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September 29, 2016 / 26 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘mofaz’

The Morning After: Israel’s Political System Shaken, Stirred, Realigned

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

The stealth move Monday night by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Shaul Mofaz has left everyone in Israel’s political arena reeling. First, the very idea that such a game-changing deal could be kept secret in Israel was shocking. It served to remind everyone of the military combat background of both leaders.

And then there was the realization that by joining forces the two have almost accomplished the oldest dream of every Israeli premier since David Ben Gurion – to rule without partners.

Today, a Likud and Kadima coalition relies on 55 of the 61 seats needed for a majority government.

But in reality, Kadima is “Likud light,” having been formed in 2005 by then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, with Likud members who were willing to support Sharon’s plan to uproot the Jews of the Gaza strip, dubbed the “unilateral disengagement plan.”

In that sense, the Likud-Kadima coalition is more reunification than realignment. Mofaz et al are more lost children coming home than political foes overcoming their differences.

Back in December of 2005, then Defense Minister and Likud MK Shaul Mofaz sent personal letters to party members who were defecting to Ariel Sharon’s new party, begging them to return home. Later Mofaz would be ridiculed for the memorable slogan he included in his personal letter, “You don’t desert your home,” because shortly after coining it, Mofaz himself up and deserted that very home.

Seven years later it appears that all is forgotten.

Incidentally, Shaul Mofaz is fast becoming the Mitt Romney of Israeli politics, famous for making bombastic announcements which he disregards in a matter of days. Just before the Kadima primaries in March, Mofaz wrote on his Facebook page: “Listen well, I will not join Bibi’s government. Not today, not tomorrow and not after I become the head of Kadima on March 28. It is a bad, failing and disconnected government, and Kadima under my stewardship will replace it in the coming elections. Clear enough?”

Clear indeed.

The new deal awards the Kadima returnees significant legislative powers.

Under the section “Sharing the burden of military service,” the agreement states:

“The Parties undertake to enact, by July 31, 2012, a law regulating fair and just distribution of the burden of military service among the various segments of the population in Israel, in accordance with the Supreme Court ruling. Clear goals will be set for Haredi recruitment with progressive increases over the years. The bill will be written by a team from Kadima.”

Under the section “Correcting the system of government,” the agreement reads:

“The Parties undertake to fundamentally change the system of government in Israel, establishing a system of governance which will enhance governmental stability and effectiveness. Among other things, the new system will allow a prime minister to fulfill his agenda as determined by the voter, to create continuity of government, enhance the capacity for long-term planning and the protection of the public good.”

Under the section “The political process,” the agreement reads:

Both sides agree that the government will act to renew the political process and to advance negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. Both sides agree on the importance of preserving the State of Israel as a democratic, Jewish state, and on the importance of maintaining defensible borders.”

This third segment essentially embraces the two-state solution, which is bad news for the Jews in settlements east of the security fence. It means the beginning of a countdown towards the evacuation of thousands of Jews, and should that undertaking appear unrealistic, many settlers recalled today that Shaul Mofaz, serving as Sharon’s Defense Minister, was the enforcer in the removal of thousands of Gush Katif’s Jews.

The immediate huge loser of this move is Prime Minister wannabe Yair Lapid, who – before last night’s earthquake – was projected to gain between 11 and 12 seats in the coming elections, as newbie center parties have been doing in Israeli politics since 1977.

Coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin, on Tuesday morning told Israel’s Army Radio that it is clear that Yair Lapid is the big loser of the new move. “He was already revving up his engine and saw himself in the Knesset,” Elkin mocked.

Lapid’s Facebook page offered this entry by the disappointed proto politician:

“What you saw today is exactly the old politics, dingy and ugly, which the time has come to kick out of our lives. Politics of seats instead of principles, of jobs instead of the public good, of interest groups instead of the whole country. They think now they will play for time and we’ll forget, but they are wrong. This disgusting political alliance will bury all its members under its ruins.”

But while the damage to Lapid’s dreams adds comic relief to the story, the new coalition deal means decidedly sobering news for Israel’s two major religious camps – the Haredim and the Religious Zionist settlement movement.

Yori Yanover

Shaul Mofaz and Jewish Settlements: He Knows Everything But Learns Nothing

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

It appears that Tuesday night’s big winner of the Kadima party primary vote, like the Royal house of Bourbon, has not forgotten anything and has not learned anything. On November 11, 2009, the Israel Policy Forum (a NY based American Jewish organization which has been criticized for being pro-Palestinian) hosted a conference call discussion with former Defense Minister and former IDF Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz, in which he laid down his plan for a Permanent Palestinian State. If you or your loved ones reside in Judea and Samaria – be afraid, be very afraid.

Indeed, over the past few years, Mofaz has been visiting the parts of Judea and Samaria located within the security fence, to reassure residents that their future is safe. Ynet quotes him as saying, in late 2005: “I intend to operate on two issues: The first is to continue to promote the building of the fence in order to provide the citizens with maximum security, and the second is to strengthen settlement blocs, because I believe that the settlement blocs must be strong, together with the Jordan Valley.”

But anyone else, apparently, is fair game. On a visit to Ma’ale Adumim, days before the Kadima vote, Mofaz reiterated that he considered this settlement with its 39,000 residents, near Jerusalem, as “an integral part of Israel’s political agenda.” Meaning, this one gets to stay, others – not so.

The truth is that Shaul Mofaz, who may become Israel’s next prime minister, is as firm on uprooting thousands of Jewish families from Judea and Samaria as he was about doing the same to the Jews of the Gaza strip.

And it is clear that he acted in Gaza’s Gush Katif with the full expectation that once the settlements were cleared, a reign of terror and attacks on Israel were likely to follow.

Back in June, 2005, the Jerusalem Post’s David Horovitz reported that Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz was preparing to hand over to the Palestinian Authority written information on the location of settlements and on settlement infrastructure in Gush Katif, to keep the PA (which still ruled in Gaza) in the know and help coordinate with them the uprooting of the Jewish settlers.

Briefing reporters, Mofaz “took a swipe at former chief of General Staff Moshe Ya’alon,” whose term at the helm of the IDF was not renewed because Mofaz did not trust him to carry out the removal of Jews from their homes.

The week before that June briefing, Ya’alon had “warned of an upsurge in terrorism and ultimately war with the Palestinians in the aftermath of disengagement,” recorded Horovitz. Mofaz declared, without mentioning Ya’alon by name, that some people were inventing “radical scenarios about what will happen the day after,” when in reality, there were “lots of possibilities” and Israel had to be “ready to deal with any and all of them.”

But then, at the very same briefing, Mofaz warned that Hamas was growing stronger in Gaza, outpacing the PA, and that—as Horovitz put it—he “envisaged a possibility of Hamas becoming the dominant player there.”

With prophetic foresight, Mofaz said: “An alternative leadership is rising up under the noses of the PA.” He warned that Hamas had “a people’s army” which was bringing weapons in clandestine ways into Gaza. Indeed, all of Hamas’ soldiers were now armed and trained, unmolested by the PA’s security forces.

On a different occasion, during a tour of Gush Katif that summer, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told reporters that Ashkelon was within the range that needed extra protection from terrorist rockets.

But with all this prophetic insight, Mofaz still did not hesitate to move in on the Jews of Gush Katif and plant the seeds for the very scenario about which he was so worried. Deprived of a base within Gaza, the IDF was later forced to employ a great deal more power than would have been necessary to curtail rocket attacks on Israel — just as Mofaz had predicted.

A brilliant analyst he is — if only he listened to his own analysis.

There is no love lost between Shaul Mofaz and the settlement movement.

Two years after the annihilation of Jewish Gaza, in his capacity as Transportation Minister in the Kadima government led by PM Ehud Olmert, Mofaz was invited by the Gush Etzion municipality to participate in a ceremony naming the intersection at Efrat’s northern entrance after the convoys that brought aid to the Jews of Gush Etzion and Jerusalem, who were under Jordanian siege during the 1948-49 War of Independence.

Yori Yanover

Kadima MK Breakdown: Who Supports Livni vs. Mofaz?

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Kadima is preparing for a showdown with their leadership primary expected to be held sometime in March. Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni and Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Shaul Mofaz have the support of a dozen MKs each.

Livni’s four main supporters are veteran MKs Ronnie Bar-On, Marina Solodkin, Majallie Whbee, and Gideon Ezra. Two-term MKs Yoel Hasson and Shlomo Molla, along with rookie MKs Nino Abesadze, Rachel Adatto, Doron Avital, Nachman Shai, Robert Tiviaev and Orit Zuaretz, also support Livni.

Mofaz’s three main supporters are veteran MKs Meir Sheetrit, Ruhama Avraham Balila and Jacob Edery. Mofaz also has the support of two-term MKs Israel Hasson, Shai Hermesh, Yohanan Plesner, Otniel Schneller and Ronit Tirosh and rookie MKs Arie Bibi, Zeev Bielski, Yulia Shamalov Berkovich and Avraham Duan.

Only two of Kadima’s 28 MKs are not on either side. Faction Chairwoman MK Dalia Itzik has decided to remain neutral and MK Avi Dichter is still planning to run for Kadima leadership himself. Many expect Dichter to drop out before the primary and join forces with Mofaz, similarly to MK Sheetrit, who dropped out of the race this weekend.

MK Sheetrit, who was first elected to Knesset in 1981, has never run against an incumbent. Following Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s resignation, he finished in third place (8.5%) behind Livni and Mofaz in Kadima’s 2008 leadership contest. Following the first-term resignation of Prime Minister Netanyahu, he finished third (22%) behind Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert in the 1999 Likud leadership race.

Jeremy Saltan

From The Jayson Blair School Of Journalism

Friday, July 11th, 2003

With the Jayson Blair scandal occupying center stage for weeks and the resignations of two top honchos at the New York Times over Blair’s admitted manufacturing of the news and plagiarism, one would have thought that the journalistic world would stay away from anything that would remind readers of the affair. As it turns out, however, The Times has nothing on a leading Israeli daily, Haaretz and its columnist, the notoriously leftist Akiva Eldar.

Here is part of what Eldar had to say about the Aqaba meeting of President Bush, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Prime Minister Abu Mazen:

According to one of the participants in the three-way meeting of the delegations, a lot can be learned about the swinging of the pendulum from the Israeli side to the Palestinian side.

According to the source, Dahlan gave an excellent 5-minute synopsis of the [security] situation, and concluded by saying to Bush:”There are some things we can do and some things we cannot. We will do our best. But we will need help.”

Mofaz burst in at the end of Dahlan’s presentation and said: “Well, they won’t be getting any help from us; they have their own security service.”

You could see that Bush was irritated, says the participant, and he turned on Mofaz angrily: “Their own security service? But you have destroyed their security service.”

Mofaz shook his head and said: “I do not think that we could help them, Mr. President,” – to which Bush said: “Oh, but I think you can. And I think that you will.”

Eldar then writes that Abu Mazen gave a presentation on the suffering of the Palestinians, claiming that additional funding would be necessary and reports:

Sharon then interrupted and said: “The insertion of new funding must be dependent on your good behavior.”

Bush was again visibly irritated: “You should release their money as soon as possible. This will help the situation.”

Sharon shook his head: “We have to deal with security first, and we will condition the release of their monies on this alone.”

Bush peered at Sharon: “But it is their money…”

Sharon said: “Nevertheless, Mr. President…” and Bush interrupted him: “It is their money, give it to them.”

After that meeting, Bush turned to National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice and said, “We have a problem with Sharon I can see, but I like that young man [Dahlan] and I think their prime minister is incapable of lying. I hope they will be successful. We can work with them.”

At first glance, it would seem that Eldar could not have submitted his article with a straight face. Could he really expect that his fanciful tale, based upon an unnamed source and completely at odds with President Bush’s public persona, would be taken seriously? Was the
source – if there were one – someone with an agenda? Was it someone from the Palestinian side? How could people take such earth shaking revelations without attribution? On second thought, though, given the worldwide thirst for anything negative about Israel, Eldar’s fanciful
tale may yet get traction.

Why would Eldar compromise even the appearance of his journalistic integrity? Perhaps it has something to the freefall that Abu Mazen’s reputation is now in. Arafat is plainly in charge of the Palestinian Authority and Mazen has already backtracked on his crucial commitment to move against Hamas. He has also taken to claim that what he said at Aqaba – welcomed warmly by President Bush ? “was misunderstood.”

Eldar, the career lefty, seems bent on spreading the rumor that maybe Mazen and Dahlan are not such bad guys after all. And of course, no one could really verify his story, could they?

Editorial Board

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/from-the-jayson-blair-school-of-journalism/2003/07/11/

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