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May 28, 2015 / 10 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Naftali Bennett’

Jewish Democracy in Action

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Members of the Bayit Yehudi party voted on Sunday for the coalition deal. From a quick look at the hands in the air, it appears that support was overwhelming.

If you look more carefully, you can find Waldo in there, giving the thumbs up instead of waving.

Liberman is Persona Non Grata, and Bennett Can Forget About Judicial Revolutions

Friday, May 8th, 2015

PM Netanyahu has no one to blame for the results of his coalition negotiations but himself, though that’s not stopping him from blaming his partners (and former partners) he mistreated.

Netanyahu’s natural partners, Bayit Yehudi and Yisrael Beytenu, were prepared to sign with the Likud immediately and with relatively reasonable demands, but Netanyahu saved them to last, played hardball with them, and basically abused them, until they decided they had enough.

An angry Avigdor Liberman quit as foreign minister and made it clear that he won’t be part of Netanyahu’s coalition. A fed-up Naftali Bennett decided to instead go for the gold, since his trust in Netanyahu was approaching zero, and he believed he had nothing left to lose.

According to a Makor Rishon report, Netanyahu told Likud MKs that not only will Liberman not be a member of his coalition now, Liberman will not be a member of his coalition, ever. Even if Liberman changes his mind, “there’s no coming back.”

Sources in the Likud said there will be revenge on Bennett for playing hardball during the last days of negotiations, and Netanyahu is plotting to kick Bennett out of the coalition as soon as possible and bring in Yitzchak Herzog and the Zionist Camp instead.

Within Bayit Yehudi, they believe that has been Netanyahu’s plan all along, even before Bennett began playing hardball back.

According to the Makor Rishon report, Netanyahu also said Bayit Yehudi can forget about introducing any judicial revolutions, whether they be reforms in how judges are selected or any other decisions that negatively impact the judiciary, as he will personally block it.

Netanyahu plans to rely on one of the conditions in the coalition agreement which prevents proposing “explosive” legislation in the legislation committee. This condition was introduced in the previous coalition to thwart then Justice Minister Tzipi Livni from going overboard, but it still didn’t stop Livni from proposing them all the time in the committee.

Likud sources say that Netanyahu is personally holding on to the Foreign Ministry portfolio so he can offer it to any party that might join the coalition later.

Since Lapid and Liberman won’t be allowed back in, that only leaves Yitzchak Herzog and his Zionist Camp (Labor).

For his part, Herzog says that he won’t be joining Netanyahu’s coalition, but when asked to confirm that position with a party vote, Herzog refused, leaving the feeling among his party members that he is leaving that door wide open.

Even within the Likud, a minor rebellion is brewing, with MKs jockeying for the limited number of ministerial positions, and each one feeling they deserve it more than their friends and associates, and that Netanyahu owes it to them.

Netanyahu’s coalition is off to a rough start, with a lot of anger and an atmosphere of suspicion and mistrust.

In the previous coalition, Netanyahu tried to keep Bennett out of the government, but Bennett forced his way in and proved to be Netanyahu’s most trusted and reliable ally. Liberman has also been Netanyahu’s trusted and reliable ally for decades.

Maybe these relationships are now broken, but the thing about politics, and Israeli politics in particular, is that there is no such thing as forever –unless you’re Shimon Peres.

There is a Coalition!

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

Naftali Bennett and Benjamin Netanyahu have officially reached an agreement, and the Bayit Yehudi party will be joining the coalition, giving Netanyahu the 61 seats he needed before midnight tonight to form his coalition government.

Bennett will be the Education Minister, Minister of Diaspora Affairs,  as well as Deputy Minister of Defense in charge of the Civil Adminsitration. Uri Ariel will be the Agriculture Minister with control over the Settlement Division.

And Ayelet Shaked will be the Justice Minister, and will chair the ministerial committee for legislation and the judicial appointments committee.

Naftali Bennett said, “This isn’t a rightwing government, this isn’t a leftwing government, and this isn’t a center government. It is a government of all the nation of of Israel.”

There will be an official signing within a few days. PM Netanyahu spoke with President Rivlin and informed him that he has a coalition, and the Knesset will be convened soon to vote on the new government.

Netanyahu Wants Restrictions on the Minister of Justice

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

Benjamin Netanyahu pulled a twist on Naftali Bennett, reportedly agreeing that Shaked could be Minister of Justice, but with a few very significant restrictions, specifically that Shaked would not have the ability to select judges or make other judicial appointments, and won’t be sitting on the ministerial committee for legislation and the judicial appointments committee.

Bennett has reportedly responded that he will only accept the complete Ministry of Justice.

Netanyahu doesn’t want Bayit Yehudi selecting the next Attorney General, and he doesn’t want a head-on confrontation with the High Court.

The battle continues.

Coalition Last Minute Talks: Likud Capitulates, Bayit Yehudi Wins Justice + 2 Security Cabinet Votes

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

It appears that Bayit Yehudi’s Ayelet Shaked will be made Justice Minister in Israel’s next government, Israel Radio reported.

Bayit Yehudi party chairman, Nir Orbach said, that talks with the Likud are now in a very sensitive state, and “all options are open,” including the Justice portfolio going to Shaked—which, incidentally, was a promise made to the voters by party chief Naftali Bennett at the onset of the campaign, back in January.

Orbach wrote to Bayit Yehudi activists Wednesday morning that unity and cohesiveness have awarded the party with unprecedented achievements and an opportunity for real impact on the future of the country.

Speculation is that, should the current intense talks reach a positive outcome, Bayit Yehudi would indeed come out the big winner, despite its loss of 4 seats in the March 17 vote. Netanyahu is desperate to seal a deal by midnight, and Bennett is taking full advantage of that.

With Shaked in charge of Justice, she will be able, for the first time since 1967, to start reforming this office’s largely anti-settler, left-entrenched civil service, starting with the appointment of the next Attorney General. She will also be able to reform the process of appointing judges, including supreme court justices, shifting the balance of power in the committee to appoint judges, which to date has been dominated by a closed circle of professionals, with lawmakers—the representatives of the voter’s will—in the minority.

Having control of the Justice Ministry will also balance out the Chareidi control over the Ministry of Religious Affairs, since the Justice Ministry enforces government decisions. The Justice Ministry also controls the appointment of Rabbinic judges, along with the enforcement of kashrut laws. This means that restaurants and other food-related businesses could be allowed to buy their independent kashrut supervision—regardless of the policy set up by the Shas run ministry of religious services.

Update: Benjamin Netanyahu pulled a twist on Naftali Bennett, reportedly agreeing that Shaked could be Minister of Justice, but with a few very significant restrictions, specifically that Shaked would not have the ability to select judges or other judicial appointments, and won’t be sitting on the ministerial committee for legislation and the judicial appointments committee. Bennett has said he will only accept a while Justice Ministry.

Also, Bayit Yehudi scored two seats in Netanyahu’s security cabinet, which will influence countless choices, including the treatment of settlers.

Despite settling for the less influential Education portfolio, going to Bennett, the party leader will also be deputy minister of defense, a role which would give him control over specific departments in the ministry.

And Bayit Yehudi’s Uri Ariel is likely to be given ministerial control over the Agriculture Ministry with the Settlement Division, which should favor expansion of settlement building, as well as support services.

So far, Bayit Yehudi denied reports from Likud sources that they demanded the defense portfolio in negotiations. According to Bayit Yehudi, they’re only insisting on Ayelet Shaked getting the Justice portfolio, which they say Netanyahu promised her months ago.

Senior politicians now tell Israel Radio the crisis is over, and Netanyahu is going to present a 61-seat government to the president tonight. A Likud source said the new proposal made to Bennett was “rich and fair.”

It’s about time.

Update: The rumor mill says that Shaked’s appointment will have certain restrictions, specifically related to the appointment of judges.

Tonight at Midnight: Netanyahu’s Moment of Truth

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

By midnight, Wednesday, Benjamin Netanyahu is obligated under Israeli law to go up to the Reuven Rivlin’s presidential palace and declare whether or not he has been successful in cobbling together a coalition government.

Bibi has run out of time, and there will be no more time extensions. It’s his moment of truth.

Unfortunately, as of Wednesday morning, he is far from having a the minimum 61-member coalition that could receive the Knesset’s vote of confidence.

Netanyahu’s troubles have come from the two parties he thought he had in his pocket and thus took for granted and abused: Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu—6 seats, and Naftali Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi-8 seats.

So far, Netanyahu has secured only 53 seats, his talks with Liberman have been severed by the resigning Foreign Minister, and they appear to be on the rocks with Bennett.

Here’s an interesting point: Liberman, who is considered by many Israelis—and most of the country’s media—to be a cynical vote broker, exemplifying that with his left-right-left-right zig-zagging before the elections, quit the negotiations in a huff solely over ideological issues.

A source connected to the Yisrael Beytenu party told JewishPress.com that Netanyahu offered Liberman to continue as the Foreign Minister, and also offered him all the ministries he asked for.

Netanyahu’s previous (third) government, made serious changes in its social agreement with the Chareidi population – some good, some bad, and some good but done in a bad way.

In a collaboration between Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Economy Minister Bennett, and the entire coalition, Netanyahu’s previous government significantly reduced child welfare payments (which hurt the Chareidi population the most), and legislated draft laws that were, at least on paper, more draconian than previous ones–though in implementation, they actually reduced Chareidi enlistment instead of increasing it. The same government also used the budget to encourage Chareidi men and women to hit the job market, including a push to get them into universities.

In addition, the same government empowered the religious-Zionist agenda in areas of rabbinic officiating, such as marriages for non-religious Israeli Jews, or conversions for non-Jewish Israelis.

But in his haste to forge a government with UTJ and Shas parties, Netanyahu handed the Chareidi parties the offices empowered to roll back many of those reforms and achievements.

Speaking on Israel Radio Wednesday morning, Liberman said: “In recent days has been shown that the Likud sold out all its principles budgets to the Chareidim, and all that remains is a debate over ministerial portfolios. The debate of the past few hours is exclusively about increasing the number of ministers and deputy ministers, and there is no substantive discussion.”

Liberman is apparently fed up with Netanyahu, his ally for more than twenty years. Liberman supported him loyally, even in decisions he despised (twice he gave his cabinet vote to a decision not to conclude heavy Gaza skirmishes with the elimination of Hamas–he explicitly demanded the destruction of Hamas in these coalition negotiations).

He’s done it while being pursued for years by the judiciary civil service over seemingly unending corruption cases, none of which have ever actually found him guilty. His deputies have been investigated several times over, but police has been unable to connect their alleged crimes to Liberman.

Naftali Bennett is yet another long-time ally who feels taken for granted and used.

For one thing, Netanyahu’s amazing vote sweep in the last few days of the March election campaign came directly from Bayit Yehudi voters. Bennett and company happily obliged this sucker-punch move, setting up a right-wing rally in Kikar Rabin where they practically called on upwards of 100 thousand of their voters to switch to Bibi.

The Likud’s rise came directly from that rally at Bennett’s expense.

And while Naftali Bennett was the first politician Netanyahu called after the elections, Bayit Yehudi was almost the last party Bibi called on for serious negotiations after he had already signed away the Ministry of Religious Affairs to Shas, so the Aryeh Deri could highlight all of Bennett’s achievements in the area of religion services reform in Israel, and then press DELETE.

Now, taking advantage of Liberman’s angry departure, Bennett upped the ante—demanding major offices in return for joining, most important among them the Ministry of Justice, which he wants to hand over to his partner, Ayelet Shaked.

This is probably the most fun thing a National-Religious leader has had the pleasure of doing, ever.

The Left has been using Israel’s Justice department as their bulwark against the Right: appointments of a long line of anti-settlement Attorney Generals? It’s Justice department. Promotions of insider, radical leftwing judges who haven’t met a deceptive “Palestinian” land seller? Justice department again. Legislation that subverts the will of the voter in favor of the will of a tiny, self-appointing judicial minority? Justice department. Blatantly undemocratic, politically motivated investigations against popular, right wing leaders (including Netanyahu)? What do you know, it’s that Justice department again.

It’s no wonder Peace Now has called the notion of appointing Ayelet Shaked Minister of Justice “Tzelem Ba’heichal” – like placing a idol of Zeus in the Holy Temple’s inner sanctuary. For them it really is nothing less.

Yesterday Bennett handed the Likud his list of demands and disappeared from sight. No interviews, Not answering the Likud’s calls. A game of chicken—with little to lose.

Especially when Bennett suspects that the reason he was offered third-tier ministries was because Netanyahu planns to fire him following negotiatiations with Yitzchak Herzog (Zionist Camp) when no longer under deadline pressures.

The Likud spread rumors that Bayit Yehudi also demanded Defense, or the Foreign Ministry for Bennett, alongside the Judiciary.

One Likud MK joked that he’s surprised Bennett didn’t go so far as demand a rotation agreement for Prime Minister.

It’s a sellers market, and Bennett, who had at least one successful business exit, is going for broke.

Netanyahu has more to lose from a new election, assuming Zionist Camp’s Yitzhak Herzog fails to cobble a government together should President Rivlin assign him the task after midnight tonight.

In a new election, Liberman’s and Bennett’s voters, who bought the Likud’s argument that only a strong Netanyahu could represent the right—all those angry voters will come back home, giving Liberman back his 12 mandates, Bennett his 12 to 16, and Bibi — will be much reduced, with 20 or so seats.

It’s going to be an interesting day.

Report: Bibi Blinks First, Ayelet Shaked to be Justice Minister

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

According to senior Israeli journalist Ben Caspit, Netanyahu “folded” and agreed to appoint Ayelet Shaked as Justice Minister, following Bennett’s counter-threats.

Bayit Yehudi’s Naftali Bennett went all the way in his game of chicken with Netanyahu, and apparently Netanyahu felt he had more to lose.

If the report is accurate, and Bennett (or Netanyahu) has no additional demands, Netanyahu’s coalition may now be under way.

Read Ayelet Shaked’s exclusive article on JewishPress.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/report-bibi-blinks-first-ayelet-shaked-to-be-justice-minister/2015/05/05/

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