Israeli News: A Daily Analysis
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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

July 18 , 2007 State Comptroller Releases Report on Home Front

Today, the State Comptroller released his report on the preparations of and actions on the Homefront during last summer’s Lebanon War. It was a long and comprehensive report, totaling over 500 pages. The report was extremely critical of the government, the army and the local authorities. No great surprise. Anyone who was watching TV or listening to radio last summer could have written the summary of this report. The country was not ready for war, and no one will ever be able to explain why Gaydamak was able to create a tent city for northern “refugees” in the early part of the war, while the government could not get their act together even in the war’s final days. Prime Minister Olmert’s response… was to criticize State Comptroller Lindenstraus for attacking him.

The Winograd Commission announced today that it would not issue any letters of warning. The Commission contends that individuals who appeared before them have already been sufficiently warned. This important decision will allow the Commission to release the Final report sooner rather than later. Some commentators believe that Olmert will petition the high court to stop the issuing of the final report. It’s expected Olmert will say that since he is likely to be hurt by the report, he has the right to be legally be warned.

Abu Mazen gave a strong speech today. In it he called Hamas’s Meshal “a liar and cheat”. Abu Mazen further called for holding new elections. His expectation, which was immediately met by Hamas, was that Hamas would refuse the call for new elections.

With his call for elections, Abu Mazen is trying to undermine Hamas’ only claim to legitimacy… that they one an election. Whatever has been said about Abbas… (I watched part of his speech) he certainly seems utterly determined to win his confrontation with Hamas.

A report came out over the weekend that has generated a great deal of controversy. The report showed that the percentage of youth being drafted is going down. A great deal of this is simply a result of demographics: The two fastest growing parts of the population are the Haredim and the Israeli Arabs. By and large, neither of these two groups go into the army. There is some evidence that a larger number of others are getting out of service using various excuses. The numbers are not large, but still troubling. One troubling statistics is that 3% of youth do not get drafted due to criminal records. A survey released today shows that when asked if there has been a changed in the willingness to serve in the last 10 years… based on personal experiences… 57% said “there has been a drop in the willingness to serve”… 23% said “there has been no change”… 10% said “service percentages higher” and … 18% answered “do not know”.

There continues to be a discussion on what secular subjects needs to be taught in the Haredi schools. Today, in a discussion on “Popolitica, on this subject, MK Gafni from Yahdut HaTorah, stated there was no need for teaching the secular subjects…. since learned every subjects from classical sources… he learned Astronomy from studying Rambam, and civics from learning Masechet Brachot.