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October 20, 2016 / 18 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Likud’

PM Netanyahu Seeks Delay From High Court on Amona Expulsion

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has directed the government to ask the High Court of Justice to postpone or delay its expulsion of the residents of Amona from their homes by six months.

The Jewish community is slated for demolition on December 25th of this year, per a Supreme Court order.

But Netanyahu has asked state government officials to request the delay. Sources in the prime minister’s office say Netanyahu had been planning to ask for the delay in any case, but Education Minister Naftali Bennett exacerbated the situation, threatening Wednesday night to take his party and leave the coalition if the expulsion was not cancelled, or at least postponed.

After a meeting Thursday morning between Netanyahu, Bennett, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked — a member of Bennett’s Jewish Home party — and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, it was decided to submit a request to the High Court for a delay of the demolition.

The 40 families who comprise the community of Amona live on a hill in the Binyamin region, on the outskirts of the Jewish community of Ofra.

Ten years ago this past summer, Israeli security forces carried out a court order to demolish nine permanent structures built at the edge of the Amona neighborhood. The footage of the horrific clashes that took place between the protesters and the security forces — some on horseback, nearly all wielding batons — at the site were the most violent between Jews in the history of the state of Israel, and certainly in the history of the settlement enterprise. Hundreds of people were wounded.

More than a generation has passed since the little neighborhood was created, and there is still nowhere for the residents to go if they are evicted. They built their homes in 1995 with a NIS 2.1 million grant from the Ministry of Housing and Construction. It probably never occurred to them that one day, the same government that helped the build would try to expel them without providing a place to go. Echoes of Gush Katif, anyone?

Hana Levi Julian

Woman of the Year 5776: Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

The January 22, 2013 general elections in Israel marked the emergence of two new parties; one, journalist Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid, was yet another attempt to grab the undecided center among Israel’s voters; the other, Habayit Hayehudi, was a coalition of National Religious parties led by hi-tech executive Naftali Bennett and his long-time political ally, a 30-something computer engineer from Tel Aviv named Ayelet Shaked, who stood out as the only secular Jew in an otherwise Orthodox Jewish party. Both parties did well, although Lapid’s party took seven more seats than Bennett’s (19 vs. 12). Both parties also represent new challenges to the current power status quo in Israel, with Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud leading a right-leaning coalition government over an opposition being led by Labor (a.k.a. Zionist Camp).

At this point in the life of the 20th Knesset, the polls are showing Yesh Atid as the new largest party, siphoning off votes from Likud’s centrist voters and Labor’s more nationalistic supporters, as well as from Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party which barely passes the threshold percentage in the polls. At the same time, Likud is also being bitten on its right flank, by Habayit Hayehudi. And, also for the first time, the National Religious leader Naftali Bennett has been speaking openly about his ambition to be Israel’s next prime minister, at the helm of a rightwing, pro-religious, pro-settlements government.

That ambition is a new thing to a party that, since its incarnation as NRP in 1956, has always seen itself as a second banana, always in government, be it with leftwing or rightwing majority parties, but never at the helm. And while Chairman Bennett has been outspoken about his ambition to carve out a new direction for the country in the image of his party’s ideology, another Habayit Hayehudi leader has been giving the nation an idea of how a national religious government would carry out its agenda — Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.

Since the end of the 1990s, it has become clear that Israeli Jews are only going to become more traditional, even religious, and, consequently, the chance for a left-leaning party to receive the largest percentage of the vote will continue to grow dimmer. But while political positions have been given by the voter to rightwing governments, key decisions on issues that are close to the heart of the same rightwing voters have continued to lean to the left. This has been most notable in the liberated territories of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, where evictions of Jewish settlers have been carried out over the past decade and a half by rightwing-led governments, and those same governments have been refusing to implement Israeli civil law in Jewish communities hat have been living under martial law since the 1970s.

This is because the judiciary in Israel has been ruling as a shadow government, unelected and with a leftwing, secular agenda. In addition, Israel has had the most activist supreme court anywhere in the West, a court that has seized for itself powers well outside the norm in countries that uphold the principle of three branches of government. In countless cases, the high court has acted as a legislator, siding with the opposition against a ruling government (the recent vote on exploiting Israel’s natural gas come to mind, when the court torpedoed a government signed contract with US and domestic companies). The judiciary has also had its hand on the executive branch through the Attorney General and the legal counsels who are appointed to every ministry, and who often force the hands of elected officials using the threat of legal action against them.

The appointment of Ayelet Shaked to be the Minster in charge of this judiciary stronghold of the real power in Israeli society was received with a great deal of alarm and trepidation in the leftwing media, which called her “Israel’s Sarah Palin,” and accused her of inciting the mobs against the Supreme Court justices, “as if she were the worst [Internet] talkbacker and not the minister in charge of the holiest holy of every democracy — its separate and independent judiciary.” (Uri Misgav, Haaretz, Aug. 11, 2015).

The attack came in response to the new Justice Minister’s tweet on the same evening the Supreme Court was convening to rule on a law designed to block infiltration of illegal migrants from Africa through Israel’s southern border. Shaked tweeted that the law had already been quashed twice by the court, causing the infiltration, which had been reduced to single digits, to grow to dozens of new border crossings.

“If the law is revoked a third time,” Shaked tweeted, “it would be tantamount to declaring south Tel Aviv an official haven for infiltrators.” She then added that, until the court’s ruling, she would upload every two hours a new video describing the “intolerable life conditions of south Tel Aviv residents,” urging her followers to spread the message.

The court took notice and restricted itself to a few minor corrections, mostly regarding the length of time an illegal migrant could be held in a locked facility until his case is resolved by the Interior Ministry. The court continued to take notice throughout Shaked’s first year in office, and has been noticeably mindful of the need to avoid unnecessary friction with a Justice Minister who is probably the most popular minister in Israel. How popular? In 2013 she was picked by the Knesset Channel as the summer session’s most outstanding MK, and in 2014 as the second most outstanding MK of the winter session. In 2015 the Jerusalem Post ranked her 33rd on its list of the most influential Jews in the world. In 2015 she was ranked by Forbes Israel as the fifth most influential woman in Israel. And in 2016 Lady Globes ranked her second on its list of 50 most influential women.

Most importantly, Minster Shaked has afforded Israelis a view of a nationalist, rightwing politician who can be trusted to run the country’s third most complex system, after Finance and Defense. As Justice Minister, Shaked also chairs the ministerial legislative committee which decides which bills receive the backing of the government. Her role is comparable to that of the Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House, in terms of influencing the legislative process. And the fact that she has been a competent, creative and resourceful Justice Minister might suggest to people in the secular center and right of center that her and Bennett’s party is worthy of their vote.

Shaked and Bennett are in troubled waters currently, over the fate of Amona, a Jewish community in Judea and Samaria that the Supreme Court has slated for demolition by early December, 2016, over claims to ownership of the land by Arab PA residents. The fact is that no one on the right in Netanyahu’s government believes that Amona could be saved, which Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman stated openly. Shaked wants to see the residents being relocated to a nearby plot of land, that could turn out to be just as problematic. But both Bennett and Shaked are also interested in advancing new legislation that would compel future claimants to settle for fair market value or comparable land from the Israeli government. At stake are an estimated 4,000 homes, the bulk of which were built as part of a government sponsored settlement program. The Supreme Court has rejected these “arrangement law” initiatives, and the current AG, Avihai Mandelblit, also objects to them, even though he himself is on the record as supporting them in the past.

For now, Shaked and Bennett are under attack by their voters, who cannot believe that a government that is as rightwing as this one would still engage in the forceful removal of Jews from their homes. And the last thing Shaked and Bennet want is to be forced to resign from Netanyahu’s government over this dispute.

Shaked, like Bennett, is a vehement enemy of the two-state solution. But she is also a liberal when it comes to many legislative initiatives. She has fought court activism; she objected to imposing jail sentences on Yeshiva students who refuse to enlist; and she supports a free and open market and reducing state regulations of businesses. She also believes in cutting down on new laws.

Noting that her government legislative committee has processed over the past year and a half no less than 1,500 new legislative proposals, Shaked wrote an op-ed in the right-leaning website Mida, saying that “every time the Knesset puts its faith in a new law intended to serve a worthy cause and solve a social or economic problem, we are, in effect, raising our hands to support a vote of no confidence. … It’s a vote of no confidence in our ability as individuals and as communities to manage ourselves in a good enough manner; it’s a vote of no confidence in the wisdom of the nation and of each person to create and preserve mechanisms that are better than those which are designed artificially by experts; it’s a vote of no confidence in the ability of familial, social and economic communities to run their own lives and strive successfully to reach their goals.”

Spoken like a true, sane Libertarian. And a Libertarian who knows how to combine the principles of freedom with the ideals of nation and Torah — could make one fine prime minister some day. Which is why we believe 5776 was the year of Ayelet Shaked.


Russian Deputy PM Surveys Israeli Farming Technology

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

by Ilana Messika Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Arkady Dvorkovich and Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel visited today the Agricultural Research Organization Volcani Center, which serves as the research arm of the Ministry of Agriculture, and met some of its researchers in the context of extending agriculture cooperation between the two countries.

“Deputy Prime Minister Dvorkovich was very impressed by the technical know-how and technological advances made by Israeli researchers in the field,”said Naama Rosenberg, Associate Director for International Cooperation and spokesperson at the Volcani Center.

Rosenberg said researchers showed Dvorkovich and Ariel the latest advances in engineering and robotics such as satellite thermography that enables farmers to use heat imagery to determine water levels in irrigated fields. The technology allows farmers to monitor water resources by indicating whether fields are under- or over-irrigated.

The deputy prime minister also observed special storage mechanisms that prevents potatoes from sprouting, as well as new fertilizing chemicals and a selection of local produce, including pomegranates and grapes.

“The central issue in agriculture nowadays in no longer the growth of the produce but its proper conservation,” Rosenberg.

The visit followed Ariel’s visit to Russia last June. Then, Ariel and his Russian counterpart, Alexander Nikolayevich Tkachyov, signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance cooperation between Israel and the Russian Federation in the field of agriculture. Now, the countries expect to draft agreements in the fields of water resource management and irrigation technologies, development of advanced greenhouses and storage of agricultural produce.

Ariel celebrated that agreement as a “ milestone in relations between our two countries” and said Israel was well-placed to help Russia meet the challenges facing its agriculture sector.

“With Israel’s extensive knowledge, know-how and advanced technology in this field, [we] agreed to strengthen our agricultural collaboration, with a special emphasis on the milk industry,” Ariel said in June.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Haredi MK Blocks Train Funding over Shabbat Works

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Knesset Finance Committee Chairman MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) has not approved the transfer of $171 million to the new projects of Israel Railways, according to a Tweet by journalist Amalia Duek. Duek cites sources in the Transport Ministry who accuse Gafni of revenge tactics, saying the delay in payment would result in delays in carrying out the work in preparation for the new fast rail from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The Ministry is also concerned about potential lawsuits from contractors who haven’t been paid. MK Gafni, meanwhile, has told Duek he would examine the transfer request “when I see fit.”

Meanwhile, the renovation and preparation works continue full blast. At midnight Sunday Israel Railways shut down its three (out of four) stations in Tel Aviv for eight days, to be reopened a week from Tuesday. The massive project will match the stations and the rails passing through them with the new, electric, fast rail to Jerusalem.

Over the next eight days, the railway service will be running buses between Herzliya and Tel Aviv, in both directions, as well as buses from Herzliya to Ben Gurion International. Police on Monday morning reported worse than usual traffic delays in all the arteries leading into Tel Aviv.

The war between the Haredi coalition partners UTJ and Shas and Prime Minister Netanyahu over railway works that had been scheduled to be performed on Shabbat two weeks ago turned out to be a mere skirmish, as neither side was interested in fighting. However, the real battle ensued between Netanyahu and his Transport Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud), followed by a more reserved showdown with Welfare and Labor Minister Haim Katz (Likud). That internal fight in the Likud party was resolved with a win by points for Netanyahu (no knockouts, both ministers are still alive and kicking). Against this background, MK Gafni’s decision appears both vindictive and unhelpful.

Transport Ministry officials told Kikar Hashabbat that “if it turns out Gafni is operating out of political considerations we will view it seriously and act accordingly.”

Gafni, one of the most powerful committee chairmen in the Knesset, responded, “I’m not obligated to debate every agenda item that comes up. I will weigh it, and if the proposal has merit, the money would be transferred.” Which means the Railway will get the money eventually, because this is a government project, but the folks at Transport will have to sweat blood over it because of their Shabbat works fiasco.

According to Kikar Hashabbat, the Haredi parties are angrier at Police Commissioner Ronnie Alshich, an Orthodox Jew, more than anyone else, because Alshich was the one who came up with the idea that those works constituted “pikuach nefesh,” meaning saving a life, which is permitted on Shabbat. Which stands to show you, never go to a cop for halakhic rulings.


Rebellion: 25 Likud MKs Tell Netanyahu to Avoid Amona Demolition

Saturday, September 17th, 2016

As of Saturday night, 25 Likud MKs have signed a petition calling on the Netanyahu government to pursue legislation to prevent the demolition and evacuation of Amona, an Israeli outpost in central Judea and Samaria. Israel’s Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that the Amona community is illegal under Israeli law, but its status remained unresolved as the government continued to fight the court’s eviction order. In December 2014, the court ordered the state to completely evacuate and demolish the settlement within two years.

Likud MKs petition to save Amona

Likud MKs petition to save Amona

Last week, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said the Court ruling was unequivocal, and there was no hope to keep Amona intact. “There is no way that Amona can be left as it is built today, because most of the houses are built on private Palestinian land,” Liberman told an audience in Ariel University. But he added that “all the rules that apply to Amona apply to every other place as well,” suggesting that leftwing MKs and NGOs, as well as the EU and the US government, are only interested in removing Jews from their homes, “but when it comes to enforcing rulings against other trespassers everyone stands up on their hind legs.”

The court has ordered the final date for the evacuation of the entire outpost to be no later than December 25 this year.

MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Habayit Hayehudi) has submitted a bill dubbed the “Arrangement Law,” suggesting that homes that have been constructed using government supports would not be demolished should the claimants be able to show prior ownership. Instead, the land of the community in question would be confiscated by the State and the claimants would receive fair market value. This moves the burden of proof from the Jewish residents to the Arab claimants.

The signatories on the current petition include the vast majority of the Likud Knesset faction, including a few sworn enemies of the PM, such as Transport Minister Yisrael Katz and MK Oren Hazan. But since the entire Likud list is only 30 members strong, there are also many Netanyahu supporters who would like to see Amona spared.

Back in 2012 Netanyahu torpedoed a similar bill, submitted by Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi), which attempted to save the community of Migron, north of Jerusalem. Netanyahu employed the coalition discipline, which killed the bill with a 69 to 22 vote. The same bill came up during the Knesset summer session, but the ministerial legislative committee decided to kill it.

The legal community opposes the idea, and AG Avihai Madelblit is on the record as saying such a law would be unconstitutional (a strange phrase in a country without a constitution), and is sure to be killed by the Supreme Court. He prefers instead purchasing land nearby and transporting the entire community over, at an enormous cost. Why not purchase the land and give it to the claimant? Why not lease the land from the claimant? Why not offer the claimant an opportunity to sell the land to the community? Apparently, all those ideas have not risen to the same constitutional validity as that of destroying a Jewish community.


Likud MKS Meet With Amona, Ofra Residents to Protest Court-Ordered Demolition of Homes

Monday, September 12th, 2016

by Ilana Messika Likud MKs Yehuda Glick, Yoav Kish, Oren Hazan and Amir Ohana, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotolevy and Judea and Samaria Council Head Avi Roeh all hosted an emergency meeting with residents of Amona and Ofra on Monday (Sept. 12, 2016) to protest the scheduled demolition of their homes.

Amona, a neighborhood on a hill overlooking Ofra, is located in the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council district and is home to about 40 families. In December 2014 the High Court of Justice ruled the community was built on private Palestinian Authority property and ordered the residents to evacuate by the end of 2016.

The meeting follows the government’s approval of a Civil Administration plan to transfer Amona residents to a 1600-dunam (395-acre) site about 20 kilometers northeast of the current location, east of the Jewish town of Shiloh. Residents have slammed the decision as a government sellout.

“Defense Minister [Avigdor] Liberman has raised the white flag of surrender to extreme left organizations and the Palestinian Authority, both of whom abuse the Israeli legal system to bring about the destruction of settlements in Judea and Samaria,” said one participant at the meeting. “We call on Liberman, the prime minister and the other coalition parties to prevent the eviction.”

Hemdat Shani, a resident of Ofra, told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) “This ruling of the the High Court of Justice discriminates badly against Judea and Samaria. This is the only place in Israel where a Jewish community could receive a court order like this without verification of the ownership of the land.

“[It is ironic because] Judea and Samaria actually possess the strongest link to the Jewish ancestral homeland,” she stated.

The Likud Party has been in turmoil since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Liberman said in recent months that they intend to obey the Court’s ruling.

“The time has come for the prime minister to understand that people who choose to live in Judea and Samaria do so out of a sincere belief that it is our right… The story of Amona is not only about Amona, but about the whole of Israeli history,” said MK Oren Hazan.

Demolition orders also threaten several more Jewish communities around Judea and Samaria. Last week, the High Court of Justice ruled that 17 unauthorized homes in the Netiv Avot outpost in Gush Etzion must be dismantled by March 2018, and last week security forces evicted people from their homes at the Esh Kodesh outpost in Samaria and from the Mitzpe Avichai outpost near Hebron on Tuesday.

“This decision to remove us from our land is unjust, anti-Zionist, and it cannot happen that a right-wing Likud government should be the one to see it done,” said Hemdat Shani.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Netanyahu Calms Coalition Crisis, Grabs Credit for Transport Minister’s Achievements

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday morning opened his weekly Cabinet meeting with a statement regarding the brewing Israel Railways-related coalition crisis. “Since Friday, we have been dealing with reducing the congestion that was created last night and today due to the Israel Railways’ work projects. I want to thank you, Mr. Defense Minister, I spoke with you and you responded immediately. I instructed the defense establishment to assist in transportation for soldiers. The Transportation Ministry is operating a reinforced network of buses in order to ease things for passengers.”

Netanyahu then rebuked his rebellious cabinet member, Transport Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud), without mentioning him by name, saying, “This crisis is completely unnecessary. There was no need to reach this situation. There has been a status quo in the State of Israel for many years; we honor it. When work needs to be done on Shabbat – it is done, as it was last Shabbat on the Ayalon highway. When it does not need to be done on Shabbat – it is not done. This has been our guiding principle; this is the principle that will continue to guide us.”

Taking for himself the credit that mostly belongs to the gregarious Transport Minister, Netanyahu said, “Over the past seven years the Government has invested almost $9 billion in a massive expansion of highways, railways, and – of course – interchanges and tunnels. We succeeded in doing this without unnecessary crises. When nobody wants a crisis, it is possible to avoid it. On this matter I expect full cooperation by all ministers. Ministers are appointed in order to avoid crises and solve problems, not create them.”

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-calms-coalition-crisis-grabs-credit-for-transport-ministers-achievements/2016/09/04/

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