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Tag: Moshe “Bogey” Ya’alon

Capability: Dealing With Iran

Deputy Prime Minister and former IDF chief of staff, Moshe Ya’alon has declared that Israel has the technological capability to make a military strike on Iran.

In an address at a conference on air power at the Fisher Institute for Air & Space Strategic Studies, Ya’alon said that Israel’s experience in carrying out air strikes, such as Iraq’s nuclear reactor Osirak in 1981 and Syria in 2007 could feasibly, even easily be applied to the distantly located Iranian regime.

“There is no doubt that the technological capabilities, which improved in recent years, have improved range and aerial refueling capabilities, and have brought about a massive improvement in the accuracy or ordnance and intelligence…This capability can be used for a war on terror in Gaza, for a war in the face of rockets from Lebanon, for war on the conventional Syrian army, and also for war on a peripheral state like Iran.”

Ya’alon posited air strikes to “decapitate or blind” an enemy by targeting its early-warning defenses or even its leadership:

“As far as I’m concerned, attack remains the best form of defense.”

Israel views herself at a de facto war with Iran as a result of its sponsorship of Hezbollah and Hamas:

“There is no doubt, looking at the overall situation, that we are already in a military confrontation with Iran…Iran is the main motivator of those attacking us.”

Another Likud Rally Against the Freeze

Last month, September 9th, saw a much hyped, but much deflated Likud rally with a very confused message about whether Netanyahu was being strengthened or rebelled against by attendees of the rally. Nobody could really figure it out, which is why only about 200 showed up to the event in Likud headquarters that was looking to draw thousands. That, and some of the speakers at the event turned back, and others got mysteriously stuck in an elevator on their way up to speak.

danonThis time, a rally is being planned in the settlement of Revava, tomorrow, Oct. 6. It is being put together by Likud MK Danny Danon, who has lately been making waves as a potential leader of the hard right wing line of the party, which evidence suggests has been growing all the more dominant over the past two years.

The point of the rally will be to call upon Netanyahu to clarify his position on a settlement freeze. This seems like a good thing to demand, being that nobody really knows what in the world he’s thinking, nor ever seems to have a clue. There is a good reason for this. If he takes a real position on the issue, then he’ll anger somebody. So he can’t really say anything. So it’s doubtful Danon will inspire him to do so. But here’s to trying, eh?

“Please tell me whether due to Palestinian rejection, the freeze on construction has been canceled,” Danon wrote to Netanyahu. “Right now, the situation is unclear, so please explain the government’s position on the matter.” Netanyahu ignored his letter.

Recently, neoconservative columnist Daniel Pipes has mentioned Danny Danon in one of his columns as “up and coming.” If Pipes recognizes Danon as up and coming, then something might be up here. He has run for Likud chairman in the past, though only garnering a dismal 3.5%, trailing Netanyahu and Moshe Feiglin. My guess is he’ll do better in his next run.

Here’s my prediction with regard to up-and-comingness. For those who follow internal Likud politics, it should come as no surprise. The next race for the Likud throne will probably consist of the following candidates, mainly at least.

1) Danon, who is obviously setting himself up for a run by being so outspoken.
2) Moshe “Bogey” Ya’alon, who also has been making waves lately, though the last few weeks he’s been fairly quiet.
3) Feiglin, who has run in every Likud election since 2000 and has promised to run in the next one as well.

There may be a smattering of others, but they will either drop out or get a negligible slice of the Likud pie. The big question is, will Bibi run again? The answer to that depends on how his government ends. If it runs full course, which is doubtful, chances are he probably will. If it falls and he looks bad, he may not. It depends on whether he even wants to have a third round as top man. And if he doesn’t, it looks like it’ll be a fight among those three, all of whom are substantially more right wing than the current sitting Prime Minister.

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.)

OneJerusalem Exclusive: Vice Premier Bogey Ya’alon Meets with Moshe Feiglin & Followers

YaalonThe calm of the event and how normal it felt belied how unprecedented it actually was. The place was packed from front to back. There weren’t even enough chairs for everyone in attendance. Moshe “Bogey” Ya’alon, Minister of Strategic Affairs and Vice PM, took time out of his day to sit down with a fringe group of Feiglinites working inside the Likud, and speak with them about his vision. Bogey showed guts in sitting down with Feiglin and his supporters since his boss, PM Netanyahu, is known to loathe this man, and fears him like the plague. To be caught sitting with Feiglin – you’ll take quite a media beating if you get caught. This may be why Feiglin sent no official word to the media about the event. Bogey’s lambasting of the Israeli media during his 40 minute speech to the group could have been another factor.

He spoke about Zionist history, about days past where hope was prevalent, about what he perceived as the failure of the Oslo Process, about how Israel thought that by giving up land she could get peace, about how there is no one to talk to on the other side and therefore negotiations are impossible for the time being. Basically, the standard Likud talk, agree with it or not. Though, with all due respect to Bogey, a true patriot and hero of the State of Israel who fought in every war since Yom Kippur of ’73, there was something missing. The frustration in the room was palpable. It was a frustration that I understood immediately: Moshe Ya’alon does not really understand who Feiglin is, why his following is growing, what he really stands for, or what he is trying to do. Like so many others, he thinks Moshe Feiglin is just another right winger in Likud with a big support base – a base he wants to get in with and win over, so repeating the standard Likud refrains will make them happy.

Moshe FeiglinKeep in mind that Moshe Feiglin is probably the strangest politician in Israel. He is quiet, doesn’t talk much, he’s always smiling for some reason, an almost eerie ambience of calm constantly surrounds him as his rail-thin body slowly sways through a room, and he just won’t leave the Likud no matter how hard his enemies attack him. The man operates, and has always operated on the fringe. His house sits at the very end of his block, at the edge of a hill. When he walks into his Synagogue on Shabbat mornings, he sits at the end of the row. And aside from people constantly approaching him and starting conversations, asking questions and the like, he doesn’t hang around to schmooze up the crowd after services. Instead, he heads straight home, a quiet introvert, back to his house at the very end of the block, back to his wife and children.

At the meeting, Bogey spoke about how peace is impossible for now, since the other side has not recognized Israel as the national home of the Jewish people. What he seemed to miss, however, is that to Feiglin, this is completely irrelevant. Whether the other side is ready for peace, willing to make compromises or anything else, plays no role in Feiglin’s thought. “Peace is not my objective,” he replied to Bogey. He continued, “There is no country on the entire planet, except us, that has peace as its national objective. The minute that peace is your national objective, you lose it.” The Zionism of old doesn’t interest him either. “Zionism has reached the end of its road,” he says. “It is time for the next level – the one based on faith and the God of Israel. If we don’t build the second level, we will lose the whole thing.”

Then what is Feiglin trying to do? He wants nothing less than a total revolution at the core of Israel’s consciousness, to redefine the purpose of her existence, to change everything at the very core, and he wants to do this by winning the Likud leadership, and then the leadership of Israel. The objective of peace, according to him, demonstrates that Israel’s current leaders want her to be a nation among nations, to simply be left alone to her own development, to live without having to launch a defense war every 3 years. Feiglin’s idea is much more basic than an absence of conflict. It is to be a uniquely Jewish nation through a national Jewish revival. Not a religious revival, as he is against coercive religious legislation and is actually a proponent of civil marriage, for example. He even wants to see the end of religious parties entirely and the entire National Camp in the Likud.

Jewish revival, for him, begins with the most basic common denominator – Jewish identity. With the sectoral mentality prevalent among pretty much every Israeli today, this type of unity is impossible. This is why operating within the Likud is much more than just a simple tactic for him and his followers. It is, rather, a statement of taking responsibility for the leadership and future of the country and the Jewish people, rather than the leadership of a sectoral party and the funding of your sector’s economic welfare.

Whether Feiglin will succeed in taking over the Likud is anyone’s guess. He began with 3% of the Likud vote in 2002, 12% in 2005, and 24% in 2007. He is constantly recruiting new Likud members for this purpose, swelling his support base in the party. If he actually does it, then whether the country as a whole is ready for someone like him is a totally open question. But his fight and doggedness in not backing down despite any challenge, fair or unfair from Netanyahu and the Likud leadership, reminds me of a quote from the movie the Terminator.

“He doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And he absolutely will not stop, ever.”

This is something his political rivals should take to heart, and Bogey’s arrival at Feiglin headquarters just brought him one step closer to his objective. So if you want the status quo to keep stable, if you don’t want things to change too radically too quickly, then Feiglin is the man to fear. And what happened last night should be cause for alarm, because if history has proven anything, it has proven this. Revolutionary leadership – it always begins on the fringe.

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