Beyond the Cusp

December 9, 2019

A Quick Look Around the World

Filed under: Israel — qwertster @ 2:54 AM
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Even reading just a few articles this morning, we see that things have not drifted too far during our absence. Despite this static appearance, we realize it may take some time to get back in gear. Apparently, Turkey still wants to destroy the Kurds and the world is mostly just shrugging. We stand with what we have always stated, we support the establishment of the nation of Kurdistan. Of course, the world would never take such an honorable and wise move.

 

Our Idea for a Proposed Kurdistan

Our Idea for a Proposed Kurdistan

 

Apparently, Israel is still heading to the next election, which we fully support. As has oft been attributed to numerous people who worked and wrote around the times of the American Revolution, “The government which governs best governs least.” Without any currently empowered Knesset, we need not fear new rules and regulations, just a government finally working with relative efficiency. If that appears to be cynical, we plead guilty as charged.

 

The American Presidential carnival, provided for our perusal by the Democrat Party, has slimmed in numbers but not in coming amusement. We look forward to gaffs, but their positions of higher taxes and less freedoms are going to be a hard sell. All that will be needed is some honest reporting, who are we kidding, or other politicians simply revealing the reality they are peddling.

 

On another front, the United States is still as divided as ever with a sizeable number of Americans so opposed to Trump that they will never forgive him for winning the election. Israel is also divided in such a condition that electing a new government appears impossible. This is further indemnified by a number of parties and candidates running under the claim that they simply are not Bibi Netanyahu. These coming elections in the two nations will bear watching and writing our commentary as they proceed.

 

Well, we may as well be honest and admit that typing and publishing is posing to be a greater challenge than expected, or just as difficult as suspected. We will eventually either return to posting somewhat rambling articles or, and more likely, we will learn brevity and staying on subject. Until our next venture into parking in computer chairs and making new posts, hopefully with a good dose of foresight, we hope this small taste of our returning to our abnormal sense, we hope we can make this trip together.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

October 7, 2019

Israel Government Election Potentials

 

Israel held their second elections in order to attempt and allow for some governing coalition to be possible in mid-September. The April elections were inconclusive as the so-called right-wing parties; the religious, nationalist, conservative and/or Zionist parties, reached sixty mandates, one short of the necessary sixty-one mandates. The main reason that no government was able to be formed was due largely to two distinct reasons. The main reason which the media latched onto almost immediately, that Yisrael Beiteinu under the leadership of Avigdor Lieberman made demands which, if adopted, would have cost the support of the Haredi parties and cost the coalition more mandates than Yisrael Beiteinu could add to the attempted coalition. His main efforts demanded that the Haredi lose all or virtually all their deferments from IDF service, requiring all students attend public schools with their Torah and religious schooling being relegated to an after-school activity and other demands for mainstreaming the Haredi communities even against their resistance. The September voting realized the same divide as the April elections and left the sole formation of a government requiring what is called a unity government with Blue-White and Likud sharing the office of the Prime Minister and working together despite their disagreement on virtually every point of governance. Perhaps this is the ideal time to try and explain and define the differences which has the Israeli population so evenly split in halves making forming a government difficult, not impossible, just very difficult.

 

BTC Israeli Election Banner

 

The main points demanded by Avigdor Lieberman is a good starting point as all his policy proposals are largely based on a single premise, forcing the Haredi to meld with the whole of the Israeli society and removing the exceptions they have earned from previous governments. The two main points were education and IDF service. Avigdor Lieberman is making these demands despite strong evidence that the Haredi communities are inexorably moving to meld into the mainstream society even if at a fairly slow rate. He demands that the Haredi be forced to immediately meld into Israeli society losing all deferments for Torah scholars, their religious schools being replaced by the students being placed into the public-school system relegating Torah and religious studies to an after-school exercise. To a neutral observer, one would have to believe that Avigdor Lieberman holds the Haredi and religious communities in contempt and desires to destroy their independence and separation from normative Israeli society. He has attempted to force some of these concepts into law with little if any success and has now decided to demand these concessions up front, taking no chances. As noted above, the Haredi and religious communities have been slowly but surely moving towards melding with the rest of Israeli society without any pressure from the government. They are following the same process as the rest of Israeli society no matter their origins. No matter which groups one would choose to observe, be they the Russians, Haredi, Western European, Eastern European, Ethiopian, North American, South American or some other more exotic of Jews returning to their homelands of Israel, after three, four or at most five generations they are mostly merged with the rest of Israeli society. Their former native tongue is less used even at home except when the grandparents visit as their Hebrew leaves something to be desired.

 

There exist numbers of Haredi entering the IDF completely voluntarily despite being eligible for deferments. Haredi women have already been working with their forming companies themselves such that they can have a comfortable work environment. The Haredi men are lagging behind their better halves, but the number of Haredi men entering the workforce has increased year after year. But this rate, despite showing signs of increasing, apparently is not sufficient for Avigdor Lieberman who would prefer to force it into an established fact already achieved. The Haredi, according to him, have become too large a liability and, if not addressed by the secular community, will soon bankrupt the economy. But, even some in the Haredi community have already realized that their communities are threatened should they continue resisting normalization and are making sure that their children are adequately educated to enter the job market. We expect with time that the male Haredi communities will also form their own start-up companies just as their women are already pursuing. The problem with caving to the demands by Avigdor Lieberman, and similar demands from Yair Lapid of the Blue White Party, is it will very probably cause the slowing of the normalization of the Haredi community as they react to what they perceive as an attack on their way of life. Sometimes, attempting to force change on a community results in the retarding of their changing in the desired direction.

 

The question is why Avigdor Lieberman is pressing to force things on the Haredi communities which they are already starting to do on their own. The reason is almost purely political. His Yisrael Beiteinu Party had been losing support as their membership aged. His very public insistence on forcing the normalization of the Haredi community, including attacking their school systems, is designed to bring additional voters into his party, or at least voting for his party. Lieberman is tapping into some of the far left and far right and other pro-secular (read anti-religion) Israelis in addition to his normal voting support. His tactic has worked to this point, but only time will tell if this choice will prove all that advantageous with time. The surprise was that Yisrael Beiteinu would not be part of any right-wing coalition without some major concessions. This has been the sticking point making the forming of a coalition by Prime Minister Netanyahu as Avigdor Lieberman has all but refused to join such a coalition unless the Haredi Parties and communities allow for his life-changing new laws demanding their complete surrender to a secular life. This would lead to the Haredi not sitting in a coalition where Avigdor Lieberman’s demands were being met. On the other side, Blue White Party cannot form a government even with the mandates coming up just a few votes short. In order to form a governing coalition, Blue White Party would be required to persuade the Arab Parties, or at least a fair number of these parties consisting of Arab, Communist and other parties. The problem with such a coalition is that once again Avigdor Lieberman. Should he ever sit in a coalition with Arab Parties, his support would all but evaporate and it would be the end of his political life. This is the conundrum faced by both the Likud Party and the Blue White Party in forming a ruling coalition.

 

Some have suggested that Blue White might persuade one or both Haredi Parties into forming a coalition with their holding the Prime Minister office. Should Blue White attempt such a coalition, they would run into a large difficulty. Avigdor Lieberman is far from the only politician who desires forcing the immediate normalization of the entirety of the Haredi communities. Another politician who has made much of his name by making these demands is Yair Lapid, the number two (or three depending who you ask) person in the Blue White Party and one who would share the office of Prime Minister should they manage to form a coalition. Blue White would be required to disband their relationship with Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid Party. This would severely cripple any hopes of forming a coalition even should they be able to bring the Haredi onboard. The only other means, according to almost all observers, is for the Likud Party and Blue White Party to ameliorate their differences and find some common ground. Yair Lapid would be required to forgive his demands on the Haredi and Likud would need to back off their promises for annexation of the Jewish communities in the Shomron (West Bank) and both come to terms on several other issues including some concerning economic policies. This eventuality, to us, appears to be next to impossible. Yes, the two parties might manage to reach sufficient agreement to form a unity government, but any such governing coalition would be unstable and unlikely to last more than a few months, maybe a year. Such a government is not a solution and there may not be any viable solution considering all the particulars.

 

That leads to consideration of what might resolve this situation of such an evenly divided nation. The first point which is required to be considered is how seriously the average Israeli has been affected by there not being a coalition or Knesset, Israeli parliament, addressing any problems or difficulties since April and now a second hung election not producing a coalition. If the numerous people we have interacted with are any example, Israel is mostly functioning smoothly without any ruling coalition and a functioning Knesset. The government is still functioning largely fine as the several departments remain staffed and are simply quietly doing their jobs and providing their services. There will not be any new laws or regulations without the Knesset, but many would claim that such is a good thing. There is a better than even chance that there will be no government formed from the September elections and yet another election may be required.

 

The divide in Israeli society is not as extreme as these vote tallies appear to indicate. Much of the divide is a result of the ramifications of the devastating Oslo Accords. On the political right, there is a strong resistance to the “Two-State Solution” because of the allowing for an Arab state in the heart of Israel holding the overlooking mountainous region around the Tel Aviv metropolitan region where over three quarters of Israeli population, production, utilities and almost everything else exists. Their fear is simply rockets threatening the tallest skyscrapers of Tel Aviv using line-of-sight-targeting as well as increasing terrorism as a result. Many who still support granting the Arabs a state in most, if not all, of the Shomron believe what their far left leadership claim that by giving the Arabs these lands, despite all their promises to continue demanding more, will bring peace and security if only those religious zealots on the right would come to their senses. For those who wish to know exactly what any Arab state in the Shomron would become, they need look no further than Gaza where the Arabs were given their own region completely devoided of any Israelis since early September of 2005 as a result of the Gaza withdrawal which resulted from recommendations initiated by United State Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and fully backed by President George W. Bush and pressured by them upon the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who was required to form a new government in order to find sufficient support for enacting their insistent demand. Despite such evidence, much of the world still insists that Israel surrender everything and anything the Arab powers demand. There is another divide within the Israeli Jewish community, namely the religious and the secular. Even the religious have a divide between Haredi and the other factions including Reform Judaism, Traditional Orthodox, Reconstructionist, Conservative and other non-Haredi religious Jews. People need to understand that Judaism is different than other religions as the Jews are also a People. This leads to there being Jews by birth but not practicing Judaism as their religion with some actually having joined a different religion while being born and remaining a Jew biologically.

 

What will happen if Israel is required to hold a third election within one year? Well, Israel will be the butt of additional late-night jokes on television as well as at the water cooler. We are used to such things and will survive, if not thrive. The outcome of such a future election will be largely identical to the average of the two former elections. The possibility that there will result a government coalition is fairly slim. What has been frustrating is that the voting has favored a right-wing coalition approaching sixty-percent of the votes cast. With a couple of right-wing parties not attaining threshold, their voters were not included with those attempting to form a coalition. The left-wing and Arab parties formed partnerships such that all their voters would have party groups which would pass threshold. One reason that some of these right-wing parties failed to reach threshold was due to misleading polling which showed them receiving two to three times as many votes as they actually attained. What was interesting was that the further left the polling data, the higher these parties were polled to receive. There are those who believe that these misleading polling numbers were intentional hoping to prevent these parties from accepting joining other parties and thus wasting right-wing votes. So, we have conspiracy theorists here in Israel, we are not surprised. Whether or not the right-wing smaller parties will have learned anything remains to be seen. We can expect the polling results to be just as slanted attempting to reduce the representation of these supporters of these parties should they remain running alone. The other problem is something unique to the Israeli parliamentary system. Both Likud and Blue White were guilty of this problem as they each spent more time attacking the parties who would be their normal parties than those on the opposite side politically. With the predominant campaigning being used to maximize the two largest parties by attacking the smaller parties with similar or more polarized positions hoping to gain more mandates for themselves at these other parties’ expense. This may be part of what has led to the hung elections as it might be costing their potential coalition mandates as a result. Additionally, there are the misrepresentations which are almost always a part of any political contest. Israelis are fortunate that life remains largely unaffected by the political impasse being faced. Still, President Rivlin is pressing the two large parties to find some means of working together in a unity government. Thus far, we are facing a situation where leaders of Blue White refusing to sit in a government where the Prime Minister is under investigation of misconduct, even if the investigations are found to be purely politically motivated. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Netanyahu is not ready to pass the leadership of Likud. Perhaps the upcoming Likud primary election scheduled in the near future will solve that situation by choosing a new leader. The odds of such are almost nonexistent, but stranger things have been known to happen and we will just need to wait and see what the future will bring.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

September 3, 2019

Liars Abound Everywhere We Look

 

Let us start with Hezballah and their claims of destroying an IDF tank and killing or injuring the soldiers inside. Hezballah, seeking revenge for the Israeli strikes at their rocket and drone sites retaliating for a drone wave launched from Syria and Lebanon, launched several anti-tank missiles into the IDF base at the Avivim barracks where they were successful at striking an IDF vehicle. No, it was not a tank nor any other tracked vehicle, the vehicle Hezballah managed to destroy was an IDF military ambulance. Add to this the claims made by Hassan Nasrallah that Hezballah has no fear of Israel and will prove the victor when the next round of violence comes. Of course, he made the statement from his super-secret, secure bunker from which he rarely pops his head out. What has made things somewhat tense has been the recent string of threats coming from Hezballah, Iran and other Iranian assets including IRGC and Iranian army. These threats began a little over a month past when Hezballah spokespersons stated that Israel was preparing to start a major war against Lebanon and they vowed to protect Lebanon. This has been their stock statement made usually in advance of their launching rockets in numbers until Israel launches an attack to end the rocket assaults. Once Israel responds to their attacks, they call their friends in the media complaining of the Israeli aggressions. Once it gets reported in one paper claiming that Israel initiated the conflict as they cross the border into Lebanon, it gets picked up and reported in most news throughout the developed world. This is how Israel is always blamed for being the aggressor when in actuality the IDF actions are in response to days of rockets fired into Israel, but why allow facts to get in the way of a good story. Israel would like nothing more than peace and quiet without rockets and missiles being launched into any parts of Israel.

 

Hassan Nasrallah Threatens Israel in Speech from Within His Bunker

Hassan Nasrallah Threatens Israel in Speech from Within His Bunker

 

Next up is Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu who has been attacking the Yamina party led by Ayelet Shaked. He made special mention of some of the more colorful people on the party list for the Knesset inferring that they would take Israel to religious extremes. He knows full well that no single or group of Ministers are capable of such actions as the Prime Minister would be able to kill any such measure simply by instructing his own party, Likud, to not permit passage. But why allow the truth to interfere with one’s political campaign. He has also claimed that should the Blue-White Party receive more mandates than the Likud, then this would automatically lead to their forming a left-wing government bent on forcing the establishing of a Palestinian State along the Security Barrier with east Jerusalem as their capital. The thing is it is not the party with the most mandates who get to form the government but the party leader who is recommended by the most mandates, be they his party or another party supporting their quest to be Prime Minister who get that honor. Thus, it would be the combination of Likud and Yamina against Blue-White and their allied parties deciding who would be given first attempt at forming a government. Recent polls have shown that neither the right-wing nor the left-wing parties will have sufficient mandates to form a government unless the Arab parties decide to join the left-wing parties to form such a government. We doubt that such a government could survive the first vote of confidence.

 

Bibi Netanyahu, Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz

Bibi Netanyahu, Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz

 

On another front, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has promised that should he be chosen to continue as Prime Minister, he will make sure that all the Israeli communities in Area C will have Israeli sovereignty extended to include them. Our question is what has prevented his doing this at any time in the past. As far that goes, what is preventing his doing so immediately as he is the government at this time where the Knesset was dissolved leaving him as the sole political power as far as legislative and administrative. Please excuse our cynicism believing that this is nothing more than fodder for the campaign and the likelihood of it coming to fruition are rather slim. This promise is designed to bring any Likud voters who decided to support Yamina to express their desire for the annexation of the communities back into the Likud fold. Bibi actually desires to be able to form a governing coalition with only Likud and thus he will try anything, even attempting to blow up the coalition of right-wing parties he insisted was necessary to get to his ideal Likud controlled government.

 

The last liar for this article is Mahmoud Abbas. He recently was visiting Germany in his pre-opening ceremonies for the General Assembly world tour where he seeks to hold a joint press conference with each leader he meets. German Chancellor Angela Merkel provided just such an opportunity recently. Abbas took his turn at the microphones to trash President Trump directly for having, “removed from the negotiating table the issue of Jerusalem, refugees, borders, settlements and security, and took steps that violate international legitimacy.” Left out of his diatribe was the simple fact that he was granted more than sufficient time to negotiate honestly before any of these actions had been taken, but instead Abbas refused to even consider any proposal from President Trump. Abbas further blamed President Trump and the American Administration for the lack of being able to reach any peaceful settlement. If only the world could see through Abbas, but that would require their having any desire to do so. Abbas has refused any and every peace proposal presented to him just as Yasser Arafat had done before him. They have a valid reason, in their minds and that of the anti-Semitic Israel haters, for refusing every offer thus far as they all had one major flaw, they left Israel as the Jewish State rather than award Abbas rule over all the lands west of the Jordan River, or as he states this, he just wants his 22% of the British Mandate lands. When one remembers that Jordan received 78% of the British Mandate lands, it becomes clear quite quickly what Abbas is demanding, the remainder of the British Mandate which is not Jordan, or simply put, all of Israel. So, who is making demands which they know will not be met and then blame everyone else for the lack of peace which they refuse to accept any offer while the Jews are permitted their homeland.

 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Palestinian Authority Leader Mahmoud Abbas

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Palestinian Authority Leader Mahmoud Abbas

 

Abbas is holding out understanding that the multi-trillion-dollar propaganda war which delegitimizes Israel, through the managing and supporting the Arab boycott of Israel which was internationalized as the BDS Movement, will eventually take hold as the end response of the ever-growing anti-Semitic hatred which appears to have infected much of the world and is growing eventually to reach a point where Israel will have nowhere to turn to find allies. Then Abbas will turn to the United Nations Security Council seeking their dissolving Israel and declaring it all to be the new Abbas ruled state. The Jews will attempt to flee but once again there will be no nation which will assist them and allow them to seek refuge within their borders. Jews of Israel mostly understand this reality with some having an exception believing the United States will always be an Israeli ally. This may not be true as we are going to see if what we have viewed already has not been sufficient. Abbas desires for an international conference to decide the fate of the Arab Palestinians and Israel knowing full well that such a conference will give him everything he desires and the vote will not even be close. A simply look at the usual anti-Israel votes taken in the General Assembly where Israel on a good day might receive a dozen votes while those opposing Israel usually receive over ten times that number.

 

We will leave things as they are and not list the media liars, political liars and the exaggerators as well as the nitpickers all for some other time or perhaps we will simply allow them to reveal themselves when they go one lie too far.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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