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May 28, 2016 / 20 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Avigdor Liberman’

Coalition Agreement Signed With Yisrael Beytenu

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

All agreements were reported to be in place by Wednesday morning and the coalition agreement was signed.

Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman and party member Sofa Landver are to be sworn in as ministers on Monday next week. Liberman will officially take over the Defense Ministry on Tuesday. Landver will become Minister of Aliya and Absorption.

Liberman completed negotiations Tuesday night on pension reform with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon. Earlier questions that were holding up his agreement to join the government coalition were worked out over the weekend.

The agreement includes a sum of NIS 1.4 billion to be transferred to fund pension reform, half of which was initially demanded by Yisrael Beiteinu. The money is be used to serve all sectors of the population.

The formal coalition agreement now goes for review by Knesset members for a 24-hour period.

The move follows the resignation of Likud defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, who said in a statement on social media that he decided to quit “following the recent conduct” of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and “in light of my lack of faith in him.”

The reference was to Netanyahu’s decision to broaden the government coalition by negotiating with the center-left Zionist Union and with Yisrael Beytenu.

“I am resigning from the government and Knesset and am taking time out from political life,” Ya’alon said at the time, but in less than a week rumors flew that he is planning a comeback, possibly with the creation of a new political party.

Hana Levi Julian

Bennett Threatens to Prevent Government Expansion if Security Cabinet Problems Are Not Fixed

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

By Michael Bachner/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to expand the government and add Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party to the coalition were challenged on Monday afternoon after Education Minister Naftali Bennett said he would not support the measure should his list of demands not be met.

Bennett, who leads the Jewish Home party in the Knesset, demanded during a party meeting that the prime minister solve the issues affecting the way the security cabinet operates before the changes in the government are implemented. Bennett’s party officially approved the demand during the meeting.

The problems in the security cabinet were revealed as part of the lessons learned from Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in the summer of 2014 and from the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

Bennett said during the party meeting that “the Winograd Committee investigated the handling of the Second Lebanon War and concluded that quality intelligence information was not shared with the members of the security cabinet and that the members were not adequately trained for their position and therefore did not function well at the moment of truth. Ten years have gone by and nothing has been done.”

“I have approached the prime minister many times during the last two-and-a-half years with this demand, including during the coalition negotiations,” added Bennett. “Unfortunately, nothing has been done. This is why I informed the prime minister of the demand yesterday evening in order to implement the plan and solve the issues.”

The plan includes attaching the security cabinet members with a military secretary who would deliver ongoing security updates and would prepare them for their position. The plan would also increase the number of tours done in the field and give the ministers better access to the information.

“Fixing the problems in the security cabinet is necessary for Israel’s security and for saving the lives of its civilians and soldiers,” added Bennett. “Israel paid a high price for the existence of these problems during the Second Lebanon War and Operation Protective Edge. My approval of the changes in the government is conditional on the fulfillment of my demands.”

Likud MK Yariv Levin, head of the party’s parliamentary negotiations team, responded to Bennett’s statements by saying that the Likud “will not renegotiate opening the coalition agreement with any partner, including with the Jewish Home.” He added that Bennett’s demand “damages the ability to complete the expansion of the government.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Incoming Defense Minister Rattles Israeli Political Establishment

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

by Michael Bachner

The news that MK Avigdor Liberman, chairman of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteynu party, will be Israel’s next defense minister has rocked the political establishment on the right and left.

Liberman, a tough-talking former ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has sought the Defense Ministry portfolio for years – and appears set to receive it after a deal struck with Netanyahu on Wednesday.

Liberman’s rise followed a tumultuous day of negotiations and backroom deals in which both Liberman and MK Isaac Herzog, chairman of the historically left-wing Labor party, vied for the job of defense minister and the chance to enter Netanyahu’s government.

“I regret the prime minister’s decision. I did not imagine that he would make such a paradoxical and dangerous move,” said MK Benny Begin, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, in an interview with Israel’s Army Radio on Thursday morning. “The prime minister has been very proud of what he called ‘a reasonable, balanced and responsible’ defense policy, while Liberman’s statements give an opposite impression.”

Netanyahu received harsh criticism from opposition parties as well, including Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah, who blasted Netanyahu for “bartering the most sensitive and important positions as if nothing mattered” in a Facebook post on Thursday.

Liberman was an ally of Netanyahu – the two ran together in a united party during the 2013 election after which Liberman became foreign minister – until they had a public falling out two years ago. The Yisrael Beiteynu party remained in the opposition after last year’s election, and as recently as March Liberman castigated Netanyahu as a “liar, cheat, and con man.”

Liberman has been a frequent advocate for a harsher military response toward Palestinian Authority terrorism, notably against the Hamas terror group that runs Gaza.

“The elimination of Hamas is the primary mission of the Israeli government and as defense minister I will carry it out,” Liberman said before last year’s elections. “We will not reach agreements and understandings with them. The only agreement that can be reached with Hamas is when they are buried in the ground,” he said, adding that such an Israeli policy cannot be implemented when the government is comprised of “a coalition of nerds.”

Meanwhile, reports have emerged that Tony Blair, the Quartet’s envoy to the Middle East and a former British prime minister, colluded with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to push Herzog into the government – a move reportedly designed to facilitate a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority. According to the report in the Israeli daily Haaretz, Blair even met with Herzog’s political partner, MK Tzipi Livni, in her Tel Aviv home this week, despite the fact that she is sitting shiva – the Jewish mourning ritual – for her brother.

Liberman is set to replace current Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, a senior Likud member who has recently clashed with Netanyahu over a series of issues related to the IDF’s independence from the political establishment.

Ya’alon, apparently alluding to the news of his ouster, said on Thursday that Israel is facing a crisis of leadership. “There is a loss of our moral compass on basic issues,” Ya’alon said. “If I had to give a golden tip, it would be to navigate with a compass rather than a weather vane. Navigation with a compass is tried and true, and it’s also a question of leadership.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Netanyahu-Liberman Meeting Successful

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beytenu Chief Avigdor Liberman met today at 4 PM to discuss the possibility of Liberman’s party joining the coalition.

According to reports the meeting was successful, and both sides will be setting up negotiation teams to finalize the terms of Liberman joining the coalition. The two sides hope to conclude negotiations by Friday.

Before the meeting Liberman set three conditions for entering the coalition, which he shared with journalists at a news conference Wednesday morning. The former minister of foreign affairs said his party would demand the defense portfolio, imposition of the death penalty for terrorist murderers, and pension reforms.

The Likud’s rumor mill is running full force, and it’s saying that Liberman will be getting the position of Defense Minister and Moshe Ya’alon will be getting the boot. Reportedly Netanyahu also offered Liberman the Aliyah (Immigrant Absorption) portfolio as well, to sweeten the deal. Ya’alon is very much out of favor within the Likud these days as he hasn’t stopped running off his mouth with a range of statements that have angered much of the Likud’s rank and file, even causing PM Netanyahu to call him onto the carpet the other day.

Update: PM Netanyahu spoke with Defense Minister Ya’alon and informed him that Liberman had accepted the position of Defense Minister if he joins the coalition.

Labor chief Yitzchak Herzog is also facing problems, and if it looks like Herzog failed or got played by Netanyahu, he could be facing a putsch within his own party.

Shalom Bear

Herzog Suspends Talks on Entering Coalition: ‘Netanyahu Must Choose Me or Liberman’

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

By Jesse Lempel/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Opposition leader and Labor Chairman Isaac Herzog announced on Wednesday that he was suspending talks about entering into the coalition with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, citing Netanyahu’s planned meeting the same day with Avigdor Liberman, chairman of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party.

“If Netanyahu wants to take Liberman to his government, he can do so and we will give them a hard time from the opposition. And if he accepts our demands, I already said and say again that we will consider it,” Herzog said in a Jerusalem press conference.

“Now more than ever, the choice is between Liberman in the Defense Ministry or us in the Defense Ministry. The choice is between craziness and sanity, between political and economic isolation and prosperity,” Herzog added.

Herzog’s announcement follows weeks of rumours and political maneuvering about the Labor party, an historically left-wing party, entering Netanyahu’s right-wing government. Herzog and Netanyahu met on Sunday night to discuss a potential “unity” government, a move that has provoked furious opposition among a segment of Labor’s own ranks.

A press conference by Liberman on Wednesday announcing that he would meet Netanyahu and consider joining the government, however, forced Herzog to take a step back. Herzog explained that he would not negotiate with Netanyahu “in parallel” with Liberman.

“I do not follow Liberman’s agenda or whims,” Herzog said. “I go with my truth. And just like in the past I was not swayed by threats or insults, I will not be now either. I preserved my principles and insisted on our path throughout the negotiations, and that’s why we do not have a coalition agreement with Netanyahu.”

“Avigdor Liberman’s press conference today clarified the historic choice Netanyahu is facing: either going to war and having funerals or going on a journey of hope for all Israeli citizens,” Herzog added. “Those are the choices and there is no other choice.”

Michael Bachner and Jonathan Benedek contributed to this report.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Netanyahu Invites Liberman to Meet on Unity Government

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beytenu party chairman and MK Avigdor Liberman were scheduled to meet at 4 pm Wednesday to discuss a return to a Likud government.

Liberman denied reports that he met last week with the prime minister to discuss support for Yisrael Beytenu sponsored legislation.

Media reports also alleged Liberman was offered the defense portfolio – which might account for the tensions between Netanyahu and current Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon – but Liberman said Netanyahu made no offers.

Liberman set three conditions for entering the coalition, which he shared with journalists at a news conference Wednesday morning. The former minister of foreign affairs said his party would demand the defense portfolio, imposition of the death penalty for terrorist murderers, and pension reforms.

“I heard many times in the media that they offered us defense and the death penalty… we never heard any such offer,” Liberman told reporters.

“If it is true that they are offering [the] defense [ministry], the death penalty and pension reform, that is indeed a respectable offer, and there is something to talk about. But we won’t conduct negotiations in the dead of night, or via secret deals.

“The prime minister has my phone number… we haven’t ruled out anything, but it needs to be serious.”

Hana Levi Julian

Liberman: ‘Netanyahu and Yaalon Are Bad for the Security of Israel’

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Yisrael Beiteinu party head Avigdor Liberman visited the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City yesterday afternoon March 9, in what he said was an expression of solidarity with security forces in their struggle to prevent terror. The Damascus Gate area has seen a number of attacks in recent months.

As at other times in the past year, Liberman criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon in their handling of the wave of terror attacks.

“Netanyahu and Yaalon are bad for the security of Israel,” Lieberman said. “The prime minister and the defense minister have succeeded in bringing Jerusalem back decades to the period of 1967.”

In 1967, many neighborhoods of Jerusalem, including the Old City, were liberated by Israel from Jordan in the Six-Day War. Jerusalem’s Old City was located near the 1949 armistice lines that then separated Israeli and Jordanian forces.

“Jews are not visiting, are worried, and feel that there is no way to walk around here,” added Lieberman, explaining the implications of his statement.

Lieberman said that Israel was facing organized terror through social media. “Whoever is speaking about terrorism from individuals has no idea what he is talking about,” argued Liberman. “This is organized terror.”

“Instead of cells and communication devices, they are using social media.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/liberman-netanyahu-and-yaalon-are-bad-for-the-security-of-israel/2016/03/10/

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