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Posts Tagged ‘Bennett’

Peres Grants Netanyahu Two More Weeks

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

After failing to assemble a coalition within the legally allotted month, Prime Minister Netanyahu went back to President Shimon Peres on Saturday night to ask for an extension. Peres granted Netanyahu a two week extension, which is the maximum allowed by the law. If he fails to put together a coalition within two weeks, Peres can assign the job of assembling the coalition to someone else, and if that attempt fails, Israel will be required to hold new elections.

At the moment, the keys to the forming a coalition are in the hands of Naftali Bennett and his Jewish Home party. Bennett has conditioned his entry into the government on Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid parallel entry into the government with him. But Lapid has made it clear that he has no intention of entering the government with the Ultra-Orthodox.

Bennett, on the other hand, has no problem sitting with the Ultra-Orthodox, but he is demanding that the government work to begin drafting them into the army, as it does with most of the rest of the Jewish population. Drafting the Ultra-Orthodox into the army, would then allow them to legally join the workforce, and break the cycle of poverty in which their community is currently trapped.

One other side effect of a failed coalition building process, is that if no government is formed within the next two weeks, US President Obama may cancel his planned upcoming trip to Israel.

Likud to Lapid: Your Bennett Pact Will Spoil Settlement Uprooting

Friday, March 1st, 2013

At last, the Likud-Beitenu coalition negotiations team has pulled the biggest rabbit out of its hat, exposing in the process that on the two-state solution there’s no daylight between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and super-leftist Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Gal-On.

As Yesh Atid negotiators have told the daily Makor Rishon, the Likud-Beitenu team threatened them on Thursday that their political pact with Habayit Hayehudi will end up thwarting the possibility of dismantling Judea and Samaria settlement as part of a future agreement on a Palestinian state.

According to Yair Lapid’s representative at the coalition talks, two Likud reps told them on Thursday: “We’re going towards tough decisions. If you don’t break up your pact with Bennett, we won’t be able to uproot settlements should there be a need for tough decisions. Together – we could do it.”

Makor Rishon noted that a similar statement was attributed to Prime Minister Netanyahu himself during his chat with Yair Lapid immediately after the elections, but it was later denied. Yesterday, Lapid’s people stated unequivocally that they’d heard that same, explicit argument from the Likud-Beitenu team.

Meanwhile, on Thursday the Likud negotiators have enhanced their efforts to bring the Haredi parties into the government, as a means of pressuring the Jewish Home team.

If you detect a note of hysteria in the Likud’s scrambling efforts to cobble together a government, you are not mistaken. On Saturday, Netanyahu is expected to ask President Peres for a two-week extension to be able to continue his efforts, and the White House has not been helping to alleviate the pressure by leaking that President Obama would be staying home to improve his golf game if a new government is not at hand before his visit to the Holy Land.

Naturally, this bodes very well for the Lapid-Bennett team, whose cue at this point is simply to stay the course, don’t flinch, and Netanyahu would have to capitulate.

Better him than the settlements.

Respect for Rabbis in the Political Sphere

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

In debates with their Haredi peers, national-religious youths will often be heard to demand why the Haredim do not respect national-religious rabbis. “What about our great Torah scholars!”

But why should the Haredim respect national-religious rabbis if those rabbis’ own community does not?

A letter released this week by deputy mayors belonging to the Jewish Home in the most public way possible—it was published on all the usual sites, including Haredi ones—asks the parties’ rabbis not to interfere with political decisions made by the party’s negotiating team or by the party’s Knesset members, even on the topic of yeshiva students’ military service.

Would a Haredi ever release such a letter?

The settlement movement, it is important to remember, was not the work of professionals and businessmen. It was the work of national-religious rabbis holding discussions at the home of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook through the wee hours of the morning. Hanan Porat and Yehuda Hazani are no longer with us, but we still have rabbis: Moshe Levinger—we’ll return to him—Yaakov Levin, Yaakov Novick, Yohanan Fried, Yoel Bin Nun, Menachem Felix. We still have great Torah scholars: Benny Katzover, Yehuda Etzion, Mati Dan, David Be’eri (of Ir David), Ze’ev “Zambish” Hever (of Amana). All of them participated in creating the settlement enterprise from their book stands at their respective yeshivot. That is what gave rise to the settlement revolution. The revolution in national-religious education, for that matter, was likewise the work of wise and devout rabbis, including Hayim Drukman, Dov Lior, Eliezer Melamed, and others.

And now they come and tell us that when it comes to truly important questions of morality and policy, decisions are to be made without the rabbis. Period.

How are they going to distinguish between what is permissible in politics and what is forbidden? How are they going to strike a balance between what is desirable and what is presently available? No problem. That’s the job of the new halakhic decision-makers: the “professionals.”

True, they never imbibed the Torah as did those rabbis, who for their entire lives have dedicated themselves to the Torah (in the vernacular: they put their heart and soul into it day and night. No movies. No Shlomo Artzi concerts). But apparently it makes no difference. Apparently the Torah does not rub off on its students. Apparently it is not in any way reflected in how they live their lives …

It’s all very strange to me. The Haredim, who regard the State of Israel as an entirely secular phenomenon lacking any and all sanctity, consult their rabbis about such matters. Yet the national-religious community—the community that burst forth into the world of national practicalities and leadership with the message that the State of Israel is the beginning of the redemption, that our country is God’s throne, that the politics of Israel is the politics of holiness—sends the rabbis home, the better to leave decisions to politicians and interested parties.

In a recent emergency meeting of Haredi rabbis in Bnei Brak, I saw precisely the opposite. The Knesset members stood at the rear with modesty and obvious veneration. They maybe even have been posing a little. But one way or another, it was moving. Respect for the Torah. A RECENT conversation with a young national-religious activist made clear to me that this is a deep-seated phenomenon among the younger generation. He sees the change as a positive development. “The rabbis don’t understand politics. Let them leave it to professionals.”

It’s not that he doesn’t respect the rabbis. He just leaves them out of the equation. In a debate with a Haredi he would go straight for the line about “our great Torah scholars,” but deep down he doesn’t in fact believe that Torah study improves a person.

Like him, I am not a Torah scholar. So why do I see things so differently? Is it just a matter of age?

Many of today’s young religious people have grown up in a culture that is more in touch with the media and secular literature than with rabbis, and may even be hostile to the latter. In an effort not to be different from the other guys on reserve duty, they run away from their rabbis. Is it realistic to demand they respect rabbis when their role models are businessmen and their commanders in the army? I received my initial education about respecting rabbis from my late father, an Auschwitz survivor. Once he took me to see the rebbe of Gur. Abba stood opposite the rebbe wearing a belt that one of the Hassidim had given him (“You go in to see the rebbe wearing a gartel”)—and burst into tears. The rebbe asked why he was crying. And my father answered: “Excitement.” I was nine years old, but I remember it as if it had happened yesterday.

Bennett and Lapid Lost the Game of ‘Chicken’ and We Got Livni

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Bad news for the State of Israel and its citizens.

We’ve got Tzipi riding shotgun with Bibi at the wheel.

Tzipi’s special job will be to make peace sic with the Arabs. I kid you not.

Israel is extending its hand once more for peace with the Palestinians, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Tuesday at a press conference while announcing that former foreign minister Tzipi Livni had joined his coalition and will lead the Israeli peace negotiating team. “I am hoping for a peace deal based on two states for two people, as per the parameters I outlined during my speech at Bar Ilan University,” Netanyahu said at the conference. “Today Israel extends its hand once more for peace. We want a peace process, and we hope that it will yield results.”

Yes, Bibi has finally found himself a coalition partner, Tzipi the Movement  Livni, the lady who campaigned as an “alternative” to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.  Yes, the Tzipi who insisted that Netanyahu is a danger to peace. Yes, the lady has a price, and Bibi met it.

Since Naftali Bennett, who aligned himself with Yair Lapid, after campaigning that he will be a valuable member of Netanyhu’s coalition/cabinet only succeeded in alienating himself further.  He thought that Bibi would be so desperate for his MK’s to add to the coalition that the PM would come begging, but no surprise the political newbie miscalculated.

It really doesn’t matter that this Netanyahu-Livni coalition agreement goes 100% against both their campaign promises, statements etc. This is politics, and politics is a search, striving for power and politicians will do and say anything to get it. And no doubt that Yair Lapid sees his future with Netanyahu in the cabinet!  He’s not going to stick with Bennett.

During the election campaign, Netanyahu had reportedly made clear to several of his senior staff that no talks were taking place with Livni or other members of her party, and that the chances of her joining the next government with him as Prime Minister were nil. “Livni managed the negotiations with the Palestinians poorly,” Netanyahu was quoted in December as having told ministers. “Her entire stance is wrong and unacceptable to me.”

So, it’s time to get comfortable and watch Bibi’s show.

Good luck to the rest of us, we’re in for a bumpy ride…

Visit Shiloh Musings.

The Mysteriously Missing Religious Alliance

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

While the Lapid-Bennett alliance is still holding strong, much to Netanyahu’s consternation, recriminations are flying between the religious parties as to why no religious political bloc formed instead, which would have given the religious parties more power in negotiations with the Likud.

According to a report in the online Hareidi paper, Kikar Shabbat, MK Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) claimed that the Hareidi parties refused to join together with them to create a religious alliance.

MK Meir Porush (UTJ) responded and said that they sat with the Jewish Home, both before and after the election to discuss the idea, but never got an answer.

Porush said they offered to work in strengthening the settlements, and to look out for the needs of the National-Religious, and in exchange, Jewish Home would work to protect Yeshiva students [from the draft].

Porush claims that Bennett promised to think it over and give them an answer, but he never received a response.

Porush left a door open and said that perhaps Bennett requires more time to think over the offer, and not that he is refusing their offer completely.

Porush also dismissed the claims that it was Rav Shteinman that “ripped up” the cards, after he refused to support the idea of a religious bloc with Jewish Home, and even going so far as refusing to meet with National-Religious rabbis in his home to discuss the idea. Porush said that the Degel HaTorah faction inside the UTJ gave a “green light” to protect Torah learning and the offer is still there.

On Monday, the Hareidi Hebrew Mishpacha newspaper ran an article entitled,  “Migron [settlement] in Exchange for Ponovitch [yeshiva]” and “Haredi Price Tag”.

Ponevitch for Migron

Mishpacha claimed in the article that senior members of UTJ said they would work to destroy the settlements if the Bennett-Lapid alliance isn’t broken, as it endangers Torah learning, and that “Torah learning is more important than the Land of Israel”.

The article didn’t discuss how their “retaliatory” price tag attack would affect their own Hareidi constituents in all-Hareidi settlements such as Beitar Ilit, Modiin Ilit and Tel Tzion.

 

Likud-Beteinu Closes First Partner (updated)

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

It only took a month, but Likud-Beteinu finally managed to close a deal with its first coalition partner, Tzipi Livni’s HaTnua party.

Livni will reportedly receive the Justice Ministry and be an inner cabinet member.

Amir Peretz will serve as environmental protection minister, and Amram Mitzna will be chairman of the Knesset House Committees.

It was announced at the joint statement that Livni would also be in charge of peace talks with the Palestinians.

The Justice Minister is one of the most powerful positions in the government, as she (in this case) can kill any proposed bill that she disagrees with. Furthermore, all the progress made by the previous government in ending the incestuous self-appointment process of Supreme Court justices can potentially be reversed overnight.

On Eve of Obama’s Visit, the Right is Silent

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice President of the Conference of Presidents, is again asked why Obama is coming to Israel.

He laughs.

“Why is he coming? First they asked why he didn’t come. Now that he’s coming, they ask why he’s coming.”

Hoenlein’s view is that Obama is coming to Israel simply because of the constant attacks on him for not coming.

Still, I ask him, do you believe there is a danger that we will pay a political price for the visit—retreating from territory, freezing construction in Judea and Samaria, releasing terrorists from prison?

Hoenlein allows that the possibility exists. “But principally, as the White House said, the visit is meant to show the continuing friendship between the two countries.”

Hoenlein has been in the business for 35 years. When he warns of a danger, it’s not just because a Jew always has to worry. It’s a concrete warning—not least when we both know that there are Jews who will see to it that we have good reason to worry.

You can be quite sure that parallel to the official Israeli emissaries making their way to Washington at this time, there are a number of Israelis who make a living off the Palestinian issue going as emissaries of themselves.

Who is sponsoring these peace-mongering harbingers of terrorist attacks?

There are for-profit corporations, among them Israeli companies, that make their money from political consulting and brokering services. Their patrons include governments, government foundations, and intelligence bodies.

This is nothing new, though. In every generation there are people who work in the service of the enemy. Otherwise why would the prayer against informers be an integral part of the Amida prayer?

Judging by past experience, these brokers will offer their good offices—or have already offered them—to the State Department and the foreign media, both journalists writing background articles prior to Obama’s visit and those who will tag along during the trip. The brokers are already preparing beautifully produced folders with diagrams and flowcharts detailing the steps toward peace with the Palestinians and the prices to be paid: freezing Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria, giving away more of Area B, releasing terrorists from jail … forgetting only the additional price to be paid in blood.

These proposals have been floated previously, including several that were published in The New York Times. They are a cause for concern for the people of the State of Israel, who at the moment are living relatively peacefully.

Transferring parts of Areas B and C to the Palestinians would diminish the ability of the IDF to move around those areas. Enough blood has already been spilled for it to be crystal clear that Palestinian police officers simply don’t deliver the goods when it comes to providing security. Only the IDF does that. Moshe does the job. Moussa does not.

Benny Begin was among the first to see the problem with outsourcing Israeli security to the P.A. He was warning already in 1993 about people who during the day are P.A. policemen, but at night are terrorists. I spoke with him this week, and he discussed at length why he hasn’t changed his mind.

The release of terrorists, which is liable to accompany the surrender of territory, is a catalyst for terrorist attacks. It funnels high-quality manpower to the terrorist organizations and reduces Israel’s capacity to punish and deter the terrorists.

Ostensibly, the rationale for “gestures” such as these is that the world will see that the Palestinians fail to reciprocate and then stand at our side.

The problem is that it never worked. And it still doesn’t.

Every gesture or concession simply sets the stage for the next set of Israeli concessions. Menachem Begin thought that the evacuation of Sinai would save Judea and Samaria. Then came the pressure on Shamir to participate in the Madrid Conference. Then the retreat from Gush Katif was supposed to save Judea and Samaria. No sooner was the retreat from Gaza completed than the world renewed its pressure on Israel to withdraw from from Judea and Samaria.

Isn’t it time to switch approaches and change direction, to bring something truly new to the political arena, to put up an iron wall that will stand up against these pressures? To signal that the era of limited political endurance and insufficient national stamina is finally over?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/on-eve-of-obamas-visit-the-right-is-silent/2013/02/18/

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