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May 28, 2016 / 20 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Netanyahu’

Ya’alon Out, Temple Mount Activist Yehuda Glick In

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Friday announced his retirement from his post and from politics. He wrote on his Facebook page: “This morning I informed the prime minister that following his conduct during recent developments, and because of my lack of confidence in him, I resign from the government and will be taking a time out from the political life. I will deliver a statement to the media at noon at the Kirya (the IDF command compound in midtown Tel Aviv).

It is expected that Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) will take up Ya’alon’s Defense portfolio as part of his deal with PM Netanyahu to enter his coalition.

Ya’alon’s retirement brings to the Knesset the next candidate on the Likud list, Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick, who has survived an assassination attempt in October 2014 by an Arab terrorist over his activity. Netanyahu was unhappy with Glick’s presence on his party’s list, and, in fact, refused to employ the “Norwegian Law,” which permits party ministers to resign from the Knesset to make room for rank and file MKs—just so Glick won’t become a Likud legislator. Well, now Ya’alon forced that bitter pill down Bibi’s throat. MK Glick will bolster the rightwing section of the Likud, and will make it tougher for Netanyahu to deliver concessions to the Arabs.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) issued a statement Friday saying, “Minister Ya’alon is a principled man who contributed a lot to the State of Israel. His place should have been next to the cabinet table. I am sad to see him retire from politics.”

American born Rabbi Yehuda Glick, Likud member since 1997, lives in Otniel. He was among the founders of former MK Moshe Feiglin’s Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) faction in Likud.

Glick is chairman of the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation, and former executive director of The Temple Institute, a group that supports the building of the Third Temple on the Temple Mount.

He is also active in pro-settlement forums inside the party. As such, Glick has been the coordinator of the lobby for implementing Israeli Law in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, which is headed by MK Miri Regev (Likud). Interestingly, openly gay MK Amir Ohana, who was ahead of Glick on the candidates list and has been upgraded to the legislator only a few months ago, served as Glick’s security guard after the assassination attempt.

Ha’aretz journalist Nir Hasson credits Glick as having put the Israeli left on the defensive by “uncovering the absurdity created at the Temple Mount” by a status quo that, by permitting Muslim prayer while prohibiting Jewish prayer, “discriminates against people because of their religion”

American political commentator Bernie Quigley compared Glick to Gandhi: “Earthy, wise, thoughtful, nonviolent and compassionate.”

Jerusalem Post columnist Larry Derfner called Glick a non-violent man, and “the friendly face of the Temple Mount movement.”

Mazal Tov, MK Glick, we know you’ll do us proud.

David Israel

Musical Chairs: What This New Rightwing Coalition May Look Like

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

I can’t deny it, it’s exciting that we’re potentially getting a right-wing coalition, at least on paper and according to the rumors.

A lot of changes are said to be afoot. Let’s take a look at them.

Liberman as Defense Minister: This could be great – if he walks the walk as much as he talks the talk.

It remains to be seen how he’ll act once he has the job, but after months of Ya’alon talking down to the nation from his pseudo-moral perch and rushing to castigate our soldiers in the public arena before running proper investigations, it will be good to have a Defense Minister who is hopefully more interested in winning wars and crushing the enemy rather than telling us how moral his army is compared to the rest of the country and then telling us how the army’s first job is to educate the country, as he’s handing over another terrorist’s body.

Netanyahu will need to decide if he wants Ya’alon around anymore, or if he’s become too much of a political liability for the Likud. This could always just be a ploy to get Ya’alon back in line and to shut up, but I doubt it.

But that’s only the first of the changes that may soon happen.

Liberman’s party is potentially also getting the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, so Minister Ze’ev Elkin would be moved from there to become the Minister of the the Economy – Bennett’s old job.

And speaking of Naftali Bennett, he may be moved from being the Education Minister to being appointed as Israel’s Foreign Minister.

It’s a great move. His English is good enough, he understands the foreign media, and he brings his ideology with him to the job. It’s also astounding that a member of Bayit Yehudi (Mafdal) party will hold one of the top 3 positions (to the best of my memory), as amazing as it was when a Bayit Yehudi member was appointed Justice Minister.

Unfortunately, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked may have to take over the Education Ministry.

It’s practically guaranteed she’ll do an amazing job as Minister of Education. Probably even better than Bennett (Shaked is potentially Prime Ministerial material, if she improves her English).

What’s disappointing is that she was doing an incredible job in reforming the justice system in Israel, and things were starting to change for the better.

But all is not lost, the Likud’s Yariv Levin might be moved over from the Tourism Ministry to take over Justice. He comes from a legal background, he’s a staunch right-winger and will hopefully want and be able to finish what Shaked started. The upside is that he won’t be as much as a lightning rod as she was, so it may be easier for him to complete the task.

Tzachi Hanegbi may get Strategic Affairs. He can’t do us too much damage there.

Overall, the coalition will be more stable.

With Liberman as Defense Minister may see the end of the building freezes and the anti-democratic administrative detentions/distancing orders without trials, perhaps he’ll implement a plan to help the poor, trapped Gazans emigrate to first-world countries where they won’t be under the tyranny of Hamas, and who knows, maybe he’ll try to extend Israeli law onto at least Area C.

One can certainly dream.

JoeSettler

Netanyahu-Liberman Meeting Successful

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beytenu Chief Avigdor Liberman met today at 4 PM to discuss the possibility of Liberman’s party joining the coalition.

According to reports the meeting was successful, and both sides will be setting up negotiation teams to finalize the terms of Liberman joining the coalition. The two sides hope to conclude negotiations by Friday.

Before the meeting Liberman set three conditions for entering the coalition, which he shared with journalists at a news conference Wednesday morning. The former minister of foreign affairs said his party would demand the defense portfolio, imposition of the death penalty for terrorist murderers, and pension reforms.

The Likud’s rumor mill is running full force, and it’s saying that Liberman will be getting the position of Defense Minister and Moshe Ya’alon will be getting the boot. Reportedly Netanyahu also offered Liberman the Aliyah (Immigrant Absorption) portfolio as well, to sweeten the deal. Ya’alon is very much out of favor within the Likud these days as he hasn’t stopped running off his mouth with a range of statements that have angered much of the Likud’s rank and file, even causing PM Netanyahu to call him onto the carpet the other day.

Update: PM Netanyahu spoke with Defense Minister Ya’alon and informed him that Liberman had accepted the position of Defense Minister if he joins the coalition.

Labor chief Yitzchak Herzog is also facing problems, and if it looks like Herzog failed or got played by Netanyahu, he could be facing a putsch within his own party.

Shalom Bear

Analysis: Sheldon Adelson Investing in Trump Presidency with Netanyahu ‘Incident’ in Mind

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Last December, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office released a statement saying, “Prime Minister Netanyahu rejects Donald Trump’s recent remarks about Muslims. The State of Israel respects all religions and strictly guarantees the rights of all its citizens.”

It was a proper statement, expressing all the best sentiments regarding respectful interfaith relations, but its timing made it a potential disaster for the Israeli leader’s future relationship with the White House, should Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump win in November.

Back in 2013, Donald Trump announced his endorsement of Netanyahu for prime minister of Israel. It’s not clear why Bibi needed that show of support, but there it was. “I think he would have been a great president of the United States,” Trump said at the time. Now, the Netanyahu circle expected, Trump would expect to be rewarded in kind, with an endorsement from Netanyahu before the start of the primaries, which would have gone a long way to attract the pro-Israel vote.

It’s not even certain that Netanyahu was entirely against endorsing Trump, or at least giving the candidate a useful, very friendly photo-op. The meeting had been arranged two weeks earlier, according to the PM’s office, and Trump disclosed his plans to visit Israel in a Twitter post: “Prior to the end of the year, I will be traveling to Israel. I am very much looking forward to it.”

But then the Jerusalem Post reported that Trump wanted to visit the Temple Mount, and that “the campaign was looking into the logistics of visiting the site.” Talk about starting WW3. One can only imagine the Arab reaction had the US presidential candidate who promised to oust Muslims who tried to set foot in his country come to spread his message in the eternal city.

This is why Netanyahu felt compelled to reject Trump’s views openly, and to continue to state, in the same release, that the PM had decided this time around “on a uniform policy to agree to meet with all presidential candidates from either party” who visit Israel, but “this policy does not represent an endorsement of any candidate or his or her views, rather, it is an expression of the importance that Prime Minister Netanyahu attributes to the strong alliance between Israel and the United States.”

In the context of the clandestine yet at the same time hyper-publicized relationship between Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and Benjamin Netanyahu, that unavoidable error of December 9, 2015, where the modern-day ruler of Judea snubbed the modern-day Roman Emperor-to-be, had to be mended. Anyone who has followed the Trump campaign so far know that the candidate does not forgive slights, ever, and that being rejected publicly by “his friend” Netanyahu, as he had defined their relationship had to sting, and that there would be hell to pay.

And so Netanyahu’s patron Adelson has taken on himself the mission of mending the rift between the PM and the candidate. Adelson had initially passed on Trump in favor of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former Texas Governor Rick Perry. It’s doubtful that Trump’s flashy public style appealed to Adelson, whose demeanor is reserved and secretive. But one week after the Netanyahu rejection note, Adelson asked for a meeting with Trump. At that stage of the race Adelson did not endorse Trump, but came out of the meeting telling reporters he found Trump to be “very charming.”

A few hours later, Trump issued the statement Adelson had been waiting to hear: “Sheldon knows that nobody will be more loyal to Israel than Donald Trump.”

Since then, Trump has stuck by his very positive views about Israel, and even endorsed continued settlement construction. Granted, he would have done it regardless of his meeting with Adelson. It is paramount for Trump to position himself as a greater friend of the Jewish State than his presumptive opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton. But general sentiment and access to the White House for the Israeli PM are two very different things, as Netanyahu has learned so painfully during the Obama Administration.

Now, with the primary campaign all but over, Adelson told Trump in a private meeting last week that he was willing to contribute more than $100 million to his campaign. Adelson has also appointed himself Trump’s envoy to wealthy and influential Republican Jews, and this week sent fifty of them an email soliciting their support for the candidate. The Republican Jewish Coalition is not in Trump’s pocket. It is much more concerned with shielding Republican candidates in blue states from the Trump toxins than it is with endorsing the winning candidate. So Sheldon has his work cut out for him.

Meanwhile, as Trump has announced that he abandoned his plan to fund his campaign with his own money in favor of soliciting $1 billion from donors, Adelson would be a pivotal gain for him, on his way to reaching Jewish billionaires like hedge fund head Paul Singer. Singer is easily as pro-Israel as Adelson.

Of course, Adelson’s choice would have naturally been Trump, but it is doubtful their relationship would have been forged as it has done without Adelson’s concerns for Netanyahu’s political future.

JNi.Media

Netanyahu and Herzog Meet to Discuss ‘Unity’ Coalition Amid Labor Party Backlash

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Opposition leader and Zionist Union faction Chairman Isaac Herzog met on Sunday night to discuss the prospects of establishing a national unity government, according to a report by Israel’s Channel 2.

The meeting took place despite fierce backlash from members of Herzog’s Labor party and his political allies, who consider joining Netanyahu a betrayal, and recent polls showing Herzog’s support plummeting.

“I am not deterred by polls like these, which are about momentary fads,” said Herzog in comments to a closed conference aired on Tuesday by Israel Army Radio. “When checking them thoroughly, we can see that most of the public does not know what they mean, and still gives 30% support to the move, most of whom are from the bloc that I lead rather than the bloc on the right.”

Herzog explained last week that he will join Netanyahu’s coalition if he is given the “mandate” to deal with serious issues facing the country, including “to separate from the Palestinians” and “to make the United States and Europe our allies again.”

MK Shelly Yachimovich, a former Labor party head, is one of several of party members to strenuously object to a national unity government.

“This was an offer that should have been rejected with contempt long ago,” Yachimovich wrote last week in her weekly newsletter.

“It wouldn’t be a unity government,” she added. “It would be a right-wing government in every way, with Labor creeping in without conditions to get portfolios and positions.”

Opposition to a national unity government has also been pushed by members of the Coalition, including Likud MK Yoav Kisch.

“A narrow government that is faithful to settlements is better than a broad government lacking in values,” said Kisch last Thursday, implicitly claiming that a unity government with the Zionist Union would undermine the government’s ability to continue construction in Judea and Samaria.

“The very act of negotiating with Netanyahu is political profiteering and job trading. It’s disgraceful and constitutes a betrayal of the public trust,” Labor party MK Stav Shafir commented on Sunday.

Herzog dismissed such objections during a private meeting with Labor party activists in a recording aired Sunday on Israel’s Channel 10 news.

“If we can speak with Mahmoud Abbas, we can speak with Netanyahu,” Herzog said, referring to the president of the Palestinian Authority.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

3 Hours After their Meeting, Netanyahu, Ya’alon, Say They ‘Clarified Things’

Monday, May 16th, 2016

Almost three hours after the “rebuke” meeting between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ya’alon Monday morning, the two parties finally issued a joint statement, saying, “Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ya’alon met this morning and clarified things between them.”

The statement continued, “There is no doubt, nor has there ever been, that the army is subordinate to the political echelon and that officers are permitted to voice their opinions in the relevant forums.”

According to JNi.media, “Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Sunday night got on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wrong side when he urged IDF leaders to speak their mind in public and not fear reprisal. At this point it appears that some reprisal may be coming Ya’alon’s way from the Prime Minister, who summoned him to what the Israeli media described as a “rebuke meeting” Monday morning.” (See Netanyahu Confronts Ya’alon Over Call to IDF Officers to ‘Speak their Minds’)

But if reprisal is indeed coming Ya’alon’s way it will not happen today.

David Israel

Netanyahu Confronts Ya’alon Over Call to IDF Officers to ‘Speak their Minds’

Monday, May 16th, 2016

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Sunday night got on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wrong side when he urged IDF leaders to speak their mind in public and not fear reprisal. At this point it appears that some reprisal may be coming Ya’alon’s way from the Prime Minister, who summoned him to what the Israeli media described as a “rebuke meeting” Monday morning. Neither side in the meeting has issued a statement yet, which suggests that the meeting may not have ended in a compromise.

Ya’alon spoke at an event in Tel Aviv Sunday night and referred to the public storm around the speech by Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Gen. Yair Golan, which in turn had alluded to the episode of the IDF soldier who shot a neutralized terrorist on the ground in Hebron last Purim day. Golan, speaking at a Holocaust Remembrance Day event, compared episodes such as the Hebron shooting to the events in 1930s Germany which later resulted in the European Holocaust. At the time, Netanyahu was critical of Golan, and demanded that he apologize, since it sounded as if he was saying the IDF was a proto-Nazi army. Golan came close to saying just that, as many on the right suggested, while the IDF denied any such allegation.

An examination of the speech text reveals that the overall subject of Golan’s message was the concept of “purity of the weapon,” meaning that he was indeed criticizing phenomena inside the IDF when he made the Nazi Germany comparison.

Instead of an apology, the IDF Spokesperson’s office issued a denial, which Netanyahu probably did not love, but decided to let it go. With the narrowest possible majority in the Knesset, a puny 61 MKs, at least three of whom can be classified as Netanyahu’s enemies inside his own Likud party, the PM did not need another internal battle, certainly not with a national figure such as Ya’alon. But then, instead of the industrial peace Netanyahu needed so badly, on Sunday night his defense minister upped the ante with a new challenge to the boss, under the guise of protecting the freedom of expression of IDF officers.

“Tonight, too, I again demand of you and of your subordinates: continue to say what’s in your hearts. Do it even if your ideas are not part of the mainstream, and even if they challenge the ideas and positions adopted by the high command or the political echelon.”

Was the defense minister calling on his officer to rebel against the political class? Probably not, although he sounded dangerously close to saying just that. In his own mind, Ya’alon was probably hailing the old IDF tradition of encouraging questions from soldiers and officers, which may make the army a little harder to organize, but also encourages it to keep thinking outside the box, at least in some of its units. It should be noted that this tradition of rejecting iron clad “conceptions” dates back to the early, abysmal failure of the political and military leadership in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The accepted dogma was that the Egyptian and Syrian armies were too fearful of Israel after 1967 and the string of local victories by the IDF that followed, to dare launch another all out war against the Jewish State. A subsequent investigating committee discovered that the intelligence pointing to an imminent attack was all there — it was just discarded by the decision makers.

But, in the end, Ya’alon on Sunday night was not engaged in an educational effort to breed more independently thinking soldiers and officers. He was, in fact, declaring a culture war against rightwing Israel. He described the issue at hand as a struggle “against an extremist minority which is active on the ground and in social media. Some of it has infiltrated the social mainstream, too. Under cover and concealment it is trying to influence the character and values of the IDF. This is a hugely significant fight, perhaps the most vital and important in many years. Not only over the image of the IDF, but the image of Israeli society as well.”

Since the appointment of the new Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, the IDF has been engaged in a persistent effort to “de-Jewify” itself. Jewish education was removed from the military chief rabbinate and handed to HR, which in turn made it the purview of the Education corp, guaranteeing that it take on a secular bend. And there were several minor assaults on the traditional Jewish elements in the army, such as when soldiers were ordered to shave their beards. So that when Ya’alon reviles extremism he is not concerned with leftwing NGOs who turn in to the PA for imprisonment and a possible execution Arab land brokers. He is after the Jews.

 

YA’ALON AND THE WINTER AFFAIR

At this point we must pause to relate the story of Givati Brigade Commander Colonel Ofer Winter, who, on July 9, 2014, during the Gaza War, issued a daily “commander’s note” to his soldiers, in which he stated: “History has chosen us to serve at the forefront of the fighting against the terrorist enemy in Gaza, which is taunting, cursing and blaspheming against the God of the Armies of Israel. … I raise my eyes up to the heavens and say along with you, ‘Shema Israel, God is our Lord, God Is one.’ The God of Israel, please make successful the path we take as we prepare to fight for your nation Israel and against an enemy which blaspheme Your Name.”

Needless to say, the text, which refrenced Psalms 44 and Samuel I 17, as well as the She’ma Israel, was not received well by the Israeli largely secular media. It should be noted that Reform rabbi Uri Regev was among the first in Israel to attack the Colonel for mixing his private religious sentiments and the military. Many others continued to target Winter for the six months that followed.

It should be noted that Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon led the attacks on his subordinate. “I didn’t love it,” he told a forum of the heads of pre-military preparatory institutions. He said the Brigade Commander should have stuck with language that is common to all his recruits, presumably not language that cites from Jewish sources. He also questioned how a Druz soldier might have responded to the Jewish text, as if non-Jews should be naturally offended by the concept of a Jewish State and a Jewish army.

 

NETANYAHU VS. HIS GENERALS

Netanyahu has had a rough relationship with the military leadership for most of his terms as prime minister. It began in his first term in the late 1990s, with overt confrontations with then Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Amnon Lipkin-Shahak and head of Shabak Ami Ayalon, as well as Netanyahu’s defense minister at the time, Yitzhak Mordechai. Netanyahu dismissed Mordechai before he had a chance to resign, in 1999, and Mordechai left Likud along with several other members to establish a new Center party, which failed miserably and ended up joining Ehud Barak’s new Labor-led government.

If their meeting on Monday did not reach a working compromise, both leaders must be thinking back to the Yitzhak Mordechai episode and wondering how soon before Ya’alon would jump ship to Labor.

Ya’alon’s colleagues in the Likud went after him with a vengeance Monday morning. Culture Minister Miri Regev, who served as the IDF Spokesperson at one time, told Channel 2 News that “It is inconceivable that a serving officer would grab the reigns from the political echelon and conduct himself as if this is an army that also has a state.” She continued: “The defense minister is confused. Military officers should speak what’s in their hearts in the appropriate forum and regarding the issues under their care.”

Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz told Army Radio, “I do not understand what’s driving the defense minister in these statements. His job is to instill discipline in the IDF. There must be a red line between army and state and between army and politics. I think his words were a miserable mistake. Ben Gurion would never have allowed for such a thing to happen.”

And Likud MK Oren Hazan, who often opposes Netanyahu, stood squarely behind the PM in a tweet that went: “Someone should remind Bogy (Ya’alon’s nickname) that we are a democracy and not under martial law. The IDF is not a junta, his job is to carry out the decisions of the political echelon and not oppose it and set a different policy.”

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-confronts-yaalon-over-call-to-idf-officers-to-speak-their-minds/2016/05/16/

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