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March 5, 2015 / 14 Adar , 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Senior US Sen. Charles Schumer Urges Fellow Democrats to Attend Netanyahu Speech to Congress

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

New York’s senior Senator Charles Schumer called on fellow Democrats to put principles above politics this week and be in their seats March 3 when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu walks to the podium in Congress.

The U.S. has always maintained a “bipartisan policy” on its relationship with Israel, Schumer said during a radio interview in New York.

“Democrats and Republicans have always worked together on it; we ought to keep it that way.”

Vice President Joe Biden’s office announced that he will be “out of the country” when Israel’s leader addresses American lawmakers.

Schumer offered the opinion that House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu “could have been done in a different way.”

As the leader of an ally in the Middle East that is “helping us fight terrorism,” Schumer said, Netanyahu has “every right to come here and speak, but he ought to do it in a bipartisan manner.”

Both of New York’s Democratic senators and all but two of its Democratic representatives will attend the session.

Long-time Congress member Charles Rangel (D-Harlem) is one of the ‘won’t go’s.

“I am certain his motivation comes more from Israel than from his American friends,” Rangel told the New York Daily News — as if the Israeli prime minister should put America’s interests above those of his own nation’s citizens.

“I think that they would have to realize that this is not in the best interests of Israel, that he does this for his campaign,” he added. The remark leads one to wonder why a New York Congress member would suddenly make a reference to an Israeli national election when the address – and the topic – was arranged months earlier.

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens) also plans to be absent for the session, according to the report. Congress member Yvette Clarke (D-Brooklyn) did not respond to a query by the Daily News about her plans; Rep. Hakeem Jeffries told the paper he is “consulting” with his constituents in Brooklyn before deciding. All other New York City Democrats plan to attend, the paper reported. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) commented that skipping the speech would be a political move. “I am not choosing to participate in those politics,” she said.

“I hope that things can be worked out to salve some of the legitimate wounds that people feel,” Schumer said. “I will go to the speech out of my respect and love for the State of Israel.”

Meanwhile, Iran continues to behave in the manner predicted by Israel, which deeply concerns its leadership over the likelihood Tehran will reach a nuclear threshold.

Iran is still not cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), according to a confidential report obtained by Reuters. The agency remains unable to clarify outstanding measures of explosives tests and other activity that could be used to create nuclear weapons of mass destruction. Data in both areas were to have been provided to the IAEA by August 2014.

But this is not new behavior; Tehran long ago mastered the technique of buying time for more nuclear development by stringing along Western leaders with promises of “new talks” and “negotiations” in return for delays on sanctions. The current P5+1 negotiations, slated to end in a “new agreement” by March 24, are just more of the same.

It is precisely the danger inherent in the repeated delays – and time granted to Iran that allows it to progress in its nuclear activities – that has finally prompted Netanyahu to turn to Congress directly.

No White House Worries Over ‘Election Proximity’ with Herzog

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

Is the Obama administration tampering with Israel’s electoral process? Top U.S. officials met on Saturday in Munich with opposition leader and Labor party chairman Isaac Herzog, a candidate in the upcoming election.

U.S. President Barack Obama and senior White House staff repeatedly have claimed the upcoming Israeli national elections were too close to allow American administration officials to meet with Israeli candidates, including the prime minister.

Just a matter of policy, after all.

So how does that fit with a meeting between Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Isaac Herzog? Of course, the meeting was not “formally” scheduled and there were no photo ops.

The two American leaders both have said they will skip Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint session of Congress on March 3 specifically because the date runs too close to Israel’s elections.

Herzog also managed to squeeze in meetings with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on the sidelines of the security conference.

Following the talks in Munich, Herzog told Israel’s Channel 10 news that Netanyahu “won’t get to meet with a single American official on this visit – not from the National Security Agency, not from the White House, not from the State Department. It’s a complete boycott. Even if that’s not stated, that’s the story.”

And what a story it is. A complete endorsement of Labor party candidate Isaac Herzog, for whom the White House is clearly campaigning, along with the European Union.

One might be tempted to think that U.S. President Barack Obama is fiddling with Israeli politics. Tampering, even, with help from the European Union.

But isn’t that illegal?

‘Deals’ with Likud Bigwigs Backfire and Put Feiglin at Exit Door of Knesset

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

Moshe Feiglin appears to be on the way out of the Knesset according to early returns of last night’s Likud’s primaries.

Assuming that the Likud will not win more than 25 seats in the next Knesset, the highest number any polls show, his place on the list of Likud candidates will be farther down the list.

His loss will be the Jewish Home party’s gain because it will gain most of the votes of those who would have voted for Likud in the March elections if Feiglin had a reasonable chance to be re-elected.

Feiglin surprised Likud leaders with a strong showing the last elections in 2012 and won the 15th spot and making him a certain Knesset Member for the first time.

This time around, he made deals with Likud leaders to ensure his position, but they turned around and left him holding an empty bag. With more than 40 percent of the results counted, Feiglin did not make the top 15, and even if the final votes give him a spot within the top 25, he will bumped because the party reserves several places for regional and sectoral candidates.

Feiglln wrote on his Facebook page this morning:

This morning, I feel an obligation to deeply express my heartfelt appreciation to activists, volunteers and contributors who worked on my behalf and for the ideal I am privileged to lead – with exceptional self-sacrifice.

I promise that despite the shadow that darken the purity of the elections – and the results will be what they are – I do not take me eyes off the objective for a moment, and we continue…faithful leadership for the country.

Feiglin’s faction in the Likud is called “Jewish leadership.”

A sign of Feiglin’s fate can be seen from his statement after he won the elections last time around, when he declared, “This is just the beginning. We will build the temple on the Temple Mount and fulfill our purpose in this land.”

That is too honest, too idealistic and too close to the goal of what almost every Jew says , if not three times a day in prayer for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, at least once a year at the Passover Seder, “Next Year in [Rebuilt} Jerusalem,” meaning the Third Temple.

That kind of faith is too scary and not “practical” enough for politicians, especially those in the rough-and-tough Likud.

Feiglin’s strategy has been, in his words, ”to return the Likud to its true values.”

He signed up thousands of people to sign up with the Likud and vote for him n the primaries even if they vote for the Jewish Home party in the general elections.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu successful used all kinds of deals and tricks to keep Feiglin out of the Knesset until the last elections. Once was enough for him, and the bigwigs wheeled and dealed him out.

That is what happens when an intellectually honest person tries to succeed in politics.

Livni Party Minister Amir Peretz Quits the Government

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

Environment Minister Amir Peretz, one of six legislators in Tzipi Livni’s hapless HaTnua party, announced Sunday he is quitting the government, taking away from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu the privilege of firing him for saying he would vote against the 2015 budget.

A champion of the lower-income sector, Sderot’s vocal politician said on Israeli television Saturday that even though his party is in the coalition, he could not support the budget when he hears the “cries of the poorest people.”

He charged that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is “is not the solution, but the problem.”

Peretz’s unpredicted personal attack on the prime minister in whose government he serves as Cabinet minister automatically put him on the chopping block.

Netanyahu was expected to fire him, but Peretz beat him to the punch.

Peretz’s political history has been full of ups and downs, mostly downs, since he delighted businessman by quitting as head of the Histadrut national labor union.

He joined the Labor party, won the leadership but led the party into defeat in the 2006 elections to Kadima party leader Ehud Olmert and then joined the coalition as Defense Minister, leaving him with the reputation as being the worst person ever to serve in that positon.

He subsequently lost the leadership of the Labor party to Ehud Barak, and he emerged by riding the very short coattails of Livni.

Her party won only six seats in the current Knesset, and all polls show her winning no more than three seats in the next elections.

With Peretz out of the picture, maybe she will get four.

 

Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar Prepares to Step Down

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar is making his final formal preparations to step down.

Sa’ar announced back in September that he would resign from his post, citing personal issues as the reason for the move.

The ministry told journalists that Sa’ar will leave his post within 48 hours; he tendered his formal letter of resignation to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu today (Sunday, Nov. 2).

Netanyahu has yet to name a successor to the post. Top candidates include Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis, MKs Miri Regev, Yariv Levin, and Gila Gamliel.

Bibi’s Approval Drops While US Jews Stay Connected (Guests Jeremy Saltan & Rabbi Avi Berman)

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai Yishai speaks with Jeremy Saltan about the radical drop in the Prime Minister’s approval rating. What is the reason for the about-face in the public’s perception of the war? Then Yishai interviews Rabbi Avi Berman, Executive Director of the OU Israel, about the amazing connection of North American Jews to Israel in this tough time. Finally, Gilead Mooseek, a resident of southern Israel, tells us how he and his family has been coping, including a message from the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Presented live and online by: Voice of Israel and Galei Yisrael FM.
Music by Lazer Lloyd

Thank you to the Yishai Fleisher Show Sponsors: The Jewish Press, United With Israel, and Janglo.net

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/political-fallout-begins-from-ceasefire/2014/08/27/

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