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October 31, 2014 / 7 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Knesset’

Labor MK Accused of Leaking Classified Info

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

A Labor party lawmaker has been suspended from membership in subcommittees of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee for leaking classified information.

MK Omer Bar-Lev, who at one time commanded the IDF’s elite Sayeret Matkal unit, was accused of handing a copy of a letter he sent to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to one of the media outlets.

In his letter Bar-Lev allegedly claimed to have found a discrepancy between an IDF training budget report filed by a senior IDF officer last February and figures presented recently by Ya’alon describing the army’s fiscal needs.

In a statement to journalists Monday evening, Bar-Lev denied the suspension due to his leaking classified information and instead focused on the discrepancy he said he found among the defense establishment’s budget figures.

“As far as we are concerned, the main issue is that the conflicting reports of senior IDF officers to the Foreign Affairs and Defense committee must be looked into and not a minor offense over some procedure that does breach security,” the statement said.

Committee chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) told Bar-Lev the budget reports would be examined closely, according to the statement. It was Elkin who had informed Bar-Lev of the suspension, which extends throughout the summer session.

Knesset to Choose Next President June 10

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Knesset members will choose Israel’s next president on June 10, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein announced Monday.

The decision to hold elections now is a political blow to Prime Minister Netanyahu, who tried to push off elections to replace retiring President Shimon Peres in order to block the election of current front runner, MK Reuven Rivlin.

“The current race has been muddied by slander and delegimitization,” Edelstein said, “which I feel has disgraced the process and caused severe damage to this important institution.”  While the Israeli president is technically the head of state, it is a position has traditionally been a ceremonial post, with little official jurisdiction. Presidents have little authority apart from granting pardons and accepting credentials from foreign diplomats to Israel.

Peres, however, has used the office as a personal soapbox. As president, he has remained outside politics, but has frequently voiced opinions on Israel’s diplomatic process with the Palestinian Authority and other issues that have traditionally been considered outside the purview of the presidential office.

Seven who would be president

Currently, there are seven candidates for president. They include former Knesset Speaker MK Reuven Rivlin, former Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Likud MK Silvan Shalom, former Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik. former finance minister MK Meir Sheetrit, former Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner and Nobel Laureate Prof. Dan Shechtman.  Candidates have until May 27 to declare their candidacy, together with signatures from 10 Knesset members.

“I want to wish each of the [seven] candidates good luck, but beyond that I beseech and even demand of them, for me, for the Knesset and for the people of Israel, to behave with dignity, respect, decency, morality and integrity,” Edelstein continued.

Yesh Atid Blocks Israel’s ’No Early Release for Terrorists’ Bill

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Yesh Atid minister Yaakov Perry appealed a new law preventing the premature release of terrorist inmates from prison on Monday night, effectively blocking the measure.

The bill amends one of the Basic Laws of Israel, formulated in the 1960s, that allows the president to pardon terrorists under certain conditions. It was passed Sunday by the Ministerial Legislative Committee – but the move by the Science and Technology Minister stops the law from going to the Knesset plenum for its first reading.

Instead, it will go to the full Cabinet for a vote on Sunday.

Jailed terrorists — particularly the ones who are serving life sentences for multiple murders of Israeli citizens in terror attacks — are often used as bargaining chips by Arab nations and terror groups in talks with the State of Israel.

IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, kidnapped in a cross-border raid near the Gaza border by three Hamas-affiliated terrorist groups in 2006, was held hostage by Hamas in Gaza. His freedom and safe return was purchased after more than five years only at the cost of releasing more than a thousand Arab terrorist inmates from Israeli prisons — many of whom immediately resumed their activities against the Jewish State.

There are many who believe that if the option of early release for terrorist prisoners — “prisoner swaps” — was not available, terror groups with whom Israel deals would no longer find benefit in kidnapping Israeli hostages, and therefore would cease such activities.

Perry’s move was immediately condemned by lawmakers from the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party, one of the two sponsors of the bill.

Bayit Yehudi MK Ayelet Shaked, who proposed the measure together with MK David Tzur – against the objections of his own Hatnua party’s chairperson, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni – expressed outrage over Perry’s appeal.

“Tonight the truth was revealed that small politics are stronger than the blood of Israeli citizens,” Shaked told media.

“Minister Perry in the past expressed his support for the law, both to me and to my partner MK David Tzur, so his appeal is puzzling… How can the former head of the Shin Bet support releasing murderers?”

Economics Minister and Bayit Yehudi chairperson Naftali Bennett slammed the move, calling it a “mark of disgrace” on the entire Yesh Atid political party.

“Every day that this law is delayed human life is in danger,” Bennett underlined. “We will use all the tools at our disposal, including burying laws proposed by Yesh Atid, until this law is passed.

“I do not have, nor will I have any tolerance and patience for political games at the expense of laws that are essential for the security of Israeli citizens.”

Changing Your License in Israel Will Be A Little Easier

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Changing your driver’s license in Israel may get a little easier, thanks to efforts by U.S.-born Yesh Atid MK Dov Lipman.

The immigrant lawmaker has been pushing to do away with the red tape that typically snarls efforts by new immigrants to acquire an Israeli driver’s license after years of driving in their countries of origin.

Lipman is advocating for an automatic transfer from a driver’s license abroad to an Israeli license. But failing that, he was willing to praise a first move by the Committee for Absorption and Immigration, chaired by fellow Yesh Atid MK Yoel Razbozov.

The committee approved a decision not to require new immigrants to take a theory test in Hebrew if they fail the practical driving exam twice when fulfilling the requirement for transferring their driver’s license.

In addition, immigrants who serve in the IDF will have additional time to transfer their license – time served in the military will not be counted against the three-year mandatory limit (from time of immigration to Israel) for transferring one’s driver’s license from abroad.

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/liberman-vetoes-haredim-participation-in-the-coalition/2014/03/14/

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