Tag Archives: Israeli Parliament


BLOG 389 April 2, 2018

    For the last several weeks, we have been following the hottest story in Israel. The ongoing investigation by the police has placed Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife in a difficult position. This week another segment unfolded.

On March 13, Netanyahu and his Coalition partners made a deal to resolve the current Coalition crisis. They agreed not to pursue an election in June. This decision sustains the current government, pending any action indicting the Prime Minister by Attorney General Avichai Mandelbit. The general feeling appears to be that an early election is not in the best interest of the country.

Why did Netanyahu push this action?

Several factors are significant. A television Channel 2 poll found that 54% of the public does not support the idea of an early election. The Jerusalem Post reported finding that a recently created political party would have an easier time via an early election making it into the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) than two of the Coalition political parties, Shas and Yisrael Beytenu. These factors remain important.

Another significant factor was that Netanyahu failed to obtain enough support of the MKs (members of the Kinesset) at this time to actually call an election. Only political parties Yesh Atid, Meretz, and part of the Zionist Union would join with Likud in such an action.

Will this maneuver hold? Who can say? Everyday brings a new dimension to the story. Yaakov Katz in a Jerusalem Post article wrote,“No one in Israel was better than Netanyahu at working the media. But now that mastery seems to have gotten the best of him.”

Many important voices like political personality Avigdor Lieberman continue to state that an election works against the best interest of the people of Israel. These are important voices that the public listens to that could keep the boat steady.

Americans often struggle to understand how the Israeli system works. In contrast to a two-party system, Israel has a parliamentary democracy with many parties. All legislative power lays in the Knesset, but the Prime Minister is the head of government and leader of the multi-party system. The Prime Minister must be able to hold together the multi-faceted  group of highly diverse groups to stay in power. Without a written constitution, Israel operates around 11 basic laws.

In addition, Israel has a Religious Court under the control of the Prime Minister’s office and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. The Religious Court oversees Sabbath observance, Jewish burials, Kashrut, immigration, and martial issues.

As the weeks unfold, the world will be watching to see how this situation unfolds. You always get a surprise.

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BLOG 227 – November 24, 2014

It’s been a tough week in the Middle East. The murder of four Jewish worshippers in a synagogue at the hands of knife swinging, cleaver cutting, pistol packing Palestinians has once again set the region on edge. The Palestinian cousins were shot and their houses in East Jerusalem destroyed, but the matter is not settled. Clergy representing Jews, Muslims, and Christians publically met in unison and called for calm. The Greek Patriarch, Latin Patriarch and an Iman from Acre condemned the assault. However, Muslim authorities and senior Israeli rabbis were not present.

The savage pounding Hamas received in Gaza and their precarious political position has caused them to set off such killings as a symbolic gesture making them appear significant and forceful. Of course, the killings are actually a sign of frustration and failure. But symbolic acts are an important part of what keeps the pot boiling in Israel and Palestinian territories.

The PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) has just declared they will change the name of the Temple Mount to the Al Aqsa Mosque or the Noble Sanctuary.  The new declaration was the result of rioting and unrest around the Temple Mount area. Apparently, the PLO believes a name change will support their cause.

The problem is that the issue is not semantics, but sovereignty.

The Muslims and Jews have two different interpretations of what this important religious area is about. Muslims say a Jewish temple never stood there, but Mohammed and his horse leaped into heaven from where the Dome of the Rock stands. The Jews say two Temples existed there centuries before Mohammed was born. Part of the problem for the Muslims is that the earliest claims for Mohammed’s ascent to heaven were prompted by his recognition of the holiness of the two temples that once stood there. Today, Muslims would attempt to deny and suppress that story. These two symbolic viewpoints are at the heart of the recent violence.

Muslims are fearful that the Jews will claim the sacred area, tear down the Dome of the Rock, and rebuild the Temple. Probably, the motivation for the two Palestinian killers attack arose from this fear.

While the Netanyahu government will never contemplate or condone such an attack, there are Jewish leaders who favor such an idea. It is now claimed that some members of the Israeli Parliament are prepared to sponsor legislation to rebuild the Third Temple on the site of the Dome of the Rock. Muslims believe the Jews are counting the days until this occurs.

America went through an apocalyptic mindset in the 80’s anticipating the world would enter its final days by the year 2,000. When the clock kept ticking and nothing happened, that viewpoint virtually disappeared. In these blogs, we have never pandered an apocalyptic perspective because it is speculative. However, significant elements in the Jewish world are now embracing such a viewpoint. They believe the reconstruction of the Temple will bring in the Messianic age and the world will embrace their viewpoint. This segment of Judaism is willing to push the issue because they believe it will bring the Messiah.

Behind the semantics and clashing viewpoints is a battle over sovereignty. Who rules? The battle is far from over.

Stay tuned.

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Filed under Israel, middle east, Muslims, Palestinians