Monday, February 23, 2009
However, he is coming up empty because they will only sit in his government if he publicly recognizes the rights of the Palestinians to have a state of their own west of the Jordan River, and will negotiate the Golan and Jerusalem as part of the peace process with the arabs. Doing so, of course, would cost Bibi all of his partners to the right, defy his own paty platform, and make his leadership subservient to Livni.
Of course, deep down, we all know Bibi would give away his own mother to the arabs in exchange for power, money and fame, so he is stuck in the awkward position of either holding onto a rightwing ideology that makes him unpopular with world leaders, or a leftwing ideology that makes him the darling of the EU and Obama but a pariah within his own party, and on the verge of being overthrown by a vote of no-confidence.
Ultimately, the problem Bibi faces is Bibi. If he were a true Likudnik leader of the hardline variety he could stay in office for his entire term without worry, but being scorned by European and American dignitaries is something he could never allow, as their acceptance of him on the world stage is the main reason he wants to be in power in the first place.
What to do, Bibi...you are a corrupt, dishonest, ambitious man in a weak government that forces you to either be ideological or out of power, neither of which are options you have the stomach to accept. In the end, I suppose, you will worm back to the right to try and get your foot in the door as PM, but will lose your grip on the coalition within 6 months of taking office as your inevitable attempts to swing too far to the left lead to the collapse of your government.
New elections coming before 2009 is out...mark my words.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
J-Post: President Shimon Peres said Wednesday that he had erred in supporting Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza.
The revealing remarks come three years after Israel's evacuation of the volatile coastal strip which has since been seized by Hamas.
"Whatever will happen in the future, we shall not repeat the mistakes we made in leaving Gaza," Peres said in a question and answer session with a group of American Jewish leaders. "It should have been done otherwise. I was for leaving Gaza. I consider myself as one of the persons mistaken."
The dovish leader, who has long been a champion of Israeli territorial withdrawals, said that although "lessons must be drawn" from the 2005 unilateral Gaza pullout, demographic and democratic considerations still necessitate the creation of a Palestinian state.
"It doesn't change the fact that there is a [demographic] reality," he told the annual Israel meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. "I want to make sure that the state we have remains Jewish."
OK, at least it's a start. The problem with mistakes of this magnitude is you can't just say "oops" and hope everything will magically be all better. Time for him to take the next step and make a stand against future concessions to the scum arabs, who are already salivating over the next Israeli retreat.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
First, let's look at the results. Tzippi and her Kadima party has apparently received the most votes. I say apparently, because her party only leads Bibi's Likud by one seat, 28-27, with the military votes still left to be counted. If, as expected, Bibi gets a delegate boost once these ballots are counted, Likud will tie Kadima in mandates and Bibi will almost certainly be chosen as the one to form a coalition government.
In truth, it's almost impossible to imagine a scenario where Livni could become Prime Minister. The left was absolutely taken to the woodshed and flogged by Israelis at the booths yesterday. For a government to be able to take power in Israel, they must first assemble a majority coalition of at least 61 MK's (out of 120 total seats). Looking at Livni's options, that seems virtually impossible. Below I have listed the parties that will NOT be joining Bibi's coalition along with the number of seats they won.
- Kadima: 28
- Labor: 13
- Arab parties: 11
- Meretz: 3
- Total: 55
Conversely, Bibi has a very solid majority government that he could successfully assemble immediately.
- Likud: 27
- Yisrael Beitenu: 15
- Shas: 11
- United Torah: 5
- Ichud Leumi: 4
- Mafdal: 3
- Total: 65
Netanyahu's contempt for the nationalist movement was clearly evident with his banishment of Moshe Feiglin's Jewish Leadership representation during Likud's primaries. He fears them, hates them, and wants no part of them, but will align with them out of necessity in order to become Prime Minister. If Tzippi and Kadima joins his coalition, it grants him the freedom to move to the left upon taking office and freeze out the influence of the religious nationals.
What we have seen from this election is that the overall mood of the Israeli voter has moved perceptibly to the right, but not the hard right. Most Israelis probably would like to see a coalition government of Likud, Kadima, Labor and Yisrael Beitenu, while pushing out the arab and religious parties.
I think what is missing, though, from this scenario is the representation of the old guard Likud voter. That fierce nationalist who holds traditional religious values while leading a largely secular lifestyle. Lieberman gave a home to that voter, but because he is somewhat anti-religious and endorses compromising land for peace he is an imperfect model.
Probably the candidate who is ideal to head that voting sector, but cannot seem to find the right home, is Ichud Leumi's Arieh Eldad. Though he is not religious himself, he is a true friend and ally of religious zionism and fiercely nationalist. Unfortunately, he falls through the cracks, because he isn't religious enough to win over the religious Zionist vote with his own leadership, nor nationally popular enough to head his own nationalist party into a leadership position in Knesset.
So, what is the answer? I believe a man who can be equally adept in both worlds of nationalism. He should wear a kippah, but, unlike Yaakov Katz, not be a long bearded "frum" in appearance and style. Moshe Feiglin would be absolutely ideal, but he has chosen the path of trying to lead Likud, and as long as Bibi and company are running the show he will be blocked from knesset. Still, he remains our best hope for the future, and I think everyone in the nationalist camp would agree that he remains the undisputed leader of the nationalist movement.
Meanwhile, the collapse of the left was dramatic, though not entirely unexpected. Clearly, there is not enough support for more than one liberal Zionist party at a time. Labor and Kadima are virtually indestinguishable, so why they are divided into two is anyone's guess. Strategically, they should unite as one single party in the future if they hope to have any realistic shot at leading the government.
Monday, February 09, 2009
With polls about to open, what will be the political landscape in Israel 24 hours from now? Who will win? What coalitions will be formed? There will no doubt be some surprises, as Israeli polls are notoriously inaccurate.
Heading into election day, here is MZ's "Poll of Polls" results forecast:
- Likud - 28 seats
- Kadima - 22 seats
- Yisroel Bieteinu - 21 seats
- Labor - 14 seats
- Shas - 9 seats
- Ichud Leumi (NU) - 6 seats
- Meretz - 6 seats
- Torah Judaism - 5 seats
- Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) - 3 seats
- Hadash (Arab) - 3 seats
- Ra'am Taal (arab) - 3 seats
Bibi wants to build the largest coalition possible, we know this, and he must have Lieberman in order to do this if these numbers hold true. Having Lieberman means not having Labor, who has made it clear they will not sit in a government that includes him. So, what will that shake out? Well, let's look at the possibility that I believe makes the most sense.
- Likud - 28
- Yisroel Beteinu - 21
- Shas - 9
- National Union - 6
- UTJ - 5
- Jewish Home - 3
- Total - 72
What you'll see from this is the most right wing coalition possible given the current lineup, and Netanyahu would have pressure from the smaller rightwing parties to avoid any concessions with the arabs if he hopes to maintain his government. Kadima and Labor (why are these parties not merged?) would lead the opposition from the left.
Now, if things swing a little differently in the final tally the whole coalition landscape could change. If Bibi only wins 25 seats, NU gets only 3-4 , Jewish Home misses the threshold, Lieberman picks up only 16-17 seats, and Kadima gets 23-24 seats the government will be a unity looking something like this:
- Likud - 25
- Kadima - 23
- Labor - 14
- Shas - 9
- UTJ - 5
- Total: 76
In this scenario, Yisroel Bieteinu would lead a very weak, disjointed opposition that would essentially comprise of tiny NU, Meretz, and Arab parties, which could not really work together at all. Bibi would be free to concede whatever he and the US wishes to the arabs without worrying about losing his coalition. This is the dangerous scenario for the right, and if it comes to pass will be a total disaster for the Yishuv communities of Judea and Samaria.
I think it could go either way, but if the scenerio of a leftwing coalition comes to pass than we should all point the finger directly at Moshe Feiglin, who after being expelled to 36th on the Likud list still campaigned AGAINST the nationalist parties, particularly harming the National Union which is Feiglin's ideological home. If the NU is a tiny, weak party instead a robust coalition force that could have forced Bibi to form a right leaning government, than Feiglin's division of the nationalist camp would prove an epic, tragic mistake that has disastrous ramifications for the Settler communities of Eretz Israel.
We shall see in the next 24 hours...
UPDATE, 2/10, 9:00am ET: NU's Baruch Marzel, a Zionist activist, was banned today at the last minute by police from entering the city of Umm El Fahm as election station supervisor. Umm El Fahm is a city in Israel comprised entirely of arabs that has long been a hotbead of islamic extremism and election fraud. Dr. Arieh Eldad of the NU has replaced Marzel, but that didn't stop the moslems from rioting and threatening him outside of the station. Rocks were thrown at security forces, and shouts of "Death to the Jews!" could be heard.
It's rather ironic that Israel permits gay parades in Jerusalem and allows anti-Israel protests in every city by PLO activists, but bans Jewish nationalists from entering arab-Israeli cities because it may offend and provoke them.
UPDATE, 2/10, 3:55pm ET: Livni beats Bibi...or did she? The exit polls show Kadima has won the election with roughly 29 seats to Netanyahu's 27, which is a stunning reversal over the final week of the election cycle. The problem for Livni is how she will put together a coalition, because the rest of the left lost badly, meaning her only chance of forming a unity government is with the right. MZ's party, Ichud Leumi, fell sharply from the polls prediction of 6 seats down to just 3, while the left-leaning national religious party, NRP, was able to overachieve and net an anticipated 4 seats.
Here are the early results:
- Kadima: 29
- Likud: 27
- Israel Bieteinu: 15
- Labor: 14
- Shas: 9
- UTJ: 5
- Meretz: 4
- NRP: 4
- Hadash: 4
- NU: 3
- Balad: 3
UPDATE, 2/10, 10:34pm: With 99% of the vote counted, Likud and Kadima are in a photo finish. Results currently show Kadima leading Likud 28-27, but the military and absentee votes remain to be counted and they are likely to lean heavily Likud, making it possible we will have a tie when it's all said and done. Here's the current results:
- Kadima: 28
- Likud: 27
- Yisrael Beiteinu: 15
- Labor: 13
- Shas: 11
- UTJ: 5
- NU: 4
- Ra'am Taal: 4
- Hadash: 4
- NRP: 3
- Balad: 3
- Meretz: 3
Also of note, the free-fall collapse of Meretz; the pacifist, left wing party associated with Israel's liberal intelligencia of cafe socialists. Getting just 3 seats was a devestating defeat for Israel's left, and has caused shockwaves to reverberate throughout the self-loathing, Peacenik enclaves of Tel Aviv.
Sunday, February 08, 2009
Likud is a proven disaster of arab concessions and Jewish expulsions, Mafdal is always willing to aid and abet a concessionist government if the money is right, and the Hareidi parties only care about collecting welfare benefits and maintaining military exemptions. How can anyone who is pro-Eretz Yisroel vote for anyone else but Ichud HaLeumi, who never, ever sells out the Land of Israel?
(IsraelNN.com) While the official Chabad-Lubavitch movement is staying out of politics, several leading Chabad rabbis have issued a proclamation with instructions to vote for the Ichud Leumi (National Union) party.
The proclamation was issued last week, including a specific imperative “upon every one of our brethren in Israel to vote for the National Union.” It is signed by Rabbi Gedaliah Axelrod, former Rabbinical Court President and the rabbi of the Chabad community in Haifa; Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe, author and head of the Task Force for the Land and Nation; and Rabbi Yigal Pizem, founder of yeshivot and Chabad institutions in northern Israel.
The letter states:
“As is well-known, the fact is that there is no party today waving the banner of the Entirety of the Land of Israel except for the Ichud HaLeumi (National Union). Leading the list is Yaakov HaCohen Katz (Ketzaleh), who has proven in deeds his total dedication and loyalty to the Land of Israel for decades. The next two candidates, Mr. Uri Ariel and Prof. Aryeh Eldad, have over the course of many years proven their absolute loyalty to the Entire Land of Israel.
“Fourth on the list is Dr. Michael Ben-Ari, the representative of the Our Land of Israel movement on the National Union list. Dr. Ben-Ari, who was chosen for this task by Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe and Rabbi Baruch Marzel, will express in the Knesset the firm position of the Lubavitcher Rebbe regarding the Greater Land of Israel and the integrity of the Nation and the Torah. After he appeared before us and we talked for a long while, we determined that he is worthy of publicizing the holy opinion of the Rebbe in all matters on the public agenda, and he will in fact follow the rabbis’ decisions in all matters.
“It is therefore our opinion that every man and woman of our brethren in Israel must vote for the Ichud Leumi (National Union) party, whose symbol is the letter tet, and influence all those who will listen to them to do the same. Heaven forbid that they should vote for any other of the parties, all of which have proven in the past that they were partners to giving away land, releasing terrorists, and making concessions that have placed the lives of millions of Jews in the Holy Land in danger.
“And everyone can be sure that with this vote they are publicly sanctifying G-d’s Name, by showing that there is a large sector for whom the Land of Israel is precious…”
The Chabad movement was last active in an election campaign in Israel in 1996, when it publicized the famous "Bibi [Netanyahu] is good for the Jews" slogan in an election for prime minister. Since then, however, it has largely shied away from public endorsements of parties, though individual Chabad members have made their opinions known.
Time is running out, and the only party that represents the entire nationalist movement without exception is Yaakov Katz and the National Union. Vote NU, or don't complain when Bibi sells you out to the Arabs just as he and Likud have done time and time again! Remember, the definition of insanity is to repeat the same exact behavior over and over yet somehow expecting a different result.
Thursday, February 05, 2009
(IsraelNN.com) "We are a law abiding state and not only Jews have to respect the law, Arabs do too,” the Ichud Leumi (National Union)'s leader Yaakov “Ketzaleh” Katz told Arabs Thursday in Wadi Ara, a valley densely populated by Arabs in northern Israel. “The lawlessness in the Arab sector will end exactly five days from now, when we are elected into office,” he vowed. “When we run the country, the situation will change. You've grown used to Barak and Livni's weakness, but the party is over.”
"The October  riots will not be repeated,” Ketzaleh added, as a small crowd of Arabs from the city of Umm El-Fahm began to gather around the Knesset members and their supporters at the entrance to the city.
A small contingent of policemen, some of them from the special Yassam unit, pushed away some of the Arabs, but some of the locals got very close to the Ichud Leumi candidates and cursed them with various epithets. Knesset Member Uri Ariel was crowded by four or five Arabs but did not lose his cool and kept a determined grin on his face throughout. At the police's request, the Ichud Leumi convoy moved onward and stopped at Megiddo Junction, where they gave interviews to reporters from Jewish and Arabic media outlets.
Ketzaleh and MK Uri Ariel said that Arabs in Wadi Ara have built over 3,000 units illegally in recent years along Highway 65. They said it was time for Israel to begin demolishing illegally built Arab houses.
“In the State of Israel, there will no longer be a situation in which a Jew drives along the Wadi Ara road and the locals will shout 'Itbach al-Yahud' ['slaughter the Jews' – ed.] at him,” Ketzaleh said. “This happened in Europe during the Holocaust but it will not happen in the State of Israel. The Arabs have 21 states in which they can build their houses and shout 'itbach' all day long,” he said. "The Arabs are cowards and when they see the Jews behaving proudly they calm down very fast."
Humanitarian corridor to Venezuela
Number four on the Ichud Leumi list, Rabbi Dr. Michael Ben-Ari, told the Arabs listening to him that Israel would be willing to open a “humanitarian corridor” to Venezuela for Arabs wishing to leave. “It seems the Venezuelans and the Arabs get along well,” he said, in a reference to recent statements and actions by Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez. When an Arab interrupted him and protested that the Arabs want good neighborly relations with the Jews, Ben Ari reminded him of the Arabs who chanted "Ya Saddam, ya chabib, udrub udrub Tel Aviv" [Saddam the beloved, hit Tel Aviv"] when Scud missiles were falling in the 1991 Gulf War.
MK Ariel promised that Israel would settle tens of thousands of Jews in Katzir and Harish in the coming years, and Ketzaleh noted the strategic importance of Wadi Ara, which serves for transportation of IDF tanks and other heavy equipment between central Israel and the north.
The Ichud Leumi faction announced that it intends to imitate Peace Now and establish a body that will research, document, complain and publicize illegal building. Unlike Peace Now, which is interested solely with Jewish building, the new body will deal with Arab building. Illegal construction in the Arab sector creates an atmosphere of lawlessness, the faction's spokesman said, which encourages the creation of terror cells.
If Katz can nail down at least six seats in the elections, the arabs will be in for a rude awakening when they see the coalition government that follows. Today, Labor announced they will not sit in a government with Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu), which means Bibi will need to reach to the right if he hopes to build a government.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
(IsraelNN.com) A new poll released Tuesday points to a near-disaster for the Likud, headed by former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and a surge in popularity for Ichud Leumi (National Union), headed by Yaakov 'Ketzaleh' Katz.
The results also reflect the pollsters' dilemma of how to deal with an estimated 20 percent of voters who remain undecided, a factor which has complicated their work and may be the reason behind vastly different rankings.
The results of the survey, which was carried out by Geocartographia in conjunction with Globes, are as follows:
Israel Is Our Home (Yisrael Beiteinu), 17
Ichud Leumi, 6
Arab Parties, 6
United Torah Judaism, 6
The survey is also bad news for the Jewish Home party, billed as the new National Religious (Mafdal) faction, projecting that it will not win the number of votes needed to enter the Knesset, a result that would cancel its vote-sharing agreement with Ichud Leumi.
Other results from the poll award Yehadut HaTorah (United Torah Judaism-UTJ) and the Arab parties with six mandates each. The Greens and the Pensioners are bordering the amount of votes necessary to earn Knesset representation, according to the poll.
Ichud Leumi and Yisrael Beiteinu's gains apparently have come at the expense of the Likud. If election results were to reflect the poll, Netanyahu would be heavily dependent on Yisrael Beiteinu and Shas, which would still would leave him with up to nine MKs less than the 61 he would need to form a coalition. In that case, he would need to include both UTJ and Ichud Leumi.
The results squeeze his options for a coalition with Labor, which almost certainly would not accept Yisrael Beiteinu as a coalition partner.
The bottom line: Israelis are getting awfully tired of being terrorized by the arabs and having corrupt concessionists lead the country. As Katz leads the NU party to greater representation, we could see some very big ideological movement to the right in the coalition Likud has to assemble should they be victorious as expected.
Monday, February 02, 2009
Ynet: Eight days ahead of the general elections, and with polls predicting four Knesset seats for the National Union, Dr. Michael Ben-Ari – number four on the party's list and a man who defines himself "Kahane's student and follower" - is very likely to find himself in the Israeli parliament.
In a conversation with Ynet, Ben-Ari presented his proposed solution to the "problem" of Israeli Arabs, declared he would not be part of a Knesset that engages in negotiations with the Palestinians and explained his support for soldiers disobeying orders.
"I'm not the only one who represents (late Rabbi Meir) Kahane. He's represented by a great many people today, within the Knesset and outside it," Ben-Ari stated. "(Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor) Lieberman masquerades as Kahane to win more mandates, (Likud MK) Limor Livnat also sounds like Kahane, and everybody realizes the need for a solution to the problem of Israeli Arabs – a subject which was once taboo.
"The saying, 'Kahane was right,' has already been used up. You can practically see how what Rabbi Kahane brought up 24 years ago has now become the central issue of this election campaign," he added.
Ben-Ari explained that his plan was to open a "humanitarian corridor" for Arabs to places like Turkey or Venezuela, and raise money worldwide that would go towards providing them with an "acclimatization grant" in their new countries.
Are you referring to the entire Arab population in Israel?
"I suppose not all of them are enemies. The Druze, for instance, are highly loyal and aren't hostile. But the Arabs in Umm al-Fahm who dance on the rooftops when Jews are being slaughtered? What I'm suggesting isn't cruelty or racism, but survivability. It's either us or them. If we're nice to them and keep dreaming of coexistence – they will fight us."
According to Ben-Ari, transfer for Arabs is but a minor part of Kahane's teachings. Among the other objectives he vowed to try and accomplish in the next Knesset is the elimination of "the High Court's rule":
"Dorit Beinish is the last Supreme Court president who represents the Left in Israel. The next president will have to be chosen in elections that represent the opinion of the majority in Israel."
He added that "the Supreme Court will be made up of sensible jurists whose worldview falls in line with those of the people of Israel… the judges in Israel will act in favor of the Jews and the IDF soldiers, whose lives are more valuable than those of others."
Seeking to rebuild the Temple
Ben-Ari stressed that his party would not be part of a government that would seek to promote diplomatic negotiations with Syria or the Palestinians. "But we believe that (Likud Chairman Benjamin) Netanyahu will want to build a government that will bolster outposts and lift the siege that has been imposed on the Judea and Samaria communities in recent years," he stated.
When asked for his views regarding the current situation at the Temple Mount, Ben-Ari said that the National Union would act to institute Jewish sovereignty and Halacha law at the place.
"The reality at the Temple Mount is one of the State of Israel's greatest expressions of weakness, and I believe that whoever controls the Temple Mount controls Israel," he said.
"Regarding the reconstruction of the Temple – the party's rabbis will decide when and how this should be done. My personal opinion is that it is a mitzvah to build a house for God and offer sacrifices there, and this should be carried out like any other mitzvah."
Commenting on the question of soldiers disobeying orders to evacuate settlements, Ben-Ari unequivocally stated that disobedience was an obligation. "There is a specific Halacha ruling issued by Rabbi Shapira that a soldier must not evacuate settlements in the Land of Israel. I was proud of my students who refused to take part in the expulsion and were jailed for this. The willingness to cooperate with anything that the IDF does is a grave mistake."
And how about refusal on the Left?
"The comparison between Israel lovers and conscientious objectors like Yesh Din, who have removed themselves from the people of Israel and are collaborating with the enemy, is downright cruel."
I love the fact that a likely MK member is directly and openly a Kahanist, and his party will be represented with maybe 5 or more seats in the government. May the National Union Party be fruitful and multiply!!