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December 4, 2016 / 4 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Likud’

Coalition Chair: No Coming back from Netanyahu Vs. Transport Minister Crisis

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

Coalition Chairman MK David Bitan (Likud) admitted on Saturday that the crisis between Prime Minster Netanyahu and his Transport Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) has reached an irreversible phase, which could mean that the PM will fire his Minster in the coming days. The rift between the two Likud politicians is not new, and the last few months have seen several attempts by Katz to attack Netanyahu on a variety of issues, some personal (Katz has been promised the foreign ministry which Netanyahu is keeping to himself for now), others have to do with actions by Katz that are threatening the stability of Netanyahu’s government.

Last week, Katz forced a confrontation between his PM and the Haredi coalition partners over massive works in the Israeli train infrastructure that were scheduled for Shabbat. The protests from the Haredim resulted in Netanyahu ordering his minister to limit the Shabbat works to only those projects which could result in danger to the public should they be carried out on a weekday. In the end, the railroad and Tel-Aviv’s main urban highway, Netivey Ayalon (Rt. 20) were blocked to traffic throughout the last Shabbat in August, with heavy traffic jams that ended only when the works were concluded around 8 PM Saturday.

Last Friday, Sept. 2, five minutes before the start of Shabbat, Katz ordered the cancellation of all the projects that received special dispensation, pushing them off to Saturday night and Sunday. The order for the technical teams to abandon the work sites was given after they had taken apart some of the rails, so that there was no way to resume service Saturday night. In fact, as of Saturday night, train passengers have been told the service would only be renewed Sunday night.

Both sides, Netanyahu and Katz, are blaming each other for the crisis, with Meretz and Labor siding with the transport minister and urging their people to demonstrate in front of the shut down stations. Only a few hundreds have arrived at those rallies Saturday night — which blame Netanyahu for capitulating to the Haredim. In addition, the opposition parties have collected 25 MK signatures to call a special session of the legislature to debate “the desecration of Shabbat and the harm to soldiers and civilians by the train crisis.”

Sunday is the day thousands of IDF soldiers who spent Shabbat at home are riding the trains back to their bases, many of them for free. Now the IDF is working overtime rustling up buses for these soldiers. In a small and tense country like Israel, messing up with the schedule of our kids going back to the Army does not make one a popular politician. Which is why Meretz Chair Zehava Galon has already appealed to the Supreme Court against both Netanyahu and Katz, demanding that they be compelled to terminate their decision to cut Shabbat railroad works.

Netanyahu issued a statement Saturday saying, “This is an initiated and unnecessary crisis on the part of Minister Yisrael Katz designed to undermine relations between the Prime Minister and the ultra-orthodox public or alternatively to damage the image of the Prime Minister among the general public. From the outset there was no need to initiate work on Shabbat. It would have been possible to carry out the work on other dates that would not have harmed the ultra-orthodox public, passengers or soldiers. For example, it would have been possible to combine the work with the eight-day shutdown of the railroad – which has the approval of the Transportation Ministry – in the coming weeks. Israel Katz is holding passengers and soldiers as hostages in an unnecessary and artificial crisis that he initiated after having failed in his attempt to take over the Likud institutions. The Prime Minister is outraged over Minister Katz’s cynical attack on passengers and soldiers and is doing his utmost to minimize the damage to these publics in the next 24 hours. To this end, the Prime Minister and Defense Minister have agreed to place buses at the disposal of soldiers over the next 24 hours. The Prime Minister has also instructed the Transportation Ministry to boost public transportation between Tel Aviv and Haifa with additional buses.”

Yes, Katz tried and failed to take over the Likud institutions, about two and a half weeks ago, he got a huge majority (95%) of the Likud Secretariat, which he happens to head, to agree to the narrowing of the absolute power the Likud Chairman, one Benjamin Netanyahu, had enjoyed in personnel appointments and distribution of party funds. Katz apparently assumed Netanyahu was experiencing a weak period, what with police looking into his and his wife’s use of public funds, and figured the prime minister would shy away from confrontation with the third strongest man in Likud. He was outrageously wrong. The PM called him to his office at 9 AM the next day and, reportedly, handed him an unsigned letter of resignation, which he expected Katz to sign unless he issued a statement walking back the entire secretariat vote from the day before.

Katz capitulated, but apparently did not stop sulking and looking for new ways to force a showdown with the PM. The reason for his combative stance has to do with Netanyahu’s inviting Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) into his coalition government, which boosted his hold on his government and reduced the ability of any individual coalition member to get his way. Katz is aware that his days in this government are numbered, Netanyahu will never keep his promises to him regarding the foreign ministry, so, frankly, he might be better off outside the tent than inside.

Meanwhile, the Likud is splitting up between Katz and Bibi supporters, and the fact that several Likud ministers have thrown their weight — albeit politely — behind Katz, may be enough to avoid an actual showdown. Meanwhile, for the next 24 hours or so, Israeli train passengers remain in dire need of transportation alternatives.

JNi.Media

New Poll Sees Israeli Left Collapsing, Purely Rightwing Coalition Government

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

Following the surprising results of a GeoCartographia poll a week ago, showing Likud down from 30 to 25 seats, the Zionist Camp (Labor) dropping from 24 to 8 seats, Habayit Hayehudi soaring from 8 to 16 seats, and Yesh Atid rocketing from 11 to 22 seats, on Thursday a new poll by Maagar Mochot (Heb: Think Tank) showed a more moderate reflection of the same trend. The new poll, conducted for FM103 Radio, shows Likud still in first place with 27 seats (3 fewer than its current mandate), Habayit Hayehudi rising, but only to 13 seats (a +5), Yisrael Beiteinu gaining 4 seats to rise from 5 to 9 seats, and Yesh Atid still soundly beating its identical twin at the center, Kulanu, as Yair Lapid’s party rises from 11 to 21 seats, while Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu drops from 11 to 6 seats.

On the left, the Zionist Camp (Labor) slows down its sharp drop, and scores 10 seats, compared with its current 24 (the other poll gave it only 8). Meretz picks up one seat to rise to 6 seats, and the Joint Arab List maintains its 13 seats.

The Haredi block stands at 15 seats (last poll gave it 18), with Shas at 8 (+1) and United Torah Judaism at 7 (+1).

The ideological map reflected in the new poll is most encouraging to the rightwing parties: 49 seats go to the three rightwing Zionist parties, and 15 to the Haredim, meaning that Prime Minister Netanyahu, in his fifth term, could easily put together a rightwing government relying on a workable 64-seat majority, without ambiguous center-right partners such as Kahlon. The question then would become, does Netanyahu actually want a purely rightwing government, which would likely expect him to impose Israeli law in Area C, change the rules of engagement, invest heavily in Jewish expansion in Judea and Samaria, alter the undemocratic way in which Israel’s judges are picked, and a myriad other burning issues which so far he had been reluctant to pursue, blaming it on his more secular, centrist partners.

The rightwing parties could possibly combine their numbers to boycott either Kahlon or Lapid, or both, from the future coalition government — the Haredim because they despise Lapid, Habayit Hayehudi and Yisrael Beiteinu because they’d like to pursue an aggressive agenda in Judea and Samaria, where a good portion of their constituency resides.

Our friend Jeremy Saltan, a.k.a. Knesset Jeremy, who moonlights as HaBayit HaYehudi’s Anglo Forum Chairman, has launched the Israeli Poll of Polls, strictly for political addicts. Here’s his most recent handiwork, copied from his website.

 

Party KnessetJeremy Polling Average (June/July/August) Change since previous KJPA (April/May) KJPA (April/May) All Polls since Elections 2015 Election
Likud 25.3 -1.4 26.7 26.4 30
Yesh Atid 20.3 0.3 20 19.3 11
Bayit Yehudi 13.5 2.2 11.3 12 8
Joint List 13 0.2 12.8 12.8 13
Zionist Union 11 -1.8 12.8 14.4 24
UTJ 8.8 0.8 8 7.5 6
Yisrael Beitenu 8.2 -0.8 9 8.4 6
Kulanu 6.8 0 6.8 6.7 10
Shas 6.7 1 5.7 6.5 7
Meretz 6.3 -0.5 6.8 6 5
Right-Religious 69.3 1.7 67.5 67.4 67
Center-Left-Arab 50.7 -1.7 52.5 52.6 53

 

 

JNi.Media

MK Amsalem to Propose that Prime Ministers Be Immune from Prosecution for Minor Offenses

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

By Ilana Messika/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Chairman of the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee MK David “Dudi” Amsalem (Likud) declared on Tuesday that he intends to propose a new bill during the winter session which would prohibit criminal investigation of the prime minister for minor offenses that would carry less than a six-month prison sentence.

“Being the prime minister of Israel is the most important job in the country,” wrote MK Amsalem in a Facebook post. “He cannot be busied with investigations on a daily basis. There has not been one prime minister in the last thirty years that has not been involved in investigations—from Rabin and his wife’s Dollar Account affair to Barak and the NGOs to Sharon’s Greek island, Olmert and his travels, Netanyahu and the gifts and bottles, and so on.”

The proposal also follow on the heels of the recent investigation opened against Prime Minister Netanyahu who allegedly approached an advertising office in 2007 with the aim of purchasing advertising space in the Arab press for his political war against former Labor leader Ehud Barak.

The Israel Police also recently began probing allegations that the prime minister’s wife, Sara Netanyahu, had accepted expensive gifts as part of a greater corruption scheme.

“Nevertheless, since it would be inappropriate for the prime minister not to answer for those crimes, it is proposed that the duration of the rest of his term not be counted within the period of the statute of limitations and it will as such be permitted to prosecute him on the matter after his term ends.”

According to the Likud, the new law would not be applicable retroactively, meaning that it would have no effect on the investigations currently being conducted against Prime Minister Netanyahu. As such, Netanyahu’s son, Yair, is soon to be called to testify to the police about the allegations against his father.

The initiative sparked great controversy within the political arena. “No one is above the law,” said Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni. “Investigations are not detrimental to the public, but to its benefit, as it is deserving of an immaculate leadership. An honest prime minister would reject such a proposal.”

Meretz MK Zahava Galon also criticized the bill, claiming that “MK Amsalem’s proposal will turn the Prime Minister’s Office into a sanctuary for criminals.” Yesh Atid MK Karin Elharar sarcastically suggested to “just crown him Sultan.”

Members of the Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee told TPS that they did not wish to comment on the matter at present.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Army Radio Poll: Netanyahu Down to 25, Bennett Up to 16

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

A survey conducted for Army Radio in 500 Households by GeoCartographia shows a drop for Likud from 30 to 25 seats, a jump into the abyss for Zionist Camp (Labor) from 24 to 8 seats, and a rise for Habayit Hayehudi from 8 to 16 seats.

Yair lapid’s Yesh Atid would have been another big favorite had the elections been held this week, with 22 seats, up from 11. Lapid’s arch-enemies, United Torah Judaism, also jump significantly, from 6 to 11. Interestingly, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu is boosted by only one seat, from 6 to 7, possibly because Liberman is yet to fulfill his promise to kill Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya within 48 hours of taking office.

Here is the complete list, current number of seats in brackets:

Likud — 25 [30]

Yesh Atid — 22 [11]

HaBayit HaYehudi — 16 [8]

Joint Arab List — 13 [13]

United Torah Judaism — 11 [6]

Zionist Camp (Labor) — 8 [24]

Shas — 7 [7]

Yisrael Beitenu — 7 [6]

Kulanu — 6 [10]

Meretz — 5 [5]

In terms of political affiliation, the Knesset factions would have experienced a serious tilt to the right were the elections held this week:

72 [67] Right-Religious

48 [53] Center-Left-Arab

David Israel

MK Hazan Darling of Israeli Left over Dismissal by Netanyahu in Gaza Inquiry Brawl

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

MK Oren Hazan (Likud), traditionally the legislator most loathed by the Israeli left, both inside and outside the Knesset, now gets his turn to be the darling of the left, because of the courageous way he stood up to Prime Minister Netanyahu. Naturally, when Hazan was just as brave in the past, calling out Netanyahu on his shabby treatment of Israel’s rightwing majority, especially in Judea and Samaria, he did not receive recognition by the Labor MKs who this week have been stepping on each other to defend him, or, more accurately, attack Netanyahu on his behalf.

Hazan himself told Israel Radio Wednesday morning that he is paying a high price for his daring to criticize the prime minister, like several other Likud members (former MK Moshe Feiglin comes to mind). Hazan supports establishing a state committee of inquiry to investigate the 2014 Gaza war, specifically how aware had the IDF command been of the 30 to 40 Hamas terror tunnels? Netanyahu has released documentation showing the IDF conducted eight sessions, followed by 20 technical sessions, instructing the security cabinet on those tunnels. But Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett insists no such heightened attention was ever paid to the tunnels, and, in fact, it had taken his, Bennett’s, tenacious nagging to steer the cabinet and the high command towards hitting those vexing tunnels.

The Likud has launched a move to remove MK Hazan from the State Control Committee, where the vote on a state commission of inquiry will take place — because Hazan suggested he was in favor of appointing such a body. For his part, Hazan acknowledges that Netanyahu has just had enough of his “colorful” personal style, although it should be noted for the record that Hazan is one of the most hard working MKs: he is Knesset Deputy Speaker, and participates diligently and industriously in the Finance, State Control Committee, Special Committee for Discussion on the Public Broadcast Bill 2015, House Committee, Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, and the Joint Committee for the Defense Budget. He is also member of a long list of Knesset Lobbies.

The above impressive record of Hazan’s contributions is surprising only to those who recall how the media introduced him following the last election, as a playboy drug dealer who managed casinos in Bulgaria and furnished cocaine and escorts for Israelis on vacation.

The Likud leadership has had it up to here with Hazan’s erratic behavior (he has endured several reprimands and a suspension for verbal brawls with opposition members, most recently his arch-enemy Hanin Zoabi from the Joint Arab List). They would like to post a more obedient MK at the Control Committee, because Netanyahu desperately wants to avoid a hearing on his cabinet’s management of the Gaza campaign. To remind the reader, 67 Israelis died in that war, and there are growing voices in Israel saying many of those deaths could be avoided. The head of the most right wing government in recent memory, Netanyahu does not need to be accused of military failure.

The opposition has been livid over Netanyahu’s intent to drop Hazan from the committee less than a week before the conclusion of the Knesset summer session. The same Zionist Camp NKs who last year condemned Netanyahu for letting into the Knesset a sketchy character such as Hazan now released a statement saying: “Bibi is afraid of Hazan. He is afraid of criticism, and above all he is afraid that criticism of operation Defensive Shield would expose him as being weak against the Hamas — that he is more a talkback artist than a leader.”

MK Karin Elharrar (Yesh Atid), chair of the State Control Committee, accused Netanyahu of trying to sabotage the committee’s work. “The prime minister is acting on strictly political considerations and it isn’t clear of what he is so afraid,” she said.

Haim Jelin (Yesh Atid) called on Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud) to block the Likud Knesset faction’s move against Hazan. “The prime minister is so fearful of the comptroller’s report on Defensive Shield that he dishonors the Knesset and steps on the foundations of democracy,” Jelin said. “The next phase for the PM, after completing his domination of all the MKs, would be to pass the constitution for a new dictatorship.”

Incidentally, it’s been suggested recently that Netanyahu, who is 67, could remain Israel’s prime minister for many years to come — seeing as his exulted father Prof. Benzion Netanyahu lived to the ripe old age of 101. It could mean as many as 10 more terms for the ambitious Netanyahu, who would be the prime minister of Israeli children who are not yet born.

David Israel

Knesset Forms Committee to Investigate Foreign Political Donations

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

By Tzvi Lev/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – The Knesset on Tuesday approved the establishment of a bipartisan committee tasked with investigating political organizations that are funded with money from foreign governments, such as the V15 organization.

“The United States Senate report proved how dangerous such organizations are to Israeli democracy and the need to close this loophole,” said Likud MK Yoav Kish, who chairs the committee. “I will build a concrete wall against the money from foreign sources whose goal is to buy power.”

Kish was referring to the United States Senate report released in July, which proved that the US State Department has poured vast sums of money into V15. Kish claimed that the funding was done in an attempt to bring down Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

V15 came into public attention as a group dedicated to removing Netanyahu from power, running anti-Netanyahu ads during the 2015 election with the slogan “anyone but Bibi.” However, the group was formed and received Senate funding long before the Israeli government surprisingly dissolved and the 2015 elections were announced.

MK Yoav Kish had drafted a bill that would make accepting such foreign donations illegal, and the Senate report accelerated the process required to ratify the bill into law.

The committee will be staffed by nine coalition and seven opposition MKs.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Israeli Government in Cantankerous Rancor over New Broadcasting Authority

Monday, August 1st, 2016

The Likud party has been attacking its coalition partner Habayit Hayehudi party over the memorable debate in Sunday’s cabinet meeting of the establishment of a new Israeli Broadcasting Corporation. The official announcement from Likud called Ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked the “favorites of the left and of [Yediot Aharonot owner] Noni Moses” who support the indefatigable efforts to harm the prime minister and the Likud rule. It was in response for Bennett’s and Shaked’s decision to abstain during the vote to postpone the date when the new corporation starts broadcasting.

One of the most celebrated quotes from Sunday’s debate, all of which reached unusually shrill tones, was from Likud Minister Miri Regev who reportedly cried out: “What’s the point in having a corporation if we don’t control it? The minister should be in control, or what, we’ll give money and then they’ll broadcast whatever they want?”

As the minister in charge of culture (and sport), Regev exhibited a particularly narrow understanding of freedom of the press and possibly of the entire concept of what a public corporation is. One of the fundamental principles of such corporations, outside Zimbabwe and, recently, Moscow, is that the ministers are strictly in charge of budgeting and monitoring public satisfaction of the corporation, but they are absolutely prohibited from dictating and controlling anything.

Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan couldn’t help himself and made fun of the vociferous yet thin-skinned Regev. He told her, “Yes, live with it. There’s no law saying the public broadcasting authority will do what Miri Regev tells it to do.” The two Likud ministers continued to yell at each other (they both ranked in the top slots in the last Likud primaries), until Prime Minister Netanyahu had to shut them up.

Ayelet Shaked on Monday shot back at the Likud’s attack press release, saying that Likud should stop whining, and, anyway, they have their own daily newspaper (tycoon Sheldon Adelson’s pro-Bibi Yisrael Hayom).

Shaked was the second female politician in Israel yesterday who told a fellow lawmaker to stop whining. The other was Shelly Yachimovich, who said she’d had it up to here with her party chairman, Isaac Herzog’s whining about an insult she shot at him last May. She called him Bibi’s lap dog. He threatened to expel her.

But the media’s focus on Sunday centered on that cabinet meeting where Regev let the world know what’s her take on democratic institutions. And just to show you that you don’t have to know democracy to thrive in one, Miri Regev’s culture ministry on Sunday received control over the entire government advertising budget, which comes to about $80 million. That’s everything the Netanyahu government spends on ads, foreign and domestic, despite the fact that the bulk of those ads have nothing to do with the culture ministry.

Minister for Social Equality Gila Gamliel (Likud) told Army Radio on Monday that Regev’s statements were borderline fascistic and that she had warned Netanyahu none of those statements should be allowed to stick to the Likud party.

Incidentally, the reason the Netanyahu government has been attempting to establish a new broadcasting authority was because the current authority is considered inefficient and infested with leftists. But having been under the coalition gun for several years now, the IBA has gone a long way to become more efficient and to sprinkle all its high-ratings hours with rightwingers. So the Kol Israel one hears today is more balanced politically than what it was only a year ago.

Which is the reason Coalition Chairman MK David Bitan (Likud) announced Sunday that he was going to advance a new bill to dismantle the new public broadcasting corporation in favor of the one Israel has had since the British mandate (1948).

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon summarized that unhappy cabinet debate in an interview with Army Radio, where he said, “This entire government has to go on vacation. They must urgently go on summer holiday, before the entire government would end up in hospital.”

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-government-in-cantankerous-rancor-over-new-broadcasting-authority/2016/08/01/

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