It looks like Avraham Poraz has been waiting for this job all his life. Only five years ago he was nearly out of politics, and now he is behaving in the Interior Ministry as if a coiled spring has been released - every day brings new revolutionary reforms, and new headlines.
At the beginning of the week he granted Israeli citizenship to 10 non-Jewish soldiers serving in Givati, the paratroopers, navy, medical corps and Border Police, and announced he plans to give citizenship to their parents. He did not hesitate to say that, in his eyes, "they are preferable to those Jews who don't serve in the army. They are part of the Zionist enterprise, they identify with the country, are ready to serve it, they speak Hebrew, and they have a Jewish connection. They came here because they had a great-grandparent who was Jewish." It's no accident that Sallai Meridor, chairman of the Jewish Agency, took part in the ceremony. Isn't that the real Jewish behavior, to be grateful to those who endanger their lives for the general good?
Poraz also plans to grant citizenship to non-Jewish 17- and 18-year-olds who were born in the country or arrived at a very young age, and went through all the socialization of being an Israeli. That is also authentic Jewish behavior - fairness to the foreigner who lives among you.
A day after he went on the job, Poraz granted temporary residency to Natalia Sanikova, whose son was killed in the Dolphinarium massacre. Before that she couldn't even dream of such a thing. He also decided to grant citizenship to people who made a special contribution to the country. So maybe the true Jew is Poraz and not Shas party chairman Eli Yishai; the most important commandments, after all, are those that are about relations between people and other people and not between people and God.
Poraz doesn't limit himself to dealing with personal problems. On Passover he decided the campaign against leavened bread in public is not a priority for his ministry. It's interesting the local authorities didn't turn to the ministry for inspectors to hunt down chametz, leavened bread. In the past, city halls knew that if they didn't ask the Shas-run Interior Ministry for such inspectors, the Shas people would choke off their budgets. This time they had nothing to fear.
In general, the local authorities feel as if they have gone from slavery to freedom. They aren't required to make commitments or reach "understandings" to get budgets from the ministry, as opposed to the past practice, when the ministry would only pass over money to the local authority on the understanding that some of it would go to religious institutions.
In the matter of the budget, Poraz found an ally in the treasury, which is not known for wanting to waste money. He proposes cutting a third of the state financing for political parties in the coming municipal elections and even adopted a proposal to unify local authorities - a move that would save NIS 2 billion a year because dozens of local townships would be merged into larger ones.
But the biggest revolution relates to the Haredim. According to the economic program that passed its first reading, all child allowances will be unified and made equal. A new child will get an allowance equivalent to that of the first child (abolishing the significant increase in compensation from the fifth child up). The incentive for creating large families will be eliminated, and that is the most effective instrument in the campaign against poverty and ignorance. In addition, the allowances for existing children will be equalized, albeit in a gradual four-year process. Furthermore, the budgets for yeshiva students will be cut in half - and they will get permits to work after study hours. Yeshivas with fewer than 100 pupils won't get any budgets, which will mostly harm the small yeshivas in the settlements.
Shas sees these revolutions and their hearts shrink. Maybe it's time for those secular people who showered fire and brimstone on Shinui to begin changing their tune.
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