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Tag: Ehud Barak (page 1 of 4)

A Flash of Barak

Known by some as a war criminal, known to most of Israel as former Prime Minister and known to Bibi as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, elected new Independence chairman speaks:

“I’m thrilled to be here…We seek to form a democratic, Zionist party inspired by the spirit of Ben Gurion and the principles stated in the Declaration of Independence… We’re also choosing our song today – Frank Sinatra’s ‘That’s Life’…With Israeli politics, government and political discourse in need of profound mending, there are many fine people who want to see the country march forward. And they are right. That is what we’re here to do…”

He also dismissed comparisons drawn between the new party and “Polishuk“; a satire of Israeli politics inspired by the BBC’s “The thick of it” – saying:

“Today’s politics is full of shticks and tricks and spins. We are not Polishuk…We are still small, but we intend on growing. Eight members, each bringing 80 members, who in turn bring 80 members is 20 mandates. We want to be the first party to have 50 women in key positions.”

Shalom Simhon, minister of Industry, Trade, and Labor rejected claims that Independence would be a dictatorship led by Barak, who will not have to face a central committee or primaries. The bylaws for the party also permit the chairman to sign joint government and coalition agreements sans any authorization.

Independence Day

“…In its formative decades the government of Israel was almost indistinguishable from the party of Labor.”

Wrote Time Magazine’s Karl Vick of Ehud Barak’s departure from Labor.

He continued:


“David Ben-Gurion, the new nation’s equivalent of George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson rolled roughly into one, headed both the party and the government it largely populated.”

Proving his inability to separate Israel from his own United States of America, he compared the formation of the Jewish State to the American colony’s secession or better, coup d’etat from Great Britain, because Barak compared his departure from Labor and formation of an independent faction to Ben-Gurion’s historied Labor departure. This journalist is like a child who misbehaves because of some adult activity, unrelated to his own: a window breaks in the house, mom yells, so the kids pees on the carpet and screams. When the child grows up, he learns to deal with the wild energy like an adult. No call to ring America’s Freedom Bell here Mr. Vick.

With Labor’s pull from Netanyahu’s inter-Knesset support league, the coalition’s majority in the 120-member Knessent falls to 66 from 74.

Isaac Herzog, Binyamin, Avishay Braverman, Ben-Eliezer and the rest of the Labor bongos can finally stretch their legs in the back seat with Barak out of the driver’s seat, Herzog said:

“The Labor Party, which founded the State of Israel, got rid of the hump on its back…Ehud Barak’s masked ball is over.”

Nay, the Palestinian’s masked ball is over!

Einat Wilf, one of four Labor members who will join Barak in the brand spanking new Independence faction said:

“I don’t belong to the camp that believes Israel is solely responsible for the failure of these [last summer in Egypt and America] negotiations…The Palestinians bear responsibility for not entering the talks. Some people have sent them a message to wait around for a new government.”

The other Labor babies to join Barak are Matan Vilnai, Shalom Simhon and Orit Noked.

The Independance faction will be “Zionist, Center and Democratic…

Carmel Fire Updates – FIRE !!!!!

Information, help and donations to the Carmel Fire victimsHERE

**See updates below.

Eli Yishai is the Minister of Internal Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister. The National Fire Department services are directly under his responsibility. He is the head of the Shas party and is an important part of the coalition that keeps Netanyahu’s party in government. He is the directly responsible guilty party that should be held responsible. He should be discharged from his position in government. He will not be. Our government is weak and this is the corrupt political structure we have. In a few months another commission will make suggestions and some low level dismissals will take place.

The only thing Eli Yishai will always worry about is money for the Orthodox party he represents (Shas) and, the all important fact the migrants should not be allowed to settle in Israel and are the cause of disease. This is what he considers the priorities of his office!

In my opinion Eli Yishai is a disease for Israel. He represents the uneducated, ignorent (Iran like), corrupt cancer that is eating up Israel and turning it into a fundamental, religious, backward country. Considering this is the only Jewish state we have, maybe we should not let this happen. As long as people like Eli Yishai can be allowed to govern and hold positions in the highest levels of government disasters like this will continue to happen.

Over 40 were killed in the last few hours in a fire that is raging on the carmel mountain and several other points in the North of Israel. There 135 firefighters – 135! that are fighting this mega fire and so far there is no signs of slowing down.

One of the main disasters of this event is the death of 40 officer trainees that were called into the scene to help the firefighters and were burnt alive in the bus that was taking them to the scene.
An ongoing investigation is showing that this maybe an arson and that the fire started in 3 different locations at the same time.

The recent weeks have been dry and there were no rainy days at all, making this one of the driest spells in Israel’s history. The North of Israel has been experiencing one of the worst “winters” in history with a record number of fires occurring in the past few weeks. The warning signs were there all the time and firefighters were warning that resources were low. Tonight when the “mother of all fires” has hit, it finds Israel unprepared.

Reinforcements are being called in from France, Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria and there is a hope that planes with fire extinguishing equipment will be arriving later tonight.


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Walla

UPDATE 8:02 PM 2/10/10

A high ranking police officer Chief Deputy for Haifa Police (Ahuva Tomer) was interviewed earlier tonight, a few hours later she was caught in the flames and is now in critical condition in hospital with 80% burns to her body. Doctors are fighting for her life.

We are getting reports of several firefighters who are currently missing and some injured are being evacuated to the local Haifa hospitals. The current list of evacuated locations are:

Beit Oren
Ein Hod
Haifa University
Denia (Haifa)
Tirat HaCarmel

UPDATE 11:02 PM 2/10/10
4 prisoners escaped tonight taking advantage of the evacuation of the local prisons in the area in a police vehicle (feel like the apocalypse yet?). They apparently took advantage of the evacuation of the Damun prison. The Prison Authority is now looking at the case and are checking the details. Damun Prison holds illegal aliens and petty crime offenders.

Interviews are showing the evacuees from local neighborhoods in the Carmel being moved to local hotels and hostels in the area. The forecast so far is that the fire will not end quickly and that the fire will continue to rage unhampered until the beginning of next week.

Another “interesting” announcement – Turkey our close “friend” has offered help. We should really check that they are not going to use this excuse as a way of landing equipment in Gaza as a way to “help”…

Barak has managed to get a commitment from the French government of approx. 40 tons of fire extinguishing materials.

QUESTIONS
Why are we asking for help from Azerbaijan?
Why doesn’t Israel “have the necessary tools to extensguish the fire” (Benjamin Netanyahu)?
How is a country like Israel, a supposedly advanced country, not have the capability to protect its citizens from a fire this size?
Is anyone going to be held responsible for this fuck up?
Will it be the right person (see above)?

UPDATE 8:02 AM 3/10/10
Planes from Bulgaria and Greece have landed in Ramat David airfield and with them a Bulgarian plane with 100 firefighters. There are so far 15,000 evacuees in the Carmel area. Kibbutz Beit Oren was 20% burnt down it was also the location of the bus that was burnt earlier. Additional towns that were evacuated include Osafia, Nir Etzion, and Tirat Hacarmel.

Ecologically this is the worst disaster ever in Israel. The Carmel woods were considered the most beautiful National Reserve in Israel and they are completely gone – 7.7 Square Miles of forest are gone and the fire is still raging.

The winds in the morning are intense and the fire is continuing to rage. Over night the fire reached highway 4 and it is now closed from Faradis Interchange in the North. So far there are 41 killed. Two Police officers and 2 firefighters are missing.

Tirat Hacarmel is being evacuated now and over the early hours of the morning Denia (a lucrative neighborhood) was evacuated as well.

Saving For a Rainy Day: Bibi’s Big Budget Blunder

“In the last decade, the Israeli economy was faced with two crises: a local one and an international one.”


Began Bibi,

“We came out of both because we had an economic policy with vision. The budget we compiled today is a responsible and balanced budget that grants stability to the Israeli economy for the next two years.”

This is how the Prime Minister opened the cabinet meeting:

“The public in every country pays for going over the budget and unchecked spending…It may not be clear when a government goes over the budget, but we see what happened in some European countries. We can’t let such irresponsibility happen in Israel.”

He added,

“Naturally, we can’t meet every need, even though many are legitimate and important, but a leader’s job is to weigh priorities and make decisions.”

And with that the cabinet unanimously approved the new budget. The result of which is a decrease of NIS 2.7 billion – that’s 700 million US dollars, from the Defense Ministry’s budget over the two coming years.

In 2011-12 the systematic refill will happen in increments of 2.7% per year, standing the budget at NIS 271 billion, come the second year.
Well, Ehud Barak said the decision to cut his office’s budget was indeed necessary “given the economic and social reality.”

Though, a Kadima representative said that the new budget is:

“A complete public deceit. The most overblown and wasteful government in the history of the State has produced a budget that lacks policy and vision.”

According to Ehud Olmert’s party, the Labor ministers, “have no shame, and securing their seats is more important to them than the promises they made to their voters.”

Avigdor Lieberman’s Israel Beiteinu is not happy with the Prime Minister’s decision, per usual. Public Security Minister, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, said after the cabinet meeting:

“Israel Beiteinu is the senior partner [in the coalition]…but we’re treated otherwise. I say to the government and to the prime minister: We’ll meet in the Knesset…We’re voting against the budget – it will not pass!”

Aharonovitch says that the budget will skim from the Public Security Ministry NIS 700 million!

Also of Israel Beiteinu, Sofa Landver, Immigrant Absorption Minister railed on the cuts to her ministry:

“This is the first time since the establishment of the State of Israel that aliya is not on the government’s agenda,” she said. “The proposed budget is directly harming the absorption and encouragement of aliya. I call upon Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to get involved, because he said that the absorption of olim is a priority for our government.”

She refers to a diaspora, arguably feeling further isolated from the Jewish Country due to a new orthodox conversion law (currently opposed by the Prime Minister, currently…temporarily?).

Stay tuned to see what happens next!

Theatre of the Absurd: The Next Act

Well as it turned out, the “Activists” were actually “Terrorists“…

As the streets of Ankara are filled with angry protestors on the Palestinian behalf, Ehud Barak or someone in the Israeli Navy must be in serious trouble. Indeed the Jewish Country’s raid on the Turkish sponsored armada was a botched one. The injuries caused to the Israeli commandos is what there is to be regretted – and let’s recall danger foolishly caused to IDF ground troops in Lebanon when they were left flagged out in ominous positions without food or water during the 2006 attempt on the life of Hezbollah.

Now watch the Arab world dance their bellicose folk-dance for blood. Israel has become used to it. It is almost beautiful.
Expecting the truth from Turkey is alas futile. True friends of the Jewish State, they are not remotely close. Primetime television programs presented earlier this year which featured IDF soldiers raping Palestinian women is no different than the propaganda fed to Palestinian children by their own media. Such a veil over the eyes of truth will only result in more deaths.

In the meantime, we shall stay tuned for Turkish and other European Muslim demonstrators to put the Gaza naval blockade question to Egypt – as the operation is partially their’s – we shall stay tuned, though not holding our breath.

Below is a video surveillance of the scuffle – it competes for candor with another version being aired by al-Jazeera.

The New Ultra-Orthodox Zionist

2009 saw approximately 2,000 haredi yeshiva students join the IDF or National Service. This is in sharp contrast to the 300 to 400 in 2008.
Most of these ultra-Orthodox men who chose to enlist in the IDF or do national service were older than 25. Most married with children.

The sharp rise may have been a result of the implementation of the Tal law. The Barak administration established the Tal Committee in 1999, with the aim of resolving problems stemming from draft exemptions for yeshiva students. The Tal law took effect in August 2002.

The law permits yeshiva students older than 22 to take one year off from their studies. During the year, they can acquire a profession or work without being drafted. At the end of the year, the students have a choice of either returning to full-time studies or completing abbreviated national service.

Between 2002 and 2005, only 1,400 yeshiva students, or 3% took a year off from their studies, and only 74 chose to fulfill national service.
The Finance Ministry blocked the creation of civilian national service for yeshiva students interested in remaining in the workforce. And the Defense Ministry, which demanded that men 23-year-olds complete a more lengthy service.

The National Service Administration reported that in 2009, 1,070 haredi men who had previously been enrolled full-time in yeshivot and kolelim opted to do national service. The men chose between a one year eight-hour-a-day track and a two-year four-hour-a-day track.
The normal National Service occupations for ultra-Orthodox participants are inside haredi neighborhoods or haredi charity organizations as paramedics, teachers, and social services workers.

As for the IDF, there’s the Shahar option. Shahar stands for haredi service (sheirut haredim) and targets married haredi men. They focus on training haredi men for non-combat roles like computer programmers, technicians and mechanics. There is also the Nahal Haredi, a battalion designated for ultra-Orthodox soldiers. Both the Nachal Haredi and Shahar provide participants with occupational training.

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, a total of 5,500 21-year-old haredim asked for a deferral of their mandatory military service.
The total number of haredi men who request deferrals for the sake of devoting themselves to Torah education is about 55,000. Therefore, haredi men of various ages who choose to do national or military service make up just 3.5% of the total.

Senior Israeli Officials Speak at IAF Graduation


At an
Israeli Air Force School Graduation Ceremony on Thursday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak called on Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority to reenter in negotiations on the Middle East peace process. It is expected that Abbas will meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Sunday, when the two leaders are expected to discuss the US-backed plan.
At the ceremony, Barak said this:

“We must explore every possibility to advance a regional peace arrangement, based on an agreement with our Palestinian neighbors, based on the Road Map, the concept of two states for two people, and a declaration of an end to this long running conflict.”

He added:

“We once again call on the Palestinian leadership and Mahmoud Abbas to show responsibility to his countrymen and to return to the negotiating table, in order to achieve the hoped for peace.”

Also present as the ceremony was IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi. He pointed out the dangers and threats that the Jewish Country faces.

“At this very hour a number of threats are gathering, both near and far away.”

The IDF chief went on to say that

“standing against all these threats…are these same newly-minted pilots, along with the IAF family, to defend Israel.”

British Lawyers: Fe Fi Fo Fum I Smell The Blood of A Palestinian

An arrest warrant has been issued in a London court against Tzipi Livni for alledged war crimes committed during Operation Cast Lead. Livni’s office had this to say:

livni in the UK

“The opposition chairwoman is proud of all her decisions regarding Operation Cast Lead. The operation achieved its objectives to protect the citizens of Israel and to reinstate Israel’s deterrence capability. Livni will continue to present this stance everywhere in the world…Hamas is not a dialogue partner, and we must therefore take forceful action against them, while engaging in negotiations with moderate elements. As such, no comparison between IDF soldiers and terrorists can be made. This is Livni’s position whether or not an arrest warrant was issued, which is something we are as of yet unaware of.”

A few months ago, when Defense Minister Ehud Barak visited Britain, he was faced with accusations by local lawyers of committing war crimes; but the court rejected the accusations, and Barak was not detained.

In 2005, Major General Doron Almog arrived in London, but remained on board his plane and was forced to fly back to Israel in fear of being arrested. The warrant issued against him was eventually canceled.

Similarly, former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon postponed a recent trip to Britian following legal recommendations. Pro-Palestinian British lawyers are hot on the Jewish State’s trail.

Livni has canceled her plans to speak at Jewish National Fund’s Vision 2010 conference held in Hendon, near London. She insists that it is not out of fear of being arrested, but these claims are suspect.

Defense Ministry Spends a Million Shekels on French Tour

What’s a million shekels off the public’s back when you’re talking about swanky French hotels that cost 2,500 Euro a night for six rooms…two of which nobody actually stayed in…for two days longer than they actually were there for…with the plans being so horribly put together that they had to pay late fees?

This latest disgrace to the citizens of Israel happened this past summer, in July during the 48th Annual Paris Air Show, and was revealed yesterday by the State Comptroller’s Office headed by Micha Lindenstrauss. He said, and quite rightly, “There is no place for spending so much on hotels and lavish suites, particularly during an economic crisis, when most citizens are struggling to make end’s meet.”

He published a 16-page report that depicts careless spending with no supervision of expenses. I guess they have no cheap falafel in France? Too bad.

Barak Air ShowThe defense ministry was quick to absolve Barak of all responsibility of course, saying that he was not in charge of supervision of expenses or which hotels were booked. You see, that’s the problem with Israel. You can never actually find the person in charge, because they rarely if ever seem to exist. The sad thing is, the nonexistent person in charge didn’t even pick the swankiest of hotels. The person picked the swankiest hotels at exorbitant late fees because the event was haphazardly planned at the last minute.

“Nonetheless,” said a defense ministry spokesman, “the defense minister has instructed that from now on, all spending irregularities or deviations from regulations be submitted for his authorization.” Do you think that’s a good idea? I think that’s a good idea. Does this mean Barak is actually in charge now? A living breathing person? I really don’t know what to say. Tears are welling.

Here’s how the expenses broke down:
NIS 527,000 in hotel expenses
NIS 417,000 in covering the rest of the entourage
which totals 944,000, which doesn’t even cover flights, food, or any other expenses.

And get this: Lindenstrauss actually ordered an “accelerated investigation” because an “extensive inquiry” would have taken two years, at which time all those guilty would probably be out of office. This reminds me of a little game I went through when I first moved to Israel and attempted to get my degree from America recognized. Luckily, I knew someone who helped me with the fiasco, who told me to get a certain letter from the unemployment office declaring that I needed my American degree certified “quickly.” Otherwise, it would have taken six months, instead of two weeks.

I see things work this way at the top as well, which is strangely comforting, if not a bit disturbing.

Here’s some other sordid details: The hotel the delegation reserved, the Intercontinental, demanded that the Israeli delegation commit to the suites within four days, agree to pay for the reservation in full in the event of cancellation, and reserve the rooms for six days even though they needed them only for four.

Apparently “international pressure” now includes pesky French hotel managers. We have to be diplomatic, as they say.

War Crimes Lawsuit Filed Against Barak

Ehud BarakIt seems our Defense Minister may find himself in a bit of a legal pickle for his alleged “war crimes” committed in Gaza in December/January when he decided enough was enough and Hamas should stop firing rockets at Israel already. A lawyer representing Palestinian families apparently asked a London court to order the arrest of Ehud Barak on suspicion of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity. Barak was urged by government officials in Israel to leave Britain immediately. But like a man, he stayed, instead of running away at the threats. As I type this, he is still there, and we don’t know exactly what will happen.

When I heard this, my mind moved right to Ahmadenijad and Gaddafi as they twaddled around New York, the latter actually looking for a place to pitch his tent. Nobody would let him, thank God, and he had to spend the night in the Lybian embassy without a tent, poor soul. Why doesn’t anybody arrest THESE people on suspicion of war crimes? I’d say bombing a plane full of civilians counts, or seeking nuclear weapons maybe? How about just being a dictator? Why doesn’t that count for anything anymore?

The argument Israel is planning to make is that Barak, as an official in the Israel government, has diplomatic immunity, which means even if he WERE a war criminal, they can’t really touch him. But the secret is this. This doesn’t really have to do with legal issues, whether he has immunity or not, or whether he is actually a war criminal. It has to do with, yes, Anti Semitism. If they really want to prosecute Barak, believe me, they’ll find a way to do it.

In my opinion, Israel shouldn’t make any legal arguments to anyone besides the following one: “Be quiet and leave me alone.”

And who wants to even think about what will happen to the dying Labor party if Barak is detained in England for war crimes? What happens to Netanyahu’s coalition then?

Barak is scheduled to meet today with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Foreign Minister David Miliband about the Iranian issue, and was warned about a possible move such as this, which was finally made by attorney Michel Massiah.
The British court is expected to decide Tuesday whether to discuss the claim, which was filed on behalf of Palestinian families hurt during the Gaza war.

The Defense Minister’s office refused to comment on the lawsuit filed against him.

Top Watch Category in Israeli Politics

This is the latest list showing who the top 6 are and what they’re wearing as advertised in Globes..

Top 6 Watches in Israeli politics

Netanyahu Under Siege Part One

While certain pundits, including Jerusalem Post columnist Isi Leibler tend to assume that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s support is as strong as ever, we at OneJerusalem have a somewhat different angle on the situation. While what Leibler writes may be true in the eyes of the public, the truth is that, within his governing coalition, Bibi is being triangulated from three directions into a practical political prison.

In this two part analysis, we will show you exactly how the crunch on Bibi is taking shape, and that, in the end, he will probably be able to do absolutely nothing in the final calculation, save stay in his spot without testing any side of the triangle. If Bibi pushes too far, which at some point he will most certainly have to do he may be toppled at any minute.

Direction 1 from the Left – The Labor Party and Daniel Ben-Simon

Though the Labor Party emerged from this year’s general elections more crushed and defeated than it has ever been in its entire history, Labor continues to be a huge factor in Netanyahu’s policy decisions. Labor is pressing hard for the removal of 23 unauthorized outposts throughout Judea and Samaria, and they’re getting pushy about it. Labor faction chairman Daniel Ben-Simon was quoted as saying this yesterday: “If the outposts are not taken down, I will tell [Labor Party Chariman Ehud] Barak that that we aren’t expressing the will of the voters and [that] I demand that the party’s institutions meet to reconsider remaining in the coalition. If the institutions say no, I would have to decide my future and take a different path than I have taken until now.”

Is that a threat? Certainly. If Ben-Simon joins the four current Labor rebels, that would constitute enough to create a legal split in the faction, reducing Netanyahu’s coalition by at least 5 seats, if not all of Labor’s 13 if Barak goes with them. According to Ben-Simon, Barak has until October, when the Knesset reconvenes, to evacuate the outposts. Otherwise, Ben-Simon will take action. This is just the beginning. In the other direction, we have…

Direction 2 from the Right – A Polarized Likud Party

There are two serious things happening here. First, Knesset member Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), just last night had the guts to organize a conference inside the Knesset for the heads of the Judea and Samaria settler communities with the objective of forming a united front against Bibi’s plan to order a settlement freeze. 20 leaders attended the high level conference, where it was agreed that over the next month more pressure should be placed on Netanyahu to ditch a plan to freeze construction.

Ben SimonHotoveli is not the only one behind this, however. Together with her and of like mind are Environment Minister Gilad Erdan, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, and world Likud head Danny Danon, among others. A much more dangerous prospect than the Labor party getting all hot and bothered is having the right flank of his own party turn its back on him. Even Bibi’s close associate, MK Ofir Akunis, said that “There will be no freezing of construction in Judea and Samaria and we will not disrupt the lives of people there.”

Labor will certainly not be happy with any negotiations with the PA going on while settlement construction continues, so who knows where they’ll go once they begin complaining that negotiations have no import without a settlement freeze, which is what they will most definitely cry out if and when Bibi and PA leader Mahmoud Abbas get together and talk.

With Vice PM Bogey Ya’alon recently taking a turn to the Right and openly advocating a return to the evacuated town of Homesh, destroyed during the Disengagement of 2005, Bibi’s room for maneuvering here is small indeed.

The second, and arguably even more important phenomenon going on here is Likud’s right flank openly calling for nationalists to join the Likud and strengthen them. These include, along with the above mentioned Hotoveli and Danon, Deputy Minister of Negev Development Ayoub Kara, and MK Yariv Levine. With the objective of enlisting hundreds, if not thousands of supporters from the otherwise politically unaffiliated Nationalist Camp, they are looking for the necessary backing to be able to counter Bibi’s shifts to the left in order to appease the Labor Party.

If they succeed, Bibi’s hold on the party loses much of its potency, that is if he doesn’t entirely lose it altogether just as Ariel Sharon did, forcing him to take a swift exit from the Likud and form Kadima only a few years ago. Word has it that the coalition, calling itself the “Movement for the Strengthening of the National Camp” has already succeeded in bringing aboard several hundred new Likud members just in the past few days. Members who, most likely, are not all that interested in a settlement freeze.

(And let’s not forget Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s likely imminent indictment for corruption and money laundering, which could have untold effects on Bibi’s coalition agreement with Lieberman’s Party, Yisrael Beiteinu.)

Compensation Instead of Right of Return? Or Extortion Instead of Demise?

Obama With Mubarak In Egypt
A new buzz is coming around the corner today. Word has it that US President Obama and Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak are meeting at the White House to discuss resolving the Middle East conflict by offering compensation to Arab refugees of the 1948 War of Independence instead of having millions of them and their descendents flood the Jewish State.

First, let’s state the obvious, and from there we’ll proceed to the less obvious, and finally to the hidden. As for the obvious, let’s say it like it is. If millions of Arabs flood Israel in return for some kind of peace agreement, then every Jew in Israel will either be slaughtered by the newly found Arab majority, or otherwise be expelled if they are brave enough to put up a fight, and the Jewish People will find themselves, once again, landless and wandering in yet another exile.

Here’s the less obvious. Which “Barak” is missing in the meeting between President Barack and Mubarak? That’s right, Ehud Barak. Not that he must personally participate, but when discussing Israel’s future, wouldn’t it be best if all Bara(c)ks are present and Israel were actually…represented, in the room I mean, discussing if it would like paying billions to Arabs who live in Abu Dhabi somewhere, probably working at an oil rig? What we have here are two countries with their own interests at heart discussing the future of another country without her consent. Doesn’t this seem a bit odd to you? It shouldn’t, because it’s well known that both Barack Obama and Mubarak are not fans of the current Israeli government, and especially Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. It’s to be expected, this kind of thing.

Here’s the hidden. We always hear about these holistic comprehensive grandiose Middle East Peace Plans, most recently a 57-state solution involving the withdrawal to the ’67 borders followed by pan-Arab recognition of Israel, with the help and applause of the European Union etc. etc. But is the Israeli compensation of Arab refugees of ’48 that holistic? Or is it actually one-sided?

Personally, I’d be perfectly happy compensating every single ’48 Arab refugee and all of their descendents if the Arabs compensated every single ’48 Jewish refugee from their countries, and we could even get the EU into the fray as they generally love to be on these issues by having England, France, and Spain compensate the descendants of the 13th, 14th, and 15th century Jewish expulsions from their respective countries as well (AKA, all of us). As a matter of fact, I’d be willing to completely forgive all debt and have everything cancel out, have all monetary transactions not take place in the first place and call it a deal. I think it would just be easier on all sides, and we could all save a LOT of money on bank fees.

Having just the Jews pay the Arabs, sounds like extortion to me. Agree? Disagree? Let us know!

The Coalition Cat Fight

Are you ready for a OneJerusalem quick analysis of Knesset Mayhem?

Keep that circus music in your head now as you read this. By the numbers, PM Netanyahu’s coalition is 74 seats made up of 6 parties. He now wants to pass a bill called the “Mofaz Bill” which would allow for 7 Knesset members to break away from a party and form their own faction. This bill is named after the guy on the right, number 2 on Kadima, currently in the 46-member opposition, who has been irking to join the government against the wishes of his party leader Tzipi Livni, and who has 7 MK’s from his faction that he could break off and join Likud with. Netanyahu wants to do this to break up Kadima, a 28-member faction, down to 21.

Meanwhile, another Kadima MK has thrown a monkey wrench into the shoe factory by sticking an addendum to the bill which would allow 4 MK’s to break off instead of 7. He did this because of the 4 “Labor Rebels” who are technically part of Netanyahu’s government, but sure as heck don’t want to be. They are these guys:

rebelsFrom left to right, Eitan Cabel, Amir Peretz, Yuli Tamir, and Shelly Yachimovich. If 4 can break off, then these four might break off from the 13-seat Labor faction, which Labor leader Ehud Barak, who is part of the government, sure doesn’t want, so would he support the bill? That’s the monkey wrench.

Many people don’t like these moves because they change the rules of the game in the middle of the game. Now, to get into the nitty gritty, Netanyahu also wants to pass a land reform bill which would allow private citizens to own land instead of leasing it from the Israel Lands Administration. The current set up is meant to prevent the sale of land to non Jews who may slowly buy up the state from Jews and keep it. Netanyahu, last week, failed to pass this law because various members of his coalition ran out of the plenum in the middle of the vote so it wouldn’t pass. He got angry, tabled the bill at the last second, and threatened to fire ministers who didn’t support it the next time around.

Now, the 3-member Jewish Home faction is threatening not to vote for the land reform bill round 2 if Netanyahu doesn’t support the Slomiansky Bill, another game changer meant to allow one MK from each faction to retire from the Knesset if named a minister and get his seat back if he is fired from the government. This is meant to allow Jewish Home number 4 Nissan Slomiansky into the Knesset if Jewish Home number 1 Daniel Hershkovitz, Sport Minister, retires from the Knesset.

This is a limited Norwegian Law, and the reason a full one isn’t being passed is that Netanyahu would rather be seen in his underwear than pass a full Norwegian Law that would see over 10 Likud ministers retire from the Knesset and Netanyahu’s arch enemy Moshe Feiglin get in and cause him trouble.

In return, Netanyahu is threatening not to support the Slomiansky Bill if Jewish Home doesn’t support the Land Bill (support of which is needed for it to pass), who in return is threatening not to support the Mofaz Bill if Netanyahu doesn’t support the Slomiansky bill.

SLOW DOWN!

Basically, if any of this circus makes too many people unhappy, the government falls and we go to elections again.
Meanwhile, Iran continues to build nuclear weapons. Numbers really don’t matter so much when it comes to that minor detail.

That’s it for this week’s installment of “Israeli Knesset and Me.”

The Fish and The Shark

While PM Olmert, Defense Secretary Barak, and the intelligence agencies have failed to do their job and return Gilad Shalit home, the Israeli consulate in New York have managed to make an impact on the Jewish community in the States.

This is a video done a year ago. In it, you see 11 y/o Bronx kids reading the story Gilad Shalit wrote as a child (translated to English).

As the Shalit family and the whole of Israel are facing the fact that Gilad is apparently not coming home any time soon, we have to turn to Gilad’s words themselves to regain some hope — for him, and for a better Israel.

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