Tag Archives: Israeli 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?


What’s Wrong with This Picture.

I am in the midst of studying for my Israeli Society exam, a killer of an exam because most of the material is in Hebrew and tends to be fairly academic. I feel that once this exam is over I’ll be able to breathe somewhat easier.

Even though I should be studying right now, the ridiculous state of Israeli politics is leading me out of my seclusion to speak out against the infuriating tactics of Kadima.

After Netanyahu attempted to bring Kadima into his coalition several times, giving Livni 2/3 major posts as well as full partnership in government, she has refused. And the reason: Netanyahu hasn’t caved into Livni’s demands to declare support for a two-state solution. She claims that there is another way of doing politics (I guess one that doesn’t involve compromising on issues like this).

Of course I don’t like Likud’s stance on the Israeli Palestinian conflict. And I think it important to stand up for one’s principles. But I feel like Kadima is using the Israeli-Palestinian issue as an excuse. Since when did they get so peace-loving? It’s not like they did that much during their rule of power to further the peace process along.

Furthermore, while I understand the importance of sticking to one’s ideals, I see the pragmatic ramifications of Livni’s refusal to be catastrophic for Israeli politics and society. In fact I think the refusal borders on selfishness and a lack of vision. Instead of separating herself from the usual politics, I think she has done more to show herself as yet another Israeli politician without long-term, strategic thinking. Her actions demonstrate that she is not keeping the interests of the Israeli people in mind.

The thing that worries me most is that now Likud will be forced to create a narrow right-wing government compromising all of those groups whose policies and principles I do not agree with. A government which the Israeli electorate did not choose and which will grant disproportionate power and resources to undeserving parties. This coalition is an insult to the words ‘representativeness’ ‘responsiveness’ and ‘accountability.’

Kadima’s taking part in the opposition will do more to aggravate Israeli-Palestinian relations. If the party had become part of the government they could have played a moderating role. In addition, in order to bring some of these smaller right-wing parties on board, Likud may end up turning a blind eye to increased settlement construction if not outright encouraging it. Oh and did I mention that Lieberman is vying for the post of Foreign Minister?!

Moreover I fear that this government will enact domestic policies which fly in the face of my ideals. More money allocated for families having more children, more authority and legitimacy granted to right-wing religious streams and further delegitimization of alternative religious streams of Judaism.

People who don’t live here tend to think of Israel in one dimension–the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Well I have news for you. The domestic problems (particularly government accountability, corruption, governance) are JUST as important as the conflict. So yes, I do think about the peace process, but I also have to worry about these unpalatable domestic issues which we will now face because we are dealing with a very narrow-interest oriented government. Furthermore if the domestic problems are not addressed, they will hinder solving the Israeli Palestinian crisis.

This country needs to go through some serious changes. If we are to survive we have to create a new vision for what this place should be, a vision that is devoid of personal politics and instead addresses long-term and collective interests

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

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

Do I hear a strike?

The chagim are over, which means back to a routine and back to work. I can see how this month is just absolutely unproductive. How can you be when you feel that as soon as you get back into a routine, you have to get ready for chag or for Shabbat? I like the chagim, though, especially Sukkot when the weather here starts to cool down and people dine al fresco.

The chagim being over means that I’m only a week away from starting graduate school. Or maybe not. Supposedly the students are going on strike. Yes there was a university strike last year that lasted several months.  Is this the price of low university fees? Apparently, it is mainly a result of government funding cuts to universities. Yeah that’s a smart move. Way to invest in your people Israel. Continue reading