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August 27, 2015 / 12 Elul, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Naftali Bennett’

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.

Shas Signs with Likud, Bayit Yehudi Gets Offer

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Shas has signed their coalition agreement with Netanyahu.

Shas chairman Aryeh Deri will become the new Minister of the Economy, replacing Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) who held that position in the previous coalition.

Despite the battle between Bayit Yehudi and Shas over the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Netanyahu has given that ministry exclusively to Shas.

The Conversion Authority will remain with the Prime Minister’s office, and not be returned to the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Shas will receive the Ministry for Development in the Negev and the Galilee, as well as a Deputy Finance Minister position.

To top it off, Shas will chair the Knesset’s Education Committee.

The Likud also announced their offer to Bayit Yehudi.

Bayit Yehudi would get the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of the Diaspora, the Ministry of Agriculture along with control of the Settlement Division, the Ministry of Culture and Sports, and a Deputy Defense Minister position.

In addition, Bennett was offered a seat in the Security Cabinet.

The Likud simultaneously threatened that if Bayit Yehudi rejected the offer, Netanyahu would form a government with Herzog’s Zionist Camp.

At this point, Kulanu, UTJ and Shas have signed. Yisrael Beytenu has said they won’t join, leaving Bayit Yehudi as the last party to decide. If Bayit Yehudi joins, Netanyahu has his 61 seat coalition just in time for his Wednesday deadline.

‘Anarchists’ Inciting Violence at Ethiopian Protest against Police [video]

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Police said Monday morning that anarchists incited protesters to violence in last night’s march in Tel Aviv against police brutality and racism, undermining the demonstrators’ objectives.

Protesters were armed with rocks and metal objects which they hurled at police officers, 56 of whom were injured lightly. Police arrested 43 demonstrators and hurled stun grenades in the middle of a crowd blocking a major artery at rush-hour in Tel Aviv.

Both a senior police official and “Elazar,” who made Aliyah from Ethiopia years before the massive airlift in Operation Shlomo, told Voice of Israel radio (Reshet Bet) that the protest turned violent partly because of anarchists, whom the interviewer later said could be “leftists or rightists,” although the term “right-wing anarchist” in Israel is almost contradictory.

Left-wing elements, many of them funded by American Jews and non-Jews, often have been accused of inciting Arabs and illegal African immigrants to violence.

The charge of “racism,” which undoubtedly is true but not always to the Nth degree as sometimes described, is a good way to rile up the riff-raff. That is exactly what happened last night.

Mahratta Baruch-Ron, the deputy mayor Tel Aviv and an Ethiopian, tried to calm down the protesters, but to no avail; the anarchists and trouble-makers took over.

Like last week’s protest in Jerusalem that turned violent when nearly 1,000 protesters surged towards to the official residence of the Prime Minister, last night’s demonstration lacked responsible leadership.

Police did not interfere Sunday night even when protesters blocked major arteries near Rabin Square in downtown Tel Aviv, and it appeared that some people in the crowd were itching for a fight by deciding to proceed towards the high-speed intra-city Ayalon Highway.

Yediot Acharonot, which never misses an opportunity to whitewash leftist criminals and find cause against Netanyahu, reported that “social activists” joined the protesters.

The protests were sparked by a video shown on Israeli television last week of two policemen assaulting, without any provocation, an Ethiopian soldier, who was clad with kippa. Discrimination against Ethiopians is widespread while the police show no discrimination when it comes to excessive violence.

The protesters have concentrated on racism, while political leaders, including Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) chairman Naftali Bennett, have hitched a ride on the “race card” rather than pursuing the opportunity to demand massive reform in the police force.

The plagues of racism and violence against police, as well as police violence against civilians, elicited an immediate response from Prime Minister Netanyahu.

He is meeting Monday with Ethiopian community representatives, soldier Damas Pakada who was filmed being beaten by the policemen. Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino, and representatives of the Public Security, Social Affairs and Social Services, Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, and Interior ministries.

They will make statements announcing funding for projects aimed at the Ethiopian community and will ignore police brutality.

The new protest movement is continuing Monday morning with a march in Jerusalem. Travelers are advised that major arteries, including Sderot Herzl, Rabin, Shazar, Ben Tzvi and Ruppin are closed as of 11 a.m.

The U.S. Embassy yesterday warned citizens that protests that are “intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence” and advised, “You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.”

Below, an Ethiopian protester tells Channel 2, in Hebrew, that outside inciters turned the peaceful march into a violent riot.

Deri Plays Tough, Refuses to Share Religious Affairs Post with Bennett

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

Shas’ demand to lock out Bennett from the religious court is forcing a last-minute coalition showdown.

Shas leader Aryeh Deri has refused to allow the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) the post as Deputy Religious Affairs Minister, leaving party chairman Naftali Bennett and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with a last-minute showdown to form a coalition government.

Without Bennett, Netanyahu has only 61 Knesset Members unless he can come to terms with Yisrael Beiteinu Avigdor Lieberman. As it stands now, he has only the minimum needed for a new government, but that number is too fragile to keep a coalition from falling apart.

He has until 8 p.m. Wednesday to put up or shut up. Either he, Bennett and Shas come to terms or Reuven Rivlin asks someone else to form a government. The only other alternative is a national unity coalition, which by all accounts would last for perhaps a day, or a week or month, but not much longer.

The Religious Affairs Ministry is the stumbling block. Deri wants it to himself, lock stock and barrel, knowing that allowing a Tel Aviv Bayit Yehudi Knesset Member to be his deputy would mean slicing money from Hareidi institutions and compromising on religious issues that are the foundation of Shas.

Deri always has proven he can be bought for a price and knows how to make it an expensive one. He might compromise with Bennett if Netanyahu offers him another key Cabinet post, likely at the expense of a prospective Likud minister.

Actually, there is another alternative. It is called “elections.”

 

Meretz Warns against ‘Danger’ of Bennett as Education Minister

Monday, April 27th, 2015

The left-wing Meretz party, the one whose former Education Minister ruled out learning the Book of Joshua because it describes wars, is worried about the “danger” of national religious Naftali Bennett heading the ministry.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is considering Bennett as the next Minister of Education after Bennett gave up his demand to be Foreign Minister or Defense Minister.

Former Meretz chairman and Education Minister banned the Book of Joshua from the school system because it describes the successful wars fought by the Jewish People after they entered Israel.

Current Meretz leader Zehava Galon now wants to ban Naftali Bennett, chairman of the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party, from heading the ministry because he probably will fund religious schools no less than secular schools.

That would be undemocratic, according to the leftist definition of the word, by which any public money to promote Judaism comes at the expense of promoting democracy, which apparently is not only a religion in itself but also is the only religion.

Galon wrote on Facebook:

It is dangerous and irresponsible to place the Education portfolio in the hands of Naftali Bennett. Last year outrageous information showed that the Ministry of Education invested 56 million shekels ($14 million) in organizations linked with the study of Jewish values ​​compared to only 5.5 million shekels for those that promote democratic values. It is painful and frightening to imagine what those numbers will look like next year if Naftali Bennett will be appointed.

Her argument promotes the idea that Judaism contradicts democracy and vice-versa.

Sarid hates the Book of Joshua because it deals with reality. Sarid forgets that Israel fought wars only when the “peace process” did not work.

He told the Jerusalem Post he was “disgusted” at the idea of Bennett as Minister of Education.

Galon wrote that if Bennett will be the minister of Education, she will be looking over his right shoulder all the time to check where every shekel is allocated and perhaps how many copies of the Book of Joshua are bought for schools.

The Book of Joshua not only describes war and peace. It also includes the command of God to set up cities of refuge:

Speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘Prepare for you cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you through Moses To which a slayer that kills any person unawares, unwittingly, shall flee and they shall be for you as a refuge from the avenger of blood.

What democracy other than Israel has such a principle that embodies the heart and soul of leftist ideology?

The ‘Almost’ Coalition: Bennett Education Minister and Lieberman FM

Sunday, April 26th, 2015

Formation of a new government is almost complete after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) chairman Naftali smoked a peace pipe on Friday.

Bennett has backed down on his party taking over the post of Foreign Minister, which Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman will retain, or Defense Minister, where the Likud’s Moshe Ya’alon will continue to run.

Instead, Bennett will head the Education Ministry, a plum because of its budget allocations that include national religious institutions. He will give up the post as Minister of Economy, which Reshet Bet (Voice of Israel) radio said may be filled by Silvan Shalom of the Likud.

Bayit Yehudi will get two other posts. Uri Ariel will serve as Minister of Agriculture, which is important for Jordan Valley farmers as well as those in Judea and Samaria, and Ayelet Shaked reportedly will be Minister of Sport and Culture. Pensioners’ affairs and responsibility for national service, such as Sherut Leumi for girls and boys who prefer that option as an alternative to IDF service, probably will be attached to the ministry.

Shas is slated to head the Religious Affairs Ministry under a compromise with Bayit Yehudi, whose Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan probably will be deputy minister.

The last remaining puzzle in the coalition is the Yehadut HaTorah (UTJ) party, but with all the other pieces in place, Netanyahu should have no problem finalizing the coalition by the end of this week or shortly after, meeting the latest deadline granted by President Reuven Rivlin.

One other question is what ministry will be run by senior Likud MK Shalom, who was Minister for Development in the Galilee and Negev in the last government. The best bet is that he will replace Bennett as Minister of Economy.

The proposed coalition, for now, includes Sofa Landver continuing as Minister of Immigration, and Kulanu chairman Moshe Kachlon as Finance Minister. His party also is slated to head the Environment and Housing Ministries.

Yisrael Katz of the Likud will continue as Minister of Transportation, and Voice of Israel reported that Yuval Steinitz will be the new Minister for Public Security.

That will be good news for the public at large following a miserable defense of the police by outgoing Minister Yitzchak Aharonovich. Several senior police officers have been dismissed or are under investigation for sexual harassment.  Aharonovich also has been under constant criticism for ignoring police brutality.

The proposed coalition is a far cry from the previous government, which was doomed from the outset with the inclusion of Yesh Atid, headed by Yair Lapid.

With all coalition partners more or less seeing eye to eye on most foreign and domestic policies, the next government has a chance of achieving a rare feat and staying in office until the end of its four-year term, sparing Israeli voters of another exasperating election until 2019

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/the-almost-coalition-bennett-education-minister-and-lieberman-fm/2015/04/26/

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