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October 28, 2016 / 26 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Barak’

Israeli DM Ehud Barak Quits Politics, Leaves Door Open For Comeback

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

At a dramatic press conference in Tel Aviv on Monday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced his resignation from politics.

Barak said he would remain in his post until the establishment of the next government, following the January 22 elections. While he dispelled speculation suggesting that he would join up with other parties, Barak left the door open for a comeback by not saying explicitly that he would not return to politics. He said he was “at peace” with his decision, but that it did not come “without its misgivings.”

The political echelon responded quickly to Barak’s announcement, with Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich expressing her sorrow over Barak’s resignation even before the press conference ended.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also voiced his appreciation for the outgoing minister, saying, “I thank him for his cooperation and I very much appreciate his longtime contribution to the security of the state.”

But not all the responses were sympathetic. MK Danny Danon (Likud) issued a statement shortly after the announcement, declaring, “Thank God we are rid of this nuisance.”

Likud minister Yuli Edelstein echoed his colleague’s sentiments, saying, “Today is a day of independence for Likud.”

“Barak will go down in the annals of Israel’s governments as the worst defense minister in the history of the Jewish settlement enterprise. His conduct was rife with egotistical and political considerations, all at the expense of the Jewish settlers,” said Edelstein. “I wouldn’t be surprised if, at the first opportunity, he will find a reason to return to politics and to his evil ways.”

The Strong Israel faction, headed by rightists Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben-Ari, also issued a celebratory response, adding that “now Netanyahu and [Foreign Minister Avigdor] Lieberman will be able to approve all the construction plans for Judea and Samaria that had gotten bogged down on Barak’s desk. Or, alternately, it may emerge that Barak was only a fig leaf and that it was the prime minister himself who was responsible for the mistreatment of the settlers.”

Some on the other side of the political spectrum were no less critical of the resigning minister. “Barak played a dual role in the political system,” said Meretz Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On. “I commended him as the one who normally blocked extreme policies, but sometimes he was the one who spearheaded extreme moves and pushed them forward.”

Hadash Chairman Dov Khenin said, “Ehud Barak was the pillar that made possible the existence of the most extreme rightist government in Israel’s history…. Barak’s political maneuvering cannot mask his culpability for the four difficult years of frozen diplomacy, the damage he caused to the possibility of peace with the Palestinians and the general economic and social deterioration.”

The news even elicited a response from Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum, who said Barak’s resignation was proof that Israel’s recent Gaza Strip offensive, which Barak led, had been a failure.

Barak’s political career may have been over even if he had not decided to retire. His small, centrist Independence Party faction was polling poorly and it is possible Barak would not have made it into the next Knesset had he decided to run again.

As prime minister from 1999 to 2001, Barak withdrew Israeli forces from southern Lebanon and offered unprecedented Israeli concessions, including in Jerusalem, to Yasir Arafat and the Palestinians at the unsuccessful Camp David peace summit. In the 2001 elections following the outbreak of the second intifada, Barak was soundly defeated by Ariel Sharon and then resigned as head of the Labor Party.

Barak mounted a political comeback in 2007, recapturing the leadership of a weakened Labor Party. He returned to government as defense minister, a post from which he has emphasized the threat from Iran’s nuclear program and ordered two military operations in Gaza – 2008’s Cast Lead and the recent Pillar of Defense.

– Israel Hayom/JNS; JTA; Jewish Press staff

Combined News Services

Don’t Feel Bad! We Didn’t Lose the War!

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Albeit all the angry, bitter, and downright nasty articles and blogs which have been written on how Israel was defeated in its latest skirmish with the Hamas – that isn’t the case at all. We’re really the winner! Let me explain:

Firstly, on the simplest level, thanks to the grace of G-d, our casualties were far less than the Other Side’s. Regarding physical damage as well, the devastation on their side was far greater. So, just in terms of the way the military scorecard is usually figured, we were the victors by far.

In reply to the claim that the Hamas received a great boost in their morale in bringing mighty Israel to a cease fire, giving them added incentive for the next round – maybe. But their celebrations of victory are based on fantasy and lies, and their joy won’t last when we hit them ten times as hard the next time.

As far as the truce being a crushing blow to the morale of our own troops – my son and his friends in the army don’t seem any less gung ho about destroying the Hamas the next chance they get, so I think that claim has also been over-exaggerated. Our son was happy to be home for Shabbat, and we were happy too. Along with 30,000 other soldiers and their families.

Don’t accuse me of being a pacifist. Any reader who has been following my blog during the recent Israeli Air-Force exercise in Gaza knows that I would not have had any qualms at all if we had waited for a day when a stiff wind was blowing toward Cairo and dropped a small A-Bomb on Gaza City. But the time hasn’t yet come. Savlenut, my friends. Patience.

I am reminded of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook’s reaction when the United Nations voted in 1947 to partition the Palestine of the British Mandate which sliced Eretz Yisrael into pieces and awarded a truncated area to the Jews. When the news came over the radio that a Jewish State would be formed, a spontaneous joy swept over the country. People rushed out from their homes to dance in the streets. But Rav Tzvi Yehuda was crushed. The Land of Israel has been divided! Large portions of the country had been placed in foreign hands! Half of Jerusalem, Hevron, Shilo, Yericho, Shechem, and the other side of the Jordan River! Multitudes of Israelis were dancing through the streets, but in his staggering sorrow, Rav Tzvi Yehuda remained in his home. The Land of Israel had been divided! It was impossible for him to feel glad. He felt as if he himself had been cut into pieces.

The following day, Rabbi Yaacov Moshe Harlop, a close student and friend of Rav Tzvi Yehuda’s father, Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook, came to visit him in the old house on Yafo Street in Jerusalem. They sat in the room which Rabbi Kook had used as his study and huddled together, distraught over what had occurred. Then, finding encouragement in each other, and raising themselves up to Rabbi Kook’s famous all-encompassing vision, they quoted the verse of Psalms, “This is the Lord’s doing. It is wondrous in our eyes.” Finally, Rav Tzvi Yehuda mustered the strength to go out to the Nation, realizing, with faith in Hashem, that is was God’s doing, and that with the passing of time, the newborn Nation would overcome the great difficulties and gradually return to all of its Land – to Hevron, to the Temple Mount, to Shechem, to Gaza, and to the other side of the Jordan.

During the recent operation in Gaza, we wrote that the Redemption of Israel was a process which develops gradually over time, little by little, like the emerging of dawn, stage after stage, in the wars which Israel must fight against its enemies who strive to block out its light, in what is known as “the Footsteps of Mashiach.” While we would like to see our salvation and victory occur all at once, Presto, with one wave of Mashiach’s wand, the Master of the World, who is also the Master of War, has decided otherwise. After the trauma of our national disintegration in our exile in foreign lands, Hashem rebuilds our Nation gradually, war after war, development after development, slowly bringing us back to our true selves, the proud lions of Judah, completely devoted to Hashem and His Torah, not only as individuals, but as a proud Torah Nation in Israel.

Tzvi Fishman

Ehud Barak Retiring from Politics

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Defense Minister Ehud Barak told reporters in Tel Aviv this morning: “I decided to retire from politics and not to run in the coming elections.” Barak added: “I joined the army in 1959, and for 47 years served the people of Israel as best I could. I will finish the job when the next government takes office and will spend more time with my family. I got all I could out of my engagement in politics, which was never an object of desire for me, and I feel that new people should be encouraged to take up senior positions. Turnover in positions of power is a good thing.”

As poll after poll has been showing that Barak’s Knesset list Atzmaut (Independence) was in danger of not making it past the blocking percentage, there were speculations in political circles that Barak would try and get himself into a secure position on the list of one of the major political parties. But as most Likud ministers declared their open aversion to his inclusion on their list, and as Labor, which he deserted to join the Likud government, was in no mood to take him back, Barak’s future was becoming murkier and murkier over the summer and into the political autumn.

That’s when Defense Minister Barak began a campaign that was intended to distinguish between himself and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a campaign that reached full throttle over the PM’s open conflict with the White House over attacking Iran. After appearing to be of one mind with Netanyahu on the urgent need to stop the Iranian nuclear program, Barak distanced himself from that view and sounded more like the Pentagon officials he had been debating a short while before.

As other parties were organizing for the coming elections, it seemed that Barak was courting all of them, with the possible exception of the National Religious party and the Ethiopians. Labor’s Ofer Eini, the landless Tzipi Livni, the Likud’s Prince Hamlet Moshe Kahlon, nouveau-Golda-Meir Shelly Yachimovich, and even Czar Liberman, all spent some face time with Barak these past couple of months, and all, apparently, rejected his advances.

Barak’s decision will be accepted with a deep sigh of relief by folks who live in Judea and Samaria, who were subject to the Defense Minister’s unyielding attempts to chip away at Jewish settlements, including many cases in which his nod would have meant the difference between Jewish families being evicted from their homes or being allowed to continue living in homes they had purchased legally.

Barak has also been a bulwark against Netanyahu’s adopting the Levi committee’s recommendations which came down to applying Israeli law in places where Israelis live in Judea and Samaria.

In Hebron, in Migron and in many other Jewish towns and villages, Ehud Barak will not be missed. But Netanyahu’s choice for Barak’s replacement at the ministry of defense should signal what kind of policy the next government will pursue regarding the “disputed territories.”

Yori Yanover

Defense Min. Barak: We Didn’t Want to Conquer Gaza

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

In an interview with Israel Radio, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that he considered conquering Gaza throughout Operation Pillar of Defense, but did not take the step because he did not want Israel to remain in the region for a long period of time.

In his first interview since Wednesday night’s ceasefire agreement, in which Barak declared that the Israeli military had accomplished its goals “in full” over the course of the eight day operation, Barak said that while Israel could have removed Hamas from power, it would have meant that Israel would be “forced to stay in for years”, and that it would have been difficult to figure out how to withdraw from Gaza again.

Barak boasted that “while our Chief of Staff will soon be talking to the press, their Chief of Staff is in the ground”, referring to Hamas military chief Ahmded Jabari, who Israel killed on the first day of Pillar of Defense.

Barak said Israel hit Hamas with one thousand times the force with which Hamas hit Israel, and praised the “powerful, effective army”.

Malkah Fleisher

Ceasefire Tonight, Same War All Over Again Day after Tomorrow

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

As soon as the IDF started pounding the Gaza strip with massive artillery fire and attacks from the air, it was a sign of the end of this polite skirmish. In fact, as soon as the artillery started, I knew it was either to soften the ground in preparation for the ground invasion, or the final salvo armies traditionally deliver before the truce, to inflict as much damage as they still can, and so they’ll have less to schlep home afterwards.

Wars are a wonderful way to clear up the shelves for the new shipment of ammo.

Like the rest of us, Netanyahu, Barak, Liberman et al have weighed the benefits and risks of a ground invasion of a densely populated and very hostile Gaza, and decided to be prudent. All they need is for one bad move to end up in mass killings of either our boys, God forbid, or, possibly even worse, Arab civilians, two months before the elections. So they kicked the can to themselves down the road, as many have anticipated.

After today’s cabinet meeting, one senior Israeli official told Reuters: “Before deciding on a ground invasion, the prime minister intends to exhaust the diplomatic move in order to see if a long-term ceasefire can be achieved.”

Diplomatic moves must include Egypt, Gaza’s Muslim Brothers’ home office. President Mohamed Morsi took a call from Obama on Monday, with a clear request (we’ll call it that) to make Hamas stop shooting rockets into Israel.

The Egyptians have been working on that project ever since (well, almost two days, but it felt longer). We’ll see what kind of hybrid they’ve cobbled.

Here are the difficulties Israel had to consider:

1. It cannot negotiate with Hamas without directly destabilizing the Fatah government in Judea and Samaria. 2. It cannot invade Gaza without removing Hamas which entails staying there as a provisional government – not something the Israeli PM is looking forward to. 3. Whatever truce is reached tonight will not be worth the paper on which it is written.

All of the above suggests that the military cost of Operation Pillar of Defense, combined with the 1200 reported cases of serious damage to property over the past week – not to speak of the lives lost – will only buy Israel a few months of quiet.

Netanyahu, Barak, and Liberman tonight decided to avoid confronting the bully all the way. But as history teaches us, the bully you failed to confront in 1936, at a relatively low cost, or in 1938, at a higher cost, finally forced you to confront him in 1939 at the highest cost imaginable.

I wish all of us a safe life and a happy Hanukah.

Yori Yanover

Barak: We Called Up the Reserves, IDF Spokesman: Gaza Will Not Sleep Quietly Tonight

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Defense Minister Ehud Barak convened a meeting with the chief of staff Benny Gantz, IDF commanders, and senior representatives of Defense and Intelligence. A senior Army source told Israel’s Reshet Bet radio that the IDF is preparing for a ground operation, and is only waiting for the decision of the political echelon.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said tonight: “I have ordered today to expand the recruiting of army reserve so we will be prepared for any kind of development, if and when required. This operation is not a quick fix, this test will continue and we must pass it, standing erect and calm.”

Barak added: I am convinced that the operation will achieve its goals. I am confident that we will contribute to bolstering our deterrence and restoring the peace, even if it takes time. Meanwhile, we have to remain calm, disciplined, follow the instructions of the Home Front Command and keep up our civilian routines as much as possible even under these circumstances, in order to allow the army to carry out its mission, and us to reach the end of the operation having the upper hand.”

IDF spokesman Brigadier General Yoav (Poly) Mordechai, briefing reporters, said tonight:

“IDF forces, the regular Paratroopers and Givati brigades are assembled in their designated pre-invasion areas, and are preparing to enter the Gaza Strip. We will act as necessary and according to the decisions of our political leadership. Most senior Hamas terrorists are fleeing. We must remain determined. To residents of the south: the power of our home front fuels our power to operate.”

“The IDF continues to operate surgically in Gaza, with targeted attacks – not against outposts, not against police stations – but against rocket launch posts. So far we’ve inflicted very severe damage to the arsenal of long-range missiles of the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. The IDF also managed to take out several launch teams during the attack. So far 14 terrorists were killed in the Gaza Strip.

“Every hour there are more than 12 attacks in the Gaza Strip, all day and all night. We We will continue again tonight and tomorrow. As time goes by, the attacks will increase. Our Home Front defense has been effective and efficient. We sustained a harsh blow in Kiryat Malachi, and we send our condolences to the families. I ask our citizens at home to obey the HFC instructions. Our active defense, combined with implementing the HFC guidelines, will achieve optimum result.

Jewish Press Staff

IDF Initiating Call-Up of Reserves, Preparing for Possible Ground War

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Though IDF Spokesman Yoav Mordechai says the call-up is limited and primarily focused on Home Front Command units, Israel’s military has begun calling up army reservists across the country, in preparation for a possible ground incursion into Gaza as part of Operation “Amud Anan” – Pillar of Defense.

According to Mordechai, a ceasefire is not in consideration at this time.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Wednesday night that he would authorize a broadening of air and sea attacks on terror infrastructure in Gaza, and that the military operation would continue until the goals have been realized.

Also on Wednesday night, Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the nation in a statement, condemning Hamas operatives for targeting Israeli citizens while using their own citizenry as human shields.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who early told the residents of the south that they are the “source of our strength in this battle that we are waging today”, praised the Shin Bet for providing information necessary for eliminating Ahmad Jabari and devastating Hamas’s Fajr long-range rocket arsenal.

He noted that the goals of the operation are “strengthening deterrence, injuring the rocket arsenal, wounding and hurting Hamas and minimizing injury to the civilians on the homefront of the State of Israel.”

Malkah Fleisher

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/idf-initiating-call-up-of-reserves-preparing-for-possible-ground-war/2012/11/15/

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