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October 26, 2016 / 24 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘leadership’

First Crisis for Yachimovich: Kibbutzim Threatening to Leave Labor

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

The kibbutz movement is threatening to sever its historical ties with the Labor Party before the upcoming elections. The reason: the recommendation of party Chair Sheli Yachimovich that in the primaries their sector will be unified with the moshavim sector.

The kibbutz and moshav movements have historically marked two distinct philosophies within the labor movement, and nowadays, despite privatization and many other changes both movements have undergone, they still view themselves as historically distinct and as such each deserving its own dedicated representation.

Should the Yacimovich proposal be accepted in a procedural vote at the party conference by the end of the month, it will guarantee both sectors only one Knesset seat, in place of the two seats which traditionally have gone to them. According to the kibbutz movement leadership, such a move may result in their abandoning the party with which they have been strongly identified over the years.

Hanik Marshak, secretary of the kibbutzim sector, was furious at the Yachimovich decision “We oppose such a move,” she told Maariv. “Consolidating seats might hurt the party in terms of its size and representation. The Labor Party should continue its tradition of many years and not change the procedure.”

Marshak also promised that if the issue is not resolved, the kibbutzim will consider the possibility of leaving the party. “We will assemble our sector’s institutions and come to a decision,” she said.

A source inside the Labor party estimated that if it loses the kibbutzim votes, this will mark the first crisis under the leadership of Yachimovich.

Today, according to estimates, the kibbutzim sector within the Labor party holds about 7,000 registered voters. In past years, the same sector boasted as many as 15 thousand voters.

Last election the Labor Party lost its traditional control over the kibbutzim to Kadima. Labor, then still under the leadership of Ehud Barak, received the support of 30.6 percent of the kibbutzim voters, compared with 31.1 percent that went to Tzipi Livni’s party.

An old joke best explains the distinction between a kibbutz and a moshav: if a kibbutznik had enough, he’ll probably move to a moshav (easier communal rules); but if a moshavnik had enough – he sure as heck is not moving to a kibbutz (even more stringent communal rules).

Now it appears the entire kibbutz movement might be moving – but probably not to a moshav…

Yori Yanover

Assad’s Sister Defected

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Bushra al-Assad, sister of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has fled Syria with her children, an informed source told Al Arabiya English on Tuesday. Her husband, Assef Shawqat, who was the deputy chief of staff of the Syrian military, was assassinated in July.

According to the opposition website All4Syria.info, Bushra left Syria to Dubai. Apparently she fled to the UAE in the past, during a short family quarrel with her brother, Bashar.

The pro-Syrian Lebanese daily Ad-Diyar reported that Bushra, a pharmacist, was on her way to Dubai, but didn’t specify whether it would be her final destination.

According to Al Arabiya, Bushra escaped Syria amid reports of internal strife within the Alawite sect, to which the president and most of the military, intelligence, and government leadership belong.

After the assassination of her husband, Bushra expressed great anxiety about her own and her children’s safety. A recent palace “quasi-coup” within the ranks of the Alawite leadership has driven Bushra to flee Syria.

According to Ad-Diyar, “some Alawite leaders are worried that the whole sect would eventually be implicated by President Assad in crimes against civilians,” and this has turned some of them against him. It appears that a “front of Alawite officers” has been formed to negotiate with the rebels’ Free Syrian Army on overthrowing the president.

Bushra feared becoming a target of those Alawites gone rogue, who were implicated by her husband in killing civilians.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Drama in the ‘Jewish Home’ Party

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

In less than three months time the Jewish Home Party, formerly known as the National Religious Party (NRP), will be holding its first ever internal primaries. Although for most political parties the holding of primaries is not a newsworthy event, in the case of the Jewish Home Party this is quite a story.

Although for many years after its inception the NRP was consistently a ten to fifteen member party, ever since the end of the 9th Knesset in 1981 the strength of the party has been drastically reduced. With the brief exception of the 14th Knesset of 1996 when the party managed to climb back over the ten member threshold, for years the party hovered between four to six members before finally crashing down to its current level of three.

Some of the reason for the loss of power was due to the endless splintering in the national camp throughout the years as internal disputes regarding direction and vision frequently led to the creation of new parties. Similarly, for some on the left the party was seen as focusing too much on communities in Judea-Samaria-Gaza while to some on the right the party was seen as being too wishy-washy and unwilling to take a forceful stand. As a result the party witnessed an erosion of power as voters from both sides slowly drifted away.

Even the recruitment ten years ago of Effie Eitam and all the excitement that his name and presence generated couldn’t reverse the trend. Similarly, the various mergers or attempted mergers in recent years with the National Union have failed to stop the bleeding.

The result of this process is that some members of the national camp have turned to the Likud, some to the National Union and yet others to Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu.

Thus there exists today the absurd situation where on the one hand the national religious community excels and even leads in some key areas of the country – the military and hi-tech to name just a few – while in the political realm their power is diffused and hence their collective influence is nearly non-existent.

Only with both an understanding of this background and with the knowledge that unless there is a radical change the Jewish Home Party might simply disappear from the political map in the coming years, can one truly appreciate the events surrounding the upcoming party elections.

For starters, while two of the candidates for the party leadership, Zevulun Orlev and Daniel Hershkowitz, are rightly or wrongly associated with the old guard that has made the party nearly irrelevant, the third candidate, 40-year-old Naftali Bennett, is creating much excitement and anticipation. The former chief of staff of Netanyahu prior to the 2009 elections, Bennett is trying to move the party away from its traditional role of being a small sector-related party that is usually satisfied with only trying to influence the larger ruling parties and instead transform it into a significantly broader and larger party that is finally involved in leading.

Moreover, Bennett’s approach and the high hopes that are being placed on him has convinced a wide range of candidates – such as Ayelet Shaked, the secular co-founder of the MyIsrael national movement, Moti Yogev, the former Secretary General of Bnei Akiva and Dr Yehuda David, the Israeli physician who fought for the truth in the Mohammed al-Dura story – to enter the elections for the party list which are being held one week after the elections for the party leader.

Nevertheless, while Bennett’s race for the leadership and his plan to open up the party to the wider national camp in order to include traditional and secular members side by side with religious ones has earned him the support of many, including perhaps most importantly that of current Jewish Home Party member of Knesset Uri Orbach, his two opponents are still confident that they can defeat their relatively young rival.

Thus as the race to sign up members to the party comes to a close on September 9, the three candidates for the party leadership are preparing for the final push to the November 6 elections. The results of that day will probably mean the continued irrelevance of a once proud party or a breath of fresh air and hope for a frustrated and splintered national camp.

Yoel Meltzer

What Happened in Egypt?

Monday, August 20th, 2012


A short history of democracy in Egypt.

In February 2011 the Mubarak regime fell. There was going to be a parliament elected in Egypt. The parliament was elected. Its election was invalidated. Today there is no parliament in Egypt.

The Muslim Brotherhood said it would want to run one-third of the candidates for seats. Then they ran one-half. Then they ran all. Then they said they would not run a president. Then they did and elected a president. And they and the Salafists elected 70 percent of the parliament. But now there is no parliament.

The Parliament was going to pick a constituent assembly but to write a Constitution. But now there is no Constitution. There are no restrictions on presidential powers.

And then there was a Supreme Council of the Armed Forces but that was supposed to restrain the Muslim Brotherhood president. And it was supposed to be restrained by the Egypt-Israel peace treaty and by the hope of getting U.S. military aid. But the president got rid of it and fired the two top people and put in his own generals. And there is no restraint.

And we were told that the Egyptian government had promised to adhere to the Egypt-Israel peace treaty. But when it wished the regime simply violated the treaty and sent forces into the eastern Sinai. And it announced an alliance with Hamas which openly declared its desire to go to war with Israel and destroy it. And Cairo did not demur.

The Egyptian regime did more economic damage to Israel by violating its contract on natural gas shipments than any other Arab regime in the history of the country because Israel had to spend billions of dollars replacing that lost fuel. That is why Israeli taxes are going up and social spending must decline. The U.S. government did not lift a finger to help.

The entire Israeli strategic plan has had to be altered to add an entire new defensive front along the border with Egypt. New units will be organized; new fences built; new equipment ordered and paid for.

Saaed Eddin Ibrahim, arguably the Arab world’s leading sociologist and certainly the leading advocate of liberal-Islamist alliance against the old Arab military regimes has now totally changed sides, warning that the Islamists want to hijack power and establish dictatorships. He pleads for Westerners to wake up.

Egyptian President al-Mursi has now named the heads of the main Egyptian newspapers, radio stations, and television networks. They include sleaze balls that sold out to the Mubarak regime and will do whatever he tells them and supporters of Islamism. The first round-ups have begun of reporters who are to bold and honest in their investigations. The walls are closing in.

Soon the generals will be replaced; soon the judges will be replaced, and so too will the diplomats. In other words, the internal and external bureaucracy of Egypt’s government will become transformed. The old national security considerations will change.

The next stop is the court system where plans are being made already to eliminate judges. True, there were many corrupt jurists but there was no institution in Egypt where there were more courageous individuals and advocates of democracy. But that’s the problem. The very integrity that made these men stand up against Mubarak will make them do the same against the Brotherhood and they will not enforce Sharia law. Their vote against the parliamentary result was a warning. They will soon be ousted.

An upcoming conference of pro-Islamist judges will recommend massive retirements; the new constitution, written by Islamists, will weaken the courts against Sharia as interpreted by Islamic clerics. The Brotherhood will take over al-Azhar University and appoint one of its men as chief qadi, Muslim judicial official. They will get into control of the wealth religious endowments. Within a year, Egypt will be fundamentally transformed. Irretrievably transformed.

Considers what this means in foreign policy.

Current Egyptian Strategic Assessment (End of Mubarak Regime) Main threat: Revolutionary Islamism in the form of Muslim Brotherhood, Salafists, al-Qaida, and Hizballah.

Main threat (end 2012): Israel, moderate Arab states.

Competing local leadership 2011: Shia Islamism in form of Iran-led alliance, including Syria and Hizballah

Competing local leadership 2012: Competing Shia Islamists in Hizballah, Syrian regime, Iran, to some extent in Iraq and Bahrain.

Barry Rubin

Rebbetzin Chave Hecht And Camp Emunah To Be Honored

Friday, July 20th, 2012

On Sunday, July 22, Ulster County Chabad, in association with the Ellenville Jewish community and Camp Emunah, will hold the 10th Annual Empowerment Breakfast at Congregation Ezrath Israel on Rabbi Herman Eisner Square in Ellenville, N.Y. The program will start at 9 a.m.

Every year, the Jewish community of Ulster County centered in Kingston, N.Y., gathers to give respect and honor to elected public servants and law enforcement officials.

This year, the committee has chosen three prominent individuals who have “shown selflessness, diligence and professionalism in their various leadership roles in the community.” Captain Bob Nuzzo of New York State Police Troop F Zone will receive the Public Safety Award; Assemblywoman Jeanette Provenzano, who is an Ulster County legislator, will be presented the Public Service Award, and New York State Assemblywoman Claudine Tenney will receive the Community Service Award.

In addition to the local public officials being honored at this program, a very special milestone in New York State history will also be noted. The summer of 2012 marks the 60th Anniversary/Jubilee of Camp Emunah, in Greenfield Park, N.Y. A special honor and recognition will be given to the person who has devoted her life to the ideals, the goal and principles of Camp Emunah and to the thousands of young Jewish children who have attended Camp Emunah over the last 60 years.

Camp Emunah was established in 1953 by Rabbi and Rebbetzin Hecht following the directorship of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Rebbetzin Chave Hecht assumed the role as director when there were just a few dozen campers, four bunk houses, a main building and a beautiful 40-acre Lake. Over the years that her late husband, Rabbi Jacob J. Hecht, served as executive director of Camp Emunah, the camp expanded to three divisions, three swimming pools, multiple sports fields and courts, dozens of bunks, staff houses, dining room and kitchens and activity buildings. Today, more than half of the 300-acre property is being utilized for the exciting programs and healthful activities for the children of Emunah. In addition, Camp Emunah sponsors a Travelling Teen Camp that operates on the West Coast from Vancouver to the Mexican border for a four-week program.

For the 60 years of Rebbetzin Hecht’s leadership, she has always emphasized her personal involvement with every child under her care. During her years as director, she has actively developed the programs, the guidelines, the framework and the activities, as well as designed the special trips and outreach programs which Camp Emunah has been famous for.

Rabbi and Rebbetzin Hecht were pioneers in summer camping, and many camps that later followed have often approached Rebbetzin Hecht for her guidance and mentorship in helping developing their camps.

The Empowerment Breakfast will provide the opportunity for all those who wish to show their respect and thanks to Rebbetzin Hecht to join the Kingston and Ellenville Jewish communities in bestowing this honor. The program is free of charge and there will not be any solicitation of funds at the program. A catered brunch will be served.

Jewish Press Staff

Now They Are Slaughtering Palestinians in Syria

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

The world has become used to hearing and watching stories about massacres against civilians in Syria. But until recently, almost all the victims were Syrian citizens. Last week, however, it turned out that in Syria, they are also massacring Palestinians. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians live in a number of refugee camps in and around the Syrian capital of Damascus.

Earlier this week, the bodies of 16 Palestinians whose throats had been slashed were discovered in Syria.

The victims had been kidnapped while on their way by bus to their refugee camp Nairab.

According to Palestinian sources, unidentified militiamen stopped the bus, kidnapped the Palestinian men and took them to an unknown destination. A few days later the Syrian authorities announced that they had discovered the bodies of the victims in a field.

The men had been shot in the legs and chest before they were slaughtered like cattle, the Palestinian sources said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the brutal killings.

Some Palestinians blamed radical Islamic gangs operating in Syria, while others did not rule out the possibility that the murderers belonged to President Bashar Assad’s security establishment.

What is clear so far is that this new massacre against Palestinians has received little attention in the international media.

Even the Palestinian Authority leadership in the West Bank has had little to say about the massacre. This leadership is too busy promoting conspiracy theories about the mysterious death of Yasser Arafat in November 2004.

Palestinian Authority leaders are doing their utmost to hold Israel responsible for the death of Arafat.

Palestinian Authority President Abbas, who sent condolences to the families of the victims, has no time to follow up on the latest massacre against his people. The man is busy these days trying to secure financial aid to his bankrupt government.

Abbas flew to Saudi Arabia this week to beg the royal family for money to pay salaries to 160,000 Palestinian civil servants. Because of the severe financial crisis, the Palestinian government has paid its employees only half of their salaries for the past month.

Most of the Arab countries, as well, which treat Palestinians as second class citizens and subject them to apartheid systems, do not seem to care about the ongoing massacres against Palestinians in particular and Syrians in general.

Arab leaders say they do not want to give Palestinians money because they do not trust the Palestinian Authority leadership.

The slaughtering of the 16 Palestinians is seen as an attempt to drag Palestinians living in Syria into the bloody conflict between the opposition and the government. Thousands of Palestinians have already fled to Jordan, where the government of King Abdullah II does not seem keen to help them.

Many of the Palestinians have been sent back to Syria, while others, according to Palestinian and Western reports, have been placed in ghettos near the Syria-Jordan border.

Palestinians living in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon now fear another “Black September” – a reference to the massacres carried out by the Jordanians in the early 1970s.

Originally published by Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

Khaled Abu Toameh

The Gordis Not

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Daniel Gordis said “no” to the Levy Report in signing on to the far-left “Open Letter” (and the full text is below) released this week which has been fisked a bit here. At Haaretz, rather than his usual Jerusalem Post base, he defends his co-joining the left-of-center American Jews who decided to become very publicly upset at the publication of the Levy Report on Israel’s rights in, and to, Judea and Samaria.  He published this piece, Choose hope: Don’t adopt the Levy report.

In short, he thinks that:

To state publicly that what we have in Judea and Samaria is not an occupation might be a legally justifiable claim. But it would also signal that it is time to give up even thinking about how a different reality in the Middle East might be achieved. That, we must not do.

Might be?  And why is that “different reality” abhorrent enough for Gordis to join the left-of-center crowd, lend them his name, and that of the Shalem Center?  Is the issue that important for him to decide to run with this group of Israeli critics?

Well, we need to review his thinking and so here are some extracts from his defense:

The letter did not argue that Justice Levy’s legal argument was legally incorrect; it also took no stand on settlement issue writ large…The letter simply asserts that if the Prime Minister adopts the Levy Commission report, he will do Israel serious damage.

And how much damage does the letter cause, and I am not arguing that Gordis, et al., do not have the legal right to publish their thinking, but need it have been such a public shaming?  Here’s how AP had it in an analysis:

Jewish settlements are at the heart of a 3-year-old deadlock in Mideast peace efforts.

Is that the portrayal that Gordis is comfortable with?  He cannot offset that?  The “heart”?  Not the 90-year old Arab total rejection of Jewish nationalism and a Jewish presence anywhere inEretz-Yisrael?

The letter caused no damage or is it only the damage Netanyahu could possibly cause that is a problem?

He then outlines the damage to Pals. are doing to themselves:

Sadly, Israel has no partner with which to make peace. Today’s Palestinian leadership insists on the refugees’ right of return, something Israel cannot permit if it is to remain a Jewish State. The Palestinians have also rejected Netanyahu’s demand that they recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State, something that Israel must insist on if precluding the refugees’ return is to be defensible. Neither of those will change anytime soon.

He skips over a bit of terror, some incitement, the corrupt regime that is the Palestinian Authority vis-a-vis its own people and other aspects of a horrific reality but that is ignored.  Given, though, those two problematic demands, what is Israel to do?

…A wise Israeli leadership would do everything in its power to communicate to the world that beyond those two existential issues [Israel as a Jewish state and the no return of refugees – YM], which are not negotiable, Israel will discuss virtually anything. There are matters on which Israel will compromise, and others on which it will not…

What “anything” is “virtual”? What issues can be compromised?


True Arab democracy?


IDF presence, long- or short-term on the Jordan River?

Educational curriculum change?

What about Rabin’s formula?  From his October 5,1995 Knesset speech, where he summarized his

…vision of the permanent solution. It will include united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty, the country’s security border will be on the River Jordan, there will be no return to the 4 June 1967 lines and new blocs of settlements will be built in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip. He spoke of the coming elections to the Palestinian Council, the IDF’s re-deployment and the creation of three zones in the territories.

Or that isn’t left or liberal enough for Gordis’ fellow-signers?

Israel should not establish itself on principles of law?

…While the Levy Commission insisted that its findings were legal and not political, that distinction would be utterly lost on the international community.

Really?  And here we all thought that the most incriminating charge against Israel’s presence beyond the Green Line, what justifies the BDS movement, was the illegality of it all.  That charge the world does understand but Israel proving that its presence in not illegal is incomprehensible?  “Illegality” subverts Israel’s legitimacy but to disprove that is somehow no good?

Yisrael Medad

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