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May 25, 2016 / 17 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Tzipi Livni’

Incoming Defense Minister Rattles Israeli Political Establishment

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

by Michael Bachner

The news that MK Avigdor Liberman, chairman of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteynu party, will be Israel’s next defense minister has rocked the political establishment on the right and left.

Liberman, a tough-talking former ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has sought the Defense Ministry portfolio for years – and appears set to receive it after a deal struck with Netanyahu on Wednesday.

Liberman’s rise followed a tumultuous day of negotiations and backroom deals in which both Liberman and MK Isaac Herzog, chairman of the historically left-wing Labor party, vied for the job of defense minister and the chance to enter Netanyahu’s government.

“I regret the prime minister’s decision. I did not imagine that he would make such a paradoxical and dangerous move,” said MK Benny Begin, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, in an interview with Israel’s Army Radio on Thursday morning. “The prime minister has been very proud of what he called ‘a reasonable, balanced and responsible’ defense policy, while Liberman’s statements give an opposite impression.”

Netanyahu received harsh criticism from opposition parties as well, including Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah, who blasted Netanyahu for “bartering the most sensitive and important positions as if nothing mattered” in a Facebook post on Thursday.

Liberman was an ally of Netanyahu – the two ran together in a united party during the 2013 election after which Liberman became foreign minister – until they had a public falling out two years ago. The Yisrael Beiteynu party remained in the opposition after last year’s election, and as recently as March Liberman castigated Netanyahu as a “liar, cheat, and con man.”

Liberman has been a frequent advocate for a harsher military response toward Palestinian Authority terrorism, notably against the Hamas terror group that runs Gaza.

“The elimination of Hamas is the primary mission of the Israeli government and as defense minister I will carry it out,” Liberman said before last year’s elections. “We will not reach agreements and understandings with them. The only agreement that can be reached with Hamas is when they are buried in the ground,” he said, adding that such an Israeli policy cannot be implemented when the government is comprised of “a coalition of nerds.”

Meanwhile, reports have emerged that Tony Blair, the Quartet’s envoy to the Middle East and a former British prime minister, colluded with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to push Herzog into the government – a move reportedly designed to facilitate a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority. According to the report in the Israeli daily Haaretz, Blair even met with Herzog’s political partner, MK Tzipi Livni, in her Tel Aviv home this week, despite the fact that she is sitting shiva – the Jewish mourning ritual – for her brother.

Liberman is set to replace current Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, a senior Likud member who has recently clashed with Netanyahu over a series of issues related to the IDF’s independence from the political establishment.

Ya’alon, apparently alluding to the news of his ouster, said on Thursday that Israel is facing a crisis of leadership. “There is a loss of our moral compass on basic issues,” Ya’alon said. “If I had to give a golden tip, it would be to navigate with a compass rather than a weather vane. Navigation with a compass is tried and true, and it’s also a question of leadership.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Analysis: Bennett Threatening to Walk If Bibi Gives Shaked’s Justice Portfolio to Bougie

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

Two left-leaning Israeli media outlets, Ha’aretz and Channel 10, on Monday signaled the formation of advanced negotiations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) and Opposition Leader Itzhak Herzog (Zionist Camp a.k.a. Labor) to build a broad coalition. The talks, which have been egged on by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu), were interrupted by police investigation of Herzog over election corruption charges. Now, as it appears that the investigation is about to be concluded without a recommendation for an indictment against the son of Israel’s late president and grandson of Israel’s late Chief Rabbi, the rumors of new talks have returned to the foreground in full force—but, as we noted, mostly from the left. Is it wishful thinking or reality?

Ha’aretz on Monday framed the story as a new confrontation between Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennet and the prime minister. According to the daily, Bennett has been threatening that if Netanyahu transfers the Justice portfolio from his party’s number 2 Ayelet Shaked to an incoming Labor minister, the National Religious would depart the coalition. Bennett is quoted as having said “behind closed doors” that “we see in the Justice portfolio an essential issue, which would mean the same as changing the government’s guidelines agreement. It’s not just a personnel issue.”

Ha’aretz, which has been advocating the kicking of Bennett et al to the curb since about the time Netanyahu presented his 61-seat coalition, relishes the story which it presents as the first ultimatum made by a coalition party leader this term. That is, of course, inaccurate, not only because said ultimatum is yet to be voiced publicly, but because Haredi MK Yisrael Eichler in March voiced an actual ultimatum regarding the reversal of Netanyahu’s permissive policy regarding the Reform and Conservative in Israel.

Ha’aretz cited a “senior Likud member” who insisted that the Justice portfolio is, nevertheless, on the table, because Netanyahu is convinced that he can’t go on much longer with his tiny and fragile majority. Over the Winter Session, the PM was blackmailed by several of his members, which cost him a few key votes and ended up costing his government an arm and a leg in flying to Israel hordes of Ethiopian Christians who may or may not have Jews somewhere in their background—all because two pro-Ethiopian Likud members stayed out of the plenum when they were most needed.

But an examination of the reality in both Netanyahu’s coalition and Herzog’s opposition reveals several hurdles the two leaders may not wish to tackle, never mind jump, at this point. There’s little doubt that Bennett, whether he threatened or didn’t threaten with an ultimatum “behind closed doors” would leave the coalition in a huff over Netanyahu’s violation of the coalition guidelines. He will then join with Avigdor Lieberman’s Israel Beiteinu in a rightwing block that would make Netanayahu’s life miserable at every turn, and will certainly cost him a hefty chunk of the Likud base. With several Likud members already barricading themselves along the party’s rightwing wall, this could mark the beginning of the end for Bibi.

But that’s not all. Despite the fact that about a third of Labor, especially the Histadrut trade union chairman Avi Nissenkorn, are very much in favor of joining a Netanyahu government without Habayit Hayehudi, a third of the party—those MKs who don’t stand to gain portfolios or committee chairmanships—are only somewhat inclined to follow, and a third, led by Herzog’s chief opponent MK Erel Margalit, are vehemently opposed to the move and will surely vote with the opposition on most issues.

So that even if Netanyahu manages to wed Herzog, he won’t be getting much more than half his seats as a dowry. He’d be giving up a sure 8 seats and getting in return an iffy 12 to 16, with a chance for open rebellion in the Likud’s right flank.

JNi.Media

Shaked’s Plan to Apply Israeli Law Beyond Green Line Provokes Backlash from Radical Left

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Controversy swirls surrounding Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked’s recent comments that she plans to apply Israeli law to all the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.

“My eventual goal is that within a year any law passed in the Knesset will automatically translate to Judea and Samaria,” Shaked said on Sunday at the annual conference of the International Legal Forum in Jerusalem.

The remarks sparked a fierce backlash from [radical left-wing] politicians in the opposition, such as Meretz leader MK Zahava Galon who denounced the plan as “de-facto annexation of the occupied territories” and “apartheid.”

Although Israel took control of Judea and Samaria during the Six-Day War of 1967, the regions were never formally annexed by Israel and thus remain under military control, not governed by Israeli law. Shaked’s proposal would essentially replace the authority of the IDF’s Central Command over Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria with standard Israeli law.

In an interview with Israel’s Army Radio on Monday, Shaked clarified that she intends to form a committee that will determine if each Israeli law should apply to Judea and Samaria on a case-by-case basis. This differs from the “law of norms” proposal that was floated in the previous government, which would automatically apply all Israeli laws to Judea and Samaria. The “law of norms” never got off the ground due to objections by former Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein. However, the idea has regained traction under the new attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit.

MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union), who was Justice Minister in the previous coalition, argued that Shaked’s plan endangers Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic state.

“The end result will be the collapse of the idea of ​​two states, two systems of law in one country, press, pressure and significant international damage, and finally 2.5 million Palestinians with the right to vote and a majority in the Knesset,” said Livni. “It will lead to a binational state with a Palestinian majority in the Knesset.”

Naftali Bennett, Education Minister and chairman of Shaked’s Jewish Home party, has proposed annexing all parts of Judea and Samaria controlled by the IDF’s Central Command as well as granting citizenship to the thousands of Arabs living in such areas.

“It is a pernicious combination of annexation and apartheid,” Galon said. “Applying Israeli law [to Judea and Samaria] is de facto annexation of the occupied territories, and the decision to apply it only to the settlers creates racial discrimination between blood and blood.”

“Minister Ayelet Shaked continues to kindle a fire and pour oil on the flames of Israel’s relations with the world,” added Galon. “This move will sabotage the prospects of any political agreement.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

MK Livni: Foreign Media Cover Terror Attacks As If They’re Road Accidents

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s Subcommittee on Legal Warfare on Tuesday discussed foreign media coverage of the current wave of Arab terror in Israel. Subcommittee Chairperson MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Camp) convened the session after CBS News had run the contentious headline “Three Palestinians killed as violence grinds on,” following last week’s murder of border policewoman Hadar Cohen near the Damascus Gate.

“We must treat the international media arena as a hostile arena,” Livni said. “I do not think the State of Israel should not be criticized, that is the media’s job. The problem lies in those cases where Israelis and Palestinians who are killed in the same incident are placed in one package. This conduct creates the sense that these murders are not linked in any way, to the point where they are viewed as road accidents.”

MK Michael Oren (Kulanu) noted that “the number of foreign journalists is huge compared with those who are covering Syria. Moreover, whenever there is an incident with casualties in Iraq, the headline is much smaller compared with much less significant incidents in Israel.”

The Government Press Office director Nitzan Chen said, “We do not examine the quality of the reports or the facts that are published. This is a free country with freedom of expression.”

Chen noted that when CBS News ran a similar headline following a December 24 terrorist attack, the president of the network apologized and said junior staffers had made a mistake. Chen said he had received no response since the GPO had complained about the Cohen story headline.

“Since October, most reports of the foreign press have been reasonable,” Chen told the lawmakers. “There have been four or five incidents in which headlines following a terrorist attack were so twisted that news consumers in that particular country would have received the opposite impression.”

Besides the CBS News headlines, Chen singled out a BBC headline from October: “Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two” — about a Palestinian terrorist who was killed after murdering two Jewish civilians in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Reuters’ Jerusalem Bureau chief and Foreign Press Association head Luke Baker rejected the claims of unbalanced or biased coverage by the foreign media. “We go through a very rigorous process whenever news happens, where you have those who speak Hebrew in contact with police, the army and many spokespeople and people who are on the ground,” he said. “This is a pretty rigorous process of reporting and fact checking.”

Baker noted that since the beginning of the current wave of violence, Reuters had published 700 headlines, only one of which turned out to be problematic and was subsequently corrected.

“I clearly don’t think the foreign press is biased,” he stated. “I don’t think anyone is denying there have been errors and problems from time to time. Some have been harder to correct than others.” He said the large number of news organizations operating in Israel are putting out “a huge amount of coverage with very few factual errors.” he added, “I fail to see the media have anything to answer in terms of systemic bias.”

Of course, should the GOP start punishing news outlets by denying them access, even if temporarily, this could yield the same good results the Egyptian government has been getting when they did this to Al Jazeera in the recent past. Journalists notoriously bite the hand the feeds them and kiss the hand that slaps them. Israel should give the stick a try.

JNi.Media

Austrian Minister Refuses to Meet Israeli Official in Eastern Jerusalem

Friday, December 4th, 2015

Austrian Science Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner has cancelled a meeting scheduled for next week with his Israeli counterpart in eastern Jerusalem because it is in “occupied” territory.”

Israeli Science Minister Ofir Akunis said Friday:

Either the meeting will take place in eastern Jerusalem or it won’t take place anywhere. Austria will not divide Jerusalem.

With all due respect to the Austrian minister, Jerusalem has been the united capital of Israel since 3,000 year ago…. If I were to accept his demand, it would be as if I were dividing Jerusalem, something that never will happen.

We are not going to divide Jerusalem just like Austria is not going to divide Vienna.

Akunis and Mitterlehner were to sign scientific agreements, but meeting with an Israeli official in eastern Jerusalem is contrary to the European position on Jerusalem as well as the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria, despite a large Jewish presence in ares of Jerusalem that the West does not recognize as Israeli..

The only prominent Western official to have met Israeli officials in eastern Jerusalem is Canada’s John Baird, when he was a minister in 2013 and met with Tzipi Livni at her Justice Ministry offices. The Palestinian Authority angrily condemned Canada for the meeting.

Mitterlehner’s snub of united Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is no different from that of other European and American official who also do not meet with Israeli counterparts in areas they do not recognize.

The difference this time is the one of timing as well as the official reaction by Akunis, a strongly nationalist Likud minister. Israel is taking the offense against last month’s European Union Commission decision that prohibit the “Made in Israel” label from appearing on products made by Jews in the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria.

The Commission now requires the labels to read “made in settlements.”

Austria is one of the countries that is accelerating moves to adopt the policy, the Austrian DerStandard reported Friday.

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, one of the leaders in the move to label “settlement” products, was forced to cancel a visit to Israel after the office of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who officially also is Foreign Minister, said he would not meet with the Belgian official.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Lieberman: Let the Police Shoot like American Cops Shoot

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

Former Foreign Minister Avigdor “Tough Guy” Lieberman came out Tuesday with a 4-step plan to combat the current wave of terror, including open-fire orders similar to those in the United States.

A large number of the Palestinian Authority and Jerusalem Arab terrorists who have attacked Jews the past two weeks have been shot dead by security forces, but several of them still are alive.

A recent Israeli television poll showed that Lieberman is most favored by the public to handle the security situation. People are unhappy with Netanyahu, which usually is the case no matter what.

They have even less of an appetite for Opposition leader Yitzchak Herzog, whose speeches recently have made him sound like a male version of Tzipi Livni. In other words, pathetic.

Lieberman, who heads the Yisrael Beiteinu party that was severally punished in the elections this past March, also suggested three other steps that the Security Cabinet should take:

— No terrorist should be left alive.

— Cancel citizenship of any Jerusalem Arab involved in terror; and

— Declare army rule in every place necessary to stop terror.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Netanyahu Tries to Calm the Country but Plays Politics

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu calmed down the country two days ago, but more terror followed, so he tried again Thursday night with a speech and press conference that reminded everyone it’s politics as usual.

He issued a statement at a press conference, telling the nation what everyone knows:

This has been another difficult day for all of us, citizens of Israel. We are in the midst of a wave of terrorism. Terrorists that have been incited and who are driven with hate are trying to attack our people – babies, children, men and women, civilians and soldiers. Our hearts – the hearts of the entire nation – are with the families of the victims whose lives were cut short by reprehensible murderers.

He praised security forces and said what he said two days ago – that Israeli will overcome the latest escalation of terrorism that Prime Minister Netanyahu remanded everyone has been around since the re-birth of modern Zionism.

Prime Minister Netanyahu blamed Palestinian Authority and Hamas “mendacious incitement” and pointed out what we all know, that the Arab world spreads lies that it wants to restore the “status quo” on the Temple Mount while even Israeli Arab Knesset Members are insisting that Jews have nothing to-do with the holy site.

But at the press conference, Netanyahu said what he really has on his mind, and that is the totally irresponsible remarks yesterday by Opposition leader Yitzchak Herzog.

The leader of the old Labor party, now called the Zionist Camp following the merger with Tzipi Livni’s faction, yesterday went on another self-destructive rant and instead of making the Israeli center-left feel that “united we stand and divided we fall,” he babbled about a government led by him and his cohort Tzipi Livni would have tackled terror.

He called on Prime Minister Netanyahu to resign, a move that would drive the country into financial and political chaos and destroy morale.

Netanyahu grabbed the importunity tonight and said:

We need to join forces in the face of the wave [of violence]. But the decision on whether to enter the government is in the hands of the parties. I want a wider government and unity in the nation.”

Jerusalem is burning and Netanyahu and Herzog are fiddling.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-tries-to-calm-the-country-but-plays-politics/2015/10/08/

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