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May 24, 2016 / 16 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Labor’

Netanyahu-Liberman Meeting Successful

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beytenu Chief Avigdor Liberman met today at 4 PM to discuss the possibility of Liberman’s party joining the coalition.

According to reports the meeting was successful, and both sides will be setting up negotiation teams to finalize the terms of Liberman joining the coalition. The two sides hope to conclude negotiations by Friday.

Before the meeting Liberman set three conditions for entering the coalition, which he shared with journalists at a news conference Wednesday morning. The former minister of foreign affairs said his party would demand the defense portfolio, imposition of the death penalty for terrorist murderers, and pension reforms.

The Likud’s rumor mill is running full force, and it’s saying that Liberman will be getting the position of Defense Minister and Moshe Ya’alon will be getting the boot. Reportedly Netanyahu also offered Liberman the Aliyah (Immigrant Absorption) portfolio as well, to sweeten the deal. Ya’alon is very much out of favor within the Likud these days as he hasn’t stopped running off his mouth with a range of statements that have angered much of the Likud’s rank and file, even causing PM Netanyahu to call him onto the carpet the other day.

Update: PM Netanyahu spoke with Defense Minister Ya’alon and informed him that Liberman had accepted the position of Defense Minister if he joins the coalition.

Labor chief Yitzchak Herzog is also facing problems, and if it looks like Herzog failed or got played by Netanyahu, he could be facing a putsch within his own party.

Shalom Bear

Herzog Suspends Talks on Entering Coalition: ‘Netanyahu Must Choose Me or Liberman’

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

By Jesse Lempel/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Opposition leader and Labor Chairman Isaac Herzog announced on Wednesday that he was suspending talks about entering into the coalition with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, citing Netanyahu’s planned meeting the same day with Avigdor Liberman, chairman of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party.

“If Netanyahu wants to take Liberman to his government, he can do so and we will give them a hard time from the opposition. And if he accepts our demands, I already said and say again that we will consider it,” Herzog said in a Jerusalem press conference.

“Now more than ever, the choice is between Liberman in the Defense Ministry or us in the Defense Ministry. The choice is between craziness and sanity, between political and economic isolation and prosperity,” Herzog added.

Herzog’s announcement follows weeks of rumours and political maneuvering about the Labor party, an historically left-wing party, entering Netanyahu’s right-wing government. Herzog and Netanyahu met on Sunday night to discuss a potential “unity” government, a move that has provoked furious opposition among a segment of Labor’s own ranks.

A press conference by Liberman on Wednesday announcing that he would meet Netanyahu and consider joining the government, however, forced Herzog to take a step back. Herzog explained that he would not negotiate with Netanyahu “in parallel” with Liberman.

“I do not follow Liberman’s agenda or whims,” Herzog said. “I go with my truth. And just like in the past I was not swayed by threats or insults, I will not be now either. I preserved my principles and insisted on our path throughout the negotiations, and that’s why we do not have a coalition agreement with Netanyahu.”

“Avigdor Liberman’s press conference today clarified the historic choice Netanyahu is facing: either going to war and having funerals or going on a journey of hope for all Israeli citizens,” Herzog added. “Those are the choices and there is no other choice.”

Michael Bachner and Jonathan Benedek contributed to this report.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Netanyahu and Herzog Meet to Discuss ‘Unity’ Coalition Amid Labor Party Backlash

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Opposition leader and Zionist Union faction Chairman Isaac Herzog met on Sunday night to discuss the prospects of establishing a national unity government, according to a report by Israel’s Channel 2.

The meeting took place despite fierce backlash from members of Herzog’s Labor party and his political allies, who consider joining Netanyahu a betrayal, and recent polls showing Herzog’s support plummeting.

“I am not deterred by polls like these, which are about momentary fads,” said Herzog in comments to a closed conference aired on Tuesday by Israel Army Radio. “When checking them thoroughly, we can see that most of the public does not know what they mean, and still gives 30% support to the move, most of whom are from the bloc that I lead rather than the bloc on the right.”

Herzog explained last week that he will join Netanyahu’s coalition if he is given the “mandate” to deal with serious issues facing the country, including “to separate from the Palestinians” and “to make the United States and Europe our allies again.”

MK Shelly Yachimovich, a former Labor party head, is one of several of party members to strenuously object to a national unity government.

“This was an offer that should have been rejected with contempt long ago,” Yachimovich wrote last week in her weekly newsletter.

“It wouldn’t be a unity government,” she added. “It would be a right-wing government in every way, with Labor creeping in without conditions to get portfolios and positions.”

Opposition to a national unity government has also been pushed by members of the Coalition, including Likud MK Yoav Kisch.

“A narrow government that is faithful to settlements is better than a broad government lacking in values,” said Kisch last Thursday, implicitly claiming that a unity government with the Zionist Union would undermine the government’s ability to continue construction in Judea and Samaria.

“The very act of negotiating with Netanyahu is political profiteering and job trading. It’s disgraceful and constitutes a betrayal of the public trust,” Labor party MK Stav Shafir commented on Sunday.

Herzog dismissed such objections during a private meeting with Labor party activists in a recording aired Sunday on Israel’s Channel 10 news.

“If we can speak with Mahmoud Abbas, we can speak with Netanyahu,” Herzog said, referring to the president of the Palestinian Authority.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Reports: Likud and Labor Closer than Ever to Coalition

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Over the past few days there has been significant progress in the secret coalition negotiations between Prime Minister Netanyahu (Likud) and MK Itzhak Herzog (Zionist Camp – Labor), Channel 10 News reported Tuesday night. Sources inside the Zionist Camp have told Channel 10 that they believe the chances for the move are “greater than ever.” Herzog has been keeping in the loop his key members, MKs Tzipi Livni, Shelly Yachimovich and Eitan Cabel.

Still, as of Tuesday night, Herzog is yet to say yes to the Netanyahu offer, and it appears that the latter is not prepared to spot him a significant policy change on the peace negotiations, nor even revising the government’s guidelines agreement, or dropping Naftali Bennett’s Habayit Hayehudi. The only thing Netanyahu is willing to offer are ministerial portfolios, with the Foreign Ministry going to Herzog himself. So far, of the three key members the Labor chairman has consulted, only MK Cabel supports the deal, Livni and Yachimovich have rejected it out of hand.

Incidentally, a week ago there were rumors that Yachimovich would be in line for Minister of the Economy, the office that controls the off-shore gas deal with major American and Israeli companies, a deal Yachimovich has fought to kill all the way up to the Supreme Court. But, apparently, even this opportunity for the cat to be appointed to guard the cream is not enticing enough for the former Labor Chairman Yachimovich.

Israel has seen its share of wall-to-wall coalition governments, especially in the 1980s, and in each instance it has been Labor which acquiesced to join with Likud as a secondary partner, even when the two camps had come in dead even in the elections. But, as Ha’aretz pointed out Wednesday, on more recent occasions when Labor joined the right despite the enormous gaps between them on social and economic issues, the excuse has been the dream of the 2-state solution. And so, in 2005, Labor joined the late Ariel Sharon government to assist in the eviction of Jews from Gaza; and in 2009 Labor joined Netanyahu’s government after the latter had given his Bar Ilan speech promising the 2-state, which he followed up with a 10-month settlements construction freeze.

But in 2016 Netanyahu cannot offer anything even close to the 2-state, because such a move could spell his end as Likud leader. Bennett et al would leave the government and join with Lieberman to form a patriotic, pro-sovereignty block that, together with the right flank of Likud, would soon turn Netanyahu into a pariah in his own camp.

Netanyahu honestly wants Labor in his government, if only to rid him of the constant bickering of several Likud MKs who are threatening to vote against his bills, most profoundly against his budget, which is due in the coming Knesset session. With 61 MKs as the basis for his government, Netanyahu faces mock executions every week. If Labor moves over, even if only 15 or 16 out of the 24-MK faction agree, and even if Bennett and his 8-MK faction walk, Netanyahu would still have netted and additional 7 or 8 coalition members. He’s willing to pay for it with as many as 9 ministerial portfolios, as well as a few key committee chairmanships for the aspiring non-ministers in Labor.

But he can’t afford to U-turn on abandoning the 2-state solution at this point in the game.

JNi.Media

Labor Boss Herzog Interrogated with a Warning for 2nd Time

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

MK Yitzhak Herzog, chairman of the Zionist Camp (Labor) party and leader of the Knesset opposition, on Sunday was interrogated with a warning by the police anti-corruption unit Lahav 433 on suspicion of receiving illegal donations, failing to report donations and providing a false affidavit. The interrogation focuses on Herzog’s activity during the primaries for Labor Party Chairmanship in 2013, when he competed against incumbent chairman MK Shelly Yachimovich. The special police unit received the approval of Attorney Genral Avichai Mandelblit to pursue the interrogation.

Police want to know whether Herzog set up a parallel campaign center whose assignment was to find out and publish dirt on Yachimovich. Police suspect that Herzog funded that “dark headquarters” through copanies and business people whose interests he had served as minister of social services.

In May 1999 police investigated former prime minister Ehud Barak over alleged violations of the Party Funding Law, which later involved the interrogation with a warning of Herzog, who then served as cabinet secretary. In his interrogation Herzog maintained his right to keep silent. The prosecution eventually decided to close the case against Herzog, despite police objections. At the time Herzog was criticized severely for his conduct both during the campaign and in his interrogation by AG Elyakim Rubinstein (now Supreme Court Justice) and state prosecutor Edna Arbel (former Supreme Court Justice). But despite their rebuke, they let him get away with it.

Herzog’s office issued the statement: “Head of the opposition and chairman of the Zionist Camp MK Yitzhak Herzog arrived this morning to offer his version of events in response to a request from law enforcement officials. From the moment his investigation had been leaked, Herzog stressed and requested to be allowed to offer his version of events in order to leave the matter behind him, which he has done. Herzog has full confidence in the law enforcement officials and he is grateful for their dignified and decent conduct.”

MK Yachimovich said on Sunday that she is “convinced Herzog has the best interests of the party and the opposition on his mind.” She promised to “act in cooperation with him and with my colleagues in the party to decide what steps to take next. There is no doubt that an interrogation with a warning of the chairman of the party and the opposition makes the situation worse. I trust completely the police and law enforcement authorities.”

Last week Herzog referred to the possibility that he would be invited for an interrogation with a warning and said that the job of a leader is to “deal with crises, deal with criticism and also deal with libel.” Speaking at a ceremony of raising a glass in honor of the approaching Passover organized by MK Amir Peretz, Herzog added that “there are few leaders who have endured personal and political upheavals, absorbed nasty criticism, dealt bravely with a complex reality and still managed to carve out one of the most impressive success stories in military history ever — I believe Amir is familiar with all of the above up close.”

As defense minister, Amir Peretz endured a punishing war against Hezbollah in Lebanon and was ridiculed worldwide for looking through a pair of covered binoculars pretending to be seeing something. Eventually, though, he made his reputation as the man who dreamed up the concept of Iron Dome, the computerized defense system that allows Hamas to continue amassing and shooting rockets at Israeli civilian centers without Israel’s having to retaliate for it because few civilians are ever hurt.

Herzog told his party pals on that occasion: “You’ve followed me since I entered politics, you know my clean hands and honesty are the values in whose light I’ve walked and in which I believe. Since the announcement of the authorities’ looking into the party primaries became public knowledge, I’ve been telling all of you, publicly and personally, that this is part of the role of a leader: to also deal with libels that always rise up on the eve of elections. The job of the leader is to deal, lead and win. You elected me to lead this party and this camp towards governing and I intend to continue marching on this path, even if it is difficult and full of obstacles.”

David Israel

Histadrut Labor Union Files Grievance in Jerusalem Over Layoffs

Sunday, January 3rd, 2016

The Histadrut Labor Union started the secular calendar year with a warning to the Jerusalem municipality that it will file a grievance over the layoff of 170 sanitation workers.

That move is the first step towards starting a job action that could eventually paralyze the entire capital, if the union continues to proceed with each step in the typical work slowdown process.

“We are talking about cutting off the food supply of workers who are in the weakest position, a complete breach of trust when dealing with a group of workers,” said the Histadrut in a statement.

The move followed the city’s fight to save the jobs of more than 1,000 other sanitation workers, and up to 9,000 others in the city.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said last week there was no choice, given the refusal of the Finance Ministry to transfer funds to the city budget to support ongoing services. Calling the cuts “unbearable,” Barkat warned that if the government did not find a way to help, the city’s budgets for “social services, education and culture” would also be affected.

Last Thursday the Finance Minister agreed to allow the Jerusalem City Council to keep all the workers except 170 on the municipal payroll, and even to hire others.

But the grievance to be filed by the Histadrut will allow city workers who are union members to take unified action. Under the terms of a grievance, workers can participate in anything from a work slowdown to a full-scale strike after a period of two weeks.

Hana Levi Julian

Labor MK: Netanyahu Sold Out Settlements to the EU Long Before Product labeling

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

(JNi.media) MK Stav Shaffir (Zionist Camp, a.k.a. Labor) addressed the issue of product labeling, saying “the right-wing government has long ago sold out the settlements in exchange for a long list of economic benefits from the EU.”

Writing in a Wednesday night Facebook post, Shaffir, not a friend of the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, wrote: “In the coming days, you’ll be hearing Netanyahu government ministers and the Prime Minister himself crying in front of every open microphone: ‘Settlement products labeling?! Differentiating between products on the basis of their place of manufacturing?! How can those anti-Semitic Europeans imagine such a thing!’ The general hysteria, which has already begun today, will combine—as is traditionally accepted—as many references to the Holocaust as possible.”

“So Let me tell you something,” Shaffir continues, “The State of Israel is a signatory to a variety of agreements with the EU and international organizations. Economic, scientific and technological agreements, which include a clear legal distinction between sovereign Israel and the occupied territories. And the signatory to these agreements it is not Hitler nor his friend, the Mufti, but the Israeli government and its leader, Benjamin Netanyahu. Why? Because these agreements are worth tens of billions to the Israeli economy.”

Stav Shaffir is as close to a grassroots leader as you get in Israel. She gained national attention as one of the founders and organizers, and the unofficial leader of the summer of 2011 Israeli social justice protests, in which more than half a million Israelis took to the streets in huge, persistent public demonstrations. From that moment on, her rise was truly meteoric, elected to the Knesset on the Labor list at age 27, and then placing second in the January 2015 Labor primaries. Had the Zionist Camp won that 2015 election, Shaffir would have received a major government portfolio.

She writes on: “In short, just like the right-wing minister can ramble on all day long about how bad the Oslo accords are—but will never dare to cancel them and return our soldiers to the heart of the casbah in Palestinian cities, so it is in this case: nothing but shrieks and nonsense. The purest right-wing government we’ve had in years has long since sold out the settlements for a long list of economic benefits from the EU. What the European countries are doing now is to extend this ongoing, mutual understanding to the supermarket shelves.”

In a challenging tone, as befits an opposition MK and a populist leader, Shaffir concludes: “Incidentally, last week Acting Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely stated that the [EU Commission] new guidelines are [tantamount to] ‘a yellow star and delegitimization of Israel.’ If all that is true, then, in effect, the Israeli government — which has signed these agreements — is performing self-delegitimizing, and must eliminate those agreement as soon as possible, possibly tomorrow morning. Let’s see them doing it…”

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/labor-mk-netanyahu-sold-out-settlements-to-the-eu-long-before-product-labeling/2015/11/12/

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