Tag Archives: Elections

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!

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HOT TIMES IN OLD PALESTINE

BLOG 506

February 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.

HOT TIMES IN OLD PALESTINE

The last election for a Palestinian Authority President was sixteen years ago when they were supposed to elect in approximately a four year or so period. You might say Mahmoud Abbas is a bit behind. Somehow old Abbas just kept dealing from the bottom of the deck. He has just decreed for the first time that a new election will be held July 31.

The eighty-five-year-old PA President is not in good health. A constant chain smoker with heart disease, he always has a doctor at his side usually disguised as a security team member.  However, that’s only one of his problems. If he survives and should run again, he’s got Hama breathing down his neck. The scramble for election could turn into a real war.

As strange as it seems, 2021 could turn out to be filled with even more uncertainties than 2020 was. With President Joe Biden rejoining the Iranian nuclear agreement, even a small incident could set off a chain of events that would end in disaster. That’s a dark shadow always looming on the horizon.

But here’s the more immediate problem. A recent survey of Palestinians reveals that a majority believe that Hamas or Fatah would not accept the results of an election if they were on the losing end. One half of all Palestinians do not believe that an election would be free or fair. These findings indicate a civil war whether Abbas wins or not. That’s not a good picture.

Let’s say Abbas did have a heart attack or there was a contested election. The Fatah dominated P.A. could find itself in a “smoke’em dead” war with bitter rival Hamas. Hamas could see the clash as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take over the PA. This is exactly what Hamas did in the 2007 coup when they took over Gaza.

Hamas is financed by Iran’s Shi’ite government. Should they prevail in Ramallah, they could destabilize Israeli security. Not much imagination is needed to understand how frightening this could all become.

There’s a long list of possible candidates to replace Abbas.  They range from corrupt officials to terrorists to long time party hacks. Not exactly an admirable potential slate. Sorry, but the pickings are slim.

The question to be answered is whether the next PA president will be another extension  of the Arafat terrorist style or someone like the Gulf state Arab leaders who have come to terms with Israel’s existence. If Hamas should succeed, all hell will break loose.

Keep an eye on Ramallah. There’s surely much more to come.

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

Let the miracles begin!

Episode 2 – Rev Joseph Bias

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)

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Filed under Israel, Palestinians, The Middle East

THE AMERICAN ELECTION SEEN IN ISRAEL

BLOG  493

NOVEMBER 29,  2020

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 AMERICAN ELECTION SEEN IN ISRAEL

How can anyone not write about the election? The all-absorbing event concerned many because Russia or Iran might hack to distort the results. That story died as other distracting claims poured in. However, the point of view in Israel offers another perspective on the meaning of the election.  The Times of Israel newspaper offered some insights.

Viewed from Jerusalem, this presidentially engineered crisis in American democracy raised particular concerns and echoes. America’s engagement in the Middle East, as a force for stability and freedom, is a critical element of Israel’s strategic defense. A reliable America that shares Israel’s democratic values, is a vital partner and a potent deterrent to  the state’s enemies. That was not the America emblemized by its president on Thursday evening.

Trump’s untrammeled railing against the system through which he was duly elected, and now faced defeat, was also considerably too close for comfort to some of  Israel’s own prime minister’s desperation tactics in his hours of need: Benjamin Netanyahu has never sounded as willfully delusional, but he too, at election time, has questioned the legitimacy of votes in the Arab sector, and sent activists with cameras to try to deter Arab voters. He too, as he seeks to retain power in the midst of his legal troubles, has battered away at the legitimacy of Israel’s democratic institutions, the media and the opposition — asserting without evidence that shadowy forces, including law enforcement and prosecution hierarchies, conspired to illegitimately remove him from power.

The Israel Democracy Institute last week found that 70 percent of Israeli Jews and 63% of all Israelis considered Trump the “preferable” presidential candidate to Biden from the “standpoint of Israel’s interests.” That was thoroughly understandable given the Trump administration’s long series of words and deeds consensually supported by the Israeli public . Such as recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moving the US embassy to the city, endorsing Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights were seen as positive.  In addition, , withdrawing from the 2015 Iran deal and raising financial pressure on Iran while  taking a less sympathetic position on Palestinian demands than previous administrations was applauded by  the Jewish public .

However, The Times noted this presidentially engineered crisis in American democracy raised concerns. America’s engagement in the region, as a force for stability and freedom, is a critical element of Israel’s strategic defense. A reliable America, an America that shares Israel’s democratic values, is a vital partner and a potent deterrent to our enemies. That was not the America emblemized by its president on Thursday evening. That’s the view from Jerusalem.   

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)

    

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Filed under America, Elections, Israel

THE SUMMER OF DISCONTENT IN ISRAEL

BLOG 482
August 310 2020

protests

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 SUMMER OF DISCONTENT IN ISRAEL

Everywhere one looks struggle, confusion, and despondency prevail. With American elections coming up, the TV viewer is berouged by negative and often lying political commercials. Are Americans alone in this quagmire? Afraid not. Look at public opinion in Israel.

The danger to democracy looms larger than security threat, poll says; majority see Netanyahu’s handling of the coronavirus as ‘poor’ and most oppose new elections. Israelis perceive the threat to the nation’s democracy as looming larger than the external security threat, according to an Israeli survey published Wednesday.

The Israel Democracy Institute survey found that only 38 percent of the respondents felt optimistic about the future of democratic governance in Israel, with 54% pessimistic. This compared to 59% who are optimistic about national security, with 35% pessimistic. Just over half (51%) give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “poor” or “not good” grade for his personal and ethical behavior. Netanyahu is on trial for fraud, breach of trust and for accepting bribes. A slightly lower number of respondents, 45%, said his performance handling the coronavirus crisis and running the government was “not good” or “poor.”

During the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, a majority of interviewees expressed high trust in Netanyahu’s handling of the crisis. Today, with a second wave of the outbreak shaking the nation, only a minority gave him a grade of “good” or “excellent” in that domain: 27% for Jews and 18% for Arabs, the report on the survey said. Netanyahu’s handling of the nation’s security policy is, however, still approved by most, with 56% of respondents giving him a grade of “good” or “excellent.

Amid recent chatter about the possibility of the coalition breaking apart, the data shows that the majority of voters from all parties oppose new elections, with right-wing voters wanting it the least, the report said.. The data showed that only 25% of Jewish Israelis and 43% Arab Israelis support dismantling the current government and going to new elections at the end of 2020.

You can’t make everybody happy, but Israel is certainly filled with plenty who aren’t positive or content. Where will it all go? 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.

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Filed under Arabs, COVID-19, Elections, Israel, Jews, 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.

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Filed under Elections, Israel, The Middle East, Trump

THE LATEST ON ISRAELI POLITICS Part 2

BLOG 466
March 30, 2020

israel

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 2

You think American politics is crazy? Israeli elections and results are off the scale. After three elections in a row, Israel remained divided with Prime Minister Netanyahu scurrying around like a scared mouse, trying to put a government together as well as avoiding going to jail. If you’ve followed this scenario for several months, you’d swear the Keystone Cops had made a come back.

Today we are possibly on the verge of a breakthrough.

Benny Gantz appears to be willing to give up on his political career to ally with Netanyahu in hopes of helping his beleaguered nation. Benny Gantz’s change of position on Thursday was met with bitter excoriation from his former allies.  “Benny Gantz decided today to break apart Blue and White and crawl into Netanyahu’s government,” declared Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid. “What’s being formed today isn’t a unity government and not an emergency government. It’s another Netanyahu government. Benny Gantz surrendered without a fight and crawled into Netanyahu’s government, joined the haredi-extremist bloc,” he said.

In a sense, he’s right. Gantz appears to be the most obvious loser from his decision to join Netanyahu. He surrendered his most valuable cards just as the fight was reaching its climax, with Blue and White finally in control of the Knesset and a new speaker set to be voted in, and just as Netanyahu, fearful of a Knesset set against him, was for the first time begging for serious unity talks.

Among the issues yet to be resolved are the distribution of a number of ministry portfolios and other senior posts, and promises the two parties are looking to extract from each other regarding what kind of legislation they will advance, particularly regarding Netanyahu’s legal fate. On Thursday, Gantz was sworn in as Knesset speaker with the support of Likud, signaling an apparent unity deal between the two that would put a year-long political deadlock to rest. Gantz, who had promised not to sit under Netanyahu as prime minister because of indictments in three criminal cases against him, said he was putting aside his vow given the health crisis plaguing the world.

Is the Israeli government crisis really over? Who can tell? Maybe yes; maybe no. As of this day, the log jam seems to have broken more because of the coronavirus crisis turning the country upside down rather than the will of the people. As in every good soap opera, you have to keep listening tomorrow to see what comes next.

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 COVID-19, Elections, Israel, The Middle East

THE LATEST ON ISRAELI POLITICS

BLOG 465
March 23, 2020

virus

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

I promise to write nothing about the coronavirus. You can’t turn on the TV without being inundated with that story. I promise none of that this week!

The headline in The Jerusalem Post was “KING BIBI, THE MAGICIAN.” While Netanyahu doesn’t have a coalition in the bag, he seems to have pulled a rabbit out of the hat.

Having served as Prime Minister for 14 years and just two weeks before trial on bribery and breach of trust charges, he eked out a few seats in the Knesset giving him another shot at forming a government.

The biggest boast to his attempt to stay in office now turns out to be the coronavirus scourge. (Oops! I broke my promise.) While there is still a political impasse, Netanyahu is calling for an emergency coalition government, leaving his political opponent Mr. Gantz little room to do much more than cooperate. This clever manipulation would push the government more toward Netanyahu’s control.

While most of Israel thought that he was down and out, this rapidly spreading illness has actually brought him back to life. Netanyahu reached into an empty hat and pulled out a new angle on staying in office.

Netanyahu stated that this would only be an emergency government for a limited time. Gantz has not responded to the idea, but the leader of the Blue and White party said he would be willing to discuss the idea. These gyrations showcase Netanyahu’s skills as a leader. It puts him in the driver’s seat to lock-down the country if the disease continues to spread. The self-imposed quarantine means that all contacts with other foreign leaders would be by video or telephone.

The political advantage to Netayahu is that it showcases him. While some leaders say he’s doing way too much, no one can claim he’s not doing anything. Critics accuse him of exploiting the problem for political gain. If they like him, he’s a genius. If they don’t, he’s a fraud.

The political situation in Israel continues to be more intriguing than those old Saturday afternoon movie serials. Can the hero win? The villain be caught? Keep showing up at the box office for more exciting adventures.

Now here’s something you really can sink your teeth into! I have a new book just out.

82 DAYS ON OKINAWA has been proclaimed as an unforgettable firsthand account of the Pacific’s war’s greatest Battle. The book has been released by Harper-Collins under the name of Col Art Shaw and Robert L. Wise. You’ll find it to be a great diversion during this virus crisis.

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

You might find my collection of Holy Land experiences to be helpful.
BIBLE LANDS: An illustrated Guide to Scriptural Places
Barbpir books Publishers

 

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

PROBLEMS IN ISRAEL

BLOG 447
October 14, 2019

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.

PROBLEMS IN ISRAEL

The political crisis in Israel continues.

Talks have surfaced of a possible coup against Netanyahu within the Likud party, his own political base. If such a challenge evolves, it would be the most serious affront in a decade. The bombshell announcement prompted a statement from Likud leader Gideon Sa’ar announcing that he was prepared to serve in a leadership position. It would appear that Sa’ar is prepared to confront Netanyahu over party leadership. In the past, Sa’ar has been a critic of Netanyahu’s attempts to secure immunity from prosecution for charges of bribery and similar crimes. If you like spy novels and intrigue, this story may be one to follow. We’ll see.

Tied in a dead heat in the last election, Benny Gantz and Benjamin Netanyahu continue to exchange barbs with no progress to settling the leadership crisis. President Reuven Rivlin had earlier proposed a unity government with the two each serving in equally divided time periods.
So far no success.

Just before the Rosh Hashanah holidays, Gantz and Netanyahu had a coalition meeting set. Claiming that the minimum conditions for a meeting had not been met, Gantz saw no purpose in meeting and cancelled the discussion. The accusations flew back and forth for what went wrong, but it all sounded like typical political double-talk.

Fundamentally, a stalemate continues to exist. Probably a couple more weeks will be required before enough of the dust clears to really know what is going.

Meanwhile back at the ranch…

Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife Sara failed to show in a lawsuit hearing filed by a housecleaner who claims Sara Netanyahu abused her. The judge was furious and condemned both Sara and her attorney. The ultra-Orthodox mother of three is suing for $64,000 dollars of damages. The judge made it clear that Sara would be charged with court costs for this lack of an appearance. Needless to say, this is another headache, Bibi doesn’t need.

On the upbeat side, the children of Holocaust survivors saved by the actions of German Industrialist Oscar Schindler gathered at his grave in Jerusalem to mark 45 years since his death on October 7, 1974. As is customary for Jews, his grave is marked with many small stones placed on the tombstone. Schindler was a controversial individual because he worked for the Nazi party as well as spying in Czechoslovakia in 1940. He was known as greedy, a gambler, a drinker, and womanizer. And yet from the 1,200 Jewish people Schindler saved have come a multitude. Though a man of contradictions, thousands of Jews are today grateful for his life.

You might find my collection of Holy Land experiences to be helpful.
BIBLE LANDS: An illustrated Guide to Scriptural Places
Barbpir books Publishers

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AND WHAT HAPPENED TO EGYPT?

I’m never sure why the media does or does not cover important events occurring around the globe. The best that I can tell is that when there are no riots, large-scale explosions, or military interventions, it all news slips behind the local sports page or a report on how to make a pecan pie. As of late, Egypt ended up behind the pies.

However, the political situation continues to boil in the land of pyramids. If you haven’t kept up with the latest shifts, here’s the current setting. General Abdel al-Sisi resigned the military and became a citizen. As was predicted on this blog some months ago, Sisi is now making a bid for the presidency. Military and security agencies continue to control the country and have virtually wiped out the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). The MB were declared a terrorist organization with over 500 members sentenced to death. Sisi also brought harsh reprisals on Hamas, a close ally of the MB. How these dramatic changes will play out is the new question of the day.

The past three years of revolution would seem to suggest that Egyptians do not want a return to Mubark’s style of an authoritarian regime. (the reason why Sisi resigned his position with the military) Neither do they want former president Mori’s backdoor approach to creating a Muslim state (like Iran) and putting all of his old cronies in office. However, after Sisi was promoted to Field Marshall, he demonstrated that he rules with an iron fist. Military troops hit hard any protests against his rule. The years of political and social unrest appear to have created wide-spread support for Abdel Sisi because citizens recognize that he won’t tolerate any nonsense (unfortunately, or opposition).

Political relationships have radically changed. Sisi pushed away from Turkey, but grew significantly closer to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Because of the criticisms from Washington and delays in recognizing the new government, Sisi made a trip to Moscow looking into the Russians supplying arms. This action was taken in the face of the USA’s continued supply of foreign aid. Surprisingly, Egypt improved better relationships with Israel. The Morsi regime had hinted at cancellation of the peace treaty with Israel which would have been a disaster for Egypt. Sisi’s new doctrine and the pressure placed on Hamas was welcomed with joy in Israel. Both Egypt and Israel renewed their efforts to shut down the radical jihadists creating problems for both countries in the Sinai peninsula. These efforts have proved significant.

Undoubtedly, Sisi will win by a landslide in the upcoming election. Egypt desperately needs to end the violence and instability that has wrecked the country and sent tourism to the bottom. However, Sisi’s heavy-handedness has raised fears that he may turn into a despotic pharaoh with a return to a Mubarkic style of governing. No small issue!

The world will be observing what follows the predictable election and the Egyptians have already demonstrated a willingness to react violently to disappointments. Let’s hope Abdel Sisi proves to be a good guy this time.

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