web analytics
May 29, 2016 / 21 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Netanyahu’

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

Netanyahu Openly Calling on Lieberman to Join Government

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been engaged through proxies in a long and seemingly failed negotiation with Zionist Camp Chairman (for now) Itzhak Herzog, declared during his weekly cabinet meeting that he intends to “publicly call on (Israel Beiteinu Chairman MK) Lieberman to join the government.” Netanyahu added that, as a signing bonus, he would promote a solution for the pensions of newcomers from Russia, Liberman’s base constituency. Netanyahu sounded optimistic, according to Israeli media outlets, about his ability to get Lieberman, his closest coalition partner for most of the 19th Knesset, to join up. He also said the chances for the Zionist Camp joining are low at this point.

Liebrman quickly responded to Netanyahu’s invite on his Facebook page, calling it a spin. He added that Netanyahu has been conducting his flirtation with Zionist Camp leading MKs Herzog and Livni “in direct contradiction of what he promised during the election campaign,” and that “Netanyahu’s government is not rightwing.”

“Should there be a serious and truthful approach to Israel Beiteinu, we will respond to it, “Lieberman concluded.

David Israel

Netanyahu Was Right On Iran Deal

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

It wasn’t all that long ago that our nation was transfixed by President Obama’s full court press to close a nuclear arms deal with Iran. It will be recalled that the administration spared no effort in this regard, beginning with its miscasting of the deal as an agreement rather than a treaty requiring Senate approval. And when an irate Congress, enacted legislation requiring a period for a measure of Congressional review, the president engaged in blatant procedural legerdemain to neutralize that legal mandate.

All of this took place in the context of overwhelming popular opposition to the deal. Further, virtually every member of Congress who ultimately signed on to the agreement did so with reservations, saying there was no real choice and that any deal was better than none.

And now we know that while the president was using every procedural trick in the book to prevent Congress from killing the deal, an even more insidious effort was being mounted under the radar.

You really can’t make this kind of thing up. A major piece by veteran journalist David Samuels in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine focuses on Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, the person President Obama relied upon most to “sell” the Iran nuclear deal as critical to U.S. national interests. Mr. Rhodes came to the job with a background as a writer of fiction, a talent in the use of modern communication technology, and absolutely no foreign policy experience.

The article was built around an interview Mr. Samuels conducted with Mr. Rhodes and clearly shows how the public and Congress were purposefully misled.

Thus, the Obama administration successfully pitched the Iran deal as designed to take quick advantage of the election of a so-called moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, which presented an opportunity for a breakthrough in U.S.-Iran relations. And many members of Congress have said this argument weighed heavily on their minds when they voted to approve the deal even though they had serious misgivings about the specific terms of the agreement.

In truth, however, it now appears the negotiations were begun two years before Mr. Rouhani’s election when the notorious Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was still the president of Iran. Indeed, Mr. Rhodes acknowledged that President Obama planned an outreach to Iran soon after he took office in 2009 and the contrary spin was simply his –Mr. Rhodes’s – fabrication.

In other words, the notion that the Iran deal was the choice of peace over war did not arise out of any facts on the ground but was manufactured out of whole cloth by the imaginative Mr. Rhodes. And thanks to the administration’s fanciful narrative, legislators came to believe the proposed nuclear deal with Iran represented the only way to avoid war with Iran.

How did this all come about? Here is how Mr. Samuels put it:

Rhodes is a storyteller who uses a writer’s tools to advance an agenda that is packaged as politics but is often quite personal. He is adept at constructing overarching plotlines with heroes and villains, their conflicts and motivations supported by flurries of carefully chosen adjectives, quotations and leaks from named and unnamed senior officials. He is the master shaper and retailer of Obama’s foreign-policy narratives, at a time when the killer wave of social media has washed away the sand castles of the traditional press.

Mr. Samuels quoted Mr. Rhodes to this effect:

All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus. Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.

Mr. Samuels continued:

In the spring of last year, legions of arms-control experts began popping up at think tanks and on social media, and then became key source for hundreds of often clueless reporters. “We created an echo chamber,” [Rhodes] admitted, when I asked him to explain the onslaught of freshly minted experts cheerleading for the deal. “They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.”

When Mr. Samuels suggested that all of this manipulation seemed out of place in an America that reveres the principle of rational debate as the bedrock of democracy, Mr. Rhodes countered with, “I mean I’d prefer a sober, reasoned public debate, after which members of Congress reflect and take a vote. But that’s impossible.”

Editorial Board

Terror Victim’s Brother Interrupts Netanyahu During Official Memorial Day Speech

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

By Michael Bachner/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – The brother of an Israeli man critically wounded in a terror attack lashed out at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday afternoon during Netanyahu’s speech at the official memorial ceremony for Israel’s terror victims.

“Two months ago a terrorist shattered my brother’s skull, after I was injured 15 years ago, and the wounds still haven’t healed,” shouted Rami Cohen at Netanyahu from the audience, criticizing the government’s handling of the recent wave of terror attacks. “And now, again, we are acting leniently [toward terrorism] and don’t know how to deal with it.”

Rami is the brother of Tzvika Cohen, a security guard who was brutally attacked with an ax by 21-year-old Saadi Ali Abu Ahmad in February in the town of Ma’ale Adumim, near Jerusalem. Cohen was critically wounded in the attack and has not yet woken up from a coma. His life is still in danger.

After his outburst, Cohen sat down and sobbed on his chair.

“I understand you. I belong to the same family,” Netanyahu replied, referring to the loss of his own brother, Jonathan, who was killed during the legendary 1976 raid in Entebbe, Uganda that freed 102 Jewish hostages.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Likud Supreme Court Orders Review of Ya’alon’s Failure

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

The Likud supreme court on Sunday ordered the Likud Central Committee, Political Bureau, Directorate, Secretariat and Knesset faction to conduct reviews of the failures of Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) regarding the eviction of Jewish residents from Beit Rachel and Leah in Hebron, Srugim reported . The Jewish residents moved into the building, which had been lawfully purchased from its Arab owner, on Thursday, January 21, and were forcibly removed by Police and Border Guard officers on Friday, January 22.

The discussions in each Likud institution will include a vote on a call to Prime Minister Netanyahu to remove Ya’alon from his post as Defense Minister, as well as a call on Likud elected officials to act at once to annul the eviction action against the Jewish residents of Beit Rachel and Leah.

The Likud supreme court ruled on a petition by six members of Likud Eretz Israel Loyalists against Ya’alon, in which they demanded the suspension of Ya’alon’s Likud membership over his order to evict the Jewish residents in Hebron. The petition, submitted by attorney Aviad Visoly, is based on an item in the Likud constitution according to which a member who aids a competing party would be subject to a two-year suspension from the Likud party. The petitioners argued that the Ya’alon order to evict the Jews from their homes aided the leftwing parties which are eager to eliminate the Jewish presence in Hebron.

The party court’s ruling stated that “there is justification for a piercing debate with Minister Ya’alon over his decision to evict the Jews from their homes in Hebron, a decision that may be criticized and action may be taken to change it, or, in the least, prevent a repetition of this behavior in the future.” But the court ruled that the debate does not belong in the court but in the various party institutions.

The court has ordered the heads of each of the party institutions to set a date for the debates in no later than seven days.

David Israel

Netanyahu Condemns ‘Outrageous’ Deputy Chief of Staff’s Speech [video]

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

In a break with the longstanding tradition according to which political leaders avoid criticizing the military in public, Prime Minister Netanyahu opened the Sunday morning cabinet meeting with a resounding rebuke of IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Yair Golan’s speech on Holocaust Remembrance Day. The speech, in which Galon said he sees in today’s Israel and among his subordinates in the IDF evidence of events that took place in Europe before the Holocaust, “was an injustice against the State of Israel and a cheapening of the memory of the Holocaust,” Netanyahu said, adding that “the comparison which rises from the Deputy Chief of Staff’s words is outrageous, and factually wrong. They should not have been said.”

“If there’s one thing which frightens me regarding the memory of the Holocaust, it’s identifying the blood curdling processes that took place in Germany and in the rest of Europe “70, 80, and 90 years ago, and discovering evidence of their taking place here, among us, in 2016,” Golan told an audience that included Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) who almost had a stroke. And when the Deputy Chief of the Jewish army added that his gripe is over the “purity of our weapons” (a uniquely Israeli term, dating back to the pre-state years, meaning when Jews use their weapons they must do so ethically) it was obvious he wasn’t referring to soccer hooliganism — he accused the IDF of harboring Nazi-like individuals.

The open rebuke was a deadly jibe at Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who defended and supported Golan’s speech and the sentiments he noted, and who spent a long hour Wednesday night debating with the PM who demanded an all out apology from Golan. Instead of a direct apology at the time, the best Ya’alon could come up with was a press release from the IDF Spokesperson’s office, which denied the allegation that the Deputy Chief had compared “unsettling phenomena” inside the IDF with events in Nazi Germany that preceded the Holocaust. But as JNi pointed out at the time, Golan absolutely made the comparison, as could be read plainly in the transcript of the speech.

The fact that a commander who compares the IDF to the Nazis may be considered to replace the current chief of staff, is yet another brick in a strangely anti-Jewish and even anti-Zionist wall being erected by the IDF leadership in recent years. The new Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, has removed Jewish education from the hands of the IDF rabbinate and handed it to HR, which in turn made it the purview of the left-leaning Education Corps; the same HR has also initiated a directive against letting Jewish soldiers grow beards, and belittled in a public speech the rabbinic principle of “He who rises to kill you, kill him first,” calling it merely a metaphor and not a moral principle. Ya’alon for his part keeps Jews in prison for many months without charges, and uses brute force to evict Jewish dwellers from their homes — while permitting widespread illegal Arab dwellings. All of the above, besides being nasty jabs against religious Zionism, are also associating Netanyahu and his government with the Israeli left’s agenda, which is tantamount to political suicide for the Likud and its leader.

“The Duputy Chief is an officer of great merit,” the PM concluded, “But what he said in this matter was completely erroneous and unacceptable to me.”

Whether or not the meritorious Golan decide to draw his own conclusions and jump under the bus, or be pushed there at a later date, Netanyahu has don what he could to disassociate himself from the high ranking officer’s infuriating message. And whether or not Ya’alon would see Sunday’s unusual attack by the PM as a message regarding his own political future in the Likud should be the subject of speculation in the weeks to come.

JNi.Media

Analysis: Obama Administration Fighting Netanyahu Via AP Leak

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

The Obama Administration has apparently decided on its course of action regarding Judea and Samaria until the inauguration of a new president in January: threats and attacks delivered through well placed leaks with the major news outlets, which are intended to foster anxiety in Jerusalem. A case in point is this weekend’s AP story, citing US and other diplomats who say Obama plans to endorse a “tougher tone” against Israel in the upcoming report by the so-called “Quartet” of mediators from the US, the EU, Russia and the UN. Said diplomats have promised that the US will no longer endeavor to temper the language of the report, criticizing settlements construction, demolitions and property seizures. They also promise to place the blame for the impasse in the peace negotiations squarely on Israel.

The report, due in late May or early June, will bear no intrinsic penalties against Israel, an island of violence and unrest in an otherwise peaceful and idyllic Middle East, but the diplomats who leaked the news have told AP it could be used by the UN assembly and “possibly sent to the Security Council for an endorsement.”

It is curious why the Obama White House would want to create yet another problem for the Democratic presumptive presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who would be forced to comment on such a report and run the risk of alienating either the left- or right-flank of the party. Is the Obama need for revenge against the Jewish State stronger than his support for his own party’s campaign? Time will tell.

On its face, the AP leak looks more like a taunt than a change in policy, reminiscent of the reference to the comparison by an anonymous Administration official of Netanyahu to chicken droppings in the famous October 2014 Jeffrey Goldberg article. Like that and so many other poisoned arrows, the report will probably enrage Netanyahu and his circle, and will also endorse complaints on the part of the PA, but its influence on policy changes is doubtful. Scores of anti-Israeli, pro-Arab reports cannot change the math of the 20th Knesset nor the precarious balance of Israel’s Labor party under Chairman Itzhak Herzog.

As the AP story put it soberly, “The Quartet, which is supposed to guide the two parties to peace, has been largely irrelevant for the past several years. It was created in 2002 at a low point in the Israeli-Palestinian relationship and in the years since has held sporadic meetings. Most have ended with bland statements condemning violence, criticizing settlements and calling for both sides to improve security and the atmosphere for peace talks. … The new report will repeat those calls, but the diplomats said they hoped the new criticism of Israel, in particular, would jolt the parties into action.”

Not in this Knesset, apparently.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/analysis-obama-administration-fighting-netanyahu-via-ap-leak/2016/05/08/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: