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July 28, 2015 / 12 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘cabinet’

An Even More Centralized Israel: Cashless and Criminal

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Centralization in Israel is a two-headed coin (or perhaps a two-headed monster).

There’s no doubt, that so many bureaucratic activities go much smoother in Israel than they do in America, because we have ID numbers and our cards are inter-linked to everything. Of course, sometimes that doubles the frustration when obvious things need to be manually duplicated over and over for no reason.

On the other hand, that centralization provides no flexibility or a safety net. Having problems with one government office can easily spill over to an unrelated one, since you’re linked together everywhere on record.

Then there is the basic issue of personal privacy and civil liberties.

And now, the Israeli government is attempting to implement two extreme decisions that threaten civil liberties more than ever.

They’re testing a biometric ID system. God forbid that should ever become mandatory.

Right now, even though your personal bio-data is out there with different organizations, there is still some semblance of privacy and protection because of the separation that naturally exists between your health fund, the army, the government, and so on.

But once that goes away, there goes your privacy. You will have no control over your personal information at all, and you’re reliant on the government, which as we know, is not the most effective of protectors of personal data.

The other move is even scarier.

The Israeli government is actually considering trying to find a way to abolish cash.

There was a unanimous cabinet decision to explore how to do that (Hey Naftali Bennett, I didn’t vote for you to lose my civil liberties – remember that come election time).

They want to get rid of cash, and give everyone rechargeable “cash cards” that will allow the government to track every single transaction you do. EVERY. SINGLE. TRANSACTION.

I can’t even begin to describe the civil liberties and privacy violations that implementing this system will create.

And if they actually believe this will get rid of cash, or the black market, they’re even stupider than I thought.

Bitcoin, gold, barter… you name it. Smart (and dumb) people will find their way around it. Not to do illegal transactions, mind you, but simply to protect their privacy away from the government’s snooping eyes.

And then we’ll all be criminals, because of a dangerous legislation which is an intrusive attempt to suck more tax money out of us and spy on us, and not just spy directly, but with data mining too, to study our purchase and transaction behavior, and find every last penny they can suck out of us and understand what we do with it.

I guarantee one thing. If this legislation passes, if the party I voted for, and the ones I didn’t, don’t stop this in its tracks, I will do everything (legal) to make sure those people do not get elected again, and be replaced with people who do care and understand the importance of civil liberties and fear the tyranny of government.

Kerry Jumps on Okay for Freeing Terrorists, Announces Peace Talks

Monday, July 29th, 2013

It’s official.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry followed up on the Israeli Cabinet approval in principle to free 104 terrorists, and announced that Palestinian Authority and Israeli negotiators have been invited to resume direct talks in Washington on Monday and Tuesday.

No RSVP was attached to the invitation, and PA negotiator Saeb Erekat will come without any gifts.

Israel already has sent its present, the Cabinet approval to release terrorists who were sentenced to jail instead of being executed for brutal and cruel murders of soldiers and citizens, including children, mothers and the elderly.

Media all over the world reported the Cabinet decision to free “prisoners” while avoiding the “T” word, lest the character of the murderers be tarnished.

“Today, Kerry spoke with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and personally extended an invitation to send senior negotiating teams to Washington to formally resume direct final status negotiations,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.

“Initial meetings are planned for the evening of Monday July 29 and Tuesday July 30,” she said.

This is great news for travel agents, airlines and luxury hotels, all of which will be busy taking care of the VIPs.

Livni and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s personal envoy Yitzchak Molcho are to fly out of Ben Gurion Airport Sunday night or early Monday morning and meet with their Palestinian Authority counterparts, Mohammad Shtayyeh and Saeb Erekat the same day.

He refrained from praising Israel for freeing the terrorists, and for good reason. The Cabinet in fact approved that a smaller Inner Cabinet will review the list of terrorists and decide who will be released.

Erekat and other officials have insisted that all must be freed of the talks are to continue. “We will continue working for the release of all our political prisoners,” he said, upgrading the terrorists to some kind of workers for humanitarian rights who were summarily court-martialed for being Arabs.

The whole scheme cooked up by Abbas and Kerry could come apart because the list of 104 terrorists includes 15 who are Israeli citizens. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon of the Likud had swallowed hard to vote to approve Netanyahu’s request to free them, but he put his foot down when it comes to the Israeli Arabs. Time will tell if he caves in again.

No one in the government has yet explained – and in fact no one else has asked – why it is the Palestinian Authority’s business to worry about Israeli Arabs. Maybe , just maybe, the PA had some kind of connection with the terrorists. Just maybe.

In the meantime, Livni will have the time of her life, getting all of the attention she craves and competing with Kerry to see who can pour more honey on the poisoned peace process.

Kerry will repeat twice a day and three times a night how brave and courageous Israel is, State Dept Doublespeak for weakness and cowardice.

Livni will say how Israel is willing to make “painful concessions,” and Erekat will continue to say that negotiations mean, “Continue to make painful concessions until we get everything we want because after that you won’t be around to feel any pain.”

Cabinet Approves Referendum Bill

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

The Israeli cabinet approved a bill that would require a referendum on any deal with the Palestinian Authority that would involve relinquishing sovereign Israeli land. The bill does not include Judea or Samaria, which have not yet been annexed, unlike the Golan and parts of Jerusalem after it was liberated.

The bill will now go to the Knesset for a vote.

The vote on releasing Arab terrorists was postponed, after Netanyahu saw that he didn’t have the support to pass it at this point.

Cabinet OKs ‘Peace Process’ Referendum, Delays Vote on Terrorists

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

The Cabinet has approved a draft of a change in the Basic Law to require a referendum before giving up sovereign Israeli territory to the Palestinian Authority, but it has delayed for more than two hours a vote on freeing terrorists. Sovereign land refers to United Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, all of which have been legally annexed to Israel, but it does not include Judea and Samaria.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is confronted with massive and bitter opposition to freeing 104 terrorists, including Arabs with Israeli citizenship, to fulfill a condition of Palestinian Authority  chairman Mahmoud Abbas for renewing direct  talks.

The Prime Minister is scrambling for a majority, and the major sticking point is the idea of Abbas’ demanding that Israel free Arabs who are Israeli citizens.

Prime Minister Netanyahu packed the Cabinet to win a majority by adding Yesh Atid Minister of Science and Technology Yaakov Peri  to the inner cabinet committee that will vote on freeing the terrorists.

Likud ministers are divided, but the party’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon caved into pressure and said he will back the release of the Palestiniain Arab terrorists but not those with Israeli citizenship.

Jewish Home’s three ministers said they will vote against Netanyahu, as will Likud Minister Israel Katz and Gilad Erdan. The clincher could rest with the Likud’s Israel Beiteinu faction, whose leader Avigdor Liberman has given them the freedom to vote as they please. At least two minsters are expected to oppose freeing more terrorists.

The Prime Minister is expected to win a small majority, but if the Cabinet insists on keeping Arabs with Israeli citizenship off the list, it could torpedo  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s grand design for the resumption of direct talks on Tuesday.

Palestinian Authority officials have said they want “all or nothing.”

Opposition among the Israeli public and even left-wing media is rampant. Netanyahu understood he would meet stiff opposition, and on Saturday night, he took the unusual step of writing an open letter to the Israeli public.

He admitted that freeing the terrorists contradicts the value of justice but nevertheless said it was good for the country to do so.

At the opening of Sunday’s Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister continued to try to convince ministers to back him. “I believe that renewing the diplomatic process is important for Israel, both in order to bring an end to the conflict and in light of the complex realities in our region, primarily the security challenges from Iran and Syria,” he said.

Naftali Bennett, Jewish Home chairman and Minister of Economy, joined a Sunday morning protest against freeing the terrorists, many of whom murdered  elderly people and young children.

Yair Lapid, Finance Minister and chairman of the Yesh Atid party, reflected the view of those who are disgusted at the idea of releasing more terrorists but still hold out the hope against hope that it will help the cause of peace.

“These people should rot in prison all of their lives, but we need to do what is possible in order to start the peace process,” Lapid said.

One question remains unanswered: Why has Netanyahu broken his promises and stated policy – again?

He said direct talks must resume without any pre-conditions.

Maybe is gaining a promise from the Obama administration to take harsher action against Iran, or perhaps he is winning American agreement that the “red line” for acting against Iran is about to pass.

The U.S. government, like Netanyahu, have made lots of promises in the past.

‘Price Tag’ Attackers an ‘Illegal Group’ but not Terrorists

Monday, June 17th, 2013

“Price Tag” vandals who damage and burn Arab property and spray graffiti on mosques and churches are now official an illegal organization in Israel, thanks to a Security Cabinet decision.

It is not quite clear how a group of people without any formal party or unit can be called an “illegal organization.”

The Security Cabinet stopped short of calling the price tag attackers “terrorists,” despite the insistence of Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovitch, who last month proposed legislation designating them as such.

Both ministers voted against the new classifications for price tag attackers, apparently thinking it is not strong enough.

The JTA contributed to this article.

 

Cabinet Passes ‘Austerity Budget’

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

The Cabinet Monday evening passed a two-year budget, nearly five months late, with tax hikes and across-the-board cuts in spending, Only one minister voted against the  budget, the second and last time it will cover two years instead of one.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who is chairman of the Yesh Atid party, said after the vote that the budget is “first stage in changing peoples’ lives in Israel.”

The Value Added Tax on most goods, except food, will rise from 17 percent to 18 percent. Income taxes will rise for upper income families, and ministries will have to get by with last outlays, meaning cuts in services.

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer announced a surprise quarter-point cut in the interest ate Monday night, two weeks ahead of the end-of-the month decision n whether to change the rate for the following month. He also praised the new budget, which could lead the country out of a huge deficit that has mounted in the past three years following several years of a surplus.

Mr. President, What Are You Thinking?

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

This isn’t just about finding someone who has a more balanced view of Middle Eastern politics. This is about the most insidious type of anti-Semitism. The kind that is so subtle that there are actually Jewish organizations that defend him. Like J-Street recently did.

Chuck Hagel was a senator from Nebraska from 1996 to 2008. He is also a Vietnam War veteran who earned several medals during his service there. I used to admire him before I found out how he thinks. How can you not admire someone who puts his life on the line and serves his country with valor? His more or less conservative political views also had some appeal to me as a right leaning political moderate.

But then he started making comments like “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here.” That makes Professors John Mearshiemer and Stephan Walt look like members of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee). For those who don’t recall, those two academicians wrote a book about how much the Zionist lobby has too much influence on US foreign policy.

As Brett Stevens points out in his excellent Wall Street Journal analysis, Mearsheimer and Walt understand that the Israeli lobby is not a solely a Jewish lobby. A lot of support for the policies of say AIPAC comes from Christian Zionists. If AIPAC only represented Jews it would have no influence at all. We are less than 2% of the population and an insignificant factor politically. And many do not even subscribe to the policies of AIPAC. Ask J-Street.

When I started hearing statements like this from Mr. Hagel, I knew that his antipathy was not reserved for those who support the state of Israel. It was reserved for us. The Jews. This is how anti-Semitism in Europe flourished. Nazism didn’t start in one day. It built up over time as we gained more wealth and influence there. By the time Germany was in enough dire straits to elect a Hitler, the Jewish people were ripe for becoming the scapegoat of choice. All that subtle prejudice turned into an eventual Holocaust aided and abetted by a willing populations in countries like Poland, Lithuania and the Ukraine.

How many times do we have to hear statements like “The Jews have too much Power” before we realize that the people saying it are anti- Semites?!

Of course Chuck Hagel will, I’m sure, deny that he is a anti-Semite. I’ll bet that he can even point to things that will “prove” it. I’m sure that he will say something like “Some of my best friends are Jewish”! Don’t believe it. I don’t buy that kind of “friendship” for a minute.

I for one was glad that he retired from the Senate. One less anti-Semite to worry about. A dangerous one who was a war hero. His political views with respect to Israel are not at all unlike those of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Recall that Wright too served the military with distinction. He was chosen as part of a medical team charged with the care of then President Lyndon Johnson. And was thanked for that in a personal letter by an Admiral on behalf of the President.

The only difference between Hegel and Wright is the level of subtlety. Wright does not mince words. Hegel tires to come off as a courageous public servant who refuses to be influenced by powerful lobbies. Like the Jewish one.

I bring all of this up because Hagel’s name has surfaced as President Obama’s possible choice to replace Leon Panetta as Secretary of Defense – probably the second most powerful cabinet position. One one that has a direct impact on Israel. The most powerful cabinet position is Secretary of State. The leading contender for that is John Kerry. Not too thrilled about that choice either. I would have preferred Susan Rice. But Kerry is gold compared to Hagel. I cannot imagine too many people who would be a worse choice for such a powerful position. Maybe Jeremiah Wright.

I somehow can’t believe that the President doesn’t know about Mr. Hagel’s antipathy towards Israel. It is surprising that he is being considered at all, let alone that he is apparently the front runner.

I know the President is not an anti- Semite. I also know that he supports the State of Israel (despite the insistence by many who say he doesn’t). He has proven to me that he does. That he has differences with them over some polices does not make him anti Israel. Nor do I feel that way even though I disagree with him on some of those policies.

In describing the “ripe” odor of Hagel’s prejudice based on the word “intimdates” in the quote above – here is a particularly trenchant excerpt from Steven’s WSJ article:

Ripe, finally, because Mr. Hagel’s Jewish lobby remark was well in keeping with the broader pattern of his thinking. “I’m a United States Senator, not an Israeli Senator,” Mr. Hagel told retired US diplomat Aaron David Miller in 2006. “I’m a United States Senator. I support Israel. But my first interest is I take an oath of office to the Constitution of the United States. Not to a president. Not a party. Not to Israel. If I go run for Senate in Israel, I’ll do that.”

Read these staccato utterances again to better appreciate their insipid and insinuating qualities, all combining to cast the usual slur on Jewish-Americans: Dual loyalty. Nobody questions Mr. Hagel’s loyalty. He is only making those assertions to question the loyalty of others.

Still, Mr. Hagel managed to say “I support Israel.” This is the sort of thing one often hears from people who treat Israel as the Mideast equivalent of a neighborhood drunk who, for his own good, needs to be put in the clink to sober him up.

All this points to why the possible choice of Chuck Hegel for Secretary of Defense is so troubling. Can you imagine what this guy would do if Israel’s security depended on some additional US help – whether military or financial?

He would very likely lobby hard against it to the President – arguing that Israel should not be America’s concern; that we have already helped them too much; and have already spent too much of the American tax-payer’s money on them in. Especially in the financially strapped economy we are in!

I hope and pray that this does not come to fruition. It could mean disaster for Israel – and ultimately for world peace.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

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