On Sunday, Israeli pundits and local news reports touted progressive Jewry and the major Jewish organizations in America for getting even with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by electing Isaac “Boujie” Herzog as chairman of The Jewish Agency for Israel.
It was clear to one and all that electing Herzog delivered an angry message to Netanyahu, that American Jews are upset with his decisions regarding the Kotel, Jewish conversion, and his belief that non-Orthodox American Jewry are spiraling down a path of no return – and so they elected his political opponent to spite him.
The Board of Governors of The Jewish Agency for Israel on Sunday unanimously elected MK Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) to succeed Natan Sharansky as Chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive.
In electing Herzog, the Board accepted the recommendation of the Leadership Nominating Committee, composed of the leaders of The Jewish Agency’s constituent organizations – the Jewish Federations of North America, Keren Hayesod-UIA, and the World Zionist Organization.
The board effectively rejected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s choice for the job.
Indeed, the selection of Herzog, who is the Knesset opposition leader, is viewed as retaliation from the board for Netanyahu’s “betrayal” of US Jewry over the status of non-Orthodox denominations in Israel and their access to a mixed-sex portion of the Western Wall.
Does that Narrative Make Sense?
As Tzvika Klein and Shirit Avitan Cohen of Makor Rishon point out, anyone familiar with Netanyahu’s history with political appointments realizes that something about this narrative makes no sense.
Netanyahu doesn’t typically lose this easily, he doesn’t wake up at the last minute when elections are involved, and when he allows a loss, it’s always because he expects a much bigger payoff down the road.
As he had done so many times before to so many others, Netanyahu twisted the leaders of the American Jewish organizations around his little finger.
Netanyahu Didn’t Fight for an Opposing Candidate
Consider the following: Netanyahu did not put up a fight for “his” candidate, Minister Yuval Steinitz. Steinitz didn’t campaign. Steinitz didn’t even bother to show up at a meeting of the nominating committee the other week.
Does that sound like Netanyahu putting up a fight for his preferred candidate?
Herzog Cut a Backroom Deal with Netanyahu
Labor party insiders are whispering that Herzog cut a backroom deal with Netanyahu to get the job, having lost his job as party chairman to newcomer Avi Gabai.
Indeed, over the past five months, since Herzog began campaigning for the Jewish Agency post, he hasn’t attacked Netanyahu even once – after a humiliating entanglement with the PM some two years ago.
The Sound of the Zionist Union Being Ripped Apart
And now that Herzog is out of the picture at the Zionist Union (the combined Labor and Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah party), the infighting there has gotten worse.
Avi Gabai, who replaced Herzog at the helm, isn’t an MK, so, as Herzog, head of the opposition, is due to retire in a few days, the short knives have been pulled out in the fight to replace him.
Some in the largest opposition faction point to Tzipi Livni as the obvious choice to replace Herzog. She is, after all, now listed as number one on the Zionist Union’s party list.
But Chairman Gabai, Livni’s nemesis, prefers Labor’s MK Shelly Yachimovich in the coveted role of opposition leader, not to mention, Livni is not exactly popular among Labor party members.
It’s going to get ugly, it might even tear the Zionist Union Knesset faction apart, with a disappointed Tzipi Livni seeking yet another political alignment (she’s been everywhere – starting in Likud and progressing leftward ever since). She’s already threatened to do just that.
Another victory for Netanyahu.
Here’s one more benefit Netanyahu expects to gain from Herzog’s appointment: the chairmanship of the Jewish National Fund Keren Kayemet Le’Israel (KKL-JNF) going to an appointee of the Likud, for the first time in Israel’s history.
At the moment, KKL-JNF is chaired by Labor’s Danny Atar, an Avi Gabai ally. But since the Zionist Union now controls the Jewish Agency, they’ll likely have to give up KKL-JNF in the next World Zionist Congress, in two years.
Chairmanships of various national institutions are distributed among the parties based on their size, and Netanyahu’s candidate will very likely take over KKL-JNF.
That would be a major coup for Bibi.
The KKL-JNF charter specifies reclamation of land for the Jewish people as its primary purpose. During the 1980s, almost 60,000 acres were planted. Over 50,000 acres of crop-land were reclaimed and hundreds of miles of roads built. Research into soil and water conservation and the construction of dams and reservoirs took on added importance in the face of water shortages and drought.
All this wealth, which includes a large portion of the public lands in Israel, could be available to the Likud, which would put it to use in so many different ways in establishing itself as Israel’s permanent ruling party comparable only to Ben Gurion’s Mapai party.
A Fig Leaf
Looking at a future at the helm of rightwing coalitions for as long as he remains in politics, Netanyahu has essentially given up on trying to appease the Jewish American left (Reform, Progressives).
The loss of the Jewish Agency and what it represents – partnership with a fast assimilating Diaspora Jewry, many of who dislike Netanyahu and Israel’s policies – is nothing to the PM compared with gaining control of KKL-JNF.
In that context, Herzog’s appointment is Netanyahu’s fig leaf, concealing his disinterest as Boujie grabs a prize Bibi sneers at, while Boujie ends up protecting Netanyahu, running interference for him among American Jews on the major conflict issues.
Who’s in Charge?
Furthermore, a third of the Jewish Agency’s budget and the important work it does, is reliant on the Israeli government, guaranteeing that Herzog will want to stay in Netanyahu’s good graces.
The Plague of Assimilation
The heads of American Jewish organizations see Herzog as a friend and an ally, but Herzog, grandson of a Chief Rabbi of Israel, is perhaps less in their corner than the outgoing Sharansky has been.
The new chairman is troubled, to say the least, by the “plague” (Herzog’s strong choice of words) of intermarriages afflicting all the non-Orthodox denominations in the US.
“I saw that my friends’ children are married or are in relationships with non-Jewish partners, while their parents agonize over it and ask questions,” Herzog has said according to Ynet. “We are talking about every [Jewish] family in the US, millions… There has to be a solution, we have to rack our brains and see how we solve this great challenge.”
Netanyahu may even be happy that Herzog will attempt to stem the decimation of non-Orthodox American Jewry, even if he believes Herzog will ultimately fail.
Netanyahu’s Total Victory Exposed
Netanyahu just placed his preferred candidate as chairman of the Jewish Agency for all the reasons listed above, and until they read this article, not a single member of any of the American Jewish organization who recommended or voted for Herzog (whatever their motivation) probably realizes how completely manipulated they were by the Prime Minister of Israel, who got exactly what he wanted.
Herzog is the perfect choice for Netanyahu. Herzog is the perfect choice for the Likud. Only one question remains, will Herzog be the perfect choice for the Jewish Agency?
Jeremy Corbyn leads a pro-Palestinian demonstration in London in 2014, one year before becoming Labour Party leader. Photo: File.
This marked a massive rise from the previous such survey, in which only 39% of Jews believed Corbyn was antisemitic.
British Jews also expressed an extremely low opinion of the Labour Party in general. The poll showed that 85.6% believed Labour suffered from “very high” levels of antisemitism.
Corbyn and his party have been beset with a series of high-profile antisemitism scandals for several years, which has resulted in the resignation and suspension of several prominent officials. Corbyn himself was recently caught on video saying that “Zionists” did not understand “English irony” despite “having lived in this country for a very long time.”
Makuya in Jerusalem 201 (YouTube)
Like an apple tree among trees of the forest, So is my beloved among the youths. I delight to sit in his shade, And his fruit is sweet to my mouth. (Song of Songs 2:3)
For ten days in late August, Israeli Rabbi Benny Lau and his wife, Rabbanit Noah Lau, traveled from Jerusalem to Japan to lead Bible study for groups of Makuya Japanese Christians. The Laus traveled to five Japanese towns and spent three days together at a weekend conference with 3,400 members of the Makuya group.
Makuya is Japanese for the Hebrew word Mishkan, the tent of meeting, where human beings come into contact with God. The Mishkan was the portable sanctuary that the Israelites used in the desert, before entering Israel and building the First Holy Temple.
The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. (Psalm 11:5)
Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro. (Credit: Agencia O Globo)
Jair Bolsonaro, the front-runner in the upcoming presidential election in Brazil, was stabbed during a campaign rally Thursday and was undergoing surgery.
The far-right politician, whose heated rhetoric has electrified some voters and angered others – -who accuse him of racism and homophobia – in a deeply polarized electorate, was attacked amid a crowd in the south-east state of Minas Gerais. Bolsonaro has performed strongly in recent opinion polls.
Those same polls suggested that he will likely receive the most votes in next month’s presidential elections, especially if the country’s former president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva (‘Lula’) remains blocked from standing. He is currently in prison, but is appealing against his candidacy ban – imposed after his conviction for corruption.
Republican lawmakers have made it clear they have no intention of repealing Obamacare in the current Congress.
Republicans in the nation’s top lawmaking body have never really wanted to get rid of Obamacare. They would prefer to present the program, which David Horowitz correctly describes as “the greatest assault on individual freedom and individual choice in our lifetimes,” as a villain and whip up sentiment against it and run against it every election. They view Obamacare as good for the business of politics. They may chip away at it from time to time or tinker with it at the margins, but make no mistake: these creatures of Washington want to keep it in place. This is the Republicans’ dirty secret.
The Trump administration has decided to reopen a case brought by a Zionist group against Rutgers University, previously closed by the Obama administration in 2014, alleging that the university had allowed Jewish students to be subjected to a hostile environment in violation of Title VI of the U.S. Civil Rights Act. The issue, ignored by the Obama administration, was whether the students were discriminated against based on their actual or perceived Jewish ancestry or ethnicity. Kenneth L. Marcus, the new assistant secretary of education for civil rights, decided that the case deserved another look.
Nestled in the Han River in the middle of South Korea’s bustling capital of Seoul, Yeoui Island is hardly where one would expect to find the largest mega-church in the world. Home to the city’s business and financial district, its skyline dotted with skyscrapers, the island boasts some of the country’s most powerful institutions, such as the Korean stock exchange and the headquarters of LG, the international conglomerate.
The AfD’s opponents, who often brand the party as “far right” or “extremist,” claim that the party’s alleged ties to neo-Nazi groups pose an existential threat to Germany’s constitutional order. The AfD’s supporters counter that Germany’s politically correct establishment, afraid of losing its power and influence, is attempting to outlaw a legitimate party that has pledged to put the interests of German citizens first.
Israel’s Palestinian foes regard “martyrdom” as the supremely highest expression of Islamic sacredness. Nonetheless, there are certain conspicuously prominent disjunctions between the relevant obligations of faith and expectations of international law. Unambiguously, only the latter set of obligations can offer a suitably authoritative source for assessing Palestinian resorts to armed force.
This is the case even when the stated objective of such resorts would be “self-determination” and/or “national liberation.”
“Setting fire to the ground,” a “major catastrophe,” bringing “new instability” are the headlines that have greeted Donald Trump’s unorthodox decisions over the past year. Withdrawing from UNESCO, moving the US Embassy, leaving the Iran deal and cutting funding to UNRWA and funding for Pakistan were seen as extreme decisions in the Middle East and around the world. Insofar as there is a “Trump Doctrine,” it has been to call this bluff.
In the mind-set of Trump and his team, the time has come for the United States to move quickly to reverse decades of foreign policy norms, ending the status quo, and ripping up what the previous administrations did.
The jihadi assault on and massacre of Christians continued unabated throughout the Muslim word. According to one report titled, “Armed gangs WIPE OUT 15 villages in mass Christian slaughter in Nigeria,” several Islamic terrorists “stormed through 15 villages to massacre Christians and destroy their churches in a violent crackdown against the religion…. Dozens of people have been killed after the gangs ransacked towns and villages to clear them of all aspects of the Christian faith.
Wars are raging in various parts of the Middle East, although there is a tendency not to call the conflicts by that name because of the fear conjured up by the word.
One conflagration is the war Iran is waging against those – headed by Israel – who stand in the way of its plans to take over the entire Middle East.
Another is the Assad regime’s war to take back control of the entire country, and a third is the PLO’s battle for survival.
Much has been written about the first of these wars, and reports have claimed that from early 2017 on, Israel has launched over 200 attacks in Syria, mainly at targets connected to Iran.