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Posts Tagged ‘Lapid’

Likud to Lapid: Your Bennett Pact Will Spoil Settlement Uprooting

Friday, March 1st, 2013

At last, the Likud-Beitenu coalition negotiations team has pulled the biggest rabbit out of its hat, exposing in the process that on the two-state solution there’s no daylight between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and super-leftist Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Gal-On.

As Yesh Atid negotiators have told the daily Makor Rishon, the Likud-Beitenu team threatened them on Thursday that their political pact with Habayit Hayehudi will end up thwarting the possibility of dismantling Judea and Samaria settlement as part of a future agreement on a Palestinian state.

According to Yair Lapid’s representative at the coalition talks, two Likud reps told them on Thursday: “We’re going towards tough decisions. If you don’t break up your pact with Bennett, we won’t be able to uproot settlements should there be a need for tough decisions. Together – we could do it.”

Makor Rishon noted that a similar statement was attributed to Prime Minister Netanyahu himself during his chat with Yair Lapid immediately after the elections, but it was later denied. Yesterday, Lapid’s people stated unequivocally that they’d heard that same, explicit argument from the Likud-Beitenu team.

Meanwhile, on Thursday the Likud negotiators have enhanced their efforts to bring the Haredi parties into the government, as a means of pressuring the Jewish Home team.

If you detect a note of hysteria in the Likud’s scrambling efforts to cobble together a government, you are not mistaken. On Saturday, Netanyahu is expected to ask President Peres for a two-week extension to be able to continue his efforts, and the White House has not been helping to alleviate the pressure by leaking that President Obama would be staying home to improve his golf game if a new government is not at hand before his visit to the Holy Land.

Naturally, this bodes very well for the Lapid-Bennett team, whose cue at this point is simply to stay the course, don’t flinch, and Netanyahu would have to capitulate.

Better him than the settlements.

Bennett and Lapid Lost the Game of ‘Chicken’ and We Got Livni

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Bad news for the State of Israel and its citizens.

We’ve got Tzipi riding shotgun with Bibi at the wheel.

Tzipi’s special job will be to make peace sic with the Arabs. I kid you not.

Israel is extending its hand once more for peace with the Palestinians, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Tuesday at a press conference while announcing that former foreign minister Tzipi Livni had joined his coalition and will lead the Israeli peace negotiating team. “I am hoping for a peace deal based on two states for two people, as per the parameters I outlined during my speech at Bar Ilan University,” Netanyahu said at the conference. “Today Israel extends its hand once more for peace. We want a peace process, and we hope that it will yield results.”

Yes, Bibi has finally found himself a coalition partner, Tzipi the Movement  Livni, the lady who campaigned as an “alternative” to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.  Yes, the Tzipi who insisted that Netanyahu is a danger to peace. Yes, the lady has a price, and Bibi met it.

Since Naftali Bennett, who aligned himself with Yair Lapid, after campaigning that he will be a valuable member of Netanyhu’s coalition/cabinet only succeeded in alienating himself further.  He thought that Bibi would be so desperate for his MK’s to add to the coalition that the PM would come begging, but no surprise the political newbie miscalculated.

It really doesn’t matter that this Netanyahu-Livni coalition agreement goes 100% against both their campaign promises, statements etc. This is politics, and politics is a search, striving for power and politicians will do and say anything to get it. And no doubt that Yair Lapid sees his future with Netanyahu in the cabinet!  He’s not going to stick with Bennett.

During the election campaign, Netanyahu had reportedly made clear to several of his senior staff that no talks were taking place with Livni or other members of her party, and that the chances of her joining the next government with him as Prime Minister were nil. “Livni managed the negotiations with the Palestinians poorly,” Netanyahu was quoted in December as having told ministers. “Her entire stance is wrong and unacceptable to me.”

So, it’s time to get comfortable and watch Bibi’s show.

Good luck to the rest of us, we’re in for a bumpy ride…

Visit Shiloh Musings.

A ‘Fake’ Haredi?

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

He’s not really one of us. This is the description I have heard of Jonathan Rosenblum made by Haredim who don’t like to hear what he has to say about them. Which is why I think his latest article will do what many of similar articles in the past have done – fall on deaf ears.

Once again Jonathan has put pen to paper to write a profound criticism of his own community. A criticism often heard here. And even though that criticism is intended not as a condemnation but as mussar towards improvement, it will no doubt receive the same response it always had. It will be ignored.

The criticism he made was in response to Yair Lapid, whom he characterizes as throwing down the gauntlet to Charedim – challenging them to articulate their vision for the future of Israel. Jonathan candidly admits that Charedim have not done anything like that – that he is aware of.

This article is something I could have written myself. In fact I probably have written essays very similar to this one. My only criticism of his piece is his dismissal of Yair Lapid as totally irrelevant. With this I disagree. How can he be irrelevant if he was the stimulus for this very powerful response by Jonathan? I think Lapid is more then relevant to observant Jews for many reasons. Not the least of which is that he represents the very people he wants Haredim to address more properly.

Using R’ Shamshon Raphael Hirsh as his guide he has some very important criticisms which he unmistakably directs to his own Charedi community – publishing them in a medium that is geared towards them – Mishpacha Magazine.

He begins by recognizing that Charedim are a minority population albeit a growing one. Rather than trying to paraphrase what he said, here is the key excerpt:

WHILE MINORITY STATUS SHOULD not lead to diminished confidence in the ultimate triumph of one’s ideals, it is crucial, according to Rav Hirsch, that the minority remember that its goal is to win over the majority. Several consequences follow from that goal.

First, the minority must be ever mindful of ways in which its actions make its ideals less attractive. As previously noted in these pages, the Tolna Rebbe has said that had the Torah community done a better job of expressing hakaras hatov for the sacrifices made by soldiers over the years, it could have spared itself at least some of the current animosity.

The cause of the minority will inevitably be judged by the actions of its adherents. We can say, “Don’t judge Judaism by the Jews” as much as we want, but it will be judged by those who claim fealty to its dictates. As Rav Hirsch puts it, for thousands of years, “Judaism was judged by the Jews one saw, and the Jews [as a whole] were judged by the first Jewish person that came into the view of the gentile world.” The standard Rav Hirsch set — what might be called his Kiddush Hashem imperative — is a high one indeed: “Every single member of the minority must reflect in his own spiritual and practical life the truth and purity of his cause.”

Those words only add to the power of a lament I recently read of a rabbi who succeeded in building a large shul in an area of a major city in which there were previously no observant Jews. When he first began in kiruv work, nearly two decades ago, there was “still a certain respect and maybe even a healthy mystique” concerning the Torah observant world. In recent years, however, that has disappeared. Millions of Jews and non-Jews have been exposed to terrible chillul Hashem by “observant” Jews, and communal failures to address the actions of those individuals. As a consequence, a rabbi in kiruv is likely to confront the response, “Why would I even want to check out that world?”

Those words make fully intelligible the seriousness of chillul Hashem: “One who desecrates the Divine Name, even if he does teshuvah and Yom HaKipurim arrives and he remains fully repentant, and he suffered afflictions, still he does not achieve full atonement until he dies” (Rambam, Hilchos Teshuvah1:4).

Though we remain a minority vis-à-vis the larger Jewish world, as our communities have grown, they have become more insular and that insularity makes it easy to forget our minority status. With that forgetting has gone a terrible proliferation of chillul Hashem.

ANOTHER PERIL FOR THE MINORITY, writes Rav Hirsch, can be a certain passivity and loss of willpower brought about by over-confidence in its cause. Because it rightly “equates its own cause with the cause of G-d . . . it might easily fall into the tragic error of folding its hands . . . [and conclude that] since the success of its mission rests with G-d, it need do nothing.”

That passivity can take the form of failing to articulate a vision that can be understood by those outside our camp and appeal to those whom we must convince if the goal of becoming a majority is to be realized. Instead we content ourselves with slogans that we repeat to each other without ever testing them in the crucible of debate. He goes on to echo Lapid and challenges his own Charedi world to offer a Torah based vision of a state that is home to half the world’s Jews:

In a way, Lapid’s challenge dovetails with the final paragraphs of Rav Hirsch’s essay, in which he stresses the need for the upholders of Torah to avoid another danger facing minorities — “certain intellectual narrow-mindedness,” which becomes disdainful of all knowledge outside its particular domain as “utterly worthless.” Rav Hirsch writes that the cause of Torah “can have real, true existence only to the extent that it can mold and dominate the most varied facts of everyday living. . . . [A] minority must attach maximum importance to the realization of its principles in practice.” How many times have I made similar comments?! I am not Haredi and have been told many times to just mind my own business. But that kind of response just skirts the issues I raise. You don’t have to be Haredi to recognize a hilul HaShem. It is the obligation of every Jew to speak up when they see one. hilul HaShem knows no hashkafic boundaries – nor should any criticism of it be withheld.

On Eve of Obama’s Visit, the Right is Silent

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice President of the Conference of Presidents, is again asked why Obama is coming to Israel.

He laughs.

“Why is he coming? First they asked why he didn’t come. Now that he’s coming, they ask why he’s coming.”

Hoenlein’s view is that Obama is coming to Israel simply because of the constant attacks on him for not coming.

Still, I ask him, do you believe there is a danger that we will pay a political price for the visit—retreating from territory, freezing construction in Judea and Samaria, releasing terrorists from prison?

Hoenlein allows that the possibility exists. “But principally, as the White House said, the visit is meant to show the continuing friendship between the two countries.”

Hoenlein has been in the business for 35 years. When he warns of a danger, it’s not just because a Jew always has to worry. It’s a concrete warning—not least when we both know that there are Jews who will see to it that we have good reason to worry.

You can be quite sure that parallel to the official Israeli emissaries making their way to Washington at this time, there are a number of Israelis who make a living off the Palestinian issue going as emissaries of themselves.

Who is sponsoring these peace-mongering harbingers of terrorist attacks?

There are for-profit corporations, among them Israeli companies, that make their money from political consulting and brokering services. Their patrons include governments, government foundations, and intelligence bodies.

This is nothing new, though. In every generation there are people who work in the service of the enemy. Otherwise why would the prayer against informers be an integral part of the Amida prayer?

Judging by past experience, these brokers will offer their good offices—or have already offered them—to the State Department and the foreign media, both journalists writing background articles prior to Obama’s visit and those who will tag along during the trip. The brokers are already preparing beautifully produced folders with diagrams and flowcharts detailing the steps toward peace with the Palestinians and the prices to be paid: freezing Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria, giving away more of Area B, releasing terrorists from jail … forgetting only the additional price to be paid in blood.

These proposals have been floated previously, including several that were published in The New York Times. They are a cause for concern for the people of the State of Israel, who at the moment are living relatively peacefully.

Transferring parts of Areas B and C to the Palestinians would diminish the ability of the IDF to move around those areas. Enough blood has already been spilled for it to be crystal clear that Palestinian police officers simply don’t deliver the goods when it comes to providing security. Only the IDF does that. Moshe does the job. Moussa does not.

Benny Begin was among the first to see the problem with outsourcing Israeli security to the P.A. He was warning already in 1993 about people who during the day are P.A. policemen, but at night are terrorists. I spoke with him this week, and he discussed at length why he hasn’t changed his mind.

The release of terrorists, which is liable to accompany the surrender of territory, is a catalyst for terrorist attacks. It funnels high-quality manpower to the terrorist organizations and reduces Israel’s capacity to punish and deter the terrorists.

Ostensibly, the rationale for “gestures” such as these is that the world will see that the Palestinians fail to reciprocate and then stand at our side.

The problem is that it never worked. And it still doesn’t.

Every gesture or concession simply sets the stage for the next set of Israeli concessions. Menachem Begin thought that the evacuation of Sinai would save Judea and Samaria. Then came the pressure on Shamir to participate in the Madrid Conference. Then the retreat from Gush Katif was supposed to save Judea and Samaria. No sooner was the retreat from Gaza completed than the world renewed its pressure on Israel to withdraw from from Judea and Samaria.

Isn’t it time to switch approaches and change direction, to bring something truly new to the political arena, to put up an iron wall that will stand up against these pressures? To signal that the era of limited political endurance and insufficient national stamina is finally over?

Latest Coalition Building Rumors and Threats from Israel

Monday, February 18th, 2013

With no coalition in site, threats and insults are what the public is hearing coming from the various Israeli political parties.

Bennett’s Jewish Home (HaBayit HaYehudi) is holding steadfast in their alliance with Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party in negotiations with the Likud, and this alliance is apparently frustrating Netanyahu to no end.

Sources say that Bennett doesn’t trust any of Netanyahu’s offers, particularly when he repeatedly only learns of the offers from pollster Minah Tzemach on the news, days before he actually hears of the offer from the Likud. In response to the poor treatment he’s getting, a source in the Jewish Home party allegedly said that the Jewish Home is no longer the Likud’s lapdog.

Bennett, who has an acrimonious history with Netanyahu, was also the last party leader that Netanyahu reached out to talk to, and that includes the radical leftwing party, Meretz.

Ma’ariv reports that the Likud is threatening to go back to elections if Bennett doesn’t agree to join the coalition with the Chareidi parties.

Reportedly, the Jewish Homes response was that Netanyahu is “shooting blanks”, and that if elections were held today, the voters would punish the Likud down to 12 seats for not first going with their natural partner, the Jewish Home.

The Likud made what some consider a generous offer to the Jewish Home, but in the Jewish Home party they suspect that Netanyahu wants to play Lucy to their Charlie Brown, and pull the offer away from them at the last minute as Shamir did in 1988 to the Hareidim, and the goal is only to break the Bennett-Lapid alliance, and get one for a cheaper price. That they only heard of the offer on the news days before they heard of the offer directly from the Likud, didn’t help the Likud’s credibility

On Channel 2 they are reporting that Netanyahu plans to first create the coalition with HaTnua, Shas, UTJ, and Kadima, and only then invite Jewish Home in, leaving Yesh Atid out.

Other rumors flying around is that if Jewish Home joins without the Ultra-Orthodox parties, the Hareidi parties will retaliate with a “Price Tag” attack, and will vote for dismantling outposts and settlements.

During the elections, the religious parties, particularly Shas, crossed a number of red lines and severely disparaged the Jewish Home party.

Bennett has turned out to be the cornerstone of the coalition. Jewish Home can sit with Lapid in the coalition, or they can sit with the Hareidim, while Lapid can’t sit with the Hareidim without destroying his credibility. And with those restrictions, there simply can’t be a coalition without the Jewish Home party.

This provides Bennett with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to empower the Jewish Home party like never before, and take back some of the powers grabbed by the Ultra-Orthodox over the years and give it to the National-Religious.

Hareidim – N.I.M.B.Y.

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

Hareidim – obviously they’re worse than the Settlers. Who wants them? Worse, who wants them next living next door to you.

For a supposedly open-minded and tolerant society, some Israelis are very intolerant of Hareidim. So intolerant that they don’t want them as neighbors, while simultaneously complaining about Hareidi neighborhoods being enclaves of intolerance and isolation.

In Friday’s (Jerusalem Post) In Jerusalem, the paper went on its usual rant about Hareidim (legally, mind you) acquiring more property in Jerusalem for their growing needs.

In this latest story, the (secular) residents of Ramat Sharett, who share a border with (Hareidi) Bayit V’Gan woke up nearly too late to stop the “machinations” that put them on the “forward position on the frontlines of the ongoing haredi-secular battle in Jerusalem”.

But luckily these secular residents managed to block the legal hareidi acquisition and construction, and reach a “compromise” with the city, thus acquiring one of the two plots in question for themselves, keeping it out of Hareidi hands who had legally already won it.

This of course follows up with their previous articles on Hareidim making inroads into Kiryat HaYovel, and other “last bastions” of secularism in Jerusalem, to the dismay of the less primitive and more open and tolerant secular residents.

But don’t be concerned, all these people say that Hareidim deserve to have a place to live, just not in their back yard.

But what happens when it’s not in their back yard?

Not surprisingly, it turns out these tolerant secular open-minded progressives don’t want Hareidim to have a place to live there either.

In the Jerusalem Post’s weekend magazine, they interviewed Brian Lurie, the new president of the New Israel Fund (NIF) and Naomi Paiss, their VP of public relations.

There’s so much disgusting stuff to talk about in that article, but one particular paragraph caught my eye.

As you may have guessed from above, there are so few communities that want to let Hareidim in, for fear of them taking over.

As a result, the Hareidim have been working on building in their own towns and cities (one in the Negev, one in Wadi Ara), where they can let their hair down, and not worry about bothering secular Jews with the threat of encroachment.

But, the NIF and other progressive group don’t like the idea that Hareidim should build all-Hareidi towns for themselves. And so they try to block it.

The Jerusalem Post quotes Naomi Paiss, NIF’s VP for public relations,

“…the NIF was involved in a campaign to change what was set up to an all-haredi 50,000-person city placed in the Harish wadi area [JS: think Baqa Al-Gharbiya and Umm el Qutuf] between a regular middle-class town of ordinary Jewish people, a kibbutz down the road and an Arab village up the hill.”

Paiss says the new city would have ruined an area where pluralism is working by artificially throwing in a new ghetto.

She says she has no problem with Hareidim moving into the new development, but the NIF is proud it has suceeded in making the new development open to all.

So let’s analyze her statement, down the road is a left-wing kibbutz ghetto. Up the hill is an exclusively Arab village ghetto (Baka Al-Gharbiya – Arab population 32,000+, Jewish population: 0). And somewhere nearby is a ghetto of middle-class ordinary (presumably secular) Israelis (who would of course welcome in Hareidim with open arms to their town).

So despite all those other ghettos nearby, a new Hareidi ghetto would have ruined the pluralism of the the area. Really.

I don’t know about you, but the hypocrisy is just reeking.

And perhaps there’s something else that Paiss isn’t actually telling us either.

This area, Wadi Ara, is actually an area overwhelmingly populated by Arabs, and not Jews, though it appears to me that she wants you to think otherwise by mentioning a kibbutz and Jewish town alongside and Arab village.

If I were a suspicious fellow, I’d wonder if perhaps the NIF fears that Hareidim moving in, with their high birth rates, would Judaize the Wadi Ara area. While a “pluralistic” town, “open to all” would prevent that from happening.

But I’m not a suspicious fellow, and I’m sure that wasn’t a consideration, even if she implied that there was only a small Arab village nearby, and not a few, including one with over 32,000 Arab residents.

Bennett’s Unholy Alliance with Lapid

Friday, February 15th, 2013

I’m not going to pretend I was satisfied with the Likud’s election campaign, or even all of Prime Minister’s Netanyahu’s policies/positions over the last four years (e.g., Bar Ilan, the freeze, etc.). But in the past four years, we’ve had, first of all, a government that lasted  just about four years, which is quite an achievement in and of itself in Israel. And we’ve managed to stave off international pressure while getting sanctions in place against Iran. At the same time we’ve had modest domestic achievements, keeping the economy stable despite a global crisis and lowering the monthly cost of living.

Yet, leading up to the elections, I was shocked by how many people were so ready to abandon the Likud and Netanyahu, despite the fact that they knew only he could be Prime Minister and would need a strong showing for the Likud-Beitenu slate in order to have a stable center of gravity for his coalition.

On the day of election, I argued that weakening the Likud-Beitenu, even if by voting for the Jewish Home, to Netanyahu’s right, will actually strengthen whatever left-of-center party will join the government. That’s because even if “the right” has a majority of the Knesset, even 65 seats, a stable government requires more than that. Netanyahu will have no choice, just as he did after the last election, but to bring at least one party from the left in to stablize the coalition. Otherwise any coalition partner could bring down the government.

As the Likud-Beitenu dropped in support, that became more and more true, since the less seats it would have the more vital each coalition partner would be. While that would make Jewish Home more vital to the coalition, it would also have a similar affect on the other parties. The only method Netanyahu has of neutralizing that problem is by bringing in more parties. Practically, the weaker Likud-Beitenu was, the more necessary a left-wing party would become to the coalition. That party was Yesh Atid, which seems to be the most centrist of the sizable left-wing parties.

That prediction, or actually warning, came true with a vengeance. Not only did the Likud lose seven mandates worth of votes to Jewish Home (Jewish Home got 12 and Power to Israel got two, for a total of 14 – seven mandates greater then these two parties represented in the prior Knesset), but Yesh Atid almost doubled in size, going from a predicted 10 to 19 mandates.

So, predictably, Netanyahu’s first post-election call was to Yair Lapid.

At that point Netayahu had two realistic possibilities for a right-of-center coalition: Likud-Beitenu-Jewish Home-Yesh Atid+Shas (with a moderate Haredi-draft plan) for a 72 seat coalition OR  Likud-Beitenu-Jewish Home-Shas-UTJ-Livni-(Kadima) for a 67-69 seat coalition without Lapid (unclear draft plan, but relatively decent foreign policy positions).

(A Likud-Beitenu-Jewish Home-Shas-UTJ coalition would amount to 62 seats, would result in do-nothing government, with a bad budget, and might even fall by the time the next budget came up).

When it became clear that Lapid’s demands were too inflexible, making Shas unwilling to join the coalition, meaning the first option was not going to happen, the second option became more necessary. So Liberman went about trying to make it happen, meeting with the Jewish Home. Talks began with Livni as well. But then Bennett and Lapid formed an alliance:  Bennett would not join the government, unless Lapid also joined.

Practically, that means that Netanyahu can’t form a government without Lapid. It also means that Lapid will be strengthened in his demands, specifically his universal draft plan (which sees lowering the amount of yeshiva-exemptions to a mere 400, lower than it was in the early years of the state) and Shas and UTJ will not sit in the government. Lapid will be doubly strengthened in his demand for a renewed focus on the peace process (he still clings to Golda Meir’s non-sense slogan of, you only make peace with your enemies), because not only does he have more leverage with Netanyahu, but also because Netanyahu will need to bring in more left-wing partners to stabilize the coalition, such as Tzipi Livni who demands that she lead a renewed negotiation effort.

Netanyahu tried to break the alliance by offering Bennett virtually everything he wanted prior to elections – greater say over government guidelines and ministries – in exchange for being the first party to join the coalition. That would have weakened Lapid’s position and forced him to moderate. But Bennett refused.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/hadar/bennetts-unholy-alliance-with-lapid/2013/02/15/

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