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May 31, 2016 / 23 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘netanyahu government’

Analysis: An Afternoon of Hard Maneuvering May Yield New Defense Minister and 67-Member Rightwing Coalition

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Israeli media reported Wednesday evening that MK Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) has accepted the Prime Minister’s invitation to join his government and receive the portfolios of Defense and Immigrant Absorption — which is a nice package considering Liebrman is only adding six seats to the coalition.

But what a difference six seats make. With the budget vote coming up this Summer Session, Netanyahu will be able to breathe easy. Last session, three rogue members of his Likud faction chose to abstain from voting just to make a point, which helped derail some government legislation, awarding undeserved wins to the opposition. With 67 members, the fourth Netanyahu government can live out its entire four-year term.

Also, unlike the earlier potential coalition partner, Isaac Herzog’s left-leaning Zionist Camp, Lieberman is a natural fit in the current government. When he ended his 90 minute private meeting with the PM (which followed the PM’s meeting with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, where the latter was given his walking papers), most of Likud’s senior ministers were quick to congratulate and welcome him back into the fold. Liebrman really is no stranger to Likudniks — from 1993 to 1996, with Netanyahu in place as party chairman, Lieberman served as the Likud party’s director-general. When Netanyahu was elected to his first term as prime minister, Lieberman served as director-general of the prime minister’s office, the equivalent of the White House chief of staff, from 1996 to 1997. With a few noted exceptions, Lieberman has been to the right of Netanyahu, and left his side to start Yisrael Beiteinu in 1999 over concessions Netanyahu granted the Palestinians in the 1997 Wye River Memorandum. But these days there’s very little daylight between Lieberman and the majority of the Likud Knesset faction.

In addition to Netanyahu’s need for coalition stability, the other issue behind Wednesday’s dramatic change was the growing gap between Defense Minister Ya’alon and the rest of the Likud party, which could have put Netanyahu’s future in danger had he continued to be associated with his DM. In several key episodes in the country’s fractious confrontations with Arab terrorists, Ya’alon appeared to be going out of his way to drag the Netanyahu government to the left.

Last Purim, an IDF medic in Hebron shot and killed a terrorist who had already been neutralized by six bullets to his body. The soldier’s commanders on the ground planned to give him a disciplinary hearing at the time, but an Arab B’Tselem agent shot and released a video of the event, and shortly thereafter military police picked up the medic on murder charges. Ya’alon supported the MP and the military prosecutors, despite an unprecedented wave of protest against the IDF brass that frightened Netanyahu. The PM met with the Medic’s father, the charges were reduced to manslaughter and the case may yet be dismissed, but the PM felt that his DM had stuck him in an untenable spot with the Likud diehard rightwing voters.

Then came the notorious Holocaust Memorial Day speech of the IDF deputy chief of staff, who compared, albeit not directly, episodes such as the Hebron shooting of the terrorist to the rise of Nazism in 1930s Germany. Again, Netanyahu’s core voters were outraged. He ordered his DM to extract and apology from the general, but the IDF would not apologize, and denied the charges instead.

Finally, there were the terrorists’ bodies. On several occasions, Netanyahu opposed returning the bodies of killed terrorists to their families for burial without some cost, the least of which would be to let them wait a few days, or weeks, as a deterrence to others. In early May, against Netanyahu’s explicit request, Ya’alon ordered the return of the body of a terrorist who had been killed after attacking and wounding three IDF soldiers, one critically, with his car. Then the IDF said something preachy about having no interest in detaining the bodies, ostensibly as political chips.Netanyahu was livid. Anyone who was following those events and understood the growing resentment in Likud against Ya’alon, could see that his days at the helm were numbered.

It isn’t clear whether Netanyahu was very smart or just very lucky when he allowed himself to be talked by his finance minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) into inviting MK Isaac Herzog to join his coalition government. On its face the move looked crazy if not stupid: for one thing, it wasn’t at all certain that more than half of the Zionist Camp MKs would make the switch over, seeing as they view Netanyahu as the poison tree that must be uprooted, not the shade tree for their top members to sit on lucrative portfolios. So the most Bibi would have gotten were 15 or 16 new MKs, but at the cost of Naftali Bennett’s Habayit Hayehudi 8 seats, which would have netted him only 7 or 8 additional seats — but would have alienated his rightwing voters. So why did he embark on this apparent fool’s errand? Like we said, either because he is frighteningly clever or frighteningly lucky.

Avigdor Liebrman’s mission from the first day of the 20th Knesset has been to topple Netanyahu’s government and come back after the next elections as the most viable rightwing leader. This is why he refused Netanyahu’s repeated courting in the spring of 2015, and continued to bide his time in the opposition, together with Arabs and leftists, the people he dislikes the most—waiting for his chance. He figured, when the time came, with a big enough issue, and with Bibi’s rogue MKs doing their bit, Lieberman could deliver the deadly blow to Netanyahu, with a resounding vote of no confidence.

But when it started to look as if the Zionist Camp was going to boost Bibi’s numbers beyond the point of toppling, Lieberman realized it was time to shelf his revenge plan and get inside the tent before he’d lose any hope of leaving an impression on his voters this term. And so, seemingly out of the blue, Lieberman gathered a press conference in the afternoon, even as Bibi was scolding Bogie (Lauren Bacall’s nickname for Humphrey Bogart which somehow stuck with Ya’alon during his long and decorated military service) — and the Russian refusnik of yesterday suddenly started to play a serenade to Bibi on his balalaika. For the right price—defense and absorption, and the right terms—the death penalty for terrorists, for instance, he and his Yisrael Beiteinu are definitely ready to jump in.

Netanyahu may have been clever or lucky, but Lieberman was, without a doubt, brilliant. He may appear from this day on as serving Netanyahu, but it will be the PM who’ll be forced to do his bidding on security, because it is Lieberman and not Netanyahu who speaks for the rightwing Likud voters. If Bibi flinches at one of Lieberman’s calls (which the latter will issue politely and calmly) — then Bibi’s voters could easily go for the alternative. Say what you will about Avigdor Lieberman, but he could teach a class on maneuvering to a school of sharks.

As a result of all of the above, and should the coalition talks between Bibi Netanyahu and Yvette Lieberman be successful, Israel will have its first truly rightwing government ever. The Haredim are concerned about the draft, but it’s doubtful the new DM will focus on that hornet’s nest at this stage of his new career. If he does, it would bring a quick and unhappy ending to the 20th Knesset.

The one remaining unknown at this point is Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, who really wanted to bring the Zionist Camp into the government and is now stuck to the left of Netanyahu, and with polls that show his Kulanu party dropping from 10 to 7 seats come next elections, while his identical twin, Lapid, is projected to win 19 or 20 seats next time around. Kahlon could kill this latest coalition deal in a kamikaze departure followed by resounding vote of no confidence, at which point nothing could save Bibi’s fourth government.

Oh, what interesting times we’re having.

David Israel

Hamas Calls for ‘Exceptional’ Response to Arson-Murder

Friday, July 31st, 2015

Hamas’s spokesman in Qatar issued a call Friday morning for an “exceptional” response to Friday morning’s apparent “price tag” arson attack that killed an Arab baby and left his mother and another child in critical condition.

“We will teach settlers a lesson,” the spokesman added.

Israeli security forces are on high alert, and civilians are taking extra precautions because of the possibility of rocket attacks from Gaza and attempts to kidnap and murder Jews throughout Israel.

The Fatah party, headed by Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, called this morning’s attack “a crime against humanity.”

PA leaders across the laid the blame for the arson attack squarely on the Netanyahu government, which thoroughly denounced the murder as “terror,” as has done virtually every leader in the country.

 

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

IDF and Police Bracing for Arab Revenge after Murder of Baby near Shechem

Friday, July 31st, 2015

The presumed Jewish terrorists whose arson attack killed a baby and left the other and a brother in critical condition may have set fire to the entire country.

Hamas and other Palestinian Authority groups already had planned another “day of rage” Friday because of the recent deaths of three Arab rioters who clashed with Israeli police and soldiers.

This morning’s arson attack literally poured oil on the flames.

Thousands of soldiers have been deployed to the Temple Mount, where authorities are restricting entrance for Muslim prayers Friday morning because of fears of  violence. All leaves of absence for soldiers have been postponed at lest until Friday afternoon.

Doctors at Tel HaShomer Hospital in Tel Aviv are desperately trying to save the lives of the baby’s mother and a brother, who were severely burned in the pre-dawn attack.

The Palestinian Authority  blamed the Netanyahu government for the murder of the baby. It also called on foreign countries not just to condemn the attack but to help put an end to settlements.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri referred to the arson-murder as a “suspected attack with nationalist motives.”

Nationalist motives?

They are not nationalists. They are anti-nationalists. They are anarchists and terrorists.

They are not necessarily “settlers “and like four or five others who were indicted this week for several acts of vandalism against Christians and Arabs, they may be from Israel’s urban areas.

It does not matter anymore.

They are Jews. They are Israelis.

They have murdered a baby and possibly the mother and a brother. They have disgraced the entire State of Israel and single-handedly have endangered the right of Jews to live freely in all of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

Unfortunately, the murderers are almost certainly Jewish.

They are not nationalists.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Knesset Jeremy Poll of Polls – Weekly Average #1

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

Knesset Jeremy’s Weekly Average – The Israeli Poll of Polls

Knesset Jeremy Weekly Average #1 (week of Nov 30-Dec 6 2014) of 12 polls from 9 polling companies (3 Maagar Mochot, 2 Dialog, 1 Panels, 1 Smith, 1 Midgam, 1 Teleseker, 1 New Wave, 1 Geocartography, 1 Sarid):

Current Knesset seats in [brackets]

1st 23.6 [18] Likud

2nd 16.6 [12] Bayit Yehudi

3rd 13.4 [15] Labor

4th 11.0 [13] Yisrael Beitenu

5th 09.9 [–] New Kachlon Party

6th 09.8 [19] Yesh Atid

7th 07.8 [07] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ

8th 07.6 [11] Shas

9th 06.8 [06] Meretz

10th 3.4 [06] Movement

11th ?.? [04] Hadash

12th ?.? [04] Ra’am-Ta’al

13th ?.? [03] Balad

14th .01 [02] Kadima

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

76.4 [61] Right-Religious (Possible BB coalition)

43.6 [59] Center-Left-Arab (Anti-BB coalition)

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Party Breakdown

1st: Likud: High – 30 (Dec 3 Geocarteography), Low – 21 (Dec 5 Panels & Maagar Mochot)

2nd: Bayit Yehudi: High – 18 (Dec 5 Panels & Maagar Mochot), Low – 15 (Dec 5 Maagar Mochot)

3rd: Labor: High – 17 (Dec 3 Sarid), Low – 12 (3 different polls)

4th: Yisrael Beitenu: High – 14 (Dec 3 Geocarteography), Low – 9 (Dec 5 Panels & Maagar Mochot)

5th: Kachlon: High – 13 (Dec 5 New Wave), Low – 5 (Dec 3 Sarid)

6th: Yesh Atid: High – 11 (5 polls), Low-  7 (Dec 3 Geocarteography)

7th: UTJ: High – 8 (9 polls), Low – 7 (3 polls)

8th: Shas: High – 9 (3 polls), Low – 6 (Nov 30 Dialog)

9th: Meretz: High – 8 (Dec 5 Panels & Maagar Mochot), Low – 5 (Dec 3 Teleseker)

Right-Religious (Possible BB coalition): High – 84 (Dec 3 Geocarteography), Low – 70 (Dec 3 Sarid)

Center-Left-Arab (Anti-BB coalition): High – 50 (Dec 3 Sarid), Low – 36 (Dec 3 Geocarteography)

knessetjeremy

Nothing Legitimate about Antisemitic Slur

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Former British foreign secretary Jack Straw is pleading innocent. Called out for comments made during a Round Table Global Diplomatic Forum held at the House of Commons last week, Straw insists that there’s nothing anti-Semitic about raising points that he says are merely matters of genuine concern.

As the Times of Israel reported, former Labor Party Knesset member Einat Wilf, who took part in the debate, described Straw’s presentation in the following manner:

Wilf participated in the debate and posted some of what she said were Straw’s comments on her Facebook page, saying she nearly fell off her chair when she heard them: “Listing the greatest obstacles to peace, he said ‘unlimited’ funds available to Jewish organizations and AIPAC in the US are used to control and divert American policy in the region and that Germany’s ‘obsession’ with defending Israel were the problem. I guess he neglected to mention Jewish control of the media….”

The British politician is right when he says criticizing Israel’s policies is not anti-Semitic. But, like many others who want to bash Israel without being branded as Jew-haters, he crossed a very important line when he injected traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jewish money and insidious attempts to control the policy discussion into the question of how best to advance the cause of peace.

That’s why someone like Wilf, who opposes the Netanyahu government, was so outraged. In doing so, he not only demonstrated ignorance of how American politics works as well as insensitivity to Israel’s position, but also showed the way disagreements with the Jewish state quickly morph into conspiracy theories that are thinly veiled new versions of traditional myths about Jews.

While Straw is neither the first nor the last member of Parliament or prominent Briton to play this game, the fact that someone who was a former foreign minister would not only feel free to vent this nasty stuff, but also think there’s nothing wrong with it, tells you all you need to know about the rising tide of anti-Semitism in Europe.

As for Straw’s charges, they are easily dismissed. Contrary to the Walt-Mearsheimer “Israel Lobby” conspiracy theory thesis, the vast, wall-to-wall bipartisan coalition that supports the Jewish state is a function of American public opinion, not Jewish money.

As frustrating as it may be for Israel’s critics, support for Zionism is baked into the DNA of American politics and is primarily the function of religious attitudes as well as the shared values of democracy that unite the U.S. and Israel.

Other lobbies (oil interests, pharmaceuticals, et al) have far more money. Hard as it is for some people to accept, the reason why American politicians back Israel’s democratically elected government is because opposing them is bad politics as well as bad policy.

Making such accusations is offensive rather than just wrong because, as Straw knows very well, talking about Jewish money buying government policy is straight out of the anti-Semitic playbook of the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The purpose of such claims is not to argue that Israel’s supporters are misguided so much as that they are illegitimate.

That Straw is similarly frustrated with German refusals to try and hammer the Israelis is equally appalling. Germany’s government has, contrary to Straw’s comment, often been highly critical of Israel, but if officials in Berlin have some sensitivity to Israel’s position as a small, besieged nation it is because they understand that the underlying factor that drives hostility to Zionism is the same anti-Semitism that drove the Holocaust.

But the main point to be gleaned from this story is the way Straw has illustrated just how mainstream anti-Semitic attitudes have become in contemporary Britain. It is entirely possible that Straw thinks himself free from prejudice. But that is only possible because in the intellectual and political circles in which he and other members of the European elite move, these ideas have gone mainstream rather than being kept on the margins as they are in the United States.

The ease with which Western European politicians invoke these tired clichés about Jewish power and money is a reflection of the way attitudes have changed in the last generation as the memory of the Holocaust fades and people feel empowered to revive old hate. Chalk it up to the prejudices of intellectuals, especially on the left, as well as to the growing influence of Muslim immigrants who have brought the Jew-hatred of their home countries with them.

Straw may not be alone in not liking the Netanyahu government, but he can’t get out off the hook for the anti-Semitic rationale for his views that he put forward. The pity is, he’s speaking for all too many Europeans when he speaks in this manner.

Jonathan S. Tobin

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/nothing-legitimate-about-antisemitic-slur/2013/10/31/

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