Category Archives: Israeli government and politics

The Chutzpah of Shas and Other Observations

Here’s one major reason why I don’t like Israeli coalition politics or why I really don’t like this coalition in particular: The Interior Minister and Chairman of Shas has told the Yesha Council of settlements that it will exploit its influence and resources to continue expanding settlements in the West Bank.

Haaretz has learned that Yishai has instructed officials at the Interior Ministry to come up with ways to help the settlers, by allowing continued construction within the major West Bank settlement blocs where building has stopped as a result of American pressure.”

Now Shas is one of the smaller parties to which Israel had to grant concessions like the Interior Ministry post in order for them to join. Now they are using their position to conduct a chutzpadik policy not to mention the fact that they find it perfectly all right to use my taxpayer money to fund the so-called “natural growth”  of these areas.

The Israeli government’s negative reaction to Obama’s pressure on stopping settlement growth also points to the chutzpah and cluelessness demonstrated by my fellow Israelis. The major complaint that gets me is that they claim they had an agreement with President Bush. And how could Obama not honor these promises? Um, well I hate to break it to you people, but when a new president comes in, he can enact a new policy so old promises really don’t chalk up to anything. Doesn’t everybody know this?


Loyalty Oath

I am still here with less than 2 weeks to go. Our wedding anniversary is this Thursday, and Eric asked me what I wanted. I jokingly told him I wanted a baby (although I wouldn’t mind going out to eat too). Who knows, he might decide to make an early appearance and be an anniversary present.

Besides obsessing about baby (which I think is a good thing), I wanted to breach a topics which has been in the Israeli and international news: the so-called Loyalty Oath espoused by Yisrael Beiteinu.

According to yesterday’s Haaretz

“The ministerial legislative committee rejected on Sunday a bill stating that those who wish to retain Israeli citizenship would have to declare their loyalty to Israel as a Jewish state.

The bill, put forth by Yisrael Beiteinu’s MK David Rotem, stated that oath would include a pledge of loyalty to Israel as a Jewish, Zionist, and democratic state, to its emblems and values, and serving Israel either through military service or through any equivalent alternatives.”

Thank G-d.  An initiative like this would have surely backfired. Of course I have no disillusions of Israeli Arabs ever accepting the Jewish, Zionist nature of this country. I think as far as they are concerned, they could accept Israel, but only as a secular State. And the anti-Israel declarations and demonstrations following the recent wars in Lebanon and Gaza are disturbing. Continue reading

The Depressing State of Israeli Politics

Hi everybody,

I’ve been on blog hiatus because of my university exams–but of course I’ve still found other ways to procrastinate my studying. The recent Israeli elections are causing me to come out of my hibernation and provide a few thoughts.

It looks like I’ve left one right-wing administration (Bush) for another one (Likud), which thrills me to no end. My aliyah was really bad timing!

I didn’t vote for one of the big three. I actually voted for the green party because I couldn’t warm up to Kadima or Labor, and I liked the values espoused by the greens. Perhaps in hindsight that was stupid because I could have been one of the people to hold down the fort. My party didn’t even win any seats. People like me split some of the left vote and not only detracted from Kadima/Labor but also helped Meretz lose seats. Ech. Continue reading

School is On!

So I actually am starting school tomorrow. Olmert finally interevened and said enough is enough, the universities need to start on time.

Haaretz wrote an interesting editorial on the university crisis, calling for more accountability on the university level. The treasury wants university spending to go toward certain avenues as recommended by an entity called the Shochat Committee, but the universities want free reign.  Continue reading

Update on University Status

I’m still not sure if I’m going to school on Sunday. University and government representatives weren’t able to reach a settlement yesterday, and the finance ministry is apparently dragging its feet.

If the current situation continues, I can see how education will become increasingly split between the haves and have nots. The ones who have more money and don’t want to put up with anymore interferences in their studies will go to the Michlalot–or colleges–which are somewhat more expensive or else study abroad. The ones who have less money will have to put up with a crumbling education system and watch their own professional future suffer. Continue reading

Elections

Apparently I’ll have my first opportunity to vote. Tzippi Livni, who was granted the authority by President Shimon Peres to form a new coalition government after Olmert resigned, did not succeed in bringing enough coalition partners on board. The major sticking point was that she would not agree to the Kitzbah—or allowance—amount that the party Shas wanted to allocate for families with children or to the amount the Pensioners party wanted.

UPDATE: I think there was another point of contention, which  was the issue of negotiations with Palestinians over Jerusalem.

UPDATE2: After Livni accused Shas of extortion, the party shot back and accused Livni of Sephardi racism. Continue reading