Sunday, December 10

President Trump's Recognition of Jerusalem

President Donald Trump never fails to surprise. It is always the context in which he makes his predictable announcements and the timing that could not be worse. This president is the most unconventional president that the US has ever had in all its history. His announcement that the US will officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital and that he will be ordering the US Embassy to be moved to Jerusalem will create repercussions in the Palestinian world if not the whole Arab world and its allies.
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Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital, reversing longtime U.S. policy

 In Israel, these announcements of Trump have met with great applause. Naturally, the Government Coalition is head over heels in euphoria and is close to dancing the hora. Was this Trump announcement really necessary?

We are all aware that Israel’s Knesset is in Jerusalem and this makes Jerusalem de facto capital of Israel and this does not warrant Trump’s announcement on this issue. The status quo at present on Jerusalem was never an issue and its final status has been recognized as an essential part of a final settlement between Israel and the Palestinians when both sides re-negotiate a lasting peace. Trump has put the cart before the horse because of his usual hubris and total lack of foresight. It is doubtful whether he has any plan as to how to get peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian initiated.   

What Trump has done may reap praises from the present right-wing in Israel as well as providing an excuse for the Palestinians to threaten Israel with terror attacks that will result in unnecessary suffering for both sides. Trump does not understand that the Palestinians do not resemble the Swiss or any other European nation in their logic and rationality with whom one can negotiate a “peace deal” (to use Trumpist terminology). They are driven by mantras of fantasy and hatred for Israel and if it is not the Jerusalem issue it will be another issue that can ignite the Palestinian leaders to goad their people into committing violence against Israelis. The issue of the status of Jerusalem has been a hot potato since Israel’s establishment. The problem between Israel and the Palestinians is an existential one and will always remain glowing embers until some world statesman puts his/her foot in it by saying things that are best left unsaid for the sake of preventing violence and bloodshed.

Already there are threatening rumblings in the Palestinian leadership about Trump’s announcement that will reverberate across the Middle East and may even threaten the trust that is in its very initial stages between Israel and Saudi Arabia and may even threaten Israel’s tenuous relations with Egypt and Jordan. Is this really necessary? We, in Israel, do not need Trump’s announcements on Jerusalem as it is like waving a red rag to a bull. It is also detrimental to the interests of the US as well as Israel. In fact, there are reports of Israeli soldiers clashing with Palestinians who are protesting Trump’s Jerusalem decision. The clashes have already started between the Palestinians and the IDF. Trump has already struck a match on the already glowing embers. This is the first time that a US president must bear the blame for an unnecessary provocation.

There is an old Jewish saying that says that it is better to be wise rather than to be right. This is most applicable to Trump, who is far from being wise. There are certain things that are better left unsaid in order to avoid senseless violence and bloodshed. This is so true in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Trump appears to have blown it.

Thursday, December 7

Corruption in High Places

The Knesset in Israel has been plagued with a new Bill up for the third reading - a notorious Recommendation Bill that prevents the general public from knowing about police enquiries into sitting prime ministers suspected of breaking the law as well as weakening the police system and the law courts. If this Bill becomes law it will be another slap in the face of Israel's democracy.
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Coalition chair David Bitan leaves his home on his way to be questioned by police on suspicion of corruption, December 6, 2017. (Screen capture: Ynet)
The architects of this disgraceful Bill are two of Netanyahu’s loyal supporters or “keepers” - the Two Davids - MKs David Amsalem 1 and David Bitan 2. The former has a shady history with the police and the latter is under investigation by the police for bribery, corruption and money laundering. He was questioned for 14 hours by the police - Lahav 433 3. He will undergo a number of sessions of police enquiries as suspicions of criminal activity against him are high. This resulted in the shelving of this Bill for the present. If MK David Bitan, the Likud Coalition Chairman, is found guilty he will receive a prison sentence. The future of David Bitan in the Knesset is now uncertain.

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Husam Jarushi, a reported mobster linked to suspected wrongdoing by Likud MK David Bitan,

It is quite possible that the Two Davids were in a great hurry to get the undemocratic Recommendation Bill passed into law as soon as possible as both of them had personal issues with the police. Amsalem was questioned by the police some years ago but nothing was found, while Bitan must have known that he is soon to be questioned by the police. Both abrasive, bulldozing Davids were keen to pass this law each for their own reasons, using the Netanyahu investigation as an excuse to get the Bill passed into law. Netanyahu decided that the Recommendation Bill should not apply to him and with David Bitan out of the picture with an uncertain political future, left his partner, Amsalem high and dry, this Bill was shelved for the time being.

The present Likud has become a party of arrogant scoundrels involved in all kinds of cartels and scandals directly or indirectly. It is a far cry from the Likud of the Late PM Menachem Begin 4 and the Revisionism 5 of Ze’ev Jabotinsky 6 - who can be viewed as the founding fathers of the Likud ideology. Whether one agrees with the Likud ideology or not, there is no doubt that these founding fathers were true statesmen and had the interests of Israel in their hearts. The present lots of Likud members are far from that mould. They have become self-righteous and arrogant, connected directly or indirectly with all kinds of shady business deals to “make a quick buck” at the expense of the electorate they purport to represent.

In a democracy, this incident including the police investigations of a sitting prime minister and the criminal investigations of his close associate and supporter, David Bitan, would result in recommendations for the government to resign and a call for new elections. Israel being Israel this is not going to happen. Even if elections were called, there would be no change for the better. Israel has moved toward the right and extreme right, even the new Zionist Camp leader, Avi Gabbay, is pandering for votes from the Likud by playing populist right-wing politics.

PM Benjamin Netanyahu does not seem to be phased by the criminal investigations against him and will probably be re-elected as prime minister in the next elections. The old cry “Benjamin Netanyahu is the best Prime Minister Israel has ever had. There is nobody to replace him!” This mantra will undoubtedly be the case in the next Israeli General Elections.

Despite all these misgivings about Israel’s political future under a Likud Government that is becoming increasingly corrupt, we, Citizens of Israel, must draw the necessary conclusions. We must vote against the corrupt Likud and its band of cartel-serving politicians, many of their high ranking MKs are connected with shady financial deals for their own personal enrichment. The corrupt rot has set in the Likud Party. It has been in power too long. A sitting prime minister should not be allowed to be elected for more than two terms. Israel has set the example of what happens when a prime minister holds office beyond that. He ceases to serve the country and views the country as his personal property. Even Israel’s UN Representative, Danny Danon, has criminal suspicions in creating jobs for pals as well as nepotism in allotting these jobs. We cannot allow Israel to become a banana republic resembling ANC ruled South Africa.



  1. "Dudu Amsalem - Wikipedia." Accessed 5 Dec. 2017.
  2. "Coalition chair MK David Bitan suspected of receiving bribes, money ...." 3 Dec. 2017, Accessed 5 Dec. 2017.
  3. "Lahav 433 - Wikipedia." Accessed 5 Dec. 2017.
  4. "Menachem Begin - Wikipedia." Accessed 5 Dec. 2017.
  5. Revisionist Zionism - Wikipedia." Accessed 5 Dec. 2017.
  6. "Ze'ev Jabotinsky - Wikipedia." Accessed 5 Dec. 2017.