Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Labor is the new saviour of the Charedim, really?

The heads of the Charedi parties (especially Deri and Liztman) have been going around and proclaiming that they are done with the Likud and Netanyahu and that they will be working to make Yitzchak Herzog, the head of the Labor party the next Prime Minister of Israel.

However, lets take a look at some of the positions of Labor and Herzog:
1. Draft of Charedim - Labor and Herzog are in favor, in fact, Herzog said that he would have voted in favor of the current draft bill that includes criminal sanctions.
2. Women's right - Labor and Herzog were in the forefront against הדרת נשים and are opposed to mehadrin buses.
3. Reform Rabbis - Labor and Herzog support the state recognizing Reform Rabbis and ending the Orthodoc monopoly on Judaism.
4. The "Peace Process" - Labor and Herzog have always pushed for the "peace process" and a Palestinian state and they have no problem with dividing Jerusalem.

On other words, it is clear that Labor not only does not support the Charedim on their big issues, but in fact, Labors positions on these issues are probably worse for the Charedim then the Likud. If so, why are the Charedi MKs pushing Herzog? The answer would seem to be petty revenge. They are very upset with Netanyahu and believe that he betrayed them so they want to take revenge on him. The problem is that they are cutting off their noses to spite their faces.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Is there causality between the number of full time Torah learners and the results of Israel's wars?

R' Yair Hoffman posted the following chart which he claimed showed that the correlation of loss of life of IDF soldiers r”l in the wars to the amount of Yeshiva students studying in Yeshiva, shows a clear inverse relationship: the more students in yeshiva, the less loss of life.
Name of WarTotal loss of life, r”l# of Yeshiva Students in Israel
1982 Lebanon War72512,150
2006 Lebanon War16551,084
2012 Operation Cast Lead1366,000
Clearly, the number of lives lost is only 1 factor in the success or failure of a war  and is very much dependent on who you are fighting and what kind of war. Fighting Hamas terrorists in Gaza should lead to fewer casualties then fighting an all out war against multiple Arab armies armed with the latest weapons. Therefore, the fact that only 13 soldiers were killed in Operation Cast Lead does not show anything about the efficacy of Torah learning, the low number of casualties was expected based on the military situation. In fact, IMHO a much better barometer is the actual outcome of the war and if we use that as our measure of Torah learnings protection we come to the opposite conclusion. 
Name of WarOutcome of War# of Yeshiva Students in Israel
1948Miraculous Victory400
1967Miraculous Victory600
1973Hard fought painful victory800
1982 Lebanon WarNot a clear cut victory, led to an almost 20 year occupation of Southern Lebanon12,150
2006 Lebanon WarDraw51,084
2012 Operation Cast LeadMarginal at Best66,000
Based on the chart above one can make the argument that as the number of full time learners mushroomed the outcomes of the wars became progressively worse. 

Is any of this conclusive? Of course not, but I think that my analysis makes a lot more sense then R' Hoffman's.