Across Israel, Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs.
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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According to the Ministry of the Interior, at the time the ballot closed, in the Beit Shemesh elections, 76% of eligible voters voted, compared to 69.32% in 2013. While in the redo election in Nazareth, 83.6% of eligible voters voted, compared to 70.27% in 2013. There is no update yet as to who won.
Retired Supreme Court Edmund Levy, who headed a three-man committee that debunked allegations that Israel is an “occupier,” died Tuesday night at the age of 72. He served on the Supreme Court from 2000 to 2011, capping a legal career that began with studies at Tel Aviv University several years after his family immigrated to […]
Nadia Haroun, the deputy head of Egypt’s Jewish community was buried on Thursday.
The youth wing of Sweden’s Liberal party organized a “love bombing” Monday night and pasted heart-shaped papers on the same school that was attacked by neo-Nazi vandals the night before. Stockholm’s “Vasa Real” school was sprayed with swastikas and slogans, such as “disgusting Jews” and the number 1488 that is a symbol for white power […]
Norwegian Cruise Lines dropped Tunisia from its itineraries after the country refused to allow Israeli citizens to disembark in the Port of Tunis. About 20 Israelis were quietly told before disembarking from the Norwegian Jade over the weekend that they were not welcome per the Tunisian government. The cruise line’s decision to drop Tunisia was […]
“More than the Jews have kept the Shabbos (Sabbath), the Shabbos has kept the Jews.”
A lot more guns than usual were visible in Beit Shemesh.
Bye-bye to the right-wing extremists, left-wing extremists, weirdoes and maybe Tzipi Livni.
Three Hamas terrorists were killed on Tuesday in an explosion that was “all part of a day’s work” of preparing rockets and bombs for attacks on Israel. The Hamas website reported that the “work accident” killed three members of the “military branch” of Hamas in Beit Hanoun, located in northern Gaza. Earlier on Tuesday, the […]
The Priceline online ticketing and reservation company has bought Israeli-based start-up Qlika for around $3 million, according to the VentureBeat website. Qlika, based in the metropolitan Tel Aviv city of Ramat Gan, focuses on “micro-location” ad campaigns and has only six employees, all of whom have masters’ degrees in physics and mathematics and who have […]
An airline owned by the United Arab Emirates said it “emphatically refutes” claims that it excludes Israel from its official travel-route map and refuses to transport Israelis. In a statement, Etihad Airways wrote that it carried more than 1,000 passengers traveling with Israeli passports last year, refuting assertions made in the New York Post newspaper. […]
Either the IDF has privately admitted it goofed or Netanyahu is scared of Jordan when he needs him most.
Ruderman Foundation announces $250K prize for programs to ensure inclusion into the Jewish community to those with disabilities.
It is up to Defense Minister Ya’alon to decide if a court ruling in favor of Hebron Jews has any meaning at all.
A Jewish scribe has restored an 18th century copy of the Book of Esther that was donated to Catholic Nuns.
One of the passengers aboard the Malaysian Airlines plane that vanished is a Jewish Russian national, Nikolai Brodskii, 43, of the Siberian city of Irkutsk, whose name appears on the missing plane’s passenger manifest. He is a husband and father of sons aged 17 and 11. The flight, with 239 passengers on board, disappeared Saturday […]
Despite Obama’s threat of military force against Assad unless he relinquishes his chemical weapons cache, Assad has repeatedly failed to meet UN deadlines to deliver his deadly arsenal to a special arms disposal unit.
IAF jets and advanced drones have been aggressively monitoring the transfer of advanced Russian and Iranian made weaponry from Syria to Hizbullah bases in Lebanon.
“What ought to be the goal of these negotiations [with Iran]? It’s not merely to prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons…. It’s to prevent Iran from having the capability of manufacturing nuclear weapons. That is different,” Netanyahu said.
The privately owned Hadassah Medical Center reported that it currently has a deficit of $367 million, with annual budgetary expenses exceeding income by about $80 million.
JERUSALEM – Actress Scarlett Johansson announced last week that she was ending her relationship with Oxfam following criticism from the humanitarian group over her work as a spokeswoman for SodaStream, a producer of home soda-making machines, which operates a factory in the West Bank.
JERUSALEM – Amid a series of growing threats from al Qaeda-affiliated terror organizations in the region and freelance Palestinian and Islamic cyber militias trying to steal top-secret information from Israeli government websites, Israel’s military has beefed up its physical presence along the nation’s borders and increased cyber counter-intelligence operations.
JERUSALEM – Despite Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish state and no apparent movement on key issues such as settlement construction, Secretary of State Kerry seems determined to issue a memorandum of understanding at a summit meeting scheduled for next week with Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian leaders in Aqaba.
As befitting a legendary warrior, Sharon’s funeral procession on Monday stopped at Yad Lashiryon, The Armored Corps Memorial Site and Museum at Latrun (near Modiin). The site overlooks the same pastoral green valley where 65 years earlier Sharon, a 20-year-old IDF battalion commander, endured near fatal wounds during a hopeless War of Independence battle against superior Jordanian forces and armed Palestinian villagers. Nearly all of the soldiers in Sharon’s unit were wiped out.
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