Naftali Bennett, head of the Bayit Yehudi party, completely cut off communications today as negotiations with the Likud reached an impasse, just a day before Netanyahu’s deadline to form a coalition. No one from the Likud party was able to reach him, no matter how hard they tried. It’s a trick he clearly learned and perfected from Avigdor Liberman.
Bennett believes that Netanyahu is short-changing his party with unreasonable offers and low-level ministries, as well as giving too much to Shas and in particular the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
One rumor has it that Bennett is concerned that Netanyhu is just biding time and creating a temporary coalition until the Zionist Camp can dump Tzipi Livni, at which point it will join Netanyahu’s coalition, replacing the Bayit Yehudi party.
Breaking his silence on Tuesday evening, according to Channel 2, Bennett has demanded the Justice Portfolio for Ayelet Shaked, and that she be appointed as early as next week.
One of Bennett’s major goals is a reform of Israel’s High Court, and in particular, restricting their judicial activism, limiting their ability to unilaterally override legislative decisions made by the democratically elected Knesset, and democratizing the judicial selection process, so future judges better represent the values of the nation, and not just the far left. Currently, current High Court judges effectively select their successors.
Netanyahu does not want an open battle with the High Court this term, and as such, he has been trying to keep control of the Ministry of Justice within the Likud.
One thing is certain, the right will never forgive Netanyahu if he doesn’t form a coalition with Bennett, and instead brings in the Zionist Camp.
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.”
Police said Monday morning that anarchists incited protesters to violence in last night’s march in Tel Aviv against police brutality and racism, undermining the demonstrators’ objectives.
Protesters were armed with rocks and metal objects which they hurled at police officers, 56 of whom were injured lightly. Police arrested 43 demonstrators and hurled stun grenades in the middle of a crowd blocking a major artery at rush-hour in Tel Aviv.
Both a senior police official and “Elazar,” who made Aliyah from Ethiopia years before the massive airlift in Operation Shlomo, told Voice of Israel radio (Reshet Bet) that the protest turned violent partly because of anarchists, whom the interviewer later said could be “leftists or rightists,” although the term “right-wing anarchist” in Israel is almost contradictory.
Left-wing elements, many of them funded by American Jews and non-Jews, often have been accused of inciting Arabs and illegal African immigrants to violence.
The charge of “racism,” which undoubtedly is true but not always to the Nth degree as sometimes described, is a good way to rile up the riff-raff. That is exactly what happened last night.
Mahratta Baruch-Ron, the deputy mayor Tel Aviv and an Ethiopian, tried to calm down the protesters, but to no avail; the anarchists and trouble-makers took over.
Like last week’s protest in Jerusalem that turned violent when nearly 1,000 protesters surged towards to the official residence of the Prime Minister, last night’s demonstration lacked responsible leadership.
Police did not interfere Sunday night even when protesters blocked major arteries near Rabin Square in downtown Tel Aviv, and it appeared that some people in the crowd were itching for a fight by deciding to proceed towards the high-speed intra-city Ayalon Highway.
Yediot Acharonot, which never misses an opportunity to whitewash leftist criminals and find cause against Netanyahu, reported that “social activists” joined the protesters.
The protests were sparked by a video shown on Israeli television last week of two policemen assaulting, without any provocation, an Ethiopian soldier, who was clad with kippa. Discrimination against Ethiopians is widespread while the police show no discrimination when it comes to excessive violence.
The protesters have concentrated on racism, while political leaders, including Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) chairman Naftali Bennett, have hitched a ride on the “race card” rather than pursuing the opportunity to demand massive reform in the police force.
The plagues of racism and violence against police, as well as police violence against civilians, elicited an immediate response from Prime Minister Netanyahu.
He is meeting Monday with Ethiopian community representatives, soldier Damas Pakada who was filmed being beaten by the policemen. Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino, and representatives of the Public Security, Social Affairs and Social Services, Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, and Interior ministries.
They will make statements announcing funding for projects aimed at the Ethiopian community and will ignore police brutality.
The new protest movement is continuing Monday morning with a march in Jerusalem. Travelers are advised that major arteries, including Sderot Herzl, Rabin, Shazar, Ben Tzvi and Ruppin are closed as of 11 a.m.
The U.S. Embassy yesterday warned citizens that protests that are “intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence” and advised, “You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.”
Below, an Ethiopian protester tells Channel 2, in Hebrew, that outside inciters turned the peaceful march into a violent riot.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told a Washington think tank Friday that the proposed deal with Iran to restrict its nuclear program “would make the world would a much more dangerous place.”
He spoke through a video message at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where Vice President Joe Biden insisted the deal was “reasonable” and that the United States “has Israel’s back.”
Netanyahu said reminded his audience that Iran “repeatedly threatens to annihilate Israel” and has created “terrorist bases across three of Israel’s borders in Lebanon and Gaza and now on the Syrian Golan.
The Prime Minister asserted:
The international community cannot let Iran’s aggression in the region — in Lebanon, in Iraq, in Syria, in Yemen and elsewhere – to continue under the protection of an Iranian nuclear umbrella. And the international community cannot afford to let the planet’s foremost sponsor of terrorism have nuclear capabilities with which to terrorize the entire world….
The Lausanne framework….would make the world would a much more dangerous place…. Now there are those who say that the Lausanne framework will make Israel safer.
As the prime minister of Israel I can tell you categorically this deal will endanger Israel — big time. But it’s not just Israel that will be in danger: The Middle East and the entire world will be threatened.
Biden told the think tank, “Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other. They [Iran] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material. Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”
What he didn’t say is that Iran has gotten that far while Obama and Biden were in office. Netanyahu is saying that the proposed deal guarantees that Iran can achieve its goal.
The vice-president said that the United States will go to war with Iran if necessary to keep it from procuring a nuclear weapon.
The inference from Netanyahu’s position is that war can be prevented if Iran can be stopped from becoming a nuclear power, which is why the Prime Minister told the think tank, “A better deal is necessary. A better deal is possible. A better deal must and can be achieved. But if not, no deal is better than this bad deal.”
If you have been planning to buy an apartment in Israel for a supplemental income or investment, better hurry up.
In a coalition deal arranged between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud and the Kulanu party led by Finance Minister-designate Moshe Kahlon, Israel will impose a tax of up to 20 percent tax on housing purchased for investment purposes.
The investment tax at present is graduated, with five percent in the first tax bracket, moving up to a maximum of 10 percent.
Someone who buys the same apartment for residential purposes – who intends to actually live in the apartment – will be taxed only up to five percent, according to Globes.
It was also agreed the real estate partners with the Housing Ministry will build 700 apartments for public housing. Other lots will be sold at a discount to contractors under the agreement, Ynet reported.
Kahlon’s party signed a coalition agreement yesterday (Wednesday, April 29) with Likud.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Jew who is not involved in organization religion, will toss his hat in the political rang today and announce he is challenging Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic party’s nominee for president in 2016.
We would write that he is throwing his kippa into the ring except for the faint possibility that he even owns one.
Vermont Public News (VPR) reported, “Sanders will release a short statement….and then hold a major campaign kickoff in Vermont in several weeks…. Sanders’ basic message will be that the middle class in America has been decimated in the past two decades while wealthy people and corporations have flourished.”
Sanders is an Independent and a vocal critic of “corporate America” and the government’s proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.
A socialist, the 73-year-old Sanders wants to make campaign finance reform, climate change and the rich-poor gap as the center of his campaign, and he will focus on the proposed TPP to try force Clinton to declare whether she supports or opposes it.
Sanders might be exactly what the United States needs, someone who is not afraid to challenge the “billionaire class” instead of cooperating with it while the middle class, as in almost every other western country, fells it is becoming an endangered species.
His being Jewish is not going to win him any points from Orthodox or even the Conservative Jews.
Sanders, born in Brooklyn, once volunteered on an Israeli kibbutz after university, an experience which may have bolstered his socialist views.
As for Judaism, he is not actively involved, and the Burlington, Vermont Free Press reports:
When it comes to the impact of religion on his life, he said, ‘I find myself very close to the teachings of Pope Francis,’ and he described the pope as ‘incredibly smart and brave.’
A quote from Pope Francis also graces Sander’s Sanders for President Facebook page.
Judaism and being Jewish are not part of his public face. The Jewish Telegraph Agency wrote last January after an interview with Sanders, “With a series of observations about the Jewish history of rootlessness and oppression, Sanders begins to describe the role of his lower-middle-class upbringing in forging him into the Congress’ only self-described socialist.
Sanders boycotted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech in Congress last month. He has deep roots in the civil rights and the anti-Vietnam war movements but has tried to remain neutral concerning Israel.
He said a Town Hall meeting in Vermont last year that Israel “over-reacted” to Hamas missile attacks but noted that the terrorist organization attacked from within populated areas and wants to destroy Israel.
If it is good news that this Jew is running for president, pray that he beats Clinton so he can lose the big race.
Below is a video of Sanders explaining why he boycotted Netanyahu’s speech.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Vladimir Putin that Israel will attack weapons that Iran or Syria tries to ship to Hezbollah, according to a Defense News report of the conversation between the two leaders last week.
The official statement after their hour-long talk simply said that the Prime Minister criticized Russia’s sale of the S-300 advance anti-missile system to Iran as a “direct result of the dangerous deal on the table” between Iran and the P5+1 countries.
What was not reported was Netanyahu’s warning to the Russian president that Israel’s “red line” is any attempt by Iran or Syria to transfer, to place any advanced weapons in the hands of Hezbollah, Iran’s world-wide proxy terrorist network operating out of Lebanon. Syria and Hezbollah are heavily armed with Russian weapons, and Hezbollah’s missile arsenal is considered to be larger than almost any army in the world.
Defense News reported this week, “Israel is monitoring ‘active and ongoing leakage of Russian material,’ including SA-22 short-range and SA-17 medium-range air defense systems, via Syria to Iranian-backed Hezbollah allies in Lebanon.”
It quoted an Israeli official as saying:
We’ve discussed this with our friends in Washington and Europe and made multiple demarches to Moscow over a period of weeks and months.
Our red line policy is clear: We view unauthorized third-party transfers of Russian-origin equipment as legitimate targets.
In plainer English, if Iran tries to move a Russian s-300 antimissile system to Syria or Hezbollah in Lebanon, Israel will make sure it doesn’t get there.
There was no hint of the warning in the official press release of the conversation between Putin and Netanyahu, which stated, “Israel views with utmost gravity the supply of S-300 missiles from Russia to Iran, especially at a time when Iran is stepping up its aggression in the region and around the borders of the State of Israel.”
Israel has attacked Hezbollah-bound weapons in Syria at least five times in the past two years, including a strike in January on weapons and a military unit planning to attack Israel from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.
Israel previously has made it clear that it will strike to stop the transfer of “game-changing” sophisticated weapons and chemical weapons to Hezbollah.
However, Israel does not appear prepared to attack Russian weapons, including the S-300 systems, to Iran.
Netanyahu has done his best to express anger at the Russian sale of the S-300 to Iran.
Israel will take the unusual step of not sending its ambassador to Russia for Saturday’s annual victory parade, which this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
The United States, France and Germany have snubbed the parade because of Russian’s belligerency in Ukraine, which Israel has no trouble overlooking.
The Foreign Ministry did not cite the sale of the Russian-made S-300 anti-missile systems to Iran as the reason for boycotting the parade.
Some people have tried rationalizing the snub by explaining that attending the parade would require violating the Sabbath.
Benny Briskin, the Director of International Programs of the Russian Jewish Congress, was quoted by Metro website as saying, “Jews in Israel, especially at a state level, do not have the right to participate in ceremonies which are somehow connected with travelling [on the Sabbath]. If the Israeli president – the top public official of the country – publicly violates the Sabbath even for the very best occasion, it might lead to a scandal, up to the dissolution of the government.”
That would be a nifty explanation if it weren’t for the fact the Israel is sending low-level officials to the parade.