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Jerusalem - Vizhnitz Chassid Becomes Deputy Minister for Health

Published on: April 2, 2009 09:52 AM
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MK Menahem Eliezer Moses of United Torah Judaism.MK Menahem Eliezer Moses of United Torah Judaism.
Jerusalem - Amid protests from public health experts that a full-fledged health minister is needed in the third-largest government ministry, United Torah Judaism MK Rabbi Menachem Eliezer Moses was informed Wednesday that he will be deputy minister in charge of a minister-less Health Ministry.

The 62-year-old Viznitz hassid, who has 10 children and speaks only Yiddish besides Hebrew, will have to cope with concerns and doubts about his political clout as he takes over.

While he is a Viznitz hassid, he is also close to Belz hassidim and is very interested in providing housing for young couples and accommodations for the elderly. He will replace Ya’acov Ben-Yizri, the 83-year-old health minister from the defunct Gil Pensioners Party who was considered by most as politically very weak and unsuited to the task.

UTJ has had several MKs who served in government posts but never as ministers because as a “non-Zionist” party, it avoids such positions. Moses just became an MK and already will control the important ministry.

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Moses, whose efforts have led to the building of numerous haredi geriatric homes around Israel and who was deputy director of the haredi education authority in Jerusalem where he lives, studied in yeshivot and served in the adjutancy in the Israel Defense Forces. His Knesset Web site description gives his occupation as “project initiator.”

Someone in the health system who knows Moses said he is “very smart, catches on quickly and gets along with people.” But very few ministry staffers had ever heard of him; no one was willing to be quoted for obvious reasons.

One said that “he doesn’t have to be a physician or a health expert to be in charge of the ministry. We had a physician [MK Ephraim Sneh] as minister, but he did not do well. The main thing is to have clout that can overcome unreasonable and harmful demands of the Finance Ministry.”

Another official said that he had no objection to having a haredi in charge of the ministry. “Nissim Dahan of Shas was the best and most serious health minister in decades. Shlomo Benizri was also reasonable when he was the first haredi health minister.”

Moses will be able to sit in cabinet meetings only when health matters are being discussed, but he will not be able to vote there, even when the basket of health services is the subject. Ministry officials worry that weakness could encourage Treasury officials to be even more brutal in privatizing health services and reducing budgets.

“My main problem is that nobody except Moses was willing to take the Health portfolio,” said another veteran health official. “It is very demeaning. But I hope he has initiative and knows how to acquire power, because he has to be a fighter.”

However, senior faculty at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine protested on Wednesday against the fact that there will be no health minister for the first time in 61 years. “This harms the basic right of the public for health promotion and protection, makes a mockery out of this field and constitutes a lack of public responsibility. This is magnified by the fact that the cabinet has numerous ministers without portfolio, but the vital Health portfolio is an orphan.

“This emphasizes the gap between the government’s priority list and that of the public. We call on the prime minister to appoint a health minister immediately and restore the honor of the right to health.” Although Moses has not yet set a date for moving into the ministry’s headquarters, the Israel Cancer Association has called on him to launch a massive fight against smoking, the biggest cause of preventible disease in Israel. Ben-Yizri, who admitted that he has been smoking for 65 years, did little or nothing to fight smoking.

 



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Read Comments (32)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Apr 02, 2009 at 09:28 AM Anonymous Says:

How could they hire someone who is not fluent in English for this position? It seems like it would be crucial for someone in such a position to be able to read international health related studies, most of which are in English. I see nothing wrong with having someone who is a hassid fill the position, and that that might be a positive factor.

2

 Apr 02, 2009 at 10:23 AM Hudy Says:

#1 You're just out to criticize chareidim. What makes you say that he's not fluent in English? There are plenty of chareidim in Israel who are more fluent than you in several languages.

3

 Apr 02, 2009 at 10:20 AM Lawyer Says:

Hasidim are the most active,honest and excelent organizers,this choice of hasidic Rabbi for this position is very promising and exciting.

4

 Apr 02, 2009 at 10:23 AM Anonymous Says:

Why Didn't yankel Litzman take the position he is fluent in English and born in the USA did it not pos?

5

 Apr 02, 2009 at 10:31 AM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #2  
Hudy Says:

#1 You're just out to criticize chareidim. What makes you say that he's not fluent in English? There are plenty of chareidim in Israel who are more fluent than you in several languages.

Have you read the article? Try reading before commenting.

But I don't see why he needs to read English studies. He's not a doctor, and not expected to be one. Anything in a foreign language that he needs to read will have been translated anyway, or can be translated for him. Do you think the French Minister of Health is required to read English?

6

 Apr 02, 2009 at 09:57 AM Anonymous Says:

so he doesn't speak english?!? most israeli politicians can't speak english anyway which is why derech ha'teva they constantly lose the PR war.

7

 Apr 02, 2009 at 09:47 AM yankel Says:

#1 why are you asking us,just fly over to mr netanyouhu and vice your opinion ,we didnt appoint him. maybe just e-mail will do

8

 Apr 02, 2009 at 09:36 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

How could they hire someone who is not fluent in English for this position? It seems like it would be crucial for someone in such a position to be able to read international health related studies, most of which are in English. I see nothing wrong with having someone who is a hassid fill the position, and that that might be a positive factor.

are you that dense?

9

 Apr 02, 2009 at 10:38 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

Why Didn't yankel Litzman take the position he is fluent in English and born in the USA did it not pos?

Because he provacative power hungrey person who cannot work in harmony with others.

10

 Apr 02, 2009 at 11:35 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
Milhouse Says:

Have you read the article? Try reading before commenting.

But I don't see why he needs to read English studies. He's not a doctor, and not expected to be one. Anything in a foreign language that he needs to read will have been translated anyway, or can be translated for him. Do you think the French Minister of Health is required to read English?

certainly the french minister of health must read english. and he probably also needs a college degree, if not a special degree in public health or the sciences.

11

 Apr 02, 2009 at 12:03 PM Anonymous Says:

he is way too biased for this position plus he is cluless in this area . catching on quickly and being smart has nothing to do with accepting this position . would u want your wife to go to a gyno who claims to be smart and catches on quickly? this must be a belated purim joke .

12

 Apr 02, 2009 at 12:16 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #11  
Anonymous Says:

he is way too biased for this position plus he is cluless in this area . catching on quickly and being smart has nothing to do with accepting this position . would u want your wife to go to a gyno who claims to be smart and catches on quickly? this must be a belated purim joke .

And that has got exactly what to do with this case?

13

 Apr 02, 2009 at 12:15 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #10  
Anonymous Says:

certainly the french minister of health must read english. and he probably also needs a college degree, if not a special degree in public health or the sciences.

So now you're just resorting to making stuff up. Nice.

Since when does *any* minister need to have any kind of degree? And it will be a cold day on the sun before France requires its ministers to read English!

14

 Apr 02, 2009 at 11:45 AM FVNMS Says:

I have been attacked constantly as being someone who blindly defends chassidim right or wrong; that's who this is coming from:

What is wrong with all of you yutzmachs attacking #1? What did he (she?) say that was so offensive? Just because R' Moses is chassidish you guys act like a bunch of clucking chickens if somebody is has a problem with him? Noting that he doesn't speak english makes somebody have a beef with Careidim? Crybabies: genik shoin.

# 2, 7 & 8 I'm talking to you. Take a deep breath, count to ten and pop a vaium. Refuah sheleimah bimheirah.

15

 Apr 02, 2009 at 11:41 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #9  
Anonymous Says:

Because he provacative power hungrey person who cannot work in harmony with others.

You are a plain jew hater!

16

 Apr 02, 2009 at 11:31 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Hudy Says:

#1 You're just out to criticize chareidim. What makes you say that he's not fluent in English? There are plenty of chareidim in Israel who are more fluent than you in several languages.

hey hudy- it says in the article that he ONLY SPEAKS YIDDISH AND HEBREW. maybe i should say that you're just out to criticize you think are critical of chareidim.

17

 Apr 02, 2009 at 12:22 PM Anonymous Says:

I know Reb Menachen Lazer personally. He is a very close friend of our family. He is the best guy today to have in the Government. He does what he says. He doesnt just talk. He is very charismatic and well liked by all.

18

 Apr 02, 2009 at 12:34 PM Anonymous Says:

as a cossid he has better qualifications then all those so called intelligencia because he has a feeling heart and love fore afellow jew and viznits is known fore its extreme compassion to a fellow man no diffrence what level of observince

19

 Apr 02, 2009 at 12:33 PM MP Says:

So what is Litzman getting?

20

 Apr 02, 2009 at 01:12 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #19  
MP Says:

So what is Litzman getting?

Hart buren

21

 Apr 02, 2009 at 01:14 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #19  
MP Says:

So what is Litzman getting?

Gussboms

22

 Apr 02, 2009 at 01:12 PM masmid Says:

He is great and there are other top leaders in UTJ,there is Rabbi Meir Porush and Rabbi Yakov Litzman Shlit"a,smart and honest leaders.

23

 Apr 02, 2009 at 12:56 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #12  
Milhouse Says:

And that has got exactly what to do with this case?

It has everything to do with this case. You must have experience before you can effectively perform the duties of your appointment. He does not.

24

 Apr 02, 2009 at 02:39 PM Charlie Hall Says:

Rabbi Yitzhak Meir Levin of Agudath Yisrael was Minister of Social Welfare in the first two governments of Medinat Yisrael. Why can't Rabbi Moses be a full member of the Cabinet today? Did halachah change? Were the gedolim who permitted Rabbi Levin to serve in the Cabinet mistaken?

25

 Apr 02, 2009 at 03:34 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #24  
Charlie Hall Says:

Rabbi Yitzhak Meir Levin of Agudath Yisrael was Minister of Social Welfare in the first two governments of Medinat Yisrael. Why can't Rabbi Moses be a full member of the Cabinet today? Did halachah change? Were the gedolim who permitted Rabbi Levin to serve in the Cabinet mistaken?

Yes, they were mistaken, which is why they changed their minds after they saw what was involved. The principle of responsible government means that every minister is responsible for the government's actions, whether he voted for them or against them in the cabinet. If the cabinet makes a decision that he can't accept responsibility for he must resign. The Israeli government does many things which are clear issurim, such as funding avodah zarah; every minister is personally responsible for those averos. Deputy ministers are not responsible for government decisions and actions, so it's OK to be a deputy minister.

26

 Apr 02, 2009 at 03:32 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
Milhouse Says:

Have you read the article? Try reading before commenting.

But I don't see why he needs to read English studies. He's not a doctor, and not expected to be one. Anything in a foreign language that he needs to read will have been translated anyway, or can be translated for him. Do you think the French Minister of Health is required to read English?

Someone involved in setting health policies does need to read foreign studies.
It is important to see how other countries handle health issues, and what levels of success they have had with their methods.

Things often lose quite a bit in the translation, or a translation might incorporate the biases of the translator.

"Do you think the French Minister of Health is required to read English?” "

I would assume so, and my guess would be that someone who is not fluent in English wouldn't be considered for the position.

27

 Apr 02, 2009 at 04:19 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #26  
Anonymous Says:

Someone involved in setting health policies does need to read foreign studies.
It is important to see how other countries handle health issues, and what levels of success they have had with their methods.

Things often lose quite a bit in the translation, or a translation might incorporate the biases of the translator.

"Do you think the French Minister of Health is required to read English?” "

I would assume so, and my guess would be that someone who is not fluent in English wouldn't be considered for the position.

Well, don't assume so. The very notion that the French would voluntarily require English for *any* position borders on absurdity.

28

 Apr 02, 2009 at 05:17 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #26  
Anonymous Says:

Someone involved in setting health policies does need to read foreign studies.
It is important to see how other countries handle health issues, and what levels of success they have had with their methods.

Things often lose quite a bit in the translation, or a translation might incorporate the biases of the translator.

"Do you think the French Minister of Health is required to read English?” "

I would assume so, and my guess would be that someone who is not fluent in English wouldn't be considered for the position.

A search for "Roselyne Bachelot" and "english" doesn't yield anything obviously showing her to know the language. Nor does one for "Roselyne Bachelot" and "languages".

29

 Apr 02, 2009 at 04:40 PM Mazal Tov Says:

I keep hearing horror stories from my friends who live in Eretz Yisrael. The health plans do not cover MRIs for his son who suffers from constant headaches. They have to pay Doctors privately or they cannot be seen as needed. It sounds like they run the Kupat Cholim these days like a bad HMO that is bankrupt. What a shame. Perhaps this is what Obama wants for our USA system. Pay large health taxes and then have to pay privately if we need immediate or good service. Hashem yirachem.

30

 Apr 02, 2009 at 06:16 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #29  
Mazal Tov Says:

I keep hearing horror stories from my friends who live in Eretz Yisrael. The health plans do not cover MRIs for his son who suffers from constant headaches. They have to pay Doctors privately or they cannot be seen as needed. It sounds like they run the Kupat Cholim these days like a bad HMO that is bankrupt. What a shame. Perhaps this is what Obama wants for our USA system. Pay large health taxes and then have to pay privately if we need immediate or good service. Hashem yirachem.

It's not just Israel, that's how it is in almost any country with socialised medicine. Expensive equipment like MRIs are rationed to the cases that can demonstrate the greatest "need", because there aren't enough to go around. In the USA there are enough machines that there's no need to ration them.

31

 Apr 02, 2009 at 07:09 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #30  
Milhouse Says:

It's not just Israel, that's how it is in almost any country with socialised medicine. Expensive equipment like MRIs are rationed to the cases that can demonstrate the greatest "need", because there aren't enough to go around. In the USA there are enough machines that there's no need to ration them.

Millhouse's point on socialized medicine and rationing of care is right on point. His earlier post that a Deputy Minister can avoid responsibility for actions of a government in which he participates is really dumb and unworthy of his usual intellect.

32

 Apr 05, 2009 at 02:00 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #31  
Anonymous Says:

Millhouse's point on socialized medicine and rationing of care is right on point. His earlier post that a Deputy Minister can avoid responsibility for actions of a government in which he participates is really dumb and unworthy of his usual intellect.

No, it is you who are dumb and ignorant. Deputy ministers are not members of the government, and are not responsible for its actions. They are responsible only for their own actions, and that is the entire point of Agudah taking only deputy minister positions.

You are evidently unfamiliar with the basic principles of Responsible Government.

33

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