Bombshell: Netanyahu Weighing Plea Bargain
There is no question about it. Our opening story this week must be the bombshell revelation that exploded in Israel over the past few days: Binyomin Netanyahu’s lawyers and senior officials in the Ministry of Justice have been negotiating a plea deal to end the ongoing court cases against the former prime minister.
Actually, this is much more than a bombshell; it is completely unfathomable, mainly because the slowly emerging deal seems to call for the attorney general to drop the charges of taking bribes against Netanyahu. The significance of that concession is enormous. For a public official, submitting to bribery is the most serious possible crime. Any of the other charges facing Netanyahu are nothing but icing on the cake.
As soon as the development was announced—and neither Netanyahu nor Mandelblit denied it—outraged reactions were heard from both sides of the political spectrum. Netanyahu’s supporters proclaimed that the deal was incontrovertible evidence that the entire process has been pure political persecution. They viewed it as a tacit admission that Netanyahu has been hounded for years when he hadn’t even committed the crime of taking bribes. In effect, he had been booted from the office of prime minister for no good reason. Netanyahu’s enemies, meanwhile, screeched in protest over the fact that Mandelblit was willing to give up the bribery charges.
At the same time, Netanyahu isn’t completely off the hook. As of this writing Avichai Mandelblit refuses to back down from several stipulations: Netanyahu must confess to the crimes of fraud and breach of trust, announce his withdrawal from political life for at least seven years, and agree for the court to attach a label of moral turpitude to his actions. However, Netanyahu hasn’t accepted the turpitude stipulation. He is demanding to be given the same accommodation as Aryeh Deri: Since he will leave the political playing field, the stain of moral turpitude will have no relevance to him, and he insists that it should not be applied. (Turpitude has relevance only to an elected public official, who is required to leave office on account of such crimes.) But Mandelblit is determined to impose the label for the converse reason: He wants to make sure that Netanyahu will not be able to return to the world of politics.
I will not get into the details of the agreement, especially since many of those details are not yet known. Very few people were involved in the negotiations, which involved only Netanyahu’s lawyers and four officials within the State Prosecutor’s Office. But regardless of the specifics, the entire country has been inundated with news and speculation about the unfolding deal.
Mandelblit Fears an Acquittal
Even if nothing comes of the negotiations, Netanyahu has already scored plenty of points in the public eye. In fact, some observers believe that this entire process has been a ploy on Netanyahu’s part to expose the true colors of Mandelblit and his cronies. The prosecutors have basically admitted that the crime of taking bribes did not occur. Without getting into the specific details of the cases against Netanyahu, I will tell you simply that Netanyahu has been charged with taking bribes only in the case involving the Walla web site, and Netanyahu’s attorneys have already proven that the coverage on the news site wasn’t really skewed in his favor and that other politicians received much more favorable coverage. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Mandelblit is interested in a plea deal. If the trial continues on its current trajectory, Netanyahu stands a very good chance of being acquitted. And if that happens, Mandelblit will be discredited. As it is, the public has been steadily losing faith in the judicial system as the trial has gone on—and Mandelblit is intelligent enough to realize that.
Compounding his desperation is the fact that Mandelblit is due to leave office very soon. In a few days, he will be stepping down from his position as attorney general, and he has already begun thinking about his next step. Typically, an attorney general would aspire to move on to the Supreme Court. But if Netanyahu is acquitted, even if the trial takes another three years, Mandelblit’s career will grind to a halt. On the other hand, if Netanyahu confesses to any of the charges against him, even a minor charge, Mandelblit will be spared from that indignity.
Another aspect of this story that has shocked the public, especially the media, is the involvement of a former chief justice of the Supreme Court, Professor Aharon Barak, who is considered the father of Israel’s current judiciary. Surprisingly, Barak is not only in favor of the deal; it is actually his own brainchild. Barak has argued that the public interest in bringing Netanyahu’s trial to an end supersedes their interest in continuing it. And it is very difficult for anyone to oppose Aharon Barak, who is considered a supreme authority on judicial matters.
Incidentally, Aharon Barak shares his last name with another famous figure in Israel. Ehud Barak is another former prime minister who is sometimes believed to have been the greatest failure of all the prime ministers in Israeli history (although Naftoli Bennett may have usurped that distinction from him). The latter Barak published an article in the most widely read newspaper in Israel, bearing the title “For Shame!” Where one Barak favors a plea deal, the other abhors the very idea. Evidently, the left is totally confused.
And let us not forget that there are other players in this story—Mrs. Sara Netanyahu and the Netanyahu sons, Yair and Avner (mainly Yair). If the rest of the Netanyahu family vetoes the plea bargain, then it will never be signed, since they call the shots no less than Bibi himself.
Hastening the Government’s Fall
Netanyahu’s fate has far-reaching ramifications both for the Likud party and for the government itself. If Netanyahu signs the plea agreement and withdraws from political life for a few years, then the Likud party will have to choose a successor for him very quickly. One of the party’s senior members will have to become the party leader immediately, which may put that person on the fast track toward the office of prime minister. Keep in mind that many of the members of the current government signed their coalition agreements with the left-wing parties only because of their absolute loathing for Netanyahu. And if Netanyahu is no longer a factor, then they might decide that they would prefer a purely right-wing government over the current improbable mix of right-wing, left-wing, and centrist parties that cannot seem to make progress in any direction.
With Netanyahu out of the picture, there will be no incentive for Lieberman, Saar, or Bennett to cede the premiership to a center-left politician such as Yair Lapid, when they could choose to appoint a member of the Likud instead. Within the Likud party, the two main contenders for leadership are probably Yuli Edelstein and Yariv Levin. Alternatively, the position might go to Nir Barkat, who has made no secret of his aspiration to serve as prime minister and who has the most popular support according to fresh polls, or to Yisroel Katz, who is a senior figure in the party. In any event, if Netanyahu resigns and someone such as Yuli Edelstein becomes the leader of the Likud party, it is very likely that the current government will disintegrate immediately.
As it stands, the government will be facing a daunting challenge as early as this week, on account of the Citizenship Law that it has already failed to pass due to Raam’s opposition. The bill was scheduled to be brought to a vote again this week, after Interior Minister Shaked capitulated to all the Likud’s demands in order to secure their support for it. If the law doesn’t pass, it will automatically become possible for tens of thousands of Palestinians to receive Israeli citizenship. The Meretz party has already announced its opposition to the bill, and of course, Raam has also declared its intent to vote it down. However, Shaked managed to cut a deal with Netanyahu for the bill to be passed with the opposition’s support. This has the potential to cause a major explosion within the government. On Sunday, the law was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, but Lapid appealed against it. For the time being, the law is in limbo.
The government seems to have sensed that this is the beginning of the end, as the various ministers have begun making extreme and divisive statements. The bottom line is that even the mere mention of Netanyahu’s potential resignation has shaken not only the judicial system but the government itself.
Fundraising Campaign Nets Millions
Even more incredible was the massive response of the public to the talk of a deal between Netanyahu and Mandelblit. It began when Yinon Magal, a former Knesset member who has since become a right-wing reporter, organized a fundraising campaign to cover the costs of Netanyahu’s legal defense. Magal hoped to accomplish two things: to show Netanyahu that the people support him and to make sure that his legal expenses will be covered, in case the cost of the trial was one of the factors motivating Netanyahu to sign a plea agreement. After all, Netanyahu’s trial seems liable to go on for years, and his lawyers are among the costliest attorneys in Israel—and Bibi and his family are known for their parsimony.
The enthusiastic response to the fundraiser was astonishing. Keep in mind that this wasn’t even a campaign for a mitzvah or to cover the cost of writing a sefer Torah. The donations were earmarked to support one of the wealthiest men in Israel, yet nearly 2 million shekels were raised within just a few hours. The campaign began on Sunday, and within four hours it had raised nearly 1.5 million shekels. By the evening, the sum reached 2 million shekels. The donations came from tens of thousands of citizens, all of whom contributed small amounts—because the law prohibits collecting large donations from individuals, but also because the main purpose of the campaign was to produce a show of support for Netanyahu, and the exact sums were less relevant to that purpose.
When he launched the campaign, Magal wrote, “We are setting out today on a mass fundraising campaign of the right-wing camp, with the understanding that the Netanyahu trial is the result of persecution and an attempt to bring about the conviction of the leader of this state at any cost and in any way possible, with the goal of removing him from the leadership of the country. Today we, the people of the nationalist camp, are doing our part to protect the leader of our camp. When the left and the prosecution put Binyomin Netanyahu on the defendants’ bench, they put all of us there. This trial doesn’t belong to Netanyahu alone, and he is not facing judgment alone. Therefore, all of us will take part in funding his legal costs today, since this is a trial of the entire right-wing camp…. Netanyahu is paying the price of the judicial persecution against the right, but he doesn’t have to pay it alone. In order to strengthen Binyomin Netanyahu during this difficult challenge, we will express our support for him and our desire to give him our encouragement. That is the least that any of us can do.”
Tens of thousands of donations were received, some for only 18 shekels. Almost all of the donors wrote some words of encouragement along with their contributions. Some also made disparaging comments about the left. One of the donors was MK Betzalel Smotrich, who wrote, “I don’t know whether Netanyahu will sign the plea agreement, and I have no influence over that. Nevertheless, it is clear to me that he has been set up for a conviction and has been ousted from his position through illegitimate means. And if there is any way for us to join with over a million Israelis who feel that their prime minister and their country have been stolen from them, taking part in this campaign is the way to do it.”
The resounding response to the campaign sent shock waves through the left.
A War on Tradition
We must not forget that this government has declared war on all that is holy to the Jewish people, and therefore it will be a very good thing if the government falls. It is reasonable to assume that any other government that arises would be preferable to the coalition that exists today. To illustrate what is happening in the Knesset now, let me quote the recent speech delivered by MK David Amsalem, who presented the Likud’s motion of no confidence in the government last Monday. Amsalem does not wear a yarmulke, but he is part of the traditional Sephardic community. He began his speech by making light of the uproar over the tree planting project in the south and mocking the government for being cowed by Mansour Abbas’s demands. He commented that the Bedouin violence in the south was continuing, and then he went on to excoriate the government in broader terms.
“This government is destroying the Jewish mesorah and the Jewish roots of the State of Israel,” Amsalem declared. “According to my understanding, this is a situation that threatens the existence of the State of Israel. This government consistently, cruelly, and wickedly causes harm to every Jewish value, with particular emphasis on the people who learn Torah. You despise people who learn Torah; it drives you mad. You step on them as much as possible; the more you can put them down, the better you feel it is. This is being done to gain the support of another handful of leftists in Tel Aviv. And why is that, Minister Kahana? Because your voter base is already gone. You have no voters, and you have set your sights on collecting other votes.”
And that is not all. “The State of Israel was founded 72 years ago in a genuine, world-class miracle,” Amsalem went on. “This did not happen because of the IDF, Mr. Minister of Religious Affairs. The Jewish nation has survived throughout the years only because of its spiritual heritage. There was never an army. Over 2000 years of exile, as you know, we had no army and we were in golus. And what protected the Jewish people? Incidentally, there is no other nation in the world that was preserved in the same way that the Jewish people survived. That is why it was a tremendous miracle. And the only thing that sustained them was the fact that they maintained the traditions of Judaism. I want to tell you something. You probably remember the story of Hillel, who climbed onto the roof of the bais medrash and nearly froze to death in order to hear the Torah being taught. Your partners in the government today, meanwhile, are the people who called for the chareidim—and Netanyahu as well—to be loaded onto wheelbarrows and taken to the garbage dump!”
The State of Israel Preys Only on Jews
Amsalem then turned his attention to the issue of the Supreme Court. “There is something I will never forget,” he said. “The year after I first entered the Knesset, the Supreme Court decided to demolish the Ayeles Hashachar shul in Givat Zeev. This was a shul that had 400 or 500 mispallelim and a kollel. Why did they have it destroyed? Because it was on Palestinian-owned land. As I said at the time, the owner of that land couldn’t possibly have grown a single mint leaf on his land, which was in the heart of a Jewish community. Nevertheless, the shul was razed, and the people brought out the sifrei Torah as if they were going into captivity during the time of Jordanian rule. Today, that shul lies in ruins and the Palestinian ‘owner’ doesn’t even bother visiting his land, but the main thing is that there is no shul.
“Then we come to the recent Supreme Court ruling that permitted chometz to be brought into hospitals on Pesach. Minister Kahana, I imagine that if we were speaking about a Jew who decided to visit Har Habayis with a laffa in the middle of Ramadan, the Supreme Court would tell him, ‘Ahlan Sahlan.’ Is that right? Or perhaps they would say, ‘Sir, you aren’t allowed even to visit this site, even on a regular day. Insulting Muslims? Have you lost your mind? In the State of Israel, only Jews may be degraded!’ When it comes to Muslims, Circassians, Druse, Christians, or any other religion—chas v’shalom that we should insult them. We respect everyone’s sensitivities! Here in the State of the Jews, only the Jewish religion may be demeaned.
“After all that, we can begin discussing your kashrus law, Mr. Minister,” Amsalem went on. “When you decided that every rov should be authorized to certify kashrus anywhere in the country, what was troubling you? Why did you do that? What infuriates me is this. First there is Lieberman, and then there is the chairperson of the committee—Malinovsky! In my view, if you ask her what the Shulchan Aruch is, she will think that it is a type of pizza. And what has she been doing? She mocks Jewish tradition and kashrus in general. And her boss is the man who drove to Ashdod on Shabbos, went to Tiv Taam, bought pork, and then boasted before the cameras. That man is your partner. So what drove you to do this? These people don’t keep kosher anyway, and the chareidim use their own hechsherim anyway. What was your motivation?
“Now let us move on to the giyur law. You want to destroy giyur as well? You know that in the end, this means that there will be no giyur here at all; it will be a problem for Am Yisroel. What is your issue with giyur? You are trying to ruin everything that can possibly be destroyed; these are irreversible processes. The Minister of Transportation wants to introduce public transportation on Shabbos, and I assume you will go along with that as well. After all, there is no choice, right? And as for the Kosel agreement; you know that I didn’t allow it, and I am not a religious man. But for you, the more you crush our traditions, the better.”
Amsalem kept on going. “Then there were the day care subsidies for chareidim. You cruelly took away the proverbial poor man’s sheep; your goal was to make the yungeleit even poorer, leaving them without food to put on the table. That was sheer cruelty. I would like to see you do the same thing to the Arabs. And then all those sycophants, who want to destroy everything connected to Judaism and tradition, decided that the chief rabbis needed to be dismissed. These people don’t have even 2 percent of the knowledge that the Rishon Letzion has in the heel of his shoe! What does Lieberman know about Judaism? What does Malinovsky know? What do all the ministers here know, including you? You should be kissing the Rishon Letzion’s hand! … But as I said, in the State of Israel, it is permitted to demean only Judaism, only rabbonim, only the Torah and tradition of the Jews. You will be remembered for eternal disgrace…. One day, you will have to give a reckoning, and not before me or before Bennett. You have taken part in a chillul Hashem and an assault on all that is holy to Israel, and I say this to you as a Jew who is not even fully religious.”
Orange Ribbons and Ideological Disputes
It is hard to fail to identify with the settlement leaders who have set up a protest tent outside the Rose Garden, across from the Prime Minister’s Office. I recently paid a visit to the tent to find out about their demonstration, and possibly to show solidarity, and I immediately found myself surrounded by a group of impassioned young men. I asked if they had any written material about their cause, and they hurried into the tent to look for something, but they returned empty-handed. “However, we do have an orange ribbon,” they told me.
“What would I do with that?” I asked.
“You can hang it on the mirror of your car, or wear it on your wrist, or attach it to your tefillin bag,” they replied.
That, in a nutshell, perfectly captures their belief system.
The justification for their outrage cannot be denied. Recent nights in Chomesh have been harder than ever for the settler movement. Some of the residents live in illegal buildings under the most primitive conditions imaginable. They have witnessed the government’s lavish concessions to Mansour Abbas, and they are infuriated by the double standard. The Bedouins will have electricity and light, while the Jewish settlers will continue to live in darkness.
Chomesh is a prime example of this injustice: Yehuda Dimentman lost his life for the yeshiva in Chomesh, but the government is continuing to sow destruction in that very settlement. Even worse, the kippah-wearing prime minister claims to be part of the right wing, and the settlers therefore feel that they have been betrayed by one of their own. The lack of security in the Jewish communities bordering on Arab settlements is also outrageous; the Arabs shamelessly throw stones and explosives at homes and cars on a daily basis.
The government’s callous disregard for these people was perhaps best captured by Yair Golan’s outrageous description of them as “subhuman.” Golan went on to issue an insincere apology, claiming that he was referring only to those who violate the law by destroying graves and uprooting trees. Many people called for Golan’s dismissal in response to his abhorrent statement, but those appeals received no response. This man, who used to be a general in the IDF, may very well be considered the poster boy for obsessive antipathy toward the right. Even during his days in uniform, Golan displayed his true colors when he opined that some of processes taking place in Israel today are reminiscent of Nazi Germany. This evoked widespread outrage; it was unthinkable for a deputy chief of staff of the IDF to equate Jews with Nazis. If anything, it is Golan himself who has borrowed a page from the Nazis’ book, as the term “subhuman” was often bandied about by the Nazis themselves. And this is far from the first time that Golan has used deplorable language; he regularly refers to the opposition as the “destroyers of democracy” and its members as “despicable.”
For that reason, in spite of the vast ideological divide between the chareidim and the political right, and in spite of the fact that right-wing figures themselves sometimes seem to be models of an am haaretz’s hatred for a talmid chacham, the chareidi community still finds itself siding with the majority of the country, which remains oppressed by the state, its officials, and its institutions—the Supreme Court, the Knesset, the police, the prosecution, and the army.
Nothing to Celebrate in the Knesset
Every year, the Knesset celebrates the anniversary of its founding on Tu B’Shevat. It isn’t clear why it is celebrated specifically on Tu B’Shevat, but that isn’t the most bewildering aspect of the occasion. It is far more difficult to understand why the birth of the Knesset is a cause for celebration at all.
The Knesset seems to have no basis for taking pride in anything. As it stands today, the Knesset would likely have been better off if it had never come into existence in the first place. If the Knesset were a tree, it would probably have been cut down long ago. Which reminds me: One of the bizarre bills that were submitted to the Knesset last week was a law for the protection of ancient trees. Once again, we find the stark coexistence of mercy toward plants and animals with unabashed cruelty to human beings. Cutting down a tree and shechting an animal without stunning it are treated as heinous sins, while the faith and soul of a human being, his rights and his very essence, and sometimes even his life itself are brutally trampled. It is hard to understand why the Knesset deserves to celebrate its existence at all.
At the beginning of this past week, before a wave of Covid cases swept through the Knesset, Speaker Mickey Levi sent a letter to all the members of Israel’s parliament informing them of the festive official events slated to be held in honor of the Knesset’s birthday, which were to be attended by the president and other senior government officials. I counted only three ceremonial events: First, the Knesset speaker would make a “festive introduction” to an exhibition titled “Many Views, One Knesset.” Second, for the first time ever, an air show would be staged above the Knesset by the Israeli air force. Third, the Knesset would hold a special celebratory sitting attended by the president in honor of its 73rd anniversary.
But the Knesset and Mickey Levi have no luck. President Herzog in now an aveil and unable to attend the events. And it is almost certain that Bennett and Netanyahu, the two main speakers, will spar with each other as usual during their addresses, and that Netanyahu will overshadow Bennett once again. Interestingly, the Knesset speaker’s letter did not mention the traditional tefillah in honor of Tu B’Shevat in the Knesset shul, which is usually attended by the chief rabbi of Yerushalayim or another prominent rov. One year, the guest of honor was Rav Yosef Yekusiel Efrati, whose drosha continues to reverberate in my memory to this day. Rav Dovid Lau, the Ashkenazic chief rabbi, is scheduled to attend the event this year, but as of this writing (on Sunday) it is still unclear if it will take place at all.
At the end of the week, the Knesset was practically deserted and the atmosphere was morose. There was only a single item on the agenda for Tuesday: a series of one-minute speeches. The Knesset sitting came to an end after a few minutes; there were no speakers, and the parliament had practically turned into a ghost town. On Wednesday, the entire coalition left the Knesset due to its lack of a majority (as I reported in a separate article). The Knesset ought to be burying its head in shame at this time; I can’t see any reason at all for it to be celebrating.
A Country Collapsing
The situation with the coronavirus here in Israel is horrendous. As I have told you, the government has completely lost control of the matter and has decided to let the virus run rampant. I have to wonder if Bennett’s vaunted book, How to Beat a Pandemic, contains a chapter called “Let Them Die.” Perhaps he feels that one of the valid strategies for defeating a plague is simply to do nothing and accept the deaths it causes. The strong will survive; the weak will not. Is that his strategy?
This government is guilty of crimes by every measure, both on a moral level and from a Jewish perspective. This week, Aryeh Deri pithily described it with the words of the posuk, “There is no king in Israel; every man will do what is right in his eyes.” Then again, perhaps there is one thing that can be said in their defense: They do not have the abilities or the tools to cope with the situation. It was perhaps inevitable that the government would fail to handle this situation, thanks to its general incompetence. After all, what can be expected of them?
Well, there is one thing that they can be expected to do: They should surrender the leadership of this country to someone who is capable of handling the situation, or at least who might be capable of doing so. At the very least, there is someone who has proven during previous rounds of the pandemic that he was able to act more correctly, more quickly, and more efficiently….
I spend my days in the Knesset, and I can see what its members are thinking. There is a general consensus that this government is completely useless. We have seen this sentiment in the polls, but we do not even need the polls to reveal it to us. There has been a huge number of Covid cases in the Knesset building, there are constant notices informing us of committee sessions that were cancelled, and restrictions have been imposed on discussions in the Knesset itself. The Knesset has an excellent sense of political trends, and many of its members have sensed the reality of the situation: This country has no real government and no real prime minister. It has already been two months since the Knesset director-general announced a series of new restrictions, including a ban on holding minyanim in the Knesset shul with more than 20 participants—which, incidentally, he does not actually have the authority to impose. This week, on our own initiative, a group of us began davening on the balcony, as we used to do at the height of the pandemic. These are frightening times, but we all recognize that Hashem can protect us.
Did a Knesset Member Show Up with Corona?
As I have told you in the past, the Knesset is the best possible barometer of the situation in this country. During the first wave of the pandemic, we received notices from the Knesset Sergeant-at-Arms about once a month when cases of the coronavirus were detected in the Knesset building. At those times, anyone who had come in contact with the carrier was asked to enter quarantine and to undergo testing for the virus. In recent times, the frequency of these messages has increased nearly to the point of hysteria. Since last motzoei Shabbos, I received no fewer than ten e-mail messages, each containing several names. One such message contained the names of eight individuals who were diagnosed with the virus. Three e-mails arrived on Tuesday morning alone, alerting us to a total of 13 new coronavirus cases. One of those messages included the name of Foreign Minister Lapid, who may have failed in every other area but has finally managed to receive a positive result from something—in this case, a Covid test. Zeev Elkin and Avigdor Lieberman also announced that they had tested positive for the virus.
The third e-mail contained the names of six Knesset employees, while the first mentioned two employees and a member of the Knesset from one of the Arab parties. However, there was one detail that I found noteworthy: The e-mail mentioned that the Arab MK had been present in the building on January 11, the same day the message was sent. And something about that was very troublesome to me.
If this lawmaker discovered that he was positive for the coronavirus, it meant that he had been tested for it. If he was tested, then he must have suspected that he was sick. In most cases, people undergo testing after they are exposed to patients who are confirmed to be infected with the virus. Now, the pivotal questions were when he was exposed to a coronavirus patient and when he was tested. It is highly unlikely that both of those things happened on Tuesday morning, which means that he must have had some reason to suspect that he had been infected even before he came to the Knesset on Tuesday. But why, then, did he come to the Knesset at all? If he knew that he might be ill, shouldn’t he have taken care to avoid spreading the disease to others?
Rav Beinush Finkel’s Impact on Mir
In honor of Rav Beinush Finkel’s 32nd yahrtzeit (on the 18th of Shevat) I will end this week’s column with a glimpse into his accomplishments from an internal publication of Yeshivas Mir.
Rav Beinush expanded the yeshiva not only on a quantitative level but on a qualitative level as well. He worked hard to cultivate the growth of his talmidim, helping every bochur develop his own unique strengths. He was worked hard to restore the yeshiva to its former glory and to carry out his father’s goal of training the bnei Torah of our generation to acquire a broad base of Torah knowledge. He worked tirelessly to train the talmidim to realize that along with learning b’iyun, it is critical to learn entire masechtos and develop comprehensive knowledge of Shas. The first priority of a yeshiva bochur, he taught, is to acquire mastery of the sedorim of Noshim and Nezikin, learning entire masechtos from beginning to end.
To that end, Rav Beinush opened a chaburah in the yeshiva for the purpose of covering ground with a set daily pace. At first, it was a small chaburah catering to an elite group of yungeleit who learned at a rapid pace; they spent their mornings learning an entire daf in Maseches Menachos every day and then dedicated the afternoons to learning Bava Basra. The group completed the entire Maseches Menachos in the course of this program. The sedorim of the kollel ran from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and then from 3:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., giving them a full ten hours of learning every day. The yungeleit in this group also received a generous stipend. A few years later, Rav Beinush expanded the chaburah and began delivering daily shiurim. After a while, he assigned his son-in-law, Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, to head the group. Rav Nosson Tzvi began delivering shiurim in Hebrew in the mornings and in Yiddish in the afternoons. Once again, the group was small at first but grew progressively larger. Eventually, talmidim who wished to enroll in the yeshiva were required to join this chaburah.