Behind the Lines: Israeli Libertarian

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Mandate for Liberty

Mandate for Liberty
Boris Karpa

Surely by now all of you have heard about Exodus Mandate – a Christian religious group that wants to take children out of government schools and into homeschooling environments. As far as I can see, the Mandate is as close to the mainstream media's definition of the Evil Theocratic Religious Right as can be. For example, they don't really like gay people. According to Wikipedia, "The group is active within the Southern Baptist Convention and has introduced a succession of anti-lesbian and anti-gay initiatives within the Convention."
The author of this short article, on the other hand, is a Jewish-born libertarian bisexual agnostic who's engaged to a German-born atheist lady. One would think there's no real reason such a person would endorse Exodus Mandate – and yet, I can say with all proper conviction, the Exodus Mandate is a very good thing for the cause of restoring individual liberty in America and in the world entire.
To understand why anybody, regardless of religion, should cheer Exodus Mandate for it's efforts, one should read the original blueprint for the institution of statist oppression – the Communist Manifesto.
In that work, among many interesting things, Marx and Engels outline ten measures that need to be accomplished politically in order to bring about the dictatorship of the Proletariat (they believed that would later transcend into a perfect stateless society). In any event, they have listed not the definition of this future state, but ten measures, that, if introduced, would inevitably lead to it's formation. In their very words:

Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionizing the mode of production. [The Communist Manifesto, Chapter II: Proletarians and Communists]

In this text, Marx and Engels provide us with a clever insight which applies to all systems of government. You do not need, they say, to topple the regime outright to achieve the revolution you wish – merely introduce new institutions which mandate a new kind of relationship between the individual, society, and the state, and, as the new system of relation asserts itself, it spreads out to all sectors of public, and eventually private life. Change the way people commute, work, and teach their children, and your revolution is assured. It is interesting that Marx has mentioned, as the tenth plank of it's platform, 'Free education for all children in public schools.'
So if this is true – and there are a group of measures that, if accomplished, achieve the continuous growth of government and its increased intrusion into private life, would there not be a group of measures that would, if introduced, cause a great
decrease of it's intrusion? One is reminded of Neil Smith's maxim: When the enemy screams "Foul!" the loudest, you know you're doing him the most damage. Those who help him scream are also the enemy.
When education is public and control of it belongs to the state, the natural tendency is for it to be used to teach the values of whatever dominant majority happens to be in control of the government. In America, this means taking children to Earth Day rallies and having them chant 'they want to drill our parks for oil that will pollute our sea and soil' or that 'emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology' is 'racist'. And the longer that this public mandatory education system persists, the more people are assured that their civilization cannot survive without it – nevermind the greatest achievements of civilization – parliamentary democracy, the concept of individual liberty, the printing press, the lightbulb, the automobile – were given to us by people who never saw the inside of a public school. And with government in control of our schools – can you guess what this will do to individual liberty in twenty years? A century?
Further – as Marx understood – it's the 'natural interest' (if it wants to remain existent) of private schooling and homeschooling to defend it's raison d'etre, the 'bourgeois state of mind' – the ideas of individual liberty and private property. Granted, there are for sure socialist homeschoolers, but in general, it's likely the supporters of state control of education would not take their children from these schools.
No, Jerry Falwell is not by any means an advocate of personal liberty in the Neil Smith or H.L. Mencken mod – and I would not use his programs on my children – but it is to be granted that he's no statist either. To quote the man himself: "I hope to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we don't have public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them."
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why we want Mr. Falwell to win. Because whne people are taken out of the government's schools – especially to environments that 'present free-enterprise economics without apology and point out the dangers of Communism, socialism, and liberalism to the well-being of people across the globe' – the NEA and DOE lose power. Because parents who don't have their children in public schools will not vote for increased Federal control over the curricula, and they will not vote for more NEA budgets. And their children, who learn about free-enterprise economics, will not vote for more FDA regulation and DEA powers and EEOC controls.
A system of education that Mr. Falwel and Ray Moore envision cannot exist but in an environment based around individual choice and free markets, and Mr. Falwell knows it full well. And when this happens, this will – as such things do – bring about more and more individual freedom – much more then Mr. Falwell and the theocrats around him want, perhaps. Certainly more then we have now.
As such, I suggest that Jerry Falwell, Ray Moore and the Christian Right are our unwitting friends. And as such, I recommend that if a general Libertarian Manifesto is to be written – a practical, non-Rothbard Manifesto to include all small government advocates – it is to have as it's first plank the words:

1.Education of all children in private schools or homeschooling environments.

Et ceterum censeo Department of Education delenda essem.

Short Bibliography

1. Marx, Engels, "The Communist Manifesto"
2. L. Neil Smith, "Lever Action"
3. Vin Suprinowycz, "Send in the Waco Killers"
4. Seattle Public Schools website, Definitions of Racism

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

More from the Court of Injustice

[reposted from Bureaucrash]

In today’s ruling, the High Court of Injustice has ruled that Israeli firms are not to be allowed to advertise their products on foreign television channels that broadcast into the Jewish State. The court ruling, translate from Hebrew by yours truly, reads in part:

“RTVi has illegitimately exploited funding that was intended for the appropriate channels, and thus prevented their arrival to the cause of guaranteeing proper quality broadcasts even to sectors that are not represented in general media due to the existing market failure.”

The lawsuit was prepared by Channel 9, which is a Russian Israeli news channel which does exist, despite what the Court ruled above.

Amazingly, the owner of RTVi – the American-based anti-Putinist media company you may have heard of – is now going to be paying Channel 9 restitution because he has evilly exploited the funds of the Israeli companies. Further, the government will also be paying restitution to RTVi because of allowing the Evil Free Market to proceed with this.

The Cable and Sattelite Council – our FCC – has hailed the decision, “hoping that the legislators will provide them with tools to enforce the ruling.”

You understand, the court didn’t actually rule this basing on existing law or anything. Just general ‘we think it should be so’. Even the Israeli regulators have actually ruled previously that this is LEGAL.

Welcome to the Jewish State, citizen! Move along! Move along!

High Court of Injustice

[crossposted from Bureaucrash]

So, the yesterday the Israeli Supreme Court has upheld restrictions on marriage. Not on gay marriage, as you may think but on marriage between Israelis and Palestinians. As you may or may not know, there are Arabs in Israel – not in the Territories – who hold Israeli citizenships. In past years, many Palestinians have married some of those Arabs, and received Israeli citizenships – just like you would if you married an Israeli. Now, the legislators went and did something about it – and now, Iraqis, Americans, Cambodians may receive a citizenship in the Jewish state by marrying an Israeli, but Palestinians cannot. Naturally, people appealed. And what do you think the court said?

Let me quote a foreign newspaper:

In a minority opinion, Chief Justice Aharon Barak argued that the law should be overturned because security concerns should not take precedence over basic civil rights.

But the majority opinion, led by Justice Mishael Cheshin, contended that “the benefit it (the law) brings to the security and lives of the residents of Israel outweighs the harm it causes to some citizens of Israel."

What can I say about Hashin (that's the right spelling of his name) other then what he said about himself?

Also, to the supporters' of Aharon Barak's "activist judiciary" doctrine (which he himself openly endorses: How does it feel to be lying there, with your own boot on your neck?

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Meanwhile in saner countries.


There are a number of pro-gun bills pending in Congress that require your action. Please review these legislative initiatives and be sure to contact your U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121, and your U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121, and urge him or her to cosponsor and support these measures. Additional contact information can be found using the "Write Your Representatives" feature at

. H.R. 5092-This bill would improve BATFE's process for punishing FFLs and establish guidelines for BATFE investigations. This bill was drafted in large part to address recent BATFE abuses at Richmond, Va.-area gun shows highlighted in hearings before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee's Subcommitee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security.

. S. 2599/H.R. 5013-Legislation to prohibit the confiscation of lawfully owned firearms during states of emergency. Would guarantee legal recourse for victims of illegal gun seizures

. H.R. 1384-This bill would remove several antiquated and unnecessary restrictions imposed on interstate firearms business since 1968.

.S. 1082/H.R. 1288-Legislation to repeal the draconian D.C. gun ban and restore the right of lawful District residents to own firearms to defend themselves and their families.

. H.R. 4547-Federal legislation requiring recognition of out-of-state Right-to-Carry permits.

. H.R. 5005-This measure will codify congressional policies, roll back restrictions, and correct errors in federal firearm laws.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Go for the Lifeboats

Go for the Lifeboats

The obvious solution to the problems with Israeli education

By now, everybody knows the Israeli education system is in bad shape. Only about 35% of high school students are eligible for a Bagrut certificate when they are done, and even if the pass, it doesn’t really guarantee that they actually know anything. Violence is on the rise. And you can’t really even expect the school year to start on time – if the teachers won’t go on strike, the parents will.

If this weren’t enough confusion, the political powers also quarrel about the content of education. There’s not enough religion, says Ovadia Iosef. There’s too much religion, says Tomi Lapid. There’s not enough national values, mutters Livnat. There’s too much nationalism and militarism, grumbles Sarid.

And everybody is of course right. The education system is not simply faltering – it also fails to impart any form of values which would actually spur the children on to a productive life as citizens of a Jewish nation. With a complete lack of correct steering at the ministerial helm, adequate budgets, and qualified teachers, the educational system is acting like the proverbial transatlantic liner.

Anybody with half a brain who inspects the varied solutions suggested by the politicians, activists, and experts, will tell you the changes will take years to take hold – and will not likely bear effect on the current generation of high-school pupils. And yet, what is the alternative?

The 1953 State Education Act recognises three types of education which you can give your child and comply with the compulsory education statutes. Those are state schools, state religious schools, and private institutions ‘as recognised by the Ministry of Education’.

De-facto, under Ben-Gurion, this meant one thing – that the state established a near-monopoly on education, in the same manner the Altalena incident established a state monopoly on armed force. To this day, there’s only a small and very limited amount of private schools in Israel, and homeschooling is almost unheard of.

The state monopoly on education has had the same result as all state monopolies – you can’t really receive education of any quality, and when you can, it’s an education almost entirely controlled by the political powers. This may seem attractive to a degree – the political party of the day gets to use the education system to impose it’s values on everybody else – but when you consider the fact that you have no guarantee that it’s your values that get imposed, the bet starts to get really dodgy – and with the demographic situation as it is today, there’s not even a guarantee that in a few decades those will still be Jewish values.

So what do we do? The answer is frighteningly obvious – but it is a threat to the existing balance of power in the country. Histadrut members and Ben-Gurion fans – please skip this page.

When your transatlantic liner was just smacked with an iceberg, the correct choice is not to change the oil in the engines, or to repaint the deck pink. The correct choice is to get the women and children into the lifeboats and swim for it.

Similarly, when the national education system has a 35% success rate at turning out something even remotely resembling educated children, the choice is not to campaign for reforms that will be likely not to benefit your child currently in school – even if they actually work. The choice is to take your child out into the private education system.

The method works. The writer of this article has received his high-school diploma in “Tabeetha” – a private institution dating back to 1871. They charge a monthly payment absolutely anyone can afford (640 shekels per month for a 9th grade student), and they are as good as you would expect a school dating back to the 19th century to be. Of course, there’s one problem.

There’s precious few places.

The system of regulations imposed by the Ben-Gurionian Ministry of Education means that there’s a very small amount of private schools in Israel – certainly not enough to pose a viable alternative to the average parent.

There is, thus, an imperative to deregulate private education.

Yes, I actually said this. We must make sure that there’s as many private schools in the country as the traffic will bear. Not only we must allow it to happen – by issuing much more licenses and ‘recognition’ than the Ministry of education currently does, to anybody that can guarantee that the children will not get sexually harassed and the classes actually start on September 1st (yes, I do know that the government schools cannot pass that test. But we do need to give the state some advantage) – but we must also encourage this. In the very same manner we support poor families by funding their children’s education in a public school, we must issue vouchers to those who wish to take their children into private education – to ensure that it will never be seen as the haven for the children of the rich alone.

This, however, is not enough. What this article is really about is another reform, so radical that some will even consider it revolutionary. To put it simply, we must make it legal – not simply ‘theoretically legal if you comply with 500 pages of regulations’, but practically legal and achievable for the average person – for private individuals to educate their children at home, instead of sending them to a school, public or private.

This is not a new idea – it is currently widely practiced in several Western nations, in particular the United States, where about 1.1 million children are homeschooledi. Most of those parents who homeschool their children don’t have specialized training – rather, they teach them from a variety of schoolbooks and material produced purpose. Before this material was available, regular schoolbooks have been used. Today, however, homeschooling in America is an established subculture anyone can join.

It is not as outlandish as it may seem – it works, and in fact it works much better than public schools do – practically every study performed by legitimate scientists within the United States points out that an average homeschooled child performs significantly better than an average ‘client’ of the public school system on the various standardized tests.ii

Then again, the public school system in Israel is vastly inferior to it’s American equivalent – as may be inferred from the Americans’ superior performance on such tests as the OECD international reading comprehension tests (the so-called “Pisa tests”) – or merely from the fact the Americans now invest over $5,000 per student per year, a form of care Israel’s public education system is simply unable to provide.

Much more importantly, our education system is fraught with problems like violence and frequent strikes, which the American education system does not even come close to encountering. Does one really think that a parent – if he’s even minimally dedicated to the education of his child – can do worse than an education system where sexual abuse of children by their classmates is a recurring problem, and where the school year is simply not guaranteed to begin on time?

Some would argue that homeschooling is an “elitist solution”, one available only for the children of the rich. One is tempted to reply that even if it were so, it would be unfair to deny it’s benefits to one part of the population just because others are unable to make use of it. (To return to the liner analogy: there are six places on the lifeboat, and a hundred passengers. Would it be “fair” to burn the lifeboat – or would you rather that six lives be saved “unfairly”?) But happily, this is not even the case. As Dr. Brian Ray points out, the average cost of teaching homeschooled children is approximately $546iii per year in America. Middle-class parents are the most common homeschooling demographic in the United States – and there’s no reason they can’t be that, in Israel.

Well, apart from the big problem – homeschooling is extremely regulated in Israel to this very day – though Ben-Gurion’s compulsory education laws were recently amended to allow it. Still, parents who homeschool their children have to jump through far too many hoops – and society and the media still brand them out as “strange”.

If we truly want to ensure that our children - who will not simply be the doctors, nurses, and politicians, but also the elevator technicians, bus drivers, and construction workers of tomorrow – go to an education system where we have a guarantee we can choose the value system imparted to them – or at least that the school year starts on September 1st – then it is necessary that we take action now.

We must now introduce the same method that worked for Americans, and Canadians, and countless other – we must introduce the free market. Let us deregulate private schools, and let us deregulate homeschooling, and let us make every effort possible to ensure that those solutions are not simply available to the average Israeli, but also perceived as such (even today, poor parents can send their children to the few private schools that exist in Israel – but the myth that the price is unaffordably high prevents many from doing so). We must create a system of vouchers and tax rebates to aid those who care enough to send their children to a private school or teach them themselves.

For years, the Israeli state has – sometimes inadvertedly, sometimes in a calculated fashion – prevented the creation of a free market in education in Eretz-Israel. Instead, a centralized, industrial system has been set up – one where the oppressive majority of pupils are riding that very proverbial transatlantic liner. It is now our duty to ensure there are enough lifeboats.

Boris Karpa is a student at Tel-Aviv University. He is a contributor to The Libertarian Enterprise, Concealed Carry Magazine, and several other periodicals

i See US. National Center For Education Statistics report, “Homeschooling in the United States: 2003”, NCES 2004-115

ii “According to the 1998 ACT High School Profile Report, 2,610 graduating homeschoolers took the ACT and scored an average of 22.8 out of a possible 36 points. This score is slightly higher that the 1997 report released on the results of 1,926 homeschool graduates and founding homeschoolers maintained the average of 22.5. This is higher than the national average, which was 21.0 in both 1997 and 1998.” Cited according to “Academic Statistics on Homeschooling”, hosted at

iii Dr. Brian Ray, Strengths of Their Own: Home Schoolers Across America, National Home Education Research Institute, Salem, OR, 1997. Cited according to Vin Suprynowicz, “Send in the Waco Killers”, Mountain Media, LV, Nevada, 1999

Details about the People's Army

This link here is to the blog of a right-wing extremist Hazit supporter. Read with caution. Since it's in Russian, I will translate the main bits – the person's account of his Miluim (reserve) service. Many of this I can confirm for having served a part of my enlisted service in the same base.

Italic is translated.

  1. Super Army

The bureaucracy and the total relaxation make it so we can only assemble an APC/IFV and enough crew after half a day at least – and that despite us having the personall cell numbers of all the relevant officers and staff.

  1. Hen

He is the commander of the reserve company. I have never spoken to him, but he's been there for five years.

This summer our Own Army kicked him out of his home in Netzarim.


  1. The Beduins.

The Beduins have lost all shame, and are happily driving through the fire testing zone on jeeps and ATVs. They wear partly Army uniforms, steal what they can. They keep waving at us, the bastards.

[racism omitted- Allanea]

All of this, thievery apart, also blocks the exercises – there's civilians in the fire zone of tanks and artyllery.

  1. There's few left, but...

The reservists are special – mostly volunteers defacto. Statistics say only 5-10% of the enlisted to draft service actually are reservists.

The Contact Officer admitted to me only 60% of the battalion are heard from in any way. The others are soldiers on paper alone...

I haven't written it. A militarist patriot Army-loving guy had. You judge the 'professionality of the IDF' from this.

Monday, May 08, 2006


His first act as Prime Minister was to allow a small amount of Palestinian workers into Israel. Fine by me.

His second act? To start a program guaranteeing every officer in the IDF starting with a rank of Major would be issued a personal car. This is at a time the total government budget is estimated to be 281.4 billion New Israeli Shekels per year.

In the meanwhile, the Minister of Education (also a Labor member) is expanding the school feeding program whereby children at the schools are given free food courtesy of the and the Government's Glorious Subcontractors.

Does nobody REMEMBER what happened to the limited feeding program where the food was provided courtesy of subcontractors that were members of the Likud Center (i.e., our equivalent of the National Party committee)? Does anybody think that this will result in anything other then more graft, yet more graft, and horrible food? Has anybody in Israel not eaten food made by the government during the Army? Why the hell do we have to subject everybody's children to it?

But I should not complain. This was the obvious result of appointing Labor socialists to two of the most wasteful offices in the land.

Elsewhere, in saner countries...

National group honors councilman (IndyStar)

Scott Keller, a Republican City-County Council member, received an award in Washington last weekend for his sponsorship of the city's human rights ordinance.

The ordinance bans discrimination in the workplace and housing market based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Log Cabin Republicans, a national organization supporting equality for gays, gave him its Heartland Hero Award for courageous work in organizing a campaign that persuaded four council members to switch their vote last December.

The news release from the group noted that Keller received several death threats during the debate and after the ordinance passed. Several police officers volunteered to guard his home, it said.

Not to worry -- the gun enthusiast can protect himself.

"As a Republican and a certified firearms instructor, I believe in the Second Amendment," Keller told the group. "I have a .357 Magnum. If they don't get me on the first shot, they won't have a chance to take a second shot."

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Things you did not know (nor wanted to) about the Israeli Economy.

  1. Prices for several Key Products are not set by the evil free market but rather by the Benign Regulatory state. This is why bread in Israel is significantly more expensive then in such an Evil Capitalist Country as the United States.
  2. Recently, the new Labor-Kadima government, which cares about you, raised the price of bread 7%.
  3. While any of the two above is retarded, the actual dialogue durin the Knesset debates of this is priceless. My translation follows:

Opening Comittee Chairman Statement: "I would like to note that the raise is not enough and te Cabinet would like to raise the bread prices by 15% more due to the rise in fuel prices."

MK Shaul Ya'halom: (3 minutes later) "I implore you - before it is too late - cancel this edict. If the government needs to raise prices, raise the prices on fuel ."
MK Ya'ir Peretz: "I join with MK Ya'halom's suggestion. If the government were smart, it's increase the fuel prices more instead of the bread."

I kid you not. Actual text of discussion.