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December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Naftali Bennet’

Elections? Polls Show Center-Left on the Skids

Friday, October 31st, 2014

A new poll shows that the center-left parties have no chance of winning general elections and that the Jewish home party, headed by Naftali Bennett, would be the number two party after the Likud, chaired by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Israel’s media establishment, which likes Netanyahu as much as President Barack Obama likes him, recently has been talking up an atmosphere of instability in the coalition government and that elections will be held in the spring.

A survey by the reputable Rafi Smith firm, carried out for the left-leaning Globes business newspaper, reveals that the center-left has everything to lose and nothing to win by pushing for an early vote.

The popularity of the Jewish Home party has increased, and it could expect 15 Knesset Members, three more than in the current session. It would be the second largest party after the Liked, with a projected total of 24 MKs, and would replace Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party.

Yisrael Beitenu and Likud ran together in the last elections but since have gone their separate ways. The poll shows the Likud would win 24 seats today and that Yisrael Beitenu would garner only 10 mandates.

The number-three party would be Labor, with 14 seats, one less than it now enjoys.

The biggest loser is Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid party, which would be left with only 9 MKs, 10 less than the current 19.

Lapid swept into the Knesset as the great hope of the mainly secular, center-left voters who consider a Jewish presence in all of Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem a drain on their pockets.

Lapid promised everything under the moon, which so far remains eclipsed both by his failure to produce results and by his wake-up call from the war with Hamas, which proved once again that it might be so smart to play Monopoly with the Palestinian Authority and draw a border between Ventnor Avenue and Park Place, or between Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria.

The projected line-up if elections were held today is, on the right with a total of 49:

Likud – 24;

Jewish Home – 15;

Yisrael Beitenu – 10.

On the left, with a total of 22:

Labor – 14;

Meretz – 8.

The parties that could go either way, depending on the wind, have a total of 28 MKs:

Yesh Atid – 9;

Shas – 7;

Yehadut HaTorah – 8;

Tzipi Livni’s HaTnua party – 4.

Kadima, as earlier polls have shown, would disappear. The Arab parties would have 12 votes but would not join a center-left coalition. The wild card is Moshe Kahlon, former Likud Minister of Communications who broke the mobile phone oligarchy in Israel and brought prices of mobile phone calls down by 90 percent. His new party is projected to gain 9 seats in the next elections, and he could go left or right.

Even if all the swing parties and Kahlon were to join a center-left coalition, they would have only 59 seats, two less than the needed absolute majority of 61. In any case, a coalition of the seven parties would be a nightmare and have zilch chance of becoming a reality.

With 49 projects MKs on the right, Netanyahu would have a choice of re-negotiating with Lapid and tempting Kahlon, or he could go with the Haredi parties.

In either case, he would have a majority without having to worry about having to deal with Livni again.

Lapid, Livni and Bennett: Anarchy in Netanyahu Government

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Recent policy statements of Government Ministers Yair Lapid and Tsipi Livni make the thinking person wonder what they are doing in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government. They sound more like the American Government than coalition partners with Naftali Bennett.

Two centrist* parties in the coalition – Yesh Atid and Hatnua – threatened to quit the government if it annexed West Bank settlements in response to the vacuum in the peace process.

“If even one settlement is unilaterally annexed, Yesh Atid won’t just quit the government, it will topple it,” said its party head, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, on Sunday. (Jerusalem Post)

The ideological differences between the various members of Bibi’s coalition are more opposite than a well made Chinese sweet and sour dish. Those sorts of culinary contrasts may taste great, but they can make for anarchistic governing, which is what seems to be going on right now in Israel.

At the same time Minister Naftali Bennett has promoted his program to annex many of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

Under the plan, Israel will gradually annex Area C of Judea and Samaria, where 400,000 Israelis reside…”

Yes, those are the same places that Lapid and Livni want to make judenrein, cleansed of Jews.

Nu, I ask you:

Which of these plans represents the ideology of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu?

Is anyone in the driver’s seat?

*I would not call Yesh Atid or Hatnuah “centrist.” They are both extreme Left, even though Lapid made a point of inviting a variety of people to run on his list. When it comes to official ideology, they are just window-dressing.

Visit Shiloh Musings.  / Batya Medad

Extreme Cut: Israel Eliminates Budget for Yeshiva Foreign Students

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

If you suspected that Rabbi Shai Piron, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party’s education minister, was on a warpath aimed to bring the Haredi yeshiva world down to its knees – you may have been right all along. It is difficult to put a positive spin on the good rabbi and minister’s recent decision regarding the flow of mostly American rabbinic students to Israeli yeshivas – a decision that is likely to simply kill that flow.

A letter sent out yesterday, Sept. 30, from the Dept. of Torah Institution in the ministry of education to yeshiva deans and other heads of religious institutions, under the title: “correction of qualifications for support,” states:

1. Elimination of support for students from abroad starting in 2014. From the time the correction has been finalized until the end of 2013, a reduced stipend will be issued to students from abroad, at 30 percent of what an Israeli student receives, and as of the start of 2014 the support for students from abroad will be stopped.

Over the past 40 years, a large number of yeshivas catering to Americans have sprouted in Israel, creating a strong bond between the Orthodox community in the U.S. and the Jewish state. These included “ba’aley tshuva” yeshivas, like Ohr Sameach and Aish Hatorah, Hesder Yeshivas, as well as yeshivas and seminaries for Orthodox men and women. Many of them depend on American government funding, in addition to money from the Israeli government.

According to Kikar Hashabbat, the cut is a death blow to yeshivas that have been catering to students from abroad, the majority of whom are American.

A yeshiva dean who spoke anonymously to Kikar Hashabbat said that, following the recent budget cuts for yeshivas, which will only get cut further next year, eliminating foreign student supports could cause the collapse of many yeshivas.

“This is not a smart or wise move on the part of the state of Israel,” the anonymous dean said. “You should know that the students who arrive in Israel bring foreign currency and are lavish consumers. Also, donations to religious institutions increase in correlation with the number of foreign students enrolled there. Now all of it will collapse. It will hurt the state, too, but mostly the yeshiva world.”

But Haredi journalist Israel Gelis is not as worried about the ability of yeshivas to survive. He believes they have already found ways of increasing the U.S. government support, since they are considered to be the equivalent of academic institutions.

Incidentally, there has been no reduction, much less elimination, of Israeli government support for foreign students attending local universities.

Sources in the ministry of education are saying the budget cuts were not initiated by them, but were decided in coalition budget negotiations, and Minister Piron had to decide where to apply the cuts imposed on his office. So he was merely in charge while those cuts were being decided.

Gelis anticipates a clash between Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennet and his political adopted brother Yair Lapid over these draconian cuts. Bennett has already objected to forcing Haredim to enlist at age 21 – when the law permitted them originally to wait until age 26.

Yesh Atid is fuming over the hurdle imposed by Jewish Home, since this would mean lower enlistment figures, as well as higher costs for each older recruit.

The theory behind Yesh Atid’s latest assault on the yeshiva world has to do with their desire to “dry up” Orthodox institutions, so that they would have no choice but to comply, send their students to the army and then let them go get jobs. But it’s hard to understand how that bit of complex social engineering would be supported by making it tough for American youths to attend a yeshiva in Israel.

Instead it just seems like petty vindictiveness.

New Chief Rabbi Appointment Pitting Bennett Against Lapid

Friday, April 19th, 2013

In Jewish Home circles they appear certain that the National Religious party’s candidate, Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, will be the next appointed Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel. But Naftali Bennet’s BF Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party is not prepared to give them this one. In fact, Yesh Atid officials said on Thursday that they’re ready for an all out war in support of Rabbi David Stav for the post.

But the conflict between the two buddy factions is not just over who would end up as Chief Rabbi, but also over one of the illnesses of Israel’s legislative system, known as “personalized laws.” These are laws that are enacted for a singular, temporary purpose, which can only be done, seemingly, in a country without a binding constitution.

In this case, the Jewish Home faction’s candidate is over age 70, and so his backers are proposing a new law that would eliminate the age limit when it comes to appointing a Chief Rabbi.

This is exactly the kind of calloused approach to the law that Yesh Atid’s idealistic, middle-class voters hate with a passion.

Rabbi Ariel is the personification of Religious Zionism in Israel, possibly its most respected scholar. So much so, that Rabbi Stav, who gained popularity in Israel as founder and leader of Tzohar, a rabbinic organization seeking to integrate religious and secular Israelis, announced that should Rabbi Ariel run, he, Stav, would remove his candidacy.

But Education Minister Rabbi Shai Piron, himself a product of Religious Zionism, said on Thursday that he spoke with Rabbi Ariel, and the latter does not consider himself a candidate for the job.

“I will oppose the law (to loft the age limit) in the government and the Knesset, and will do anything in my power to make sure it will not pass,” Piron said privately, as reported by Maariv. “This is not the proper way to choose a chief rabbi.”

MK Aliza Lavie, also of Yesh Atid, also opposes listing the age limit by tailor-made legislation. And she’s been a supporter of Rabbi Stav since before her election to the Knesset. “There is room to amend the Chief Rabbinate,” she said, “but not through personalized legislation.”

Incidentally, MK Lavie got under the skin of Haredi politicians (would that constitute negiah?) recently, when she proposed appointing a female “Morat Halacha” (halachic teacher) alongside the two chief rabbis. The title “Morat Halacha” is in use as an alternative to the “Rabbah” among the Conservative and Reform. There are about 70 certified, Orthodox, female Rabbinic Advocates, who are permitted to argue in front of rabbinic courts in Israel – perhaps one of them could be chief rebbetzen?

Meanwhile, Jewish Home pols are telling everyone that they’ve got this one in the bag, and their 76-years-old candidate has received the approval of Shas’ leader Rav Ovadia Yosef and, hence, a majority of the votes needed.

Personally, I like Rabbi Ariel’s credentials very much, but I’ve been truly excited by Rabbi Stav’s achievements in the most crucial area of religion and state in Israel – helping secular Israelis feel better about their tradition.

Meanwhile, MK Moshe Feiglin is proposing the elimination of the two-rabbi deal, no more separate Ashkenazi and Sephardi authorities, we’re no longer in diaspora, he argues, all we need is one Chief Rabbi.

But what about all the patronage jobs that go with the office? You have to think before you make those grand announcements, Feiglin – what about parnassah?

51% Want Lapid, Bennett, Livni, Mofaz in Government, No Haredim

Monday, February 25th, 2013

A full 51 percent of the public want a coalition government composed of Likud-Beitenu (31 MKs), Yesh Atid (19), Habayit Hayehudi (12), Tzipi Livni’s The Movement (6) and Kadima (2), according to a new Ma’agar Hamochot survey presented on Monday on a Channel 10 program.

According to the survey, only 35% of the public support letting the Haredi parties join the new government in place of Yair Lapid’s party.

A full 76% do not want new elections and prefer the new government be established based on the current Knesset’s makeup.

44% of respondents said they would rather the party they voted for compromise on principles, in order to join the coalition. Only 33% prefer that their party stick to its principles, even at the cost of sitting in the opposition.

And then there are 23% who want their party to maintain its principles, and also join the government. Talk about eating your cake and staying trim, too.

MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home), appearing on the same Channel 10 show, revealed that “more serious talks” are being conducted between Likud-Beitenu and her party. “If Netanyahu wants he can form a stable government with a Jewish home,” she said, but cautioned that “the Kendall outline is not a real solution” to the “equal burden” issue.

According to Haredi and Likud-Beitenu sources, Professor Eugene Kendall has proposed a solution to Haredi conscription which would make it easier for Haredi youths to enter IDF service. The proposal has not been published anywhere, but there is reported to be a wide gap between it and the Lapid proposal.

“We are working with Yesh Atid on an agreed equal burden solution,” Shaked told Channel 10.

“If Netanyahu wants to make a change, can lead the way together with Jewish home, Yesh Atid and The Movement,” Shaked concluded, emphatically ignoring the Haredi parties. “We and Yesh Atid agree on almost 100% of the socioeconomic issues, and disagree on the political issue.”

By “the political issue,” Shaked referred to the peace process, conveniently ignoring the fact that both Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid advocate the transfer of some 100,000 Jews living on the wrong side of the security fence in Judea and Samaria.

Shock Knesset Poll: Lapid Runaway Victor in New Elections

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

A monthly poll carried out the Knesset Channel shows that Yair Lapid’s Future (Yesh Atid) party would win 30 seats in the Knesset if elections were held today, and Likud Beiteinu would be sliced to 22 seats.

The Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party, headed by Naftali Bennett, would dislodge Labor as the third largest party with 15 seats.

The poll results by party:

  • Future – 30
  • Likud Beiteinu – 22
  • Jewish Home – 15
  • Labor – 13
  • Arab parties – 9
  • Shas – 9
  • Hareidi United Torah Judaism – 6
  • Livni – 4
  • Otzma – 3
  • Kadima – 2

The poll indicates that the surprising strength of the Future and Jewish Home parties in the January elections was not a fluke but rather reflected a serious demand by the Israeli public for a change, not only in faces but also in political honesty.

Bennett and Lapid are the only political party chairmen who are first-time Knesset Members, and they also campaigned with clear-cut red lines that won resounding approval. Lapid focused on his demand for the military draft to include Haredi men, and Bennett insisted that the time has come for the Palestinian Authority to start making concessions.

The Knesset poll shows that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s sluggish coalition efforts have made Bennett and Lapid even more popular.

The option of new elections is the least favorable to almost everyone, but the poll shows that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has more to worry about than anyone else.

His coalition-building efforts have sparked a full-fledged pre-Purim Fest among politicians.

Everyone is wearing masks to the point that some people, like Livni, already have lost their identities.

Netanyahu made a deal  with Tzipi Livni and appointed her in charge of the Justice ministry and the peace process after she did everything but spit on the Prime Minister in the elections. The deal threw the Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) into a frenzy, to the point that it supposedly is preparing for new elections.

Bennett wants the Prime Minister to cancel the deal, and he said Thursday night he wants to be named Finance Minister while Lapid, feeling his oats, now wants the post of Foreign Minister.

The See-through Yarmulkes and the Right of Return

Friday, January 4th, 2013

At this juncture, two and a half weeks before the coming elections for the 19th Knesset, the big surprise – unless we due for some shocking turn of events – is going to be the success of the Jewish Home list led by Naftali Bennett. All the polls are promising the Jewish Home will triple its power, and some optimists are predicting an even bigger victory.

In any event, this will be the first time that the Jewish Home party, built on the ruins of the old NRP, has turned from a purely sectoral party into a wide-ranging Israeli party supported by voters who are religious and secular, Ashkenazi and Sephardi Haredim (it’s a fact!), young people voting for the first time and older people, men and women.

Now, it’s true that King Ahab of Israel has cautioned: “One who puts on his armor [before the battle] should not boast like one who takes it off [after the victory].” (Kings I 20:11) Perhaps for that reason, or perhaps because he wants to stop Jewish Home activists from resting on their laurels, Naftali Bennett has been trying, in meetings with supporters and on other occasions, to cool down the excitement and to lower expectations. He speaks “only” about 12 seats, which is also, you’ll have to admit, a nice figure compared to where he started.

The big questions, of course, are where does the Jewish Home get its new votes? Where do these 7 to 10 additional seats that are adding up in the polls come from? And who are the Jewish Home’s new voters?

We’ll start with the most natural pool of voters: the National Religious public that in the past rejected the politics of both the NRP and the National Union, deserting both of their organic parties to roam instead in foreign lands. The stale image that stuck to the brand NRP also did it in. The National Religious are used to joking that there’s no such thing as a guy under 40 wearing a knitted yarmulke who’s ever voted NRP. Young people who graduated from the national-religious school system—the NRP’s baby—studied in Hesder yeshivas—also cultivated by the NRP—and went to college in Bar Ilan—once again, a creation of the NRP, for some reason have been opting in their later years to kick the NRP down, ignoring the most basic obligation of gratitude. Let’s not go into a long discussion of their reasons for the moment.

THE RIGHT OF RETURN

The enormous pool of voters whose ingestion and birth took place inside Religious Zionism has been scattered in the wind. It landed in the Likud, in Shas, in Labor, in Torah Judaism and in Kadima. Their slogan used to be: anything but the NRP. The image—not necessarily true—of their organic party as an assembly of hacks seeking patronage jobs has kept them away from their natural home.

Now they’re coming back. They utilize their right of return. They’re returning from the Likud, following a list of deep disappointments:

Netanyahu’s commitment to the concept of “two states for two nations,” and his insistence on holding on to it even nowadays (never mind MK Hotoveli’s utterly nonsensical claim this week that Netanyahu’s 2-state slogan was only a tactical move).

 Netanyahu’s housing construction freeze in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, reminiscent of the British “White Paper” of 1939, a decree no leftist government had ever imposed.

 The indifferent, even criminal attitude regarding to infiltration by 60 thousand Muslim illegals from the Sudan and Eritrea, most of whom are criminals and certainly not refugees.

 The torpedoing of the Certification Law proposed by MK Zevulun Orlev, which would have prevented the needless destruction in Migron, Ulpana Hill, and other places.

 The bowing before the corrupt “Cult of Justice,” whose nine high priests on the Supreme Court only this week empowered terror-supporter Haneen Zoabi to run for the Knesset, depriving the State of Israel of its right to defend itself against the fifth column within.

Had the Likudniks minded public opinion, they would have taken more seriously the findings of the Ma’agar Mochot survey from November, 2011, which reported that a huge majority, 75 percent of the public, thinks the high court has a leftist bias. Leftist? They’re leftier than leftists. If only the Likudniks were loyal to their voters… How did it happen that out of the 55 thousand attorneys practicing law in Israel, only the anti-nationalist Yehuda Weinstein was picked for the job of Attorney General? Have they not yet internalize the idea that justice must also be seen?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-see-through-yarmulkes-and-the-right-of-return/2013/01/04/

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