a different side of Israel

Tag: Likud (page 2 of 2)

Funny Polls

I’m confused. Last time I looked at the polls, the Likud was far ahead of Kadima.

But today I read an article that says Kadima has a slight margin over Bibi’s party. It doesn’t make sense. Either poll makers are distorting the picture, or the Israeli public is more confused than I am.

Who’s Afraid of Debating?

During a speech yesterday, Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni invited Ehud Barak and Binyamin Netanyahu to an impromptu debate. Both her opponents, who were sitting in the audience, declined her surprise invitation.

However, the Avoda (Israeli Labor Party) was quick to respond, and this morning it came out with its own invitation for a series of 3 public debates between the 3 main party leaders.

Will Livni show its seriousness to debate? Or was it a hollow political trick?

Israelis deserve a debate!

Livni? I Don’t Believe Her

Tzipi Livni and her Kadima party launched a fierce campaign against Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu, in which black billboard ads cry out “Bibi? I Don’t Believe Him.”

Well, personally, I might not believe him — but I sure as hell don’t believe Tzipi any better. She has always been muddy in her agenda, and faint in general. Recently, she began “shooting in all directions”, under the guidance of her media consultants. There are lots of “puppet politicians” in Israel and abroad, but no one has even been so apparent as Tzipi Livni.

Today she denied UN official Prof. Richard Falk from entering Israel, after the Jewish-American Law expert arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport. If it hadn’t been an election period, she wouldn’t have done it.

Moshe Feiglin Receives Extra Attention These Days

Due to the Likud primaries (that happened just two days ago), Moshe Feiglin is now receiving much more media attention than he deserves.

Who is he?

Feiglin is considered a radical right-wing politician, and he is a self-confessed racist.

This is what Feiglin said in a 1995 interview, translated to English:

There’s no doubt that Judaism is racist in a sense, and when the UN determined that Zionism is a racist movement, I didn’t find any point in objecting. If you understand racism as a blood distinction — and this is a very primitive distinction — then you have to claim that Zionism is racist (…) There is no Palestinian nation. There’s only an Arab-speaking public, that suddenly recognized itself as a nation, a negative of the Zionist movement; parasites. The fact they haven’t done it beforehand only proves how inferior they are. In Africa there are no nations as well. Only a Zulu tribe, a Tutsi tribe.

Today Feiglin has an undeniable amount of power within the Likud party, although not as much as he could have had if Binyamin Netanyahu hadn’t declared an all-out political war with him.

Considering the fact that all estimates point at the Likud as being the next ruling party, Feiglin’s rising popularity is a room for concern.

Tal Brody’s New Game

Tal Brody, the famous former basketball player, is announcing today that he will take place in the coming Likud primary, attempting to gain a seat in the next Knesset.

Brody is most notably known for his words at the end of the historic match between Maccabi Tel Aviv and CSKA Moscow:

We are on the map! And we are staying on the map, not only in sports, but in everything.

Brody made Aliyah some 44 years ago, although he still retains a heavy American accent. He had served in both the US Army and the IDF.

Being a total newbie to Israeli politics, it’ll be interesting to see whether Brody can manage to leave his mark on the political map.

Labor Party Primaries Hardly Noticed In Israel

No One Worth Voting For - Labour 2007With Israel Labor Party primaries only hours away, and on top of current security issues such as the beleaguered town of Sderot and military actions into Gaza, tomorrow’s inter-party primary elections for a new Labor Party leader seem to be so boring that even the most mediocre TV program will probably receive better ratings.

The three front-runners, including present party leader and Defense Minister Amir Peretz, also include former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and a newer ‘kid on the block’ former Naval Chief Ami Ayalon; who appears to be the front runner, and the only new face among a group of hopefuls whose aspirations are not generating any excitement within a political party which is only a shadow of it’s former self.

Peretz, running a distant third behind ‘Rear-Admiral’ Ayalon and Barak ‘The Watchmaker’ (Barak’s favorite hobby is disassembling and reassembling watches and clocks) still thinks he can pull off an upset and retain his present position, made increasingly unstable in the aftermath of the sensational Winograd Report. Amir appears to have delusions of grandeur, however, as pre-primary polls show him able to garner less than 20% of the party vote, compared to Barak’s 31% and Ayalon’s 35%.

Barak also appears to be suffering from a few delusions himself, as his short term as Prime Minister resulted in Israel’s hasty pull-out from Lebanon in May, 2000, followed by the disappointing Camp David Summit later that summer and the Second Intifada in the fall. Even Barak himself seems to have some doubts as he was quoted recently as saying: “if there will be a run-off, I’ll lose it (the election)”.

Ayalon appears to be the only possible man who might possibly be able to bring some new life into the party which was virtually unopposed in Israeli politics for nearly thirty years. But in light of present realities, even he may have an uphill struggle due to infighting within Labor, together with Ayalon’s personal connections with Palestinian Professor Sari Nusseibeh concerning a two state solution for Israelis and Palestinians; a not too popular conception nowadays with Kassam rockets still raining down on Israel’s southern regions. The aftermath of last summer’s war, coupled with the present Hamas led hostilities in the south, has increased right winged feelings and given strength to more hawkish political parties, particularly opposition Likud party leader Benjamin ‘Bibi’ Natanyahu.

In the fall-out from events which may occur during the coming days (especially if the conflict with the Palestinians grows more intense) it may even set the stage for such people as Arkadi Gaidamak to become even more popular at the expense of current politicians, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who appears to holding onto power by the skin of his teeth. If Gaidamak continues to win friends and influence people, as he has with his assistance to Sderot residents and others in distress, even he might be a possible political leader in the not so distant future. After all, with all the millions that Arkady has, he doesn’t need to be corrupt – he has enough money already.

Labor’s chances of being in the next Israeli government are not too good at this point. But Israeli politics often results in strange bedfellows; and when push comes to shove, this party could very well be right in there again, alongside an even more right-winged government. After all, a deal is a deal, even if the ‘menu’ is not too palatable.

Peres to Rosenblum – The Political Spectrum

I was watching a popular talk show last night and it was interesting to see the wide spectrum we have in the Knesset today. On the Yair Lapid Show, a talk show on Israel’s Arutz 2, there were two members of Knesset getting interviewed.

Shimon Peres on Yair Lapid

The first was Shimon Peres (82). Shimon Peres is a veteran in the political scene, an ex Prime Minster, one of the early founders of the Labour party and recently joined Kadima, Ariel Sharon’s party. He was the last one to speak to Sharon before his stroke this week and when asked whether he considered him a friend he answered that he did. Despite their rivalry over the years there is a mutual respect there.

Peres is currently writing his 14th book, is a world renowned politician and has been in the political arena for close to 60 years. He may be somewhat removed from the man on the street but no doubt is a very intelligent and a scholar. He had a good sense of humor in the show and when Yair implied that he and Benjamin Netanyahu were the most ridiculed of all MK’s, he insisted the title was rightfully his. Although mud slinging is a national sport for politicians in Israel, Peres has always tried to keep his hands clean and not respond to the many assaults he received over the years.

The interviewer asked a final question: “What would you like written on your tombstone?” Peres responded: “Passed away before his time”.

Pnina Rosenblum on Yair Lapid

The next Knesset member to be interviewed on the show was the newly appointed Likud member, Pnina Rosenblum (50). Running 39th in the Likud Primaries she got bumped into the seat when MK Tzachi Hanegbi left to join Kadima. She was sworn in 2 weeks ago and is now the latest edition to the Knesset.

Pnina was a model in the early 70’s and was known as a provocative sexy bombshell. There were affairs, rumors and scandals associated with her early years. She later started a singing career and continued on to launch a successful cosmetics company that today employs 150 people.

She was a little defensive in the interview and some of the answers to her questions were a little corky. She sees herself as a fighter for women’s rights and against discrimination (a sore subject and one that can use the attention). Her political career maybe very short as the number for the Likud party now seem to be in the low teens, implying that only 11-13 MK’s will represent the Likud after March. Until then however, Pnina is determined to do as much as she can with the time she has.

When asked what she would like to have written on her tombstone she answered: ”Here lies Pnina Rosenblum – Israel’s Prime Minister 2010-2016.”

Hey you never know …

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