Israeli Coalition changes speaker’s plans

May 9, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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The audience who went to Sydney’s North Shore Temple Emanuel last night to  listen renowned academic Dr Fania Oz-Salzberger were the first to hear first-hand publicly an informed take on the new Israeli Coalition.

Dr Fania Oz-Salzberger and Michael Misrachi (Program Director - Encounters@Shalom) pic: Jack Hochfeld

Salzberger tore up her notes on hearing the news that the  Shaul Mofaz-headed  Kadima party had formed a coalition with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyah’s Likud resulting in the cancellation of elections planned for this year before addressing the meeting organised by Encounters@Shalom.

She described the cancellation of elections following Likud’s invitation to Kadima to join the coalition as “a thunderbolt announcement”.
Oz-Salzberger, the daughter of distinguished author Amos Oz, said that it had been an unprecedented event in Israeli political history as it is the largest ever coalition in the history of the State of Israel with some 90-odd members.
This follows the recent leadership spill in Kadima when Tzipi Livni was replaced by Shaul Mofaz.  She said: “For a change, it’s the domestic issues not the security issues that is dictating their agenda.”
Dr Oz-Salzberger  suggested that having a centre party in the coalition will enable Bibi to better manage the following rifts in Israel society:
  1. Religious-secular
  1. Jewish-Arab (Arabs becoming more connected, educated, employed, integrated, middle class but still some discrimination)
  1. Ashkenazi-Sephardi (almost over)
She elaborated on the issue of the Ultra-Orthodox, who make up 15-20% society. The word of powerful rabbis had trumped all else with women had vanished from advertisements and public stages and had created the advent of segregated buses  within the orthodox community .
“There is a mounting feeling that the Ultra Orthodox agenda is becoming more extreme and encroaching” she said.
She expressed concern about the failure of the orthodox to serve in the army saying that “Ben Gurion originally exempted 400 of the brightest yeshiva students but now they number 200,000”.
Nevertheless, Ultra-Orthodox politicians will continue to play a role within the new coalition. She added the creation of the coalition was a reflection of the fact that “middle Israel had been shouldering shouldering their burden and has said ‘enough’.”
She said the Israeli politics would now head back  to the arena when civil society matters declaring that last summer’s demonstrations by the social protest movement were “no less than a little revolution of the best kind”.
Declaring that Israelis feel secure and comfortable in their Judaism, they therefore “don’t see Charedim as superior  and that Government may now face the issues of Charedim – universal enlistment, share burden of taxation and employment”.
The deal with Kadima is that Likud will pass the Tal Law no later than July this year
Peres sent a Facebook message welcoming the new unity government.
“Good results can come out of devious intentions”.
In the meantime, the president of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry Dr Danny Lamm told J-Wire:  “The formation of Israel’s new unity government enlarges the ruling coalition to 94 out of 120 members of the Knesset, the broadest in Israel’s history.  It enhances political stability and national unity and will free Prime Minister Netanyahu from the constraints of coalition politics, enabling the government to focus on major national challenges such as Iran’s nuclear program and the need to find a way forward with the Palestinians.  The breadth of Israel’s new coalition also sends a strong message to friend and foe alike that on these matters and other issues of fundamental importance the nation is united.  This is good for Israel and good for the Jewish people. “
Philip Chester, the president of the Zionist Federation of Australia, added: “The National unity government established on Tuesday in Israel will provide further stability in the Israeli political arena at this critical juncture in the mid-east. The benefits of this move may well be seen in the much needed and long overdue reform of the electoral system, thereby strengthening future stability, reforms to laws relating to national service and a broadbased, consistent approach by the government to the critical challenges of Iran and negotiations with the Palestinans”.

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