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August 29, 2016 / 25 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Michael Ben-Ari’

Bad Boy

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

National religious Israeli voters like yours truly have three choices this coming Tuesday:

Vote for Likud-Beitenu and strengthen the hand of Benjamin Netanyahu, whose party list includes at least six national-religious candidates in realistic spots. The polls are giving them between 32 and 38 seats.

Vote for Jewish Home, so that it would be large enough for Netanyahu to be forced to include it in his coalition government and necessarily stick to pro-settlement, anti-Palestinian state policies. The polls are giving them between 12 and 16 seats.

Or vote for Power for Israel, a small party made up of vehement lovers of the land of Israel and the Jewish nation, and which has been teetering between 3 and 4 seats and the prospect of not passing the blocking percentage at all.

Power for Israel has captured the much disdained corner of Israel’s political map once occupied by “right wing extremists” from Rabbi Meir Kahane to Rehavam Zeevi (both of whom were assassinated by Arabs), to rabbi Benny Alon and Benny Begin, who are considered more moderate (and are very much alive, thank God).

But in the process of taking on the mantle of ultimate right wingers, the two co-leaders of Power for Israel, MKs Michael Ben Ari and Aryeh Eldad have done a lot to make being right wing extremists sound cool and very much in.

Like the time they challenged Tel-Aviv’s wealthy liberals, who support letting illegal workers from Africa stay in the country—as long as they hang around the poor neighborhoods in south Tel Aviv: Ben Ari and Eldad got 50 Sudanese illegals together, bought them bathing suits, and took them into the prestigious Gordon swimming pool off of Dizengoff. The wealthy north-Tel Avivians were irate, they decried the “provocation,” and Power for Israel scored a great point.


Or their latest campaign, “No Duties, No Rights,” which demands—in signs written in Arabic—that Israel’s Arabs start paying taxes, obey traffic laws, submit formal requests for home extensions, and declare their loyalty to the Jewish state. Both leaders taped a video in Arabic stating all these points. The campaign was accused of racism, but the point was made, loud and clear.

I’ve been enamoured with political circuses since 1968, when legendary street theater performers like Daniel Cohn-Bendit (Danny the Red) and Abbey Hoffman used humor and pathos to defeat state systems. The fact that Danny and Abbey were on the left and Michael and Aryeh are on the right is trivial. They’re all good Jews, as far as I’m concerned, teaching the world that a little sense of humor and political conviction can defeat lines of cops in riot gear, and even, on occasion, tanks.

I shudder at the thought that the Palestinians might some day develop a sense of humor. But then I remember Hanan Ashrawi and I know we’re safe for a while.

Still, looking at MK Aryeh Eldad, the last thing that comes to mind is a radical provocateur. His co-chairman, Ben Ari, looks the part, with the salt and pepper hair and beard, the burning, dark eyes and the big mouth, full of teeth. Eldad, in comparison, looks like someone you’d ask to do your taxes.

He comes from radical stock, though. His father, the late Israel Eldad, was a leader in the Lechi underground (the Stern gang, as the British named it). Incidentally, a disproportionate number of today’s leaders in Israel are children of Stern gang members: Tzipi Livni, Yair Shamir, Dan Meridor, Tzahi Hanegbi. Surprisingly, many of them are center-left, if not altogether leftists.

I ask him if, as an ex general (he was chief of the IDF medical corps), and a famous plastic surgeon, he’s not setting foot in political water that’s too murky for someone of his stature.

“You say murky water,” Eldad responds with a glint in his eye, “but my engagement in medicine has taught me that in order to heal one must come in contact with the most repulsive things you can imagine: birthing, draining abscesses. I don’t have the privilege to be spoiled.”

A story that made the rounds a few years ago has Dr. Eldad, then chief of the Hadassah Medical Center Dept. of Plastic Surgery, taking care, free of charge, of a teenage girl from Gaza, who was honor-burned by her family. The girl would come in frequently for follow-up visits. One time she was caught on her way to his Jerusalem clinic, wearing a suicide vest. It turned out that her family told her they would forgive her romantic transgressions if she blew up the doctor who healed her.

Yori Yanover

Ben Ari’s Nightmare: Shas Will Crown Shelly Yachimovich

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

To understand just how realistic is the prediction that the January 22 elections will result in a Labor-led coalition, with Shelly Yachimovich as prime minister, you must become acquainted with a traumatic event in Israel’s political history, which has come to be known as HaTargil HaMasriach – the stinky maneuver.

It was the late Yitzhak Rabin who awarded the above maneuver its aromatic name. It described a 1990 attempt by Rabin’s eternal rival inside the Labor party, Shimon Peres, to create a narrow, leftist coalition partnership with the Haredi parties.

The trick almost succeeded, but was blocked finally, believe it or not, by the late Lubavitcher Rebbe. We’ll deal with that parsha further down in this report, but, for now, just keep in mind that when you ask the average Israeli who was old enough to follow the news back then about the stinky maneuver, he or she would cite three names: Shimon Peres, Haim Ramon, and Aryeh Deri.

Disturbingly, all three men are today in positions of power, although two of them, Ramon and Deri, have been convicted by criminal court—Deri for embezzling, Ramon for sex without consent—to manufacture yet another stinky maneuver, and this time the numbers are on their side.

Last week, MK Michael Ben Ari of Power for Israel took the podium at a conference of party activists to attack not his favorite target on the right—Bibi Netanyahu—or on the left—take your pick—but the Shas party. And more specifically, Aryeh Deri, a member of the leadership triumvirate who is considered to be the real power at the helm.

According to Ben Ari, in the current situation in Israel’s politics, with two distinct blocks vying for the voter’s chit, Aryeu Deri is perfectly capable of scrambling all of Bibi’s best laid plans for a right-leaning or even left-leaning coalition, and deliver Shas over to the leftist block.

“It’s no secret that Aryeh Deri is deep inside the left,” Ben Ari said. “His friends, led by Haim Ramon, are clearly leftists. The daily Yedioth Aharaonoth is pinning its hopes on him as the left’s great, last hope, while the leftist papers have turned him into their “etrog,” and have forgiven him his serious corruption convictions.”

Ben Ari added: We’ve already been to that scenario where Deri took votes from the right and handed them over to the left. Today this is an obvious thing, which he himself is not denying.”

In a statement to The Jewish Press, MK Ben Ari advised anyone planning to vote for Shas, “if they’re really looking to vote for someone who is loyal to the Torah, to vote for Power for Israel.”

“Unfortunately, the cowboy [Deri] is back on the range,” Ben Ari added, “and he hasn’t been concealing his intentions.”

Perhaps to allay his party voters’ fears regarding such a possibility, on Saturday’s “Meet the Press” on Channel 2, Deri called on Prime Minister Netanyahu to immediately invite him to negotiate the next coalition government. “Call me,” Deri invited Bibi, looking at the cameras, “I will come to your house and we’ll decide about [Shas] entering the government.”

In response, Likud-Beitenu came after Deri with both fists pounding: “The public should remember Deri’s association with the left during the Oslo Accords. Those who vote Shas may find it in a coalition with the Left.”

Deri seems to have forgotten the Likud’s partner, the largely Russian-born Israel Beitenu, led by former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman. Just days ago, Shas was forced by the Knesset elections committee to take down their commercial showing a blonde, goyish looking Russian bride, who under the chupah receives her Jewish conversion by fax. That slight will not make for warm ties between Liberman and Deri, even if the latter actually ends up inside Netanyahu’s government.

In response, Deri told Yedioth that “this is not appropriate. We’re hearing Likud accusations of having contacts with the left, while they are not willing to sit with us. Was it because Netanyahu himself is planning a center-left coalition? Instead of attacking us, let them declare whether or not they want to go with us or with the center-left.”

“Despite all the occupations with the health of [Rav Ovadia Yosef, who suffered a minor stroke], I am prepared to start talks even tonight,” Deri added, explaining that the chupah commercial was not intended as a slight against Russian immigrants: “Our commercial is light and satirical, and doesn’t utter a bad word against anyone.”

Yori Yanover

Hebron Chief Rabbi Pulls Support from Bennett’s Party

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Rabbi Dov Lior, a leading figure in the Tekumah party that merged with Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home’s Knesset list, has withdrawn his support from that same list. The website Srugim revealed that Rabbi Lior was furious when he saw his name appear in campaign ads for Jewish Home, as part of an extensive list of rabbis supporting the party.

Rabbi Lior, who founded Tekumah together with Arutz 7 owner Rabbi Zalman Melamed and Rabbi Chaim Steiner, is the chief rabbi of Hebron and Kiryat Arba, the dean of the Kiryat Arba Hesder Yeshiva, and heads the Council of Rabbis of Judea and Samaria.

Over the past few months, Rabbi Lior has been expressing his dissatisfaction with the way MK Michael Ben Ari, who now runs on the Power for Israel list, was pushed out of the united list by his colleagues. Initially, Rabbi Lior refused to take public measures against Jewish Home, partly because he is related to MK Uri Ariel—who, according to Ben Ari’s camp was instrumental in his ousting, and to Orit Struck, who is a contender on the Jewish Home list.

However, after seeing his name appear in support of the party, Rabbi Lior’s office approached the Jewish Home and asked to immediately remove all references of his support. The official reason they gave was that as chief rabbi of Kiryat Arba and Hebron, Lior could not legally express a political opinion. In practice, however, it appears that Rabbi Lior is simply unhappy with the current path of Jewish Home and the conduct of its leader, Naftali Bennett, and prefers to express his support, in private meetings, to Power for Israel, headed by MKs Michael Ben Ari and Aryeh Eldad.

The Jewish Home campaign stated that Rabbi Dov Lior did clarify that he did not want to appear on the ad supporting Jewish Home, and his name was later removed.

In a somewhat cheeky tone, the campaign added: “We hope that this will not interfere with the Likud campaign, in which the honorable rabbi is involved.”

A spokesperson for MK Aryeh Eldad told the Jewish Press that the surprisingly strong showing of Power for Israel in a recent poll is marking a trend of several weeks, in which the list has been climbing from not even showing in most polls to gaining 2, then 4, and now 6 seats.

“Considering the size of the samples in these polls—500 responding with a plus-minus 2-4 seat margin of error,” the spokesperson, Naama Cohen-Yechezkeli, said, “we have no way of telling whether these numbers are realistic, but they do show a persistent trend.”

This reporter’s theory—which Cohen-Yechezkeli said was “interesting”—is that once it became a sure thing that Netanyahu would be the next prime minister, right-wing voters were looking to vote in a way that would force his future coalition government to the right; but once a string of anonymous revelations started coming out—fueled chiefly by Arutz 7, a media organ closely affiliated with Jewish Home—regarding Netanyahu’s intent to devote his next term to pushing a 2-state solution, right wing voters realized Bennett’s party couldn’t possibly be included in his government, and so they started looking more seriously at Ben Ari and Eldad to represent them.

This could be scored, then, as one more occasion when a negative campaign ended up hurting its source, much as Likud sustained damage by attacking Bennett a week ago.

Yori Yanover

Following Brutal Rape, Protest Rally Against Illegal Aliens in Tel Aviv

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

MK Michael Ben-Ari of the Otzma l’Yisrael party led a protest on Monday against the illegal Sudanese and Eritrean aliens living in southern Tel Aviv. Hundred of people participated in the rally.

Ben-Ari and Aryeh Eldad have made the expulsion of the illegal aliens a centerpiece of their political campaign.

The protest called, “Blowing up the Silence” was initiated after an Eritrean alien was caught brutally raping an 83 year old woman. The suspect, who was tied to the assault by his DNA, has reportedly has been arrested a number of time for other sexual assaults.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Knesset Speaker Cancels Knesset Delegation to US Over Visa Denial to Nationalist MK

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin announced that he has canceled a Knesset delegation’s trip to the US after MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) was denied a US visa due to his past membership in Meir Kahane’s political party Kach.

MKs Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), Einat Wilf (Independence),  and Zehava Gal-On (Meretz) were scheduled to attend a women’s empowerment conference in Washington in late March. Although the visa denial was unrelated to the visit, Rivlin said he canceled it because the visa denial was “an affront to the entire Knesset.”

The State Department rejected Ben-Ari’s visa application two weeks ago because it considers Kach a terrorist organization. The party was banned from the Knesset in 1988.

In a letter to US ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro, Rivlin blasted the rejection, saying that “[t]he United States’ allegation that a member of Knesset is a terrorist in unacceptable and is an affront to the entire Knesset.”

Ben-Ari, in a statement released by his assistant Itamar Ben-Gvir, thanked Rivlin for “standing strong against disrespect of the Knesset.”

Kahane, the controversial Rabbi and former MK, was assassinated in New York 20 years ago.

The US Embassy in Tel Aviv had no immediate comment.

Jewish Press Staff

MK Tibi Praises Palestinian ‘Martyrs’

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Raam-Taal MK Ahmad Tibi, remarking at a Palestinian Authority event commemorating Palestinian ‘martyrs,’ said last week that “the martyr is the symbol of the homeland.”

The NGO Palestinian Media Watch obtained and released the video, in which the Member of Knesset is also heard saying that “there is nothing more praiseworthy than those who die for the homeland.”

When questioned about his remarks, Tibi brushed off concerns as “Israeli ignorance.”

National Union MK Michael Ben-Ari, after being briefed on the matter, wrote a letter to Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein, imploring him to prosecute Tibi.

“Your office has not hesitated to prosecute right-wing activists for less severe speeches,” Ben-Ari wrote. “The time has come to stop Tibi’s party.”

Jewish Press Staff

Security Forces Clash with Activists in Outpost Community Evacuation

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Security forces dismantled the outpost community of Yissa Bracha early Thursday morning, resulting in violent clashes and the injuries of three police officers and six protesters.

The Three police officers sustained their wounds after climbing onto the roof of a structure that subsequently caved in.

Activists said they were peacefully protesting the operation when they were seized by security forces armed with tear gas, while police claimed to have encountered violent opposition upon their arrival at the scene.

National Union MK Michael Ben-Ari said that “[t]he obsessive and ongoing demolition of Jewish homes has reached the levels of the eviction of Jews from their homes in Gush Katif and northern Samaria. [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are persecuting residents, evicting children from their homes, and injuring protesters – and afterwards they wonder why there are ‘price tag’ actions.”

 The police evicted five families and dismantled six homes in the nascent community located east of Jerusalem.
Jewish Press Staff

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/security-forces-clash-with-activists-in-outpost-community-evacuation/2012/01/19/

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