Beyond the Cusp

June 19, 2017

The Israeli Netanyahu Complex

 

Israel, Israelis and Prime Minister Netanyahu have a serious love-hate relationship. Despite this, Benyamin Netanyahu has managed the atmosphere, publicity, situations, levels of apprehension and threat analyses in such a manner such that he appears to be the sole leader who can manage the situation without serious consequences and maintain a lower level of violence than anybody else. This has led to his retaining the position of Prime Minister for twelve of the last twenty-one years and for the past ten years straight and still in office. Currently, there does not appear to be anyone who could seriously challenge Prime Minister Netanyahu for the office. None of the current leaders of the other parties with the possible exception of Naftali Benet from Jewish Home and, in an effort for reality, there are those claiming that the one man to defeat him before, Ehud Barak of the Labor Party if they would run him also might be capable of defeating him. The honest hope for Ehud Barak is mostly a pipe dream but if he were to run he could count on having some very experienced campaign advisors as the United States Democrat Party campaign specialists would probably be dispatched to assist as they have in every effort to unseat Netanyahu and place a left leaning, or preferably a leftist, Prime Minister. A recent article we read spoke of some Israeli politicians who might be capable of replacing Netanyahu so we decided to talk about what we see as their chances and why they might have difficulty.

 

The first is Yisrael Katz who is the current Minister of Transportation and Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy and belongs to the Likud Party. Another was Gilad Erdan who currently holds the positions of Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs Minister and Minister of Information and is also a member of the Likud Party. Their next choice was Yariv Levin who currently serves as Minister of Internal Security and Minister of Tourism plus also is a member of Likud. Their final choice was Ze’ev Elkin who is the Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Minister of Environmental Protection and also is a member of Likud and had joined Kadima under Prime Minister Sharon. These men all share the same weakness, they are members of the Likud Party, the same party lead and totally owned by Prime Minister Netanyahu. This means that as long as they behave themselves and do not rock the boat and especially do not challenge the boss and behave themselves, then the arch-leader of Likud will dole out prestigious positions which will give them notoriety but nothing so impressive or important that it would allow them to actually believe they have any real hope to replace Bibi Netanyahu at the top of the Likud Party lists and thus allow them to run for Prime Minister. Historically, those who have attempted to challenge Netanyahu have soon found themselves placed below position thirty-six and even possibly past forty-five on the ministerial list all but guaranteeing that you will not be in the Knesset, if you somehow do manage to make it because Likud actually realized more than thirty-five or forty-five or even over sixty positions, the fact you are so far down on the list there is no hope no matter your qualifications of being assigned any Cabinet Ministership. Simply, should you challenge Bibi Netanyahu for leadership of the Likud Party you will only be in a position to do so once and after that you may as well leave Likud and make your way to another party and pray that you gain notoriety in that manner. Remaining in Likud will have you perform penitence for a period until your name is barely remembered before being permitted to see the light of day politically. These men were accurately described as being possibly not charismatic like Bibi Netanyahu is, but they are more trustworthy, have experience, and are honest. This is a valid assessment but still meaningless for as long as they are in Likud and Netanyahu still desires to be the Party head and their candidate for Prime Minister, and that does not appear as if it will change any time in the foreseeable future.

 

Top row Yisrael Katz and Gilad Erdan Bottom row Yariv Levin and Ze'ev Elkin

Top row Yisrael Katz and Gilad Erdan
Bottom row Yariv Levin and Ze’ev Elkin

 

This means that anyone who truly has any opportunity and an actual viable hope to replace Benyamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister, they will need to come from another party. This leaves three avenues by which one might steer their party into surpassing Likud in Ministerial Knesset postings and thus make it to becoming the next Prime Minister of Israel. The traditional means of accomplishing this was to be from a diametrically opposite party. This would mean that one would need to come from one of two parties, Labor Party which is currently led by Isaac Herzog or Meretz currently led by Zehava Gal-On. There is also the off chance that the Labor Party might be taken over by Ehud Barak who would be promising that he could unseat Netanyahu just as he had done in the July 1999 elections when President Bill Clinton sent a team of his best political operatives to run Barak’s campaign. With the current political climate, these left leaning to strongly left parties would have little if any chance of winning as the Israeli public has been moving to the conservative, nationalist and Zionist ends of the political spectrum and away from the left, liberal and progressive end. So this route is not currently viable if one is to be completely honest. To give an example from memory, there was a poll taken for the left leaning parties which listed different possible candidates who might challenge Netanyahu and none of those listed, which included all of the above mentioned, managed to clear thirty-three percent in polling of the Israeli public. The next groups would be the centrist parties which include Yesh Atid led by it founder Yair Lapid and Kulanu whose leader is Moshe Kahlon. Of the two parties, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid is the only one which might have a chance of defeating Netanyahu though such is unlikely unless one of the Zionist or conservative parties splits the right wing voters almost dead evenly with Likud, something which may be more likely than many might think. In such a race, the parties having the best chance to knock off Likud other than their fellow travelers on the right include Yair Lapid and also Yisrael Beiteinu, and representing the Russian Israelis and some centrist to conservative leaning and their leader Avigdor Lieberman. This would only come into play should probably Jewish Home whose leader is Naftali Bennett ran almost dead even with Netanyahu and Likud in the election, and even then, the combination of Likud and Jewish Home votes would probably run really close to needing only a few additional seats to reach sixty-one Ministers. This would lead to both Yair Lapid and Avigdor Lieberman likely maneuvering for the best Ministerial spots they could garner as the two Zionist, conservative, right wing parties, Likud and Jewish Home, go head-to-head contending for control, ending up placing their leader into the Prime Minister spot or if they would end up sharing the position due to a tie.

 

Attempting to garner a shared spot as Prime Minister might be the best hope for any party fortunate enough to approach the positions taken by Likud and/or Jewish Home. So, reality claims that Naftali Bennett might have the best chance of pressing his party to the fore and becoming Prime Minister. The difficulty which Naftali Bennett would have to overcome was his statement in the last weeks in the run up to the election was that he did not believe he was sufficiently experienced to become Prime Minister. This statement would come back to bite him and he would be required to explain what had changed making him now confident he was competent enough to be the Israeli Prime Minister, one position which calls for a steady hand and resolute actions. What might be required might be new leadership in Jewish Home before they could challenge Netanyahu. The number two in the party currently is a very popular young woman, Ayelet Shaked, the current Justice Minister. Justice Minister Shaked has stated in an interview that the day may come when she would consider running for the office of Prime Minister. Her qualifier was that it might be some time, as she desires to raise her children before taking on such a stressful and time-consuming position. There is one pressing question we would like to put to Ms. Shaked, what kind of Israel would you like for your precious children to grow up and live in, serve in the IDF within and face what kind of future? If your answer sounds anything like what you stand for, then you might wish to reconsider your time scale as currently with the leadership we see the future you desire presumably for your children will never happen. Israel needs to progress to that vision we heard you express and you might be the sole person who can get Israel to that place. In order to get there, Prime Minister Netanyahu must be replaced by a person with vision and the internal fortitude to challenge the world and move to the future Israel will be permitted to survive, and you understand these challenges all too well, so please think about altering your time scales for your children and Israel’s sake.

 

Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked

Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked

 

What we have observed is that Prime Minister Netanyahu is far more concerned with remaining as Prime Minister than he is the future of Israel. He preaches about the threats and gives reason after reason why building cannot proceed at this time and has been claiming this for close to a decade. He is always willing to side with and arrange through promises, threats and enticements for the immediate destruction or a timed destruction in a few months after the people have had the opportunity to move and then almost always destroys their homes as soon as he is able. Then the replacement homes never materialize as to do so would upset the United States President, or would cause more terrorism or would set things in the peace process in danger or whatever excuse even to include the stars are not in a positive alignment. Prime Minister Netanyahu refuses to remove Hamas, despite their ever-growing menace and may soon launch a serious and immense rocket and missile barrage timed to have coinciding terrorists pouring out of infiltration tunnels all timed to include cooperation with Muslim Brotherhood or Islamic State rocket launches from the Sinai Peninsula which Israel is unable to respond to should they be launched from deeper within the Sinai Peninsula, as doing so could place Egyptian forces in danger and thus would require making arrangements with President Sisi of Egypt before striking. This assault could result in thousands of Israelis murdered before the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) could respond with sufficient troops to counter any large-scale attack. During the last Gaza war IDF forces who investigated the infiltration tunnels found motorcycles, stolen IDF uniforms or good copies, cashes of weapons, large quantities of ammunition, hand grenades, mortars to be fired from within Israel and maps showing the IDF bases and position, Israeli towns and Kibbutzim with the children’s schools and preschools and daycare locations marked, maps of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other Israeli population centers, diagrams of the Dimona Nuclear facility, locations marked of the shelters where Israelis would ride out the rocket attacks and other intelligence which would aid Hamas terrorists in causing the greatest damage and taking of life possible. This somehow did not enter into the post-war analysis which is a devastating oversight, or more likely an intentional attempt to keep the people feeling quasi-safe.

 

The one item Prime Minister Netanyahu has gotten correct is that Mahmoud Abbas and the entirety of the Palestinian Authority are not true peace partners. Despite knowing this, nothing has been done to alter the leadership and find leaders who would pursue peace and work against continued terrorism. Independent polling has proven one thing about the Palestinian Arabs residing in both Gaza and Judea and Samaria (Palestinian authority Areas) has shown that given an opportunity to immigrate to somewhere other than the areas where they are currently stuck and refused permission or the freedom to leave, sell their home or practice any normalcy, even without any monetary assistance, a sizable majority would flee the instant doing so was not life threatening. Their lives and opportunities for a normal life and a future for their children is so impossible and their lives oppressed with much of their wealth stolen by the governance, Arab governance, not Israeli, that they simply want out from under their kleptocratic governance. Another item that Prime Minister Netanyahu has avoided pursuing has been pressing the world with the truth that in Gaza, the Arabs are ruled by Hamas and Islamic Jihad and the Arabs in Judea and Samaria are ruled by the Palestinian Authority and neither group is permitted free or open elections with Abbas not allowing elections since 2005. Israel has no control, as these are semiautonomous regions making them self-ruled. Netanyahu has allowed the world to blame Israel for the conditions in places where Israel has no influence and allowed the concept that Israel stole land from a nation of Palestine, a nation which has never existed in all of history. Under the governments of Prime Minister Netanyahu, the world has taken steps which could result in the loss of all of Jerusalem including Western Jerusalem. Israel should have been speaking loudly and often about our undividable capital city, which King David established three thousand plus years ago. We should be pressing the fact that the world promised us the lands from the River to the Sea and that Judea and Samaria were occupied illegally by Jordan who placed their own citizens in the lands by force, a crime against humanity and a war crime and that Egypt illegally held Gaza and that in 1967 these lands were liberated by the IDF and returned to Israel by right and the world knew that at the time and still worked to steal these lands away. There should have been a constant drumbeat of how Israel desires peace and the reality is that the Arabs do not desire peace or a state for the Arab Palestinians, they just want to destroy Israel and Israel will not allow such. Finally, Israel should take back Judea and Samaria, allow the Arabs to leave if they desire with their lands bought by the Israeli government or they could sell them to anyone wishing to purchase them if they feel that would get them a better price. They might even be offered a one-time departure benefit to assist their relocating to make it more enticing. Such an offer would be put forth for one year and only one year. As far as Gaza, if there should be provocations by Hamas or other terrorists from within Gaza then Israel will take back the Gaza and remove any terrorist infrastructure and give the same freedoms to immigrate to another nation with a one time bonus and the same buyout offer as given the Arabs from the Palestinian Authority once their lives were liberated from their oppressive rulers. As far as Abbas and his henchmen, they would be sent out paying their own way and given seventy-two hours to clear out and they would be permitted to find a place which would accept them and they can live off their hundreds of millions of stolen Euros and Dollars. They should also be warned that should they ever be caught within the boundaries of Israel in the future they would be put to death immediately. Now where can we find a Prime Minister who is at least willing to build in Area C which by the Oslo Accords belongs to Israel and then Area B and then Area A because according to the United Nations Charter Article 80 all of the lands of Judea and Samaria belong to Israel, period? We would permit the Arabs remaining all the religious freedoms, land ownership, the right to work as they please and social rights but no political rights within Israeli elections. They would be treated as resident aliens and any alteration in that status would be a possibility down the road at some later date, but they should consider relocating as that day of becoming citizens of Israel would be quite a while coming, if ever. Israelis should and are getting tired of the same excuses and they are wearing thin. President Trump wishes to be our friend but his ignorance makes him a danger to our health and future. If he could believe Abbas about educating their children for peace and then after being shown the reality and then turn right around and believe Abbas claiming he will no longer pay terrorists or their families, well we need to show him the proof again but can such an uniformed person be trusted to ever catch up with the lies, unlikely. Time has come for Israel to do what Israel must do, period. Can somebody please step up and take control and walk the walk and not just talk?

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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June 1, 2015

The Great and Powerful Bibi

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu has announced another power which he has awarded unto himself. I had attempted to think up some comical manner based on Toto, the Scarecrow looking for a brain, the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man desiring a heart and Dorothy who would have played the part of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. Of course Bibi (read respectively as Prime Minister Netanyahu and also intended to give the thought of ‘The Great and Powerful Bibi’), as stated in the article title, would have played the Great and Powerful Oz which was manipulated by and represented the timid little man behind the curtain who decided on the new persona so as to give himself gravitas and impressive dimensions he feared he lacked in person. With Bibi now taking a new and almost completely original definition for veto power over legislation, the comparison might have been appropriate. Unfortunately for you and a letdown for me, I am not the greatest of comic writers if I might be called such at all. So, instead we are left discussing this new power, its ramifications and perhaps a look into the crystal ball to try and divine the real reasons and what future this portends.

 

First-off, the comparison of the veto power as explained that Bibi has assumed and the veto power of American Presidents have only one real comparison, they are both referred to as ‘veto power’ by the executive be they President or Prime Minister. Where the American President must wait for legislation to be passed and then he is able to veto the bill which then returns to the Congress where a two-thirds vote by both houses can override the veto by the President making his veto not necessarily the last word on the legislation and it becoming law. Prime Minister Netanyahu has a completely different veto as he informs a ruling member of the Tourism Minister Yariv Levin. Levin also serves as deputy to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, chaired by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, of the Prime Minister’s desire to kill any legislation and he is empowered to kill the bill right there never even allowing a reading before the Knesset or any form of vote or override. This makes the veto by the Prime Minister a preventive action making this particular power more attuned to an Emperor or a Monarch with supreme and undisputable powers. Levin stated speaking with Haaretz that the veto will be used very rarely adding, “I don’t want to make serial use of it,” as Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and he shared a “good rapport.” That is all well and good, but any use of such power and even its existence makes the Prime Minister all powerful beyond the norms of his office, but if he was able to get this approved by the coalition, then, obviously, more power to him.

 

The question that this begs is when does the Prime Minister intend that this power be exercised. There is one obvious and one which strikes fear in us here where this power would be wielded, one widely and one to rein in those the Prime Minister fears inside his coalition who might have more extreme views, some might say were made of sterner stuff. The obvious use of such an extreme veto power would be that it was expected that having such a narrow, actually the most minimal, coalition majority at a mere sixty-one that it might be expected for a series of critical maneuvers might be made by swamping the Knesset with divisive legislation not intended to ever pass but to expose and widen differences eventually tearing down the coalition forcing another election cycle and in order to achieve anything productive and agreed upon within the coalition. These petty targeted legislation would be best nipped in the bud and prevented from doing their intended destructive influences. Then there is the feared use where Bibi would be implementing this power to prevent any confrontations between himself and the Knesset with the Judiciary, particularly the Supreme Court. Justice Ayelet Shaked has stated she intends to cut the Supreme Court’s overbearance and overwhelming power to dictate and influence laws by actually reviewing every law passed by the Knesset and then vetoing whichever laws they disagree with and even rewriting or writing original laws and through judicial fiat making these laws be enforced. Many have referred to the Supreme Court as a second or shadow government far more powerful than the Prime Minister and Knesset combined as their veto is not made available to review and their enacted by judicial fiat laws are also not reviewable or removable as any attempt at doing so is simply struck down by the Supreme Court.

 

This is, unfortunately, a trait which has plagued Bibi in his role as Prime Minister and is something his impressive and well recognized military career would not have given one to expect such hesitance and insecurity from one such as Prime Minister Netanyahu. Should this power be intended to avoid any confrontations with the Supreme Court and used to strike down those instances where the Justice Minister takes on the court too directly and with what Bibi fears is too little tact and delicacy. Unfortunately, the only way the Supreme Court will be reined in and brought to more represent the people of Israel and not be a self-selecting and self-sustaining clique which wields power beyond measure will be a direct assault with the full support and backing of the Knesset and the Prime Minister. Currently the Supreme Court Justices in combination of near even representation between the coalition and the opposition as well as the head of the Bar Association and the Attorney General, who is appointed largely by the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court has influence and a leftist influence which has only been further exaggerated through a string of leftist appointees being placed on the Supreme Court Bench as well in the Attorney Generals spot and any other institutions which are under the direction of these offices instituting an echo chamber where these legal arenas are resistant to change in their political viewpoints and still are representative largely of the early socialist, almost communist, political ideals which were the vast majority the first few decades of the history of Israel which cemented the courts in place and sustained such views across the six decades of the nation’s history.

 

One change which has been proposed both within the government and amongst the legal and popular representatives of the people and the media that the court appointees should have to pass through some review by the Knesset in order to bring the courts and legal system of the State of Israel more closely aligned and able to be altered as the citizens themselves develop, mature and take on new ideas and choose to stress certain political ideals which might differ with an unalterable and moribund court still stuck in the viewpoints of the initial decade of Israeli existence, an extremely leftist viewpoint which stands in opposition to much of the current societal views. Should this and the ability to prevent any of the more extreme and untried views to solve many of the most pressing problems facing the nation and people of Israel be presented by those more to the right or of a more strident form of Zionism attempt to press legislation, this veto power would grant Bibi with relatively unprecedented and supreme power to prevent such views from being debated. We will have to wait and see how often and in which manner this unalterable veto is used. Sometimes it will have to be divined by the media and public whether the reason that certain ideas seem to go silent extremely suddenly and unnaturally. This Prime Minister normally has great amounts of power in a Parliamentary form of governance but this new veto, more of a kill switch, power over legislation will require great and astute scrutiny in the coming months in this new government and perhaps might result in a call for new elections with the greatest question of who other than Bibi can be chosen as Prime Minister? Perhaps this is the greatest question which may fall upon the Likud leadership to decide, but here too Bibi has gathered great centralization of power to himself making uprooting him from the lead of the Likud apparently impossible for now. That may force the people of Israel to seek a new leader elsewhere which should be a step taken with care and serious deliberations well before any action. Such a question would merit being a central issue for the citizens of Israel to consider amongst themselves in the immediate future rather than waiting until the next elections are upon us. Time’s a wasting.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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