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July 8, 2015 / 21 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Knesset’

Israeli Cabinet Sworn in after Being Sworn At

Friday, May 15th, 2015

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began his fourth term as Prime Minister of Israel late Thursday night, presiding over a cabinet of 20, after a raucous Knesset session culminated in the ministers’ swearing-in.  Lest there be any uncertainty about whether Israel really is both a Jewish and a democratic country, the Israeli Parliament session featured empassioned addresses by Arab legislators.

The session also featured a disgusted speech by Labour Party leader Isaac Herzog, who denounced the country’s newly-elected leader and refused to join the government, calling it a “circus” because its platform rejects the Socialist Worker views of the party that controlled Israel from 1948 until Menachem Begin became Prime Minister in 1977.

Herzog’s address was a frontal and personal attack on both Netanyahu and the entire concept of cross-party cooperation in the national interest:

“This is not the government the people wanted,” Herzog said. Facing Netanyahu directly, he went on: “Your partners swindled you. What you created was a circus. Your mentors Ze’ev Jabotinsky and Menachem Begin would have been embarrassed of you. Your way is not my way. My way is the way of the Labor movement that founded this country. Give the Foreign Ministry to one of your MKs. No decent leader would join your circus,” as reported by Gil Hoffman in the Jerusalem Post.

No doubt Bibi has very thick skin, but it would be hard for any human being, even a politician, to forget that personal insult, delivered in front of the entire government and, via the press, the rest of the world.

The  “swindling” that Herzog denounced was in fact a long negotiation with each person who wound up as a Cabinet official – and with several others who did not wind up as such – over who would hold which office.

After oaths had been administered, Netanyahu explained to the Knesset that this lengthy game of musical chairs was necessitated by Israeli’s system of parliamentary elections, which fractures power in the hands of numerous small parties, each of which then has the right to extort as high a price as possible for its support of a coalition.

Netanyahu called for change of this system Thursday night. Though both his own Likud party and Herzog’s “Zionist Union” – the two largest parties – would benefit from such reform, it’s hard to see how sufficient support for it could be found across all these criss-crossing party lines.

Still, there is some hope for progress on some fronts.  Ayelet Shaked will take over as Justice Minister, and she takes office with an ambitious plan to reform the Israeli Supreme Court – long seen by many as a profoundly anti-democratic institution that rejects Knesset-passed laws whenever a majority of its 15 justices disagrees with them.

Likud plans to introduce a bill in the Knesset that will, among other things, require a modest super-majority of the Supreme Court’s justices, rather than a bare majority, before a law could be struck down.

It will be interesting to see whether, if the Knesset adopts such legislation, the Supreme Court strikes that down.

Netanyahu Names 3 Likud Ministers in Agonizing Path to New Government

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has named three Likud Knesset Members as minister, but nine other posts remain vacant only a few hours before the scheduled launch of the new government at 7 p.m. (Noon EDT) Thursday.

The re-appointment of Moshe Ya’alon as Defense Minister is no surprise. He also will be the Deputy Prime Minister, taking Netanyahu’s place when he is out of the country. Ya’alon is a safe pick because he has not shown any ambition to become Prime Minister and is not one of those Likud members who cause Netanyahu trouble.

Yuval Steinitz, a close friend of Netanyahu and who was Minister of Strategic Affairs and Intelligence in the last government, will be Minister of Energy and Infrastructure. He also will be Netanyahu’s’ pivot for coordinating the campaign against nuclear Iran, one of Steinitz’s pet activities.

Yisrael Katz has been re-appointed as Transportation Minister and Intelligence Minister. Whether anyone likes him or not – he one of the old-guard party hacks – few question his outstanding work in expanding Israel’s railroad and highways.

Katz also will sit on the Security Cabinet

There are more Likud Knesset Members hungry for a ministry post than there are ministries.

Miri Regev, who was near the top in the Likud primaries, will most certainly receive a Cabinet post.  Benny Begin, son of the late Prime Minister, will be a Minister without Portfolio.

Ofir Akunis officially will be Minister without Portfolio but in effect will head the Communications Ministry, a post that is Netanyahu keeping vacant.

Other Likud MKs in the running for other ministries are Tzipi Hotovely, Yariv Levin, Silvan Shalom, Gila Gamliel, Gilad Erdan, Ze’ev Elkin, Danny Danon and Chaim Katz.

Erdan has been a long-time nemesis to Netanyahu, and it is possible he will be left out of the Cabinet. He wanted to be Education Minister, but that post was given to Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) chairman Naftali Bennett. Then he wanted to be Foreign Minister, but that is a non-starter. Netanyahu also refused Erdan’s request to be Public Security Minister of Interior Minister, posts which Netanyahu has reserved for others.

If Prime Minister Netanyahu can finish the puzzle by 7 p.m., the Knesset will meet in special session.

If not, there always is another day.

New elections are four years away, or maybe tomorrow.

Shades of 2003, Vote Fraud in the Knesset Already! [video]

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

In 2003, Likud MK Michael Gorlovsky double-voted in the Knesset. He voted once for himself, and once for the absent Likud MK Gilad Erdan. He lost his seat in the 2006 elections, and in 2007 received a suspended sentence and community service for the double-vote.

Also in 2003, Likud MK Yehiel Hazan double-voted – twice, in place of the absent Likud MK Inbal Gavrieli. After being accused, he then tried to tamper with the voting equipment, and was caught in the act on the Knesset’s camera. Hazan was convicted and sentenced to 4 months community service and a 6 month suspended prison sentence. He also lost his seat in the 2006 elections.

Yesterday, while voting on the expansion of the number of government ministers, the Knesset ran a voice vote.

After Knesset Secretary Yardena Miller-Horovit called out the name of Zionist Camp MK Xenia Svetlova to vote, you hear a male voice yell out in response, “in favor”.

Whoever called out was not on camera at the time, which was run live on the Knesset Channel.

There was some confusion at that point, as it was clear that Svetlova wasn’t present.

The secretary then said whoever voted in her place was not right, and a discussion ensued between her and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, who said he will deal with it.

The Knesset secretary continued the discussion, “What’s this? Someone voted in her place. Someone’s impersonating. It’s as if he voted for her. Just, they shouldn’t attack Oren.” That reference was to current Likud MK Oren Hazan, the son of Yehiel Hazan, mentioned above.

After a discussion by Knesset officials and legal advisers, it was decided that the Knesset would not investigate and try to discover who attempted to vote in place of MK Svetlova.

They made their decision based on the MK was not being visually caught on camera, and it would be difficult to firmly identify him, even though there’s only around 15-20 possible suspects (most likely from the Opposition), and second, since it’s a brand new Knesset, it was decided that whoever did it, did so “in good faith”.

Whoever it was, got very lucky yesterday.

But how does that bode for the rest of us?

Israeli Police Chief Calls for Reevaluation Israel’s Marijuana Policy

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

By Matti Bernhardt and Ehud Amiton

Israel Police Chief Yohanan Danino told students in a Beit Shemesh school on Wednesday, May 13, that he is in favor of reevaluating the state’s policy over the use of cannabis.

During a Q&A session with the students, Danino stated he is in favor of looking into how other countries in the world address the marijuana issue. He also added that the number of licenses for medical marijuana have increased, which mandates a reevaluation of the matter.

Danino said that he spoke with new members of Israel’s Knesset and suggested they reevaluate the policy in which much effort and use of the police force has been invested in the enforcement of the ban on marijuana usage.
The Israel police chief would not be the first public figure to come out in favor of changing the policy towards marijuana in Israel. Some MKs on both the left and the right are advocates of this issue.

“In a conversation with the Police Chief we came up with an outline that would abolish the law that incriminates cannabis users, as long as they are law-abiding citizens.” Jewish Home’s MK Yinon Magal, a strong supporter of legalization, told the Tazpit News Agency.

Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg, who has led the fight for legalization In the Knesset for many years, told the Tazpit News Agency that “the time has come to make a significant change in the issue of cannabis.

“The public has advanced to the point that they understand that cannabis users are normative citizens who are not harming anybody and that there’s no reason to persecute them and incriminate them. The time has come for elected officials to change the laws regarding this issue,” Zandberg told Tazpit.

The discussion over legalization in Israel is a long standing one. Although pot isn’t legal in Israel, medical marijuana is available for patients who qualify for it, such as cancer patients and MS patients. In addition to that, a form of de-criminalization is implemented, as cannabis users are not usually punished for possession of under 15 grams. Former Attorney General Meni Mazuz said in 2013 that he gave directions not to deal with soft drugs since it was a waste of enforcement resources.

An Israeli liberal political party called Ale Yarok (Green Leaf), which advocates the legalization of marijuana, has existed in Israel since 1999 and has fallen just short of getting seats in the Knesset in previous elections.

However, a survey published by Israeli news website Mako last year, showed that most Israelis were still against legalization, with 56% saying marijuana should not be legalized, and only 33% supporting such an initiative.
The coming months will show if Danino’s approach will have any effect on the new government’s stance on this issue.

Knesset Votes to Expand Number of Ministers

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

The Knesset voted on Wednesday 61 to 59 (that’s a number we’ll be hearing over and over for a while) to remove the restriction on the number of ministers the government can appoint from a limit of 18.

This was the third and final reading, and paved the way for Netanyahu to make all his needed ministerial appointment.

The extra ministers serve two important purposes.

The first is that it stabilizes the coalition.

The second, less recognized reason, is that a government the size of Israel only benefits by having enough ministers managing specific sectors, rather than concentrating numerous tasks on fewer ministers, who can’t realistically dedicate enough time or focus to everything they’re put in charge of.

The previous coalition had 22 members. This coalition may have only 20.

It also allows Netanyahu to bring in the Zionist Union and have ministerial positions to offer them.

Netanyahu Submits Coalition Guidelines – Yes to Peace, No Mention as to How

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

PM Netanyahu presented his coalition’s guidelines to the Knesset on Wednesday. You can read the coalition guideline here, in Hebrew.

Ha’aretz was quick to point out that the guidelines make no explicit commitment to create a “Palestinian state” or to implement a “two-state solution”, and also makes sure to point out that neither did Netanyahu’s two previous governments.

What the second bullet item in the guidelines says is (translation: The Israel Project):

“The government will advance the diplomatic process and will strive for a peace agreement with the Palestinians and with all our neighbors, while guarding security interests, the historic and national (interests) of Israel. If such an agreement is reached, it will be brought for authorization by the government and Knesset and if there will be the need for it as required by law, to a national referendum.”

This Israeli government definitely sets peace as one of its top goals.

But Ha’aretz is right, it doesn’t say the Israeli government will continue to chase after the deadly and delusional, messianic left-wing pipe-dream of creating another Arab terror state in the Land of Israel (we already have one of those in Gaza).

Others will say that the guideline’s language implicitly means a “Palestinian State” because historically and politically this is the same exact language used in previous negotiations, and in particular, the language insisted upon by Tzipi Livni in her prior negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.

How President Obama or the EU, who are both wedded to the failed two-state delusion will respond to the vague terminology, remains to be seen. But we’re sure it will involve mentioning the failed two-state solution.

Netanyahu has repeatedly taken steps to advance the “peace process” with the Palestinian Authority. But he has also pointed out that the Palestinian Authority is currently not capable of making or upholding any deals it signs.

 

Among the other coalition guidelines are (partial descriptions):

1. The nation of Israel has the unquestionable right to a sovereign state in the Land of Israel, our national and historic homeland.

2. See text above.

3. The government will protect the citizens and fight terror and violence.

4. The government will lower the cost of living, especially in housing, food and energy.

5. The government will reduce the monopolies and decentralize the market and increase competition, including in banking, insurance, and investment houses.

 

We will publish a full translation in English later, when it is released.

Herzog Wants New Elections

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Labor party chairman Yitzchak Herzog has called for new elections because it took Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu two months to put together a coalition government that he said will cost the taxpayers an additional $250 million.

He told a meeting of the Zionist Union, the merged parties of Labor and Tzipi Livni’s HaTnuah parties, that it would be best to go again to the polls and let the people decide if they really want what they got.

He reiterated that not only will he not join Prime Minister Netanyahu in a national unity government, but he also will do everything he can to topple the new government.

His call for a new election should not be dismissed so quickly.

There is no question that if elections were held today, the Hareidi parties would retain at least the 13 seats they now have in the Shas and Yehadut HaTorah (United Torah Judaism) parties. They probably would win a couple of more from those who made the mistake of voting for Eli Yishai’s Yachad party, which failed to get enough votes to enter the Knesset.

There also is no question that the Likud would lose at least four seats that Netanyahu grabbed from the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) in his last-minute blitz. Considering how the Prime Minister mistreated Bayit Yehudi in forming the new coalition, the party’s current strength of eight MKs likely would rise to more than 12 because it would also win back one or two seats that voters gave to the failed Yachad party.

Kulanu, led by Moshe Kachlon, would probably take a couple of seats from the Likud and a couple from Yair Lapid, who has succeeded in proving to voters there is nothing but air inside a windbag.

On the left, Livni is a dead duck, and Labor is not going to get any more votes than it now has unless they take them from Meretz, and vice-versa..

Yisrael Beiteinu also would not win any more than it now has and could even be headed for oblivion.

The Arabs would return with more or less the same 12 seats they now have.

The bottom line is that if Herzog wants new elections, let him have them.

The result will be a stronger national-religious government.

And then Herzog can call for a third round of elections, and a fourth, unit he finally figures it out that he represents a diminishing minority.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/herzog-wants-new-elections/2015/05/12/

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