web analytics
October 26, 2016 / 24 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘afternoon’

Analysis: An Afternoon of Hard Maneuvering May Yield New Defense Minister and 67-Member Rightwing Coalition

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Israeli media reported Wednesday evening that MK Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) has accepted the Prime Minister’s invitation to join his government and receive the portfolios of Defense and Immigrant Absorption — which is a nice package considering Liebrman is only adding six seats to the coalition.

But what a difference six seats make. With the budget vote coming up this Summer Session, Netanyahu will be able to breathe easy. Last session, three rogue members of his Likud faction chose to abstain from voting just to make a point, which helped derail some government legislation, awarding undeserved wins to the opposition. With 67 members, the fourth Netanyahu government can live out its entire four-year term.

Also, unlike the earlier potential coalition partner, Isaac Herzog’s left-leaning Zionist Camp, Lieberman is a natural fit in the current government. When he ended his 90 minute private meeting with the PM (which followed the PM’s meeting with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, where the latter was given his walking papers), most of Likud’s senior ministers were quick to congratulate and welcome him back into the fold. Liebrman really is no stranger to Likudniks — from 1993 to 1996, with Netanyahu in place as party chairman, Lieberman served as the Likud party’s director-general. When Netanyahu was elected to his first term as prime minister, Lieberman served as director-general of the prime minister’s office, the equivalent of the White House chief of staff, from 1996 to 1997. With a few noted exceptions, Lieberman has been to the right of Netanyahu, and left his side to start Yisrael Beiteinu in 1999 over concessions Netanyahu granted the Palestinians in the 1997 Wye River Memorandum. But these days there’s very little daylight between Lieberman and the majority of the Likud Knesset faction.

In addition to Netanyahu’s need for coalition stability, the other issue behind Wednesday’s dramatic change was the growing gap between Defense Minister Ya’alon and the rest of the Likud party, which could have put Netanyahu’s future in danger had he continued to be associated with his DM. In several key episodes in the country’s fractious confrontations with Arab terrorists, Ya’alon appeared to be going out of his way to drag the Netanyahu government to the left.

Last Purim, an IDF medic in Hebron shot and killed a terrorist who had already been neutralized by six bullets to his body. The soldier’s commanders on the ground planned to give him a disciplinary hearing at the time, but an Arab B’Tselem agent shot and released a video of the event, and shortly thereafter military police picked up the medic on murder charges. Ya’alon supported the MP and the military prosecutors, despite an unprecedented wave of protest against the IDF brass that frightened Netanyahu. The PM met with the Medic’s father, the charges were reduced to manslaughter and the case may yet be dismissed, but the PM felt that his DM had stuck him in an untenable spot with the Likud diehard rightwing voters.

Then came the notorious Holocaust Memorial Day speech of the IDF deputy chief of staff, who compared, albeit not directly, episodes such as the Hebron shooting of the terrorist to the rise of Nazism in 1930s Germany. Again, Netanyahu’s core voters were outraged. He ordered his DM to extract and apology from the general, but the IDF would not apologize, and denied the charges instead.

Finally, there were the terrorists’ bodies. On several occasions, Netanyahu opposed returning the bodies of killed terrorists to their families for burial without some cost, the least of which would be to let them wait a few days, or weeks, as a deterrence to others. In early May, against Netanyahu’s explicit request, Ya’alon ordered the return of the body of a terrorist who had been killed after attacking and wounding three IDF soldiers, one critically, with his car. Then the IDF said something preachy about having no interest in detaining the bodies, ostensibly as political chips.Netanyahu was livid. Anyone who was following those events and understood the growing resentment in Likud against Ya’alon, could see that his days at the helm were numbered.

It isn’t clear whether Netanyahu was very smart or just very lucky when he allowed himself to be talked by his finance minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) into inviting MK Isaac Herzog to join his coalition government. On its face the move looked crazy if not stupid: for one thing, it wasn’t at all certain that more than half of the Zionist Camp MKs would make the switch over, seeing as they view Netanyahu as the poison tree that must be uprooted, not the shade tree for their top members to sit on lucrative portfolios. So the most Bibi would have gotten were 15 or 16 new MKs, but at the cost of Naftali Bennett’s Habayit Hayehudi 8 seats, which would have netted him only 7 or 8 additional seats — but would have alienated his rightwing voters. So why did he embark on this apparent fool’s errand? Like we said, either because he is frighteningly clever or frighteningly lucky.

Avigdor Liebrman’s mission from the first day of the 20th Knesset has been to topple Netanyahu’s government and come back after the next elections as the most viable rightwing leader. This is why he refused Netanyahu’s repeated courting in the spring of 2015, and continued to bide his time in the opposition, together with Arabs and leftists, the people he dislikes the most—waiting for his chance. He figured, when the time came, with a big enough issue, and with Bibi’s rogue MKs doing their bit, Lieberman could deliver the deadly blow to Netanyahu, with a resounding vote of no confidence.

But when it started to look as if the Zionist Camp was going to boost Bibi’s numbers beyond the point of toppling, Lieberman realized it was time to shelf his revenge plan and get inside the tent before he’d lose any hope of leaving an impression on his voters this term. And so, seemingly out of the blue, Lieberman gathered a press conference in the afternoon, even as Bibi was scolding Bogie (Lauren Bacall’s nickname for Humphrey Bogart which somehow stuck with Ya’alon during his long and decorated military service) — and the Russian refusnik of yesterday suddenly started to play a serenade to Bibi on his balalaika. For the right price—defense and absorption, and the right terms—the death penalty for terrorists, for instance, he and his Yisrael Beiteinu are definitely ready to jump in.

Netanyahu may have been clever or lucky, but Lieberman was, without a doubt, brilliant. He may appear from this day on as serving Netanyahu, but it will be the PM who’ll be forced to do his bidding on security, because it is Lieberman and not Netanyahu who speaks for the rightwing Likud voters. If Bibi flinches at one of Lieberman’s calls (which the latter will issue politely and calmly) — then Bibi’s voters could easily go for the alternative. Say what you will about Avigdor Lieberman, but he could teach a class on maneuvering to a school of sharks.

As a result of all of the above, and should the coalition talks between Bibi Netanyahu and Yvette Lieberman be successful, Israel will have its first truly rightwing government ever. The Haredim are concerned about the draft, but it’s doubtful the new DM will focus on that hornet’s nest at this stage of his new career. If he does, it would bring a quick and unhappy ending to the 20th Knesset.

The one remaining unknown at this point is Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, who really wanted to bring the Zionist Camp into the government and is now stuck to the left of Netanyahu, and with polls that show his Kulanu party dropping from 10 to 7 seats come next elections, while his identical twin, Lapid, is projected to win 19 or 20 seats next time around. Kahlon could kill this latest coalition deal in a kamikaze departure followed by resounding vote of no confidence, at which point nothing could save Bibi’s fourth government.

Oh, what interesting times we’re having.

David Israel

Zechut Avot : An Eternal Birthright

Monday, August 5th, 2013

The first time was many years ago. I had just concluded explanations about Yeshivat Knesset Yisrael” which arrived in Hebron from Slobodka, in Lithuania in 1924. The Hebron Heritage Museum at Beit Hadassah features an exhibit about this illustrious Torah-learning academy, nicknamed the ‘Hebron Yeshiva,’ which includes a ‘class picture’ from 1928.

As I finished my brief account, an older man approached me, put his finger on a picture of one of the yeshiva students and asked me, ‘do you see him? That’s me.’

That was Rabbi Dov Cohen, a phenomenal Torah genius, who, following my tour, came back to Hebron and gave us his tour.

I always thought that this was a ‘once in a lifetime event,’ having someone point themselves out in a photo taken so many decades ago, here in Hebron.

But it happened again.

On Friday afternoon the Farbstein family came into Hebron for Shabbat. Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Farbstein, today dean of the ‘Hebron yeshiva,’ now located in Jerusalem, arrived with his wife and many grandchildren. And his mother, Rabbanit Chana Farbstein.

Chana Farbstein was born in 1923. Her father was Rabbi Yechezkel Sarna, a Torah giant. Her grandfather was the legendary Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Epstein, dean of the yeshiva, located then located in Slobodka, which, a year or so later, moved to Hebron. Chana lived in Hebron until the 1929 riots, in an apartment next to Eliezer Dan Slonim and his family.

Friday afternoon, before Shabbat, the Farbsteins took a short tour of Hebron, which began in the museum. When we approached the Hebron Yeshiva exhibit, she moved, as hypnotized, to one of the photos on the bottom row, stared at it, and then pointed to a small girl in the right corner, saying, ‘that’s me.’ To her right, a young woman had her hand on little Chana’s shoulder. ‘That’s my mother.’

A ‘once in a lifetime event.’ And it happened to me for a second time.

Chana later told us that she must have been about four years old at the time the photo was taken.

Even though she was barely five and a half at the time of the riots, she remembered them quite clearly: “I remember a big truck going through the streets. They were throwing rocks at our house and calling out my father’s name ‘Chezkel.’ They were looking for him. It was our good luck, he was in Jerusalem.”

“Do you remember what was told to you, what was going on?”

“No one had to explain. We knew exactly what was happening.”

She said that on Saturday afternoon, her family was removed from Hebron and taken to the ‘Strauss Building’ in Jerusalem, across the street from ‘Bikor Cholim hospital. Asked when she ‘left’ the city,’ she replied: “We didn’t leave. The British came, on Shabbat, and took us to Jerusalem.”

Later she also spoke about remembering the pain of having to pray at the 7th step at Ma’arat HaMachpela, not being allowed to enter the structure. “We would stand there for a few minutes, and then leave.”

Were relations with Arabs always poor? “No, when we went shopping in the market an Arab with a large round basket would go with us. We would put the produce we wanted into the basket, he would carry it and later bring it to our home.”

Chana Farbstein is a phenomenal woman. She also stood with us on Friday afternoon, at the cemetery in Hebron, where 59 of the 67 massacre victims are buried. Her son, Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Farbstein, recited two Psalms at the site, his voice breaking, sensing the atrocities and pain of the events occurring 84 years ago.

The next morning, Mrs. Farbstein walked from Beit Hadassah to Ma’arat HaMachpela for morning prayers, and later in the afternoon, to the Avraham Avinu neighborhood to attend a special class presented by her daughter-in-law, Dr. Esther Farbstein, an expert on Holocaust studies, author of the book, “Hidden in Thunder.”

After Shabbat, as I arrived to interview her, I found her sweeping the floor.

Her son, Rabbi Farbstein, told me that that last winter she had been very ill, and there was grave concern that she might not recover. But recover she did, and despite only meeting her for the first time, her inner strength and iron will were quite obvious.

David Wilder

Fajr-5 Rocket Hits Tel Aviv, Iron Dome Intercepts 7 Grad Missiles over Beer Sheva

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

At 6:36 PM rocket Alert Sirens were heard in Bat Yam, Bnei Brak and Tel Aviv.

Immediately afterwards a rocket hit the beach in Tel Aviv. The IDF is trying to identify the exact location where it fell.

It is believed that 3 rockets were launched at the Tel Aviv area.

Islamic Jihad has claimed credit for the strike.

Meanwhile the Iron Dome system has been performing spectacularly and this afternoon and evening intercepted 7 Grad rockets on their way to Beer Sheva.

For the first time in many years, pubs and restaurants in Tel Aviv have been reported empty. Residents, not used to being under fire (not since the first Gulf war) scrambled for shelter. In many cases it is reported that bomb shelters, which have been used for years as spare storage rooms, were not available.

Jewish Press News Briefs

‘Because It’s Ours’ – Tent City Rises in Hebron on Shabbat Chaye Sarah (Video)

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

Shabbat Chaye Sarah in Hebron isn’t a normal Shabbat. It’s an experience.

Yesterday, according to conservative estimates, over 20,000 people visited this holy city. Here in our offices, this event began weeks ago; planning for the multitudes. Many man hours and much money are invested to ensure that the day will be a success. And as much as we want, and need rain, we sort of hope that this day will remain dry.

My Chaye Sarah began on Friday, wandering around, hoping to get some good photos. Being that the main events are on Shabbat, I have no way to photograph the occasion. (That’s really my only regret about this wonderful day.)

Toward early mid-afternoon the tents start popping up on the lawn in the park across from the Cave of Machpela. Men, women, kids of all ages, can be found camping out. I spoke to people who’d come from Netanya and Akko to sleep in a tent on the ground because “this is the city of the Patriarchs. It’s ours.” On Friday night, walking back from amazing evening prayers at Machpela, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Families pitched tents on the road, between parked cars and opened up small tables from which to enjoy their Shabbat meal. Young children, swathed in winter jackets, sat around such tables, eating, singing and enjoying the festivity.

Evening prayers are unbelievable. Various minions – prayer services – spring up on the lawn outside, in the courtyard, and inside the building. Thousands upon thousands descend on Herod’s 2,000 year old structure to offer Shabbat prayers. These worship services include song and dance, true joy. More than one group includes dozens of people who have flown into Israel from the United States and Europe, for 48 hours, to participate in this massive celebration. It is indescribable.

During meals, huge tents were filled to capacity. People hosted, some more, some less. In my apartment, aside from filling our bedrooms (in one, three older married women slept together), our living room floor contained four guys and the couch bedded my friend Moshe Goldshmid, whose family has been coming to us for about 14 years for this Shabbat. Moshe’s grandfather, Rabbi Moshe Goldshmid, was murdered in Hebron during the 1929 riots. For meals, another visiting family joined us.

Others hosted literally dozens, eating in shifts (and maybe sleeping in shifts too). After evening meals many participated in political panel discussions, including numerous Israeli MKs, ministers and Rabbis. Visitors toured all day and all night. Saturday afternoon my friend Noam Arnon led a huge tour in the Casba. Simcha Hochbaum guided a huge group throughout the Jewish neighborhoods. I had two tours of the Tel Rumeida neighborhood, showing the uninitiated the wonders of ancient-new Hebron.

I must also mention: Friday afternoon we dedicated a memorial room to our dear friend, Herb Zweibon, founder and director of AFSI, Americans for a Safe Israel. Herb was a genuine friend of Israel, and especially of Hebron’s Jewish community. AFSI’s executive director, Helen Freedman led a group of about 25 friends from the US for a week-long visit in Israel, and to Hebron for this Shabbat. We all gathered at the new “Zweibon Hall,” at the entrance to the ‘Hezkiah neighborhood,” here in Hebron to dedicate this room in Herb’s memory.

Late Saturday afternoon I participated in the ‘3rd meal’ with our friends attending via Hebron’s US branch, the Hebron Fund. The fund’s new director, Rabbi Dan Rosenstein, asked me to speak with the group for a few minutes. I asked them to take their “Hebron Shabbat High’ back home, to convey it to others, and to be ambassadors for Hebron’s Jewish community, getting the word out, letting other know what Hebron is really all about. They are all, as much as we are, ‘keepers of the keys,’ insuring Hebron’s Jewish future forever.

By the time Shabbat ended, everyone was exhausted, but the day hadn’t yet concluded. I sat with my AFSI friend in our Beit Hadassah apartment, answering questions and discussing various issues common to all of us for about an hour. Only later did I have the luxury to collapse.

David Wilder, Tazpit News Agency


Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Rabbi Feld headed out to the airport early in the morning. He was flying to the wedding of one of his congregants, Mr. Krauss, who had purchased him a complimentary ticket. Although the wedding was scheduled for late afternoon, they had booked an early flight to allow ample time.

After checking in, Rabbi Feld sat in the boarding lounge, learning his Daf. Across the lounge, he noticed Rabbi Dayan waiting for the same flight. Rabbi Feld went over and introduced himself.

“I’m heading to a wedding in Chicago,” said Rabbi Feld. “By any chance, are you also attending?”

“No,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “I was invited to give a shiur.”

As the talked, an announcement came over the loudspeaker: “Continental flight 473 to Chicago is overbooked. There is an additional flight at 12 p.m. Passengers willing to be rescheduled to that flight will be granted a free round-trip ticket to anywhere that Continental flies. Please approach one of the Continental representatives near the boarding gate.”

Rabbi Feld couldn’t believe his ears. A free ticket to anywhere Continental flies! He could get a free round-trip ticket to Israel in exchange for a few hours’ delay. He looked at his watch. Even with the later flight, he should arrive at 3 p.m., just in time to make the wedding. “Should I risk it?” he thought to himself.

While he considered the issue, he further questioned: Since the family sponsored the ticket, perhaps they would be entitled to the bonus ticket? It was their money, after all.

A few people started heading over to the flight representatives. Rabbi Feld needed to make a quick decision. He turned to Rabbi Dayan and explained the situation. “Can I take the later flight?” he asked. “If I do, who gets the ticket?”

“Whether you can take the later flight depends on what you expect Mr. Krauss would want,” said Rabbi Dayan. “The bonus ticket would certainly belong to you, though.”

Rabbi Feld decided that it would be irresponsible to risk arriving late for the wedding, despite the potential gain.

“Thank you; I’ll keep the flight,” he said to Rabbi Dayan. “Now that we have some time, though, could you please explain the reason for what you said?”

“When a person gives a gift, we evaluate his intention in giving it,” said Rabbi Dayan. “Mr. Krauss clearly bought you a ticket so that you could participate in his simcha. Therefore, you should act with it in accordance with his intention. Presumably, he would not want you to arrive late for the wedding.” (See 241:5; 246:1)

“I probably would just be able to make it, unless there were unexpected delays,” said Rabbi Feld. “Is that acceptable?”

“The same principle applies,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “If Mr. Krauss would be willing for you to take the risk in light of the tremendous gain, it would be permitted. This would likely depend on whether you were asked to be the mesader kiddushin. If you were meant to lead the wedding or take an important role in the chuppah, presumably he would not be willing to have you take any risk; if you were just a guest – albeit an important one – he would probably concede.”

“What about the bonus ticket?” asked Rabbi Feld. “I know that in some cases an agent who bought something and received a bonus must share it with the sender who paid the money [C.M. 183:6]. Here, Mr. Krauss paid for the ticket.”

“Correct, but this does not apply here for a number of reasons,” said Rabbi Dayan. “First, the bonus ticket would be issued under your name. Rashi explains that the bonus is shared because we are unsure to whom the seller intended to give it, the sender who paid the money or the agent who executed the purchase. Accordingly, when the bonus is explicitly designated to the agent, he is entitled to it.” (Rama 183:6)

“But don’t some later authorities question this ruling?” said Rabbi Feld.

“Yes, and some suggest that an agent should share the bonus with the sender even if explicitly given to him,” said Rabbi Dayan. (See Be’er Heiteiv 183:21; S.A. Harav, Mechira #11) “However, the Rashba writes that if the agent received the bonus because he benefited the seller, everyone would agree that it belongs completely to the agent [Ketzos 183:7]. Here, the bonus ticket is not because of the initial purchase, but because you were willing to be bumped from the early flight.”

Rabbi Meir Orlian

Earthquake Drill Begins Alongside Joint US-Israel Military Exercise

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

All across Israel, the nationwide earthquake drill “Turning Point 6” has begun. The drill simulates massive earthquakes ranging from 5.0 to 7.0 in magnitude, as well as a tsunami hitting Israel near Tel Aviv later in the afternoon.

Emergency services, television, radio and schools are participating in the simulation. The simulation will run over the next few days.

Simultaneously, the IDF and the US Army have begun performing a massive military exercise called “Austere Challenge 12”. This exercise is meant to simulate an air-based attack on Israel, and subsequently defending against it. This exercise will run for a month. Israel’s various missile-defense systems will be tested.

This is the largest joint exercise that has been held between Israel and the US, with 3500 soldiers participating.


Jewish Press News Briefs

IDF Holds Surprise Exercise Testing Preparedness

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

On Wednesday morning, following an order of Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, the IDF conducted a surprise exercise to test the preparedness and capabilities of a number of units, with a special focus on the artillery and air force. Forces from all regional commands participated in the exercise, alongside soldiers from the IAF.

The exercise began with the mobilization of various units, several of which drilled their mobilization protocols. The exercise will continue with forces massing from the center of Israel and moving north to the Golan Heights, and will conclude with a live fire exercise in the afternoon. The exercise will examine a number of issues in the areas of preparedness and competence.

The exercise was planned in advance and is not connected to nor the result of any change in the alert level. The exercise is in fact part of a routine set of reviews and surprise exercises conducted throughout the year by the IDF Comptroller.

The exercise is under the command of Chief Artillery Officer Brg. Gen. Roy Riftin, and is expected to conclude later this evening.

IDF Spokesperson's Office

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/idf-holds-surprise-exercise-testing-preparedness/2012/09/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: