Israel Political Brief July 24, 2012: Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz Hints, Again, Iran Strike Imminent in Interview on IDF Radio

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Mofaz Hints, Again, Iran Strike Imminent

Kadima chairman accuses Netanyahu of “horse-trading with the Holy of Holies of Israel.”
Shaul Mofaz

Shaul Mofaz
Flash 90

Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz  hinted Tuesday, for the second time in 24 hours, that an Israeli strike on Iran is imminent. Mofaz was Deputy Prime Minister and a member of the inner security cabinet until a few days ago, and therefore was in a position to know if such a strike is indeed impending.

He did this in the context of a failed attempt by Likud to engineer a split in Kadima, and bring seven current Kadima Knesset members – as well as former MK Tzachi Hanegbi – into the coalition.

“I say this with a very heavy heart and with a very bad feeling,” Mofaz told IDF Radio. “It is worrisome that this is happening, of all places, in a state that used to know how to maintain the difference between political moves and personal security. This is horse-trading in the Holy of Holies of Israel.”…READ MORE

Israel Political Brief July 23, 2012: Four Kadima Members Leave Party

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Four Kadima members leave party

Source: JTA, 7-23-12

Four Kadima Party members have quit the party, Kadima chief Shaul Mofaz said….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief July 17, 2012: Israeli Political Constellation Realigns as Kadima Quits Government

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Israeli political constellation realigns as Kadima quits government

Source: JTA, 7-17-12

For the second time in just two months, the Israeli political universe was upended when Shaul Mofaz’s Kadima Party voted to quit Israel’s governing coalition.

Kadima’s departure, the result of a breakdown in negotiations over reforming Israel’s military draft law to include haredi Orthodox Jews, shatters the 94-seat super-majority that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu controlled in the 120-seat Knesset.

It also raises questions for the future of Kadima, Israel’s draft and the timing of new elections….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief July 17, 2012: Excerpt from PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Letter to Shaul Mofaz on Kadima’s Vote to Exit Unity Coalition Government

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Following is an excerpt from the letter that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent to Shaul Mofaz:

“I regret your decision to give up on an opportunity to make an historic change. After 64 years, we were very close to a substantial change in the division of the burden. I gave you a proposal that would have led to the conscription of ultra-orthodox and Arabs from the age of 18. I explained to you that the only way to implement this on the ground is gradually and without tearing Israeli society apart, especially at a time when the State of Israel is facing many significant challenges. I will continue to work toward the responsible solution that Israeli society expects.”

Israel Political Brief July 17, 2012: Kadima Party Votes to Quit Israeli Goverment Coalition

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Kadima Party votes to quit Israeli gov’t

Source: JTA, 7-17-12

The Kadima Party voted to quit Israel’s government coalition….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief July 17, 2012: Shaul Mofaz Surrenders; Unity Coalition Lasted 10 Weeks — Kadima Leaves Coalition Government

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Mofaz Surrenders; Unity Coalition Lasted 10 Weeks

The national unity coalition born nine weeks ago is dead, but the government lives as it did before Kadima left the Opposition.
Shaul Mofaz - back in the Opposition

Shaul Mofaz – back in the Opposition
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The national unity coalition born nine weeks ago is dead, but the government lives with a solid majority of 65 Knesset Members, as it did before Kadima left the Opposition.

Party chairman Shaul Mofaz announced Tuesday evening that the party faction voted 24-3 to pull out of the coalition because of what he said was Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s failure to live up a supposed agreement on changes in the draft law.

Although the concept of universal draft is the ostensible issue, Mofaz has used it is a ploy to try to boost his weakened party, but his see-saw political maneuvers may leave him as the loser. Likud officials received his announcement with comments of “goodbye and we will not meet again.”…READ MORE

Israel Political Brief July 12, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Shaul Mofaz Meet, Talk About Haredi Military Draft Law

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Mofaz, Netanyahu Meet, Talk About Draft Law

 
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz meet about the new draft law. Meeting ends without progress.

Netanyahu and Mofaz

Netanyahu and Mofaz
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz met on Wednesday evening in an attempt to find a solution to the crisis created by the failure to find a mutually acceptable new draft law.

Channel 10 News reported that the meeting ended without significant progress and the two agreed that Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Kadima MK Yohanan Plesner would meet again on Thursday in an attempt to achieve a breakthrough….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief July 11, 2012: Finger Pointing Erupts Amid Plesner-Yaalon ‘Failure’ with New Haredi Military Draft Law

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Finger Pointing Erupts Amid Plesner-Yaalon ‘Failure’

Kadima continues to threaten to leave the gov’t if it doesn’t have its way in writing the new draft law; Likud says sides very close.
Shaul Mofaz

Shaul Mofaz
Flash 90

Finger pointing dominated the domestic agenda in Jerusalem on Wednesday as an ad-hoc Likud-Kadima working group failed to find a mutually acceptable alternative to the controverisal Tal Law….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief July 5, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Deputy PM Shaul Mofaz mMeet over Haredi Draft Law

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Netanyahu, Mofaz meet over haredi draft law

Source: JTA, 7-5-12

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Kadima Party head Shaul Mofaz to head off a political crisis over a new haredi draft law….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief June 27, 2012: Deputy PM Shaul Mofaz to Meet PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah

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Mofaz to Meet Abbas in Ramallah

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will meet Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz in Ramallah next Sunday, reports say.
Shaul Mofaz

Shaul Mofaz
Flash 90

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will meet Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz next week, Channel 2 News reported on Tuesday.

It will be Abbas’ first meeting in months with an Israeli cabinet minister. The report said that Mofaz will arrive in Ramallah on Sunday for the meeting.

The meeting comes after many attempts by Mofaz to bring Abbas to meet with him. He recently indicated that he means to meet with Abbas in order to get the peace process going, which is one of the four major issues to be addressed as part of the recent coalition agreement between Likud and Kadima….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 17, 2012: New Poll: Kadima Crashing from 28 to 3 Knesset Seats

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Poll: Kadima Crashing to 3 Knesset Seats

Kadima would crash from 28 Knesset seats to 3 if elections were held today, Knesset Channel poll says.
MK Shaul Mofaz

MK Shaul Mofaz
Flash 90

Kadima, the largest faction in the present Knesset, would crash from 28 seats to just 3 if elections were held today, according to a new poll conducted by the Panels Institute for the Knesset Channel.

The party was expected to lose much of its power in the next elections but the extremely unfavorable poll appears to be a direct result of the deal that party leader Shaul Mofaz recently made with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in which Kadima entered the coalition.

Polls held shortly after that deal showed Mofaz losing popularity.

Many of the seats lost by Kadima would go to the newly formed Yesh Atid party headed by journalist Yair Lapid. The poll gives Lapid 17 MKs.

Likud is at 30 Knesset seats, more or less as it has been in other recent polls. Labor reaches 20 seats and becomes the second-largest party.

Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beytenu receives 12 seats, Shas – which currently has 11 – gets only 6, United Torah Judaism stays with the current 5, the National Union climbs to 9 and the Jewish Home receives 3.

Meretz doubles its power to receive 6 seats.

The projection gives the so-called right-religious bloc 62 seats and makes a Likud-coalition with more Lapid likely.

Full Text Israel Political Brief May 13, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting, 150th Meeting, 1st with Unity Government — Discussed Tal Law & Ethiopian Immigrants

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting

Source: PMO, 5-13-12

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting today:

“Good morning.

Indeed, this is our 150th Cabinet meeting, with very many accomplishments and activity behind us.  But this is also the first meeting of the broad unity government, with many tasks yet before us.  On behalf of all ministers, I welcome Shaul Mofaz as a government minister and welcome the Kadima MKs that have joined the coalition.

In the talks between us, we set four main goals for the broad unity government: Changing the Tal Law, changing the electoral system, passing the budget and advancing the peace process.  This week, an inter-party team will be formed to present us with alternatives to the Tal Law.  By the end of July, we will pass a law that will divide the burden on a more equal, more egalitarian and more just basis for all Israelis, Jewish and Arab alike, without setting public against public.

Soon, we will also establish a team to lead the change in the electoral system and we will begin to formulate a responsible – I emphasize responsible – budget.  We have done so up until now and we will continue to do so in the future, in the manner that has well maintained the Israeli economy in the face of the unprecedented global economic crisis.

Last night, my special envoy, attorney Isaac Molho, met with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.  I hope that we will be able to advance the dialogue between the sides in order to resume the diplomatic talks.

Today, we will submit to the Government a comprehensive plan to improve the absorption of Ethiopian immigrants.  I have personally met with their representatives, from the religious leaders to young people and I am deeply impressed.  I have met with them several times; the Director-General has met with them dozens of times.  I was impressed by two things: One, is that there is a new generation, younger, energetic, active, that takes the initiative, with achievements and aspirations, and especially with the willingness to be integrated into Israeli society.  I was also struck by the distress; there is considerable distress.  Now I say this despite the fact that our Government has done more than any other to ease this distress and help Ethiopian immigrants integrate into Israeli society.  First of all, we decided to stop the unacceptable practice of schools for Ethiopians only and, in a gradual process, there will not be any more schools in Israel in which most pupils are Ethiopian.  We are bringing this phenomenon to an end.  Today, we will approve increasing housing grants to Ethiopian immigrants and their children and we will improve the ability of these immigrants to be absorbed into the labor market.

I think that in all of these steps, we are delivering several messages to the Israeli public.  One, there is no place for racism in Israel, this is unacceptable, there is no place for racism and there is no place for the tolerance of racism.  And perhaps most importantly, the Ethiopian immigrants, some of whom and some of whose parents, marched through Africa and overcame deadly dangers, to our sorrow, some did not arrive, they all set out in order to reach Zion.  They are our flesh and we are bound to them in mutual responsibility.  They are part of us, they are fully equal.

Thank you.”

Israel Political Brief May 11, 2012: Next Week: Acting Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz — PM Benjamin Netanyahu will be in Prague

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Next Week: Acting Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz

With Binyamin Netanyahu headed for Prague next week, Shaul Mofaz will be occupying the Prime Minister’s chair.
Source: Israel National News, 5-11-12
Shaul Mofaz

Shaul Mofaz
Flash 90

Newly dubbed Vice Premier and Minister Without Portfolio Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) is wasting no time in trying out Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s chair.

Mofaz will serve as acting Prime Minister when Netanyahu flies to Prague for a two-day visit next Thursday.

The coalition agreement that ushered Kadima into Netanyahu’s Likud-run government stipulated that Mofaz fill the largely symbolic role when the Prime Minister is abroad.

The title of vice premier is has no legal status, whereas the title of vice prime minister – also symbolic – allows for succession without elections should the prime minister be incapacitated.

For Mofaz the position of vice premier means a reduced protection detail, a less prestigious car and a reduction in diplomatic precedence. As opposition leader, visiting foreign leaders were required to meet with him. As vice premier, they are not.

Mofaz explained his decision to enter the coalition as “a historic opportunity to make meaningful steps for the good of the public,” and dismissed criticism saying “there are times when the leadership must make decisions even if they seem unpopular.”

Kadima’s joining the government gives Netanyahu a 94-seat super-coalition with a stated mission of replacing the Tal Law and restructuring Israel’s electoral system and government in such a way as to “provide stability.”

“In my view, it would have been irresponsible to miss this opportunity,” Mofaz said. “The responsibility is on me, and me alone. Let me be judged by my results – I will stand the test.”

Israel Political Brief May 11, 2012: US Concerned Netanyahu, Mofaz May Attack Iran

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U.S. Concerned Netanyahu, Mofaz May Attack Iran

U.S. worried that Israel’s new unity government could result in an attack on Iran at any given moment.
Netanyahu and Mofaz

Netanyahu and Mofaz
Flash 90

The United States is worried that Shaul Mofaz and his Kadima party’s joining a unity government with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu could result in an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities at any given moment, according to a report on Channel 10 News on Thursday.

U.S. government officials told Channel 10 News that they believe a Likud-Kadima joing government could make a decision about an Israeli attack on Iran at any moment and perhaps even before the U.S. presidential elections in November.

The report said that when the Americans believed early elections would be held in Israel on September, they thought it meant the attack in Iran would be postponed at least until after the election. Now, with the stabilization of Israeli politics and the current government likely to end its term on schedule, the situation has changed and the Americans are concerned.

According to the Channel 10 report, in order to try and prevent or at least postpone the Israeli decision on the issue, the Americans recently held marathon talks with Israeli officials at all levels….READ MORE

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