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December 26, 2014 / 4 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘government’

Un-Caged Knesset Beasts Claw Each other as Election Bait

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Virtually every Knesset party went wild Monday to claw the coalition government to near-death, leaving enough oxygen for resuscitation before forcing elections that, if held, should focus on blaming all the beasts for leaving their cages.

Israel’s establishment media, especially the center-left electronic and print outlets, always use a day of quiet from riots and rocket attacks to whip up the winds to blow apart the collation headed by Binyamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister that it hates because he is so successful.

The coalition’s main partners are the Likud, headed by Netanyahu; Jewish Home, headed by Naftali Bennett; Yisrael Beitenu, headed by Avigdor Lieberman; Yesh Atid, headed by Yair Lapid; and HaTnua, headed by Tzipi Livni.

Not one of the parties really loves the other, and more accurately, everyone hates each other. Bennett and Lapid started out the coalition as the oddest of odd couples, but its life span was pre-destined to be short.

Lieberman for years has said that he will be Prime Minister one day, and Netanyahu looks over his shoulder so often that he is under constant medical treatment for a stiff neck.

Bennett, the most unseasoned of them all, swings back and forth from tree to tree, depending on whether he wants to please the settlers or Lapid’s voters.

Livni, whose party has only six seats in the Knesset and which will barely squeak into the next Knesset, according to polls, throws around borrowed weight that hides her hapless political performance and destiny.

In the background, the Haredi parties are breathing fire through their nostrils, begging to be begged to help Netanyahu form a new coalition or possibly Lapid to form an alternative coalition.

Don’t worry. The lion is not about lie down with the sheep.

Left-wing Meretz and center-left Labor want new elections because they have nothing to gain by their somewhat weak standing as opposition parties that roar like a mouse.

So will new elections be held soon?

Here are three of several rules in Israeli politics:

First, there are no rules, even the one that says that there are no rules.

Secondly, if elections were held every time the media reports that a coalition will not survive, Israelis would be going to polls twice a week.

Thirdly, since only Netanyahu, Bennett and Lieberman probably would gain from new elections, the beasts probably will be back in their cages by next week, if not by this evening.

It is questionable whether the issues are the reason for the current crisis or whether they simply symbolize the need of the beasts to escape once in a while for exercise.

The big issue for months has been Lapid’s proposal to eliminate the 18 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on the purchase of new homes. The bill for zero VAT has so many holes in it that it could not pass as Swiss cheese, but no one in Israel likes to confuse the circus – or jungle – with facts.

Under the bill, if it is ever passed into law, the lucky buyer who won’t pay the tax will have had to serve in IDF – 18 months for a man and 12 months for a woman. The home must not be larger than 140 square meters and cost no more than 1.6 million shekels.. The buyers must be employed – bye, bye Haredim – and must not have owned another home in the past 19 years and must be at least 35 years old and have at least one child.

All of these conditions whittle down the potential buyers to a small minority, but the noise over the proposal has been enough to shake the nation to its foundations.

Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar Prepares to Step Down

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar is making his final formal preparations to step down.

Sa’ar announced back in September that he would resign from his post, citing personal issues as the reason for the move.

The ministry told journalists that Sa’ar will leave his post within 48 hours; he tendered his formal letter of resignation to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu today (Sunday, Nov. 2).

Netanyahu has yet to name a successor to the post. Top candidates include Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis, MKs Miri Regev, Yariv Levin, and Gila Gamliel.

20 Years for Stone Throwers as Cabinet Stiffens Punishments for Rock Attacks, Road Terror

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

Israel’s government this morning (Sunday, Nov. 2) approved an amendment to the penal code that will stiffen punishment for throwing stones at motor vehicles.

At its weekly cabinet meeting, the cabinet decided to add an amendment to the current penal code allowing judges to imprison a convicted terrorist for up to 20 years for throwing or casting stones or other objects at a motor vehicle.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, called for the legislation in recent discussions on the disturbances in Jerusalem.

“Israel is taking vigorous action against terrorists and those who throw stones, fire bombs and fireworks,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the start of the cabinet meeting.

“We will also pass stronger legislation on the issue. All of this is in order to restore quiet and security throughout Jerusalem.

“I have ordered that massive reinforcements be brought in and that additional means be used in order to ensure law and order in Israel’s capital,” Netanyahu added.

Lapid Won’t Let Defense Demands Turn Into ‘Turkish Bazaar’

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Finance Minister Yair Lapid vows to quit the government rather than raise taxes, an issue being debated as the government considers the budget for 2015, and says he won’t let the defense budget become a “Turkish bazaar.”

Lapid, who chairs the Yesh Atid party, is not willing to quit the coalition without a fight over the issue, however – and certainly not willing to crash the government over it.

“Elections are not a good thing for the state of Israel,” Lapid said in an interview with the Hebrew-language Ynet site. “I’m not afraid of elections, but they’re not necessary.. “

Nevertheless, he said, “I will quit the government rather than raise taxes. I ran with this for office and I said I won’t let it get to a situation in which every time there’s a problem, the government milks the public for all it has.”

At the end of the day, however, it doesn’t seem as though there will be a real problem in getting a budget passed. The kind of wrangling going on over the issue is the same kind of debate that is seen every time a budget comes up for discussion, Lapid said.

“It does not seem to me to be very different to the kind of conduct we’ve seen before every budget passing. I’ve been through a hard budget already with all of the pressures it involved. There are always pressures being put on the finance minister.”

Pressure is one thing, Lapid said, and he understands the defense ministry needs more money to be able to deal with the expenses of this summer’s counter terror Operation Protective Edge. There must also be a budget to pay for defense against other enemies, and to deal with the issue of possible return shelling and rocket attacks, and terrorists rebuilding tunnels in Gaza.

Yes, he acknowledged, “We need money for that. But I won’t let it turn into a Turkish bazaar. I want to give you all the money we have, but I can’t give you money we don’t.”

Bewildered Southerners Ask, ‘Is It Really Quiet Yet?’

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

IDF officials are now saying that southern residents can return to their homes and “feel safe” – but not everyone is buying that line; especially those whose homes were bombed just hours ago, first thing this morning. If it is so safe, how did Hamas manage to fire 26 rockets and missiles within 10 minutes at southern and central Israel, just before 8 am?

The families whose homes are located about a stone’s throw from Gaza, and who watched video footage of terrorists popping up from holes in the ground a jump and a half away from their communities, are also pretty uneasy. IDF soldiers fought really fierce battles to kill those terrorists, and Israel lost some of its finest young men in those fights.

Those same communities are located too close to Gaza for mortar fire to trigger the Code Red incoming rocket alert system – so they never have any warning of shelling attacks on their homes. As it is, they had only a bare 15-second window in which to find shelter from the constant rain of Qassam rocket fire Hamas terrorists sent their way, right up until 8 am this morning.

The cease fire officially ends in two days, unless negotiators find a way to lock it down permanently.

So why should anyone trust their fate to paper?

IDF officials told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and defense brass in a briefing at IDF Southern Command headquarters Monday (August 4, 2014) that all of the tunnels that were identified and located during Operation Protective Edge, were destroyed.

But many residents of the south are worried. The question, as one person told TheJewishPress.com, “is not so much whether the tunnels that were identified were destroyed, but whether all of the relevant tunnels were identified.”

The prime minister was filled with praise for the IDF, and rightfully so. He himself was a member of a Sayeret Matkal unit back in the day, so he knows first-hand what they’ve been going through.

“This was a complicated operation carried out by heroic soldiers under difficult combat conditions,” Netanyahu said.

“I would like to commend IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, GOC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Sammy Turgeman, commanders, soldiers and ISA personnel all of whom had the fighting spirit that led to very impressive results.

“The operation struck at a strategic network that Hamas had invested great effort in over the years,” he pointed out. “These tunnels would have enabled Hamas to kidnap and murder civilians and IDF soldiers by launching simultaneous attacks from the many tunnels that penetrate our territory.”

But then, Netanyahu got to the point that all residents fear most: “As I said at the onset of the operation I said that there is no guarantee of 100% success — but we did the utmost in order to achieve the maximum,” he said.

Achieving the maximum in what time period, is the issue. Initially, the government assured the nation it would continue the operation until the objectives were achieved. Those objectives included tracking down and destroying all of the terrorist tunnels, as well as silencing the rocket fire “for a long, long time.”

Have these objectives been achieved?. That’s an ugly question but one that has to be asked. A ground operation was required in order to identify and reach the terrorist tunnels, and it took the government two weeks to arrive at a decision to approve a ground operation. It took two more weeks to carry it out, and now the troops have been withdrawn, due to massive disapproval from the world’s response to gory photos from Gaza, all of which was expected from the outset. And just as happened during the last three operations, the job is once again probably not finished.

Exclusive: MK Moshe Feiglin Joins Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Cte

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

MK Moshe Feiglin, head of the Likud’s Manhigut Yehudit faction, confirmed in an exclusive interview with JewishPress.com Tuesday night that he has become a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Feiglin is replacing President-elect Reuven Rivlin, who has left the committee to take his place as the leader of the nation in the presidential position.

Currently the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Feiglin has long advocated basing Israel’s government policy on the principles of freedom, Jewish identity and restoring meaning to Israeli life.

He advocates full Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount and has pushed for the government to abandon the Oslo Accords. Feiglin also supports permanent Israeli resident status for Arabs who live in Judea and Samaria but does not support citizenship for them. He opposes a two-state solution and supports annexation of Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Coalition Sharks Smell Netanyahu Blood

Monday, June 9th, 2014

A guy ought to be able to look to his own cabinet for support in the face of enemy threats. It’s a reasonable supposition, one would think, but apparently it isn’t the case for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The coalition sharks are smelling blood, and it seems to be coming from the prime minister.

Apparently, it isn’t enough that Fatah, supposedly Israel’s “peace partner”, has welcomed Hamas back into the Palestinian Authority with open arms. It also isn’t enough that the United States and major European countries have blessed the new Palestinian union. But instead of a united defense for Israel in the face of the Fatah-Hamas front, the second-largest party in Netanyahu’s coalition – Yesh Atid – has aligned with Hatnua chairwoman and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni to form a fifth column and threatened to ‘bring down the government’ if the boss doesn’t follow orders.

Orders from whom? How about from Finance Minister and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid, for starters. He is the one who this time ordered Netanyahu to produce a map with borders for a new Palestinian Authority country, once and for all. Sound familiar? It should. You can find the same words in quotes from PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, or from PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Chomp, chomp.

Then there’s Bayit Yehudi chairman and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who has taken to the public soapbox to fight with Lapid and everyone else over what he thinks should be done about the Jews in Judea and Samaria. He probably means well, but instead of keeping the discussion in the Cabinet, he is taking the argument to public radio interviews. The ‘only sane plan’ is to annex Area C, he says. It’s not a new plan – he has said it for years – but why isn’t this discussion being kept behind closed doors? If he is Netanyahu’s ally, he should say so. If not, what is he doing in the coalition?

Chomp. Chomp.

And now, the Big Kahuna. Avigdor Liberman – the guy who cut the Likud votes in half because so many Likudniks couldn’t bear the thought of voting for a ‘Likud-Beytenu’ ticket – owes his political survival to the prime minister. It should be recalled that Liberman was on trial for corruption at the time of last year’s election, but Netanyahu kept his job as foreign minister open for him until Liberman was acquitted. The deal cost the Likud several seats in the Knesset, but Netanyahu was true to his word.

Now, Liberman has turned around to stab his ally in the back by making public comments about his boss’s dilemma, rather than simply helping solve the problem behind closed doors.

“What happened yesterday, when four senior ministers gave public addresses one after the other with each proposing a different political solution, was a grotesque performance,” Liberman said today (Monday) at a conference of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Eilat. “We need to cut down and adopt a single political plan to bind all parts of the coalition… as soon as possible, because if we don’t do it on our own, we will be dragged towards what we don’t want, and what is not in our best interest,” he said.

Right. But why is he saying that in public? A bit of the old pot calling the kettle black, no?

Liberman also directly addressed remarks made by Bennett and Lapid: “The economy minister spoke of annexing settlement blocs, and the finance minister threatened to disband the coalition if such a plan is approved. They both know they are talking about something that will never happen.” He commented that he supported Bennett’s plan, but said it was “not feasible.” Liberman then added drily, “he thinks it is worth saying to maybe get two more seats (in the Knesset).”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/coalition-sharks-smell-netanyahu-blood/2014/06/09/

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