IDF shoots Palestinian in Gaza in first fatality since war, Palestinians say
State charges border policeman with manslaughter in death of Palestinian minor
Erdan revokes resident status from man who aided terrorist in 2001 Dolphinarium attack
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Rabbi Aryeh Stern – a model of humility
Assessing the GDP
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Cinema of reconciliation
On the volcano’s edge
Knowledge, power and abuse
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Veterans: Keeping an ear out for change
Book Review: Written from his heart
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Who is your God?
Grapevine: Amazing place
A voice from India
Happily Eva After: When the going gets tough...
Grapevine: Reclaiming our heritage
Upscale dining in Neveh Tzedek
Recognizing Palestine – anomalies and ambiguities
Dacca fighting New Delhi’s war too
A war for the soul of Israel’s Arab community
Iran and the West – how big a gap?
A song for Cheshvan: 'The Eucalyptus Grove'
הָאַרְכִיוֹן שֶל רוֹמַן וִישְנִיָאק
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Meet the Ambassador: No longer a conference diplomat
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Arafat, Abbas, même combat ?
Daniel Oren, maestro d’Israël, d’Italie et d’ailleurs !
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11.23.2014 | 1 Kislev, 5775
Jewish women take home gold at 2014 Emmys
Dance review: Maya Brinner –‘Local’ Jaffa Port
‘Armed’ and dangerous
US music legend Seymour Stein to scout Israeli artists
Robin Williams, remembering the man of many voices
The play must go on
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The prince of romance hits all the right keys
Return of ladino popularity ruthy
Eyal Sher to head Israel Festival
Menahem Golan, pioneering Israeli filmmaker, dies at 85
TZACHI HANEGBI \
In any case, there’s a story here!
Ulpana protest tent at rally 370.
(photo credit:TOVAH LAZAROFF)
The best political pundits assembled and arrived at the Knesset on Wednesday morning. The developing confrontation over the slated evacuation of homes in the settlement of Beit El promised for a spectacular summer drama.The television crews set up their cameras in the press section that overlooks the Knesset plenum and surveyed the battlefield.After three particularly dry years in parliament, the headlines characteristic of a coalition crisis were back: “Rebel ministers vow to fight to bitter end”: “The Prime Minister’s Office threatens to fire rebels”; “Right-wing activists put pressure on noncommittal MKs,” etc.By the afternoon the excitement had almost completely died down. Not one of the ministers or deputies dared to risk being fired. No party followed up on its threat to quit the coalition.The overwhelming majority of MKs present voted against the legislation aimed at bypassing the High Court, which ruled that the state had until July 1 to remove the five homes in dispute.The bevy of journalists rushed to report to their editors, “Sorry, there’s no story....”I dispute their conclusion that there is “no story.” The opposite is the case. Truly, ministers combining to take a position against that of the prime minister is undoubtedly fascinating news. But no less so is the fact that the prime minister has the strength to thwart such a rebellion in the ranks. That, too, is a “story.”Such developments also require drawing certain conclusions and a meaningful political analysis for the future. In the skewed Israeli reality of governments whose main business is ensuring their survival, one cannot minimize the importance of a leader’s readiness to buck coalition pressures, withstand shockwaves in his own party and choose the path of national responsibility over satisfying his political partners at any price.My first conclusion is that despite the harsh criticism initially voiced, it is now clear that Kadima’s decision to join a right-wing government provides the prime minister with plenty of room for effective internal political maneuvering.If we were today at the height of an election campaign, in which every right-wing and religious party was fighting for power and the Likud ministers were up against each other in a primary, one could assume that the results of the Knesset vote would be quite the opposite.The tensions between the legislative and judicial branches of government would reach new heights. Israel would be under a severe international assault. Israeli society would be embroiled in a state of ferment and mutual recriminations, just as we approach a period in which a decision on the Iranian situation requires us to take a united, unified stand.My second conclusion is that it is now necessary for the partnership between Kadima and the Likud to move from a tactical alliance to a strategic one. The challenge facing Binyamin Netanyahu and Shaul Mofaz, who together control 55 MKs, is to make the most of the 18 months left until the next election. Not only to stave off problematic initiatives as they did this week, but to reach agreements in areas that have been avoided until now because of coalition concerns.Two main issues are eagerly waiting to be addressed. The first is to conclude by the end of July legislation to share the burden of military and national service. The second is to advance reforms that will strengthen political stability and the ability of the executive branch to do its work.There is broad public support for both these goals. And both Kadima and the Likud believe that this is the right time to make changes in these two areas. The veto powers of sectoral parties over particular parliamentary moves no longer exist. This is the ultimate test of the current broad coalition: To restore hope among Israelis that their leaders are capable of coming together to advance the fundamental issues at the heart of the national consensus.The writer is a former cabinet minister, Knesset member (for Kadima and previously the Likud) and head of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
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