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May 5, 2016 / 27 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘lieberman’

The Ministry of Extraneous Affairs

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

I begin with a full disclosure: a few months ago the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent me to an Asian country to advise its government in understanding a difficult matter regarding the Islamic population of that state and how to deal with this matter. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized the event perfectly, in both the professional and logistical aspects, and the Israeli ambassador of that state personally accompanied me in my meetings with the local professionals.

These days, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is preparing a promotional film on Israel, and in the leading role is Bar Rafaeli, whose participation in the film arouses a wave of objection, because she did not serve in the military. Some official sources also objected, especially the IDF itself, because her participation in an official film produced by the state of Israel could be interpreted as sending a message of leniency towards people who have not served in the IDF. These days, when “sharing the burden equally” has become a political mantra on the level of “It is better to die than commit certain sins”, the IDF expects the Ministry of Foreign Affairs not to act in a way that whitewashes the evasion of military service in the IDF. But it seems that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not think it’s a problem.

This case – in my view – is an indication of the way too many people in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs think. The employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are public servants, not appointed by the minister, and most are graduates of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ cadet’s course. This was supposed to provide the state of Israel with a working staff that is professional and relevant, and executes the decisions of the government professionally and faithfully, and without dispute.

IN FACT, the reality is totally different. The social profile of workers in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is fairly suitable to the model of the “Akhusalim” – coined by the sociologist Prof. Baruch Kimmerling, who described the state of Israel of the 1970s as being governed by an elite group of people who were Ashkenazim (Jews of European descent), secular, members of the old guard, socialist, and nationalist, forming the Hebrew acronym Akhusal.

In general, one can say that the political, social, diplomatic and cultural agenda of the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs resembles that of the Labor party (and perhaps also Meretz) much more than it resembles that of the Likud, despite the fact that since 1977 there have been more than a few governments led by the Likud. The proportion of religious, ultra-Orthodox, and Arabs who are staff members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is significantly lower than their proportional representation in the population of the state of Israel.

As a result of this, Avigdor Leiberman, a minister from the Right, found it difficult to impose  his political agenda on his subordinates because of the simple reason that he could not appoint staff that suited him. The political echelon (the prime minister and minister of foreign affairs) can appoint no more than eleven people in the ministry, from the level of ambassador to the person who serves tea, and a minister who cannot place his people in key positions will find it difficult to control what is done in the ministry. My sense is that Leiberman was “persona non grata” in the eyes of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs staff.

THE POLITICAL agenda of the staff in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has created an absurd situation, in which the ministry that is the spokesman for the policies of the prime minister and is responsible for hasbara (dissemination of public relations information), is entrusted with explaining government positions, despite the prime minister being far from being of “one mind” with the officials in the ministry of foreign affairs.

This disparity became obvious in the early 2000s, when the prime minister was Ariel Sharon and the minister of foreign affairs was Shimon Peres. With the passing of years, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has adopted political language that does not reflect the policy of Israel by using expressions such as “the occupied territories” (occupied from whom?), “settlements” (instead of communities), “Palestinian people” (even Azmi Bishara* doesn’t think that there is such a people) and “solution of two states for two peoples.”

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Israel’s New Government: Not What You Think

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

On the issues about which the world is obsessed, Israel’s new government is basically a continuation of the old one. That is the key point to keep in mind regarding the new coalition which has a comfortable 68-seat majority, well over the 61 minimum parliamentarians required.

Basically, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in a strong position as these things go. It is notable that there is not a single other person seriously considered to be a serious candidate for prime minister. Of course, he will have the usual headaches of managing a disparate coalition in which parties will quarrel, threaten to walk out and make special demands.

The coalition consists of Netanyahu’s Likud (merged with Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu party); Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, which might be called traditionally liberal in American terms; Naftali Bennett’s right-wing and dati religious (Modern Orthodox, in American terms) party, Habayit Hayahudi; and Tzipi Livni’s rather shapeless and personalistic Hatnuah party. A key element of this coalition is the alliance of Bennett and Lapid in opposition to the Haredi (mistakenly called “ultra-Orthodox” in the West) religious parties.

While this is certainly a conservative-dominated government, I have yet to see anyone in the mass media point out that it includes two of the three largest left of center parties!

Of the three key ministries, Netanyahu will be foreign minister, holding that post “in trust” for indicted former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, whose party ran on a joint list with the Likud. In practice, this means Netanyahu will have close control over implementing his policies internationally. The defense minister is the very able Moshe Yaalon, a Likud member and former head of military intelligence.

Lapid will run the Finance Ministry, dealing with issues on which he has no experience at all. This is not so unusual in parliamentary systems, where senior civil servants actually run the ministries. But Lapid holds this post because his signature issues are to urge reforms in the economy. His party will also get education, social services, health, and science and technology.

Here is something of a paradox. Israel has been one of the most successful countries in the developed world because it has refused to join the high-spending, high-debt, subsidy-oriented policies of Europe and now the United States. Unemployment and inflation have been low; growth has been relatively high. The problem, though, is that prices are also relatively high compared to incomes, causing problems especially for young people and consumers generally.

Lapid is expected to revise the management of the golden eggs without doing harm to the goose that laid them. Arguably, the number-one issue for this government is whether Lapid can perform well. His father, a popular journalist, followed the precise same course as the son a few years ago and failed completely. The junior Lapid has no actual political experience and does have characteristics of Tel Aviv beautiful people society. If he falters, his party will disintegrate in the next election.

As for Bennett, the amusing spin on much coverage is that his party has succeeded, that settlers even dominate the government, because he will have a couple of minor ministries which don’t have much power. Actually, he got less than I would have expected. While the settlements might benefit a little economically from these positions–and from the party’s holding the chairmanship over the Knesset finance committee–they will not have much authority and control little money directly.

If there is a big winner in the new government it is Lapid’s reformist liberals (in the old American sense, not the redefinition imposed on that word by the American far left). They are going to have a chance to show if they can improve social services, a fairer distribution of resources (the issue isn’t so much between rich and poor but across different sectors), and an economy that retains its growth while managing the problem of high prices, among other things.

Meanwhile, although the world is obsessed with non-existent issues regarding the long-dead “peace process” or fantasy options for Israel to make friends with neighboring Islamist regimes by giving even more concessions, Israel strategically is focused on defense.

Four of the six bordering entities—Egypt, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, and soon Syria—are ruled by radical Islamist groups that openly declare their goal of wiping Israel off the map. And that list doesn’t even include extremely hostile Iran (whose drive toward nuclear weapons cannot be forgotten for a moment) and the virulently anti-Israel regime in Turkey.

Barry Rubin

Will it Be Good for the Jews?

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Yes, even here in Israel we must always ask the question: “Will it Be Good for The Jews?”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s latest coalition government has many competing factions.

MK Tzipi Livni, Israel’s newest Justice Minister, stressed on Saturday that she would not support the basic law bill “Israel is the national state of the Jewish people,” whose promotion is part of the new coalition agreements with the Jewish Home party.

Maybe “competing” is too gentle a word.

Netanyahu is hoping to be able to control his warring partners, certainly long enough to see himself soaring in the polls and trying for better election results.  Bibi’s Likud and partner Yisrael Beitenu bombed terribly in the recent elections, losing a critical amount of Knesset seats.  His formal announcement to President Peres was the easy part.  Governing with such partners will no doubt be the greatest challenge to Netanyahu’s political career.

Livni’s chance of being Prime Minister is now nil, but by controlling the Justice Ministry she will have a lot of power.  That’s why she demanded it.  And unfortunately, Bibi gave in.

Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett have both been promoting themselves as Centrists, just like Bibi had done earlier in his political career, since neither are shy about admitting that they dream of holding the top position, Prime Minister.  Right now they are working together against Bibi, but when they weaken him sufficiently, no doubt their alliance will crumble, like very fresh matzah.

Do I feel sorry for Bibi?  No!

Benjamin Netanyahu made his bed when he put pragmatic secular politics over Jewish values and Jewish History and Jewish Rights to The Land of Israel.  Our greatest leaders, from Biblical time onward were those who could see that God controls the big picture.

That’s why the only two of the “spies” who had been sent to לתור (latur)stakeout the Land (Numbers Chapter 13 בְּמִדְבַּר), who merited to enter it forty years later were the ones who trusted that God would make it possible for the Jewish People to rule it as Jews.

Remember that our first king, the Benjaminite Saul was deposed by God as punishment for not obeying His orders.  God replaced Saul with David who understood the power of God could overcome all human power and weapons.

Too bad that Benzion Netanyahu didn’t name his second son David…

Visit Shiloh Musings.

Batya Medad

A Coalition of Wannabes

Monday, March 11th, 2013

If we can believe the media on this, Israel’s sitting Likud Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will beat the clock and has managed to negotiate coalition deals with enough political party leaders to form a government.

In a rare case of disagreement with Dry Bones (whose latest cartoon said that “Bibi’s coalition is made up of politicians who support him but don’t really trust him”), I don’t quite see this motley crew as not trusting Netanyahu. I see two different things:(1) The party leaders who have signed with, or have promised to sign with Bibi all want to replace him as Prime Minister; (2) It’s not that they don’t trust Bibi, but that he doesn’t really trust them.

Tzipi Livni, Yair Lapid, Naftali Bennett and Shaul Mofaz are the party leaders who’ve signed up (according to media leaks) with Bibi along with Avigdor Lieberman.  They all consider themselves national leaders  and potential Prime Ministers. This is going to be a make it or break it experience for political rookie Yair Lapid.  The high school drop-out will be following quite a few academic heavy-weights as Finance Minister.  Among his predecessors are Netanyahu,  masters degree in Business Administration from M.I.T, and Yuval Steinitz, who holds a doctorate in Philosophy from Tel Aviv University.  I wonder who’s going to be running Lapid’s crash course in economics.

Mofaz and Livni have been rapidly losing support, while Lapid and Bennett have captured the imagination of the public.  No doubt that Netanyahu will have a very challenging time trying to keep them all in line and functioning as a government.

Good luck Israel!

Visit Shiloh Musings.

Batya Medad

Israeli Foreign Minister Replies to Condemnation of Jewish Growth

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman urged the European Union on Saturday to focus on its own problems and stay out of the local dispute between Arabs and Jews over the future of Judea, Samaria, and the rest of Israel.

Vice President of the EU’s European Commission Catherine Ashton said on Friday that she “deeply regrets” Israel’s plans to expand the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo.

“Settlements are illegal under international law and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible,” she said.

Lieberman replied on Saturday that her statements “attest to a fundamental lack of ability to understand regional reality” and “merely encourage the Palestinian side … to pursue anti-Israel activity in the international sphere”.

He suggested the EU “focus, for now, on the problems arising among the various peoples and national groups on Europe’s territory, and once there is a successful solution we would be happy to hear recommendations for solving the problems with the Palestinians”.

Malkah Fleisher

Netanyahu Calls for New Election, Lieberman Wants Delay

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Likud Party convention called for a four-month election campaign.

Netanyahu said it was time for elections because the stability of the coalition had begun to erode.

“It is preferable to have a short election campaign of four months that will swiftly return stability to the political ranks,” he said in a speech Sunday to Likud members.

A vote on dissolving the current government is scheduled for Monday

The party convention comes ahead of party primaries scheduled for the second week in June.

Meanwhile, coalition partner Yisrael Beiteinu called for a delay of the Knesset dissolution to allow the government to pass its bill ordering mandatory enlistment in the Israel Defense Forces for all Israeli citizens. The measure is an alternative to the Tal Law, which exempts full-time yeshiva students from mandatory army service.

The group “Yisrael Beytenu Anglos” sent out a call to all English-Speakers in Israel to support the proposed IDF, National, or Civilian Service Law, to “equalize the national burden.”

A press release sent to the Jewish Press by the group says the proposed law will “finally rid us of the unfair and unequal Tal Law. This should not be a partisan issue and Yisrael Beytenu stands ready to support any law, including those presented by other parties, that would implement national service, whether military, national or community, for all Israelis regardless of background.”

The group quotes JFK’s memorable inaugural address call on Americans to “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

Party Chairman Avigdor Lieberman believes that 90 lawmakers would support the bill, and that it would be worthwhile to wait to dissolve the Knesset in order to pass it.

The opposition Kadima Party also called for a delay in dissolving the Knesset in order to vote on an alternative to the Tal Law.

Last week, the Knesset’s legal adviser said in a legal opinion that dissolving the Knesset would automatically extend the Tal Law. In February, Israel’s Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional; it is set to expire in August.

Dissolving the Knesset would automatically extend the Tal Law to at least three months into the new parliament.

A JTA report was used in this article.

Jewish Press Staff

Lieberman Severs Ties with UN Human Rights Council, Blocks Entry of Investigating Team

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has announced that Israel had severed all working relations with the United Nations Human Rights Council as of Monday this week, and will block a U.N. fact finding team from entering Israel or Judea and Samaria to investigate Jewish settlements.

According to the Israeli government, the council has shown a clear anti-Israel bias, both in the content of its references to it, and its disproportionate attention to Israel’s Palestinian policy, as compared to all the other human rights issues on the planet.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said this “means that we’re not going to work with them. We’re not going to let them carry out any kind of mission for the Human Rights Council, including this probe.”

Speaking in Copenhagen, after a meeting with the Danish foreign minister, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said “Israel never cooperated with all fact finding missions that were sent and established by the U.N. to investigate the Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians.”

The PLO ambassador at the United Nations on Wednesday condemned Israeli settlement activity in a series of letters to senior UN officials.

“There have been confirmations by the UN Security Council and General Assembly, Human Rights Council and the Social and Economic Council on the illegality of all settlement activity in a number of resolutions which are still available, and we are still calling on Israel to respect and implement the resolutions,” Mansour said.

The UN ambassador sent letters to the President of the Security Council and head of the General Assembly, criticizing ongoing settlement building.

Israel is obligated under the Road Map to freeze all settlement activity, Mansour said.

“Israel, however continues directly to neglect and violate all international commitments,” he added.

The ambassador added that settlements are proof that Israel rejects a two state solution based on 1967 borders.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week has legalized three Jewish outpost communities which were erected in the 1990s.

At a meeting late Monday, a ministerial committee legalized Bruchin (home to 350 residents) and Rechelim (home to 240 residents) in Samaria, and Sansana (home to 240 residents) in Judea.

US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland reacted by saying, “We don’t think this is helpful to the process. We don’t accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity.”

Palestinians and Israeli anti-settlement organization Peace Now slammed the government, saying the government is hereby creating new settlements for the first time since 1990.

Senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi said that the legalizing ” sends a clear message to both the international community and to the Palestinians that Israel is more committed to land theft than peacemaking.”

Jacob Edelist

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/us-news/lieberman-severs-ties-with-un-human-rights-council-blocks-entry-of-investigating-team/2012/04/26/

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