Tuesday, July 03, 2012

"Coalition Crisis"

But first, your prayers, please:
His name is Noam Jay ben Inbar. 
I've written about him before.  He's a terribly sick little boy of nine, who was found to have cancer growing around his heart.  When I learned about him, I called for prayers.  The doctors said they couldn't do anything for him and he was considered terminal.  But -- Baruch Hashem -- there has been a change in his situation.  The cancer has stopped growing and the doctors are now ready to try an experimental treatment for him.  And so, pray!
A picture of Noam Jay at the hospital with his father:
A very simple housekeeping matter: When I wrote yesterday about nations voting on the Church of the Nativity as a World Heritage site, I said they voted "again."  A typo: they voted "against."  Thanks to those who caught this.
In the midst of an intensified fight over who is to be drafted into the IDF, Prime Minister Netanyahu today dissolved the Plesner Committee, which had been charged with recommending the replacement for the Tal Law. 
Already three members -- the representatives of Yisrael Beitenu, of HaBayit Hayehudi, and of the haredi community -- had quit. 
After declaring that the Committee "is unable to draft recommendations that will secure a Knesset majority," he turned to Shaul Mofaz and said, "Let's take the over the reins together and bring about a solution."
There are those who are suggesting that Netanyahu orchestrated the dismissal of the Committee because it was not functioning to his liking.  That may be, but it is difficult to understand quite what he had in mind -- or whether he could have truly been serious -- when he proposed that he and Mofaz work together, for they are vastly at odds on the issue.
And sure enough, Mofaz, who is for universal conscription, is talking about leaving the coalition:
"I reject the PM's announcement and give full backing to the committee ...
"The committee was established as part of the agreement between Kadima and Likud, so the unilateral dissolution of the committee by Netanyahu does not bind Kadima..."
Said one member of Kadima:
"[The prime minister] spat in Mofaz's face.  If Netanyahu does not adopt the committee's recommendations, we have to leave the government."
Mofaz is calling upon the committee to announce its recommendations in spite of having been dismissed.
It seems that Mofaz has backed himself into a corner from which he will find it difficult to extricate himself, unless Netanyahu saves him (something that is not expected but remains possible).
If he decides to leave the coalition after only 2 months, there will be no tears from here.  And, it seems, no tears from Netanyahu either.
The bottom line is that there are ways in which this current conflict is truly insoluble now because of the fervor and the obstinacy of the various parties who are at odds.
After 64 years in which the haredim studying in yeshivas were not required to serve in the IDF, it is a bit much to demand that they be subjected all at once to universal conscription.  On the other hand, they must adjust themselves to the idea that they, or some portion of their population (exempting perhaps advanced Torah students), in time will have to serve their nation, either in the IDF or via national service.
But, as I have already indicated, I believe this is something to be instituted gradually -- and indeed there were various proposals advanced that incorporated this concept. 
I wrote yesterday about General Duvdevani, founder of Nahal Haredi -- the Haredi Battalion.  The fact that there has been such a battalion for some time now is telling. The process was happening, if only there had not been strong-arm politicians bent on changing it all at once.
In anticipation of whatever will transpire now, the IDF is in process of much discussion and deliberation with regard to how best to incorporate haredi soldiers.
One analyst I spoke with today -- someone whom I consider to be savvy -- has suggested that Netanyahu, knowing that the situation is insoluble, has deliberately constructed a situation in which there will be no solution.  Rather, suggests this analyst, he will allow the situation to fall back to a default position: That is, no legislation replacing the Tal Law will be passed and instead the IDF will conscript whomever it decides to conscript.
Time will tell...
It must be understood that part of the friction regarding immediate universal conscription involves the Arabs. There are many here who are weary of the fact that Arab Israelis -- citizens who are franchised, have representatives in the Knesset and secure such benefits of the State as welfare and health care benefits, are not required to serve that State either via service in the IDF or national service.
An Arab Israeli by the name of Muhammad Lalaila, from the village of Majd al-Krum in the Galil, wrote an opinion piece in YNet yesterday, in which he declared:
"We are a part of the Palestinian nation, and there is no way we will ever fight our Palestinian brothers.
"...Performing national service is also out of the question, because we believe that its purpose is to eventually lead us to serve in the army...
"...We cannot serve in an occupying army at a time of war.
"The stalemate in the peace negotiations will also make it difficult for Israeli Arabs to enlist. We have many grievances against the Israeli occupation, the injustice caused to the Palestinian people by the Zionist movement..."  
So there you have it: not a universal Arab Israeli opinion, for sure; but a common one.
The Bedouin, by contrast, believe in universal conscription and serve proudly.
Please see this important article, "Obama turns his back on Israel at the U.N," by Anne Bayefsky of Eye on the UN:
"Today, at the United Nations, the Obama administration is turning its back on Israel. For the very first time, the U.N. Security Council has invited the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights to 'brief' the Council specifically on the subject of Israel and the commissioner’s list of trumped-up sins. Though the U.S. is a veto-holding power, the extraordinary move has full American approval, despite the fact that the global soapbox will be handed to Navi Pillay, a notorious anti-Israel partisan.

"Moreover, the American-backed action exposes President Obama’s profound weakness on the international stage. It turns out that the deal to sponsor an Israel-bashing session at the highest levels was a trade-off for having the high commissioner brief the Council on the subject of Syria.
"...At this point in the diplomatic game, the Obama administration could have insisted that Israel not be sacrificed as the quid pro quo for paying due attention to the Syrian carnage. Instead, they caved, agreeing to a spectacle which casts Syria and Israel as moral equals.
"The betrayal of Israel is especially outrageous in light of what the administration knows about Navi Pillay...(details follow)
"Furnishing Pillay with a Security Council podium to attack Israel, therefore, must be set side by side with President Obama’s reelection campaign verbiage...
"...here’s U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice at a synagogue in Boca Raton, Fla., on May 10, 2012: 'Not a day goes by — not one — when my colleagues and I don’t work hard to defend Israel’s security and legitimacy at the United Nations. . . . President Obama has insisted that the United States be clear: The treatment Israel receives across the U.N. system is unacceptable. Efforts to chip away at Israel’s legitimacy have been met with the unflinching opposition of the United States.'" 
Got the picture, folks?  Don't let this stuff pass.
The body of Israel's seventh prime minister, Yitzhak Shamir was brought to the Knesset today, so that officials and members of the public could pay their last respects.
Credit: MSN
He was then given a State funeral: brought in a motorcade to the State cemetery at Mt. Herzl and laid to rest in the section for the great of the nation.
Said Prime Minister Netanyahu:
"He never asked anything for himself, never wanted recognition, popularity, or honor. Every act and decision he made was considered in the light of one question: Is it good for the Jewish people and the Land of Israel."
President Peres, in eulogizing him, said:
"Yitzhak Shamir was a man at peace with himself. Steadfast in his opinions. Winds that blew could not bend him. Passing trends did not tempt him. His ideology grew out of the history of our nation. He believed our past is what granted legitimacy to the present."
May we yet see the likes of Yitzhak Shamir again.
© Arlene KushnerThis material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.
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