web analytics
October 20, 2016 / 18 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Netanyahu’

Coalition Chair: No Coming back from Netanyahu Vs. Transport Minister Crisis

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

Coalition Chairman MK David Bitan (Likud) admitted on Saturday that the crisis between Prime Minster Netanyahu and his Transport Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) has reached an irreversible phase, which could mean that the PM will fire his Minster in the coming days. The rift between the two Likud politicians is not new, and the last few months have seen several attempts by Katz to attack Netanyahu on a variety of issues, some personal (Katz has been promised the foreign ministry which Netanyahu is keeping to himself for now), others have to do with actions by Katz that are threatening the stability of Netanyahu’s government.

Last week, Katz forced a confrontation between his PM and the Haredi coalition partners over massive works in the Israeli train infrastructure that were scheduled for Shabbat. The protests from the Haredim resulted in Netanyahu ordering his minister to limit the Shabbat works to only those projects which could result in danger to the public should they be carried out on a weekday. In the end, the railroad and Tel-Aviv’s main urban highway, Netivey Ayalon (Rt. 20) were blocked to traffic throughout the last Shabbat in August, with heavy traffic jams that ended only when the works were concluded around 8 PM Saturday.

Last Friday, Sept. 2, five minutes before the start of Shabbat, Katz ordered the cancellation of all the projects that received special dispensation, pushing them off to Saturday night and Sunday. The order for the technical teams to abandon the work sites was given after they had taken apart some of the rails, so that there was no way to resume service Saturday night. In fact, as of Saturday night, train passengers have been told the service would only be renewed Sunday night.

Both sides, Netanyahu and Katz, are blaming each other for the crisis, with Meretz and Labor siding with the transport minister and urging their people to demonstrate in front of the shut down stations. Only a few hundreds have arrived at those rallies Saturday night — which blame Netanyahu for capitulating to the Haredim. In addition, the opposition parties have collected 25 MK signatures to call a special session of the legislature to debate “the desecration of Shabbat and the harm to soldiers and civilians by the train crisis.”

Sunday is the day thousands of IDF soldiers who spent Shabbat at home are riding the trains back to their bases, many of them for free. Now the IDF is working overtime rustling up buses for these soldiers. In a small and tense country like Israel, messing up with the schedule of our kids going back to the Army does not make one a popular politician. Which is why Meretz Chair Zehava Galon has already appealed to the Supreme Court against both Netanyahu and Katz, demanding that they be compelled to terminate their decision to cut Shabbat railroad works.

Netanyahu issued a statement Saturday saying, “This is an initiated and unnecessary crisis on the part of Minister Yisrael Katz designed to undermine relations between the Prime Minister and the ultra-orthodox public or alternatively to damage the image of the Prime Minister among the general public. From the outset there was no need to initiate work on Shabbat. It would have been possible to carry out the work on other dates that would not have harmed the ultra-orthodox public, passengers or soldiers. For example, it would have been possible to combine the work with the eight-day shutdown of the railroad – which has the approval of the Transportation Ministry – in the coming weeks. Israel Katz is holding passengers and soldiers as hostages in an unnecessary and artificial crisis that he initiated after having failed in his attempt to take over the Likud institutions. The Prime Minister is outraged over Minister Katz’s cynical attack on passengers and soldiers and is doing his utmost to minimize the damage to these publics in the next 24 hours. To this end, the Prime Minister and Defense Minister have agreed to place buses at the disposal of soldiers over the next 24 hours. The Prime Minister has also instructed the Transportation Ministry to boost public transportation between Tel Aviv and Haifa with additional buses.”

Yes, Katz tried and failed to take over the Likud institutions, about two and a half weeks ago, he got a huge majority (95%) of the Likud Secretariat, which he happens to head, to agree to the narrowing of the absolute power the Likud Chairman, one Benjamin Netanyahu, had enjoyed in personnel appointments and distribution of party funds. Katz apparently assumed Netanyahu was experiencing a weak period, what with police looking into his and his wife’s use of public funds, and figured the prime minister would shy away from confrontation with the third strongest man in Likud. He was outrageously wrong. The PM called him to his office at 9 AM the next day and, reportedly, handed him an unsigned letter of resignation, which he expected Katz to sign unless he issued a statement walking back the entire secretariat vote from the day before.

Katz capitulated, but apparently did not stop sulking and looking for new ways to force a showdown with the PM. The reason for his combative stance has to do with Netanyahu’s inviting Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) into his coalition government, which boosted his hold on his government and reduced the ability of any individual coalition member to get his way. Katz is aware that his days in this government are numbered, Netanyahu will never keep his promises to him regarding the foreign ministry, so, frankly, he might be better off outside the tent than inside.

Meanwhile, the Likud is splitting up between Katz and Bibi supporters, and the fact that several Likud ministers have thrown their weight — albeit politely — behind Katz, may be enough to avoid an actual showdown. Meanwhile, for the next 24 hours or so, Israeli train passengers remain in dire need of transportation alternatives.


The First Day of School [photos]

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

It’s not clear who is having more fun on this first day of school in Israel, the politicians or the students.

Prime Minister Netanyahu Photos by: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO First Day of School First Day of School


Prime Minister Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett Photo by: Flash90

First Day of School

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman
Photo by: Ariel Hermoni/Ministry of Defense
First Day of School

Photo of the Day

Netanyahu, Bennett, Open 5777 School Year in Northern Public School

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett on Thursday, September 1, 2016, inaugurated the 2016-2017, 5777 school year at the Tamra Haemek public elementary school in Tamra, in the Gilboa Regional Council area. Netanyahu and Bennett were welcomed by the school’s 200 students in Hebrew, Arabic and English.

Prime Minister Netanyahu told the children that when he entered the first grade, “It took me a little while to be able to read the words.” He also told them, “I am truly excited for you. Learn well. Go back home and do what mother and father tell you. May you be successful.”

David Israel

Report: Putin to Host Netanyahu Abbas Summit in Moscow

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Advanced talks have been conducted recently in preparation for a summit conference with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chairman Abbas in Moscow this fall, according to the daily Yediot Aharonot. The paper reported on Monday that both PA and Israeli officials have confirmed that the summit is scheduled to take place in October or shortly thereafter, under the auspices of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Abbas has personally expressed his willingness, in principle, to partake in a Moscow summit. However, according to Yediot, the PA Chairman still insists that Israel first commit to freezing settlement construction and carry out the fourth phase of terrorist prisoners release which was halted when Secretary of State Kerry’s peace initiative collapsed in 2015. Abbas also insists on setting a specific date for the end of negotiations and for reaching a final agreement.

Political sources in Jerusalem have told Yediot that when Netanyahu and Putin spoke on the phone last week, the summit plan was part of their discussion. But they stress that the summit idea at this point is “mere speculation, it’s too soon.” Still, the same sources say Netanyahu is willing to meet with Abbas directly any time.

On Wednesday, August 17, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, Putin’s Special Representative for the Middle East and Africa, discussed prospects for advancing PA-Israel peace talks with Abbas in Amman, and delivered a personal message from Putin to Abbas. Since then, Bogdanov has met twice with the head of the PA mission in Moscow Faed Mustafa and with Israeli ambassador Zvi Hefetz. One of Bogdanov’s meetings with Hefetz was on August 24, the day of the Putin-Netanyahu phone conversation.


Netanyahu OKs Major Road Works on Shabbat with Tacit Haredi Approval

Friday, August 26th, 2016

After a tense night of negotiations, on Friday morning Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that he succeeded in resolving the potential coalition crisis with the two Haredi parties in his government over work that had been scheduled for Shabbat at the Derekh HasHalom (Heb: Peace Road) train station in Tel Aviv. The resolution was that works which must be carried out because of risk to human life will proceed on schedule on Shabbat, while other works will be delayed until after Shabbat.

The Prime Minster’s office released a statement announcing the establishment of a new committee, headed by Netanyahu’s chief of staff Yoav Horowitz, to look into enhancing communication between the Ministry of Transport and the Haredi factions.

Haredi party officials have told Walla that “the crisis is behind us. The Prime Minster’s announcement was made in full coordination with us. We see it as our success, when Netanyahu announces that works which do not pose risk to human life will not be carried out on Shabbat.”

Members of Netanyahu’s inner circle have reportedly requested that the Haredim not turn the resolution into a victory celebration, and so they have maintained a restrained response.

Over the past 24 hours, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas), Health Minister Yakov Litzman and MK Moshe Gafni (both from UTJ) sent Netanyahu an urgent letter Thursday night, demanding a halt to the works on Shabbat, warning of a possible coalition collapse. “Should these works be performed by order of the Israeli government, causing public desecration of Shabbat, this would constitute a serious precedence and a blatant violation of the status quo,” they wrote.

What ensued was a back-and-forth debate as to who is in fact in charge of making Shabbat-work decisions: Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, Welfare Minister Haim Katz, who is in charge of Work and Rest decisions, or Prime Minister Netanyahu. They approached Attorney General Avichai Mandelblitt who ruled that the authority is, indeed, with Haim Katz, but since this constitute a coalition breaking issue, it should be sent up to the PM.

David Israel

Putin, Netanyahu, Talk Peace Process on Phone

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, the Kremlin press service reported, adding that the conversation was initiated by Israel.

“The leaders exchanged opinions on Middle East settlement issues and topical aspects of the general situation in the region. They agreed to continue active Russian-Israeli contacts at different levels,” the report said.

On Wednesday August 17, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, Putin’s Special Representative for the Middle East and Africa, discussed prospects for advancing Palestinian-Israeli peace talks with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Amman. Bogdanov also delivered a personal message from Putin to Abbas.

The Russian Foreign Ministry later issued a statement saying “the talks were meaningful and trustful. The sides considered prospects for advancing the Palestinian-Israeli settlement in strict compliance with the principles of international law. They also discussed the restoration of Palestinian national unity along the PLO’s political platform designed to create an independent Palestinian state, which would live in peace and security with its neighbors, including Israel.”

To be clear, in its current situation, the PA only has two neighbors: Israel and Jordan, so it’s a relief to read that it plans to live in peace with both. This considering the fact that Hamas, in the Gaza Strip, also has only two neighbors, Israel and Egypt, and it is maintaining a perpetual state of war with both.


Ha’aretz on Warpath Against New Hebron Jewish Housing

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

Ha’aretz writer Yotam Berger, who on Monday reported on the new housing construction project planned for Jewish Hebron, followed his story with a tweet addressed to @White-House, in which he noted (in Hebrew), “For your information, the State is planning new construction in the Jewish settlement in Hebron.” Although it’s puzzling why Berger didn’t tweet in English, or ask someone at the paper’s English language website to help him translate, the panicky urgency of the tweet is unmistakable.

Yotam Berger Tweet

Monday’s report was followed Tuesday morning with a leading editorial titled, “Provocation in Hebron,” which warns that “Hebron is a permanent focal point for tension and confrontations between Jews and Palestinians. Any change in the urban structure and any additional Jewish presence in the city would only increase the potential for violence and the Palestinian protest. Those who complain day and night about Palestinian incitement cannot wash their hands of responsibility when they approve a construction project that is unmatched in its capacity to cause rage and hatred.”

The same editorial accuses Israel of “robbing lands” and Prime Minister Netanyahu of lying when he says he wants to negotiate peace because he is creating facts on the ground that would increase the demand for concessions on the PA.

The part about robbing lands is a purely pro-Arab perspective on the acquisition of the land for the new construction. The fact is that Ha’aretz’s own report on Monday cites Hebron spokesman Noam Arnon, who said the lands to be used have been owned by Jews since before 1948. “The area has always been known as belonging to the Jewish community, and if they return to living there I’m sure every justice-loving person would rejoice about it,” Arnon said.

What Ha’aretz and Peace Now, as well as the Arabs, are objecting to is the fact that in a situation where the slated area is comprised of Jewish owned lands and lands that were confiscated by the IDF back in 1983, the Jews will win out. The Jewish owned land will be turned into Jewish housing, while the confiscated land — where the city of Hebron used to maintain a central bus station that has been relocated in 1983 — that land remains confiscated.

So, according to Ha’aretz, the Jews who utilize their legally owned lands are robbers, because the IDF is holding on to lands that were confiscated from the Arab municipality.

A map of Hebron. The yellow area is Arab, where Jews are not allowed to set foot. / Wikipedia commons

A map of Hebron. The yellow area is Arab, where Jews are not allowed to set foot. / Wikipedia commons

The Israeli Supreme Court in 1979 ruled that land that was confiscated by the IDF for military purposes cannot be turned over for Jewish settlement. And so Ha’aretz, the anti-Israel NGOs and, supposedly, some Arabs, are implying that the Jews of Hebron have somehow violated the court ruling, which they never have done.

The decision to permit new housing construction in H2 (the Jewish sliver of Hebron) was made under the Moshe Ya’alon administration at the Defense Ministry, and it has now been confirmed by his successor, Avigdor Liberman. It isn’t clear how many housing units can be pushed into the area, which is about half an acre, including the military-confiscated parts which are verboten. Unless they build a high riser, the common land use for half an acre of suburban housing is between 15 and 25 units. If that many homes for Jews have the power to derail peace negotiations then maybe Israel should think the entire peace process on account of facing unimaginably rigid partners.


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/haaretz-on-warpath-against-new-hebron-jewish-housing/2016/08/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: