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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Labor’

Coalition Crisis Looming Over Israel-PA Talks?

Monday, April 7th, 2014

There are no last-minute breakthroughs to report by either side in the Israel-Palestinian Authority negotiations, and PA representatives report no progress while Israeli ministers are squabbling.

PA sources told reporters Sunday night, “The crisis continues. During the entire meeting the Israelis threatened the Palestinians and no solution to the crisis was found.”

But as the “framework agreement” talks continue to fall apart, Israel’s government coalition is now facing a crisis of its own.

In a Knesset plenum session on Monday, Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) called on the Hatnua party led by chief Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni and the Yesh Atid party headed by Finance Minister Yair Lapid to leave the government. “The failure echoes in all areas,” Herzog charged. “This is a government of failure that does not provide peace, only depression.”

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, head of the Yisrael Beyteynu party, seems to be heaping his own fuel to the fire. Liberman opened the door to new elections yesterday (Sunday April 6) with incendiary comments at The Jerusalem Post’s Annual Conference in New York, saying he would rather face new elections than extend the talks with the PA in another “grand deal.”

Liberman opposes the proposal advanced by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that would have extended the current talks until the end of 2014. The proposal would have freed the last tranche of 30 terrorists – including 20 Israeli Arab citizens – as well as an additional 400 more PA prisoners chosen by Israel as well.

The proposal and the unilateral membership applications by the PA to 15 international United Nations agencies and organizations, have torn apart Netanyahu’s coalition.

Despite intense efforts by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Special Envoy to the Middle East Martin Indyk, absolutely no progress has been made in months. Both men appear to realize that there is not much more to be done, and now appear to be backing away from the process at this point.

IDF Helicopter Transports Woman in Labor to Hospital

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

Over Shabbat, a woman from Yitzhar began having contractions.

Unable to get to the hospital because of the snow on the road, an IDF helicopter was called in.

The helicopter landed in Yitzhar and transported the woman to Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikva.

No news yet if it was a boy or a girl.

Aryeh Deri Feints Right

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Aryeh Deri, the head of the Shas party, has been trying to paint himself as a right-winger these past few weeks, or at least not a leftwinger, in an attempt to rid himself of the deeply ingrained image that he supported and enabled the Oslo Accords.

While Deri toured sites in Gush Etzion on Wednesday with his family, Deri’s close associates were busy conveying messages of love for the Settlers, according to a report in Makor Rishon.

Everyone who went through the Oslo years remembers Shas and Deri’s support for Oslo as they sat and enabled the Rabin-led government, allowing Oslo to pass. Deri’s associates told Makor Rishon that Deri and Shas never actually voted for Oslo, but rather they abstained from voting for it.

But they never add that Deri and Shas didn’t vote against Oslo either.

In fact, at the time, Shas’s 6 seats were absolutely required to keep the Labor-Meretz coalition alive, and if Shas has pulled out of the government, Oslo could never happened.

For good measure, as part of the rehabilitation of Deri’s image, Deri’s associates added the stain of Oslo on Deri are just lies spread by the extreme right.

Latest Poll: Netanyahu and Jewish Home on the Rise, Lapid Down

Friday, October 11th, 2013

The Likud-Beiteinu party and the Jewish Home parties would collectively win six more seats in the Knesset if elections were held today, according to a new poll conducted by Smith Institute for Globes business newspaper.

Labor, headed by Shelly, Yachimovich, would gain one more seat, while Yesh Atid, headed by Yair Lapid would sink form its current 19 seats to only 12.

The left-wing Meretz party would gain significantly, winning  10 seats in the projected Knesset, four more than the current six.

The Shas party would remain constant. As in previous polls, Tzipi Livni’s party would be cut in half to  three seats, and Kadima, headed by Shaul Mofaz, would disappear from the political map.

Livni Using ‘Peace Talks’ to Get Rid of Bennett

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Tzipi Livni, Israel’s senior negotiator in talks with the Palestinian Authority and head of her own tiny six-Knesset Member “Tnuah” party, is sniping at the coalition partner Jewish Home party for being an obstacle to a peace agreement.

She told Israel Radio’s flagship Reshet Bet station Tuesday morning that the peace talks would have greater support if the Jewish Home, headed by Naftali Bennett, were to leave the government and make way for Labor, which is much closer to Livni’s position.

Shelly Yachimovich, head of Labor, has said several times she would join the coalition if Jewish Home were to drop out of the coalition to thwart an unwanted agreement. That would suit Livni just fine because polls show that if elections were to be held today, her party would win only three seats in the Knesset.

If she can take the credit for getting rid of Bennett, Livni, once upon a time a hawkish nationalist Likud MK and minister, would win more support from Labor voters or could team up with Yachimovich to stay alive politically.

Bennett to Spend $140 Million on Haredi Integration

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

The Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor will allocate 500 million shekel ($140 million) to the integration of Haredim in the labor market, Minister Naftali Bennett announced today during a debate at the Knesset State Control Committee, ma’ariv reported.

“Integrating Haredim in the labor market is an acute national mission for the state of Israel,” the chair of the Jewish Home party said.

According to Bennett, “the dominant dynamic here is poverty. People who do not possess the economic ability to study Torah from morning till night would naturally seek a job. This is a blessed thing, and we must start working [to encourage it].”

Bennett added that his ministry is developing several axes along which to test the best way of integrating Haredim. “We want to direct Haredim to seek employment in areas where the market needs workers,” he said. “The current situation is that people are going to study and become proficient in areas the market doesn’t need. There’s a lack of coordination between what is and what’s needed.”

He gave one example: “Everybody is studying Law, instead of programming. There aren’t enough programmers out there, and any reasonably proficient programmer will be hired. The manufacturers are crying out, the hi-tech market is crying out for a workforce. That’s why we work all the time with the field and receive feedback. And the people in the field know well what works and what doesn’t, and we base our investment on their impressions.”

Bennett said the process will necessarily be one of trial and error, but his aim is to see in ten years the majority of Haredim integrated into the market.

Michal Tzuk, a Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor official in charge of employment, told the committee about a plan to create a prestigious program to prepare Haredim looking to work in hi-tech, which will include academic education and promoting Haredim as skilled workers.

Israeli Democracy Dealt Blow with ‘Governance Act’

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Last night the Knesset voted to raise the threshold vote from 2 to 4 percent. This means that a political party must win 4.8 seats before it can receive its first seat in the Knesset. It was presented by the Likud-Beiteinu faction as a necessary measure to enable Israel’s government to govern without the constant fear of being toppled by a walkout of one of its minor coalition members.

The new threshold would effectively eliminate the small parties in Israel, forcing them to align in large power blocks or disappear. Meanwhile, their votes should be siphoned off to four or five major parties.

There’s an inherent problem in Israel’s parliamentary system, which has made it difficult for coalition governments over the past 65 years: the executive, meaning the prime minister, is also a member of the legislative body. In order to stay in power, he or she must juggle the Knesset membership around to maintain a majority of at least 61 out of 120 members. If they go below 60, their government is likely to lose a vote of no confidence (of which it endures about 10 a week), and the nation must go to new elections.

Under the U.S. constitution, it is perfectly fine for the president to govern while both houses of Congress are in the hands of a party other than his own. He will serve out his term of four years (unless he is impeached), and would simply have to haggle with the opposition party to get his legislation through.

An attempt in the recent past to let the voter pick the prime minister in a separate vote ended up with a disappointment to anyone who thought they would attain executive stability this way – and the separate PM vote was scrapped. It appears that the only real solution would be for Israel to switch to a presidential system, with an executive who governs outside the Knesset.

But such a change would be rejected by the smaller parties, who get their life’s blood—i.e. patronage jobs—from their leaders’ stints as government ministers. A cabinet run by an executive who isn’t himself an MK would be staffed by technocrats rather than by politicians, and the smaller parties would be left out to dry, unable to suckle on the government’s teat.

The new “Governance Act” that was passed last night would presumably have the same effect on the smaller parties: they would become history. This means the elimination of all the parties that currently boast fewer than 5 MKs: Hadash (Arabs) has 4, Ra’am Ta’al-Mada (Arabs) has 4, National Democratic Assembly (Arabs) has 3, and Kadima has 2.

You may have noticed a recurring ethnic group among the Knesset factions which would be eliminated by the Governance Act. Those 11 “Arab” seats would be eliminated, unless, of course, these three factions, with vastly different platforms (one is Communist, the other two not at all). are able to unite around their single common denominator, namely that they’re not Jews.

The political thinker behind this power grab is MK Avigdor Liberman, who’s been dreaming about a Knesset where his faction, Likud-Beiteinu, could win a decisive majority, once and for all. His henchman, MK David Rotem, was the bill’s sponsor. But the law of unintended consequences and double-edged swords is strong in Israel, and the new bill could just as easily be just what the Left needed to stage a resounding comeback.

Labor (15 MKs) and Meretz (6 MKs) are really the old Mapai, Achdut Ha’avoda and Mapam, the three Zionist workers parties. Hadash is really a remnant of Maki and Rakach, the two Communist parties which split off Mapam. If the leftist establishment got it together—as it did in 1992—it could cobble Labor, Meretz, the Arabs, Kadima and Livni to create a juggernaut of more than 35, possibly 40 seats.

This kind of unity could only be forged by a common feeling of a great betrayal by the right-wing government – and, what do you know, judging by last night’s drama over the threshold vote, such a sense of betrayal is permeating the smaller parties.

One after another, opposition MKs came up to the podium and used up their time to keep silent. MK Jamal Zahalka strapped duct tape over his mouth. MK Ahmad Tibi stood with his back to the plenum. Merets chair zehava Gal-on wept, her hands over her face.

Bennett and Jewish Home Soar in Polls, Challenge Likud for Lead

Friday, July 26th, 2013

The Jewish Home party, headed by Trade, Industry and Labor Minister Naftali Bennett, would win only three Knesset seats less than the leading Likud-Beiteinu party If elections were held today according to a new Knesset Channel poll.

Likud would win 22 seats, followed by Jewish Home with 19, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party 16, Labor 15, Meretz 12 and the other parties less than five each.

The poll’s results are missing some data because the total number of the seats allocated to the parties is 15 less than the 120 in the Knesset. Even if 10 are added for the Arab parties, another five are missing.

One questionable statistic is the four seats allocated to Shas, three less than in the previous poll. Shas perennially wins approximately 10 mandates in the polls and usually comes up with one or two more in the elections. In the current Knesset, Shas has 11 seats.

The popularity of Bennett is unquestioned. He eagerly backed national religious Rabbi David Stav for Chief Rabbi and was dealt a severe loss with the solid victory of Haredi Rabbi David Lau.

Bennett lost the battle, but he picked up lots of Brownie points among the public, most of which is fed up with the Haredi domination of the Rabbinate.

The poll also showed that Lapid is holding his own with 16 seats, three less than his party now holds in the Knesset but one more than in the previous toll. Lapid has won support for his campaign for the universal draft, an issue that apparently is more important to the middle class than higher taxes that Lapid has imposed.

The popularity of Labor, headed by Shelley Yachimovich, dropped sharply from the 22 seats it won in the previous poll. It has 15 Knesset Members, the same number it would retain according to this week’s poll.

Meretz’s growing support , with 12 seats compared with the six it now holds, reflects frustration with Yachimovich, who has been far from spectacular.

If elections were held today, Kadima, headed by Shaul Mofaz, would be erased from the political map, which is no surprise.

Tzipi Livni’s Tnuva party would win only three seats, half of the number she now holds, and that also is not much of a surprise. She has no agenda other than opposing Netanyahu and supporting  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/bennett-and-jewish-home-soar-in-polls-challenge-likud-for-lead/2013/07/26/

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