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Tag: Bibi

The Switcharoo – New Party in the Making Threatens Biberman Union

Photo: Eyal Yitzhar Reuters

Yep, there is no rest for the wicked in Israeli politics. A little while ago Bibi was on top of the world. He annexed Kadima into a unity government lead by Shaul Mofaz by giving him the Vice Prime Minister “position”, a step that created the largest coalition in government in Israeli politics history (April 2012).

October 12, 2012 Moshe Kahlon a widely supported member of the Likud party and rising star, (as well as Minister of Communications and Minister of Welfare & Social Services), suddenly announced his retirement from politics. He was walked out with much fanfare, hugs kisses and warm wishes from Bibi who was actually, for his own agenda, sorry to see him go. What Bibi was worried about was the ever lurking, Moshe Feiglin. The pesky Manhigut Yehudit leading hardliner, ran against Bibi for the 2012 Likud leadership election in January 31 and received 23% of the vote.

October 25, 2012 Bibi, the Wiley Coyote that he is, announced the now infamous Biberman union (Bibi+Lieberman) of the Likud party and Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu – merging to a single party Halikud Beiteinu that will premier in the coming elections Jan. 22, 2013.

“A joining of forces will give us the strength to defend Israel from military threats, and the strength to spearhead social and economic changes in the country,” he said.

The polls showed that the union would form a strong base of at least 30 electoral votes with the other parties, Kadima, Labour, Shas (religious), Yesh Atid (Lapid’s new gig) holding smaller less threatening portions.

BUT THEN, the switcharoo. Moshe Kahlon who earlier announced his political hiatus for the sake of making some of the mighty green (he got a job from one of the local tycoons) had a change of heart. Why? Maybe the Biberman move was too much for him, maybe he realized that leaving the political scene would mean that when he got back he would need to contend with Lieberman. But in any case, today the news is that he is running some polls. The Polls are good. They show that if he runs with Tzipi Livni’s Kadima (what’s left of it) they would get 27 electorals opposed with the 30 electorals the Biberman union would get (Halikud Beiteinu). Or alternatively, if he ran with Shelly Yachimovich and her Labour Party the total would be the same as Bibi and that is an interesting place to be.

People are concerned with the Biberman union. It smells bad, here is a little parody just on that (Hebrew)

Netanyahu Does Washington

Bibi Netanyahu and Barack ObamaBibi and Obama met in the White House’s Oval Office on Tuesday for about an hour and a half. Slightly before the meeting took off, reports surfaced of another controversial construction project approved in east Jerusalem, this time in Sheikh Jarrah. Netanyahu entered the meeting without being aware of the new building permit – or so he said.

U.S. State Department spokesman, P.J. Crowley, told The Associated Press that the two countries were engaged in “give and take.” He said, “We are not going to talk about the precise steps both sides have to take. We will continue to discuss those steps privately.”

Meanwhile, Haaretz in English published a poll which showed that Israelis support US President Barack Obama. Well, such results contradict all other polls. At about the same time, the Jerusalem Post published the results of two other polls, which showed that roughly 75% of Israelis feel that Obama’s reaction to the building in Jerusalem was disproportionate and over 60% felt that it harmed the peace process.

The cause of the poll discrepancy is explained in a Jerusalem Post article by Gill Hoffman. The poll was conducted by Israeli pollster Camie Fuchs. A response choice in one survey question was to describe Obama as “inyani.” A word that can be interpreted in different ways. It however does not mean “fair” as Haaretz translated it. Its literal translation is ‘focused on the issues’, ‘professional’, ‘matter of fact’ or ‘business-like’.

Furthermore, the English version of the article in Haaretz offered no detailed tabulation of numbers. The print and online versions of the Hebrew edition of the newspaper showed a graph screening that just 18% of respondents considered Obama “friendly” toward Israel, 3 percentage points fewer than the 21% who said that the president was “hostile” to the Jewish state. 10% of the respondents didn’t know, and 51% called Obama’s approach to the Jewish Country “inyani”. Haaretz incorrectly translated that 69% consider Obama “fair and friendly”.

IRAN: 20% Increase on Uranium Stockpile, 15% on Rhetoric

“Today Palestine is the symbol of life, determination, faithfulness, diligence, and dignity,”

Iran’s Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei told Ramadan Abdullah, the secretary general of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement.

“Israel is going downhill toward decline and fall and God willing its obliteration is certain.”

In these sentiments, Khameini joined a long list of top Iranian officials, not the least of which is President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who has said on several occasions that Israel should be destroyed.

Last year Ahmadinejad said that Israel was “dying” and that people in the Middle East would destroy it if given the chance. He also stressed that opposition to Israel is a fundamental principle in Shi’ite Muslim Iran:

“They should know that regional nations hate this fake and criminal regime and if the smallest and briefest chance is given to regional nations they will destroy [it].”

In 2005 Ahmadinejad said that

“Israel should be wiped off the map”

.
Then he made his U.S. tour to spread the gospel of Holocaust denial on prime-time U.S. television, the United Nations and at Columbia University in uptown Manhattan.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ordered Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization to begin enriching the nation’s uranium stockpile to a level of 20%, up from 3.5% and to build an additional 10 uranium enrichment facilities.

The move is a rejection of a Western diplomatic deal whereby Iran’s uranium would be enriched abroad to ensure it did not reach weapons grade.

In addition Iran is nearly prepared to repel an Israeli air raid thanks to an expected delivery of advanced Russian-made anti-aircraft missile batteries. Iranian and Russian officials last Thursday confirmed that Moscow, despite Israeli objections, will honor its contract to deliver the S-300 missile systems to the Islamic Republic very soon.

Well, needless to say, Bibi will be travelling to Moscow next Sunday for three days, this time actually announcing the trip, to beg the Russians to think twice.

German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg responded to Ahmadinejad’s comments, saying:

“Today’s statement shows that farce is being played out just like we have seen in the past, that the outstretched hand of the international community has not only not been taken but pushed back.”

The Fence

Israel is building two giant fences along the country’s southern border with Egypt. The purpose is to stop the growing flood of African asylum seekers and to prevent terrorists from entering into Israel.

Said Bibi, whose brain child are the fences:

“I decided to close Israel’s southern border to infiltrators and terrorists after prolonged discussions…This is a strategic decision to ensure the Jewish and democratic character of the state of Israel. Israel will remain open to war refugees but we cannot allow thousands of illegal workers to infiltrate into Israel via the southern border and flood our country.”

The fences will cover nearly half of the 150-mile (250-kilometer) border. One section will be near the Red Sea port of Eilat and the other will be in southwest Israel, near the Gaza Strip town of Rafah. The project is expected to cost about $400 million.

The structure will come in addition to a massive fence surrounding the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, as well as the controversial separation barrier that snakes along parts of Israel’s more than 400-mile (680-kilometer) frontier with the West Bank. Egypt has its own fence along Gaza’s southern border, and is actually reinforcing the area with underground metal plates to shut down tunnels used to smuggle goods and weapons into the Gaza Strip.
In early 2007, a Gaza suicide bomber snuck into Eilat through Egypt; one example of the risk which the fence is meant to prevent. The military actually began planning the fence in 2005 after the Gaza disengagement.
The second incentive for building the barrier is the influx of African immigrants. U.N. officials and human rights workers estimate some 17,000 to 19,000 people have poured into Israel through the southern border since 2005, most of them from Eritrea, Sudan and other war-torn African countries.

Bibi Postpones Likud Elections

At the request of Israeli Prime Minister and Likud party chairman, Binyamin Netanyahu, the Likud Central Committee postponed its own election date for another twenty months. This goes against the Likud constitution which mandates that the next committee elections be held on February 10th of this year.

It is clear what the thinking was behind the move. Netanyahu knows that if elections are held now, the committee will come out much farther to the right and perhaps angry about the settlement freeze.

Unfortunately for Bibi, the attempt to buy time has not gone unchallenged. Several central committee members have turned to the Tel Aviv district court to overrule the move. The matter will be brought up on January 25th.

Netanyahu held a meeting with Zvi Cohen, Chairman of the Likud’s Elections Committee, discussing various schemes to exclude the right wing, religious, Moshe Feiglin, who finished a strong third, with 12.5% of the vote, in the race for party leadership.

Feiglin was convicted of sedition in 1997 for his non-violent civil disobedience activities in the Zu Artzeinu (this is our land) movement. His position played a critical role in expressing popular opposition to the Oslo “peace process.” Feiglin and Shmuel Sackett, co-founder of the group, were sentenced to nine months imprisonment and one year on probation. They each served six months of their terms, respectively.

After his election as party chairman, Netanyahu promised to fight “criminal and negative” elements in the Likud, but it was unclear if he was referring to Feiglin, specifically.
Bibi was quoted as saying:

“There will not be room in our party for corruption and extremist lawbreaking,” Netanyahu told the Likud faction. “Our party will work to restore its image to the good old days of Menachem Begin…The path of integrity and clean hands must be returned.”

He went on to defend his opinion and define the Likud as a moderate party:

“We in the Likud made a peace agreement with Egypt, we supported the peace agreement with Jordan without reservation, and I as prime minister conducted successful negotiations with the Palestinians, signing a number of incremental agreements.”

Priming the (gas) pump

Gasoline Pump
Aren’t those Israeli finance ministry people clever? It was just the other day when Yuval Steinitz, Bibi Netanyahu’s Finance Minister, was expressing he regrets over the decision to charge VAT on fruits and vegetable sold in open air and similar markets. The uproar this decision created resulted in the government deciding to back off from their unpopular decision, as trying to collect these revenues might prove to be a bit dangerous, to say the least. Besides, the poor folk have been battered enough, especially pensioners and other weaker elements of our society.

But wait – there’s better ways to fleece the public, and bless our government to come up with just the perfect to get extra money from everybody, both rich and poor alike. And that better way it to hike up the taxes on gasoline, as this can be collected automatically at source and won’t affect many of the poor folk as long as they don’t have car.
Raising the price of fuel by 30 Agorot a liter, about 7.33 US cents, will not only raise a nice amount of needed revenues but not cause a revolution either. When pepole don’t have a choice, they pay what they have to since they don’t have much of a choice otherwise. The new levy will raise the price on 95 octane unleaded to NS 5.79 per liter at self-service stations.
The new gasoline tariff will go along with other austerity measures, including increasing VAT (on all other goods and services) to 16.5%, increasing contribution amounts required for National Insurance, municipal rates increases, and other means. Since most really poor folk don’t own a car, they won’t get stung with higher gas prices. Just the rest of us will. Most likely employees driving lease cars will have to pay a bit more for this privilege – too bad! Most likely a “beer and booze tax is also in the works too. That’s also something the public has no control over. It’s either that or take off child allowances even more. And that will make government coalition partners (like Shas) head for the hills.

Bibi Sinks Deeper in The Mud

Binyamin NetanyahuThe rock group Depeche Mode has come and gone, and so has the Lag B’Omer wiener roast and marshmallow toast. But P.M. Bibi Netanyahu and his so-called Chancellor of the Exchequer, Yuval Steinitz, continue to sink in the financial quagmire, they seem to have created by trying to be clever with the Israeli public.

As their popularity reaches the point where they can both crawl under a snake’s belly, these two guys, especially the one supposedly in charge of the country’s purse, seem to find themselves literally pinned against the wall, from the side of public opinion.
To make matters even more pressing for Bibi and Co., the Finance Ministry’s budget planner, Ram Belinkov, announced his resignation today. Are the “rats” beginning to leave the sinking ship?

Meanwhile, talk of more firings from work places will mean even more people applying for unemployment benefits – if they are even entitled to receive them.

The more affluent people will have to pay more, and those earning NS 80,000 or more per month will have to pay a higher amount of National Insurance contribution. Purchasers of luxury cars, especially gasoline guzzling SUV’s, will have to pay higher purchase taxes. But these changes won’t affect the poorer classes, who will have to pay higher prices for fruits and veggies in open air markets, due to the government asking for VAT to be paid now on all fruit and vegetable purchases. VAT will be increased one percentage point to 16.5% which will apply to all purchases, from basic commodities to cars and new real estate sales.

How the new rate of VAT , and the requirement for it being paid for stuff bought in the shuk (open air market) is going over with the people manning the stalls there, a visit by a Channel 2 news reporter got it “straight from the horse’s mouth”. One vendor, who has had a stall in the Menahem Yehuda market in Jerusalem for years, summed it up this way: “I am a loyal Likud-nick – always have been. But if these changes go into affect, then all them (the Likud hierarchy) including Ruby Rivlin (the Knesset Speaker) are not welcome here”.

And we’re sure those shuk guys mean business!

Benjamin Netanyahu to become Italy’s Finance Minister

This week at a legal society dinner Benjamin Netanyahu (AKA. Bibi) told the audience that he was offered the position of Finance Minister in Italy by a prominent Italian Businessman, but alas politely refused. Maariv followed up on the story and found out that it happened a little differently. Bibi and Israel’s ambassador to Italy were walking out of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem and ran into an Italian businessman walking in. The man was introduced to Bibi by the ambassador and spoke to him for 3 minutes.

When asked about Bibi’s claim and job offer, he reportedly said that during that brief introduction he mentioned that Italy needs to get its financial affairs in order and that some of the steps taken in Israel should be adopted. Needless to say he was amazed by Bibi’s claim and explained that he was in no position to offer the job, even if he was so inclined.

We’ll miss you Bibi..

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