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September 5, 2015 / 21 Elul, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Knesset’

Foreign Minister Hotovely: Tell the World ‘God Gave Israel to the Jews’

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

De facto  Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told Israeli diplomats Thursday that her policy is to deliver  a message to the world that “this land is ours” because God gave it to the Jews.

Hotovely official is Deputy Foreign Minister and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu officially has the title of Foreign Minister. In practice, he has placed his trust in her to deal with foreign diplomats.

An Orthodox woman and mother to a baby girl, Hotovely somewhat shocked several Israeli diplomats with a “Dvar Torah,” Hebrew for a short lesson from the Torah. She quoted in brief the Torah commentator Rashi, who cited the interpretation of the  first word of the Torah:

Rashi wrote:

Said Rabbi Isaac: It was not necessary to begin the Torah except from ‘This month is to you, (Exod. 12:2) which is the first commandment that the Israelites were commanded. Now for what reason did He commence with ‘In the beginning?’

Because of [the verse] ‘The strength of His works He related to His people, to give them the inheritance of the nations.’ (Psalms 111:6). For if the nations of the world should say to Israel, ‘You are robbers, for you conquered by force the lands of the seven nations [of Canaan],’ they will reply, ‘The entire earth belongs to the Holy One, blessed be He; He created it (this we learn from the story of the Creation) and gave it to whomever He deemed proper When He wished, He gave it to them, and when He wished, He took it away from them and gave it to us.’

Hotovely added, “We need to return to the basic truth of our rights to this country,” she said. “This land is ours. All of it is ours. We did not come here to apologize for that.”

Her comment that no apologizes are necessary is right out of election campaign of the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) and its chairman Naftali Bennett.

Hotovely also quoted Rabbi Yehuda Ashkenazi:

If Jews will convince themselves when facing the world that they are right in their ways, they will get along fine.

Haaretz reported that one diplomat said, “This the first time we have been asked to deliver a Dvar Torah to explain Israel to the world.”

It’s about time.

Her speech to the diplomats represents a radical change – a real revolution – in the Israeli government.

Hotovely, a darling of the national religious movement, has shown herself to be a brilliant politician, and she has won the full trust of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, which is not easy.

One of the main reasons Netanyahu named her as Deputy Foreign Minister is because Hotovely never has lashed out at the Prime Minister like other Likud politicians.

She and Moshe Feiglin, whom Netanyahu maneuvered out of the Knesset, believe that the national religious movement is better off working through the Likud party instead of a smaller and ideologically defined faction, such as the old National Religious Party (Mafdal).

Hotovely has succeeded where Feiglin failed. He tried to go one-on-one against Netanyahu. Hotovely plays the game the way politicians are supposed to play it.

Even when the government carries out expulsions of Jews from the homes in Judea and Samaria, she politely disagrees but carries on with the attitude, “He is the Prime Minister, and I respect that,”

Netanyahu can trust Hotovely, who speaks excellent English, to represent the e the government, and she has stated that she will do so even if she personally disagrees.

Foreign media are aghast that Israel has a de facto Foreign Minister who is against the two-state illusion but Netanyahu has brilliantly made Silvan Shalom responsible for the non-existence “peace process” that Israel has to pretend is alive.

Best Friends Forever?

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked met with Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein at a special Cabinet meeting held in the Israel Museum on May 19, 2015.

The position of Attorney General is one of those that Shaked hopes to reform.

Proposed Legislation: Handicapped Parking Permits for Pregnant Women

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

Who says you can’t sit in the opposition and do something positive?

MK Danny Atar (Zionist Union) has proposed legislation that would allow women in their third trimester to park in handicapped parking spots.

As of now, 22 Knesset members have signed on to proposal, including MKS from the Zionist Union, Meretz, Likud, Yirael Beytenu and Kulanu.

Atar explained that he realized the legislation was needed after his pregnant parliamentary aide arrived in the office in pain and discomfort from having to park and walk to work from so far away.

The law would make life easier for 150,000 pregnant Israeli women every year.

Pregnant women would receive their special parking permits starting from their third trimester, and they would be valid until one month after their due date. Some might say that’s worth even more than government child-support stipends. My wife would agree.

Currently the government has issued around 200,000 handicapped parking permits. This would add an additional 40,000 permits at any given time.

The only negative consequence of the law might be, where are all the handicapped people going to park?

Ayelet Shaked: Seeking to Save Israeli Democracy from the Israeli Supreme Court

Monday, May 18th, 2015

On Monday, May 18, newly-appointed Israeli Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) gave an address to the Israeli Bar Association at the southern seaside city of Eilat.

Depending on whom you ask, Shaked either continued her pledge to honor the role of justice by pushing to de-politicize the activities of the Supreme Court, or, as the Haaretz crowd asserts, continued her mission of inserting politics into the Supreme Court.

The Israeli Supreme Court is highly activist, and has derailed significant legislation passed by the Knesset. For those who believe in the right of the popularly elected branches, the two branches of government which must answer to the people, the notion of the non-elected branch having broad power to overrule the will of the majority is unnerving.

It is even more unnerving when membership in that branch is conferred, as it is in Israel, by a nine-member committee, most of whom are not accountable to the electorate. Two of those votes are cast by completely private parties, chosen by the Bar Association itself — whose members routinely appear before the very judges they put on the Court.

The 39-year-old Shaked said: “only a genuine separation of powers will ensure the survival of democracy, the balance of which is subtle. The meaning of the word ‘democracy’ is the rule of the people. The people are sovereign and choose their representatives.”

“I would like to reinforce the authority of the executive branch, while maintaining the independence and status of the judicial branch,” Shaked continued.

“In recent years it seems a large part of the public has been under the impression that this outlook (of judicial restraint) has diminished. It seems decision making – governance – is no longer under the control of the people – their elected officials in the Knesset – but is held by the judiciary. The issue is at the heart of a contentious public debate,” Shaked stressed.

It is expected that Shaked will work to re-assert the separation of powers during her tenure as Justice Minister. During the coalition negotiations she submitted several bills the purpose of which would be to limit the Supreme Court’s interventionism. One example of such a legislative effort is to enable the Knesset to ratify laws struck down by the Supreme Court.

 

An Open Letter to the Opposition

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Dear Opposition Members,

You seem confused.

I don’t know if the problem is that you don’t realize you lost, or that you don’t understand what your job in the opposition is supposed to be.

So, let me clear it up for you.

You lost.

You lost, and there is no realistic coalition configuration that can give you a majority. So give it up already.

And the country isn’t divided either, as you claim. The Left won 24% of the vote (and that’s only by generously including Yesh Atid in your count, as that ideologically-empty party can swing both ways). You were rejected.

As for your job, your job is not to bring about new elections. The nation doesn’t want your communists, socialists, 2-staters, multiculturalists and polyculturalists.

Nor do we want new elections — so stop plotting how to bring about new elections or how to cause this coalition configuration to fall.

And that whining about how bad and evil the government is?! It’s not even a week old, and it hasn’t done anything yet, so now you just sound like sore losers too.

We the people, want our government to run smoothly. We want our ideas advanced into legislation. We want our policies implemented.

Your job in the opposition is to push for your ideas, to fairly and democratically fight against policies you oppose, to raise red flags, to make sure those those citizens whose political parties didn’t win have a voice, and to keep the coalition honest.

But you’re not being honest when you vote against legislation that you yourselves would have passed if you were the ruling coalition.

That’s a dishonest opposition that exists for opposition’s sake, and not for any positive benefit to the country or to the Knesset.

And while you’re warming the back benches, consider why the people keep rejecting you.

The answer is simple.

It’s not as Anshel Pfeffer recently wrote in Ha’aretz, that Israelis have irrational fears, and the Left refuses to acknowledge them, and must now try to convince the average Israeli to get over those fears.

Pfeffer, a loyal leftist can’t see past his broken ideology either.

He thinks the country’s fears are irrational and not experiential. And that’s why his advice to his fellow leftists is wrong and won’t work.

Trying to convince us we’re wrong isn’t the answer. We’re not wrong. You are.

We know if the unrepentant Left get back in power, they will again try to ram their 2-state agenda down our throats (they say so straight out), and we the people know (from repeated experience) that this leads to buses and restaurants blowing up and missiles falling on Tel Aviv.

Until your mea culpa. Until you promise to never try to foist that on us again, until you internalize that this is wrong, Israelis are going to rationally be afraid of the Left.

And the nation isn’t stupid either.

Re-wrapping your plans under new names, and just changing the order in which you present them isn’t a new idea. It’s you stuck on your same old broken ideas, putting some new wrapping paper on it, and then thinking the rest of the country is stupid enough to not see what you just did.

Stop it already.

Use your time in the opposition, and come up with some fundamentally new ideas, maybe even consider adopting some ideas from the Right, otherwise you’ll be sitting there for a very long time, being nothing more than an annoyance on good government.

Liberman Calls for Terrorist Death Penalty Like Massachusetts, and Opens Door to Joining the Coalition

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

PM Netanyahu is probably beginning to realize that 61 to 59 is going to be difficult to maintain over a long period of time. Not because members of his coalition are going to vote against coalition positions, but because it means that everyone will have to be in the Knesset for every single vote, including the Prime Minister. No sick days, no vacations, and no important meetings in the White House.

MK Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) is probably realizing how lonely it is in the opposition, sitting with MKs he has no ideological connection with, but is still upset with how the PM treated him.

Liberman has begin sending out trial balloons. He said on Saturday that he would join the coalition if there were specific changes to the coalition’s guidelines. His position now isn’t that different from the position he took when he turned down the Prime Minister’s offers of various high-level ministries. But he also made sure to point out how poorly Netanyahu is mistreating his allies, even within the Likud.

One guideline change Liberman suggested is the death penalty for terrorists. He pointed out that even Massachusetts, a capital of liberalism and higher education, decided on the death sentence for the Boston Marathon bomber.

Liberman wants the guidelines to include: having the “Jewish-National State” law passed, equal sharing of the security burden (draft), the death penalty for terrorists, and building in Jerusalem and the Settlement blocks.

Will this power couple two realize they need each other to succeed, or will they let everything fall apart?

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-cabinet-sworn-in-after-being-sworn-at/2015/05/15/

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