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October 6, 2015 / 23 Tishri, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘cabinet’

Israeli Cabinet Approves Gas Deal With Noble Energy, Delek Ltd.

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

Government ministers passed the long-awaited, controversial gas deal on Sunday afternoon, giving the Noble Energy and Delek Ltd. consortium the rights to the large gas fields they had discovered and begun to develop beneath the waters of the Mediterranean – while giving Israeli citizens a future income of hundreds of billions of shekels in the process.

“This money will benefit education, health, social welfare and other national needs,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.

“I would like to commend the work done by Minister Steinitz’s team which has led to a very significant reduction in the price the state will pay for gas and to other changes that will greatly improve the outline.

“I am not impressed by populism – to me it is only populism, even though people could possibly believe in what they are saying, but the country needs gas. Gas resources in our region will be developed, unfortunately, either way, and we need to see to it that our resources work at full capacity.

“We need to extract the gas from the sea,” Netanyahu went on.

“This decision is an important milestone. We are overcoming the obstacles step by step. This process will not be stopped,” he said, making an oblique reference to the myriad attempts by various groups to stymie the agreement that was finally approved.

“The gas will be extracted from the bottom of the sea and will reach Israeli citizens, Israeli industry and the Israeli economy – for the benefit of the citizens of Israel.

“Every objective test proves this outline is a significant improvement over the existing situation. But one more thing must be understood – it cannot be stopped.

“When the right thing needs to be done, and it is so crucial to Israel’s economy and strategic situation, that thing will not be stopped. They will look for another way to delay, another excuse, another reason – and that will not work.

This outline will pass one way or another, and it is about time that it does. The true interests of the State of Israel require the passage of this outline as quickly as possible.”

Negotiations between the government and the consortium comprised of Texas-based Noble Energy and the Israeli company Dekel Group Ltd. have been dragging on for months.

Israel’s Antitrust Authority last year decided the consortium could not continue operations as the sole owners and operators of the massive Leviathan gas field, and the somewhat smaller but also large Tamar gas field – both of which were discovered and have been developed at considerable expense by the group.

Gas has already been produced from the Tamar field since 2013. Leviathan is considered the largest discovery in the world in the past decade – and certainly the largest field in the Mediterranean.

Negotiations over how pricing will be set for gas in the domestic market and the prices and percentage of reserves to be exported had taken place for months between the government and the group – which has pointed out that without being able to recoup its investment and also to be able to make a profit, there is little point to continuing its operations in the area.

Antitrust Commissioner David Gilo threatened to resign in May over his opposition to what he insisted was the group’s monopoly over the Tamar and Leviathan fields.

The gas deal negotiated with the government this past week allows Delek Group – owned by Yitzchak Tshuva – to sell its holdings in the Tamar field, and also two smaller fields, Karish and Tanin, within six years. Noble Energy will gradually reduce its own holdings in Tamar to a maximum of 25 percent within six years as well. Prices for natural gas will be regulated by the government within that same six-year period as well.


Netanyahu: ‘Zero Tolerance’ Policy for Terror, Praise for Security Forces

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu opened Sunday’s weekly government cabinet meeting with a firm statement of support for the military security forces and an equally strong statement underlining the nation’s policy of zero tolerance for terror.

“I would like to take this opportunity to commend IDF soldiers and Border Guard Police officers for their steadfast operations over the weekend,” said Netanyahu. “The forces neutralized a number of terror operations.

Our policy is zero tolerance of terror,” he said. “He who attempts to harm us, we will harm him.”

The statements came in the wake of a weekend in which an IDF soldier and a Border Guard Police officer were both stabbed in the back in two separate attacks by Palestinian Authority Arab terrorists — including one incident in which a soldier was attacked after turning to simply get a drink of water for the Arab who said he was thirsty.

Bayit Yehudi party chairman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett commented Saturday night that the attack marked a new “moral bankruptcy” among Palestinian Authority terrorists.

Netanyahu: Zero Tolerance for Terror ‘Distinguishes Us From Our Neighbors’

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

At the start to this week’s government cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s “zero tolerance” policy towards the issue of terror attacks – any terror attacks – and pointed out it is this policy that “distinguishes us from our neighbors.”

The remarks followed a 36-hour period which saw more than 60 Arab terror attacks, allegedly in “retaliation” for the horrific Jewish terror attack carried out against a small family in the Arab village of Duma late last week.

Four Jews were allegedly seen fleeing from the scene after hurling a firebomb into the open window of a small home in the village near the Samaria city of Shechem. An 18-month-old toddler was killed in the attack; his 4-year-old brother and parents were badly wounded. Hebrew writing at the scene constituted evidence the crime was carried out by Israelis.

The other terror attack carried out last week by a Jew was the stabbing of six people at the Gay Pride parade by a recidivist stabber Thursday in Jerusalem. Most of the victims are still in serious to critical condition.

“We recently witnessed two abhorrent crimes,” Netanyahu said. “Our policy toward these crimes is zero tolerance. I have instructed security and law-enforcement officials to use all legal means at their disposal to apprehend the murderers and deal with the stabber and the arsonists to the fullest extent of the law.

“We are determined to vigorously fight manifestations of hate, fanaticism and terrorism from whatever side. The fight against these phenomena unites us all.

“This is not a struggle by this or that faction. This is a matter of basic humanity and is at the foundation of our enlightened Jewish values.

“I remember as a child, when I would visit on Shabbat the home of my father’s great teacher, Professor Joseph Klausner, among the Jewish People’s greatest historians in the modern era, over his door were etched two words: ‘Judaism’ and ‘humanity’. They are combined and are mutually supportive.

“This is what distinguishes us from our neighbors. We deplore and condemn these murderers. We will pursue them to the end.

“They name public squares after the murderers of children. This distinction cannot be blurred or covered up. It is important to say this even as we utter our condemnations and unite against the criminals among our people.”

Likud Minister Benny Begin Leaves Government

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

Veteran Likud Minister Without Portfolio Benny Begin has resigned from the new Netanyahu government (not the Knesset) after coalition jockeying refused to yield him a seat at the table.

Begin quit on the heels of the ongoing battle over whether the cabinet could stretch to allow an additional seat in the already expanded government.

Coalition partners refused to allow the Likud to add the extra cabinet seat for Begin, who submitted his letter of resignation to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday.

The resignation takes effect today (Sunday), 48 hours from the time of submission.

Barkat Peeved at Netanyahu for Dividing Him from Jerusalem Affairs Post

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is the latest politician to let off steam against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his acrobatics in rounding out a coalition Cabinet.

The Prime Minister had promised on Jerusalem Unification Day that he would head the Jerusalem Affairs Ministry and work hand-in-hand with Barkat instead of letting someone else head the post.

Like all election promises, this one also was dependent on “other things being equal.” With the thinnest Knesset coalition majority possible, Netanyahu has performed enough juggling and tightrope-walking acts to qualify for the circus.

Barkat did not take into account that there are not enough Cabinet ministries to satisfy Likud bigwigs, even after Netanyahu split a couple – ministries, not the bigwigs – into two different departments…

He placated Likud MK Ze’ev Elkin by appointing him Minster of Jerusalem Affairs after being forced to take the Strategic Affairs post away from him in order to bring Gilad Erdan back into the Cabinet.

Erdan was not satisfied with the Public Affairs Ministry without having the additional responsibility for Strategic Affairs. Netanyahu yielded, set off another round of musical chairs and lit the fuse that blew Barkat off his mayoral throne.

“Jerusalem is not a consolation prize,” said Barkat, contradicting the fact that everything is a consolation prize in the current coalition.

He charged Prime Minister Netanyahu with wasting the taxpayers’ money for the sake of “narrow political considerations” that he thinks will hamper the development of Jerusalem.

Time will tell if he is right or wrong, and he probably is wrong.

As important as Jerusalem is to Barkat, as a politician, his own future is no less important. Doubling as major of Jerusalem and co-minister of Jerusalem Affairs would advance his political career.

Barkat has the right to be angry, but he has forgotten that as a politician, survival is the top priority, and Netanyahu considers his own survival more important than Barkat’s.

Supreme Court Slaps Down Lapid’s Appeal to Freeze Netanyahu Coalition

Monday, May 11th, 2015

The Israeli Supreme Court Monday morning dismissed Yesh Atid party chairman Yair Lapid’s appeal to rule against moves to expand the proposed coalition Cabinet.

The outgoing Cabinet approved the expansion bill that would remove the limit of 18 Cabinet ministries, and the Knesset is to vote on the legislation this week, paving the way for the inauguration of the new coalition.

The court, despite its decision not to freeze the legislative process, still has not yet ruled on Lapid’s appeal  questioning the legality of the expansion.

The Knesset’s attorney, Eyal Yinon, argued before the court that Lapid’s appeal was “baseless” and “unprecedented” as an attempt to interfere with legislation even before the Knesset votes on it.

The Cabinet cannot exceed 18 ministries, under current law. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wants it expanded to satisfy the demands of coalition partners, which is exactly why the Knesset previously passed a law limiting the size of the Knesset.

The expansion costs taxpayers millions of dollars and more importantly opens the door again to politicians auctioning off their participation in the government.

Lapid’s appeal was typical of his grandstand political style, but if the court eventually rejects his appeal, it will be one more defeat in his growing list of failures.

Bennett Flexes Muscles and Threatens to Knock Out Coalition

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) chairman Naftali Bennett used Twitter late Sunday night to warn Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that he can forget about a right-wing coalition if he fulfills a pre-election promise to give the Shas Sephardi Hareidi party control of the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Bennett was in charge of the ministry in the last government and is not willing to leave the national religious community out in the cold and let a Hareidi party reverse a trend to weaken the authority of the Hareidi establishment.

Bennett wrote:

Unilaterally taking the Ministry of Religious Affairs away from the national religious community and handing it over to Shas means the end of negotiations with Bayit Yehudi.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is asking President Reuven Rivlin for another two weeks to form a coalition.

The truth is that if the Prime Minister had run out of extensions, he and the potential coalition partners would have struck a deal now. As usual, everyone uses the clock to play chicken with each other.

Netanyahu knows that Bennett and Shas chairman Aryeh Deri are not prepared to force him into a corner without a coalition. And Bennett and Aryeh know that that if they do so, there always is the option of a national unity government with the dreaded Yitzchak Herzog and Tzipi Livni. Going that route would make the last Titanic coalition look like the Queen Elizabeth, so you can count on everyone finding common ground.

But how can Netanyahu get out of this mess created by promising the Religious Affairs Ministry to Shas when Bennett blocks it with a red line?


Netanyahu can simply declare himself Minister of Religious Affairs and appoint two deputies – Bennett and Deri.

We wanted a Jewish country, right?

So we come up with Jewish solutions.

Two Jews, three ministers.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/bennett-flexes-muscles-and-threatens-to-blow-up-coalition/2015/04/20/

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