Death of PM´s father overshadows election rumors (JERUSALEM POST) By LAHAV HARKOV 04/30/12)
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Election rumors and no-confidence votes were pushed aside on Monday,
as the opening of the Knesset´s summer session was overshadowed by
the death of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu´s father, Bentzion
Early elections seemed like a done deal, as leaders of the Knesset´s
major factions said they are prepared to hit the campaign trail.
Currently, the election date is set for October 22, 2013.
At a Yisrael Beytenu faction meeting, Foreign Minister Avigdor
Liberman opened with condolences to Netanyahu before joking
about "elections, the topic that does not interest anyone."
"The interest of the state requires an election as soon as possible,"
Liberman said. "Anyone who knows about government is aware that
during an election campaign everything is in the freezer."
Although the law requires a three-month period between when elections
are announced and held, the foreign minister said Yisrael Beytenu
would be ready even if the vote takes place next week, and will be
the second-largest party in the Knesset.
Liberman added that he would prefer to be in a coalition with both
Likud and Kadima in the next government, so that there can be a
breakthrough in changing the system of government and issues of
religion and state.
The foreign minister reiterated that his party´s alternative to the
Tal Law must pass, as part of coalition agreements, and Yisrael
Beytenu will continue to work despite election rumors.
"We will make all of our promises to the voter come true, including
making everyone enlist, even as the scent of elections spreads in the
air," he said.
Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz recalled meeting with Bentzion Netanyahu
after his son, Yonatan, was killed during a successful IDF operation
to free hostages in Uganda in 1976. Mofaz served under Yoni Netanyahu
when he was commander of Sayeret Matkal, and Netanyahu the elder
invited Mofaz to talk about Yoni´s military career.
"Bentzion Netanyahu was a sensitive man who loved the people of
Israel and the State of Israel," Mofaz said in a Kadima faction
"We can´t avoid the topic of elections," the Kadima leader continued,
saying his party will be ready for elections "any day, any hour, any
year," but in his opinion, October 16 is the ideal, as it is after
the High Holidays and Sukkot.
"No one should get too excited by polls ≠ we are the only alternative
to the Netanyahu government," he said. "We will stand strong and
Mofaz also emphasized Kadima´s replacement for the Tal Law, which he
said will reverse injustices and bring equality in the burden.
Shas also opened its faction meeting with condolences to the
Netanyahu family, before moving on to elections.
"We are more ready than anyone else. We´re active, we work fast and
our staff is already campaigning," Interior Minister Eli Yishai said.
According to Yishai, "it is clear that these elections will be full
of incitement and hatred towards the Jewish tradition. Parties are
competing over who can erase more Jewish symbols."
Shas will fight in the name of God to protect Judaism, Yishai added.
When asked what his party would like to see in the legislation that
replaces the Tal Law, which expires in August, the interior minister
said that thousands of haredim are on waiting lists to join ultra-
orthodox groups in the IDF, like the Nahal Haredi, and that those who
did serve are not called to reserves.
"This is hypocrisy, and an attempt to incite and slander," Yishai
Also on Monday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said his alternative to
the Tal law will surely pass, allowing the IDF to decide who it wants
from every population group in Israel.
"Our bill is fair, honest, and simple," he stated. "It will bring
Barak also expressed confidence that his party will pass the
elections threshold in upcoming elections, and said he does not think
it matters whether the elections are in August, September or October.
"Independence´s ministers and MKs deserve the public´s confidence,"
Barak said. "People will vote for us."
In addition, the defense minister called rumors that he will get a
spot on the Likud´s list for the next elections "baseless," and
jokingly threatened to publically praise the Likud MKs and
ministers "until their bitter end."
"We moved the process of early elections ≠ the train left the station
because of our bill [to dissolve the Knesset]," Labor leader Shelly
Yacimovich said at her faction´s meeting.
Yacimovich explained that her party is not hiding the fact that it
prefers that elections be held as early as possible, because a long
election season is bad for the country, and also because Labor is
The Labor leader also announced that her party withdrew its no-
confidence vote out of respect for the Netanyahu family, and
postponed its bill to dissolve the Knesset.
All other opposition parties followed suit, and Monday´s plenum
meeting lasted only 13 minutes, with only two items on the agenda. (©
1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 05/01/12)
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