MK

Religious students in Israel are less proficient in English than their Secular peers

English week at Ulpanat Bnei Akiva Neria
A recently released study of the educational systems in Israel revealed that religious-Zionist high school graduates in Israel were less prepared for university-level English than their secular peers.

The study, conducted by Ariel Finkelstein for the 'Ne'emanei Torah Va'Avodah' religious-Zionist movement, was based on a sampling of psychometric exams for college entrance from the years 2000 to 2012. The findings were conclusive: religious students consistently scored 11 and 15 points below secular students in English proficiency, while on par or better than their secular peers in every other subject.

YBA Educational Network
Director General Elchanan Glatt
"To some extent this is understandable, given the extra hours and emphasis on Jewish Studies in religious schools that doesn't exist in secular schools," said Elchanan Glatt, the Director General of the Yeshivot Bnei Akiva Educational Network in Israel, "still, these findings are worrisome for religious Zionist educators. Perhaps in the past some elements in the religious Zionist public saw the study of foreign languages as unimportant. But that worldview is no longer relevant. Today it is clear to everyone that speaking a foreign language fluently, especially English, is an essential part of a high-quality education."

Glatt pointed to two graduates of YBA high schools as personal examples: Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipy Hotovely and Minister of Education Naftali Bennett. "Today's generation sees YBA graduates in the Knesset, and eloquently presenting Israel's case in English in the international media, and they understand the importance of English. They know that English is the international language in computer sciences, medicine, physics and every other scientific field, including the social sciences such as sociology or history."

Glatt stressed that the YBA educational network was taking the findings seriously and working to close the gaps in English proficiency. YBA created a new position for a network-wide English Instruction Supervisor to advise schools on how they can improve. In-service training programs are being planned for English teachers, and measurable benchmark goals are being set for each school. "The process should take two years to fully implement before we will be able to see quantifiable results," he said. "The improvement won't come at the expense of our Jewish Studies program. We have enough hours for English lessons, we just have to invest in making those hours as effective and productive as possible."

MK Nissan Slomiansky: "We need to highlight that Israel is a Jewish state"

"THE GOAL: A SUPREME COURT THAT REPRESENTS THE ENTIRE PUBLIC"

Nissan Slomiansky, the new chairman of the Committee on Constitution, Law and Justice, is against the enactment of Basic Laws and in favor of setting new rules. In a confrontational interview he criticizes the Supreme Court ("Haredim and Arabs feel they are without representation") and promises to see that more and more laws passed by the Knesset will be grounded in Jewish law

By Gideon Alon, ISRAEL TODAY, June 29, 2015 (translation)

MK Nissan Slomiansky
Although only a few weeks have passed since he took office as Chairman of the Knesset Constitution Committee, MK Nissan Slomiansky (Jewish Home) has strong and clear positions on issues of law and justice, and he knows just what he intends to accomplish during his tenure.

Slomiansky (69) has served ten years in the Knesset, but not continuously. He previously served for more than 20 years (1998-1977) as mayor of Elkana, where he lives with his family. He was a founder of the Gush Emunim movement, and the secretary general and member of the Yesha Council. In 1997 he became an MK for the first time on the NRP list. He lost his seat in the next elections to the 15th Knesset, but returned to the Knesset in 2003 as part of the National Union and has served two terms. In the elections to the 18th Knesset he won first place in the list of the Jewish Home party, but gave up his place for the benefit of the late journalist Uri Orbach. In the 19th Knesset was appointed to the prestigious post of chairman of the Finance Committee.

MK Slomiansky is a very hardworking MK and a pleasant person all around. He was born in Ramat Gan and studied at the YBA Nechalim yeshiva high school and then at Yeshivat Hesder Kerem b'Yavneh, where he received rabbinical ordination. He also has two Master’s degrees, in Physics from Bar-Ilan University, and in Jewish Law from Tel Aviv University.

The Chairman of the Constitution Committee makes no secret of the criticism he has of the Supreme Court, and in particular the judicial activism of the former Chief Justice Aharon Barak. When I reminded him that eight years have passed since Barak resigned, he replies: "But his spirit still reigns there in the Supreme Court."

"The court is not the legislator"

The platform of the Jewish Home party says that you oppose the excessive and unnecessary intervention of the Supreme Court in legalization. What does that mean?

"During the period of Justice Barack, the Supreme Court became the country's chief legislator. For example when I was a legislator, I passed a law that had a particular purpose with explanations and justifications. But when the law came up for judicial review, Barak said: 'I interpret the law differently than the legislature,’ and from that moment on, his interpretation became the binding interpretation in all circumstances.

"Barak also assumed the authority to overturn laws passed by the legislature, which was never the intended role of the Supreme Court. He was not the legislature. If he thought that a law needed changing, there were ways that he could unofficially direct the attention of the politicians to changing the law. The Knesset is the democratic body elected by the public, and therefore the Court must act in accordance with the laws of the Knesset, and assume the authority to overrule them."

You also claim that the Supreme Court is disconnected and does not reflect the general public. How so?

"I'll give you a few examples. In the Barak era the Court upgraded two laws that the Knesset enacted as ordinary laws into Basic Laws [referring to the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty and Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation - GA]. This gave these laws enormous power comparable to a constitution, and then the Court began to compare any new law that the Knesset enacted to these Basic Laws. If Barak’s understanding of the new law passed by the legislature contradicted a Basic Law, he abolished the new legislation. You understand what tremendous authority he assumed for himself? Furthermore, analysis of Supreme Court rulings made by various parties clearly proves that there is still a strong tendency toward the Left on the Court. I aspire that the Supreme Court will be connected to the public, with everyone being represented in some way. Today there are sectors of the general public, including the ultra-Orthodox and the Arabs, who do not feel that the court represents them, and that for all intents and purposes, the Court exists in a vacuum; and that's not good. Once wider sectors of the public feel that the Supreme Court represents them, it will give the Court legitimacy. "

"Change the composition of the committee"

How will you handle this situation?

"First of all by expanding the composition of the Judicial Appointments Committee, so that there will be three ministers instead of two and three MKs instead of two, because today there are three judges on committee who typically operate in coordination with two representatives of the Israel Bar Association, thus controlling a majority on the committee. We need to create a situation on the committee where five committee members will not be able to veto judicial appointments."

Why are you against legislation of other Basic Laws to complete a Constitution?

"In principle, we are against Basic Laws and a Constitution, because we believe that Israel already has a constitution and it is the Bible. In one of the meetings of the Knesset Constitution Committee, which was attended by Justice Barak, I argued with him about the importance of the Constitution. I asked him: 'If you have a constitution, who will interpret it?' And he replied, ‘the Supreme Court.’ I told him I thought the constitution should interpreted by a special court established just for constitutional review, or another external entity composed of public figures, to which he replied: ‘If so, then there is no point to a Constitution.’ The meaning of his words is that once the Constitution is ratified with the Supreme Court as its interpreter - then there will be nothing to prevent the Supreme Court becoming the supreme sovereign."

Your party's platform states that "legislation should be avoided that imposes religious or secular standards, and the status of Jewish law should be upgraded in the country.” What does that mean?

"There's no reason for there to be a conflict between the legislation in the Knesset and Jewish law. To date, no legislation passed by the legislature contradicts Jewish law. It is very important that the Jewish state should incorporate as many concepts as possible from traditional Jewish law in our modern legal system, because many of the 3,000 year-old laws have much beauty. I submitted a bill that states that every lacuna in modern legislation should include precedents found in Jewish law. Jewish law will thereby be modernized while at the same time enriching our modern law."

Do you support the proposal to split the roles of the Attorney General into two positions, one Legal Counsel to the government and the other to head the Public Prosecutor’s Office?

"The issue of separation of the functions of the Attorney General and the head of public prosecution is a heavy topic that needs to be changed, but it should be carried out in a serious manner. I intend to hold in-depth hearings on this issue. The current situation is not good, the Attorney General is essentially the landlord for all ".

"Everyone is equal before the law"

How about the phenomenon of corruption in law enforcement, prosecution, police and among lawyers?

"There is no doubt that it is a very difficult situation when the heads of government - including a former president, a former prime minister, a former finance minister and others - are sent to prison or convicted of serious crimes. Nevertheless, we should view in a positive light the fact that the state is waging a campaign against corruption in such cases, and does not flinch from prosecuting even the most senior positions in government. We must invest in denouncing these kinds of phenomena in our educational system, even in early childhood education."

Look do you think will be the highlight of your activity in your current term of office?

"We need to highlight any parliamentary legislation that first of all, Israel is a Jewish state. When Barak was president of the Supreme Court, he turned the tables and explained Jewish state as something amorphous and abstract. Therefore, with any law enacted by the Knesset we must emphasize that we are a Jewish state, and interpret what the Jewish moral tradition is in this area of Statecraft. Take for example the Law of Return. When the state was established the state’s leaders had the wisdom to enact the Law of Return, as well as family law governing marriage and divorce, so that we can live here as a Jewish state. We also will need to make changes in the laws regarding governance and national sovereignty. "


Slomiansky believes he has a chance to promote these changes: "A leader needs to have ambition, a desire to move forward, and to know what he wants to accomplish. It’s a bit difficult with a coalition of 61 Knesset members, but I'm optimistic."

Passover interview with Rabbi Drukman - Part 1 of 3: The 'Formerly Religious' Phenomenon

"Do everything you can to ensure the future of the people and the country."

Rabbi Haim Drukman established a generation and paved the way for the religious Zionist movement in many areas. Apart from the love of Torah and love of Israel, he has a great message here for today's youth

By Ariel Horowitz – Arutz Sheva, Small World Magazine, 12 Nissan 5775, 01/04/15 (Translation)

Rabbi Drukman at memorial service
for Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, zt"l
This year, as every year, Rabbi Haim Drukman visited the grave of his mentor, Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Hacohen Kook, on the Mount of Olives on his yortzeit (the Fast of Esther). Thirty years have passed since that rainy day that Rabbi Zvi Yehuda was buried. "I think that his character is sorely missed today," said Rabbi Drukman with sad eyes, "In many situations, I feel that he is missing." How symbolic that three years ago, on his way back home from the Mount of Olives, the rabbi received notification of winning the Israel Prize.

"The real prize is the privilege to contribute to the nation, the state, the Israeli public," says Rabbi Drukman, "When there is official recognition of this enterprise, it certainly adds value."  Rabbi Drukman’s modest words actually allude to several enterprises: his establishment of Bnei Akiva yeshivas in Israel, his many years of work with the Association of Hesder Yeshivot and his position as head of the Israel government’s Conversion Authority. This last role put him in a severe – some would say explosive – conflict with the ultra-Orthodox Haredi world.

In his book-lined study at his home in Merkaz Shapira, a small religious community in the south, just a short walking distance from Yeshivat Bnei Akiva Or Etzion that he founded, Rabbi Drukman sits, learning and teaching, advising students and rabbis, in person and on the phone; Looking down from above is a painting of Rabbi Kook, whose name he mentions during our conversation over and over again. Just before Passover we came to his home to talk to him, to try to understand some of his teachings, and to hear his thoughts on religious Zionism, today's youth and Israeli society.

‘Taking off the hat’


When I ask Rabbi Drukman to recall the religious world that he experienced in his youth, he was not tempted to glorify the past and put down the present. As usual, he is full of gratitude for our situation today. "The situation in the days of my boyhood was far different from the case today. Like [the distance between] heaven and earth. I was once interviewed on a Channel One TV program, and the interviewer said, 'Israel is full of religious education, but it is also full of datlashim - formerly religious people!' I replied: 'Let your ears hear what your mouth is saying: There are also formerly religious people! Decades ago the majority were formerly religious people! You have to understand that just a few decades ago everyone was traveling in just one direction: the off-ramp leaving the path Torah and the Mitzvot.

Boys and girls finished the eighth grade in a religious school, and that was the end of all their connection to Judaism. They were drawn to the big ideas of that era: building the Land, pioneering, Socialism; and it seemed to them that these ideas had nothing to do with the Torah. We would say, 'so-and so has taken off his hat' – because in those days the boys would go with hats, berets, in public. Who ever dreamed that religious youth would go on the street wearing a kipa? How can anyone not see what a revolution took place? Today there is a world of tremendous religious Zionist Torah that is unprecedented! We have an entire population; we have institutions and youth movements. Look at how much value there is in [religious Zionist] education; how effective it is and how much it influences."   

Are ‘formerly religious’ people today leaving religion for the same reasons as before?

"I don’t think so. Today, it is usually the religiously weak youth, those without a strong religious background; boys who went with a kipa but without any commitment to religious Zionist values. If there are internal values, you can stand up to all kinds of crises and difficulties, exposure to other influences and peer pressure. But if there are no values, a religious upbringing will not last. Some people are outraged when formerly religious people are referred to as 'captured babies’ [who never learned Torah]. They claim that that the formerly religious are people with great values who turned to another path after thoroughly investigating [religion]. But no one can convince me this is the reality. [In most cases] it is a weak youth who comes into contact with a particular social group, and finds it difficult to resist the peer pressure; so he allows himself to pulled along in order to fit in. What can you do? It is a sign of lack of character. It is important that we fill our students with substance and develop their character, [so they will have the backbone] to stand on their own."

Do you think that secularization is associated only through one’s encounter with another world, or can is be due to problems in the religious world itself?

"You cannot generalize. In most cases, it is about a weak character who could not cope with the reality around him, but there are also youths who were disappointed with the religious world, so they left. Rabbi Kook, of blessed memory, wrote long ago that people, by mistake, relate to Judaism through those who they see practicing it [rather than for what it really is]. Sometimes someone may encounter a rabbi that disappoints him, and because of it he projects that disappointment onto the values the rabbi seems to represent. One needs to make a distinction between a specific rabbi and whole of the religious world. It is the identification of Judaism with a specific individual that often creates the motivation to become secular."

Go to Part 2: Rabbis and Politics

Go to AFYBA Website

Nine YBA Alumni Elected to the 20th Knesset

YBA schools have been training leaders for Israeli society for the past 75 years, including a long list of former Members of Knesset, Israel's parliament.

AFYBA proudly congratulates the nine YBA graduates who were recently elected to serve as Members of the 20th Israeli Knesset. They are:

 MK Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi), YBA Yavne, Haifa
Maj. (Res.) Naftali Bennett (42) was elected to the 19th Knesset as the head of the Habayit Hayehudi party. A former successful high tech entrepreneur, he served as the Chief of Staff in the Prime Minister's office, and as CEO of the Yesha Council, where he led the struggle against the constructions freeze in Yesha settlements. He served as the Economic Minister in he 19th Knesset.


MK Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan (Habayit Hayehudi), YBA Netiv Meir, Jerusalem
Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan (60) is a captain in the IDF reserves and holds a Masters degree from the Hebrew University’s School of Public Policy Managers Program. In 1989, he was appointed as director of the Rabbinical Courts, where he led a revolution in the administration and organization of the entire Rabbinical Court system; he fought on behalf of women's rights and to make the divorce process more efficient and championed the introduction of female advocates (To’enet Rabanit) into the Rabbinical Court System. He served as Deputy Minister for Religious Services in the 19th Knesset.


MK Nissan Slomiansky (Habayit Hayehudi), YBA Nachlat Yitzchak, Nechalim
Nissan Slomiansky (68) previously served as an MK from the National Religious Party (NRP) from the 14th through the 17th Knesset, and in 2011 was appointed Vice President of the Lander Institute. He was the first secretary-general of the Gush Emunim settlement movement and founded the settlement Elkana, serving as its mayor for 21 years. He served as the Chairman of the Knesset Allocations Committee in the 19th Knesset.




MK Maj. Gen. (Res.) Moti Yogev (Habayit Hayehudi), YBA Kfar Haroeh, Kfar Haroeh
Moti Yogev (59) served as the commander of the "Malgan" commando unit of the IDF Paratroopers Brigade and holds a Master's degree in political science from Haifa University. He formerly served as the Secretary General of the Bnei Akiva Youth Movement in Israel, CEO of the Old City Jewish Quarter Development Authority and most recently, Deputy Mayor of the Binyamin Regional Council.


MK Gilad Erdan (Likud), YBA Netiv Meir, Jerusalem
Gilad Erdan (45) attained the rank of Captain during his military service in the IDF and holds a degree in Law from Bar-Ilan University. Becoming involved in politics, Erdan worked as an advisor to Prime Ministers Binyamin Netanyahu, and Ariel Sharon. He was first elected to the Knesset in 2003 and served in the 19th Knesset  as Minister of Internal Affairs. He formerly held the posts of Minister of Environmental ProtectionMinister of Communications and Home Front Defense Minister.


MK Yisrael Katz, YBA Or Etzion, Merkaz Shapira
Yisrael Katz (59) earned a BA and MA at the Hebrew University. He first entered the Knesset in November 1998 as a replacement for Ehud Olmert. He was appointed Minister of Agriculture in 2003 and has served as Israel's Minister of Transportation since 2009, leading the vast infrastructure improvements in Israel's intercity highway and railroad systems.


MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), YBA Ulpanat Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv
Tzipi Hotovely (37) completed her Bachelor's and Master's degrees at Bar-Ilan University. In 2006, she joined the panel of the political discussion program Moetzet HaHahamim (Council of the Wise), where she represented the right-wing on the panel, and started writing opinion pieces for the Maariv newspaper. When first elected at the age of 30 in 2009, she was the Knesset's youngest member. She serves as the head of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women and in the 19th Knesset served as Deputy MInister of Transportation.


MK Yaron Mazuz (Likud), YBA Pirchei Aharon, Kiryat Shmuel
Yaron Mazuz (53) has been active in the Likud party for 25 years and a social activist for underprivileged populations in the Haifa, Krayot, Acre and Nahariya area. Mazuz was elected to Kiryat Bialik City Council in 2008, and served as the city's Deputy Mayor.


MK Rabbi Shai Piron (Yesh Atid), YBA Aderet, Bat Yam
Raised in a non-observant family, Rabbi Shai Piron (56) chose to enroll in YBA Aderet for high school and has gone on to become a leading rabbi and educator. In 1995 he became the head of UBA Yeshurun in Petach Tikvah, and under his leadership the school won every educational award possible. He co-founded and serves as a Rosh Yeshiva at the Hesder yeshiva in Petach Tikvah, and helped to establish the "Tzohar" rabbinic society which runs numerous projects to foster harmony between the religious and secular. He served as the rabbi of Oranit and the CEO of "Hakol L'Chinuch," an organization that works to improve state education until entering the 19th Knesset, where he served as Minister of Education.


Alumni profile: Uri Orbach, z"l, YBA Nachlat Yitzchak, Nechalim


Uri Orbach recalled for his sharp wit and uncommon sincerity


Popular minister’s passing sparks flood of fond memories of one of Knesset’s most 

beloved personalities
 Times of Israel,  February 16, 2015, 7:01 pm


It was only at his death that fold singer Arik Einstein's centrality to modern Israeli culture and sensibilities became clear. It was only in his passing that the vast bonds of affection for the Sephardi spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef were reified in the hundreds of thousands of Israelis, including many non-Sephardim, who attended his funeral. Pensioners Affairs Minister Uri Orbach's passing on Monday carried with it a similarly telling outpouring.

Politicians from across the political spectrum recalled his devotion to the land of Israel – Orbach was an opponent of territorial withdrawals from the earliest days of the Oslo peace process – and his groundbreaking work as a religiously observant journalist in a largely secular profession.
But these prepared statements from cabinet ministers and lawmakers shed little light on the 54-year-old father of four. It was at the lower levels of Israel’s political class, among aides, journalists and activists outside the narrow elite that puts out press releases where the most telling memories were vividly relived on Monday.
“I invited Uri to my wedding,” recalled a Knesset employee who asked not to be named. “He told me he couldn’t make it because his son’s wedding was the day before.”
The employee worked as an aide for a competing party to Orbach’s Jewish Home, so it was unlikely the popular lawmaker and well-known former journalist could glean any political benefit from attending the wedding.
But it was that very fact that vexed him. “He was so worried I would think he was just giving me an excuse not to come,” the aide recalled, “that he brought me an invitation to his son’s wedding as proof of where he’d been.”
It was an incident the Knesset aide never forgot, and is of a type with the memories that surfaced in conversations and Facebook posts after news of Orbach’s death became public on Monday afternoon. That kindness and sympathetic instinct did not diminish as Orbach’s acclaim as a journalist grew or, in his last years, as his political standing won him a seat at the cabinet table.
Many also recalled his honesty.
In September 2012, political reporter Tal Schneider wrote about tensions between Likud and Jewish Home that came to the fore when Sara Netanyahu, wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, asked then-MK Orbach not to support “those who are hostile to the Likud” – a reference to Orbach’s support for Naftali Bennett’s leadership of his party. Schneider wrote at the time that Orbach was embarrassed about the incident when reached for comment, and found the need to personally criticize or contradict his opponents distasteful.
But despite his discomfort he told Schneider after their conversation that as a matter of principle he does not speak “off-the-record,” she recalled on Monday. “He said I can quote anything he’d said, as long as I didn’t distort it.”
There was little doubt on Monday that his religiosity formed an important part of the personality so admired by his friends, colleagues and acquaintances.
One non-religious Knesset aide recalled Monday that Orbach used to chastise secularist politicians who voted to cut the generous child benefits the state offered to large, primarily ultra-Orthodox families.
“He used to ask, ‘Why are you cutting subsidies to religious families?'” the aide recalled. “‘Where do you think secular Israelis come from? There will be fewer of you, not them,’ he would say.”
His was a sense of humor that cut through the raw emotions such sectoral clashes over public funds often generated in the Knesset. “He could tell the secular public that they depended on the religious, but in a way that also told the religious their own kids were joining the secular public,” the aide said.
In a statement from center-left Zionist Union leaders Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni, Orbach, a decidedly right-wing ideologue, was praised not only for bringing “wit and humor into the plenum,” but for this ability to “unite and connect all the streams of Zionism and all Israelis.”
Channel 2 anchor Sivan Rahav-Meir posted to Facebook a page from the children’s book “I promise,” penned by Orbach. On the page was a poem: “We reach Heaven / after 120 years / the poor / and the rich alike. / There they don’t ask / if you bought houses / and streets, / there the main thing / is that you collected good deeds.”
“When the children get home from kindergarten,” Rahav-Meir wrote simply, “we have to tell them he has passed.”
In an official statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remembered Orbach for his accomplishments as a “minister in the government of Israel, author, journalist, intellectual, Jewish patriot,” and praised his “knowledge and wisdom.”
But there was a moment in the prime minister’s Monday statement when the overwrought epitaphs gave way to a simple sentiment, proffering from the summit of Israeli politics the feelings shared by those below: “I have never met someone who knew him and didn’t like him,” Netanyahu said.
The Israeli political class was stung by the loss on Monday not of a cabinet minister, but of a man who would go out of his way to avoid offending a junior aide in a competing party, an ex-journalist who didn’t believe in “off the record,” a polemicist and advocate who brought to the most fraught issues on the national agenda the sincerity and guilelessness of the children’s books he authored.

YBA Rosh Yeshiva: “Political tolerance is a fundamental Jewish value.”


Israel is going to the polls on March 17th to elect its representatives to the country’s 20th Knesset. As part of the YBA network’s efforts in Training Israel’s Future™, we encourage our schools to host debates that are purposefully inclusive of multiple political perspectives.

For example, as part of their preparation for the matriculation exams in Civics, the 12th grade classes at YBA Lapid Torat Nachum and its sister school in Modiin, Ulpanat Orot Modiin, hosted a political debate last week on the subject of “Individual Rights vs Societal Rights.”

Panelists MK Elazar Stern and MK Rabbi Eli Dahan
(both graduates of YBA Netiv Meir) 
To make sure all sides of the political spectrum, from Right to Left, would be represented, the students invited Members of Knesset from 4 different political parties to present their views: MK Rabbi Eli Dahan (Bayit Yehudi), MK Moshe Gafni (Torah Judaism), MK Elazar Stern (Hatnua), and MK Dr. Laura Warton (Meretz). The head of ‘Peace Now’ in Israel, Yariv Oppenheimer, was also invited, and the panel was moderated by the students themselves.

The students were also motivated by the desire to increase the public dialogue between differing political camps in the city, so they made the debate a city-wide event by inviting their 12th grade cohorts from the two secular high schools in Modiin.

“The purpose of education is to open one’s mind, not to close it,” commented the school’s Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Shmuel Rosenbloom, “We believe that character development includes getting to know and dialogue with other types of citizens who don’t share your outlook or opinions. Political and civil tolerance is a fundamental Jewish value.”

YBA Lapid Torat Nachum Rosh Yeshiva,
Rabbi Shmuel Rosenbloom, introducing the panel members
Approximately one hundred YBA alumni have filled Knesset seats since the founding of the State.  Sixteen YBA graduates were elected to the 19th Knesset in the last national elections held two years ago. It is quite possible that this record number will be surpassed when the vote-counting for the 20th Knesset is completed on March 18.




YBA Aderet, Bat Yam rededicates its renovated Beit Midrash



On Thursday, October 31, the students and faculty of YBA Aderet in Bat Yam celebrated the re-dedication of the school's Beit Midrash, named for Mr. Dov and Mrs. Bracha Deutsch, who were among the founders of the yeshiva 30 years ago..

YBA Aderet Beit Midrash Building, Bat Yam
Donor family representative, Gili Deutsch
cutting ribbon to Beit Midrash
Former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Bakshi-Doron
reciting prayer for affiving the mezuza


Below: Minister of Education, Rabbi Shay Peron, himself a graduate of YBA Aderet,
addresses the school's faculty and student body.

Rabbi Haim Drukman on Israel's new Conversion Law: "This is a great day."

Rabbi Haim Drukman
Rabbi Haim Drukman, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Hesder Or Etzion and Chairman of Yeshivot Bnei Akiva, was the first to call to congratulate MK Elazar Stern following the passage of a new law in the Knesset that will allowing chief rabbis of cities in Israel to establish their own rabbinical courts for conversion to Judaism.

MK Stern, a graduate of YBA Netiv Meir and former IDF general, represents the "Hatunua" party in the Knesset and was the driving force behind the bill, which is expected to speed up the conversion process for thousands immigrants from the FSU and their children, who are living Jewish lives as full Israeli citizens, but are not considered Jewish according to Jewish law (Halacha).

In his phone conversation congratulating MK Stern, Rabbi Drukman said, "This is a great day for Israel and the Jewish People."

MK Elazar Stern
MK Stern commented that, "most importantly, we have returned religious Zionist rabbis to being the gatekeepers of our people - rabbis that are connected to the complexities of Israeli society and the Jewish nation, and not distanced from people; rabbis who belief that the Jewish identity of the State of Israel is not something that we can take for granted, but is a challenge that we must work at day-by-day to develop and preserve."