UPDATE 6 AM TUESDAY: ISRAEL HAS AWAKENED TO A POLITICAL EARTHQUAKE AS LIKUD AND KADIMA HAVE FORMED A UNITY GOVERNMENT. THERE WILL BE NO ELECTIONS UNTIL OCTOBER 2013. MORE IN TODAY’S ISRAELSTREET BLOG.
UPDATE: 7 pm Monday: A major Palestinian attack was averted last night with the capture of a bomb-laden terrorist at the Tapuach Junction.
PM Netanyahu’s decision to go to early elections is having the anticipated effect on the Israeli Left. Just today:
Shaul Mofaz of Kadima accused Netanyahu of caring more about Jewish community members in Judea and Samaria than the international community: “Netanyahu prefers Moshe Feiglin (a Likud Jewish community leader) over our international partners.” He went on to underscore exactly what he would do insofar as the Palestinians are concerned: “There is a majority for giving up land [for peace].”
Of course it is absurd to claim there there is majority of Israelis who want to engage in appeasement with the PLO and Hamas, but that doesn’t stop Mofaz from saying that there is. Kadima would have us believe the ludicrous notion that it is only by giving the Palestinians everything they want that peace can be attained.
Shelly Yachimovich, the head of Labor, repeated her theme from an interview given four days ago: “Netanyahu is not a monarch… he is an elected politician… and therefore we can’t give up on our ambition to replace the most capitalistic prime minister Israel has ever had.”
If you hear echoes of the the capitalism-socialism argument sounded in many European elections decided yesterday, you are absolutely correct, dear reader. Yachimovich and Labor would have us believe that capitalism and social justice cannot coexist.
While the attacks of Kadima and Labor on the “Left” are completely expected, two events on the Israeli “Right” yesterday apparently took Netanyahu by complete surprise.
Last night witnessed a disaster for Netanyahu as he opened his election campaign at the Likud Convention in a 400-seat hall at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds. Even though Jewish community members in Judea and Samaria (the same ones that Mofaz accuses Netanyahu of supporting) only number about 9,000 of the estimated 130,000 overall Likud voters, over 350 of them arrived early and grabbed most of the seats in the hall. This left some 3300 other Likudniks stuck outside.
What was supposed to have been a unanimous and harmonious vote to confirm Netanyahu as chairman of the convention quickly turned into a floor fight of heckling, yelling, and catcalls as MK Danny Danon challenged Netanyahu for that chairmanship. In the end, no vote was taken at all.
Nevertheless, perhaps the most interesting development yesterday–and a blow to Netanyahu–was the announcement of the creation of a new Zionist party on the “right”. Named “My Israel”, the party leadership consists of former hard core Netanyahu supporters:
Nafthali Bennett, former Netanyahu chief of staff and a Major (res) in the elite Sayeret Matkal and Maglan commando units, former secretary general of the Yesha Council, and co-founder and CEO of Cyota–a high tech Israeli company which sold for $145,000,000 six years ago.
Avihai Ronsky, former Military Rabbi and Brigadier General (res.), most recently serving at the yeshiva high school in Itamar.
Ayelet Shaked, chairwoman of “My Israel”, an extremely active young Zionist movement with approximately 85,000 members that has been instrumental in fighting so-called international “human rights” NGOs in Israel, so-called “peace” organizations such as “Peace Now”, and media bias in such places as Wikipedia.
Bennett described his new party yesterday as “a young national-Zionist movement uniting both secular and religious Israelis.”
What does Bennett say is the goal of “My Israel”? “We shall create a real bridge between the religious and the seculars, who will be joined together by love of the land and Zionism, and a return to our basic values.”
Why does Bennett, Netanyahu’s former right hand man believe that “My Israel” necessary? “The majority of the Israeli public belongs to the Zionist national camp, and still we are not being taken seriously at the moment of truth. The prime minister is part of this, having appointed a defense minister who is hostile to the settlement enterprise and blocked a bill meant to protect IDF soldiers from foreign organizations.”
Finally Bennett issued a call to action: “Our community knows how to lead everywhere: in the IDF command, in the education system, in communities across the country, in volunteerism. There is just one place where we are not counted: in the Israeli Knesset… The time has come for us to take command of the country.”
Nafthali Bennett is not someone to be taken lightly. It is too early to see what impact “My Israel” will have on the upcoming elections, but there is the definite sense in Israel this morning that a fresh breeze is now blowing across the Israel political landscape.
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.