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October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘opposition’

Mortar Shells From Syria Hit Israeli Moshav

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Three mortar shells landed in Israel’s Golan Heights on Thursday morning, in what security officials are saying is an accidental firing as part of the bloody battle between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad and a growing militant opposition.

Two shells fell near moshav Alonei HaBashan, causing no injuries or damage.  The third shell landed inside the moshav, but miraculously did not detonate.  IDF sappers disarmed the mortar.

On Monday, officials reported that it was a stray bullet which hit an army jeep patrolling on the border.  On November 3, three Syrian tanks entered a demilitarized zone between Syria and Israel.  Israel filed a complaint with the UN, which has a large cadre of “peacekeepers” stationed in the area.

Since the beginning of Syria’s civil war in March 2011, over 36,000 Syrians have been killed on both sides and approximately half a million people are considered refugees.

Secret Ballot Could Determine Likud-Beiteinu Future

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

Prime Minister Netanyahu is finding out that there is significant opposition to his plans to run the Likud on a joint list together with Yisrael Beiteinu in the upcoming elections.

Following a petition signed by 400 Likud central committee members, and as per Likud rules, the Likud will now be required to hold a secret ballot among all the central committee members to see if they approve of the joint list proposition.

In surveys taken of Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu members, the majority claimed to support running as a joint list.

But opponents of the joint list are hoping that in a secret ballot, the results will go against Netanyahu. One Central Committee Member told JewishPress.com that this merger “strips internal democracy from the Likud.”

The secret ballot may be held on Monday.

Related Article: In Mixed Reactions, Some Call Likud-Beitenu Move Brilliant, Some Warn of Losses

Maryland Congressman Apologizes for Holocaust Reference

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

A Maryland congressman apologized for referring to the Holocaust as he discussed his opposition to federal involvement in providing student loans.

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) apologized Thursday for the remarks, which drew criticism.

“While explaining my position on an important Constitutional issue I regrettably used an extreme example as a comparison that was ill-advised and inappropriate,” Bartlett said in a statement. “I should never use something as horrific as the Holocaust to make a political point, and I deeply apologize to anyone I may have offended.”

In his initial comments at a town hall meeting on Wednesday, Bartlett had argued that the federal government lacked the authority under the Constitution to offer student loans and warned of a “slippery slope” if the Constitution is ignored.

“If you can ignore the Constitution to do something good today, tomorrow you will be ignoring the Constitution to do something bad,” he said, adding: ” The Holocaust that occurred in Germany — how in the heck could that happen? And when you start down the wrong road, it can be a very slippery slope.”

President Peres, Defying Netanyahu, Barak: ‘We Cannot Attack Iran On Our Own’

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

President Shimon Peres said Thursday in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 News that Israel alone should not and cannot attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. With this statement, Peres has effectively positioned himself in direct opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

In the interview, the president stresses: “It is clear to us that we alone cannot do it. We can postpone it, but we know clearly that we have to go along with America. There are questions of coordination and timing, but no matter how much nearer the danger is growing, at least this time we are not alone.”

In Israel’s political system, the role of president has been designed as largely ceremonial, intended to preserve the balance of Israel’s democracy. President Peres’s decision to oppose the Prime Minister, who holds the executive powers, is a deviation from decades of tradition, and may result in some harm to the institution of the presidency itself.

Peres also addressed the commitment of President Barack Obama to Israel in connection with an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. “This is an American interest, and he (President Obama) sees this interest,” clarified the president. “Obama is not saying this just to please us.”

The president added that “Israel must rely on herself, but that does not mean she should give up on friends. When I say that I have a right to self-defense, it does not mean that I must be angry with everyone, whatever for?”

During the day, Thursday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak addressed the possible attack on Iran in the Knesset plenum, explaining why this action was necessary. He said that dealing with a nuclear Iran would be difficult, expensive and more dangerous. He added: “The decision, as required, will be made by the Government of Israel, not by groups of civilians and not even by editorials.”

The Channel 2 News full interview will be shown at 8:00 PM Israel time, 1:00 PM New York time.

Getting Priorities Wrong in Egypt and Syria: Three Media Case Studies

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.co.il/2012/08/getting-priorities-wrong-in-egypt-and.html

As I lay here waiting for the gurney to take me into the operating room and read the hundreds of kind letters from so many of you I hope to fill in your time with one more article.

Focus is everything, knowing what the central problem is and dealing with it. Here I want to discuss three articles that I basically agree with to point out how they miss the key issue and thus are somewhat misleading. I’m glad to see these three articles being published but it’s a case of, to quote Lenin, two steps forward, one step back.

First, the Washington Post published an editorial entitled, “The time for patience in Syria is over.” It criticizes “America’s long paralysis in responding to the conflict in Syria,” pointing out that the war and horrific bloodshed is escalating. And it concludes:

“President Obama called on [President Bashar al-] Assad to leave office, a proper reaction to the brutality. But Mr. Obama has not backed his words with actions that might help them come true.”

It isn’t every day that a mass media organ criticizes Obama. Yet there are two problems. One is that the measures the newspaper proposes are very much out of date:

“No one is arguing for a Libyan-style intervention into Syria at this point. But the United States and its NATO allies could begin contingency planning for a no-fly zone, now that Mr. Assad is deploying aircraft against the opposition. Instead of providing only non-lethal support, such as medical supplies and communications gear, America could help supply weapons to the outgunned opposition fighters. It could work with Turkey and other allies to set up havens for them.”

Since the opposition has been asking for a “no-fly zone” for about six months, arguing that the NATO allies “could begin contingency planning” for one isn’t exactly a bold measure. Moreover, while the United States is only directly “providing only non-lethal support,” it is facilitating the supply of lethal weapons by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. And third, there are already safe havens for the opposition fighters in Turkey.

So none of those three ideas are decisive or even highly relevant. The key point is mentioned in passing in another passage, calling on the United States, “…To get a better read on opposition forces and to encourage those less inclined toward sectarianism.”

Yet this is the central issue! There is no point in supporting an opposition that’s going to procue a government dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists! That’s the issue: The United States should do everything possible to help moderates—both defected officers and liberal politicians–gain the upper hand. It should work closely with the Kurds and press hard to make sure that Christians are protected and that the opposition (or at least parts of the opposition responsible) will be punished if it commits massacres.

Is that so hard to see?

But guess what? Senator Marco Rubio also never mentions the Islamism issue in his article on how the United States should intervene in Syria. He better get an advisor who knows something about the Middle East fast or he may end up as another John McCain on the Middle East.

Second, Vali Nasr has some good points in New York Times op-ed. But I perceive two very big flaws. One of them is a warning:

“If the Syrian conflict explodes outward, everyone will lose: it will spill into neighboring Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. Lebanon and Iraq in particular are vulnerable; they, too, have sectarian and communal rivalries tied to the Sunni-Alawite struggle for power next door.”

Really? The issue is not that the conflict is going to spill over but that it is part of a Sunni-Shia battle that will be a major feature of the region in the coming decades. Lebanon and Iraq are merely other fronts in this battle and whatever happens in Syria isn’t going to start some new problem in those countries.

The question is merely who wins in Syria. A Sunni victory in Syria would empower a moderate-led Sunni community in Lebanon against Hizballah. As for Iraq, another Sunni power will make that government unhappy but isn’t going to intensify already existing sectarian tensions there. And Kurdish autonomy in Syria isn’t going to set off a Kurdish-Turkish war in Turkey either.

Heavy Fighting in Halab, Syria and Rumors of a Massacre

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Heavy fighting is being reported in Halab, Syria.

Meanwhile, there are unconfirmed rumors of a massacre in Hama, Syria.

The death count for the past day is now up to at least 99, while the Syrian opposition has placed the number as high as 310 people.

Despite Declarations for Equality – Knesset Shoots Down Universal Service Bill

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

The Knesset was humming with the sound of bells on Wednesday as the calls to vote for an equal service bill filled the building. The Supreme Court’s decision to cancel the Tal Law has caused a crisis in the Knesset to create a new and acceptable law before August 1.

The Yisrael Beytenu party, under Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, proposed the bill. Yet despite previous claims of fairness and equality by many Knesset members, as well as the government’s previous support of the bill, an overwhelming majority (74-20) voted against the bill.

This concept of equal service is one that the Yisrael Beytenu party has always supported, and they promised to vote for any bill that included that statement, according to a spokesperson for the party. This proved to be true when the party voted for an almost identical bill proposed by the Ha’atzmaut (Independence) party of Ehud Barak.

“Despite all the talk, there is no seriousness about change coming from any other party, as no one has created a written law in response,” someone close to the Yisrael Beytenu party told JewishPress.com. “We’re days away from the end of the Knesset and the August 1st deadline is looming,” he said.

The vote occurred the day after the Kadima party pulled out of the coalition and entered the opposition, specifically because of the draft issue.

The service options covered under the new bill could include military service, national service or community service, but the point is to create one rule for everyone to create a greater equality among Israelis.

“You have a responsibility to contribute to your country, to the state that you get benefits from,” a Yisrael Beytenu spokesperson said. “Those who serve will receive,” he added, using a phrase very similar to one Prime Minister Netanyahu used regarding compromising and negotiating with the Palestinians.

The opposition in large part comes from the Haredim.

Avraham Chasida, 32, is a Hassid from Yerushalayim and also an army veteran. He believes that the army is just one tool for protecting the Jewish people. But in turn, he also said that continuing to learn Torah is the only way the Jewish people will really be protected.

Chasida set up a tent in Wohl Rose Park outside of the Knesset in protest of the new bill. He explained that there has already been a natural increase in army service among the Ultra Orthodox community, without force or punishment – and specifically because of the Tal Law. Annually, there are around 7500 Chareidim who come of draft age. In 2007, 305 Haredi men were enlisted, while in 2011 that number has increased to 2,372. The Tal Law was working, he told us.

“Don’t just be right, be smart,” he said. “After 64 years, you can’t take people and turn them around and change them in one shot.”

Netanyahu also believes that it’s not practical to force the Ultra-Orthodox into service and is therefore attempting to create a proposition with more carrots and less sticks.

Some Knesset members are also aware that the transition must be smooth. “We can’t have a revolution, we have to have evolution,” MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said. That is in reference to society from both sides. The army needs to be prepared for the Haredim just as much as the Haredim need to be ready for service.

However, time is sensitive, and not only because of the August 1 deadline. Hotovely said that the window of opportunity is now, because in the near future, it may not be possible to pass due to Knesset representation changes.

A spokesperson for Yisrael Beytenu echoed her statement, but with some criticism. “We’ve had 64 years to evolve,” he said. “Demographically, it will be impossible to pass this bill 20 years from now.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Netanyahu is now working on a bill that is a variation of the Plessner bill, that if all goes well, could be passed before the end of the month.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/the-knesset/despite-declarations-of-equality-knesset-shoots-down-universal-service-bill/2012/07/18/

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