Israel Musings December 7, 2014: Netanyahu makes last-ditch effort to form new coalition to avert elections

ISRAEL MUSINGS

ISRAEL MUSINGS: OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Netanyahu makes last-ditch effort to form new coalition to avert elections

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made one last effort to form a new coalition government and avert early elections. On Saturday evening, Dec. 6, 2014 Netanyahu met with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who also chairs the Yisrael Beytenu Party at…READ MORE
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Israel Political Brief December 26, 2013: PM Netanyahu, Liberman raise electoral threshold, compromise could keep Arabs out of Knesset

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Netanyahu, Liberman compromise could keep Arabs out of Knesset

Source: Jerusalem Post, 12-26-13

PM, foreign minister decide to raise electoral threshold from 2% to 3.25%, which would make factions have minimum of 4 MKs….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 2, 2013: Danny Ayalon testifies against former boss Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman in fraud trial

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Ayalon testifies against former boss Liberman in fraud trial

Source: JTA, 5-2-13

Danny Ayalon testified that former Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman advanced a diplomat’s appointment in return for information….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief March 14, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu: Likud succeeded in keeping top ministries

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM: Likud succeeded in keeping top ministries

Source: JPost, 3-14-13

Netanyahu says preserving Foreign, Defense portfolios a victory; Lapid, Bennett holding up coalition deal over deputy PM row.

Liberman and Netanyahu at Likud Beytenu faction meeting, Feb 5 2013

Liberman and Netanyahu at Likud Beytenu faction meeting, Feb 5 2013 Photo: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post

Likud Beytenu succeeded in retaining the most important portfolios for itself in coalition negotiations, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday as he neared signing a final agreement on the next government.

Speaking at a Likud Beytenu faction meeting, Netanyahu stated that he was finishing the work of building the coalition for the upcoming term which he said would be “one of the most difficult ever.”…

“I insisted that Likud Beytenu have a majority of ministers in government so we can get things done,” he stressed….READ MORE

Related:

Israel Political Brief March 6, 2013: PM Benjamin Netanyahu can hold Foreign Ministry for Avigdor Liberman, Attorney General says

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Netanyahu can hold Foreign Ministry for Liberman, AG says

Source: The Times of Israel , 3-6-13

Netanyahu’s agreement with Liberman has been put to the test in coalition talks with Yesh Atid, whose leader Yair Lapid has his eyes set on the foreign minister position….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief February 17, 2013: Avigdor Liberman pleads not guilty at opening of fraud trial

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Liberman pleads not guilty at opening of fraud trial

Source: JTA, 2-17-13

Former Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman pleaded not guilty on all counts at the opening of his trial for fraud and breach of trust….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief December 30, 2012: President Shimon Peres praises Mahmoud Abbas, rips PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Liberman

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Peres praises Abbas, rips Netanyahu and Liberman

Source: JTA, 12-30-12

Israeli President Shimon Peres praised Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as a partner for peace while slamming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and ex-Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief December 30, 2012: Former Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman formally charged in Jerusalem court

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Liberman formally charged in Jerusalem court

Source: JTA, 12-30-12

Former Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman was formally charged with fraud and breach of trust….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief December 18, 2012: Avigdor Liberman resignation takes effect as indictment postponed

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Liberman resignation takes effect as indictment postponed

Source: JTA, 12-18-12

Avigdor Liberman’s resignation as Israel’s foreign minister officially took effect, and Israel’s attorney general postponed filing an indictment for fraud and breach of trust against him….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief December 16, 2012: It’s official: Avigdor Liberman’s out as foreign minister

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

It’s official: Liberman’s out as foreign minister

Source: JTA, 12-16-12

Avigdor Liberman officially stepped down as Israel’s foreign minister following his indictment for fraud and breach of trust….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief December 13, 2012: Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman indicted for fraud and breach of trust

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Liberman indicted for fraud and breach of trust

Source: JTA, 12-13-12

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman was indicted on fraud and breach of trust while other cases against him were closed. Read more »

Full Text Israel Political Brief November 21, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Statement at Press Conference with Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense – Operation Pillar of Defense – Cease-Fire

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ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu’s Statement at November 21 Press Conference with Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense  – Operation Pillar of Defense – Cease-Fire

Source: PMO, 11-21-12

Photo by GPO

“Citizens of Israel,

Eight days ago, Israel embarked on operation Pillar of Defense. The Government decided to launch the operation after the frequency of the terror attacks originating from Gaza increased over the last few months. I announced that we would respond forcibly to these attacks when we see fit. I said that we would exact a heavy price from the terror organizations.

The terror organizations assumed that we would avoid offensive action against them; they were wrong. We hit their senior commanders, we destroyed thousands of rockets which were aimed towards the South and most of those aimed towards central Israel, and we crushed Hamas’ control facilities. I must say that we did this with the strong support of the leading authorities of the international community.

In particular, I wish to thank President Obama for his resolute support for Israel’s actions, for this operation and for Israel’s right to defend itself. I also thank him for supporting the Iron Dome systems. I thank Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and express my gratitude to the Egyptians for their efforts in achieving this cease-fire.

In a phone call I had this evening with President Obama, I agreed with him that we should give the cease-fire a chance in order to enable a lull in the situation and allow for the citizens of Israel to return to routine. However, Israel obviously cannot sit idly while our enemy reinforces itself with weapons of terror. Therefore we decided, President Obama and myself, that the United States and Israel would work together to fight the smuggling of weapons to the terror organizations – weapons, virtually all of which come from Iran.

From the day the State of Israel was established, it has had to deal with complex challenges in the Middle East, and we can all see that these challenges have become even more complex in the last few years. Under these conditions we are required to navigate this ship, the State of Israel, wisely and responsibly while taking into account all considerations – military and political alike. This is what a responsible government does, and it is what we did here: we made use of our military might while applying political considerations.

Now, I realize that there are citizens who expect a harsher military action and we may very well need to do that. But at present, the right thing for the State of Israel is to exhaust this possibility of reaching a long-term cease-fire. As Prime Minister, I have the responsibility, and it is the highest responsibility, to make the right steps to ensure our security. That is what I have done and it is what I will continue to do.

During the last week, Israel has lost several victims. On behalf of the entire population, I send condolences to the families, and wish the wounded a speedy recovery.

I would like to thank my colleagues, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman. We worked together as a team, in full agreement. I also thank the Nine-Member Ministerial Forum, the Cabinet and the Government, for working – each in its field of responsibility – for the citizens of Israel. I also appreciate the factions of the Opposition and the factions in Knesset for standing with us and proclaiming their support.

I thank the Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, the Chief of Shin Bet, Yoram Cohen, the Director of the Mossad, Tamir Pardo, and all of their people for their exceptional efforts in reaching our accomplishments in Pillar of Defense. On behalf of the people of Israel, I thank the IDF commanders and soldiers, the pilots, the Iron Dome operators and developers, the members of the intelligence services, all the members of the security services and to the reservists, who left their families and immediately signed up for duty.

I appreciate the mayors and heads of regional councils for displaying leadership and level-headedness at the Home Front, and above all – I salute you, the citizens of Israel. We have a strong army; we have a strong people. I am proud to by your Prime Minister

Full Text Israel Political Brief June 25, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Statement After Meeting with President of the Russian Federation, Mr. Vladimir Putin

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ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu’s Meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin

Photo by GPO

Source: PMO, 6-25-12

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin
The meeting continued for over an hour; Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and National Security Advisor Maj.-Gen. Yaakov Amidror (ret.) also attended.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Russian President Putin will soon deliver statements to the media and, afterwards, will sit down for lunch. They will be joined by Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz, Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein and coalition chairman MK Zeev Elkin.

Russian President Putin was welcomed to the Prime Minister’s Jerusalem Residence by the Prime Minister’s wife, Sara Netanyahu.
The Russian President signed the guestbook: “With blessings and appreciation for the attention.”

PM Netanyahu’s Statement After Meeting with President of the Russian Federation, Mr. Vladimir Putin

Source: PMO, 6-25-12

President Putin, Vladimir, I want to welcome you and your delegation to Jerusalem.
Mr. President, this is your second visit to Israel as President.  Following your first visit to Israel seven years ago, Israel and Russia significantly upgraded their relations.  You mentioned the considerable expansion in trade, the economy, culture, science, technology and tourism. The foundation for the relations between our two countries is not only common interests, but the more than one million Russian-speaking Israelis.  They constitute a vast human bridge, and, in just a few short years, the Russia-speaking immigrants from Russia and the former Soviet Union have become an integral part of Israeli society.

They are partners in the army, in hi-tech, in science and medicine, in art and culture.  Mr. President, they are also partners in the government.  You know Foreign Minister Leiberman well, but there are many others including:

Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein; Minister of Tourism, Stas Misezhnikov; Minister of Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver; the chair of our coalition, Zev Elkin; Natan Sharansky, who heads the Jewish Agency; Eugene Kandel, my national economic advisor; and many others.

I must say that, rumors to the contrary, I do sometimes work with people who are not Russian speakers, but there is no doubt that the public of Russian-speakers in Israel truly serves as a living bridge between Israel and Russia.  A lot of people are crossing that bridge.  In the past year alone, over half a million Russian tourists came to Israel.  That’s an enormous number for a country the size of Israel.  It has multiplied by a factor of seven in the three years since we eliminated the need for visas from Russia.

Tourists from Russia come to Israel because they like this country; they like the sun; they like the sea; they like the history, the holy sites, and we look after these as if they were the apple of our eye.  In the Middle East, Israel safeguards freedom of religion.  All this means that Israel is a country in which Russian tourists can feel at home.

Despite all this, I have no doubt that we have barely scratched the surface of what we can accomplish together, and therefore I am certain that your current visit will lead to a further upgrade in agriculture, science, hi-tech, space and in many other areas
Mr. President, you are coming at a time of tremendous changes in our region.  Yesterday, Egypt elected a new President.  Israel appreciates the democratic process in Egypt and respects the results of its elections.  We look forward to working with the new government on the basis of our peace treaty.  I believe that peace is important to Israel; I believe that peace is important to the Egyptians; I believe that peace is a vital interest for both countries; and I believe that peace is the foundation for stability in our region.

We just had the chance to discuss the current negotiations between the international community and Iran.  We agree that Iran’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons is a grave threat first and foremost to Israel, but also to the region and to the world.

Israel believes that the international community should have three clear demands of Iran: Stop enriching uranium inside Iran; remove all the enriched uranium from Iran; and dismantle the underground nuclear facility near Qom.  That is why Israel believes the international community must now do two things:  ratchet up the sanctions against Iran; and also ratchet up the demands that are being made of Iran.

Mr. President, we all aspire to peace.  I look forward to discussing with you ways in which Russia can help Israel and the Palestinians advance peace, even during these challenging times, maybe especially during these challenging times.

There is a slight difference between us that we discussed prior to beginning the press conference.  Mr. President, when you want to visit a neighboring country, you usually fly from Moscow for several hours.  Our neighborhood is much smaller.  Tomorrow, you will meet with President Abbas in Bethlehem, which is a four to five minute drive from here.  Ramallah is only ten minute’s drive from here.  The key to peace is complex, but in the end it is very simple: either President Abbas must come here or I must go to him, and I am willing for either of these possibilities to occur, however we must begin to talk.  I hope you convey this simple message tomorrow during your meeting in Bethlehem.

Regarding our neighbor to the north, a way to end the killing and the terrible suffering of the citizens of Syria must be found, and peace, security and regional stability must be pursued as far as is possible during these turbulent times.

Mr. President, two years ago during my visit to Moscow, I promised on behalf of the State of Israel that we would memorialize the historic role played by the Red Army in defeating the Nazis.  Today, I am pleased to say, we kept that promise.  You just came from Netanya, from the moving ceremony inaugurating that same memorial that recognizes the tremendous contribution of the Red Army in the victory over the Nazis.  For us, memory is a part of our existence.  We fight against Holocaust denial and we join in the fight against the attempt to deny the important role played by the Red Army in defeating the Nazi monster.

This is a fundamental and important part of our heritage.  Approximately half a million Jews fought in the ranks of the Red Army, including thousands of veterans who currently live in the State of Israel.  Each year I meet them on Victory Day.  They proudly wear their medals and I ask them, “For which battle did you receive this?”  One tells me, “In the battle defending Moscow”.  Another answers, “In Stalingrad”.  A third says, “In Kursk”, and there are those who say, “Many places”.  We salute them today.  We salute all those who fought and sacrificed their lives for humankind.
Mr. President, over the past twenty years, a special relationship between our peoples was built, and I am certain that your visit in Israel will greatly contribute to the strengthening and deepening of these ties in the years to come.

Welcome to Israel.  Welcome to Jerusalem.

Israel Political Brief March 23, 2012: Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman: Israel might withdraw from UN Human Rights Council

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Liberman: Israel might withdraw from U.N. Human Rights Council

Source: JTA, 3-23-12

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman reportedly said he might recall Israel’s ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Council after the council voted 36-1 to investigate the effects of Jewish settlements on Palestinians.

Liberman also said Israel would not cooperate with the fact-finding mission established by the council to probe settlements, the Jerusalem Post reported.

On Thursday, the council passed a resolution, with 10 abstentions, to investigate how Israeli settlement construction affects Palestinian human rights. The United States was the only country to vote against the resolution.

“This is a hypocritical council with an automatic majority against Israel,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday. “This council ought to be ashamed of itself.”

The Israeli leader noted that the council has made 91 decisions, 39 of which dealt with Israel, three with Syria and one with Iran.

“One only had to hear the Syrian representative speak today about human rights in order to understand how detached from reality the council is,” he said.

The decision requires the council to “dispatch an independent international fact-finding mission, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council, to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.” The mission will generate a report for the council.

The council on Thursday approved five resolutions critical of Israel, including implementing the Goldstone report on the Gaza war and criticizing Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights.

The resolution on the settlements, which calls on Israel to cooperate in the investigation, also called on Israel to prevent settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank.

A U.S. representative to the council said the U.S. is “deeply troubled by this council’s bias against Israel.”

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