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December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘primaries’

Whose Watchdogs Are They?

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

It is morning and my car glides down the mountains of the Shomron into the smog of greater Tel Aviv. Another crazy day of running in the primaries is about to begin.

My cell phone rings. A young, determined voice is on the other end.

“Hello, this is so and so from the news website ynet. I am writing an article about donations to the candidates in the primaries. I wanted you to confirm a certain fact.”

“Go ahead,” I say.

“I see that you received a donation from a woman by the name of Nitzah Kahane,” the reporter says. “Is it true that Nitzah Kahane is the daughter-in-law of the late Rabbi Kahane?”

Maybe I hadn’t yet completely awakened. Perhaps I was suffering from lack of sleep and loads of pressure due to the campaign. But that question peeled a thick layer of political correctness right off my psyche.

“Oh,” I said to the young reporter. “You probably want to show your readers that women support Feiglin.”

“No,” the man dryly answered.

“No? Then perhaps you would like to show your readers that a woman donating to Moshe Feiglin’s campaign is also an academician whose scientific articles are published in the most prestigious journals in the world.”

“No,” the young voice said yet again.

“Oh,” I continued. “Perhaps your scoop is that a woman who is a famous academician, a mother of 10, a grandmother of 15, who manages to synthesize running a beautiful family and a glorious academic career and is involved in the community and Israeli society in an unprecedented manner supports Moshe Feiglin?”

“No,” the reporter stood his ground.

“And after you hear all of this, don’t you feel just a wee bit loathsome?” I asked with disdain.

“No.”

“Okay,” I finish the conversation, “I submit that Professor Nitzah Kahane is the daughter-in-law of Rabbi Meir Kahane, may God avenge his blood, who was murdered 22 years ago in the U.S.”

“Thank you,” said the young voice in a professional tone. “That is all I needed.”

Likud Set to Approve Primary Elections Scheme, Barak Excluded

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

The method of the primaries for the Likud’s Knesset list was drafted by the Likud’s Constitutional Committee last night and is set to be approved by the party’s Central Committee this evening in Ganei HaTa’aruchah in Tel Aviv.

The scheme does not include the reserving of secure spots on the list – spots within the number of seats Likud is certain to win – for candidates chosen by Party Chairman PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

It was rumored that Netanyahu wanted such spots for Defense Minister Ehud Barak and possibly other members of Barak’s Independence faction which broke off from Labor some time ago.

MK Danny Danon spoke out vigorously against the possibility and Netanyahu consistently denied that he had any plans for such a thing, despite a report in Ma’ariv which said Netanyahu sought to create one reserved spot for every ten spots on the list.

Like the Likud’s 2006 Knesset list, the party’s list for the upcoming elections will include spots for immigrant, women, non-Jews and various geographic districts in the bottom of the first thirty-five spots on the list, while the top will be filled by candidates ranked nationally by voters.

The date for the primaries will be November 25th, slightly later than the mid-November – November 22nd dates which had been reported, giving candidates additional time to campaign. That should help the elections become more of a contest instead of a mere ratification of the previous Knesset list.

While the Likud has not formally released the draft primary scheme, according to Ma’ariv, the list will be as follows:  The first spot will go to the party chairman, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who was reelected to that post in January of this year. (By law the party chairman is the party’s candidate for Prime Minister). Spots 2-21 will be for nationally ranked candidates.

The next 14 spots will be “mashbetzot” – separate races among special districts or demographics in the follow order: The Shphelah (Plain) district; the Dan district;  the Women’s spot; the Druze spot; Galil and Valleys district; the Negev; Jerusalem; another women’s spot; an immigrants spot; Tel Aviv; Haifa; the Coastal Plain;  and the young members spot at number 34.

In addition, Ha’aretz has reported that under the scheme, if there is no immigrant or female candidate ranked at number 20 and 21 or above, then a female or immigrant candidate on the national portion of the list will be moved up to those spots. This is considered a nod to Coalition Chairman MK Ze’ev Elkin who is an immigrant.

Ha’aretz‘s report also differed from Ma’ariv‘s in that it said the women’s spot Ma’ariv had placed at number 24 will actually appear at 29.

It does not appear that there will be any problem in adopting the scheme as Moshe Feiglin, a candidate for the Likud’s list and leader of the anti-establishment Manhigut Yehudit faction  - which is said to comprise thousands of Likud members and hundreds of Central Committee members – urged his supporters in the Central Committee to approve the primaries scheme in a text message sent last night.

The approval of the scheme by which candidates will be elected in primaries, puts to rest, at least for now, another scheme which had been proposed by MK Mickey Eitan to have the Knesset list chosen by a body comprised of several thousand activists and another reported proposal to have the Central Committee once again choose the Knesset list. Those would have required amendments to the Likud’s Constitution.

Editor’s Note: The writer is an active member of the Likud and a member of the Likud’s Central Committee.

Two Rivals Unite to Push Likud MK List to the Right of Netanyahu (updated)

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

At an election event held in the backyard of Moshe Feiglin in Karnei Shomron, Samaria, a new alliance between Feiglin and Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Regional Development and the development of the Negev and the Galilee Silvan Shalom has been announced. Insiders in both camps have been laboring for many months to forge this partnership, whose purpose is to position their people in higher spots on the Likud list than Netanyahu’s followers.

Other MKs who were also at Moshe Feiglin’s event at the same time were  Tzipi Hotoveli, Miri Regev, and Aleli Admasu.

 The union between Shalom and Feiglin creates a formidable bloc within the Likud party that could result in a very different looking party list than Netanyahu would like to see.

Silvan Shalom told the website Kr8 that “on Wednesday, the Likud Central Committee will convene to determine the rules and the date for the election primaries.” He estimated that the conference will be very short. “Proposals will be prepared in advance,” he said, “They’ll vote, sing Hatikva, and go home.”

He estimated the Likud primaries will be held in mid-November.

Shalom praised his host, Moshe Feiglin, noting that he was not the radical and messianic figure that the leftist media say he is. “Feiglin has stood the test of loyalty to the movement with honor. He did not abandon us when he was mistreated and hurt, as others have done.”

Moshe Feiglin said in his speech that in the previous elections the Likud had lost ten seats because of Netanyahu’s ugly trick of pushing Feiglin to an unrealistic spot down the candidates list, against the will of the primary voters. “The fact is that, before that maneuver, the polls gave us 38 seats, but after that maneuver we sank to 27 seats.”

Moshe Feiglin is considered to have a powerful influence within the Likud due to his large bloc of loyal supporters, as well as his outspoken public appearances against those he feels are not towing the traditional Likud line – most notably the Prime Minister himself.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has in return expended a great deal of creative energy in past primaries in devising ways to keep Feiglin out of the Knesset. Last time around, Netanyahu pushed Feigling down from the 20th spot on the list, which Feiglin had been awarded by the party voters, down to the 36th spot, killing his chances to enter the Knesset.

The vice premier and minister, who also enjoys a strong base within the Likud membership, and, like Feiglin, has also run for the post of Likud chief a few times and lost, is seemingly resigned to fact that today Netanyahu can’t be beat in the primaries. Instead of trying yet again to unseat Bibi, this new partnership will go after his weak spot. Many Likud party members are very unhappy with some of Netanyahu’s choices, especially regarding the status of Judea and Samaria. By pushing to the top of the list candidates further to the right of Netanyahu, they could keep the prime minister honest on living up to Likud platform.

Moshe Feiglin said that in this election, Manhigut Yehudit will not be publishing any lists, and that supporters should vote for whomever they think is the best candidates.

A Likud Central Committee party member said that the attendance at the event was an indication that Moshe Feiglin has been accepted by the mainstream Likud.

 

Drama in the ‘Jewish Home’ Party

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

In less than three months time the Jewish Home Party, formerly known as the National Religious Party (NRP), will be holding its first ever internal primaries. Although for most political parties the holding of primaries is not a newsworthy event, in the case of the Jewish Home Party this is quite a story.

Although for many years after its inception the NRP was consistently a ten to fifteen member party, ever since the end of the 9th Knesset in 1981 the strength of the party has been drastically reduced. With the brief exception of the 14th Knesset of 1996 when the party managed to climb back over the ten member threshold, for years the party hovered between four to six members before finally crashing down to its current level of three.

Some of the reason for the loss of power was due to the endless splintering in the national camp throughout the years as internal disputes regarding direction and vision frequently led to the creation of new parties. Similarly, for some on the left the party was seen as focusing too much on communities in Judea-Samaria-Gaza while to some on the right the party was seen as being too wishy-washy and unwilling to take a forceful stand. As a result the party witnessed an erosion of power as voters from both sides slowly drifted away.

Even the recruitment ten years ago of Effie Eitam and all the excitement that his name and presence generated couldn’t reverse the trend. Similarly, the various mergers or attempted mergers in recent years with the National Union have failed to stop the bleeding.

The result of this process is that some members of the national camp have turned to the Likud, some to the National Union and yet others to Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu.

Thus there exists today the absurd situation where on the one hand the national religious community excels and even leads in some key areas of the country – the military and hi-tech to name just a few – while in the political realm their power is diffused and hence their collective influence is nearly non-existent.

Only with both an understanding of this background and with the knowledge that unless there is a radical change the Jewish Home Party might simply disappear from the political map in the coming years, can one truly appreciate the events surrounding the upcoming party elections.

For starters, while two of the candidates for the party leadership, Zevulun Orlev and Daniel Hershkowitz, are rightly or wrongly associated with the old guard that has made the party nearly irrelevant, the third candidate, 40-year-old Naftali Bennett, is creating much excitement and anticipation. The former chief of staff of Netanyahu prior to the 2009 elections, Bennett is trying to move the party away from its traditional role of being a small sector-related party that is usually satisfied with only trying to influence the larger ruling parties and instead transform it into a significantly broader and larger party that is finally involved in leading.

Moreover, Bennett’s approach and the high hopes that are being placed on him has convinced a wide range of candidates – such as Ayelet Shaked, the secular co-founder of the MyIsrael national movement, Moti Yogev, the former Secretary General of Bnei Akiva and Dr Yehuda David, the Israeli physician who fought for the truth in the Mohammed al-Dura story – to enter the elections for the party list which are being held one week after the elections for the party leader.

Nevertheless, while Bennett’s race for the leadership and his plan to open up the party to the wider national camp in order to include traditional and secular members side by side with religious ones has earned him the support of many, including perhaps most importantly that of current Jewish Home Party member of Knesset Uri Orbach, his two opponents are still confident that they can defeat their relatively young rival.

Thus as the race to sign up members to the party comes to a close on September 9, the three candidates for the party leadership are preparing for the final push to the November 6 elections. The results of that day will probably mean the continued irrelevance of a once proud party or a breath of fresh air and hope for a frustrated and splintered national camp.

An Interview with Ayelet Shaked, Secular Candidate for HaBayit HaYehudi

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

With the run-up to the first-ever internal primaries for the Jewish Home Party (Ha-Bayit Ha-Yehudi) in full steam, one of the most hotly discussed issues is the candidacy of 36-year old Ayelet Shaked.

The co-founder and former chairman of the MyIsrael (Yisrael Sheli) national movement, the recipient of the 2012 Abramowitz Israeli Prize for Media Criticism and a close associate of Naftali Bennett – the two worked together in the office of Benjamin Netanyahu prior to the 2009 elections – Shaked is raising some eyebrows due to the fact that she, unlike Bennett, is a self-declared secularist.

Thus while Naftali Bennett is seen as taking on the old guard in his bid to become the new chairman of the Jewish Home Party, Ayelet Shaked is facing an equally difficult task in attempting to become the first secular member of Knesset for a party that was formerly known as the National Religious Party (Mafdal). While no one doubts her strong pro-Israel credentials, not surprisingly the voices are divided within the national religious world regarding a secular candidate for a traditionally religious party.

After reading much about her in the Hebrew press, I decided to meet with her in a Tel Aviv café in order to get an up close impression of this up and coming star.

Yoel Meltzer (YM): You grew up in Northern Tel Aviv, not exactly the breeding ground for future right-wing stars. This being the case, from where did you acquire your strong connection to many of the ideals of the religious Zionist world?

Ayelet Shaked (AS): I think originally a bit came from my home. My mother was a teacher of Bible in Tel Aviv and my father was masoriti (traditional). Every Saturday we went to synagogue and we made kiddush. However, since the discussions at home tended to stay away from politics most of my political views I eventually developed myself.

Later on when I was in the army I served in the Golani and I became close friends with many religious Zionist soldiers. This in turn strengthened my ideology. I also spent part of my army time in Hebron and became friends with many people there, which also had an influence. But overall most of my political views I just developed on my own.

YM: Was there any one person or a particular event that had a profound influence in shaping your world outlook and political views?

AS: Yes. I remember when I was very young, perhaps 8-years old, I saw a debate between Shimon Peres and Yitzchak Shamir and I really liked Shamir. So I think since then, even though I was just a child, I’ve considered myself right-wing.

YM: Before you announced your intention to run in the primaries of the Jewish Home party, did you expect the reaction your candidacy has triggered?

AS: I must admit most of the people are very warm and happy with my candidacy. I receive many emails and messages in Facebook, people saying we support you and we’re very glad you’re with us. They’re in favor of opening the divides and having real cooperation between different people in Israel. I’ve also met many yeshiva students who have told me that their rabbis are very excited that I’m getting involved since they’ve been waiting for years for the party to stop being a closed one-sector party. So overall I really believe that those who are opposed to my entering the party are a minority.

Having said that, I definitely expected there would be some opposition and I understand it. I realize that my presence within the party makes some people uncomfortable.

YM: Have you been contacted by any of the rabbis or public leaders who are opposed to your candidacy on the grounds that you’re secular?

AS: No, none of them have contacted me directly.

YM: If one of them were to contact you, what would you say to him?

AS: First of all it’s his right and I respect that. Even though we may have different views we need to respect each other. Nevertheless I would tell him that if we want to have a large party to the right of Netanyahu, one that is based on the Bible and Jewish values, then the party needs to be opened to secular and traditional Jews that identify with the values of the religious Zionist community.

Adelson Gives Romney PAC $10 Million

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

According to the Wall Street Journal, chairman and chief executive of Las Vegas Sands Corp billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who fueled Newt Gingrich’s presidential bid, is now giving $10 million to the super PAC Restore Our Future, which supports presumptive  GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

It is the largest single donation to Romney’s coffer to date. By law, the independent political action committee is not allowed to coordinate its work with the formal Romney campaign.

Forbes Magazine ranked Adelson among the 10 wealthiest Americans, with more than $20 billion.

Adelson and his wife gave $21 million altogether to a PAC supporting Gingrich during the primaries.

Ron Paul Halts Campaign, Keeps Delegates

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul has effectively given up his presidential campaign but will not give up his delegates to Mitt Romney.

Paul, a Texas Republican, said he would no longer compete in his party’s primaries, leaving Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, the only viable candidate for the GOP nod still running.

Romney remains about 200 delegates shy of securing the nomination, but his erstwhile rivals, including Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, have either formally endorsed him or pledged to do so.

The Washington Times reported Tuesday that Paul would retain his delegates in order to leverage influence.

“Our delegates can still make a major impact at the national convention and beyond,” Jesse Benton, a top strategist for Paul, said in a memo obtained by the Times.

Paul’s presence and influence in the race helped veer the other candidates to embrace some of his libertarian ideas, particularly on reducing or eliminating the role of government in the financial system.

His isolationist views, especially on cutting assistance to Israel, have not gained as much traction.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ron-paul-halts-campaign-keeps-delegates/2012/05/17/

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