a different side of Israel

Tag: Yisrael Katz

Israel to Lend the U.S. a Helping Hand in Security

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz met with US Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Jane Holl Lute, two weeks after the attempted Christmas Day terror attack on a Detroit-bound plane. He told her that Israel is willing and able to assist the United States in dealing with terror threats on civilian aviation.
The Israeli minister told the security officials in his office to boost cooperation with the American Transportation Security Administration, and to coordinate the transfer of operational intelligence in real time. All information on aviation security and Israeli airports’ painstaking security will be made available.
Katz also ordered the launch of professional work groups and joint projects towards the development of advanced technological systems.
Katz was hopeful that the United States can patch up their security problems, as they have been able to work out other domestic glitches over the years:

“It is sad that the situation in the world today has come to resemble what we know and have been dealing with for years…Israel would love to assist and cooperate with the US – the leader of the free world.”

After the meeting, Lute visited Ben Gurion International Airport. She examined the security system, including the brand new biometric system, Unipass, which allows passengers to go through all the stages of travel, from the security check to boarding, on their own. The system was launched in Israel on Tuesday.

Will Vote-Buying Return to the Likud?

This is a translation from the front page article in today’s Ma’ariv newspaper. Apparently, Netanyahu is afraid of an internal coup within his own party, and he’s changing the rules of the game, yet again, in order to stave off opposition.
Changes in the Likud Constitution that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s associates are suggesting would expand the number of party members and allow many of them to vote in the upcoming months – seemingly, with the purpose of strengthening Netanyahu’s position against his detractors.

MerkazThe Likud Knesset “Rebels” and Likud activists against the proposed building freeze in Judea and Samaria have been gathering signatures in the past few days in order to bring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan up for a vote in the Likud Central Committee. However, Netanyahu is aware that in the Likud Central Committee as well as among the party members, there is considerable representation for those who live in Judea and Samaria, as well as Moshe Feiglin’s people, the man of the Right. He’s interested in avoiding the type of confrontation that erupted between former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the Central Committee during the period the Gaza Disengagement was approved. For this reason, the Prime Minister’s allies are today working in parallel to open the electorate and allow new members to join the Likud.

“If we don’t open the lines right now, Feiglin’s men could start to gain control of the local Likud branches,” a senior cabinet minister and Netanyahu associate said. “We are already very concerned that the Feiglinites will get control of the Jerusalem branch. If they succeed, the pressure on Knesset members will be enormous. Everybody starts thinking about his own primary campaign, and Netanyahu starts to lose control of the faction.”

The reason for the hubbub surrounding the size of the electorate is that elections for the Likud Congress, Central Committee, and party branches are around the corner. Netanyahu’s men intend to open it for a short period of 2 or 3 months, in that way ensuring a wide electorate. Additionally, they intend to temporarily nullify a chapter in the Likud Constitution that a party member may only vote in internal elections after 16 months of membership in the party. That way, Netanyahu’s men can bring new members into the party and dilute the influence of men from the Right, Feiglin, and the Judea and Samaria Council within Likud’s institutions.

They Don’t Belong

As of now, there are about 100,000 Likud members, and it is estimated that 15,000 of them belong to Feiglin and the settlement camp. The decision concerning the Constitutional changes and the cancellation of the 16 month “cooling period” are supposed to be brought for the approval of the Likud Central Committee, which is expected to convene immediately after the holidays in order to set the next elections for the Likud Congress. However, the Likud Secretariat is already convening this coming Thursday. According to several sources, the head of the Secretariat, Yisrael Katz, wants to pass a decision – even if its implication is only advisory – to cancel the clause requiring 16 months membership. Regardless, sources close to Katz are denying that there is any intention to do such a thing, and are reiterating that any change is up to the Central Committee.

Likud activist and member of the Secretariat Yitzhak Nimrodi, who began the campaign for the 16-month clause, said yesterday that Katz is deliberating with other members of the Secretariat to check their positions on the matter. “Where will they open up party membership? Only in poor neighborhoods where they can buy them off,” said Nimrodi, who initiated the clause back then in order to prevent the phenomenon of fictitious voters that blossomed in the days of Sharon. “These people, who don’t belong in the Likud, we won’t be seeing a single vote from them during elections.”

Knesset member Yariv Levine, who belongs to the so-called Likud “rebels,” sent a letter to Katz. “I know that they’re telling Netanyahu that this move will dilute the more ideological wing of the party, but in my opinion it is in his interest to oppose the move,” he said. “The 16-month law cleaned the Likud ranks from corruption.” Netanyahu’s associate, the senior government minister, said otherwise. “Whoever doesn’t support our move wants to be held captive to small interest groups. Those who oppose opening the voting ranks can’t explain it as anything other than a deal with Moshe Feiglin.

Ironically, the forces whose influence in the Likud Netanyahu’s men are currently trying to dilute are the same forces that led the campaign in the Central Committee for a referendum over the Disengagement. Netanyahu led the rebellion back then against Sharon, and enlisted all the political strength he could muster in order to bring the opponents of the Disengagement their victory in that referendum. But back then, Sharon decided to go forward without the Central Committee’s approval anyway.

What’s In A Name

What’s in a name? Well, plenty if Israel Transport Minister Israel (or is it Yisrael) Katz has anything to say about it. Katz, a strong right-winger and well known for his often controversial opinions about the Land of Israel (which in his mind includes the entire map of Israel, including Gaza and the West Bank, as well as most of Jordan).

What's In A Name - JerusalemKatz is now trying to push a bill through the Knesset that will require all English versions of road signs, such as Jerusalem, Tiberius, and Caesarea, to be changed to transliterations of the Hebrew version; meaning that Jerusalem will now be spelled Yerushalayim, Tiberius Tiveriya, and so on. Nazareth will become Natsrat and Caesarea will become Kesariya. Arab versions of these names will also be changed to “help bring about more uniformity” according to Yeshaayahu Ronen, head of the ministry’s Transportation Planning Department.

Arab Knesset members, most notably Dr. Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List , Ta’al), denounced the proposed changed as “a blatant de-legitimizing of the Arab language in Israel”. Tibi, who was interviewed along with Katz on Channel 2 TV, said that this will never come to pass” and Al-Quds (the Arab name for Jerusalem) will remain Al-Quds, along with other Arab names of towns, such as Shefa-Amr (the Arab name for Shafaram)”.

In a way, the idea might help making road signs easier to read, as there are often many versions of some names, such as Caesarea, which is often called Qesarya, Qesariyya and Ceysaria.

The political ramifications of objections by Tibi and other Arab parliamentarians are obvious; and if this new bill includes towns in the West Bank, then Arab names like Nablus will become the Hebrew biblical name Shechem. During their television appearance together, MK Tibi said that the government might do well to consider the logistical and financial aspects of such a move “and spend the money that would be required for all these sign changes on better uses, such as improving the infrastructures of Arab towns”. Minister of Minority Affairs Avishay Braverman, appears to be in agreement with MK Tibi, and added that the money that would be spent on such a project should be used to “install much needed signs in Arab communities”.

© 2023

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑