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September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Yesh Atid Party’

Conflict of Interest Brewing for Lapid and Beer Company

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Yesh Atid and party chairman Yair Lapid are facing their first charges of unethical conduct following the revelation that one of Lipid’s advisers is a part-owner of a beer company that is due tor receive aid from the Finance Ministry that Lapid heads.

Hillel Kobrinsky is an adviser to Lapid and holds a 4 percent stake in Abeer Habar, the owner of Alexander Beer that is in line to receive government compensation for the recent tax hike on alcoholic beverages, the Israeli Globes business newspaper revealed.

A petition for disclosure of agreements singed by Kobrinsky has been filed by Globes under the Freedom of Information Law.

Lapid’s media advisor Nilly Richman countered that Kobrinsky and Yoram Bauman, who managed the Yesh Atid election campaign and also is an investor in the beer company, are suing Globes.

Kobrinsky and Bauman, through their lawyer, today sent a warning to “Globes,” in which they claim that the article implied that they were behind the measure that led to the decision to help microbreweries by exploiting their ties with the finance minister and for personal gain.

However, the Movement for Quality Government charged that the report raises “concern of flawed ethical conduct and raises suspicion of inappropriate and improper conduct…about the closeness of some of the owners of the dominant breweries involved in the process to the finance minister himself and to his party, especially when this has not been disclosed.”

Polls Show Gains on Left and Right and a Dent in the Middle

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Yair Lapid’s star is beginning to dim, with his Yesh Atid party losing two seats in the Knesset in a Knesset Channel poll released on Monday. The two-seat drop from its current standing in the Knesset is even more serious when taking into consideration that Lapid was sitting on top of the poll three months ago, when Yesh Atid was leading the pack.

The Likud-Beiteinu party  lost five seats in the poll, from 31 to 26, while Tzipi Livni’s party bearing her own name lost one third of its popularity, falling to only four seats if elections were held today.

The Haredi religious parties lost three seats between them.

The departures have flocked to the left and right, with the Jewish Home picking up one seat in projected elections results, and Meretz and Labor on the left picking up eight seats between them.

State Dept. Shows Faint Signs of Dumping ‘Peace Process’

Monday, June 10th, 2013

U.S. State Dept. comments on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s scheduled return to Israel this year offer faint indications that the Obama administration, may finally be getting ready to tell the Palestinian Authority and Israel, “Go fight it out among yourselves and leave us alone.”

No one is quite certain why Kerry is coming, unless he has some super-duper trick up his sleeve. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has dug his heels deep in the Saudi 2002 Initiative that has been developed into the basis of PA demands that there is nothing to be negotiated.

On the Israel side, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, one of the most senior and nationalist Likud Knesset Members, took it upon himself to say that the government is against a two-state solution.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was so upset that he called on the Sabbath to the Times of Israel website, which had quoted Danon, to voice his distance from Danon’s remarks.

The facts on the ground tell the story. On the one hand, Palestinian Authority Arabs, heavily backed by European Union and international leftist funding, have settled on thousands of acres in Judea and Samaria to stake claims and isolate Jewish communities.

On the other hand, In  the first three months of this  year, there were 865 housing starts in Judea and Samaria, compared with 313 in the same period in 2012, mirroring the nationalist influence of the Jewish Home party and its “partner through silence,” Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid party.

Significantly, the figures do not include areas of Jerusalem claimed by the Palestinian Authority and where the Netanyahu government has reportedly carried out a de facto building freeze since the beginning of the year.

Senior PA negotiator Saeb Erekat said Sunday following Danon’s comments, “I believe that a government that continues to tender settlements and rejects the two-state solution will not go for peace.”

So why does the Obama administration really think anyone is listening?

It does have an audience, limited but elite.

Only someone with the Ivory Tower view of President Shimon Peres, and there are still a few thousand like him, could actually believe that Abbas is sincere in wanting a peace agreement with Israel, even if all of his demands are met, while refusing to declare that Israel is a “Jewish state.” And only the same view could actually believe that peace can be achieved even Israel were to satisfy all of Abbas’ demands.

“It’s clear not only to us Palestinians but also to the American administration and John Kerry that the current Israeli government is not interested in the peace process,” Nimr Hamad, an adviser to Abbas, told the Associated Press. “The Palestinian position is clear. Israel has to be forced to stop the settlement activity.”

Abbas has long passed the point of no return, and Netanyahu, honest or not, can comfortably go through the motions of wanting to negotiate because he knows Abbas will refuse.

Is Kerry finally getting the message?

In Washington, the growing doubts among reporters of what has become a “peace process charade” have started to creep into the State Dept. comments.

In Friday’s daily news briefing, State Dept, spokeswoman Jen Psaki emphasized what previously has been stated as  a secondary clause:

“Let me just reiterate the larger point here, which is that this is between – this is up to the Israelis and the Palestinians to make the decision to move back to the negotiating table… But it is ultimately up to both sides, regardless of who else is involved on the outside.”

She could not even answer reporter’s questions concerning what meetings Kerry will conduct.

Kerry and President Barack Obama have said before that in the end, the Palestinian Authority and Israel  must decide if they want an agreement.

Kerry does not want to be another failure  following a long line off U.S. diplomats who have thought they could change the Middle East.

The smartest thing would be for Kerry to blame both sides and make a quick exit.

Is Kerry smart? Don’t bet on it.

Haredi MKs’ Holy Vision: Draft Law behind Israel’s Woes

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Two leading Haredi Knesset Members have delivered a revelation, apparently based on their Kabbalic insights, that Israel’s latest security and economic woes are a direct results of God’s vengeance for the universal draft that recognizes Haredi youth as equal to other Jewish citizens required to serve the country.

MK Moshe Gafni of the United Torah Judaism party handed down to the common people his prophetic insights.

Everything was just dandy before Yair Lapid came along, according to his understanding. There were no missiles from Gaza threatening Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. There was no poverty. The deficit, to a certain extent bloated by funding for yeshiva education, did not exist.

Syria was not a threat, and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt really liked Israel.

So what happened that all of a sudden Syrian President Bashar Assad threatens Israel with missiles and Finance Minister Lapid raises taxes and cuts spending?

It’s the draft, stupid, the draft that demands that Haredi young men actually stop studying in yeshivas – except for the ones who don’t – and serve the country like every other Jew in Israel is supposed to.

The argument has been heard hundreds of times that studying Torah protect Israel through its spiritual rewards.

But this time, MK Gafni seems to have stayed on Mount Sinai too long since the Shavuot holiday.

When they [Yesh Atid] didn’t harm the Torah, there was quiet, also on the security front,” he said. “Syria was a country far away. There was quiet. Israel’s credit rating rose. We were in an excellent economic situation. They started harming the Torah; Syria got closer to us….Missiles are now pointed at Tel Aviv. I believe in this with full faith. There are thousands, hundreds of thousands, and maybe millions like me who believe this. They harmed the Torah and so Israel’s credit rating is plummeting.”

Another Haredi MK, Yisrael Eichler, has identified two wars in Israel. “The first, against the Arabs, stems from security reasons, and the second is a cultural one, aimed against the Torah and the Jewish lifestyle,” said, according to the Yisrael HaYom newspaper.

“Anyone who is truly concerned about Israel’s security knows that only soldiers who are fit for battle should be drafted, subject to security officials’ discretion, not the commissars of secular culture.”

After the Knesset passed the universal draft law, Gafni announced that only two countries in the world have jailed Jews for learning Torah: Rome and Israel.

Thousands of Israeli men fight in the army and learn Torah in their spare time. Combat soldiers serving next to my community in the southern Hevron Hills come to our synagogue daily and open up their Talmud after praying.

So far, no has arrested them. Our security seems to be more or less okay, and the community’s budget is tight but balanced.

Could it be that these soldiers guarding the country and guarding the Torah know something that Gafni and Eichler don’t know?

Lapid Threat: On Haredi Draft It’s ‘Equal Burden’ or New Elections

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid warned on Monday that if the government wants to stay in power, it will have to approve a committee’s recommendation on “equal burden,” including criminal actions against draft dodgers.

“If anyone thinks I entered politics only to solve the economic disaster that the previous government left in behind, they are making a big mistake, said the finance minister.

Lapid is proving himself to be a smart politician. He has the secular anti-Haredi public’s vote in his pocket, no matter what. He can scream to the rafters over compromises on the “Peri Committee” recommendations for equal military service for citizens  - well, at least for Jews – and can still agree to a compromise.

His threat to “dissolve the coalition” is real, but neither he nor the anti-Haredi public will mind if a small compromise is made because they know that a political bird in the hand is worth two doubtful birds in the bush. The alternative is a new coalition – probably one with Haredim – or new elections. Both options are really non-starters.

His party took home 19 seats to catapult his fledgling party into the number two spot, behind Likud Beiteinu, on the strength of his demand for equal burden in the draft, a break for the middle class and concessions to the Palestinian Authority for the sake of a peace agreement.

In fact, he has taken positions four-square against the demands of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Lapid even has sounded like a mild nationalist, stating that Jerusalem cannot be divided and making the totally impractical suggestion that Abbas take a step back and agree for interim borders for a new PA state. He even has approved funding for Ariel University located in central Samaria.

Concessions to the Haredim on the military draft is his red line, as he made clear on Monday after Naftali Bennett, chairman  of the Jewish Home party, argued against the Peri panel’s recommendations for criminal charges against draft dodgers.

He said he “does not want to see a police battalion” storm Bnei Brak to arrests Haredim draft evaders.

As with most apparent political crises in Israel, the hot air is a warning to the other side not to try to throw too much cold water on an issue, which in this case is the draft. After all of the thunder and lightning, some kind of compromise will be reached, such as changing the tone of the clause requiring criminal action against draft dodgers in return for extending the military draft for Hesder yeshiva students.

All of the noise has another advantage. It drowns out any mention of the massive draft dodging among many secular Israelis, the ones who voted for Lapid.

The drum beats for dissolving the coalition and risking new elections also silences any reminder about any obligation for the Arab sector.

If Bennett does not want to see a police battalion deployed in Bnei Brak, Lapid would fall over himself before allowing a police battalion to enter Umm-al-Fahm, home of the northern branch of the radical Islamic Movement.

Likud Beiteinu Tourism Minister Uzi Landau asked on Sunday why the Peri Committee did not recommend forcing Israeli Arabs to fulfill a duty of national service.

One obvious reason is that while there is a political benefit from taking aim at the Haredi public, no one is going to switch political support for someone who makes demands of the Arab sector.

Besides, the police would not dare storm Umm-al-Fahm.

And Lapid knows that Bnei Brak would not be a piece of cake, either.

Cabinet Passes ‘Austerity Budget’

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

The Cabinet Monday evening passed a two-year budget, nearly five months late, with tax hikes and across-the-board cuts in spending, Only one minister voted against the  budget, the second and last time it will cover two years instead of one.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who is chairman of the Yesh Atid party, said after the vote that the budget is “first stage in changing peoples’ lives in Israel.”

The Value Added Tax on most goods, except food, will rise from 17 percent to 18 percent. Income taxes will rise for upper income families, and ministries will have to get by with last outlays, meaning cuts in services.

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer announced a surprise quarter-point cut in the interest ate Monday night, two weeks ahead of the end-of-the month decision n whether to change the rate for the following month. He also praised the new budget, which could lead the country out of a huge deficit that has mounted in the past three years following several years of a surplus.

Coalition Finally in Place after Bennett’s Mediation

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

A new government coalition finally took form Wednesday night and is expected to officially take the reins on Monday.

Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett mediated a crisis between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, who had refused to back down from his demands for the Interior and education ministries.

Netanyahu has agreed to replace Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar with a Yesh Atid Knesset Member, Rabbi Shai Piron, while his deputy minster will be a Likud MK.

Lapid gave up his demand for the Interior Ministry, which apparently will be taken over by Sa’ar, and Bennett won his demand for the Jewish Home party to head the powerful Knesset Finance Committee. Lapid will be Finance Minister.

Amir Peretz, who ditched Labor to join Tzipi Livni’s party, will hold a Cabinet post, probably as Environment Minister.

The Jewish Home party will have three ministers, with Bennett taking over the portfolio of Industry and Trade. Most significantly, Jewish Home MK Uri Ariel may head the Housing Ministry, which is a key in building in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as well as in regulation of illegal Arab and Bedouin construction in Israel.

Netanyahu will act as Foreign Minister. He has reserved the post for current Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in case he wins an acquittal in a criminal charge against him.

Moshe Ya’alon will be Defense Minister and Shaul Mofaz and his two-seat Kadima will not be in the coalition, leaving four parties in the government – Likud Beiteinu, Jewish Home, Yesh Atid and Tzipi Livni’s “Movement” party, with a combined total of 68 seats, seven more than a majority.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/coalition-finally-in-place-after-bennetts-mediation/2013/03/13/

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