The new face of Likud

January 8, 2013

Until now, Danny Danon was a marginal character from the extremist back benches. In the next Knesset, he will be at the heart of Israel’s ruling party

(Times Of Israel) One of the most important events in Danny Danon’s life happened in 1969, two years before he was born.
That was the year Joseph Danon, a 29-year-old army reservist, was pursuing a Palestinian guerrilla cell in the Jordan Valley. When battle was joined, one of the Palestinians threw a grenade and Danon was hit by shrapnel. He emerged from a coma after several months, having suffered a serious head wound. He was rendered permanently deaf.
Many of Danny Danon’s childhood memories are of serving as his father’s interpreter at banks and government offices and of going on hikes across the country and then reporting back to their home in Ramat Gan, describing the routes and the landscapes to his father, once an avid hiker himself but now too infirm to come along.
“We would re-enact the hike at home,” Danon said in a recent interview. “Despite his injury, he managed to get across the message of knowing the country and loving the country.”
Danon began reading books about the underground groups that fought the British in pre-state Palestine, and learned the sites of battles from David and Goliath to the Yom Kippur War. That, he says, gave him a strong connection to the geography of Israel. Interpreting for his father, he said, “gave me the confidence to speak and argue and say what I think.”
In 4th grade, he remembered, he once argued with a teacher about the event that still serves as a dividing line in Israeli politics — the sinking of the Irgun weapons ship “Altalena” off the coast of Tel Aviv in 1948 on the orders of David Ben-Gurion, who feared a rightist putsch. Menachem Begin, the Irgun leader and future Likud prime minister, was on board. Ben-Gurion’s commander on the scene was Yitzhak Rabin, the future Labor prime minister.
“She said Begin was to blame,” Danon recalled. “I said Rabin was to blame.”
Danon’s mother was born in pre-state Israel — “a Palestinian from Palestine,” Danon says. His father came from Egypt as part of the mass exodus of Jews from Arab lands; Joseph Danon died of complications linked to his combat injury when Danny was 22.
Anyone paying attention to the stream of hardline rhetoric and legislation emanating from the Israeli right in the last four years will have noticed Danon’s name attached to much of it — attempts to disqualify certain Arab lawmakers, or to make getting an ID card contingent on a loyalty oath, or to hem in leftist groups by outlawing contributions to nonprofits from foreign governments. Last May, he declared at a rally that illegal African migrants — “infiltrators,” in the lingo of the right — had set up an “enemy state” in south Tel Aviv. After the rally, some Israelis attacked Africans who happened to pass by.

Danon is not a joke. He is not crazy. And he is no longer a back-bencher

Danon has mostly been described as a fringe character from Likud’s rabid back benches. Recently, the country’s most popular satire show, Eretz Nehederet — “Wonderful Country” — began mocking him as a lonely and weird teenager with acne scars.
But Danon is not a joke. He is not crazy. And he is no longer a back-bencher. Years of smart maneuvering inside the Likud catapulted Danon to the ninth spot on the joint Likud-Beytenu list for the upcoming election, putting him ahead of veteran politicians like Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and security figures like Moshe Ya’alon, the former army chief of staff. The same primary vote banished Dan Meridor, a prominent moderate, and Benny Begin, a principled hardliner of the old school and Menachem Begin’s son, to unrealistic slots at the bottom of the list and ensured they would no longer be members of Knesset.
Along with Danon, the Likud vote strengthened other candidates who believe in building settlements and in eternal Israeli control over the West Bank, dismissing what that would mean for Israel’s Jewish majority or its democracy, and who have acted to constrain state agencies or civil organizations which might impede their goals.
It further brought in Moshe Feiglin at number 22 on the list. Feiglin supports building the Third Temple in Jerusalem, has suggested that Arabs not be allowed to vote in national elections, and once told a reporter, “You can’t teach a monkey to speak and you can’t teach an Arab to be democratic.” Feiglin’s inclusion has accomplished the admirable feat of making Danon appear moderately right-leaning and Netanyahu a staunch liberal.
The Likud primary vote put Danon and his vision at the center of power in the party and within reach of a post in the cabinet. Netanyahu, outmaneuvered, is outnumbered in his own party. Menachem Begin is long dead, and his son is in the political wilderness. Anyone following Israeli politics after this election will have to get used to the fact that today Danny Danon is Likud.

Danon lays a symbolic cornerstone for new Jewish construction in east Jerusalem, November, 2009. Settlements, Danon says, "are not an obstacle to peace" (Flash90)

Danon lays a symbolic cornerstone for new Jewish construction in East Jerusalem, November 2009. Settlements, Danon says, ‘are not an obstacle to peace’ (photo credit: Flash90)

Danon, 41, lives in Moshav Mishmeret, in central Israel. His wife is a dietitian and they have three children, the oldest 11 and the youngest 5.
For those who are used to his strident public persona, Danon’s personal demeanor can come as a surprise. He is polite and well-spoken, his answers polished and his words chosen with care. He spurns the informal dress of many Israeli politicians for a suit of a conservative congressional blue. He comes across less as a rabble-rouser than as someone who has correctly gauged the fears, frustrations and dreams of Israel’s right, shares them, and has done a canny job of riding them to power.
Danon began trying his hand at politics at his secular high school, participating in the school’s branch of Techiya, a now-dormant rightist faction. After serving in the army as an education officer with Jewish teenagers coming from abroad for a taste of Israeli military life — a distinctly noncombat position — he became active in the Zionist youth movement Beitar and spent time doing organizational work in Miami, Florida.
In 2006 he ran an upstart campaign for the leadership of Likud’s international arm, World Likud, beating out Netanyahu’s candidate, Yuval Steinitz, who is now the finance minister. He entered the Knesset in 2009, and became associated with a new bloc of young MKs in the party who made a habit of attacking Netanyahu from the right, opposing the few conciliatory moves the prime minister wanted to make toward the Palestinians — such as announcing a partial housing freeze in the West Bank in 2009 to assuage American displeasure and allow talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to go ahead.
Netanyahu made the move in order to salvage Israel’s deteriorating ties with the administration of US President Barack Obama, but Danon saw it as an unacceptable admission that the Jewish presence in the West Bank was illegitimate or temporary. His vocal opposition to his party leader’s policy brought him substantial national attention and bolstered his position among the party’s base.

Danon believes his hardline positions have helped Netanyahu in his ties with the US. Netanyahu in Jerusalem last week (Photo by Moshe Milner/GPO/FLASH90)
(photo credit: Moshe Milner/GPO/Flash90)

Danon believes his hardline positions have helped Netanyahu fend off international pressure. Netanyahu in Jerusalem last week

“The settlements are not an obstacle to peace,” Danon said. “After the disengagement from Gaza, the public freed itself of the idea that this is about the settlements, and about land for peace.”
Danon believed he was both expressing a necessary truth and doing Netanyahu a tactical favor — allowing the prime minister to point to the internal political challenge mounted by Danon and others to show Israel’s allies and critics abroad why the freeze was a major concession and why it could not be extended.
“It was important to Netanyahu that my voice be heard, and I know he used it, in the US and Europe, when he talked about his domestic difficulties,” Danon said.
Netanyahu has said he supports the idea of a Palestinian state, though some in his own party doubt his sincerity, as do many outside it. Even if that is Netanyahu’s goal, he no longer has a majority inside Danon’s Likud.
Danon’s platform is virtually indistinguishable from that of the ascendant Jewish Home party, a religious pro-settlement faction that supports annexing nearly two-thirds of the West Bank and leaving Palestinians in enclaves surrounded by Israeli territory. Likud has been bleeding votes to Jewish Home despite an attempt to attack the smaller party as too extreme — an attempt that is doomed to fail, given the current makeup of Likud. Jewish Home appears to many voters from the ideological right as more pure than Netanyahu’s party, which has been tainted by the compromises necessary to govern.
Danon believes Palestinians in the West Bank should be given “autonomy” in their cities and towns, but that their state is actually Jordan and their blocs of territory should be linked politically with the Hashemite Kingdom to the east. The Palestinians of Gaza can look to Egypt. Israel will directly govern most of the territory, have security control of the rest, and continue to build settlements, somehow remaining a Jewish democracy while ruling over more than 2 million Palestinians who are denied equal rights. The Palestinians, and the world, will live with it.
Does he believe the plan is realistic?
“Nothing is realistic,” Danon said.
That rather apt take on where the prospects of peace stand has a lot to do with Danon’s own rise within the Israeli right and with why the right will win this election.
“In terms of dealing with Arab nations, many Israelis today have gone back to the warrior mentality of David Ben-Gurion,” Danon wrote in a book he published last year, “Israel: The Will to Prevail.” “We’re sick of hollow accords and grand ceremonies done for the camera’s sake.”

Politicians of the right have taken to citing Ben-Gurion as their model for ignoring international opinion, quoting his oft-repeated line, ‘The question is not what the goyim say, but what the Jews do’

Ben-Gurion, he wrote, “was willing to pay a price for the security of Israel in international opprobrium, and so it is with a new generation of Israeli leaders. We also understand the necessity of shaping our fate by our own hands. If we have to pay a price with the United Nations, the European Union, and the United States, so be it.”
Politicians of the right, both from Likud and Jewish Home, have taken to citing Ben-Gurion as their model for ignoring international opinion, quoting his oft-repeated line, “The question is not what the goyim say, but what the Jews do.” That quote is featured in a Jewish Home video, for example, explaining why annexing most of the West Bank would be a good idea.
Ben-Gurion detested Likud’s ideological forebears and would almost certainly have detested their descendants. He was keenly aware of international opinion, and ensured Israel was always allied with a greater power. Some remember that he famously declared that when faced with the choice between the entire land of Israel and a Jewish state, “we chose a Jewish state.” That adage does not appear popular among candidates from Likud or Jewish Home.
While Netanyahu has been circumspect in public about his presumed affinity for the Republican party, Danon has been openly critical of the current US administration, writing in his book of the “growing irrelevance” of American influence under Obama and suggesting that “confidence in the US as a stabilizing force is eroding.”
“The Obama administration support for the Palestinian position and their engagement of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt call the strength of its support for Israel into question,” he writes. Danon is proud of his contacts with influential figures in the US; he mentioned TV host Glenn Beck and one-time Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee.
But at the same time, he says ties with the US administration are “very good,” pointing, as do other politicians of the right, to security cooperation over the last four years — the point being that Israel can continue its current policies without causing undue harm to the country’s most important strategic relationship. His own plans for the permanent disenfranchisement of the Palestinians notwithstanding, Danon says he believes “Obama and Netanyahu will work together this time.”
In any case, he said, peace is off the table in the near future.
“In the short term there are two options: One is what’s happening now in Judea and Samaria, where the conflict is being managed,” he said. “The other is what’s happening in Gaza, which is chaos. I choose the one in Judea and Samaria, which is not ideal, but at least we’re in control.”
“Our area is so dynamic and dangerous that you can’t afford to make mistakes,” he said. “If I told you three years ago that Hosni Mubarak would be in a cage in Cairo, or that Assad was going to fall, you would have said I was crazy.”
In January 2013, it would be hard to find many Israelis, on the left or right, who would disagree. The electorate is currently split over whether a peace agreement and a withdrawal from the West Bank would theoretically be desirable, not about whether those things are practically possible now. Almost everyone knows they are not. After years of rocket fire from Gaza, and with the old Mideast disintegrating around Israel and morphing into something that will probably be markedly more dangerous, it is not only ideological rightists who look at a city like Jerusalem, for example, with its heterogeneous and combustible population, imagine an Israeli withdrawal, and see the specter of Aleppo.
The left has failed to present voters with a clear or credible alternative. The right has: control the West Bank forever. That vision now dominates the right and is set to dominate the next Knesset.
For guidance, Danon says, he looks to Vladimir Jabotinsky, the ideologue of Revisionist Zionism, who said Jews must build an “iron wall” of military force that would ensure their safety in Israel.
“We’re not there yet,” Danon said. “Today there are forces in the area who still think they can get rid of us with force. When we create a real iron wall, it will be possible to think about peace agreements.”
This is the fifth in a series of profiles of political players leading up to Israel’s national election on January 22, 2013. Previous installments featured the renegade rabbi Haim Amsalem ;retired general Elazar Stern; Ayelet Shaked, a secular candidate in the religious party Jewish Home; and Omer Barlev, a former commando and hi-tech entrepreneur.
Find Matti Friedman on Twitter and Facebook.


Eric Erickson charges Jennifer Rubin with dual loyalty, then backtracks

December 22, 2012

On Wednesday, Red State’s Erick Erickson made a not-so-veiled charge of dual loyalty against Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin (Hat Tip: American Power).

Jenn Rubin, when not pushing out Romney talking points is in favor of freeing traitors, claims to be a conservative covering the conservative movement, though she has nothing in common with conservatives other than hating terrorists. A conservative friend says she’s best understood as ‘Likud’ rather than Republican or conservative. There’s nothing wrong with being Likud, but one ought to be honest about it. (Please be sure to read this update regarding this reference)

The update to which he refers took 16 hours to get there, and includes this:

I nor the friend of mine who offered that up are anti-Semitic, but it has apparently hit a nerve that I did not intend to hit and I feel I do need to apologize for that. A friend of mine explains to me that a Jewish-American might find it insulting because it suggests they put Israel ahead of the United States.
I had not thought of that when writing it and was not my intention. Where I finally had enough of Jenn Rubin was her position on Jonathan Pollard that I cannot in any way, shape, or form comprehend as being the right position. It was that position of hers and her positions on national security, terrorism, and Israel (all three of which she and I see eye to eye on) that didn’t make me think twice about using the Likud comparison. Apparently I should have. Likud as a party is tough as nails on terrorism and security issues, but is liberal to left (by American standards) on fiscal and social policy, and that’s what I intended by the comparison, not a suggestion of misplaced loyalty. And certainly not anti-semitism.

I would not call the Likud ‘liberal to left’ on fiscal policy – the forces arrayed against the free market in this country are far different than in the US, and there is a very different balance of power here. But that’s not the point of this post.
What I want to get to is Erickson’s labeling of anyone who advocates for Jonathan Pollard’s release as having dual loyalties (yes, that still comes through in his apology) and of automatically not being a conservative. Over the last year, Lawrence Korb (formerly Caspar Weinberger’s number 2 at the Defense Department), former CIA Director R. James Woolsey, former Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Dennis DeConcini (D-AZ), former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former US Secretary of State George Schultz, and Harvard Professor Charles Ogletree have all come out in favor of releasing Pollard. Of those, to the best of my knowledge, only Mukasey is Jewish and only DeConcini and Ogletree are not Republicans.
Additionally, some 500 American Jewish and Christian leaders called for Pollard’s release in a letter to President Obama in January. That letter cites all of the following (some of whom are already listed above) as favoring Pollard’s release:

Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, Senators Charles Schumer and Arlen Specter, Harvard Law Professors Charles Ogletree and Alan Dershowitz, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb, Rev. Theodore Hesburgh of Notre Dame, Benjamin Hooks of the NAACP, former federal Judge George Leighton, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olsen, Pastor John Hagee, and Gary Bauer.

And 39 members of Congress.
Would Erickson accuse all of them of dual loyalty? Are none of them Republican or conservative enough for Erickson? Surely Hagee and Bauer (at least) ought to be. And if that’s the case, why is Erickson going after Jennifer with a charge like this and not after any of them?
Pollard committed a crime and he’s paid for that crime disproportionately. It’s long past time to let him go. Unfortunately, much of the American Jewish community cannot find its voice on this issue precisely because it is intimidated by the type of dual loyalty charges made by Erickson against Jennifer Rubin. But the American Jewish community ought to find its voice.
Jonathan Pollard continues to sit in jail today precisely because he spied for Israel and not for Russia or China or Cuba. Jonathan Pollard continues to sit in jail today because of Caspar Weinberger’s antipathy for Israel and Jews. Here’s what Lawrence Korb had to say about that when he came out for releasing Pollard.

“Based on the knowledge that I have first hand, I can confidently say that the punishment was so severe because of lack of sympathy for Israel by the U.S. Secretary of Defense at the time, my boss, Caspar Weinberger,” the letter stated.
According to Korb, Weinberg made great efforts to convince the judge to punish Pollard severely. “Although Pollard pleaded guilty, cooperated with the government and asked for clemency – he received disproportionate punishment,” wrote Korb. “In the end Weinberg himself did not put the Pollard story in his biography. Weinberger said that the reason for this is because the affair had been exaggerated beyond minor importance – that is, he finally understood and admitted that the story had been blown beyond proportions. “
Korb emphasized that the average penalty for the offense Pollard committed is two to four years, and even today when the law changed – the average sentence is 10 years. “So if he was sentenced today he could not sit 25 years in prison. Justice will be done if the sentence is shortened to what has already been run to date,” Korb’s letter concluded.

Mr. Erickson should stop bullying people who disagree with him.

Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu Join Forces

October 26, 2012
PM Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Liberman(Jewish Press) In a move that took everyone by surprise, including their own senior party members, Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party and the Benajmin Netanyahu’s Likud have joined forces ahead of the upcoming elections, and will be running as a joint list.

There will be a press conference on Thursday night at 8:00 PM in the Dan Panorama Hotel in Jerusalem,  where they will officially announce the merger.
Channel 2 said the joint party will be called “Likud-Beyteinu”. Netanyahu will be number 1 on the list, followed by Liberman who will be his number 2.
Liberman used to be a member of the Likud, and broke away to form his own party in 1997. At the time the speculation was this was part of a larger master plan, where Liberman would attract the Russian votes that the Likud couldn’t, and support the Likud with the seats they gained.
The Likud currently has 27 seats, and Yisrael Beiteinu 15. This merger has the potential to increase their seats, as well as practically  guarantee that they will be the largest party and bloc in the upcoming election.
Internal surveys say the joint list could win up to 50 seats.

The MYTH of the Israeli LEFT

August 2, 2011

the Leftist +972 online magazine explains why the ‘return of the Israeli Left‘ isn’t happening: It’s time to face facts: Rabin’s second government was a historical accident, no more. This was the only time in 35 years that the left won a Knesset majority – and even then, it wasn’t even close to a majority of the Jewish public. Liberalism, in the American sense, never took real hold in Israel.

The current social protest is a unique event with tremendous potential, but if it’s a return to the Jewish democracy dreamland that Americans hope for, you are up for a major disappointment. There won’t be a “return” – all we can and should hope for is something completely new.

Carl of Israel Matzav: I hadn’t quite thought about it that way, but he’s right. Both Rabin (1992) and Barak (1999) failed to get a majority of the Jewish vote. Sharon (2001 and 2004) won as the Likud candidate. Olmert 2006? Didn’t get a majority of the Jewish vote and arguably wasn’t running on a Left platform. Kadima is still not considered a party of the Left (although their platform is definitely more Left than Right).
Whatever support for the Left there was among Jewish Israelis was spooked by the terror sponsorship of the ‘Palestinian Authority’ and that started long before 2000. It’s not likely to come back anytime soon. And nearly all Jewish Israelis have become capitalists, Even the ones demonstrating in the streets of Tel Aviv.

Isn’t it funny the way opposition agrees against the New York Times? One wonders what planet the Times is on. I suppose their intent is to give the left some hope that they can dismantle Israel from within, but their leftist pals in smaller publications just don’t hold that optimism. The fact of the matter is it isn’t a matter of left and right. It is a matter of protecting people from killers… and if that is what the right is in Israel, then the left does not have a chance. Should the left decide they want to be a John F Kennedy style Left that protects the country from it’s enemies and still considers the jobs and quality of life of it’s people, then they have a chance, but the truth is the Left in Israel… what little there is of it …is not about the people. They are haters that are funded from beyond Israel’s borders.  Jobs and quality of life are merely bait… and not even good bait because Israel’s economy is doing well.  Why do you think Israel’s enemies are trying so hard to take part in BDS movements?  The haters know the one thing that keeps Israel going is success… and they certainly would not want that to happen.  As for the right, the fact remains that increasing wealth is better for the people… and in fact stealing wealth from the people to give to a government that hates it’s people is not what Jews want. It isn’t like as if the LEFT has created jobs in America.  I’m unemployed.

We mustn’t fear September scare tactics

June 4, 2011

Strategic Affairs minister rejects notion that Palestinian bid for UN unilateral declaration of state will lead to int’l isolation; says Israel ready to renew talks: “We’ve been waiting for Abbas for two years.”
Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Saturday rejected claims that Palestinian plans to go to the UN for a unilateral statehood declaration constitute a “diplomatic tsunami” for Israel, saying “we must not be afraid of the September scare tactics.” The Likud minister made the comments during an interview with Channel 2.
Ya’alon said that Israel was taking diplomatic action to stop the UN Security Council from unilaterally recognizing a Palestinian State in September. He pointed out his own recent trip to Moscow to advance Israel’s diplomatic interests and the efforts of President Shimon Peres, who warned South American leaders about the harm of a unilateral statehood while on his current trip to Italy. Ya’alon said that a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood in the UN General Assembly would not lead to Israel’s isolation or have any concrete effect on the country. He added that Israel was prepared for a Palestinian outbreak of violence as well.
The Likud minister said the government would discuss French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe’s proposed peace conference in Paris in the coming days.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday cautiously welcomed a French proposal to convene Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Paris to try to renew collapsed peace talks. Juppe this week offered to host talks to discuss ideas for a Palestinian state raised last month by US President Barack Obama, aiming to avert a showdown at the United Nations in September.
“We said that in principle this initiative is acceptable,” Abbas told Reuters, two days after his talks with Juppe in Ramallah.
Abbas said the French plan “talks about President Obama’s vision …in which he spoke about a [Palestinian] state with the ’67 borders with Israel, Egypt and Jordan.”
Under the plan discussed with Juppe, “neither side would carry out unilateral actions,” Abbas added.
Ya’alon said that there were “paradigm differences between the two sides.” He stated that while Abbas had expressed willingness to go to Paris, the PA president had not agreed to begin negotiations with Israel.
“We are ready to go to the table. We have been waiting for Abu Mazen [Abbas] for two years,” Ya’alon told Channel 2.
Juppe said he is “slightly optimistic” after his Mideast visit.
“I would be lying if I said I was very optimistic. I am slightly optimistic,” Juppe said after his talks with Netanyahu.
The French proposal calls for Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to meet this month or by early July with an eye to reviving talks which broke off last year in a dispute on Jewish settlement building in land Palestinians seek for a state.
Reuters contributed to this report
06/04/2011 via

The New York Times v. reality

May 27, 2011

The United States Senate and House of Representatives treated Bibi like a Rock Star, but you would not know it from the Progressive newspaper of record, the New York Times headline proclaimed:

“Israelis See Netanyahu Trip as Diplomatic Failure.”
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel returned from Washington on Wednesday to a nearly unanimous assessment among Israelis that despite his forceful defense of Israel’s security interests, hopes were dashed that his visit might advance peace negotiations with the Palestinians.”

Two new polls prove the NY  Times report about Israeli reaction was totally biased.
A poll conduced by the liberal Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz which reported the positive Israeli reaction to Netanyahu’s trip.

“Ha’aretz Poll: Netanyahu’s Popularity Soaring Following Washington Trip”

“A new poll conducted by Dialog, under the supervision of Prof. Camil Fuchs of the Tel Aviv University Statistics Department, showed that 47% of the Israeli public believes Netanyahu’s U.S. trip was a success, while only 10% viewed it as a failure.”

The moderate Jerusalem post conducted its own poll conducted after Obama’s Speech to AIPAC:

When asked in the poll whether they saw Obama’s administration as more pro-Israel, more pro-Palestinian or neutral, just 12 percent of Israeli Jews surveyed said more pro-Israel, while 40% said more pro-Palestinian, 34% said neutral and 13% did not express an opinion.

Other polls taken after the Netanyahu trip agree with the other two:

A Telesker poll published in Ma’ariv on Wednesday found that the Likud had strengthened against Kadima. The poll predicted that the Likud would rise from 27 to 30 Knesset seats, while Kadima would fall from 28 to 27.

Asked who was more fit to be prime minister, 36.9% said Netanyahu; 28.3% said Kadima leader Tzipi Livni; 9.2% said Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman of Israel Beiteinu; 2.6% said Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Independence; and 18.2% answered none of the above.

A Sarid Institute poll broadcast on Channel 2 Tuesday night found that 38% of Israelis found Netanyahu most fit to be prime minister, and 35% Livni. The poll found that the Likud had grown in support at Kadima’s expense.

If the NY Times had any interest in the truth it would have declared that Israelis saw the Netanyahu trip as a success, and as a result the Likud party grew in support. But the truth isn’t the story the progressive media wanted to convey. They wanted to brand the Netanyahu trip as an object failure for the Israeli PM, after all he had dared to “school” the precious infallible President.

In the AIPAC speech, Obama chose not to specifically rule out
the “return” to Israel of millions of descendants of Palestinian refugees, and
did not announce his first visit to Israel as president, as many hoped he would.
But he did insist that Israel must remain the Jewish “homeland,” indicating
opposition to the Palestinian demand for refugees’ “return, spoke about Jews’
yearning for Israel through the centuries, listed many ways in which his
administration was helping Israel and clarified his position on creating a
Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 lines with mutually agreed land swaps.
When asked in the poll
whether they saw Obama’s administration as more pro-Israel, more pro-Palestinian
or neutral, just 12 percent of Israeli Jews surveyed said more pro-Israel, while
40% said more pro-Palestinian, 34% said neutral and 13% did not express an

Still, the poll found that the gap between Israelis who say the
administration is pro-Palestinian and those deeming it pro-Israel has narrowed
since previous surveys.
The poll of 600 Jewish Israelis, representing a
statistical sample of the adult Jewish population, was taken on Monday and
Tuesday and had a 4-percentage point margin of error.
Respondents who
defined themselves at the left end of the political map were more likely than
others to deem the Obama administration more pro-Israel – 28% compared to 12%.
Among Kadima supporters, 37% said the administration was more pro-Palestinian;
19% said it was more pro-Israel.
The respondents most likely to label the
Obama administration as more pro- Palestinian were Orthodox Israelis, at 58%,
and right-wing respondents, at 53%. Among Likud supporters, 49% said the
administration was more pro-Palestinian; 11% said it was more
The question asked was exactly the same as in five previous
polls sponsored by this newspaper since May 2009.
The first poll, which
was taken before the first Netanyahu-Obama meeting in the White House – and
Obama’s landmark speech in Cairo in June 2009 – found that 31% considered his
presidency more pro- Israel, and 14% more pro-Palestinian.
The next poll,
taken just one month later, found a huge shift, with the proportion calling the
Obama administration more pro-Palestinian rising from 14% to 50%, and the
proportion calling it more pro-Israel falling from 31% to only 6%.
calling the Obama presidency more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian fell in August
2009 to 4%, and rose to 9% in March 2010.
Since then, the share who
consider this White House more pro-Israel has risen gradually and slightly,
while the percentage saying it is more pro-Palestinian has gradually
Polls taken in March and July 2010 found that 9% and 10%,
respectively, called the administration more pro- Israel; 48% and 46%,
respectively, called it more pro-Palestinian.
The gap between Israelis
calling the administration more pro-Palestinian and more pro-Israel has fallen
from 47% in August 2009 to 28% this week.
Obama fared better in a Dialog
poll published by Haaretz on Thursday, which found that a quarter of the public
considers him friendly to Israel, while 20% called him hostile and 43% described
him as “businesslike.”
The Dialog poll found that 47% of the Israeli
public deemed Netanyahu’s trip to Washington a success, while only 10% viewed it
as a failure.
Nearly half of the public felt pride at seeing Netanyahu
address Congress on Tuesday, while only 5% deemed it a “missed
The proportion of the population expressing satisfaction
with Netanyahu’s performance as prime minister rose from 38% in the last Haaretz
poll five weeks ago, to 51%.
Other polls also indicated a rise in support
for Netanyahu and his Likud Party since his speeches in Washington.
Telesker poll published in Ma’ariv on Wednesday found that the Likud had
strengthened against Kadima. The poll predicted that the Likud would rise from
27 to 30 Knesset seats, while Kadima would fall from 28 to 27.
Asked who
was more fit to be prime minister, 36.9% said Netanyahu; 28.3% said Kadima
leader Tzipi Livni; 9.2% said Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman of Israel
Beiteinu; 2.6% said Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Independence; and 18.2%
answered none of the above.
A Sarid Institute poll broadcast on Channel 2
Tuesday night found that 38% of Israelis found Netanyahu most fit to be prime
minister, and 35% Livni. The poll found that the Likud had grown in support at
Kadima’s expense.

Since the last poll taken by the institute during a
crisis over gas prices, Kadima fell by five seats and Likud rose by

The poll found that if an election were held now, Likud would win
34 seats (up seven from the last election in February 2009); and Kadima 29 (up

A Geocartographic Institute poll broadcast on Channel 1 Tuesday
night predicted that the Likud would win 33 seats, and Kadima 22. According to
that survey, 61% of Jewish Israelis oppose Obama’s formula of the 1967 lines
with land swaps as a basis for an agreement with the Palestinians, while only
27% favor it.

WikiLeaks: Netanyahu – Yes to Land Swaps, No to Arab Immigration

November 30, 2010

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu agreed to give up Israeli land to the PA in return for major Jewish population centers in Judea and Samaria but drew the “red line” at the so-called “right of return,” according to diplomatic messages exposed by WikiLeaks.

Like most of the WikiLeaks revelations, the significance of the Prime Minister’s positions is that they now are direct quotes from Netanyahu rather than assumptions from “anonymous sources.” The idea of a land swap has been trumpeted by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) and accepted by U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell. Under the proposal, Israel would hand over to the Arabs some land from within Israel’s 1949 borders in return for a Palestinian Authority state’s recognition that areas such as Gush Etzion and Maaleh Adumim would be under Israeli sovereignty.However, an Israeli official told reporters that in the Feb. 26, 2009 cable, dated two weeks after the Prime Minister was elected, “Netanyahu [only] expressed support for the concept of land swaps, and emphasized that he did not want to govern the West Bank and Gaza but rather to stop attacks from being launched from there.” He added that Prime Minister Netanyahu himself “never raised the issue of land swaps and the telegram does not quote him as saying so.”
The issue of immigration of foreign Arabs is called by the Arab world the “right of return,” a term similar to that used in Israel for the right of Jews around the world to immigrate and become citizens of Israel.
No serious Israeli leader has accepted the concept, which would in effect reduce Jews to a minority in the country as a result of the immigration of approximately five million Arabs now living in foreign countries. The Arab world says they should be eligible to live in Israel because they, their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents lived in the country before fleeing in 1948.
Arab armies had encouraged them to leave during the War for Independence, promising them they would return quickly after an expected annihilation of the small and fledgling Israeli army.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, according to a leaked cable, said he “would never allow a single Palestinian refugee to return to Israel. Israel, after all, was not asking for the right of Jews to return to Baghdad or Cairo. Israel will only have a peace partner when the Palestinians drop the right of return.”
He added that accepting Arab immigration and dividing the capital in Jerusalem “would only whet the appetite of radical Islam. The 1967 borders were not the solution since Israel was the only force blocking radical Islam’s agenda of overrunning Jordan and Saudi Arabia.”

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
A7 News


If Obama Is Trying To Weaken Netanyahu–It’s Working!

It seems that Likud is getting wary–and weary–of Netanyahu:

A Likud rally at the Knesset on Monday aimed at pressuring the party’s ministers to oppose another construction moratorium in Judea and Samaria turned into a protest against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu when party activists called for his ouster.

While MK Danny Danon criticizes Netanyahu, he doesn’t want to go so far as to topple Bibi–for fear of clearing the way for bringing Livni into power, but not all members of Likud are showing the same restraint:

Kiryat Arba Likud activist Boaz Haetzni, who was on the party’s list of Knesset candidates in the last election, condemned Netanyahu for breaking promises to oppose the creation of a Palestinian state, allow life in Judea and Samaria to thrive, rule out a further freeze, and condition another moratorium on the Palestinians recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.
“After breaking his word so many times, why should we believe him anymore?” Haetzni asked. “He is leading us to the policies of Meretz.
“The conclusion should be if there is another freeze, we must vow to not let Netanyahu remain head of the Likud and prime minister. We must stop him before we end up in the sea.”
Haetzni’s call for overthrowing Netanyahu received applause from more than 50 Likud activists in the room.

We are not talking about a no-confidence vote, but to the degree that Netanyahu considers himself steering a course within a small space with limited options–he appears to be losing support back home for what some are no seeing as nothing less than a betrayal of trust.

And this is what led to his defeat his first time around as Prime Minister.