Sunday, November 18, 2012

Naftali Bennet debates Ed Husain on CNN

In this debate, Naftali Bennet, the head of the Bayit Yehudi and a major in the IDF reserves, debates Ed Husain about Israel's actions in Gaza. While Ed doesn't come out and say this, he doesn't seem to see a problem with civilians being bombarded on a regular basis as long as Israel doesn't retreat to the 1967 borders.

It is very interesting to note that he actually doesn't say anything intelligent during the debate.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Court upturns youngster ruling

The Tel Aviv regional court upturned the Bayit Yehudi court ruling that a person could only take up one reserved space. If Ayelet Shaked places highest amongst women, she will take up both of those reserved spots, even if another youngster placed higher then her.

I have not heard of another appeal to a higher court.

We believe Jeremy Gimpel has the political capital to make it to a realistic spot without using the reserved spot. He has enough political capital to take a realistic spot, in the top 5. This will only happen if you get out and vote. Jeremy not only represents the values of the Bayit Yehudi party, he is also representing the native English speaking population. There are no native English speakers in the Knesset, though there are over 250,000 American olim in Israel.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Women in the Knesset

I am pro having women in the Knesset. Not because of any sexist reason, but because I don't really believe that the gender of a person mostly affects the decisions legislated. I even think the affirmative action that gives a woman a reserved place is appropriate. Eventually I would like to see women able to compete without the need for a handicap, but I don't think we're there yet, especially in the dati leumi community.

I saw an ad for one candidate (I don't remember who), that said [candidate name], your woman in the Knesset. I asked my wife if she would like me to have a woman in the Knesset and she said NO. The candidate might be excellent, and potentially could do a lot of good for the Jewish people. But all I know about her is that she wants to be my woman and my woman doesn't want her in that position.

In short, I would recommend against voting for people just because they are or are not women.

On that note, my wife is stumping for Ayelet Shaked, who we have heard very nice things about. Ayelet is a self-defined chilonit (non-religious woman), who believes in Torah values. She is Jewishly Zionistic and has done a lot of things to help the Jewish people, especially those in Yesha. Bringing her in as a Knesset member will also help with the image of the Bayit Yehudi as a pro-Torah movement instead of a Torah-followers movement, which I think is a good place to be politically.

If you vote for Ayelet, I recommend placing her 2nd or 3rd on the list. We would like to see Jeremy Gimpel as number one. Remember the 1st one on the list gets 4 points, 2nd place is 2 points and 3rd, 4th and 5th are 1 point each.

Youngsters win

As I mentioned previously, there are reserved spots in the Bayit Yehudi list for a woman and a youngster. The election committee decided that if a young woman (Ayelet Shaked) would win the female spot, she would also fill the yougster spot. The youngsters, including Ayelet, felt that this was not fair and not in accordance with the language of the decision to have 2 spots. They petitioned the Bayit Yehudi court to enforce 2 reserved spots even if a young woman wins the female spot. On thursday, the court acceoted their petition and reverted the rule to its original understanding.

Now, there are fewer spots for the older, more mature Knesset wannabes. Doron Danino took offense at this and is planning on petitioning the high court of justice to return the rule as it was according to the interpretation of the election committee. One of his chief complaints is that you can't change the rule 5 days before the elections.

On one hand, I understand with his problem of changing a rule a couple days before the election. On the other hand, there is nothing that any of the candidates would have done differently (other then possibly dropping out) because of this rule. None of the older people were counting on getting in because Ayelet is a shoo-in and therefore they had a guaranteed space. All of the candidates are campaigning as much as they can to bring in any type of support. As such, I find Danino's complaint to be without merit and recommend to the high court to dismiss it as frivilous.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Primaries - Continued

With the landslide victory of Naftali Bennet for head of Bayit Yehudi, the party is off in a new direction. Zevulun Orlev did a lot of good over the past 30+ years for the dati leumi community, but he was unable to accept the new reality. Shimon Peres is a good example of someone who knows how to roll with the punches. I don't agree with any of his views, but he has kept himself relevant since the founding of the country.

Primaries are now continuing. Next Tues, the Bayit Yehudi will be voting for its Knesset list, among other things. The big question is exactly what those other things are. I have heard through the grapevine that all candidates for the party central committee and local branches are in and there will be no elections. For the central committee there are 1000 spots and 1012 candidates. It wasn't worth the hassle to remove 12 people from the list. I would have lowered to number of central comittee members to 500 and kept the elections, but they forgot to ask me once again. As more information rolls in, I will keep you informed.

For Knesset list, each voter can vote for up to 5 people. The first person on the list gets 4 points, second 2 points, and 3, 4 and 5 each get 1 point. When the voting is all done, the list is based on highest score. That means that someone can win the popular vote by being number 3 on the most lists but get an unrealistic spot on the list because someone with fewer supporters got voted first on their list.

We are backing Jeremy Gimpel for Knesset and requesting that our readers make him the number one spot. If you do not have anyone else in particular that you want in the Knesset, don't put anyone else on your list. Over the next few days, I'll go over some of the other candidates as well.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Bennet won

It looks like a landslide victory for Naftali Bennet. With more then half the votes counted, Bennet was leading 70%-30%.

Lets hope this is the start of a new era for religious Zionism.

The message I got from both the National  Union and Likud Beitenu is "we have a partner." Despite Orlev's message that Bennet would sit in the opposition, the other parties would much rather deal with Naftali Bennet.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Primaries tomorrow

Tomorrow, (Tues) members of the Bayit Yehudi party go out to vote in the elections for the head of the party. Next week we will vote again for Knesset members and other roles (which I'll post about next week).

There are 3 candidates for the leadership, 2 of them are well known: Naftali Bennet and Zevulun Orlev. A third mystery candidate, Yehuda Cohen, is running as well. I say mystery candidate because he hasn't done any campaigning until the last week. His campaign included an interview on the srugim website and an email to all members of the party indicating what his positions are. I don't consider Yehuda Cohen to be a viable candidate, so use him for your protest vote if you don't like either of the other 2 candidates.

We are backing Naftali Bennet for a few reasons.
1) He came to the far north to speak to us, indicating that he feels that the backwoods periphery is relevant to him

2) A longtime member of the party from our community asked Orlev for help a couple years ago when the local rabbinate refused to agree to his position in the religious services office because they wanted someone from the chareidi community. Orlev's office said there was no budget for taking the matter to court. In our opinion, the issues of a small town just weren't relevant to him.

3) I listened to the whole debate between Orlev and Bennet. I didn't agree with one thing that Orlev said. I was on the same page as Bennet for everything that he said.

4) We feel that with Orlev as head, the party will continue its downward spiral and may finally succeed in dying. Orlev has insisted at all points in the campaign that he wants to continue with the party's existing path. He has not come up with any plan for resurgence or rehabilitation.

Get out to vote, and vote for Naftali Bennet.

Moshe Kahlon

Moshe Kahlon announced a few weeks ago that he was not going to run in the Likud primaries, but would "remain" in the party. Kahlon was both the Communication minister and the Welfare minister in the current government and is known as the most socially friendly Likud Knesset member.In areas of nationalistic concern, he is a hawk. This combination of caring both about the land of Israel and the people of Israel made Moshe very popular. If he had showed as much care for the Torah of Israel, he would have become a religious Zionist saint. However, he didn't feel that he was able to accomplish enough, so he announced that he was dropping out of politics.

After his big announcement, waves of support came rolling in along with requests for him to remain in politics. A poll was conducted to see how he would fare if he started his own party based on hawkish social principals, and the results showed him getting around 20 seats. These numbers have to be discounted a bit because it was a preliminary "what if" poll, which is notorious for changing drastically as soon as someone acts on it. In the end, Moshe continued with his decision to take a hiatus from politics and he will be going to Harvard to study or teach for a year (I didn't quite understand which).

He did declare that he would not be taking any positions as he wanted to refrain from Maarit Ayin, appearances that he got a position in exchange for not starting his own party. In Hebrew the word "job" indicates a position that you got as a political favor. Generally they are given to people who aren't qualified and just sit around a collect a paycheck.

I had a conversation with someone who wants to join our local branch of the bayit Yehudi. He is very against all forms of corruption and said that if he got a job in a specific municipal office he would resign his position on the committee so it wouldn't look like he got it because of political connections. I told someone else who wants to keep this guy off the committee that he should arrange a position for him at that office and then he wouldn't have to worry about him. Oh, how politics corrupts.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Likud - Beinteni primaries

With the big merge of Likud and Yisrael Beitenu, it is very confusing how the primaries will work. Likud Primaries are on Nov. 25, on that day only people who are part of the old Likud are going to vote for candidates in the old Likud.The Yisrael Beitenu central committee is going decide who is on their list. The seats will then ritchratch (I think that's a Hebrew word) 2 seats for Likud and 1 seat for Yisrael Beitenu. This is in conjunction with their current standing in the Knesset, 27 for Likud and 15 for YB.

The merge actually isn't a party merge it is two separate parties running on the same list for the Knesset for quantitative reasons. If the joint list works out, there is a possibility for a full merge during the Knesset session. Lieberman said they were going to pass a law after the elections enlarging the threshold to get in to the Knesset. I suggested in a previous post that it would be 10 seat minimum, and I stand to it that this is a good solid number. It means that a party with 2 seats isn't going to do anything anyways, so they should not be able to blackmail the government into giving them what they want.

Katzeleh - in or out

The head of the National Union party, Katzeleh (Yakov Katz ), delared a couple days ago that he was so confident in the number of mandates he was going to win that he would be number 7 on the list, which would end up being 14 on the joint list with the Bayit Yehudi after the merger. When I heard him say that I took him at face value and was very impressed with his confidence. I think the joint list can get 14 seats, with enough effort.

A report I just read indicated that Katzeleh had actually resigned from the party with his statement and now he wants back in. He is insisting on retaining head of party status and being given the most senior ministerial position that comes their way. What is interesting is that in the last Knesset they made a law that a minister does not have to be an MK. Therefore there is no problem with him not getting into the Knesset and retaining the 14th spot and still gaining the ministerial position that he wants.

The news report is trying to make this into a personal issue of honor. I think they are pulling it way out of proportion. Obviously with any political party there are people who don't like the head and start gossiping about it all. The report I read said that Katzeleh was insulted that nobody called on him to return to the party after quitting. Making a mountain out of a molehill.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

My response to Rav Hershkovitz

I received a letter from the current head of the Bayit Yehudi, Rav Daniel Hershkovitz, explaining his support of Zevulun Orlev for party head. I feel that this letter insults my intelligence and the intelligence of all Bayit Yehudi voters.

Dear Rav Hershkovitz,

You started off your letter stating that Naftali Bennet is trying to turn the Bayit Yehudi party into a second Likud, following the heritage of Jabotinsky. However, if what Bennet said, is that he is opening the party to traditional pro-Torah education Jews, who may not be your standard kippa sruga religious looking type. In any case, he is trying something new after you and Orlev have failed over the past 4 years. Joining together and saying vote for us as a package is basically saying, "Lets continue on with our great success." The problem being that the movement has all but fallen apart because the old party has become irrelevant.

You then mention that Bennet will not be invited to a coalition with Netanyahu because of a bad personal relationship. Immediately after that you spoke about how you and Orlev got together even though you had a bad personal relationship. In fact, for the past 4 years you have said plenty of negative things in public about Orlev. What makes anybody think that after the elections are over, suddenly all of your differences with Orlev have been resolved?

Make up your mind - can you put personal feelings aside for the sake of politics or can't you? Are you insinuating that only you and Orlev can put aside personal differences for the sake of a coalition, but Bennet and Netanyahu are not capable of this? This is absolutely ridiculous.

Then you mention the polls. The only reason the polls have the Bayit Yehudi rising in seats is because of the assumption that Bennet is going to win. If that doesn't happen, I don't see the throngs of voters voting for something that hasn't worked in the past number of elections.