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October 24, 2014 / 30 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘the Knesset’

Jewish Home Party Primary Results In; ‘Anglo’ Jeremy Gimpel Comes in 9th

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

The winners of the top four spots after Naftali Bennett in the Jewish Home primaries are former MK Nissan Smoliansky, Ayelet Shaked, MK Ori Orbach, and Avi Wortzman, the national-religious Israeli website, Srugim, reports.

All but Smoliansky are allies of Naftali Bennett who trounced MK Zvulon Orlev to become the new chairman of the party last week.

The other candidates who did not make the top five are Doron Donino, American-born Jeremy Gimpel, Shuli Meulam, Rabbi Nachman Misimi, Amiad Taub and MK Gila Finkelstein.

Using his Tuesday Night Live talk show as a base, Gimpel and his partner Ari Abramowitz launched a joint campaign for the Knesset several months ago, registering 3000 people, including many English-speakers to the party in hopes that this would propel at least one of them to a realistic spot on the party’s list.

The party’s list will be merged with that of the National Union, and together the two are expect to receive more seats than they would separately, currently seven.

Gimpel received 15,360 and ranked 8th among the candidates competing on Tuesday’s primary, which would make him 9th place on the Jewish Home list. That number which would be pushed even further back after the merger and he would not be expected to make it into the Knesset.

Israel’s Political Circus In Full Swing

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

On October 15, the Knesset voted unanimously to dissolve itself. Elections will be held on January 22, 2013. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to take the step after realizing he could not obtain a majority for his proposed budget.

The weeks since the announcement have been characterized by several unexpected maneuvers, most of which have not yielded anything of substance.

There were initial efforts to build a center-left party led by former prime minister Ehud Olmert which would include his two successors at the helm of the Kadima Party, Tzipi Livni and present leader Shaul Mofaz, as well as political newcomer Yair Lapid. The latter, a well-known media figure, founded a new party called Yesh Atid (“There is a Future”).

A Jerusalem Post poll gave the imaginary mega-party 31 seats, well ahead of the Likud’s projected 22.

Olmert began to check into the possibility of a return to politics. He had resigned in 2008 in the wake of corruption allegations against him. This year he became the first Israeli prime minister condemned by a court of law, which found him guilty of breach of trust.

The condemnation did not include moral turpitude, which would have prevented Olmert from running for the Knesset. But he is still involved in another court case, concerning bribery by real estate developers.

Sources close to Livni said she was considering a political comeback as head of a new party. But an Israel Radio poll on October 30 found that Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich is the preferred leader of the center-left, well ahead of Olmert, Livni, Mofaz and Lapid.

Kadima won 28 seats in the February 2009 elections – one more than the Likud. Kadima joined the Netanyahu government in May of this year, a move that prevented early elections. It left the coalition just two months later, however, when Netanyahu refused to introduce full conscription for haredi men.

Public support for Kadima crumbled almost immediately, creating many floating voters in the center-left arena.

Surprisingly, a major development came on the right side of the political spectrum. Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, leader of Israel Beiteinu, announced that they had agreed on a merger of their parties.

Some saw it as a panicked reaction on the part of Netanyahu to those center-left discussions about establishing a party that might possibly overtake Likud. Others interpreted it as Netanyahu’s determination that the center-right bloc would form the next government and return him as prime minister.

For Lieberman, being Number Two in the combined party brings him closer to his long-term aim of becoming prime minister. (Both leaders, apparently for different reasons, were willing to sacrifice seats, since party mergers often lead to diminished electoral returns for each of the component parties.)

Popular Likud Minister of Communications Moshe Kahlon initially announced that he would not be a candidate in the next elections. Then he played with the notion of establishing a new party that would emphasize social issues. Polls gave him ten or more seats. When he announced that he had abandoned the idea, there was relief in the Likud and in the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party, which focuses on social issues.

Shas closed ranks when it brought back its former leader, Aryeh Deri, as the party’s Number Two. Ten years after serving out a prison term on bribery charges, Deri was allowed under Israeli law to return to politics.

Other recent developments concerned the introduction by some of the parties of new, name-brand candidates. Yachimovich felt Labor needed more “visible” candidates and lacked a credible defense figure so she hauled in General Uri Saguy, a former military intelligence chief.

Lapid succeeded in attracting former domestic intelligence head Yaakov Perry, who has also enjoyed a successful business career.

Several Kadima parliamentarians and senior politicians jumped ship to both Likud and Labor.

A number of polls indicate that the Independence Party of Defense Minister Ehud Barak might just barely pass the threshold or even fail to muster any seats. If that plays out, it would be the most dramatic fall in Israeli parliamentary history.

In Israel, the weeks leading up to an election can feel like quite a long time. One only has to recall that during the previous election campaign Operation Cast Lead in Gaza began and ended.

On Politicians and Grunt Work

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

MK Uri Orbach is a personal friend of mine.  He even came up with the name “Almagor” for the organization in which I work.  The man is an artist of the written word.  And precisely for that reason, I have to react to troubling comments recently released in his name:

“Under the noses of the political commentators, a new breed of politicians is arising: Shelly Yachimovich, Yair Lapid, Naftali Bennett.”

Then an insult to the opposition within the party: “Many people are fed up with politicians who will just ‘take care of things’ for them.  They now prefer politicians who inspire confidence, who show they care.”

And a final swipe at MK Zevulun Orlev: “The old politicians wave around their ‘experience’—which often is bad experience—and toss around meaningless numbers as proof of their success.  That’s old politics.”

My purpose here is to present a defense.  Not a personal defense of Orlev or of Nissan Slomiansky, but a defense of my profession and that of many of my friends.  What we have here is a battle about the worth of the grunts, the people who are willing to do the sacred behind-the-scenes work of serving the public without arrogating themselves the status of “leaders.”

The Knesset members who “take care of things” for us deserve to be praised, not insulted: people like Uri Ariel and Zevulun Orlev, whose offices are filled day and night with the representatives of organizations and institutions, religious and secular.  And they “take care” of these people.  It’s true that Ariel and Orlev received popularity ratings of only three percent in a recent poll of the national-religious community, but this isn’t their problem—it’s the respondents’ problem.  Orlev and Ariel are too busy for self-promotion.

The “new” politicians have a certain style.  The public missions that they accept upon themselves somehow seem always to be short-term.  Somehow there always is aspiration to the next job.  Or maybe impatience.  Or boredom.  This raises questions about their future.  Assuming that we vote for them, how long will they have the strength and interest for the drudgery entailed in serving the public from day to day?

Hint: Orbach already “took care of” the answer for us.

And already now there is a line of young people who are studying the model of the “new” politicians and readying themselves to imitate it, young people who have never served the public and never “taken care of things” for it, yet are already setting their sights on the Knesset.

So who will serve the public?  Who will do the day-to-day grunt work that the public needs its servants to do?

I asked that question of a young activist of the “new” model, the sort who obsessively keeps tabs on his position in the polls.  He answered: “the suckers.”

Primaries: The Root of All Evil

At some point in the past, I signed up for an Internet campaign run by Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked in behalf of the Yesha Council.  And somehow over the past few weeks, my computer and phone have been bombarded with e-mail and text messages calling on me to vote for them.  There is the question of how they are using data that they gathered in one job to promote themselves toward another one, but that is a separate issue …

There is no arguing that Orlev is a man of action, but he is liable to find himself up against an Internet-borne wave of new party members seventeen years old and up: the clientele to whom his opponents appeal, offering them a twenty-shekel opportunity to capture the party and “take control,” in the words of the banners that have been put on public display wherever there is a large national-religious population.  A movement that was founded over a hundred years ago by luminaries such as Rabbi Yitzchak Yaakov Reines is now liable to change beyond all recognition.

Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook used to sign his letters with the words “servant to a holy nation.”  But now there are to be no more public servants.  The new fashion is that of “leaders,” primary candidates, public relations professionals, and strategic advisers … and we’ve already heard from quite a few of them, courtesy of the propaganda campaign being waged by the new candidates.

Rally Gadget Maintenance

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

This picture was taken November 21, 2011, outside the Knesset, during a demonstration against the high cost of living. It started to rain and the protest signs got soaked. So they were hung up to dry on an improvised clothesline. The visible parts of each sign say “Bibi” and “R Finance” (the R is at the end of Sar, Minister).

Also drying in the Jerusalem wind is a makeshift raincoat, made from a garbage bag.

I suppose if you’re careful with your rally gadget maintenance, you should be able to re-use the same signs and the same raincoat for many years to come.

It’s another side benefit of a stable coalition government, I suppose…

A Government Update With Jeremy Man Saltan

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai is joined by Jeremy Man Saltan, Knesset insider, to discuss the current situation within Israeli politics, including an inside perspective on upcoming Israeli elections. Don’t miss this segment!

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Inside Hulda Gate to the Temple Mount

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

The Hulda Gate is the southern entrance to the Temple Mount, also known as the ‘Double Gate.’

I was there, on the inside, in 1986, with the Knesset’s Interior Committee on its famous tour when we were later attacked by a mob of Muslims, throwing rocks and yelling Itbah El-Yahud (‘Kill the Jews’). It was a melee and I had to rush/run Geula Cohen north to the Tribes of Israel Gate to get out safely:

About 15 parliament members, including members of the Knesset Interior Committee and the right-wing Tehiya Party, toured the site protected by hundreds of white-helmeted riot police carrying clubs and plastic shields.  Witnesses said hundreds of police fended off the demonstrators, who surrounded the Knesset members and chanted, “With blood and fire we shall redeem you, Al Aqsa.”

More below on this.

Lenny Ben-David has now posted two pictures taken probably in the early 1930s:

The first shows the passageway leading away from it under El-Aqsa:

The second, shows a lintel portion and column head:

Much renovation work was done after the 1927 earthquake.

Here’s a screen snap of the southern wall just from the inside today, from a clip showing a column head and the window facing south:-

If its the same column, the head has been damaged.

This is the area I’m referring to (outlined in yellow), from Warren’s sketch:

The Hulda Gate is the first of a series of three, on the left of the marked box.

A bit more detailed:

This is the best source – R. W. Hamilton, The Structural History of the Aqsa Mosque. A Record of Archaeological Gleanings from the Repairs of 1938-42, Government of Palestine, Jerusalem 1949. And the Mandate-period Quarterly of the Department of Archaeology in Palestine.  Both located in libraries.

Here’s a short clip of the current entrance although that green doorway is the the same.

As for that 1987 visit, here’s from the JTA report:

…Likud MK Dov Shilansky, and Laborite member Dov BenMeir over whether the Moslem religious authorities were altering the area in violation of the law.

Shilansky, an outspoken advocate of the right of Jews to worship on the Mount, which is the site of two of the holiest shrines of the Islamic faith, claimed he discovered that the Supreme Moslem Council and the Waqf — the Moslem Religious Trust which is caretaker of the shrines — were converting an underground area known as Solomon’s Stables into a giant mosque with room for 100,000 worshippers.

He accused the Waqf of building unauthorized prayer platforms on the Mount and destroying archaeological evidence of the Jewish past But the worst violation, he said, was the attempt to build a new religious center for Moslems from all over the world in Solomon’s Stables. “I don’t understand why they need a mosque for 100,000 people. This is 10 times bigger than Al Aksa,” Shilansky said…

Ben-Meir, who is a Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, said the only evidence of change he saw on the tour of Solomon’s Stables was the installation of electric lighting.  He charged that the visit by the Knesset committee was intended by the rightwing parties to show the Moslems that the Jews are “the boss” on the Temple Mount. He said it was an example of extremists on both sides joining to “put fuel on the fire.”

Mayor Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem also questioned the wisdom of the visit. He called it “headline hunting.” He said there was no evidence of any illegal construction on the Temple Mount.

Shilansky led a group of Knesset members and Orthodox Jewish activists on a visit to the Temple Mount several years ago. They were surrounded by a hostile crowd and had to be extricated by police. There were no incidents during Tuesday’s visit. Police guards outnumbered the Knesset members.

And here’s the story in AP.

We all know who was right and correct – Shilansky.

Visit My Right Word.

Israeli Elections Set for January 22nd

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

After consulting with the various party leaders, the Prime Minister has set January 22nd as the date for elections, Yediot Aharonot and the Jerusalem Post have reported.

The bill which will disperse the Knesset and set the date for early elections will pass through the Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Sunday and be brought before the Knesset on Monday when it is set to return from the summer break, Yediot reported.

January 22nd comes just short of four years since the last election, which was held February 10th, 2009.

In his recent statement announcing early elections, Netanyahu had emphasized completing four years in office, but also said that elections should take place as soon as possible.

By law, early elections must take place at least 90 days after the Knesset disperses.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-elections-set-for-january-22nd/2012/10/11/

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