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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘bill’

How the Right Snatched Defeat from the Jaws of Victory on Ulpana

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Watching the Givat Ulpana fiasco was like watching a train wreck about to happen. While the defeat in the Knesset today might still have happened in an alternate history, it definitely did not need to be the crushing defeat that we witnessed today.

On Wednesday, ahead of the Knesset vote, I visited the Ulpana Hunger Strikers outside the Knesset.

When Palestinians go on hunger strikes, you will never see bottles of drinks around them, not water, not juice, even if many of them are actually eating on the sly.

Sometimes, for the camera, you’ll see someone handing a Palestinian a small cup of water with a straw to sip from as he’s lying down in exhaustion.

You know these hunger strikers are serious because that’s what you see on TV.

But in the Ulpana tent, I saw something else entirely.

Large bottles of juice were sitting next to each striker while they were industriously typing away on their laptops as reporters filmed them. No one looked exhausted, no one looked tired, and, certainly, no one looked hungry.

One reporter even asked them to take the drinks off the table while she took some photos. They actually argued with her about it.

One can only hope they’ll be able to take off the weight they’ve gained from all that sugar water.

Can you be any less media savvy than that?

Unfortunately, you can, as the National Union party proved in their press conference just hours later.

In the Knesset conference room sat some of the National Union MKs (rumor has it that two of them haven’t talked to one another in months), along with some Likud MKs who defied their party head, the Prime Minister, to be there.

My jaw dropped when some of the National Union MKs began disparaging the entire Likud – as their Likud allies were sitting right next to them.

And that’s when the fighting began – while the cameras were rolling.

MK Michael Ben-Ari and MK Tzipi Hotoveli began to fight, Ben-Ari attacking the Likud and Hotoveli defending her party. And it’s not that Ben-Ari said anything technically incorrect, or that Hoteveli’s arguments held water (audience members even corrected some of her more obvious mistakes).

The whole thing was just terribly inappropriate.

It finally reached a point where Hotoveli got up and walked out, right in the middle of the press conference – but, to her credit, announced that she would still vote for the bill – despite what had just ensued.

Is this how the Right expects to win and keep allies? By spitting in their faces? By acting like children in front of reporters? By not showing even a little savvy?

If only it were just a matter of being unschooled in media issues. Unfortunately, it’s worse.

Two weeks ago, the National Union was prepared to bring their bill to save the Ulpana neighborhood to a vote. Back then, with most Right wing MKs making statements about saving the houses, it had a chance of passing.

But Netanyahu fooled them. He asked them to hold off for two weeks, to give him a chance to find a solution to the problem that would not catch the High Court’s ire. If he failed, they could go ahead with their bill.

Except Netanyahu wasn’t looking for a solution to save Givat Ulpana during those two weeks. He needed time to find a way to defeat the bill.

But the National Union, in their honesty and good faith, and naivete, if you ask me, gave Netanyahu the two weeks he needed to line up his troops and kill their bill.

Time and again, we see Israeli Right-wing politicians and activists playing touch football in a tackle game, and time and again they walk away with bloody noses, if not worse.

To save Givat Ulpana we need a quarterback and receivers and tackles willing to do whatever it takes to get the ball into the other team’s end zone.

The majority of the Jews in Israel are behind us, the majority of the Knesset members essentially agree with us — it’s our game to lose.

So stop playing like you’re still in Little League!

Bill to Save Ulpanah Hill Defeated

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

The Knesset on Wednesday rejected the proposed bill to save the Ulpanah Hill neighborhood, which was ordered by the High Court to be demolished at the end of this month.

The bill, knows as the “Regulatory Law,” put a time limit on the rights of Arab claimants to sue Jewish settlers, while providing for market value compensation for plaintiffs who prove their case in magistrate court.

If passed, the bill would have circumvented the High Court decision, although Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon has warned that even if the bill passes, it was likely to be killed as unconstitutional by the court, as to date Israel is yet to apply its law to the territories of Judea and Samaria.

In a preliminary reading, the Knesset voted the bill down by 69 to 22.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to oppose the bill and demanded that his minister vote his party line under threat of dismissal.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced Wednesday that his Yisrael Beiteinu party will vote with the government against the bill, after approved Netanyahu’s alternative plan to remove the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El and transfer the houses to a nearby former army base.

The Netnayahu plan, approved by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, is to uproot relocate the five houses in question to an abandoned military base near the town of Beit El, and to build an additional 300 new housing units in that base.

Netanyahu is hoping to discourage Arabs and the anti-Israeli leftist organizations which support and encourage their law suits, as each one of their “successes” would result in multiple new Jewish homes in nearby areas.

Netanyahu’s Cabinet to Legalize Ulpana Hill Neighborhood

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Israel’s Cabinet will meet in a special session to discuss legalizing the Ulpana Hill Neighborhood in Judea and Samaria, in response to a Supreme Court ruling calling for its demolition.

The meeting will be held Friday, a day after National Union faction leader Ya’akov Katz (Ketzaleh) and Zevulun Orlev of the Jewish Home faction each said that he would introduce a bill next week to retroactively authorize the constructon.

The two factions’ proposed bills were announced after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informed Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin that Netanyahu was removing his opposition to a new regulation law. MK Katz (shadow ‘e) that it would introduce his bill on Monday.

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court rejected the Israeli government’s request to delay the razing of the Neighborhood of the town of Bet El. In reinforcing its ruling of last September, the panel of judges ordered that the neighborhood of several apartment buildings be razed by July 1, having found that the buildings have been built on private land owned by Palestinians.

Material from a JTA story was used in this report.

Michigan Congress Members Urge Stopping Iran’s Nukes at JCPA Plenum

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Two Congress members from Michigan at the Jewish Council for Public Affairs annual plenum stressed the importance of stopping a nuclear Iran and passing a bipartisan farm bill.

Rep. Mike Rogers, the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, told plenum participants in Detroit on Monday that leaving the military option on the table was the only way to stop a nuclear-armed Iran.

“Time is on Iran’s side. They know that. Time is not on Israel’s side. They know that,” Rogers, a Republican, said in his address. “A strong U.S. defensive posture is the greatest force for peace in the world.”

Rogers emphasized that joint military cooperation between Israel and the U.S. was essential in convincing the Iranians to abandon its nuclear program.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, used her remarks to stress the importance of reauthorizing the Farm Bill, which has been a legislative priority for the JCPA.

The bill includes funding for various programs, including the former food stamp program known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Stabenow, a Democrat, argued that even during a time of budget deficits, “every single dollar we spend must go to families in need.”

Netanyahu Wins, Knesset Dissolved

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government on Monday submitted a bill to dissolve the 18th Knesset and call for early elections, which was passed by the House Committee, in a vote of 13 to 4. The move was designed to undermine Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s attempt to promote his bill calling for drafting Haredi citizens.

On Sunday, Lieberman’s faction chairman MK Robert Ilatov turned to Coalition Chairman Ze’ev Elkin asking to push the dissolution of the Knesset to next week, so he would be able to go through at least the first official reading of the “Draft for Everyone” bill, but was refused.

Approval of the bill to dissolve the Knesset decision is separate from the decision to declare an election recess, which is the purview of Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin. Rivlin believes that the Knesset should get its election break as soon as possible, by Wednesday at the latest.

While the Knesset is preparing to be dispersed, a new Knesset member, Kadima’s Yuval Zellner, will be sworn in, replacing Tzipi Livni who resigned.

A normal Knesset term is four years. The 3rd Knesset served for 4 years and 4 months, followed by the 4th Knesset which served for only 1 year and 9 months.

Netanyahu Calls for New Election, Lieberman Wants Delay

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Likud Party convention called for a four-month election campaign.

Netanyahu said it was time for elections because the stability of the coalition had begun to erode.

“It is preferable to have a short election campaign of four months that will swiftly return stability to the political ranks,” he said in a speech Sunday to Likud members.

A vote on dissolving the current government is scheduled for Monday

The party convention comes ahead of party primaries scheduled for the second week in June.

Meanwhile, coalition partner Yisrael Beiteinu called for a delay of the Knesset dissolution to allow the government to pass its bill ordering mandatory enlistment in the Israel Defense Forces for all Israeli citizens. The measure is an alternative to the Tal Law, which exempts full-time yeshiva students from mandatory army service.

The group “Yisrael Beytenu Anglos” sent out a call to all English-Speakers in Israel to support the proposed IDF, National, or Civilian Service Law, to “equalize the national burden.”

A press release sent to the Jewish Press by the group says the proposed law will “finally rid us of the unfair and unequal Tal Law. This should not be a partisan issue and Yisrael Beytenu stands ready to support any law, including those presented by other parties, that would implement national service, whether military, national or community, for all Israelis regardless of background.”

The group quotes JFK’s memorable inaugural address call on Americans to “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

Party Chairman Avigdor Lieberman believes that 90 lawmakers would support the bill, and that it would be worthwhile to wait to dissolve the Knesset in order to pass it.

The opposition Kadima Party also called for a delay in dissolving the Knesset in order to vote on an alternative to the Tal Law.

Last week, the Knesset’s legal adviser said in a legal opinion that dissolving the Knesset would automatically extend the Tal Law. In February, Israel’s Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional; it is set to expire in August.

Dissolving the Knesset would automatically extend the Tal Law to at least three months into the new parliament.

A JTA report was used in this article.

Likud Moves to Dissolve Knesset, Eyes Sept. 4 Election

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Likud Party, which leads the ruling coalition, has submitted a bill to dissolve the current Knesset and is pushing for new elections on Sept. 4.

The bill joins motions by the opposition Meretz and Labor parties. Kadima said in a statement that it will support any bill to move up the elections. The bills reportedly will be put to a vote on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Knesset’s legal adviser said Wednesday in a legal opinion that the expected dissolution of the Knesset next week would automatically extend the Tal Law, which exempts full-time yeshiva students from mandatory army service. In February, Israel’s Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional. It is set to expire in August.

The Knesset’s dissolution would automatically extend the Tal Law to at least three months into the new Knesset.

Yair Lapid’s ‘Future’ Problem

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Former journalist and rookie politician Yair Lapid’s new party is off to a problematic start.

Lapid chose to step down as anchor of Channel 2′s Meet the Press a few months ago, after the Knesset started advancing a bill that would require a cooling off period between journalism and politics. Critics in the Knesset accused Lapid of using his television show as a political platform and agreed to bury the bill if Lapid quit.

A second bill targeted Lapid’s fundraising, which was not subject to any regulations, supervision, or transparency because he had refused to register his party in the Knesset Party Registry. This time Lapid waited to act, until the bill – which would have placed heavy penalties on him for fundraising outside of the system – passed. Lapid announced he would make the trip to the Party Registry office this week to name his party and comply with the same campaign rules and regulations the other parties are required to follow.

He chose the name Atid, which means ‘future’ in Hebrew. Lapid is promising the country a new future under his new party banner, Atid, which also happens to rhyme with Lapid.

Atid was a controversial pick, since many political insiders recall the previous Atid Party – led by one-term MKs Alex Goldfarb and Esther Salmovitz – which existed from November 1995 to June 1996. Goldfarb and Salmovitz were elected on the nationalist Tzomet Party list and broke away to join Rabin’s government, first as members of Yiud, before abandoning one of their friends and forming Atid. Goldfarb’s infamous and controversial vote supporting the Oslo Accords in return for a position as Deputy Housing Minister and a Mitsubishi car went down as one of the dirtiest corruption scandals in Knesset history.

Goldfarb would eventually join Labor, and the name Atid resurfaced in a new party called Atid Echad (One Future), an immigrant party with mostly Ethiopian support, led by Abraham Negosa and Yechezkel Stelzer. Atid Echad’s platform focused on immigration, absorption, Jewish education, and Jewish values.

The Atid Echad Party finished 17th out of the 31 lists that ran in the 2006 election, picking up 14,005 votes. The party did not pass the electoral threshold but took pride in coming only 4,000 votes shy of former Deputy General of the I.D.F. Uzi Dayan’s heavily-funded anti-corruption Tafnit Party. Negosa bounced around after leaving Atid Echad before accepting the 8th slot on Jewish Home (Habayit HaYehudi) before the 2009 elections. Following the elections, he returned to the party where he started his political career – Likud. Stelzer took control of Atid Echad in 2009 but chose not to run. Neither Negosa nor Stelzer have ever served as an MK.

Stelzer, in an exclusive interview with JewishPress.com, said that fundraising while playing by the rules is difficult, and it is impossible to pass the threshold with less than a million dollars. In 2006, the party raised $200,000, and he has no doubt he would have entered the Knesset if he had more funds. He disclosed that the money issue kept the party from running in 2009, and money will again determine whether the party runs in the next elections.

Stelzer expressed frustration at the prospect of Lapid appropriating Atid Echad votes because certain immigrants might get confused, and for this reason opposes Lapid’s use of the Atid name. He said that if Lapid reaches out to him all options will be on the negotiating table and open for discussion, including the possibility of merging the two parties or of Lapid buying the party Stelzer has registered.

The Party Registry needs to determine whether to authorize Lapid’s Atid Party despite the existence of Atid Echad, and Stelzer intends to inform the Registry, if contacted, that he does not consent to Lapid’s party name. If the Party Registry authorizes the Atid Party, legal action remains an option and strong possibility.

Stelzer told JewishPress.com: “I am receiving a lot of pressure from Rabbis and nationalist activists to take legal action against Lapid. If enough people pressure me I will strongly consider it.”

Lapid did not respond to requests for comment. This is consistent with his policy of not responding to journalists’ requests or talking to members of the press in general.

It seems that rookie politician Yair Lapid’s campaign is encountering one legal problem after another. He first dealt with legislation that forced him to relinquish his free public platform as television host of one of Israel’s highest rated shows earlier than he expected to. Further legislation required him to register his party to prevent him from raising money free from the restrictions the other parties face. Now he is facing legal issues surrounding the name of his party.

It remains to be seen what Lapid’s options are if he cannot come to an agreement with Stelzer on how the two parties will move forward. One thing is certain though, it will be interesting to watch Yair Lapid’s future problem with Atid Echad unfold.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/the-knesset/yair-lapids-future-problem/2012/04/21/

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