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October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Knesset’

MK Ze’ev Elkin to Chair Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee

Monday, May 12th, 2014

At last, the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee has a new chairperson: Likud Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin.  It’s taken six months to get there.

Elkin will chair in rotation with senior Likud lawmaker and coalition chairperson Yariv Levin. Likud MK Tzachi Hanegbi is expected to replace Elkin as deputy foreign minister.

To soothe the ruffled feathers of Yesh Atid chairman and Finance Minister Yair Lapid, his choice for the post – Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah – will instead be made a senior deputy minister.

Lapid has been negotiating with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over the issue, forever and a day. The position remained vacant since Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman was forced to leave while facing corruption charges in a trial that acquitted him of the allegations last November.

The appointment now goes to the Knesset House Committee for ratification. If approved, Elkin will take the first rotation, until January 1, 2015. Levin will then serve 17 months, until June 1, 2016. Elkin returns at that point, and remains until 2017. Levin will also continue to serve as coalition chairperson until November 2014, and simultaneously chair the Knesset House Committee.

MK Danon Goes to US Jews to Make Case against Freeing Terrorists

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, and increasingly popular Likud Knesset Member, went to the American Jewish audience Tuesday to repeat his threat that he will resign his post if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pushes through a vote to free more Palestinian Authority terrorists, including Arabs who are car-carrying Israeli citizens.

Danon is in a win-win situation. If it happens, Danon will have pulled out the rug from under Netanyahu because a growing number of Israelis and Americans are sick and tired of Israel’s freeing terrorists for no reason other than to pacify U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the Palestinian Authority. If it doesn’t happen, Danon will have scored points by taking a stand long before Netanyahu has showed his cards. The Likud’s old guard doesn’t like Danon for one reason – they are afraid he is getting too popular, but they would be smarter if they understood why.

He wrote the following article that JTA featured on Tuesday as an op-ed:

It is no secret that when Israel’s government announced this past September that we would be returning to the table to negotiate with the Palestinians, I was not optimistic about the prospects of this latest round of talks.
I knew that as much as we desire peace and normalcy for this region, our Palestinian counterparts have never tired in making demands without any corresponding willingness to offer concessions and prove themselves as real negotiating partners. While many Israelis viewed these talks as a harmless diversion to placate some of our allies abroad, I warned my colleagues of the dire implications these talks would have on our security.
Though I was extremely concerned that our government might concede strategically important territory or relinquish parts of our historic homeland, what angered me most was the Palestinian demand as a precursor to even coming to the table that we release more than a hundred of their prisoners — men and women with blood on their hands. In essence, the demand was that we set murderers free for the privilege of negotiating peace.
Last week, I made the difficult but necessary decision that if the final round of the prisoner release goes ahead as planned on March 29, I will resign my position as Israel’s deputy defense minister.
It was not a simple matter for me to vocalize my opposition to these prisoner releases when they were first agreed to. Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon fully endorsed the release, claiming that it would enhance our geopolitical standing.
While I respect my government colleagues, I could not remain silent amid the calls of mothers and fathers of victims of terror who were horrified by the notion of their loved ones’ killers being set free. I also knew that the release of convicted murders to the Palestinian cities and villages of Judea and Samaria would only encourage terrorists to increase their attacks on innocent Israelis.
Despite my strong protests last fall, the Cabinet voted to support the prime minister’s initiative. The murderers’ prison doors swung open while Israelis looked on in disgust at this injustice.
Flash forward nine months.
Despite our constant desire to find a peaceful solution, it is now apparent to everyone that these negotiations have failed. As much as our American friends wanted to make the impossible possible, the Palestinian leadership predictably held true to its demands for full Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines while maintaining its historic refusal to recognize our legitimate right to exist as a Jewish state in our ancient homeland.
If this were simply a matter of watching with proven skepticism as this charade of diplomacy was allowed to unravel, I too would likely have been ambivalent, but I wouldn’t necessarily have been angry. The ultimate disgrace, though, was that after a complete and utter failure, where the two sides are clearly no closer to the resolution of the conflict than we were a year ago, we are again being asked to release Palestinian prisoners.
This is a farce that I am not willing to accept.
I have done my utmost to serve in my role as deputy defense minister with pride and distinction, and I had looked forward to continuing to do so for the duration of the current government. At the same time, I have come to the conclusion that I cannot, and will not, represent a government that ignores the will of its people and kowtows to international opinion even when we know that doing so is harmful to our interests. If it comes to it, I will respectfully inform the prime minister of my resignation at the very moment that first prison door is unlocked, continuing to serve my nation instead as a dedicated member of Knesset.
The prime minister and the relevant parties still have the time and opportunity to recognize the danger of this planned release, and I hope that they will make the necessary decision to protect our national interest.
But if they do not, I will not stand idly by as the State of Israel further denigrates itself and harms the security of its people.

Liberman Vetoes Haredim Participation in the Coalition

Friday, March 14th, 2014

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman reportedly vetoed the idea of bringing Haredim into the coalition government, according to senior Likud sources, as reported by Makor Rishon.

Now that the fight over the Haredi draft law is over, advisers to PM Netanyahu believe that it is time to bring the Haredim into the coalition, and if that upsets Yair Lapid to the point where he pulls his Yesh Atid party out – so be it.

But resistance came from an unexpected source.

According to Likud sources, Liberman said, “I won’t remain in the coalition, if that were the case,” referring to Haredim joining the government.

Liberman has been a staunch supporter of drafting Haredim.

In another example of the tensions between Liberman and the Haredi community, Liberman and Aryeh Deri (Shas), who were friends in the past, are apparently not friends anymore.

This past week Aryeh Deri said that he could see Yitzchak Herzog (Labor) replacing Netanyahu as Prime Minister.

Netanyahu’s people have begun an anti-Deri campaign as a result of that remark, reminding Shas supporters how Deri dragged their party to the far Left, a position which doesn’t represent the view of the majorty of Shas voters.

The outspoken Haredi MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ), who has called for the destruction of non-Haredi Hesder yeshivas, had angry words to say about PM Netanyahu, the Knesset, the government, Naftali Bennett, Avigdor Liberman, adding that he will “never forgive” Netanyahu or those that were involved in the Haredi draft bill, not even on Yom Kippur, according to a Makor Rishon report.

The funny thing about politics is that one should never say never.

Knesset Passes Law that Drives Extremists to the Political Graveyard

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

The Knesset passed into law on Tuesday a measure that will restrict representation in the legislature to parties that win at least 3.25 percent of the total vote, or approximately four seats.

If elections were held today and results were similar to recent polls, Kadima, headed by Shaul Mofaz, would be non-existent, and Tzipi Livni’s Tnuah party would either join it in the political graveyard or at best be standing at the edge of the cemetery.

The Arab parties will be forced to unite or disappear, and the likes of Baruch Marzel can kiss their Knesset futures goodbye. The only thing that could save Marzel, his cohorts Itamar Ben-Gvir and former Knesset Member Aryeh Eldad, would be another mass expulsion of Jews, God forbid.

The law passed by a 67-0 unanimous vote, which was astonishing on two counts. First, no one in the coalition voted against it, for the simple reason there are two other laws slated for a vote this week, and the coalition parties wisely agreed to join forces and support them all rather than risk a nasty fight on the floor and a strikeout.

The other astonishing event, even for Israel’s three-ring circus Knesset, is that the Opposition parties boycotted the vote even though the Opposition leader once supported the same legislation.

Opposition leader Yitzchak “Bogie” Herzog once supported the same proposal, but he complained on Tuesday that the coalition government is steamrolling the democratic process by staging three votes on major bills in one week, restricting a proper debate.

Labor should be renamed the Loser party, or perhaps the Crybabies party.

The other two votes this week are on the universal draft, which is aimed at the Haredim while leaving Arabs off the hook, and a bill to make part of the Basic Law a provision that any surrender of land under Israeli sovereignty would require a national referendum before a peace agreement could be concluded.

If the referendum bill passes, that means the Knesset cannot decide on its own to surrender one inch of land in all of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights as well as any other areas that Israel might annex in the future.

Tuesday’s vote was on what is called the “Governance Bill,” which not only increases the minimum vote needed for party representation in the Knesset, but also limits the size of the Cabinet to 18 ministers.

The number of votes a party needs to enter the Knesset is the most controversial part of the bill, and Jewish Home Knesset Member Nissan Slomiansky warned that it could backfire on some parties who are riding the crest of popularity today but forget that every day is topsy-turvy Purim in Israeli politics.

Slomiansky is a long-time veteran of the old National Religious Party, which won only three Knesset seats in the elections in 2006.

Meretz also once had only three seats, but it can be argued that the new limits will encourage some people to vote for a certain party. Even if they are not enthusiastic about a certain party, they might not want to see the party lose out altogether.

The previous threshold of 2 percent for party representation made a mockery of democracy, giving every weirdo a shot at succeeding in gaining 60,000 or so votes and becoming a legislator, even if the party’s platform is wacky or simply political impossible.

In many Western countries, the minimum required for seats in the legislature varies from 4 percent in Austria and Sweden to 5 percent in Belgium and Germany

In the last Israeli elections, the perennial Marijuana “Green Leaf” party won 13,000 voters who essentially threw their ballots in the garbage can.

British PM Cameron to Visit Israel Next Week

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

British Prime Minister David Cameron will visit Israel and address the Knesset on March 12.

Cameron was originally scheduled to visit Israel in February but had to postpone the trip because of flooding in the United Kingdom. This will be Cameron’s first visit to Israel since becoming prime minister in 2010.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein invited Cameron to Israel when the two met at former South African President Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

“I welcome the arrival of the prime minister of a great and important country like Britain to address the Knesset and believe that the visit will contribute to the friendship between Britain and Israel as well as the relations between the two countries,” Edelstein said in a statement. “I am also glad that the Knesset will once again take its place as the main stage chosen by the leaders of the world to address the Israeli people.”

French President Francois Hollande, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and European Parliament President Martin Schulz all addressed the Knesset in the past year.

Feiglin Prays on Temple Mount

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

On Wednesday, for the first time in a year, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Moshe Feiglin was allowed to go up to the Temple Mount and pray, after having been forbidden to go up to the holy site by Prime Minister Netanyahu a year ago.

The visit was done under heavy police guard.

The Waqf and Arabs on the Jewish holy site did not cause any disruptions or violence, for a change.

Moshe Feiglin said, “I see my ascension to the Temple Mount as the first step towards returning full Israeli sovereignty to the Temple Mount. The Israeli police proved that when they receive the correct orders they are able to properly fulfill them.”

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein helped mediate with the police to make Feiglin’s visit possible.

This coming Tuesday, the Knesset will be discussing the issue of Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount.

Feiglin hopes that the Knesset will send a clear message that Jews should be allowed to go up the Temple from any gate.

Jews are currently banned from praying on the Temple Mount, when they are allowed to even go up.

The police also routinely harass and arrest religious Jews who go up to the Temple Mount.

Court Decision May Help Likud Dump Netanyahu’s Concessions to PA

Monday, February 17th, 2014

The Tel Aviv District Court in one swoop has threatened Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s ability to carry out concessions to the Palestinian Authority, meaning U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and also has made him vulnerable to a rebellion within his Likud party.

The ruling, virtually unnoticed or underplayed by most Israeli media, overthrows an internal Likud court decision that decreed that the head of the party’s Central Committee has the power to convene the committee on police issues, a power that Netanyahu wants only for himself.

The head of the committee happens to be one of Netanyahu’s’ most nationalist Knesset Members, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon.

After the internal Likud court overruled the Likud law committee’s decision backing Danon, he appealed to the Tel Aviv court and won his case on Monday. However, Prime Minister Netanyahu is not accepting defeat and will appeal to the Supreme Court.

That will be an interesting show. On the one hand, the High Court has a long history of ruling for democracy, in this case the claim by Danon and supported by the Tel Aviv court that Netanyahu is trying to take totalitarian control of the party.

On the other hand, if the High Court, which historically loves Peace Now and hates nationalists, upholds Danon’s claim, it could put in jeopardy Kerry’s juggernaut that has trampled over the Prime Minister. Netanyahu so far has refused to say “no” for fear of being blamed for standing up against President Barack Obama and wrecking his plan to pronounce instant peace in the Middle East with the creation of a new Palestinian Authority state within Israel’s own borders.

If Danon can convene the Central Committee on issues that Netanyahu wants to decide for himself, such as paving the way for expelling more than 150,000 Jews from Judea and Samaria, dividing Jerusalem and allowing NATO troops to protect Israel from Palestinian Authority terrorists, he could very well win the day and bury Kerry’s blind drive to rub Israel’s nose in the sand at Mahmoud Abbas’ feet.

The only obstacle to a full-scale rebellion within the Likud party is Netanyahu’s power to fire any Cabinet minister and deputy minister who gets in his way. The list is getting longer every day, including Danon, Tzipi Hotovely, Ze’ev Elkin, Yuval Steinitz and Miri Regev, among others.

If the Supreme Court does not change the lower court decision, Prime Minister Netanyahu can easily climb down from his limb, which is getting longer every day and where he is hanging much lonelier than ever, and tell President Obama that “democracy is democracy,” and, “Tough luck, pal.”

If the Likud committee votes its conscience and squashes proposed concessions, and if Prime Minister Netanyahu insists on walking on his knees with Washington, he could face political oblivion.

In 2005, the Liked Central committee voted overwhelmingly against a policy of expelling Jews from Gaza. When Sharon nevertheless tried to get his way in the Knesset Likud, formed the Kadima party and brought along most of the former Likud MKs who wanted their seats of power more than a clean conscience.

Netanyahu, who did not join the parade, does not have the clout that Sharon had.

Trying to for a new party and heading a center-left coalition would be political suicide

But having to swallow the dictates of the party Central Committee would leave him with less power.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/court-decision-may-help-likud-dump-netanyahus-concessions-to-pa/2014/02/17/

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