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December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Bibi Netanyahu’

Bennett: Obama Plans to Throw Israel Under the Bus

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Responding to Jeffrey Goldberg’s recent article “The Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations Is Officially Here” which can practically be summed up as an insider’s guide to the Obama administration’s upcoming strategic plan to harm Israel, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said,

“If what is written is true, then the current administration intends to throw Israel under the bus.”

Bennett elaborated,

“Israel is stronger than any disparager. The Prime Minister is not some private individual. He is the leader of the Jewish State and the Jewish world as a whole. Vulgar remarks directed against an Israeli Prime Minister are hurtful to the millions of citizens of Israel and Jews worldwide.

It isn’t the leader of Syria, who has slaughtered 150,000 of his citizens, nor the leader of Saudi Arabia, who stones women and homosexuals, who are being called a “chickenshit”.

If what is written is true, then the current [US] administration intends to throw Israel under the bus.

Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and we have struggled throughout our 66 years for our existence.

Israel is the vanguard of the free world against the Islamic terrorism of ISIS, Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran.

Instead of attacking Israel and forcing suicidal conditions on her, strengthen her.

I call upon the United States government to renounce and reject this vulgar remark.”

Read and Listen Carefully: Bibi Did Not Cancel “Two State Solution!”‏

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

I’m carefully going over Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Speech to the United Nations General Assembly, and I see these very clear words:

Our challenge is to transform these common interests to create a productive partnership. One that would build a more secure, peaceful and prosperous Middle East. Together we can strengthen regional security. We can advance projects in water, agriculture, in transportation, in health, in energy, in so many fields. I believe the partnership between us can also help facilitate peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Many have long assumed that an Israeli-Palestinian peace can help facilitate a broader rapprochement between Israel and the Arab World… …That’s why in any peace agreement, which will obviously necessitate a territorial compromise, I will always insist that Israel be able to defend itself by itself against any threat. (emphasis mine)

I can’t find any statement in his speech to make me believe that he has given up on the “Two State Solution.” I also don’t like the fact that he referred to Mahmoud Abbas as “president.”

I don’t see what Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) is so sure is a change in policy.

Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Hotovely said Netanyahu’s speech sent a loud and clear message that the so-called “two-state solution” is dead. “The speech yesterday was the way to tell the world that the two-state solution had died. Netanyahu told the world that Abbas and Hamas are the same, they want to destroy Israel,” she said.

Maybe her English isn’t that good or she’s just reading her own thoughts into her boss’s speech. The Arutz 7 reporter should have asked her to quote the words on which she’s basing this assumption. Sorry Charley, but I just don’t see it.

Even my good friend Ruthie Blum and I don’t agree about the value of Bibi’s speech. I found her Israel Hayom article,  Words Matter, too optimistic. I even dared to call her a “moderate” in our public facebook discussion.

For me, the unabashed purist/extremist I need to hear two very simple things from our Prime Minister. I want steps and conclusions from the observations he makes so very clearly in his foreign speeches:

  1. No more negotiations for a “Palestinian State” in land Israel liberated in the defensive war, June, 1967. On the eve of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, I admit that proposing such a state, giving our Land to our enemy was a great sin!
  2. Due to the fact that the so-called United Nations “Human Rights” Council and other UN bodies concentrate on condemning Israel, rather than true international problems, I don’t see the point in Israel’s continued membership in this body. United Nations membership has not done Israel any good. We are just supporting our enemies here, so I bid you farewell. Israel is withdrawing its membership.
Honestly, yes, again, just call me an “extremist,” I consider our membership in these bodies a dangerous waste of our limited resources.
And after that we must take action against the countries that don’t recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capitol City and start moving all of our foreign embassies to cities of our choice, just like they’ve done to us.

With Every Ceasefire, Bibi Loses Support‏

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

I look at the Likud and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as those old cellphone service companies. Just like they once seemed so important and crucial to getting the job done, now it looks like we Israelis have been suckered.

Early in this war the Israeli public was pretty much 100% behind Bibi. That’s when it looked like he was going to send in the troops and destroy the Hamas Arab terror infrastructure in Gaza. I still get all choked up when I quote the mother of a wounded IDF soldier who when asked what message to send to her other son who was fighting in Gaza.

Finish the job! Sayyem et a missima!סיים את המסימה!

At that time, polls gave Netanyahu 82%; now he is down to 39%.  Hat tip IMRA:

Panels Poll: Netanyahu rating today 38% Good, down from 82% on 23 July Dr. Aaron Lerner 25 August 2014 Internet based polling of Panels Politics for Israel Television Channel 2 carried out today and broadcast on the evening news. How would you term the performance of PM Netanyahu in the last week? Good 38% Bad 50% Don’t know/refuse reply 12% Percent good by polling date: 21 August 55% 5 August 63% 23 July 82% How do you rate the Government’s handling of the residents of the South? Good 24% Bad 68% Should the schools open? Entire country 18% Not in South 63% Not to open anywhere 15%

G-d willing, next elections the Israeli voting public will vote using the knowledge it has picked up these last few weeks. Instead of voting Likud, headed by Binyamin Netanyahu who has campaigned as a Centrist or NRP aka Jewish Home, headed by Naftali Bennett whose campaign promise was that he would be a member of Bibi’s cabinet, Israelis should vote for the unabashedly Jewish Right, like Otzma l’Yisrael, Power to Israel which in the last elections was headed by Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben-Ari.

We’ve been suckers long enough. It’s time to have a government that cares more for the Jewish State of Israel than anything else!

Australia Expands Its Pro-Israel Shift

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

A year ago, Australia joined the handful of countries that voted against, or abstained from voting for a series of one-sided anti-Israel resolutions that were put forward in the UN. Since then, Australia, under Tony Abbot’s government, has repeatedly made it clear that it’s actually going to be taking a balanced position when it comes to Israel.

On Wednesday evening, the Australian government’s Attorney-General George Brandis unequivocally stated it would not use the word “occupied” in reference to eastern Jerusalem.

In May, Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, visiting in Jerusalem, questioned exactly which international law has declared Israeli settlements illegal. (Answer: None).

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is planning a week long trip to friendly Australia in June, which would make him the first Israeli prime minister to visit the land down under.

Enough with ‘Bibi’

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

What we call people matters.

After making aliya in November 2009, one of the first news articles I recall reading was a Jerusalem Post report titled “90 Fatah terrorists ‘pardoned’ to bolster Abbas.” The prime minister then was Binyamin Netanyahu, who went on to further incentivize terrorism with the Shalit deal.

On the latest 104 terrorists to be freed by Netanyahu, I have seen some shocked reactions along the lines of “This isn’t the man we elected.” Seriously? This would be like a tennis fan in the 1980s acting surprised to see Stefan Edberg go to the net or John McEnroe throw a tantrum.

The vileness of Netanyahu’s latest action was matched only by its predictability. There’s a point where being clueless becomes obnoxious, particularly when it results in nationally suicidal electoral behavior.

Some bloggers who have condemned the terrorist releases display a different problematic habit. Here are three examples:

  • “Bibi is making a mockery of our justice system.”
  • “Nothing exemplifies Israel’s looming civic disaster quite like Bibi’s recent announcement to free terrorists.”
  • “Shame on you Bibi Netanyahu. Shame on you for your fecklessness and lack of courage and backbone.”

I agree with all of the above, but the informal reference to Netanyahu undermines the writers’ intention. When you call someone by a nickname, how offensive and damaging can his acts really be?

By contrast, this informality doesn’t appear in Frimet Roth’s assessment of the latest releases. I don’t think that is coincidental. A mother doesn’t tend to call the man who freed the murderer of her child “Bibi.”

Years ago I wrote extensively about human rights abuses and anti-Semitism in Cuba, my work being cited by people including a National Book Award winner and a multi-Grammy Award winner. The apologists for Cuba’s despotic regime often refer to Fidel Castro by his first name. Several opponents of the regime have done likewise, unwittingly perpetuating the sympathetic attitudes they seek to reduce.

Like Cuba, Israel is a small country with an informal culture, and over time nicknames in Israel have become widespread—thus for example “Bogie” Ya’alon, “Buji” Herzog, “Arik” Sharon, and the prime minister. This implies endearing social warmth on the one hand, but excessive informality can also beget coarseness and cloud moral clarity—like using a man’s nickname in the context of him freeing our brothers and sisters’ murderers.

The man who expelled 8,600 Jews from Gush Katif and empowered Hamas is no Arik to me.

The man who tramples on justice and tells the world that Jewish blood is cheap is no Bibi to me.

The next time you’re about to call the prime minister by his nickname, consider the bereaved families whose pain he has increased. Consider how you would feel if you were one of them. Does “Bibi” still seem appropriate?

Exclusive: Joe ‘Yoely’ Lhota on his Relationship With the Jews

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Republican mayoral hopeful Joe Lhota has never been to Israel.  He didn’t join Mayor Rudy Giuliani on his trip to Israel in 1997  because he was acting mayor when Giuliani was overseas. Nevertheless, Mr. Lhota  shares something in common with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: they both have faith in Arthur Finkelstein. For those who don’t know, Arthur J. Finkelstein masterminded the merger of Likud and Yisrael Beitenu in the most recent Israeli Knesset election, which retrospectively granted Netanyahu his third term as Prime Minister (but also cost both parties more than 10 seats). Mr. Finkelstein also helped Netanyahu get elected as Prime Minister in 1996. Among his current clients are Nir Barkat, the mayor of Jerusalem, who is running for reelection in the upcoming municipal vote, in October.

The Brooklyn born Finkelstein, who was raised in Levittown and Queens, scored his first significant win as a pollster/strategist in 1970, when James Buckley ran on the newly minted New York Conservative Party line and unexpectedly won a Senate seat in a three-way race. Finkelstein went on the help elect New York Republicans to office such as Alfonse D’Amato and George Pataki.

According to the latest Campaign Finance Board filing, the Lhota campaign paid Mr. Finkelstein $49,500 for polling. In a conversation with this reporter, Mr. Lhota confirmed that Mr. Finkelstein was hired as a pollster for the campaign.

Interestingly enough, John Catsimatidis, Lhota’s rival in the Republican primary, hired John McLaughlin, who worked as a pollster for Bibi Netanyahu in the Likud primaries in 2005, and later as a Likud campaign adviser in 2009.

Mr. Lhota also recalled his personal relationship with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who served as mayor of Jerusalem at the same time Mr. Giuliani was mayor of New York. “He used to come to New York all the time. He would spend time in my office. We used to go cigar smoking,” Mr. Lhota recounted.  “I was so proud when he became Prime Minister,” he added.

Joseph Lhota, born October 7, 1954, is considered a Jew according to Jewish law. His maternal grandmother, Ita Steinberg, was born in the U.S. to a Russian Jewish family but married a Roman Catholic. She died in 1964. In an extensive interview with this reporter, Mr. Lhota said he had been aware of the fact since he was a very young man, but wouldn’t use it as a tool to court Jewish votes. “I think that would be patronizing,” he said.

“I am extremely respectful of the Jewish community. You know, I am Christian. I think of Jews as my older brothers. I mean, there wouldn’t be Christianity without the Jewish religion. There is a direct connection between the two of them,” he added.

Asked about his personal relationship with the Jewish community, Mr. Lhota spoke of his time as budget director and deputy mayor in the Giuliani administration. “As budget director, I had great personal relationships with the folks at the MET council; With Agudath Israel; With various different COJO’s, in various different parts of the city. It was very instrumental in making sure daycare vouchers were made available, and I continued that when I was deputy mayor. I maintained those relationships throughout the community. During the Giuliani administration, the Jewish community was understood, and I think there was a reciprocal affection in the administration for the Jewish community,” Mr. Lhota noted.

How do you intend to earn the Jewish vote? We asked.

“I had been spending, since mid January–when I announced–a significant portion of every day  fundraising, because I have to. I am running against a guy who is self funding. I am also against people who have been fundraising for the last 3 and 4 years. So I have a lot to catch up,” Mr. Lhota said, explaining his absence from Jewish events. “I am making more and more inroads in very different parts of the Jewish community as the summer develops.”

Speaking of the issues that are of great concern to the Jewish community, Mr. Lhota acknowledged that he still has a lot to learn. Nevertheless, he  expressed great knowledge of the issues the individual in the Jewish community faces in daily life. “Every time I go to the Jewish community, the issues are the same. It’s about education. Not just public school education, but also how unfairly yeshivas are being treated in comparison to others; it’s about affordable housing; it’s about jobs! The unemployment rate in the Jewish community is not really talked about. And crime. Even though the number of murders has dropped, other felony crimes are up.  And last but not the least, treating the community fairly and equitably,” Mr. Lhota said.

Mr. Lhota promised to fight hard for school choice vouchers. “The mayor can use the bully pulpit to advocate in Albany for private schools,” he said. “It’s important that our children are properly educated. The role of the government and the role of the state is making sure they have the proper textbooks; making sure they are secure; making sure that they have transportation. The children that go to parochial schools and yeshivas are residents and the children of taxpayers in the city of New York, and they are not getting their fair share. They are just not,” he asserted.

“On the issue of tax credits, I have been in favor of that. I have yet to find a way that it would cover the full tuition, but some form of a tax credit, to give relief to parents who pay for property tax as well and all the other taxes in New York, and are also paying tuition,” Mr. Lhota proclaimed.

Would you pledge to fight for it and get it done in your first term? We pressed.

“Would I start fighting for it in my first term, using my bully pulpit? I will start  doing it in my campaign. However, the mayor doesn’t have a vote in Albany. But rest assured, I will fight as hard as I possibly can to make sure it happens in Albany,” he pledged, adding, “I couldn’t make a commitment  that I will get it done in the first term.”

With regard to affordable housing, Mr. Lhota said he’s in favor of returning to the Mitchell-Lama program that gave tax credits to private developers as long as they remained in the program, and low-interest mortgages, subsidized by the federal, state, or New York City government.”We need to the same thing again. Those programs have lapsed. The government needs to partner with the private sector. The government shouldn’t build the houses; the government should provide the financial incentives to developers who build the housing, and keep the rentals affordable,” he said.

Mr. Lhota also raised the issue of City and State owned vacant properties, as a possible option to get more land to build affordable housing.

The third area is the federal government, Mr Lhota pointed out. “The federal government talks about closing most of the post offices. There are about  30 post offices in New York City they want to shut down. I want that property. Most post offices are surrounded by tall buildings. We would be able to take those buildings and use them as a location to put new housing, and coordinate that with some tax incentive plan.”

In conclusion, out of many conversations this reporter had with Jewish voters, the following story is the weirdest so far: on the first night of Shavuot, as I was walking home from Shul, I came across a cousin of mine who asked me what I do for a living. When I told him I cover the race for mayor he started asking me this and that etc. A friend who was following him interrupted the conversation, saying that out of all the candidates, Yoely Lhota stands the best chance.  “I am telling you, this Yoely Lhota knows what he’s talking about. He was already in government. He’s a fiscal conservative. I trust him,” the stranger said.

As I was walking home, I was thinking why would this guy call Mr. Lhota, whose real name is Joseph,  “Yoely?” I came to the conclusion that when uttered in one breath, Mr. Lhota’s full name sounds like Joel Lhota, especially among Hasidim, whose every second or third child, if born to a Satmar family in the 80′s and 90′s, is named Joel (affectionately: Yoely).

When I recounted the story during our sitdown with Mr. Lhota, he laughed. “Call me Yoely from now on,” he said.

New Government in Place, Lapid Gave Up Foreign Office

Saturday, March 9th, 2013

Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid has agreed to drop his demand for the Foreign Office portfolio, and will decide this weekend whether he wants the Finance or the Interior ministries – and it is estimated that he is going for Finance, Reshet Bet reported Saturday evening. On Friday, Lapid met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his Jerusalem residence.

With Lapid’s demand out of the way, the PM will be holding the Foreign Office portfolio for his election partner Avigdor Liberman, until the latter concludes his business with the legal authorities. The case against him opens in mid-April. It has been noted that knowing that Liberman is coming back could intimidate Foreign Office employees and might change their minds about testifying against their boss—but that belongs in a different article.

Lapid also consulted with Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett. Should Lapid opt for Finance, Bennett would be appointed Minister of Trade and Industry, with extensive powers.

Political circles are estimating that the next government will include only 24 ministers, in addition to the prime minister, which is more than the figure Lapid was pushing for, but a lot less than the previous government headed by Netanyahu, which at one point featured 30 ministers and 9 deputy ministers.

One of the key areas of conflict between Lapid and Netanyahu has been the number of government portfolios. Lapid was arguing that Israel cannot afford the expense of so many needless positions, each of which comes with office suites, staff, cars and security details.

The portfolios are expected to be divided as follows: 8 Likud ministers, 6 Yesh Atid, 4 Jewish Home, 3 Yisrael Beiteinu, 2 Tzipi’s Movement and 1 to Kadima.

Outgoing Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz confirmed in an interview on Israel’s Channel 1 News that Lapid is his likely successor. Steinitz, who holds a doctorate in Philosophy from Tel Aviv University, said: “I remember that when I was chosen there were doubts initially – a philosopher as finance minister? But, in the end, Israel’s economic results are the best in the West over the past 34 years.” He added: “I am convinced Lapid will position.”

Lapid, it should be noted, has not graduated high school.

The number two in the Jewish Home party, Uri Ariel, will get the post of Minister of Housing and Construction, according to the Army Radio, a post Netanyahu previously promised would remain in Likud hands. Yael German from Yesh Atid will serve as Minister of the Interior and Rabbi Shai Piron will be Minister of Social Welfare, although Shaul Mofaz from Kadima is also being mentioned as a candidate for that job.

Likud’s ministries will include Transport to Israel Katz, and Education to Gideon Sa’ar, both of whom held those same portfolios in the outgoing government.

Sa’ar said last week that he wanted to stay in the same office.

It is estimated that coalition talks will be completed by Sunday, and the next government will be presented by mid-week.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/new-government-in-place-lapid-gave-up-foreign-office/2013/03/09/

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