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

 

January 4, 2015

Lessons of the Likud Primary Elections

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The initial lesson almost everybody will claim is that nothing notable resulted from the Likud primary elections. Binyamin Netanyahu easily won the top spot and Danny Danon retained a seat in the Knesset. Yuli Edelstein, followed by Gilad Arden – then Israel Katz, Miri Regev, Silvan Shalom, Moshe Ya’alon, Ze’ev Elkin and Tzachi Hanegbi rounded out the top positions. The presumably big story is that none of the Likud leadership mentioned ceding land for making a Palestinian state, nor making conciliatory moves to placate the Demands of the European Union, nor surrendering lands demanded by the United Nations nor folding before pressures from United States President Obama nor buckling to demands made by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) threats nor bending under to the compulsion emanating from any of the European governments nor mollifying to any pressures to relent claim to any land claims by any Arab or Muslim entity. This would have been laudable and reassuring except for the lack of claiming anything concerning the surrender of lands beyond the Green Line. Probably the one comment heard in the reporting was an assurance that the Western Wall would remain under Israeli control made by Tzipi Livni and Yitzhak Herzog which would have made the perfect invitation to address that the Likud would not only retain control over the Kotel but would keep all of Jerusalem, the settlements, the Jordan Valley, the Judean Hills and all of ancient Israel, but no such retort was presented. The question of what they are in favor of committing themselves to about the ancient homelands of the Jewish State, of the lands of Judea and Samaria is a question of paramount importance and the answer must not contain any ambiguities or vagueness and must be replied to without even the slightest hesitation of falter so as to be given spontaneously proving it is their default and singular position. Such must be the position and response to the state of mind of any candidate on any list before a true Zionist can feel comfort in granting any party their vote.

 

There was some disconcerting news pertaining to the subterfuge around efforts to keep Moshe Feiglin from attaining a safe position or even any position on the Likud list and with that news one might also question if these efforts also had an effect on Tzipi Hotovely just missing making the list of favorably situated spots when she missed being in the twentieth spot and that pushed her back to the twenty-sixth spot behind some seats reserved for party regional leadership and people chosen by the Prime Minister personally. Another step towards proving that Likud stands firmly in the nationalist camp and also the Zionist camp would be Benyamin Netanyahu placing Tzipi Hotovely in one of his discretionary spots assuring her a better chance at continuing to serve and have an additional Zionist voice in the Knesset. The next step which the Zionist camp must take careful notes to will be the filing by the parties of their official lists. If any Zionist belongs to a party which places within its list any appreciable numbers of candidates who have ever stated their approval to surrendering Judea and Samaria and permitting a new Arab state which will most assuredly become another Hamastan either through elections or by force of arms, just as did Gaza, then one should seriously consider giving their vote to another party. There should be little if any room for Ministers to the Knesset who would allow another debacle such as the events which formed Kadima and led to the unilateral disengagement from Gaza producing a similar result with Judea and Samaria. This was one fear that occupied my mind and led to great consternation when after the last elections when Prime Minister Netanyahu immediately chose to bring into his potential coalition Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah Party (הַתְּנוּעָה) which had not only surrender lands for peace members on her party list but also was headed with the ultimate land for peace person outside Labor, Meretz and the Arab Parties. When Tzipi Livni was then given the position to be the lead Israeli for negotiating and dealing with the Palestinians and all that would eventually entail, which came way too close to my worst fears, I said prayers that like Pharaoh, Abbas and companies’ hearts would harden and refuse every offer. That is apparently exactly what came to be as Abbas once again proved the wisdom of Abba Eban who stated referring to the forming of another Arab nation west of the Jordan River that, “The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

 

It is always nerve racking when offers are made where almost the entirety of Judea and Samaria and especially if Eastern Jerusalem is included which initially guarantees that Jews will lose all access to the Temple Mount and the Kotel and additionally the Synagogues which were so painstakingly refurbished and restored will once again be torn asunder and be once again defiled. There is still one last thing which granting the Arabs and Abbas their state and Hamas taking control within one year or two is that within six months of Hamas rising to power Israel will once again be facing a war of extinction against who knows how many armies. The war that would follow Hamas taking over Judea, Samaria and Eastern Jerusalem would be frightful and potentially the most dangerous situation since the War of Independence as it is surreal yet potentially possible, if not probable should such a war come four or five years down the road, that the Arabs would have a number of European nations aiding their efforts and arming them with top of the line NATO equipment. It might even become a worst case scenario should Turkey also become a party to the conflict and demand that the rest of NATO come to the aid against the nation warring with Turkey, a fellow NATO member who is permitted such a request. Where it is unlikely, though not completely out of the realm of possibilities, that the United States would aid Turkey against Israel, but it is nowhere near as certain when one considers that the numerous European NATO members might comply with the request resulting in a much broader war and increases the potential for Israel to be defeated without, as assisted Israel in all her previous conflicts, the good L0rd assists once again.

 

The one thing that Israel needs to make sure does not happen is for the leftists make up the lead in any coalition, especially if the Prime Minister position will be occupied by Tzipi Livni as she most assuredly would surrender the store simply to assure herself a legacy. Tzipi Livni is driven to become the Prime Minister who achieved peace with the Arabs and received a Nobel Peace Prize for her heroic and valued leadership. The question with her deciding what is acceptable could potentially lead to her insisting that Israel retain Tel Aviv but hopefully she not surrender both the Negev Desert and the Galilee central plains and hills and certainly not surrender Netanya and Nahariya. Of course she might not get the opportunity as Yitzhak Herzog would be allowed first shot at surrendering almost all of Israel. Yitzhak Herzog recently vowed to shut down the World Zionist Organization’s Settlement Division, which functions as an operational arm of the government to build and establish communities and infrastructures in Judea and Samaria. Herzog stated on ‘Meet the Press’ Saturday night, “As Prime Minister I will close the Settlement Division and open it later to serve the Negev and the Galilee. We see again and again the same group takes over the interests of the state and Netanyahu gave in to it.” This is a blanket inference that the lands beyond the Green Line are of little concern and that Yitzhak Herzog is willing to surrender all of Judea and Samaria forcing almost one-million Jews from their homes, something which the Israeli voters must take the efforts to avoid giving this man any power. Not only is that necessary but the Israeli voters must make certain that whichever party gets to form the next government is a party headed by a devout and solid Zionist who knows that not only without Jerusalem does Israel fail, but also without Hevron, Shechem, Jericho, and possibly also Bethlehem. These are the minimalist demands and retaining all the lands promised by treaties are reserved solely for a Jewish State where the peoples living within have individual rights, commercial rights, property rights and religious rights but political rights are reserved for the Jews when voting and ruling the nation come into question. This was decided immediately after World War I and was ratified by the European nations, Japan and the United States and ratified by the United Nations. Without going into detail, here is the thumbnail sketch one more time, The San Remo Conference implemented the Balfour Declaration word for word as their conclusion; following that decision the British had the mandate and proposed splitting the mandate with three-quarters approximately was to be utilized for an Arab state and would be defined as the lands west of the Jordan River while the lands east of the Jordan River, that less than one-quarter of the Mandate lands, would be reserved into perpetuity for the Jewish State where all people living within were to keep their properties, businesses, religious rights, civil rights and all rights with the exception of political rights which could be granted them if and only if the Jewish government deemed them to have such powers. All of these treaties were adopted subsequently by the United Nations under Article 80. Get it, got it, good!

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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