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Posts Tagged ‘Yuli Edelstein’

Presenting Arafat’s Dead Sea Tonic

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

The days of sefirah feature several special events here in Israel.

First, the week after Pesach we have Holocaust Memorial Day, which is deeply moving as we remember, in ceremonies and through radio and TV broadcasts, the horrors perpetrated in Europe that preceded the founding of our state.

A week later we mark Memorial Day as the nation grieves for its fallen heroes and the victims of terror attacks.

The following day brings a huge outpouring of joy as the nation celebrates Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel’s independence day.

The most outstanding event of Yom Ha’Atzmaut is the International Bible Quiz. This year’s theme was leadership. Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein jokingly told the crowd he’d already signed certificates for the winners before their names were recorded, noting that “where I come from [Russia], they would sign certificates with the winner’s name even before the contest!”

Natan Sharansky quipped, “Yuli and I went to jail [as Prisoners of Zion] before we arrived in Israel to become leaders. But now we are witnessing people becoming leaders before they go to jail!”

In contrast to Edelstein and Sharansky, Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke in sober tones about leadership, stating that “true leadership is to recognize reality and know how to address it.”

The audience grew extraordinarily quiet, seeming to recognize the truth of his words.

We have come to a point where most of this usually fractious country stands behind the decisions of our prime minister. In a newly released survey, 63 percent of Israelis agree peace talks should end now that the Palestine Authority has signed a pact with their Hamas terrorist brothers rather than make any compromise with Israel, which would require the PA’s recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

Interestingly, Netanyahu employed a bit of political correctness to ensure that Israel would not cave to the Palestinians’ unrealistic demands. He was so cute in making Tzipi Livni justice minister (she needed the post for her political survival) as well as the government’s representative in negotiations with the PA – while positioning one of his loyalists behind her, looking over her shoulder to prevent her from offering unilateral concessions.

In the end it was Livni herself who would have to declare the peace talks dead. What a perfect ending!

This issue of The Jewish Press arrives on newsstands on Pesach Sheini, which, according to chassidic teaching, is the holiday of the second chance – or, better said, the celebration of a new beginning.

For Netanyahu this means, to use his own words, recognizing reality and knowing how to address it.

I’m thrilled that there are people who are right now reading our paper, and maybe even this article, on airplanes flying to Israel. Perhaps many of them are coming to Meron for Lag B’Omer, and maybe some of them will be bringing kinderlach for their first haircut in Meron.

The fact is, they’ll be arriving in an Israel that faces a new reality, and our prime minister needs to address it.

Political correctness has lost its currency. Putin proved it with his malicious destabilization of Ukraine, shortly after he played “peacemaker” during the crisis in Syria, which only allowed Syrian leaders to again use chemical weapons on their own people.

Obama proved it when, commenting on the limited legalization of marijuana in Colorado, he said with a chuckle, “I do hope it doesn’t lead to a whole lot of paranoid people who think that the federal government is…listening to their phone calls” – when he knows that we know that it in fact does.

And the Palestinians have abandoned political correctness by signing certificates that pronounced them the winners even before the contest (in this case, sincere negotiations).

Netanyahu’s Struggle for the Presidency

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Behind closed doors, President Shimon Peres is whispering (loudly) that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wants to be a dictator over Israel.

That’s because the prime minister is attempting to end the president’s authorization to assign the top political party the task of assembling a governing coalition after each election.

Netanyahu also wants to postpone the presidential elections for up to six months, according to a report broadcast last week on Voice of Israel government radio. Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein would take over the reins from Peres in July if the prime minister succeeds.

But according to a report last week in the Hebrew daily Ma’ariv, Netanyahu’s real goal is to abolish the presidency altogether.

Peres said in conversations with confidantes that Netanyahu’s initiative is “an attempt to establish a dictatorship here,” The Jerusalem Post reported. He claimed the prime minister would not “be satisfied until there is an absolute ruler [in the prime minister’s office].”

The president, who retires next month when he turns 90 years old, has always been far more active politically and diplomatically than is generally accepted. In that he is similar to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, also elderly, who has traveled to numerous nations around the world and freely spoken his mind, regardless of the impact his actions might have on U.S. relations or foreign policy in those regions – including here in the Middle East.

In the State of Israel, the position of president is one that is supposed to be primarily ceremonial, rather than actively political, and brings with it little actual authority. This has proved to be a major frustration for Shimon Peres, who has likewise felt the need to express his opinions regardless of whether they contradict those of his own government. Both men have created awkward situations for their governments and at times have even sabotaged their governments’ efforts as a result.

However, not every president is a Shimon Peres and new presidential elections are coming up fast. Netanyahu still has to drum up support for any move either to postpone elections or to eliminate a president’s ability to assign coalition-building — or for that matter abolish the post — and that’s not easy.

Likud MK Reuven Rivlin, 74, has a great deal of support for his candidacy in the upcoming election, and not only from Bayit Yehudi Housing Minister, MK Uri Ariel. Although Rivlin appears to be a genial man, he is not likely to allow himself to be sidelined so quickly, nor are his colleagues likely to be willing to sit silently by and let it happen.

His biggest rival, Binyamin Ben-Eleizer, 78, is another strong contender unlikely to allow Netanyahu to give away his right to assign coalition formation. The Iraqi-born former IDF general is close with the Sephardic population and maintains excellent relations with Arab leaders.

Silvan Shalom, 55, and a former finance and former minister, also has considered running for president but now may drop the idea. His candidacy would likely not succeed due to allegations of sexual offenses against former employees. At least one involved formal charges, but the case was dropped because the statute of limitations had expired. Each of the others did not materialize for various other reasons, according to a statement by the Justice Ministry last week.

There are also reports that former Soviet refusenik Natan Scharansky, 66 and currently director of the Jewish Agency for Israel, has been approached by various people asking him to toss his hat into the ring. Hugely popular, Scharansky has not yet discussed the matter in public.

British PM Cameron to Visit Israel Next Week

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

British Prime Minister David Cameron will visit Israel and address the Knesset on March 12.

Cameron was originally scheduled to visit Israel in February but had to postpone the trip because of flooding in the United Kingdom. This will be Cameron’s first visit to Israel since becoming prime minister in 2010.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein invited Cameron to Israel when the two met at former South African President Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

“I welcome the arrival of the prime minister of a great and important country like Britain to address the Knesset and believe that the visit will contribute to the friendship between Britain and Israel as well as the relations between the two countries,” Edelstein said in a statement. “I am also glad that the Knesset will once again take its place as the main stage chosen by the leaders of the world to address the Israeli people.”

French President Francois Hollande, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and European Parliament President Martin Schulz all addressed the Knesset in the past year.

Wife of Knesset Speaker Edelstein Passes Away

Friday, January 24th, 2014

The wife of Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein, Tatiana (Tania) Edelstein passed away on Thursday night at age 63.

The Edelsteins became religious while still living in the USSR, where Tatiana was a Hebrew teacher and promoted Aliyah until they were allowed to leave to Israel. While still in the USSR, Yuli was arrested, as Jewish activists often were, and Tatiana fought hard to get him freed.

Tatiana was buried in Gush Etzion, where the Edelsteins live.

Tzohar Rabbis Help Lead Knesset’s First Ever Tu B’Shvat Seder

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

The Knesset held its first ever Tu B’Shvat Seder on Thursday, hosted by the Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein, who focused on how the holiday promotes an enhanced connection with the Land of Israel.”

The Seder, which replicates the four cups of wine of the Passover Seder and includes traditional readings associated with land and produce, was conducted jointly by Knesset Member Ruth Calderon, of Yesh Atid, and Rabbi David Stav, founder and president of the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization.

Tu B’Shvat is taught in Jewish tradition to be the birthday of the trees and serves as the day in the Jewish calendar when thanks is given for food and produce.

“When I lived in Russia, the holiday would fall in the midst of bone-chilling winter, but here it’s a whole different experience and one that allows us to rejoice in our homeland,” Edelstein said while expressing hope that the Knesset Seder would become an annual tradition.

He added that even in the midst of the winter season in Israel, “ one can connect to the concept of blossoming trees.”

Rabbi Stav, whose efforts as head of Tzohar have been instrumental in promoting enhanced connections between Jewish tradition and the Israeli legislature, said that at its essence Tu B’Shvat is a holiday of belief.

“The truth is that even here in Israel, where the weather is relatively warm, we’re not yet seeing the trees blossom,” he said. “But the lesson is that we believe that the good times of produce and success are just ahead and that is a message of faith that has meaning far beyond just this holiday.”

MK Calderon said that the initiative for the Knesset Seder was built around a concept of promoting a Jewish renaissance within Israeli society. “This holiday serves to remind all of us of the beauty of the land we live in and to better recognize the importance of everything we have.”

The Seder features foods from all the Seven Species known as particular holy in Jewish tradition/

More than 200 people attended the Knesset Seder, including government ministers, Knesset Members and staff and students from around Israel.

No Christmas Tree in the Knesset

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

Will the Knesset display a Christmas tree this week to commemorate the holiday on behalf of the Christian citizens and MKs?

No, it will not.

Speaker of the House Yuli Edelstein said he does not see the idea of installing a Christmas tree as being appropriate. Many MKs have seen it as a provocation and consider it unacceptable. (source: Ladaat)

As it should not be.

Despite that, if you really want, you can buy from Hadar Geula these beautiful Christmas-themed cookies with a Badatz hechsher..  for 20 NIS those better be really good cookies!

Visit Life in Israel.

Knesset Swears in New Govt with Hugs and a Walkout

Monday, March 18th, 2013

The Knesset Monday evening officially approved by a 68-48 vote the 33rd Knesset in what a Meretz Knesset Member Zahava Gal-on correctly called a “celebratory affair” that was long on pomp and circumstance and short on government leaders “telling it as it is.”

The Opposition did not lose any time getting in its digs, with Labor party leader Shelly Yechimovich attacking the new coalition as a bunch of “rich capitalists,” pinpointing her disgust at Jewish Home leader and millionaire Naftali Bennett and former journalist and TV news celebrity Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid (Future) party. Looking to Lapid, she said he earned $700,000 last year. She did not mention how much she earned as a journalist.

Netanyahu took the podium to warn for the umpteenth time that Iran is getting closer to the “red line” he drew in his speech to the United Nations last September.

Speaking less than two days before President Barack Obama arrives for a short visit, Prime Minister Netanyahu made sure to say, “We stretch out our hand to the Palestinians” for a “historic compromise,” a nice diplomatic phrase for saying that the United States can forget about any peace deal with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, whose only suggestion of compromise is that Israel accept all of his demands.

Even Tzipi Livni, Netanyahu’s de facto “Minister of the Peace Process” told Israeli television that successfully completing the peace process will be “very difficult,” the understatement of the day.

Netanyahu was closer to the truth when he said that Israel will take advantage of Obama’s visit to thank America for its support.

The Knesset easily elected Yuri Edelstein as the new Speaker, replacing Reuven Rivlin, who hid his rage at being dumped by Prime Minister Netanyahu and instead silently accepted praise for having served in the post.

Arab MKs, as usual, were good for headlines.  Jamal Zahalka charged Lapid with “racism” because he was not in the Opposition. Hanin Zoabi later told Israeli television that the coalition will be “racist,” in other words, just like the previous one, in her view.

One interesting comment came from Arab MK Ahmed Tibi. With the Haredi parties in the Opposition for the first time in recent memory, he suddenly saw a common cause between them and the Arabs on social issues, meaning more money for their sectors.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/knesset-swears-in-new-knesset-with-hugs-a-walkout-and-racism/2013/03/18/

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