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JERUSALEM – High-ranking Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu ministers, as well as Knesset members and political activists, are furious with both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman for the flailing election campaign strategy orchestrated by Arthur J. Finkelstein, the noted New York Republican Party strategist.
Finkelstein reportedly was the brainchild behind the temporary political merger between Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu, believing that a large, nationalist Israeli political entity would sweep the elections and receive a minimum of 40 Knesset mandates. In his view, this would allow Netanyahu to determine Israel’s domestic and foreign policy political agendas without kowtowing to smaller parties like Yahadut HaTorah and Shas.
But over the past month the Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu campaign has gone into a tailspin, as a growing number of Likud voters have been alienated by the attorney general’s indictment of Lieberman; Netanyahu’s personal attacks on Naftali Bennett, the head of the fast-rising HaBayit HaYehudi Party; Israel’s deteriorating relations with the White House and the EU; and the government’s refusal to address expensive tax hikes – from state and city taxes to electricity and water taxes. The tax hikes have moved a growing number of middle-class families into the category of the “working poor.”
Earlier this week several newspaper and TV polls said that the Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu faction would receive no more than 32 seats, with Bennett’s right-wing party gaining as much as 15 seats – possibly making it the second largest party in the next Knesset. While a majority of Likud MKs and activists believe that HaBayit HaYehudi’s pro-settler/national religious agenda would be an excellent political fit for the next governing coalition, Netanyahu’s alleged personal animosity toward Bennett and secular HaBayit HaYehudi candidate Ayelet Shaked has made a future political alliance uncertain. According to the Israeli media both Bennett and Shaked, who held influential posts in Netanyahu’s office when he was Israel’s opposition leader, left after purportedly clashing with the prime minister’s wife, Sara.
Also this week, President Shimon Peres added to the prime minister’s political woes by publicly upbraiding him for refusing to negotiate a peace deal with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Peres also said that Israel could negotiate with Hamas if they renounced violence and recognized Israel’s right to exist. Peres was a key architect of the failed Oslo accords that he negotiated with the PLO’s Yasir Arafat, whose widow, Suha, admitted in an interview recently that her husband had no compunction about organizing and launching the Second Intifada against Israel – even after signing the Oslo accords. In addition, Al Jazeera TV disclosed the contents of secret PA documents this week showing that Abbas instructed his peace interlocutor to reject the generous peace overtures made by then-prime minister Ehud Olmert and his foreign minister, Tzipi Livni. They offered nearly 95 percent of Judea and Samaria to the PA, as well as control over the Temple Mount and other Jerusalem neighborhoods.
Former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir’s son, Yair, who holds the fourth slot on the combined Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu slate, acknowledged at a political forum earlier this week that “we are losing mandates and, as a result, we might have to consider forming a government with many different political factions.”
The good news for Netanyahu is that the same newspaper and TV polls that find the combined list’s popularity slipping reported that other than HaBayit HaYehudi, the other new parties – including Hatenua (led by Livni) and Yesh Atid (headed by Yair Lapid) – have so far failed to win support from disgruntled Likud voters. Livni and Lapid boasted that their “fresh ideas” would attract at least 15 or more seats combined in the next Knesset (polls show them winning 10-11 seats), which would give them the leverage to pressure Netanyahu into revising his new government’s domestic and foreign policies from his current ones.
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The Islamic State is getting a lot of bad publicity lately, which actually proves how successful they are.
Islamic terror coming soon to your favorite neighborhood street theater.
The ZIM ship was quickly and efficiently unloaded – despite the best efforts by the Jihadi supporters to block it.
11:06pm Sapir, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Sderot, Gaza border, Ashkelon, Ashkelon, Ashkelon 10:17pm Kerem Shalom 9:04pm Ashkelon Coast 8:49pm Eshkol 8:12pm Eshkol 7:47pm Eshkol 7:44pm A Hamas spokesperson has warned airlines to not fly into Ben-Gurion starting 6am tomorrow (Thursday), according to a YNet report. It’s actually things like that that makes Israel hit Hamas even harder. 7:35pm Kerem […]
Don’t you feel just a tad jealous of Egypt right now?
Update: Calls for Renewed Ground Offensive as Rain of Rockets on Israel Continues
Following Rockets, Israel Renewing Safety Precautions for Civilians
Israel’s Security Cabinet is meeting in a marathon session to decide the next step in Operation Protective Edge.
More than 1,550 individuals have immigrated to Israel from Ukraine in the first five months of 2014 alone, more than double the 693 who arrived in the corresponding period last year.
Signs that Islamic State (ISIS – Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) terrorists have arrived in Egypt have appeared in the Sinai Peninsula.
Shlomy Zachary, an Israeli human rights lawyer, noted that Israeli cooperation with previous UN investigations has helped mitigate criticism of Israel – for example, in a 2010 UN investigation of the so-called flotilla incident.
Israelis may have to blame Qatar for the current round of lethal rocket fire, if a report published in Arab media is true.
So imagine, you’re working in the field harvesting cucumbers (or whatever is in season right now) and suddenly the siren goes off – Hamas is shooting rockets at you.
As of Tuesday, all IDF forces operating in Gaza withdrew and redeployed to holding positions around Gaza.
The sophisticated cement tunnels, which cost hundreds of millions of dollars, were reportedly built with Qatari government funds.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the nation on Tuesday afternoon that if the rocket fire did not stop by Tuesday evening, he would order “an even harsher” military response.
“They were abducted and murdered in cold blood by human animals,” Netanyahu said shortly after the bodies were found.
Awad had been released as part of the Gilad Shalit kidnapping deal. Mizrachi’s widow, Hadas, told Israeli reporters that she had opposed the release of murderers as part of any kidnapping deal, and that Awad “deserved the death penalty so he wouldn’t kill again.”
If the abductors’ goal was to force Israeli authorities to release long-serving Palestinian prisoners, the effort backfired as Israeli forces are quickly rolling up what was left of Hamas in the West Bank and are reportedly contemplating the overthrow of the Hamas leadership in Gaza should harm come to the three teenagers.
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