The government on Sunday voted to put a ministerial committee headed by the Prime Minister in charge of Jewish development in Judea and Samaria , the first time in 16 years that the establishment and expansion of Jewish communities in the biblical heartland will not come under the purview of the full government.
In line with the government’s plan to destroy 5 buildings in the Ulpana Hill neighborhood of Beit El, six caravilla mobile homes were delivered on Monday to house evicted families. Community leaders hope out of the ashes may come the biggest development in years.
Following a Knesset vote on the “Regulation Law” intended to prevent the evacuation of the Ulpana Neighborhood in Beit El, Ulpana residents and others supporting the law broke up in angry protest. Police, on horseback and on foot, acted brutally to subdue what was, essentially, a loud protest.
The new law will end the obligation of Jewish couples to be wedded only by the rabbi of their locale, permitting them to choose any recognized Orthodox rabbi in the country to perform their marriage.
The intensifying focus on legislating an alternative to the Tal Law has the ultra-Orthodox parties in the Likud-led coalition defensive yet intractable. Shas and UTJ - representing 15 seats in the government - have declared that they will not participate in the coalition committee on finding an alternative.
Netanyahu: "By the end of July, we will pass a law that will divide the burden on a more equal, more egalitarian and more just basis for all Israelis, Jewish and Arab alike, without setting public against public."
Early this week, the Obama administration was ready to give up on its "haggling" with Netanyahu's government, abandoning its effort to renew the freezing of Jewish settlement construction. Then came the Netanyahu-Mofaz deal, guaranteeing the PM the support of 94 MKs. Hours later, a call came from Secretary of State Clinton, urging Netanyahu to use his new clout to advance the two-state solution.
Israel Beytenu Chairman: "The residents who have lived in Givat Ulpana for years are law-abiding citizens. This is not an illegal outpost. It is the state's mistake, and it must take responsibility. There are ways to regulate the matter with legislation."
The stealth move by Premier Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Shaul Mofaz was a reunification of the 2005 Likud. Joining forces, they are close to realizing the dream of every Israeli premier, to rule without partners. But the new coalition deal means decidedly sobering news for Israel's two major religious camps - the Haredim and the settlement movement.
In an overnight drama worthy of a Hollywood thriller, the leaders of Likud and Kadima, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Shaul Mofaz concluded a deal for a broad coalition government led by their two factions, and the cancellation of the early, September 4 elections.
Danny Goldstein, founder and chairman of 'Calcala' ('Finance'): “We are focused on making Israel a better place to live and a better place to invest by merging the best of Israel and America - representing Israelis, but with an eye on the American perspective.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government on Monday submitted a bill to dissolve the 18th Knesset and call for early elections, which was passed by the House Committee vote of 13 to 4. The move was designed to undermine Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's attempt to promote his bill calling for drafting Haredi citizens.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Likud Party convention called for a four-month election campaign. Meanwhile, coalition partner Yisrael Beiteinu called for a delay of the Knesset dissolution to allow the government to pass its bill ordering mandatory enlistment in the Israel Defense Forces for all Israeli citizens.
UPDATE: About 100 Likud Central Committee members have been refused entrance into the hall where the vote on the next President of the Likud convention is to be held. Police say the Exhibition Gardens hall in north Tel Aviv is too small for the number of committee members who are entitled to come in and vote.
The Likud Party, which leads the ruling coalition, has submitted a bill to dissolve the current Knesset and is pushing for new elections on Sept. 4.
After the Israeli Supreme Court struck down the Tal Law, which sought to encourage over time the inclusion of Haredim in military service, the court, for all intents and purposes, has required the state to draft some 60,000 Haredi youths this August. As Knesset factions are preparing for new, early national elections, Haredi enlistment will likely serve as the battle field where many voters' choices will be made.
Israel's Supreme Court and the Attorney General are showing a kind of zeal one normally attributes to religious fanatics. Rather than pursuing a pragmatic, financial compensation to the claimant, as is normal in similar civil cases, both the high court and the AG appear hell bent on getting Justice. The Likud rank and file are preparing to do war with these two enemies of Israel's democracy.
Knesset Deputy Speaker Danny Danon says if Defense Minister Ehud Barak is not stopped now, there are nine thousand housing units in Judea and Samaria which are being challenged like Ulpana Hill and the Jewish purchased residences in Hebron. "We must stop this erosion and say, enough, we won't let Barak carry out a creeping erosion of the settlements of Judea and Samaria," Danon told JewishPress.com Sunday night.
Former journalist and rookie politician Yair Lapid's new party is off to a problematic start. Lapid's choice of the name 'Atid' for his new political party has created yet another controversy for the political neophyte; it is similar enough to Atid Echad - an immigrant party with mostly Ethiopian support - to cause confusion to voters, and possible legal action by its chair Yechezkel Stelzer.
Earlier this week, Meretz Chairperson MK Zahava Gal-On had a severe case of hoof and mouth disease when, while speaking to the Army Radio, she said it would be intolerable for Israel's future to be decided by a bunch of "Yehudonim from Brooklyn," or, if you will, the good, old Polish term "Zhidki." Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman's Anglo supporters told the Jewish Press Gal-On should apologize for the slur and for equating the right-wing coalition to the Nazis.
Hundreds of activists who had arrived to celebrate the Mimouna applauded the MKs announcements that there was no other option for their two factions but to run a united list in the next Knesset elections. MK Yaakov Katz (Ketzele) repeated his earlier announcement that if the two factions do not run as one, he would remove himself from the campaign.
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin says elections for Israel's next government will be held this coming September. There's one major reason why Rivlin is interested in going to the voter soon: he hopes that the in the next Knesset he'll get the votes to pass his new bill, seeking to level the playing field between the High Court and the Knesset. He also believes Peres will bring Pollard home.
Out of 95 thousand registered Kadima party members, only 40% voted by 10 p.m., when the polls closed. It was rumored that left-leaning Haim Ramon was planning to resign as Chair of the Kadima Council. Along with the Mofaz win, this may suggest that the party is moving to the right. It may also mean that Kadima could not be taken for granted as partnering with the left on issues such as religious vs. secular tensions.
The High Court on Sunday rejected the settlement deal between the State and the residents of the outpost Migron, allowing an extension of their evacuation date until August this year, and not next weekend, as was the original decision. But Deputy Knesset Speaker MK Danon threatens "If the court does not approve the Migron agreement, we will confirm it via primary legislation."
Shortly after returning from France, MK Rabbi Israel Eichler (United Torah Judaism) said anxiety surrounds the French Jewish community: "There is a constant tension, the Jewish community is living in a prison-like situation." Eichler said France poses "a great danger to Jews."