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July 1, 2016 / 25 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘liberman’

Liberman Embarks on First visit to DC as Defense Minister Amid Military Aid Dispute

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) is coming to Washington DC on his inaugural visit as Defense Minister against the background of a dispute between the White House and Congress over increasing US support for Israel’s missile defense research and development. He’ll be meeting with US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, who maintained a personal friendship with Liberman’s ousted predecessor, Moshe Ya’alon (Likud). Liberman and Carter are expected to discuss the White House proposal for a long-term US military aid, which would be larger than the current package, but conditioned on Israeli agreement not to solicit additional military aid from Congress.

Last Tuesday the Administration opposed a call by Congress to increase funding for Israel’s missile defense program by $455 million, to $600 million, well above the 2017 fiscal year White House budget request.

Israel is looking to expand the US annual military aid package from the current $3.2 billion to upwards of $4.5 billion, a portion of which would go to purchases from Israeli companies. The White House is looking at a more modest increase over 10 years, and for the entire amount to be spent in the US.

According to a senior defense ministry source speaking to Ma’ariv, the military aid package is not the central purpose of the visit, rather the trip is mainly planned for introductory meetings with key players in the defense department and in Congress. “We don’t expect dramatic breakthroughs in the coming week,” the source said.

Liberman will also meet with the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Committees.

On Wednesday, Liberman will attend the Lockheed Martin roll out ceremony for the F-35 fighter planes purchased by the Israeli air force — the first of which is expected to arrive in Israel in December. The defense minister will also tour an Elbit Systems plant and meet in New York with the defense ministry purchasing delegation.

According to Walla, there is a dispute between the professional echelon in the defense ministry and Prime Minister Netanyahu over the American proposal, with the DM staff recommending signing the aid package now, and Netanyahu preferring to wait out this administration and dealing with the next president, Clinton or Trump, either one of whom would be more pro-Israel.

Liberman is much more liked by the current administration than Netanyahu, because back when Secretary of State John Kerry was still pushing for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement based on the 1967 borders, Liberman, then Israel’s foreign minister, supported the US effort, saying this was the best deal Israel could expect.

In that vein, Liberman is expected to use the opportunity of his US visit to allay fears regarding his hawkish reputation on defense, by making a major dovish statement about the two-state-solution.

JNi.Media

Liberman to Hamas: Don’t Test Us — It’ll Be your Final Round

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

The still new Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) on Wednesday delivered a clear message to Hamas: if you mess with Israel again — it would be your last round of fighting, since Israel would collapse the organization.

A senior Defense Ministry official delivered the message via the media following a briefing he had given military reporters. “A confrontation with Hamas is unavoidable and therefore it must be the final one in the Strip — the final confrontation for the Hamas regime in the Strip,” the senior spokesperson said, directing his message to the terrorist government in Gaza.

As to the northern front, the same senior official said war with Hezbollah is not expected soon, suggesting the organization’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah has no interest to draw Israel into a war, since it’s clear his group would sustain a heavy blow in such a confrontation.

Meanwhile, Minster Liberman’s takeover at Defense has not calmed down the new eruption of Arab violence in Judea and Samaria, with a rise of 27% in stone and Molotov cocktail throwing incidents around Samaria. Shomron Regional Council head Yossi Dagan said in a statement that there has been an escalation in the number of terrorist acts on Hawara road last month, with 11 terror attacks on the road in the past two months alone.

“If there’s no clear policy of a painful blow to the attacker and to his support environment, these events will only increase,” Dagan warned. “We demand that government treat these cases with a firm hand and act decisively so that we won’t have to continue accompanying our injured to hospital, if not worse.”

David Israel

DM Liberman Names New Defense Ministry Chief

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has named Sharon Shalom has his new chief of staff for the Defense Ministry.

Shalom previously served as Liberman’s chief of staff at the Foreign Ministry between 2009 until 2015, when Liberman served as Foreign Minister of Israel.

Shalom is 41 and has 4 children.

Jewish Press News Briefs

The Pilgrimage

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Politicians from across the political spectrum made a pilgrimage today to the Sarona Food Market to show that terrorists may occasionally succeed in killing us individually, but as a society we are stronger than them, and we will overcome them.

Politicians at Sarona Food Market

Politicians at Sarona Food Market

Politicians at Sarona Food Market

Photo of the Day

Liberman: Let No Terrorist Come Out Alive from Any Attack

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Last year, nine months before he was appointed Defense Minister, MK Avigdor Liberman posted on his Facebook page his expectations of the cabinet meeting to be convened at noon following the terrorist attacks. Liberman listed his expectations as follows:

1. No male or female terrorist comes out alive from any terrorist attack.

2. Adopt the rules of engagement common in the United States.

3. Revoke the residency of every eastern Jerusalem resident involved in terrorist activity.

4. Activate emergency laws and impose martial law wherever needed in order to defeat terrorism.

Liberman concluded: I remind the Prime Minister and members of the cabinet, words don’t stop terrorists. Security is achieved through an iron fist.

Avigdor Liberman's recommendations on dealing with terror - before he became Defense Minister

Avigdor Liberman’s recommendations on dealing with terror – before he became Defense Minister

This vehement call for an unabashed, strong-armed treatment of terrorism was posted on October 13, 2015, one of the toughest days in the current wave of terror, when MK Liberman was still just another member of the opposition. In the Aramon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem, two Arab terrorists boarded a bus, one carrying a gun the other a knife, and started attacking passengers at random until police overtook them. Two passengers were killed and seven injured, among them two women who were in critical condition.

A short while later there was a car ramming attack on Malchei Israel Street in Jerusalem, where one man, 59, was murdered and three injured. The terrorist exited his car and started stabbing pedestrians, until police finally arrived on the scene and neutralized him.

Then, in Ra’anana, an Arab terrorist, 22, from eastern Jerusalem arrived at the central bus station and stabbed one person, 32. Local civilians managed to subdue the terrorist.

It’s possible that Liberman and Netanyahu are implementing at least some of the points the defense minister posted some nine months ago. Israeli media on Thursday morning, following the massacre of four innocent Israelis in a downtown Tel Aviv café, reported a few stern steps which are being taken by security forces and the government.

Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Gen. Yoav Mordechai announced the freezing of 83,000 entry permits issued to Judea and Samaria Arabs to visit their families inside the green line, as a show of good will for the month of Ramadan. In addition, all the gestures given residents of Gaza, including permits to pray on the Temple Mount were frozen. And 204 visitation permits issued to the families of terrorists in Israeli prisons were revoked.

Issuing those gestures of good will were, in fact, the first act in office of the new defense minister, on the recommendation of the IDF chief of staff, as part of the policy of improving the quality of life of the Palestinian population.

The two terrorist cousins, 21, who last night attacked the heart of Tel Aviv’s nightlife came from Yatta village south of Hebron. Overnight the IDF raided their homes and interrogated their families. The security apparatus is investigating how the pair made it through the green line and who helped them.

David Israel

Liberman on Ismail Haniyeh Still Being Alive

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Not too long ago, before taking on the mantle of Defense Minister, Avigdor Liberman boasted that Hamas terror chieftain Ismail Haniyeh would be dead 2 days after Liberman became Defense Minister.

As is clear to all, we’re a week in, and Haniyeh is still walking around quite alive.

According to the Knesset channel, Liberman responded to those questioning him about Haniyeh at the press conference, stating they should wait until his term as Defense Minister is over before asking him this, and not during his first week on the job.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Bennett: ‘You Can’t Be in Favor of Eretz Israel in Hebrew while Establishing the State of Palestine in English.’

Monday, June 6th, 2016

On Sunday night, during the celebrations of Jerusalem Liberation Day at the Merkaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem, the academic crown jewel of the rightwing Greater Israel movement, Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett flatly accused Prime Minister Netanyahu of lying about his true intentions regarding a Palestinian State. “You can’t be in favor of Eretz Israel in Hebrew while establishing the State of Palestine in English,” he said, obviously pointing to the PM, who was present at the same ceremony, and accusing him of telling his voters (in Hebrew) during the last campaign that he was opposed to dividing the land, while scheming with foreign dignitaries and a number of Israeli politicians to bring on some form of the two-state solution.

The relationship between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) and Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) is about as bad as can be, feeding on 20 years of bad blood, resentments, betrayals and condescension. Ten years ago, after fighting in the 2006 Lebanon War, Bennett served as chief of staff for Netanyahu, who was then the opposition leader. He helped Netanyahu dig his way up from a deep electoral hole, but couldn’t get along with Mrs. Netanyahu (few could). Eventually, in 2008, Bennett and his political partner, Ayelet Shaked, set out to carve their own path among Israel’s rightwing voters.

When they returned victorious in 2013, with 12 seats, as leaders of a National Religious Party that everyone had been certain was going to leave the political stage — they were considered Netanyahu’s natural coalition partners — but Sara Netanyahu put down her foot. Instead of a negotiation between friends, Bennett et al were put through the wringer. It took the intervention of a third party leader, MK Yair Lapid, who forged an ad hoc, mutual-benefit alliance with Bennett, to finally open the door. Then, after the 2015 elections, when Bennett generously endorsed Netanyahu’s message that it made no difference if the settler community voted for Likud or for his own party, because he had been promised they’d all be part of the same winning coalition in the end — Bennett ended up as the last man the PM had turned to for a government post. Promises of the Defense Ministry were reneged on, and Bennett, a party chairman, ended up with a second-tier portfolio. Mind you, Bennett believes a full five of Likud’s 30 Knesset seats should have gone to him. That’s ten years’ worth of resentment.

And now, as Netanyahu continues his pursuit of a broader coalition with MK Isaac Herzog’s Zionist Camp (Labor), voices in Labor are starting to say that they’d consider the offer only if the PM is sincere in his desire for a two-state solution, and the profound way in which he could signal that commitment would be by sacrificing the only dedicated enemy of the very idea of a Palestinian State, Naftali Bennett’s Habayit Hayehudi. If Netanyahu were to go ahead and fire, or demote Bennett and the other two Habayit Hayehudi ministers, Ayelet Shaked and Uri Ariel, it would mean that five seats worth of voters who believed Netanyahu was just as anti-two-state as Bennett, actually cast their vote to get themselves and their families evicted from their homes and lands. There’s plenty to resent there.

“There are some, in Israel and the world, who join various Arab initiatives according to which we would divide the land, divide–God forbid–Jerusalem, and return to the 1967 lines,” Bennett said, “because the world is pressuring, and we must appease them. I tell these individuals tonight: never.”

As to the dual-language policy, Bennett told Netanyahu: “It’s time to say in a clear voice: the Land of Israel belongs to the nation of Israel. In Hebrew, English, Russian and French, in summer, in winter, during elections and when there are no elections. Why? Because the world is listening to us. To every word we say. The world recognizes weakness, just as it recognizes strength. The world sniffs whenever we are not certain of our right to the land, and attacks us with the fury of boycotts.”

It was a painful, raging attack, that marked the worst day in the complex relationship of these two politicians. But it would be a mistake to suggest that Bennett was acting emotionally. In fact, this had to be a well planned assault, ahead of a foreseeable dismissal of Habayit Hayehudi from the coalition. Even before Sunday’s de facto declaration of war, Bennett’s party was up at least three seats in the polls, while Likud was down by those same three seats — that was the Judea and Samaria vote. And should Netanyahu actually pursue peace negotiations at this juncture, those three seats could grow to become five, putting in risk Likud’s numeric supremacy in the next Knesset.

It was such an aggressive attack on Bennett’s part, that the pushback had to come from Likud’s own rightwing, pro-settlements wing: an anonymous Likud senior official was cited by the press, but everyone knew it was Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Ze’ev Elkin, who accused Bennett of hypocrisy—since he had lived comfortably in the previous coalition government with Minister Tzipi LIvni, while the latter was in charge of the two-state negotiations. Elkin, speaking as senior anonymous Likud man, also said it was Bennett who was threatening the stability of the most rightwing government in Israel’s history.

In the end, the cooling down of the internal fighting came from the new defense minister, Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu), also a former Netanyahu lieutenant in Likud who broke up with the boss and has maintained a terrible personal relationship with him, complete with bad blood and burgeoning resentments. Liberman said Monday morning: “I call on Naftali Bennett to calm down. Right now we need fewer declarations and more coordinated, quiet work.”

“If he can’t hold back, I suggest he undergo surgery to remove his short fuse,” Liberman said about Bennett, in a bearish kind of humor.

Incidentally, you may recall that Liberman has endured his share of ridicule upon taking on his important new position, because in an interview Liberman had given only last April, he promised that should he become defense minister, he would demand that Deputy Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau Ismail Haniya return the bodies of Israeli soldiers in his possessions or face death. There’s even a website counting the days since Liberman’s appointment and noting that the Hamas leader is still alive.

“I suggest to anyone who is asking me regarding taking care of Haniya to wait until the end of my term, and not [harass me] in my first week in office,” the new defense minsiter said.

Except that in that interview Liberman actually said Haniya should be counting his days on this earth from Liberman’s first day in office. So the inquiries are certainly legitimate.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ahead-of-coalition-reshuffle-bennett-revving-up-attacks-on-netanyahu-liberman-urging-calm/2016/06/06/

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