Israel Political Brief May 6, 2012: Michael Oren: Israeli envoy calls for Israel support, respect for religious pluralism in AJC Speech



Israeli envoy Michael Oren calls for Israel support, respect for religious pluralism

Source: JTA, 5-6-12

In two speeches calling for increased Jewish unity, Israeli U.S. Ambassador Michal Oren urged stronger Diaspora support for Israel and greater Israeli respect for the diversity of Jewish life in America.

“Sometimes it seems that we, Israelis and American Jews, not only inhabit different countries but different universes, different realities,” Oren said in a May 4 speech in Washington to an American Jewish Committee gathering of about 400 young Jewish activists from around the world….

“Ironically, at a time when support for Israel in this country is at a near all-time high — indeed it’s one of the few truly bipartisan issues — we Jews seem increasingly divided,” Oren said in his Washington remarks. “Let me be clear: At stake is not merely Israel’s policies or rights of American Jews to criticize them. At stake is nothing less than the unity of a Jewish people.”…

“The pro-Israel person sees Israelis — left, right, religious, secular — not as some distant ‘other’ but as part of a whole — a dynamic, creative, rambunctious and precious whole,” Oren said in Washington. “The pro-Israel people are those who view even those who disagree with them politically as part of their people, as mishpochah,” or family….

“In Israel,” he said, “to be pro-‘the Jewish people’ is to guarantee respectful space for egalitarian prayer at the Kotel, to maintain a dialogue over the conversion issue, to enable open debate about those Israeli policies that impact all of world Jewry.”

Israel Political Brief May 6, 2012: President Shimon Peres Canadian Visit, Ottawa, Toronto & Montreal — Iran Top Issue with Pro-Israel Government



Peres Flies to Canada; Iran Top Issue

Peres flies to Canada for a five-day visit with the pro-Israel government and Jewish leaders. The Iranian nuclear threat tops the agenda.
Shimon Peres

Shimon Peres
Israel news photo: Flash 90

President Shimon Peres is flying to Canada Sunday for a five-day visit with the pro-Israel government and Jewish leaders, with the Iranian nuclear threat tops the agenda.

Canada is considered one of Israel’s best friends, and Ottawa has been solidly behind the Netanyahu government  even when the Obama administration has been at odds with Israel.

President Peres will meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Opposition leader Thomas Muclair to discuss recent developments in Iran’s nuclear development as well as what the President’s office described “changes in the Middle East and relations between Israel and its neighbors.”

He will “express gratitude to the Canadian leadership for its stance alongside Israel,” a spokesperson added.

Peres is expected to promote economic and scientific cooperation between Israel and Canada and attend the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Royal Society of Canada and the Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities in the field of science and technology.

Jewish communities in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal will host the President, highlighted by an  Independence Day reception.

President Peres will deliver a speech to the Jewish community in Toronto Wednesday evening, after meeting with Ontario Premier Dalton James Patrick McGuinty during the day.

The Montreal Jewish community will host him at  a synagogue Thursday morning before he concludes his trip with a meeting with Quebec Premier Jean Charest.  Israel has been the victim of frequent anti-Israel protests in Quebec, a predominantly French-speaking province.

Most of the province’s Jews live in Montreal, and the Jewish population in Quebec has fallen from a peak of approximately 120,000 in 1971 to less than 93,000 today, according to the Canadian Jewish Federation.

Israel Political Brief May 6, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Announces Early Elections for September at Likud Convention — Launches Campaign




Photos: Ohas Zwigenberg, Ofer Amram, Haim Tzach, Ido Erez

Netanyahu seeks early elections in 4 months

Prime minister says short election campaign is preferable for sake of restoring political stability, stops short of naming September 4 as vote’s date

Source: YNet News, 5-6-12

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday addressed for the first time the prospect of early elections stressing his desire to hold the Knesset elections as soon as possible. Netanyahu did not name the exact date of the elections, estimated to take place on September 4, but stated that “a short 4-month campaign is preferable for the sake of political stability.”

Related Stories:

Speaking at the Likud convention in Tel Aviv, the prime minister added that political instability invariably leads to extortion and populism that harm security, the economy and society. “I will not allow a campaign of a year and a half that will harm the country,” he said.

In a typical election speech, Netanyahu took a jab at his rivals, particularly Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich. “The State of Israel cannot afford to have a prime minister devoid of political, economic and security experience. That is the necessary combination,” he said.
עדיף מערכת בחירות קצרה. בנימין נתניהו (צילום: מוטי קמחי)

Benjamin Netanyahu (photo: Moti Kimchi)

He opened his speech by thanking the citizens of Israel for their condolences following the death of his father Prof. Benzion Netanyahu.

He listed his government’s achievements. “We have systematically hurt many of those who sought to hurt us. We both initiated and responded with determination to any attack. With the help of the Iron Dome system and the border fence we have proven we handle security with power and discretion,” he said.

Netanyahu also mentioned the return of former captive soldier Gilad Shalit and noted various achievements in the economy, education and housing

Addressing the Iranian threat, Netanyahu said that the world is standing behind efforts against the Iranian nuclear program, largely due to Israel’s activity. He pledged not to ease up on pressure before the threat is lifted.

“There is much more that needs to be done in all areas, including replacing the Tal Law with a new bill that will divide the burden in a just and equal manner. We shall search for opportunities to promote peace with our neighbors and defend our people’s vital interests,” he said.

The prime minister expressed confidence that the Likud will win the Knesset elections and form the next government. “God willing we shall form as wide a government as possible and continue to lead the country with vigor to ensure the future of the Jewish people in the land of Israel forever.”

Netanyahu was expected to be appointed convention president in order to approve a line of procedural changes in the party, but ultimately, and following a commotion involving Likud members, it was decided to not to hold the vote for the convention presidency on Sunday.

%d bloggers like this: