Friday, December 11

An Extreme Right-Wing Break Away From the Likud

 We do not really have any cause to celebrate another breakaway from the Likud by Gideon Sa'ar. If it was a breakaway that moved towards the left of centre-right with a new approach then we could celebrate. 

Gideon Sa'ar is even more right-wing than Netanyahu. At the end of the day, we notice a plethora of right-wing to extreme right-wing parties. These parties are Yamina, Likud, Sa'ar's yet-unnamed new party, Yisrael Beiteinu Party, Jewish Home Party and of course the ultra-Orthodox Parties, Basically all these parties have similar ideologies and do not weaken the right-wing bloc. They may even form a coalition after the upcoming general elections, despite denials of serving under criminal suspect, Netanyahu, who stands a strong chance of being re-elected. 

The credibility of politicians in Israel is erratic and after elections, the ball game changes as well as their promises to their voters as we witnessed in the aftermath of the last elections. 

These upcoming elections will bring no significant changes. It is a right-wing oriented election. The left-wing in Israel will be weakened even further. Basically the Israeli electorate is moving further to the right and the position of the centrist right-wing parties may even make a shift to a right-wing coalition. Even the Joint List, apart from the Hadash faction is certainly not left but Arab nationalist rather than egalitarian for all Israel's citizens. This leaves us with the left-wing Meretz Party that may get 6 seats according to the latest polls. The Labour Party will not have any representation in the Knesset.


Friday, December 4

Fourth Israeli Elections Coming Up!

The present squabbling, ineffectual coalition is a total failure. They have wreaked more destruction on Israel’s health and Covid-19 is on the increase as well. The economy is in ruins because there is no policy. Israel still does not have a budget for 2920/21. Most of the decisions made by the appalling Netanyahu Coalition is not logical as well as confusing to the general public. An example is the pilot experimentations of opening only 15 shopping malls in the country instead of all the shopping malls. This has resulted in overcrowding and the impossibility of social distancing because long queues were created in the foyers of these malls and who knows how many people are asymptomatic carriers of Covid-19 standing in these queues. 

 The unemployment rate is high. Small businesses are bankrupt and much of the population are holding pirate weddings and parties, inviting many positively tested guests, who spread Covid-19. We must remember that the lack of discipline and not wearing masks properly or social distancing is to blame for the increase in Corona infections. It is the offspring of the unemployed that must bear the responsibility for the upsurge of new cases in all sectors of the population. There are also insufficient inspectors ensuring that the Covid-19 prevention laws are enforced. This pathetic, divisive Netanyahu Coalition always seem to be involved in political decisions that go against the Ministry of Health decisions. The blame for all the failures must be laid at the door of a criminal suspect, PM Netanyahu, who appears to be more involved in his upcoming criminal trial and postponing it indefinitely. The fourth upcoming election (whenever that will be) will solve nothing. The results will be the same - the Likud and right-wing will get the most votes and the accused PM Netanyahu will be given another shot at forming the next coalition government. So whether we have new elections or not it is a matter of six of one and half a dozen of the other - there will be no change. 


There is nothing more predictable than the knowledge that the right-wing bloc will get the most support and we will be back to square one again with a very similar coalition combo failure as before. It appears that voting for a better government is an exercise in futility under Israel’s electoral system.

Friday, November 27

Meretz Can Only Survive as an egalitarian Jewish-Arab Party

Meretz and the left will cease to be relevant or survive if they do not change their tactics and form a true united Jewish-Arab Party that embraces Zionists as well as non-Zionists. After all, Zionism today has become the monopoly of the right-wing including the extreme racist right-wing with a large proportion of adherents to orthodox, messianic Judaism (not to be confused with Jews for Jesus). Apart from Hadash that is left-wing, the Joint List is NOT left-wing. As is mentioned in the article, Ayman Oudeh, is opposed to joining Meretz in the formation of a combined Arab-Jewish Party which is a pity. Now with the possibility of the Joint List fragmenting because of Mansour Abbas making “overtures to Netanyahu”, we are in need of a united Arab-Jewish Party, representing all Israel’s citizens and not being involved with sectorial national interests as appears to be the case with the Joint List at present. Israel’s non-Jewish minorities’ interests and problems will be represented in an egalitarian Jewish-Arab Party on an equal basis.

Saturday, September 19

Some Reflections on Rosh Hashana 2020

 The international community as we know has been hit severely by Covid-19. The Coronavirus pandemic originated in Wuhan, China and spread out of control to almost every country on earth. It is a pandemic that does not distinguish between races or religion and nobody is immune from COVID-!9 hence the three main precautions accepted internationally to prevent being infected. 


Coronavirus spreads like wildfire in crowds, especially in limited closed spaces. The three main precautions to prevent infections as we are all made to feel aware are:

  1. Wearing masks to cover the nose and mouth.

  2. Social distancing - 2 metres between people to the next.

  3. Personal hygiene.

Many people do not observe these simple precautions and until a vaccine against COVID-19 is available to the public, we have to adjust our lives within the framework of these precautions to avoid infection. 


Israel is now under its second lockdown for 3 weeks which may even be extended after the end of Sukkot (Tabernacles).




Now for the religious aspect, which is also part of the story. I am not a religiously observant person and have strong feelings as to whether God exists or not but if I would be religious, I would have very strong doubts as to God’s existence and questions to ask.


A religious person would accept that the Coronavirus was created and sent by God. If this is the case, maybe God does not want people to pray in their respective houses of worship. Prayer in houses of worship, whether the synagogue, church or mosque or whatever, maybe considered evil in the eyes of God. Perhaps God does not want to hear the prayers of believers in Him. He punishes them by infecting them with Covid-19 if they crowd into a House of Worship. Maybe God wants to curtail the overpopulation on the planet and that we are all equal in His eyes and face the same destiny irrespective of our faith or lack of it. Excuse my use of anthropomorphisms but there does not appear to be any other way of my humble attempt to explain this theory. 


Is it possible that God wishes to punish humans for their evil ways? The hypocrisy that seems to exist in all faiths may be a cue to His anger. 


The scientists are in a race to achieve the invention of a vaccine against the Coronavirus. Nobody can predict when this will be achieved.


Here in Israel, while we are under lockdown and the threat of the ultra-Orthodox communities to overcrowd the synagogues during the High Holydays thus endangering themselves as well as all Israel’s citizens. Is it possible that they are acting against the Will of the Almighty, who will infect them and others with a vengeance?


References:

  1. Coronavirus: Israel marks Jewish New Year with the second lockdown

  2. Jews can’t gather as usual for Rosh Hashanah — and stay safe from COVID-19

Sunday, April 5

Why is Pesach 2020 Different from Previous Pesachim?

In traditional Pesach (Passover 1) observance, the famous Ma Nishtanah (The Four Questions) are asked or recited in the traditional fashion. These four questions can really be reduced to one question involving one sentence. Perhaps we can use the term Pesach not as “this night is different from all other nights” but rather this period, including Pesach night, is different from all other periods in our history as Jews including our non-Jewish monotheistic brethren all over the world. Christians will be celebrating Easter and a week later, the month-long Ramadan fast will be observed by Muslims.

The traditional 10 plagues recited from the Haggadah are largely irrelevant today. There is only one very relevant plague that afflicts all mankind irrespective of race, colour, and religion - Covid-19! The Angel of Death is the Coronavirus that brings us all into isolation rather than having our doorposts painted with goat’s blood to avoid the slaughter of the firstborn. 

Corona-virus-The Angel of Death
The Coronavirus pandemic does not care about signs to skip people from a deadly fate. Experts on the Coronavirus (if such experts really exist) advise us to avoid exposure to others, who may be carriers of the potentially deadly virus. Their advice is total isolation at home in order to remain free from Covid-19 infection. No contact with family is advised and enacted by the law, especially the seniors above 60 years of age. 

This year there will be no seder. The child's questioning triggers one of the most significant elements of Passover, which is the highlight of the Seder ceremony: reading the Haggadah 2, which tells the story of the Exodus from Egypt 3. It will be illegal to hold any Pesach seder celebration except for the core family inhabiting its dwelling. The rabbis went on to say that in the question under discussion, it was asked merely whether one could turn on the electronic device before the Passover holiday begins and leave the Zoom program running during the Seder to allow family members to connect 4.

The Four Questions and the reciting of the Ten Plagues should be replaced by one question and by the recitation of one plague - CORONA-VIRUS!  

References:
  1.  "Passover - Wikipedia." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passover. Accessed 5 Apr. 2020.
  2.  "Haggadah - Wikipedia." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haggadah. Accessed 5 Apr. 2020.
  3.  https://www.chabad.org/holidays/passover/pesach_cdo/aid/1751/jewish/What-Is-a-Seder.htm. Accessed 5 Apr. 2020.
  4.  25 Mar. 2020, https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/raabis-approve-the-use-of-zoom-to-celebrate-passover-due-to-coronavirus-622221. Accessed 5 Apr. 2020.

Friday, November 22

Netanyahu May Be Israel's Enemy Today


Netanyahu in his latest unstatesmanlike statement reacting to the AG accusations against him proves how arrogant and self-righteous he (Netanyahu) is. He is destroying the courts, the police, the left, the media which he failed to control in his attempts to bribe them to print what he desires. He calls it the free press that has been stifled by the opposition. Democracy to Netanyahu is he and his cronies' control of the press to give favourable coverage for his policies at the taxpayers' expense. In his own defence statement live on TV proves that not only is he his own enemy but also Israel's enemy even worse than Hamas, Hizbollah and Islamic Jihad in his attempts to disrupt the law courts, law enforcement authorities, the media and those, who oppose him politically as well as the Arab citizens of Israel who support the Joint List. He has declared war by demanding that those police investigators who questioned him ought to be investigated. He has also played a part in polarizing Israel's people by his disgraceful behaviour over the years during his reign. His reign is coming to a bitter end and he will scream and kick to prevent that from happening. After his hateful, remorse filled speech his defence lawyers should resign from representing him. He attacks the law enforcement authorities and his status has now changed from suspect to being the accused. He should resign and the sooner the better for Israel.

The die is cast and PM Netanyahu’s status from suspected criminal to an accused criminal awaiting trial. His statement after AG Mandelblit was a disgrace and far from being stately. It echoes Bibi’s narcism and his similarity to his favourite president - Donald Trump. Netanyahu’s attack on those who interrogated him saying that the “investigators ought to be investigated” as he, Netanyahu, has been framed and unjustly accused. The biggest problem is the increased ground support that he appears to be getting from his Likud Party and their massive support that the Likud still receives. Netanyahu ought to do the right thing and resign so that he can prove his innocence he claims. How can he represent Israel’s interests being under the accusation of fraud, bribery and breach of trust in three criminal cases? Netanyahu has chosen the path of war against those professional civil servants who carried out their jobs efficiently after perusing thousands of written statements, recordings and reports of state witnesses over a long time. Basically, Netanyahu has declared war on the courts, police, the press, the left opposition and even the Arab citizens of Israel, whose representatives in the Knesset he views as supporters of terror against Israel and failing to recognize Israel’s right to exist. He lies to the public to whitewash his accusations and viewing himself as the victim of a witch hunt orchestrated by Israel’s law enforcement authorities. The reality of the criminal accusations against him has made him declare war against the legal bodies that he is supposed to defend as prime minister. He is, in reality, the enemy of Israel by his unstatesmanlike behaviour against the state bodies that he should be supporting. He is unfit to be prime minister. He must go even if it means dragging him away by being handcuffed and placed under arrest for promoting sedition against the state. After all the accusations are basically the State of Israel vs PM Benjamin Netanyahu.


The accused, PM Netanyahu, is on the warpath in his fight against the law enforcement authorities of Israel. He had given a hint of that concerning the suspicions of his criminal involvement in the various cases mentioned ad nauseam over the last 3-4 years if not more. We now view a threatened accused criminal who proclaims his innocence at all costs, smearing everyone in his path that is carrying out their civic duty to society to combat crime in high places. Bibi, of course, with his wife Sara, and good-for-nothing son, Yair, the author of loutish tweets wreaking with racism are being witch-hunted by the courts, police, the left, the evil media that does not publish nice things about him and his family. Bibi views himself as pure as driven snow and above the law. He is now fighting for his political future using every lie that he can to convince his supporters of his innocence. Bibi must resign - the sooner, the better for all of us!







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Thursday, September 26

The Inconclusive Israeli Election Results


The 17th September 2019 elections have achieved a deadlock. PM Netanyahu is on the way out.  According to nearly final Israeli election results, the opposition Blue and White party of Benny Gantz edged ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party 1. However, Benny Ganz may not be on the way in. Neither the Likud nor Kahol Lavan parties with their possible coalitions will make it to the minimum of 61 seats out of 120 Knesset seats. 

 Israeli President Reuven Rivlin tasks Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with forming a new government, during a press conference in Jerusalem on September 25, 2019. MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images

It appears that it will take weeks of intensive negotiations between the factions to form a viable coalition which is very complex and Netanyahu, with his legal problems, may have to be replaced if Ganz does not succeed in forming a coalition that will have 61 or more seats. Somebody else from the Likud may replace Netanyahu, who will not resign without a fight. Netanyahu proposed leading “a broad unity government” that would include Likud in alliance with the Kahol-Lavan  alliance, which won the most Knesset seats in the vote and is led by former army chief Benny Ganz 2. He will have to be dragged alive, kicking and screaming with his waning magic racist mantras and balls of rolling sweat pouring down from his brow. Much depends on his Likud cronies, who appear to be giving Netanyahu overwhelming support and to date are not prepared to desert him for a new leader or even pass a resolution to have the Likud primaries voting to replace Netanyahu.

President Reuven Rivlin faces one of the most, if not the most difficult challenge in Israel’s history to try and get the winning party to form a coalition with so many recalcitrant Knesset members, all pulling in different directions with different demands. The main question is whether Benny Ganz will go back on his electoral promise not to sit down and negotiate a unity government with Benjamin Netanyahu rotating the prime ministerial post with him, even if President Rivlin may request him to do so. Electoral promises and post-electoral decisions during negotiations may even be contradictory. Promises made during election campaigns may not be kept once the negotiations for forming a coalition government begin.

The formation of a government coalition, whichever way one views it, is a gargantuan task and the possibility of total failure is very large. The possibility of a third round of general elections cannot be ruled out if no government can be formed. If this occurs, it will cost Israel millions of shekels and the results will remain pretty much the same.

Perhaps it would be a good idea to form a unity government for one purpose only and that is to pass a law changing the electoral system to ensure that there is a change in the delimitation of parties by raising the percentage support they get or to change the system into a a system similar to the UK that has a constituency representation. The House of Commons and local councils in England and Wales use the first-past-the-post system.

The UK is divided into constituencies. Local authorities into wards.

At a general or local election, voters put a cross (X) next to their preferred candidate on a ballot paper. Ballot papers are counted. The candidate with the most votes represents the constituency or ward.

The voting system of proportional representation as at present in Israel will not allow any party to gain an absolute majority to win an election because of the diverse voting patterns of the electorate and a large number of parties participating. Hence many weeks if not months will be wasted in trying to form a government coalition. This exercise may be a test of total futility and the possibility of new futile general elections cannot be ruled out. 

After much ado in the president’s residence, it was decided that Netanyahu get first shot at forming a government 5. His chances of succeeding are poor and he has a week to do so. Balad (part of the Joint List) decided to abstain from supporting Netanyahu or Ganz. This gave the right-wing block the majority which influences President Rivlin’s decision to give Netanyahu first choice. Balad’s expected 3 votes in favour of Ganz were withdrawn at their request. 

After having been given a meaningless, futile mandate by President Rivlin to form a government, Netanyahu thanks the president for the mandate and gives an election propaganda speech about the importance of him forming a government and continuing as PM. He was campaigning for himself and his right-wing cronies to continue leading the country. The bottom line is obvious as well - getting immunity from a criminal trial pending his hearing in a week.

There are reports on Y Net that Kahol-Lavan requested Balad to abstain from voting so that Netanyahu is given the first option to form a government so that that he will fail and that Kahol-Lavan will be given second option to form a government assuming that their chance of succeeding is greater. Both groups, even with their respective supporters, are unable to win an absolute majority of 61 seats. There is a definite electoral stalemate. 

At the end of the day, within a few months, there will be new elections. If there is no electoral reform or a change in the electoral system, there will be no change in the results and Israel will face inconclusive election results after repeat expensive elections that maybe Israel’s destiny. 

References:
  1.  20 Sep. 2019, https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/israel/2019/september/benny-gantzs-blue-and-white-party-ahead-of-netanyahus-likud-as-final-votes-are-tallied. Accessed 22 Sep. 2019.
  2.  21 Sep. 2019, https://thearabweekly.com/netanyahu-seeks-stay-power-despite-likuds-failure-win-parliamentary-election. Accessed 22 Sep. 2019.
  3. September 2019 Israeli legislative election
  4. Israeli Democracy Institute - September 2019 Elections
  5. After election deadlock, Netanyahu tapped by Israel's president to assemble a new government