There’s a good deal happening, and much to respond to. Please read this through and act. I like to think of my readers as also actors in the important fights we are fighting — against some things, for others. Your assistance does make a difference.
I begin with a link to my latest article on Front Page Magazine, “Answering Obama’s Israel Lies.”
It exposes the distortions and half-truths that have been put out in a campaign video purporting to show what a good friend to Israel Obama is. Please, circulate broadly.
Here’s the link to the original video, in case you haven’t seen it. It’s making the rounds big time and must be responded to in a serious fashion, for it’s so easy to be taken in if you don’t know the facts. When you DO know the facts, the response to this is some combination of rage and deep disgust.
(My thanks to Debbie B.)
A very significant vote is coming up in the Knesset this week. The issues are complex and YOUR COOPERATION HERE IS EXCEEDINGLY IMPORTANT.
You’ve heard about this legislation from me previously: Proposed by MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi), it would forbid the dismantling of communities of more than 20 families in Judea and Samaria without properly filed documentation that the land was Arab-owned. This would negate the vague, unsubstantiated claims of land being “Arab” that are currently filed in court by Peace Now.
What is more, this legislation stipulates that if the documentation of Arab ownership is filed after a specified period of time (four years, as I understand it), the community still wouldn’t be taken down and instead the Arab land owner would be provided with monetary compensation.
Prime Minister Netanyahu — at the behest of Minister Benny Begin, who is attempting to negotiate a “deal” with the residents of Migron and wants them to feel squeezed — has secured a negative vote on this legislation in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation. Nothing prevents the promoters of a piece of legislation from bringing it to the Knesset without the approval of the committee — it is simply that without this endorsement it is less likely to pass in the Knesset.
An appeal has been filed — requesting a re-vote in the committee — by Minister of Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein (Likud) and Minister of Science Daniel Hershkowitz (Habayit Hayehudi) — but there has been no response to this. There is reason to believe the original vote would overturned if there were a second vote.
Now MK Oren has decided to bring this proposed law before the Knesset — possibly by Wednesday.
And here’s where you have to pay attention to understand the situation and its serious implications:
Coalition discipline will not be invoked, so that members of the Knesset will be free to follow their conscience on this important matter rather than having to vote a party line.
HOWEVER, since the Ministerial Committee voted against the legislation, ministers are expected to also vote against it in the Knesset. They can, if they choose, vote for the legislation, but then, according to the rules, Netanyahu can fire them. He is not obligated to fire them, he is simply at liberty to do so.
Needless to say, Netanyahu is applying pressure, and making noises about firing those who do not toe the line.
This has an unpleasant echo of Gush Katif, when then PM Sharon applied every sort of strong-arm technique possible to keep his ministers in line so they’d vote as he wished. We cannot let this happen again. Sharon betrayed his mandate when he behaved this way, and Netanyahu is now playing matters in a similar fashion. I’ve cut him slack with regard to many issues. But I cut him none here.
In my last posting, I asked you to write to the Likud ministers in support of Migron. Now I ask you to write again, to these ministers and those of Shas and Yisrael Beitenu as well:
Say that you understand that legislation that would save Migron and other communities in Judea and Samaria is about to come before the Knesset. It would release Israel from the strangle-hold of Peace Now and prevent Jewish communities from being destroyed.
Remind them that the mandate given to the coalition by the voters was nationalist and that they would be betraying this mandate if they voted against this legislation.
Tell them that, even more importantly, if they vote against it they would be taking a position that is not in the best interests of the State of Israel.
Let them know that you see it as imperative that they vote their conscience on this matter. It is not acceptable for them to place job security ahead of what is best for Israel. In any event there is no guarantee that the prime minister will fire any ministers, and less likely if many ministers stand together to do what is right.
Voters and those who support the parties are very tired of political game playing. The ministers must know that they are being watched and that support in the future will depend on their readiness to do the right thing now.
Do NOT send a group message; the message to each minister should be separate. But there is no reason to be intimidated by the fact that there are several names on the list that follows.
There is a way to make it easy for yourself: Compose a message that says “Dear Minister,” followed by text of that message. Copy that message and salutation. Then, in turn, click on each minister’s e-mail address, paste in the greeting and message, and hit send.
Minister of Improvement of Government Services Michael Eitan
Minister of Environmental Protection Gilad Erdan
Minister of Welfare Moshe Kahlon
Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz
Minister of Culture Limor Livnat
email@example.com (a previous typo in this address has been corrected)
Minister Yosi Peled
Minister of Education Gideon Saar
Minister of the Development of the Negev Silvan Shalom
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz
Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon
Minister of Internal Affairs Eli Yishai
Minister Meshulam Nahari
Minister of Religious Affairs Yakov Margi
Minister of Housing Ariel Atias
Minister of Tourism Stas Misezhnikov
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
Minister of Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Danny Ayalon
If Gush Katif infuriated you or pained you, if you want to be part of a democratic process that protects Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, if the idea of their having to turn over their land to Arabs distresses you, please! take the time to do this.
Numbers count a great deal. Send this to others who are likely to also respond.
Thank you. More will follow tomorrow.
In closing, a note of clarification, very broadly, for those who are outside of Israel and perhaps confused by our system: Parties receive mandates (seats) in the Knesset according to the percentage of votes they secured in the previous election. If one party does not have sufficient seats (i.e., more than 60) to constitute a majority of the Knesset, then a coalition is formed; this always happens. Once the coalition is in place, there are ministerial positions allocated to the various parties in the coalition. With very rare exceptions, the ministers are chosen from the ranks of those within the parties who have been elected to the Knesset. Those who are ministers sit in the Cabinet and constitute the government, but they are still members of the Knesset.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.