web analytics
October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Political Fallout Begins From Ceasefire

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Israel’s political landscape awoke Wednesday to the latest ceasefire with a sharp round of criticism for Prime Minister Netanyahu, and jostling for position amongst senior politicians who have begun to smell the aroma of early elections, possibly in the first half of 2015.

Even prior to the end of Operation Protective Edge, members of the coalition were outspoken in their objection to the prosecution of the conflict. Most prominent amongst the critics was Danny Danon, who served as deputy defense minister until he was summarily fired by Netanyahu after blasting the government’s refusal to launch a wide scale ground invasion in the initial stage of the conflict.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman shared Danon’s position; both men were critical of the Prime Minster’s acceptance of four separate ceasefire agreements (all broken by Hamas). Danon called the agreements “humiliating”.

Today, as the fighting wound down, Liberman and other members of his Israel Beteinu party ramped up their criticism of the prime minister.

“As long as Hamas rules Gaza we cannot ensure security for Israeli citizens and we will not be able to reach a diplomatic agreement,” Liberman wrote on his Facebook page. “We cannot and we must not rely on lowly murderers. Therefore, we object to this ceasefire, thanks to which Hamas will be able to continue to grow stronger and will eventually conduct another war against Israel, at a time that is favorable (for Hamas). As long as Hams rule is not excisedc— the threat of missiles and tunnels remains. We have a responsibility to ensure that Hamas (walks away from this ceasefire) with no diplomatic achievements…

Hamas must be fought without compromise,” Liberman wrote.

In addition, Tourism Minister Uzi Landau (Israel Beteinu) told Israel Radio that Operation Protective Edge should have “ended differently”, and stressed that Israel’s agreement to stop targeted killings of Hamas officials meant that Israel had ceded one of its keep weapons.

“Hamas remains in Gaza, with its command in tact and its (military) strength in tact. Hamas will try to establish weapons factories and to smuggle weapons into the Strip” as a result of this deal, Landau said.

Elections coming?

Even before the start of the war, there were inklings that the present government was nearing the end of its shelf-life. Sunday, Oppositiion leader MK Yitzhak Herzog (Labor) called for new elections immediately following the close of fighting, a move that was seconded by Meretz Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On. Both parties supported the war effort, but are certainly to bring pressure on the government now to open negotiations with the Palestinian Authority in order to sideline Hamas by driving towards a diplomatic settlement with the PLO.

And even before the abduction and murder of Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Sha’ar and Naftali Fraenkel on June 12 – the incident that precipitated Operation Protective Edge when Israel responded with a massive series of arrests of Hamas operatives in the Hebron area – Haredi parties banded together on June 10 to support Likud veteran Reuven Rivlin for president.

United Torah Judaism and Shas officials denied that their support for Rivlin was a downpayment on their inclusion in the next government – or on replacing the Jewish Home party should the latter decide to bolt.

But the possibility that Jewish Home, Israel Beteinu or both could quit the government is real. Constituents for both parties are deeply opposed to the ceasefire agreement and are angry the prime minister has “abandoned” residents of the Gaza Belt, as some have accused. Tourism Minister Landau dodged questions on Israel Radio this morning about whether or not his party would leave the government, given his and Liberman’s criticism of the prime minister. However, Israel Beteinu MKs will be forced in coming weeks to leave the government and to push for new elections, or to abandon their criticism of the ceasefire and to support the prime minister and his policies.

Significantly, both the Haredi parties and the prime minister have worked hard to maintain close ties with United Torah Judaism and Shas in the opposition. Netanyahu views the Orthodox parties as natural political allies, whereas the latter’s thirst for a seat at the government table is nearly unquenchable.

A year-and-a-half ago, during coalition negotiations following the 2013 election, Netanyahu tried hard to convince Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid and Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett to renege on their campaign promises not to join a government with Haredi parties, to no avail. Eventually, Netanyahu had to accept Lapid’s and Bennett’s condition, but not before making clear to UTJ and to Shas that the Likud was not the “bad guy” who left the religious parties out in the cold. Those points could serve both sides well if there is a government shake up in the aftermath of Operation Protective Edge.

Trouble at Home

If it becomes clear the country is headed towards elections, Netanyahu’s greatest challenge is likely to come – ironically – from his own Likud Party. Although he successfully sidelined his political nemesis Danny Danon for the latter’s criticism of the war effort, Danon represents a popular young guard of up-and-coming Likudniks that have important inside the Likud Central Committee.

At the same time, many members of the Central Committee feel the prime minister has overstepped the bounds of his office as party leader,and they feel Netanyahu does not take their views or votes into account. For the moment, Netanyahu has continued to maintain control of the party, but only just. The Likud Central Committee is due to meet in Ashkelon in two weeks to discuss Operation Protective Edge and the ceasefire agreement. Expect it to be a stormy session, that could conceivably end badly for the prime minister.

MK Ariel: Unity Zionist Government Now

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) called on Israeli politicians to set their political considerations aside and to create a national Zionist government to ensure the security and spirits of the nation. Ariel called on government ministers to focus on what Israel needs at the current time – an end to infighting and argument – and not on individual or party politics.

 

Netanyahu Shocks Israeli Politicians, Champions Rivlin for President

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Former Knesset Speaker MK Reuven Rivlin got the nod from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Wednesday in a move that sent shockwaves around the Israeli political scene.

Rivlin, long considered Netanyahu’s nemesis, is the sole candidate for the upcoming June 10 presidential race from the prime minister’s Likud party.

“We have been through a lot together in our lifetimes. Some days were good, some not so good,” Netanyahu allegedly told him, as quoted by the prime minister’s spokesperson. “I hope we will know better days.”

Rivlin, who is not a vindictive person by nature, said he was genuinely happy to receive Netanyahu’s support, according to sources close to the MK.

Rivlin is also supported by Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) chairman and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who told reporters he is “a Zionist with values and a good heart.” Rivlin is known for his modesty, said Bennett, and his concern for minorities and weaker sectors of society.

There are six candidates running for the post:
Rivlin (Likud); former Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor); MK Meir Sheetrit (Hatnua); former Knesset Speaker and MK Dalia Itzik; Nobel Prize winner Prof. Dan Shechtman; and former Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner.

MK Ze’ev Elkin to Chair Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee

Monday, May 12th, 2014

At last, the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee has a new chairperson: Likud Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin.  It’s taken six months to get there.

Elkin will chair in rotation with senior Likud lawmaker and coalition chairperson Yariv Levin. Likud MK Tzachi Hanegbi is expected to replace Elkin as deputy foreign minister.

To soothe the ruffled feathers of Yesh Atid chairman and Finance Minister Yair Lapid, his choice for the post – Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah – will instead be made a senior deputy minister.

Lapid has been negotiating with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over the issue, forever and a day. The position remained vacant since Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman was forced to leave while facing corruption charges in a trial that acquitted him of the allegations last November.

The appointment now goes to the Knesset House Committee for ratification. If approved, Elkin will take the first rotation, until January 1, 2015. Levin will then serve 17 months, until June 1, 2016. Elkin returns at that point, and remains until 2017. Levin will also continue to serve as coalition chairperson until November 2014, and simultaneously chair the Knesset House Committee.

US Jewish Groups Work to Sign People Up for Health Care

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

American Jewish organizations are going to bat for ObamaCare and are using social media to reach as many people as possible in an effort to convince them to sign up for health care under the Affordable Care Act.

During Tuesday’s Jewish Community Day led by the left-leaning National Council of Jewish Women, or NCJW, Jewish activists reached out to as many people as possible to educate them about the health insurance marketplace.

“Access to affordable and comprehensive healthcare is fundamental for living a long and healthy life, which is why NCJW worked for the passage of the Affordable Care Act and has been focused on its full implementation ever since,” said Nancy Kaufman, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women

“Our goal for community education is non-partisan and apolitical. Our aim is to make sure that as many people as possible have the opportunity to enroll in affordable healthcare that best suits their individual needs and budget ahead of March 31,” said Kaufman. “I am encouraged by the array of participants in this Day of Action, spanning local and national groups across the country.”

Those participating in the action day were encouraged to host a special Shabbat centered on health care, hold a text study, write about the issue in their newsletters and speak to individuals in an effort to encourage more people to enroll.

Other participating groups included the Religion Action Center for Reform Judaism, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Rabbinical Assembly, Keshet, the Jewish Labor Committee and Uri L’Tzedek.

Court Decision May Help Likud Dump Netanyahu’s Concessions to PA

Monday, February 17th, 2014

The Tel Aviv District Court in one swoop has threatened Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s ability to carry out concessions to the Palestinian Authority, meaning U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and also has made him vulnerable to a rebellion within his Likud party.

The ruling, virtually unnoticed or underplayed by most Israeli media, overthrows an internal Likud court decision that decreed that the head of the party’s Central Committee has the power to convene the committee on police issues, a power that Netanyahu wants only for himself.

The head of the committee happens to be one of Netanyahu’s’ most nationalist Knesset Members, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon.

After the internal Likud court overruled the Likud law committee’s decision backing Danon, he appealed to the Tel Aviv court and won his case on Monday. However, Prime Minister Netanyahu is not accepting defeat and will appeal to the Supreme Court.

That will be an interesting show. On the one hand, the High Court has a long history of ruling for democracy, in this case the claim by Danon and supported by the Tel Aviv court that Netanyahu is trying to take totalitarian control of the party.

On the other hand, if the High Court, which historically loves Peace Now and hates nationalists, upholds Danon’s claim, it could put in jeopardy Kerry’s juggernaut that has trampled over the Prime Minister. Netanyahu so far has refused to say “no” for fear of being blamed for standing up against President Barack Obama and wrecking his plan to pronounce instant peace in the Middle East with the creation of a new Palestinian Authority state within Israel’s own borders.

If Danon can convene the Central Committee on issues that Netanyahu wants to decide for himself, such as paving the way for expelling more than 150,000 Jews from Judea and Samaria, dividing Jerusalem and allowing NATO troops to protect Israel from Palestinian Authority terrorists, he could very well win the day and bury Kerry’s blind drive to rub Israel’s nose in the sand at Mahmoud Abbas’ feet.

The only obstacle to a full-scale rebellion within the Likud party is Netanyahu’s power to fire any Cabinet minister and deputy minister who gets in his way. The list is getting longer every day, including Danon, Tzipi Hotovely, Ze’ev Elkin, Yuval Steinitz and Miri Regev, among others.

If the Supreme Court does not change the lower court decision, Prime Minister Netanyahu can easily climb down from his limb, which is getting longer every day and where he is hanging much lonelier than ever, and tell President Obama that “democracy is democracy,” and, “Tough luck, pal.”

If the Likud committee votes its conscience and squashes proposed concessions, and if Prime Minister Netanyahu insists on walking on his knees with Washington, he could face political oblivion.

In 2005, the Liked Central committee voted overwhelmingly against a policy of expelling Jews from Gaza. When Sharon nevertheless tried to get his way in the Knesset Likud, formed the Kadima party and brought along most of the former Likud MKs who wanted their seats of power more than a clean conscience.

Netanyahu, who did not join the parade, does not have the clout that Sharon had.

Trying to for a new party and heading a center-left coalition would be political suicide

But having to swallow the dictates of the party Central Committee would leave him with less power.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Report: Senior Israeli Ministers Suspected of Ties with Foreign BDS

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

The website KR8 reports that Israel’s foreign ministry has warned Prime Minister Netanyau regarding activity within his own government to encourage an international boycott against Israel. As a result, according to the report, Ministers Tzipi Livni, Yaakov Perry and Yair Lapid were not included in a recent special cabinet meeting with the Shabac, Israel’s internal security service.

KR8 points out that the three ministers belong to two parties that did not exist a year before the January 2013 national election, and that both have not disclosed the funding from foreign sources which allowed them to run effective campaigns to attract the “floating votes” between Likud and labor.

In Livni’s case, she had been voted out as chair of the Kadima party, disappeared from view for several months and reappeared with the financial muscle that enabled her to pick up 7 Knesset seats. Lapid’s rise to political success was even more resounding, going from no political experience whatsoever to 19 Knesset seats. The Israeli press has not questioned these two stunning feats of political prowess, even after both Livni’s and Lapid’s parties ended up as the only left-leaning coalition partners.

The angry report from the foreign ministry charged that Livni, Lapid and Perry have been so vociferous and adamant about the impending doom of European and American economic sanctions against Israel’s economy, should the Jewish State fail to sign a peace treaty with the Palestinians, that their message is now threatening to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Recognizing that some inside Israel’s leadership would actually welcome a boycott, European corporations are softening their resistance to BDS pressures.

When weighing capitulation to the BDS against potential Israeli retaliation, especially in the area of technology and hi tech, those European concerns would have likely chosen not to join the boycott. But when the media is flooded by Israeli voices that give legitimacy to the boycotts, it would make sense for the Europeans to associate themselves with the likes of the Danske Bank, Denmark’s largest, which has a long antisemitic record and strong ties with Iran.

Incidentally, speaking of Danske Bank, which has decided to boycott Israel’s Bank Hapoalim for “legal and ethical” reasons related to its operating in the settlements – is now facing allegations from state prosecutors of price manipulation “of a particularly serious nature” in connection with mortgage bond trading in 2009. Six employees have been suspended, and that only the start.

Instant Karma is such a pleasure to watch…

So far, there have been no confirmation to the KR8 story, which does not quote sources. The likelihood at this point that Netanyahu would fire the three erring ministers is low—while the right wing KR8 reporter’s view is that it is practically inevitable. But who know, Purim is just around the corner, and it’s a holiday renowned for a lot of Karma and of turning bad things around in the nick of time.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/senior-israeli-gov-ministers-suspected-of-ties-with-foreign-bds/2014/02/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: