Written by The Lekarev Report
June 11, 2008
The Lekarev Report
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will hold a "crucial" meeting today with MK Tzachi Hanegbi and MK Eli Aflalo, to determine the framework and a possible date for a Kadima party primary.
Hanegbi, who is chairman of the committee for party affairs, and Aflalo, head of the party's Knesset faction, are meeting in light of growing internal pressure on Olmert to agree to a process that would move the Kadima primary forward.
The meeting follows an announcement by the Likud party Tuesday that next Wednesday it will bring a bill before the plenum calling for the Knesset's dissolution in an effort to set a date for new elections, as early as November. As of last night, there were more than enough members of Knesset to pass the bill quite easily and bring down the present government. Olmert's "crucial" meeting today is no doubt designed to avert the planned vote for next week.
Yesterday, a close friend of Olmert's said that the Prime Minister could no longer hold out and go against everyone, when most Kadima leaders wanted to move ahead.
The apparent change of heart for Olmert happened after Public Security Minister Avi Dichter released a statement clarifying his opinion in favor of initiating a primary. His associates said Hanegbi had misinterpreted him when he told the press last week that he was against starting the primary process before Talansky's cross-examination.
"The primary should be no later than the beginning of September," Dichter told Hanegbi on Tuesday. "The date for the primary should be decided by July."
Until Tuesday it appeared that three Kadima candidates opposed initiating primaries and only Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was in favor.
But now Livni and Dichter are in favor, Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit remains opposed and Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz has decided not to take a stand on the issue.
Security Cabinet Votes on Gaza Today
The long-delayed decision whether to accept an Egyptian-brokered cease fire with Hamas or step up military operations against the Gaza Strip will come before the security cabinet today, where a majority of the ministers are believed to be in favor of tough military action.
The meeting was preceded by a Tuesday discussion between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak in which the various scenarios were reportedly discussed.
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin also took part in that meeting, but details of the discussion have not been released for publication.
One government source said that while Olmert and Livni favor stepped-up military action before agreeing to a cease fire, Barak wants to send his top adviser Amos Gilad back to Egypt one more time for additional clarifications before taking action.
Bush's Final Months
According to an interview with the London Times published today, President George W. Bush appears to be setting his focus on diplomacy as the hallmark of his last six months in office. He indicated that he will put forth an intense effort to secure an agreement which will lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state.
While Bush said he regretted being seen as a "guy really anxious for war," he did little to tone down his rhetoric regarding Iran. Speaking of the current nuclear crisis, the president said that Teheran could "either face isolation, or they can have better relations with all of us."
During the interview, Bush expressed concern that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama would deviate from the current hard-line policy against the Islamic regime. He voiced confidence, however, that once the next president took office and assessed the situation, he would understand "what will work or what won't work in dealing with Iran", and would adopt the same tough stance.
Responding directly to comments made last week by Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz that an attack against Iran was "unavoidable," the president said that "we ought to work together, keep focused. His comments really should be viewed as the need to continue to keep pressuring Iran."
Meanwhile, Iran's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attacked the US president on Wednesday, saying that while Bush "desired" to attack Iran he would not do so now as he had so little time left as president.
The Plot Thickens
Former Finance Minister Avraham Hirschson has been added to the growing list of those who may be involved in campaign finance irregularities and other forms of corruption in the widening investigation against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. As part of the criminal investigation of Hirschson, Israel Police revealed yesterday taht they are examining possible links between him and the Prime Minister's former bureau chief, Shula Zaken.
The police are currently investigating allegations that NIS 100,000 was passed between Zaken and Hirschson to fund the former Finance Minister's election war chest in March 2004. At that time, there were no general or internal party primary elections, and the sum wasn't reported to the relevant authorities. Nor was it recorded in party financial ledgers, according to Israel Police sources.
Hirschson was forced to resign his post in July 2007 after being indicted on charges of embezzling millions of shekels from a non-governmental organization (NGO) during his tenure as head of the Histadrut National Labor Union.
There are a number of investigations being carried out against the prime minister as well. The most serious of the probes, which has broadened to include American businessman Morris (Moshe) Talansky, a long-time major Olmert supporter, includes deepening questions about Zaken's involvement in the handling of cash payments sent from various donors.
The Olmert-Talansky investigation also cast a shadow over attorney Uri Messer. The former Olmert associate has testified that he handled the transfer of large sums of cash between Talansky and Olmert. Prosecutors have been considering offering Messer the status of state's witness in the case.
News That Didn't Get Noticed
Thanks to the alert eye of Rabbi Lazer Brody,
we are able to bring you this piece of news which was virtually ignored by the media, yet its implications are huge.
Sheikh Raed Salah (photo) is the leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel. He is the former mayor of Um el Fahm, the largest Arab city in Wadi Ara, and a fundamentalist who for years has had intimate connections with the Hamas. He was tried and jailed in 2003 for funneling money to them.
Despite his Israeli citizenship, Salah has always been openly vocal in calling for the violent overthrow of the State of Israel, especially in recent months.
An obscure article appeared on the web yesterday, that was quickly thrown to the bottom of the web-news page. The Islamic Movement on the Tel Aviv University campus completed its domination of the Arab Student Unions in three of Israel's major universities (Hebrew U in Jerusalem and Haifa U) by winning more than 50% of the vote, ousting the secular communist-oriented Hadash party that for years reigned among Arab university students in Israel.
What this means is that Sheikh Raed Salah, as head of the Islamic Movement, is the man that the next generation of Israel's Arab intelligentsia is looking up to.
Western propaganda wants you to think that fundamentalist Islam is the religion of the poor, the illiterate, and the refugee camps in Shechem and Jenin. The Arab Student Union elections are showing us that fundamentalist Islam is now the hashkafa (outlook) of the next generation of Israeli Arab doctors, lawyers, teachers, and engineers.
While Israel's corrupt, pleasure-seeking, self-serving and self-depracating regime can't muster up enough decency to outlaw public demonstrations of debauchery in the world's holiest city, Israel's Arabs are becoming more religious.
The Islamic Movement is essentially the Israeli version of the Hamas. The utter corruption of the Fatah and other secular Arab movements has literally pushed the Arab majority into the hands of the Hamas. Israeli Arab youth are turning to what they see as a man of principle and ideology - Raed Salah - and forsaking their secular bakshish (bribe)-loving leadership.
The trend is alarming: While our Arab citizens are aligning with their brothers in Gaza and waving the flag of fundamentalist Islam, our anti-emuna[faith] regime is taking apart the country.
The answer to the rise of Raed Salah and the decay of Israeli secularism is emuna/FAITH. Only emuna can save Israel - nothing else.
The Talmud warned us that right before Moshiach comes, there will be no one to depend on other than Hashem. Our sages knew exactly what they were talking about.
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