December 9, 2014: Weekly 5 minute update

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) The reason for new elections in Israel scheduled for March 17, 2015.

On December 8, the Israeli Knesset voted to have new elections. They will be held on March 17. The vote was 93 to 0. In part, new elections came about from a disagreement among members of Netanyahu’s government coalition over a bill to recognize Israel as a ‘Jewish state’ that is democratic. The ‘Jewish state’ bill passed in the Israeli cabinet 15 to 6. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained the purpose of the ‘Jewish state’ bill by saying that the Jewish nature of Israel is increasingly being challenged.

“The Palestinians refuse to recognize this, and there is also opposition from within – there are those groups who want to have autonomy in the Galilee and the Negev areas of Israel, and who deny our national rights,” he explained. “It cannot be that Arabs can live in all communities and Jews can not live in Arab communities. What is evolving here is a state within a state. The state of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people in which it realizes its aspiration for self determination in accordance with its cultural and historic heritage,” states the bill. “The right to realization of national self determination in Israel is exclusive to the Jewish people.” Netanyahu said Israel is the nation where there are equal rights for every citizen. “But there are national rights only for the Jewish people; a flag, anthem, the right of every Jew to immigrate to Israel, and other national symbols,” he said.

The prime minister has promised to amend these last passages, however, to make the law more “moderate.” In his version, Israel’s character as the Jewish national state, and its democratic nature, receive equal stress. In the current version, Israel’s Jewish character is placed before its democratic nature. However, the current version also states clearly that Israel is a democracy and that it respects the rights of all its citizens.

“People ask who needs this bill; we have managed 66 years without it,” Netanyahu said in the presence of reporters ahead of the meeting. Israel is a Jewish democratic state. There are those who want democracy to take precedence over Judaism, and those who want Judaism to take precedence over democracy. In the draft law that I am bringing, both principles are equal and must be given equal consideration. Israel has always been a Jewish state, but all citizens have equal rights under law, regardless of race, gender or religion. However, only the Jewish people have national rights in Israel and that needs to be anchored in law. I also don’t understand those who call for two states for two peoples, but at the same time oppose anchoring that in law. They are quick to recognize a Palestinian national home, but adamantly oppose a Jewish national home.”

Both laws state that Jewish law will serve as a source of inspiration for Israel’s lawmakers and courts. Should a judge fail to find a solution for a juridical issue, it says, “he should decide it in accordance with the principles of freedom, justice, honesty and peace of the heritage of Israel.”

However,  two senior ministers in Netanyahu’s government opposed the ‘Jewish state’ bill. They were Israel Justice Minister and chief negotiator in the peace process with the Palestinians, Tzipi Livni, and Israel Finance Minister, Yair Lapid. They pledged to not vote for the law when it was presented before the Israeli Knesset. Livni said: “I will not support this bill. give a hand to this bill. Yair Lapid also pledged that he would vote against the bill. Lapid said: “The bill submitted today puts the Jewish state before democracy. Neither I, nor the Yesh Atid party, will vote for the law.” Netanyahu addressed threats and ultimatums by his coalition partners to break up the government over this and other issues, saying “the country cannot be run in this manner.”

Leader of the religious Zionist party, Jewish Home, Naftali Bennett said “If the bill doesn’t pass, we don’t have a coalition; everything will fall apart. We all signed a [coalition] agreement. I expect everyone to keep their commitments.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that the proposed “Jewish state bill” “places obstacles in the way to achieving peace.” The PLO strongly condemned the bill, claiming it is aimed at destroying the two-state solution. A statement issued by the PLO Executive Committee said the bill is designed to “implement the Greater Israel plan and the Jewishness of the state on the land of historic Palestine. The so-called historic homeland of the Jewish people is a racist and ideologically exclusionary attempt to forget the Palestinian historic narrative and abolish Palestinian existence.”

Because of the disagreement within Netanyahu’s government coalition regarding the ‘Jewish law’ bill, Tzipi Livni said “the government of Israel has reached a crossroads. We need to stop the violence, the racism, the incitement and fight against difficult bills, or go to the voter and let them choose between two paths, between two worldviews,” said Livni. “Our path is clear. We simply need to stop the extremists, some of whom are in the Knesset, some in the government.”  This government needs to be replaced because it doesn’t know how to fight terror while “upholding freedom and Zionism.” Livni said that she was going to meet with Netanahu over the ‘Jewish state’ law issue but that she will “refuse to compromise on any of the values that have guided me.”

Because of the rebellion against his policies within his own government coalition, Netanyahu said: “In the diplomatic arena, for example, certain ministers regularly attack the policy I have directed and for which I was elected. They have made a controversial issue even out of construction in Jerusalem, thereby strengthening the international criticism of Israel. Those ministers who attack the government and its leader are trying to replace the makeup and prime minister of the government in which they sit, they violate explicit agreements reached, such as a real increase to the defense budget and the transfer of IDF bases to the south. I demand that these ministers stop the subversion and the attacks,” Netanyahu said. “If they agree, we can continue; if they refuse, we will come to our own conclusions and go to the electorate. A government cannot function when its ministers constantly work against its policies and attack the government of which they are a part from almost every direction and on every issue. I have not received even the most basic obligation — the loyalty and responsibility of ministers to the government in which they serve,” Netanyahu said.

As a result, Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu met with his Finance Minister, Yair Lapid, and presented him with five conditions for maintaining the current coalition:

1) Stop undermining the government, especially over construction in Jerusalem and ties with the US.
2) Transfer, as promised, NIS 6 billion to the defense budget for training and procurements, including Iron Dome and heavy APCs.
3) Free up funds for the IDF’s planned relocation to southern Israel.
4) Support the ‘Jewish nationhood’ bill as formulated on the principles presented by the prime minister.
5) Freeze the 0% VAT proposal, instead using the NIS 3 billion previously allocated to produce real housing solutions to reduce prices.

Minutes after Netanyahu published his list of demands, Lapid said that the prime minister was “dragging Israel to unnecessary elections” with demands that were impossible to accept. Israel. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, said, “It is wrong to advance racist legislation and allowing extremists, some of whom are in the coalition, to have their way.”

Because of their rebellion, Netanyahu decided to fire Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid from their government positions. As a result of firing Yesh Atid’s leader, Yair Lapid, all Yesh Atid’s government ministers quit their jobs. Netanyahu instructed his Cabinet Secretary to issue termination letters to the two senior ministers, citing constant criticism aimed at him and his government from both Livni and Lapid. In firing them, Netanayahu said: In recent weeks, including the last 24 hours, Ministers Lapid and Livni harshly attacked the government under my leadership. I won’t tolerate any more opposition within the government, I won’t tolerate ministers attacking from within the government the government’s policies and its leader.”

Regarding Lapid, Netanyahu said that he undermined Israel’s “aggressive policy against Iran’s nuclear program” by criticizing the prime minister’s decision to boycott Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s speech at the UN General Assembly. Lapid undermined the government’s policy to demand the Palestinian to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people when he said in an interview he didn’t think it was necessary to make that demand, Netanyahu said. Both Lapid and Livni, the prime minister added, criticized plans to build some 1,000 housing units in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem located beyond the Green Line, with Livni saying the move was “irresponsible.”

“Well, Livni is the last one who can preach to anyone about responsibility,” Netanyhu said. “In May of this year she met with Mahmoud Abbas in complete contrast to the cabinet’s decision not meet with him at the time, as well as against my explicit order not to hold the meeting. Later she went on to say, while serving as the justice minister, ‘Netanyahu’s boycott of Abbas is stupid.’ And today she once against attacked the government under my leadership.” He also accused both Livni and Lapid of trying to “seduce the ultra-orthodox parties to remove the prime from power.”

Netanyahu said: “In recent weeks both Livni and Lapid have joined forces to lure the ultra-Orthodox parties to remove me as the prime minister while sitting in my government. By the way, these are the same ultra-Orthodox parties that Lapid frequently claims that he refuses to sit with them [in the government]… it is a violent overthrow of a government. It is impossible to run a government in this state.”

Ultra-Orthodox MK Nissim Ze’ev (Shas) said that Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid indeed approached the ultra-Orthodox parties trying to organize an effort to remove Netanyahu from power. However, Ze’ev said, Lapid did not directly approach Shas but rather sent “messengers” to the party’s members in order to find out whether they were willing to form an alternative government.

Before calling for early elections, Netanyahu held a meeting with Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman in an effort to convince him to form an alternative government coalition with the ultra-Orthodox parties and avoid early elections. However,  Liberman has long been opposed to joining up with the ultra-Orthodox parties and declined Netanyahu’s offer to have an alternative government with the ultra-Orthodox parties. “Liberman is a man of his word, and if Liberman said that it’s either this coalition or elections, then there is no chance that there will be something else,” a representative said.

Netanyahu also talked with the two ultra-Orthodox parties about being in his government. However, in order for the two ultra-Orthodox parties to join the Netanyahu government, Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman would have to soften his position on the issues of the ultra-Orthodox serving in the Israeli army and change his position on the conversion law. Liberman refuses to do this. Therefore, Netanyahu’s efforts to convince Liberman and the ultra-Orthodox parties to form an alternative government did not succeed.

As a result, Netayahu said that he was going to call for early elections. Netanyahu urged the people of Israel to provide him with a safe majority from which he could lead. Netanyahu said: “I turn to you, the citizens of Israel, this evening because under the current situation, from within the current government, it is impossible to lead a state. My responsibility as prime minister is to do that. To preserve security, to develop the economy, to lower the cost of living – to take care of you, the citizens of Israel. Unlike its predecessor, the current government, from the day of its inception, was a contrarian government,” he said. “It was forced on me because the results of the election – a simple reason – meant that a ruling government under my leadership did not receive enough seats. Maybe because of other reasons, this government had friction and directional differences. It behaved under threats and ultimatums.”

Netanyahu blamed the Palestinians for stymieing nine months of peace talks. “For nine months we negotiated with the Palestinians, but they consistently refused to engage us on our legitimate security concerns, just as they refused to discuss recognizing Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, while at the same time insisting that Israel recognize a nation-state of the Palestinian people,” the prime minister said. They must truly confront violence and fanaticism within the Palestinian community, he said. The Palestinian leaders fuel extremism rather than confronting it, Netanyahu charged. “Sticking our head in the sand does not promote real peace,” Netanyahu said.

Israel opposition leader, MK Isaac Herzog of the Labor party called for Israel’s centrist and left-leaning parties to rally around him and form a political bloc to defeat Likud Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in upcoming elections. Herzog called for Tzipi Livni as well as the Kadima political party leader, Shaul Mofaz and the political party, Meretz, to align themselves with the Labor party to defeat Netanyahu. Herzog said: “I am capable of replacing Netanyahu. I will do everything in order to establish a bloc before the elections,” he said.

In recent weeks, Herzog has been attempting in discussions with party heads to summarize three key principles for the formation:

1. Commitment to the peace process
2. Commitment to social justice
3. An anyone but Netanyahu alliance

Tzipi Livni has agreed to form a political bloc to defeat Netanyahu. Livni said: “We need to remove Netanyahu from power and make the combinations necessary to do so. We need to see which [combined] list brings more votes than the sum of its parts running separately. It could be two parties running together or three.” Livni said the public need not be concerned over the possibility that she and Herzog, who is also the opposition leader, were engaged in a political power struggle, as the two party leaders were deeply committed to forming a unified front against the current prime minister. “[But] there will be a joint list, because it is necessary and offers a better result compared to a situation in which we each run separately. We must join forces and create a situation where there is energy and there is hope. Once there is hope that we can replace Netanyahu, it will happen.” Livni has been offered the number 2 position in the Labor party list if she would join with the Labor party in the next election.

In addition, Kadima party leader, Shaul Mofaz had met with Labor leader, Isaac Herzog, who promised him a place in the top five spots on the Labor Party’s list. Mofaz is a former IDF chief of staff, who previously served as a defense minister in the Likud party of Benjamin Netanyahu.

If Tzipi Livni did formally agree to join forces with Labor leader Isaac Herzog to defeat Netanyahu, a recent poll indicates that they would become the largest political party in Israel with 23 seats. Netanyahu’s party, Likud, would get 21 seats. The party of Naftali Bennett, Jewish Home, would get 18 seats. The party of Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, Israel Our Home, would get 9 seats. The party of Yair Lapid, Yesh Atid, would get 9 seats. A new political party headed by former Likud member, Moshe Kahlon, would get 9 seats. The ultra-Orthodox parties would get a combined 15 seats, and the left wing party, Meretz would get 6 seats. The Arab parties would get 10 seats.

The Likud party of Benjamin Netanyahu and Jewish Home have made a “surplus vote agreement”. This agreement says that additional votes from the two parties – votes which do not amount to a Knesset seat for either party if counted separately – could be combined to form one additional seat for either of the parties, and would award an additional seat to the party which needs it the most.

Avigdor Liberman’s, political party, “Israel Our Home” signed a surplus vote agreement with Moshe Kahlon’s as-yet unnamed party. Meanwhile, the Labor political party signed a surplus vote agreement with the left wing party, Meretz.

The current three Arab political parties in Israel are planning to unite as a single party. This is because a new election law was passed in Israel whereby any political party needs at least 3.25 percent of the vote to be in the Israeli Knesset.

Netanyahu and decided to form an alliance with Jewish Home in the upcoming election. According to the current polls, Likud and Jewish Home would win about 40 Knesset seats. Jewish Home opposes a Palestinian state and supports the annexation of at least some of the West Bank. In the 2013 election, Jewish Home formed a partnership with the political party of Yesh Atid led by Yair Lapid. In making an alliance with Netanyahu, Jewish Home leader, Naftali Bennett disavowed the alliance forged between his party and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid after the previous elections in January 2013. Bennett said that his alliance with Lapid, which forced Netanyahu to form a coalition with both Jewish Home and Yesh Atid, leaving the ultra-Orthodox parties out in the cold, was “a grave error that I wouldn’t repeat today and shall not repeat in the future.”

In forming this alliance, Netanyahu and Jewish Home agreed to not attack one another during the upcoming election campaign. Bennett opposes a Palestinian state in the West Bank, saying that he had learned lessons from the results of the 2005 Gaza withdrawal. Hamas took over and attacked Israel, he pointed out, and the most damaging incidents for Israel internationally — the 2008-9 Operation Cast Lead in the Strip, the Mavi Marmara raid, and Operation Protective Edge last summer — were all the result of Israel leaving the coastal strip. Furthermore, Bennett said: “By no means will I ever agree to divide Jerusalem.”

Netanyahu is also trying to form an alliance with the ultra-Orthodox parties after the next election. Netanyahu’s current government voted into  law that the ultra-Orthodox would have to serve in the military and be punished if they refused. In appeasing the ultra-Orthodox so that they could join his potential future government, Netanyahu said that he disagreed with the criminal sanctions clause of the law for the ultra-Orthodox to serve in the military. Netanyahu said: “I do not think that yeshiva students studying Torah should go to prison. This was not to my liking.” Repeal of the criminal sanctions clause will be high on the list of ultra-Orthodox demands to join a future Netanyahu government.

According to polls, 62% of Israelis do not want to see the ultra-Orthodox in the next Israeli government. 74% of Israelis oppose the ultra-Orthodox to get increased funding for the Torah schools of study. Furthermore, 57% of Netanyahu’s party voters oppose a coalition with the ultra-Orthodox parties. In order for Netanyahu to form his next government, either Liberman’s, “Israel Our Home” party or the new political party of Moshe Kahlon would have to be willing to be in government with Netanyahu, Jewish Home and the ultra-Orthodox parties. Liberman has already stated that he is not interested in being in government with the ultra-Orthodox parties as he supported the law that the ultra-Orthodox need to serve in the Israeli army.

There are rumors that Liberman’s party, “Israel Our Home” along with the new political party of Moshe Kahlon are considering being in government with a left-wing bloc following the new elections. Based upon the current poll results, this would cause their to be a left wing bloc of about 55 seats and a right wing bloc of about 55 seats. In order to form a government in Israel, you need at least 61 seats. This means that in order for the left to form a government, they would need the support of the ultra-Orthodox parties or the Arab parties. Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid have already stated that they won’t be in government with the ultra-Orthodox parties. Therefore, in order to form a government, the left would need the support of the Arab parties. The Arab parties would be willing to join an Israeli government to advance a Palestinian state.

In looking to make a peace agreement with the Palestinians to divide the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem, Yair Lapid said:  Israel’s security is dependent on our ability to take the initiative in the peace process, not to wait until there is no choice. That is the legacy of Begin, of Rabin, of Sharon,” Lapid said. Lapid called for Israel to work with the Arab League for a two-state solution. “Our shared fight against radical Islam allows us to join the coalition of moderate Arab states – Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states and to reach a comprehensive peace agreement with them and the Palestinians,” he said.

Regarding any peace agreement with the Palestinians, head of the new political party projected to get 9 seats in next elections, Moshe Kahlon said: “We will not waste an opportunity for peace with the Palestinians and will not hesitate to vacate territory.”  This marks a drastic shift leftward from Kahlon’s previous positions which he held when he was still a member of Netanyahu’s Likud political party. In April of 2011, Kahlon responded to threats of unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood by saying that if the threat materializes, Israel should announce annexation of all of “the territories” that same day, and that PA funding should also be stopped.

According to DEBKA, US President Barack Obama and his White House National Security team headed by Susan Rice are trying to decide on a tactic to interfere in the Israeli elections and to prevent Benjamin Netanyahu from becoming Israel Prime Minister again. The US is still working on a detailed plan of action. The Obama administration wasted no time in setting up appointments for Obama to receive heads of the parties sworn to overthrow Netanyahu – among others, ex-minister Lapid, opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog of Labor and Tzipi Livni (The Movement), who was fired this week as Justice Minister along with Lapid.

They will be given attractive photo-ops with Obama and send messages designed to signify to the Israeli voter that the US president would favor their election to the future government and the country as a whole would gain tangibly from a different government to the incumbent one. This White House campaign would be accompanied by leaks from Washington for putting Netanyahu and his policies in a derogatory light. Messages to this effect were transmitted to a number of serving political figures to not support Netanyahu in the next elections. Obviously, this refers to current Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman to not join the next Netanyahu government.

Finally, the US administration has begun hinting that it may emulate the Europeans by calling for sanctions against Israel as punishment for the prime minister’s signature policy of developing West Bank and Jerusalem development construction. The Israel sanctions discussions are said to have begun after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the US in October and clashed with Obama over the construction of a new housing development in that part of the city. The administration warned Israel that the project would raise questions about Israel’s commitment to peace with the Palestinians. Netanyahu replied that Israel does not accept restrictions on where Jews can live, and that Arabs and Jews in the Israeli capital should be allowed to purchase homes wherever they choose.

For now the circles around the US president are “highly optimistic” about their chances of forcing Netanyahu’s exit, comparing them to the former success of the first President George Bush in forcing the ouster of the late Yitzhak Shamir as Israeli prime minister in the 90s.

An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) With election date set, Knesset votes to dissolve itself
2) ‘Jewish State’ Law Passes Cabinet Vote
3) Lapid, Livni resolved to fight ‘Jewish State’ bill
4) Coalition in turmoil after cabinet approves controversial ‘Jewish state bill’ 
5) Bennett: No ‘Jewish State bill,’ no coalition
6) Abbas: Jewish state law an obstacle to peace
7) Abbas backs Israeli MKS who oppose ‘Jewish state’ bill
8) Livni Warns Government has ‘Reached a Crossroads’
9) Livni: New elections are to replace extremist, provocative, paranoid government
10) Netanyahu: I will go to the polls if I have to
11) Is Israel heading for elections? Netanyahu and Lapid clash in late night meeting
12) Election likely after Netanyahu-Lapid meeting ends in stalemate
13) Harsh Netanyahu-Lapid meeting heralds likely elections
14) Netanyahu announces elections after firing key ministers
15) Lapid’s Yesh Atid Ministers Quit Coalition
16) Netanyahu said to seek deal to head off elections
17) Report: Bibi Tried to Talk Liberman into Putting Off Elections
18) Last Ditch Effort to Avoid Elections by ‘Enlisting’ Hareidim
19) Election definite after PM nixes last-minute coalition fix
20) Netanyahu calls for new elections, accuses Livni and Lapid of plotting ‘putsch’
21) Shas MK: Lapid Sent ‘Messengers’ for His Putsch
22) Poll: Herzog-Livni union would beat Netanyahu
23) Poll: Joint Herzog-Livni list would get 23 mandates to Likud’s 21
24) Jewish Home, Likud Sign Surplus Vote Agreement
25) Kahlon, Yisrael Beytenu Sign Surplus Vote Agreement
26) Meretz and Labor sign vote-sharing agreement
27) Israeli Arab parties seek unity for upcoming elections
28) Netanyahu: Israel needs a new government, capable of making tough decisions
29) Bennett, Netanyahu said to forge new alliance
30) Bennett: Netanyahu and I agreed not to attack one another
31) Eyeing coalition with haredim, Netanyahu says he opposes criminal sanctions for IDF draft dodgers
32) Poll Shows 62% Don’t Want Hareidi Coalition
33) Opposition leader calls for center-left bloc to defeat PM
34) Efforts to form ‘anyone but Bibi’ coalition gain steam
35) Labor, Hatnua parties consider union ahead of elections
36) Livni confirms Hatnua-Labor close to pre-election merger
37) Mofaz to join Labor Party, reports say
38) Lapid, Herzog butt heads over who will lead ‘center bloc’
39) Yesh Atid, Israel Beiteinu and Kahlon may cooperate against Netanyahu
40) Kahlon Really Moved to the Left, Says Ally
41) Obama set on obstructing Netanyahu’s re-election
42) Report: Obama Eyes Sanctions on Israel While Giving Iran a Pass

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,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l

Comments are closed.