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September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Coalition’

Report: Likud’s No. Two Considering Resigning Over Sexual Allegations

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Gideon Sa’ar, the highest ranking Likud member after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a contender to succeed Netanyahu as party chairman, is considering resigning over allegations regarding sexual misconduct, including statutory rape, according to a report by Lahav Harkov of the Jerusalem Post.

A letter allegedly signed by an Education Ministry (under the initials M.K. in Hebrew) employee was sent to the Prime Minister alleging that Sa’ar had an illegal affair with her asking that Sa’ar not be given a ministry in the government. The letter also raised previously known allegations that Sa’ar had sexual relations with an intoxicated minor at a night club.

The letter came as many top Likud members were, and still are, competing for ministries within the government, which will be scarce due to the Likud-Beitenu’s poor election showing.

Sa’ar was chairman of the Likud campaign’s operational branch and has taken heavy criticism for the Likud’s losses in the election.

Maya Katz, Sa’ar’s close aide, denied that she had written the letter or that the allegations made, apparently in her name, had any basis in reality.

Most Israeli publications have reported on the incident as if the letter is a forgery and a mere ploy in the contest for ministries and for which of the Likud’s ministers will succeed Netanyahu.

The report in the Post is the first indication that the allegations about the office affair might be serious.

The Attorney General’s office recently announced that it will be investigating the letter, including whether it is a forgery.

Jewish Home: Bringing in Livni Makes it Harder for Us to Join the Gov’t

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Senior officials in the Jewish Home responded to Tzipi Livni’s joining Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s  coalition, saying that it lessens the chances of the Jewish Home joining the government, the Israeli publication Ma’ariv reported today.

The criticism focused on the fact that Livni, who took a turn to the left on foreign policy and territorial issues since her departure from the Likud several years ago, will be allowed to manage the revival of the peace process with the Palestinians.  Shortly after the elections, Livni had made it clear that she would only join a government if she would be given such a position.

Ma’ariv cited senior Likud officials who responded saying that according to the coalition agreement with Livni, the Prime Minister will be the one to lead the negotiating team and that the Likud wants the Jewish Home to join the coalition.

Livni’s party, the “Movement Led by Tzipi Livni” won six seats in the Knesset, while the Likud-Beitenu won 31 seats. By signing a coalition agreement, the prospective coalition now has 37 seats. Sixty-one seats (a majority of the Knesset) are needed to form a coalition, but even more are needed to form a stable coalition.

Shas and UTJ to Join Coalition by Week’s End

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Both Shas and UTJ are claiming they will be in the government by the end of the week and perhaps as early as tomorrow, according to a report in Kikar Shabbat.

Other sources report that the parties have reached a compromise on the universal draft issue that the Gedolim (Torah sages) can live with, as well as the Likud.

JewishPress.com sources say that Shas may again receive the Interior Ministry. The Srugim website confirms that, and adds that Shas was also offered the Minsitry of Religion, an additional ministry to be named later, and Deputy Minister of Education.

The question still stands if Bennett and Lapid will be in the government, or perhaps, if Labor will go in, in their place.

On Israeli TV tonight, Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) said there is no alliance with Lapid, just understandings on specific issues, implying that they could join the government even if Lapid doesn’t. Jewish Home has no problem sitting with the Hareidi parties, while Lapid does.

For the Jewish Home, one of the important issues that they want agreed upon for them to enter the coalition is that the Edmond Levy report be adopted by the government.

Once Netanyahu approaches the needed 61 seats, he can then ask for a 2 week extension to close the last party that pushes him over the top.

But will that last party be Jewish Home, Yesh Atid, or Labor?

Likud-Beteinu Closes First Partner (updated)

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

It only took a month, but Likud-Beteinu finally managed to close a deal with its first coalition partner, Tzipi Livni’s HaTnua party.

Livni will reportedly receive the Justice Ministry and be an inner cabinet member.

Amir Peretz will serve as environmental protection minister, and Amram Mitzna will be chairman of the Knesset House Committees.

It was announced at the joint statement that Livni would also be in charge of peace talks with the Palestinians.

The Justice Minister is one of the most powerful positions in the government, as she (in this case) can kill any proposed bill that she disagrees with. Furthermore, all the progress made by the previous government in ending the incestuous self-appointment process of Supreme Court justices can potentially be reversed overnight.

Latest Coalition Building Rumors and Threats from Israel

Monday, February 18th, 2013

With no coalition in site, threats and insults are what the public is hearing coming from the various Israeli political parties.

Bennett’s Jewish Home (HaBayit HaYehudi) is holding steadfast in their alliance with Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party in negotiations with the Likud, and this alliance is apparently frustrating Netanyahu to no end.

Sources say that Bennett doesn’t trust any of Netanyahu’s offers, particularly when he repeatedly only learns of the offers from pollster Minah Tzemach on the news, days before he actually hears of the offer from the Likud. In response to the poor treatment he’s getting, a source in the Jewish Home party allegedly said that the Jewish Home is no longer the Likud’s lapdog.

Bennett, who has an acrimonious history with Netanyahu, was also the last party leader that Netanyahu reached out to talk to, and that includes the radical leftwing party, Meretz.

Ma’ariv reports that the Likud is threatening to go back to elections if Bennett doesn’t agree to join the coalition with the Chareidi parties.

Reportedly, the Jewish Homes response was that Netanyahu is “shooting blanks”, and that if elections were held today, the voters would punish the Likud down to 12 seats for not first going with their natural partner, the Jewish Home.

The Likud made what some consider a generous offer to the Jewish Home, but in the Jewish Home party they suspect that Netanyahu wants to play Lucy to their Charlie Brown, and pull the offer away from them at the last minute as Shamir did in 1988 to the Hareidim, and the goal is only to break the Bennett-Lapid alliance, and get one for a cheaper price. That they only heard of the offer on the news days before they heard of the offer directly from the Likud, didn’t help the Likud’s credibility

On Channel 2 they are reporting that Netanyahu plans to first create the coalition with HaTnua, Shas, UTJ, and Kadima, and only then invite Jewish Home in, leaving Yesh Atid out.

Other rumors flying around is that if Jewish Home joins without the Ultra-Orthodox parties, the Hareidi parties will retaliate with a “Price Tag” attack, and will vote for dismantling outposts and settlements.

During the elections, the religious parties, particularly Shas, crossed a number of red lines and severely disparaged the Jewish Home party.

Bennett has turned out to be the cornerstone of the coalition. Jewish Home can sit with Lapid in the coalition, or they can sit with the Hareidim, while Lapid can’t sit with the Hareidim without destroying his credibility. And with those restrictions, there simply can’t be a coalition without the Jewish Home party.

This provides Bennett with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to empower the Jewish Home party like never before, and take back some of the powers grabbed by the Ultra-Orthodox over the years and give it to the National-Religious.

Bennett’s Unholy Alliance with Lapid

Friday, February 15th, 2013

I’m not going to pretend I was satisfied with the Likud’s election campaign, or even all of Prime Minister’s Netanyahu’s policies/positions over the last four years (e.g., Bar Ilan, the freeze, etc.). But in the past four years, we’ve had, first of all, a government that lasted  just about four years, which is quite an achievement in and of itself in Israel. And we’ve managed to stave off international pressure while getting sanctions in place against Iran. At the same time we’ve had modest domestic achievements, keeping the economy stable despite a global crisis and lowering the monthly cost of living.

Yet, leading up to the elections, I was shocked by how many people were so ready to abandon the Likud and Netanyahu, despite the fact that they knew only he could be Prime Minister and would need a strong showing for the Likud-Beitenu slate in order to have a stable center of gravity for his coalition.

On the day of election, I argued that weakening the Likud-Beitenu, even if by voting for the Jewish Home, to Netanyahu’s right, will actually strengthen whatever left-of-center party will join the government. That’s because even if “the right” has a majority of the Knesset, even 65 seats, a stable government requires more than that. Netanyahu will have no choice, just as he did after the last election, but to bring at least one party from the left in to stablize the coalition. Otherwise any coalition partner could bring down the government.

As the Likud-Beitenu dropped in support, that became more and more true, since the less seats it would have the more vital each coalition partner would be. While that would make Jewish Home more vital to the coalition, it would also have a similar affect on the other parties. The only method Netanyahu has of neutralizing that problem is by bringing in more parties. Practically, the weaker Likud-Beitenu was, the more necessary a left-wing party would become to the coalition. That party was Yesh Atid, which seems to be the most centrist of the sizable left-wing parties.

That prediction, or actually warning, came true with a vengeance. Not only did the Likud lose seven mandates worth of votes to Jewish Home (Jewish Home got 12 and Power to Israel got two, for a total of 14 – seven mandates greater then these two parties represented in the prior Knesset), but Yesh Atid almost doubled in size, going from a predicted 10 to 19 mandates.

So, predictably, Netanyahu’s first post-election call was to Yair Lapid.

At that point Netayahu had two realistic possibilities for a right-of-center coalition: Likud-Beitenu-Jewish Home-Yesh Atid+Shas (with a moderate Haredi-draft plan) for a 72 seat coalition OR  Likud-Beitenu-Jewish Home-Shas-UTJ-Livni-(Kadima) for a 67-69 seat coalition without Lapid (unclear draft plan, but relatively decent foreign policy positions).

(A Likud-Beitenu-Jewish Home-Shas-UTJ coalition would amount to 62 seats, would result in do-nothing government, with a bad budget, and might even fall by the time the next budget came up).

When it became clear that Lapid’s demands were too inflexible, making Shas unwilling to join the coalition, meaning the first option was not going to happen, the second option became more necessary. So Liberman went about trying to make it happen, meeting with the Jewish Home. Talks began with Livni as well. But then Bennett and Lapid formed an alliance:  Bennett would not join the government, unless Lapid also joined.

Practically, that means that Netanyahu can’t form a government without Lapid. It also means that Lapid will be strengthened in his demands, specifically his universal draft plan (which sees lowering the amount of yeshiva-exemptions to a mere 400, lower than it was in the early years of the state) and Shas and UTJ will not sit in the government. Lapid will be doubly strengthened in his demand for a renewed focus on the peace process (he still clings to Golda Meir’s non-sense slogan of, you only make peace with your enemies), because not only does he have more leverage with Netanyahu, but also because Netanyahu will need to bring in more left-wing partners to stabilize the coalition, such as Tzipi Livni who demands that she lead a renewed negotiation effort.

Netanyahu tried to break the alliance by offering Bennett virtually everything he wanted prior to elections – greater say over government guidelines and ministries – in exchange for being the first party to join the coalition. That would have weakened Lapid’s position and forced him to moderate. But Bennett refused.

Israeli Coalition Negotiations: You Can’t Have it All

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

In Israel, we had elections a few weeks ago, January  22.  It was just before my two week trip to the states and I’ve been back a week.  And it doesn’t yet seem like Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been able to put together a government coalition.

During the election campaign, I blogged a lot about the difference between a coalition party and and opposition party.  Netanyahu understands the differences very well, IMHO almost too well.  Inflexible “principles” are for the opposition only, not the coalition.  There’s a moral/ideological price to pay for that “Volvo.”

Netanyahu isn’t new to coalition politics.  It’s his third big attempt, and he succeeded pretty easily the two previous times, even after the elections when Likud did not get the most Knesset votes.  But this time, he has to contend with political newbies, Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett who are taking their campaign promises and alleged agreement with each other much more seriously than the more jaded and experienced politicians would.

Leaks from Likud reveal that NRP-Bayit Yehudi’s Bennett had been offered some very good positions for his people, but he isn’t biting alone.

Likud Beytenu offered Bayit Yehudi the Education Ministry, a top socioeconomic portfolio, and a deputy defense minister who would deal with settlements, Likud sources said on Tuesday.
A Likud source said the offer was conditioned on Bayit Yehudi conducting marathon coalition talks over 48 hours to become the first party to join the coalition.

The media keeps saying that he and Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid’s have made a deal to pressure Bibi by sticking to the same basic government conditions/principles.

Lapid is sticking to what could be a socially, spiritually and military upheaval in the IDF, almost 100% draft of chareidim.

Yesh Atid wanted to set the age of enlistment for haredim at 18, as in the rest of the general population, and allow exemptions for only 400 exemplary yeshiva students every year. In the first five years, however, Lapid imagined offering full exemptions to ultra-Orthodox students who requested them, introducing a gradual increase in ultra-Orthodox conscription.

This may have sounded good when asking secular Leftists for their votes, but many of those voters don’t really want their children to be influenced by extremely observant Torah loyal Jews.  Esser Agaroth has an interesting post about that.

The Left only wants to enlist Haredim for the purposes of indoctrinating them into state loyalism. It has NO interest in having IDF units which inspire curiosity in its children about God and His Torah, about prayer, Shabbath, and Tefillin, or any other authentic Jewish observances.

That’s what this all boils down to.  We’re really fighting for the soul of the Jewish People, especially those in Israel, not for Volvos.  So, nu, will the wily Netanyahu succeed in crafting a new coalition before his deadline, or not?

*A Volvo was once the make of cars used by Israeli Government Ministers.  All ministers and sgan (deputy) ministers are provided with chauffeured limousines, cars plus drivers as perks of power.  So, referring to the “Volvo” is to refer to those perks.

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