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December 10, 2016 / 10 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Religious Zionism’

Weeks before Demolition, Still No Cabinet Decision on Amona

Monday, November 28th, 2016

The Netanyahu Security Cabinet ended an overnight meeting early Monday morning without a conclusion as to the future of Amona, in Samaria.

Amona is a community of some 40 Jewish families in Samaria, slated by the Supreme Court for demolition on Dec. 25. The Ministerial Legislative Committee has decided unanimously to submit for the Knesset’s approval the Regulations Act compelling Arab claimants against Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria to accept market value for their land rather than force the demolition of the community – especially in cases when the Israeli government had been involved in establishing said communities.

The Knesset passed the bill in its initial form last week, with a majority of 58 to 51. Now a joint committee made up of the Constitution, Law and Justice and the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committees, chaired by MK Nissan Slomiansky (Habayit Hayehudi), is hectically busy amending and preparing the bill for a second vote at the Knesset plenum.

But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) are still doubtful about the chances of the Regulations Act to pass muster at the Supreme Court.

A representative of Attorney General Avichai Madelblit told the joint committee last week that her office views the bill as inherently illegal and expects it to be knocked down on “constitutional grounds,” despite the fact the Israel does not have a constitution.

But Chairman Slomiansky declared that the new bill is dealing with issues that are at the heart of the Israeli democracy. “After 50 years, it’s time for the legislator to deal with our 450,000 representatives countrywide whose status is still suspended.”

David Israel

Minister Ariel: If AG Can’t Defend Law Saving Amona, Let’s Get an Attorney Who Can

Monday, October 31st, 2016

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi) may end up being the politician who broke the iron hold of the judicial civil service on Israel’s democracy — when all along we were certain it would be his teammate, Ayelet Shaked.

In years past, when the Attorney General, who serves both as the executive officer for Israel’s law enforcement agencies and as the government’s legal counsel and litigator, would tell ministers that he could not defend a certain legislation before the Supreme Court, that was the end of said legislation. Which is why, early on in her term as Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) was looking to cut the job in half and hire one person to manage law enforcement, and another to manage the government’s legal affairs. But she couldn’t find enough support for the idea and, possibly, didn’t want to appear too radical so early in her administration.

Now, as the government is mulling legal means of bypassing a draconian Supreme Court decree calling for the demolition of the community of Amona in Samaria over a lawsuit by phantom Arab owners—the entire affair has been managed by Peace Now and other anti-Zionist NGOs—the AG, Avichai Mandelblit, on Sunday announced, through his deputy, Avi Licht, that he could not defend the proposed Regulation Act before the high court.

The bill compels Arab claimants against existing Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria to be treated like similar claimants inside green line Israel: if it can be shown that the land indeed belongs to them and the construction on it had been done illegally, the court rules on an amount, usually fair market value plus a fine, to be paid out by the defendant. No one inside 1949 Israel has ever demanded that standing buildings be struck down to remedy such a situation.

But over in Judea and Samaria, the Israeli Supreme Court has been riding high for years, insisting that the only remedy, even in cases in which there is no living and breathing claimant, the only acceptable remedy is destruction.

The cabinet decided to delay their discussion of the proposed Regulation Act until next week, to give the state time to petition the court for a postponement of the demolition date, December 25, 2016. It’s doubtful the Miriam Naor court, which has already voiced its exasperation over the Netanyahu government’s failure to carry out its demolition order for Amona given back in 2006, would grant yet another delay. As we noted earlier, should the court not grant a delay, Deputy AG Licht told the cabinet that his boss is not prepared to defend the proposed law before the high court.

Minister Uri Ariel then issued a statement saying, “I regret the prime minister’s decision to postpone the debate on regulating communities, most importantly Amona. It is an unjust decision which contradicts the prime minister’s own announcement two and a half months ago. We will continue to promote the Regulation Act despite the difficulties.”

And then Ariel released a shot across the bow of the AG’s office: “The AG’s statement regarding his inability to defend the state under certain conditions is unacceptable, and I hope he will change his mind. Should the AG not be willing to defend the new law at the Supreme Court, we’ll demand private representation, rather than give up our righteous struggle.”

And that’s how you teach a civil servant about the limits of his office.

JNi.Media

Marzel, after Shootout: ‘Coexistence’ in Jerusalem a Delusion

Sunday, October 9th, 2016

Baruch Marzel, a Boston-born Orthodox Jew, told 0404 News Sunday morning that in Jerusalem there never was and never will be peaceful coexistence with the Arabs.

Speaking moments after the shooting attack by an Arab terrorist that wounded eight, two critical, at Ammunition Hill, Marzel sid, “In Jerusalem there never was and never will be coexistence, as long as tens of thousands of terrorists and murderers are living here. As long as we don’t use weapons to care of soft terrorism — the hard terrorism will continue. It’s a miracle we don’t see attacks like this one every hour.”

Marzel, who lives in Hebron with his wife and nine children, is a leader of the Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party. A follower and spokesman for the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, Marzel is routinely described by the mainstream Israeli media as “extreme right-wing activist.” In 2015 he ran for the Knesset but failed to get in.

David Israel

Gloves Are Off as Cabinet Revives Settlement Division

Friday, October 7th, 2016

On Sunday, the Netanyahu cabinet is expected to liberate an important tool for the reclamation and development of Israeli lands on either side of the “green line,” as the Settlement Division of the World Zionist Organization will come under tighter government control and at the same time increase its contribution to Jewish communities, Israeli media reported Friday.

Two years ago, Deputy AG Dina Zilber issued a harsh critique of the Settlement Division, accusing it of running a murky operation, especially in Judea and Samaria, outside the control of Israeli governments, mostly due to its status as a private entity. As a result, the Justice Ministry, then under one of the Jewish settlement enterprise’s worst enemies, Tzipi Livni, recommended that the next government (which Tzipi expected to head) dismantle the division by blocking its state budget. Without a budget, the division was expected to wither and die.

On Sunday, apparently, the same Zionist instrument of vitality will roar back to life, with a budget just short of $10 million, to be distributed equally among the Jewish communities of the Negev, Galilee, and Judea and Samaria. In addition, the Settlement Division will be empowered to offer solutions to stressed communities, especially in the periphery. No such first-aid government entity exists today.

The Zilber report was attacked not only by the rightwing parties, but also by communities that are associated with Tzipi Livni’s Labor party, alongside the Gaza border and down in the Jordan Valley. In fact, after the elections that saw Livni retreat to the opposition benches, several of her own party MKs supported a bill submitted by MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi), enabling the government to delegate its power to the Settlement Division. Zilber, a civil servant, lobbied against the bill, which passed in three plenum votes. The eager bureaucrat was later rebuked by her new boss, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi), for her acting against the expressed will of the elected officials above her.

The layout of the revived Settlement Division which will be discussed by the cabinet on Sunday will define it as an expert, consulting entity which both counsels the government on settlement issues and carries out specific government assignments. For the first time, the division is expected to be able to act within urban communities in the rural sectors, when in the past it was limited to working with the regional councils. Its policy will no longer be shaped by the division, but instead by the Agriculture Minister, Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi).

One of Zilber’s criticisms was taken seriously by the designers of the renewed Settlement Division — the need for transparency. To that end, it will be placed under the supervision of the Agriculture Ministry’s Accountant General and Legal Counsel. It will also have to comply with Israel’s Freedom of Information Act.

With all those provisos in place, the Settlement Division will be empowered to plan and establish new communities, pave roads, lay down infrastructure, manage mobile homes, and strengthen and rehabilitate communities in need. The division will also manage the lands of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria until such time as a more permanent legal solution is reached.

Minister Ariel, who has been a major force behind the efforts to revive the division, told Makor Rishon on Thursday that “in the past few years there have been many different attempts by judicial entities to lock down the Settlement Division which endeavors to develop periphery communities across the land. I believe and hope that once the Settlement Division returns to full capacity the regional councils and the local residents will once again receive solutions to their enormous needs.”

JNi.Media

Bennett: We Must Sacrifice to Preserve Judea and Samaria [video]

Friday, October 7th, 2016

Habayit Hayehudi Chairman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett on Thursday night announced that Israelis must make sacrifices in order to preserve the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria. Speaking in the wake of the Obama Administration’s assault on Netanyahu’s cabinet’s plan to move the residents of Amona to new homes in Shiloh, 11 miles away, Bennett said that “regarding the Land of Israel we must switch from blocking to winning.” He also promised that he and his two Religious Zionist colleagues in the cabinet are “taking responsibility for a strategic arrangement for the settlement enterprise.”

Bennett spoke at a conference in Jerusalem in memory of MK Hanan Porat, one of the founders of the Gush Emunim movement which led the National Religious wave of settlements in the newly liberated territories after the 1967 Six Day War. Habayit Hayehudi is facing an existential dilemma these days, as many of its voters have said they’d rather see their elected representatives leave the coalition government than participate in the decision to uproot the Amona residents. Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked have been advocating a permanent legal resolution of the problem of thousands of Arab claims, initiated and financed by anti-Zionist NGOs like Peace Now, with European and American funding, against existing Jewish communities across Judea and Samaria. The Habayit Hayehudi ministers prefer to work from within the Netanyahu government on legislation to compel such claimants to accept market value compensation, rather than stage a dramatic exit from the coalition.

“We should highlight the dream, and the dream is that Judea and Samaria become part of the sovereign Land of Israel,” Bennett told his audience. “We must act today and we must make sacrifices. We cannot continue to consider the Land of Israel as our tactical goal and a Palestinian State as our strategic goal.”

Bennett cited the late Hanan Porat “who said we have no right to divide the land. Not through words, nor through action, silent acquiescence, or quiet excuses. Neither by politicians nor by jurists. The path of concessions, of partition, has lost out.” He then promised that because of the people of Amona, and because of their faith and trust, “we will lead with a strategic solution to the entire settlement enterprise.”

Zionist Camp (a.k.a. Labor) MKs Tzipi Livni and Ksenia Svetlova condemned Bennnett’s vision, calling it “the nightmare of the entire people of Israel,” and accusing him of warmongering. Interestingly, current polls are showing Habayit Hayehudi leading the Zionist Camp by between two and four Knesset seats, had the elections been held today.

JNi.Media

Justice Minister Shaked Issues Manifesto on Jewish Democracy, Based on the Teachings of Chief Justice Barak

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

“The Knesset is attempting to legislate away our lives and the High Court is invading territory to which it is not entitled,” declares Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi), in a lengthy but exciting essay in the inaugural issue of Hashiloach, an Israeli Journal on thought and policy. The essay, titled “Tracks toward Governing” (the Hebrew title is a play on words between Mesilot-tracks and Meshilut-governance), suggests that the behavior of some of Israel’s branches of government is threatening individual freedoms as well as the ability of elected officials to govern. Shaked is urging a return, as soon as possible, to the proper governing on the proper tracks, from within Israel’s definition as a Jewish and democratic state.

“Good governance is not a blind force, certainly not a strong but silent engine,” writes Shaked, stressing that “the ability to carry out goals in the way they have been defined is a prerequisite condition for good governance, but is far from being sufficient in itself: good governance is measured above anything else by the ability of government ministers to establish their own goals.”

“A politician who knows how to bring the train to its destination, but is unable to set the destination, as senior as he may be — is not governing but merely subcontracting; he may have been appointed Minister, and he may get to cut ribbons in the end, but he is nothing more than a contractor,” Shaked argues. “To move down a track laid down by others does not require leaders; any driver could do it just fine. The essence of governance is always setting down directions and posting goals. This requires of elected officials to lay down new tracks only after they had decided for themselves where they would like to take the train.”

Shaked asserts that every time the Knesset votes in favor of any given law, it is also voting against the freedom of individuals to take care of their issues on their own. She calls it a vote of no confidence in the autonomy of communities and individuals. Indeed, as Chair of the Ministerial Legislative Committee, Shaked laments that she has processed more than 1,500 legislative proposals, from amendments to existing laws to fully realized, new bills. Suggesting the Knesset is by far the most prolific parliament in the entire Western world, Shaked describes this abundance of new laws as a hospital that’s being built underneath a broken bridge to care for the people who fall off.

Referring to economist Milton Friedman’s impressions following his visit to Israel in the 1960s, when he predicted that the historic spirit of Jewish freedom would eventually overcome the newly bred spirit of Socialist bureaucracy in Israel, Shaked admits she’s not so sure Friedman was right. “Without our firm push on the brake pedal of this locomotive, week in and week out, those legislative proposals would have created for us an alternative reality, in which government controls the citizens through the regulation of more and more economic sectors, with the individual being left with precious little freedom to manage his own affairs.”

Shaked provides several examples whereby proposed legislation would have, for instance, created a world in which a landlord would be forbidden to raise the rent for several years. Of course, rents would soar on the eve of this new law going into effect, followed by a loss of interest on the part of investors in creating new rental stock, leading to a drop in available apartments and, of course, another rise in rents. It would also be a world in which employers must comply with pensions set by the legislator, until, of course, they go bankrupt. And a world in which police would be bound by a two-strike law that compels them to arrest any individual against whom someone has filed two complaints. Running down some of these “bizarre” proposals, as she calls them, Shaked eventually describes a proposal to compel the state to solve terrorism by distributing bulletproof vests to every citizen against knife attacks, as well as a proposal to eliminate the reference in the law to “Beit Av,” which is the Biblical term for Household, because it has a reference to a father rather than to a mother.

Shaked reports that she requested, for the 2017-18 budget, that the ministerial committee would no longer consider bills that add new criminal offenses to the law books, without a thorough investigation of similar legislation in other countries, of the ramifications of the new criminal law on the books in Israel’s society, and, most important — of existing, non-criminal alternatives.

Alongside the need to restrain the legislator, Shaked sees a dire need to restrain Israel’s expansionist Judiciary. She notes an ongoing war between the Supreme Court and the executive branch, which necessitates the passing of a new constitutional-level legislation (Foundation Laws in Israel’s system) to regulate once and for all this combative relationship. She cites several cases in which government was blocked by the high court in areas that are clearly the executive’s domain, such as the law regulating the treatment of illegal infiltrators from Africa, and the government contract with natural gas companies to exploit Israel’s rich deposits.

Shaked laments the fact that the Supreme Court so often usurps the right to kill an entire legislation, as if it had appointed itself the 121st Knesset Member (or more than that, since it so frequently joins with the opposition parties to defeat a majority coalition). She has no problem with individuals seeking remedy in the lower courts to damages they claim to have suffered from, say, the new gas contract. That’s a legitimate use of the court system. But how can the unelected high court delete an entire legislation passed by elected officials? Who, after all is said and done, is the sovereign, the people or their appointed judges?

As a result, the art of politics in Israel is practiced as follows, according to Shaked: first the different parties vie for the voter’s trust; then, in the Knesset, the coalition negotiates with and fights against the opposition over a proposed bill; finally, after the bill was passed, the opposition parties appeal it before the Supreme Court, which reverses it. That, in a nutshell, was the story of the natural gas bill earlier this year.

JNi.Media

Woman of the Year 5776: Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

The January 22, 2013 general elections in Israel marked the emergence of two new parties; one, journalist Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid, was yet another attempt to grab the undecided center among Israel’s voters; the other, Habayit Hayehudi, was a coalition of National Religious parties led by hi-tech executive Naftali Bennett and his long-time political ally, a 30-something computer engineer from Tel Aviv named Ayelet Shaked, who stood out as the only secular Jew in an otherwise Orthodox Jewish party. Both parties did well, although Lapid’s party took seven more seats than Bennett’s (19 vs. 12). Both parties also represent new challenges to the current power status quo in Israel, with Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud leading a right-leaning coalition government over an opposition being led by Labor (a.k.a. Zionist Camp).

At this point in the life of the 20th Knesset, the polls are showing Yesh Atid as the new largest party, siphoning off votes from Likud’s centrist voters and Labor’s more nationalistic supporters, as well as from Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party which barely passes the threshold percentage in the polls. At the same time, Likud is also being bitten on its right flank, by Habayit Hayehudi. And, also for the first time, the National Religious leader Naftali Bennett has been speaking openly about his ambition to be Israel’s next prime minister, at the helm of a rightwing, pro-religious, pro-settlements government.

That ambition is a new thing to a party that, since its incarnation as NRP in 1956, has always seen itself as a second banana, always in government, be it with leftwing or rightwing majority parties, but never at the helm. And while Chairman Bennett has been outspoken about his ambition to carve out a new direction for the country in the image of his party’s ideology, another Habayit Hayehudi leader has been giving the nation an idea of how a national religious government would carry out its agenda — Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.

Since the end of the 1990s, it has become clear that Israeli Jews are only going to become more traditional, even religious, and, consequently, the chance for a left-leaning party to receive the largest percentage of the vote will continue to grow dimmer. But while political positions have been given by the voter to rightwing governments, key decisions on issues that are close to the heart of the same rightwing voters have continued to lean to the left. This has been most notable in the liberated territories of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, where evictions of Jewish settlers have been carried out over the past decade and a half by rightwing-led governments, and those same governments have been refusing to implement Israeli civil law in Jewish communities hat have been living under martial law since the 1970s.

This is because the judiciary in Israel has been ruling as a shadow government, unelected and with a leftwing, secular agenda. In addition, Israel has had the most activist supreme court anywhere in the West, a court that has seized for itself powers well outside the norm in countries that uphold the principle of three branches of government. In countless cases, the high court has acted as a legislator, siding with the opposition against a ruling government (the recent vote on exploiting Israel’s natural gas come to mind, when the court torpedoed a government signed contract with US and domestic companies). The judiciary has also had its hand on the executive branch through the Attorney General and the legal counsels who are appointed to every ministry, and who often force the hands of elected officials using the threat of legal action against them.

The appointment of Ayelet Shaked to be the Minster in charge of this judiciary stronghold of the real power in Israeli society was received with a great deal of alarm and trepidation in the leftwing media, which called her “Israel’s Sarah Palin,” and accused her of inciting the mobs against the Supreme Court justices, “as if she were the worst [Internet] talkbacker and not the minister in charge of the holiest holy of every democracy — its separate and independent judiciary.” (Uri Misgav, Haaretz, Aug. 11, 2015).

The attack came in response to the new Justice Minister’s tweet on the same evening the Supreme Court was convening to rule on a law designed to block infiltration of illegal migrants from Africa through Israel’s southern border. Shaked tweeted that the law had already been quashed twice by the court, causing the infiltration, which had been reduced to single digits, to grow to dozens of new border crossings.

“If the law is revoked a third time,” Shaked tweeted, “it would be tantamount to declaring south Tel Aviv an official haven for infiltrators.” She then added that, until the court’s ruling, she would upload every two hours a new video describing the “intolerable life conditions of south Tel Aviv residents,” urging her followers to spread the message.

The court took notice and restricted itself to a few minor corrections, mostly regarding the length of time an illegal migrant could be held in a locked facility until his case is resolved by the Interior Ministry. The court continued to take notice throughout Shaked’s first year in office, and has been noticeably mindful of the need to avoid unnecessary friction with a Justice Minister who is probably the most popular minister in Israel. How popular? In 2013 she was picked by the Knesset Channel as the summer session’s most outstanding MK, and in 2014 as the second most outstanding MK of the winter session. In 2015 the Jerusalem Post ranked her 33rd on its list of the most influential Jews in the world. In 2015 she was ranked by Forbes Israel as the fifth most influential woman in Israel. And in 2016 Lady Globes ranked her second on its list of 50 most influential women.

Most importantly, Minster Shaked has afforded Israelis a view of a nationalist, rightwing politician who can be trusted to run the country’s third most complex system, after Finance and Defense. As Justice Minister, Shaked also chairs the ministerial legislative committee which decides which bills receive the backing of the government. Her role is comparable to that of the Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House, in terms of influencing the legislative process. And the fact that she has been a competent, creative and resourceful Justice Minister might suggest to people in the secular center and right of center that her and Bennett’s party is worthy of their vote.

Shaked and Bennett are in troubled waters currently, over the fate of Amona, a Jewish community in Judea and Samaria that the Supreme Court has slated for demolition by early December, 2016, over claims to ownership of the land by Arab PA residents. The fact is that no one on the right in Netanyahu’s government believes that Amona could be saved, which Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman stated openly. Shaked wants to see the residents being relocated to a nearby plot of land, that could turn out to be just as problematic. But both Bennett and Shaked are also interested in advancing new legislation that would compel future claimants to settle for fair market value or comparable land from the Israeli government. At stake are an estimated 4,000 homes, the bulk of which were built as part of a government sponsored settlement program. The Supreme Court has rejected these “arrangement law” initiatives, and the current AG, Avihai Mandelblit, also objects to them, even though he himself is on the record as supporting them in the past.

For now, Shaked and Bennett are under attack by their voters, who cannot believe that a government that is as rightwing as this one would still engage in the forceful removal of Jews from their homes. And the last thing Shaked and Bennet want is to be forced to resign from Netanyahu’s government over this dispute.

Shaked, like Bennett, is a vehement enemy of the two-state solution. But she is also a liberal when it comes to many legislative initiatives. She has fought court activism; she objected to imposing jail sentences on Yeshiva students who refuse to enlist; and she supports a free and open market and reducing state regulations of businesses. She also believes in cutting down on new laws.

Noting that her government legislative committee has processed over the past year and a half no less than 1,500 new legislative proposals, Shaked wrote an op-ed in the right-leaning website Mida, saying that “every time the Knesset puts its faith in a new law intended to serve a worthy cause and solve a social or economic problem, we are, in effect, raising our hands to support a vote of no confidence. … It’s a vote of no confidence in our ability as individuals and as communities to manage ourselves in a good enough manner; it’s a vote of no confidence in the wisdom of the nation and of each person to create and preserve mechanisms that are better than those which are designed artificially by experts; it’s a vote of no confidence in the ability of familial, social and economic communities to run their own lives and strive successfully to reach their goals.”

Spoken like a true, sane Libertarian. And a Libertarian who knows how to combine the principles of freedom with the ideals of nation and Torah — could make one fine prime minister some day. Which is why we believe 5776 was the year of Ayelet Shaked.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/woman-of-the-year-5776-justice-minister-ayelet-shaked/2016/10/01/

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