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September 27, 2016 / 24 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘UPDATE’

Early Elections in Israel: When & Why?

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Last night Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he had decided to call early elections – that is, earlier than the scheduled date of October 2013. Though this was no shock as Israeli governments rarely finish their terms and there had been many reports in recent days that Netanyahu was considering early elections).

So for everyone who is trying to figure out what exactly is going on:

Date of Elections: January or February?

Netanyahu did not announce a specific date for the elections.  The Knesset returns from its summer break on October 15th. By law there must be at least 90 days between the decision to disperse the Knesset and the date of elections.

At the end of his statement Netanyahu said it is preferable to have a “three month” campaign cycle than what would in practice be a year of campaigning until October 2013. Assuming that he would seek dissolution of the Knesset at the opening of the session — October 15th — that would put the elections at around or a little after January 15th.

However, Netanyahu also said at the beginning of his address that, “In a few months, we will finish the fourth year in office of the most stable government in recent decades.” Towards the end, he also said, “And therefore, after four years, we will go to elections.” Four years means elections after February 10th of next year, as that was the date the last elections were held in 2009. That meshes with earlier reports that Netanyahu desired a February 12th election in order to close a four year cycle.

According to Yisrael HaYom, negotiations between coalition partners began yesterday regarding the date of elections and sometime between January 15 and February 5th was discussed. According to the paper, which is considered friendly to Netanyahu, “the Prime Minister prefers the earliest possible date.”

Oct. 11th UPDATE: Elections have been set for Jan. 22nd. Though the bill dispersing the Knesset and setting the date still has pass through the Knesset on Monday, October 15th.

Why Early Elections: The Budget

The primary reason for the elections is the inability of the coalition to agree on a budget, or at least a responsible budget. Here’s what Netanyahu said:

Today, I finished a round of consultations with the heads of the coalition parties and I came to the conclusion that it is not possible at this time to pass a responsible budget. We are on the threshold of an election year, and to my regret, in an election year it is difficult for parties to place the national interest ahead of the party interest. The result of this is liable to be a budgetary breach and a massive increase in the deficit, which would very quickly put us in the situation of the crumbling economies of Europe. I will not allow this to happen here.

(The full text of Netanyahu’s statement can be found at PMO.gov.il.)

Why Early Elections: Maintaining the Lead

It is also surmised that early elections will ensure that the Likud maintains its current lead against all other parties. Two recent polls have given the Likud 28 mandates (Knesset seats) while it’s closest project rival, Labor, would receive 19 or 20 seats. Kadima which currently had 28 Knesset seats to the Likud’s 27, wouldn’t even break double digits.

Early elections mean surprises such as Ehud Olmert or other high profile figures joining parties like Kadima or Yesh Atid (Yair Lapid’s new party) and changing the political dynamic are less likely. It also gives other parties less time to put their campaigns together.

Daniel Tauber

Ohio Jew Tossed Out of Sen. Brown Event for Asking about J Street Funding

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

See an update at the end of this report.

In what originally was supposed to be a slam dunk, US Senator Sherrod Brown’s race for reelection in Ohio against the youthful Republican Josh Mandell may instead be turning into a squeaker, and Brown is none too happy about it.

Brown originally had as much as a 17 percentage point lead, but according to a report in Bloomberg, several polls last month showed the race to be deadlocked.  Mandell claims the race has become intense because Ohioans are increasingly turned off by the “ultra-liberal, hyper-partisan” Brown, while Brown claims that millions of dollars in negative ads have been run against him by “outside, undisclosed interest groups.”

One Ohioan found out just how testy this race has made Sherrod Brown. Following a talk he gave at the Dayton, Ohio Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, September 18, Senator Brown invited questions.  There were a few tough questions put to the Senator by business owners opposed to President Obama’s healthcare legislation, and a softball question about how to contact the Senator’s office.

And then 32-year old Ohio native Joel Griffith stood up.  Griffith said, “I’m a proud Jewish American and I’m concerned that the single biggest entity funding you is J Street.  J Street has given you $60,000, and as you know, J Street is funded by an attorney for the Saudi Embassy and has also been funded by the producer of one of the most anti-Semitic films ever made …” but Griffith was not allowed to finish his question. The Senator’s first response was that Griffith’s was “clearly a political question.”

True, but the Senator is a politician who was engaging in politics.   The political question doctrine only forecloses the judicial branch from addressing a particular issue.  In fact, political questions are reserved exclusively to the legislative branch of which Senator Brown is hoping to remain a part.

But as Griffith sought to continue asking his question, and paused to ask whether it was okay if he filmed the exchange, Senator Brown cut him off and told Griffith to “talk to that man in the back of the room who is Jewish,” because that Jewish man supports Brown and “knows that I am pro-Israel.”

On his third attempt to get out his question, the frustrated Griffith began once again, saying, “What do you say to those Jewish Americans who are very concerned…”  But again, Brown cut him off.  The Senator instead told Griffith what he should do before Brown would answer him.  Senator Brown told his constituent, “You find out where the $18 million came from that is funding ads against me,” and said Griffith could then come back and ask his question next year.  The Senator then wrapped up that portion of the program.

Griffith waited patiently while the Senator remained in the room speaking informally to others who were present at the event.  Just as Griffith was once again about to ask the senator about the J Street funding, a Chamber of Commerce official approached and told him he had to leave the premises because it was a “private event.” However, the event had been publicized, Griffith had informed the Chamber that he would be attending the event, and the Chamber had confirmed his response.

The Jewish Press caught up with Griffith the day after his failed efforts to draw out the Ohio Senator on his J Street funding. Griffith is a lawyer by training but is currently an investor with Avatar Securities.

The J Street funding issue was so important to him, Griffith said, because “J Street has been trying to promote policies that are inconsistent with Israel’s security and against America’s security, and yet politicians who work with them then claim they are pro-Israel because they are siding with a Jewish organization.”

Griffith pointed out that “J Street gives more money to Senator Brown than any other single entity, including Ohio State University,” which he thought was very odd, especially considering Brown’s complaint about outside money playing an outsized role in his opponent’s war chest.

Griffith is a political conservative and is very concerned about the role of anti-American and anti-Israel efforts on Capital Hill.  Although Brown has never opposed the funding of aid to Israel, Griffith was particularly bothered by his refusal to sign a bi-partisan “Peace Principles” letter that was circulated in 2009 by AIPAC and which was signed by more than three quarters of all senate members.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Mixed Gender IDF Battalion Thwarts Terrorist Attack on Egyptian Border – IDF Soldier Killed in Action

Friday, September 21st, 2012

UPDATE: Confirmed – One IDF soldier was killed, and 1 wounded seriously injured in the attack. The killed soldier, from an Artillery unit, was from the (religious) town of Nof Ayalon. The family has been notified. His name is Netanel Yahalomi.

IDF forces thwarted a terror attack on Friday, September 21, in which terrorists attempted to infiltrate from Egypt into Israel near. A number of terrorists opened fire on an IDF artillery force stationed along the border to protect the construction of the border fence. A force of the Caracal Battalion, which was stationed nearby, engaged the terrorist squad, injuring at least three terrorists.

One of the terrorists was equipped with an explosive device which exploded. According to initial findings, the IDF force successfully prevented a large-scale attack on Israeli civilians. No terrorists managed to infiltrate into Israel.

The Caracal Battalion is an IDF infantry combat battalion, composed of both male and female soldiers, of both Jewish and Arab descent. It is named after the Caracal, a small cat whose sexes appear the same. As of 2009, approximately 70% of the battalion was female. It is part of the 512th “Sagi” Brigade of Israel’s Southern territorial command.

In the coming hours, a situation assessment will be held, led by Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, in order to investigate the incident.

This July, terrorists opened fire on a bus carrying soldiers near the Israeli-Egyptian border. There were no injuries, but the bus was damaged. This June, a civilian was killed in a combined shooting and mortar attack while working on the border fence.

Roughly two months ago, while touring the border region, the Chief of Staff said, “Bases of terror are expanding in the Sinai region. We expect the Egyptians to exercise their sovereignty.”

“Over ten terror infrastructure in Sinai were revealed and dismantled over the past few months,” Head of the Military Intelligence Directorate, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, said roughly a month ago. “Sinai is a secondary priority on the Egyptian agenda, and the channels of the terror infrastructure are currently being monitored.”

Al Jazeera is reporting that the terrorists were Salafists from Egypt.

 

The Caracal Battalion is an infantry combat battalion of the Israel Defense Forces, composed of both male and female soldiers, of both Jewish and Arab descent.[1] It is named after the Caracal, a small cat whose sexes appear the same.[2] As of 2009, approximately 70% of the battalion was female.[1][3] It is part of the 512th “Sagi” Brigade of Israel’s Southern territorial command.

 

Jewish Press News Briefs

UPDATED: Bulgarians: Bomber Was a Jihadist Who Spent Time in Guantanamo

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

UPDATE: 7/19/12 10:46PM Sources are indicating that the Swedish national that was held in Guantanamo is not the Burgas bomber. As soon as we know more, we’ll update the report.

 

Bulgarian TV has announced that Medi Muhammad Ghezali, the suicide bomber who killed seven people on Wednesday, five of them Israelis, was member of the International Jihad who spent a year in Guantanamo Bay prison.

This may mean that PM Netanyahu’s accusation that Iran was behind the attack could be wrong.

Ghezali was arrested in Pakistan in 2009 along with his wife and a group of foreigners, including seven Turks, according to NRG.

Bulgarian officials are currently denying that Ghezali was the bomber.

Jewish Press News Briefs

UPDATE: Terror Attack Kills 7 Israeli Tourists In Bulgaria

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

As news of the passing of Torah sage and leader of Lithuanian Jewry Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv cast a pale of sorrow over Israel, breaking news of a suicide bombing attack against Israeli tourists in Bulgaria sent shock waves across the country.

Seven Israelis were reported killed and 30 injured when an explosion blew up an Israeli tourist bus and caught two adjacent buses on fire at the Burgas airport on Wednesday, also the 18th anniversary of the Iran-sponsored attack on the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Reports state that among the injured are at least 2 pregnant women and an 11 year old child.  Six of the deceased were pronounced dead at the scene, and one died in hospital. At least two of the 27 injured are reported to be in serious condition.

The explosion occurred while the bus was still in the terminal, after the group arrived in country at 4:45pm.. Burgas, located on the Black Sea Coast, is a popular tourist spot for Israelis.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement in which he charged Iran with conducting the attack and warned the regime that Israel would respond forcefully.

“All the signs lead to Iran. Only in the past few months we have seen Iranian attempts to attack Israelis in Thailand, India, Georgia, Kenya, Cyprus and other places,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said.

“This is an Iranian terror campaign that is spreading throughout the world,” Netanyahu said. “Israel will react powerfully against Iranian terror,”

Despite fierce political mudslinging in the wake of the angry withdrawal of the Kadima party from the coalition because of rancor over Haredi service in the IDF, politicians across the spectrum united to condemn the murders.  Opposition leader Shelly Yechimovich said “there is no doubt that instability in the region is spawned by Iran aiming expressly for Israelis and Jews throughout the world,” expressed her condolences to the families of the terror victims, and expressed her confidence in Israeli security forces.

ZAKA and Magen David Adom rescue services have already begun making their way to Bulgaria and will attempt to evacuate some of the wounded for treatment in Israel.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman called for an immediate meeting at the Foreign Ministry’s situation room.  The Israeli embassy in Bulgaria is investigating the explosion.  Initial reports indicated that a suicide bomber boarded the bus and detonated himself.  Follow-up reports suggested that a bomb may have been planted in the luggage compartment of the bus and detonated by remote control.

In January, Israel requested additional security for citizens traveling in the country after a suspicious package was found on a bus carrying Israeli tourists from Turkey to Bulgaria.

Israel has also expressed concern that Hizbullah would target Israelis overseas in connection with the assassination of Hizbullah commander Imag Mughniyeh, which Hizbullah suspects was conducted by the Mossad.

In the meantime, Hizbullah has denied any connection to the attack.  No organization has claimed responsibility.

Channel 1 quoted Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov as calling the explosion a terrorist attack.

Jewish Press Staff

Rabbi Elyashiv, 102, Passed Away

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv passed away early Wednesday evening. His funeral will be conducted Wednesday at 10 PM Israel time, as is the custom in Jerusalem. (Update: Police estimate over 300,000 people participated in the funeral procession).

Since the early afternoon, Israel time, Rabbi Elyashiv’s condition was unstable and his blood pressure erratic. According to a report, his breathing was shallow, and he was anesthetized and ventilated.

Family members were called to stay at his bedside.

The doctors told the family that only prayers could help the situation.

Rabbi Elyashiv was the leader of the Lithuanian-Haredi community in Israel and the diaspora , and many Ashkenazi Jews regarded him as the posek ha-dor, the contemporary leading authority on Jewish law.

Jewish Press Staff

Voting in US Elections and Knesset Update

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Jewish Press Columnist Yishai Fleisher is joined by Knesset-insider Jeremy Man Saltan.  They begin by discussing a bill that was recently presented that requires those that are evacuated by the Israeli government to be moved into finished homes that are ready for those that are evacuated and then move on to talk about the Levy Commission Report.  Yishai and Man Saltan talk about the potential of the ultra-orthodox serving in the Israel Defense Forces and at 18:45 they shift gears to present a talk, attended by Yishai, to American-born Israelis to why they should vote in the upcoming American elections which features former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Moshe Herman

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/jewish-press-radio-with-yishai-fleisher-voting-in-us-elections-and-knesset-update/2012/07/15/

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