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July 23, 2016 / 17 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Yuval Steinitz’

Netanyahu Confronts Ya’alon Over Call to IDF Officers to ‘Speak their Minds’

Monday, May 16th, 2016

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Sunday night got on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wrong side when he urged IDF leaders to speak their mind in public and not fear reprisal. At this point it appears that some reprisal may be coming Ya’alon’s way from the Prime Minister, who summoned him to what the Israeli media described as a “rebuke meeting” Monday morning. Neither side in the meeting has issued a statement yet, which suggests that the meeting may not have ended in a compromise.

Ya’alon spoke at an event in Tel Aviv Sunday night and referred to the public storm around the speech by Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Gen. Yair Golan, which in turn had alluded to the episode of the IDF soldier who shot a neutralized terrorist on the ground in Hebron last Purim day. Golan, speaking at a Holocaust Remembrance Day event, compared episodes such as the Hebron shooting to the events in 1930s Germany which later resulted in the European Holocaust. At the time, Netanyahu was critical of Golan, and demanded that he apologize, since it sounded as if he was saying the IDF was a proto-Nazi army. Golan came close to saying just that, as many on the right suggested, while the IDF denied any such allegation.

An examination of the speech text reveals that the overall subject of Golan’s message was the concept of “purity of the weapon,” meaning that he was indeed criticizing phenomena inside the IDF when he made the Nazi Germany comparison.

Instead of an apology, the IDF Spokesperson’s office issued a denial, which Netanyahu probably did not love, but decided to let it go. With the narrowest possible majority in the Knesset, a puny 61 MKs, at least three of whom can be classified as Netanyahu’s enemies inside his own Likud party, the PM did not need another internal battle, certainly not with a national figure such as Ya’alon. But then, instead of the industrial peace Netanyahu needed so badly, on Sunday night his defense minister upped the ante with a new challenge to the boss, under the guise of protecting the freedom of expression of IDF officers.

“Tonight, too, I again demand of you and of your subordinates: continue to say what’s in your hearts. Do it even if your ideas are not part of the mainstream, and even if they challenge the ideas and positions adopted by the high command or the political echelon.”

Was the defense minister calling on his officer to rebel against the political class? Probably not, although he sounded dangerously close to saying just that. In his own mind, Ya’alon was probably hailing the old IDF tradition of encouraging questions from soldiers and officers, which may make the army a little harder to organize, but also encourages it to keep thinking outside the box, at least in some of its units. It should be noted that this tradition of rejecting iron clad “conceptions” dates back to the early, abysmal failure of the political and military leadership in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The accepted dogma was that the Egyptian and Syrian armies were too fearful of Israel after 1967 and the string of local victories by the IDF that followed, to dare launch another all out war against the Jewish State. A subsequent investigating committee discovered that the intelligence pointing to an imminent attack was all there — it was just discarded by the decision makers.

But, in the end, Ya’alon on Sunday night was not engaged in an educational effort to breed more independently thinking soldiers and officers. He was, in fact, declaring a culture war against rightwing Israel. He described the issue at hand as a struggle “against an extremist minority which is active on the ground and in social media. Some of it has infiltrated the social mainstream, too. Under cover and concealment it is trying to influence the character and values of the IDF. This is a hugely significant fight, perhaps the most vital and important in many years. Not only over the image of the IDF, but the image of Israeli society as well.”

Since the appointment of the new Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, the IDF has been engaged in a persistent effort to “de-Jewify” itself. Jewish education was removed from the military chief rabbinate and handed to HR, which in turn made it the purview of the Education corp, guaranteeing that it take on a secular bend. And there were several minor assaults on the traditional Jewish elements in the army, such as when soldiers were ordered to shave their beards. So that when Ya’alon reviles extremism he is not concerned with leftwing NGOs who turn in to the PA for imprisonment and a possible execution Arab land brokers. He is after the Jews.

 

YA’ALON AND THE WINTER AFFAIR

At this point we must pause to relate the story of Givati Brigade Commander Colonel Ofer Winter, who, on July 9, 2014, during the Gaza War, issued a daily “commander’s note” to his soldiers, in which he stated: “History has chosen us to serve at the forefront of the fighting against the terrorist enemy in Gaza, which is taunting, cursing and blaspheming against the God of the Armies of Israel. … I raise my eyes up to the heavens and say along with you, ‘Shema Israel, God is our Lord, God Is one.’ The God of Israel, please make successful the path we take as we prepare to fight for your nation Israel and against an enemy which blaspheme Your Name.”

Needless to say, the text, which refrenced Psalms 44 and Samuel I 17, as well as the She’ma Israel, was not received well by the Israeli largely secular media. It should be noted that Reform rabbi Uri Regev was among the first in Israel to attack the Colonel for mixing his private religious sentiments and the military. Many others continued to target Winter for the six months that followed.

It should be noted that Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon led the attacks on his subordinate. “I didn’t love it,” he told a forum of the heads of pre-military preparatory institutions. He said the Brigade Commander should have stuck with language that is common to all his recruits, presumably not language that cites from Jewish sources. He also questioned how a Druz soldier might have responded to the Jewish text, as if non-Jews should be naturally offended by the concept of a Jewish State and a Jewish army.

 

NETANYAHU VS. HIS GENERALS

Netanyahu has had a rough relationship with the military leadership for most of his terms as prime minister. It began in his first term in the late 1990s, with overt confrontations with then Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Amnon Lipkin-Shahak and head of Shabak Ami Ayalon, as well as Netanyahu’s defense minister at the time, Yitzhak Mordechai. Netanyahu dismissed Mordechai before he had a chance to resign, in 1999, and Mordechai left Likud along with several other members to establish a new Center party, which failed miserably and ended up joining Ehud Barak’s new Labor-led government.

If their meeting on Monday did not reach a working compromise, both leaders must be thinking back to the Yitzhak Mordechai episode and wondering how soon before Ya’alon would jump ship to Labor.

Ya’alon’s colleagues in the Likud went after him with a vengeance Monday morning. Culture Minister Miri Regev, who served as the IDF Spokesperson at one time, told Channel 2 News that “It is inconceivable that a serving officer would grab the reigns from the political echelon and conduct himself as if this is an army that also has a state.” She continued: “The defense minister is confused. Military officers should speak what’s in their hearts in the appropriate forum and regarding the issues under their care.”

Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz told Army Radio, “I do not understand what’s driving the defense minister in these statements. His job is to instill discipline in the IDF. There must be a red line between army and state and between army and politics. I think his words were a miserable mistake. Ben Gurion would never have allowed for such a thing to happen.”

And Likud MK Oren Hazan, who often opposes Netanyahu, stood squarely behind the PM in a tweet that went: “Someone should remind Bogy (Ya’alon’s nickname) that we are a democracy and not under martial law. The IDF is not a junta, his job is to carry out the decisions of the political echelon and not oppose it and set a different policy.”

JNi.Media

Steinitz: “Israel Does Not Want to See Russian Troops on the Golan Heights”

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

Israeli Minister Yuval Steinitz told Galey Tzahal on Tuesday morning, that Israel does not want to see Russian troops on the Golan Height and is concerned about the positioning of Iranian ground troops in the neighboring country, and the opening of a direct ground front with Iran.

Steinitz added, the world powers must “ensure the Iranian army stays in Iran. We should not see Iranian army divisions in Syria.”

Steinitz said Israel has no official position on the fate of Assad as it’s an internal Arab civil war, but added that “the war against Sunni terror [ISIS] can’t come together with support for Iranian Shiite terror.”

During his press interview on Monday following his UN speech, Russian President Vladmir Putin said, “We need to respect the interests of Israel, but are concerned about it’s [Israel’s] attack’s on Syria.”

Israel retaliated against Syria on Sunday night, following Syrian mortars strikes that once again hit Israel.

Shalom Bear

Hareidim Keep ‘Liberal’ Zionists in Minority on Rabbinical Courts

Sunday, September 13th, 2015

Hareidim claimed victory by blocking the appointment of three “liberal religious Zionists” to the country’s 12 regional rabbinical courts.

There now are 22 judges, 7 more than in previous years, but only eight of them are from the national religious community.

The other 14 are divided equally between the Ashkenazi and Sephardi Haredim

Absent from the national religious sector are three rabbis from the Tzohar organization, which was termed as “reform” by Hareidim in a report by the Hareidi Kikar Shabbat website.

Preparations for the voting for judges were made last week with a secret deal that was made between Minister Yuval Steinitz, who is not religious but who has close ties with Hareidim, and Ashkenazi and Sephardi Hareidim.

Kikar Shabbat reported that aides to Steinitz and Hareidim met at a Givat Shaul gas station in the middle of the night last week to close the deal after an understanding that “it would be better to cooperate rather than lose appointment to ‘liberal religious Zionists.’

Degel HaTorah won five judges, and Agudat Yisrael won 2. The voting committee rejected a Chabad rabbi.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

‘If I Were American. . .’ Steinitz Responds to US Energy Czar on Iran

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

Israel’s Minister of Energy, Water and National Infrastructure, Yuval Steinitz, says if he were an American, he would oppose the nuclear agreement with Iran.

In particular, Steinitz has aimed his remarks at U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, with whom he met two month ago in Washington D.C.

The two men discussed the Iranian nuclear issue at that time, along with other energy matters.

“If I were American, I would oppose the agreement,” Steinitz said.

“I would oppose the agreemenet because it ensures from the outset Iran’s becoming a nuclear power capable of producing dozens of atomic bombs per month, 10 years from today.

“I would oppose the agreement because it is likely to lead to a nuclear arms race between Iran and the Sunni Arab states – in complete contravention of the avowed policy of the U.S.

I would oppose the agreement because even in the short term, the inspections are not immediate and invasive, as was promised at the start.

I would oppose the agreement because it harms the national security of the United States, Israel and every Western country.”

As a matter of fact, as Steinitz points out, Iran does not intend to allow United Nations inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to enter military sites, as the public was led to believe.

Iranian security adviser Ali Akbar Velayati told an interviewer from Al Jazeera on July 31, “Regardless of how the P5+1 countries interpret the nuclear agreement, their entry into our military sites is absolutely forbidden.

“The entry of any foreigner, including IAEA inspectors or any other inspector, to the sensitive military sites of the Islamic Republic is forbidden, no matter what.”

Velayati added that if Israel “dared” to ever attack Iran, “The moment it initiates such a thing, important Israeli cities will be razed to the ground.”

The statement implies that Iran has powerfully destructive weapons on standby, located close enough to Israel that they can be launched in a heartbeat and still eliminate an entire city.

This can only mean that nuclear-level warheads already are designed and held in readiness for loading on to long-range missiles able to reach the Jewish State. Or, Iran has placed nuclear-powered weapons in the hands of the guerrilla fighters – or Iran’s own military troops – deployed on Israel’s borders.

It is common knowledge that Iran generously patronizes the Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist organization as its proxy to the north of Israel.

To Israel’s south, Iran has until recently been supporting the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas terrorist organizations as well. Although there has been some friction between the two sides in recent weeks, it is believed Iran is still supporting the terrorists nevertheless.

The prospect of a new two-front war complicated by the possibility of atomic weapons arrayed against Israel from Gaza and/or the Sinai Peninsula in the south, and also in the hands of Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps in the north is sobering, to say the least.

Not impossible to deal with, but sobering.

This is undoubtedly one of the reasons that Israel’s Defense Forces have been carrying out nationwide military exercises non-stop over the past several months.

The deal signed with Iran by the U.S. and world powers does nothing so much as to further enable Iran to quietly develop its nuclear technology under the protective shield of Russia and America, without prying eyes or restraining economic sanctions to hold it back.

As the two great powers compete for the spoils, the Middle East meanwhile could fall victim between.

Hana Levi Julian

Rally against Violence Bars Religious MKs and Boos Right-Winger

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

Those who blame others for the stabbings of homosexuals last week are tolerant – as long as you agree with them.

Organizers of last night’s Tel Aviv rally against violence and for support of the homosexual movement barred speakers who did not sign a pledge that they support the cause of homosexuals and lesbians.

They advised Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) Naftali Bennett, who asked to speak, that it would be wise for him to stay away.

The reason was clear when right-wing Likud Minister Yuval Steinitz spoke, or at least tried to speak. His call for non-violence was drowned by catcalls from the crowd.

One of the preachers for tolerance and non-violence was arrested by police when he surged toward the Steinitz as he was speaking.

Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) Knesset Member Yinon Magal, who strongly identifies with the national religious movement, also was scheduled to speak. However, when he arrived at the rally, he was told he had to sign a statement saying that he supports the homosexual movement. Magal said he does not speak “on condition,” refused to sign and was barred from addressing the crowd.

There were several religious leaders, such as Rabbi Benny Lau, who did speak, but the requirement for signing a pledge illustrates the rally organizer’s understanding of “tolerance.”

The rally originally was called in memory of the murder of a homosexual in Tel Aviv several years ago, but the stabbings of several people by a known psychopath at the parade for homosexuals in Jerusalem Friday, along with the arson-murder of a Palestinian Authority baby gave the organizers plenty of ammunition to preach non-violence and tolerance.

Preaching is one thing, Practice is another.

The organizers don’t want right-wingers and religious people to tolerate homosexuals. They demand acceptance and approval.

And if you don’t approve, you cannot be tolerated.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Israel Saved Obama’s Neck on Assad’s Chemical Weapons

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Israel let President Barack Obama off the hook on which he hanged himself by saying he would bomb Syria because of Bashar Assad’s’ use of chemical weapons, former Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren wrote in his new book.

The man behind the covert plan was none other than Yuval Steinitz, who at the time was Minister of Intelligence. He also is one of the loudest hawks when it comes to warning that President Obama and the other P5+1 powers are in the midst of making a terrible if not lethal mistake by dealing with Iran over its nuclear weapons program.

Assad’s use of chemical weapons, a war crime – as if he were not guilty of others – was discovered in 2013.

President Obama had done everything possible to avoid getting directly involved in the war in Syria, where any result would be a bad result.

However, the use of chemical weapons was a red line President Obama could not ignore.

Obama threatened several times to bomb Syria, and after a month he suddenly changed course 180 degrees.

Oren said it was due to Steinitz, who with the approval of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu came up a plan for Assad to turn over his chemical weapons stockpile to Russia, Assad’s ally.

Bloomberg News reported that Oren wrote in his new book “Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide,” to be launched next week but not yet released to the public, that Israel was not against an American aerial attack but was willing to help the president avoid it.

Steinitz was the source of the idea even if it was not a plan so much as an off-the-cuff remark that set off a domino chain reaction.

According to Oren, Steinitz mentioned the idea to the Russians, and then to the State Dept., which did not take him too seriously. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov took it very seriously, and the plan quickly moved forward in the United States and United Nations, with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s blessing.

Oren wrote:

The idea originated with an Israeli minister, Yuval Steinitz, who first pitched it to the Russians, who were eager to avoid an American intercession that they could not stop. Netanyahu next brought it to Obama and received a green light.

Before Obama changed course, he had gone so far as to ask the pro-Israel AIPAC lobby to lobby for a war resolution, Oren writes.

Obama never credited Israel, which Steinitz and Netanyahu agreed would not be a good idea,

Steinitz told The New York Times that that he and Prime Minister Netanyahu kept their mouths shut about their role in helping Obama so that no one would say “it’s an Israeli strike [or] Israeli conspiracy, [and] maybe it’s a reason to stop it.”

He told the newspaper:

They never asked if they can give us credit, and we never asked them to give us credit,” he added. “Until today, it was a secret.”

Israel didn’t want credit, giving both Russia and Obama the opportunity to boast.

Oren wrote:

In subsequent interviews, Obama rarely missed the chance to cite the neutralization of Syria’s chemical capabilities as an historic diplomatic achievement.

Russian president Vladimir Putin also took credit for the initiative and praised this ‘vivid example of how the international community can solve the most complex disarmament and non- proliferation tasks.’

Israel’s role remained unmentioned, but its citizens were relieved not to have to sign up for more gas masks.

Granted that President Obama may not think that Israel should bow down to him for not bombing Syria instead of risking retaliation against Israel and the horrendous scene of Israelis walking around with gas masks on their faces because of a chemical attack.

And granted that Obama should not let Israel dictate policy on key issues just because Israel helped him in another area.

But it is one thing not to thank Israel, at least not in public so the the Arabs won’t get upset, and it is another matter to create an image of hate of the leader of an ally that, intentionally or not, may have saved President Obama from one of the worst of the many disasters of his foreign policy.

No one is asking him to say, “Thank you,” but it is reasonable to expect a bit of civility. Obama simply can’t get over his control trip complex.

The president’s obsession with the non-existent “peace process” and with a deal with Iran, no matter what, has blinded him into treating Netanyahu like a voodoo doll in which he has to stick pins.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

List of Likud Ministerial Appointments

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

The following is the list of Likud ministerial positions:

Moshe Ya’alon – Defense Minister
Yuval Steinitz – Minister of Infrastructure, Energy and Water
Yisrael Katz – Minsiter of Transportation and Intelligence Ministry
Ze’ev Elkin – Minister of Absorption
Yariv Levin – Minister of Tourism
Miri Regev – Culture and Sports Minister
Danny Danon – Science, Technology and Space Minister
Benny Begin – Either Strategic Affairs Minister or a Minister without Portfolio
Haim Katz – Minister of Welfare and Social Services
Ofir Akunis – Minister of Communications
Gila Gamliel – Minister of Senior Citizens
Silvan Shalom – offered the Interior Ministry, but Shalom hasn’t yet accepted it, as he wants the Foreign Ministry.
Gilad Erdan – Either Minister of Interior Security or Temporary Foreign Minister
Tzipi Hotovely – Deputy Foreign Minister

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/list-of-likud-ministerial-appointments/2015/05/14/

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