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January 22, 2017 / 24 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘municipal’

205 Experts Polled: Hamas, PLO Likely to Split October Municipal Elections

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

The Arab World Institute for Research and Development (AWRAD) last week released an online experts poll on the October 8 municipal elections, with results that reflect a balance between Hamas and the PLO, with additional play for clan candidates and leftwing groups.

AWRAD presents itself as a pioneering research, consulting and development firm based in the Palestinian Authority. Its website claims AWRAD is one of the Arab region’s leading firms providing a full range of consulting and technical services for sustainable development and state building.

Below are the results of an online study conducted August 12-18 2016, among 205 experts in local government, each knowledgeable of political and social circumstances as they pertain to the upcoming local elections, October 8, 2016. The poll was completed through a representative sample of experts across all 16 districts of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. Participants included journalists, community activists, businesspeople, university professors, political activists, local governance experts, as well as lawyers, medical doctors and engineers.

Less than a majority of respondents believe that the scheduled local elections are important; the rest believe that they are somewhat important or not important. Only 47% are confident the elections will be held as scheduled. Only 20% of respondents believing the elections will improve the prospects for national reconciliation. 59% believes that the decision of Hamas to participate is a positive development for overall local Arab interests, while 38% believe it is either negative or of no consequence.

A majority expects that the elections will be open and transparent, with only 20% expressing doubt.

The largest plurality of experts believes that the most important issue at stake in the October election is the regular practice of democratic processes. The second most important issue is delivery of services.

Party affiliation and familial allegiance are the two factors that experts believe will exert the greatest influence on voters. The experts think the “moral reputation” and “professional competence” of the candidate do not play as significant a role in their chances as to which family they belong.

Survey respondents predict an overall turnout rate of about 60 percent. They also anticipate a tight race between Fatah and Hamas in Judea and Samaria and in the Gaza Strip. The two parties will likely share about two-thirds of the seats with, the remainder split among independents and leftwing parties.

Following are the questions and responses as reported by AWRAD:

1. In your opinion, how important are local elections scheduled for October 8, 2016?

Important 48.4%
Somewhat Important 26.3%
Somewhat unimportant 14.2%
Not important 11.1%

2. Do you believe the elections will actually occur as scheduled?

Yes 47.4%
No 31.6%
Don’t know 21.1%

3. Do you believe that the planned local elections will improve the prospects to achieve reconciliation?

Yes 21.1%
No 46.3%
will not make a difference 30.5%
Don’t know 2.1%

4. On a local level, what is the most important issue at stake in the October elections?

Communal relations 4.2%
Delivery of services (water. sanitation, electricity, education, healthcare) 37.4%
Local policing and security 1.6%
Regular practice of democratic processes 46.3%
Don’t know 10.5%

5. In your opinion, is the decision by Hamas to participate in the elections a positive or negative development for overall Palestinian interests?

Positive 58.9%
Negative 8.4%
Of no consequence 30.0%
Don’t know, no opinion 2.6%

6. Which of the following factors will have the largest influence on voters in the local elections?

Family/tribal affiliation of candidates 36.8%
Party affiliation of candidates 37.4%
Moral reputation/ethics of candidates 11.6%
Professional competence of candidates 12.6%
Don’t know/NO answer 1.6%

7. Do you expect the elections to occur in an open and transparent manner?

Yes 64.7%
No 20.0%
Don’t know 15.3%

8. So far, what is your evaluation of the Central Election Commission in managing the local election?

Positive 69.5%
Negative 2.6%
Fair 19.5%
Don’t know 8.4%

9. As of today, what is your estimation of the voter turnout rate?

Average opinion: 60.0%

10. Based on your expert opinion, if you were to predict the distribution of seats among the following political parties in the October elections, what percentage of seats would you give to each in Judea and Samaria?

Independents/non-aligned with parties 19.4%
Fatah 34.4%
Hamas 32.7%
Other nationalists/leftists groups 9.1%
Other Islamist groups 4.4%


Announcing My Candidacy for the PA Municipal Elections

Friday, August 12th, 2016

On October 8, 2016, the Palestinian Authority expect to be holding municipal elections. These elections are being held  for Palestinians to elect local councils for PA villages, towns and cities. Among some of their responsibilities, these councils oversee the electricity and water to the PA areas that are supplied by Israel. There are a total of 416 local councils throughout Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The two main factions who will be running in these elections are, of course, the PA/Fatah and Hamas.

I watch from the sidelines, as any other Israeli, and await what form of government and/or chaos will sprout forth from these elections. However, I asked myself this morning: Why do I need to sit in the sidelines? I look at our Knesset and see eleven parliamentarians who are  Arab and among them is one who has built for herself a very successful career in her position. Haneen Zoabi has been vilified and raked over the coals on numerous occasions; calls for her expulsion from the Knesset come on a daily basis.

And yet, the fact that even she can “serve” in the Knesset has shown and proven to the world that indeed Israel is a true democracy. She not only works in the Knesset but earns a hefty salary, has a car and a staff all paid for by Israeli citizens. Where else in the world could a sitting member of parliament be able to rail against the very State to which she has sworn allegiance, call its military Nazis, actively work to destroy the country both politically and economically…all the while earning a salary for this! What a country! What a democracy….!

In that spirit, and using the Zoabi model, I wish to take a bold step: I hereby announce my candidacy for the PA Municipal Elections. I understand that this comes with a heavy responsibility. And, in order to make sure my constituents have a full grasp on what my qualifications are and what my platform is, allow me to lay out my qualifications  and my platform with post-election plans, as I sit in the PA Municipal Council.


I have lived my whole life in democratic countries and, as such, I am quite qualified to explain to the Arab parties what this concept truly means. As a former pulpit rabbi of a community, where I helped arbitrate and negotiate between members of our community, I gained many skills that will be useful in the Council. Although no community member ever tried to stab another one where I come from, as happens among Arab clans, I still believe my longstanding career in mediation will assist me in  many areas, especially family/clan issues.


  1. Both the political and military parties of Hamas will be outlawed and disbanded. Those who wish to relinquish their vows of annihilation of the State of Israel will be permitted to remain in their locations, subject to surprise inspections (and I don’t mean giving 24 days notice …or whatever the US  agreed to give Iran!). Any infraction will come with a mandatory penalty of expulsion to a neighboring Arab state. The ticket will be paid for by the PA and it will be ONE WAY, non-refundable and  non-cancelable
  2. All monies received from any donors to the PA will be channeled through a newly established bank which will be overseen by Israel and Micronesia (They deserve our respect, given their support of Israel). All monies will be disbursed by this bank to registered companies in the PA who are licensed to build schools, hospitals, roadways and any form of public works. Any other construction and any other use of monies will be at the discretion of the Board of Directors of this bank.All cement used must be recorded and accounted for and if supplies are diverted (as they have been in the past to build Hamas terror tunnels), those involved will be deported – and, yes, that one way ticket deal will be implemented.
  3. The entire areas under PA Council rule will be demilitarized–no guns, no knives over certain length, etc
  4. If the elections are actually held in October, all school text books will be confiscated and if there is no other choice, they will have to use Israeli text books until they are able to print their own which, like the Israeli textbooks, focus on positive messages for children, honor, life, etc. Any books which refer to the destruction of Israel or harbor any subversive content will be destroyed. All new books will be printed in time for the opening of a new school year, or as close as possible to it. The Core Curriculum will be mandatory in all schools. It would be irresponsible for a government not to require its citizens to be literate.
  5. All areas under PA control will be required to manufacture their own electricity and cover all of the expenses internally, thereby releasing their dependence on “foreign” (read: Israel) providers. After all, there is no place like Ohm.
  6. All tunnels are to be kept OPEN with the following provisos: All exits that reach to the border between Gaza and Israel must be sealed (subject to inspection by Israel). All tunnels are to be mapped out and extended. They are then to be connected to form an underground transportation system. While some businesses and quiet residential areas will undergo some turmoil, it will be worth it in the long run (Please consult with businesses an residents near Emek Refaim in Israel).
  7. The entire culture of hate (beginning with the mother’s milk) will be eradicated. Any offense will carry with it a mandatory 10 year jail term, no matter the age of the offender. This will have a ZERO tolerance approach. It will be known as  The Erdogan Law.

This is merely a partial list of my platform. I seek to improve the lives of those living under harsh rule which can get much worse depending on who wins the Municipal elections. After all, the happier the citizens of the PA are the less they will be focused on murdering Israelis.

So, MK Haneen Zoabi, thank you for the brilliant idea! Infiltrate your enemy in legal and legitimate means and try to get your tasks done that way. You are the guiding light here, and for that I thank you.

I still need a name of my political party. Please feel free to comment with a suggestion of a name. The winner will be treated to a night in the Five Star “Tunnel Vision”  in downtown Rammalah…breakfast included.

Rav Zev Shandalov

How Jerusalem’s Arabs Act Against Their Own Interests

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

As Israelis prepare to cast their ballots in the municipal elections next week, tens of thousands of eligible Arab voters in Jerusalem will once again boycott the democratic process.

In the past few days, the Palestinian Liberation Organization [PLO], Hamas and several other Palestinian organizations have called on the Arab residents of Jerusalem to stay away from the ballot boxes.

These organizations maintain that Arab participation in the municipal election would be interpreted as recognition of Israel’s decision to annex the eastern part of the city in the aftermath of the 1967 Israeli-Arab war.

As such, the vast majority of the Arab residents have since been boycotting the local election, mainly out of fear of being dubbed “traitors” by various Palestinian organizations.

But if anyone stands to lose from the boycott it is the Arabs themselves.

First, the boycott has done nothing to undermine Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem. Some would even argue that Israeli dominion over the city has never been as strong as it is these days, especially in wake of the Arab residents’ failure to take part in crucial decisions concerning their neighborhoods and villages.

Second, the boycott has severely harmed the interests of the Arab residents, who have been denied the chance to have representatives in the municipal council who would fight for better services and the improvement of their living conditions. The Arabs make up 25-30% of the city’s eligible voters, which means that they could have 7-8 representatives in the 31-seat municipal council. The boycott has denied the Arabs the opportunity to be directly involved in the planning of their neighborhoods.

While it is true that some Arabs boycott the municipal elections for ideological reasons, there is no denying the fact that many are also afraid of being targeted by extremists if they present their candidacy or go to the ballot boxes.

A few Arabs who in the past dared to challenge the boycott have faced death threats. One of them was newspaper publisher Hanna Siniora, who back in 1987 announced his intention to run in the municipal election. Siniora’s car was torched by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a move that forced him to retract his candidacy.

Eleven years later, another Arab, Mussa Alayan, defied the boycott by running at the head of an independent list. He received fewer than 3,000 votes and did not make it to the city council. Alayan could have probably become the first Arab council member had he and his supporters not faced a brutal and violent campaign by Palestinian activists.

Yet while Arab residents are boycotting the election, most of them continue to deal with the same municipality which they are not supposed to recognize. They even continue to pay taxes and fees to the municipality.

The Jerusalem Municipality has more than 1,500 Arab employees, and its various departments continue to provide many services to the Arab neighborhoods and villages in the city. These activities are taking place despite the Arab boycott that has been in effect since 1967.

Arabs who complain about lack of municipal services often seek the help of representatives of left-wing parties in the municipal council, such as Meretz.

Today, many Arabs in Jerusalem are not afraid to declare openly that they prefer to live under Israeli rule, and not under that of the Palestinian Authority or Hamas. The problem remains, however, that the overwhelming majority is still afraid of the radicals.

What is needed is a strong Arab leadership that would not hesitate to stand up to the radicals and question their goals. Such a leadership would have to make it clear that there should be a complete separation between the political issues and the day-to-day affairs of Jerusalem’s Arab population.

Until such leaders emerge, the Arabs in Jerusalem will, by boycotting the municipal elections, unfortunately continue to act against their own interests.

Khaled Abu Toameh

Chief Rabbinate’s Website Hacked

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Arab hackers, hacked the Chief Rabbinate’s website tonight.

Arab hackers have been attacking Israeli government and municipal websites all evening. They succeeded in changing the homepage on a few of them.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Rabbinate Lifts Restrictions on Tzohar Rabbis Officiating at Weddings

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Israel’s Chief Rabbinate has agreed to lift restrictions on rabbis from the Tzohar organization conducting weddings.

Under the agreement inked Thursday, Tzohar rabbis who meet certain criteria will be able to marry couples. In return, Tzohar pledged to withdraw a lawsuit against the Rabbinate and try to stop legislation that would have taken away the Rabbinate’s hegemony over who conducts marriages (See “New Knesset ‘Tzohar Law’ to Curtail Chief Rabbinate’s Control on Weddings Passes First Reading“).

The criteria include taking a test in the Jewish laws of marriage, the approval of three head municipal rabbis and a certificate of ordination from the Rabbinate.

Until now, community rabbis and yeshiva heads not officially employed by a local religious council needed special permission from the rabbinical council to officiate at weddings.

Tzohar helps to involve non-religious couples and their families in the wedding ceremony, marrying about 3,000 couples a year free of charge.

A Jewish couple must have a religious ceremony in Israel in order to be recognized as married. Many Israeli couples travel to the nearby island of Cyprus to marry in secular ceremonies.


Sell These Bonds Before You Make Aliya!

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

If you’re in a high tax bracket in the United States, you may own some municipal bonds in an effort to minimize your tax bill.

First of all, what are muni bonds? As their name suggests, these are issued by government entities. When you purchase a municipal bond, you are essentially lending a sum of money to the issuer for a set period. Over this time, you receive interest payments and once the bond matures, you are paid back the original sum of money that you invested (presuming that the issuer doesn’t default).

In the United States, the great thing about buying “munis,” as we often refer to municipal bonds, is that some of them are tax exempt, meaning that the income they generate may not liable to federal, state, or even local income taxes (check with your accountant to understand your specific situation).

So what happens if you are a municipal bond holder and you decide to make aliya and move to Israel?

As an Israeli citizen, you are required to report your income worldwide to the Israeli tax authorities, and pay taxes on it. Israel taxes income from municipal bonds because the Israeli government doesn’t recognize the beneficial U.S. tax status that these bonds hold. As of May 2012, the tax rate you would pay on the interest would be 25%. New olim may still enjoy a tax break on all of their investments based on the 10-year tax holiday that they get. However, in many cases, when you move to Israel, you might want to consider selling your municipal bonds, because due to their tax-advantage status, munis tend not to have as high yields as other bonds. If you’re looking for fixed income, consider other types of bonds (such as corporate bonds, treasury bonds, and even bank deposits). As with all investments, there are risks with every type of bond, so be sure to get personalized advice from a licensed professional before investing.

Bond trading can be complicated, but I’ve tried to simplify a few of the important concepts in my article, Premium Bonds Are Not The Opposite of Junk Bonds.

If you are still concerned about what holding a potential oleh (immigrant to Israel) or new oleh should have in his investment portfolio, consult a financial planner with knowledge of the markets on both side of the Atlantic for further advice.

Doug Goldstein, CFP®

Strike Ends, but Negotiations to Continue

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

A two-day strike that disrupted municipal services nationwide came to an end late Tuesday night as the Union of Local Authorities and the Prime Minister’s Office found middle ground on a range of economic issues.

The most significant outcome of the understandings reached by the two sides was the granting of discounts on water tax rates, which have already risen sharply over the past year, and a freeze on planned changes to municipal tax rates that would primarily benefit large families but dig into the budgets of financially strapped towns.

Still unsolved are about a dozen issues, including education and special needs programs, the distribution of national lottery revenues and other services, with both sides insisting that the other should bear the burden of financing the programs. According to the agreement reached late Tuesday night, these issues will be examined by a committee that is to be established in the coming days.

Responses to the agreements were divided along party lines. Interior Minister Eli Yishai, of Shas spearheaded support for the ULA’s list of demands, with support from Labor and Kadima. Most of the mayors who agreed to end the strike were affiliated with the Likud Party – following the lead of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who strongly opposed the ULA’s demands, which he said would cost the government billions of shekels.

On Wednesday, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz announced that the Bank of Israel had adjusted its expectations for economic growth in 2012 downward, from 4% to 3.2%.

Sam Ser

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/strike-ends-but-negotiations-to-continue/2012/01/18/

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