You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:
In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:
1) The current status of Netanyahu’s efforts to form a new government coalition
2) The current status of the Israel / PLO peace process
3) The current status of the situation with Syria
4) The current status of the situation with Iran
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to form as broad a government coalition as possible. Ultimately, he would prefer to see the following parties in his government:
1) The Tzipi Livni Part (Hatnua) (“The Movement”). Her primary objective is to see a peace agreement between the Palestinians and Israel. As a result, she would like to be in Netanyahu’s government and oversee peace negotiations.
2) Yesh Atid (There is a Future). The party leader is former Israeli journalist, Yair Lapid. This is a secular centrist party. They would like to see ultra-Orthodox Jews drafted into the Israeli military, restart of peace talks with the Palestinians, a reduction in the size of the Israeli government and economic policies that help the middle class.
3) Jewish Home. This is a religious Zionist party. Many are modern Orthodox Jews who serve in the Israeli army and have daily jobs. They are against a PLO state.
4) Shas. This is a Sephardic ultra-Orthodox party. They don’t want to see their Yeshiva students be drafted into the Israeli army. Their Yeshiva students study Talmud all day and most don’t have a daily job.
5) United Torah Judaism. This is an Askenazi ultra-Orthodox party. They don’t want to see their Yeshiva students be drafted into the Israeli army. There Yeshiva students study Talmud all day and most don’t have a daily job.
6) Kadima. The party leader is Shaul Mofaz. He would like to be Defense Minister and he supports a PLO state.
Two other political parties, Labor and Meretz, said that they would not join Netanyahu’s coalition.
The initial 28 days for Netanyahu to form a government has expired. On March 2, Netanyahu will ask for a two week extension. If Netanyahu cannot form a government by March 16, there will most likely be new elections. What type of government is Benjamin Netanyahu trying to form? He has stated on multiple occasions that he would like the broadest government possible. Ideally, this would be Tzipi Livni (the movement), Labor, Kadima, Yesh Atid, Jewish Home and the ultra-Orthodox parties of Shas and United Torah Judaism. This government would be the most ideal to confront Israel’s domestic and international political concerns. However because of conflicting political interests between these parties, the inclusion of all these parties into the government is not realistic. Next, Netanyahu would prefer a government of Labor, Kadima and the ultra-Orthodox parties of Shas and United Torah Judaism. This would exclude Yesh Atid who is the greatest threat to become the largest political party in Israel and Jewish Home. However, Labor is unwilling to join the government. Because of this, Netanyahu would not have the minimum of 61 members to form a government. Thirdly, Netanyahu would like to form a government with Tzipi Livni, Kadima, the ultra-Orthodox and eithor Yesh Atid or Jewish Home. However, Yesh Atid and Jewish Home have conflicting political views with the ultra-Orthodox parties on the issue of drafting ultra-Orthodox Yeshiva students into the Israeli military. Furthermore, Yesh Atid and Jewish have made a pact with each other that both will join the new government or both will not be in the new government. So far, Netanyahu has not been successful in trying to break the Yesh Atid / Jewish Home alliance. Therefore, it seems that the only government that Netanyahu can form will be to include Yesh Atid and Jewish Home along with Tzipi Livni and possibly Kadima.
In order to form this government, Netanyahu will have to agree to the demands of Yest Atid and Jewish Home and draft ultra-Orthodox Yeshiva students into the Israeli military. This will exclude the ultra-Orthodox from being able to join the government. Jewish Home is also demanding that the power given to Tzipi Livni to negotiate with the Palestinians be modified. At this point, it appears that if Netanyahu would not agree to include both Yesh Atid and Jewish Home into his government that there would be new elections. According to the polls, if there were new elections then Netanyahu would be replaced from being Prime Minister by the leader of Yesh Atid, the former journalist, Yair Lapid. As a result, it is most likely that Netanyau will form a government that will ultimately include Yesh Atid and Jewish Home and exclude Labor and the ultra-Orthodox parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism. This government would have 68 members. It would be 70 if Kadima joined. This government would be strong on domestic issues but would be vulnerable to international pressure from the US and the EU to agree to a PLO state based upon 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. If a peace agreement is made with the Palestinians, Labor has said it would join the government to support a peace agreement.
Details regarding the efforts by Benjamin Netanyahu to form a government this week was as follows: The leader of Kadima, Shaul Mofaz requested that in order for him to join the government that he become Defense Minister. This demand was rejected by the Likud negotiating team. As a result, Kadima joined the alliance between Yesh Atid and Jewish Home as all three parties want to see ultra-Orthodox Yeshiva students be drafted into the Israeli military. It was reported that Kadima, Yesh Atid and Jewish Home met together and it was agreed between them that Jewish Home would ask for the Finance Ministry, Yesh Atid for the Foreign Ministry and Kadima for the Defense Ministry. Together, these three parties make 33 seats.
In order to try to break the alliance between Yesh Atid and Jewish Home to join the government together or not at all, Likud negotiators tried to convince Yesh Atid who supports peace talks with the Palestinians that if they maintained their alliance with Jewish Home that it would harm the peace process and the Israeli government would not be able to kick Jews out of the homes in the West Bank which are outside the main settlement blocs. Jewish Home Knesset member, Rabbi Eliyahu Ben Dahan reacted to these reports by saying, “It turns out that instead of advancing the signing of a coalition agreement, Likud prefers to advance a leftist government which would include the ultra-Orthodox parties with an emphasis on future eviction of Jewish communities in the West Bank while turning down the request of Jewish Home to change the agreement with Tzipi Livni which gave her power to negotiate a peace agreement with the Palestinians.”
In conducting coalition talks with Likud representatives, Jewish Home negotiators were told that Tzipi Livni has been given exclusive rights to conduct negotiations with the Palestinian regarding the peace process and be able to make recommendations for a peace agreement which will be presented to the Prime Minister and the inner security cabinet. As a result, neither Netanyahu nor his future Foreign Minister will be allowed to conduct negotiations outside of her framework.
In past Israeli governments, the concept of parallel negotiation teams was fully accepted. A parallel team not directly sponsored by the Israeli government negotiated the Oslo Accords with the PA in 1993, with full knowledge of then-Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. During the term of Ehud Olmert as Prime Minister from 2006 – 2009, he had at least two negotiating teams working with the PA, including an official one managed by his Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni.
Yesh Atid has joined Jewish Home in being in disagreement with Netanyahu’s coalition agreement with Tzipi Livni. Senior Yesh Atid officials said that if Netanyahu wanted them to join the coalition, he would have to make substantial modifications to his deal with Tzipi Livni. They also said that if Yesh Atid leader, Yair Lapid would become foreign minister that Tzipi Livni would not have exclusive rights to negotiate with the Palestinians.
Because of the opposition that Netanyahu is facing from Yesh Atid and Jewish Home to reach his goals to have Tzipi Livni in the government along with the ultra-Orthodox parties, Netanyahu offered Labor both the Finance Ministry and the Industry, Trade, and Labor Ministry, the two top economic portfolios, with an extra promise to back veteran MK Binyamin Ben Eliezer as the coalition’s candidate to succeed Shimon Peres as president. However, Labor leader, Shelly Yachimovich rejected the offer saying that the domestic economic views between Labor and Likud are so vastly ideologically different that Labor is not interested in being in Netanyahu’s government. Furthermore, she does not believe that Netanyahu is seriously willing to agree to a PLO state based upon 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital saying that Netanyahu is only “modeling” a diplomatic process with the Palestinians to impress US President Barack Obama and had no intention of pursuing a “real peace process.” However, she did say that if Israel agreed to a peace agreement with the Palestinians to establish a PLO state based upon 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital that she would join the government to support the peace agreement.
In not being able to convince Labor to join a potential government with the ultra-Orthodox parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism and therefore needing both Yesh Atid and Jewish Home to join the goverment in order to be able to form a government, Likud officials said that Likud was willing to reconsider the terms of the coalition agreement signed with Tzipi Livni whereby Livni’s authorities will change and some will be taken away from her. Until now, Likud negotiators have said that the agreement with Tzipi Livni will not change.
Since Jewish Home would like to be in the next government, in the next meeting with Likud negotiators, Jewish Home will demand to know what is Netanyahu’s basic platform. Is it the peace process or confronting the major domestic economic and social issues confronting the Israeli public ?
Likud negotiators tried to further divide Yesh Atid and Jewish Home and the ultra-Orthodox parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism, by trying to shame Yesh Atid and Jewish Home in the eyes of the public by claiming that both Yesh Atid and Jewish Home refuse to be in government with the ultra-Orthodox parties and hates them.
In response, Jewish Home Knesset member Ayelet Shaked said on her Facebook page that her party “has no problems entering into a coalition with the ultra-Orthodox but Jewish Home will also not be in the coalition without Yesh Atid.” Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid criticized the Likud’s negotiators by accusing Yesh Atid for rejecting the ultra-Orthodox for being in a potential government coalition. Lapid said on his Facebook page, “So what we did talk about during the coalition negotiations? We spoke about the need for a housing revolution to bring down prices, about education, about the cost of living, about our commitment to make things easier for the middle class. In other words,” he added, “we talked about all the things that are not spins, and do not make headlines, and do not deal with trying to get people to hate and be angry with each other. Then why is it that the only thing that came out is the Likud’s message that we reject the ultra-Orthodox ? That’s a great question.”
Furthermore, Yesh Atid leader, Yair Lapid says that his party will stick to their principles which got them elected. One of these main issues was the insistence that ultra-Orthodox students be drafted into the Israeli military. Because of the ultra-Orthodox parties opposition to this policy, this means that if Yesh Atid joins the government that the ultra-Orthodox would not be able to do so.
Yesh Atid and Jewish Home met to form a compromise position between them regarding the drafting of ultra-Orthodox Yeshiva students into the Israeli military. The original position of Yesh Atid was that the total number of exemptions to be granted to ultra-Orthodox Yeshiva students to enter the Israeli military would be 400. The compromise proposal would be 1,500 to 2,000. The original position of Yesh Atid was for ultra-Orthodox Yeshiva students to be drafted at 18. The compromise proposal is 21.
Being concerned that they will be left out of the government, the ultra-Orthodox parties have now indicated a willingness to accept the proposal put together by Eugene Kandel, the head of Israel’s National Economic Council, whereby the Israeli military would draft upwards of 60% of ultra-Orthodox Israelis aged 18-24 within five years, and the government would provide monetary incentives to those who comply while penalizing the yeshivas of those who don’t. This proposal by Eugene Kandel has been the position taken by Likud negotiators in coalition talks. Previously, the ultra-Orthodox parties opposed this proposal.
While Netanyahu prefers that the ultra-Orthodox parties be included in his government coalition, Likud officials said that “If Netanyahu feels he is backed into a corner and may lose the chance to form a government, he won’t think twice about leaving the ultra-Orthodox out of the coalition.” However, Netanyahu said that if he indeed form an initial government with Yesh Atid and Jewish Home that he would encourage the ultra-Orthodox parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism to join the government at a later time. Hearing of these thoughts, the ultra-Orthodox parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism rejected this possibility.
Realizing that Netanyahu in unlikely to break the alliance between Yesh Atid and Jewish Home, Likud officials said that Netanyahu is ready to build a coalition with these two parties and exclude the ultra-Orthodox parties of Shas and United Torah Judaism. This prompted Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman who is in partnership with the Likud party of Benjamin Netanyahu to say that Yesh Atid and Jewish Home would be “natural partners” in a new government. He also affirmed the view of Likud officials that Yesh Atid and Jewish Home should be included into the new government before the ultra-Orthodox parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism would be encouraged to join.
According to a recent poll, 76% percent of the Israeli public support a coalition made up of the Likud, Yesh Atid and Jewish Home. Also, 51% of Israelis would prefer to see a coalition without the ultra-Orthodox parties. If new Israeli elections were held, Yesh Atid would become the largest political party in Israel with 31 seats and Likud would drop to 24 seats. Under this scenario, Yesh Atid leader, Yair Lapid would become the next Prime Minister of Israel instead of Benjamin Netanyahu. For this reason, Netanyahu is most likely to agree to the demands of Yesh Atid and Jewish Home and form a new government by the deadline of March 16. His only other choice is to convince Labor to change their mind about joining the government.
So, what government coalition will Netanyahu form? Only time will tell.
The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Report: Mofaz Demanded to be Defense Minister and Was Rejected
2) Bennett, Lapid, Mofaz coordinate coalition moves
3) Likud to Lapid: Bennett Pact Blocks Uprooting in Yesha
4) Bayit Yehudi: Likud Wants Livni-Abbas Coalition
5) Sources: Livni Has ‘Exclusive Rights’ to Conduct PA Talks
6) Lapid joins Bennett in opposing Hatnua coalition deal
7) Yacimovich: PM doesn’t want real peace process
8.) Yesh Atid Rejected Hareidim, Says Likud Negotiator
9) Likud Negotiator: Bayit Yehudi Also Rejected Hareidim
10) Lapid, Bennett to push joint draft plan
11) Likud: Lapid’s condition – no haredim
12) Likud hints: Haredim may be excluded
13) Netanyahu to Hareidim: You’ll Only Join Later
14) Lieberman: Bennett, Lapid our natural partners
15) Netanyahu said ready to cut a deal with Jewish Home, Yesh Atid
16) Poll: 51% want a government without the ultra-Orthodox
17) Poll: Majority of Israelis Prefer Coalition without Hareidim
18) Poll: New Elections would Give Yesh Atid 31 Seats
Hamas is willing to accept a PLO state based upon 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital if it does not include any Jewish settlements within its border. However, they are still unwilling to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
The European Union issued its Jerusalem Report 2012 advising its 27 member states to engage in a full-scale economic boycott of Israeli businesses and communities in the West Bank. The report said: “Settlement construction remains the biggest single threat to the two-state solution. It is systematic, deliberate and provocative.”
US President Barack Obama is planning on visiting Israel and other Middle Eastern countries in late March. US Secretary of State, John Kerry, said that Obama will not bring a new peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians but rather will use the trip to take the time to “listen” to the thoughts of both sides. At the conclusion of the trip, the US will then decide the best way to encourage the resumption of direct peace talks.
In government coalition talks with Jewish Home, Likud negotiators told Jewish Home that a moratorium would be placed on settlement construction outside the major settlement blocs immediately upon the formation of the new government.
An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.
The link to these articles are as follows:
1) ‘Hamas agrees to Palestinian state on ’67 lines’
2) Kerry: Obama plans to ‘listen,’ not present plan
3) EU calls for economic boycott of West Bank settlements
4) EU report: Settlements biggest threat to Palestinian statehood
5) ‘Netanyahu to renew settlement freeze after gov’t formed’
US Secretary of State John Kerry said that Syrian President Bashar Assad needs to be removed from power. The United States will continue to support the Syrian rebels. The Syrian rebels are mainly Sunni Muslims whereas the supporters of Assad mainly consists of the Shi’ite Alawite sect.
Iraq’s prime minister Nouri al-Maliki warned that the removal of Assad from power will result in new fighting between the Sunni Muslims against the Shi’ite Muslims in Iraq as well as Lebanon and will create a new safe haven for al-Qaeda that would destabilize the region. Al-Maliki reiterated his stance that foreign military intervention is not a solution to ending the crisis in Syria. He said: “If the world does not agree to support a peaceful solution through dialogue … then I see no light at the end of the tunnel. Neither the opposition nor the regime can finish each other off,” he said. “If the opposition is victorious, there will be a civil war in Lebanon, divisions in Jordan and Sunni Muslims fighting against Shi’ite Muslims again in Iraq.”
A war with Syria where Damascus is destroyed (Isaiah 17) is a tribulation event.
The link to these articles is as follows:
The P5 + 1 powers (The US, Britain, France, Russia and China along with Germany) met with Iran on February 26 to discuss its nuclear program. The world powers offered broader concessions than it has in the past if Iran would suspend its nuclear program. Top Iranian official, Saeed Jalili, welcomed the new proposals calling them a “turning point” in talks to seek a compromise solution to Iran’s uranium enrichment program. The proposal would allow Iran to keep a limited amount of highly enriched uranium — but not make any more — stops short of demanding the full shutdown of an underground nuclear facility and offers to remove some trade sanctions that have hurt Iran’s economy. However, a senior US official said, crippling sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial industries would remain in place as negotiations continue. Iran continues to refuse to close its underground Fordow enrichment plant. Russia said that there was no clear progress in the talks. Therefore, the talks remain deadlocked. The next round of talks are scheduled for March 18 and April 5.
Meanwhile, Iran has activated a heavy-water production plant to produce plutonium for a nuclear bomb. Satellite images show clouds of steam emerging from the site. It is heavily surrounded by anti-aircraft missiles and other military. Iran has told the IAEA that it will begin operating this reactor at Arak in the first three months of 2014. While it is believed that Iran still lacks the technology to reprocess plutonium and use it for a nuclear weapon, North Korea has successfully developed that technology and many believe that it will be given to Iran.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that if Iran continues to pursue its nuclear program it would face “military sanctions.” When US President Barack Obama visits Israel in late March, he is expected to tell Netanyahu that a “window of opportunity” for a military strike on Iran will open in June. US Secretary of State John Kerry said an Iran with nuclear weapons was “simply unacceptable” and warned the time limit for a diplomatic solution was running out.
“As we have repeatedly made clear, the window for a diplomatic solution simply cannot remain open forever. But it is open today. It is open now and there is still time, but there is only time if Iran makes the decision to come to the table and to negotiate in good faith.
The link to these articles is as follows:
1) Iran calls eased sanctions offer a ‘turning point’ in talks
2) Iran nixes Fordow closure as nuke talks end
3) No breakthrough in Iran nuclear talks
4) Fears that plutonium plant has been ‘activated’ after satellite images show clouds of steam emerging from site
5) PM urges powers to issue Iran military threat
6) ‘Obama to tell Netanyahu US gearing up for Iran strike’
From a Biblical prophetic perspective, the reason why the God of Israel would allow these events to happen is because it will result in the end of the exile of the house of Jacob and the reunification of the 12 tribes of Israel (Ephraim and Judah).
We will to be “watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem” and we will not rest until the God of Israel makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isaiah 62).
Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah,
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l