Israel Political Brief March 7, 2013: Yesh Atid, Habayit Hayehudi & Kadima parties form bloc

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Yesh Atid, Jewish Home and Kadima parties form bloc

Source: JTA, 3-7-13

The Yesh Atid, Jewish Home and Kadima parties have formed a bloc and say they will enter Israel’s government coalition only if their demands are met….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief December 6, 2012: Elections 2013: Kadima crumbles, Labor emphasizes social issues and Likud still dominates

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Kadima crumbles, Labor emphasizes social issues and Likud still dominates

Source: JTA, 12-6-12

Ahead of Israeli elections on Jan. 22, the political opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has become more fragmented, and the focus of Likud’s primary rival has been more on social issues than security….READ MORE 

Israel Political Brief August 14, 2012: Avi Dichter quits Knesset to take home front defense ministerial position

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Dichter quits Knesset to take home front defense ministerial position

Source: JTA, 8-14-12

Israeli lawmaker Avi Dichter resigned from the Kadima Party and the Knesset in order to join the government as minister of home front defense….READ MORE

 

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 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 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.

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

Israel Political Brief May 7, 2012: Last Minute Unity Government Agreement Between PM Benjamin Netanyahu & Opposition, Kadima Leader MK Shaul Mofaz Removes Need for Election

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Last Minute Unity Government Removes Need for Election

PM Netanyahu and Opposition leader Mofaz form a unity government, removing the need for elections.
Netanyahu at the Knesset, May 7, 2012

Netanyahu at the Knesset, May 7, 2012
Reuters

Just hours after the Knesset approved the first reading of a bill to dissolve itself and hold elections, it appears as though no early elections will be held.

Kol Yisrael radio reported that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Opposition leader MK Shaul Mofaz have reached an agreement to form a national unity government.

According to the report, the Likud and Kadima parties converged at 2:00 a.m. (Israel time), and the members of both factions are being updated on the meetings between Netanyahu and Mofaz. It was also reported that Mofaz is expected to be appointed either a minister without portfolio or Homefront Defense Minister, a position recently vacated by MK Matan Vilnai (Independence).

It was also reported that the agreement reached between the Likud and Kadima calls for the Tal Law for the recruitment of hareidim into the army to be replaced by the end of July. Netanyahu and Mofaz will head a team which will be tasked with forming the new law.

In addition, Kadima has promised to remain in the coalition until the end of its term in November 2013. Also, it was agreed between the parties that by the end of December, a law changing the Israeli system of governemtn will be put to a vote. According to reports, the talks between Netanyahu and Mofaz went on for several days.

A unity government is likely to harm the Labor Party, which has gained strength in the polls, as well as Yair Lapid’s party, as he will now have to wait until the current Knesset completes its term in order to run.

A unity government would definitely help Kadima which, according to all polls, was set to suffer a dramatic blow in the next election….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief May 7, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Reaches Unity Government Agreement with Kadima’s Shaul Mofaz — Cancels Early Elections

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Israeli media: Early election canceled

Source: AP, 5-7-12

Israeli media reports early Tuesday indicate that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reached an agreement with the Kadima opposition party for a unity government, canceling an early election.

There was no immediate comment from official sources on the decision that was reported at about 02:00 A.M. local time.

The reports came as Israel’s parliament held debates long into the night over whether to disperse ahead of early elections called for the fall.

Earlier in the day, the Israeli government proposed the election be moved up to Sept. 4.

The election had originally been set for 2013.

According to the reports, Netanyahu forged an agreement with opposition leader Shaul Mofaz of Kadima a short while before parliament was set to vote to disperse.

Reports said Kadima agreed to join Netanyahu’s government on condition it supports a proposal about military deferment for Ultra-Orthodox Jews. The issue was one of the main reasons Netanyahu decided to bring forward the election date….READ MORE

 

Israel Political Brief March 28, 2012: Shaul Mofaz decisively defeats Tzipi Livni wins Kadima Party leadership vote

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Mofaz beats Livni for Kadima leadership

Source: JTA, 3-28-12

Shaul Mofaz decisively defeated Tzipi Livni to become the new leader of Israel’s Kadima Party.

Mofaz received 62 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s Kadima primary to unseat Livni as the leader of Israel’s main opposition party. Forty-five percent of the party’s 95,000 registered members voted in the primary.

The Iranian-born Mofaz is a former chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces. Mofaz and Livni, who both were members of the right-wing Likud Party before joining Kadima, have been fierce rivals for the past several years. In 2008 Livni narrowly beat Mofaz to become Kadima’s leader. Previous party heads were founder Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert.

In a late-night victory speech, Mofaz called on Livni to remain in the party, saying “Tzipi, your place is with us.”

Recent polls suggested that Kadima, which has 28 seats in the current Knesset, likely will see its support plunge dramatically in the next elections. That would be the case, the polls noted, regardless of whether Mofaz or Livni was the party’s leader.

Israel Political Brief March 25, 2012: Israeli lawmakers inaugurate Diaspora caucus

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Israeli lawmakers inaugurate Diaspora caucus

Source: JTA, 3-25-12

Israeli lawmakers from across the political spectrum launched a caucus to strengthen relations with Diaspora Jewry.

At least 40 Knesset members have joined the ad hoc committee co-founded by coalition chairman Zeev Elkin of the Likud Party and Nachman Shai of Kadima, which met for the first time on Tuesday.

The lobby will provide an open forum to discuss issues involving the Diaspora, but it cannot set official policy. It was formed at the initiative of Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky, according to reports.

A new study of Israelis conducted by the Jewish Agency found that 91 percent of respondents believe that Israel should help Jewish communities abroad. Another 91 percent said they believed that Diaspora Jewry would stand with Israel in the face of a threat from Iran or other enemies.

Jewish Agency Secretary-General Josh Schwartz presented the study at the committee meeting.

“Jewish children were attacked in their school in Toulouse just because they and their parents wanted to maintain a connection with their Jewish heritage and the Jewish state,” Sharansky said at the meeting “This murderous attack proves to us again in the most tragic way that the enemies of the Jewish people and the enemies of the Jewish state are one and the same. The State of Israel and the Jewish people face the same threats.”

Israel Political Brief March 8, 2012: Haaretz poll: Most Israelis oppose an Israeli strike on Iran without US backing — Support for PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party is at all-time high

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Haaretz poll: Most of the public opposes an Israeli strike on Iran

Support for Netanyahu’s Likud party is at all-time high, but Israelis still skeptical regarding attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities without U.S. backing.

Source: Haaretz, 3-8-12

Most Israelis believe that if the United States does not attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, Israel must no try to do so alone, according to a Haaretz poll.

The Haaretz-Dialog poll, conducted under the supervision of Prof. Camil Fuchs of Tel Aviv University on Sunday and Monday during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington, also showed that the prime minister’s Likud party would win big in the next election, taking between 35 and 37 seats.

Netanyahu and Barak Oct. 18, 2011 (Moti Milrod) Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo by: Moti Milrod

Likud, the rest of the right wing and the ultra-Orthodox parties would get between 71 and 74 mandates. Under such a scenario, only Netanyahu would be able to form a government.

However, Netanyahu, who returned to Israel on Wednesday, is facing a complex political situation.

On the one hand, he and his party seem to be in top political form. On the other, 58 percent of those polled opposed an Israeli strike on Iran, without U.S. backing.

Thus it seems Netanyahu has not convinced those for whom he has been repeatedly threatening Tehran.

Even so, half the respondents said they are relying on Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to handle the Iran issue….READ MORE

Israel Political Brief October 24, 2011: Former PM Ariel Sharon is Responsive

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Source: Virtual Jerusalem, JTA, 10-24-11

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is responsive and has gained weight, his son told The New York Times.arik sharon

Sharon, who has been in a coma since suffering a stroke nearly six years ago, moves his fingers when requested and looks at people when he is awake, Gilad Sharon told the newspaper on Oct. 20, in advance of the release of his biography of his father, “Sharon: The Life of a Leader,” set to be released in Hebrew and English on Oct. 26.

Ariel Sharon, 83, remains in a hospital near Tel Aviv following a brief stay at his ranch in southern Israel.

Gilad Sharon wrote in his book that he gave his father the idea of unilaterally withdrawing from Gaza, according to the Times. His accounts of his father’s dealings with current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are unflattering to Netanyahu.

Gilad Sharon, a member of his father’s Kadima Party, is said to be interested in entering politics.

Via jta.org

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