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August 28, 2014 / 2 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Yair Lapid’

Kidnapping Saga: Lapid Dusts Off His Siddur to Pray

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Secular Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid’s turning to prayer for the safe return of three teenagers kidnapped by Palestinian Authority terrorists symbolizes the country’s ability to plug the dikes against surrender to the frustration that has followed the initial reaction of anger to the abductions.

Every media outlet in the country has rightfully tried to keep the crisis in the headlines, but the truth is that for all the efforts to report something new, the bottom line is “nada.”

Zilch. Zero.

If the security forces know something, they aren’t saying or may even be lying to throw the terrorists off course. Hanging on to every word to interpret, analyze and dissect, journalists have covered every possibility and every angle possible,  and the IDF has carried out thousands of searches for the terrorists and their captives, Gilad Sha’ar, Naftali Frankel and Eyah Yifrach.

Lapid, during a visit to the family of Sha’ar, told Gilad’s mother, “I haven’t prayed for six years. Since the bar mitzvah of my son I haven’t been in a synagogue. When the story of your sons broke, I looked through the entire house searching for my grandfather’s siddur. I sat and prayed.”

It would be easy – and mean – to ridicule Lapid, whose who has made a religion out of spewing venom against observant Jews, especially Haredim.

Mocking him so would simply be another way of venting frustration, and we have already seen this week enough cracks in the unity that Israelis have displayed in their prayers for the kidnap victims and the trust that the IDF will find them alive and will capture the terrorists, dead or alive.

Naftalii Frankel’s mother Racheli said this week, “I believe wholeheartedly that they will return, but whatever happens, remember God does not work for us. Do not forget, even if God forbid, something happens, I believe they will come back but if not, please be united. Be united.”

Not everyone was listening.

David Ha’Ivri, who has done wonders in the Shomron Regional Council to bring journalists like Lapid as well as foreign media and political leaders to see for themselves that Jews are not oppressors and that settlers are not terrorists, vented his anger and frustration on the Arutz Sheva website Thursday and blamed the Israeli security forces for not preventing the kidnapping.

And Rabbi Dov Lior of Hebron-Kiryat Arba, one of the leading national religious rabbis, blamed the kidnappings on the failure of Israelis to do more mitzvot.

Between Ha’Ivri, Rabbi Lior and Lapid, guess which one gets the thumbs up for saying the right thing at the right time?

As every day passes without real news, the danger grows that frustration will turn to hopelessness.

Pundits already are warning that the army’s operating against the Hamas terrorist infrastructure in Judea and Samaria could have repercussions as we get closer to next week’s beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Security forces have arrested more than 300 terror suspects and killed at least one, while three soldiers have suffered light injuries.

Rabbi Berel Wein, in comments on the Jewish view of frustration., has written,  “Usually, frustration leads to feelings of anger and anger leads to bitterness of spirit and even to violence….

“’Blowing off steam’ is an understandable reaction to moments of extreme frustration. Yet the Torah and Jewish tradition militates strongly against such expressions of anger in almost all circumstances of life. Maimonides, who advocates moderation and a middle of the road approach regarding all human behavior traits, nevertheless advocates extremism in avoiding anger.

“The Talmud is replete with statements denigrating anger as a response to the frustrations of life. Anger is a statement that there is no God present in the world. Anger by its very presence is heresy and a denial of faith.”

Easier said than done, but Lapid, of all people, has shown the country how to do it.

Lapid, Livni and Bennett: Anarchy in Netanyahu Government

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Recent policy statements of Government Ministers Yair Lapid and Tsipi Livni make the thinking person wonder what they are doing in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government. They sound more like the American Government than coalition partners with Naftali Bennett.

Two centrist* parties in the coalition – Yesh Atid and Hatnua – threatened to quit the government if it annexed West Bank settlements in response to the vacuum in the peace process.

“If even one settlement is unilaterally annexed, Yesh Atid won’t just quit the government, it will topple it,” said its party head, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, on Sunday. (Jerusalem Post)

The ideological differences between the various members of Bibi’s coalition are more opposite than a well made Chinese sweet and sour dish. Those sorts of culinary contrasts may taste great, but they can make for anarchistic governing, which is what seems to be going on right now in Israel.

At the same time Minister Naftali Bennett has promoted his program to annex many of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

Under the plan, Israel will gradually annex Area C of Judea and Samaria, where 400,000 Israelis reside…”

Yes, those are the same places that Lapid and Livni want to make judenrein, cleansed of Jews.

Nu, I ask you:

Which of these plans represents the ideology of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu?

Is anyone in the driver’s seat?

*I would not call Yesh Atid or Hatnuah “centrist.” They are both extreme Left, even though Lapid made a point of inviting a variety of people to run on his list. When it comes to official ideology, they are just window-dressing.

Visit Shiloh Musings.  / Batya Medad

Coalition Sharks Smell Netanyahu Blood

Monday, June 9th, 2014

A guy ought to be able to look to his own cabinet for support in the face of enemy threats. It’s a reasonable supposition, one would think, but apparently it isn’t the case for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The coalition sharks are smelling blood, and it seems to be coming from the prime minister.

Apparently, it isn’t enough that Fatah, supposedly Israel’s “peace partner”, has welcomed Hamas back into the Palestinian Authority with open arms. It also isn’t enough that the United States and major European countries have blessed the new Palestinian union. But instead of a united defense for Israel in the face of the Fatah-Hamas front, the second-largest party in Netanyahu’s coalition – Yesh Atid – has aligned with Hatnua chairwoman and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni to form a fifth column and threatened to ‘bring down the government’ if the boss doesn’t follow orders.

Orders from whom? How about from Finance Minister and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid, for starters. He is the one who this time ordered Netanyahu to produce a map with borders for a new Palestinian Authority country, once and for all. Sound familiar? It should. You can find the same words in quotes from PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, or from PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Chomp, chomp.

Then there’s Bayit Yehudi chairman and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who has taken to the public soapbox to fight with Lapid and everyone else over what he thinks should be done about the Jews in Judea and Samaria. He probably means well, but instead of keeping the discussion in the Cabinet, he is taking the argument to public radio interviews. The ‘only sane plan’ is to annex Area C, he says. It’s not a new plan – he has said it for years – but why isn’t this discussion being kept behind closed doors? If he is Netanyahu’s ally, he should say so. If not, what is he doing in the coalition?

Chomp. Chomp.

And now, the Big Kahuna. Avigdor Liberman – the guy who cut the Likud votes in half because so many Likudniks couldn’t bear the thought of voting for a ‘Likud-Beytenu’ ticket – owes his political survival to the prime minister. It should be recalled that Liberman was on trial for corruption at the time of last year’s election, but Netanyahu kept his job as foreign minister open for him until Liberman was acquitted. The deal cost the Likud several seats in the Knesset, but Netanyahu was true to his word.

Now, Liberman has turned around to stab his ally in the back by making public comments about his boss’s dilemma, rather than simply helping solve the problem behind closed doors.

“What happened yesterday, when four senior ministers gave public addresses one after the other with each proposing a different political solution, was a grotesque performance,” Liberman said today (Monday) at a conference of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Eilat. “We need to cut down and adopt a single political plan to bind all parts of the coalition… as soon as possible, because if we don’t do it on our own, we will be dragged towards what we don’t want, and what is not in our best interest,” he said.

Right. But why is he saying that in public? A bit of the old pot calling the kettle black, no?

Liberman also directly addressed remarks made by Bennett and Lapid: “The economy minister spoke of annexing settlement blocs, and the finance minister threatened to disband the coalition if such a plan is approved. They both know they are talking about something that will never happen.” He commented that he supported Bennett’s plan, but said it was “not feasible.” Liberman then added drily, “he thinks it is worth saying to maybe get two more seats (in the Knesset).”

Lapid Calls for Unilateral Disengagement 

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid slammed Economy Minister Naftali Bennett Sunday, and threatened to bring down the government if Bennett’s plan to annex Judea and Samaria is adopted. Lapid also called for a building freeze.

In addition, Lapid called for an Ariel Sharon-style flight from Judea and Samaria “in order to preserve Israel’s Jewish character.”

Lapid warned that “if a Palestinian state is not established alongside Israel, the Palestinians will come to us sooner or later, with full backing of the world’s nations, and tell us: ‘Since you don’t intend to give us our own state, at least allow us to become citizens.’”

But he did not reference demographic evidence that the Palestinian population in Judea and Samaria continued to decline in 2013, and refused to address the fact that neither the Arabs or the United Nations accept Israel’s unilaterally-drawn Gaza border. Despite Israel’s withdrawal, Palestinians and their supporters continue to describe the Gaza Strip as “occupied.”

In addition, Lapid failed to explain whether or not he had learned any lessons from the destruction of Gush Katif in 2005, or how he would prevent the security nightmare that plagues southern Israel – Israeli Civilians in Sderot and other Gaza border region communities have withstood nearly 10,000 rocket attacks from Gaza since the Gush Katif manoeuvre – from reaching other parts of the country, particularly Ben Gurion Airport, well within rocket distance of the Binyamin region of Samaria.

Budget Cuts Leave Israeli Air Force Training Flights Up in the Air

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

The IDF is grounding training flights in the Israeli air force, effective immediately, according to a report late Tuesday night by Walla!

Starting next Sunday, pilots will fly only during actual operations and in flight school, IAF fighter jet commanders were told Tuesday night. The IDF decision to ground the planes includes reserve pilots as well, and was made jointly by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz.

The decision to clip the wings of Israel’s air force came after the Finance Ministry refused to send the Defense Ministry a payment of NIS 750 million ($215 million) for basic maintenance, training and drills.

Last October the Defense Ministry had asked for an increase in its budget after it had taken steps to streamline operations. The Cabinet approved a decision to transfer NIS 2.75 billion to the defense establishment from the budget surplus that existed at the time.

Nevertheless, Finance Minister Yair Lapid has continued to advocate for a cut in the budget instead, hoping to use those funds for social services.

In the long run, it may be that the equipment will come out the biggest loser of all, however. Brig.-Gen. (res) Assaf Agmon, head of the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies, was quoted as saying, “a plane that doesn’t fly suffers in terms of its condition; rubber dries out, the body is damaged. It’s for good reason pilots often air out their plane for 15 minutes before a mission, so as to preserve the plaine’s flight condition.”

A source in the Defense Ministry told Walla!, the Finance Ministry “refused to hold logical negotiations while at least making good on its earlier commitments, and therefore we had no choice but to make decisions like these.”

“The IDF planned in a responsible manner the work plans for 2014 according to the missions and the size of the army, as approved in October by the Cabinet, and in January by the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committe,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement. “Throughout that time the meaning of the approval of a work plan with an inadequate budget was presented to all the relevant parties. It was made clear that in May, the IDF would reach an extreme point at which hard decisions would be required.”

Finance Ministry Leaves IDF Empty-Handed

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Finance Minister Yair Lapid was apparently not satisfied with the IDF decision to cancel military reservist training for the entire year.

A bare few hours after IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz made the announcement, the Finance Ministry also rejected a separate funding request for a cash infusion to the defense establishment.

Moreover, according to a source who spoke with Ynet, the ministry plans to slash more of the military budget for fiscal 2015.

Right down to the bone.

The ministry claims the cuts come in response to a Bank of Israel estimate released Monday urging the government to balance the books by raising taxes to the tune of some NIS 18 billion and trimming the budget in each ministry for fiscal 2015.

Critics say the IDF is using the elimination of reservist training as a weapon against the budget cuts.

Traditionally, the defense establishment has been the one area in which cuts kept to a minimum, if any are made at all. But there are those who believe the IDF should trim the number of career soldiers it maintains and take a second look at restructuring pensions and other benefits.

The chief of staff expressed his concern Tuesday in a statement warning, “This is no trick, and no shtick. I am very concerned. The IDF is in the service of the people, not the other way around. We will make every effort to secure the safety of Israeli citizens no matter the circumstances.”

But the question is how that can be carried out if reservists are untrained – and called upon to suddenly use — any new equipment that arrives on Israeli shores.

Moreover, as Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon pointed out Tuesday, the financial stress on the IDF is “not new – the figures were presented to the Cabinet at the beginning of the year.” The defense budget, he noted, “is not the biggest one” and he too warned that “it is growing smaller.”

Ya’alon said that due to Lapid’s budget cuts, “We will not call up reserves even for operational activity.”

Translation: All military activities will have to be carried out by active forces only – and most are young and relatively inexperienced. A high percentage have never been through a war.

At present, the head of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority’s paramilitary force has announced he believes it is time to end the security cooperation agreement with Israel. That Fatah-led force is on the verge of merging with Gaza’s Hamas terror organization.

If Lapid succeeds in slashing the IDF budget, what will happen should the new PA unity government decide to challenge Israel’s existence altogether in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, with aid from Arab nations?

MK Ze’ev Elkin to Chair Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee

Monday, May 12th, 2014

At last, the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee has a new chairperson: Likud Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin.  It’s taken six months to get there.

Elkin will chair in rotation with senior Likud lawmaker and coalition chairperson Yariv Levin. Likud MK Tzachi Hanegbi is expected to replace Elkin as deputy foreign minister.

To soothe the ruffled feathers of Yesh Atid chairman and Finance Minister Yair Lapid, his choice for the post – Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah – will instead be made a senior deputy minister.

Lapid has been negotiating with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over the issue, forever and a day. The position remained vacant since Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman was forced to leave while facing corruption charges in a trial that acquitted him of the allegations last November.

The appointment now goes to the Knesset House Committee for ratification. If approved, Elkin will take the first rotation, until January 1, 2015. Levin will then serve 17 months, until June 1, 2016. Elkin returns at that point, and remains until 2017. Levin will also continue to serve as coalition chairperson until November 2014, and simultaneously chair the Knesset House Committee.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/mk-zeev-elkin-to-chair-knesset-foreign-affairs-and-defense-committee/2014/05/12/

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