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."
Following the murder of Jews in Toulouse, France, Chairman of the National Union MK Yaakov Katz (Ketzale) expressed his condolences to the families of the dead and called on all French Jews to "immigrate to Israel and strengthen the nation the dwells in Zion."
The Knesset Economic Committee held a heated discussion Monday over the composition of incoming Broadcasting Authority Supervisory Council. MK Jacob Katz argued that the previous text perpetuated a distortion which was causing large communities to feel alienated and segregated from public broadcasting. Ten years ago, Katz's own "Pirate" alternative radio station was taken down in the spirit of that same old law.
MK Dannon’s Senior Advisor Jonathan Daniels told the Jewish Press the bill was conceived after a group of legislators visited a clinic for critically underweight patients and met with anorectic patients. “It was horrific,” Daniels said. “And we didn’t see just 15-year-old anorexic girls, there were men, and older women. It was incredibly distressful to see them. They were close to death.”