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February 27, 2015 / 8 Adar , 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘elections’

Lieberman Crushes Labor Coalition Illusion

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman has announced he will sit only with a center-right coalition, virtually blowing apart the illusion promoted by the Labor-Livni party and establishment  media that it can for a coalition government

Lieberman, who has become Israel’s most widely-known if not bizarre chameleon, previously has not ruled out sitting with a coalition headed by new Labor party, which merged with the party headed by Tzipi Livni and renamed itself the “Zionist Camp.”

All pre-election polls since the start of the campaign have shown that the party, co-headed by Yitzchak Herzog and Livni, has no chance of forming a coalition without the support of Yisrael Beiteinu, based on the false assumption that Lieberman would sit with the Haredi parties.

The concept is totally ridiculous, but even that hallucination came undone with Lieberman’s announcement Sunday that “Yisrael Beiteinu never will be part of a leftist government.”

Two weeks ago, he rejected sitting with a coalition that included the left-wing Meretz party, but he finally has realized that he is not the only one who understands that many of the Herzog-Livni candidates would be very comfortable in the Mertz party.

If  the Labor-Livni slate of candidates had been a bit more normal and without the inclusion of potential Knesset Members who unabashedly favor a Palestinian Authority country based on all of its demands, perhaps Lieberman would have held his breath.

One of Labor’s top candidates for the Knesset is Stav Shaffir, who wants to get rid of HaTikvah as Israel’s national anthem because it is too Jewish for Arabs to love.

Another star in the Herzog-Livni camp is Merav Michaeli who has stated that no one should serve in the IDF because of the “occupation.”

Labor Party candidate Zuhair Bahloul maintains that his “Palestinian identity is stronger than [his] Israeli one.”

Lieberman’s party is down to four or five seats in polls, still enough for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to want to make part of the next government if the Likud takes charge after the elections in March.

State Dept. Says Taxpayers’ Money not Used in V-15 Campaign

Friday, January 30th, 2015

The U.S. State Dept. said Thursday the American government used to fund the left-wing OneVoice group that is campaigning against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu but that no grants were given after last November.

Spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters, “The U.S. Government grant to OneVoice Israel was for $233,500. The duration of this grant, as I mentioned yesterday but just to reconfirm, was from September 23rd, 2013 through November 30th, 2014.

” No payment was made to OneVoice after November 2014.”

The grant was for a project “to support a two-state solution,” she said.

Concerning allegations that the State Dept. is funding a campaign to dump Netanyahu, she said, “No. It’s an absolutely false report. The reports were stemming from inaccurate reporting – and a lack of reporting, perhaps I should say, on this grant that I’ve given you many details on.”

The question remains why the U.S.  government has to grant organizations money to promote the “two-state solution.”

Apparently, it wants to share the failure with others.

 

 

Sen. Cruz Asks if Obama Behind V-15 ‘Political Campaign against Netanyahu’

Friday, January 30th, 2015

“Has President Obama launched a political campaign against Prime Minister Netanyahu and his representatives?” Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz and New York Rep. Lee Zeldin, also a Republican, asked Sec. of State John Kerry in a letter Thursday.

They asked “for information regarding media reports that U.S. taxpayer dollars are being used to fund efforts to influence upcoming elections in Israel.”

The Jewish Press reported here this week that non-profit and tax-exempt leftist groups  are campaigning to dump Netanyahu.

Sen. Cruz asked:

This administration’s relentless harassment of Israel is utterly incomprehensible. The Islamic Republic of Iran is pursuing the deadliest weapons on the planet, and there can be no doubt that their first target will be Israel, followed by the United States. This administration should be focusing its animosity on the very real enemies we face, not on our staunch allies.

Zeldin added, “It is completely unacceptable to use U.S. tax dollars to influence the elections in Israel. State Department grants should never be given to entities working to overthrow strong allies like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. We have great allies around the world, but Israel is our strongest, and a beacon of freedom in a region filled with radical Islamic extremists and state sponsored terrorism. Today, I join with Sen. Ted Cruz in calling for a U.S. Department of State investigation into this important matter.”

Sen. Cruz and Rep. Zeldin request asked Kerry to answer eight questions:

— How much funding has the U.S. Government provided to OneVoice, PeaceWorks Network Foundation, and any connected initiatives, projects or subsidiaries?

— Who approved providing such funds?

—What is the oversight and accounting process for how these funds are being spent?

— How often and on what dates has such funding been provided?

— What were the specific reasons and terms for providing funds, and how are these funds specifically being spent?

— Can the Department of State guarantee that none of these funds have been or will be used in the endeavor detailed above, namely the partnership with V15, or any similar effort to exert undue influence over the Israeli political process?

— Was there any knowledge from the State Department or other U.S. government officials of the partnership with V15 prior to providing funds to OneVoice?

— Does OneVoice’s work with V15 violate its 501(c)(3) status (or the status of the PeaceWorks Network Foundation) as a tax-exempt organization and should such status be revoked?

In the letter, Cruz and Zeldin wrote, “Of course private American citizens are free to engage in political activities according to their inclinations, but given the overtly partisan nature of this particular case, we are deeply concerned by the relationship that also exists between OneVoice and the U.S.”

 

New Poll Shows All Parties Going Full Blast in Neutral

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

The oddest result of a month of polls is that there has been almost absolutely no change in the numbers.

The weekly Rafi Smith poll published Thursday night reveals that all parties are more or less stagnant and that national religious voters favoring the new Yachad party headed by Eli Yishai may be wasting their votes.

The new party has been on the edge of winning the minimum number of votes to enter the Knesset, but the Smith poll leaves Yachad under the radar. If polls in the next two weeks do not clearly show that the party has enough backing to win Knesset representation, voters are likely to abandon the sinking ship in favor of the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party.

Labor-Livni, running under the banner of the “Zionist Camp” party, would win 25 seats in the Knesset if elections were held today, according  to the Smith survey. The number is unchanged from last week’s survey.

Similarly, the Likud party, headed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, would win 24 seats, followed by Bayit Yehudi with 16, one more than last week.

Next in line are Yesh Atid, whose chairman is Yair Lapid, with nine seats, and Shas, headed by Aryeh Deri with eight Knesset Members. Both parties’ support is unchanged from last week.

Kulanu (All of Us) headed by Moshe Kahlon won enough backing for eight seats, one less than last week.

Yehadut HaTorah (United Torah Judaism), the Ashkenazi Haredi party, gained one seat and now has eight projected MKs. Both Meretz and Yisrael Beiteinu lost one seat and are down to five,

The joint Arab list of parties won 12 seats, one more than in the previous poll.

The changes of one seat up or down are relatively insignificant given the margin of error in surveys.

Pollsters insist there is a large bloc of undecided voters, but if that is the case, they appear to be decidedly undecided.

No matter how you spin the  numbers, the results still show that Labor-Livni, or the Zionist Camp if you prefer the official name, have no chance of forming a government.

One Jewish Press report last week suggested that the Arab parties are “natural partners” for a left-wing coalition and that even if they don’t join the coalition, they would give their support for it in critical votes. Arab parties never have agreed to be part of an Israeli government, and given the fact that several of the Arab MKs are blatantly pro-Palestinian Authority and openly against a Jewish State of Israel, they are not about to change the tradition.

However, it also is unlikely that Kulanu and Yesh Atid would accept demands of the Arab parties if push came to shove and Herzog and Livni were to propose a coalition needing support of Arab MKs.

No party has any momentum. The only likely changes in the strength of the left-wing or right-wing camp will come from lukewarm supporters of Kulanu and Yesh Lapid.

That leaves the undecided voters to make up their minds, and they have a little more than six weeks to do so.

Lieberman so Frantic for Votes He Calls for ‘Disproportionate Response’

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman ridiculed Israeli “restraint” and said the IDF needs to deliver a harsh blow to Hezbollah in retaliation for yesterday’s attack that killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded seven others.

The army retaliated with artillery fire to the source of the attack, and one UNIFIL soldier was killed,

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was fierce with words but extremely cautious in the military response. As The Jewish Press wrote here this morning, Israel does not want all-out with Hezbollah, if for no other reason than because it would not end in victory because of Israel’s inability to buck the usual international community’s demand that Israel not try to destroy an enemy.

Lieberman used to be one of Israel’s loudest hawks until he decided to be dovish for the election campaign to try to dig up votes from the middle-of-the road sector.

Crippled by a lack of trust, compounded by a police investigation of several of his Yisrael Beiteinu cronies for bribery, Lieberman on Thursday jumped on Netanyahu for being the dove.

He wrote on his Facebook page Israel needs to deliver a disproportionate response that defeats terrorism” and that Hezbollah “wants a proportionate response because it would lead to a war of attrition and perpetuate the conflict.”

It’s time to take the glove off when dealing with terrorism,” Lieberman said, but as Foreign Minister, he knows very well that there is not enough widespread support among Israelis to attack deliver Hezbollah a death blow, if it can.

He also did not say he would take responsibility for the certain death and destruction in Israel from Hezbollah missiles if Israel were to deliver a “disproportionate response.”

Lieberman desperately needs votes, but he may have lost even more by reverting back to his old position of mowing down the enemy at all costs.

A “disproportionate response” certainly is the correct strategy but only in a better world, which might come if people like Lieberman did not go off the deep end to seek votes.

Analysis: Israel’s New Electoral Threshold Changes Political Alliances for the 2015 Elections

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Since the passing of the Governance bill legislation on March 11, 2014, new alignments have become to appear in Israeli politics.

The legislation raised the electoral threshold from 2% to 3.25% of the votes. By doing so, it created a strong incentive for parties and politicians to unite their efforts and combine parties.

The first significant unification is a historic one and it took place between three Israeli-Arab parties: “Hadash”, “Balad” and “Ra’am-Ta’al”, which are all considered far-left wing parties. It’s the first time all Arab parties of Israel’s Knesset have joined forces and created a joint list for an election.

Tazpit News Agency interviewed Emilie Moatti, the spokeswoman of the Israeli-Arab joint list who explained the necessity of the unification. “A joint list was a necessity due to the new “Governance bill”. Without the bill the unification probably wouldn’t have happened,” said Moatti.

“We see it as a blessing in disguise, and hope it will increase the voting percentage among Israeli-Arabs, enabling us to reach 16 seats in the Knesset,” Moatti told Tazpit.

The parties’ ability to cooperate for the long haul, however, remains an open question. “Hadash” holds a Marxist agenda while “Ra’am-Ta’al” and “Balad” holds an Islamist one. Ideological differences are found even between “Ra’am-Ta’al” and “Balad”, over their allegiance to different branches of the “Islamic movement”. “Ra’am-Ta’al” allies themselves with the more “moderate” southern branch, while “Balad” allies themselves with the more “hardline” northern branch. Therefore, differences and conflicts can errupt and threaten the joint list. Moatti claims “the common denominator overrides any differences between the parties.” Whether the unification succeeds or breaks after the election, remains to be seen.

Another two parties which tried to create a joint list are Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Strength) a far right-wing party, and Haam Itanu (The Nation is With Us) a religious party.

Haam Itanu is a new party and was formed by former “Shas” (an ultra-orthodox religious party) member Eli Yishai, after leaving his parent party in December 2014. Otzma Yehudit was established in 2013, but failed to pass the electoral threshold, and therefore spent the last two years out of the Knesset.

Michael Ben-Ari from Otzma Yehudit told Tazpit News Agency that “the joint list will enable us to attract voters from all edges of the political spectrum”.

As for now, negotiations between Otzma Yehudit and Haam Itanu have broken down. The parties disagreed on the question of which party will claim the fourth and sixth spots on the joint list. Therefore, both parties are at risk of not passing the electoral threshold.

The possibility that the unification between these parties is just a means to the end of passing the electoral threshold is probable. The real question is whether joint lists will break down completely once passing the electoral threshold, or succeed and create new powers on the Israeli political map.

Yesh Atid Announces Knesset List

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Yair Lapid has announced his candidate list for Yesh Atid for the upcoming elections:

1) Yair Lapid

2) Shai Piron

3) Yael German

4) Meir Cohen

5) Yaacov Peri

6) Ofer Shelach

7) Haim Yelin

8) Yoel Razbozov

9) Karin Elharar

10) Aliza Lavie

11) Miki Levy

12) Elazar Stern (formerly of Hatnua)

13) Pnina Tamnu-Shata

14) Dov Lipman (not final)

15) Ruth Calderon

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/yesh-atid-announces-knesset-list/2015/01/27/

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