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Israel Update June 24, 2008: Olmert May Resign

June 24, 2008
The Lekarev Report
28.jpgOlmert May Resign if Vote Passes Tomorrow

According to aides close to Prime Minister Olmert,  we are told that he will most likely submit his resignation to President Shimon Peres in the coming days should the motion calling for the Knesset's dissolution pass a preliminary vote tomorrow.  After some discussion yesterday in light of Olmert's threat to fire all the Labor ministers if they voted for dissolving the present government, Labor decided late yesterday to hold to their earlier decision to vote "Yes" to bring down the government.

"If the Knesset dissolution bill passes on Wednesday, the choice will be between resigning or having to face the government's collapse following a no-confidence vote," an Olmert aide said. "We'll have to seriously weigh both options. 

Another Olmert associate said that in case the Knesset dissolution motion passes and the Shas ministers are fired, "Israel will have a minority government that would not be able to function and would be considered a joke".   If Olmert resigns, an interim government would run the country until a new one is established or until general elections are held.

Meanwhile, Olmert hasn't given up on trying to block the dissolution of the Knesset bill tomorrow.  Last night he met with the leaders of the Shas party to try to persuade them not to vote for the bill.  Senior Kadima officials said that Olmert presented Shas with generous offers amounting to NIS 1.5 billion (approximately $445 million) in compensation for their backing. 

Doesn't that 'smell' of bribery or am I missing something here???
A Most Difficult Decision
IDF Chief Rabbi Brig.-Gen. Rabbi Avichai Ronski has been assigned the task of determining whether or not Sgt. Ehud Goldwasser and St.-Sgt. Eldad Regev, soldiers kidnapped by Hizbullah terrorists in 2006, can be declared killed in action. The families of the missing soldiers may appeal to the High Court against the decision to begin the process.
In order to make the fateful determination, the IDF announced Monday, Rabbi Ronski has already been provided with all available information regarding the kidnapped soldiers' condition. The data at his disposal includes classified intelligence collected by the IDF Intelligence Branch and the state's intelligence services. As part of the process, the IDF Chief Rabbi will review the information and consult with other religious authorities to determine whether or not there is sufficient evidence to declare that Regev and Goldwasser can be presumed dead.

The status of the kidnapped soldiers has profound religious, legal and moral implications for their families and for the negotiation process under Jewish law; therefore, the presumption of life or death in the case of missing IDF personnel is placed in the hands of IDF Chief Rabbi as the highest relevant authority in religious law. The Chief Rabbi is generally given the task of determining the missing soldier's presumed status after intelligence services have reached a conclusion that the soldier is no longer among the living. Until a final rabbinical determination otherwise, however, Regev and Goldwasser currently have the status of soldiers missing in action.

The Head of the IDF's Human Resources Branch, Maj.-Gen. Eliezer Stern, informed the Goldwasser and Regev families of the decision to begin the process to determine the kidnapped soldiers. Maj.-Gen. Stern promised to update the families on any new information or research, and to convey to them Rabbi Ronski's final decision before any public announcement is made..

When Will Israel Strike Iran?
bolton.jpgFormer US Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, said today that he believes Israel will stage a raid against Iran's nuclear facilities if Democratic nominee Senator Barack Obama wins the upcoming presidential elections.

Bolton said the IAF would likely strike in the interim term between election day (November 4th) and the inauguration (January 20th 2009) - while George W. Bush is still in office.  "I think if they are to do anything, the most likely period is after our elections and before the inauguration of the next President," Bolton said in an interview with FOX News.
"I don't think they will do anything before our election because they don't want to affect it. And they'd have to make a judgment whether to go during the remainder of President Bush's term in office or wait for his successor."

In a related interview with the British 'Daily Telegraph,' Bolton said he believed the Arab world would be "pleased" by an Israeli strike.

Their reaction, he told the paper "will be positive privately. I think there'll be public denunciations but no action."

In Bolton's opinion, if Senator McCain won the election, Israel may postpone the strike but concerns about Obama's foreign policy would spur Israel to take action before his inauguration if he is the winner of the election.

Keep in mind - this is an opinion, not a statement of fact.
US Military Chief Making Surprise Visit to Israel

Now here's a piece of news to get everybody in speculation mode!

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen is making a surprise visit to Israel at the end of this week for talks with IDF Chief of General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, top defense officials told The Jerusalem Post last night.

Sometime soon after Mullen's visit, Ashkenazi will fly to Washington DC for several days on his first visit to the US as chief of staff.

Mullen's visit to Israel is part of a European tour. Officials said the US military chief had a free day in his itinerary and instead of remaining in Europe decided to fly to Israel.  (And they really expect us to believe that?)

The visit comes just weeks after the Israel Air Force reportedly flew 100 fighter jets 1,500 kilometers across the Mediterranean in an unprecedented exercise widely reported as a "dress rehearsal" for an attack against Iran.
First Breach of Cease-Fire

A mortar fired by Palestinian gunmen in Gaza early Thursday morning landed in Israel's western Negev region.The shell landed in an open area in close proximity to a community, but no injuries or damage were reported.

It was the first breach of the fragile cease-fire that began last Thursday between Hamas and Israel.

Will the Olmert government respond?  We're waiting.


French President's Visit to Israel

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy arrived at the Knesset yesterday, where a festive reception was held in their honor.

In a sympathetic address at the Knesset plenum, the French president vowed that his country would always stand by Israel against those who call for its destruction. "Iran's nuclear program requires a firm response on the part of the international community. Israel is not alone."  Expressing his firm stance against the Iranian threat, the French president said, "I reiterate here loud and clear, as far as France is concerned, a nuclear Iran is completely unacceptable.

He upset several members of Knesset by saying that a two-state solution would be required for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He advocated the division of Jerusalem to accommodate two capitals for two states and added that he supports the "evacuation-compensation" plan for Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria who will agree to leave their homes.
Sarkozy then spoke of Israel's significance to the Jewish people. "This is the only place in the world where everyone is certain that Jews will never be forced to wear a yellow patch."
The French president went on to cite a Bible verse: "Then the L-rd said to Moses, "Go up this mountain in the Abarim range and see the land I have given the Israelites" (Numbers 27:12).   "Jews across the world feel bound to their homeland. The fate of every Jew is tied to the fate of all other Jews. The fact that there is such a successful Jewish state in the world constitutes a source of honor and pride for each and every one of them.

More of the Same
Iran today condemned new sanctions imposed on it by the European Union and made clear they would not slow Tehran's nuclear activities.
EU states agreed to the new sanctions on Monday, including an asset freeze on Iran 's biggest bank, following its refusal to meet demands to curb its nuclear programme.
"Such illegal and paradoxical behaviour is meaningless and strongly condemned," the Fars News Agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini as saying.
Hosseini said it would not have any effect on Iran 's determination to obtain nuclear technology and would not help create the "appropriate atmosphere to resolve the issue through diplomatic channels."
He was referring to separate proposals put forward by Iran and by six world powers intended to defuse a long-running dispute that has sparked fears of military confrontation and helped push up oil prices to record highs.
EU nations on Monday approved additional financial and travel restrictions on a list of Iranian companies including the country's largest bank, Bank Melli Iran.

Will it have an effect?  Apparently not.

Shalom and blessings,

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