By GIL HOFFMAN
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu should be prevented from running in the next race for leader of Likud, top activists in the party said Sunday.
The activists intend to pass a proposal that would limit a Likud leader to three consecutive terms.
Journalist Yoav Yitzhak broke the story late Saturday night on his News First Class website that the proposal was being promoted by Likud activists loyal to two likely future candidates for Likud leader.
But Likud activists said Sunday that such a proposal would receive support from nearly all political camps inside the Likud central committee. The proposal was initiated by Eli Malka, a Likud activist from Ashkelon who is one of the leaders of the Darkeha Darkenu (Your Way is Our Way) ideological forum that was formed to work for Netanyahu but now opposes him.
“We do not build up dictators and we are not looking for a king,” said Darkeha Darkenu leader Eli Cornfeld.
“Netanyahu made the Likud central committee members – who are supposed to do the work for the party day in and day out – into an unwanted gang of lepers.”
Cornfeld will be running in next Sunday’s race for chairman of the Likud central committee against Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, mayors Shimon Susan and Yossi Shavo, and central committee member Michael Puah, a close ally of MK Moshe Feiglin.
Prior to that race, there will be an election Tuesday for head of the Likud convention between Danon, former minister Michael Eitan, and Ma’aleh Adumim central committee member Gidon Ariel. There will also be an election Tuesday for the convention’s council.
Ayelet Galili, who heads the Likud faction in the Na’amat women’s organization, sent a letter to Netanyahu Sunday, urging him to reserve a third of the slots on the convention council for female candidates.
“It is important to encourage the participation of women in politics and give them fitting representation in positions of power,” Galili wrote.
The start of something new? A gov’t without Israel’s ultra-Orthodox
Developments in Israel on Sunday might have signaled the start of a major earthquake in the political foundations of the state.
According to reports across the Hebrew media, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally conceded that he will not be able to form a stable majority coalition that includes the ultra-Orthodox parties that have long controlled the religious institutions of the State of Israel.
While Netanyahu would prefer a government that included the ultra-Orthodox Shas, which tends to simply go along with any and all policies so long as tax revenues flow to its own causes, an impromptu alliance between the centrist Yesh Atid and the right-wing Jewish Home parties meant that doing so would leave Netanyahu with a minority government.
Yesh Atid, which stunned everyone by becoming the Knesset’s second largest party in January’s election, and Jewish Home, the new face of the old National Religious Party, don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye on major diplomatic issues like Jewish settlements and the peace process.
However, the two parties are fully united in their belief that ultra-Orthodox hegemony over determining who is a Jew and how Jews must live needs to be broken. They also agree that it is high time that the ultra-Orthodox community, which receives large sums of government funding for child welfare and seminaries, join the workforce, start paying taxes and carry their fair share of the military burden.
The talk now is that Netanyahu will give Yesh Atid the ministries of health, interior and welfare, allowing it to keep its election promises to bring about social change that will benefit the entire population, and institute an educational system that fosters broad acceptance of the Bible and Jewish culture.
Jewish Home is looking to take the ministries of industry, housing and religion, the last of which will allow the party to seriously alter the way the state relates to Jewish religious issues. There is even talk of Israel electing its first national religious (as opposed to ultra-Orthodox) chief rabbi.
Netanyahu reportedly hopes to present the new government sometime next week, and if Yesh Atid and Jewish Home have their way, it could mark the beginning of something quite unique in the Jewish state.
We will explore this new phenomenon in greater depth in the upcoming issue of Israel Today Magazine.
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* PHOTO: New Israeli king-maker Yair Lapid, whose Yesh Atid party ran on a platform of breaking the traditional ultra-Orthodox control over all things Jewish.
Tzipi Livni, former head of the opposition-leading Kadima Party, agreed to bring her new party, Hatnuah (The Movement), into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new governing coalition on Tuesday.
Livni is the first to join the new coalition, after Netanyahu’s negotiations with the larger Yesh Atid and Jewish Home parties hit a snag earlier in the week.
Two days before the last election in Israel, Turkish and Israeli politicians made an appearance on Turkey’s A9 TV and expressed the necessity of solving differences with love, friendship and brotherhood.
The Israeli delegation, composed of a former government minister and two prominent members of the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party, was met by founders and former lawmakers from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party. The televised gathering was hosted by Adnan Oktar, a prominent Turkish Muslim scholar who has been outspoken on good relations between Israel and the Muslim world.
This is really an incredible account of what happened behind closed doors in a meeting with six United States Senators and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohamed Morsi. If this account is accurate – and it seems to be – these Senators were exposed to the true duality of doublespeak. Remember, doublespeak is the Islamists’ greatest weapon against the West. At its core, it’s about speaking peace, love, and tolerance in English while speaking violence and hatred in Arabic.
Last week in Cairo, seven U.S. senators had a highly contentious meeting with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy during which the Muslim Brotherhood leader implied that he was the victim of an American media run by the Jews.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) led a delegation last week to Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and Afghanistan that included Sens. Chris Coons (D-DE), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Kirsten Gilibrand (D-NY). Their stop in Cairo included a 90-minute meeting with Morsy that devolved into an uncomfortable set of exchanges as the senators pressed the Egyptian president to explain his 2010 comments describing Jews as “bloodsuckers who attack Palestinians” as well as “the descendants of apes and pigs.”
After the meeting, McCain issued a statement saying that the senators “voiced our strong disapproval of the statement” and that the senators and Morsy “had a constructive discussion on this subject.” Morsy’s spokesman issued a statement after the meeting saying that Morsy believed in religious freedom and “the need to distinguish between the Jewish religion, and those who belong to it, and violent actions against defenseless Palestinians.”
Coons is considered by the Daily Kos as a ‘solidly liberal’ Senator who votes liberal at least 95% of the time. He is actually the one who provided the behind-the-scenes account of the meeting with Morsi to Foreign Policy and the experience appears to have shocked Coons enough to talk about it openly:
“We tried to give President Morsy an opportunity, now that he is the president, to put his comments in a different context because he was claiming that he was taken out of context. On their face they seemed to be very offensive and inappropriate,” Coons said. “It was a difficult conversation.”
Morsy told the senators that the values of Islam teach respect for Christianity and Judaism, and he asserted repeatedly that he had no negative views about Judaism or the Jewish people, but then followed with a diatribe about Israel and Zionist actions against Palestinians, especially in Gaza.
Then Morsy crossed a line and made a comment that made the senators physically recoil in their chairs in shock, Coons said.
“He was attempting to explain himself … then he said, ‘Well, I think we all know that the media in the United States has made a big deal of this and we know the media of the United States is controlled by certain forces and they don’t view me favorably,’” Coons said.
The Cable asked Coons if Morsy specifically named the Jews as the forces that control the American media. Coons said all the senators believed the implication was obvious.
“He did not say [the Jews], but I watched as the other senators physically recoiled, as did I,” he said. “I thought it was impossible to draw any other conclusion.”
“The meeting then took a very sharply negative turn for some time. It really threatened to cause the entire meeting to come apart so that we could not continue,” Coons said.
Multiple senators impressed upon Morsy that if he was saying the criticisms of his comments were due to the Jews in the media, that statement was potentially even more offensive than his original comments from 2010.
It is good to see Senator Coons come forward with this information. It is a welcome and refreshing surprise from a government that seems to be increasingly less transparent. If his motive for doing so in anyway involves an awakening or realization on his part, it is even more welcome.
News Update January 21st 2013
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"Remember me, O Lord, when you show favor to your people; help me when you save them, that I may look upon the prosperity of your chosen ones, that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation, that I may glory with your inheritance." Ps 106: 4-5
NETANYAHU TO SENATORS: NUCLEAR IRAN IS THE WORLD’S PROBLEM: “History will not forgive those who do not stop Iran’s nuclear program,” was PM Binyamin Netanyahu’s message during a meeting with top US senators on Saturday evening. The delegation was led by Sen. John McCain of the Senate Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees. “Building in Jerusalem is not the problem of the world. A nuclear Iran is the problem of the world,” Netanyahu told the senators during the meeting, which took place in his office in Jerusalem. Official sources said the meeting dealt with the intensification of the sanctions against Iran. PM Netanyahu thanked the Republican and Democratic senators for the “unwavering support of Israel.” (Arutz-7)
NETANYAHU SAYS ISRAEL NEEDS STRONG RULING PARTY: PM Benjamin Netanyahu, in a televised interview Saturday, said a country with as many enemies as Israel cannot afford a weak ruling party, after polls ahead of Tuesday’s parliamentary election showed a slide in his support. Two polls on Friday showed Israel’s right-wing and religious bloc winning a slim parliamentary majority of 63 out of 120 seats, with Netanyahu’s Likud-Beitenu group on course to be the largest party in the Knesset. “Iran, Lebanese terrorist group Hizbullah and the Islamist Hamas movement, which controls the Palestinian Gaza Strip, are all following the election,” Netanyahu said. “They want to know one thing, whether the ruling party has grown or shrunk. They want a weak Israel, a divided one and the most challenged country in the world must not be divided.” Netanyahu said dealing with Iran’s nuclear ambitions will be his main priority following the elections. (Reuters)
DAYAN: THE TWO-STATE SOLUTION IS A MIRAGE: Dani Dayan, former head of the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, on Friday, said the two-state solution “never existed.” Speaking on the BBC news show “Hardtalk,” Dayan said the views of the ultra-Right are “quite realistic, as Israel is beginning to understand the two-state solution never existed, it was a mirage. You get closer to it, and you understand it was just hot air.” Continuing, Dayan blamed the failure not on Israel, or the settlers, but on the “refusal of the Palestinians to accept it.” The former settler council chief said although he sought annexation of Judea and Samaria, it “will not happen in the near future, but it is a natural outcome.” He added that he liked much of Netanyahu’s settlement construction plans. I see a political attitude towards the Palestinians that I admire,” Dayan said. “Netanyahu is beginning to understand there is not going to be a two-state solution.” (J.Post) Israelis will go to the polls Tuesday, Jan 22 to elect members of parliament. Few doubt Netanyahu is on his way to re-election as Israel’s prime minister. Pray leaders will be voted in who will endorse his firm policies on not giving in to land-for-peace pressures from any political quarter, or ceasing with construction plans for much needed housing in areas where Israel has every legal and moral right to build.
2,000 MEMBER OF LOST TRIBE RETURNS HOME: Israel marked an immigration milestone last week with the arrival of the 2,000th member of the Bnei Menashe community. Eighteen-year-old Mirna Singsit arrived in Israel along with 53 other members of the community, including her parents and three siblings. The Bnei Menashe live in northeastern India. They claim descent from the Biblical tribe of Menashe, one of the ten “lost tribes” exiled when the Assyrians invaded the northern kingdom of Israel. The community is now returning to Israel under the auspices of the Shavei Israel organization, a group that encourages communities of “lost Jews” around the world. Shavei Israel director Michael Freund gave Singsit a certificate naming her the 2,000th arrival. She told him her immigration to Israel is the fulfillment of a life-long dream. (INN) "For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land." Ezek 36: 24
BEHIND THE LINES: A GULF APART: Gulf monarchies are sharply divided on how to respond to the Muslim Brotherhood threat. While Saudi Arabia, UAE see the Brotherhood as a danger to stability and longevity of the monarchies, Qatar embraces it as an ally. Saudi and United Arab Emirates security forces recently apprehended a 10-man cell linked to the Muslim Brotherhood that was active in the UAE. The cell was engaged in raising money for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, propagandizing among Egyptians residing in the UAE and gathering information on the UAE’s defense facilities. It was also reported as being in constant communication with its parent movement in Cairo. The arrest of this group has highlighted growing fears in some conservative Gulf states that the Muslim Brotherhood is now turning its attention to the Gulf monarchies. The 2011 to 2012 period brought a long-awaited windfall of political power for the Muslim Brothers. Franchises of the movement are now in government power in Tunisia and Egypt. The Brotherhood is playing a major role in the Western- supported political and military leaderships of the rebellion in Syria. The Palestinian branch of the movement – Hamas – would almost certainly have consumed its Fatah rivals by now were the latter not protected by Israel and supported by the West. Indeed, the real story of the Arab upheavals of the last two years can be summed up as the replacement of secular nationalist dictatorships by Islamist movements, among which Muslim Brotherhood franchises form the most important element. The secular nationalist space in the Arab world has now largely been replaced by an area of Islamist domination. (J.Post) The Muslim Brotherhood is rightly dubbed as the “Father of all terrorist organizations.”
MALI INCURSION RAISES RISK TO FRENCH JEWS: France’s Jewish security service are increasing preparedness at synagogues and schools as French forces confront Islamist terrorists. France’s military involvement in Mali has “significantly increased” the threat facing French Jews, the country’s Jewish communal security service said. “The situation requires we raise the level of protection around our community and double the level of vigilance around synagogues, Jewish schools, community centers and gathering places,” said a communiqué by SPCJ, which often determines its level of preparedness based on consultations with French authorities. French ground forces deployed to the capital Bamako last week and began advancing northward on January 15 to engage Islamist rebels. French President Francois Hollande said the rebels are terrorists. The incursion has caused “agitation” in Islamic circles in France, SPCJ said. (Ha’aretz) Pray for the protection of French Jews who are victims of increasing antisemitic attacks in France.
ALGERIAN TERRORISTS: WE’RE ONLY AFTER CHRISTIANS: Algerian troops on Saturday ended a siege by Islamist terrorists at a gas plant in the Sahara desert where 23 hostages died. In a final assault all remaining hostage-takers were killed. One Muslim worker caught up in the crisis said the terrorists rounded up the expats, making them all wear explosives around their necks while standing in a circle. He added: “Us Algerians were rounded up separately and were treated with kindness. We were told that because we were Muslim we would not be killed, and it was only the Christians they were after.” (MailOnline)
ONLY 0.6% OF WORLD’S CHRISTIANS LIVE IN MIDDLE EAST: Christianity may have been founded in the Middle East but few Christians remain in the region, a study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life revealed.According to Pew’s newly released “Global Religious Landscape Study,” a mere 0.6 percent of the world’s 2.2 billion Christians now live in the Middle East and North Africa. Christians make up only 4% of the region’s inhabitants, drastically down from 20% a century ago and marking the smallest regional Christian minority in the world. Fully 93% of the region is Muslim, and 1.6% is Jewish. The study is based on an analysis of country-specific data from more than 2,500 national censuses, large-scale surveys and official population registers. (Times of Israel) Ever increasing persecution by Muslim extremists is the primary cause that can be attributed to the dwindling Christian presence in the Middle East. In Syria alone, tens of thousands of Christians have fallen victim to religious intolerance. Their churches are being destroyed, they are fleeing cities and villages where they lived for centuries, their lives are daily endangered by radical Islamist elements, and homes and property are being destroyed or captured. More than fifty thousand Christians have fled from the Syrian city of Homs.
ISRAELI MESSIANIC CONGREGATION BUILDING BURNED DOWN: Earlier this month, the only Messianic congregation in the southern town of Kiryat Gat was burned down by unidentified assailants. Pastor Israel Pochtar posted the following message regarding the arson attack: “A few weeks ago our congregation in Kiryat Gat was burned down. Evidently, our influence in the city has been a cause of “concern” to some and they decided to stop our work by setting the building on fire. It happened one night after a service; someone threw a gasoline bomb through a window and everything caught fire. Arson is a criminal act, so obviously no one has owned up or taken responsibility. However, the landlord of the building is very connected in Kiryat Gat and has managed to investigate who could be responsible. It was obvious it was an attack of a religious nature against us. (Israel Today) Pray members of the Kiryat Gat congregation will have restored to them what was destroyed - and that the perpetrators of this vicious attack will be brought to justice.
Christians in Nazareth Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Wednesday, January 09, 2013 | Victor Mordechai
One of the consequences of the “Arab Spring” revolutions is the ethnic cleansing of Christians in the Middle East. This could have catastrophic consequences for the 15 million Christians in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq—and even here in Israel.
In the Israeli Arab town of Nazareth, the proportion of Christians has plunged to about 40 percent, the remainder being Muslims. In other words, in two of the holiest cities of Christianity in the Holy Land, the Christians today are a depopulating minority, living in great fear of the Muslim majority in their midst.
That is the rock. And now for the hard place.
At a meeting in Nazareth with Greek Orthodox Father Jubrail (Gabriel) Naddaf and some of the Arab Christian community’s other courageous leaders, I was told that there is another problem they are dealing with: Nominal Christians from the Nazareth Communist Party have joined with Muslims to persecute Christian believers who wish to serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
The rest of this story can be read in the January 2013 issue of Israel Today Magazine.
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Left-wing parties try unsuccessfully to unite against Netanyahu
Wednesday, January 09, 2013 | Ryan Jones
With less than two weeks until Israel’s general election, the main left-wing parties are scrambling to find a way to defeat incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and is Likud Party.
Already the left wing vote has been fractured to the point that no single party has a realistic hope of winning more seats than Likud in the Knesset.
When early elections were first announced late last year, the long-standing Labor Party hoped that the disparate left-wing personalities would rally under its banner. Instead, former Kadima Party leader Tzipi Livni formed her own near party, as did popular television host Yair Lapid. And Kadima itself is still around, although the party is in an eviscerated state.
Likud itself is struggling in the polls, and bleeding potential votes to the resurgent right-wing Jewish Home Party and its charismatic new leader, Naftali Bennett. Nevertheless, with the Left so divided, Likud is all but guaranteed to be the largest party and Netanyahu the next prime minister.
Desperate to return to the top of the pyramid, Livni called a joint meeting on Monday with Lapid and Labor leader Shelly Yechimovich. Following the meeting, Livni tried to suggest that a new left-center bloc was forming of which she would be the head. Lapid and Yechimovich immediately attacked Livni, and accused her of deceiving the voting public.
"We met out of mutual respect for each other," said Lapid and Yechimovich in a statement that made clear no formal agreement had been reached. Livni in turn responded by accusing Lapid and Yechimovich of having self-serving interests.
Both Lapid and Livni have refused to rule out the possibility of joining a coalition headed by Netanyahu, while Yechimovich has repeatedly stated that she will either be prime minister or head of the opposition.
The situation is either sticky or opportune for Netanyahu, depending on who is looking at it. It is widely believed that Netanyahu desires a centrist coalition, and so will appeal to Livni, Lapid and Yechimovich to join his government. If Lapid and Livni agree to do so, that will leave Yechimovich with a tiny minority opposition with little or no influence over the government.
On the other hand, Lapid and Livni may be fearful of being seen as “sell-outs,” and therefore join the opposition, forcing Netanyahu to form a right-wing government with Bennett. In that scenario, the opposition will be much stronger, and the government policies, especially as regards the land and the peace process, will lean much more to the right.
Either way, it is turning out to be a interesting election season in Israel.