Monday, January 28, 2013

Yair Lapid: The Arab-Israeli Conflict is Irrelevant in Daily Life

In a joint interview with his parents Tommy and Shulamit to 'Der Spiegel'  in 2008, Yair Lapid added his two cents to the Arab-Israeli conflcit and the threats Israel faces:
"Israel is a long way from facing a threat to its very existence. We are too strong, both economically and militarily, for that. If anything threatens Israel, it is this form of paranoid thought that makes us think: "Oh God, they're going to kill us in two seconds! What should we do?"....
..."Eleven Israeli civilians were killed in terrorist attacks since the beginning of the year. More people die in car accidents in Israel on a single weekend. It seems more dangerous than it is. The Arab-Israeli conflict is the biggest problem, but small problems shape the daily lives of Israelis. Unless there happens to be a war going on, the Arab-Israeli conflict is irrelevant in daily life."

Sunday, January 27, 2013

UPDATED: Does Yair Lapid's Diplomatic Principles Look More or Less like Netanyahu's ?

Yair Lapid, who may become Israel's next foreign minister, states in his party's platform that no new settlements will be built during negotiations with the Palestinians, but that settlement growth will be allowed within the needs of the population, which bring Noam Sheizaf to argue that Lapid ain't the left's hope following his stunning victory last Tuesday.

Hint? Netanyahu: Security Threats Not on Hold During Formation of New Gov't

Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Cabinet Sunday that regional security threats are not “on hold” as he works to form the next government coalition.

“In the perspective of the almost 75 years that have passed since the Holocaust, what has not changed is the desire to annihilate the Jews,” Netanyahu noted at the start of the cabinet meeting marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day. "Holocaust-denial is being spread by one of the world's major countries, not by a group or by individual countries or by marginal elements, but by Iran which, today, from the UN or any other platform, is the leader of Holocaust-denial while preparing for what they deem to be another Holocaust – the destruction of the state of the Jews. They are not halting their relentless and systematic race to achieve a nuclear weapons capability in order to realize this intention. We do not make light of these threats and we will prevent them. This is our primary mission as a government and as a people," Netanyahu asserted.

MK Elect Dov Lipman Giving up US Citizenship with Hard Feelings

In the last 24 hours, Newly elected MK on Yesh Atid's party list, Dov Lipman told The Jerusalem Post he had done “19 interviews, including NPR, BBC Iran, the Knesset channel" and an assortment of other domestic and foreign media.

Maryland native Lipman, who will serve as the first US born Knesset Member since 1984,  said giving up his American citizenship is one of the hardest things he has ever done,  adding that just as the issue of helping small towns is important to him, so is being a voice for the Anglo community.

His main expected role in the party is to be a liaison to the haredi community in negotiations over serving in the IDF and national service.

Bennett Leaked Information about Netanyahu That Led to Investigations

According to Aluf Benn in Haaretz, High-ranking Likud officials claimed over the weekend that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara Netanyahu, are seeking to keep Habayit Hayehudi out of the coalition because of personal issues concerning party chairman Naftali Bennett. 

One confidant toold Haaretz, the Netanyahus lost their trust in Bennett a former chief of staff of Netanyahu and that Sara “issued a veto” against bringing the party into the ruling coalition. 

Another Netanyahu associate claimed  that Netanyahu believes his former bureau chief leaked information to the media on criminal and governmental investigations of the prime minister in several different cases. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Naftali Bennett Echoed Barack Obama's 2008 Victory Speech Note by Note

Naftali Bennett, one of the winners Tuesday night in the Israeli Knesset Elections, seemed to have watched or at least read Barack Obama's 2008 Victory speech. He began his speech with the identical wording Obama gave at the beginning of his victory speech in Chicago Nov. 4 2008, but this was in Hebrew. 

"If there is anyone who still thinks that religious Zionism has finished its historical role, that it is not relevant ...... Today is his answer,” Bennett echoed Obama. “This answer was given through numbers that no party has ever been able to bring in such a short time. By young people who voted for the first time in their life and who have never even had a chance to vote in the elections to the Knesset before.” 

Winners and Losers List of the Jan. 22 Knesset Elections

BibiFeed's Winners and Losers list of the Israeli Knesset Election, not based on the outcome but on the results:


Benjamin Netanyahu.
The King is naked. King Bibi's crown has been snatched away, but he still remains King. If coalition talks go well, and Netanyahu manages to form his 3rd government, he will of had achieved his primary goal of serving as Israel's Prime Minister for a decade long, with a pretty overweight scale of achievements. A weakened Likud Party may indicate Netanyahu has lost his charm or at least the battle this time round, but it does not take too much thought to believe that if his ultimate goal is to put Israel on a path of prosperity, a weakened Likud, which has moved way rightwards, in a stable government is the ideal recipe for a bright end to his political career.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Rand Paul Emerging as Pro Israel Advocate: Any Attack on Israel is an Attack on the U.S.

Despite of his opposition to Foreign aid, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul took his most pro-Israel stance yet, in an interview that an attack on Israel should be treated as an attack on the United States.

Asked whether the United States would stand with Israel and provide it foreign aid if the Jewish state were attacked by its enemies? “Well absolutely we stand with Israel,” Paul told Breitbart News, “but what I think we should do is announce to the world – and I think it is pretty well known — that any attack on Israel will be treated as an attack on the United States.”

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Kerry Hopes Netanyahu Will Choose New Path in 3rd Term

Incoming Secretary of State Senator John Kerry, appearing before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee for his confirmation hearing, told the committee that he hoped Israel's elections results lead to renewed negotiations with the Palestinians. 

"There were  election yesterday and we still don't know which government it's going to be.  I pray that maybe this will be a moment that will allow us to renew the effort  to bring the parties to the negotiating table and go down a different path  than the one they were on in the last few years. I would like to try and do that,"  Kerry told the senators.

John Kerry also delivered a message to Iran during his confirmation hearing. "The President has made it definitive - we will do what we can to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."

"I repeat here today: our policy is not containment," he said. "I will work to give diplomacy every effort to succeed. But no one should mistake our resolve to reduce the nuclear threat," continued Kerry.  "

Jon Stewart's Take on Israel's Election: Circumdecision 5773 - Vote or Chai

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Who Is Yair Lapid? World Asks

Israel Ally, Former Congressman Bob Turner Congratulates Netanyahu on Victory

Bob Turner with Prime Minister Netanyahu during his 2012 visit to Israel
[Queens, NY] – Former Congressman Bob Turner, who was a staunch ally of Israel during his time in office, issued the following statement on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s victory in the Israeli election: 

Opinion: Has Netanyahu Become a Weaker Prime Minister?

The headlines highlighted in the morning papers where 'Netanyahu got shellacked' by a vote of no confidence. While he is likely retain his position as prime minister, the assumption is that he barely clinged on to his position and that the poor showing of his party's support puts Netanyahu in a difficult position of assembling a coalition for the long run.

Based on the election results, the US administration and the peace camp may find a shed of light in seeing a much weaker Netanyahu than his 2nd term, but in reality the difficult challenges Netanyahu faces in forming a government based on the will of the Israeli public, may result in weakening the opposition from outside and an opportunity to form a stable coalition that will focus on internal issues that is at great concern.

Poll: 74% of Likud Voters want a Yesh Atid-Bayit Yehudi-Ultra-Orthodox Coalition

A survey conducted by the Maagar Institute for the newspaper 'BaSheva' found that a significant majority of Likud-Beitenu voters, 73%, prefer that Naftali Bennett join the new coalition compared to 27% who would like to see Tzipi Livni join. 59% - are opposed to Livni joining the next coalition.

74% want to see a coalition that includes Jewish Home, Yesh Atid and the ultra-orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism.

Dov Lipman Becomes First US-Born Knesset Member Since 1984

Israel's Parliament will have its first American-born Knesset member since the late, Rabbi Meir Kahane who served as a Knesset Member in 1984. Maryland- native Dov Lipman is a member of the Yesh Atid party. 

In a post election statement, Lipman credited English-speaking voters with his victory, crediting the English debates that were sponsored by The Jerusalem Post for the rise in support for Yesh Atid. 

Netanyahu Lists Five Principles That Will Guide the Gov't

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Breakdown: Where My Accurate Prediction Went Wrong

In my Sunday prediction I dared to predict 36 seats for Likud Beitenu and 14 for Bennett, which was based on raw 'public known' data - noting "not taking in account last minute surprises or a sudden flock of voters from side to side" - and is to be proven pretty accurate based on the official election results.

While I predicted the exact number of seats for Labor (15)  Kadima and Livni's seats combined (8), Meretz [more or less] (5) Shas [more or less] (11), we did not see the rise of UTJ (based on natural growth or motivation) (5) compared to the actual number of 7 seats, the poor showing of the Bayit Yehudi (14) compared to 11 seats.

Where I went missing was that the undecided - Likud and Yisrael Beitenu's 2009 voters - would flock to Lapid, receiving 6 additional seats than what I predicted (13), making up the surprised number of 19 seats.

The Morning Headlines: Bibi Beaten, Lapid Triumphed

MUST WATCH: Israel Votes 2013: TV Broadcasts LIVE Speeches on Split Screen

PM Netanyahu and Yair Lapid - The two winners of the night addressed their supporters at the same time, which gave the media a hard time to figure whom to cover live. Check out the split Screen Victory speeches

Brother Bennet Loses to Prince Lapid

The Dome of the Rock Lives! Jeremy Gimpel and Hillel Horowitz wont be settling in the Knesset as members of the Parliament. The Likud Beitenu's negative campaign against Naftali Bennett's Bayit Yehudi party seemed to have stopped their rise on the expense of the Likud traditional base, while the undecided center-right voters flocked to Yair Lapid's sane and reasonable party. 

According to Channel 2's exit poll, half of Yesh Atid's voters came from the right, which resulted in Likud Beitenu's fall, and the dramatic shift to the center, one that our prediction couldn't project until the votes started coming in.

The Bayit Yehudi definitely came a long way from the 7 seats they had in the previous Knesset, but to suggest that the party's 11 projected seats would serve as a third hand on the wheel, as Bennett promised defected Likud voters, seems to have been laid to rest. If anything, Lapid will have his hands on the gear, his feet on the brakes, while the Bayit Yehudi would sit seat-belted in the back of the car with the rest of Netanyahu's coalition partners.

GRAPH: 50% of the Votes Counted: The Winners - Likud Beitenu 33, Yesh Atid 19

Bruised Netanyahu Wins 3rd Term as Israel's Prime Minister

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emerged the bruised winner of Israel's Knesset election on Tuesday, Poised to serve as Israel's Prime Minister but losing ground to resurgent Right-Center parties, according to the exit polls.
 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waves to supporters after initial election results early Wednesday showed the Likud-Beytenu heading for a victory, albeit with a much-reduced number of Knesset seats (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Likud Beitenu emerged as the largest party with 33 seats, 9 fewer than the 42 they held in the previous Knesset, according to Minah Tzemach's exit poll conducted for Channel 2 news.

While votes are still counted, the projections showed Right-wing/Religious parties with a combined majority of 63 seats against 57 for the Center-Left-Arab bloc.

Bibi Votes Machal!

נתניהו מראה את פתק ההצבעה בסיומה (צילום: רויטרס)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Satmar Rabbi in Jerusalem: The Zionists are the Real Amalekim

Tens of thousands Ultra-Orthodox following the anti-Zionist movements of Eda Hacharedit and Satmar gathered last night in Kikar Shabbat to protest or rather decry the idea of participating in Tuesday's Knesset elections, accompanied by the Grand Rebbe of Satmar, Rabbi Zalman Leib Teitelbaum from Williamsburg. 

Bennett Asked to Remove Yarmulka by Haredi Protesters

Naftali Bennett at the Kotel MondayNaftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, was verbally attacked by some Haredi worshipers at the Western Wall today, Arutz 7 reports.

Jerusalem Police reportedly detained a Haredi Orthodox youth who called on Bennett to take off his kippah. The youth reportedly shouted "You want to draft our children to the army, mothers are crying at night," and "let me study Torah. Don't force me to go to the army, you're inciting sin."

Avner Netanyahu Campaigning for Dad at Midrachov Ben Yehuda