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July 22, 2014 / 24 Tammuz, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Binyamin Netanyahu’

Netanyahu Warns Japan to Take Iran Seriously

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Prime Minister Netanyahu concluded his visit to Japan with a call on Japan to address Iran’s nuclear program with the same seriousness it treat’s North Korea’s.

“We are interested in peace and stability throughout the world. We see a danger and a challenge posed by a rogue state arming itself with nuclear weapons. In your case it’s North Korea and we obviously sympathize and understand the predicament facing you. We are faced with such a rogue state in the form of Iran and its quest to develop nuclear weapons… Clearly the Ayatollahs (in Iran) cannot be trusted and if the international community wants to avoid the specter of nuclear terrorism, they must assure that Iran, the foremost sponsor of terrorism on the planet, not have the capability to develop nuclear weapons,” said Netanyahu.

Abbas Snubs Kerry, PA Ends Peace Option with Israel

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas finally took off the mask and formally refused Tuesday to meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz broke the news to the American Jewish Committee Global Forum in an evening speech.

Earlier this week, the State Department confirmed that Kerry and Abbas were set to meet in London. Apparently the Secretary became desperate enough to come back to Israel for another attempt at reviving the dead-on-arrival “framework talks.”

He even offered to travel to the PA capital of Ramallah. But Abbas rejected the offer, leaving Kerry to meet with Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

“Abbas rejected Kerry’s framework and refused to meet him .. Kerry flew back the next morning without any meeting,” Steinitz told his audience.

“No one should tell us that we need peace in order to survive, exist and flourish,” he said. “We will survive. Israel will survive as a democratic Jewish state whether our neighbors will finally agree to accept it and make peace with us or not.”

He added that Abbas had always said he would never recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state – just as the Hamas terrorist organization that controls Gaza has as well. Last month Abbas signed a deal with Hamas to create a new Palestinian Authority unity government.

Inasmuch as Hamas is formally committed to Israel’s destruction and is backed and funded by Iran, the move effectively ends any option for peace with the PA at this time.

IDF forces have beefed up their lines along the roads in Judea and Samaria, particularly along Highway 60, where the number of road terror attacks on Israeli motorists has increased dramatically over the past year.

MK Ze’ev Elkin to Chair Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee

Monday, May 12th, 2014

At last, the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee has a new chairperson: Likud Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin.  It’s taken six months to get there.

Elkin will chair in rotation with senior Likud lawmaker and coalition chairperson Yariv Levin. Likud MK Tzachi Hanegbi is expected to replace Elkin as deputy foreign minister.

To soothe the ruffled feathers of Yesh Atid chairman and Finance Minister Yair Lapid, his choice for the post – Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah – will instead be made a senior deputy minister.

Lapid has been negotiating with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over the issue, forever and a day. The position remained vacant since Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman was forced to leave while facing corruption charges in a trial that acquitted him of the allegations last November.

The appointment now goes to the Knesset House Committee for ratification. If approved, Elkin will take the first rotation, until January 1, 2015. Levin will then serve 17 months, until June 1, 2016. Elkin returns at that point, and remains until 2017. Levin will also continue to serve as coalition chairperson until November 2014, and simultaneously chair the Knesset House Committee.

Netanyahu’s Struggle for the Presidency

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Behind closed doors, President Shimon Peres is whispering (loudly) that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wants to be a dictator over Israel.

That’s because the prime minister is attempting to end the president’s authorization to assign the top political party the task of assembling a governing coalition after each election.

Netanyahu also wants to postpone the presidential elections for up to six months, according to a report broadcast last week on Voice of Israel government radio. Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein would take over the reins from Peres in July if the prime minister succeeds.

But according to a report last week in the Hebrew daily Ma’ariv, Netanyahu’s real goal is to abolish the presidency altogether.

Peres said in conversations with confidantes that Netanyahu’s initiative is “an attempt to establish a dictatorship here,” The Jerusalem Post reported. He claimed the prime minister would not “be satisfied until there is an absolute ruler [in the prime minister’s office].”

The president, who retires next month when he turns 90 years old, has always been far more active politically and diplomatically than is generally accepted. In that he is similar to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, also elderly, who has traveled to numerous nations around the world and freely spoken his mind, regardless of the impact his actions might have on U.S. relations or foreign policy in those regions – including here in the Middle East.

In the State of Israel, the position of president is one that is supposed to be primarily ceremonial, rather than actively political, and brings with it little actual authority. This has proved to be a major frustration for Shimon Peres, who has likewise felt the need to express his opinions regardless of whether they contradict those of his own government. Both men have created awkward situations for their governments and at times have even sabotaged their governments’ efforts as a result.

However, not every president is a Shimon Peres and new presidential elections are coming up fast. Netanyahu still has to drum up support for any move either to postpone elections or to eliminate a president’s ability to assign coalition-building — or for that matter abolish the post — and that’s not easy.

Likud MK Reuven Rivlin, 74, has a great deal of support for his candidacy in the upcoming election, and not only from Bayit Yehudi Housing Minister, MK Uri Ariel. Although Rivlin appears to be a genial man, he is not likely to allow himself to be sidelined so quickly, nor are his colleagues likely to be willing to sit silently by and let it happen.

His biggest rival, Binyamin Ben-Eleizer, 78, is another strong contender unlikely to allow Netanyahu to give away his right to assign coalition formation. The Iraqi-born former IDF general is close with the Sephardic population and maintains excellent relations with Arab leaders.

Silvan Shalom, 55, and a former finance and former minister, also has considered running for president but now may drop the idea. His candidacy would likely not succeed due to allegations of sexual offenses against former employees. At least one involved formal charges, but the case was dropped because the statute of limitations had expired. Each of the others did not materialize for various other reasons, according to a statement by the Justice Ministry last week.

There are also reports that former Soviet refusenik Natan Scharansky, 66 and currently director of the Jewish Agency for Israel, has been approached by various people asking him to toss his hat into the ring. Hugely popular, Scharansky has not yet discussed the matter in public.

Is Shimon Peres Preparing to Undermine Netanyahu?

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Is Shimon Peres Planning to Undermine Netanyahu?

For some people, seven decades in political life would be considered a lifetime of service. At the age of 91, most people would be happy to leave the public eye and retire to a quiet life.

Not, apparently, Shimon Peres.

As Israel’s nonagenarian president enters his last month in office, Peres has begun showing signs that the end of his career as an elected official will not necessarily mean his exit from the political stage.

The Hebrew-language daily Yedioth Aharonoth reported on Yom HaAtzma’ut that Peres had violated his mandate as Israeli president by “negotiating” an updated version of the Oslo Accords with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in 2011. Today, the paper reported that the prime minister was furious at Peres’ comments, which appeared to be an opening salvo in a post-presidency in which Peres uses his international status as a senior Israeli spokesman to pressure Netanyahu to compromise vital interests in the name of appeasing the international community.

In Israel, the president has no authority to negotiate treaties, but Peres’ international recognition as a senior Israeli spokesman could put pressure on the prime minister

On Wednesday, Peres met with visiting US National Security Advisor Susan Rice, a meeting that ended with an announcement that Peres would travel to the United States next month to meet President Barack Obama at the White House.

During a joint press conference, Peres departed again from his largely ceremonial role to argue that “There’s no alternative to the two-state solution. Israel is reaching out for peace with all of its neighbors, primarily with the Palestinians.” Peres did not mention any of the many signs that the Palestinians do not appear ready to make peace with Israel, but Palestinian Authority leader Abu Mazen capitalised immediately on Peres’ attack on Netanyahu.

“After the first four meetings, a fifth meeting was planned in Amman,” the Palestinian leader said, “but Shimon Peres made his excuses and told me: ‘I’m sorry but the government doesn’t accept what we have negotiated and there’s nothing more I can do’.”
It should be noted that while Peres and Netanyahu have treated one-another cordially during their joint tenure as president and prime minister, respectively, there is also long-standing political blood between the two. Netanyahu was a fierce critic of Peres’ Oslo process during the 1990s, and narrowly defeated the Labor Party stalwart in the 1996 election following the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.

PM Netanyahu Debunks Peace Deal Claim: ‘Peres Had No Deal With PA’

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

The Prime Minister’s Office came out swinging in an overnight Independence Day statement Yom HaAtzma’ut, bluntly denying that President Shimon Peres ever reached a final status deal with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

The statement, reported overnight by Voice of Israel government radio, denied a claim by the president reported earlier in the day that he had reached an agreement with the Ramallah-based PA chairman three years ago.

“The only one Abbas has reached an agreement with is with [the Gaza-based terrorist organization] Hamas,” commented the PMO.

President Peres had told Israel’s Channel 2 TV in an interview over the holiday that three years ago he reached a deal in principle after four meetings abroad with Mahmoud Abbas. However, he said it was scotched by Prime Minister Netanyahu, who nixed the agreement just prior to what was to be a fifth and final meeting in Amman.

The president said Mr. Netanyahu told him to wait because Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair, a former UK prime minister also involved in talks with the PA, might bring to the table a better offer. “But the days passed and that deal never materialized,” Mr. Peres lamented.

Israel’s president – whose position is primarily ceremonial and traditionally not intended to be functionary – said his own discussions had been about land swaps and total land mass rather than boundary lines. Maps had not yet been drawn, the president said, reported the Independent Media Review and Analysis, IMRA.

Cancelling the fifth meeting, he allegedly told the PA Chairman in August 2011, “I’m sorry, but the government doesn’t accept what we have negotiated and there’s nothing more I can do.”

The “secret” talks were never secret, however, and there is some question over how far the president’s diplomatic authorization supposedly reached.

President Peres, who was the architect of the failed Oslo Accords, is expected to retire next month as he reaches the age of 90 after a political career of seven decades.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon is meeting today with the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee as lawmakers review the current security situation.

On the agenda are all recent events, including those of the ‘price tag’ incidents, ‘David the Nahlawi’ and the attacks in Judea and Samaria that followed the cessation of final status talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Jewish Youth Battle to Win Israel’s 2014 Annual International Bible Quiz

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

The nation’s eyes are on Israel’s annual International Bible Quiz for Youth, being held today (Yom HaAtzma’ut) at The Jerusalem Theater. Sixteen finalists, boys and girls, are facing off on the stage to win the prize. The contest is broadcast live on nearly all channels, radio and television, in addition to those on Internet, across the country.

Last week 75 contestants from 33 nations met in Jerusalem with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Shai Piron.

Questions are announced by the emcee in Hebrew, but appear on the screen in English as well as in Hebrew.

Prime Minister Netanyahu traditionally presents the final round of questions to contestants who are fighting to be the winners of the competition.

At the halfway point, Jewish Agency director Natan Scharansky was asked to present an award to an outstanding student from Or Yehuda, and in his brief address spoke of the importance of strengthening Jewish identity among the youth in the Diaspora.

The contest has been an annual event since its inception. There is also an Israel Bible Quiz for Adults.

Last year’s youth winners were Elior Babian of Beit Shemesh, Israel and Yeshiva University High School student Yishai Eisenberg of New Jersey.

The prime minister’s son Avner won third place in 2010, and the contest has increased in popularity each year.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/jewish-youth-battle-to-win-israels-2014-annual-international-bible-quiz/2014/05/06/

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