal workers on the construction site, bring him food.  They suspect him of being a collaborator but thus far are helping him stay alive.  He has not seen his wife or his four children, aged 11-17 since 2001; although they are less than half an hour away.  His brother, who was also a collaborator, hid together with Nir from the Israeli authorities.  Unable to visit his family, he drank himself to death.  Even when he was dying, Nir was afraid to take his brother to the hospital, terrified that they would both be caught and dropped off in the West Bank.  And so his brother died. (Haaretz 10Mar06)

This is clear, unadulterated injustice.  For an Arab who had chosen, for whatever reason, to help Israel ward off suicide bombers and terrorists, Israel has an obligation to help these men stay alive and give resident permits to their families in Israel. These permits will then enable them to work in at least minimum-wage jobs, have medical care and send their children to school.

Israel has helped many Arab allies resettle; at least 1000 families now live in Israel.  Yet even with all the social help, the life of these Arab families is extremely difficult.  Even most Israeli Arabs look upon them as traitors.  Few Jewish neighbors wish to mix with them.  They are outcasts.

May 2006 MaozIsrael Report But worse yet, there are many hundreds, if not thousands of Arabs who helped Israel at the risk of their lives until they were exposed.  Now, no longer useful to the Israeli security services, they have basically been discarded and their lives are totally wrecked.  Collaborators who have been forced to stay in the Palestinian areas are often murdered by terrorist organizations, and so these broken men are hiding out in Israel with nowhere to go. 

 

Although there is no official number, some human rights organizations say there are currently altogether about 15,000 Arab collaborators several thousand of whom have been exposed and no longer can safely return to the PA controlled territories. (csmonitor.com) 

Israel has a moral and Biblical responsibility to protect these people.  When Rahab of Jericho, at the risk of her life, collaborated with and protected the two Israelite spies, they promised her, “We will deal kindly and faithfully with you.”  Josh. 3:14  And so she and her family were spared by the Israeli army and they “lived in the midst of Israel to this day.” Josh.6:25  Her loyalty and friendship to Israel were honored and respected. The Scriptures admonish:

And you shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.  Ex. 22:21  May we add, especially an ally. 

Today, the Israeli government’s neglect of Arabs who risked their lives and the lives of their families for the sake of helping Israel is an injustice that cries out to the heavens.

Forcing Many Israelis into Life-Long Debt and Poverty through Draconian Debtor Laws

One of the most distressing and grievous national afflictions causing poverty and suffering in Israel is the huge percentage of Israelis who are entrapped in perpetual, hopeless debt.  Israel is a nation of prisoners of debt.  Obviously, some Israelis are in debt because of carelessness; but others are in debt because of misfortune or fraud (against them) or other reasons.  The point here is that Israel has enacted laws which mete out life-long punishment to debtors who cannot repay. The government closes their bank accounts, takes away their passports and makes it illegal for them to own a business.  Next, the banks add on ever-increasing interest that usually causes the debt to rise beyond anything the debtor can ever hope to pay back in ten, twenty, thirty or more years.  The courts then begin a pay-back scheme by deducting a hefty amount from the debtor’s pay check if he or she has a pay check. 

 

May 2006 MaozIsrael Report

Since many of those in debt make minimum or low-paying wages, taking a few hundred shekels out of their salary puts them and their families at or below the poverty level. Then the debtor has to take on more debt to feed his family and to make ends meet. 

The worst dilemma occurs when the debtor fails to continue to make the court-ordered debt re-payments and he or she then goes to jail.  Often Israelis, anticipating such a court decision, leave their jobs for fear of being forced to pay an amount for life that they do not believe is possible. 

As economist Asher Meir says, the person in such a situation can never make a fresh start.  “You are basically condemned to a lifetime of poverty, because all your earnings will be eaten up by your creditors who don’t get any benefit from the arrangement, since the court has already approved a laughably inadequate payback scheme [as far as the creditor is concerned].” (J.P. 3Feb06) 

 


In other words, the payback scheme is more to punish the debtor than to pay back the debt, which when compounded with interest, is often an impossible goal.  These laws have generated a culture of poor people who then attempt to survive by living hand-to-mouth with low-paying temporary jobs wherein they don’t report their taxes. 

This tragic situation is far more complicated and far reaching than what we are able to report fully in this article; but suffice it to say that once a person gets hopelessly in debt in Israel; there is almost never a legal way  to earn enough money to survive and live a normal life. Leading a congregation of many new believers, we have seen time and again hopelessly in-debt Israelis accept Yeshua’s salvation.    No doubt, often the economic stress causes them to search for God; and thus they came to faith. But breaking this stranglehold of poverty is one of the most difficult tests our members face.

One of our most outstanding members, who came to know Yeshua nine years ago after he had had a business failure resulting in a debt of $300,000, has struggled without respite for years to pay off his debt and to settle with the banks - simply to get free.  The pressure we have seen this hard-working man and his family live under is inhuman.  Today, he is still struggling, praying and believing that one day he will be free of debt and that he will able to work as a normal citizen.

Another strong middle-aged believer in our congregation has led many people to the Lord.  After losing everything in a failed business, he sought the Lord and found Him - no doubt with the help of the faithful prayers of his own brother.  However, no matter how many times we talked to him, he has refused to go out and get a regular job.  He has been  fearful that the courts will claim such a high percentage of his wages that the result would be that he would end up in jail, unable to pay.  And so to this day he lives with his family and does not work.

Through the donations of our Maoz contributors to istandwithisrael.com, we have been able to help a few worthy believers to settle large debts by negotiating directly with creditors who agreed to accept a small percentage of the entire debt - arranged by lawyers that we hired.  For example, after several years of praying and working to get free of a large business debt, one of our members, with our help and after many court appearances, is now debt free and studying for a new career.

In other countries such as the U.S., England, New Zealand, Australia and Canada, where there is a process in dire circumstances to declare bankruptcy and to start fresh again, the economies are far more entrepreneurial and successful, says Asher Meir. (ibid.)

Obviously, we are not for easy release from legitimate debt; and whenever someone is able to pay back his debt, he has a moral obligation to do so.  But this country is plagued with financial hostages who have made a mistake or had bad fortune and are doomed to never have another chance to live normally again.  Since they can’t give their children a decent upbringing, the poverty cycle often becomes generational. 
The Lord loves the poor and the Bible lays down a precept in the law of the Jubilee.  The principal of freedom from suffocating debt is found in Leviticus 25:35: If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him…so he can continue to live among you. 

Thus God created a plan to free his people from debt every seventh and every fiftieth year:  At the end of every seven years you shall grant a remission of debts.  Deut. 15:1 Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty [from debt, loss and slavery] throughout the land to all its inhabitants.  It shall be a jubilee for you…Lev. 25:10 

Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you show ill will toward your needy brother and give him nothing.  He may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin.

There will always be poor people in the land.  Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.  Deut. 15:9,11

Rather than advocating these exact laws to be reinstated in Israel, we are pointing out the moral, ethical and Biblical principle that no state should sentence multitudes of its own citizens to a lifetime of financial slavery and object poverty.

Asher Meir sums it up:  It is ironic and a bit of a shame that Israel, which gave the world this inspiring vision for a society with a built-in mechanism for a fresh start, has such a primitive system for realizing this vision.  (Ibid.)

Final section to be continued next month...
 

 

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To “I Stand with Israel”:
 
Thank you so much for your help! We received our check of NIS 5,000* today. What a wonderful help from the Lord!
 
We just started a business and have gone into deep debt due to problems with our car and other difficulties which we didn’t anticipate as we started our new business and moved to a new place.
 
We bless the Lord for His kindness just as “the water was up to our neck,” your help lifted us up and showed us how good God is!!
 
Efrat and Arie
Congregation “Shemen Sasson”,
Jerusalem


Dear “I Stand with Israel”,
 
We, Yariv and Natali, thank you for your help and support of NIS 3,000*.  At the time you sent us your financial support, we were in a very difficult situation due to our low salaries which are not sufficient to cover our living expenses. We were so grateful when we heard from our congregational leader Yuri Kalmikov that you wanted to bless us by helping us to pay for our studies.
 
After finishing the army service, we wanted to get married but because of our faith in Yeshua the Messiah, we experienced difficulties marrying in an Orthodox ceremony, which is the only type that is recognized in Israel. We then had to fly out of the country for the wedding, and that expense was covered by money which had been intended for our studies.  Because of that, I was concerned that I would not be able to complete my studies which would result in continuing the cycle of low-paying jobs.  I wanted something better for my family.
 
We thank you so much for your help and for the blessing of being able to continue my studies. Thank you, Yeshua the Messiah, for taking care of us.
 
Yariv and Natali
Congregation “Mayim Chayim”.
Haifa


Dear “I Stand with Israel”,
 
I want to express our thanks for the funds of NIS 4,000* that has been donated to Alexander B. a member of our congregation.  

Alexander, the father of four, is the sole provider of his family. Your financial assistance made it possible for his wife to take a course in early education, which is her first opportunity to study and get professional training in Israel since their immigration in 2002.
 
Thanks to your help, she is now studying and equipping herself so that eventually she will be able to help supplement her husband’s income.  I believe that this course of study and subsequently going into the workforce will also assist her in getting better integrated into Israeli society as she will have much to contribute. Thanks to istandwithisrael.com, yet another family of new immigrants will be helped as they make a new life in Israel; they will be a good testimony and honor the Name of Yeshua our Messiah.
 
Thank you for your blessed  ministry.

Leon Mezin
Congregational leader “Shavei Zion,
Haifa

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