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December 1, 2015 / 19 Kislev, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘Knesset’

Coalition Mutiny Against Revised Ultra-Orthodox Conscription Law

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

(JNi.media) There may be a coalition crisis brewing under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s watch, over a split between his two religious partners and the rest of his narrow, 61-member Knesset majority, Israeli media reported Thursday. The rift is over the new ultra-Orthodox conscription legislation, which some Likud and Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu MKs are rejecting. The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee is expected to meet Thursday to approve amendments to the “equal burden” bill, in accordance with Netanyahu’s coalition agreements with the ultra-Orthodox. The plan was for the approved bill to go to a House vote next week, but now there appears to be a wrinkle in that fabric.

A group of several coalition MKs from Likud and Kulanu are opposing the committee’s proposed changes. The ultra-Orthodox, for their part, have made it clear that the issue is a deal breaker, meaning that Netanyahu would have to look for 13 new members to support him should the bill not go through the committee as agreed.

After the establishment of Netanyahu’s third government in March 2013, a ministerial committee headed by Yaakov Peri (Yesh Atid) recommended an IDF conscription plan that would exempt only 1,800 exceptional yeshiva students each year, demanding that the rest serve like everyone else (hence the title, “equal burden”). The Committee recommended imposing economic sanctions on educational institutions that don’t meet recruitment targets, while yeshivas with high enlistment rates would be rewarded financially. The Committee also recommended that if conscription targets are not met, criminal proceedings should ensue against individuals refusing to enlist. The legislation was passed in March, 2014.

Last Monday, the Knesset approved in a first reading the draft amendment to the conscription law, postponing the application of criminal sanctions against ultra-Orthodox recruits, and extending implementation procedures of the existing law which was passed by Netanyahu’s 3rd government. The postponement of criminal sanctions is part of the coalition agreement signed by Netanyahu 4 with the ultra-Orthodox parties. Netanyahu and the coalition faction whips made a commitment to Health Minister Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) to being the amended law to a second and third readings in ten days from last Monday.

The new law proposes two adjustment periods, one to be extended until June 30, 2020, to allow for an examination of the law’s effectiveness, followed by a second adjustment period, lasting through June 30, 2023. If enlistment figures by then would comply with expectations, the law would stay as is; otherwise, the defense minister of that time would be free to alter the arrangement to reach the recruitment targets set by the government in this law.

“Why do we need to postpone the implementation of the law by six years?” one coalition MK, who is member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense committee, wondered, speaking to NRG. “A three year postponement is not enough?”

Coalition members are also resentful of the language in the law that hands over to the defense minister legislation power that belongs to the Knesset, enabling him or her to unilaterally alter the law of the land.

Knesset Coalition Avoids 266 Hr. Budget Debate as Opposition Submits 32,000 Amendments

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

(JNi.media) “Despite the opposition’s amendments, 32,000 altogether—which shows how serious they are—we will pass a budget this week,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said before the start of the budget debate which began Wednesday afternoon.

Rookie Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon opened the budget debate with a call to Knesset Members to vote for his budget, and the Knesset plenum is already engaged in second and third voting on both the state budget and the Economic Arrangements Law for 2015-2016–which incorporates all bills and legislative amendments required for the government to fulfill its economic policy. The agenda calls for 600 votes, give or take, a process that will last many consecutive hours until some time Thursday morning.

This legislative marathon began with a brilliant parliamentary trick on the part of the opposition parties, led by MK Itzhak Herzog (Zionist Camp). The idea was to topple the government through excessive amendments. The math was simple: by law the budget must be approved by Thursday night at the latest, or the government falls and the country goes to new elections. So the opposition parties amassed 32,000 amendments to the budget, expecting that with a vote on each amendment the debate would last well into Shabbat afternoon, and by then the Netanyahu government would have been a faint memory.

But there are crafty parliamentarians on the Coalition side, too, and they decided on a precedent: they bunched related amendments together to create six hundred groups, allotting one vote per group, so that the process would last not more than 15 hours—give or take.

MK Yoel Hasson (Zionist Camp) threatened to appeal the anti-ambush ambush call of the House Committee to the High Court, and MK Israel Eichler (UTJ) told him: “Be my guest, submit all the amendments to the Supreme Court and let the justices sit and vote for two weeks running on those 32,000 amendments. They are the real sovereigns anyway, let them legislate a little…”

Netanyahu, whose 61-59 majority government was not supposed to last through the start of the Jewish year appears to be sailing calmly into New Year’s, and is very pleased with his budget, which “maintains a proper, responsible macroeconomic framework for Israel, but also adds billions to education, welfare and health, and is accompanied by very important reforms to lower the cost of living, streamline our bureaucracy and advance the Israeli economy. The economy is very strong, very stable, one of the most prominent among the world’s economies, and our responsibility is to continue this trend.”

“All that’s required of us is 24 hours of discipline,” Netanyahu commented on the marathon budget vote. “We proved that we are good at being disciplined, our small electoral advantage is meaningful, and we will maintain it and pass the Budget.”

Finance Minister Kahlon was especially proud of his defense budget: “We have reached an historic agreement with the security forces and the army,” he boasted to Calcalist. “An agreement which includes a large scale streamlining of the system alongside intensification and a multi-year budget. We’ve done away with the phenomenon of IDF officers having to court the politicians to get a bigger budget, otherwise they’d stop military training — we made that phenomenon disappear and it is no more.”

Kahlon continued: “We raised conscripts’ pay by 50%,” noting, “I think that’s not enough, they deserve more.” Israeli enlisted men and women get laughably small monthly salaries, which widens the gap between soldiers from rich and poor homes. “We want a strong economy, a healthy society and a strong army,” Kahlon said.

Knesset Bill Would Label Products from EU Boycotters

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and a label for a label.

Likud Knesset Member Miki Zohar has introduced a bill that would require importers to label all products from European Union countries that stamp goods from Judea and Samaria in an effort to discourage people from buying them.

The European Union two months ago overwhelmingly voted for labeling products from Judea and Samaria, “East Jerusalem” and the Golan Heights, distinguishing them from the rest of Israel. EU officials claimed that the labeling is not a boycott but only implements EU policy that considers those areas as “occupied territory” and not a part of Israel.

Under provisions in MK Zohar’s bill, anyone who does not label goods from European countries would face six months in prison or pay a fine of $3,700 (14.400 shekels)

He said:

Boycott Israel groups in Europe cynically use expressions such as ‘human rights’ and ‘war against the Israeli occupation,’ but their political agenda is to boycott Israel and undermine the country as a Jewish state.

If the European Union countries label pour predicts, we should take the same step so that the Israeli consumer can choose if he wants to buy predicts from countries that boycott us and instead can boycott in return.

He added that the EU policy is “gross hypocrisy” that is two-faced because the Boycott Israel movement ignores other countries such as China and Turkey that rule areas that are considered “‘occupied territory.”

MK Michael Oren of the Kulanu party carried out his own “label for a label” action Wednesday by placing “Made in Europe” stickers on European-made products sold in stores a Jerusalem neighborhood.

Netanyahu Says Police Removed Arab MK from Temple Mount

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated Wednesday afternoon that police removed Arab Knesset Member Basel Ghattas from the Temple Mount this morning in line with his order barring legislators from visiting the holy site.

Ghattas, a Christian Arab from Nazareth, sneaked past guards who did not notice he was an MK. After he sat foot near the Al Aqsa mosque compound, cameras were whipped out to film him stating that Netanyahu and the government of Israel have no sovereignty over the Temple Mount and stop him from visiting.

Police later were seen removing him.

Ghattas is a Christian, but that has not prevented him from trying to show off to Muslims constituents how concerned he is that Jews are allowed to visit.

Netanyahu said after Ghattas’ visit:

The Temple Mount has been quiet for two weeks. We are making every effort to maintain this quiet, but it would seem that someone is disturbed by this.

MK Ghattas went up to the Temple Mount, went to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. I assure you he did not do it in order to pray, he did it solely for the purpose of provocation, only to inflame the situation.

In accordance with my general directive, the police moved him away. I will not let any Knesset member or minister ignite the Temple Mount.

Deri to Leave Ministry of Economy

Saturday, October 24th, 2015

Aryeh Deri, chairman of the Shas Sephardi Hareidi party, will leave the Ministry of Economy and be given another Cabinet post following the failure of the Netanyahu government to convince him to relinquish authority over the roadmap for governing Israel’s off-shore natural gas fields.

Deri will continue to serve as Minister of the Development of the Negev and the Galilee along with another post yet to be determined. Taking over the Interior Ministry from Silvan Shalom is one possibility, but that could not take place without the agreement the senior Likud member.

The stalemate over the authority for the natural gas development has kept the Knesset from voting on the budget. Once it is passed, probably in mid-November, authorization is expected for the framework for natural gas.

Lapid ‘Fed Up with the Palestinians’

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

Yesh Atid party chairman Yair Lapid said Sunday morning he is “fed up” with Palestinian Authority Arabs and “the time has come to separate from them” but with the IDF remaining able to operate to prevent attacks on Jews.

Lapid sounded on Israel radio’s Voice of Israel (Reshet Bet) like a responsible centrist opposition leader, filling the vacuum left by Opposition leader Yitzchak Herzog whose only reactions to the recent wave of terror have been to blame Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and to claim that none of this would have happened if he had been Prime Minister.

Not even the anti-Netanyahu media have swallowed Lapid’s weak and divisive stance, and Lapid took the opportunity today to say that he backs the Prime Minister’s efforts to defeat terror.

Lapid, a former journalist, reads the political tea leaves better than Herzog and even Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman, who is huffing and puffing over polls that show his is one of the most trusted political leaders to deal with terrorism.

Seven months after the elections that gave Prime Minister Netanyahu only a one-seat majority in the coalition government, it is as strong as ever. Herzog’s refusal to join a national unity government, along with his pathetic demand that Netanyahu resign, have been met with the sound of one hand clapping.

Lieberman’s rants win him some headlines, but his rise in popularity will last as long as the wave of terror, which appears to be winding down even if it does not end.

Lapid understands better than anyone else outside the coalition that Israelis are more unfired than ever in their distrust of the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas, whose blatant incitement and lies have left the left-wing camp look like a home for dwarfs.

The anti-Netanyahu media, which include the largest electronic outlets and the Yediot Acharonot newspaper, have dismissed Tzipi Livni as useless and are ignoring Herzog for the same reason.

The same media hate Lieberman even more than Netanyahu. The only one left is Lapid, and he milking it for all it’s worth in preparation for the next elections, which don’t appear on the horizon.

Leaked Secret Recording Reveals Netanyahu Admits Freezing Settlement Construction

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

(JNi.media) Israel Army Radio exposed a recording done secretly by a participant in a closed meeting of Prime Minister Netanyahu with Likud Knesset members, in which the PM both boasts of an unprecedented increase in settlement construction during his tenure, followed by his admission that, for the time being, he intends to freze construction.

“At the moment I’ve decided not to build,” Netanyahu is heard in the recording, “That does not mean that tomorrow it won’t change, on the contrary, the way it changed before, it will change [again].”

The Prime Minister emphasized to the members of his faction his general commitment to the settlements, when he told them, “No one suspect my loyalties to Eretz Israel and to the settlements.”

The recording can prove seriously damaging to the prime minister, who is estimated to have won the last election by usurping some five seats from Bayit Yehudi, a party which receives much of its support in Judea and Samaria. The revelation that Netanyahu is prepared to abandon the housing needs of hundreds of thousands of National-Religious voters who believed they were serving their best interest by switching their votes to him could be devastating to his Likud party in the future.

The Likud Knesset faction chairman, MK Tzachi Hanegbi, sent a letter to his members saying that starting with the next closed meeting, everyone will be required to hand over their smartphones at the door. Hanegbi wrote: “Never has such a thing happen in our circle and we must guarantee this will be the last time it did.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/leaked-secret-recording-reveals-netanyahu-admits-freezing-settlement-construction/2015/10/18/

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