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February 10, 2016 / 1 Adar I, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Avigdor Liberman’

MK Hanin Zoabi Denounces Lieberman’s Campaign Against Her as “Fascism”

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

By Alexander J. Apfel/TPS

Hanin Zoabi, a member of the Arab Joint List party, the third largest faction in the Israeli Knesset, issued a statement today, stating her determination to fight a political campaign announced by Avigdor Lieberman.

The Soviet-born leader of the right-of-center Yisrael Beitenu party recently announced his campaign to “remove Hanin Zoabi from the Knesset – for good!” He also uploaded a photo of himself bearing this slogan on his Facebook page.

Lieberman also posted on his Facebook page on Wednesday that Zoabi had “supported terror against Israel and incited against our country.”

Zoabi has indeed made comments in the past, seemingly sympathetic to serious acts of terrorism. In mid 2014, when three Israeli youths were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists, Zoabi said that “I can’t call this act terrorism, even if I don’t agree with it. This incident is a result of Israeli war crimes. [The terrorists] have to use these means until Israel will wake up a little, until citizens of Israel and Israeli society will wake up and feel the suffering of others.”

Zoabi was also quoted on a Hamas website encouraging Palestinians to take place in “popular resistance” and called upon Palestinians to “put Israel under siege instead of negotiating.”

“That is why I initiated legislation that will not allow the Israeli Supreme Court or any other body to overturn the decision of the Israeli Central Elections Committee to disqualify Zoabi from standing during elections,” he continued.

Zoabi, who has thrust herself into the public limelight several times in recent years released a statement this afternoon in which she described Lieberman as a “dangerous political figure” and a “fascist.”

“He is trying to gain cheap and inappropriate popularity by attacking and inciting against me and against the public that I represent,” Zoabi wrote.

The response went on to portray Zoabi and Liberman as the respective proponents of democracy and fascism: “This is a classic conflict between democracy and fascism. I represent justice, democracy and human rights, and Liberman represents fascism and hateful politics. Obviously my democratic principles irritate an opponent of democracy like Liberman.”

She expressed her determination to remain steadfast and to continue fighting for her cause. “This campaign and its name will not deter me or move me from my struggle for the values in which I believe: justice, equality, freedom and democracy. I will continue to struggle for my people and their just struggle.”

Zoabi fell out of favor with much of the Israeli public after a series of provocative actions that included participating in the Mavi Marmara Flotilla in May 2010, which sought to breach Israel’s security blockade. The flotilla contained weapon caches and armed activists. Moreover, the incident severely damaged Israeli-Turkish relations.

Brazil May be Boycotting Settler as an Ambassador

Sunday, December 6th, 2015

Fears are growing in the Netanyahu administration that Brazil may torpedo the appointment of Dani Dayan, a leader in Judea and Samaria, as ambassador.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu nominated Dayan, a native of Argentine, to the post two months ago and a formal request was sent to Brazil to accept the appointment.

Brazil has taken no action, and the Foreign Ministry now is concerned that the delay will be permanent.

Brazil’s problem with Dayan is that he once was the chairman of the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria and that he lives in Maaleh Shomron, part of the Karnei-Ginot Shomron complex in western Samaria.

Other countries, including the United States, have accepted Israeli ambassadors who lived in Judea and Samaria, even high-profile politicians such as Avigdor Lieberman. The difference between him and Dayan is that the latter was an activist for the settler movement. He often was considered the “Foreign Minister of Judea and Samaria.”

A government source told The JewishPress.com Sunday morning that he is optimistic that Brazil eventually will accept Dayan as ambassador, but so far, it is no go.

Netanyahu’s nomination of Dayan ran into a brick wall with the pro-Palestinian Authority Brazilian government from day one, which was in September.

Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff immediately and quietly conveyed messages to the Foreign Ministry that it is was not happy about accepting Dayan. Several Brazilian legislators joined more than 40 groups to petition Rousseff to reject Dayan.

If Brazil continues to freeze the appointment simply by not acting on it, it will put Prime Minister Netanyahu in a bind. If he makes it a public issue, relations would be hampered. The cost is high because Israel wants to improve trade with Brazil.

If he concedes, he will run into to trouble with Likud hawks and the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party, headed by Naftali Bennett.

The only diplomatic way for Netanyahu not to hang his head in shame and to accept Brazil’s opposition, if it continues, is to name Dayan ambassador to another country. but Brazil would have set a precedent that would shrink the number of countries that would accept a “settler” as ambassador.

The offices of the Foreign Minister and Prime Minister refused to comment Sunday to Army Radio, which first published Brazil’s continuing delay in approving Dayan as ambassador.

Dayan said:

I suggest you contact the Foreign Ministry. I do not know about that.

Bibi Seals Nationalist Policy with Dore Gold Heading Foreign Ministry

Monday, May 25th, 2015

Dore Gold, former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations and director of a right-wing think tank in Jerusalem, was appointed as director of the Foreign Ministry Monday by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Monday afternoon.

He replaces Nissim Ben-Sheetrit, who was named to the post two years ago by then-Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.

Gold was born in the United States, grew up in Connecticut and earned undergraduate and doctorate degrees at Colombia University. He was an adviser to Netanyahu in his first term as Prime Minister in 1996.

The appointment of Gold follows the naming of another strong nationalist, Tzipi Hotovely, as Deputy Foreign Minister but who in effect is subordinate only to Prime Minister Netanyahu, who retains the title of Foreign Minister.

With Gold heading the ministry, Netanyahu retains more control.

Both Gold and Hotovely are religious, which rounds out the Foreign Ministry as solid national-religious domain, one which will be a lot more uncomfortable for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

A powerhouse like Gold takes some of the limelight away from Hotovely, but it also will take some of the heat off her.

No less important is the fact the Gold, a native American and former U.N. ambassador, knows how to talk to the Americans in their language

When asked by CNN earlier this month how he can explain Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statements that “there will not be a Palestinian stage on my watch” and that he still supports a “sustainable two-state solution,” Gold passed the test remarkably.

He said that there will no Palestinian Authority state for the time being because Mahmoud Abbas refuse conditions for Israel to remain secure. He pointed out that Abbas last year rejected the framework agreement worked out with Israel, to leave Israel in a defensible position

He explained that peace must be preceded with the adjectives “safe and secure.”

Liberman is Persona Non Grata, and Bennett Can Forget About Judicial Revolutions

Friday, May 8th, 2015

PM Netanyahu has no one to blame for the results of his coalition negotiations but himself, though that’s not stopping him from blaming his partners (and former partners) he mistreated.

Netanyahu’s natural partners, Bayit Yehudi and Yisrael Beytenu, were prepared to sign with the Likud immediately and with relatively reasonable demands, but Netanyahu saved them to last, played hardball with them, and basically abused them, until they decided they had enough.

An angry Avigdor Liberman quit as foreign minister and made it clear that he won’t be part of Netanyahu’s coalition. A fed-up Naftali Bennett decided to instead go for the gold, since his trust in Netanyahu was approaching zero, and he believed he had nothing left to lose.

According to a Makor Rishon report, Netanyahu told Likud MKs that not only will Liberman not be a member of his coalition now, Liberman will not be a member of his coalition, ever. Even if Liberman changes his mind, “there’s no coming back.”

Sources in the Likud said there will be revenge on Bennett for playing hardball during the last days of negotiations, and Netanyahu is plotting to kick Bennett out of the coalition as soon as possible and bring in Yitzchak Herzog and the Zionist Camp instead.

Within Bayit Yehudi, they believe that has been Netanyahu’s plan all along, even before Bennett began playing hardball back.

According to the Makor Rishon report, Netanyahu also said Bayit Yehudi can forget about introducing any judicial revolutions, whether they be reforms in how judges are selected or any other decisions that negatively impact the judiciary, as he will personally block it.

Netanyahu plans to rely on one of the conditions in the coalition agreement which prevents proposing “explosive” legislation in the legislation committee. This condition was introduced in the previous coalition to thwart then Justice Minister Tzipi Livni from going overboard, but it still didn’t stop Livni from proposing them all the time in the committee.

Likud sources say that Netanyahu is personally holding on to the Foreign Ministry portfolio so he can offer it to any party that might join the coalition later.

Since Lapid and Liberman won’t be allowed back in, that only leaves Yitzchak Herzog and his Zionist Camp (Labor).

For his part, Herzog says that he won’t be joining Netanyahu’s coalition, but when asked to confirm that position with a party vote, Herzog refused, leaving the feeling among his party members that he is leaving that door wide open.

Even within the Likud, a minor rebellion is brewing, with MKs jockeying for the limited number of ministerial positions, and each one feeling they deserve it more than their friends and associates, and that Netanyahu owes it to them.

Netanyahu’s coalition is off to a rough start, with a lot of anger and an atmosphere of suspicion and mistrust.

In the previous coalition, Netanyahu tried to keep Bennett out of the government, but Bennett forced his way in and proved to be Netanyahu’s most trusted and reliable ally. Liberman has also been Netanyahu’s trusted and reliable ally for decades.

Maybe these relationships are now broken, but the thing about politics, and Israeli politics in particular, is that there is no such thing as forever –unless you’re Shimon Peres.

Tonight at Midnight: Netanyahu’s Moment of Truth

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

By midnight, Wednesday, Benjamin Netanyahu is obligated under Israeli law to go up to the Reuven Rivlin’s presidential palace and declare whether or not he has been successful in cobbling together a coalition government.

Bibi has run out of time, and there will be no more time extensions. It’s his moment of truth.

Unfortunately, as of Wednesday morning, he is far from having a the minimum 61-member coalition that could receive the Knesset’s vote of confidence.

Netanyahu’s troubles have come from the two parties he thought he had in his pocket and thus took for granted and abused: Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu—6 seats, and Naftali Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi-8 seats.

So far, Netanyahu has secured only 53 seats, his talks with Liberman have been severed by the resigning Foreign Minister, and they appear to be on the rocks with Bennett.

Here’s an interesting point: Liberman, who is considered by many Israelis—and most of the country’s media—to be a cynical vote broker, exemplifying that with his left-right-left-right zig-zagging before the elections, quit the negotiations in a huff solely over ideological issues.

A source connected to the Yisrael Beytenu party told JewishPress.com that Netanyahu offered Liberman to continue as the Foreign Minister, and also offered him all the ministries he asked for.

Netanyahu’s previous (third) government, made serious changes in its social agreement with the Chareidi population – some good, some bad, and some good but done in a bad way.

In a collaboration between Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Economy Minister Bennett, and the entire coalition, Netanyahu’s previous government significantly reduced child welfare payments (which hurt the Chareidi population the most), and legislated draft laws that were, at least on paper, more draconian than previous ones–though in implementation, they actually reduced Chareidi enlistment instead of increasing it. The same government also used the budget to encourage Chareidi men and women to hit the job market, including a push to get them into universities.

In addition, the same government empowered the religious-Zionist agenda in areas of rabbinic officiating, such as marriages for non-religious Israeli Jews, or conversions for non-Jewish Israelis.

But in his haste to forge a government with UTJ and Shas parties, Netanyahu handed the Chareidi parties the offices empowered to roll back many of those reforms and achievements.

Speaking on Israel Radio Wednesday morning, Liberman said: “In recent days has been shown that the Likud sold out all its principles budgets to the Chareidim, and all that remains is a debate over ministerial portfolios. The debate of the past few hours is exclusively about increasing the number of ministers and deputy ministers, and there is no substantive discussion.”

Liberman is apparently fed up with Netanyahu, his ally for more than twenty years. Liberman supported him loyally, even in decisions he despised (twice he gave his cabinet vote to a decision not to conclude heavy Gaza skirmishes with the elimination of Hamas–he explicitly demanded the destruction of Hamas in these coalition negotiations).

He’s done it while being pursued for years by the judiciary civil service over seemingly unending corruption cases, none of which have ever actually found him guilty. His deputies have been investigated several times over, but police has been unable to connect their alleged crimes to Liberman.

Naftali Bennett is yet another long-time ally who feels taken for granted and used.

For one thing, Netanyahu’s amazing vote sweep in the last few days of the March election campaign came directly from Bayit Yehudi voters. Bennett and company happily obliged this sucker-punch move, setting up a right-wing rally in Kikar Rabin where they practically called on upwards of 100 thousand of their voters to switch to Bibi.

The Likud’s rise came directly from that rally at Bennett’s expense.

And while Naftali Bennett was the first politician Netanyahu called after the elections, Bayit Yehudi was almost the last party Bibi called on for serious negotiations after he had already signed away the Ministry of Religious Affairs to Shas, so the Aryeh Deri could highlight all of Bennett’s achievements in the area of religion services reform in Israel, and then press DELETE.

Now, taking advantage of Liberman’s angry departure, Bennett upped the ante—demanding major offices in return for joining, most important among them the Ministry of Justice, which he wants to hand over to his partner, Ayelet Shaked.

This is probably the most fun thing a National-Religious leader has had the pleasure of doing, ever.

The Left has been using Israel’s Justice department as their bulwark against the Right: appointments of a long line of anti-settlement Attorney Generals? It’s Justice department. Promotions of insider, radical leftwing judges who haven’t met a deceptive “Palestinian” land seller? Justice department again. Legislation that subverts the will of the voter in favor of the will of a tiny, self-appointing judicial minority? Justice department. Blatantly undemocratic, politically motivated investigations against popular, right wing leaders (including Netanyahu)? What do you know, it’s that Justice department again.

It’s no wonder Peace Now has called the notion of appointing Ayelet Shaked Minister of Justice “Tzelem Ba’heichal” – like placing a idol of Zeus in the Holy Temple’s inner sanctuary. For them it really is nothing less.

Yesterday Bennett handed the Likud his list of demands and disappeared from sight. No interviews, Not answering the Likud’s calls. A game of chicken—with little to lose.

Especially when Bennett suspects that the reason he was offered third-tier ministries was because Netanyahu planns to fire him following negotiatiations with Yitzchak Herzog (Zionist Camp) when no longer under deadline pressures.

The Likud spread rumors that Bayit Yehudi also demanded Defense, or the Foreign Ministry for Bennett, alongside the Judiciary.

One Likud MK joked that he’s surprised Bennett didn’t go so far as demand a rotation agreement for Prime Minister.

It’s a sellers market, and Bennett, who had at least one successful business exit, is going for broke.

Netanyahu has more to lose from a new election, assuming Zionist Camp’s Yitzhak Herzog fails to cobble a government together should President Rivlin assign him the task after midnight tonight.

In a new election, Liberman’s and Bennett’s voters, who bought the Likud’s argument that only a strong Netanyahu could represent the right—all those angry voters will come back home, giving Liberman back his 12 mandates, Bennett his 12 to 16, and Bibi — will be much reduced, with 20 or so seats.

It’s going to be an interesting day.

Avigdor Liberman Resigning from FM, Quitting Coalition, Heading to Opposition

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) dropped a political bombshell today, and apparently not as a negotiating tactic, when he announced he is quitting as Foreign Minister and his party will not be joining PM Netanyahu’s coalition.

Liberman, unhappy with the directions of the negotiations said his party will be sticking to its principles, and as a result, will be joining the opposition. He wants Hamas destroyed and construction in the settlements. He also wants to be Foreign Minister again, which Netanyahu doesn’t want.

Sources close to Netanyahu have said that the Likud will be keeping the Foreign Ministry.

Netanyahu has until Wednesday to form a coalition.

Even without the Yisrael Beytenu party, Netanyahu can still form a coalition of 61 with his remaining “natural” partners – Kulanu and the various religious parties. But Netanyahu has been unable to seal the deal as Shas and Bayit Yehudi are in an intractable fight over the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Yisrael Beytenu’s exit may be a blessing for Netanyahu, as it frees up some of Liberman’s ministries which Netanyahu can now offer to his remaining potential partners.

Liberman has claimed that Netanyahu wants to bring in the Zionist Camp (Labor) into the coalition.

Within the Zionist Camp, an open revolt has begun against Tzipi Livni, with Shelly Yechimovitch publicly proclaiming that she does not see Livni as the co-head of the party, after boycotting the Zionist Camp party meeting.

If it weren’t so late in the coalition negotiations game, this could have been the first shot in removing Livni from the party, and paving the way for Labor to enter the coalition, and forming a ‘National Unity’ government.

Yitzchak Herzog has denied he planned to join Netanyahu’s coalition at any point. Herzog believes that Netanyahu’s coalition will be “unstable” and “doomed to failure.”

Liberman and Bennett Teaming Up Against Netanyahu

Sunday, April 19th, 2015

MK Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) said that Bayit Yehudi will not let Shas get the Religious Affairs Ministry, even if it means blowing up the negotiations, according to Nana10.

Shaked said the Bayit Yehudi party would not abandon all the achievements it made on religion and state issues.

Channel 2 reports that Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) and Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) have reached an agreement so that Bayit Yehudi would stop demanding the Foreign Ministry from PM Netanyahu, which is the ministry that Liberman wants; in exchange Liberman would help Bennett get the Religious Affairs Ministry, which the Hareidi Shas party is demanding, and at this point is expected to get.

Bennett also wants either the Defense or Foreign Ministry, but would be willing to settle for less if properly compensated with additional, smaller ministries as well as an alternative senior position. Netanyahu supposedly promised Bennett the Defense Minsitry before the elections, when it was thought Bayit Yehudi would have at least 12 seats.

Liberman and Bennett would both work together to prevent Netanyahu from bringing the Zionist Union into the coalition.

Yitzchak Herzog (Zionist Union) again said that he would not be joining the coalition with Netanyahu, and will be in the opposition working to replace Netanyahu.

It appears that Netanyahu wanted to save negotiating with Liberman for last, after he had 61 seats on board from the other coalition partners. This would have given Liberman very little negotiating power.

But Netanyahu isn’t making his most natural partner, Bayit Yehudi, very happy at the moment, and the plan may have backfired.

One of the latest rumors says that Bayit Yehudi will receive four ministries, of which Naftali Bennett would receive both the Ministry of the Economy and the Intelligence Ministry.

The other two ministies they would get are Agriculture for Uri Ariel and Senior Citizens for Ayelet Shaked.

Yisrael Hayom, which is close to Netanyahu, says that the Likud will keep 12 ministries, including: Defense, Justice, Interior Security, Communications, Transportation, Social and Education.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/liberman-and-bennett-teaming-up-against-netanyahu/2015/04/19/

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