Citizenship Law Sows Divisions in the Coalition
There are many hardships facing the State of Israel at this time. There is the coronavirus, there are the polls that show that the public has zero faith in the government, and there is the soaring cost of living. Prices are rising steadily, and the public is growing disgruntled. There is already talk of a consumer boycott. At first, Finance Minister Lieberman was completely apathetic to the issue, but when he came under pressure from the prime minister, who is fearful of the public’s reaction, Lieberman announced a series of measures to stem the tide of rising prices throughout the country. Still, the polls show that 70 percent of the public is convinced that Lieberman has failed as the finance minister—and that is a staggering result for a poll of public approval of a government figure.
Meanwhile, there have been ongoing security issues as well. This week, the Shabak revealed that hundreds of terror attacks have taken place and nearly resulted in tragedy, including quite a few incidents of live gunfire. I will have to report on this at greater length in the future. And the Citizenship Law is once again on the Knesset agenda. Ayelet Shaked, the Minister of the Interior, insists that it is crucial for the law to be passed. Meanwhile, her coalition partners on the left slam it as a racist law.
Minister Horowitz of the Meretz party informed the government in no uncertain terms that if the Citizenship Law passes, it will trigger a reaction from Meretz. Shaked, however, is under intense pressure to pass the law; the head of the Shabak recently informed her that most of the rioters responsible for the violence in the south were able to enter Israel under a clause permitting the reunification of families, which the Citizenship Law is meant to prevent. The government is deeply frustrated, since this latest issue adds to the internal tensions over the settlement of Evyatar, which received official recognition this week. And there is another issue of contention as well—the supply of electricity for Jewish settlements. Meretz and the Labor party have reached the limits of their tolerance on the diplomatic front, and they, too, are afraid of the outcome of the next election, which may happen very soon. With tensions rising and the government unable to escape from contentious issues, there is no way to foresee how this week will end.
The Draft Law Passes
So they have managed to pass the draft law.
After the vote, I saw the expressions of conceit and satisfaction on the faces of the three leaders of this evil government: Bennett, Lapid, and Gantz. They looked like men who had just managed to scale Mount Everest. It is a sad commentary on the state of this coalition when they feel like celebrating simply because the opposition didn’t defeat them.
The bill passed by a very narrow margin, in a vote of 51 to 48. If only two Arab members of the Knesset had voted against it, the numbers would have shifted to 50 against and 49 in favor, and the bill would have fallen. Likewise, if three Arabs had abstained from the vote, it would have ended in a tie, and the bill would not have passed. Essentially, that means that the coalition leaders were celebrating the fact that two or three Arabs decided to vote in favor of drafting the chareidim.
The cartoonist Yoni (Rabbi Yonasan Gerstein) published a cartoon in the Israeli Yated which shows an Arab approaching a bochur in a bais medrash and handing him a machine gun and a draft order. The absurdity of the situation becomes clear when considering that a former major general (Benny Gantz), a former major (Naftoli Bennett), and a onetime military correspondent (Yair Lapid) rejoiced together on the Knesset floor. These three men are very different from each other, but when it comes to their antagonism for chareidim, especially yeshiva bochurim, they are kindred spirits in every sense of the term.
The government claims that the purpose of the law is to guarantee that the burden of national service is shared equally, but this is an absolute lie. They constantly stress that the age of exemption was lowered to 21, as if that somehow makes the bill easier to accept; however, it actually renders it much less palatable. The purpose of that provision is not to increase enlistment in the army; rather, it is to encourage chareidim to go out to work. Lapid himself admitted to that. After the bill passed in the Knesset, Lapid announced, “This law will lead more chareidim to join the army, more chareidim to perform national service, and many, many more chareidim to join the work force and become part of the Israeli economy.” (It bears noting that after the draft law passed, another new law was approved to expand the national service program, in order to create more opportunities for chareidim to join the program). But impelling chareidim to join the work force has nothing to do with the equality of the draft. That is an agenda that should infuriate anyone—not just bnei Torah, but any person who is interested in justice. Since when does any government have the right to force a particular lifestyle on anyone?
As for the draft itself, the bottom line is that the bochurim and yungeleit will not join the army, regardless of the law’s provisions. History shows that financial constraints have never driven bnei Torah to leave the bais medrash. No one is going to leave the bais medrash solely because the government decided that he is allowed to work.
But perhaps one good thing has emerged from all this: The passage of the law might have given us a few years of quiet, without the interference of the Supreme Court. After all, Hashem runs the world….
Will the Netanyahu Trial Be Halted?
Even more than all these issues, however, there is one topic that has seized the attention of the media, the public, and, of course, politicians spanning the entire spectrum. That issue is the recent spate of revelations concerning the scandalous conduct of the police. Remember the Watergate affair in America? Well, the current scandal in Israel is on a par with that infamous debacle. According to the recent revelations, the police have tapped the phones of many citizens who were not suspected of committing any crimes, simply because the police had an interest in eavesdropping on them.
One such citizen is Shlomo Filber, who was the director-general of the Ministry of Communications and was recruited by the prosecution as a state witness against Netanyahu regarding his dealings with Bezeq and Shaul Elovich. It has now come to light that the police embedded a program in Filber’s phone during one of his interrogations, and they have amassed complete records of everything he said, everything he did, and everywhere he went since that time. Once they had this information in their possession, they were easily able to intimidate Filber until he agreed to serve as a state witness against his good friend Netanyahu.
By law, all of this information was gathered illegally and is therefore inadmissible as evidence. That would be true even if a judge ruled after the fact that the actions of the police were acceptable; however, it seems unlikely in any event that the police ever received clearance for these activities, since they never revealed to any judge the extent of their ability to track citizens with their cell phones. Furthermore, there was never a reason for any judge to agree to such surveillance, unless the police misled the judge into believing that the need existed—and that would simply constitute another crime on the part of the people charged with upholding the law.
This scandal has been growing by leaps and bounds. First, it was revealed that the police had used wiretapping software to eavesdrop on private conversations, ostensibly without receiving permission from the courts. Next, it was reported that the same software had been sold to foreign countries, in exchange for a variety of benefits. Finally, we learned this week that the software had been used much more extensively in Israel than anyone had imagined. Amazingly, last week the police denied having used any illegitimate means in their investigations. They later admitted that there had been some improprieties, but then the revelations about their handling of Shlomo Filber made it clear that their behavior was much worse.
Everyone, even Bibi Netanyahu’s opponents, has been shocked by this misconduct; the police have definitely crossed a red line, and many have realized that any other citizen in the country might find himself in Filber’s shoes at any time. The scandal has gone so far that some people have begun demanding a halt to Netanyahu’s trial, at least until the police misconduct is thoroughly investigated. At this point, the judges have actually agreed to halt the trial; however, they are demanding immediate and comprehensive answers from the prosecution about this issue.
Police and Prosecution Under Fire
This brings us to the next step. After the police investigate a suspect, their findings are placed in the hands of the prosecution. Sometimes, the prosecution oversees a police investigation and hands down instructions for the police to carry out. After all, it is ultimately the prosecutors who decide whether to file an indictment and on what charges. The State Prosecutor’s Office is part of the Ministry of Justice and is subject to the authority of the attorney general. The major question now is whether the prosecution itself played any part in this affair. If the prosecution (to say nothing of the state prosecutor and the attorney general themselves) was aware that the police were crossing these red lines, then that would be nothing short of an earthquake, and heads are bound to roll over this revelation.
The prosecutors claim that they were not aware of any crimes committed by the police investigators. They insist that they were oblivious to any illegal wiretapping conducted without a warrant from the courts, or the use of any software embedded in the phones of private citizens. Moreover, the prosecution has already announced that they themselves are opening an investigation into the issue. The police vigorously deny that the prosecutors were kept out of the loop; they insist that they did not make a single move without the full knowledge, approval, and support of the prosecution.
The police have a long history of leaking stories to the media, slandering innocent citizens, and lying about their activities. However, this time it is their own partners in the prosecution who are being subjected to these tactics. Here is one excerpt from a recent story in the media: “Senior figures in the police force blame the prosecution for the crisis that has been created, claiming that the prosecutors approved their surveillance of citizens. ‘They follow every investigation,’ one senior police officer said. ‘They are partners in all of our requests and injunctions; they are the supervisory body. How can they now claim that they didn’t know about it?’ … He added, ‘The Prosecution is not telling the truth. They knew about and approved the use of spyware in Filber’s cell phone. It received the approval of the attorney general.’”
There is no question that all of them are guilty. The current police chief, Yaakov Shabtai, and his predecessors, especially Roni Alshich, are all equally culpable, as are the outgoing attorney general (Mandelblit) and state prosecutor (Shai Nitzan). And they are well aware that their actions are about to come back to haunt them. Senior officials in the police and prosecution are quaking with fear today, as everyone is busy pointing the finger of blame at everyone else. Internal relations within the police force and prosecution, as well as between the two bodies, are probably at an all-time low. And this is clearly only the beginning of the story.
On that note, last week four members of the Knesset asked for a parliamentary investigative commission to be formed to probe this issue. (This was even before Shlomo Filber’s story came to light, and thus before the ramifications for Netanyahu’s trial were known.) And who delivered the government’s answer? That was Yoav Segalovich, the Deputy Minister of Public Security, who served previously as the head of Lahav 433, the police unit tasked with investigating corruption. Segalovich himself was castigated by Lieberman in the past for his own illegal wiretapping activities, which targeted Lieberman and his family. Absurd, isn’t it?
Ambassador Friedman on Netanyahu and Trump
We all remember David Friedman, the American ambassador to Tel Aviv—or, better yet, to Yerushalayim—during the Trump presidency. Friedman was unlike any of his predecessors, in the sense that he was the most pro-Israel of them all. He supported Israeli settlements and may even have abhorred the Palestinians. For the religious community, there was another point in his favor: Friedman is a Jew with close ties to his religion, which was a novelty for all of us. Friedman is releasing a new book that will undoubtedly make for a fascinating read, titled Sledgehammer: How Breaking with the Past Brought Peace to the Middle East.
In his book, Friedman tells the story of a meeting between President Trump and the president of Israel, Ruvi Rivlin, in which Trump criticized then-Prime Minister Binyomin Netanyahu for his lack of willingness to make peace with the Palestinians, in contrast to his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas. According to Friedman, that criticism came as a shock to everyone in the room. Even though it was a private meeting and the exchange was not recorded, he was certain that the media would announce triumphantly the next day that Trump had praised Abu Mazen and criticized Netanyahu, which would have jeopardized the peace process and the American president’s standing in Israel. Amazingly, he adds, Trump’s comments were not leaked to the press.
Friedman goes on to describe how, at Trump’s next meeting with Netanyahu, Friedman himself asked everyone present to watch “a two-minute collection of excerpts from Abbas’s speeches, which I thought were worth viewing.” He proceeded to play two full minutes of video clips in which Abbas was heard giving honor to terrorists, praising violence, and swearing that he would never accept anything less than a complete defeat of Israel. After the recording ended, President Trump exclaimed, “Wow, is that the same man I met in Washington last month? He looked so sweet and placid!” Friedman was certain that the video evidence had a marked impact on the president.
Friedman adds that he was rebuked by Rex Tillerson, President Trump’s first Secretary of State, and by Herbert Raymond McMaster, the former president’s second National Security Advisor. “They thought it was a cheap propaganda trick,” Friedman recalls. He relates that he responded to them, “I work for the president and not for anyone else. I am going to make sure that he has the expertise he needs in order to do the right thing in his policies toward Israel.”
President Rivlin’s Underhanded Trick
Here is another interesting peek behind the scenes of international politics from the same book: Friedman accuses President Rivlin and his staff of being disingenuous and wreaking political damage in their dealings with former Vice President Mike Pence. This took place at the gathering of 45 world leaders in Israel in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2020, when he relates that Rivlin invited Donald Trump’s archrival, Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, without the American president’s knowledge. “I called Rivlin’s office to ask about this invitation,” he relates. “I had been told that there would be only one participant from every country—a president, a prime minister, or a vice president. Why did they invite her as well? The answer I received was that it was none of my business.” Friedman adds that he was furious with President Rivlin and his staff.
He adds that he called the president’s office and harshly berated his staff. “You begged me to bring Vice President Pence as the representative of your closest ally,” he told them, referring to the fact that Pence hadn’t originally planned to attend the event. “He is doing this only because of his love for Israel, and you didn’t have the decency to tell me that you had also gone behind my back and invited the woman who was responsible for Trump’s impeachment in Congress, even though her position wouldn’t make her deserving of an invitation if she came from any other country!”
That wasn’t the only incident for which Friedman saw fit to criticize Rivlin. He also relates that in a meeting between Trump and Rivlin in 2017, the Israeli president rambled at great length about irrelevant topics. “Rivlin, who is charming yet stubborn, spent far too much time talking, and with little logical connection to the discussion. He thanked Trump for bombing Mosul, but it was clear from the context that he was actually referring to an attack on an air base in Syria. By the time he had finished speaking, it was clear that President Trump was tired, and it wasn’t reasonable to expect him to remain focused.”
If I could speak to David Friedman, perhaps I would reveal to him that the relationship between Rivlin and Pelosi dates back many years. For a long time, the two politicians served in parallel positions in their respective countries; Pelosi was the Speaker of the House of Representatives, while Rivlin was the Speaker of the Knesset. It is entirely typical yet characteristically irresponsible of Rivlin to invite her to an Israeli event even at the risk of incurring the wrath of the entire White House Staff, including the president.
Justice Will Not Be Found in the Courts in Yerushalayim
Last Tuesday, like many others in this country, I sat with my ears glued to the radio, listening to Judge Shmuel Herbst speaking on a live broadcast from the Magistrates’ Court. The longer he spoke, the more furious I became. For a trifling offense, Aryeh Deri had been hounded for six or seven years—a “very long time,” in the words of the judge. Was this the treatment deserved by a man who has spent his entire adult life serving the public?
The judge mentioned many points in Deri’s favor: his resignation from the Knesset, his long career as a public servant, and, above all, the fact that he hadn’t even been involved in the inaccurate tax calculations. Parenthetically, I myself can attest that when it comes to accounting and mathematics, Deri is out of his league. The judge also stressed that Deri’s role in the crime had been passive, and he added that Deri’s crimes placed him at the bottom of the range of possible punishments. In other words, there was almost nothing to hold against him! It would have taken very little effort for the judge to conclude, based on all the evidence, that Deri was actually innocent.
Throughout the judge’s speech, the political commentators on the radio repeatedly opined—making it difficult to hear the judge himself—that he was clearly going to accept the plea bargain. This was certainly to be expected, since it was clear to everyone that the arrangement was skewed in favor of the state. While Deri could have been fully exonerated in court, the agreement called for him to face a criminal sentence for a “crime” that any other citizen could rectify in a span of 15 minutes by negotiating with an assessment officer in the Tax Authority. No other citizen would have had to pay a fine of 180,000 NIS, in addition to any outstanding tax. Above all, no ordinary citizen would have been forced to resign from his job for such an offense. Incidentally, on Tuesday Yisroel Hayom quoted an attorney specializing in criminal law who asserted, “When the attorney general claimed that the Deri case made a mountain out of something that was even less than a molehill, they should have closed the investigation immediately…. This could have been resolved with a monetary fine, as is the practice in similar cases.”
Personally, while I listened to the judge speak, I was certain that he was going to reject the plea deal and let Deri off with an even lighter sentence. It would have been impossible for him to exonerate Deri completely, since he had already “confessed” to the crime, in keeping with the terms of the plea agreement. Nevertheless, the judge could have spoken out against the deal, and against the prosecution and the outgoing attorney general as well. He could have expressed his disappointment with the fact that the police deliberately targeted Deri and went after him with a vengeance, spending vast sums of money and questioning countless witnesses in a case that ultimately led nowhere. At the very least, I expected the judge to reject the two sentences included in the deal—the fine of 180,000 NIS and the suspended prison sentence. The judge was powerless to do anything about Deri’s resignation from the Knesset, which was already a fait accompli, but he was also unable to charge Deri with moral turpitude, since he was no longer a member of the government. When he finally announced that he had accepted the deal with all of its terms, I was bitterly disappointed.
I can certainly understand the decision made by Deri’s lawyers to avoid a trial. They have no faith in the court system, and they recognize that there is no way to predict how a trial will end. On the other hand, I cannot shake the oppressive feeling that this court case did not result in justice at all; instead, it was a brutal attack on a man who did not do anything wrong. And I have all the reasons in the world to suspect that the real crime here was committed by the “plaintiffs” in this trial—the police and prosecution.
Smuggling Is Alive and Well
It has been a long time since I wrote about Minister Kahana, with his outlandish initiatives and his nefarious reforms. Last week, hundreds of rabbonim held a gathering and announced that even after Kahana’s conversion reform takes effect, allowing any rov in the country to perform giyur, they will still refrain from doing so. As far as they are concerned, giyur will remain within the exclusive purview of the botei din. This week, Kahana announced that, in keeping with his kashrus reform plan, the Chief Rabbinate’s department for the investigation of kashrus fraud and enforcement of the law against forgeries will be shut down. Kahana claimed that there would be no need for the unit, since he plans to put together a staff of kashrus inspectors in the framework of his reform plan. But there was a general sense that he is simply destroying the world of kashrus in Israel.
Speaking of forgeries, a chareidi Knesset member recently filed a parliamentary query after a large quantity of treif meat was caught being smuggled into Israel from Palestinian territory. The questioner asked for details on the specific stores where the meat was intended to be sold (i.e., whether the stores have kashrus certification of any kind) as well as how many similar attempts were caught in the past, and what penalties were given to the smugglers. The lack of sanitary standards in unsupervised meat production, which is the secular authorities’ main concern, is an important issue in its own right, but for the religious parties there is even more at stake. Smuggled meat is typically passed off as kosher when it is really treif, and the result is that people who truly desire to eat only kosher food are duped into ingesting neveilos u’tereifos.
In response to the question, the Minister of Agriculture claimed that the meat’s intended destination was unknown. This is very hard to believe. The minister insisted that when the authorities discover where shipments of smuggled meat are headed, they inform the Chief Rabbinate. And the penalty for this offense turned out to be laughable: The meat was destroyed and the perpetrators were given a minor fine of 15,000 shekels. Can that even be considered a punishment for the crime? What is to prevent them from trying to pull off the same scheme again?
The minister’s response concerning previous incidents of smuggling was equally disturbing. It turns out that between January and October in the year 2020, there were 81 incidents in which shipments of meat were apprehended in the process of being smuggled into Israel from the Palestinian Authority. Eighty-one! That, too, should be cause for a reckoning in this country.
A Dose of Simcha
Chazal tell us, “Mishenichnas Adar marbim b’simcha—When Adar comes in, we increase our joy.” The Lev Simcha of Ger used to say that we should begin rejoicing on Shabbos Mevorchim, even before the month of Adar arrives; that is why the Gemara tells us to rejoice when Adar “comes in,” rather than when it “begins.” With that in mind, I would like to share several delightful divrei Torah with you, in the hope that it will bring some joy into your lives.
The Gemara famously states (Tannis 25b) that when Rabi Eliezer davened for a drought to end, his tefillos were not answered, whereas Rabi Akiva’s prayers were answered. The Gemara explains, “It isn’t that one was greater than the other; rather, one [Rabi Akiva] was maavir al midosav [forgiving of others], and the other [Rabi Eliezer] was not forgiving of others.” However, this seems to be a strange statement. If Rabi Akiva was forgiving of others while Rabi Eliezer did not show that consideration, doesn’t that suggest that Rabi Akiva was indeed greater than his colleague? This week, I found an answer to this question in a kuntres published by Rav Yitzchok Ohev-Tzion, who posed this very question to Rav Chaim Kanievsky. He relates that Rav Chaim replied simply, “He didn’t need to be maavir al midosav.” That is, Rabi Eliezer did not have to work on himself in order to achieve this; it came naturally to him.
Rav Ohev-Tzion’s kuntres deals with a single topic: the importance of giving credit for any idea to its source. This is a concept derived from Megillas Esther, where we find that Esther brought salvation to Klal Yisroel by reporting that Mordechai had told her about the conspiracy against Achashverosh. Of course, I have always known about this idea, but I have now learned that the imperative goes much further than this: If a person repeats someone else’s statement without giving credit to them, it is considered an act of theft and the violation of a prohibition.
The new kuntres deals with many fascinating applications of this principle, exploring issues such as whether one must give credit to someone who made a statement about a known fact, whether a Jew who heard an idea from a non-Jew has the same obligation to credit him, and how to properly attribute an idea heard from several Torah sages. There is also a chapter dedicated to questions that were posed to Rav Chaim Kanievsky. For instance, Rav Chaim was asked if a person who formulates a chiddush on his own and then finds the same idea in a sefer or hears it from another person is required to give credit to them. (Rav Chaim replied that it is not necessary.) He was also asked if a person who hears a chiddush from a woman (such as his wife) and then repeats it to others is required to mention its source, or if he should omit any reference to the woman due to considerations of tznius. (Rav Chaim replied, “Yesh lomar.”)
Another question involved an insight that I found astounding. The Torah states that when Yosef was brought out of the dungeon, Pharaoh said to him, “I have heard about you that you will hear a dream and interpret it.” The Chasam Sofer comments that since Pharaoh did not credit the chief cupbearer by name for making this statement to him, he brought golus to the world rather than geulah. This implies that a non-Jew is likewise obligated to give credit to the source of any statement he makes. Rav Ohev-Tzion asked Rav Chaim if there is a known source for this concept. Rav Chaim replied, “A ben Noach is also commanded to perform chessed.”
Rav Ohev-Tzion also quoted the Mogen Avrohom’s statement (Orach Chaim 156) that if a person does not give credit to the source of a statement, he is considered to have violated a prohibition. “What is the halacha,” he asked, “if a person gives someone else a list of marei mekomos on a certain topic? Is he required to quote the person who gave him the citations?”
Rav Chaim replied, “The Chazon Ish is quoted as saying that it is not necessary.”
On another note, I once heard a fascinating question posed by Rav Avigdor Nebenzahl. The halacha states that if a person enters a bais medrash in order to give a message to someone who is there, he should first recite a mishnah or halacha before approaching the person. If the person who enters the bais medrash does not know anything that he can recite on his own, then he should ask a child to recite a posuk for him. Rav Nebenzahl asked: How is it possible to say that the person entering the bais medrash does not know anything? It is obvious that he is aware of this very halacha, that one may not enter a bais medrash without reciting something!
And here is another fascinating insight for your enjoyment: A class of young boys once visited Rav Elazar Menachem Shach along with their rebbi. Rav Shach asked the children, “How much is the kavod of a Jew worth? How much should one invest in order to prevent a Jew from being shamed?”
The children were ready with a response: “It is worth a fortune! A person should let himself be thrown into a furnace rather than embarrass another Jew!”
Rav Shach was pleased with their answer, but then he quoted a comment of Rashi in Parshas Mishpotim: The Torah states that if a person steals an ox and slaughters it, he must repay the value of five oxen, whereas if he steals a sheep, he is required only to pay four times its value. Why is there a difference? Rashi explains that since the thief debased himself by carrying the sheep on his shoulders, the Torah reduces the payment required of him. “Is the bizayon of a Jew worth only the value of one little sheep?” Rav Shach demanded of them. “Didn’t we just say that it is worth a fortune?”
None of the children was able to answer his question.
“Then let the rebbi answer,” Rav Shach said, but their rebbi likewise remained silent. Finally, Rav Shach himself provided the answer. “It is true that the kavod of a Jew is worth millions,” he said, “but when this Jew stole a sheep and carried it on his shoulders, he showed that he was willing to debase himself for the value of a sheep. Therefore, his own kavod is worth much less in his eyes.”
Let us return to Rav Avigdor Nebenzahl. In a fascinating publication known as Dvar Torah M’Yerushalayim, I came across an interesting question regarding the order of priorities for brachos: The halacha states that a person should recite a brocha on an item that is choviv (beloved) to him, even if a different item is shaleim (whole). What if the item that is choviv is preferred for an external reason, such as the shirayim received from a chassidish rebbe?
Rav Nebenzahl ruled that, indeed, the food that is choviv takes precedence even in that case. The footnote adds that this view is shared by Rav Elyashiv, who is quoted in Chishukei Chemed (Brachos 39a); however, Rav Avrohom Genechovsky disagrees (Bnei Re’em 41:6).
Here is another thought: What is Adar all about? Rav Ovadiah Yosef used to comment with a smile that the word Adar is an acronym for “Rabbi Aryeh Deri.” When Aryeh Deri arrives, Rav Ovadiah said, everyone’s joy increases.
But the bottom line is that I am left with a lingering question: What does it mean to be “marbeh b’simcha”? In the month of Av, when Chazal tell us to decrease our joy, the halacha sets forth specific guidelines. In Adar, there are no such guidelines. Why is that? I await answers….