web analytics
December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Bennett’

Israel’s New Government: Not What You Think

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

On the issues about which the world is obsessed, Israel’s new government is basically a continuation of the old one. That is the key point to keep in mind regarding the new coalition which has a comfortable 68-seat majority, well over the 61 minimum parliamentarians required.

Basically, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in a strong position as these things go. It is notable that there is not a single other person seriously considered to be a serious candidate for prime minister. Of course, he will have the usual headaches of managing a disparate coalition in which parties will quarrel, threaten to walk out and make special demands.

The coalition consists of Netanyahu’s Likud (merged with Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu party); Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, which might be called traditionally liberal in American terms; Naftali Bennett’s right-wing and dati religious (Modern Orthodox, in American terms) party, Habayit Hayahudi; and Tzipi Livni’s rather shapeless and personalistic Hatnuah party. A key element of this coalition is the alliance of Bennett and Lapid in opposition to the Haredi (mistakenly called “ultra-Orthodox” in the West) religious parties.

While this is certainly a conservative-dominated government, I have yet to see anyone in the mass media point out that it includes two of the three largest left of center parties!

Of the three key ministries, Netanyahu will be foreign minister, holding that post “in trust” for indicted former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, whose party ran on a joint list with the Likud. In practice, this means Netanyahu will have close control over implementing his policies internationally. The defense minister is the very able Moshe Yaalon, a Likud member and former head of military intelligence.

Lapid will run the Finance Ministry, dealing with issues on which he has no experience at all. This is not so unusual in parliamentary systems, where senior civil servants actually run the ministries. But Lapid holds this post because his signature issues are to urge reforms in the economy. His party will also get education, social services, health, and science and technology.

Here is something of a paradox. Israel has been one of the most successful countries in the developed world because it has refused to join the high-spending, high-debt, subsidy-oriented policies of Europe and now the United States. Unemployment and inflation have been low; growth has been relatively high. The problem, though, is that prices are also relatively high compared to incomes, causing problems especially for young people and consumers generally.

Lapid is expected to revise the management of the golden eggs without doing harm to the goose that laid them. Arguably, the number-one issue for this government is whether Lapid can perform well. His father, a popular journalist, followed the precise same course as the son a few years ago and failed completely. The junior Lapid has no actual political experience and does have characteristics of Tel Aviv beautiful people society. If he falters, his party will disintegrate in the next election.

As for Bennett, the amusing spin on much coverage is that his party has succeeded, that settlers even dominate the government, because he will have a couple of minor ministries which don’t have much power. Actually, he got less than I would have expected. While the settlements might benefit a little economically from these positions–and from the party’s holding the chairmanship over the Knesset finance committee–they will not have much authority and control little money directly.

If there is a big winner in the new government it is Lapid’s reformist liberals (in the old American sense, not the redefinition imposed on that word by the American far left). They are going to have a chance to show if they can improve social services, a fairer distribution of resources (the issue isn’t so much between rich and poor but across different sectors), and an economy that retains its growth while managing the problem of high prices, among other things.

Meanwhile, although the world is obsessed with non-existent issues regarding the long-dead “peace process” or fantasy options for Israel to make friends with neighboring Islamist regimes by giving even more concessions, Israel strategically is focused on defense.

Four of the six bordering entities—Egypt, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, and soon Syria—are ruled by radical Islamist groups that openly declare their goal of wiping Israel off the map. And that list doesn’t even include extremely hostile Iran (whose drive toward nuclear weapons cannot be forgotten for a moment) and the virulently anti-Israel regime in Turkey.

Will it Be Good for the Jews?

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Yes, even here in Israel we must always ask the question: “Will it Be Good for The Jews?”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s latest coalition government has many competing factions.

MK Tzipi Livni, Israel’s newest Justice Minister, stressed on Saturday that she would not support the basic law bill “Israel is the national state of the Jewish people,” whose promotion is part of the new coalition agreements with the Jewish Home party.

Maybe “competing” is too gentle a word.

Netanyahu is hoping to be able to control his warring partners, certainly long enough to see himself soaring in the polls and trying for better election results.  Bibi’s Likud and partner Yisrael Beitenu bombed terribly in the recent elections, losing a critical amount of Knesset seats.  His formal announcement to President Peres was the easy part.  Governing with such partners will no doubt be the greatest challenge to Netanyahu’s political career.

Livni’s chance of being Prime Minister is now nil, but by controlling the Justice Ministry she will have a lot of power.  That’s why she demanded it.  And unfortunately, Bibi gave in.

Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett have both been promoting themselves as Centrists, just like Bibi had done earlier in his political career, since neither are shy about admitting that they dream of holding the top position, Prime Minister.  Right now they are working together against Bibi, but when they weaken him sufficiently, no doubt their alliance will crumble, like very fresh matzah.

Do I feel sorry for Bibi?  No!

Benjamin Netanyahu made his bed when he put pragmatic secular politics over Jewish values and Jewish History and Jewish Rights to The Land of Israel.  Our greatest leaders, from Biblical time onward were those who could see that God controls the big picture.

That’s why the only two of the “spies” who had been sent to לתור (latur)stakeout the Land (Numbers Chapter 13 בְּמִדְבַּר), who merited to enter it forty years later were the ones who trusted that God would make it possible for the Jewish People to rule it as Jews.

Remember that our first king, the Benjaminite Saul was deposed by God as punishment for not obeying His orders.  God replaced Saul with David who understood the power of God could overcome all human power and weapons.

Too bad that Benzion Netanyahu didn’t name his second son David…

Visit Shiloh Musings.

A Coalition of Wannabes

Monday, March 11th, 2013

If we can believe the media on this, Israel’s sitting Likud Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will beat the clock and has managed to negotiate coalition deals with enough political party leaders to form a government.

In a rare case of disagreement with Dry Bones (whose latest cartoon said that “Bibi’s coalition is made up of politicians who support him but don’t really trust him”), I don’t quite see this motley crew as not trusting Netanyahu. I see two different things:(1) The party leaders who have signed with, or have promised to sign with Bibi all want to replace him as Prime Minister; (2) It’s not that they don’t trust Bibi, but that he doesn’t really trust them.

Tzipi Livni, Yair Lapid, Naftali Bennett and Shaul Mofaz are the party leaders who’ve signed up (according to media leaks) with Bibi along with Avigdor Lieberman.  They all consider themselves national leaders  and potential Prime Ministers. This is going to be a make it or break it experience for political rookie Yair Lapid.  The high school drop-out will be following quite a few academic heavy-weights as Finance Minister.  Among his predecessors are Netanyahu,  masters degree in Business Administration from M.I.T, and Yuval Steinitz, who holds a doctorate in Philosophy from Tel Aviv University.  I wonder who’s going to be running Lapid’s crash course in economics.

Mofaz and Livni have been rapidly losing support, while Lapid and Bennett have captured the imagination of the public.  No doubt that Netanyahu will have a very challenging time trying to keep them all in line and functioning as a government.

Good luck Israel!

Visit Shiloh Musings.

Do We Finally Have a Coalition?

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Headlines are “hinting” that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has finally gotten some sort of agreement with the Bobbsey Twins, a.k.a., Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett.  Those two rookie Members of Knesset have been holding a very nice dowry of over thirty Knesset Members which Netanyahu desperately needs if he’s going to be able to have a workable coalition.

70-strong Israeli coalition nearing completion (Times of Israel)
Lapid to be finance minister, Bennett to be minister of trade, foreign portfolio to be held for Liberman; ultra-Orthodox parties going into opposition

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid is warming up to the idea of becoming Finance Minister, party sources said on Saturday, a week before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s deadline to form a government. Nothing is for sure yet, but the press has been saying that Lapid is willing to take the Finance Ministry.

Lapid and Netanyahu met on Friday, for talks their spokeswomen called “positive, with much progress made,” and on Saturday, in a meeting that was still ongoing (Jerusalem Post).

I can’t imagine a tougher challenge for him.  It’s so much easier to complain from the outside.  He campaigned on a social/financial platform.  It takes money to give the people what he claimed to want to give them/us.  Let’s see if it’s really possible, once he sees the real numbers.

“It all looks different from inside the government” is what many right-wing politicians have insisted when answering complaints about the contrast of their campaign promises and government policies.  I’m curious to see how Lapid will handle the “hot potato.”

If Lapid and Bennett have really come to an agreement with Bibi, I guess they’ll tie up the loose ends by the time Peres returns and United States President Barack Hussein Obama comes for his visit.

But in the meantime, we’ll just wait for the details…

Visit Shiloh Musings.

Coalition Burn Out

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Last night, a bit before I turned off the computer, I posted the following on facebook:

Maybe I’m crazy, or it’s a bit of political “burnout,” but I must admit that I really don’t care which parties are in Bibi’s government coalition. He’s just going to do what he wants, and God will stir as He wills it. I did my bit to vote for the party with the candidates I wanted to see in the Knesset, but they didn’t get in. My blog posts didn’t help, certainly not enough. As much as I enjoy a good political campaign, pre-election period, this long, leak-filled, innuendo flooded, media sabotaged coalition ultra-marathon has become worse than a bore.  When the “negotiations” are double-guessed by the media, we’ve passed the point of absurdity.  It’s hard to distinguish between fact, fiction, guess-work and wishful thinking. Arlene Kushner, as usual, has a much more intelligent way of explaining what’s going on and why we should be worried:

Nothing concrete to report yet on the coalition, as, again, there are mostly rumors. Based on what I’m reading, however, I confess to a great unease that Lapid sees himself as a reformer upon whom formation of the coalition depends — and who thus can, with his demands for entry into that coalition, instantaneously restructure much of Israeli society. Whether he’s right or wrong on specific issues, I fear a heavy-handed audacity that is only going to tear the society apart. Bibi’s “roast beef” has been cooking much too long.  Even if he had been making chulent, it would be overcooked already. And too much of what should be the coalition negotiations are being ki’ilu, sort of conducted “in public” by the media.  We keep hearing politicians, possible cabinet members being  interviewed interrogated, and asked which ministerial posts they demand or which would they refuse.  Instead of politely and firmly brushing off these questions with a “that’s between me, my party leader and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu,” they actually answer the questions and with much too much detail.  Obviously they’ve never taken my media when you’re being interviewed course.  One of the first rules is not to answer theoretical questions.  I’d put the “which ministry do you want question” in that category.  Too much public talking will only make things worse for everyone.

Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid keeps his facebook followers updated.  No, I’m not one of his friends.

Lapid is reportedly demanding the Foreign Ministry, but Netanyahu has reserved the post for faction Number 2 Avigdor Liberman, who stepped down from the post late last year to fight fraud and breach of trust charges. On Wednesday, the attorney general said it was legal for Netanyahu to hold the ministry for an indicted M.K.

Earlier Likud sources told Army Radio that Lapid was “obsessing” about becoming foreign minister, “which isn’t going to happen”…

Lapid, who is also demanding a smaller Cabinet and that the ultra-Orthodox be drafted into national service, said on Facebook that the talk about ministerial posts was beside the point. (Times of Israel). Most people I speak to have great faith that somehow Bibi will do his usual hat trick and pull a nice fluffy rabbit out of his hat before United States President Barack Hussein Obama arrives to “inspect” him and the State of Israel. Besides the fact that the suspense is over, like a balloon which no longer has air, I really don’t think it makes all that much of a difference which parties are in a coalition and who holds which ministerial portfolios.  Too many times we’ve elected Right wing, pro-Land of Israel governments which ended up being davka the ones that gave our Arab enemies portions of the Land of Israel, most notably Ariel Sharon.

It doesn’t really matter who’s elected and who is Minister of whatever.  Sorry for the cynicism, but that’s what is going through my mind right now.

Visit Shiloh Musings.

Jew Against Jew, I Don’t Like This

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Chazal, our sages say that the Holy Temple was destroyed because of baseless hatred, Jew against Jew.  All the recent political infighting, especially  since the recent Israeli Knesset Elections, just make me fear God’s wrath.  What punishment does God have in store for us, God forbid?

Even Jews who claim to be Torah observers, following God’s commandments are dividing rather than uniting us.

Shas: It’s Over, We’re Headed for Opposition: Sephardic hareidi party vows to fight from the Opposition, keep funds from going to “hilltop youth.” And the NRP, a.k.a., Bayit Yehudi’s new leader, Naftali Bennett, has not learned the most important skill needed to be an effective politician, getting along and reaching agreements.  His pact with Leftist leader, who’s also a rookie MK, Yair Lapid, is not good for the country.  People voted for Bennett’s NRP so that he would influence from within the government, and he’s just pushing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu further Left.

One of Lapid’s demands is that he won’t sit in the government with Haredim, so when you add all this together, you have a big problem.

And in the meantime, the modern Amaleks in Iran are making progress on their nuclear weapons.  And is the “free world” (sic) ready for this?  No way.  The United States President Barack Hussein Obama is fiddling on his roof talking the negotiations talk, and Israel is still threatening. But after years of these threats, nobody takes them seriously, especially not the Iranians.

The more Israelis fight among themselves the more we’re inviting Amalek to attack.

Bad news, and I don’t see a good solution to theis.

I also recommend reading Arlene Kushner’s  “Deplorable,” which expresses my feelings, too.

Now I’m referring not to the state of the world, but to the state of Israeli politics. I am so often proud of who we are. But now? I would gladly grab hold of certain political shoulders and shake until the heads that sit on those respective shoulders rattled. Where? I want to ask. Where is your devotion to the state and the greater good during these difficult times?
Visit Shiloh Musings.

When Politicians Take Emotional Positions

Monday, March 4th, 2013

I don’t see how any coalition that forms at this point could possibly survive.

During the election campaign, Likud and Shas acted horribly towards HaBayit HaYehudi and Naftali Bennett, and things didn’t improve afterwards either. And besides the Bennett and Lapid pact, no one trusts one another at all.

And if you listen to the politicians, you can really feel that palpable hatred and mistrust, especially coming from certain Haredi politicians.

There are Haredi politicians who are going so far as openly threatening to help destroy settlements just to get even (which in their anger and hatred, they forget includes ten of thousands of Haredim also living in settlements).

What’s even more absurd is that much of the Haredi street no longer agrees with their political leaders.

Yes, there is that hard-core that would definitely sit in jail for years, rather than go to the army, get a job, and support their families, but much of the Haredi world is opening up to the idea that there is no shame in working for a living while still learning Torah.

Last week, I had the opportunity to speak with a Haredi soldier currently in the Shachar (Air Force) program.

He told me the program wasn’t exactly like they described in brochure (so to speak). There were and are a lot of problems that needed fixing in order for the environment be more kosher for Haredim and he’s not happy with the job he got stuck with. But on the other hand, in another year or so he’s free to do what he wants, whether it will be to get a job, or sit in yeshiva and learn forever.

What was interesting, is that nearly all the other Hareidim in the room had also done army service to one degree or another, and all were working, and all had Havrusahs. In fact, there was a siyum masechet going on at the time for one them, and this week, another will be doing his siyum.

So despite serving in the army, and despite working for a living, these Haredim were still voluntarily learning and living a completely Haredi lifestyle.

Are there problems with the army programs for Haredim? You bet there are. But the biggest problem is that there aren’t enough Haredim in the army to make a difference and fix it.

How can you really expect a non-religious soldier to create a totally kosher environment when he hasn’t the faintest clue what that even means? If there were more Haredim in the army, they would be able to ensure that the environment met their needs, because they actually understand what those needs are.

You can’t force a society to change overnight. You can’t throw an entire sector in jail (they tried that during the Disengagement, and it doesn’t work).

But the reality is that most Haredim want to join Israeli society and share in the national burden, but Israeli society must also be prepared for the changes that will be demanded of it too for that to happen, and for that to work. And I don’t think Israeli society is ready for that either.

But those changes will be good for everyone. But they need to be introduced at the right pace.

But going back to the politicians, if we take them all at their word, I don’t see how this coalition will not evolve into everyone doing their best to hurt one another until the collapse, and that eventually includes even Lapid and Bennett.

Israeli society may be healing and working to repair the rifts, but the politicians? At this point I’m having trouble seeing that happen.

Israel might need to roll the proverbial dice again and go for new elections, because this atmosphere is simply too poisoned.

Visit The Muqata.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/muqata/when-politicians-take-emotional-positions/2013/03/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: