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April 27, 2015 / 8 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Shas’

Haredi and Hard-Core Right-Wingers May Help Elect the Left

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

A new poll on Friday showing the possible demise of Shas should make Sephardi Rabbi Chaim Amsalem and right-wing Otzma leader Michael Ben-Ari think twice about running the elections, but their egos probably will seal their ears.

If each of them insists on running in their own independent parties, they are unlikely to win the minimum number of votes to enter the Knesset and will waste tens of thousands of votes that otherwise would go to the Jewish Home and the other two Sephardi parties.

That means the other parties, particular those on the center-left, get a bigger slice of the pie and could end up with enough votes to form a coalition government, thanks to those who are dead-set against it.

It will be tougher for a party to enter the Knesset this year because the new threshold has been upped to 3.25 percent of the vote, meaning that a party needs approximately 125,000 votes to win representation.

In the last election, the threshold was only 2 percent, but Otzma still missed being elected.

Ben-Ari is known to support the Lehava anti-assimilation group, whose leader Bentzi Gupstein and nearly a dozen others were arrested this month.

Ben-Ari is a true ideologue. He compares Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with Labor party chairman Yitzchak Herzog, both of whom are left-wingers in his opinion. He calls himself the real “right wing,” a label Likud Knesset Member Danny Danon claims for himself in his campaign to defeat Netanyahu as party chairman in elections next week.

As for taking votes away from the Jewish Home (Bayit Yehudi) party and ending up with zero seats in the Knesset, Ben-Ari apparently has no answer. When asked by Channel 20, “Aren’t you afraid of wasting right-wing votes?” he simply blamed Yisrael Beitenu for raising the threshold, as if blaming someone else for the likely result justifies his being the reason.

Ben-Ari’s anger at right-wing politicians who compromise in order to stay in power is absolutely correct but also proves why he should not be in politics. There is an old expression, “Would you rather be right or be president?”

In his case, he would rather be right, in both senses of the word, a position that could help Herzog and his sidekick Tzipi Livni become the rotating prime ministers.

Rabbi Amsalem’s Am Shalem party, like Otzma, failed to enter the Knesset in the last elections, and he is not likely to fare better this time around.

That did not stop him from meeting with supporters this week to discuss tossing his kippa into the political ring again and splitting up the Sephardi religious vote that already is divided between Shas, headed by Aryeh Deri, and Eli Yishai’s new party.

And now for today’s poll released by Panels, rated as one of the most accurate election campaign polls.

Shas would not win enough votes to enter the Knesset, and Yishai would win only four, which is marginal, compared with nine Shas MKs in the Knesset that disbanded this month.

That means votes for Shas are wasted.

The poll was taken before Ben-Ari announced his intentions to run and it gave the Jewish Home a very impressive 18 seats in the Knesset.

The Otzma party could easily cut that down to 16.

Here is the lineup if elections were held today, according to Panels:

Labor-Livni – 24;

Likud – 24;

Jewish Home -18;

Arab parties – 13;

Lapid (Yesh Atid) – 11;

Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) – 7;

Yehadut HaTorah (Ashkenaz Haredi) – 7;

Meretz – 6;

Yisrael Beitenu – 6;

Eli Yishai – 4.

If Amsalem enters the race, he could take away enough seats away from Yishai to leave the three religious Sephardic parties with zero.

New Poll: Shows Netanyahu Will Lead Next Gov’t with Haredim

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

A new pre-election poll issued on Monday leaves no option for the next government other than one headed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with the help of Haredi parties.

Here is the lineup according to the “Panels” poll conducted the Knesset Channel :

Labor-Livni – 23

Likud – 21

Jewish Home – 16

Yesh Atid (Yair Lapid) – 11

Kulanu (Moshe Kahlon) – 9

Yisrael Beitenu – 7

Meretz – 7

Arab parties – 10

Yehadut HaTorah (Haredi) 7

Shas – 5

Eli Yishai – 4

The Labor party, headed by Yitzchak Herzog with his new sidekick Tzipi Livni, cannot form a majority the Haredi parties, which won’t happen unless it can convince two of four parties – Yair Lapid ,Yisrael Beiteinu’s Avigdor Lieberman and Meretz – to agree, which as likely as snow in July.

The center-right ring camp has less of a problem with the Haredi parties.

Adding up Likud, Jewish Home, Yisrael Beiteinu and Kahlon comes up with the non-magical number of 55, six less than the majority that is needed to form the government.

The three Haredi parties are in the driver’s seat for the time being, and if the results in March will be similar to those of today, they will dictate the terms of the next coalition.

If that happens, Lapid and Livni will rue the day they worked against the coalition of which they were a part.

The polls are not meaningless and actually are a factor in how people will vote. If voters see that the next government will be under the thumb of Haredi partiers, they might start shifting their votes.

Supporters of Yesh Atid and Labor-Livni might shift a bit to Kahlon, possibly enough to give Netanyahu a majority of 61 without the Haredi parties.

Herzog, Livni and Lapid have a problem because there is not much they can take from other parties.

Jewish Home Unity Overcomes the ’Yesha Faction’

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

The “Tekuma” faction, headed by Housing Minister Uri Ariel, decided Saturday night to remain in the Jewish Home party and not join forces with Eli Yishai’s new party or run separately in a move that saves the right-wing from another weak if not useless party based on Judea and Samaria.

Ariel, whose integrity and intellectual honesty often place him in contradiction with the art of compromise in politics, has been upset with the Jewish Home party and its chairman Naftali Bennett because of the ostensibly democratic system of primaries, which is susceptible to wheeling and dealing even more  than a party’s central committee decision to decide who will be candidates.

Ariel last week met with Eli Yishai to discuss the chances of running on Yishai’s new party, following his leaving Shas.

Ariel left the decision up it his rabbinical advisers, who were split. The Tekuma Central Committee decided Saturday night to make the smartest decision and remain with the Jewish Home party.

A split would have been disastrous both for Tekuma and for the Jewish Home party.

The decision also leaves the “Yesha” rabbis and their followers weaker than ever, another blessing for a right-wing faction that has been hampered by decades with the mentality that a Jewish presence in the Judea and Samaria and that national religious yeshivas are the only issues that are important for Israel. They have tried to make Judea and Samaria the most important region in Israel and have tried to establish Beit El, dominated by prominent national religious rabbis, as the capital of Yesha.

The establishment of the Jewish Home party, which incorporated the Tekuma faction and the old-guard National Religious Party (“Mafdal”) was a political revolution because it finally made Yesha, the acronym, for what once was known as the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, a part of the country and not apart from the country.

The Yesha platform of “Greater Israel” in practice was concerned only with Judea and Samaria and yeshivas and not with the rest of the country. It operated on the principle “if you are for Yesha, or you are against the country.”

Bennett, who is religious but lives in metropolitan Tel Aviv, changed that. He also brought in a secular MK, who, horror of horrors to some rabbis, was a woman. Her name is Ayelet Shaked, and her presence helped the party win 12 seats in the Knesset. All polls show the party will win at least 16 as of today.

If Tekuma had split, it would have taken seats away from the Jew Home but also might have made it itself extinct, wasting tens of thousands of votes.

Joining with Yishai’s party became problematic because his rabbinical adviser decided that a woman’s contribution to the country is cooking in the kitchen and not making trouble by being a Knesset Member.

That was a big problem for Ariel, whose Tekuma colleague MK Orit Struk was anxious to bolt the Jewish Home and follow Tekuma.

Ariel, too well-rooted in the kibbutz movement to ostracize women, would not have accepted keeping Struk out of the new party. If he had set up a new party, it is questionable if he and Struk could have garnered the minimum number of votes needed to enter the Knesset.

The inability of his rabbis to take a unified stand on the future of Tekuma shows indicates how much the “Yesha bloc” no longer is in charge.

Their correct rulings of Jewish law that Judea and Samaria are part of Israel, and that it is a mitzvah to live there, only enlarged the black image in the eyes of Israelis that all settlers are religious and robots to rabbis.

Youth Arrested for Threatening Eli Yishai

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

A young man has been arrested for threatening politician Eli Yishai, a former head of the Shas party. The detainee, 25, allegedly threatened violence against Yishai during a press conference.

Yishai recently left Shas to form a new party, “Ha’am Itanu” (The nation is with us). He previously reported receiving death threats due to his decision to run separately from Shas.

Eli Yishai Names His Pick for Prime Minister

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

Eli Yishai told reporters today that following the elections, he plans to recommend to President Rivlin that his preference for Prime Minister is Bibi Netanyahu.

Naftali Bennett has also made it clear that he will recommend a right-wing led government under Netanyahu.

Last week Avigdor Liberman said he could go with either Netanyahu or Herzog/Livni, but in a poor attempt at damage control, a few days later Liberman said he might recommend himself to the president.

Yishai’s statement puts pressure on Aryeh Deri to publicly pick a side.

At this point, a Knesset Channel poll has both Yishai and Deri’s party each receiving 4 seats.

Election Tidbits: Michael Oren, Rami Levi, Jewish Home and Shas

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Rabbis and Shas political leaders Monday morning failed in a last-ditch attempt so stop former party leader MK Eli Yishai from leaving Shas and setting up his own party, possibly with the support of the Jewish Home’s Tekuma faction, headed by Housing Minster Uri Ariel.

Chances to make peace between Yishai and Shas chairman Aryeh Deri were rated as very low, but there is more optimism in the Jewish Home party. However, Ariel gained an advantage with the announcement that a member of his faction, MK Yoni Chetboun, will not run for re-lection on the Jewish Home slate.

Party member and Tekuma colleague MK Orit Struk has said she will follow Ariel if he forms a new party or joins with Yishai. With Chetboun and Struk, Ariel will have the minimum of number of Jewish Home MKs needed to take along with them millions of shekels for funding their campaign.

Suspense still surrounds Moshe Kahlon’s new Kulanu party. He is courting Michael Oren, former Israeli Ambassador to the United States, who said two months ago he would not enter politics. If he does, he will have proven his credential to be a politician by not keeping his word.

Kahlon has scotched rumors that supermarket mogul Rami Levi will join his party, whose banner will be social justice.

Rami Levi supermarkets are known for having the lowest prices in the country but he also is known for fighting attempts to raise the minimum wage, which he pays to thousands of his workers.

 

 

 

Shas to Split Up but How about the Jewish Home?

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

It is all but official that Aryeh Deri, chairman of the Shas Sephardic Haredi party, is getting rid of Eli Yishai, one of the most respectable and intellectually honest Haredi politicians whose presence ruins Shas’ tradition of selling out to the highest bidder.

An announcement is expected Sunday or Monday.

As reported here Thursday, Deri and Yishai called off a meeting to make peace after Deri insulted Yishai with a demand that he deposit a liter of resignation just in case Deri decides his menace is working against the party.

Deri tried to calm Yishai by offering him the number two slot on the Shas party list of candidates. Yishai was not about to accept the prize while handing over a letter to pave the way for his dismissal.

Yishai also has been talking with Jewish Home party Housing Minister Uri Ariel about signing for a new party.

Sources close to the issue told The Jewish Press that it is far from being a “done deal” and that there is a chance that Ariel can patch up his differences with Jewish Home party chairman Naftali Bennett.

Ariel, whose honest to his  ideology often leads him to make the wrong turn politically, has demanded that Bennett reserve several spots for his Tekuma faction.

The Jewish Home party has been the most successful of all Knesset factions in the current government,. It has rid itself of the hardline image of the old National Religious party that closed its doors to secular nationalists and carved into stone an image of considering Judea and Samaria the capital of Israel.

If Ariel cuts the cord, he will cost the Jewish Home party some Knesset seats but he, too, will pay a heavy price by being fingered, rightly or wrongly, or making the “Jewish Home” a contradictory word. As Minister of Housing, he has played a major role in promoting new building for Jews in eastern Jerusalem, much to the dismay of the Obama administration.

Bennett has been too successful to please Ariel’s old-guard national religious ideology, and Ariel has complained that Bennett has not fulfilled promises made to him and his Tekuma faction.

Ariel’s contacts with Yishai have served only to deepen the fissure between him and Bennett.

Ariel admits that he differs with Bennett on religion and the extent of maintaining a Jewish presence in all of Judea and Samaria.

Ariel is very principled. He can be trusted not to sell out for votes or power, but his red lines are too rigid and too narrow in the politics of compromise.

Which is better? A compromised but effective Jewish Home or two separate nationalist parties?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/shas-to-split-up-but-how-about-the-jewish-home/2014/12/13/

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