A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
February 21, 2012- Tal Law Illegal Say Supreme Court, According to Muslim Brotherhood Iran is a Bigger Threat than Israel
The politics of religion in Israel are about the get very interesting. For the last few months the religious 'status quo' has been shaky, to say the least. The public outcry over haredi attempts to force woman to the back of the buses, together with the events in Bet Shemesh, awakened Israel's sleeping majority. Today, there was a double response. This morning Israeli news was dominated by the decision of the Tel Aviv city council to begin pubic transportation on Shabbat. The issue has been a long simmering one. The lack of public transportation on Shabbat primarily effects the poor who do not have cars. Of course, this decision will have no immediate effect, since it needs to be approved by the Ministry of Transportation. Today's government is dependent on the religious parties, which will never allow this to happen. However, the chances of a government being formed with the religious parties in the near future is now greatly in doubt, as a result of the bombshell Supreme Court decision released tonight. The court announced that the "Tal Law" allowing Haredi men not to be drafted is invalid and cannot be extended. The future of the Tal Law was already called into question, with many politicians promising not to extend it. However, the decision of the court, who accepted the argument that any law that exempts part of the population, and thus puts undue burden on the rest, violates the basic laws of the country was far reaching. It is going to be very difficult to get around this decision. Yet I do not see the Haredim accepting any plan that is going to force their children to do army service or national. On the other hand, the rest of the Israeli population is going to have a hard time accepting any thing less. It is going to be interesting.
The rapidly changing events caused by the Arab Spring are bringing about some very strange alliances. We saw Hamid Meshal, the leader of Hamas, who was living in Syria until recently to come to an agreement with Fatah; an agreement that made Abbas the President of both groups. The Gaza leadership, led by Ismail Haniyeh rebelled against that agreement. Haniyeh then made a visit to Iran. That visit to Iran backfired, with the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt criticizing Haniyeh and urging him to reach an agreement with Abbas. Further than that, one of the Brotherhood leaders was on TV today saying that it is Iran who presents the real threat to Egypt and the Middle East. He specifically said that for the moment, it is not Israel and the Jews that are the threat, but the Iranians.
For an interesting read, see my review of "UnOrthodox".