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October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Bibi’

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.

We Could Be Without a Coalition for a Long Time

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Thanks to IMRA for posting the details of the government coalition law in English

At present, a period which has lasted months already, the State of Israel has had a version of a “lame duck government.”  It’s not the same sort of “lame duck” that exists in the United States.  In the Israeli version, it has the following characterisitcs:

* the ministers are of the previous government coalition
* the new MKs have been sworn in and are working as MKs
* the MK who has been given the responsibility/opportunity to form a new coalition hasn’t yet done it

Political pundits are floating all sorts of scenarios about possible coalition deals and even possible new elections. Recently, Netanyahu has requested and was granted a 14 day extension to form a new coalition government by President Shimon Peres.

If Netanyahu fails to create/negotiate a new coalition, that doesn’t mean that we’re going directly into elections.  There are a few more stages, and if a majority of this Knesset never manage to agree/compromise enough to work together as a coalition, we won’t have elections for a few months.

Here’s the time table according to IMRA:

Elections
Publications of results
Max 7 days President assigns task of forming government after consultations
28 days first attempt to form government
14 days extension
3 days maximum before assign task to a second MK
28 days to form government by second MK
21 days for a majority of MKs to nominate third MK to form a government
2 days for President to announce appointment of the third MK
14 days for third MK to form government President announces government cannot be formed.
Last Tuesday before the end of 90 days elections held

In all that time the previous Prime Minister remains. So like it or not, coalition or not, Netanyahu may continue as Prime Minister for quite a while.  Who wants to add up the days to see how many months he may last without needing a coalition?

Visit Shiloh Musings.

Bibi in Overtime, but Is a Coalition any Closer?

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

I know someone whose tax dealings would make my CPA father very nervous; that friend says that his accountant uses “creative bookkeeping.”  That phrase “creative bookkeeping” keeps popping into my head when I read all of the articles about how Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu can make a government coalition with various incompatible political parties.

Many of the same people also claim that the same Arabs who want to totally destroy us, men, women and children, (as Haman from the Purim Holiday’s Megillat Scroll of Esther unabashedly had planned) also claim they can be placated with the gift of land and then make peace with us.  You really need a creative, unrealistic imagination to believe that.  To put it simply, it would go against the laws of nature.  Maybe they want to keep a grown tiger as a pet, thinking it’s a tabby on steroids…

Last night, I popped into the living room and checked what was on the news.  I saw the news clip official meeting of the Prime Minister with President Shimon Peres.  Netanyahu had just formally requested another two weeks to form his coalition.

The big question would be: Is it possible for Bibi to form a viable and stable coalition?

The pundits claim it can be done.  Times of Israel’s Yoel Goldman shows that Netanyahu does not need the thirty-one seats Lapid and Bennett could give him:

If Labor, with its 15 Knesset seats were to unexpectedly join Likud-Beytenu (31), Netanyahu could then turn to Shas (11) and United Torah Judaism (7) to complete a 70-seat Knesset majority.

Bennett and Lapid, two newbies, inexperienced first-time MK’s and party leaders have been “negotiating” under the premise that Bibi will buckle and give into their demands.  One of their demands is that the hareidi, aka ultra-Orthodox parties be kept out of the coalition.  Being so adamantly “anti” any sector is Israeli society is a bad sign for ambitious politicians who dream of being Prime Minister some day.  Actually it reminds me of Yitzchak Rabin, who as Prime Minister said he was the Prime Minister for those who supported him, not for the “settlers” — people like me, who opposed his Oslo Accords.

One thing that Netanyahu does understand is that a Prime Minister should have as broad a coalition as possible to represent all sectors in Israeli society.

Bennett and Lapid have been concentrating on the simple arithmetic.

31+31=62
Likud + Lapid + Bennett = 62

Sixty-two are a majority, more than half of one-hundred-twenty.  They have been counting on Netanyahu needing them so desperately that he’d let them write the deal.  At this point, Tzipi Livni is the only party leader to have already signed and she got a great deal.

I wouldn’t bet on this one.  Netanyahu is one wily politician, and he may shock us all, which is what he likes to do.  Considering that the polls are showing Lapid leading Bibi if there were to be new elections, maybe that’s why Lapid isn’t wiling to compromise.  But he should remember that when Netanyahu called for elections a few months ago, the polls predicted that Bibi’s Likud, even with Yisrael Beitenu, should expect at least 50% more seats, so early polls should not necessarily be relied on.  And I highly doubt that your average NRP aka Bayit Yehudi voter approves of Bennett’s fanatically anti-chareidi stand.

Stay tuned….

Visit Shiloh Musings.

Bibi, Tell Obama to Take His Promises and Go Home

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

News item:

When he visits Israel next month, US President Barack Obama will tell Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that a “window of opportunity” for a military strike on Iran will open in June, according to an Israeli TV report Monday evening.

Obama will come bearing the message that if diplomatic efforts and sanctions don’t bear fruit, Israel should “sit tight” and let Washington take the stage, even if that means remaining on the sidelines during a U.S. military operation, Channel 10 reported. Netanyahu will be asked to refrain from any military action and keep a low profile, avoiding even the mention of a strike, the report said, citing unnamed officials. Translate “citing unnamed officials” as “the administration leaked.”

There is no way I can put an optimistic interpretation on this. There are four things that immediately come to mind:

First, Israel is asked to put its trust in the Obama Administration to deal with an existential threat. Simply, would you take this bet?

Second, the U.S. armed forces are stretched extremely thin as a result of the budgeting policies of the administration, and now by the likely sequester of funds. For example, the USS Harry S. Truman, scheduled to deploy to the Persian Gulf this month, will not do so (h/t: JD). The U.S. is not in a position to ‘gear up’ for anything major.

Third, Obama is said to be offering this to Israel. What will Israel be expected to do in return? I don’t have to tell you, do I? Hint: it involves the Palestinians.

Fourth, the demand to ‘remain on the sidelines’ is a direct attack on Israel’s sovereignty as well as an invitation to disaster. When the first Tomahawk hits Iran, Israel will be attacked by Hizballah, which has stockpiled 50,000 missiles for just this occasion, and probably also by Hamas. Iran, too will throw whatever it can against Israel.

The policy of ‘no self-defense’ would result in the deaths of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Israelis. It is as stark as that.

And what is the reason for this tactically foolish restriction? Wouldn’t it be better if the U.S. had Israel on its side? This is part of the deal, because the Arab world, as it did in 1993, wants to see Israel hurt and Israelis die. It is offensive to the Saudis, for example, when Jews dare to raise a hand to Arabs or Muslims. This is why Israel was required to suffer bombardment by Iraqi scuds during the Gulf War, and why it is expected to do nothing when Iranian proxies try to tear it apart.

Obama’s policy is Saudi policy. That is where the irrational push to create a Palestinian state comes from, and that is where the handcuffs on the IDF are forged.

Netanyahu must tell Barack Hussein Obama to take his promises and go home.

Visit Fresno Zionism.

Understanding Israel’s Upcoming Election

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

The Israeli election set for January 22 and the coverage thereof is very strange in several respects. It is a contest in which his opponents seek to beat centrist Prime Minister Benjamin (“Bibi”) Netanyahu, of the Likud party, in a remarkably inept manner and in which international understanding of the issues is at the low level we’ve become used to seeing.

Here’s a simple way to understand the situation. The right-wing parties and the left-wing parties are each likely to get roughly the same number of seats that they received in the 1999 election. The difference is that in 1999 the rightist parties divided their vote among three parties and today have largely united into one. The moderate left in 1999 gave their votes mainly to one party and now are dividing it among four.

In addition, viewing the actual electioneering by the left makes one appreciate just how fraudulent political consultants are. They claim that they are going to help the candidate win but have no idea of how to do so. And in Israel they borrow childishly from the latest fads in American politics without regard to the differences. Here are the themes pushed by the moderate left opposition:

–Bibi is for the rich. This slogan is unlikely to work in a country where lower income generally corresponds with more conservative voting. The idea is obviously stolen from Barack Obama’s campaign. But Obama was going for large African-American, Hispanic, and student blocs plus some middle class sectors that could be stirred up over hatred of the rich. This has no relevance for Israel.

–Bibi will get you killed. This theme is accompanied by a picture of a mushroom cloud. But is the idea that he will get you nuked by attacking Iran or by not attacking Iran? It isn’t clear. And since Netanyahu has the best claim to preserve the country’s security that approach is likely to be counterproductive.

–Bibi doesn’t want your vote. This is the newest poster to appear though it isn’t clear who’s promoting it. That makes no sense at all.

–The choice of photographs. Former Prime Minister Tsipi Livni, the candidate of her own party—and one of the quartet seeking moderate/moderate left voters—has a photograph on her poster that looks as if it were selected by her worst enemy. In it she appears ugly, angry, and confused.

–Livni’s ad has several shots of Obama and one of her standing with new Secretary of State John Kerry. They seem to argue that Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas really wants peace but Netanyahu blocked it. Perhaps this ad was designed by left-liberal American Jewish political consultants. It won’t go over well in Israel.

Shaul Mofaz, candidate of Kadima, Livni’s former party that is expected to collapse completely in the election, has a terrible photograph of himself with former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. That relates to Kadima’s founder but is unlikely to win any votes. Rather than projecting leadership, the other left-of-center party leaders seem to be seeking anonymity.

What’s astonishing is the obtuseness of the opposition, especially Labor. Netanyahu is going to win but the way to get the largest vote, becoming the official opposition and possibly his coalition partner, is to run on an energetic program of domestic improvements. The obvious opposition approach should be that it is the time to improve schools, the infrastructure, and reduce housing and food prices.

People are waiting to be told that their living standards can be improved without threatening their security. A winning theme would be to say Netanyahu has neglected these domestic issues. True, the economy has done very well but the price of relatively high employment, rapid growth, and low inflation has been high prices.

For breakfast just now I paid $3 for a croissant and $3 for a coffee in a country where income levels average half those in the United States. Young people can’t afford an apartment in a country where rentals are relatively rare and there is not a strong mortgage system or tax deductions for paying one.

That’s why there were social protests in 2011. While going into big debt and increasing subsidies—the trap into which most Western economies have fallen—would be a mistake there are certainly good shifts to be made. Instead, voters are being treated like idiots who will be won over by some silly slogan convincing them that either the prime minister is evil or will get them incinerated. That won’t win an election.

The See-through Yarmulkes and the Right of Return

Friday, January 4th, 2013

At this juncture, two and a half weeks before the coming elections for the 19th Knesset, the big surprise – unless we due for some shocking turn of events – is going to be the success of the Jewish Home list led by Naftali Bennett. All the polls are promising the Jewish Home will triple its power, and some optimists are predicting an even bigger victory.

In any event, this will be the first time that the Jewish Home party, built on the ruins of the old NRP, has turned from a purely sectoral party into a wide-ranging Israeli party supported by voters who are religious and secular, Ashkenazi and Sephardi Haredim (it’s a fact!), young people voting for the first time and older people, men and women.

Now, it’s true that King Ahab of Israel has cautioned: “One who puts on his armor [before the battle] should not boast like one who takes it off [after the victory].” (Kings I 20:11) Perhaps for that reason, or perhaps because he wants to stop Jewish Home activists from resting on their laurels, Naftali Bennett has been trying, in meetings with supporters and on other occasions, to cool down the excitement and to lower expectations. He speaks “only” about 12 seats, which is also, you’ll have to admit, a nice figure compared to where he started.

The big questions, of course, are where does the Jewish Home get its new votes? Where do these 7 to 10 additional seats that are adding up in the polls come from? And who are the Jewish Home’s new voters?

We’ll start with the most natural pool of voters: the National Religious public that in the past rejected the politics of both the NRP and the National Union, deserting both of their organic parties to roam instead in foreign lands. The stale image that stuck to the brand NRP also did it in. The National Religious are used to joking that there’s no such thing as a guy under 40 wearing a knitted yarmulke who’s ever voted NRP. Young people who graduated from the national-religious school system—the NRP’s baby—studied in Hesder yeshivas—also cultivated by the NRP—and went to college in Bar Ilan—once again, a creation of the NRP, for some reason have been opting in their later years to kick the NRP down, ignoring the most basic obligation of gratitude. Let’s not go into a long discussion of their reasons for the moment.

THE RIGHT OF RETURN

The enormous pool of voters whose ingestion and birth took place inside Religious Zionism has been scattered in the wind. It landed in the Likud, in Shas, in Labor, in Torah Judaism and in Kadima. Their slogan used to be: anything but the NRP. The image—not necessarily true—of their organic party as an assembly of hacks seeking patronage jobs has kept them away from their natural home.

Now they’re coming back. They utilize their right of return. They’re returning from the Likud, following a list of deep disappointments:

Netanyahu’s commitment to the concept of “two states for two nations,” and his insistence on holding on to it even nowadays (never mind MK Hotoveli’s utterly nonsensical claim this week that Netanyahu’s 2-state slogan was only a tactical move).

 Netanyahu’s housing construction freeze in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, reminiscent of the British “White Paper” of 1939, a decree no leftist government had ever imposed.

 The indifferent, even criminal attitude regarding to infiltration by 60 thousand Muslim illegals from the Sudan and Eritrea, most of whom are criminals and certainly not refugees.

 The torpedoing of the Certification Law proposed by MK Zevulun Orlev, which would have prevented the needless destruction in Migron, Ulpana Hill, and other places.

 The bowing before the corrupt “Cult of Justice,” whose nine high priests on the Supreme Court only this week empowered terror-supporter Haneen Zoabi to run for the Knesset, depriving the State of Israel of its right to defend itself against the fifth column within.

Had the Likudniks minded public opinion, they would have taken more seriously the findings of the Ma’agar Mochot survey from November, 2011, which reported that a huge majority, 75 percent of the public, thinks the high court has a leftist bias. Leftist? They’re leftier than leftists. If only the Likudniks were loyal to their voters… How did it happen that out of the 55 thousand attorneys practicing law in Israel, only the anti-nationalist Yehuda Weinstein was picked for the job of Attorney General? Have they not yet internalize the idea that justice must also be seen?

New Poll: Likud-Beiteinu Downslide Continues, Bennett Steady at 15

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

And we’re off to the races with Tuesday morning’s Walla News TNS Teleseker, as the battered Likud-Beiteinu, with one leader tied behind its back with an indictment, is unable to stop the hemorrhaging of its votes to other right-wing parties. And so, had the elections been held on Sunday, when the poll was conducted (using a sample of 500 age 18+ Israelis, with a 2 seat margin of error), Likud-Beiteinu would have dropped to 34 seats, as compared with 35 seats in the same poll a week ago.

Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home appears completely recovered from the glitch of last week’s “refusal to evacuate Jew” fiasco, and it continues to own its 15 seats, give or take, as it did in the same poll a week ago.

Shas also maintains it rise from 10 to 11 seats, and Torah Judaism’s rise from 5 to 6 seats is a fait accompli.

On the other hand, Power to Israel has dropped off the face of the Earth in this poll, a victim of the “blocking percentage” that requires a list to gain two seats before it can receive its first seat.

Except that with a margin of error of plus or minus 2 seats, it is quite possible that both Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben Ari, the two bad boys of the Israeli right, will make it into the Knesset.

Altogether, the Likud-Beiteinu has lost 4 seats in three weeks in the Walla weekly poll, and so, even though the Right plus Haredim block maintains its 66 seat majority, Likud-Beiteinu’s share in the loot is shrinking.

On the Left things have remained about the same this week in this poll: Labor with 18, both Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid with 10 each, Meretz with 4, and Kadima is back in the race with 2 (down from its 28 seats in the previous elections). The Arab parties are down to just 10 seats from their previous projections of 12 and 11 – but that, too, is within the margin of error and the Arabs could very well end up with 12 seats.

There are a few unexpected developments reflected in this week’s poll.

First, the additional Shas seat can be explained by the anti-illegal workers sentiment among non-religious Israelis. The segment of the population that’s exposed more than any other to the phenomenon of idle African illegals loitering in their streets are working class Jews in the low income neighborhoods of the big cities, who are more likely to also be Sephardi.

Shas co-leader, Interior Minister Eli Yishai, is perceived publicly as an unabashed enemy of illegal migrants, and so, given those two factors, secular Israeli Sephardim may be feeling that their single issue would be best addressed with Shas in the government.

That brings us to the next unexpected development: paradoxically, the more secure Netanyahu appears in his future as the next prime minister, the more votes he’s going to lose. Since no one has risen to a point where they can hope to challenge Netanyahu for the top job – the more the thinking voter both on the left and on the right is going to figure out how to use their vote not to secure Netanyahu’s spot but to influence the direction of his government.

This is why both the moderate right – Jewish Home, and the moderate left – Labor, who would have otherwise voted Likud-Beiteinu, prefer now to throw their weight in favor of his potential coalition partners. This could explain why non-religious, right-wing voters who normally would be the typical Likud voters, are planning to vote for Jewish Home, a religious party.

Then there’s the unique personality of Naftali Bennett, who combines his knitted yarmulke with combat military service, an enviable exit as hi-tech developer, and a stint as Netanyahu’s chief of staff. His very common style, his earnestness and his magic touch in galvanizing the Jewish Home party from a 3-seat has been to the third largest party—albeit still just on paper—have ignited the imagination of secular Israelis who are not hostile to their own national tradition.

Moreover, Bennett insists on saying only good things about his former boss, Netanyahu, even when provoked by the beastly Nissim Mishal on TV, who kept barking at him: But Bibi hates you, he hates your guts, he’ll never let you into his government. At Likud things were not nearly as friendly, as the ruling party’s propaganda machine spent day and night portraying Bennett as an extreme right wing wolf in the sheepskin of a benign centrist. It cost Likud between 3 and 4 votes.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/new-poll-likud-beiteinu-downslide-continues-bennett-steady-at-15/2013/01/01/

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