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January 26, 2015 / 6 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Foreign Minister’

Following Lapid-Bennett Deal, Likud Facing Civil War

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

At 12:55 PM Wednesday, the prime minister’s office leaked a message so subversive and so clever, it insisted the editor of the 1 PM news edition at Kol Israel attribute it to anonymous “Likud circles.” That’s one notch below “senior Likud officials” and well below “circles close to the prime minister,” which is, basically, the prime minister. I heard it in my car, driving up to Jerusalem, but didn’t pay attention to the special wording. Maariv’s Shalom Yerushalmi paid attention, and realized the PM people were using the Atomic option.

The Likud circles, according to the leak, threatened that if there won’t be a breakthrough in the coalition negotiations within hours, the Likud would initiate an accelerated negotiations with the Haredi parties for a right-leaning new government without Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party.

In addition, a higher level source inside the PM’s circles, told Haaretz that Netanyahu believes the reason Lapid has upped the ante of his demands was his buyer’s remorse. Somehow he ended up agreeing to the Finance portfolio, and now, seeing the mess he would have to deal with, he wants to back out, so he’s making it impossible to come to an agreement.

That’s not such an outlandish surmise. Lapid, ever the glitzy charmer, had had his heart set on the Foreign Minister’s job. And he would have made a great FM, kissing hands and raising champagne glasses and all the other fun stuff FMs get to do in Paris, London, Rome, DC, and, of course, Moscow.

Except Avigdor Liberman, Netanyahu’s faction partner, already had dibs on the Foreign Ministry. Liberman couldn’t serve in the government for now, not until the silly corruption suit against him is resolved in court. But Bibi had promised Ivet to hold on to the seat for him, and breaking that promise would have been a deal killer all around.

So Lapid backed off and agreed to take another of the top three portfolios—Finance.

Customarily, the Foreign, Defense and Finance ministries belong to the party of the Prime Minister. It is a rare occurrence, usually driven by a national crisis (such as when Moshe Dayan was invited, from the opposition benches, to become Defense Minister in 1967). So, giving Lapid this high honor was a big thing.

But the job of Finance Minister is not going to make Lapid many friends this time around. No hand kissing and champagne here for the teen idol. The Netanyahu government has accrued a 40 billion shekel (just under $11 billion) deficit which has to be cut from the next budget. Unlike the U.S. government, which can run deficits in the trillion, Israeli governments are prohibited by law from running a deficit that’s higher than 3 percent of the budget. The new deficit constitutes 5.10 percent, and so some cutting has to take place.

And lover boy Yair Lapid will have the dubious honor of deciding what gets cut:

Should it be the new raises to hospital nurses? Low-cost education? Environmental improvements? Social Security benefit increases for the elderly? Highway construction? Train service?

There’s no two ways about it – in the end, someone is going to hate Yair Lapid for whatever cut he’ll make. And since he’s an avowed free market and anti-tax type, he won’t be able to fix things by taking more money from business (although Teva, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical conglomerate, received close to a billion dollars in tax break from the outgoing Finance Minister – that should pay for a few hot lunches).

The leak was a lie, of course, Lapid seems just as eager as before to embrace the, arguably, second most important job in government. But the first anonymous threat, about a coalition with Shas, UTJ and Bennett – especially when, reportedly, backed by Bennett himself, who assured Lapid he intended to stay in government, with or without him – that convinced Lapid it was time to call the game and put the cards on the table.

There’s an old Jewish joke about a shadchan who tries to convince a yeshiva bocher to marry Princess Margaret. He answers every one of the poor man’s questions – she would make a great wife, she has money, she will convert for the right man – until the yeshiva bocher breaks down and agrees to the deal. At which point the shadchan sighs deeply and says: Now starts the hard part.

Lieberman Severs Ties with UN Human Rights Council, Blocks Entry of Investigating Team

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has announced that Israel had severed all working relations with the United Nations Human Rights Council as of Monday this week, and will block a U.N. fact finding team from entering Israel or Judea and Samaria to investigate Jewish settlements.

According to the Israeli government, the council has shown a clear anti-Israel bias, both in the content of its references to it, and its disproportionate attention to Israel’s Palestinian policy, as compared to all the other human rights issues on the planet.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said this “means that we’re not going to work with them. We’re not going to let them carry out any kind of mission for the Human Rights Council, including this probe.”

Speaking in Copenhagen, after a meeting with the Danish foreign minister, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said “Israel never cooperated with all fact finding missions that were sent and established by the U.N. to investigate the Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians.”

The PLO ambassador at the United Nations on Wednesday condemned Israeli settlement activity in a series of letters to senior UN officials.

“There have been confirmations by the UN Security Council and General Assembly, Human Rights Council and the Social and Economic Council on the illegality of all settlement activity in a number of resolutions which are still available, and we are still calling on Israel to respect and implement the resolutions,” Mansour said.

The UN ambassador sent letters to the President of the Security Council and head of the General Assembly, criticizing ongoing settlement building.

Israel is obligated under the Road Map to freeze all settlement activity, Mansour said.

“Israel, however continues directly to neglect and violate all international commitments,” he added.

The ambassador added that settlements are proof that Israel rejects a two state solution based on 1967 borders.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week has legalized three Jewish outpost communities which were erected in the 1990s.

At a meeting late Monday, a ministerial committee legalized Bruchin (home to 350 residents) and Rechelim (home to 240 residents) in Samaria, and Sansana (home to 240 residents) in Judea.

US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland reacted by saying, “We don’t think this is helpful to the process. We don’t accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity.”

Palestinians and Israeli anti-settlement organization Peace Now slammed the government, saying the government is hereby creating new settlements for the first time since 1990.

Senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi said that the legalizing ” sends a clear message to both the international community and to the Palestinians that Israel is more committed to land theft than peacemaking.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Visits Muslim Azerbaijan, Chabad House

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Israel marked twenty years of diplomatic relations with Azerbaijan on Sunday, with a visit to the 95% Muslim country by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who also visited the capital city’s Chabad house, according to a report by Lubavitch.com.

Azerbaijan, which borders Iran to the south, has pursued increasingly warm relations with the Jewish state, in contradiction to the will of Tehran.  In January, Azeri authorities arrested an Iranian national who allegedly plotted to kill two Israeli Chabad emissaries working at the Chabad Ohr Avner Jewish School in the capital city of Baku, including the Chief Chabad Emissary of Azerbaijan, Rabbi Shneor Segal.  The Chabad complex, “overlooking the scenic Caspian Sea”, according to Lubavitch.com, was established by philanthropist and President of the Federation of Jewish Communities in the CIS and Baltic Countries, Lev Leviev, in 2010.

Rabbi Segal played in an integral role in arranging Foreign Minister Lieberman’s visit.  During his two-day stay, Lieberman met with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev and other high-ranking officials, as well as Israel’s ambassador to Azerbaijan,  Michael Lotem and Israeli Consul Ron Schechter.

Hearing on FM Lieberman’s Pending Corruption Indictment Begins

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

A two-day hearing to determine whether to indict Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on charges of fraud and money laundering began Tuesday.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein will decide whether or not to press charges after Lieberman’s legal team defends him against the allegations.  Prosecutor’s have charged that Lieberman received “millions of dollars” between 2001 to 2008 when he served as an MK and then government minister.

Lieberman did not attend the hearing, but he has insisted that he would resign as both Foreign Minister and MK if he is charged.

List of Israel’s Wealthiest Politicians

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

In the ranking of wealthiest politicians in the country by “Forbes Israel”, the top seat goes to Minister of Galilee and Negev Development Silvan Shalom who is worth an estimated at NIS 167 million. Shalom was formerly Israel’s Foreign Minister, and also Israel’s Finance Minister.

Minister of Justice Yaakov Ne’eman is in second place, with a financial worth of NIS 100 million. Minister of Defense Ehud Barak, in 3rdplace with a fortune estimated at NIS 70 million. MK Meir Sheetrit (Kadima) comes in fourth at NIS 55 million.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in fifth place, with a fortune estimated at NIS 38 million.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/list-of-israels-wealthies-politicans/2011/11/17/

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