Category Archives: Elections

ISRAELIS FACE NEW ELECTIONS

BLOG 571

June 27, 2022

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Having traveled and worked in the Middle East since l968, Robert L. Wise has journeyed through the region, giving him insights from behind the scenes. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon. Each week he attempts to present an objective view of current events.

ISRAELIS FACE NEW ELECTIONS  

Politics in Israel are always complicated and surprising. Because the government is built out of a coalition of differing parties, change can come like a bullet when one or two parties no longer agree to the conditions of their union. Unexpectedly, this has just happened.

On Monday evening, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Yaair Lapid surprised the nation,  and many of their own coalition members, by announcing their intention to voluntarily disband their own government and send the country back to its fifth election since 2019, likely in late October or early November. They said they did so after coming to a conclusion that there was no way to maintain the current government.

Once the Knesset’s disbandment is finalized, Lapid will assume the premiership and Bennett will rotate to alternate prime minister, a title that Lapid currently holds. Although the Knesset will largely cease to legislate, the government will remain in place until a new one is sworn in, post elections.

The coalition on Tuesday pushed up its timeline for the Knesset’s disbandment and new elections, adding its dispersal bill to Wednesday’s legislative agenda. The Knesset Presidium approved the addition, and the Knesset House Committee granted the bill an exemption from the traditional 45-day waiting period between submission and an initial vote. The earliest the Knesset can disband is Wednesday, although a more likely scenario would be Monday of next week, as the legislation must pass four plenum votes and two committee reviews.

The opposition may try to outflank the coalition by creating a new right-wing coalition from within the existing Knesset, obviating the need for elections. This could be done by submitting a constructive no-confidence motion to swap the current government with an alternative proposed slate. If approved by 61 MKs, the alternate government automatically takes over. Such a motion can be attached to a private bill on Wednesday, or be presented as a standalone agenda item on Monday.

This would block Lapid from assuming the role of interim premier, a role that could conceivably last for many months until a new government is formed after elections, or even longer if the elections prove inconclusive and a government can’t be formed. Such a scenario saw Benjamin Netanyahu remain premier for a lengthy period after his government fell. While certain elements of the opposition and part of the coalition’s right-wing members prefer the option of reshuffling the current Knesset, the Likud-led opposition has had trouble assembling a minimum of 61 MKs agreeing to sit under its leader, former prime minister Netanyahu.

A coalition attempt to attach a separate bill to the dissolution bill barring indicted politicians from forming a government  (widely viewed as a personal bill against Netanyahu) was denied by the Knesset Presidium.

My, my, who should be standing in the shadows but old former Prime Minister Netanyahu. I told you Israeli politics was fascinating!

Readers of my Wise on the Middle East blog will be fascinated by my latest book

MIRACLES NEVER CEASE!

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UPDATE ON NETANYAHU’S CRIMINAL CHARGES – PART 2

BLOG 550

January 24, 2022

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Having traveled and worked in the Middle East since l968, Robert L. Wise has journeyed through the region, giving him insights from behind the scenes. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon. Each week he attempts to present an objective view of current events.

UPDATE ON NETANYAHU’S CRIMINAL CHARGES

PART 2

Last week I updated viewers on the criminal indictments facing former Prime Minister Netanyahu. A number of readers wanted to know more. In the past week, the negotiations have continued with Netanyahu’s legal team trying to keep him out of jail. Here’s where things stand today.

Deputy State Attorney Shlomo Lamberger said Thursday it would be “inconceivable” for a plea deal with opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu not to include a clause of “moral turpitude” — which would bar the former prime minister from public office for seven years.

“Anyone who understands moral turpitude understands that with such acts (criminal behavior)  it is inconceivable there isn’t moral turpitude,” Lamberger told the Israel Bar Association, in reference to the charges against Netanyahu in his graft trial. The comments were the first public remarks by a senior justice official about the prospect of a plea deal in Netanyahu’s trial, rumors of which have been swirling in recent days.

According to a television report Thursday, there has been no contact between Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and Netanyahu’s lawyers since a Wednesday phone call, with talks on a potential plea bargain appearing to have stalled. Sources in Israel claim both sides now believe that there will not be an agreement before Mandelblit steps down as attorney general at the end of the month.

The reports have listed Mandelblit’s conditions for an agreement as follows: Netanyahu admits to fraud and breach of trust in cases 1000 and 4000; he accepts the designation of moral turpitude; he will be sentenced to seven to nine months of community service; and he admits to having instructed former Communications Ministry director Shlomo Filber to provide benefits to the controlling shareholder of the Bezeq media company, Shaul Elovitch — the main accusation against the former premier in case 4000.

Netanyahu is on trial in three separate graft cases: for fraud and breach of trust in Case 1000 and in Case 2000, and for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in Case 4000. Under the reported potential deal, the bribery charge in Case 4000 would be dropped, and Case 2000 would be closed altogether.

According to the Israeli media, Mandelblit had moved away from an earlier idea of allowing the trial judges to rule on the question of the moral turpitude clause, rather than having it be an integral part of the deal, and wants it to be agreed to upfront. Netanyahu has been reported to be wary of doing so in case the negotiations subsequently break down.

That’s where we are today. Let’s see what comes next.

Stay tuned!

I have a new books coming out.

MAN ON FIRE can be ordered on Amazon or at your local book store. 

MAN ON FIRE can be ordered on Amazon or at your local book store. 

I hope you’ll avail yourself of this inspiring story!

Also these fine books are available now:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II

Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable

Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

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Filed under Elections, Israel, Netanyahu, The Middle East

UPDATE ON NETANYAHU’S CRIMINAL CHARGES

BLOG 549

January 15, 2022

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Having traveled and worked in the Middle East since l968, Robert L. Wise has journeyed through the region, giving him insights from behind the scenes. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon. Each week he attempts to present an objective view of current events.

UPDATE ON NETANYAHU’S CRIMINAL CHARGES

Followers of Israeli politics know former Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu was a wheeler-dealer, flip-flop artist, with a moral compass like a piece of Swiss cheese. Since being knocked out of office, he has been contending with legal charges. Here’s the latest.

The former PM wants to stay out of jail. The departing AG wants to secure a conviction. Both sides agree on that. But there’s one crucial issue that’s dividing them.

In the two years since he was indicted in three corruption cases, former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been publicly adamant that he would neither seek nor accept a plea bargain. Several weeks ago, however, according to unconfirmed reports over the last few days, one of his lawyers, Boaz Ben Zur, approached Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to begin discussions on precisely such a deal. According to the thrust of the numerous, sometimes contradictory, and often confusing reports that have emerged this week on the two sides’ subsequent interactions, Mandelblit responded with a “framework” for a possible plea bargain.

The state prosecution would remove the most serious of the charges against Netanyahu, that of bribery in Case 4000 — the case in which he is alleged to have worked to illicitly and lucratively benefit the business interests of the controlling shareholder of the Bezeq media company, in exchange for positive coverage on the Walla news site.

The state prosecution would also close Case 2000, in which Netanyahu allegedly negotiated, but never implemented, an illicit quid pro quo deal with the  newspaper publisher that would have seen the former prime minister weaken a rival daily, the Israel Hayom, in return for more favorable coverage from Yedioth.

In return, Netanyahu would plead guilty to fraud and breach of trust in Case 4000, and likewise to fraud and breach of trust in Case 1000, in which he is alleged to have illicitly received benefits and expensive gifts from billionaire benefactors, including Israeli Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan.

Netanyahu, according to this reported plea bargain framework advanced by Mandelblit, would not go to prison for these offenses, but would rather serve something in the order of six months’ community service. Crucially, however, Mandelblit reportedly also emphasized that Netanyahu would have to accept that his crimes constituted “moral turpitude” — a designation that would see him barred from public office for seven years. Mandelblit made plain that unless Netanyahu was prepared to accept this, there was no point in their negotiating. TV reports on Thursday night suggested the “turpitude” issue is now the only element preventing the sealing of a plea bargain.

Stay tuned!

I have a new books coming out.

MAN ON FIRE can be ordered on Amazon or at your local book store. 

I hope you’ll avail yourself of this inspiring story!

Also these fine books are available now:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II

Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable

Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

Leave a comment

Filed under Elections, History, Netanyahu

SAME SONG: SECOND VERSE 

BLOG 524

July 4, 2021

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

SAME SONG: SECOND VERSE    

July 4th is back in all its glory. Fireworks and all!  While we are celebrating in America, the Middle East is still settling into the new situation with the change of government and Naftali Bennett replacing Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister. However, the Israeli position on self-defense remains the same. You’ve heard this song before.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday vowed Israel will never be slack in striking its enemies in self-defense. “The State of Israel will always defend itself against any external threat and will not hold itself back from ensuring our security,” Bennett’s remarks came in  a ceremony in Jerusalem marking the anniversary of the death of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism.

Bennett added: “We will act firmly, creatively and consistently against threats both near and far.”  He did not refer to any specific threat but his remarks came as the United States holds talks on rejoining the international accord restricting Iran’s nuclear program, a move Israel supports.

The new Prime Minister last week singled out Iran when vowing not to allow any “existential threat” against Israel. He also hinted at Israeli involvement in a recent attack at an Iranian nuclear site. The alleged drone assault on an Iranian centrifuge production facility landed outside Tehran which reportedly damaged the site.

In his speech Wednesday, Bennett also commented on the formation of his power-sharing government with Lapid earlier this month,  when he replaced Netanyahu as prime minister.

“This government was not obvious. It is a beautiful mosaic government,” he said, referring to the broad range of parties in the coalition. “This is a government that I confess, was formed out of political constraints, but every day that passes teaches me that it was a worthy government from the start, A government with disagreements, deliberations, a government that knows how to disagree.”

Bennett said the government was seeking to handle internal divides “quietly, calmly, respectfully and attentively. We not only talk, we also listen to the opposing side.”

Get the picture? Israel may not celebrate July 4th, but they are still capable of a real fireworks show!

My latest books:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II

Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

Leave a comment

Filed under Elections, Israel, The Middle East

ALL OVER BUT THE SHOUTING

BLOG 521

June 14, 2021

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

ALL OVER BUT THE SHOUTING

Netanyahu is out.

One of the factors in the recent war with Hamas was that after three failed elections with a fourth planned, Israel was perceived as weakened. Netanyahu’s  problem with legal charges of corruption was also a factor. Naftali Bennet with other parties saw the necessity for change … regardless!

Despite the bad blood between them, Yamina Chairman Naftali Bennett reportedly plans to use his speech at Sunday’s swearing-in of the new government to praise outgoing premier Benjamin Netanyahu and thank him for his service to the country. While Netanyahu has spent the past several weeks disparaging Bennett for forming a “dangerous” government that will replace him as premier after 12 years, the prime minister-designate will not criticize the Likud leader and will adopt a conciliatory approach.

Bennett will also seek to reassure the public that the new, eight-party government will work for all sectors, including those that have not supported his decision to build a coalition with Yesh Atid  Chairman Yair Lapid and more left-leaning parties as well as Islamist Ra’am.

Meanwhile Lapid will serve as foreign minister for the initial period of the next government. He plans to travel to the US as soon as this month in order to iron out relations with the Biden administration. The White House has worked with Netanyahu and avoided public quarrels over the past several months, but will likely not be shedding a tear over the Likud leader’s replacement, given how radioactive Netanyahu has become in the Democratic Party.

The new government is expected to be equally opposed to the Biden administration’s plan to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal. However, all parties have spoken about keeping disagreements with the US behind closed doors and will represent an overwhelming majority at the cabinet table.  New sources also reported that Netanyahu’s family — his wife, Sara and sons Yair and Avner — will continue to have their own personal security guards for at least a year at the taxpayer’s expense.

Get ready for change. It’s going to be a new day in Israel!

My latest books:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II

Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

Leave a comment

Filed under Elections, Israel, The Middle East

IS HE IN OR OUT?

BLOG 520

June 7, 2021

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

IS HE IN OR OUT?

There’s an old saying. “Two Jews; Three opinions.” Today in Israel there appears to be a hundred different opinions. It is not clear whether Benjamin Netanyahu is still the Prime Minister of Israel. The struggle is intense and not fully decided. Prime-minister-designate Naftali Bennetti appears to have forced a new government. (Only so it appears).

On Friday, counter-protesters also showed up to support the new coalition which will first be led by Bennett and then, from August 2023, by Lapid. Netanyahu’s Likud is also to meet Sunday. Netanyahu has urged all right-wingers in the “change coalition” to abandon it, and instead back him.

“We are of course fighting until the last moment,” Likud minister and close Netanyahu loyalist Tzachi Hanegbi said on Friday afternoon. “It’s not only about Netanyahu. We are a political camp with vast public support.  If the government s sworn in, we’ll of course act, in opposition, according to all the well-known rules. We’ll be] a fighting opposition. But until then, if there is a chance to prevent the establishment of a government based on votes that were stolen from the right, we of course will act to try to prevent it.”

Knesset speaker, Levin can legally delay a vote on the new government for a week or more, giving Netanyahu’s Likud party more time to try to peel away rebels from the right-wing factions of the unity coalition.  

Hundreds took part in the rallies, a day after Lapid officially declared that he can form a government, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing religious bloc are seeking to pressure lawmakers from Yamina and the fellow right-wing New Hope party to oppose. If formed, the government would end the premier’s run of 12 consecutive years in office and relegate his Likud party and allied factions to the opposition.

The demonstrations against the so-called “change government” have been particularly intense in recent days, taking place outside the homes of prospective ministers, including Bennett, the Yamina lawmakers and Meretz’s Tamar Zandberg. The hecklers have included pro-Netanyahu activists, right-wing families of terror victims and young members of the national-religious camp.

On Thursday morning the Shin Bet security service said its unit that protects the top officials of the state, Unit 730, had placed a security detail around Bennett, the coalition-to-be’s first prime minister.

All this make sense to you? Probably not unless you are an Israeli and then you’d probably be confused. The recent war with Hamas demonstrated that after three elections with a fourth coming ups, the current government is vulnerable.  This political weakness is a major reason why there is a current push to remove Netanyahu. Will the Bennett coalition succeed?

Stay tuned.

My latest books:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II

Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

Leave a comment

Filed under Elections, Israel, Jews, The Middle East

ELECTION IN ISRAEL

BLOG 511

April 5, 2021

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

ELECTION IN ISRAEL

Chaos continues in Israel following the past week’s election. No outcome now mandates another immediate election. The situation is not good!

The Israeli TV survey opinion poll found widespread dissatisfaction among Israelis with the inconclusive election outcome, with 80 percent of respondents expressing disappointment with the stalemate and predicting a fifth round of elections within two years would be called.

The poll came amid continued political deadlock following last week’s election,  which saw neither Netanyahu’s allies nor his rivals muster enough seats to form a coalition. In the absence of a clear winner, Netanyahu’s rivals in the so-called “change bloc” — composed of centrist, right-wing and left-wing parties — were clamoring to muster enough support to form a government instead of the Likud leader, but were split on who should lead such a coalition.

One consequence of the years-long election season is that the line between policy and politics becomes blurred. Netanyahu is notorious for exploiting any election advantage he can find, and, not surprisingly, Israel’s neighbors aren’t especially thrilled playing supporting roles on Netanyahu’s stage. At this time no one is rushing to help Netanyahu’s election campaign.

Sa’ar, a former minister, left Likud in December to form New Hope, with the aim of replacing Netanyahu. Shortly after its formation, New Hope polled as high as 21 seats, but the party steadily shed support to finish with just sixth in last week’s election.

Yesh Atid leader, Yair Lapid quickly responded to Sa’ar, saying “there is nothing I’m unwilling to consider” to replace Netanyahu as Prime Minister. “I said during the campaign and I say again now: The country is more important than my personal ambitions or anyone else’s,” he wrote on Facebook.

Nearly two-thirds of voters who backed parties seeking to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from power believe his chief rival, Lapid, should stand aside and let Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett be prime minister instead, according to a Channel 13 survey published Wednesday.

With four consecutive elections failing to dent two years of Knesset gridlock, the “only democracy in the Middle East” is giving the rest of the region an up-close view of some of the more painful aspects of putting political power in the hands of the people.

So, where does Israel go from here? The road looks bumpy!

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PRIME MINISTER ELECTION IN ISRAEL

BLOG 510

March 29, 2021

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

PRIME MINISTER ELECTION IN ISRAEL

While the early polls indicated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leading other candidates, Netanyahu couldn’t close the deal. The final results from Israel’s fourth election in two years show a nation deeply divided over whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should remain in office, with neither side having secured a governing majority.

Israelis vote for party lists rather than candidates, and seats in the 120-member Knesset are assigned based on the percentage of the vote. No single Israeli party has ever won a 61-seat majority, so an aspiring prime minister must assemble a ruling coalition.

The problem for the Prime Minister’s re-election was his facing a court trial for bribery and the handling of the pandemic. Netanyahu’s approach to vaccinations  seemed to propel him forward but the virus prevailed and infections remained high. When the Knesset failed to pass a budget in December, it signaled a new election was coming.

That often means courting fringe parties or even those on the other side of the political spectrum, offering ministries, official positions, budgets or other favors in return for their support. The negotiations usually take several weeks. If no one is able to assemble a 61-seat majority the country will go into an unprecedented fifth election later this year.

Former defense minister Naftali Bennett, a Netanyahu rival who hasn’t ruled out bringing his Yamina party back into the prime minister’s bloc, heads one of the few swing factions. But his seven seats would still leave Netanyahu two seats short.

Another potential power-broker is Mansour Abbas, the head of a small Arab-Israeli party who has said he would be open to partner with either side. It would be unprecedented for an Arab party to join Jewish parties in a governing coalition. But at least some members of Netanyahu’s party have said they would consider it. Others have fiercely opposed the idea, and Netanyahu was silent on the issue Thursday.

The election produced a split between those who support Netanyahu and those who  want to end his tenure, which has now reached 14 years. Lawmakers failed after each of those elections to cobble together workable coalitions, and political analysts said this cycle will be no easier.

Israelis are watching the political haggling knowing that the most likely outcome will be yet another election. “This round of elections was among the most challenging that the state of Israel has known. Beyond the fact that this is the fourth election in the past two and a half years, we experienced an enormous challenge in light of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Orly Adas, head of the Central Elections Committee.

My latest books:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II

Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

Please watch and subscribe to my new YouTube channel MIRACLES NEVER CEASE, where I post interviews with people sharing their experiences with divine encounters!

Let the miracles begin!

Leave a comment

Filed under Elections, Israel, The Middle East

CHANGE BLOWING IN THE WIND

BLOG 509

March 22, 2021

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

CHANGE BLOWING IN THE WIND

If you follow Israeli politics, the latest polls show Netanyahu ahead in the race for Prime Minister. That’s the update, but the big story is an important shift has occurred in Israeli society.

Israel’s High Court of Justice issued a groundbreaking ruling on Monday that will mean formal recognition by the state to non-Orthodox Jewish communities in the country. The ruling will likely spark a dramatic uptick in the country’s religious culture wars and, quite possibly, a move in the Knesset to clip the wings of the court.

Clarification is needed for what the decision doesn’t do: it does not require the Haredi-controlled state rabbinate to recognize Reform and Conservative conversions. Only the Interior Ministry must do so. And even there, the decision only slightly expands the scope of the Interior Ministry’s existing recognition for those conversions. After all, the Interior Ministry has for two decades formally accepted Reform and Conservative conversions conducted overseas as conferring the right to citizenship under the Law of Return.

Monday’s ruling is, in a sense, very narrow. It instructs the Interior Ministry (but not the rabbinate) to recognize as Jewish for the purposes of immigration (but for no other purposes, such as marriage or burial) only those few Reform and Conservative conversions conducted each year inside Israel. That’s the change. As of Monday, a non-Jewish non-Israeli living in Israel who converts to Judaism in the Conservative or Reform religious streams and then asks to become a citizen based on the Law of Return will have their conversion recognized by non-religious state bodies as conferring on them that right.

The Jewish state has long refused to recognize the institutions of the Reform and Conservative movements in the country, a shunning rooted in the political power of the ultra-Orthodox and religious-Zionist political parties. This all began when Orthodox religious parties got David Ben-Gurion’s ear just as Israel was becoming a state in 1948.

Very little is likely to change in the life of Reform and Conservative converts because of Monday’s ruling. But Israel itself will change.If the ruling stands, it will mark a watershed in state recognition for Jewish religious options long rejected by Orthodox political parties and the state rabbinic apparatus.

My latest books:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II

Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

Please watch and subscribe to my new YouTube channel MIRACLES NEVER CEASE, where I post interviews with people sharing their experiences with divine encounters!

Let the miracles begin!

Leave a comment

Filed under Elections, Gaza, Jews, The Middle East

THE DAY THE EARTH SHOOK

BLOG  502

January 15, 2021

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

THE DAY THE EARTH SHOOK

You simply can’t get away from the story. The insurrection in the American capitol shot around the world. Countries that hate the U.S. applauded. Allies shuddered. Trump was impeached.  Those headlines were as big in the Middle East as they were in this country. There’s no way to avoid the subject.

I read The Jerusalem Post and The Times of Israel on a daily basis along with Moment and a number of other periodicals. Here’s an example of what they reported. “Ten House lawmakers who joined Democrats (are) now stepping up personal security, wearing body armor;. Our expectation is that someone may try to kill us,’ says Peter Meijer of Michigan. Many of us are altering our routines, working to get body armor, which is a reimbursable purchase that we can make,” Meijer said.  “It’s sad we have to get to that point. But our expectation is that someone may try to kill us.”

The Times of Israel reported, “Trump is fearful of legal exposure once he leaves office and is focused on issuing pardons before his term ends, including possibly for himself,” the report stated. The Times further printed regarding Donald Trump’s legacy, “the most terrible, horrific thing he has left us in America, is the destruction of truth… And a democracy can’t survive if there is no truth.”

Longtime CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer reflected Thursday that he was happy that his late parents, survivors of the Holocaust, did not live to witness the resurgence of anti-Semitism in the United States — particularly in the wake of anti-Semitic symbology appearing at last week’s deadly Capitol riot.  “I’m happy that they’re not seeing what’s going on now in the United States,” Blitzer reported after his cable news station screened video of his 2014 visit to Auschwitz, where his grandparents perished.

Whatever your political opinions might be, the foregoing is a reflection of what is now seen in Israel and across the Middle East. It is not a pretty picture. Hopefully this week’s inauguration will start a trend to reverse these opinions. However, with soldiers all over Washington and in every state capitol, the problem won’t be reversed quickly.

Does the opinion of leaders in the Middle East matter? If you value stability and peace, they do.

Let the miracles begin!

A New Pocast by Rev Wis, PhD about divine encounters!

My latest books:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Elections, Israel, Jews, The Middle East, Trump