You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:
In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:
1) A Preview of the March 17 Israel Elections
Israeli elections are scheduled for March 17. There are 120 members in the Israeli Knesset. You need a coalition of at least 61 members to form a government. According to a recent poll, the political party of Israel’s current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is leading with 25 seats. The merged Labor-Hatnua parties would get 23 seats. The religious Zionists party, Jewish Home, would get 14 seats. The joint Arab parties would get 12 seats. The secular party, Yesh Atid, would get 9 seats. The new social-economic party, Kulanu, would get 8 seats. The ultra-Orthodox Ashkenazi party, United Torah Judaism, would get 8 seats. The ultra-Orthodox Sephardic party, Shas, would get 6 seats. The Russian national party, Yisrael Beitenu, would get 6 seats. The far-left party, Meretz, would get 5 seats. The new combo, Ultra-Orthodox and religious Zionist party, Yachad-Ha’Am Itanu, would get 4 seats.
For this election, the Labor party and the Hatnua party have merged. The Labor party is headed by Isaac Herzog and Hatnua is headed by Israel’s chief negotiator in the peace process, Tzipi Livni. The merged party will be called, “The Zionist Camp.” Herzog said that when he initially became Labor leader, he vowed not to repeat the mistakes of his predecessors who had failed to unite the Center-Left parties. He said he realized that uniting was the only way to defeat current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and return Labor to power. Livni said that uniting was necessary to stop rightist politicians with whom she had, until recently, served in the government from continuing to run the country. “Herzog and I spoke at length and realized we have the same vision and mission,” Livni said. “That vision and goal are stronger than any argument you can find between us. We are creating a new Zionist Center against the extreme Right that isolated Israel. No one can complain anymore that there is no chance to win. We have created that chance.” If the “Zionist Camp” party is able to get the most votes in the election and is able to form a government, current Labor leader, Isaac Herzog would be Israel Prime Minister for 2 years. Then, current Hatnua leader, Tzipi Livni will be Israel Prime Minister, the last 2 years. Livni supported her new political partner, saying “Herzog will be a great prime minister” and claimed “these elections are an opportunity for Israel to go back to what it once was. We are working together for the citizens of Israel and against the right-wing extremist parties.”
Regarding the peace process, Herzog supports a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital and agreed land swaps. He envisions land swaps leaving “settlement blocs” in Israel hands and giving the vast majority of the West Bank, Israel’s biblical heartland, to the PA. “I see Jerusalem serving as two political capitals: in eastern Jerusalem the capital of the Palestinian state, and the west of the city as the Jewish capital,” Herzog said, adding “the seat of the Palestinian government could be in one of east Jerusalem’s neighborhoods in my opinion, I’m not afraid of that.” When asked if all of Jerusalem would remain Israeli territory under his plan, Herzog said that the “the Kotel (Western Wall) will stay in Israel’s hands, as for the rest we have to be creative.”
Regarding foreign policy, Herzog said, Israel “must move closer to its partners. Israel is stronger when it is united with the world, and not alone. Israel is stronger when it is coordinated with America, and doesn’t act alone.” Herzog blamed current Prime Minister and Likud Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu for the deterioration of US-Israel relations, saying there is “a clear link between international isolation and disturbing way that [the Palestinian Authority] takes Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, and the deterioration of our relations with the United States. International isolation is a strategic threat to Israel,” Herzog said. It affects all of us, even if we do not feel it now,” Herzog added. “The unilateral steps that the Palestinians are leading now, they are very serious…the way to combat this is in conjunction with the United States, but for that we must restore our relationship with them. According to Herzog, the damaged relations with the United States will compromise Israel’s national security. He said that Netanyahu failed to realize developments in American politics and neglected his relationship with US President Barack Obama. Herzog said: “Netanyahu neglected his relationship with the US President, Barack Obama and put all trust in relations with the US Congress and the Senate,” Herzog said. “However, throughout the history of the State of Israel, important decisions were made by the US President.”
Should the Likud party of current Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu get the most seats in the election, Tzipi Livni said that the “Zionist Camp” party would never join the government because the current Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu refuses to heed the beck and call of US President Barack Obama. Livni said, “Unity is not a technical matter of distribution of files, but a matter of a shared vision. Netanyahu and [Jewish Home Chairman Naftali] Bennett’s plan is a way that leads to the deterioration of the state of Israel in any field – you should understand who they are and what are the blocs in this election – we have here one bloc that includes the far-right Likud and Bennett, and it is very clear that their way is not our way. The question of this election is not who will answer the phone in Jerusalem at three in the morning – but which Prime Minister will answer a phone call from the United States at three in the morning,” Livni said.
Current Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, responded by saying, “It’s very easy to receive applause from the international community. All you need to do is give in to international pressure and agree to establish a Palestinian state which would be supported by Iran like Livni and Herzog want to do. This is not my way adding that he will “protect Israel’s security and national interests” in his role as prime minister.
Netanyahu also rejected having the new Zionist camp party in being in his future government coalition saying, “The political gaps between the Likud and the Zionist camp party are too big to be contained in one coalition. Labor picked an extreme leftwing and anti-Zionist list. There is a gaping chasm between the Likud, led by me, and Labor,” he stated. “We will not cooperate with them in one government. The responsible and nationalist approach of the Likud, led by me, does not have a meeting point with Tzipi [Livni] and Buji’s [Isaac Herzog’s] left-wing list that now is clearly extremist,” Netanyahu said. “We will not join forces in one coalition with people who say: ‘Israeli women don’t need to send their children to the IDF,’ and ‘Hatikva is a racist song,’” Netanyahu added.
The leader of the religious zionist party, Naftali Bennett, of the Jewish Home political party vowed that he would not give away land for a Palestinian state as he rose to higher positions in the Israeli government as previous Israeli leaders have done. Bennett said, “In recent weeks and because of the elections and the polls, many countries in the world want to know who the Jewish Home party is. So, I have received marathon visits from US, European and Arab diplomats who come to ‘find out about me. But they are not just coming to find out about me, they are also delivering a message. Today, as well, one of these diplomats came to me and said: ‘I understand that for the polls you have to say these things, but in order to become part of the honorable club of peacemakers after the election, you must agree to a Palestinian state.'” “Then I got up, took out the Bible and told him: ‘My moral compass is not the daily poll, but rather the 3000-year-old Torah which will never change, and the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people, and if the entry pass to the frequent flyer club is to give away the country, then I will pass on becoming a member of the club.” He added: “A very special time has arrived for the Jewish people. A time in which all of us can hold our heads high without apologizing for saying that we love the Jewish people, the Land of Israel and the Torah of Israel.”
Three Arab parties in the current Knesset have decided to unite for this election. Despite the united list, the parties maintain unresolved ideological differences, but the move is meant to gain the maximum number of Knesset seats. Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman said the united list openly reveals what was already known and which they sought to cover up: for the Arab parties it does not matter if you are an Islamist, communist, or jihadist – their common goal is one – to destroy Israel as a Jewish state. It is this goal that brings them together, he said.
Israel’s Arab-majority political parties reportedly rejected an offer by Isaac Herzog, head of the Zionist Camp faction — the joint Labor-Hatnua list — to join a potential coalition led by him should the Zionist Camp party win the most seats in the March elections. The Arab party said that they would not join any Herzog government coalition but would consider supporting the government from the opposition in exchange for the allocation of budgets for their constituencies.
Meanwhile, current Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said that there is “no chance” that his Yisrael Beytenu party will sit in the same coalition with the leftist Meretz party, thus significantly hurting Yitzhak Herzog’s chances of heading the next government. “[Meretz chairwoman] Zehava Galon is out of the question. There’s no common ground. There is no chance,” Liberman said. “Guidelines are what will compel us. Will there be an eradication of Hamas? You cannot move forward with the peace process without removing [Palestinian Authority chairman] Abbas or eradicating Hamas,” he clarified.
Former leader of the ultra-Orthodox Sephardic party, Shas, MK Eli Yishai split and formed a new party called, Yachad-Ha’Am Itanu who merged with the Strong Israel party for the March 17 elections. “Yachad is staying together, haredim and national religious,” Yishai said. “We have an obligation to continue the great thing that we have created here, a covenant of those who observe the commandments for the Torah of Israel, the Land of Israel and the people of Israel. Thank God, that which unites us is greater than any argument. Together, in the name of God, we will succeed.”
The Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox political party, United Torah Judaism, said that government support for the ultra-Orthodox academic institutions is a prerequisite to join any future Knesset coalition government. In the meeting, MK Meir Porush (UTJ) attacked the outgoing coalition government headed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu saying, “will the representation in the Knesset be able to change the laws which demand that ultra-Orthodox Jews serve in the Israeli army? Will the MKs of United Torah Judaism be able to change all that? I say to you, believe me, it’s possible to change it, we can change everything to good; just like it’s possible to mess things up in two years, it’s possible to fix in two years, we just need divine help,” said Porush. Later he indicated UTJ would prefer to join a coalition headed by Benjamin Netanyahu rather than a government headed by the Zionist camp party. Porush also attacked the religious zionist political party, Jewish Home, which spearheaded a controversial law requiring ultra-Orthodox Jews to serve in the Israeli army. He said “those who portray themselves as religious put a chill in us who partnered with the worst political parties to try to destroy ultra-Orthodox Judaism.”
Former Likud cabinet minister Moshe Kahlon started a new political party called, Kulanu — which translates as “All of us.” His party will focus on socioeconomic issues. In order for the political party, Kulanu, to join a future government coalition, Kahlon said that he wants to be head of the Israel Land Administration which owns most of the land in Israel. Kahlon said: “if we are not given the responsibility over the Israel Land Administration, we will not participate in the government. I am going to dismantle the Israel Land Administration.” Kahlon insisted: “In the end, we have to fight the monopolists. The monopolists are strong – they have a lot of money – and it is not easy, at all. We will present a clear plan to break-up the monopolists utilizing efficiency measures and by protecting the workers. Don’t let them fool you – streamlining is not downsizing, but the opening of new manufacturing lines. Such a process is good for the factory, for the workers, and for the 8 million citizens of the State of Israel. The state of Israel cannot continue to allow housing prices to remain high and the cost of living to remain high. The situation is becoming intolerable.”
Regarding the peace process, Kahlon said that his new Kulanu party would support a future peace deal with the Palestinians, but that “right now there is no partner and no one to talk to on the other side.” Kahlon said his conditions for a peace accord were as follows: that all of Jerusalem, including the Arab neighborhoods in the east of the city, remain under Israeli control; that the large settlement blocs be annexed; and that Palestinian not be granted any right of return. “Any agreement that will strengthen Israel — the Kulanu party will be there to support it,” he said
An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.
The link to these articles are as follows:
1) Survey: Likud Pulls Ahead of Labor-Hatnua with 25 Seats
2) Livni, Herzog announce unity deal with rotation for role of prime minister
3) Herzog, Livni to unite against ‘radical right’
4) Labor-Hatnua renames party The Zionist Camp
5) Herzog promises political ‘revolution’ as he launches ‘Zionist Camp’ campaign
6) Herzog: Divide Jerusalem and Make Land Swaps
7) Herzog Vows to Take Power and Appease Obama
8) Livni Hints: We Won’t Sit in Unity Government with Netanyahu
9) Netanyahu rules out unity government with Herzog and Livni
10) PM nixes unity government with Zionist Camp party
11) Bennett: Electoral success won’t make me give away land for a Palestinian state
12) Arab parties reach historic deal, unite for upcoming election
13) Arab parties said to reject Herzog’s coalition invitation
14) Liberman: ‘No Chance’ We’ll Sit with Meretz
15) Veteran Shas MK Yishai splits, forms new party
16) Yachad and Otzma end furious row and unite electoral lists
17) Hareidi Party Lists Prerequisites for Joining Coalition
18) Ex-Likud minister Kahlon to call his new party Kulanu
19) Kahlon demands Israel Land Administration portfolio
20) Moshe Kahlon’s Campaign Chief is Former Kadima Member
21) Kahlon says his party will back peace, but there’s ‘no partner’
22) Kahlon: Netanyahu, Lapid, and Bennett to blame for high living costs
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