Insufferable in so many different respects. Please be sure to read this to the end, as important information is provided.
Once again, there has been a terror attack. Thank Heaven, no one was killed.
On Sunday morning, Elroi Kapach and his two daughters Rachel, 9, and Avigail, 14, were in their car at the Tekoa Junction in Gush Etzion when terrorists drove up. One terrorist got out of his car and began shooting at them; he then returned to the car and they drove away.
Elroi, who lives with his wife, Tamar, and five children in nearby Nokdim, was seriously but not fatally injured, and required surgery. The girls, hit by shrapnel, were not seriously wounded. They were, however, traumatized by seeing their father shot and bleeding right before their eyes. We cannot measure injury in physical terms alone.
Here you see a picture of Elroi with his daughter Rachel, whom he delivered in a car nine years ago. He was training to be a Magen David Adom ambulance driver at that time.
Since the attack, Elroi has already shown improvement, although he is in considerable pain. “There was a bullet that actually touched his liver and, thank God, a great miracle happened there. He is headed towards stabilization and recovery,” reported his father, Michael.
How terrifying it must have been for the family. Tamar’s parents, Dov and Rachel Kol z”l, were murdered in a shooting attack in 2005 in Gush Katif.
“When I was 17 years old, I saw my parents murdered,” said Tamar. “It’s not easy to deal with it. It all came back to me again.”
It took just hours for the Shin Bet to locate the terrorist who did the shooting and his two associates, who were barricaded in a mosque in Beit Lechem. After an exchange of fire, the terrorists were taken into custody; I am sorry this time I cannot report that they were killed.
The authorities confiscated the terrorists’ car, in which they found an automatic assault rifle.
Palestinian Media Watch has documented the efforts of Fatah (the party of Mahmoud Abbas, and the predominant faction of the PA) in Beit Lechem to protect the terrorists when the IDF and police forces came after them. Fatah Beit Lechem put out messages on their Telegram Channel telling residents which streets Israeli security was using. They called on residents to block these streets with garbage containers and burning tires, and to delete the last 48 hours of street security videos that Israel could use to track the movement of the terrorists.
Is there any logic to the argument that the PA must be bolstered because of security cooperation?
Also insufferable is the behavior of some of those in the opposition intent on defeating the passage of legislation on the reasonableness clause. I have addressed this before, but the situation has reached new levels of hysteria, incitement and misrepresentation of the facts.
Although a couple of others come close, the worst offender in this respect just might be Ehud Olmert.
My first thought was that perhaps his behavior does not quite meet the legal definition of treason, but if it does not, it is close: What he has done smacks of a betrayal of his country (emphasis added):
“I call on the United States to make a new assessment of relations with Israel for all that this implies. I call on world leaders not to meet with Netanyahu,” Olmert said in an interview with DemocraTV, according to Israel National News.
“Biden, if he loves Israel, must act against the government… to make it clear to the violent group that supports Netanyahu what the price that the State of Israel will pay for its actions.”
Olmert plays fast and loose with the facts, and his attempt to involve a foreign government in Israel’s internal affairs constitutes a major transgression.
But I have discovered what is likely a better definition for some of Olmert’s behavior: sedition, which can be defined as bringing about hatred, contempt or disloyalty to the state or its legally established government, or provoking enmity between different parts of the population.
Back in February, Olmert said: “What is needed is to move to the next stage, the stage of war, and war is not waged with speeches. War is waged in a face-to-face battle, head-to-head and hand-to-hand, and that is what will happen here.”
Similar charges could very easily be leveled against Ehud Barak.
But what is likely to happen is, nothing. And that is sad.
In any event, Biden did not heed Olmert. Last night, Biden finally extended an invitation to Netanyahu during a phone call. But his half-hearted invitation was not to the White House. It was not actually specified where or when the meeting would take place.
According to Israel’s former ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren (pictured), this did not constitute a formal state invitation. He speculated that the meeting would likely take place on the sidelines of the upcoming United Nations General Assembly in September.
“Now Bibi can say he was invited, and Biden can say he didn’t invite him.”
Journalist Amichai Stein questions whether there will be a meeting, or if this was “merely the vaguest possible way the White House could have talked about a meeting, without actually committing to one.”
I have yet one more possibility as to why Biden may have proffered this invitation now: it is possible that he thinks he can get more out of Netanyahu this way, than by stonewalling him, with regard to tempering the judicial reform legislation. We are now at crunch time on this.
According to John Kirby, U.S. National Security Council spokesman, “They have agreed that they will meet, probably before the end of this year, and all the details…are still being worked out.”
I will return in another posting to the issue of Biden’s inappropriate meddling in Israel’s affairs and his hostility to our country. There is a great deal to examine. But my first concern today remains the passage of the legislation on reasonableness and the behavior of the opposition.
One aspect of the protests that has been insufferable in the extreme is the declarations of some members of IDF reserve units that, if the legislation passes, they will not serve when called upon. In part, this may be a very ill-advised threat intended to manipulate the government. But there is no way that they will achieve their desired results (emphasis added):
Prime Minister Netanyahu made a statement before the Cabinet meeting on Monday, in which he declared, “To all of those who wave the flag of democracy: In a democracy, the military is subject to the government, and not the other way around.
“Refusal [to serve] is in opposition to democracy and in violation of the law. In our democracy, refusal directly endangers the security of all of Israel’s citizens. It eats away at the deterrence of our enemies, and it endangers discipline in the military.
“It is unthinkable that a group in the military should threaten the elected government, ‘If you do not do as we wish we will flip the switch on security.’ No democratic country can accept such a dictate. Such a dictate is a destruction of the democracy.”
I am convinced that the media – much of which tilts left – is part of the problem here, exaggerating the phenomenon of military refusal. David Israel of The Jewish Press, which is most decidedly not left, tells a different story (emphasis added):
“…the majority of the signatories of letters of refusal, from the Air Force and elite units are themselves in their fifties and sixties and have long since ended their reserve service. Those lists of signatories contain a scant five or six names of active reservists – the rest are boomers…
“Reservists are calling me up day and night begging me to call them for reserve service,” Captain K. told The Jewish Press on Monday. “Dozens who were retired from the IDF are requesting to be reinstated in any available unit, but they prefer combat. As a commander for more than 20 years in Manpower Operations, never have I seen such a tidal wave of people trying to get into the reserves and serve…
According to Makor Rishon, they were Sayeret Matkal special force reservists who came out against the phenomenon of refusal and clarified in a letter to the commander of the unit, “If God forbid there is a manpower shortage – we will all volunteer to make up for it with additional reserve service days.”
And there is more. Read and share the whole story:
The process for passing the legislation on the reasonableness clause is proceeding with full determination on the part of MK Simcha Rothman (RZ), chair, Constitution, Law and Justice Committee.
Normal procedure when a bill passes the first reading in the Knesset plenum is for it to return to the Law Committee for discussion and registration of reservations, so that adjustments can be made before the bill returns to the Knesset for the second and third votes.
That is what is happening here, but procedure is anything but “normal” because of the efforts of the opposition to kill this bill.
Deadline for submitting reservations was Monday night. Over 25,000 proposals for changes in the legislation were submitted. This is not a typo; it is the most reservations ever submitted with regard to a bill and it constitutes a form of filibustering.
Yesh Atid MK Karine Elharrar said the number of submissions was reflective of just how controversial the bill was. Mansour Abbas (Ra’am) said it was because the bill would change so much in society. All of this and more is, of course, political poppycock.
What Rothman wants to do – he has handled this sort of situation before – is have the questions grouped by subject and voted upon that way. But now there is pushback from the opposition: the goal is to stall until the Knesset is in recess.
I trust Rothman will move matters forward, once a workable procedure is set in place. Any reservations that are passed in the Committee will be adopted as amendments to the text. Any that are not can be brought to the Knesset with the text of the bill.
The schedule calls for the final form of the bill to be determined by Wednesday and brought back to the Knesset for second and third readings on Sunday. (Wait for the opposition uproar that will follow this.)
So, here we are, in the midst once again of a “Day of Resistance.” Protestors are attempting to block major roads, but police are moving to open them. There have been several arrests already as I write, mid-day. What the protestors are also attempting to do this time is to close train stations.
Undoubtedly, in coming days I will have more news on this. I have no information as to numbers, but I strongly suspect they are not as large as was once the case. Scroll down below to the videos provided in this link: in one, protestors singing Hatikvah and in the other protestors attempting to block the highway. There are not many in either video, (but even a handful of people can block a highway).
I was pleased to note that:
“On Wednesday, the ruling coalition is expected to vote in favor of establishing a parliamentary committee to investigate the police reaction to the anti-reform protests including the issue of ‘selective enforcement.’ Knesset members Zvi Sukkot (Religious Zionism Party) and Boaz Bismuth (Likud) initiated the committee.”
There is a very common misunderstanding with regard to what the so-called “judicial reform” legislation is all about, and it is one that has been actively promoted by the opposition.
Many people – both here in Israel and abroad – are under the impression that the current coalition is seeking to upend the rules for how the Court has functioned since Israel’s founding.
But this is not the case! The current legislation is designed to go back to the way it was before changes were made unilaterally by Aharon Barak when he was chief justice (president) of the Supreme Court (1995 – 2006).
I have just been made aware of an article written in The New Republic in 2007 by Richard A. Posner, who was/is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and a senior lecturer at the prestigious University of Chicago Law School.
Posner addresses precisely the points I have made above and a great deal more. Anyone who is serious about understanding this issue might want to read this weighty article. I summarize major points (emphasis added):
“…What Barak created out of whole cloth was a degree of judicial power undreamed of even by our most aggressive Supreme Court justices…
“Among the rules of law that Barak’s judicial opinions have been instrumental in creating that have no counterpart in American law are…that any citizen can ask a court to block illegal action by a government official, even if the citizen is not personally affected by it (or lacks “standing” to sue, in the American sense); that any government action that is “unreasonable” is illegal…; that a court can forbid the government to appoint an official who had committed a crime (even though he had been pardoned)…that a court can countermand military order…and direct the government to move the security wall that keeps suicide bombers from entering Israel from the West Bank…
“His method…may seem the method of the common law (the judge-made law that continues to dominate many areas of Anglo-American law, such as contracts and torts), except that common-law rules are subject to legislative override, and his rules are not. The significance of this point seems to elude him. He takes for granted that judges have inherent authority to override statutes. Such an approach can accurately be described as usurpative…
“Barak bases his conception of judicial authority on abstract principles that in his hands are plays on words. The leading abstraction is “democracy.” Political democracy in the modern sense means a system of government in which the key officials stand for election at relatively short intervals and thus are accountable to the citizenry. A judiciary that is free to override the decisions of those officials curtails democracy…
“Barak invokes the “separation of powers” as further support for his aggressive conception of the judicial role. What he means by separation of powers is that the executive and legislative branches are to have no degree of control over the judicial branch…“separation of powers” [in the American system] implies “checks and balances,” and the judicial branch has to be checked by the other branches, and not just do the checking. And so rather than our judiciary being a self-perpetuating oligarchy, the president nominates and the Senate confirms (or rejects) federal judges…”
Read this carefully, absorb its import, and whisper a word of thanks to the current government of Israel, which is working with great effort and diligence to strengthen Israeli democracy.
I am happy to report that the right wing is not silent in the face of what is going on. A major demonstration is scheduled for 6 PM on Sunday on Kaplan Street in Tel Aviv.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.