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May 25, 2015 / 7 Sivan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Avigdor Lieberman’

Liberman Suggests EU Print ‘Made in the West Bank’ Label on Yellow Star

Friday, April 17th, 2015

Published in Jewish Business News by Ilan Shavit Speaking to Israel Radio, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman suggested the EU print its warning labels of products made in the West Bank on a background of a Yellow Star.

The Hebrew term for the item is “Tlai Tzahov,” or yellow patch.

Sixteen European Union (EU) foreign ministers have signed a letter calling on the EU’s foreign policy chief to label Israeli products made beyond the 1949 armistice line as “Made in the West Bank.”

In the letter to EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, the foreign ministers said that the proposal would help consumers from being “misled by false information.”

“European consumers must indeed have confidence in knowing the origin of goods they are purchasing,” the ministers wrote. “Green Line Israel and Palestinian producers will benefit from this.”

The initiative was led by Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders and was supported by ministers from the U.K., France, Spain, Denmark, Ireland, Croatia, Malta, the Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal, Slovenia, Italy, Luxembourg, Finland, and Austria.

EU ministers from a number of strong Israeli allies, mainly in Eastern Europe—including Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Cypress, Romania—did not sign the letter.

The letter cites a previous one advocating the same labeling measure that was sent to Mogherini’s predecessor, Catherine Ashton, in 2013. At the time, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Ashton to put the initiative on hold while he pursued peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Lieberman told Israel Radio repairing Israel’s relations with the U.S. should be the prime goal of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s next government, because only the U.S. will be able to quash economic boycotts against the Jewish State.

Lieberman questioned the sincerity of the EU, which, while thousands are being slaughtered in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, makes no mention of those crimes against humanity, but find ample times to attack Israeli commerce.

Netanyahu is meeting on Friday with his two most loyal coalition partners, Lieberman and Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett. Both have expressed some apprehension at the manner with which the PM has been treating them in the coalition talks, as compared with other potential partners, i.e. the Haredi parties.

Coalition Talk Updates

Friday, April 17th, 2015

Sources in Bayit Yehudi are signalling that party chief Naftali Bennett is prepared to give up his demand for the Foreign Ministry under two conditions.

The first condition is that Bayit Yehudi be properly compensated for giving up the lucrative ministerial position, which rumor has it, the compensation has already been offered to him.

The other demand is that Avigdor Liberman doesn’t get the Foreign Ministry instead of him, according to an NRG report. Netanyahu is meeting with Liberman today.

This week JewishPress.com reported that Bennett is likely to receive the Ministry of the Economy, as well as the Ministry of Strategic Affairs as compensation.

Another major disagreement is over the Ministry of Religion, which Shas’s Deri is expected to get, but Bayit Yehudi wants.

The Likud told Bayit Yehud that Shas will be getting the Minsitry of Religion and will not be sharing any part of it with Bayit Yehudi.

Shas will probably also get the Ministry of the Interior, minus the Planning Division, which will be transfered over to Moshe Kachlon’s Kulanu party.

Update: Netanyahu met personally with Naftali Bennett today for the first time in 2 weeks. The meeting was held before Netanyahu’s meeting with Liberman.

Coalition Talks Progressing

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Coalition negotiations with the Likud are advancing, as the current deadline for forming a coalition draws near.

According to Globes, an agreement will soon be reached with Bayit Yehudi.

Naftali Bennett would keep his existing position as Minister of the Economy, where he did very well. Bennett would also get the Ministry of Strategic Affairs.

Uri Ariel would leave the Ministry of Building and Construction and transfer to the Ministry of Agriculture.

A Ministerial position will also be reserved for Ayelet Shaked.

The Likud team wants to try to reach an agreement with Moshe Kachalon’s Kulanu party by Independence Day next week. Kachlon was offered the Ministry of Finance.

Netanyahu has asked Aryeh Deri of Shas to take the Ministry of Transportation instead of the Ministry of the Interior, and UTJ has recommended to Shas that they take the offer.

Likud and UTJ seem to be on the same page.

PM Netanyahu will be meeting privately with Avigdor Liberman tomorrow to discuss Liberman’s demands for the Foreign Ministry.

According to Globes, once Netanyahu reaches an agreement with Kulanu, Bayit Yehudi, Shas and UTJ, Netanyahu will decide if he will bring in either the Zionist Union or Yisrael Beyteinu into the coalition.

Marzel and Bennett Suffering from Post-Election Trauma

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

Yachad party election loser Baruch Marzel and Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) chairman Naftali Bennett still are licking their wounds more than two weeks after the elections in which Yachad was blanked out of the Knesset and Bayit Yehudi lost four seats.

Yachad’s failure to win the minimum number of votes to enter the Knesset meant that three seats were lost to the national religious bloc. It is assumed that at least two of them would have gone to the Jewish Home party and a third possibly to Shas

Marzel is not chairman of Yachad, but he wins hand down for getting the most headlines, given his ability to provoke fierce reactions to his activism and blunt speech.

He has no regrets that Yachad ran in the elections, despite warnings that it would fail at the polls and weaken the Bayit Yehudi and Shas parties.

He told Arutz Sheva, “We did the right thing, we brought in more power, and we tried hard to pass the threshold. But, on the other hand, there is no doubt that we failed.”

He then went on a rant against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for doing “terrible things, hurting the national religious public and communities, the destruction of outposts – it hurts.”

Yachad still is crying “foul” and claiming that it lost enough votes to enter the Knesset because of “thousands of fake votes.”

He figures that there will not be an investigation because elections judges “can’t afford to take a mandate from Yesh Atid and Labor and put Baruch Marzel in the Knesset.”

Bennett, chairman of Bayit Yehudi, was stoic when the election results were announced. He said that although the Bayit Yehudi’s eight seats in the Knesset are four less than in the previous session, he is certain Netanyahu knows that those seats went to the Prime Minister’s Likud party after a last-minute media blitz that continued even on the day of elections.

Netanyahu is too much of a veteran politician to express gratitude to another party, and Bennett is insulted.

A leaked audio that was broadcast on Army Radio Thursday revealed that Bennett ripped into Netanyahu during a meeting with Bayit Yehudi supporters, some of whom heckled Bennett.

Bennett wants to be Defense Minister of Foreign Minister, but Netanyahu is giving him the cold shoulder.

Bennett accused the Prime Minister of treating the Bayit Yehudi as a party of “suckers” by offering the party to choose between the Education Ministry and Foreign Affairs Ministry, although Netanyahu already may have reserved that for Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman.

Netanyahu was not impressed by Bennett’s anger, and stated, “Bennett is in dire straits because he has not found a partner to gang up on Likud.” referring to Bennett’s luvvy-duvvy relationship with Yesh Lapid in the previous  government.

Bennett’s biggest fear is that Netanyahu will reward the Shas Sephardi Haredi party with the Religious Ministry of Education ministry, at the cost of the national religious sector.

Meanwhile Moshe Kachlon, chairman of the new Kulanu party, continues to act as if he has post-election delusions. He won 10 seats in the Knesset and already has insisted that being Finance Minister is not enough. Kachlon wants to veto Netanyahu’s desire to choose a Haredi Knesset Member to head the Knesset Finance Committee and also wants one of his party’s MKs to head the Environment or Housing ministry.

Lieberman Calls for Knesset Boycott of Arab Parties

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman is trying to show himself as the champion of the fringe by calling for a boycott of the Joint Arab List, formed by the merger of three Arab and Arab-Jewish parties.

It was Lieberman who can take “credit” for the higher number of Arab MKs in the new Knesset. Last session, he succeeded in passing into law a bill that raised to 3.25 percent the number of votes a party needs to enter the Knesset. That would have eliminated two of the Arab parties, but their leaders are not as dumb as Lieberman thinks.

They duplicated Yitzchak Herzog and Tzipi Livni’s tricky by simply merging in order to come up with a large number, and they now have 13 MKs, two more in the last Knesset.

Now Lieberman has a new way to get rid of the Arab MKs. He told Army Radio Tuesday they should be boycotted by government ministries and Knesset committees.

Lumping all Arab MKs together, Lieberman alleged “they” slander and undermine Israel and take orders from Qatar. Legal moves could be used to put the traitors into jail, but why retort to the legal system, which is biased to the left, when you can simply fall off the right-end of the Earth and brand all of them as enemies?

Several Arab MKs have been chastised and even banned by the Knesset for outrageous remarks, such as calling IDF and Israel a racist and Nazi-like.

Lieberman argues he is strengthened the hand of moderate Arabs by trying to ban all the Arab MKs.

This is the same Lieberman who said in the beginning of the election campaign, when polls showed his popularity was as low as his attitude, who tried to regain support from the center by suggesting Israel needs to re-think its opposition to a Palestinian Authority state.

That didn’t work, so he crawled back to the right end of the right wing and managed to win enough votes to remain in the Knesset.

No one really takes him seriously anymore, but he is still quotable, especially by the American anti-Netanyahu media and government, which will likely pounce on his latest rant to libel Netanyahu’s proposed coalition, which will include Lieberman’s party.

 

Understand Israeli Elections – Here’s a Primer, Part 1

Friday, March 13th, 2015

The Israeli political system is radically different from the one in the United States. The most obvious differences are that Israel is a parliamentary system with more than 20 potential parties in the mix, unlike just the two standard American parties, the Democrats and the Republicans.

This year 26 parties are vying for positions in the upcoming vote, 11 of which are likely to pass the threshold requirement for becoming part of the next Knesset.

The first step of this year’s Israeli election to determine who makes it into the Knesset at all, then which parties will form the governing coalition, and finally, who will be the prime minister of the state of Israel, takes place next Tuesday, March 17.

The date was set by a formal meeting in early December, of all the then-current Knesset party leaders. Those leaders chose the date for the election to take place in just four months. While four months is a dramatically short campaign period by American standards, Israeli law permits only five months to elapse between the dissolution of one Knesset and the election for the next.

Election day is a big deal in Israel. Virtually everything, except the polling places, is closed. Free transportation is provided for any voter who needs it to reach their regular polling place.

On March 17,  all eligible voters – every Israeli citizen over 18 years of age – can vote. That includes Arabs, Muslims, Christians and Jews, men and women, able-bodied and those with disabilities. There is no voter registration system; every citizen is automatically registered once they turn 18. Nearly six million Israelis are eligible to vote in this year’s election.

MARCH 17: THE BALLOT BOX

Eligible Israeli voters go to polling places in their neighborhoods. There are more than 10,000 polling places throughout this tiny country. Most open at 7:00 a.m. and remain open until 10:00 p.m.

Turnout for Israeli elections has been declining for years, but it’s still well over 60 percent. In the U.S., turnout has been in the low-to mid 50 percent zone since the early 1970’s.

Before entering the voting booth, each voter is handed an envelope. Inside the booth is a tray, with different strips of paper. Each strip of paper includes the name and symbol of a party. The voter chooses the slip of paper which has the name and symbol of the party for whom they wish to vote, and puts that piece of paper in the envelope they were handed. After leaving the booth the voter places the envelope with their chosen party slip into the ballot box.

Israeli voters choose parties, not individual candidates, which, among other things, means their national representation is ideological, not geographic, and the vote is proportional, meaning the 120 Knesset seats are divvied up in proportion to each party’s percentage of the total vote. There is a minimum threshold for a party to meet before it can sit in the Knesset. That minimum is currently set at 3.25 percent of the total votes cast, which translates into four seats.

PHASE TWO: HORSE TRADING

Once the polling places close and the ballots are counted, the second phase of the Israeli election begins, the one frequently described as “horse trading.” In order to have the right to form a government and choose the prime minister, a group of parties needs to be able to control a majority of the Israeli Knesset, the single chamber Israeli legislature. The Knesset has 120 seats.

With so many parties competing, no single one has ever attained that magic number of 61 seats, and it is even likely that three or more parties need to agree to work together to form the ruling coalition. Therefore, parties which have been thrashing each other in public now start eying each other as potential dance partners, trying to figure out with whom they can create a functioning coalition to run the government.

This coalition building phase is a little bit like when, after a brutal primary in the U.S., the second place vote getter and the winner frequently kiss, make up, and agree to live with each other as their party’s candidate for president and vice president during the general election. But several different parties and lots of individual members of those parties are all added into the Israeli decision making mix. It isn’t easy.

But first let’s back up. How were the individuals on each party’s list chosen?

     PARTY LISTS

As soon as the Knesset is dissolved, either because it reached its four year expiration date, or because it is dispersed for some other reason (such as happened in the current case, when Prime Minister Netanyahu asked the Knesset to disperse and the Knesset unanimously agreed, on Dec. 8), the parties begin internal negotiations to determine who will be on their official “list,” and in what order. The higher up on the list one is, the greater the likelihood of actually making it into the Knesset.

There are various systems for determining who are included, and where they are placed, on each party’s list, including voting by the party leadership. Additional factors are taken into consideration, such as whether enough women are included, whether there are security experts represented, whether certain ethnic minorities will be included.

     PRIME MINISTER SELECTION

How does one of the party members then become the prime minister? Israel’s president, currently former Knesset member Ruby Rivlin, selects the member of Knesset believed to have the best chance of forming a viable coalition government, given the election results. This can take some time until the parties are able to align so that they can govern together.

Some of the horse trading here involves party leaders with high numbers demanding significant ministry positions in exchange for pledging their party’s support. Compare this to the ability of the U.S. president, once elected, then deciding who will become the various cabinet members.

This phase is incredibly complicated. For example, right now at least five different parties will be needed to join together to create a ruling coalition. And it is not as if just the top five vote-getting parties will join together, because of differences in ideology.

For example, the tiny far left Meretz party, which currently is polling at five seats, thought it would be able to create a power bloc by pairing up with the Joint Arab List. The Arab group dashed those hopes, claiming they would not join with “Zionists.”

Another complicating factor is that certain parties have claimed they will not join in a coalition with Netanyahu, and the Likud has ruled out creating a coalition with other parties, including the current frontrunner, the so-called “Zionist Union.” That party is a joining together of the center-left Labor party and Tzipi Livni and her entourage. Livni has changed parties so many times in the past few years most people just refer to this new party as Labor-Livni.

Once finally selected, the prime minister announces the formation of a new Knesset and the offices each minister will hold.

January 29 was the deadline for all parties to submit their lists of candidates. As of that date, the following parties had the following members in the following order (the parties are listed in terms of their most recent polling status):

ZIONIST UNION (1) Isaac Herzog (2) Tzipi Livni (3) Shelly Yachimovich (4) Stav Shaffir (5) Itzik Shmuly (6) Omer Bar-Lev (7) Hilik Bar (8) Amir Peretz (9) Merav Michaeli (10) Eitan Cabel (11) Manuel Trajtenberg (12) Erel Margalit (13) Mickey Rosenthal (14) Revital Swid (15) Danny Atar (16) Yoel Hassan (17) Zuhair Bahloul (18) Eitan Broshi (19) Michal Biran (20) Nachman Shai (21) Ksenia Svetlova (22) Ayelet Nahmias Verbin (23) Yossi Yona (24)Eyal Ben-Reuven (25) Yael Cohen-Paran. The left-center Zionist Union was forged by combining Labor and Tzipi Livni and her followers, has very recently been polling at between 20 and 24 seats.

LIKUD: (1) Benjamin Netanyahu (2) Gilad Erdan (3) Yuli Edelstein (4) Yisrael Katz (5) Miri Regev (6)Silvan Shalom (7) Moshe Ya’alon (8) Ze-ev Elkin (9) Danny Danon (10) Yariv Levin (11) Benny Begin (12) Tzachi Hanegbi (13) Yuval Steinitz (14) Gila Gamliel (15) Ophir Akunis (16) David Bitan (17) Haim Katz (18) Jackie Levy (19) Yoav Kish (20) Tzipi Hotovely (21) Dudu Amsalem (22) Miki Zohar (23) Dr. Anat Berko (24) Ayoob Kara (25) Nava Boker. Likud has been polling at between 26 and 20 seats, most recently declining.

YESH ATID (1) Yair Lapid (2) Shai Piron (3) Yael German (4) Meir Cohen (5) Yaakov Peri (6) Ofer Shelah (7) Haim Yalin (8) Karine Elharrar (9) Yoel Razvozov (10) Alize Lavie (11) Mickey Levy (12) Elazar Stern (13) Pnina Tamano-Shata (14) Boaz Toporovsky (15) Ruth Calderon. Yesh Atid focuses on social and economic issues and was brand new for the last elections. Yesh Atid has been polling at around 10 – 13 seats.

JOINT ARAB LIST (1) Aiman Uda (Hadash) (2) Masud Ganaim (Islamic Movement (3) Ahmad Tibi (UAL-Ta’al) (4) Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash (6) Abd al-Hakim Hajj Yahya (Islamic Movement) (7) Haneen Zoabi (Balad) (8) Dov Khenin (Hadash) (9) Taleb Abu Arar (Islamic Movement). The Joint Arab party has been polling between 11 and 13 seats.

BAYIT YEHUDI (1) Naftali Bennett (2) Uri Ariel (3) Ayelet Shaked (4) Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan(5) Nissan Slomiansky (6) Yinan Magal (7) Moti Yogev (8) Bezalel Smotrich (9) Shuli Mualem (10) Avi Wortzman (11) Nir Orbach (12) rabbi Avi Rontzki (13) Orit Struck (14) Anat Roth (15) Ronen Shoval. Bayit Yehudi, the religious Zionist party, has recently been polling between 10 and 14 seats.

KULANU (1) Moshe Kahlon (2) Yoav Galant (3) Eli Alalouf (4) Michael Oren (5) Rachel Azaria (6)Tali Ploskov (7) Dr. Yifat Shasha-Biton (8) Eli Cohen (9) Roy Folkman (10)Merav Ben-Ari. Kulanu is a brand new party created by its number one on the list. Kahlon is understood to have destroyed the cell phone monopoly in Israel. Kahlon has not ruled out joining with Likud or Zionist Union. His determination to be the next finance minister is well-known. Kulanu has been polling around 8 – 10 seats.

SHAS (1) Aryeh Deri (2) Yitzhak Cohen (3) Meshulam Nahari (4) Yakov Margi (5) David Azoulay (6) Yoav Ben-Tzur (7) Yitzhak Vaknin (8) Avraham Michaeli. Shas (the Sephardi Haredi party which has experienced severe upheaval since its leader, Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef’s death in Oct. 2013) has been polling pretty consistently at 7 seats.

UNITED TORAH JUDAISM (1) Yaakov Litzman (2) Moshe Gafni (3) Meir Porush (4) Uri Maklev (5)Menachem Eliezer Moses (6) Israel Eichler (7) Yaakov Asher (8) Eliezer Sorotzkin. UTJ, the Ashkenazi charedi party, has recently been polling between 6 and 7 seats.

YISRAEL BEITEINU (1) Avigdor Lieberman (2) Orly Levy-Abekasis (3) Sofa Landver (4) Ilan Shohat (5) Sharon Gal (6) Hamad Amar (7) Robert Ilatov. Yisrael Beiteinu is identified with the Russian immigrants and is considered right wing, although it does not believe in annexing Judea and Samaria. It has been polling at 5 seats for quite some time.

MERETZ (1) Zehava Gal-on (2) Ilan Gilon (3) Issawi Frej (4) Michal Rozin (5) Tamar Zandberg (6) Mossi Raz (7) Gaby Lasky. Meretz, which is left on social and Arab-Israeli issues, has been polling pretty consistently at around 5 seats.

YACHAD (1) Eli Yishai (2) Yoni Chetboun (3) Michael Ayash (4) Baruch Marzel (5) Sasson Trebelsi. Yachad, only recently created as a split off from Shas, has been polling between 4 – 6 seats.

Other parties which are not expected to reach the threshold number of votes include the Green Party, the Green Leaf (legalize marijuana) Party, Rent with Honor Party, the Economics Party, a Charedi Women’s Party (called Ubezchutan) and even something called the Pirate Party. Gotta love Israelis.

JewishPress.com will post another primer once the elections reach the second phase: assembling the ruling coalition.

Palestinian Authority Wants Lieberman Arrested for Incitement

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

The Palestinian Authority has demanded that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman be arrested for stating this week that Israeli Arabs should be beheaded if they do not pledge loyalty to Israel

“Whoever is with us should get up to half the kingdom. Whoever is not with us we should take an axe and lower his head,” the Yisrael Beiteinu leader said at a campaign stop.

All polls show that Yisrael Beiteinu will be lucky if it gets enough votes to return to the Knesset, and Lieberman has been all over the political map to try to find supporters.

His “beheading” comment might bring chuckles to some of his die-hard backers but is not likely to attract a single additional vote.

But if Lieberman wanted publicity, he got it, and NBC reported, “A spokesman for Lieberman’s party said the comments were ‘made in the context of presenting the party’s platform on the issue of instituting the death penalty for mass murderers and terrorists.'”

The Palestinian Authority Minister of Foreign Affairs was not interested in excuses, especially those referring to Zionists.

The PA’s official WAFA news agency said that the Ramallah regime stated, “The Israeli Foreign Minister ‘Avigdor Lieberman of ISIS’ should be arrested and brought to justice, after he incited for the beheading of Arab citizens who are not loyal to Israel….

“Lieberman once again advocated his plan to spin off Arab areas of Israel and integrate them into a Palestinian state, in exchange for areas in the West Bank that would be annexed to Israel.

“’There is no reason for Umm el-Fahm to be a part of Israel,’ Lieberman said, referring to the third largest Arab city in Israel.

“‘Those who raise the black flag on Nakba Day in mourning over the establishment of Israel do not belong here, as far as I am concerned, and I am quite willing to donate them to PA chief Mahmoud Abbas. It would be my pleasure.'”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/palestinian-authority-wants-lieberman-arrested-for-incitement/2015/03/10/

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