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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Danny Ayalon’

Who Is Lying, Ayalon or Lieberman?

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Former Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon testified in court Thursday against his former boss, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who is on trial for allegedly trying to win an ambassadorial post for Ze’ev Ben Aryeh, who police say tipped off Lieberman about a police probe against him in Belarus.

Ayalon was head of the Foreign Ministry appointments committee at the time and recalled that Lieberman told him in his office, “We need to appoint Ben Aryeh” as ambassador to Latvia.

Ayalon has no reason to love Lieberman, who dumped him from the Israel Beiteinu list of Knesset Member candidates in the last election.

Ayalon claims, “I am not vengeful and I don’t hold grudges…. A trial is about justice and truth; it is not at all about my personal political future.”

After Ayalon said in court that he was willing to shake hands with Lieberman, the defendant shot back, “I won’t shake hands with frauds and liars.”

The outcome of the trial will determine Lieberman’s political future. If he is found guilty of fraud and is jailed for at least three months, or if the court decides his crime is a “mark of shame,” he will be prohibited from holding a Cabinet position for seven years.

Liberman Bribe Trial Opens with Prime Witness Turning the Tables

Friday, April 26th, 2013

The trial of Avigdor Liberman, until recently Foreign Minister, recorded its first day of questioning Thursday on charges against him of bribery and breach of public trust.

After more than a decade of hounding by the police on various alleged crimes, the police and government prosecutors finally nailed down an indictment last year on charges that he unfairly tried to advance the career of diplomat Ze’ev Ben Aryeh, who was said to have provided him with inside information on one of the police investigations against Liberman in 2008, at the time he was a Knesset Member.

Liberman has followed in the footsteps of more than two handfuls of politicians charged with various crimes the past few years, and shouted to the hilltops, “Not guilty.”

He won some public sympathy because of the years of the fruitless investigations against him. Liberman is a Russian immigrant and former nightclub bouncer who has scared the establishment with his growing popularity as a shoot-from-the-hip nationalist.

When an indictment was finally handed down late last year, it just happened to coincide with the elections, forcing him to leave his position as Foreign Minister.

However, Liberman secured a promise from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that he can return to his post in the event that the three-justice Jerusalem court declares he is innocent. Liberman needs to be acquitted to continue his political career. In the meantime, the Prime Minister also is Foreign Minister.

The prosecution was depending on Ben Aryeh, who was the ambassador to Belarus and had contacts there that enabled him to tell Liberman that the police were on his trail concerning other criminal charges. Liberman allegedly then tried to reward him with a similar position in Latvia, although Ben Aryeh eventually was not appointed.

A lot depends on Ben Aryeh, who the prosecution trotted out in court on Thursday, but he promptly turned the tables, claiming he never even asked for the job as ambassador to Latvia.

Ben Aryeh previously was convicted of failing to disclose information concerning Liberman’s alleged favoritism, and the government prosecutors rewarded him for cooperating in the investigation by sentencing him to four months of community service, without any jail sentence.

On Thursday, he suddenly suffered from a lapse of memory.

The government prosecuting lawyer reminded Ben Aryeh that he told police in 2010 that he asked Liberman’s help for a position.

Ben Aryeh then startled the lawyer and said, “I don’t recall that I asked for help from Liberman. You ask why I asked for help, but I say I didn’t ask for help.”

Another “only in Israel’ incident on Wednesday, the eve of the first day of questioning, was a report on Channel 10 television of a police transcript of testimony it obtained. It quoted then Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon as saying that Liberman ordered him to appoint Ben Aryeh.

Liberman’s attorneys were furious and charged that the police leaked the information to influence the trial against Liberman.

Further hearings are bound to show no less interesting remarks.

Ayalon will be called as a witness for the prosecution, and that is the same Ayalon who was summarily dropped by Liberman as a candidate for the Israel Beiteinu party that Liberman.

His memory will be much better than Ben Aryeh’s

Today: Avigdor Liberman on Trial, Key Witness—his Deputy

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

The case of the State of Israel vs. Avigdor Liberman is bound to divert attention on Sunday from the coalition negotiations and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s three-week long and counting attempts to form a government, to the Magistrate Court in Jerusalem, where former Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s trial is opening.

After years of cat and mouse play between the burly politician of Russian extraction whose capacity to make enemies among Israel’s political class is only matched by his ability—until recently—to exact blind loyalty from his minions, we’re finally going to be treated to a showdown, complete with all the elements of a good political drama: hatred, betrayal, fear, and specks of corruption.

Liberman, the unquestioned leader of Israel Beitenu, a party made up and supported mostly by Russian immigrants (except for the man in the number two spot, Yair Shamir, who stands to gain a lot from his leader’s downfall, should one take place) is being charged with fraud and a breach of trust concerning the nomination of Ze’ev Ben Aryeh as Israel’s ambassador to Latvia.

According to Ma’ariv, sources inside the legal system are talking about marathon discussions and a quick decision—within just a few months—but there is no guarantee that it would be a quick trial. Which means that Liberman will have to stay out of government, while his rightful possession—in his eyes, at least—the Foreign Office, is deposited with either the prime minister or with a coalition partner who would be willing to give it up, should Liberman be acquitted, or is found guilty of minor charges that won’t stand between him and a return to government.

The trial will open at two o’clock Israel time (7 AM in New York). Liberman will sit down on the defendant’s seat and, after the indictment is read, the court is expected to determine the dates on which he would have to reappear at the same courtroom.

Liberman is accused of fraud and breach of trust during the appointment of the former ambassador to Belarus Ze’ev Ben Aryeh as ambassador to Latvia. The indictment states that Ben Aryeh was advanced in the Foreign Ministry after handing Liberman confidential information about the investigation that was being conducted against the minister in the major case against him, known as the “straw companies.”

The Attorney General eventually decided not to prosecute Liberman on that case (no one would talk to the investigators), but to limit the indictment to the simpler “ambassador” case, which is why it is estimated that the trial would end quickly. Especially since the defendant is just as eager to be done with it as the prosecution. On the other hand, if a plea bargain that would have permitted Liberman to proceed with his interrupted political career were on the table—it would have been signed by now. So no one can be certain just how long this thing will last. And remember the cardinal rule about lengthy trials – they tend to bring up new information that often spawns new trials.

The indictment states that Liberman promoted Ben Aryeh at the Foreign Ministry in two major roles: one as staff political advisor to the Foreign Minister, and the other as Ambassador to Latvia. Although it is a relatively light case, compared to the straw companies case—which has been closed without trial—should the judges decide to include a shame-inducing element (kalon) to Liberman’s sentence, it could be a mortal blow to his political future, with serious implications on the future of the Israel Beiteinu party.

A kalon sentence prevents the accused of returning to elected office for seven years.

The key witness is expected to be a member of the appointments committee that decided to designate Ben Aryeh as the ambassador to Latvia, Liberman’s former deputy Danny Ayalon. Originally, while things with his boss appeared good as good can be, and no clouds were hovering in the blue sky of their friendship, Ayalon could not for the life of him recall any attempt on Liberman’s part to influence the appointments process. But after his boss chose the moment of their ride in a car together to inform Ayalon he was off the list of viable candidates for the Knesset—on their way to the event where Liberman was to read the list to the press—Ayalon experienced a miraculous memory recovery, complete with all the details of how Liberman actually did influence the process, and how.

Danny Ayalon Shows his True Colors

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

When he served as Israeli Ambassador to the United States during the Disengagement, Danny Ayalon did not merely execute his duties as ambassador, but threw his personal support behind the Disengagement.

For instance in an interview a month before the expulsion was carried out, Ayalon said that ”The prime minister had to make the decision because he knew this was the best course of action to take and the best way to strengthen Israel” (emphasis added).

When Ayalon returned to Israel and jumped into politics, he joined Yisrael Beitenu, led by Avigdor Liberman who opposed the Disengagement as a Minister in Ariel Sharon’s government.

Yisrael Beitenu presented itself as being to the right of the Likud and its leader Benjamin Netanyahu (though now the Likud and Yisrael Beitenu sit together as one faction in the Knesset).

In the last government, Liberman served as Foreign Minister and Ayalon served as his deputy. Ayalon even released an English version of video explaining Israel’s right to sovereignty in Judea and Samaria and narrated the video himself. Needless to say, Israel, Liberman and Ayalon worked against Palestinian efforts to get recognized as a state without Israeli agreement at the United Nations.

Ayalon, for instance, was quoted as criticizing the Palestinians’ statehood bid, saying:

The Palestinian Authority, which cannot even collect municipal taxes, wishes to pose as a state… It is clear that the P.A. does not meet the minimum requirements of a state. It also fails to meet another requirement of the U.N. Charter — to be a peace-loving nation. Ayalan also took up Yisrael Beitenu’s Anglo division-campaign, which focused on recruiting the support of Israel’s English-speaking immigrant community which is a little bit more conservative, especially on foreign policy, than the rest of Israel.

Then, unexpectedly  Liberman informed Ayalon that he would not be included in Yisrael Beitenu’s Knesset list. Not long after that Ayalon recalled things he did previously did not which were added to the indictment against Liberman.

Now, Ayalon has taken up the left-wing position regarding the U.N. General Assembly vote recognizing Palestinian statehood, arguing that Israeli should offer the Palestinians recognition as a state:

“Israel will give the Palestinians sovereignty and independence and in return, they will recognize Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people and will guarantee security arrangements.” That’s a position which doesn’t quite match his prior criticism of the Palestinian’s U.N. bid, his assertion that regardless of what recognition they may receive the Palestinian Authority simply is not a state, his previous criticism of Palestinian Authority funding going towards terrorism, or the general realistic approach towards the Palestinian Authority, which he, Liberman and Netanyahu have championed during the government’s term.

Far from punishing the Palestinians from their efforts to side step Israel at the United Nations, such an offer would reward them and would incur immense amount of international pressure on Israel to sweeten the deal by making more unilateral concessions or to just recognize Palestinian statehood regardless of what the Palestinians agree to.

Aside from the merits of Ayalon’s new position, his zigzagging over the years is yet another lesson in how political ambitions affect a politician’s positions or at least the part of his philosophy he chooses to emphasize to the public.

The Danny Ayalon Rumor Saga Continues

Friday, December 7th, 2012

With official silence still emanating out of the Yisrael Beytenu party, the rumor mill continues to grind out explanations as to why the popular Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon, was removed from his party’s list ahead of the upcoming elections.

According to Friday’s Makor Rishon the reason has to do with a combination of Ayalon’s media savvy, constant interaction with the news media and not always following the party line, or more specifically Liberman’s exact instructions.

Makor Rishon reports that insiders say that there was tension between the two since the beginning of their term together, in part because Ayalon was popular among the foreign press due to his excellent English and personal interaction with them, and in part because of Ayalon’s philosophy that the Foreign Ministry needs to interact a lot with the media in order to get their message across, while Liberman prefers to play his cards close to his chest.

Ayalon is considered one of the cutting edge politicians when it comes to using social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter.

Channel 10 had reported that Ayalon was dropped for leaking information to the press, Makor Rishon seems to confirm that this is what Liberman believed, and that over the past four years, Liberman not only excluded Ayalon from meetings, but also embedded one of his personal spokespersons into Ayalon’s office whom Ayalon believed was there to report on him back to Liberman.

Sources in Yisrael Beytenu said that Ayalon knew for two days that he was probably going to be kicked out, and could have quit on his own respectfully.

Ayalon office says he was only officially informed two hours before the announcement.

 

 

 

Former Foreign Office Director Says Likud Demanded Ayalon’s Ouster, Liberman Denies

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Before we start, you should know that a senior adviser at the Yisrael Beitenu party who read this article says it’s completely wrong, but doesn’t know the real reason for Ayalon’s dismissal.

Now we can start:

The morning after the surprise dismissal of Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon from the Likud Beiteinu list by his party boss Avigdor Liberman, Israel Channel 2 News interviewed Alon Liel, a former director of the ministry of foreign affairs and the Israeli ambassador to Turkey, who said that the career ending move stemmed from an old dispute between Likud Minister Silvan Shalom and Ayalon.

“When Danny Ayalon was ambassador in Washington, he had a bad falling out with his boss then, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom,” Liel told Channel 2 news. “From what I know and remember, when Ayalon finished his assignment, he wanted to join the Likud and was unequivocally vetoed by Shalom.”

“I think those old wounds were opened now,” Liel continued. “Maybe (the removal of Ayalon) was even one of the preconditions for the consolidation of Israel Beiteinu and Likud. That’s how I see it.”

The office of senior Vice Prime Minister and current Minister for Regional Development and the development of the Negev and Galilee Silvan Shalom said in response that they have no knowledge of the allegation. “This misinformation has no connection to reality,” they concluded.

The Foreign Minister’s office was a great deal harsher in its response (you can almost hear the Russian accent emanating from the text): “Alon Liel will say any nonsense to get air time, and he takes advantage of the fact that he served for about three months as director of this ministry to express his insignificant opinions.”

The ministry’s response went on to remind readers that Liel used to head an organization that advocated giving back the Golan Heights to the Syrian regime, “and the consequences of such a move are realized by everyone today.”

You must remember, after sticking in the knife, ya’ gotta’ turn it a couple times…

Incidentally, rumor has it that Liberman and Ayalon were riding together to the press conference where Liberman was about to announce his list of candidates to join the list elected in a democratic primary by Likid members (silly notion, right?), when Liberman turned to his deputy and said, “By the way, you’re not running.”

Again, The Jewish Press source in the foreign ministry says Ayalon had known about his own dismissal for some time. But Ayalon’s facebook page yesterday offered this comment:

“Today, I was informed by Yisrael Beytenu Chairman Avigdor Liberman that I will not be a candidate for the next Knesset.”

And that’s all she wrote…

Victimhood as Foreign Policy

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Would Israel’s ambassador to the U.N. have called on the world body “to tell the 850,000 untold stories of Jewish refugees from Arab countries…” had the Palestinians not made the return of their “refugees” to Israel a foundational point for the securing of a comprehensive peace agreement with the Jewish state?

“We are 64 years late, but we are not too late,” said Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon last Friday.

So why now?

Sadly, it appears that the Israeli foreign policy establishment has given up on convincing the international community as to the essential rightness of the Zionist enterprise. Rather, by attempting to push the issue of Jewish “refugees” from Arab lands to the top of the U.N.’s agenda, Israelis abdicating the moral high ground in favor of sinking into a battle of victimhood narratives with the Palestinians.

Such a lack of conviction bespeaks a general sense of malaise emanating from Jerusalem, where Israel’s leaders have evidently thrown up their hands and embraced the belief that the best defense against anti-Israel bias is a compelling story of mass expulsion.

Now, Minister Ayalon is absolutely correct in asserting that “this issue was never emphasized enough…We have decided to bring it up, to flush out the truth.” It’s a crying shame, not to mention a blight on the records of successive Israeli administrations, that the greatest single demographic upheaval in the modern history of the Middle East was a story largely left untold inside of Israel.

As such, it is altogether appropriate that the Israeli national zeitgeist make room for the largely-forgotten history of Jewish refugees who were summarily expelled from Arab lands.

For while much thought, research, ink and media coverage has been dedicated in recent years to the European Holocaust, the wave of anti-Semitism and violence that swept Arab states in the wake of Israel’s establishment has long been given short shrift.

However, the politicizing of this dark chapter in Jewish history is but a rather lame attempt to stem the growing tide of pro-Palestinian sentiment that has seemingly swept across our world.

For Israel to make any kind of headway by way of ‘hasbara’ (public relations efforts for Israel) it need only remember and repeat these immutable facts regarding the genesis of the Palestinian “refugee” issue:

Settling for approximately one-quarter of the land mass that had been promised by the original partition plan, Jewish leaders made strenuous efforts to encourage their Arab neighbors to stay on and help build up the new state of Israel.

A large majority of local Arabs responded to the call for coexistence by violently rejecting it.  Egged on by a bellicose leadership that darkly warned that its bullets wouldn’t distinguish between Arabs and Jews, hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs summarily packed up and took off, having been reassured that they would be able to return once the foreign Zionist entity had been snuffed out.

What followed was an invasion by seven Arab countries. Had the Arabs accepted the two-state solution, as formulated by the UN in 1947, it is quite likely that war would have been avoided and a separate Palestinian country would have come into existence.

That a refugee problem arose as a result of the invasion is an irrefutable fact. Yet, the births of many sovereign nation have resulted in mass displacement and other social upheavals. Unique to the saga of the Palestinian refugee, however, is the phenomenon of the magically multiplying refugees. From close to 750,000 in 1948, today Palestinian refugees number over 5 million.  Is there any other displaced group on earth that passes their refugee status on genetically?

And while Palestinians around the Middle East have subsequently been used as pawns in a decades-long attempt to destabilize and delegitimize the sovereign state of Israel, Jewish immigrants – that’s right, “immigrants” – from Arab lands were absorbed into Israeli society, where many of their progeny would go on to assume prominent roles within Israeli society.

By referring to Jewish immigrants from Arab lands as refugees, Israeli Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon is inadvertently providing fodder for extremists across the Arab world who argue that all Jewish immigrants should return to their “home” countries since Israel is neither their country nor their ancestral homeland.

Deputy FM: Intl Olympic Committee’s Rejection of Minute of Silence for Slain Athletes ‘Unacceptable’

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon on Thursday criticized the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision to reject his request to hold a minute silence during the upcoming London Olympic Games, in memory of the 11 Israeli Olympic team members murdered at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

“Unfortunately, this response is unacceptable as it rejects the central principles of global fraternity on which the Olympic ideal is supposed to rest,” Ayalon said in a statement released. “The terrorist murders of the Israeli athletes were not just an attack on people because of their nationality and religion; it was an attack on the Olympic Games and the international community. Thus it is necessary for the Olympic Games as a whole to commemorate this event in the open rather than only in a side event.”

Ayalon had sent a letter to IOC President Jacque Rogge a few weeks ago, in support of the request by Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano (widows of two of the murdered athletes) for the minute silence. “Perhaps the darkest chapter in modern Olympic Games history,” Ayalon wrote in his letter to the IOC, “is the moment where eleven Israelis, who came to compete in the greatest global sporting event, were murdered simply because of their nationality. We must remain vigilant against acts of hate and intolerance that stand in contrast to the ideals of the international Olympics.” To this end, Ayalon wrote, he “fully supports” Mrs. Spitzer and Romano in their call for a moment of silence, and reiterated the call for the IOC to “grant this wish.”

Rogge, in his response, made no actual mention of the call for a minute of silence, sidestepping the issue by writing: “Traditionally, the Israeli NOC [National Olympic Committee] hosts a reception in memory of the victims during the Games period, and the IOC is always strongly represented. The upcoming Games in London will be no exception.”

Despite brushing off the request, Rogge said, “please be assured that, within the Olympic family, the memory of the victims of the terrible massacre in Munich in 1972 will never fade away.”

Ayalon lamented that “[t]his rejection told us as Israelis that this tragedy is yours alone and not a tragedy within the family of nations. This is a very disappointing approach and we hope that this decision will be overturned so the international community as one can remember, reflect and learn the appropriate lesson from this dark stain on Olympic history.”

Ayalon transmitted Rogge’s rejection to the families and widows of the murdered athletes, informing them that the Foreign Ministry will initiate a campaign in the coming weeks to encourage the IOC to reverse its decision.

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/deputy-fm-intl-olympic-committees-rejection-of-minute-of-silence-for-slain-athletes-unacceptable/2012/05/17/

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