UPDATES 6 pm Israel time Friday:
**There has been another outpouring of “rock” attacks on Israelis throughout Judea and Samaria this morning and afternoon.
All of this follows the Palestinian terrorist attack near Ariel last evening in which an Israeli mother was driving her three daughters home when “rock” throwers hit the windshield of her car causing her to veer into the path of an oncoming truck. The mother and her two oldest daughters were “moderately injured”, while her youngest daughter remains in critical condition at this hour after surgery. Looking at the photograph of their car above, it is a miracle that any of the family survived.
**The Iranian Mehr news agency published remarkable pictures yesterday of dead Iranian Revolutionary Guards being brought back to Iran from fighting in Syria in support of Bashir Assad. Refrigerated trucks brought hundreds of bodies back to Iran–where the bodies were then paraded through the streets in caskets.
Israel has a new government with Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett signing a coalition agreement with Benjamin Netanyahu 4 hours ago. The new coalition will have 68 Knesset members though this number may increase in the near future if the orthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism parties are invited to join. Whether they are permitted to join depends on Lapid and Bennett who apparently hold veto party over the two haredi parties.
Your humble servant is particularly happy about the achievements of Bennett (whom this blog supported for Prime Minister in the recent election) and his Jewish Home party:
1. Bennett will be appointed Minster of Economy, Trade, and Industry.
2. Bennett will serve as a member of the inner Diplomatic-Security Cabinet and in any diplomatic-security and economic forum that PM Netanyahu is a part of.
3. Bennett will be one of the five members of the Israeli team overseeing the peace process with the Palestinians (along with Netanyahu, Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, and Finance Minister Lapid).
4. Bennett will be chairman of the Knesset subcommittee of the Social-Economic Cabinet for the living affairs, economic concentration, and competitiveness–which focuses on the rights of the miluim (Israeli reserve soldiers).
5. Bennett will be the Committee chairman of the ministerial committee for privatization.
6. Jewish Home MK Uri Ariel will be appointed Minister of Construction and Housing. (This has major implications for Judea and Samaria).
7. Jewish Home MK Uri Orbach will be appointed Minister for Retirees.
8. Another as yet unnamed Jewish Home minister will become deputy minister of Religious Affairs.
9. Another as yet unnamed Jewish Home minister will become deputy minister for Education.
10. Jewish Home will also head the Finance Committee in the Knesset. (The importance of this position cannot be overstated).
11. Another Jewish Home representative, as yet unnamed, will head the soon to be formed Civil Service Administration.
11. Another Jewish Home representative, as yet unnamed, will be the chairperson of the special committee to oversee the implementation of “equal share of the burden” laws.
11. Two Jewish Home ministers will also serve on the ministerial committee for settlement affairs.
12. Two Jewish Home ministers will also serve on the ministerial committee for legislative affairs.
13. Jewish Home representatives will also coordinate Coalition participation in the selection of candidates for the Chief Rabbinate.
14. Jewish Home representatives will also play an integral role in the new “Jewish identity administration” within the Religious Affairs Ministry–whose main focus will be to improve Israel’s conversion system.
What is amazing about all of these positions is that Naftali Bennett has taken a political party that was marginal at best in Israeli government and society and has put it at the very center of power; he has made the government recognize religious Zionism as a crucial part Israeli society.
Finally, what are the potential problems for the new coalition? Obviously, Netanyahu is likely to butt heads (as he has been doing for the last 5 weeks) with the new kids on the block, Lapid and Bennett. More than this, the real thorn in the coalition’s side is likely to be Tzipi Livni who will be the Justice Minister and the person in charge of peace talks with the Palestinians. It is important to note that even if Livni eventually decides to leave the government, there will still be a majority 62 members in the Coalition.
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