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February 22, 2017 / 26 Shevat, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘voting’

Bennett: If Law to Save Amona Fails, We’ll Stop Voting with Netanyahu Coalition

15 Heshvan 5777 – November 16, 2016

As the Arrangement Act, compelling Arab claimants against government initiated Jewish settlements to accept market value for their lands, comes up for an initial vote at the Knesset plenum, two coalition partners — Kulanu and Habayit Hayehudi — have accused Prime Minister Netanyahu and Coalition Chairman MK David Bitan (Likud) of attempting to sabotage the vote. Bitan announced on Tuesday that there may be some difficulties in rustling support for the bill.

In response, Habayit Hayehudi faction informed Bitan that should the coalition partners not honor the coalition discipline rule and help defeat the government-supported legislation, Habayit Hayehudi would no longer vote in support of future coalition bills.

The threat was intended to pressure Likud to make sure all the coalition partners indeed show up to support the bill. As of Tuesday night, there have been rumors that Kulanu and the Haredi parties were considering a no-show during the vote. Now it appears those rumors were manufactured on behalf of the PM, who never was in favor of the proposed law.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court rejected a coalition request to postpone the demolition of Amona, in Samaria, on December 25.

It’s a Voting Party in Tel Aviv

8 Heshvan 5777 – November 8, 2016

The US Embassy in Israel (which hasn’t yet been moved from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital in Jerusalem) is holding a voting party at the Dan Panorama hotel in Tel Aviv.

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US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro is also there:

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The Many Faces Of Election Season 2016

28 Av 5776 – August 31, 2016

Election season is all about unity. It is a time when all Americans, regardless of race, gender, or religion, gather to vote for individuals who will best represent their communities. Some of the candidates running for office are elected officials we’ve known for years. These politicians have become household names, making us feel both comfortable and safe. Then there are the candidates who come from nowhere, the candidates who reignite sparks of hope in all of our hearts, and make us believe that change is possible.

The election season in Brooklyn is no different. As a borough with one of the most eclectic mixes of ethnicities in all of America, voting for representatives is very important to its inhabitants. The parents of many of the Italian-Americans, Asian-Americans, Russian-Americans, Jewish-Americans, and African-Americans that will be voting in the Brooklyn polls were once immigrants, making voting incredibly symbolic. Many of the candidates themselves stem from diverse backgrounds, having parents who emigrated from all over the world. Brooklyn is a melting pot, and its elections prove it. Most of the candidates in the Brooklyn elections run to help their communities and its people in unprecedented ways. This is the American dream, and they have grabbed it by its horns.

Olanike Alabi

Olanike Alabi

“I have always been one who believed that politics is a vehicle to make a difference in the lives of people,” State Committeewoman Olanike Alabi told Patch.com. Alabi is running for reelection for State Committewoman/District Leader of the 57th Assembly District, which includes the neighborhoods of Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Crown Heights, Bed-Stuy, and parts of Prospect Heights. She is running against two opponents in the upcoming September 13th Democratic primary – male Democratic District Leader Walter Mosely and former State Department of Education official Martine Guerrier.

Alabi, the daughter of Nigerian immigrants, has worked really hard on behalf of her community. She is a pioneer in social justice reform and is a strong advocate for the labor movement. She gives back whenever she can. When she isn’t in the office you can find her volunteering at the Clinton Hill Brooklyn Public Library branch or at Teen Lift – a program serving inner city youth, by offering tutoring and assistance with college.

In 2006 Alabi was elected as the Democratic State Committeewoman of the 57th Assembly District. Ever since the election she has taken charge and instituted change. She has organized annual community food drives, has worked with spiritual leaders to assist citizens, and has funded legal clinics. Due to her incredible work she has received endorsements from New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, U.S. Representative Yvette Clarke, State Senator Jesse Hamilton, and many more prominent individuals. Alabi promises that if reelected she will go the extra mile to help her community’s elders and youth.

Dilia Schack

Dilia Schack

Not too far from the 57th Assembly District, Dilia Schack is perfecting her campaign for reelection for State Committeewoman/District Leader of the 46th Assembly District, which includes sections of Sea Gate, Fort Hamilton, Bath Beach, and Bay Ridge.

Schack is running against Coney Island community activist, Bigette Purvis, who will most likely be tough competition, even for a seasoned and well-known politician like Schack. Assemblywoman Pamela Harris has put her support fully behind Schack.

Schack recently lost her husband, Justice Arthur Schack, who was a renowned and beloved New York State Supreme Court Justice. Even though she is mourning the passing of her husband of 42 years, she is willing to set aside her emotional state to help her community’s constituents.

What makes a great politician lies in his/her dedication to institute change, and Charles Ragusa, State Committeeman/District Leader of the 47th Assembly District, says that he’s been changing his community for more than 50 years. Ragusa is once again running for reelection for a position which he was first elected to in 1982. However, Chinese-American Billy Thai might upend his reign.

Charles Ragusa

Charles Ragusa

Ragusa has been in the game for a long time, and recently he has proposed a plan to utilize Calvert Vaux Park, Kaiser Park, Marine Park and Jamaica Park for field biology programs. He says this would create jobs and educational opportunities for students. Ragusa told the Bensonhurst Bean, “Ecotourism provides a significant portion of the economy of other states, for example, Alaska, as well as for the nation of Costa Rica. New York City is sitting on top of a financial and educational bonanza that is literally at our doorstep.”

Linda Minucci

Linda Minucci

Linda Minucci, State Committeewoman/ District Leader of the 50th Assembly District, is working hard to hold on to her seat in the district leader position against Emily Gallagher, 32.

Minucci has held the position in the district, which includes sections of Williamsburg and Greenpoint, since 1984. Minucci has advocated for district subway riders and has battled against homeless shelters in Greenpoint Hospital. Minucci has many supporters in the district as evidence by her continued success in elections.

Shiloh Musings: U.S. Elections: Voting With One’s Head, The Kipa Poll! #1

21 Av 5776 – August 24, 2016

It has come to my attention that there’s a very creative kippa (the cute little beanie cap that many Jewish men wear for religious and Jewish identification reasons) company designing kippot for the 2016 American Presidential Elections.
Pic-A-Kippa established by two former IDF lone soldiers has expanded its very pro-Israel Zionist collection of printed kippot to include a variety for those who want to go headfirst to promote either Hillary or Trump in the upcoming elections. As with all of their products, they donate 10% of each kippa to The Lone Soldier Center in Israel.

I don’t know if this skews the results, but there are more designs for Trump than for Hillary.

 

 

So far, according to sales figures, Donald Trump is in the lead, and as long as the company sends me statistics, I will keep you updated. If I’m not mistaken, these numbers are from yesterday August 7, 2016.
91 heading for Trump

 

49 heading for Hillary

You can purchase the kippot or any other designs offered, plus an option for special orders, online https://picakippa.com/  or in these stores:

Upper West Side Judaica – 2412 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

J Levine Books and Judaica – 5 W 30th St, New York, NY 10001
Judaica Plus – 445 Central Ave, Cedarhurst, NY 11516

And of course tell them that you read about them here on Shiloh Musings.

Counting Votes

28 Adar 5775 – March 19, 2015

Israelis count the remaining ballots from soldiers and absentee voters at the parliament in Jerusalem, a day after the general elections for the 20th Israeli parliament on March 18, 2015.

Three Arrested for Stealing Yachad Voting Slips

26 Adar 5775 – March 17, 2015

Police arrested three people, one in Jerusalem’s Ramat Shlomo neighborhood, one in Beit Shemesh and another in the town of Kochav Yaacov after the suspects removed all the Yachad voting slips from voting booth.

The Yachad party reports that their slips have been removed from dozens of voting stations.

In Israel, voting is done by inserting a slip of paper representing the party you want into an envelope, and then inserting the envelope into the voting box. By removing all the slips, it would be impossible, for a short time at least, to vote for that party.

Needless to say, interfering with the ability for a voting process is illegal.

In addition, it appears a straw party was created, represented by the letters “נץ” in polling stations. The Yachad party used “קף”.

But in the previous election, the party Baruch Marzel was a member of, Otzma L’Yisrael, used “נץ”, implying that this party may have been set up by an opponent solely to confuse voters.

Netanyahu Adopts JewishPress Blogger’s Electoral Reform Proposal

15 Tevet 5775 – January 6, 2015

It isn’t every day that the Prime Minister of Israel adopts an idea proposed by yours truly, first introduced on the pages of JewishPress.com.

Though for the sake of transparency, other MKs have brazenly taken ideas we’ve proposed at the Muqata Think-Tank and then claimed them for their own, and we’ve been told that Netanyahu is also familiar with Jameel’s very successful Scotch whiskey counter-boycott.

On Monday, Prime Minister Netanyahu introduced an electoral reform plan that would “revolutionize” the Israeli multi-party system, and move us over to a two-party system.

The idea is that the party with the most seats would automatically form the government and appoint the Prime Minister, without needing to form a coalition, or go to the President of Israel.

If this sounds familiar to you, it should, because in December I analyzed the problem with our current system, and provided that solution.

In the original article I explained why it would work, and how the idea should be properly implemented.

The JewishPress.com was even kind enough to put one of those Asher Schwartz cartoons on it.

A Solution Within the Existing Framework So what can be done now with what we have?

If Israel wants to stay with the parliamentary system, the solution is not as complex as you might think. It requires two steps.

First of all, remove the minimum electoral threshold. Let people vote for whom they want.

The second is, let the head of the largest elected party become the Prime Minister, automatically, with no requirement at all to assemble a coalition to form the government.

I then explain why this will work — because people in Israel vote strategically, they want to get a specific Prime Minister, along with specific platforms or MKs:

The Intended Consequences What do I foresee happening?

Only the die-hards will vote for the small parties. Most everyone else will want to make sure the Prime Minister comes from the biggest party that represents them the closest.

We would see a lot of parties consolidating automatically.

There will be a natural push to make sure the Likud or Labor becomes the biggest party.

Unfortunately, Netanyahu seems to have left out an incredibly important component of the idea – removing the minimum electoral threshold.

And that reminds me of the other half-baked change he made in 1996 — introducing direct elections for the Prime Minster, but without simultaneously introducing it for the Knesset too.

Removing the minimum threshold is critical for my idea to work properly – and Mr. Netanyahu, I know you’re reading this, so pay attention… .

If Israel ends up with a binary-based majority system, where you vote for a party and not individuals, and there are only two parties in the Knesset, you will have implemented a tyranny of democracy onto Israel. For four years the winner will run roughshod over the loser, and it will always be win-lose; the opposition might as well not even show up for work.

For democracy to work properly, citizens need an effective opposition capable of opposing the majority, at least in the worst case scenarios.

It’s important to remember, unlike the U.S., Israel doesn’t have truly separate executive and legislative branches, with the checks and balances that brings. Instead, Israel has a legislative branch whose members also make up the executive branch.

In Netanyahu’s version of my idea, if Labor (or whatever they call themselves) won and wanted to implement another Disengagement or Oslo 5, there would be no way to stop it in Netanyahu’s binary-based Knesset, as Labor would always have an automatic majority.

Nor could there even be a legislature vs. executive conflict to fight it out; in Netanyahu’s version it simply can’t happen.

The other problem is that by forcing people to vote A or B, thereby guaranteeing only A and B get into the Knesset, a significant enough percent of Israeli society will not be represented. You will be disenfranchising segments of the population.

Voting levels will drop as people see no reason to vote for a party that can ignore them, knowing there is no alternative.

By removing the threshold, you don’t exclude people who don’t fit into category A or B.

This will have two consequences, both incredibly important:

1) You don’t need a 61 vote majority for most run-of-the-mill legislation to pass, so having a few small parties won’t make a difference on most votes.

But on more important issues, the society changing ones, you do not want to give an automatic pass to the biggest party (think Oslo, Disengagement) – YOU WANT THEM TO WORK HARD FOR IT before they can throw you out of your home.

2) By allowing the small 1 or 2 man parties to be get in, you create a real reason for the big parties to pay attention to the individual sectors internally.

If the Likud knows that the Israeli-Arabs and Hareidim (just to name two obvious examples) may vote for an Israeli-Arab or Hareidi party instead of them and they will get into the Knesset, the big parties will make sure that Israeli-Arabs and Hareidim are included on their party’s list and paid attention to, to get and keep that sector’s vote.

I highly recommend you read my original analysis of the election idea, and the implementation.

And Mr. Prime Minister – I am available for consultation – you know how to reach me.

Deja Vu

11 Kislev 5775 – December 2, 2014

Understanding Israel’s ‘Deal System’

8 Tevet 5773 – December 20, 2012

This is part IV in a series about the Likud’s Knesset list and its primaries, which were held November 25-26th. The previous articles (here, here, and here) dealt with the claims by the media that the Likud had, as a result of the recent primaries shifted to the extreme right. I explained how these claims were out of touch with reality: The Likud list remained very similar to that of 2008. Ideologically right-leaning candidates did very well, but so did non-ideological or media-acceptable candidates.

All in all, only five sitting Members of Knesset did not achieve “secure” spots on the list. The common denominator between all three was not a lack of extremism or Leftist policy (only two were supporters of Palestinian statehood), but a general lack of campaigning and public activism.

One claim made by some commentators, however,  had some validity. It was that there was a “deal system” in place.

This is not unique to the Likud. It pervades the entire Israeli political system. Consider, for example, the fact that the government in Israel is formed through negotiations and haggling over ministries, budgets and policies. Contrast that with the U.S. system in which after the president is elected, he chooses his cabinet with the consent of the Senate and then presents a budget to congress for approval. There is much less haggling that goes on because the President has already one the election and his appointments can’t jeopardize that. Of course, negotiation, compromise and deals are inseparable from the political process, but in a party-list system, deal-making is the primary feature. (Note: a “party-list” system should not be confused with a parliamentary system, which can be a district/constituency system, a party-list system or a combination of the two).

The deal-making that some pundits referred to was the fact that certain candidates and power-factions in the Likud made cross-endorsement deals to ensure mutual success. Thus, for example, Moshe Feiglin and two high ranking, but non-ideological Likud members, Silvan Shalom and Yisrael Katz were reported to have made such an agreement. Gilad Erdan and Gideon Sa’ar were said to be working together. Other nationalist candidates like Yariv Levin and Kety Shitreet were also said to receive support from Feiglin.

Technically, candidates in a party primary are competitors, each one striving for more votes than the others in order to get a higher ranking on the party’s list of candidates for the parliament. Throughout most of their term, Members of Knesset in the same party are in fact locked in this sort of popularity contest. But come the primaries themselves, in practice, the candidates don’t remain in complete competition. At that point, candidates join together, either completely or to a limited degree, often in odd ways to ensure mutual success.

Because voters can choose a number of candidates – in the Likud primaries, voters could choose 12 national candidates and one district candidate – candidates can make cross-endorsement deals which will ensure those who are part of the deal receive a great deal more votes then they could have if they ran on their own.

Three voting lists distributed during the Likud primaries in Jerusalem. Close inspection reveals that the list of recommended candidates is different on each, meaning that the particular vote-contractor who distributed these gave large numbers of votes to more than 12 candidates, making him popular among a great many of the Likud’s list. These were just three I picked up off the floor at the end of the voting. Who knows how many different lists were distributed and what deals were made with whom for each set of votes given to each candidate.  

Let’s say, for instance, that Candidate A has 2000 supporters within the party, while Candidate B also has 2000, and Candidate C has 3000. Candidates A and B can join forces, asking their supporters to vote for both of them, providing each of them with 4000 votes, beating out Candidate C even though he is more popular than each of them separately. With a total of 12+1 votes, the possibilities for deals between the candidates abound. Add to the mix interest groups who control large swaths of votes, who can not only support certain candidates but can trade support with other interest groups or candidates in exchange for votes for their favored candidate, the system becomes vastly more complicated.

Likud Primary Results and Voting in Israel

15 Kislev 5773 – November 29, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai broadcasts from Jerusalem’s International Convention Center while waiting for Malkah to vote in the Likud primaries.  While waiting on line (or is it in line?) Yishai interviews Daniel Tauber, who is running in the Likud list.  Together, they talk about the core values of the Likud party and how they also discuss some of the candidates that are on the list and which would work best for Israel.  Back in the studio, Yishai and Malkah discuss Malkah’s experience with actually voting in the primaries and how system issues were continually causing delays during the voting process.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

The Problem with Haredi Magazines

14 Kislev 5773 – November 27, 2012

Mishpacha and Ami Magazines are competitors. They both seek to serve the same populations. They are virtually identical in Hashkafa – which is decidedly Charedi. How Charedi are they? Well neither of them will show a picture of a woman no matter how Tzanua (modestly dressed) she is. Even if she were wearing a Burka. That’s pretty Charedi.

At the same time they both seek as broad-based an Orthodox readership as they can find. Thus they will feature very positive articles on both the Satmar Rebbe and Rav Hershel Shachter of Yeshiva University.

While I believe they are both absolutely wrong in excluding pictures of Tzanua women – I applaud them for their broad based approach to Orthodoxy. There are many informative articles and weekly columns by talented writers in both magazines. But all is not rosy. I often find things in these magazines which are truly maddening. This week both magazines had articles like that.

In what was an otherwise very positive story in Ami about how the Jewish community’s extraordinary efforts in alleviating the pain of those who have suffered – and are still suffering – the after effects of Superstorm Sandy, there was one little blurb that bothered me. It read as follows: “The Rosh Yeshiva gave us a Psak to help anyone who asked.”

On the surface that sounds wonderful. The Rosh Yeshiva is Rav Reuven Feinstein. He of course said the right thing. Now the Yeshiva students who were working so hard helping their fellow Jews could also help to alleviate the plight of non Jews suffering the same fate.

Really? They had to ask a Shaila? Did they think that if a non Jew desperate for some help – they should tell him, “No”? “Sorry, we can’t help you”? “We can only help Jews”?

That too is a Shaila? What kind of Chinuch do these young Jewish students get that causes them to hesitate in feeding a fellow human being in need? The implication is obvious. Had they not been able to ask a Shaila and a non Jew desperate for food – saw these boys handing ou t food and asked for some himself, they may very well have refused them until they asked a Shaila. Can there be a greater Chilul HaShem than that?

Now I don’t know if they didn’t “shoot first and ask questions later”. Maybe they did feed the needy non Jew and merely wondered if they were doing the right thing. But even that is ridiculous. A fellow human being needs food to survive – you give it to him. Did they think God would punish them for doing so?

There is something terribly wrong with Charedi Jewish education if it does not make obvious the absolute requirement to help your fellow man in these circumstances.

On a completely different subject – this week’s column in Mishpacha by Eitan Kobre really got me upset. In yet another in what seems to be a never ending assault on the President by right wing pundits, Mr. Kobre goes to town on how stupid the black community in Washington DC is for voting for the President.

I am going to stop short of calling Mr. Kobre a racist. I don’t think he is. After all in using economist Thomas Sowell – a black man – to bolster his opinion it is kind of hard to say that he is prejudiced against black people.

But still there does seem to be a subtle prejudice that is hard to prove. He is not castigating all black people. Just those who voted for the President. Which – if I recall correctly – was well over 90%. He attributes this to voting racial pride rather than voting for what’s good for you. As an example of that he points to the fact that Republicans advocate vouchers which – where they have been used – has benefited the black community immensely. I believe that many black people endorse vouchers. And yet they voted for a President that will never implement them and instead will continue funneling money into the black hole of the public school system.

But is it really so surprising that people will vote their racial or ethnic pride – choosing that over someone whose substantive positions have proven to be more beneficial to them? How many Jews vote for the Jewish candidate because he is Jewish? Are Jews stupid too? Besides – are vouchers the only thing to base one’s vote upon?

To be clear, I have no problem with Mr. Kobre’s arch conservative politics. Although I am more of a centrist than a political conservative, I tend to lean a bit more toward the conservative approach. So politically we are not that far apart.

But to bash the President as if he were some sort of socialist “Robin Hood” interested in taking from the rich via taxes and giving it away to the poor via an enormous increase in entitlement programs – is taking the criticism to a new low. Mr. Kobre may not have used those terms in his column. But that is clearly how he thinks of the President. (Not that he’s alone. As I said Thomas Sowell agrees with him. As do many conservative pundits. In fact Rush Limbaugh makes Mr. Kobre look liberal by comparison.)

I do not recall this kind of criticism made against any other Democratic President. Nor even against a democratic candidate for President. Is he the most left leaning President or Presidential candidate in recent history? You would think he was the second coming of Karl Marx if one looks at the sheer venom of some critics. While I wouldn’t go that far with Mr. Kobre’s criticism, there does seem to be an inordinate amount of dislike for the man that goes beyond politics.

Like I said, I do not accuse Mr. Kobre of being a racist. And yet he goes to extraordinary lengths to foment hatred of the man by the Jewish people. Why else did he once again make reference to the Reverend Jeremiah Wright?! What was his point here other than to somehow connect the President to Wright’s rabid anti Israel stance?

And all this in the face of the President’s unqualified support of Israel’s bombing raids in Gaza. I wonder how Reverend Wright characterized it?

Adding insult to injury – that Mr. Kobre wrote this article and that Mishpacha published it before there was a cease fire and while Hamas was still firing rockets at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem make it even more egregious. Especially since it was the Obama administration’s financial investment in the Iron Dome Defense system which prevented the kind of carnage that would surely have ensued had it not been there! If anything Mr. Kobre should be thanking the president profusely instead of calling black people stupid for voting for him.

Come on Eytan. You can do better than that!

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

Netanyahu Forced to the Right by his Rank and File

13 Kislev 5773 – November 26, 2012

The Final Top-20 List

1. Gideon Sa’ar
2. Gilad Erdan
3. Silvan Shalom
4. Israel Katz
5. Danny Danon
6. Reuven Rivlin
7. Moshe Ya’alon
8. Zeev Elkin
9. Yariv Levin
10. Yuli-Yoel Edelstein
11. Haim Katz
12. Tzipi Hotovely
13. Miri Regev
14. Moshe Feiglin
15. Yuval Steinitz
16. Tzahi Hanegbi
17. Limor Livnat
18. Ofir Akunis
19. Gila Gamliel
20. Carmel Shama Hacohen

Dan Meridor, Michael Eitan, Avi Dichter and Benny Begin are out.

11:35 PM: The left wing of Likud was taken out of commission tonight, as well as Benny Begin, a right-winger who was ousted, most likely, for his support of obeying the Supreme Court in its decision on uprooting the community of Migron. It is important, however, to keep in mind that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also the Chairman of the Likud party, has some freedom to rearrange some of the names on the list, in light of other considerations, such as realistic spots that must be reserved for women, immigrants, and minorities. Also, in the process of merging the Likud list with FM Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu, Netanyahu may be able to move some of the names around with the support of the Likud election committee — as he has done in past elections.

But there is no doubt that the Likud has moved to the right, although the five men at the top of the list are more centrist than most of the men and women behind them in the top 20.

Certainly, it will be more difficult for Netanyahu to pursue a 2-state solution with this list in his camp, and certainly to form a coalition government with Labor or anyone from the left.

One unintended victim of the victory of the Likud’s right wing is expected to be the newly cobbled Jewish-Home / National Union list, which only two days ago received 14 seats by public opinion polls. The NRP list, headed by Naftali Bennet, was banking on religious Likud voters expressing their resentment at Netanyahu’s record on the settlements and the Gaza operation by voting NRP. Now, with names like Feiglin, Hotovely, Regev and Danon starring in the new Likud list, those voters are as likely to award their votes to a large, soundly right-wing party, instead of gambling on the national religious camp.

10:42 PM: Channel 2 has predicted that long-serving MKs and Likud ministers Dan Meridor and Benny Begin have not scored a realistic spot on the Likud list.

Knesset Chairman Reuven Rivlin in First Place. Transport Minister Haim Katz is in the top five. Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar not in the top five.

Because of the “shidduch” with FM Avigdor Liberman’s Israel Beiteinu, a realistic spot tonight is anything less than the 20th spot. This is because the two lists will merge in a “zipper” formation, or, if you will, alternate feed. This means that of the 35 “good” spots, only 20 will go to the Likud.

10:17 PM: In conversation with Walla, Jewish Leadership candidate Moshe Feiglin agreed that he has changed his tactics this time around, from “revolutionary” to “evolutionary” changes. He said he expected to win a realistic spot on the Likud list. When asked how many supporters he had managed to bring out, Feiglin answered: “many.”

The vote count, supervised by a judge, has begun.

10:05 PM: Moshe Feiglin is the star of the evening, as the TV cameras are following his every move. After many years in which his election to realistic spots on the Likud list have been suppressed, Feiglin appears to have made it.

9:05 PM: Channel 2 News cites a mega Deal between Transport Minister Chayim Katz (Aviation Industry) and Moshe Feiglin (Jewish Leadership) which appear to be cashing in on their superior organizations.

The extension of the vote today was an attempt on the part of the powers that be in Likud to try and change the outcome, which appears destined to favor the pro-settlement wing of the party. Some rumors have blamed those same powers that be for the delays and the dysfunctional computer tally system.

8:50 PM: There is a general expectation tonight of turmoil, if not a tsunami, in the Likud. Since this morning, on the second day of voting in the Likud primary elections, declared last night because of irregularities and long lines at the polls, voting percentages were far lower than expected. In the first 6 hours of voting today, the polls received only about 3.5% of the electorate, compared to around 53% yesterday. So far, some 70 thousand have voting, or approximately 57% of the registered Likud members. Party officials now fear that the low percentage may mean a dramatic change in the list of chosen candidates.

According to Israel’s Channel 2 News, some Likud officials estimate that the more right-wing members, who are also better organized, have increase their strength in the current elections. According to some estimates, a number of MKs, including government ministers, may have been ejected from the list.

Two polls in Judea and Samaria which hadn’t opened to the public all day were the reason today’s vote was extended by one hour, to 10 PM.

We’ll keep you posted.

NY Jewish Boroughs Voted Romney

12 Kislev 5773 – November 26, 2012

An analysis of a recent New York Times article examining the presidential voting trends of all the New York precincts determined that almost all Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods voted for Republican candidate Mitt Romney over Democratic incumbent Barack Obama.

According to an article by Front Page Mag, Romney won over 90 percent of the Jewish votes in Borough Park, Williamsburg, Flatbush, Crown Heights, Manhattan Beach, Belle Harbor, Howard Beach, Kew Garden Hills, Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay.

The article noted that support for Romney was irrespective of the level of income of the neighborhoods.

UPDATED: Likud Primaries Extended to Monday

12 Kislev 5773 – November 25, 2012

Due to computer glitches that have prevented many Likud members from voting, Likud primary elections which were originally extended until midnight on Sunday, have now been extended to 9 PM on Monday.

Only 16% of Likud members were able to vote by 4 PM on Sunday and only 40% succeeded by 9 PM. Some Likud MKs have demanded this primary election be called off and rescheduled.

Likud Primaries a Mess as Members Wait Hours to Vote

12 Kislev 5773 – November 25, 2012

“They don’t know how to run a war, they don’t know how to run an election, what DOES the Likud know how to do?” muttered one cold Likud member, 45 minutes into her wait to reach the Likud primaries ballot boxes Sunday morning.

Voting got off to a sluggish start when technical difficulties – which some are attributing to hacking – brought almost all the computerized voting stations across Israel to a grinding halt Sunday, forcing many voters to wait upwards of 2 and a half hours to cast their ballots. At Jerusalem’s Binyanei HaUma convention center, patient and apologetic staff members told crowds they did not know when the voting booths would be open, bringing out a few chairs for elderly voters who found standing in the cold difficult.

Ethiopian candidate Avraham Negusie

Ethiopian candidate Avraham Negusie

Meanwhile, enthusiastic representatives of the 60 candidates vying for the 12 highest spots on the Likud party list handed out pamphlets, cards and stickers explaining the policies and opinions of the voters.  Candidates Avraham Negusie (hopeful representative for the Ethiopian sector) and Daniel Tauber (head of Likud Anglos), were on hand in person to meet and talk to voters.

As voters waited, they discussed current events, politics, and the cold weather.  One voter from Samaria, Yechiel, expressed his disapproval of the Prime Minister – and current Likud party chairman – Benjamin Netanyahu.  “I am disappointed in the ceasefire.  I think it will just end up being something that buys time for Hamas to refuel, maybe at best a pause in fighting,”  Yechiel said.  “I wish I could vote Netanyahu out today.  I don’t think I’ll even vote for Likud in the real national elections.”

Others expressed their support of Netanyahu, who stands to be re-elected as head of the party.  “I think the same as before the war,” Mordechai from East Jerusalem said.  “I think Bibi should be re-elected.  He is the best option by far, proven over time.  I hope he will continue to prove it over the next four years.”

When groups of voters finally started to be admitted, they were treated to a simple explanation of the procedure of voting at several mock voting booths set up on and staffed along the sides of the entrance.

At noon, voters who had arrived around 10am were brought to a new indoor line, where they were told that only 3 of the  80 voting computers were working, causing the line to inch forward slowly.  More chairs were brought to accommodate the elderly, as well as teary-eyed children who had been dragged along for an Israeli democratic experience.  Another staff member came by to apologize again, saying rumors were circulating that the booths would be held open until 2am to accommodate all the voters who had arrived to vote and been discouraged by the long wait times (in the end, the elections committee decided to extend voting for two hours until midnight).

JewishPress.com reporter Malkah Fleisher voting.

JewishPress.com reporter Malkah Fleisher voting.

At 12:50 PM, the author of this article was called into a voting booth, and got to the end of her turn to vote when she realized she had been assigned to the wrong geographic voting area.  Asking for assistance from the polite and attentive clerks in front of her booth, an election day attorney was called.

Without asking the permission of the voter (me) or the elections staff, the attorney proceeded to push touch-screen buttons, erasing the voter’s choices in an attempt to restart the process (even as the voter protested that it was very clear to her how to vote, and that she had done everything correctly).  “Let’s see what this does”, the attorney said, as she wiped out my votes.

The screen promptly froze.  The clerks expressed their disapproval for the unilateral action on the part of the attorney, and called for a technician to come and fix the problem.  A technician, who was on his cell phone, looked at the screen, and told the clerks to attempt an action they said they could not do, due to the freezing of the screen and subsequently their own computers, and rushed off.

Do Expatriates Still Have the Right to Vote? (Podcast)

5 Kislev 5773 – November 19, 2012

Did you know that you still have the right to vote, even if you live overseas? If you weren’t aware of this fact and you missed the recent presidential elections, don’t worry! Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, president and cofounder of the Overseas Vote Foundation, explains why voting is still important, even if you live abroad, and how you are able to do it. So get prepared for the next elections and listen to this great interview on the Goldstein on Gelt show!

Voting isn’t Revenge, it’s ResistanceVoting Isn’t Revenge

21 Heshvan 5773 – November 6, 2012

There are plenty of ways to cast the divisions between parties and movements, but the elemental act of voting divides rhetoric from motive.

Obama called voting the best revenge, because for a sizable portion of his base that’s exactly what voting is. Their votes are a violent act, a spiteful assault on a country that they can never participate in for economic or cultural reasons. Change for them is not a positive program, but a negative assault on the national majority. Bankrupting the country by robbing it for their own benefit is their revenge.

Voting for us isn’t revenge, it’s resistance. It isn’t a choice that emerges out of reasoned debate between two sets of values, it’s an act of resistance against the revengers, the looters and the destroyers. The voting booth is a form of sabotage against their regime, their corrupt interests and their oppressive regulations.

These last four years we have endured an intensified occupation of our political, religious and personal freedoms. We have been robbed, lied to, ordered around and in some cases even killed. These crimes have been carried out by elected officials and the election will allow us to remove some of them. It will not end the reign of terror, but if successful, our act of electoral resistance will inflict a severe setback on the plans of their ideological movement and the unelected officials who rely on them for funding and political support.

The election will not end the occupation, but it will interrupt the forward momentum of the occupiers. It will force them to fall back into their think tanks and formulate new strategies for dismantling the Constitution, eliminating our civil rights and ending elections as anything but empty shows with no meaning.

Some of us act as if elections will be here forever so that we can wait for the next one to come around and the one after that when the right candidate will lead us to victory. They won’t be. The ideology that we are resisting believes in populism only when it serves its ends. Its judicial appointees have acted repeatedly to neuter referendums when the results do not go the right way.

The ultimate goal of the occupation is to shift power away from elected officials and into the infrastructure of unelected officials, so that their elected officials can draw on nearly unlimited powers by dictating to the bureaucratic oligarchy of the state, while elected officials not aligned with their movement will be narrowly constrained and have very little influence over the bureaucracy.

The occupation is not here to take power for another four years, but another forty years and another four-hundred years. It is not playing a short term game in a system where power shifts back and forth, but putting in place the infrastructure for the permanent occupation of the United States of America. But despite all its power and control, the miles of video screens that spew forth its propaganda, the billions of dollars that flow from its coffers into the pockets of its supporters and the cultural control that its proponents wield– it still has one vulnerability.

A piece of paper, a push of a button, and the occupiers have to fall back, gritting their teeth and planning a renewed offensive in the spring.

The left overreached itself in the last four years. Its occupation was poorly managed and the native population has been alienated. While its Chief was sacrificing thousands of American lives to win over the natives in Afghanistan, his occupation of the United States was crumbling. The economy is rotten and the people are tired of being lied to. The resistance is popular and the community organizers are running scared.

This is our moment and in a single day we can push the occupation out of the countryside and back into the cities. We can undermine its morale, strip it of the money with which it bribes collaborators and force it to rethink whether it really wants to spend the next few decades battling to control an unruly population. We can make men like George Soros and Ted Turner decide that their money would be better spent terrorizing Eastern Europe or Africa, instead of America by making oppressing us seem like a bad investment.

Voting Overseas

13 Heshvan 5773 – October 29, 2012

This year, American citizens living in Israel can vote in the upcoming U.S. elections, at the AACI (Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel) centers across Israel. The voting station in the picture is in Jerusalem. Nancy and I voted at the Netanya AACI which has the narrowest parking lot you ever saw, plus you have to get the nice lady to come out of the office and remote-open the gate – but who’s complaining…

The line wasn’t that long, but it’s probably sensible to call ahead and find out when the voting room is open. The place is staffed mostly with volunteers, so we need to appreciate their effort and show up when they’re available.

The downside is that you fill out a blank ballot, where you write in your choices for everything, from President to dog catcher. I had to ask Nancy to spell for me the name of our Congresswoman. Our zip code, 10002, just switched from one election district to another, plus, back in the States you don’t have to spell when you vote, unless you’re going for Daffy Duck (whom I have recommended in the past for many different positions).

Last year was my first and last opportunity to vote on a computer in our district. Gone were those wonderful iron machines with the heavy, decisive lever you pulled down with such an air of finality. When that lever came down, fates were decided, you could feel it.

Now we didn’t even have computer keys to push, just an old fashioned piece of paper with my write-in choice.

Good luck, Yosemite Sam, I hope you make it to the White House and become the best possible pwesident you could possibly be.

An Open Letter to Religious Zionist Rabbis

9 Heshvan 5773 – October 24, 2012

Dear Rabbi:

With elections approaching in Israel, I am searching for a religious political party for which to vote. When I think about voting for Shas, I remember their support for Oslo, the surrender of parts of Eretz Yisrael, giving rifles to our enemies, and the terrible sea of Jewish blood that was spilled after the Oslo Accords were signed. That is not the Torah I am searching to find.

When I think about voting for Degal HaTorah and Agudah, except for a few lone voices, I remember their silence leading up to, and during, the Disengagement from Gush Katif, when fellow Jews were thrown out of their homes and pieces of Eretz Yisrael were handed over to our enemies. That is not the Torah I am searching for.

When I think about voting for the Bayit HaYehudi-National Union merger, I see that their leading candidate in the polls has chosen a very pretty young woman as a running mate. Please understand that I have nothing against women, and I am sure this candidate is a very talented and idealistic person, but I wonder if in a public situation like politics, it is appropriate to include a young attractive woman in the leadership of the party, especially for a party that promises to defend Torah ideals.

Modesty has always been a pillar of Judaism. In this week’s Torah portion of “Lech Lecha,” we learn that Avraham Avinu never gazed at his wife until they were on their way to Egypt and its illicit culture, when he realized that the Egyptians would lust after her beauty. I remember that HaRav Shlomo Aviner has written that it is forbidden to attend a lecture given by a woman, since one will have to gaze at her at length and thus transgress the commandment not to stray after one’s heart and eyes. In fact, I once I asked HaRav Aviner if I could write a screenplay, based on a popular novel, about a Haredi youth who was attracted to a non-religious girl, and Rav Aviner answered, yes, if the girl was 90 years old and not attractive. HaRav Mordechai Eliahu, of blessed memory, stated that in attending a wedding where men and women ate together without a mechitza, there was a problem with “Lo tachmod eshet rayecha,” the prohibition of lusting after your neighbor’s wife, one of the Ten Commandments. So, it is difficult for me to think about voting for the Bayit HaYehudi. Some people may say that all this is an exaggeration, that they can look at an attractive woman and not think any improper thought, but I recall that even King David himself got into trouble over a pretty married woman. So I wonder: is this the Torah party that I am searching for?

Could this occur in Shas? In Agudat Yisrael? Will this bring these parties closer to identifying with the goals of the Dati Leumi? Would HaRav Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook have endorsed this party? Yes, the unity of the ranks is a praiseworthy project, and yes, it is important to unite all Am Yisrael, religious and non-religious alike, but why with a pretty, young secular woman? Is this a sign of Torah leadership? Couldn’t non-religious voters be attracted to the Bayit HaYehudi by including on their list a young, idealistic , non-religious soldier from some top commando unit? Why does it have to be a young women who looks like a model? While many people long to see a new idealism and a new Torah-spirit in Israeli politics, which fosters a love for the Land of Israel and for all Am Yisrael, religious and non-religious alike – what possible good could come from this lack of concern for the modesty of our national life in the Holy Land?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/felafel-on-rye/an-open-letter-to-religious-zionist-rabbis/2012/10/24/

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