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September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Jewish Home’

Left Targeting Jewish Home Housing Minister for Ouster

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Gush Shalom, which defines itself as the “hard core” of Israel’s peace camp, is going after Jewish Home Housing Minister Uri Ariel, who is, apparently, to blame for anything that has and will surely go wrong in the explosive Middle East.

The reason Gush Shalom, headed by the aging but still very charismatic journalist Uri Avneri, who was the first Israeli newspaper publisher to meet openly with the late PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, is going after Minister Ariel has to do with something he said this month:

“We should make clear to Secretary of State Kerry that Israel will never return to the Auschwitz borders, will not freeze the settlements endeavor, and will not agree to be sacrificed so that he could receive the Nobel Peace Prize. I am sure the prime minister will not be partner to abandoning Israel’s security.”

And on Sunday, on the occasion of the inauguration of the new neighborhood of Leshem in the town of Alei Zahav, a few miles away from the city of Ariel in Samaria, Minister Ariel said:

“It should be clear to any thinking person: there are no two states for two peoples west of the Jordan River, there will be no such thing, even if we’re sitting at the negotiations table, this is not on the agenda.” He then added: “We will build everywhere in the Land of Israel, and certainly in Samaria, and certainly in Judea.”

The reaction from the left was furious:

“With the winds of war blowing in our region, Housing Minister Uri Ariel pours more oil on the flames by establishing the new ‘Leshem’ settlement on the West Bank. In the inflammatory speech which he delivered on that occasion he shows himself a dangerous extreme right provocateur,” reads the Gush Shalom press release, responding to the Minister’s relatively benign, if somewhat excited statement.

The entire press release reads like the stuff Avneri used to dish out on a weekly basis, back in the roaring 1970s. The next paragraph is vintage Avneri:

“This is far from an unexpected development. Ariel’s rampage could have been predicted from the moment when the settler cat was placed in charge of the housing cream. Ariel is not a private individual, he the Minister of Housing in the government of Israel.”

It’s interesting to note that Alei Zahav, established a little over 30 years ago, in 1982, is more likely to vote Likud-Beiteinu than Jewish Home: its 130 families (now a few more, with the opening of the new neighborhood) are 80 percent non-religious. So you can’t quite accuse Minister Ariel of being the cat taking all the cream to himself – not if he shares the cream with other cats…

Also, Deputy Minister Ophir Akonis of Likud Beiteinu, who also graced the inauguration with his presence, repeated everything the minister had said: “There are indeed negotiating with the Palestinians, but that does not stop anyone from building homes in Israel,” he said. “Out of this place, a message is emanating, that a Palestinian state will never be established.”

“Look around you,” Akunis said, “who needs another Arab country in this area?”

Nevertheless, Avneri et al are after Uri Ariel, despite the fact that his message is not different at all from what’s being said these days by the majority of the Likud Beiteinu ministers. The reason is obvious: if you portray the situation as it is, meaning that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Justice Minister and chief negotiator Tzipi Livni are way to the left of the government in which they serve, then you must abandon hope of the two-state solution becoming a reality in the near future.

But if you portray Jewish Home as the extremist, settler holdout in a government eager to plant a second Hamas entity right next door to Ben Gurion International Airport – then you’ve got something to work with.

This is precisely Avneri’s next point:

“There is not one government which is busy building settlements and spitting in the face of the Palestinians, and a different government which is supposed to negotiate and reach a peace agreement with the same Palestinians. It is the same government, and all its ministers are responsible for Ariel’s acts of provocation.”

Bennett’s Folly: Territory Giveback Referendum Passes First Reading

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

The Knesset bill mandating a national referendum before the government gives away areas of sovereign Israel passed its first reading in the Knesset in a vote of 66 to 45. The bill will now go to committee for deliberations and amendments and is expected to be presented to the Knesset plenum during its fall session.

The vote on the referendum was taken on the last day of the 19th Knesset’s first session, ushering in the much needed summer break.

According to the national referendum bill, should Israel be forced to give back territories within the 1948 green line—in case of land exchanges—as well as the annexed territories of East Jerusalem and the Golan heights, the voter will have to decide for or against the move in a special referendum.

The bill, which has already been approved by the 18th Knesset, is up for adoption as a “Basic Law,” which is as close as Israeli law gets to a constitutional amendment. The upgrade would mean that it would require a majority of 61 MKs to change it.

The law distinctly avoids any reference to Judea and Samaria, which to date have not been annexed and therefore are not governed under Israeli law. This fact is likely to be forgotten as the “peace negotiations” are proceeding without a hitch. In other words, the government should be able to evict Israelis from anywhere east of the 1967 border without the voters’ input via the referendum, and such an eviction—quite like the Gush Katif expulsion—can still be undertaken with a simple majority: 20 MKs in favor, 19 against, could finish off Jewish life in Judea and Samaria as we know it.

The new, upgraded law was promoted most heavily by Jewish Home and its leader, Naftali Bennett, who boasted like week that his party has proven “why the Jewish nation needs the Jewish Home in the government… We said openly that we would not remain in a government that would deal on the basis of the ’67 borders – and this will no longer happen. It shows that when we insist we get results.”

Not quite. The fact is that, as far as the half million Israelis living in Judea and Samaria—most of whom are Jewish Home voters—the parameters of the national referendum bill certainly are on the basis of the ’67 borders. From the point of view of any Jew living in Ariel, Karney Shomron, or Efrat, the new bill constitutes their betrayal by Bennett et al.

The bill is a huge loss to Jewish Home, whose leader is just not astute enough, apparently, to realize how his lunch money was taken a second time by smarter politicians. Netanyahu is the huge winner of last night’s vote, because he will get a year of industrial peace out of it. Despite the subtle point regarding Judea and Samaria, Israelis would be convinced that, come givebacks time, they would be able to influence the process with their referendum votes – but they won’t.

Should the Palestinians be smart enough not to attack Israel with rockets or start an intifada while negotiations are in session (a Yid can always hope), Tzipi Livni and the gang could forge a peace agreement that would satisfy a majority of Israelis. For one thing, the Palestinians could easily avoid any discussion of the Golan Heights – it’s not their territory. As to East Jerusalem – the two sides could decide to co-own it. There have been similar proposals in the past, which died only because the Arabs rejected them (thank God). This time around they might agree that East Jerusalem would be governed by both Israel and the PA, and local residents would be asked to decide which ID card they prefer (two bits they’d all opt for the “blue card”).

Most Israelis would embrace such a deal, which, on its face, does not take away East Jerusalem and maintains their free access to the holy sites (except Temple Mount). Having achieved majority support this way, Netanyahu and Livni can basically give back all of Judea and Samaria and it won’t affect the results of the referendum.

Of course, Jewish Home would then leave the coalition government in a huff, fallen heroes and whatnot, to be replaced swiftly by Labor, or Shas, or both.

In the immortal words of the president of Freedonia Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx in Duck Soup): “Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you: he really is an idiot.”

Incidentally, last night Prime Minister Netanyahu came across positively Churchillian with his retort to Arab MK Jamal Zahalka. The latter cried from the podium at Minister Yuval Steinitz: “You are the enemy of peace, we were here before you – and we’ll be here after you.” Netanyahu asked to be allowed to speak, took the podium and said directly to Zahalka: “The first part of your statement is incorrect, and the second part will not happen.”

He received great applause, proving to anyone who cared to watch that he had been there before one Naftali Bennett got elected MK, and he would be there long after Mr. Bennett is asked by his party members to return to his promising career in hi tech.

Cabinet Approves Freeing 104 Terrorists

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

The Inner Cabinet late Sunday afternoon voted 13-7 to free 104 terrorists who were convicted and jailed before the Oslo Accords in 1993, but the decision does not necessarily give blanket approval to free Israeli Arabs who are on the list.

A mini-Cabinet, packed by ministers on the side of Prime Minister Binymain Netanyahu, will decide which terrorists can be freed in four stages stretching over a period of nine months.

Two ministers, Limor Livnat and Silvan Shalom, both of the Likud party, abstained.

Voting with Netanyau were:

– Likud ministers Yuval Steinitz, Moshe Ya’alon and Gideon Sa’ar;

– Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid, Yael German, Yaakov Peri, Shai Piron and Meir Cohen;

– Yisrael Beiteinu’s Sofa Landver and Yitzchak Aharonovitch; and

– Tzipi Livni and Amir Peretz of Livni’s HaTnuah party.

Likud ministers Gilad Erdan and Yisrael Katz voted against the government, as did the three Jewish Home ministers – Uri Ariel and Uri Orbach – and Yisrael Beiteinu ministers Yair Shamir and Uzi Landau.

Livni said the Cabinet should free the terrorists “for the sake of the future,” meaning the resumption of direct talks this week with the Palestinian Authority.

Likud Minister Yisrael Katz replied, “Releasing terrorists is a mistake, just like the building freeze was a mistake. There are ministers sitting here today who supported the building freeze and claimed it would lead to negotiations, and we have seen how far it got us. In six months, it will be clear that freeing terrorists will not bring us anything except  to worsen out situation in the region, and in the international community.”

Jewish Home chairman, Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett, voted against the government of which his party is a coalition member. “We used to free a terrorist in exchange for a soldier,”  he said, “After that, we freed terrorists for the return of the bodies of soldiers, Now, we free hundreds of terrorists in exchange for a process. We are teaching the world that everything is for sale.”

Jewish Home to Support Rav Stav for Chief Rabbi

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

The Jewish Home (HaBayit HaYehudi) party will be meeting Sunday afternoon to officially (and finally) announce their support for Rav Stav as Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi.

The decision was made after it became clear that the law that would allow Rav Ariel to run, was not going to pass. Rav Ariel is the preferred choice for some of the the Rabbis associated with the party.

The party will also announce its support for the Stern Law, which would expand the number of people involved in the election process, according to a report in Arutz-7.

Last week Jewish Home did not support the bill, and in response, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni blocked two Jewish Home bills.

At the meeting, the party will discuss renewing the term of Rav Amar, who has proved to be a very capable and effective Chief Rabbi.

There has been a lot of criticism and  pressure on the Jewish Home party as of late, for what many are calling a lack of leadership, lack of party discipline in voting, as well as the outsourcing of decisions to Rabbis from one of the sub-factions within the party.

Jewish Home Attacking Lapid on Haredi Draft

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

At the start of the debate Wednesday morning of the Perry Committee recommendations regarding “equal burden,” a popular euphemism that stands for (to be blunt) “those Haredi parasites better get off their warm benches and lie down in the trenches with the rest of us,” Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel, a senior member of the Jewish Home Knesset delegation, pointed out the coalition agreements signed between his own party and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, and made it clear that there was an official understanding in those agreements regarding the conscription of Haredim: there would be no criminal sanctions against Haredim who refuse to serve.

Minister Ariel went on to suggest that Yesh Atid has a hidden agenda in this case, an agenda that has little to do with the ultimate purpose of peacefully integrating the Haredim into the Army and, later, into a normative, productive life.

Over the past few months, since the national elections in which Lapid’s Yesh Atid and Naftali Bennett’s Jewish home took in 31 Knesset seats (out of 120), the brotherly partnership between those two parties has been under great public scrutiny, as we’ve all been awaiting that one issue that would force them into opposite corners of the coalition chamber.

Because, let’s face it, ideologically there are vast differences between them. The main thing they agree on is a loose understanding of the free market, which neither one has truly upheld when it came to legislation (Paul Rand would probably consider both Lapid and Bennett rabid communists…).

If you were looking to bet the average Israeli news junky, they would probably have given you odds on the settlements, the 2-state solution, Judea and Samaria, annexed East Jerusalem, E-4n – any one of these hot potato issues was most likely to tear up the perpetual, occasionally nauseating hug between Yair and Naftali.

Turns out it might be the Haredi draft—an issue both parties and both leaders agree on nearly 100 percent. Both parties believe Haredim should serve and should go to work. But the Lapid folks are insisting—as of two days ago—that criminal penalties against Haredim refusing to serve are an essential component of the proposed new law – and Lapid declared he’s prepared to walk out of the coalition government over it.

It’s kind of a Sarah Palin move, if you ask me, except she abandoned her elected office half way through her first term, and Lapid has barely warmed his Finance Minister’s abacus.

The decision to play this kind of hardball came from Lapid, or Lapid’s advisors (I’m thinking Ehud Olmert). But it definitely involves the entire Yesh Atid delegation. Rabbi Shai Piron, a Yesh Atid MK, Education Minister and former dean of a yeshiva, told Ynet: “The parasites will not receive a kosher certificate.”

Seriously? This kind of provocative, and, frankly, antisemitic language, is a sign that the kindly minister (he really is a very nice man) had received his marching orders: rev up the engine, it’s time to score some points.

Minister Ariel accused them of just that: “We asked to be kept in the loop,” he told Jacob Pery and the Yesh Atid reps around the committee table. “You did not act fairly when you prevented communication over the past two days,” he pushed on. “I asked three times” for information “and was rejected. There used to be an understanding between the two parties – a common path. And now it’s being stepped on rudely. I don’t understand what it’s for and why there’s a need to undo the agreements which we spent so many nights and hours laboring over every word written in them.”

And then a representative of the Justice Ministry stated: “We never said it was impossible to impose economic sanctions.”

Justice – that the purview of Tzipi Livni, the Israeli politician who gives narcissism a bad name. Together, Lapid and Tzipi are dreaming of a day when Haredim will be arrested and impoverished, possibly with the same police raid.

Never mind that Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon has been telling anyone who would listen that, as far as he’s concerned, there will not be any mention of sanctions – economic or criminal – in the new draft bill. After all, Yaalon is just in charge of the IDF, which will be charged with applying the new law. Why would Lapid want to be tougher on Haredi recruits than the guy in charge of the Army?

Jewish Home Breaching Coalition Agreement to Protect Israeli Lands

Friday, April 26th, 2013

There has been a significant shift regarding the plan for a massive giveaway of state land to Bedouin residents of the Negev.

At stake is land totaling hundreds of thousands of acres all over the Negev, claimed by Bedouin squatters. In the 1970s, the Bedouin were allowed to register ownership claims over these parcels with the Justice Ministry, but the state never recognized these claims, because they were not backed by legal proof of ownership. Moreover, every time the Bedouin tried to take the state to court to secure their legal ownership over the land, they lost and their lands were registered as property of the state.

In January, Minister without portfolio Benny Begin, serving in a caretaker government, proposed a land reform for the Bedouin population that was going to transform the Negev. Ignoring previous court decisions, the Begin plan was going to sanction the Bedouin squatter tenants, all of them illegal, as the legal owners of much of the Negev.

Begin and the Likud-Beitenu were so committed to this move, that they forced Jewish Home to approve, in the coalition agreement, item 51 which reads: Both sides will promote the “Law regulating Bedouin settlement, 5772-2012,” should a Jewish Home minister be a member of a ministerial committee to implement said law.

According to Maariv, on Wednesday evening there was a meeting on the Negev lands between Ministers Meir Cohen (Yesh Atid) and Uri Ariel (Jewish Home), both appointed by their parties to engage on the issue. The Jewish Home MKs Ayelet Shaked, Zevulun Kalfa and Orit Struck were also pushing a halt to the Begin plan, as were Minister Yair Shamir and MK David Rotem both from Israel Beiteinu, along with coalition chairman Mk Yariv Levin of the Likud.

In the end, according to Maariv this morning, Jewish Home and Yesh Atid, together with most of the coalition partners, reached an agreement to introduce significant changes to the Begin plan, after it had already been approved by the transitional government after the election.

The change, essentially, eliminates the Begin plan in favor of the original 2011 plan, which was approved a much less generous land giveaway to the Negev Bedouin.

According to a source in Jewish Home, the reason the government decided in January to prefer the Begin plan over the 2011 plan was that the Bedouin didn’t like the 2011 plan. Well, you can’t blame them for that, but being unhappy still does not entitle them to a land that isn’t legally theirs.

The plan will be executed over a period of five years, and the Negev Bedouin will have nine months to decide whether they accept it or prefer to sue the government over the plan. Mind you, based on past experience, suing could mean the Bedouin would be left with next to nothing, instead of what is still a legal sanctioning of their ownership of areas where they actually reside.

New Chief Rabbi Appointment Pitting Bennett Against Lapid

Friday, April 19th, 2013

In Jewish Home circles they appear certain that the National Religious party’s candidate, Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, will be the next appointed Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel. But Naftali Bennet’s BF Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party is not prepared to give them this one. In fact, Yesh Atid officials said on Thursday that they’re ready for an all out war in support of Rabbi David Stav for the post.

But the conflict between the two buddy factions is not just over who would end up as Chief Rabbi, but also over one of the illnesses of Israel’s legislative system, known as “personalized laws.” These are laws that are enacted for a singular, temporary purpose, which can only be done, seemingly, in a country without a binding constitution.

In this case, the Jewish Home faction’s candidate is over age 70, and so his backers are proposing a new law that would eliminate the age limit when it comes to appointing a Chief Rabbi.

This is exactly the kind of calloused approach to the law that Yesh Atid’s idealistic, middle-class voters hate with a passion.

Rabbi Ariel is the personification of Religious Zionism in Israel, possibly its most respected scholar. So much so, that Rabbi Stav, who gained popularity in Israel as founder and leader of Tzohar, a rabbinic organization seeking to integrate religious and secular Israelis, announced that should Rabbi Ariel run, he, Stav, would remove his candidacy.

But Education Minister Rabbi Shai Piron, himself a product of Religious Zionism, said on Thursday that he spoke with Rabbi Ariel, and the latter does not consider himself a candidate for the job.

“I will oppose the law (to loft the age limit) in the government and the Knesset, and will do anything in my power to make sure it will not pass,” Piron said privately, as reported by Maariv. “This is not the proper way to choose a chief rabbi.”

MK Aliza Lavie, also of Yesh Atid, also opposes listing the age limit by tailor-made legislation. And she’s been a supporter of Rabbi Stav since before her election to the Knesset. “There is room to amend the Chief Rabbinate,” she said, “but not through personalized legislation.”

Incidentally, MK Lavie got under the skin of Haredi politicians (would that constitute negiah?) recently, when she proposed appointing a female “Morat Halacha” (halachic teacher) alongside the two chief rabbis. The title “Morat Halacha” is in use as an alternative to the “Rabbah” among the Conservative and Reform. There are about 70 certified, Orthodox, female Rabbinic Advocates, who are permitted to argue in front of rabbinic courts in Israel – perhaps one of them could be chief rebbetzen?

Meanwhile, Jewish Home pols are telling everyone that they’ve got this one in the bag, and their 76-years-old candidate has received the approval of Shas’ leader Rav Ovadia Yosef and, hence, a majority of the votes needed.

Personally, I like Rabbi Ariel’s credentials very much, but I’ve been truly excited by Rabbi Stav’s achievements in the most crucial area of religion and state in Israel – helping secular Israelis feel better about their tradition.

Meanwhile, MK Moshe Feiglin is proposing the elimination of the two-rabbi deal, no more separate Ashkenazi and Sephardi authorities, we’re no longer in diaspora, he argues, all we need is one Chief Rabbi.

But what about all the patronage jobs that go with the office? You have to think before you make those grand announcements, Feiglin – what about parnassah?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/new-chief-rabbi-appointment-pitting-bennett-against-lapid/2013/04/19/

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