Tag Archives: Likud

Now Available in Stereo: Kadima’s Livni Cut Down by Both Labor and Likud

The Knesset is clearly back in session..

Been a while since I did some politics, mostly related to the fact that Israel’s Parliament was on summer recess. But, have no fear – They’re back & raring to go! Kadima’s Livni late last week opened things up pledging to bring ‘relentless opposition’ to counter internal party criticism of her, which has been mounting steadily.

Her first major move was to sharply criticize Defense Minister & Labor leader Ehud Barak for spending a wad-load of money on a recent excursion to a Paris military exhibition (He was representing Israel’s significant weapons export industry).

Will that be cash or credit? $150,000 dollar hotel bill

Barak & his crew certainly spent a pretty penny, staying in one of Paris’ most expensive hotels & burning serious cash. Not exactly a smooth move by Ehud in tough economic times while on public dime.

In response, Livni pulled her typical above the fray gambit taking an opposition position criticizing Barak on ethics.. Laudable, but surely it occurred to someone in the Kadima brain trust that with former Kadima PM Olmert literally on trial for corruption, playing the little angel might not be the wisest of moves or tactics!?

That’s when all hell broke loose..

Until now, most of the heat Livni has felt has been internal from Kadima, but her critique & the fresh Knesset session clearly caused a snap – Get a load of the Labor & Likud responses!

“The double standards and hypocrisy of Livni have reached new heights,” Labor responded in an official message. “She would be better off checking first what is going on in her own party, which is the most corrupt party in the history of Israeli politics [and] which has created, through a number of scandals, reprehensible norms in public, criminal and ethical fields. The entire public remembers the parade of suspects for violation of public trust, theft, false documentation, vice and other offenses.

There are some double entendres in there. Olmert as mentioned, but also the criticism that Kadima corruption resulted in Livni stealing the party leadership, sidelining her rival Shaul Mofaz in last years party leadership race – A key source of the welling of internal resistance Livni is facing within Kadima, a divided house. The statement goes on..

“Livni’s voice was not heard then,” the response continued. “Livni would be better off remaining silent rather than reciting slogans from her public relations advisers, and to act in accordance with the saying that ‘people who have butter smeared on their heads shouldn’t go out in the sun.’”

That’s coming from the Labor Peace Party! Never fear however, Kadima’s rivals in the Likud (her former home) had some choice words for her too. Effectively making this broadcast in stereo..

A senior Likud official also issued a response, blasting “Mrs. Livni’s hypocrisy,” which he said was “breaking records in Israeli politics.”

Everyone is clearly well rested and ready to rock up there in Knesset land.. We’re already in ‘record breaking territory’. Should be a fantastic silly season, nothing could make me happier. I’m going to need to buy more popcorn for the big show : )

Tea Leaves: 11 Weeks Left On My Latest Kadima Predictions of Imminent Disaster

Politics!!!!!

Last Friday, in my domestic analysis of Bibi’s first 100 days I made a prediction regarding Likud strategy & Kadima. You can read the whole post if it is of interest on the hows & whys, but I chased it with bold statements like these..

[...] Bibi is a masterful political operator. He has pulled the rug out from under Livni, and if Mofaz is smart he will make his move to push for coalition. If Netanyahu is equally smart and he is, I expect it in the next 10-12 weeks as posted above.

Resistance is futile..

Should Kadima resist.. We may see it fracture with Mofaz leaving. The challenge for Bibi is mustering some portfolios for the senior defense Kadima man. The best case scenario for Netanyahu is such a fracture, for now he is surely content to allow Livni to wallow in obscurity otherwise, as the coalition play would be a pressure gambit only. Should he succeed in splitting Kadima (no small feat), the ground is clear for an opposition-less path for years ahead & a Likud power reign of the right.

In order to keep myself entertained on the blog I do this fairly often, I’m pretty good at it too. Alas, it’s more finely honed polling trolling and a fairly religiously pursued tap on Israel’s political pulse than magic sadly.. Else I’d be a lot richer in general. Nonetheless, it has only been 6 days – but my seed is starting to sprout despite the oppressive Tel Aviv heat. In today’s YNET, senior Likud strategists confirm my thinking on what comes next..

PM’s associates: Next target – dismantling Kadima (Somfalvi)

In the wake of the State Budget’s approval Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s close associates are setting their sights on the next target: Facilitating a split within the ranks of their main rival, Kadima.

The PM’s associates told Ynet that the so-called “Shaul Mofaz Bill,” which would allow 25% of the members of one Knesset faction to split and join another, is meant to prompt a Kadima split. “Should the Mofaz bill be passed, it will mark a significant strategic victory,” a senior official in Netanyahu’s office said.

The PM’s associates are claiming that at this time already, seven Kadima Knesset members will agree to leave their party and join Netanyahu’s coalition, even if Mofaz himself decides to shun the move for the time being. The prime minister’s associates said that in the near future they will be exerting intense pressure in a bid to approve the Mofaz Bill, in an effort to undermine the opposition. [...]

Approach to Danger

Livni, you are approaching the danger zone. It is no wonder that all of a sudden Livni’s tune is changing. Now we hear gems along the lines of ‘if Israel Beitenu leaves the coalition due to possible investigations of party head Avigdor Lieberman, Kadima would have no problem joining the coalition’.. More comedy gold.

Not looking good for Livni

Not looking good for Livni

Please don’t tell anyone that this ‘supposed aversion’ to Lieberman’s party is obviously the reason Livni spent the bulk of her own coalition efforts courting him, including such an invitation in her Victory Speech! to the nation on election night.

Oy! It’s not nice to laugh at your former party’s misfortunes, but I can’t help it. For a year+ I was posting post after post on Livni’s political fortunes, her handlers tall tales, and the fact that Bibi would eat her for breakfast. So far in my latest game of pick the political future I have scored big, with the Kadima implosion strategy now tabled as the next target for the Likud. We shall see if 11 weeks is enough time for me to sink a double bogey.. and watch Kadima split open like a melon.

Good Stuff..

Gil Hoffman at JPOST in a great article about Israel Beitenu’s legal woes and the possible fallout, mentions Mofaz as a dark horse for the Foreign Ministry should Avigdor Lieberman resign. But there’s the rub. Not enough English for Shaul in my opinion to make the position truly effective. What or how does Bibi shuffle the deck to make a tantalizing spot open for Mofaz to entice a full bail & bring a 1/3 of Kadima with him? The way the Kadima party& Livni treated him in the primary, it is difficult but doable as he & Livni seriously dislike each other. Will Mofaz try to oust Livni and take the party? Will he move to Israel Beitenu or more likely Likud?

No matter what there are fun times ahead for us Tea Leave readers everywhere.

‘Great Statesman’: Obama will have something to prove here in Israel

That’s a big sell these days, that Obama is a ‘Great Statesman’

Other than the fact that he mostly met his 1st foreign leaders 3 months ago this summer on his big world tour, this like most everything else about Obama is mostly fantasy spun up by his adoring legions. Personally Obama reminds me more of the Teflon Don, you know the gangster in the suit employing Chicago style dirt to achieve his aims while the common folk sing his eternal praise.

Willingness to meet the World’s worst regimes for coffee & tea does not a great statesman make incidentally, but that’s not my concern at the moment. A greater concern are the statements made by Obama & Biden regarding Israeli politics previously, specifically Obama’s denigration of the Likud, historically one of Israel two leading parties and a current favorite to sweep into power in our upcoming elections..

The left in Israel is already trying to make hay

Israel cannot elect Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu prime minister after the United States voted for president-elect Barack Obama, because of the differences in their views on the Middle East conflict and economic issues, Labor and Kadima MKs charged Wednesday in the wake of Obama’s victory. [...]

There’s more there, including the sad & pitiful statements so typical of our left wing of late, who have tried everything under the sun to secure their own asses and seats in a manner not befitting statesmen of any stripe. Bush was of the right, yet he dealt fairly and with respect with our center left governments as well as our center right wing governments. He respected Israel’s right to choose & define its own destiny in this regard.

We don’t need no thought control..

Will Obama step forward, in contrast to his previous statements before he became a ‘great statesman’, and state that Israel has both the right & the responsibility to choose its own destiny and elect its own leaders in democracy? Or will he play into the hands of Israel’s left and his own convenience, by unduly influencing Israel’s internal politics and subtly intimidating Israel’s electorate, as our own left is already doing in order to create the great socialist order?

Before Syria, Iran, the Palestinians and all manner of dangerous foreign policy plays available to him, Obama will have an opportunity to first show how much he respects the State of Israel and her vibrant democracy, specifically by repudiating the kind of self serving schlock served up above by our own politicians and stating that whatever Israel chooses, the choice will be respected & welcomed by the new US administration once he takes office. He met with Bibi previously, that’s a positive start though the meeting reportedly was cool.

Netanyahu and Israel’s own right wing have so far been gracious in regard to Obama’s victory. We will be at the height of election fever specifically around Obama’s inauguration, he will have ample opportunity to shows us his statesman ways in this regard..

Mrs Clean: Livni goes back on her word; Looks to form Arab based leftist Government coalition (Update II)

Unelected ‘leader’ needs to face the music, er.. electorate

Now into the 2 week extension for coalition building after having burned up the normal month long allocation with no result, the lady elected by less than 1% of the nation’s vote is getting desperate.

Musical Chairs..

The EmperorFirst she claimed she was unprepared to serve under Olmert who no longer had a mandate, yet she never resigned. Then she let it be known if she was not chosen the new Kadima head, she was leaving the party. Then she claimed she wanted to lead a center based government under her leadership based on Olmert’s coalition, despite being unelected. Later she claimed she was prepared to call elections, yet weeks later applied for coalition extensions instead.

Getting dizzy yet?

Then she swung radically left and invited Meretz to join. Afterwards she claimed what she really wanted was a national emergency government with the Likud because that was the ‘responsible’ thing to do. Later she stated it was not Meretz but UTJ & Shas who were her obvious natural partners, before of course telling Labor leader Barak he was the ‘supreme’ deputy Prime Minister under her little junta.

Now, after offering up billions of shekels to buy the leadership seat of Israel only to be as of yet spurned, she’s prepared to form an absurd narrow government of 60 MKs based on the radical left Meretz platform and requiring Arab party MKs to keep her afloat.. There’s only one thing missing from this little dictatorship she is looking to form, a mandate and some actual votes.

Power Trip

Not only has Mrs. Clean now waffled on every statement she has ever made, now she’s selling out the entire Kadima center party concept to feed her unabashed unelected ambitions wholesale, putting the power center in the hands of the radical left and traditional anti Zionist Israel haters. Shas, Kadima members themselves, the Pensioners, pretty much everyone save Livni thinks this is somewhat insane. Not only that but it breaks the only deal she managed to sign with Labor, where she pledged to build a solid 2 year proof government or go to elections.

As six Kadima MKs, headed by Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, said they would not support a narrow government if one were brought to the Knesset for approval next week, Kadima leader and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni threatened Wednesday to hold general elections. [...]

Livni told Mofaz that she preferred a wide government, but that if there were parties – such as Shas and UTJ – that chose not to join a government under her leadership, she would consider forming a narrow one. Livni told Mofaz that all options were still valid, including going to general elections.

Mofaz told Livni that he would like to help form a wide government. Mofaz has gathered five other Kadima MKs who support his position that a narrow government with Labor and Meretz would be too left-wing and would therefore be subject to political extortion and concessions in negotiations with the Palestinians, and later on with the Syrians [...]

A 60 seat skin of your teeth anti Zionist coalition is not what you’d call a solid governing body able to last 2 weeks let alone 2 years in Israel’s political system. Nor would it have anything even resembling a shred of mandate with HUGE issues looming large for Israel including existential threats, unrevealed peace plans, etc. Less than a week later she has already balked on her commitments to Barak, if this is the clean Leader Livni it bodes for disaster.

It seems there is no red line Livni isn’t willing to cross in her quest. Isn’t it time we got real elected leadership, a real mandate by vote not some shady word breaking back room deals? The notion that this woman who received less than 45% of her own party’s vote, less than 25,000 votes in ALL of Israel can possibly be mandated to do anything save tie her own shoes is a real mockery. Stop threatening us endlessly that you will call elections Livni, and call the elections. Please sh*t or get off the pot, we need leadership in this country and we need it now.

At least one thing has become crystal clear and undeniable to all, Livni is a leftist. Light years away from the tough right wing ‘Ariel Sharon heir’ she claimed to be. It seems Mrs. Clean hasn’t been all that honest with us, feel free to choose when and where for yourself as it is a multiple choice question with numerous right answers.

UPDATE: Power Queen plays ‘Who wants to be a billionaire?’

‘Mrs. Clean’ offers Shas 1 Billion Shekels to secure her govt.. First it was 400 million, then 800 million, now a full Billion in 24 hours and the day is not over yet.. Add this to the 1.5 billion promised to Labor, and hundreds million more for Meretz, Pensioners and anyone else who can dig into the Livni leadership trough.. Global Recession? Fiscal conservative, no amount of taxpayer dollars is too much it seems to burn, for what? Did I get a vote to spend billions on this sham, no.. Did you?

UPDATE II: Now it’s back to elections if no coalition deal is done by Sunday
So this would be the hardball I take it? Frankly I injured my neck in whiplash trying to keep track of these machinations all over the map. The Pensioners have pulled out of talks entirely apparently today, because they now also want a few hundred million to a billion sheks and Livni has stated she doesn’t want to act ‘irresponsibly’..

“The moment of reckoning has arrived,” Livni said at a Kadima faction meeting, Wednesday. “Decisions need to be made by Sunday and then we will know whether there will be a coalition or elections. Negotiations have not been exhausted to their fullest, but time is not on our side,” she added.

The Kadima leader insisted that she would not agree to break the budget and that she would not restore child welfare payments to their former levels. In the closed session, the Kadima leader said she preferred a government that was as broad as possible, but admitted that it was not yet clear if she would even get a 61-MK majority, Israel Radio reported. [...]

According to her enamored media, Kadima & Livni herself, she should be all set for a 20% electoral landslide crushing the Likud, so why the reticence to go to the electorate? Might it have something to do with the fact that in reality she is going to get shellacked?

Personally, I maintained she would have difficulty beating Mofaz, that’s how it rolled. I also made my call she would not be able to build a coalition which was pretty ballsy seeing as one already existed - I’m sticking to my guns.. We’ll see what goes on from now till Sunday. If she opts for this 61 Meretz Arab MK coalition I will openly revolt like the Hashmoneans against the Seleucids.

Breaking bread with Livni: The Coalition is hitting early bumps

Swinging left to Meretz was a very BAD idea..

Livni’s 1st political move was a classic mistake. Instead of immediately leaning right to secure goodwill within Kadima and without, where she lacks it most and where the country is also leaning most, she went left to the Meretz no man’s land of political oblivion.

Of course the reasoning is simple enough, they are going gaga for Livni on the far left. The glowing media and support is akin to a warm embrace, comfort food for a very weak slim win. Further, the ideological platform she is pushing in negotiations falls squarely in the Meretz camp. Thing is she accomplishes more than just alienating the right in a move like that, she also alienates the left, or in this case Labor party’s leader.

Struck by lightning (Barak)

Barak himself as Prime Minister already flirted with the Meretz platform 10 years ago, it cost him his job. Why on earth Livni thought he may enjoy flirting with that platform openly again, especially in light of his already low opinion of her - all in order to secure her the PM job is beyond me?

Being 1st out of the gate to reinforce the common view that she has sacrificed every principle of her Likud roots, and now even Kadima’s own charter is not a genius play. The notion that this is Sharon’s heir politically we are seeing is as I stated divine comedy. The empress has no clothes so far. Judging by the media roundup below, no one is as of yet tossing her any either. If anything, there’s a concerted effort to challenge the legality of her win within Kadima forming now, and a possible flirt between Labor & Likud on a power sharing agreement. Anyone get the feeling Livni wants to share power and rotate the big PM chair? Me neither.

Livni is not the only one who can form a govt

She is dominating the media, but President Peres can be approached by other factions to form a govt. Peres & Olmert are now racing to get things squared away, Peres may even delay his trip to the USA for the UN general assembly to keep the paltry Livni momentum going. The last thing he wants is to come back in a week or so and be presented with a government option that does not even involve Livni, a national emergency government of the left & the right which leaves out the so called center party and Livni entirely..

Look at this math..

Labor 19, Likud 12, Israel Our Home 11, Shas 12 = 54
NRP 9, UTJ 6, Pensioners 6.

Either of those last three added is enough to secure a slim majority without Kadima, Meretz or elections, and the pensioners and UTJ are easy enough addons. With all the freed up Kadima portfolios it is darn right near a jamboree where everyone gets to keep their corrupt cozy seats, and even get a few juicy new ministries. It is a Kadima nightmare scenario..

Even Assad has a better opinion of Livni than Barak (Haaretz)
Comptroller mulls corruption probe of Kadima primary
(Jpost on the race rift exploding)
Barak – ‘Israel needs nat’l emergency gov’t’
(Jpost on a Labor Likud power sharing agreement)
Olmert: I have decided to resign as prime minister of Israel
(Jpost, everyone assumes Peres will appoint Livni)
Labor sources: Barak seeks early general elections (Haaretz)
Mofaz supporter calls for recount of Kadima primary (Haaretz)
Livni says Kadima will continue to lead Israel (Ynet)

Hitting the brakes

The last link shows Livni is already backtracking to ‘National Unity Government’ talk, meaning that her plans to maintain the current coalition seem stalled entirely, she assumed she could just patch together Olmert’s coalition and tack on Meretz for more seats, but you know what they say about the old adage assume? When you ASSUME you are ‘Making an ASS out of U and ME’.

She better not assume she is guaranteed to be the party leader being offered the shot at forming a govt either, as by displaying further hubris she may be in for a surprise. She also assumed she would landslide the primary, and she assumes she will landslide a general election too..

How many times in one week can you ‘make an ass of yourself’ is the real question?

Right On: Danny Ayalon Joins Israel Beitenu

Another All-Star pickup for the Knesset lists, again on the right

Last week it was Uzi Dayan joining the Likud, this week another huge name. Former long serving Ambassador to the United States and well known Israel advocate Danny Ayalon has joined Israel Beitenu (Israel our Home) the secular right ring party led by firebrand Avidgor Lieberman.

YNET [...]
Former Ambassador Ayalon was the political advisor of three prime ministers – Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon. Since the conclusion of his tenure in Washington, he has served as chairman of the Nefesh B’Nefesh organization and has engaged in international consulting along with Attorney Dov Weisglass, Sharon’s associate.

We are facing a serious political crisis, and this is why I have decided to join politics,” Ayalon told Yedioth Ahronoth on Thursday. “My connection with Ivet (Lieberman) and Yisrael Beiteinu is very clear. I read Yisrael Beiteinu’s platform and realized that this was my natural home.”

Ayalon added that he is a great believer in the ideology of the Yisrael Beiteinu movement. “I feel a connection to their platform, mainly in terms of changing the government system, civil marriage and exchanging territories,” he said. “The issue of exchanging territories, for example, should have been put on the table a long time ago. If I were an Israeli-Palestinian-Arab I would want to join a Palestinian state. I wonder why this has not been proposed by Israel’s Arabs.” [...]

Danny AyalonNot only is Ayalon by far the highest profile new member for Israel Beitenu next to its leader, but he brings with him some hefty international openings / avenues for the party. Israel Beitenu has enjoyed for the most part international support from dual citizens and patriots of the former soviet mold being a mostly Russian party. The addition of a big pick can open news doors, both to the Israeli electorate and the all important North American market.

Ayalon was well regarded by American Jews in Washington, strong ties to AIPAC followed by a year long stint with Nefesh Benefesh the primarily orthodox American aliyah organization will certainly help Israel Beitenu get on the political map in a way denied the party until now, this will end up taking some support from the Likud and moving it perhaps another notch right. Ayalon is an effective spokesman and he can drum up support and even money in ways Avigdor cannot, who is less well known and less well regarded outside Israel. 

Playing Poker this weekend someone at the table mentioned voting Israel Our Home in the next round, seemingly a meaningless mention but it is noteworthy because it surfaced in an all sabra group and I am by far the most right of the players and a Likud voter.. Frustration with our Arab partners surfacing in even unlikely places.