Right-wing spokesmen, including some elected officials, rushed to place Yaakov "Jack" Teitel in the fringe group alongside Yigal Amir, Eden Natan Zada, Eliran Golan, Asher Weisgan, Danny Tikman and a few other "political/ideological" murderers.
True, they acknowledge, there are among us several lunatic rabbis who agitate to violence. Really, just a handful; even a toddler could count them.
The more stringent will note that unlike the Hamas government, our government does not pay the salaries of rabbis who advocate the killing of babies.
Is that so? Not really.
For example, government ministries regularly transfer support and funding to a yeshiva whose rabbi determined that it is permissible to kill gentile babies "because their presence assists murder, and there is reason to harm children if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us ... it is permissible to harm the children of a leader in order to stop him from acting evilly ... we have seen in the Halakha that even babies of gentiles who do not violate the seven Noahide laws, there is cause to kill them because of the future threat that will be caused if they are raised to be wicked people like their parents."
Lior Yavne, who oversees research at the Yesh Din human rights organization, checked and found that in 2006-2007, the Ministry of Education department of Torah institutions transferred over a million shekels to the Od Yosef Hai yeshiva in Yitzhar.
The Ministry of Social Affairs has allocated over 150,000 shekels to the yeshiva since 2007, scholarships for students with financial difficulties studying there. And what can they learn with the help of public funding from the head of the yeshiva, Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira? According to selected items published last week in the media, the boys can learn that Teitel is not only innocent, but also a real saint.
Their spiritual leader stated in his book, "Torat Hamelekh" that "a national decision is not necessary in order to permit the shedding of blood of an evil kingdom. Even individuals from the afflicted kingdom can attack them."
A brochure distributed in Judean and Samarian communities stated that "needless to say that nowhere in the book does it state that these remarks are aimed only at gentiles in ancient times."
The commandments in the book do not suffice only with gentiles; you can also find in them approval to attack leftist professors: every citizen in the kingdom opposing us who encourages the fighters or expresses satisfaction with their actions is considered a pursuer and his killing is permissible," wrote the rabbi and adds, "and also considered a pursuer is someone whose remarks weaken our kingdom or have a similar effect."
Not long ago, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced that he would ask European Union countries to halt their support for the Breaking the Silence organization because he was displeased with their publications.
The minister surely has reservations about the rabbi's publications.
He is invited to approach his colleagues at the Ministry of Education and at the Ministry of Social Affairs.
Water down the drain
Prof. Raphael Semiat, the head of the Technion's Grand Water Research Institute in Haifa, took the trouble to travel to Jerusalem and come to the Knesset to participant in a forum organized by MK Miri Regev (Likud) to discuss the water shortage and the drought tax.
He left the meeting with same feeling he has had since last spring: the Finance Ministry continues to mismanage the situation and the public continues to pay the cost.
He says that the Finance Ministry representative presented his controversial position (Semiat used a less parliamentary phrase), and then left without listening to the professor's harsh criticism.
"The Finance Ministry has for years not made it possible to take vital steps to save the water situation," Semiat chided those present, "and it has the chutzpah to demand that the public pay the price of its shortcomings."
Last May 28 researchers from the Grand Water Research Institute, all of whom are either professors or doctors, sent a letter to all cabinet ministers and senior officials who have anything to do with the water issue, from the Finance Ministry to the National Infrastructure Ministry and the Agriculture Ministry to the Industry, Trade and Employment Ministry.
The researchers listed a series of measures that could be taken to add at least 100-150 million cubic meters of water to the economy annually within a few months.
That amount is equivalent to the amount of water desalinated at each of the big desalination plants in Ashkelon and Hadera per year.
It is hard to believe, but none of the ministers and none of the officials responded to the letter.
Instead of providing water, they are offering a whole lot of excuses, some of them untrue.
The most notable among them is that the state does not have the budget to finance new desalination plants, this at a time when the state's primary expenditure is publishing tenders in the media; everything else is covered by the winners of the tenders.
Here is a selection of the quick solutions proposed by the Grand Water Research Institute's researchers that were not considered by the authorities and which according to Technion experts could with one to two months restore around 20 million cubic meters of water annually to the economy:
Switching from using tens of millions of cubic meters of drinking water annually for paving and roadwork to the use of treated sewage water.
More efficient use of purified sewage water designated for agricultural uses (currently around 30 percent of purified sewage water flows into the sea).
Use of available technologies for recycling water for gardening and toilet flushing.
Prof. Semiat warns that continuing mismanagement will lead to a disaster.
He explains that even if the winter benefits the water level of Lake Kinneret, and it fills completely, the lake provides no more than 30 percent of the state's water consumption.
In the meantime the salinity of the aquifer waters, which supplies most of the water consumption, is increasing daily.
Guess who will pay the price for this debacle?
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