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.


Mount of Olives Mosque Construction Proceeds Apace

November 21, 2011
(israelnationalnews.com) Arabs are building an illegal mosque on the Mount of Olives adjacent to the graves of late Prime Minister Menachem Begin and modern Hebrew rejuvenator Eliezer Ben Yehuda.
In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Land of Israel Foundation chairman Aryeh King said the struggle to stop the mosque’s construction has yet to bear fruit and that official responses have been filled with platitudes and untruths.

Illegal Mosque Construction
Illegal Mosque Construction
Flash 90

King said in recent days it has been established the area the mosque is being built in is clearly designated as a part of the cemetery itself on land some 200 meters into undisputed Israeli territory.
“The city places the blame on the police and the police lay blame on the municipality – while the criminals are celebrating and we are ashamed to exercise our sovereignty,” King said.
Instead, King says he received a letter from an attorney for the Israel police asserting there are no grounds for action against construction at the site because the only work being done is the renovation of the lavatory and moving a sink.
Aerial photographs recently published by King, however, shows construction on land that – until 18 months ago – was occupied by fruit-bearing olive trees. King noted, in addition to the failure to obtain a permit for such work, that the uprooting of trees for the purpose of construction is illegal.
“The Israeli government is allowing it to happen,” King said. “The Minister did not lift a finger. We were not able to convince them the importance of place , and thus we failed,” King said – emphasizing government inaction came despite the Mosque’s close promity to Begin and Ben-Yehuda’s graves.
King said, “There is no way to explain this reality except for the fact that the District [Police] Commander is afraid of upsetting the Arabs. There is no other explanation for a document filled with lies.
“Even when he was police chief in the Old City he allowed Arabs to bury their dead in the compound, which is defined as a national park – right in the Old City itself. How can police produce a fallacious document when there are clear violations happening right under their nose – the use of heavy equipment – which can be clearly seen from the Temple Mount?”
King said rabbis he lobbied for support were reluctant to pressure the authorities. King also said Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat had not issued a demolition or stop work order at the Mosque site.
“We need to rouse the public to action,” King said.

that is a mighty big sink you are building on the Mount of Olives, sheik!


Illegal Mosque Next to Jewish Holy Graveyard

October 5, 2011
So…..tear it down – just like the houses in Migron.(9-11 Do more then never forget Stop Islam) Illegal construction of a mosque continues just feet from an ancient Jerusalem graveyard. Illegal construction continues at a Jerusalem mosque immediately adjacent to an ancient and holy Jewish graveyard, Jerusalem activists have reported. Workers continue to expand the mosque on the Mount of Olives despite official orders ruling that they must stop. The illegal extension will be located just feet from the graves of revered Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook and former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Senior city officials recently pledged to put a stop to the illegal building, but activists say work continued over the Rosh Hashanah holiday. The latest work included uprooting a stretch of sidewalk, and the destruction of some Jewish tombs recently restored after they were vandalized months earlier.
Veteran Jerusalem activist Aryeh King visited the scene and took pictures showing new work and new construction materials that had been brought in. Also brought in were Arab laborers from Judea and Samaria, who lacked work permits, King said.
“We are facing a nightmare that will all but deny Jews access to graves on the holiest and oldest Jewish cemetery in the world,” said Avrohom Lubinsky of the Committee for the Preservation of the Mount of Olives. He accused city officials of failing to enforce stop work orders.
Jeff Daube, head of the Israel office of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), termed the ongoing problem “an outrage.”
“We are so concerned about the legal status of three buildings in Migron and will make every effort to tear those down, and in the meantime the Arabs are permitted to continue to build illegally with impunity right next to what, outside the Maarat Hamachpelah [Tomb of the Patriarchs – ed.], is the holiest graveyard in Jewish history,” he told Arutz Sheva.

Israel ‘supplied arms to Argentina during Falklands War’

April 21, 2011
Media_httpitelegraphc_ekeym
ok… and… good… I am no fan of Argentina’s claims to the Falklands, but you sabotage the enemy.
Air to air missiles, missile radar alert systems, fuel tanks for fighter bombers and gas masks were dispatched from Israel apparently destined for Peru but were then transported on to Argentina, it claims.
As the British Task Force sent to reclaim the islands after the 1982 Argentine invasion of the Falklands began to get the upper hand, Argentina’s ruling military junta was left with few choices from which to source replacements for equipment lost in war.
But according to ‘Operation Israel: the rearming of Argentina during the dictatorship (1976/1983)’ the junta found that Begin was willing to strike an agreement.
Interviews conducted by the author of the book, the Argentine journalist Hernan Dobry, reveal that Begin saw the deals as a form of revenge for the hanging of a personal friend, Dov Gruner, by the British Mandatory Authorities in Palestine in 1947.
After the Argentine Air Force contacted Isrex, the Israeli defence company, a meeting was arranged between representatives of the company and Begin.
Media_httpitelegraphc_ekeym

ok… and… good… I am no fan of Argentina’s claims to the Falklands, but you sabotage the enemy

Air to air missiles, missile radar alert systems, fuel tanks for fighter bombers and gas masks were dispatched from Israel apparently destined for Peru but were then transported on to Argentina, it claims.
As the British Task Force sent to reclaim the islands after the 1982 Argentine invasion of the Falklands began to get the upper hand, Argentina’s ruling military junta was left with few choices from which to source replacements for equipment lost in war.
But according to ‘Operation Israel: the rearming of Argentina during the dictatorship (1976/1983)’ the junta found that Begin was willing to strike an agreement.
Interviews conducted by the author of the book, the Argentine journalist Hernan Dobry, reveal that Begin saw the deals as a form of revenge for the hanging of a personal friend, Dov Gruner, by the British Mandatory Authorities in Palestine in 1947.
After the Argentine Air Force contacted Isrex, the Israeli defence company, a meeting was arranged between representatives of the company and Begin. via telegraph.co.uk
let that be a lesson to the U.K. today. Israel will get it’s hands dirty to survive… or at least I certainly would hope so.

More US Tax Payer AID for Egypt?

February 16, 2011


Note that Obama said that the United States would do everything possible to help a democratic Egypt. Is he going to propose an international aid consortium or raise current levels of U.S. aid? Given the economic situation that is hard to believe.

Egypt: The Mubarak Resignation–He Did It His Way–And Its Consequences

THE ADVANTAGE of having a good relationship with a dictator is that he can deliver quickly. The disadvantage is that once he is gone no one is bound by his decisions because he doesn’t represent anyone. 

Carter was the most hostile president Israel had faced. His negative attitude towards Israel made it all but impossible for Begin to walk away from the table. When Carter’s antagonism is coupled with Sadat’s romantic pledges of everlasting peace and brotherhood, it is easy to understand why Begin agreed to overpay for a ceasefire. 

Ayman Nour, the head of the oppositionist Ghad Party and the man heralded as the liberal democratic alternative to Mubarak by Washington neo-conservatives has called for the peace treaty to be abrogated. In an interview with an Egyptian radio station he said, “The Camp David Accords are finished. Egypt has to at least conduct negotiations over conditions of the agreement.”
For its part, the Muslim Brotherhood has been outspoken in its call to end the treaty since it was signed 32 years ago. 

Over the past 20 years or so, the power of Egypt’s central authority in its hinterlands has weakened. The strength of the Bedouin has grown. And over the past decade or so, the Bedouin of Sinai, like the Bedouin from Saudi Arabia to Jordan to Israel have become aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood and its al Qaida and Hamas spinoffs. 


Israel Is Not A Banana Republic – Begin’s Rebuttle Of Reagan, State Dept., on “Punishing” Israel « Blogshul

March 22, 2010

On June 7 we destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor “Osirak” near Baghdad. I don’t want to mention to you today from whom we received the final information that this reactor was going to produce atomic bombs. We had no doubt about that: therefore our action was an act of salvation, an act of national self-defense in the most lofty sense of the concept. We saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians, including tens of thousands of children.

Nonetheless, you announced that you were punishing us – and you left unfilled a signed and sealed contract that included specific dates for the supply of (war) planes.
Not long after, in a defensive act – after a slaughter was committed against our people leaving three dead (including an Auschwitz survivor) and 29 were injured we bombed the PLO headquarters in Beirut.
You have no moral right to preach to us about civilian casualties. We have read the history of World War Two and we know what happened to civilians when you took action against an enemy. We have also read the history of the Vietnam war and your phrase “body-count”. We always make efforts to avoid hitting civilian populations, but sometimes it is unavoidable – as was the case in our bombing of the PLO headquarters.
We sometimes risk the lives of our soldiers to avoid civilian casualties.
Nonetheless, you punished us: you suspended delivery of F-15 planes.
In 1946 there lived in this house a British general by the name of Barker. Today I live here. When we fought him, you called us “terrorists” – and we carried on fighting. After we attacked his headquarters in the requisitioned building of the King David Hotel, Barker said: “This race will only be influenced by being hit in the pocket” – and he ordered his soldiers to stop patronizing Jewish cafes.
To hit us in the pocket – this is the philosophy of Barker. Now I understand why the whole great effort in the Senate to obtain a majority for the arms deal with Saudi Arabia was accompanied by an ugly campaign of anti-Semitism.
As for the contention that we surprised you, the truth is that we did not want to embarrass you. We knew your difficulties. You come to Riyadh and Damascus. It was President Reagan who said that Mr. Begin was right – that had Israel told the U.S. about the law (in advance) the U.S. would have said no. We did not want you to say no – and then go ahead and apply Israeli law to the Golan Heights.
Our intention was not to embarrass you.
As regards Lebanon, I have asked that the Secretary of State be informed that we will not attack, but if we are attacked, we will counterattack.

read the whole thing via rabbiyonah.wordpress.com (these are excerpts)