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September 3, 2014 / 8 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘vote’

Israelis Are Picking the 19th Knesset (Video)

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Good morning and welcome to our obligatory election day morning piece, which could have been written last September for all the news you’ll find in it. But it must be written, because you just can’t start Election Day without a bunch of trite cliches about democracy, the voter, decisions, etc. – it’s the law.

The vote for the 19th Knesset began at 7:00 AM, as more than 5.6 million Israelis who are entitled to vote are expected to exercise their right, in 10,100 ballots around the country.

By the way, did you know that in Australia they get as many as 97% of the eligible voters to actually vote? You know why? Because it’s the law over there, and you get punished if you don’t. I suppose they have vast jails for the 3 percent that don’t vote. Every day they take those prisoners out to a big ballot box at the center of the prison yard and they’re made to fulfill their civil duty – and then they’re made to push the ballot box up a hill only to watch it roll downhill. But I’m digressing.

In Israel they have a cute commercial where a cop revokes your whining license for 4 years if you fail to vote. Take a look, it’s in Hebrew, but totally self explanatory:


OK, back to the obligatory stuff: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his wife, Supervising Prime Minister Sara Netanyahu, and their two sons showed up early at their local poll in the affluent neighborhood of Rehavia, Jerusalem.

My friend M. who lives right next door to the Netanyahus, passes by their house a lot, and whenever the security gorillas order her to stop to let the PM’s limo pull in or out of the driveway, she tells them: I am a citizen, he is my servant, I go first.

The Netanyahus’ sons, Yair and Avner, voted today for the first time. What I wouldn’t give to see who they voted for. My bet is on uncle Naftali (Bennett).

In the small communities, the polls will close at 8 PM. In larger enclaves the polls will close at 10 PM. Then we here at the Jewish Press will be playing our magic fingers furiously but with grace and insight, to let you know in real time what they’re saying on television. We’ll make you feel right at home, it’s what we do.

More than 20,000 police officers, Border Police and volunteers have been deployed throughout the country to keep order.

It’s a national holiday here, folks. In shul this morning we even had a short argument over whether or not to say Tachnun (supplications), because it’s a state holiday and we’re radical religious Zionists. We ended up saying it. I’ll bet you it would have been different if election day fell on a Monday or a Thursday (longer supplication text).

Transportation services will operate normally, as will other essential services. At Ben Gurion Airport they’re expecting 21 000 passengers. MDA is on high alert. Don’t ask me why, I’m not writing this stuff, I’m just translating official press releases.

The counting of votes will begin immediately after the polls close. Poll committees, made up of representatives of all the lists, will count the votes and then deliver the sealed ballot boxes and all voting materials to regional committees, which in turn will transmit reports to the Central Election Committee in Jerusalem.

Committee Executive Director Orly Aades, estimates that we’ll start seeing the true results by about midnight. This is because the committee is using new technology which is “expected to catalyze the counting of the double envelopes” (those are Israel’s absentee ballots). Final results of the elections are expected towards Thursday morning.

Did you know in Israel prisoners are allowed to vote? I’m surprised there isn’t a party catering specifically to the gripes of prisoners – some 10,800 of them will be voting today, in 57 polls, 31 of which are mobile (are you thinking what I’m thinking – the great election day prison break caper?).

That’s it. Now the Yanovers are setting out to go and vote at the local middle school. It’s our first election since we got here and we’re terribly excited.

Who Am I Voting For, and How Should You Vote?

Monday, January 21st, 2013

There’s no doubt that this is an unusual Israeli election. There are no real fights going on about how to deal with the Palestinians, nor about social welfare, and no one is even mentioning Iran.

The general consensus in Israel is that the outgoing government had us on the right track and was a good government, and this election is about whether the next government should focus either slightly more on this, or slightly more on that – issues it was already dealing with.

For now, the traditional Left-Right debate is irrelevant, simply because the majority of the nation understands the Left is as wrong about the Palestinians as they are about socialism.

And that’s why instead of the Left-Right debate, we have this massive infighting between political parties who are supposed to be on the same side.

This election is also significantly dirtier than any other I can recall in recent times, because it’s essentially internecine, with the parties not fighting over the undecided Center, but over their own existing shared voter base.

At JewishPress.com we’ve spent countless hours discussing the pros and cons of voting for each particular party, and for the purpose of transparency, we need to disclose that all the members of the staff have a relationship with one party or another, starting from our Likud Central Committee members, down to being friends, acquaintances and neighbors with the candidates and staff of HaBayit HaYehudi and Otmza L’Yisrael.

With Election Day tomorrow, in the office we face another unusual event, with the exception of our Likud Central Committee members, most of us are still undecided as to whom we plan to vote for. And the wavering is interesting, either Likud-Beytenu – HaBayit HaYehudi, HaBayit Hayehudi – Otzma L’Yisrael, and even Likud-Beytenu – Otzma L’Yisrael.

The success of each party carries with it, its own risks and benefits, and I hope to share with you some of the discussions that have made this election decision such a difficult one.

Likud-Beytenu

There’s almost no doubt that the Likud will be the largest individual party.

For the most part, it has an excellent list of prospective MKs. It is prepared to deal with the important national issues that this country faces such as Chareidi integration, electoral reform, and Iran.

With the exception (we’ll get to that) of the settlements, Netanyahu has been an excellent Prime Minister, he’s protected Israel’s interests, and there’s no doubt he’s qualified to continue leading the country.

A large Likud would give them the mandate to do what they want, and what needs to be done.

But there’s a definite downside.

First of all the Settlements.

We certainly can’t ignore that Netanyahu heavily invested in settlement infrastructure such as schools and roads, as well as upgrading Ariel University. And no established Jewish towns were evacuated in this last term.

But he’s had the settlements on a starvation diet when it comes to additional housing – something that would have also helped the country’s center too, by releasing a lot of the housing pressure.

Then there was the Settlement Freeze, and letting Ehud Barak have a free and violent hand in Judea and Samaria, and there is the still purposely unadopted Edmond Levy report. Netanyahu had political reasons to use the Jews of Judea and Samaria as pawns in the larger political game, but it’s still unpleasant to be a pawn.

There’s no reason to assume that under a new Netanyahu-led government it won’t be more of the same, especially if things change and the Palestinian issue becomes important again.

The threats and intimidation coming out of the Likud, that there will be negative ramifications if a significant number of Settler don’t vote Likud, aren’t helping them win over friends and voters either.

The second issue comes down to who will also be sitting in the coalition.

There’s little doubt that Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid will be in, despite his left-wing, secularist views, or perhaps even because of them. He’s a comfortable partner for Netanyahu.

Kadima is likely to be there if they pass the threshold, and possibly even Tzipi Livni.

Numerically there won’t be a choice, particularly if Netanyahu doesn’t want the Chareidi parties in – which it seems he doesn’t.

Egypt Falls Over the Islamic Cliff

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

Both the Islamists and the opposition in Egypt confirmed that Egyptians overwhelmingly chose to become yet another Islamic, Sharia-based state with the adoption of their new constitution.

It is estimated that 64% of those voting in both rounds, voted “yes”, with numerous irregularities reported during both votes.

And to top it off, as pointed out in Forbes, the new constitution does more than just enshrine Islamic Sharia law, it also enshrines socialism as their economic structure.

Ahram Online reports that Egyptian President Morsi has announced his list of 90 representatives who will become members of the Shura council (out of 270 members).  The Shura Council will take on the powers from the president to issue laws.

But despite Morsi including a handful of women and minorities in his list, Ahram Online reports:

Tens of liberal and leftist figures have declined the positions offered to them by the president in the Shura Council.

This means that members of the main opposition’s parties, previously represented in the now-dismantled People’s Assembly, are now not represented in new appointments to the Shura Council.

 

U.N. General Assembly Passes Israeli-Proposed Resolution

Monday, December 10th, 2012

The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution proposed by Israel that establishes entrepreneurship as a critical development tool for countries around the world.

Some 129 countries voted on Friday in favor of the “Entrepreneurship for Development” resolution, 31 countries voted against, and nine countries abstained in a vote that is considered an important diplomatic victory for Israel in an international body that frequently criticizes the state.

The resolution calls on governments to foster entrepreneurship and include all interested parties, according to Globes. The resolution also says that forming partnerships between the private and public sectors also creates jobs and promotes investment, and advances economic growth in a country.

The General Assembly’s Arab bloc voted against the resolution.

Ron Prosor, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, in remarks after the vote noted that the Arab Group said it would vote against the resolution even before negotiations ended.

“What a shame,” Prosor said. “Few places could benefit from entrepreneurship more than the Arab world. Every Arab delegate who voted no is sending the message that he cares far more about petty politics than human prosperity.

“Israel’s story shows that if you want stability, empower your people. If you want prosperity, invest in your citizens. If you want sustainability, engage every member of society — especially women and youth. This, above all, is the core of this resolution.”

PA Wanted New Sign, New Chair to go with New UN Status

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Just when you thought authority brings with it a sense of proportionality and responsibility, we have the Arab Palestinians to remind us “ain’t necessarily so.”

When the “Palestine” delegation to the United Nations had its status upgraded to nonmember observer state last week, there were some who believed the name change would imbue Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas and his colleagues with a boost in both prestige and in seriousness.

But according to Haaretz, when UN members walked into the UN General Assembly Hall on the day after the vote, they saw that the sign identifying the delegation had been changed.  Before the upgrade the sign had read “Palestine” – never mind that there was no such place as “Palestine.” But last Friday there was a new sign on the table in front of where the Arab Palestinian delegation sits.  It read: “State of Palestine.”

If it wasn’t so pathetic it would be laughable.  Actually, most people think it is both.  Who else but people with little tiny egos and an even smaller list of nation building successes could need to – literally – put out a sign in an effort to show they fit in the actual world of serious statehood?

Anyway, the buttons-popping pride in their statehood – even if it is confined to a sign on the table – had to go because the Arab Palestinians did not follow the proper protocol in several different ways, including  that any name change has to occur through a vote by the UN General Assembly.  In addition, the sign was not made on the official machine that is used to create all signage at the UN.

This time the unilateral and illegal manueverings by the Arab Palestinians were treated appropriately and the “State of Palestine” sign was removed.

But wait, there’s more.  Really.

Before the big vote to upgrade their status, the Arab Palestinians asked that Abbas be seated in a special chair on the stage at the UNGA meeting.  When told by UN officials that such special chairs are only used at the opening September meetings, “Palestine’s” envoy to the UN, Riyad Mansour looked into the matter.  Mansour found that the Pope had been seated in a special chair on a regular UN voting day. “No fair!” he whined.

The reported response:

“With all due respect, Abbas is not the Pope, or the Queen of England,” UN officials told the Palestinian envoy, adding that such personalities receive the right due to their age and stature.

If only the 138 nations that voted to upgrade the Arab Palestinians’ status at the UN last week had been as scrupulous about the requirements for statehood as the UN officials were about protocol and appearances.

Clash on the Right: Eldad v. Feiglin

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

MK Aryeh Eldad (Strength to Israel) and Knesset candidate Moshe Feiglin (Likud) traded barbs today over ideological purity and compromise in politics.

Arutz Sheva reported Eldad as saying that Feiglin was “stuck in the Likud.”

“Feiglin is sentenced to a true moral dilemma, if he betrays his true principles and supports the Netanyahu government in ideological no-confidence votes he will lose all credit,” but if he votes for a no-confidence vote after the destruction of an outpost – which Eldad himself will submit – “he’ll be ejected from the Likud faction and become a faction of one.”

Feiglin responded on his facebook page slamming Eldad for not having popular support and implying that he lacks the influence that comes with being part of a larger, governing party.

“My friend Aryeh Eldad claims that I am stuck in by the Likud,” Feiglin wrote, “he has the freedom that a rabbit in a cage has, to do everything that it pleases and not to be concerned about anything. He is right – in the real Israeli arena it’s going to be very hard – but the public interest testifies to who here is stuck.”

Eldad recently broke away from the National Union before it merged with the Jewish Home party. He and his National Union colleague Michal Ben Ari formed the Strength to Israel party.

It is not clear whether the Strength to Israel party will get enough votes to break the vote threshold to get into the Knesset.

Feiglin recently won the 14th spot on the Likud’s Knesset list (prior to the merger with Yisrael Beitenu and is practically assured a spot in the Knesset.

His Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) movement aims to to take over the Likud and lead the State of Israel.

As of late, however, Feiglin has taken on a much more conciliatory tone towards Likud chairman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying that he supports Netanyahu for the leadership of the country.

Rice’s Work At UN Wins Plaudits From Jewish Communal Leaders

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

WASHINGTON – Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who is widely seen as a leading candidate to replace Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, has garnered plaudits from Jewish communal leaders for her work at the world body.

Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said Rice routinely meets with Jewish groups. “We had a meeting right before the General Assembly, and we covered the wide range of prospects,” Hoenlein said. “I can’t say there were big areas of disagreement – and where there might have been, she’s always been forthright and honest.”

“She has proven herself as an ardent defender of major Israeli positions in an unfriendly forum,” said Abraham Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League’s national director. “And I’m more comfortable with the person I know than the person I don’t know. She is close to the president and that’s important in that position if you have someone you can relate to and understands us.”

Jewish groups see Rice’s trajectory at the United Nations – from tussles over Israel’s settlements and membership on the Human Rights Council at the outset of her term four years ago to close cooperation more recently – as reflective of the Obama administration’s evolving approach to Israel.

“One thing important to point out is that the votes have reflected administration policy,” said Daniel Mariaschin, B’nai B’rith International’s executive vice president. By contrast, he said, a secretary of state is more a shaper of policy than just its messenger.

Still, Mariaschin said, Rice as UN ambassador has demonstrated an understanding of Israel’s difficulties in the international arena.

“There are ways of explaining your vote and ways of explaining your vote,” he said. Mariaschin noted that Rice’s explanation of the U.S. “no” vote last week when the UN General Assembly elevated Palestine to non-member state status incorporated many of the talking points conveyed to her by pro-Israel groups.

“She made kind of a good end to an otherwise disappointing day,” Mariaschin said. Rice in her post-vote explanation was dismissive of whatever hopes that the lopsided vote – 138 for, 9 against and 41 abstentions – might have engendered for the Palestinians.

“Today’s grand pronouncements will soon fade,” she said, “and the Palestinian people will wake up tomorrow and find that little about their lives has changed, save that the prospects of a durable peace have only receded.”

Some Jewish conservatives, however, have warned against Rice being elevated to secretary of state, citing disagreements related to Israel from the first part of Obama’s first term.

They have criticized Rice over the U.S. decision to join the UN Human Rights Council, a body that has disproportionately targeted Israel for criticism, and over her criticism of Israel’s settlements in explanatory remarks after the U.S. vetoed a Security Council resolution in February 2011 that would have condemned Israel for its settlement policy.

A Nov. 29 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal by Anne Bayefsky, who directs Touro College’s Institute of Human Rights and the Holocaust, and Michael Mukasey, who served as attorney general under President George W. Bush, noted two issues, among others, in questioning her “moral fitness” for the job of secretary of state.

“Though the president, not the UN ambassador, makes foreign policy, one is entitled to ask how a Secretary Rice would view the acts and omissions of Ambassador Rice,” they wrote.

Foxman was furious with the Bayefsky-Mukasey article, saying it was an unseemly attempt to drag the Jewish community into a political fight.

“People may differ about the effectiveness of certain tactics or, as we have often done, even seriously question whether bodies like the UN Human Rights Council will ever give Israel a fair hearing,” he wrote in a letter to the Journal that it has not published.

“But no one should use the UN’s anti-Israel record to cast aspersions on Ambassador Rice. She has earned her reputation as a fighter for Israel’s equality in a hostile forum where an automatic majority reflexively expresses its bias against Israel.” David Harris, the American Jewish Committee’s executive director, said he had come around to the idea that joining the Human Rights Council was a reasonable decision after having earlier opposed the move.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/global/un/rices-work-at-un-wins-plaudits-from-jewish-communal-leaders/2012/12/05/

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