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September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘coalition negotiations’

Obama ‘Damned If He Visits and Damned If He Doesn’t’

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Israelis, who were so anxious the past four years for President Barack Obama to show his support by visiting Israel, now are increasingly anxious about his trip in two weeks.

“People are concerned about what the real goal is,” Council of Presidents of Major American Jewish organizations Michael Hoenlein told Politico.

“There’s a lot of speculation…..They keep asking, ‘Why is he coming? Why is he coming?’” Hoenlein said. “I say, ‘For four years, you were saying, “Why isn’t he coming?” Now, you’re asking “Why is he coming?’”

President Obama is scheduled to leave Washington March 19 for Israel and Jordan, but that depends on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s ability to form a coalition government before then.

It is assumed that that the President will postpone the trip if there is no government, and officials cannot wait until the last minute to decide. Politico cited the needs for security arrangements and placing communications equipment and advance staff before the visit.

“The White House may need to make a decision on scrubbing the trip even before Netanyahu’s March 16 deadline” to form a coalition, the website reported.

Bennett: Likud Wants Us Out, We’re Sticking with Lapid

Monday, February 25th, 2013

“Why was the coordination with Yair Lapid created?” Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett asked on Sunday on his Facebook page, and answered his own question: “Because of the Likud’s decision to leave the Jewish Home outside government.”

Bennett continued: “Without this coordination, the next government would have included Livni, Kadima, Shas, Yesh Atid, Likud, without Religious Zionism, without the Jewish Home. Such a government would have been speeding along Livni’s political line (giving up Jerusalem, giving up the city of Ariel, obsession with the PLO, etc.). This is a fact.”

Regardless of whether one can legitimately suggest that their speculation “is a fact,” sources in the Likud said in response that “the Jewish Home party was offered to be the first one to join the government. Even now, the only thing preventing the establishment of a government with a majority for the national camp is Bennett’s refusal to join the national camp government headed by Netanyahu.”

Last Friday, Jewish Home and Likud-Beitenu negotiation teams met in the Kfar Maccabiah resort, after more than a week of separation. MK Uri Ariel told IDF Radio after meeting that “we talked mainly about the subject of the ‘equal burden’ and the coalition guidelines, and will continue the meetings next week.”

Netanyahu’s goal in that meeting, too, was to separate the alliance between Bennett and Lapid, but Likud officials said that Netanyahu intends to be prime minister, and so he wouldn’t mind eventually to give in to those two, if he realizes that this is his only remaining option.

On his Facebook page, Bennett argued that it was his coordination with Lapid that “changed the map, forcing the Likud let the Jewish Home in.”

“Because of that coordination, the government will now focus on socioeconomic, internal issues, and not just on political issues (Meaning the peace process – JP)” such as lowering the cost of living, lowering housing prices, improving education to include values and promoting Jewish identity, and bolstering the Jewish presence in the Negev and Galilee),” Bennett added, as opposed to “only the obsessive engagement in talks with Abu Ala.”

Bennett went on to say that “between Yesh Atid and Jewish Home there are points of mutual agreement and points of disagreement. We will focus on implementing the things we agree on, which is quite a lot. We will continue to argue about the rest.”

During the Friday meeting between Jewish Home and Likud Beiteinu, Bennett’s team took up a key issue which previously had been advocated almost exclusively by Lapid’s party, demanding to force Haredi yeshivas to teach core curriculum subjects (Math, English, Science, Literature). A day earlier, according to Army Radio, Naftali Bennett met with Yair Lapid and with Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz, to form a three-way alliance in the coalition negotiations with Likud-Beitenu.

Bennett concluded his Facebook entry with a vow not to “deviate from our principles,” which is a bit baffling, considering his newfound commitment to the core curriculum issue, which is, essentially, someone else’s principle. But all of us can agree with his end statement, that “the public will judge us over the next four years.”

Or a lot sooner.

Jewish Home: Netanyahu Wants Us Out of Government

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Coalition negotiations have just become a lot more complicated. After it appeared that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to bring the Jewish Home into his new coalition, following the news about the political alliance agreement between Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid, yesterday the Bennett folks were telling the press that the Likud negotiating team is only using them to “bring down the price” of Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, and in reality they have no intention of including Jewish Home in a Likud-led government.

Originally, Likud sources involved in the negotiations claimed that they intended to present Bennett with “an offer he can’t refuse,” and bring him in as the first partner to join the coalition. However, on Wednesday, a senior Jewish Home MK told Maariv: “I don’t know of any tempting offers and right now there is no preferential treatment for us. I haven’t heard any concrete offer from the Likud, certainly not regarding government posts. For now, we don’t even have an understanding, and everyone in the talks is just talking about whatever they please.”

The source added that on the issue of equal burden (meaning Haredim serving in the IDF) there isn’t even a discussion about the outline of a compromise. “Nothing is happening right now, just do a lot of empty talk with nothing concrete on the table.”

Others inside the Jewish Home party sound even more pessimistic, arguing unequivocally that the entire thing has been a Likud exercise in divide and conquer, designed to soften the demands of other parties. “The talk of making offers to the Jewish Home is only intended to lower Lapid’s price, to return to the good old option of coalition government with the Haredim and the center-left,” they said.

“Before the elections, the Likud focused mainly on attacking the Jewish Home, even when it led to losing seats to Lapid. After the elections, Netanyahu called on everybody except us, and only when he had no choice he made a perfunctory call to Bennett. He did not even have an appointment with Naftali, he only sent Liberman to him. All of a sudden, as soon as Yair Lapid hardens his positions, they want the Jewish Home in the coalition. As soon as Lapid lowers his demands, the Likud will return the Jewish Home to its pre-appointed place – last in line and first to be kicked out to the opposition.”

That last part sounded quite resentful, even borderline whiney. Not the tough talk you’d expect from our home grown heroes. And it only got worse:

” Shas called us a Goyeshe Home,” a source told Zeev Kam of Maariv, referring to the nasty comment from Rav Ovadia Yosef regarding Ayelet Shaked’s proposal to offer state sanctioned marriages to couples who were rejected by the Rabbinate. “Now the Likud is trying to use us as the Shabbes Goy, doing for him the job of lowering the prices of other parties. If they were seriousness about including us, it would have happened already.”

Meanwhile, the Likud-Beitenu negotiating team has been frustrated by slow progress of coalition talks, and criticism of Yesh Atid for its stubbornness regarding solving the equal burden problem. A senior Likud members did his own whining, complaining that Lapid’s offers regarding Haredi service would never pass muster in the Knesset. “Lapid’s proposal, as it stands today, will not pass and is not feasible,” claimed the senior negotiators. “It will not pass either in the Knesset or even in the coalition.”

Those same senior Likudniks added that the main obstacle blocking Lapid’s outline, is his view on the quotas of yeshiva students allowed to continue their learning. “The quota system just does not work,” they explained. “It will only cause a rift in the nation the law would not be obeyed.”

Suddenly, those secular Likudniks started to sound like the old guard Haredim when they stressed: “We take seriously those who tell us the Lapid approach is a decree the public cannot sustain (gzera sh’ein ha’tzibur yachol la’amod bah). We don’t want to cause a rift in the nation. We want to propose a bill that could be implemented.”

Others in the Likud Party said on Wednesday that while they do want to bring about a substantial change through equal burden legislation, they want to do it without creating a rift. “Lapid’s outline is too extreme,” they said.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/jewish-home-netanyahu-wants-us-out-of-government/2013/02/07/

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