Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Government Protocols: Mid-september 1948

We continue our series of presenting the protocols of the cabinet (see the previous installment here).

In the week of September 8, 1948, the cabinet convened twice, on the 8th and on the 12th. There were three main topics to be discussed, all of them still relevant in 2013.

The first was the relationship between the State of Israel and its Orthodox citizens, focusing on the conditions of miltary service and how they might be squared with religious commandments. Apparently some Orthodox soldiers near Netanya had been ordered to do something they felt they couldn't do, so they'd been arrested. This prompted one of the religious ministers, Rabbi Fishman, to threaten to resign. The cabinet told him his resignation wouldn't be accepted, and also ordered the soldiers released, as well as set up to figure out how to deal with such matters. A similar committee will undoubtedly be set up as soon as the present coalition negotiations end, and it won't be the last, either.

There was a discussion about the high consumer prices and what to do about them. A committee was set up. (And another will be set up any day now, just wait and see.)

Finally, there was discussion about Israel's position at the UN regarding Jerusalem. It can be summarized thusly: Israel will not relinquish its control of the Western half, and certainly not for some sort of internationalization; if, however, the UN decided that the Old City should be internationalized (Israel didn't control that part), Israel might be willing to go along with the idea. Better that than Jordanian control which would prevent any access to Jews. (As indeed happened.) Without being privy to any insider information, it's safe to bet that this, also, is on the agenda of Israel's present political leaders, all these years later.

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