Yaakov Lifshitz didn't think of this. The previous chairmen also regarded the annual conference of the Israel Center for Management (MIL) as a serious event devoted to issues of management, economics and society. So it was natural that economists, politicians and members of academia involved in this area would appear at the conference.
But Benny Gaon, who was recently elected to be the chairman of MIL, thinks differently. The conference does focus on an important issue: "Leadership in Crisis" and both Ariel Sharon and Silvan Shalom will address the meeting. But who are they compared to the gimmick: Ovadia Yosef.
Benny Gaon asked and he agreed to speak at the conference about "Wealth and poverty in the State of Israel." Can Gaon give us one example of a free-thinker making a speech at a Shas convention? When has an industrialist been invited to a kollel or yeshiva to speak about the value of work? When has a university lecturer been asked to speak at Shas' El Hama'ayan educational network about democracy, equality and human values?
Only this week the same person - who does not merit the title of rabbi - continued to heap scorn on the justices of the Supreme Court. Only two weeks ago, he called doctors "beasts, who know nothing." He represents the opposite of all of the values of a free person, who works for a living and serves in the army.
After all, the basic ideology of Ovadia Yosef is parasitic: He teaches his followers how to live at the expense of those attending the MIL conference and their employees. He instructs his followers to live without working, as yeshiva students. He even urges them not to serve in the army - since there are all of the MIL conference attendees and their children to protect them with their bodies and souls.
He even pushes his faithful toward poverty: as many children and as little education as possible. Then they must vote for Shas - who takes care of the money if not Shas MKs? So Benny Gaon wants to hear him talk about wealth and poverty in Israel. There is apparently no limit to self-effacement.
The management of El Al thinks it can do anything and the non-religious public will continue to fly with it under any condition. Well, we have news for them: There's a change in the air. The latest episode, in which a group of unruly Haredim prevented the rest of the passengers on a flight from New York from quietly watching a movie, was the straw that broke the camel's back. From every side, I'm hearing more and more people saying: no more flying El Al. The time has come for El Al also to realize that you still have rights, even if you're not Haredi.
The flight crew did not try to control the riotous group of Haredim and El Al's management downplayed the incident so that it can continue its self-effacement before the Haredi passengers. Thus, it is less and less pleasant to fly El Al. And when the managing director of the company says this week that El Al will not return to profitability this year, he needs to take one more factor into consideration: the secular passengers who are fed up.
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