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June 1, 2016 / 24 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘yisrael beytenu’

Incoming Defense Minister Rattles Israeli Political Establishment

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

by Michael Bachner

The news that MK Avigdor Liberman, chairman of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteynu party, will be Israel’s next defense minister has rocked the political establishment on the right and left.

Liberman, a tough-talking former ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has sought the Defense Ministry portfolio for years – and appears set to receive it after a deal struck with Netanyahu on Wednesday.

Liberman’s rise followed a tumultuous day of negotiations and backroom deals in which both Liberman and MK Isaac Herzog, chairman of the historically left-wing Labor party, vied for the job of defense minister and the chance to enter Netanyahu’s government.

“I regret the prime minister’s decision. I did not imagine that he would make such a paradoxical and dangerous move,” said MK Benny Begin, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, in an interview with Israel’s Army Radio on Thursday morning. “The prime minister has been very proud of what he called ‘a reasonable, balanced and responsible’ defense policy, while Liberman’s statements give an opposite impression.”

Netanyahu received harsh criticism from opposition parties as well, including Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah, who blasted Netanyahu for “bartering the most sensitive and important positions as if nothing mattered” in a Facebook post on Thursday.

Liberman was an ally of Netanyahu – the two ran together in a united party during the 2013 election after which Liberman became foreign minister – until they had a public falling out two years ago. The Yisrael Beiteynu party remained in the opposition after last year’s election, and as recently as March Liberman castigated Netanyahu as a “liar, cheat, and con man.”

Liberman has been a frequent advocate for a harsher military response toward Palestinian Authority terrorism, notably against the Hamas terror group that runs Gaza.

“The elimination of Hamas is the primary mission of the Israeli government and as defense minister I will carry it out,” Liberman said before last year’s elections. “We will not reach agreements and understandings with them. The only agreement that can be reached with Hamas is when they are buried in the ground,” he said, adding that such an Israeli policy cannot be implemented when the government is comprised of “a coalition of nerds.”

Meanwhile, reports have emerged that Tony Blair, the Quartet’s envoy to the Middle East and a former British prime minister, colluded with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to push Herzog into the government – a move reportedly designed to facilitate a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority. According to the report in the Israeli daily Haaretz, Blair even met with Herzog’s political partner, MK Tzipi Livni, in her Tel Aviv home this week, despite the fact that she is sitting shiva – the Jewish mourning ritual – for her brother.

Liberman is set to replace current Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, a senior Likud member who has recently clashed with Netanyahu over a series of issues related to the IDF’s independence from the political establishment.

Ya’alon, apparently alluding to the news of his ouster, said on Thursday that Israel is facing a crisis of leadership. “There is a loss of our moral compass on basic issues,” Ya’alon said. “If I had to give a golden tip, it would be to navigate with a compass rather than a weather vane. Navigation with a compass is tried and true, and it’s also a question of leadership.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Netanyahu Invites Liberman to Meet on Unity Government

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beytenu party chairman and MK Avigdor Liberman were scheduled to meet at 4 pm Wednesday to discuss a return to a Likud government.

Liberman denied reports that he met last week with the prime minister to discuss support for Yisrael Beytenu sponsored legislation.

Media reports also alleged Liberman was offered the defense portfolio – which might account for the tensions between Netanyahu and current Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon – but Liberman said Netanyahu made no offers.

Liberman set three conditions for entering the coalition, which he shared with journalists at a news conference Wednesday morning. The former minister of foreign affairs said his party would demand the defense portfolio, imposition of the death penalty for terrorist murderers, and pension reforms.

“I heard many times in the media that they offered us defense and the death penalty… we never heard any such offer,” Liberman told reporters.

“If it is true that they are offering [the] defense [ministry], the death penalty and pension reform, that is indeed a respectable offer, and there is something to talk about. But we won’t conduct negotiations in the dead of night, or via secret deals.

“The prime minister has my phone number… we haven’t ruled out anything, but it needs to be serious.”

Hana Levi Julian

Liberman Calls for Terrorist Death Penalty Like Massachusetts, and Opens Door to Joining the Coalition

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

PM Netanyahu is probably beginning to realize that 61 to 59 is going to be difficult to maintain over a long period of time. Not because members of his coalition are going to vote against coalition positions, but because it means that everyone will have to be in the Knesset for every single vote, including the Prime Minister. No sick days, no vacations, and no important meetings in the White House.

MK Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) is probably realizing how lonely it is in the opposition, sitting with MKs he has no ideological connection with, but is still upset with how the PM treated him.

Liberman has begin sending out trial balloons. He said on Saturday that he would join the coalition if there were specific changes to the coalition’s guidelines. His position now isn’t that different from the position he took when he turned down the Prime Minister’s offers of various high-level ministries. But he also made sure to point out how poorly Netanyahu is mistreating his allies, even within the Likud.

One guideline change Liberman suggested is the death penalty for terrorists. He pointed out that even Massachusetts, a capital of liberalism and higher education, decided on the death sentence for the Boston Marathon bomber.

Liberman wants the guidelines to include: having the “Jewish-National State” law passed, equal sharing of the security burden (draft), the death penalty for terrorists, and building in Jerusalem and the Settlement blocks.

Will this power couple two realize they need each other to succeed, or will they let everything fall apart?

Jewish Press News Briefs

Liberman is Persona Non Grata, and Bennett Can Forget About Judicial Revolutions

Friday, May 8th, 2015

PM Netanyahu has no one to blame for the results of his coalition negotiations but himself, though that’s not stopping him from blaming his partners (and former partners) he mistreated.

Netanyahu’s natural partners, Bayit Yehudi and Yisrael Beytenu, were prepared to sign with the Likud immediately and with relatively reasonable demands, but Netanyahu saved them to last, played hardball with them, and basically abused them, until they decided they had enough.

An angry Avigdor Liberman quit as foreign minister and made it clear that he won’t be part of Netanyahu’s coalition. A fed-up Naftali Bennett decided to instead go for the gold, since his trust in Netanyahu was approaching zero, and he believed he had nothing left to lose.

According to a Makor Rishon report, Netanyahu told Likud MKs that not only will Liberman not be a member of his coalition now, Liberman will not be a member of his coalition, ever. Even if Liberman changes his mind, “there’s no coming back.”

Sources in the Likud said there will be revenge on Bennett for playing hardball during the last days of negotiations, and Netanyahu is plotting to kick Bennett out of the coalition as soon as possible and bring in Yitzchak Herzog and the Zionist Camp instead.

Within Bayit Yehudi, they believe that has been Netanyahu’s plan all along, even before Bennett began playing hardball back.

According to the Makor Rishon report, Netanyahu also said Bayit Yehudi can forget about introducing any judicial revolutions, whether they be reforms in how judges are selected or any other decisions that negatively impact the judiciary, as he will personally block it.

Netanyahu plans to rely on one of the conditions in the coalition agreement which prevents proposing “explosive” legislation in the legislation committee. This condition was introduced in the previous coalition to thwart then Justice Minister Tzipi Livni from going overboard, but it still didn’t stop Livni from proposing them all the time in the committee.

Likud sources say that Netanyahu is personally holding on to the Foreign Ministry portfolio so he can offer it to any party that might join the coalition later.

Since Lapid and Liberman won’t be allowed back in, that only leaves Yitzchak Herzog and his Zionist Camp (Labor).

For his part, Herzog says that he won’t be joining Netanyahu’s coalition, but when asked to confirm that position with a party vote, Herzog refused, leaving the feeling among his party members that he is leaving that door wide open.

Even within the Likud, a minor rebellion is brewing, with MKs jockeying for the limited number of ministerial positions, and each one feeling they deserve it more than their friends and associates, and that Netanyahu owes it to them.

Netanyahu’s coalition is off to a rough start, with a lot of anger and an atmosphere of suspicion and mistrust.

In the previous coalition, Netanyahu tried to keep Bennett out of the government, but Bennett forced his way in and proved to be Netanyahu’s most trusted and reliable ally. Liberman has also been Netanyahu’s trusted and reliable ally for decades.

Maybe these relationships are now broken, but the thing about politics, and Israeli politics in particular, is that there is no such thing as forever –unless you’re Shimon Peres.

Shalom Bear

Liberman Threatens to Quit Knesset if Denied Foreign Ministry

Friday, April 17th, 2015

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are meeting privately on Friday at 2 PM to discuss the terms of Yisrael Beyteinu’s entry into the coalition.

Liberman is adamantly insisting on receiving the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but Netanyahu wants Liberman to step back and take something else.

As JewishPress.com reported, Bennett is reportedly agreeing to not demand the Foreign Ministry if Liberman doesn’t get it either.

Sources in the Likud claim that Liberman is threatening to resign from the Knesset if he doesn’t receive the Foreign Minister’s position again, though a spokesman for Foreign Minister Liberman denied this, according to an NRG report.

One of the other sticking points are the possible deals Netanyahu made with the Hareidi parties to get them to join the coalition.

Liberman’s party is afraid that Netanyahu may have agreed to roll back all the progress made on the draft and conversion issues in the previous government, in order to acquire Hareidi support.

It is suspected that Netanyahu wants to reach agreements with all his other partners first, saving Liberman for last. At that point he would play the Zionist Union off against Yisrael Beyteinu.

Of course, in politics anything can happen. Netanyahu could possibly reach a final agreement with Liberman today before most of the other parties. Which is what he did with Tzipi Livni in the previous coalition, when he gave her the Justice Ministry and head of negotiations with the PA and she joined the coalition first, which shocked all the other parties.

Shalom Bear

‘5 Shades of Israel’ Debate the Issues for Anglo Votes in Jerusalem

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

The top five political parties in Israel vied for the English-speaking vote in Jerusalem on Wednesday in a far more polite debate held at Cinema City in Jerusalem than is usually seen in Hebrew-speaking forums, in keeping with the cultural tenor of the audience.

JewishPress.com editor-in-chief Stephen Leavitt noted at the start of the event that Israel is home to nearly half a million “native English speakers” who have immigrated from countries as diverse at Australia, South Africa, the UK, Canada, the U.S. and other areas where the English language is spoken.

Representatives of the Likud, Yesh Atid, Bayit Yehudi, Yisrael Beytenu and Labor-Tnua merger parties addressed the anglo voters on a set of five core issues. Among those that has been raising blood pressure in Israel and abroad is the Iranian nuclear threat and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s planned trip next week to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress in Washington D.C.

Yisrael Beytenu representative Ashley Perry led off the responses by asking, “How can we take on Iran if we cannot successfully take on Hamas and Hezbollah? We can achieve a draw at best,” he said, pointing to the results of the recent operations carried out against terror groups in Gaza and Lebanon.

“We have to first deal with the more imminent threat on our borders,” Perry said. “We have to take the gloves off. We need to return deterrence. The next time a single rocket comes over, we need to respond with such impact that … quiet returns for generations.”

Yesh Atid representative and MK Rabbi Dov Lipman commented, “There are times when leaders speak with bravado, but create tremendous damage to Israel along the way… I see it when I travel abroad. There is a way to go about such things.” Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to Congress, Lipman contended, is “doing tremendous damage.” He insisted the Congress could have — and would have — come up with a two-thirds vote to “override” any deal with Iran that President Barack Obama would have brought before the Congress for approval. Now, he said, “Congress cannot do anything about it.”

Hillik Bar, representing the Herzog-Hatnua parties, said he believes in “smart diplomacy” and that in essence, he agreed with Lipman. “But this time I agree with Netanyahu in that we in Israel do not believe the Iranians when they say they are using their nuclear power for peace. We know better.” The difference, Bar said, was that his party differs with Likud on how to differentiate between “those Arabs who want to live with us and those who don’t — those who want to live here INSTEAD of us. With those, we should speak with them in the language of the IDF; on this we agree with Netanyahu,” he said.

Likud representative and former MK, Professor Benny Begin’s oratorial skills prompted even the moderator to lose track of his own timekeeping — for which he later apologized to the audience.

“What a miracle,” he began quietly. “I should remind you that in the last decade and up to about two years ago, everyone agreed that Prime Minister Netanyahu was exaggerating about the Iranian threat in order to keep the debate about “internal” issues. The P5+1 was claiming there was “no weapons program” there in Iran… everyone was insisting that Netanyahu was making it up.

“There was only one person who carried that banner and he carried it high. It speaks about the far-sighted ability of Netanyahu, and his courage to carry it in the face of major opposition from everyone… These guys are a menace not only to Israel but to the whole world.

Hana Levi Julian

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman Finally Declares His Allegiances [video]

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

Wow. It took a long time, but Yisrael Beiteynu chief, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman finally declared his political allegiances without the semantic games and ambiguity.

In a YNET TV interview, Liberman clearly stated he will only join a right-wing led coalition.

Liberman said it could be a right-wing coalition, or a right-wing led national unity coalition, but he won’t join a left-wing coalition.

On the other hand, Liberman specifically clarified that these two options are the only realistic coalition configurations that seem possible.

From that statement, one might choose to interpret his allegiances to a right-wing led coalition as a practical response to what’s actually available as opposed to ideological considerations. He believes that The Zionist Camp (Labor) will join a right-wing led national coalition government.

Liberman is down to the low single digits in the polls, but he believes that on election day the voters will bring him back to double digits.

Shalom Bear

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/foreign-minister-avigdor-liberman-finally-declares-his-allegiances-video/2015/02/01/

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