SPECIAL NOTICE: Another month has come and gone and israelstreet readership continues to climb. Thank you to all of you who are continuing readers–and all of you who are new readers. Here is a partial list of visitors (places) in the last 20 hours:
Omaha Nebraska, Nagpur India, Franklin Tennessee, Oakville Canada, Lewiston Maine, Sunnyvale California, Worthing Great Britain, Toledo Ohio, Bradford Great Britain, Freeport New York, Cheyenne Wyoming, London Canada, Birmingham Great Britain, Overland Park Kansas, Shechem Samaria, Perth Australia, Kampala Uganda, Dallas Texas, Tokyo Japan, Rocklin California, Nes Ziona Israel, Karachi Pakistan, Surrey Canada, Las Vegas Nevada, Tehran Iran, Sheung Wan Hong Kong, Phoenix Arizona, Lathan New York, Mountain View California, Broomfield Colorado, Rancho Cordova California, Westbury New York, Walnut Creek California, Osaka Japan, Sao Paulo Brazil, Montreal Canada, Rancho Cordova California, Camarillo California, West Sacramento California, Seattle, Washington, London England, Brussels Belgium, Monroe Louisiana, Reading Great Britain, Kansas City Missouri, Jakarta Indonesia, Craiova Romania, Bayard Iowa, Woodland California, Austin Texas, Columbia South Carolina, Amsterdam Netherlands, San Antonio Texas, Atlanta Georgia, Washington DC, Johns Island South Carolina, Grass Valley California, Santa Monica California, Santa Ana California, Kiev Ukraine, Minneapolis Minnesota, Skien Norway, Dallas Texas, Garland Texas, Constanta Romania, Montfermeil France, Colchester Great Britain, Full Switzerland, Meerut India, Polska Poland, Miami Florida, Bridgewater New Jersey, Shipley Great Britain, Walnut California, Vienna Austria, New York NY, Star Great Britain, West Point New York, Bondi Australia, Sydney Australia, Lagos Nigeria, Singapore Singapore, Maagan Michael Israel, Paramus New Jersey, Arad Romania, Sheffield Great Britain, Rome Italy, Royal Tunbridge Wells Great Britain, Mountain View California, Lovrin Romania, Ostrava Czech Republic, Colombo Sri Lanka, Saskatoon Canada, Jidda Saudi Arabia, Baltimore Maryland, Tinley Park Illinois, Phoenix Arizona, Saint Catharines California, Sacramento California, Prince Albert Canada, Cruz Alta Brazil, Lindesberg Sweden, Turmero Venezuela, Zurich Switzerland, Manama Bahrain
UPDATE 7 pm Thursday: There have been Palestinian riots in support of Palestinian terrorist hunger strikers this afternoon outside various Israeli prisons–most recently 30 minutes ago outside of Ramle Prison.
For reasons that your humble servant finds somewhat difficult to fathom, PM Benjamin Netanyahu has relented and pushed new national elections ahead from November 2013 to September 4, 2012–four months from tomorrow.
The ostensible reason for this decision is the Tal Law which was established in 2002 granting full-time religious yeshiva students deferments to military service. This past February, the Israel Supreme Court ruled the current law unconstitutional and ordered that the Tal Law could not be extended in its present form when it expires in August.
The Tal Law has long been viewed by most Israelis as patently unfair, and there has been an increasing outcry to put an end to the Haredi evasion of military service–and put into force a law making national, civilian, or military service compulsory for everyone including those who attend yeshivas. The Tal Law has long been a special target of Avigdor Lieberman and his Yisrael Beiteinu Party. This morning Lieberman announced that he has as many as 90 votes in the Knesset to throw out the Law completely.
Netanyahu himself has long realized that the Tal Law must be changed and has been apparently formulating a change that might be somewhat palatable to the religious parties in the ruling Coalition–religious parties that oppose any changes and which hold the balance of power in the Netanyahu government.
What Netanyahu has apparently come to realize is that Lieberman and religious parties cannot be reconciled and that the time has come to shake up the government.
Yesterday, the far left Israeli newspaper Haaretz–always an ardent critic of Netanyahu–published the results of a poll which asked Israelis: “Who is most suited to hold the job of Prime Minister: Shelly Yacimovich (head of the Labor Party), Shaul Mofaz (head of the Kadima Party), Avigdor Lieberman (head of Yisrael Beiteinu Party), or Benjamin Netanyahu (head of the Likud Party)?”
The results dramatically show Netanyahu’s popularity:
In terms of actual seats in a new Knesset, the most current poll has Likud probably winning up to 35 seats.
However, the bottom line is that no matter how popular Netanyahu or Likud is, Likud (assuming Likud comes out on top in the voting) will be forced to form a coalition. And who are those coalition partners most likely to be? Though it is possible that the Labor, Kadima, Yesh Atid (Yair Lapid’s new Party), or the Independence Party (Ehud Barak) might join Likud, Netanyahu’s most likely partners remain the same partners he has now–Yisrael Beiteinu and the religious parties.
Which is why your humble servant wonders why Netanyahu doesn’t simply reform and realign his current Coalition instead of going through the process of national elections? Hopefully he has an ulterior motive such as using the electoral process to jettison some of the worst members of his Cabinet such as Defense Minister Ehud Barak (but this is probably your humble servant’s wishful thinking).
Ironically, new elections mean that (because of a stipulation in the Supreme Court decision) the existing Tal Law will probably be extended for up to 90 days following the seating of the new Knesset after the September 4th election.
Let the political games begin–as each political party jockeys for position and all challengers blame Netanyahu for everything from the cost of humous to which way the wind blows in Mitzpe Ramon. Already this morning, Netanyahu is ridiculously being accused of undermining the Democratic National Convention in the U.S. by choosing September 4th as election day (the convention takes place the same week).
As noted in recent blogs, a list of vocabulary for Israel supporters to begin using is appended to this blog (and every blog for the next month).
1. Use ‘Judea and Samaria’ instead of ‘
the West Bank‘.
2. Use ‘Jewish community’ instead of ‘
3. Use ‘construction of Jewish homes, schools, and hospitals’ instead of ‘
4. Use ‘new Jewish communities’ instead of ‘
5. Use ‘Jewish community member’ instead of ‘
6. Use ‘conservative politicians’ instead of ‘
7. Use ‘PLO’ or ‘Palestine Liberation Organization’ instead of ‘
8. Use ‘Palestinian Islamic Terrorist Organization–HAMAS’ instead of merely ‘
9. Use ‘Israeli men, women, and children’ instead of ‘
10. Use ‘Palestinian cities’ instead of ‘
Palestinian refugee camps‘.
11. Use Palestinian ‘settlements’ instead of Palestinian
‘villages’ or ‘hamlets’.
12. Use Palestinian ‘settlers’ instead of Palestinian
‘farmers’ and ‘villagers’.
13. Use international ‘lawbreakers’ instead of international
14. Use ‘the suicide bomber prevention fence instead of the
‘separation fence’ or ‘wall’.
15. Use ‘eastern Jerusalem’ or the ‘eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem’ instead of
East Jerusalem. The city of Jerusalem must never be divided again.