Category Archives: Israel

NETANYAHU ON TRIAL

BLOG 476
June 22, 2020

conspiracy

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.

Netanyahu On Trial

The corruption trial of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is on the back burner, yet it continues to loom large in Israeli politics. It is still the subject of regular media leaks, driving a persistent din of confrontations between the prime minister and prominent journalists, and affecting Netanyahu’s political calculations at nearly every turn. It is also the subject of the most significant and popular conspiracy theory in Israeli public life, one pushed by the prime minister himself.

The theory goes something like this: Netanyahu committed no wrong but is being hounded by police investigators and prosecutors, including an attorney general and police commissioner he appointed, with a leftist media egging it all on with the single overriding goal of ousting him from power and bringing the left, or at least some weak-kneed right-winger who will do the left’s bidding, to power.

It’s a ham-fisted claim, and few Israelis who don’t identify with Netanyahu’s politics take it seriously. Too many distinct individuals and organizations must all fall in with the conspiracy to make it work. One might convincingly claim that a single prosecutor in a prominent case could become enamored with their own power. Or even that a string of investigators might be driven to coordinated unethical behavior by a problematic organizational culture in the police. Or, too, that leftist leanings in the judiciary might stack the deck against a right-wing prime minister.

True or not, such claims are at least plausible. Cops, prosecutors and judges are only human, after all.

But Netanyahu’s claim is larger. “Citizens of Israel,” he declared in a televised broadcast shortly before the opening of his corruption trial on May 24, “what is on trial today is an effort to stymie the will of the people — an attempt to bring down both me and the right-wing camp…. Elements in the police and the prosecution joined forces with the leftist media — I call them the ‘anyone but Bibi’ gang — to manufacture baseless and absurd cases against me. The goal is to bring down a strong prime minister from the right and thus keep the right out of power for many years. “

It’s in the details that the scale of this claim becomes clear. Netanyahu is arguing that former police commissioner Roni Alsheich, a religious, conservative former deputy head of the Shin Bet appointed to head the police by Netanyahu himself — and last month called a “criminal” in his own right by the prime minister — pushed police investigators to pursue the prime minister despite knowing there was no case. The police investigators all cooperated, with none leaking any misgivings to the press from that famously leak-prone organization.

State prosecutors then took up the cause, all, again, falling in line with the conspiracy; then-state attorney Shai Nitzan, known to favor a harsher line on corruption cases, including Netanyahu’s, then managed by some mysterious power to coerce Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, another religious conservative who once served as a top Netanyahu aide and was his choice for attorney general, to turn on his boss and pursue a prosecution of the prime minister he knows to be unfair.

Several judges, attorneys and state’s witnesses all played parts in the vast conspiracy — with everyone at every step knowing full well that it was all a lie meant to bring down an innocent man, but none ever breathing a word of it, even anonymously, to the media.

Netanyahu’s conspiracy theory encompasses too many unlikely conspirators and alleges a distinctly un-Israeli capacity for silence on the part of too many actors to be taken as a serious argument about the facts of the case.

So, the trial and the arguments continue. Stay tuned.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

Leave a comment

Filed under Elections, Israel, The Middle East

ANNEXATION HEATS UP!

BLOG 475
June 15, 2020

palestine-gaza-strip

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.

ANNEXATION HEATS UP!

The idea of annexing part of Palestinian land has been pushed off the front page by concerns about the virus and the protests over the death of George Floyd. Not so in Israel! Taking advantage of urging by President Donald Trump, Netanyahu continues to pursue the idea. However, the response in Israel has been tense.

Thousands of Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv Saturday evening to protest Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pledge to begin annexing parts of the West Bank next month. Some called his idea a war crime. Police initially sought to block the rally but backtracked Friday after meeting with organizers, who urged participants to wear masks and adhere to social distancing guidelines. Dozens of officers were securing the demonstration after police said attendance would be capped at 2,000, though the Haaretz Daily put the turnout at 6,000 people in what appeared to be the largest protest in the country since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Of course, the Palestinians are not happy. Announced at the end of January in Washington, US President Donald Trump’s peace plan provides for the annexation by Israel of 30 percent of the West Bank — covering all the settlements and the Jordan Valley — with conditional provisions for a Palestinian state in the rest of the territory, including some areas on the outskirts of East Jerusalem. The Palestinians have rejected the US plan in its entirety.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to annex the 132 settlements, home to some 450,000 Israelis, next month, and the rest of the territory allocated to Israel soon after, subject to American approval.

Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said the Palestinians were hoping that Netanyahu would not go ahead with his annexation plan. He called annexation an “existential threat” that would mark the “total erosion of our national aspirations.” The PA’ has submitted a counter plan that calls for the creation of a “sovereign Palestinian state, independent and demilitarized” with “minor modifications of borders where necessary.” The Palestinian text foresaw possible land swaps between the two future states on a like-for-like basis, he said at a press conference. Shtayyeh declined to provide further details about the the 4 1/2-page proposal but said the Palestinian position on major issues is well-known.

What’s next? Sounds like Netanyahu is plowing ahead. Regardless.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

Leave a comment

Filed under America, COVID-19, Gaza, Israel, Palestinians, The Middle East, Trump

DENOUNCEMENT OF NETANYAHU

BLOG 474
June 1, 2020

truth

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.

DENOUNCEMENT OF NETANYAHU

The trial of Benjamin Netanyahu on charges of bribery and other criminal charges is underway with fireworks to follow. This week Netanyahu blasted the police and prosecutor’s office.

Flanked by ministers and lawmakers from his Likud party, Netanyahu delivered lengthy televised remarks before the start of the hearing at the Jerusalem District Court, ripping into police and prosecutors as he became the first Israeli premier to stand trial on criminal charges while in office, and declaring that all his right-wing supporters were on trial along with him. He said, “I’m not a poodle… and therefore they need to remove me by any means.”

Opposition leader Yair Lapid on Sunday evening decried as a “horror show” the speech Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made just before entering the opening hearing of his corruption trial, and said it confirmed that a criminal defendant cannot serve as Israel’s leader. He noted that, “Israel’s prime minister stood and said people can’t trust police, the prosecution or the court,” the Yesh Atid-Telem party leader said. “What happens to an Israeli citizen who hears him and thinks he’s right? Are we supposed to close the country and throw away the key?

“I have been saying for more than 18 months that someone who sits on the defendant’s bench cannot also be the prime minister. Today we got a demonstration why that principle is correct. It was a horror show by a frightened man who is telling Israel’s citizens that they cannot trust anything here, with followers standing behind him and saying amen,” Lapid charged.

He also argued the premier and his loyalists were seeking to intimidate the judges.

A Supreme Court justice, in a ruling published Wednesday, took the unusual step of criticizing the fact that Benjamin Netanyahu is serving as prime minister while under indictment.

“The reality in which a criminal suspect forms a government and leads it reflects a social crisis and moral failure of society and of Israel’s political system,” Judge Menahem (Meni) Mazuz wrote in the full response to petitions that sought to prevent Netanyahu from forming a government due to the criminal charges against him.

Justice Anat Baron appeared to concur with Mazuz, writing in her response, “The petitioners and others like them are frustrated that the head of the State of Israel is someone who is facing a serious indictment. This is indeed an unusual situation in the democratic landscape, some would say dangerous.”

Who said watching Israeli politics is not fun… well, maybe not fun, but certainly interesting. You can bet there’s more to come!

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

Leave a comment

Filed under Elections, Israel, The Middle East

NEW TENSIONS BETWEEN JEWS AND EVANGELICALS

BLOG 473
May 25, 2020

God-TV-Logo

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.

NEW TENSIONS BETWEEN JEWS AND EVANGELICALS

An evangelical broadcaster, who boasted of miraculously securing a TV license in Israel, now risks being taken off the air over suspicions of trying to convert Jews to Christianity. The controversy over “GOD TV” has put both Israel and its evangelical Christian supporters in an awkward position, exposing tensions the two sides have long papered over. Evangelical Christians, particularly in the United States, are among the strongest supporters of Israel, viewing it as the fulfillment of biblical prophecy, with some seeing it as the harbinger of a second coming of Jesus Christ and the end of days.

Israel has long welcomed evangelicals’ political and financial support, especially as their influence over the White House has risen during the Trump era, and it has largely shrugged off concerns about any hidden religious agenda. But most Jews view any effort to convert them to Christianity as deeply offensive, a legacy of centuries of persecution and forced conversion at the hands of Christian rulers. In part because of those sensitivities, evangelical Christians, who generally believe salvation can only come through Jesus and preach the Gospel worldwide, rarely target Jews.

When GOD TV, an international Christian broadcaster, reached a seven-year contract earlier this year with HOT, Israel’s main cable provider, it presented itself as producing content for Christians. But in a video message that has since been taken down, GOD TV CEO Ward Simpson suggested its real aim was to convince Jews to accept Jesus as their messiah. The channel, known as “Shelanu,” broadcast in Hebrew even though most Christians in the Holy Land speak Arabic. “God has supernaturally opened the door for us to take the Gospel of Jesus into the homes and lives and hearts of his Jewish people,” Simpson said in the video. “They’ll watch secretly, they’ll watch quietly,” he added. “God is restoring his people, God is removing the blindness from their eyes.”

In a subsequent video, Simpson acknowledged that the channel was under investigation by Israeli authorities, saying that preaching about Jesus in Israel is a “very touchy subject.” He apologized for any offensive remarks and said GOD TV would comply with all regulations. Freedom of religion is enshrined in Israeli law, and proselytizing is allowed as long as missionary activities are not directed at minors and do not involve economic coercion.

“In recent decades, millions of Christians have felt the call to stand with the State of Israel and the Jewish people with no hidden agenda,” said Laurie Cardoza-Moore, a Tennessee-based evangelical who hosts a program called “Focus on Israel” that previously aired on GOD TV. “Any attempts to convert Jews or downgrade their religion will only [sow] undue hatred at a time when we should unite in the face of darkness,” Cardoza-Moore said.

The issue remains one of the major “hot-button” issues of our time in Israel. It will be interesting to see what comes next.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Faith, Israel, Jews

PLAYING WITH MATCHES!

BLOG 472
May 18, 2020

playing wmatches

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.

PLAYING WITH MATCHES!

My mother use to say that playing with fire was a good way to get burned. This past week Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was warned that he’s fiddlin’ with fire. Standing in the shadows is President Donald Trump who is carrying a can of gasoline, waiting to serve his own purposes. Here’s the situation.

Jordan’s king warned of ‘massive conflict’ if Israel annexed land in West Bank.
Abdullah did not rule out suspending any peace deal with the Jewish state and insisted the two-state solution was ‘the only way forward.’ King Abdullah has warned that should Israel move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, it would lead to a “massive conflict” with his country, and did not rule out pulling out of Amman’s peace deal with the Jewish state. In an interview published Friday by the German daily Der Spiegel, Abdullah insisted that a two-state solution was “the only way forward” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Because of the on-going conflict with the Palestinians, many Israelis considered a two-state solution dead. Netanyahu is in that camp. The question becomes whether the Israeli public would support a move that could wreck their country and profoundly unsettle their lives.

The question that follows is what would happen if the Palestinian National Authority collapsed. The Times of Israel reports Abdullah’s answer is, “There would be more chaos and extremism in the region. If Israel really annexed the West Bank in July, it would lead to a massive conflict with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. When asked by his interviewer about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s intention to take advantage of the opportunity that US President Donald Trump has created to seize large parts of Palestine, he said, “I don’t want to make threats and create an atmosphere of loggerheads, but we are considering all options. We agree with many countries in Europe and the international community that the law of strength should not apply in the Middle East.

Dangerous indeed!

During the Arafat era, huge numbers of Palestinians fled to Jordan. Today a large portion of Jordan’s population comes from that migration. Abdullah knows that leaders who advocate a one state solution have no idea what that would mean for the entire Middle East.

Several European nations led by France, and including Ireland, Sweden, Belgium, Spain and Luxembourg, have reportedly expressed support for threats of punitive action in a bid to deter the new Israeli government (set to be sworn in on Sunday) from carrying out the move with a green light from Washington.

Alone among most governments, the Trump administration has said it will support the annexation of West Bank territory as long as Israel agrees to enter peace talks. US Ambassador David Friedman said last week that Washington is ready to recognize Israeli sovereignty over parts of the West Bank should it be declared in the coming weeks.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Gaza, Israel, Jews, Palestinians, The Middle East, Trump

HOUDINI ESCAPES AGAIN!

BLOG 471
May 11, 2020

magic

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.

HOUDINI ESCAPES AGAIN!

Often called a political magician, Benjamin Netanyahu has done it once more. Bibi has squeaked by many times over the last decade. Predictions of a failure this time haven’t proved true. Here’s the latest.

Netanyahu got the nod from Rivlin to form government, seemingly cementing rule. The move comes after large Knesset majority — including rival-turned-ally Gantz — tells president it endorses Likud incumbent as prime minister; government to be sworn in next week. After 17 months of heading a transitional government and fighting for his political survival, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was tasked Thursday by President Reuven Rivlin with forming the next government, which is expected to be announced and sworn in next week. Rivlin passed the baton to Netanyahu hours after receiving the signatures of 72 Knesset members endorsing him to lead the government, and hours before a deadline that would trigger a fourth round of elections. It is the third time in a year that Rivlin has given Netanyahu a shot at forming the Knesset, but unlike previous instances, the Likud leader is widely expected to actually succeed and forge a power-sharing coalition with rival-turned-partner Benny Gantz and other allies who have already agreed to join them. Already in power for over a decade, Netanyahu will now likely be prime minister for at least another 18 months, as he fights charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three separate cases.

On Wednesday, Likud and Gantz’s Blue and White party said the new government would be sworn in on Wednesday, May 13, once final decisions are made regarding ministerial appointments.

In the Knesset, Benny Gantz and [Blue and White No.2] Gabi Ashkenzi gathered signatures to recommend that the president task Netanyahu with forming the next government. They want to form a government within a week because in two weeks, Netanyahu’s trial starts. Within a week they will swear allegiance to him; in two weeks he will be on trial for breach of trust. They call it an emergency government when the emergency is over. They talk about unity, but don’t trust one another.

Just about the time the curtain falls on this story, it will rise again on Bibi going to trial.

The scenario is better than a soap opera.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Elections, Israel, The Middle East

MORE CHAOS IN ISRAEL

BLOG 470
Mat 4, 2020

middleast

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.

MORE CHAOS IN ISRAEL

Just about the time you thought Israeli politics was settling down, BINGO! There’s a new problem. After Benny Gatz make a major concession for the sake of the country, an under the table move threatened to blow the reconciliation apart. Here’s the latest.

In a bombshell move that threatens to block his former ally Benny Gantz from becoming Israel’s prime minister, Yesh Atid-Telem leader Yair Lapid on Monday promised his party would vote with Benjamin Netanyahu if the prime minister seeks to cancel his rotation agreement with Benny Gantz, which is supposed to take effect 18 months into the lifespan of the planned Netanyahu-Gantz coalition. Lapid would thus help ensure the necessary majority to cancel the law anchoring the Netanyahu-Gantz power-sharing deal, and bring down the government.

Lapid’s extraordinary promise drew a furious response from Gantz’s Blue and White party, and an allegation from Yisrael Beytenu’s Avigdor Liberman that, in so doing, Lapid would be saving Netanyahu’s political skin. Lapid responded that it was Gantz who is saving Netanyahu by partnering with him in the new coalition, and that if, down the line, “we have an opportunity to topple the government, of course we will do so.”

Gantz, a former IDF chief of staff, entered politics early last year and formed an alliance with Lapid and former Likud defense minister Moshe Ya’alon. Their Blue and White party fought three elections on a promise never to sit in government with Netanyahu so long as he is facing corruption allegations, branding him divisive, corrupt and dangerous to Israel. Citing the current corona-virus pandemic and the need for government stability, Gantz changed his position and agreed to work with Netanyahu.

To prevent Netanyahu from later overturning the legislation with a regular majority of 61 in the 120-member parliament — which he could feasibly achieve — the bill stipulates that canceling it would require a special majority of 75 lawmakers. Such a significant change to the Basic Law, weakening the power of the Knesset’s basic majority, has been criticized in some quarters as detrimental to democracy. It was in that context that Lapid dropped his Gantz-blocking bombshell Monday.

Where does Israel and the Knesset go next? It’s possible to declare Yair Lapid’s assertion is sour grapes and should be rejected outright. Unfortunately, Israeli politics is not so simple or straight forward.

Stay tuned! More to come.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Elections, Israel, The Middle East

ISRAELI MISSILES!

BLOG 469
April 27, 2020

wmd

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.

ISRAELI MISSILES!

Let’s take a break from Israeli political turmoil and another report on the corona virus (as if we needed ANOTHER discussion of that) and look at a new discovery just released to the public. As you already know, for some time Hezbollah has been camped in Lebanon with rockets ready to fire at Israel. At the south, the Gaza strip has constantly shot rockets at southern Israeli communities. While Iran is a greater distance away, they have made no bones about wanting to drop the Big Bomb on Israel.

Guided missiles have also played a part in the Syrian civil war. While America has been backing out of Syria, the Russians have been forging ahead with dreams of turning Syria into a type of satellite country. Russia has not hesitated to add to the stockpile of weapons. How can Israel protect itself?

The Israeli Defense Ministry (IDF) has made a breakthrough in using lasers to intercept rocket and anti-tank guided missiles. Defense Minister Natali Bennett said recently, “we will add a laser sword when dealing with threats from the North or the South.”

For ten years, the IDF has been working on this weapon with a capacity to wipe out a number of types of weapons, including mortars, drones, anti-tank missiles as well as the bombardment from the sky. The system is based on high-energy electric lasers rather than chemical laser technology and is far more effective. However, this new weapon will be used along with the current “Iron Drome” defensive system that has proved highly effective in stopping attacks on Tel Aviv. While the old system costs thousands of dollars for a single shot, the new laser system only costs a few for the same.

Like something from a James Bond movie, the new system cannot be heard or seen. Quite a step forward!

With threats from neighboring countries always being a problem, Israel has zoomed ahead in the production of armaments that has made them the predominant country in the Middle East. When one considers the size of Israelbeing so much smaller than any of the surrounding countries, the new anti-missile system marks another amazing accomplishment.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

Leave a comment

Filed under COVID-19, Elections, Gaza, Israel, The Middle East

THE LATEST ON ISRAELI POLITICS Part 5 – Will this go on forever?

BLOG 468
April 20, 2020

israel-election

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 LATEST ON ISRAELI POLITICS
Part 5 – Will this go on forever?

If you think you’ve seen it all… just keep looking at Israeli politics. My favorite description of Jewish thought is, “two Jews, three opinions” That’s where they still are in trying to form a new government in light of three previous elections that provided nothing. Here’s the latest.

After talks on Gantz’s side failed to produce government by Wednesday night deadline, President Reuven Rivlin says he hopes the legislature can choose a person to form a coalition. Rivlin gives Knesset 21 days to agree on the Prime Minister it wants, or go to new election

President Rivlin informed Knesset Speaker Benny Gantz on Thursday morning that his mandate to form a government had ended, after the Blue and White party leader failed to present a government to the parliament by Wednesday night’s midnight deadline.

Rivlin announced earlier this week he would not hand the mandate to Gantz’s rival, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, but would trigger the start of the 21-day period during which the entire Knesset as a whole may select a candidate to form a government. Under Israel’s Basic Law, if the Knesset fails to agree on a candidate in the allotted three weeks, the government is automatically dissolved and new elections are called. If a candidate does secure 61 votes, that person has 14 additional days to form a government before an election must be called. Revlin chose not to give Netanyahu another 28 days in which to attempt to negotiate a government himself, as he could have done under the law. The move was widely seen as intended to force Netanyahu and Gantz to stop dithering and seal a unity deal quickly amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision Thursday marks only the second time in Israel’s history that the mandate to form a governing coalition was handed to the Knesset. The first time was after the September 2019 race. Both Netanyahu and Gantz have reportedly expressed a willingness to go to a fourth election, even as the nation remains under lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Can you believe it? Consider what it would be like in America to have three national elections without producing a winner. Run chills up your back.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under COVID-19, Elections, Israel, The Middle East

THE LATEST ON ISRAELI POLITICS – Pt 4

BLOG 467
April 6, 2020

meflag

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 LATEST ON ISRAELI POLITICS
Part 4

When Americans heard that Benny Gantz had agreed to form a coalition government with Bibi Netanyahu, they were surprised as they knew almost nothing about Gantz. Netanyahu has made a special effort to cultivate American taste and influential political leaders, including the president. Consequentially, Americans are often surprised to learn how he is viewed in Israel. While considered a master politician, Netanyahu is seen as a manipulator, a flip-flopper, and is despised by many even though his rule has been positive for the country. As you probably know, he is currently under indictment and facing a trial in the immediate future.

But who is Benny Gantz? Besides being Israel’s top general, he is not well known politically. In order to bring him into perspective, I felt that reading the General’s words might be one of the best ways for you to make a judgement about him. The following is a statement he made this past week.

  • I chose the only path possible at this time, a national emergency government
  • I will never compromise on democracy or on the underlying principles of the more than one million Israelis who voted for Blue and White
  • We are facing one of the most serious challenges in the history of our country. It is a global challenge of exceptional magnitude, and it has hit Israel at a time of crippling political deadlock and unbearable divisions — a lethal combination. Leadership has never been more necessary. Leading has never been more difficult.
  • As a soldier who has dedicated my life to protecting the State of Israel, I have vowed to carry my commitment to the country forward and inform my decisions as a political leader. At this time of crisis, I had no choice but to put politics aside and choose the only path that allows us to avoid fourth elections. Because at a time like this, pulling people out to the polls again — many of whom have lost their livelihoods and are riddled with anxiety about the future — is inconceivable. I chose the only path which positions Israel to effectively fight this horrific pandemic: the path of a national emergency government.
  • More than ever, Israel needs unity. Israel needs strong and capable leadership, able to relentlessly fight the coronavirus, while protecting Israel’s democracy.
  • And let me state clearly: No matter how fierce the battle, I will never compromise on democracy. I will never compromise on the principles underpinning the votes of the more than one million Israelis who voted for Blue and White. … I embrace the people who feel angry. I have love for the people who feel disappointed. I respect everyone. And I personally pledge to the public: I will use every means to ensure that our attitude and our way prevail.

Perhaps, Gantz’s own perspective will paint a picture of why so many in Israel voted for him three times in a row, bringing the Netanyahu administration to a halt and forcing a compromise from both sides.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

Leave a comment

Filed under Elections, Israel, The Middle East, Trump