Beyond the Cusp

March 14, 2015

Terror War to Resume by End of Week, Will We be Ready?

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News of terror attacks on Israelis have been curiously missing from the news since elections were announced after the vote in the Knesset to dissolve the last government largely due to acts against the government by two Ministers leading two of the parties in the coalition. This set up a situation where Mahmoud Abbas, Mohammed Deifs, Marwan Barghouti, Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashal as the leaders of Hamas, Fatah and the PLO have called for a ceasefire of sorts where terrorism is silenced until the Israeli elections. This is done so as to give Israelis a false sense of security and has occurred in the run-up to elections like clock-work. If it wasn’t for the political ads on the television, radio and in our mailboxes we would probably call for elections one week after each government took power thus having waged a successful war against terrorism. This would have a secondary effect of also making the government so dysfunctional that there would also be very few if any new laws and regulations and perhaps taxes might get reduced at some point. But the sad thing is that whoever gains the position of Prime Minister will attempt to hold power at all costs and that is where the problems lie.

 

There are a group of dangerous leaders of parties in the mix and some people running under parties which have merged to form what is being titled as the Arab block which includes a number of candidates who actually work to destroy Israel and support terrorism such as Haneen Zoabi and Ahmad Tibi, one actively supports Hamas and sailed on the Mavi Marmara and despite knowing of the plans to ambush and murder any IDF forces who would be required by the actions to prevent the ship from successfully running the blockade and the other had served as a top advisor to Yasser Arafat yet are permanent figures who have had the courts protect their rights to sit in the Israeli parliament of the Knesset. This alone should remove any and all claims of discrimination in Israel against Arabs but is ignored by the leftist who have decided the derision of Israel is their raison d’être. Also included in this Knesset list are communists, a party standing for the rights of alternate life styles and other small parties who will be able to be represented solely due to joining this group of assorted misfits of the political system. Then there are Tzipi Livni who heads a party whose name, Hatnua, translates to mean Party which means when the news refers to her party as Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua Party they are actually saying the Tzipi Livni Party Party which accurately defines the party as it was founded so Tzipi Livni could chase after her defined self-fated role as Israel’s Prime Minister. Another Party is Yesh Atid headed by Yair Lapid, a former television news anchor and another who entertains delusions of glory and a new future if only the Israelis would see things as he does which would include his sitting as the Prime Minister of Israel for life. The translation of Lapid’s party name of Yesh Atid is “There is a Future” which translates better as being there is a Lapid defined future which I would rather avoid.

 

The final piece of the election puzzle is this merger calling itself the “Zionist Camp” of the combination of the Labor Party and Livni’s Hatnua Party. What makes this an interesting scenario is that both Tzipi Livni and Yitzhak Hertzog would be best described politically as being Post-Zionists who like Post-Modernists exist more for what they oppose than what they stand for. The Post Zionists no longer hold that Israel is the state of the Jews as much as it is a multi-ethnic multi-cultural democracy which is defined by its combinations of peoples and not so much by being the Jewish State. They do not believe that the Torah defines a Mitzvah to settle all of the land and are still enamored with the idea of “Land for Peace” in which if Israel would only give Mahmoud Abbas and his Arab Authority what they claim they want currently which consists of Judea and Samaria along with half of Jerusalem including every ancient Jewish holy site which would then be beyond the ability for any Jews to visit and mostly to be destroyed once again after being reclaimed and restored after the Six Day War when these lands came under Israeli control being liberated from Jordanian occupation after Jordan joined the war in the hopes of sharing the riches of a destroyed Israel. They do not believe Abbas when he speaks to Arab audiences in Ramallah and other Arab controlled and semiautonomous regions within Judea and Samaria where he calls for the liberation of all of his imagined Arab State from the “river to the sea” which translates to from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea and includes all of Israel being conquered and made Judenrein, Jew free; a condition he also addresses when he speaks of the cleansing of this Arab entity and purifying its lands with blood flowing until the river run red. Such speeches can be found by searching the MEMRI data base or choosing items at random from their collection of Arab and Muslim speeches, news, television shows and more from the other side of the Arab and Muslim world which is mostly uncovered and unrevealed to the Western world as doing so would destroy the façade of a reasonable Arab and Muslim world ready to live at peace with the West. The Zionist Camp is calling for cooperation with the desires and demands from the White House and placing Israel’s future on the whims and fancy of President Obama and mending the rift caused by Prime Minister Netanyahu. This would entail an almost complete surrender without gaining even the slightest hint of peace or an end to the terror war.

 

So, who do we believe would make a better alternative than the Zionist Camp and Tzipi Livni and Yitzhak Hertzog, Netanyahu? The answer is not Netanyahu nor is it Tzipi Livni and Yitzhak Hertzog, remember that the last two come in a single package and as things stand they would take their turn as Prime Minister in that order. That in and of itself gives a great indicator of the lack of character strength of Hertzog if as the leader of the dominant party in their coalition he still allowed Tzipi to be the dominant one taking the lead even if her presence is mostly ignored by the campaign they are running. So, where could Israel seek a leader who might prevent a disaster and is not Benyamin Netanyahu? Eli Yishai would make an exceedingly good choice though he is too obscure to ever be considered and his party had merged with another and their combined parties will only barely make it into the next Knesset. So we have had to rule out the most desirable candidate, then who might be chosen by President Reuven Rivlin initially to form a coalition? The entire package which might be made which would be difficult unless every religious or leaning religious Zionist voted for their first preference instead of voting Likud out of fear of Hertzog and especially Livni getting their hands on the seat of power, then Israel might honestly have a possibility to find a leader who is dynamic and capable of standing up for Israel on the international scene and against the coming storm from the White House. This is also the person and party, Jewish Home “הַבַּיִת הַיְהוּדִי, HaBayit HaYehudi” leader Naftali Bennett, we have chosen to support though we also fully understand and agree with those who choose to vote for Eli Yishai and applaud their choice as well. We are also tired and truly fed up with Netanyahu all too often playing at being the true diplomat and polite in persona in dealing with United States President Obama and the leadership of the European Union as well as the independent governments of Europe and the entirety of the anti-Israel world, they will never be appeased as long as Israel exists. The unofficial but still deadly building freeze which Netanyahu has enforced is very much to blame for the rising price of housing and needs to be terminated. Hertzog/Livni will do worse, they will encourage and support demolition of Jewish communities beyond the Green Line to genuflect before and appease the White House. Naftali Bennett should be granted a chance to put his “No more apologizing” slogan into use as Prime Minister. He would hopefully stand as proud in the seat of power as he has on the campaign and be just as unyielding as he has portrayed himself and the members of his party. Perhaps Jewish Home really is our home and the home of all Zionists.

 

Some will point to the fact that Naftali Bennett himself has said he is not yet ready to be Prime Minister. Who is? Naftali Bennett has the drive and the willingness to directly address the problems Israel faces and has already addressed the biggest of them all, the overbearing drive for Israeli leaders to be constantly apologizing for Israel existing and that must stop. That will not happen with Netanyahu or the other choice of Hertzog/Livni that the media and power brokers have told us are the only choices. Hey, guess what? We can vote anybody into the top position simply by voting bravely for our true hope for the future, the religious Zionists who have the bravery of those who believe they have a real answer for the challenges Israel faces. Naftali Bennett if actually listened to and if one actually researched the voting pattern of his Jewish Home members in the Knesset one would see they represent responsible positions on economic challenges as well as on defending Israel and her right to exist as an equal amongst the nations of this world. The one challenge is Bennett claiming he is not ready to be Prime Minister. That statement was made as deference to Netanyahu more likely than any other reason. Truth be told, in many ways Bennett represents potentially the Israeli Churchill. People may not realize that Winston Churchill did not feel comfortable with becoming Prime Minister of England, especially as they were headed into a war, a very costly and difficult war. Israel has been in two wars, one with the Arabs who wish to destroy us and the other with the Western powers who believe by sacrificing Israel they will have satiated the Arab and Muslim appetites as all they desire is Israel and as the Europeans and President Obama see it, rightfully so do they desire Israel. Many in the West see the establishment of Israel to be a bad response to the sins of World War II and they are mostly ignorant of the San Remo Conference and all the rest of the history behind the formation of the Jewish State dating back to 1920 or even earlier to include the Balfour Declaration. Most of the history behind Modern Israel traces back to just after World War I and have nothing to do with World War II or the camps or the Nazis, it has to do with a debt by the nations of the world to allow the Jews to return to their brethren who remained in Israel surviving the desecrations and dissolution of the Jewish People by scattering them to the far reaches of the Roman Empire. Bennett may not feel ready but he will never be ready as being the Prime Minister is a huge step for anybody and Naftali is no different. What Naftali has proven is he speaks English well and gives an accomplished presentation of the truths about Israel and her history which included three-thousand-plus year history of residing right here between the Jordan River and the Sea with two tribes residing on the east bank of the Jordan River where they grazed their herds. Naftali Bennett may require having the mantle of leadership of our nation of Israel thrust upon him and then we can watch him either shrink, quite unlikely, or more likely, blossom into a great and historic figure placing him on a near par of the pinnacle the founders of Israel are placed. The best argument to vote Jewish Home and thrust Naftali Bennett into the Prime Minister’s seat is because other than Eli Yishai, Naftali is as close to Ze’ev Jabotinsky as we are likely to see in our times. So, if you deep in your heart would want Naftali as the next leader of Israel and were thinking of voting Likud because Naftali has no chance to win the Prime Minister’s chair, that will be true if you are too afraid to vote with your heart and love of Israel, take the chance, all of those who actually desire another choice than Hertzog/Livni or Netanyahu, then vote הַבַּיִת הַיְהוּדִי, HaBayit HaYehudi and then we will see a new leader and a capable leader if my gut feelings are correct. I see Prime Minister Bennett as the beginning of a whole new period in the life of Israel and the Jewish People. We owe it to the history and the future of Israel to vote exactly what our hearts and minds tell us but many refuse to accept, that we need to break from the rut of Labor or Likud, we need a fresh and new start. That fresh and new start is with הַבַּיִת הַיְהוּדִי, HaBayit HaYehudi and Naftali Bennett.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

February 24, 2013

A Question for Netanyahu

The election results were a ray of hope and promise for many in the Zionist communities. But there is a question which must be asked of Netanyahu because if there is any chance that his intended direction has been indicated by bringing Livni into the coalition while also acquiescing to her every demand; then the Zionist should stop any celebrations and begin to worry that another Likud Prime Minister is headed to the dark side. What would be the indications that Netanyahu intends to fall before the pressures from the Europeans, United States President Obama backed by his recent appointees to be CIA Chief and Secretaries of State and Defense, the numerous leftist NGOs and the rest of the world support groups backing the Palestinian ploy by the Arab and Muslim world to destroy Israel?

It truly was a shocking revelation to read that Prime Minister Netanyahu has accepted Tzipi Livni into the coalition and agreed to grant her the Justice Ministry which was the expressed position sought by Yair Lapid and also granted her request to be the lead in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority as her position supporting surrendering most if not all of Judea and Samaria along with half of Jerusalem including all of the Old City as well as the Kotel which would make it next to impossible for Naftali Bennett and the Jewish Home to also enter such a coalition. The first question that comes to mind is how Netanyahu could form a coalition without compromising his promises to Livni. The first sign of the unthinkable may have been occurring right before our eyes as Netanyahu appears to be spending great amounts of time wooing Shelly Yachimovich and the Labor Party to join his coalition. Should Netanyahu succeed in his wooing of Yachimovich and the Labor Party he would be well on his way to forming that both sides of center coalition which has been the center of much chatter since the election. This would also fit in with the rumors that Netanyahu will go to whatever length is necessary to keep Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett out of the coalition. I know, how could Netanyahu fill out the rest of the needed Knesset seats to reach the minimum of sixty-one seats as even with Kadima along with Labor Party, Hatnuah and Likud-Beiteinu only gives him fifty-four?

That is where the unusual leadership by triumvirate of Shas comes into play. Despite the story fed to the media and membership of Shas that the three members of the triumvirate, Eli Yishai, Ariel Atias and Aryeh Deri, were equal and were working together there will always be the suspicion that not all members are truly equal. The truth is that Rabbi Ovadia Yosef as the spiritual guiding light is the true and undisputed true leader of Shas and he was the one who decided upon the triumvirate form of leadership in order to soften the inclusion of Aryeh Deri back into a leadership position immediately after he returned to politics after his conviction. This would likely mean that anything which Aryeh Deri decides for Shas will be supported by Rabbi Yosef and thus nobody would ever think to counter his decisions. Deri was well known to prefer Labor over Likud though he would ally with whichever was necessary to gain considerations for the Hasidic heart of Shas. It is this flexibility; some might say pragmatism, which has made Shas the coalition builder in Israeli history. Should Shas also join the above parties in a coalition, then Netanyahu would have his broad based coalition with sixty-five seats. The guarantor that this is Netanyahu’s desired outcome would be some generous deal made with Shelly Yachimovich in order to bring Labor into the coalition over her original denial of any possibility of her being in a coalition with Netanyahu.

 
Should this actually come to pass, then there are some additional questions which would soon surface. One of the foremost among them is what will Netanyahu do to keep such a coalition together with a number of his fellow Likud members probably having misgivings about their fellow coalition members? With Moshe Feiglin and Tzipi Hotovely and other Zionist and nationalist members within the Likud faction, how does Prime Minister Netanyahu expect to hold his coalition together and avoid losing a sure to follow vote of no confidence. Such would most certainly come attached to some piece of legislation made to satisfy either Tzipi Livni or Shelly Yachimovich or members of their parties by one of the parties not within the coalition, especially should such legislation either be detrimental to the Israelis residing in Judea and Samaria or other controversial subjects. Would Prime Minister Netanyahu purposely hold the members of the coalition to vote for anything which was brought before the Knesset by any coalition member? On the other hand, would Prime Minister Netanyahu deny members of the coalition bringing any motion which might challenge the coalition? And if either were the case, how would such a move be enforced? Would the coalition survive if Prime Minister Netanyahu challenged one of the other party leaders to hold their members to vote with the coalition or be removed from the Knesset and replaced with another minister appointed in order to enforce compliant voting? Would Prime Minister Netanyahu replace members of his own Likud Party in order to sustain his coalition? What would be the result from either of these actions? Such a coalition even if formed would appear on face value unsustainable. This may be conjecture but the possibility that Prime Minister Netanyahu may be headed in this direction is possible. This becomes even more likely if Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid hold to their agreement not to enter the coalition without the other, an agreement I believe both will truly honor despite what some, including Netanyahu, may think or even be counting on.

Beyond the Cusp

November 8, 2011

The Inexplicable Opposition to Netanyahu and the Settlements by Members of his Cabinet

Often people are confused by what they see as the inexplicable opposition to the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria and other positions backed by Prime Minister Netanyahu by members of the Israeli Cabinet Ministers. The simple answer is this is simply one of the complications of a Parliamentary Government. For many in the United States, such an explanation leaves them just as mystified as they were before the answer, so we need to explain this step by step in plain and simple language starting with the election results and the formation of a ruling governing coalition and establishing who is assigned to which positions.

In Israeli elections the voters do not vote for individual candidates per se, but vote for the party slate of candidates they intend to seat in the Parliament as much as they vote for the top name from each party who would be made Prime Minister should their party be chosen and are able to form a coalition. Each party lists more candidates than they can reasonably expect to achieve given the most favorable break in the voting. The Israeli Parliament seats one hundred and twenty seats which are divided between the parties who attain a minimum of three seats, or about three percent of the votes cast. After the votes have been counted, the parties are assigned a number of seats proportionate to the percentage of the vote they received. If a party won thirty-three percent, basically one third, of the total vote, then the number of seats they would receive would be figured by 0.33 X 120 = 39.6 which would award them 40 seats or possibly only 39 depending on allowing the final count to equal 120. Most often in Israeli elections the top three parties often all fall between 15 and at best 30 seats. In the last election the top four parties received votes as follows; Kadima won 28 seats, Likud won 27 seats, Yisrael Beiteinu won 15 seats, Labor won 13 seats, and Shas won 11 seats.

Despite the fact that Tzipi Livni and the Kadima Party received the most votes and thus more seats, of the top parties she would only probably be able to include the Labor Party in a coalition which would give her and Kadima 41 seats and leave them unlikely to line up an additional 20 seats to surpass half of the Parliament’s total of 120 seats. On the other hand, Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud Party would be able to receive support from Avigdor Lieberman and the Yisrael Beiteinu Party support as well as Eli Yishai and the Shas Party support. This would give Likud 53 votes which, with the support of some of the minor parties and/or the Labor Party support of 13 would place that coalition well above the needed 61 votes. As it turned out, Prime Minister Netanyahu was able to receive the Labor Party support and some of the minor parties which enabled him to have a coalition which held a large enough coalition that seems will be very stable and not overly dependent on any single party other than the two largest other than the Likud Party itself (Yisrael Beiteinu Party and Labor Party). But to receive the support of all these other parties, there is a price that must be paid, or perhaps we could call it an investment.

When Benjamin Netanyahu began to put together his coalition, he would initially need to include Avigdor Lieberman and his party’s representatives as well as Netanyahu’s Likud members when choosing which members elected to the Knesset by each party in the coalition who would receive each of the available Cabinet Ministries. Each party in the coalition would need to be granted at a minimum one Cabinet Minister so their party leader would have a position of title and thus a reason to belong to the coalition. Often each party will have a particular ministership they would want to hold as it would pertain to the actual function and position the party ran to support during the election. An example would be a party which ran on supporting education would demand to have the position of Minister for Education while if a party ran on supporting the pensions of the elderly and handicapped, they would desire the ministership for pensions. The major coalition members are likely to demand the powerful ministerships such as Military, Treasury, Attorney General, and the number two party normally receives the position of Deputy Prime Minister and his choice of ministership. Avigdor Lieberman chose to be the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ehud Barak demanded Minister of Defense to join the coalition. Others also made demands in line with their interests or for power and influence. Each party also receives a number of Ministerships, even to include Minister Without Portfolio, which is a title with no department or actual responsibility but carries the same weight as an actual ministership and gives them influence in the general cabinet.

With the majority of the ministerships usually being members from parties other than the Prime Minister and appointed by the leaders of the other parties’ leadership independent from the direct control of the Prime Minister, this results in at least some of the ministerships falling to people who have policy position that may not be completely in line with the Prime Minister, and in the most radical cases, there may be a few who actually work against the policies of the Prime Minister, his party and those who elected him. In the very worst case scenarios these opposition ministers in the general cabinet may even hold high positions if their party had a sufficient size block of seats that might be critical to holding the coalition majority. In response to this difficulty caused by the often fractious coalitions necessitated by the number of parties in Israeli politics, their constantly shifting alliances for binding their votes in order to achieve the requisite three seats to be included in the Knesset (one such is the two Arab Parties and the Communist Party joined together on the ballot to pool their votes, thus assuring they had representation in the Knesset). The Prime Ministers often also form a special cabinet that is made up of the Prime Minister’s party leadership and select people from the other most powerful parties in the coalition and those Ministers who the Prime Minister wishes to invite into this elite conclave. This select cabinet is often consulted before making very important or weighty decisions and for setting the general directions the coalition will take.

So, this is why the coalition put together by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has a number of influential Ministers who oppose the legalizing of settlements and some even are working towards maximizing the number of demolitions, a conflict that threatens to break not only the coalition, but to break the Likud Party if such difficulties continue. The very interesting consequence of Likud splitting into two factions and thus forming two parties, should the coalition fall and new elections held, the results could be wildly different than any in Israeli history. Since the founding of Israel, the majority of governments have either been coalitions led by either Labor or Likud with one election placing Kadima in power. Should new elections be the result of a split of Likud into two separate parties, we will call Likud A and Likud B for argument’s sake, the results could produce something wildly disparate of the norm. It would be very possible, extrapolating from recent polls, my guess would place the resulting breakdown as follows; Shelly Yachimovich and the Labor Party with 20 seats, Avigdor Lieberman and the Yisrael Beiteinu Party with 19 seats, Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud A Party with 13 seats, Danny Danon and the Likud B Party with 12 seats, Eli Yishai and the Shas Party with 12 seats, Tzipi Livni and the Kadima Party with 9 Seats. If these numbers should prove somewhat accurate and within a relatively small amount of deviation, Labor would get the first shot at forming a coalition as Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu Party and Danny Danon’s Likud B Party would both likely refuse to join that coalition and Labor would be unable to put together the necessary 61 seats as they would only be sure of receiving Tzipi Livni’s Kadima Party support and marginally possible of gaining Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud A Party support. On the other hand, Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu Party would most likely receive similar support as has the current coalition with the exception of Labor, which could be replaced by Kadima should Tzipi Livni be removed as the Party leader, a likely event as she has been receiving some serious internal party resistance. An Israel with Avigdor Lieberman as Prime Minister would be a very interesting and different country and, believe it or not, would likely be able to reach a settlement with the Palestinian Authority or force a solution should the Palestinian Authority leadership refuse to make peace. One thing is certain; the status-quo would definitely be challenged and shaken to its roots.

Beyond the Cusp

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