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December 7, 2016 / 7 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Yisrael Beiteinu’

Shaked Blinks First But Wins Advantage in Contest with High Court President

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

The mark of a statesman—or, in this case, a stateswoman—is their ability to retreat momentarily for the sake of future victories. In her very public and very aggressive contest against Supreme Court President, Justice Miriam Naor, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) collected her winnings and stepped back, knowing she was not yet prepared to pay the full price of a complete victory.

Shaked is spearheading several concurrent moves, all of which have provided the context for a proposed bill by Yisrael Beiteinu MKs—with Shaked’s blessings—to deprive the Supreme Court members of the Judicial Appointments Commission of their veto power over Supreme Court candidates. The moves the Justice Minister was advancing behind the cover of the new bill were a Netanyahu cabinet request for a 7-month delay of the decree to demolish the Amona community in Samaria; a new Regulation Act to compel Arab claimants who prove they own the land belonging to Jewish communities to accept market value as compensation; and a list of appointments to the Supreme Court which the current Court members loath.

Last week, Justice Naor lost her cool, sending a leaked letter to Shaked telling her the proposed Judicial Appointments Commission bill was tantamount to placing a gun on the table. On Sunday the two women met and Shaked eventually consented to putting a temporary lid on her bill — depending on how well the court would deal with her proposed appointments to replace four retiring justices—that’s 4 out of 15—in 2017.

Shaked’s candidates are considered brilliant, and they are also critical of the judicial activism of the court over the past 40 years, since the Likud party for the first time won a decisive electoral victory and relegated the Labor party to what eventually became a perpetual seat with the loyal opposition.

There’s Prof. Gideon Sapir from Bar Ilan University, who has voiced his loud criticism of the high court for neglecting the national component in their decisions. Sapir was harsh in his criticism of the court’s support for the uprooting of Gush Katif’s Jews in 2005.

Then there’s Judge Yosef Elron, who enjoys the backing of Finance Minsiter Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) who is a member of the appointments committee, and also the support of the two members of the bar on the committee. The justices don’t like Elron and prefer to appoint in his place an insider, one of their own, Ron Sokol, the son-in-law of former Supreme Court Justice Theodor Or.

Shaked’s list of 28 candidates also includes Professor Aviad Hacohen, who writes the judiciary column for Shledon Adelson’s daily Israel Hayom, as well as Tel Aviv District Court Judge George Karra, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Chaled Kabub, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Dr. Michal Agmon-Gonen, Central District Court Judge Menachem Finkelstein, Haifa District Court Judge Yael Willner, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Ruth Ronnen, Central District Court Judge Prof. Ofer Grosskopf, Central District Court Judge Michal Nadav, Jerusalem District Court Judge Tamar Bazak Rappaport, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Gilad Neuthal, Official Receiver General Prof. David Hahn, Adv. Asaf Posner, Prof. Aviad Hacohen, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Dr. Kobi Vardi, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Shaul Shohat, Nazareth District Court Judge Asher Kula, Jerusalem District Court Judge Nava Ben-Or, Jerusalem District Court Judge Ram Winograd, Jerusalem District Court Judge David Mintz, Jerusalem District Court Judge Moshe Sobel, Jerusalem District Court Yigal Mersel, Prof. Haim Sandberg, and Prof. Shahar Lifshitz.

Shaked’s final four will likely include two rightwingers, an Arab and a centrist woman, such as Judge Tamar Bazak Rappaport, who also serves, as Vice Chairman of the Anti-Trust Tribunal, which deals with issues of cartels, monopolies and mergers.

Of the two rivals, Shaked turned out to be the one speaking softly and holding a big stick behind her back. Naor was loud and blustery, and it looks like she got her way — for now. But Shaked did not put down her big stick, and in the long and exhausting struggle the country’s judiciary will be undergoing soon, she likely plans to bring home a few wins.

David Israel

Supreme Court President Pulls Gun on Justice Minister over Appointments Veto

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

Supreme Court President Justice Miriam Naor on Thursday sent a harsh letter to Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi), informing her that she and her colleagues on the bench will no longer discuss with her their proposals for new judicial nominees as long as Shaked persists in promoting a law that deprives the Court of the right to veto those appointments.

Justice Naor was referring to a bill proposed by three Yisrael Beiteinu MKs — Robert Ilatov, Oded Forer, and Sofa Landver — which she attributed to Shaked, based on media reports, and based on the fact that the Justice Minister had not rejected the bill nor its timing.

The bill proposes changing the voting requirement of the nine-member Judicial Appointments Committee to what it had been before 2008, when a Likud minister, Gideon Sa’ar, instituted the need for a special majority to decide a Supreme Court appointment: 7 out of 9 committee members, or 2 less than the number of members in attendance (6 out of 8, 5 out of 7). The Supreme Court is represented by three committee members, which gives it enormous leverage in deciding appointments by special majority, but not so much if the committee reverts to the simple majority requirement.

The bill comes just ahead of the parliamentary year of 2017, when as many as four out of the 15 Supreme Court justices will be retiring, to be replaced by the Shaked-chaired appointments committee.

Justice Na’or’s rage was outright Chekhovian: “Submitting the bill at this time is tantamount to putting a gun on the table,” she wrote the Justice Minister (who represents the will of millions of Israeli voters). “It means that should some committee members not agree with the appointment of certain candidates in a manner that would not facilitate their appointment by a special majority, the constitutional rules of the game would be changed so that they may be appointed by a simple majority.”

Meaning, the Supreme court could be forced by the sovereign, the Israeli public, to accept among its numbers justices with whom they may disagree ideologically. Imagine the scandal…

Na’or added that under such circumstances she and the rest of the high court members of the committee will cease all communications with the Justice Minister over future appointments.

Na’or’s imagery of putting a gun on the table likely referenced Russian playwright Anton Chekhov’s famous quote: “If you say in the first chapter that there is a gun hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off.” In other words, it’s a warning to the pesky Shaked that she may have started something she’d regret.

It could also be a reference to Eli Wallach’s character Tuco in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966), who said: “When you have to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk. Don’t stand around trying to talk him to death.”

Or it could be a reference to Russian roulette, a lethal game of chance in which a player places a single round in a revolver, spins the cylinder, places the muzzle against their head, and pulls the trigger.

The Justice Minister’s office issued a response statement saying, “Judicial Selection Committee meeting will continue as scheduled. In the coming days we will publish the list of Supreme Court candidates.”

Advantage Shaked.

JNi.Media

Habayit Hayehudi: Amona Stays or We Leave

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

On Thursday morning, MK Shuli Mualem Refaeli, Chairwoman of the Habayit Hayehudi faction, told Israel’s FM103 that Prime Minister Netanyahu is dragging his feet regarding the coming evacuation of the Amona community in Samaria Dec. 25. While the official line, from both Netanyahu (Likud) and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) has been that the battle for Amona has been lost and the Supreme Court and Peace Now will inevitably have their way, MK Mualem insisted that “there is an agreed upon outline that could provide a solution, but the people in charge of promoting it ate dragging their feet and aren’t examining it at the needed pace and the right manner.”

In short, Mualem said, “We suspect the prime minister, when issuing the order to move on [with the dismantling of the community], didn’t pound his desk.”

Habayit Hayehudi will pound the desk on Sunday, apparently, when Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who chairs the ministerial legislative committee, is slated to propose Mualem Refaeli’s new bill legalizing the Amona homes. With 25 of Netanyahu’s 30 Likud Knesset members on record as supporting legalizing Amona — by compelling the Arab claimants on the land to accept market value compensation — the bill stands a very good chance of passing the ministerial committee and going to an initial vote in the plenum.

Of course, this is the last thing Netanyahu wants, because as soon as this bill becomes a law, the Miriam Naor Supreme Court will strike it down. Naor wants the destruction of Amona, not a compromise, much like the Obama Administration, which has been sending angry messages Netanyahu’s way even for the idea of resettling the Amona evacuees in nearby Shiloh.

Moalem-Refaeli wrote Netanyahu that she was prepared to pull the bill from Sunday’s agenda, and help avoid a coalition crisis, if the government declares that Amona was built on abandoned land, making it automatically state-owned. She warned him of the current attack on the entire settlement enterprise, as anti-Zionist NGOs such as Peace Now will move on to thousands more Jewish housing units in the liberated territories where they would dig up fabricated Arab land owners, with full support from the Ramallah land registrar.

Much like Netanyahu, Habayit Hayehudi party is also under attack from their own rightwing, as Amona residents and many in the settlement movement have been critical of its failure to save the condemned community. Former MK Yaakov (Ketzaleh) Katz, took to the airwaves to praise Deputy Dfense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan (Habayit Hayehudi) who told Amona residents that should the bulldozers attack their homes, the Jewish Home would leave the government. At the same time, Ketzaleh attacked the party chairman, Naftali Bennett, who actually gets to decide if and when the party leaves government, for his failure to be as blunt as Ben-Dahan.

It remains to be seen which way Netanyahu will cleverly evade this crisis, and whether or not he is prepared to either arm wrestle the high court or put down a rightwing rebellion in his own party. His decision is likely to be less confrontational and, equally likely, less brave.

JNi.Media

Ahmad Tibi, Yisrael Beiteinu, Cooperating to Protect Arab Workers from Unjust Taxation

Monday, August 15th, 2016

Joint Arab List MK Ahmad Tibi, political advisor to Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat from 1993 to 1999, and PLO representative at the 1998 Wye River negotiations, is not a politician one easily imagines in cahoots with MK and former Navy officer Oded Forer (Yisrael Beiteinu). But last week, at a meeting of the Knesset Finance Committee, the two legislators supported each other’s arguments, even though those arguments were diametrically opposed.

At the meeting, the Finance Ministry requested the Knesset’s approval for a rule that was described as aimed at strengthening economic cooperation with the Palestinian Authority regarding the employment of PA Arab workers. As reporter Zeev Kam of Makor Rishon put it, the rule sounds innocent enough. But, of course, the devil is always in the details.

There are three categories of PA Arab employees: those who work in the PA, those in the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, and those who work inside “greenline” Israel. Workers in the latter two categories earn on average three times what their brethren working inside the PA do. This has to do with the fact that Israelis in and out of the greenline just pay more reasonable salaries, but also with the fact that Israel endows these workers with certain tax benefits.

And those tax benefits are what the Israeli Finance Ministry is after, seeking to match the tax rates of PA Arabs working inside and outside the PA. The estimate is that by cutting the tax benefits, the PA stands to earn about $45 million a year — taken from the PA Arabs who are lucky enough to qualify for work for Israeli employers.

Why would Israel be so invested in taking money away from the only PA Arabs who still have something good to say about it, and give it to the PLO, who will spend this money dragging Israel through the mud in international forums? The two representatives of the Finance Ministry at the Knesset Finance Committee explained that the World Bank has recommended the move to impose the same tax rate on all PA Arab workers, regardless of where they work.

Mind you, it took the MKs some time to decipher the financial mumbo jumbo heaped on them by the two civil servants, but in the end, both Tibi and Forer were equally outraged, each for his own reason, and both supporting each other in the strangest example of political bedfellowship.

MK Tibi was annoyed that instead of forcing Israel to pay up the PA tax money it has frozen for a variety of reasons (the PA’s awarding stipends to terrorists’ families, the PA owing the electric company half a billion dollars), the Finance Ministry would simply charge the most vulnerable workers. He was also upset at the fact that when seeking to equate the pay of PA Arabs making $400 a month and those making $1,300 a month, the financiers decided to cut everybody down closer to $400.

Tibi, an obstetrician, suggested bitterly that since there are hospitals in the PA that provide inadequate treatment, “using the same principle a Palestinian patient being treated in an Israeli hospital, instead of receiving two infusion bags should receive only one, to make it even.”

MK Forer said he was at his wits’ end trying to understand the Israeli concern for the welfare of the Palestinian Authority. “There are about 70 thousand Palestinian workers with permits in Israel,” he said. “Out of those only one was involved in a terror attack. Which points to the fact that these people really come here to earn their bread. And you now wish to take more taxes from them, not to fund positive activities, but so the money would go to the Palestinian Authority. And what does the PA do with these monies? Pay those who are in prison for security violations.”

“Finally,” Forer said, “taking the example of a plant in [the Samaria Jewish community of] Barkan, a Palestinian who would sell the Israeli merchandize produced in Barkan would suffer severe punishment according to Palestinian law, imprisonment and fines.” In other words, Israel sets out to cut the income of a PA Arab who supports Israeli products, and give the money to the PA which boycotts the same products.

According to Kam’s report, the attempt on the part of the Finance Ministry to sabotage Israeli relations with PA Arabs to support a hostile PA died in committee.

JNi.Media

New Poll Sees Israeli Left Collapsing, Purely Rightwing Coalition Government

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

Following the surprising results of a GeoCartographia poll a week ago, showing Likud down from 30 to 25 seats, the Zionist Camp (Labor) dropping from 24 to 8 seats, Habayit Hayehudi soaring from 8 to 16 seats, and Yesh Atid rocketing from 11 to 22 seats, on Thursday a new poll by Maagar Mochot (Heb: Think Tank) showed a more moderate reflection of the same trend. The new poll, conducted for FM103 Radio, shows Likud still in first place with 27 seats (3 fewer than its current mandate), Habayit Hayehudi rising, but only to 13 seats (a +5), Yisrael Beiteinu gaining 4 seats to rise from 5 to 9 seats, and Yesh Atid still soundly beating its identical twin at the center, Kulanu, as Yair Lapid’s party rises from 11 to 21 seats, while Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu drops from 11 to 6 seats.

On the left, the Zionist Camp (Labor) slows down its sharp drop, and scores 10 seats, compared with its current 24 (the other poll gave it only 8). Meretz picks up one seat to rise to 6 seats, and the Joint Arab List maintains its 13 seats.

The Haredi block stands at 15 seats (last poll gave it 18), with Shas at 8 (+1) and United Torah Judaism at 7 (+1).

The ideological map reflected in the new poll is most encouraging to the rightwing parties: 49 seats go to the three rightwing Zionist parties, and 15 to the Haredim, meaning that Prime Minister Netanyahu, in his fifth term, could easily put together a rightwing government relying on a workable 64-seat majority, without ambiguous center-right partners such as Kahlon. The question then would become, does Netanyahu actually want a purely rightwing government, which would likely expect him to impose Israeli law in Area C, change the rules of engagement, invest heavily in Jewish expansion in Judea and Samaria, alter the undemocratic way in which Israel’s judges are picked, and a myriad other burning issues which so far he had been reluctant to pursue, blaming it on his more secular, centrist partners.

The rightwing parties could possibly combine their numbers to boycott either Kahlon or Lapid, or both, from the future coalition government — the Haredim because they despise Lapid, Habayit Hayehudi and Yisrael Beiteinu because they’d like to pursue an aggressive agenda in Judea and Samaria, where a good portion of their constituency resides.

Our friend Jeremy Saltan, a.k.a. Knesset Jeremy, who moonlights as HaBayit HaYehudi’s Anglo Forum Chairman, has launched the Israeli Poll of Polls, strictly for political addicts. Here’s his most recent handiwork, copied from his website.

 

Party KnessetJeremy Polling Average (June/July/August) Change since previous KJPA (April/May) KJPA (April/May) All Polls since Elections 2015 Election
Likud 25.3 -1.4 26.7 26.4 30
Yesh Atid 20.3 0.3 20 19.3 11
Bayit Yehudi 13.5 2.2 11.3 12 8
Joint List 13 0.2 12.8 12.8 13
Zionist Union 11 -1.8 12.8 14.4 24
UTJ 8.8 0.8 8 7.5 6
Yisrael Beitenu 8.2 -0.8 9 8.4 6
Kulanu 6.8 0 6.8 6.7 10
Shas 6.7 1 5.7 6.5 7
Meretz 6.3 -0.5 6.8 6 5
Right-Religious 69.3 1.7 67.5 67.4 67
Center-Left-Arab 50.7 -1.7 52.5 52.6 53

 

 

JNi.Media

Army Radio Poll: Netanyahu Down to 25, Bennett Up to 16

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

A survey conducted for Army Radio in 500 Households by GeoCartographia shows a drop for Likud from 30 to 25 seats, a jump into the abyss for Zionist Camp (Labor) from 24 to 8 seats, and a rise for Habayit Hayehudi from 8 to 16 seats.

Yair lapid’s Yesh Atid would have been another big favorite had the elections been held this week, with 22 seats, up from 11. Lapid’s arch-enemies, United Torah Judaism, also jump significantly, from 6 to 11. Interestingly, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu is boosted by only one seat, from 6 to 7, possibly because Liberman is yet to fulfill his promise to kill Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya within 48 hours of taking office.

Here is the complete list, current number of seats in brackets:

Likud — 25 [30]

Yesh Atid — 22 [11]

HaBayit HaYehudi — 16 [8]

Joint Arab List — 13 [13]

United Torah Judaism — 11 [6]

Zionist Camp (Labor) — 8 [24]

Shas — 7 [7]

Yisrael Beitenu — 7 [6]

Kulanu — 6 [10]

Meretz — 5 [5]

In terms of political affiliation, the Knesset factions would have experienced a serious tilt to the right were the elections held this week:

72 [67] Right-Religious

48 [53] Center-Left-Arab

David Israel

Herzog Booed at Labor Party Conference

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

The Labor Party Conference opened Sunday in Tel Aviv with boos and catcalls directed at party chairman Isaac Herzog, as the delegates were preparing to vote on a date for re-electing Herzog or picking the next chairman. Several delegates called on Herzog to “go home,” and some waved in front of him pictures of Prime Minister Netanyahu.

After the catcalls, Herzog decided to abandon his earlier plan to speak to the party conference, and the delegates entered the secret ballots phase right away. Party Secretary General MK Yehiel (Hilik) Bar yelled at the booing members that “anyone comparing the chairman to Putin better leave the party.” It was a reference to a photoshopped image of Herzog standing next to Edrogan and Putin that had been handed out by the chairman’s opponents earlier.

Meanwhile, herzog told reporters, “We expected an attempt to blow up the conference. I decided with Hilik that he lead a move to remove from the party anyone who resorts to violence at the conference. Trying to blow up the conference is an act of violence.”

Herzog was critical of MK Shelly Yachimovich, his predecessor at the party helm, who objected to pushing off the election. He blamed her and MK Erel Margalit of encouraging inappropriate behavior by delegates “with their violent and excitable style.” He noted a comparison Yachimovich had made last May between Herzog and a lapdog, as the chairman was being seduced by PM Netanyahu only to discover that he had been used all along as leverage to bring MK Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party into the coalition government.

Yachimovich said Herzog should man up and that he’d been using that dog reference more than 200 times since May, and should pick a new bone.

The delegates voted in a secret ballot on having the chairmanship election either in December 2016—as Yachimovich and Margalit want it, or in Juy 2017—Herzog’s preference.

In the end, the chairman’s position was accepted by a hefty majority of 750 to 402 votes, and the primaries in the Labor Party are officially postponed until July 2017.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/herzog-booed-at-labor-party-conference/2016/07/31/

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