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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Knesset’

Polls Show No Chance for Obama to Wreck Netanyahu Coalition

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Two new polls show that Israel is marching rightward and that the nationalist and religious parties would even be stronger than in the current coalition if elections were held today, mostly at the expense of Yair Lapid

The Likud Beitenu party, which reflects the merger of Likud and Yisrael Beitenu that still may be dissolved, would increase its strength from 31 in the current Knesset to 34, according to a Channel 1 poll, and 40 according to a survey by Geocartography. The second poll also showed that if the two parties were to split, they would win a combined number of 55 mandates

The Jewish Home party, headed by Naftali Bennett, would hold its own, with one poll showing a gain of one seat and the other a loss of one seat. If Likud and Yisrael Beitenu were to split, the strength of Jewish Home would sink to seven.

The left-wing Meretz party, which now has six Knesset Members, would gain one or four seats in the next Knesset, depending on which poll is accepted.

The increased strength of Likud Beiteinu comes at the expense of Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid party, which was the star of the last election by winning 19 seats. The Channel 1 poll gives it only 9 seats and the Geocartography survey came up with 13.

Despite the difference in the results, the trend is clear – a sharp rise for Likud Beiteinu and a punch in the pace for Lapid. The “champion of the middle class” has lost its luster as the truth quickly emerges that he represents the upper middle class.

He has an ace up his sleeve if he can bring down the price of housing, but that is not about to happen tomorrow, next month or even this year.

The gain of Meretz and Likud Beiteinu at his expense indicates that Lapid’s charisma attracted leftists and center right secular nationalists.

As for the other parties, Shas still is around and will stay or more at less with 11 seats, according to the polls.

Labor, now under the lead of Yitzchak Herzog instead of Shelly, Yachimovich, would drop from the current 15 to 11 or gain one seat.

Both polls reveal that Tzipi Livni’s HaTunah party would be cut in half in the Knesset, from the current six MKs to only 3.

One surprise result is that former MK Aryeh Eldad, Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir, all of them to the right of the right, would win three seats.

Arab MKs Heckle Harper in Knesset (Video)

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Two Arab Knesset Members heckled Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and visiting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper until they finally stormed out of the chamber during Harper’s speech to the Knesset Monday.

The heckling started when Netanyahu spoke to Harper from the Knesset podium and called Canada a great ally. Netanyahu explained to Harper how Israel’s parliament works and that Knesset Members can scream as much as they like in the Knesset, something that “is not possible in Damascus and other places.”

MK Ahmed Tibi played right into Netanyahu’s hands and said out loud in English while pointing to his colleague MK Talab Abu-Arar, “There is no water or electricity in his village. Perhaps in Syria they have such things.”

(By the way, MK Talan Abu-Arar does have water and electricity in both his home and village).

Netanyahu, speaking in Hebrew so everyone in the Knesset would understand, said in reply, “I haven’t found that our Arab friends in Israel  want to separate from the State of Israel. Everyone wants to live here.” Knesset Speaker Yule Edelstein ended the entertainment, which Harper seemed to be enjoying, by telling Tibi, “Your message is clear, You don’t have to thank anyone for your right to speak.

Switching to English and addressing Harper, Netanyahu said, “I think I have my point about Israeli democracy. That was easy.”

In his speech, Harper said that condemnation of Israel is represents a “new strain” of anti-Semitism.

“We have witnessed, in recent years, the mutation of the old disease of anti-Semitism and the emergence of a new strain,”  he said,

The Arabs MKs did not wait around very long and walked out  during Harper’s speech, which was so pro-Zionist one wonders if it was not written by a modern day Ben Gurion.

The Canadian Prime Minister  said, “The friendship between us is rooted in history, nourished by shared values, and it is intentionally reinforced at the highest levels of commerce and government as an outward expression of strongly held inner convictions… During Canada’s mission to Afghanistan, our use of Israeli-built reconnaissance equipment saved the lives of Canadian soldiers….

We have also periodically made terrible mistakes as in the refusal of our government in the 1930s to ease the plight of Jewish refugees….

“ I would argue, support today for the Jewish state of Israel is more than a moral imperative; it is also of strategic importance, also a matter of our own, long-term interests….

“As you, Prime Minister [Netanyahu], have said, when Palestinians make peace with Israel, Israel will not be the last country to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member of the United Nations — it will be the first.

“Sadly, we have yet to reach that point….

“Canada finds it deplorable that some in the international community still question the legitimacy of the existence of the State of Israel.

“Our view on Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is absolute and non-negotiable.

“Second, Canada believes that Israel should be able to exercise its full rights as a UN member-state and to enjoy the full measure of its sovereignty….

“Third, we refuse to single out Israel for criticism on the international stage.

“Now I understand, in the world of diplomacy, with one, solitary, Jewish state and scores of others, it is all too easy  ‘to go along to get along’ and single out Israel.

“People who would never say they hate and blame the Jews for their own failings or the problems of the world, instead declare their hatred of Israel and blame the only Jewish state for the problems of the Middle East. …

“Most disgracefully of all, some openly call Israel an apartheid state.

“Think about that.

“Think about the twisted logic and outright malice behind that: a state, based on freedom, democracy and the rule of law, that was founded so Jews can flourish, as Jews, and seek shelter from the shadow of the worst racist experiment in history, that is condemned, and that condemnation is masked in the language of anti-racism.

Tzohar Rabbis Help Lead Knesset’s First Ever Tu B’Shvat Seder

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

The Knesset held its first ever Tu B’Shvat Seder on Thursday, hosted by the Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein, who focused on how the holiday promotes an enhanced connection with the Land of Israel.”

The Seder, which replicates the four cups of wine of the Passover Seder and includes traditional readings associated with land and produce, was conducted jointly by Knesset Member Ruth Calderon, of Yesh Atid, and Rabbi David Stav, founder and president of the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization.

Tu B’Shvat is taught in Jewish tradition to be the birthday of the trees and serves as the day in the Jewish calendar when thanks is given for food and produce.

“When I lived in Russia, the holiday would fall in the midst of bone-chilling winter, but here it’s a whole different experience and one that allows us to rejoice in our homeland,” Edelstein said while expressing hope that the Knesset Seder would become an annual tradition.

He added that even in the midst of the winter season in Israel, “ one can connect to the concept of blossoming trees.”

Rabbi Stav, whose efforts as head of Tzohar have been instrumental in promoting enhanced connections between Jewish tradition and the Israeli legislature, said that at its essence Tu B’Shvat is a holiday of belief.

“The truth is that even here in Israel, where the weather is relatively warm, we’re not yet seeing the trees blossom,” he said. “But the lesson is that we believe that the good times of produce and success are just ahead and that is a message of faith that has meaning far beyond just this holiday.”

MK Calderon said that the initiative for the Knesset Seder was built around a concept of promoting a Jewish renaissance within Israeli society. “This holiday serves to remind all of us of the beauty of the land we live in and to better recognize the importance of everything we have.”

The Seder features foods from all the Seven Species known as particular holy in Jewish tradition/

More than 200 people attended the Knesset Seder, including government ministers, Knesset Members and staff and students from around Israel.

Knesset Bill Proposed to Outlaw Nazi Slogans

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

The Knesset easily passed on preliminary reading on Wednesday a bill that would make it illegal to use the word Nazi and Nazi symbols, but Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said the measure violates freedom of speech.

Only 19 Knesset Members voted against the bill, sponsored by Likud Knesset Member Shimon Ohayon, with 44 in favor, but the preliminary passage does not necessarily indicate the fate of the bill, which might end up being buried in a committee. If it reaches the Knesset floor again, the bill needs approval on second and third readings before becoming law.

Several European countries ban the swastika and other Nazi symbols. The Israeli version would mean that even saying that Hitler is a Nazi or comparing former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with Hitler could be grounds for arrest, argued Hadash MK Dov Khenin. However, the bill specifically prohibits the use of the word “Nazi” to cases where there is no intention of education, documentation, academic study or reference to history.

The bill would make it a crime to call someone a Nazi or of trying to achieve the aims of Nazis.

Weinstein wrote in his opinion that while there is no question that it the improper use of Nazi symbols is disgusting, that does not mean that everything that offends the public should be a criminal offense.

Ohayon said on Israeli radio that existing laws in Israel concerning the misuse of Nazi symbols are not as strict as many in Europe. Violators would be subject to a fine of nearly $30,000.

Arab MKs: ‘Put War Criminal Sharon on Trial, Even if He is Dead’

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Upon the news of the death of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon the Arab world expressed glee, as he is perceived by them as the great Israeli butcher of the Arabs.

Palestinian Media Watch exposed that Sharon was also attacked and scorned by Arab members of Knesset, who joined the Arab world in their verbal assaults on Sharon after his death.

The predominantly Arab party Hadash, on their official Arabic Facebook page, announced that “war criminal and former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is dead.” Elsewhere on its Facebook page, the party referred to Sharon as a “murderer.” The party also posted a cartoon of Sharon walking down to Hell, dragging iron balls behind him that are chained to his feet and labeled “Deir Yassin,” “Qibya,” “Sabra,” and “Shatila.”

Arab Balad party Knesset Member Jamal Zahalka, posted on his Facebook page the demand to “put war criminal Sharon on trial, even if he is dead!”

He accused Sharon of having committed “crimes against humanity,” and suggested “showcase trials in absentia” for Sharon. “Sharon’s death, eight years after he was clinically dead, is an opportunity to emphasize that we must prosecute and bring war criminals to trial in international court,” he wrote. “If this is not possible, as in Sharon’s case, we must conduct a showcase trial with them in absentia, in which detailed charges of their crimes against humanity will be presented

“This [should be done] to expose Zionism’s shame and its crimes. Sharon was one of the conspicuous figures who committed and represented them… Sharon is dead, but the criminal policy he adopted still exists. Moreover, it is Israel’s official and operative policy.”

Wearing Orange? Don’t Visit Sharon Lying in State

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Guards at the Knesset made sure that no one wearing anything with the color orange in it was allowed onto the Knesset grounds for Sharon’s lying in state.

Orange was the color of the protest against Sharon’s Disengagement plan from Gush Katif.

Guards checked visitors carefully for orange bracelets, shirts, banners, and other orange colored clothing or paraphernalia.

One person, inadvertently wearing an orange shirt unrelated to the Gush Katif protest, was turned away from the Knesset grounds and not allowed to pay his respects to the former Prime Minister.

Knesset Members Hand Peres Petition for Freeing Pollard

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Knesset Members Nachman Shai and Ayelet Shaked, who head the legislative caucus to free Jonathan Pollard, presented President Shimon Peres on Wednesday with a petition signed by 106 MKs calling for the release of Jonathan Pollard.

Peres added to what is most likely another useless exercise of frustration by stating, “It is both a right and a duty for me to bring before the President of the United States of America the request to free Jonathan Pollard which comes with agreement from across the political spectrum. I will pass this petition on to President Obama.”

Bully for you, Mr. President.

By the way, Peres passed up a golden opportunity to publicly state his support for freeing Pollard by turning down President Obama’s Freedom Medal award. However, President Peres preferred the award.

At the photo op of the presentation of the petition, MK Shai, a Labor party legislator, said, “The release of Jonathan Pollard, is a national matter, all the Knesset members including the Arab ones agree, it is the only issue on which we have consensus.”

The Campaign Coordinator of the campaign to free Jonathan Pollard, Efi Lahav said, “As someone who visited Jonathan Pollard in prison in the United States, I can say that his health is in a bad way, time is ticking and it might even be too late.”

Queen Elizabeth to Honor Haredi Israeli Rabbi

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Queen Elizabeth will grant Israeli Haredi Rabbi Yitzchak Shapira one of the Commonwealth’s highest civilian honors with an appointment as Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, the British Embassy announced Tuesday.

Rabbi Shapira is the son of former Haredi Knesset Member Rabbi Avraham Yosef Shapira. The Embassy said he will be honored at Buckingham Palace for “strengthening the ties between the UK and the Haredi community.”

The rabbi responded to the announcement  by seeing he is “deeply honored” and that Britain has displayed“ warmth “and a “supportive attitude” towards Haredim.

Rabbi Shapira has “helped us build a friendship and understanding between Britain and the Haredi community,” said British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould. “Isaac ]Yitzchak] has devoted a huge amount of time over many years to helping me and my predecessors get to know this vital and important part of Israeli society.”

The award does not grant him the title of “Sir.”

Playing both sides of the street, Britain also announced it is awarding a similar honor to American-born Reform Rabbi Mark Winer, a British subject and a U.S. citizen.

Winer, 71, received the honor for services to interfaith dialogue and social cohesion in the United Kingdom. He said in a statement that he was “humbled and thrilled” to accept the honor. He is founder of the international interfaith charitable initiative FAITH: The Foundation to Advance Interfaith Trust and Harmony.

British Rabbi Herschel Gluck, founder of the Muslim-Jewish Forum, also received an OBE for services to interfaith understanding.

Another American-born recipient of the OBE award is Brett Wigdortz, 39, for his efforts as founder of the education program Teach First.

Among the other recipients of New Year’s honors from the Queen are several Jews, both born in Britain and elsewhere.

David Kustow, former chair of UK Jewish Film, was awarded an OBE for services to film and for his role in the signing of the British-Israeli film cooperation treaty. Raymond Dwek, an Oxford University professor who co-chairs the UK-Israel Life Sciences Council, was awarded a Commander of the British Empire, or CBE award, for his services to scientific collaboration.

Philanthropist Michael Heller received a knighthood for his charitable services.

An Auschwitz survivor, Mayer Hersh, was honored as a Member of the Order of the British Empire for his work in the field of Holocaust education.

Penny Ur, a British-born Israeli who studied at Oxford, was awarded an OBE for exceptional work in English teaching.

In total, more than 1,000 people were honored by the queen in advance of the new year, a British tradition since at least 1890.

 JTA contributed to this report.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/queen-elizabeth-to-honor-haredi-israeli-rabbi/2013/12/31/

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