web analytics
July 29, 2014 / 2 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 

Posts Tagged ‘Yair Shamir’

’Middle Class’ Champion Lapid One of Richest Israeli Politicians

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Yesh Lapid party’s chairman Yair Lapid’s wealth is estimated at $6 million, ranking him number six in Forbes Israel’s listing of the top 10 politicians in Israel.

The estimated wealth comes as no surprise to his former supporters, who have helped  his party’s popularity dive by 50 percent since Lapid led the party to win 19 seats in the Knesset with a campaign boasting him as a champion of the middle class.

As Finance Minister, he promptly hiked regressive taxes and cut child welfare benefits, felt most by lower and middle income wage earners.

The list of the top 10 also shows that he is not the only Yesh Atid MK with a fat bank account. Yaakov Perry was ranked right behind Lapid with a fortune of more than $5 million. However, he has said that he is closer to being “middle class” rather than “rich,” which he apparently defines as someone like Warren Buffet.

Not surprising, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who profited millions of dollars from his Checkpoint  high-tech company, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Minister Silvan Shalom are on the list. Shalom’s wife is from the family with substantial investments, the most well-known being the Yediot Acharonot newspaper.

However, there also are quite a few “limousine liberals” who are big on helping the working class.

In second place, behind Barkat, is Labor party MK Erel Margalit, with an estimated wealth of $60 million, most of made through his Jerusalem Venture Partners enterprise and other business transactions.. In last place” is Labor MK Yitzchak Herzog, with a paltry $3 million.

Other political fat cats are Yair Shamir, son of the late Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir and a member of the Israel Beiteinu faction of Likud, in fourth place with an estimated wealth of $20 million. Right behind him is Meir Sheetrit, a former Likud and Kadima MK and now a member of Tzipi Livni’s party.

As expected, Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett is one the list, in ninth place with a fortune of $7 million.

New Netanyahu Coalition Govt All Cobbled and Ready, Maybe

Monday, March 18th, 2013

On Monday evening, the Knesset will host the swearing in ceremony for Israel’s 33rd government, and Benjamin Netanyahu’s third term—second consecutive—as prime minister (his first term ran from June 1996 to July 1999).

Immediately after the ceremony, Netanyahu will convene a brief cabinet meeting, with a toast. Then the bunch (22 ministers and 8 deputies) will travel to the presidential residence, for the traditional group picture.

The Knesset session will open with the selection of the Speaker of the House. It will likely be Likud MK Yuli Edelstein, who will replace the former Speaker, Reuven Rivlin, who wanted very much to continue in his post but, unfortunately, had committed the ultimate sin of criticizing the Prime Minister’s anti-democratic tendencies, not the kind of slight which Netanyahu’s wife Sara easily forgives.

As usual, Netanyahu never shared with Rivlin his plan to depose him. In fact, as far back as a year ago, he assured the popular Speaker—who is also closely associated with the Settlement movement—that he’d have his support for the post of President when Shimon Peres completes his 7-year term, 2014.

Yuli Edelstein’s life’s story is fascinating: Born in the Soviet Union to Jewish parents who converted to Christianity (his father is a Russian Orthodox priest), Edelstein discovered his Jewish connection through his grandparents. He studied Hebrew back when that was considered a subversive act, for which, in 1984, he was sent to Siberia (the charges were drug related, but everybody knew it was the Hebrew thing). He made aliyah with his wife, Tanya, served in the army, and entered politics, ending up in the Knesset in 1996. He has switched between several parties, until finally landing in the Likud, and has held several ministerial portfolios. And if he doesn’t catch Sara’s ire, he could become as memorable a Speaker as Rubie Rivlin.

But the biggest losers, without a doubt, are the Haredi parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism. They were almost literally kicked out by Yair Lapid, who stated openly that, should he be seen in the government group picture with the Haredim, his voters would abandon him. Surprisingly, Naftali Bennett, his newly found brother from a different father (Yair’s father, the late MK Tommy Lapid, was a true hater of the religion), supported the dubious position that, in order to truly help the Haredi public, government had to first be cleared of Haredi partners.

Shas, a party that depends completely on patronage for its very existence, is seething with anger over Bennett’s “betrayal.” It’s hard, however, to take seriously the victimized self-pity of Shas, whose spiritual father Rav Ovadia Yosef dubbed the Jewish Home party a “Goy Home.” Altogether, it appears that, perhaps counter intuitively, the National Religious leaders as well as the rank and file, have been harboring heaps of resentment against the Haredim. The Haredi slights of several decades, including their occupation of the Ministry of Religious Services and the Chief rabbinate, doling out jobs to Haredi officials who reigned over a population that looks nothing like them—those slighted chickens have been coming back to roost.

Take for instance Rabbi Hayim Drukman, who responded to both the Haredi pols and to Netanyahu, who accused the Lapid-Bennett axis of “boycotting” the Haredi parties. Rabbi Drukman Argued that “the Haredi public are the biggest boycotters, boycotting for years the Torah of the national religious public.”

“Any Haredi apparatchik who gets elected to the Knesset, immediately becomes a rabbi, while the real rabbis of the national religious public are noted in the Haredi press by their first names (without the title ‘Rabbi’). Is this not boycotting?” Rabbi Druckman wrote in the Saturday shul paper “Olam Katan.”

Inside Shas, the short knives have already been drawn and they’re aimed at MK Aryeh Deri, the former convict who came back from the cold to lead Shas into a glorious stalemate (11 seats before, 11 after).

“We were very disappointed in Deri,” a senior Shas pol told Ma’ariv. “He did not bring the votes he promised Rav Ovadia, there was no significant change in seats, and, in fact, Deri is responsible for our failure.”

In United Torah Judaism they also seem to regret their alliance with Shas, it’s highly likely that, in a few months, they’ll opt to enter the government without Shas.

Meet Yair Shamir, the Man who Could Replace Avigdor Liberman

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Yair Shamir says he doesn’t discuss hypotheticals.

For the Israeli Air Force commander turned technocrat turned politician, these topics include how to respond to settlement evacuations or achieve Palestinian statehood, a fracture in the U.S.-Israel relationship or Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Liberman’s departure from politics.

Shamir, the 67-year-old scion of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, is Yisrael Beiteinu’s No. 2. With Liberman, the former foreign minister, under indictment for fraud and breach of trust, he is the de facto heir apparent to one of Israel’s largest political parties.

Assuming that mantle would be quite a shift for Shamir, who entered politics only last year. He served 25 years as a pilot and officer in the IAF before moving on to private business. Until 2011 he served as chairman of Israel Aerospace Industries, the country’s leading aircraft manufacturer. Before that he was an executive at El Al Israel Airlines, a large telecommunications firm, a venture capital fund and a computer equipment company.

Entering politics was a “nationalist decision,” Shamir told JTA, a choice “to give my coming years to strengthen Israel on the national level and not on the private level.”

Last year he was appointed deputy to Liberman in Yisrael Beiteinu, a party that originally focused on Russian immigrant concerns but since has attracted Israelis with nationalist views from other backgrounds. Shamir tries to avoid talking about the party without Liberman.

“The press is trying to create a rivalry between us,” Shamir said. “I’m almost convinced that he’ll come out innocent. A public figure who is found guilty in court shouldn’t be a public figure, but everyone needs to follow his own conscience.”

That attitude fits into Shamir’s overall political philosophy. He professes deep respect for pluralism and democracy while also opposing a Palestinian state – a position that puts him at odds with Liberman. Liberman has called for redrawing the borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state in the West Bank to include more Jews and exclude as many Arabs as possible.

Shamir follows in the ideological footsteps of his father, who served as prime minister from 1986 to 1992 and died last July. As leader of the Likud party, the elder Shamir opposed any compromise with the Palestinians – even after the outbreak of the first Intifada – and strongly supported West Bank settlement expansion.

“I see him as my lighthouse,” Shamir said of his father. “A lighthouse isn’t the nicest building. It’s a simple building but it stands on a cliff and always shines its light, in bad and good weather. It’s not shaken by a storm or a calm sea.”

Like his father, Shamir wants Israel to hang tough in the constantly unstable Middle East. His top priority as a politician, he says, will be to contribute his business experience to government by strengthening the country’s infrastructure and economy.

“The only way to maintain the land and the people is to be strong economically and militarily,” he said. “When you look at who Israeli politicians are, there isn’t enough representation of industry and agriculture, the people that are really doing anything.”

When it comes to opposing a Palestinian state or settlement evacuations, Shamir says the State of Israel deserves the entire Land of Israel and sees no reason to be conciliatory as long as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains intractable. That’s why he treats a scenario of settlement evacuations and Palestinian statehood as a hypothetical.

“Right now there’s no hocus-pocus solution,” Shamir said. “The Arabs there who call themselves Palestinian, they’ll stay or go, but we’ll definitely stay. We need to keep building in the land.”

Shamir seems like a throwback to the Likud of his father’s time – a party committed to Greater Israel. And while he isn’t traditionally observant, Shamir calls himself a “believing Jew.” He supports the Chabad-Lubavitch movement and keeps a copy of the Tanya, its principal philosophical tract, on his desk, along with a Bible.

Yisrael Beiteinu has merged lists with Likud for the upcoming elections, but Shamir says the present-day Likud has lost sight of what’s important to Israel’s growth: immigration and settlement. As a party founded by Russian immigrants, Yisrael Beiteinu was attractive to Shamir, he said. He runs an organization called G’vahim that specializes in helping academics immigrate to Israel.

Expelling Jews is a Red Line

Monday, January 7th, 2013

I was surprised to read in JewishPress.com, Yair Shamir’s article, where he states that he opposes a Palestinian state.

I was surprised, because over Shabbat, I read in Makor Rishon an interview with his party’s leader, Avigdor Liberman, where Liberman explicitly stated that he would support the uprooting of settlements that aren’t inside settlement blocs, in exchange for peace, including his own home in Nokdim, Gush Etzion.

Liberman continued on to say that peace isn’t possible under the current conditions, only because Abbas isn’t a partner,.

But that last line is more than a bit disingenuous, because on Sunday, I read that Liberman said that seeking a two-state solution will be an important element of the next government.

Like Shamir, Liberman also said that he is also opposed to a Palestinian state.

But as I understand him, Liberman says he supports the creation of autonomous, demilitarized Palestinian areas, or alternatively two states with population transfers. I’m not sure what the differences between any of these plans are at this point. If it walks like a Palestinian duck…

I’ve also heard rumors that Liberman is angry at Shamir for something he recently said. Perhaps it was about opposing the Palestinian state, without adding on the autonomous area bit? Or perhaps it was for attacking Netanyahu for supporting the two-state solution.

I don’t know.

The bottom line is that Liberman has explicitly stated that he accepts the dismantling of settlements, and he will be actively pushing for a resolution based on a two-state solution in his next term, and he openly accepts that uprooting Jews will or at least may be part of that solution.

And to top it off, now there are reports that Netanyahu has delayed E1, by “hesitating” to approve the projects there, and not filing them. That’s a worrisome development.

I don’t know much about Shamir’s actual positions, and whether or not he stands 100% behind Liberman, but since its Liberman and Netanyahu who are setting policy, and not Shamir, I am honestly concerned that a vote for Likud-Beytenu is a vote to expel Jews from their homes.

It’s unfortunate, because there are so many important issues on the Yisrael Beytenu agenda that they want to deal with, such as reforming the electoral system, Hareidi integration, and so on. But instead, Liberman chose to insert a red line like this into his party’s position.

Yesterday, Naftali Bennett, was attacked for his position on not uprooting Jews. He wisely responded that all the Jewish parties should sign an affidavit that they won’t expel Jews. He received cheers and applause for saying that. And his party is only going up because of it.

Today, Rav Ovadiah’s son said the same thing.

The bottom line is this.

The Israeli people do not want any more Jews uprooted, and the Israeli people do not believe that pulling back to any variation of the ’67 lines will bring peace with the Arabs.

It’s unfortunately quite clear that Netanyahu and Liberman do not see eye to eye anymore with what most of the population wants or believes is good for us, and it’s only because the Likud list is a pretty good list, that Likud-Beytenu hasn’t dropped even further or faster.

Expelling Jews is a red line, and no matter what other benefits Likud-Beytenu may bring, it’s a red line that they’ve told us they may very well cross.

Netanyahu and Liberman need to come out and explicitly state that under no circumstances will Jews be expelled during their term in power.

That’s my red line.

Liberman Done In by Former Deputy

Monday, December 24th, 2012

The person behind the recent frantic efforts of Israel’s police to extend its investigation in order to enhance the indictment against Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, has turned out to be none other than his deputy – Danny Ayalon. And as you may recall, Ayalon has been dumped by his boss from the top spots on the party’s Knesset candidate list. Rumor had it that Liberman only told Ayalon about his demotion in the car on the way to the press conference where said list was presented.

Hell hath no fury like a deputy foreign minister scorned, it turns out.

On Monday night, both the Channel 10 and Channel 2 news editions have reported that new testimonies were collected from members of the Appointments Committee at the Foreign Ministry—which approved the appointment of Zeev Ben Aryeh to the post of Israel’s ambassador to Belarus.

Ben Aryeh was convicted of passing to Liberman information about an investigation which was being conducted against the latter.

The new information appears to be making things a lot worse for the former FM.

Both news channels report that the most significant testimony against Liberman was provided by Ayalon, who was chairman of the Appointments Committee. Ayalon’s testimony appears to implicate Liberman in actively promoting Ben Aryeh’s appointment.

However, that’s not the only new testimony picked up by the police. According to the reports, more testimonies have been taken which support Ayalon’s accusation.

It was further reported that Liberman is expected to be summoned as early as next week to a police interrogation, and that he will be confronted with Ayalon’s testimony.

Channel 2 has also reported that Liberman is expected to argue that Ayalon’s testimony is infected by the latter’s need for revenge following his humiliation at the hands of his boss.

Liberman resigned his post last week, and this new twist might prevent him from campaigning or even being permitted to resume his Knesset membership.

Liberman’s successor at the helm of Israel Beiteinu will likely be the candidate at the number 2 spot, Yair Shamir, son of the departed Prime Minster from Likud, Yitzhak Shamir.

Ayalon will remain as the Deputy Foreign Minister until the elections.

Son of PM Yitzhak Shamir Enters Politics

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Yair Shamir, son of former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir (Likud), will be entering the political arena under the banner of the Yisrael Beytenu party.

His political debut will put him just under Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, at the party’s number 2 slot.

Shamir made the announcement on Friday, saying he believes his father would have considered joining the party due to their similar values of “freedom of the individual, wholeness of the nation and the land, and aliyah”.

Shamir, 67, is the former chairman of El Al airlines and Israel Aerospace Industries, as well as a former pilot and IAF Colonel.  He is now chair of the Shalem Center and Gvahim job-placement company for new olim, as well as a partner in Catalyst Investments.

What Bibi Can Learn From My Father

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Anyone who thinks Prime Minister Netanyahu, in order to improve relations with the U.S., should succumb to American pressure in return for a U.S. incentives package and extend the freeze of Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria is either mistaken or misguided.

It is no secret that there were sharp disagreements in the early 1990s between then-President George H.W. Bush and my father, then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. But my father succeeded in deflecting pressure from the White House thanks to his principle-driven positions and his astute approach in dealing with the U.S. Congress.

Thus, irrespective of President Bush’s objections, my father received $650 million in special assistance, $700 million worth of military systems, a considerable expansion of American ammunition pre-positioned in Israel, enhancement of Israel-U.S. counter-terrorism cooperation, upgrading the Haifa port for the use of the 6th Fleet (which yielded $1 million in daily revenues) and breakthrough access by Israel’s defense industries to Pentagon repair, maintenance and refurbishing bids – all in addition to annual foreign aid.

Nothing better illustrates my father’s success than Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s words in his dedication to the book Yitzhak Shamir: Firm as A Rock:

During President George Bush’s term in office, while I was serving as the IDF’s Chief-of-Staff, I was once summoned to the Prime Minister’s Office to meet with then-U.S. Secretary of State James Baker who had been demanding that Israel make far-reaching concessions. Upon the request of Shamir, I briefed our prominent guest with the range of military threats facing Israel. Baker did not retract his demands. Instead, carrying the weight of the only superpower leading the free world today, he insisted that Israel concede. Shamir’s face became very tense and alert, it looked like a volcano about to explode. He banged on the table and told the secretary of state in a very blunt and undiplomatic manner, in a very sharp but self-controlled tone: “Mr. Secretary, you can demand what you choose to demand but this is our country and we will not agree to do anything that will harm its interests and future even if demanded by our best friend.”

My father’s refusal to budge from his principles may not have led to a round of applause and praise in the media, but it elicited respect for the man and improved Israel’s national security. His stance should serve as an example to Israeli prime ministers that it is possible to stand up to American pressure and refuse to relinquish both vision and strategic goals. In fact, such a surrender would only serve to erode Israel’s power of deterrence in the Middle East and its standing in the corridors of power in Washington.

Genuine leaders realize that saying “no” and withstanding pressure advance strategic goals – while retreat and submission undermine those goals and only increase international pressure.

Fending off pressure sometimes requires an alteration of tactics – but not the abandonment of strategic goals.

Defiance of American dictates may harm a prime minister’s personal popularity in the short run, but in the long run it will transform Israel into a stronger strategic ally of the U.S.

There are those who say we cannot compare the state of the world during the 1980s to the state of the world in 2010, and that an Israeli prime minister today faces tougher pressure.

True, the world has changed – but in Israel’s favor. Israel has undergone dramatic upgrades in the military, economic, demographic, technological and medical fields. Moreover, the Free World is much more aware of the threat of Islamic terrorism and Iran’s nuclear power and therefore comprehends better the security predicaments of the Jewish state.

Most important, the U.S. Congress has been a bastion of support of enhanced U.S.-Israel relations, displaying a more hawkish approach than even the Knesset when it comes to Israel’s national security and especially on the issue of Jerusalem. The Congress is equal in power to and independent of the president. The president executes but Congress initiates, legislates, authorizes – and possesses the Power of the Purse.

Washington’s respect for my father was eloquently expressed by then-Senate Majority and Minority Leaders George Mitchell and Bob Dole. At the end of a 1989 visit by my father to Washington, they told him: “You know why we respect you despite our disagreements with your policies? Because you’re tough!”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/what-bibi-can-learn-from-my-father/2010/10/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: