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June 30, 2015 / 13 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Ayelet Shaked’

Best Friends Forever?

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked met with Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein at a special Cabinet meeting held in the Israel Museum on May 19, 2015.

The position of Attorney General is one of those that Shaked hopes to reform.

Ayelet Shaked: Seeking to Save Israeli Democracy from the Israeli Supreme Court

Monday, May 18th, 2015

On Monday, May 18, newly-appointed Israeli Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) gave an address to the Israeli Bar Association at the southern seaside city of Eilat.

Depending on whom you ask, Shaked either continued her pledge to honor the role of justice by pushing to de-politicize the activities of the Supreme Court, or, as the Haaretz crowd asserts, continued her mission of inserting politics into the Supreme Court.

The Israeli Supreme Court is highly activist, and has derailed significant legislation passed by the Knesset. For those who believe in the right of the popularly elected branches, the two branches of government which must answer to the people, the notion of the non-elected branch having broad power to overrule the will of the majority is unnerving.

It is even more unnerving when membership in that branch is conferred, as it is in Israel, by a nine-member committee, most of whom are not accountable to the electorate. Two of those votes are cast by completely private parties, chosen by the Bar Association itself — whose members routinely appear before the very judges they put on the Court.

The 39-year-old Shaked said: “only a genuine separation of powers will ensure the survival of democracy, the balance of which is subtle. The meaning of the word ‘democracy’ is the rule of the people. The people are sovereign and choose their representatives.”

“I would like to reinforce the authority of the executive branch, while maintaining the independence and status of the judicial branch,” Shaked continued.

“In recent years it seems a large part of the public has been under the impression that this outlook (of judicial restraint) has diminished. It seems decision making – governance – is no longer under the control of the people – their elected officials in the Knesset – but is held by the judiciary. The issue is at the heart of a contentious public debate,” Shaked stressed.

It is expected that Shaked will work to re-assert the separation of powers during her tenure as Justice Minister. During the coalition negotiations she submitted several bills the purpose of which would be to limit the Supreme Court’s interventionism. One example of such a legislative effort is to enable the Knesset to ratify laws struck down by the Supreme Court.

 

Israeli Cabinet Sworn in after Being Sworn At

Friday, May 15th, 2015

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began his fourth term as Prime Minister of Israel late Thursday night, presiding over a cabinet of 20, after a raucous Knesset session culminated in the ministers’ swearing-in.  Lest there be any uncertainty about whether Israel really is both a Jewish and a democratic country, the Israeli Parliament session featured empassioned addresses by Arab legislators.

The session also featured a disgusted speech by Labour Party leader Isaac Herzog, who denounced the country’s newly-elected leader and refused to join the government, calling it a “circus” because its platform rejects the Socialist Worker views of the party that controlled Israel from 1948 until Menachem Begin became Prime Minister in 1977.

Herzog’s address was a frontal and personal attack on both Netanyahu and the entire concept of cross-party cooperation in the national interest:

“This is not the government the people wanted,” Herzog said. Facing Netanyahu directly, he went on: “Your partners swindled you. What you created was a circus. Your mentors Ze’ev Jabotinsky and Menachem Begin would have been embarrassed of you. Your way is not my way. My way is the way of the Labor movement that founded this country. Give the Foreign Ministry to one of your MKs. No decent leader would join your circus,” as reported by Gil Hoffman in the Jerusalem Post.

No doubt Bibi has very thick skin, but it would be hard for any human being, even a politician, to forget that personal insult, delivered in front of the entire government and, via the press, the rest of the world.

The  “swindling” that Herzog denounced was in fact a long negotiation with each person who wound up as a Cabinet official – and with several others who did not wind up as such – over who would hold which office.

After oaths had been administered, Netanyahu explained to the Knesset that this lengthy game of musical chairs was necessitated by Israeli’s system of parliamentary elections, which fractures power in the hands of numerous small parties, each of which then has the right to extort as high a price as possible for its support of a coalition.

Netanyahu called for change of this system Thursday night. Though both his own Likud party and Herzog’s “Zionist Union” – the two largest parties – would benefit from such reform, it’s hard to see how sufficient support for it could be found across all these criss-crossing party lines.

Still, there is some hope for progress on some fronts.  Ayelet Shaked will take over as Justice Minister, and she takes office with an ambitious plan to reform the Israeli Supreme Court – long seen by many as a profoundly anti-democratic institution that rejects Knesset-passed laws whenever a majority of its 15 justices disagrees with them.

Likud plans to introduce a bill in the Knesset that will, among other things, require a modest super-majority of the Supreme Court’s justices, rather than a bare majority, before a law could be struck down.

It will be interesting to see whether, if the Knesset adopts such legislation, the Supreme Court strikes that down.

The Washington Post Sinks to Mondoweiss level (updated)

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

{Originally posted to author’s website, Abu Yehuda}

The usual suspects have been pulling out all of the stops to attack Israel’s new Justice Minister, MK Ayelet Shaked. Shaked has been called a racist, accused of inciting genocide, even compared to Hitler. Until recently, this kind of verbal excrement has been confined to marginal outlets like that running sewer of Jew-hatred, the Mondoweiss blog (you can google it if you wish; I don’t provide links to running sewers). But now, amidst the overall degradation of discourse about Israel and Jews, it even appears in the Washington Post.

The sewage is recycled by Post writer Ishaan Tharoor, who does link to Mondoweiss and regurgitates the slander that he finds there:

In July [2014], in a controversial post on Facebook, the then-member of the Knesset posted the text of an article by the late Israeli writer Uri Elitzur that referred to Palestinian children as “little snakes” and appeared to justify the mass punishment of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation….

Even if these aren’t Shaked’s own words, the sentiment is noteworthy, and it reflects what critics say is the Israeli nationalist right’s widespread intolerance of the Arabs in their midst, who make up one-fifth of the Israeli population.

Shaked’s Facebook post was selectively quoted at the time by a writer named Gideon Resnick, and pushed to go viral in the left-wing blogosphere by Ali Abunimah of “Electronic Intifada.” Shaked responded,

Let’s start with my July 1 Facebook post. It was written some 12 years ago, but never published, by a dear man, the recently departed journalist Uri Elitzur. The gist of his article was that once one side in a war attacks the other side’s civilians, they can no longer morally claim a special status for their own civilians.

Go ahead, ask a Hebrew speaking friend to translate it for you, they’ll confirm this is what my Facebook post [here, in Hebrew, see update below for English] was about. But you’ll find not a trace of that in Resnick’s account. Perhaps it’s his own ignorance of the Hebrew language. After all, he got the text from Electronic Intifada, a website dedicated to daily and hourly vilification of my country.

All Resnick had to do to make Elitzur’s sober, legally minded discussion sound like a speech made by Hitler himself, was to cherry pick words out of context. A call for the indiscriminate killing of children is a terrible thing. But what if the statement was that any time you attack our children, you’re exposing your own people to the same fate? Still unsettling, but rational when you consider their civilian population is actively supporting and participating in their war and terror efforts. It’s not a call for indiscriminate murder.

That’s it. She didn’t write the text in question, and it doesn’t call for genocide. Even in Mondoweiss’ translation, it’s clear that the “little snakes” referred to are terrorists, not Arab children. Now that she is about to take an important post, the story is making the rounds again.

This isn’t so much about Ayelet Shaked, who can and will defend herself. It is more about the Washington Post, supposedly a serious newspaper, which paid a hack journalist to write a hit piece based entirely on material taken from what another Post contributor, David Bernstein, persuasively argues is a “hate site.”

Ishaan Tharoor’s technique of expressing his political prejudices is to link to anti-Israel articles with phrases like “some would call [her views] extremist,” or “some have likened [Naftali Bennett’s plan for Palestinian autonomy] to the bantustans of apartheid-era South Africa.” This enables him to write a massively biased piece without taking ownership of his bias.

There is no sign in the Post article that he made any attempt to contact Shaked, or indeed anyone connected with her. In fact, just about everything in his piece can be found in the Mondoweiss article he references. This is barely blogging, much less journalism.

Tharoor, a Yale graduate and the son of prominent Indian politician and writer Shashi Tharoor and NYU Humanities professor Tilottama Mukherji, seems to have led a charmed life as a journalist, with writing positions at Time and the Washington Post. Many actual journalists would kill for such jobs.

But here’s the best part, from an Indian publication:

However, [Tharoor] is frustrated about the sloppy writing and poor ethical standards in the English-language media in India. He also fears the mainstream private media in the country is picking up the same sensationalist, somewhat vacuous tricks of their counterparts in the US. [my emphasis]

I suppose it takes one to know one.

***

Update [10-May-0922 IDT]: I originally called the Mondoweiss translation ‘tendentious’. I have removed the word; I carefully read the original Hebrew text and can compliment the translator on her accuracy. I translated the last two paragraphs that did not appear in the Mondoweiss version myself. Here is the whole thing, with the part about the “snakes” emphasized. Read it and draw your own conclusions:

The Palestinian people has declared war on us, and we must respond with war. Not an operation, not a slow-moving one, not low-intensity, not controlled escalation, no destruction of terror infrastructure, no targeted killings. Enough with the oblique references. This is a war. Words have meanings. This is a war. It is not a war against terror, and not a war against extremists, and not even a war against the Palestinian Authority. These too are forms of avoiding reality. This is a war between two people. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people. Why? Ask them, they started.

I don’t know why it’s so hard for us to define reality with the simple words that language puts at our disposal. Why do we have to make up a new name for the war every other week, just to avoid calling it by its name. What’s so horrifying about understanding that the entire Palestinian people is the enemy? Every war is between two peoples, and in every war the people who started the war, that whole people, is the enemy. A declaration of war is not a war crime. Responding with war certainly is not. Nor is the use of the word “war”, nor a clear definition who the enemy is. Au contraire: the morality of war (yes, there is such a thing) is founded on the assumption that there are wars in this world, and that war is not the normal state of things, and that in wars the enemy is usually an entire people, including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.

And the morality of war knows that it is not possible to refrain from hurting enemy civilians. It does not condemn the British air force, which bombed and totally destroyed the German city of Dresden, or the US planes that destroyed the cities of Poland and wrecked half of Budapest, places whose wretched residents had never done a thing to America, but which had to be destroyed in order to win the war against evil. The morals of war do not require that Russia be brought to trial, though it bombs and destroys towns and neighborhoods in Chechnya. It does not denounce the UN Peacekeeping Forces for killing hundreds of civilians in Angola, nor the NATO forces who bombed Milosevic’s Belgrade, a city with a million civilians, elderly, babies, women, and children. The morals of war accept as correct in principle, not only politically, what America has done in Afghanistan, including the massive bombing of populated places, including the creation of a refugee stream of hundreds of thousands of people who escaped the horrors of war, for thousands of whom there is no home to return to.

And in our war this is sevenfold more correct, because the enemy soldiers hide out among the population, and it is only through its support that they can fight. Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. Actors in the war are those who incite in mosques, who write the murderous curricula for schools, who give shelter, who provide vehicles, and all those who honor and give them their moral support. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.

This week there are celebrations of mourning and honor in two homes of two suicide murderers. I suppose that they set up mourning tents, and all the notables of the city are coming to honor the mother and father that raised the devil. Those two homes should be bombed from the air, to destroy and to kill. And it should be announced that from now on we will do the same to every house of every martyr. Nothing is more just than this, and it appears that nothing is more efficient than this. Every suicide [bomber] should know that he also takes with him his parents, his house, and some of his neighbors. Every Umm Jihad [the nickname of a woman that raised several suicide bombers; literally “mother of jihad”] heroine that sends her son to hell should know that she goes with him. Together with the house and everything in it.

Killings can’t be targeted. That’s how it is in war. What is targeted doesn’t kill and what kills isn’t targeted
[מה שממוקד לא מסכל ומה שמסכל לא ממוקד]. We didn’t start this hateful war and we can’t end it. The keys to a ceasefire are in the hands of the Palestinian people. We can only scorch their fingers until they want to use them.

The meaning ought to be clear to anyone who can read either English or Hebrew. This is not a call for genocide, it is a realistic assessment of the ugly nature of war. In particular, the “snakes” he refers to are suicide bombers. He does not call for the murder of children; rather he proposes to deter the parents from making their children into murderers.

Update [1049 IDT]: The Jewish Press reports that

Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) has been assigned a full-time security detail and armed guards, by the Knesset security department, after incitement and threats by Israeli leftists were posted on social media, according to Galei Tzahal.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked Receives Bodyguards After Leftwing Threats

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Soon-to-be-appointed Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) has been assigned a full-time security detail and armed guards, by the Knesset security department, after incitement and threats by Israeli leftists were posted on social media, according to Galei Tzahal.

The left are upset by Shaked, as she plans to implement much-needed reforms in Israel’s judicial system.

A previous and leftwing Justice Minister, Yosef Paritzky (Shinui), said that the only thing good about Shaked is that she would make a nice pinup for a garage calendar. He even reportedly said “and she is very beautiful – like many of the Reich’s women. Oops, sorry, one must not compare.”

A photo of Shaked dresses as a Nazi was posted on Facebook too.

Shaked has advocated for judges to be appointed by the democratically-elected Knesset, and not by an inner circle of judges and non-elected bureaucrats.

Shaked is known as an outspoken and intelligent advocate for Zionism and democracy.

A photo of Ayelet Shaked superimposed on a Nazi was also posted onto Facebook.

A photo of Ayelet Shaked superimposed on a Nazi was also posted onto Facebook.

Ayelet Shaked Has Armed Escort following Death Threats

Monday, May 11th, 2015

A personal armed guard now is escorting Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) Knesset Member Ayelet Shaked following death threats.

Shaked is slated to be the Justice Minister, an appointment that has riled up the left-wing, which usually goes to bat for women but not if they are on the “wrong side” of the road.

The decision to escort Shaked with a guard was made by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein.

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/liberman-is-persona-non-grata-and-bennett-can-forget-about-judicial-revolutions/2015/05/08/

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