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September 26, 2008: Not a Done Deal

September 25, 2008

At least not yet: The coalition agreement between Kadima and Labor. According to my information, this is the scenario as it’s playing out so far:

Barak had criticized Livni in various regards before the primary. But when Livni, uneasy about a Barak-Netanyahu meeting, decided to more actively entice him into a coalition with Kadima, he expressed interest. “A full partnership” was what she was said to be offering.

But the terms of understanding still had to be hammered out.

Livni knew she wasn’t coming from strength because she had won the Kadima primary with such a slim margin, and Barak was enticed in part because he felt there was a great deal he would be able to demand. Negotiations — which included some secret talks between representatives of the parties in addition to the public meetings — went well to a point, but have hit snags.


Barak has now told his faction that he was “very far from joining the government” and that he was “not interested in a short-term government that would last only a few months or a collapsing coalition of 60 MKs.” And indeed this has been an issue: Not whether Livni can patch together a coalition, but whether it will be stable enough to last for two years.

Barak says he will go to elections if he’s not convinced she can do this. But Barak says lots of things.

He defines a “real partnership” as being “…everything that there was in the national-unity governments of the 1980s except for a rotation at the Prime Minister’s Office.” It’s a solid bet that he’s not going to get this, and the question remains as to whether he’ll settle for less.

His request for a 2.5% increase in the State budget to boost the Defense Ministry budget and increase spending for retirees, university students, and immigrants has been turned down. As was his request to head the negotiating team dealing with Syria. He expressed concern about the need for more work regarding sanctions on Iran — an implied criticism of Livni, as this has fallen within her bailiwick as foreign minister.


I should mention here that the Kadima court has rejected an appeal for a temporary injunction that would have invalidated the results of the Kadima primary. This is not a surprise.

An October 5 date has been set, however, for a hearing regarding demands for a new primary or a recount because of alleged irregularities, that include such things as more people voting at one polling station than were registered at that station. I am too cynical to feel confident that anything will come of this. But — if the evidence of major irregularities is strong — who knows?


The evidence that the PA is not a negotiating partner is close to endless. This is the latest, from Palestinian Media Watch (www.pmw.org.il):

“[a] music video currently broadcast on Palestinian Television denies any historical connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem:

“Oh [Sons of] Zion, no matter how much you dig and no matter how much you destroy, your imaginary Temple will not come into being.”  

The repeated refrain, “Al-Aksa is ours,” is meant to emphasize this statement… And the inciteful fabrication that we are planning on destroying the Al-Aksa mosque is repeated. Clips show Jews wearing kippahs, Israeli police and military, Israeli excavations of Old Jerusalem, the Israeli flag, and the Western Wall. The lyrics accompanying this say,

“How you [Al-Aksa] suffer! How you have bled for years! How you scream! How you call out to the millions!”

PA TV, which is under the authority of Mahmoud Abbas, ran this on the day we suffered a terrorist attack in Jerusalem this week


A matter of serious concern.

The Institute for Jewish and Community Research in San Francisco has just released a lengthy report on a five year study on textbooks in the US. According to a summary of the report:

“It is shocking to discover that history and geography textbooks widely used in America’s elementary and secondary classrooms contain some of the very same inaccuracies about Christianity, Judaism and the Middle East as those [used] in Iran.”

Researchers Dr. Gary Tobin and Dennis Ybarra examined the 28 most widely-used history, geography and social studies textbooks in America, — books used by tens of millions of schoolchildren in all 50 states — and found some 500 instances of “errors, inaccuracies and even propaganda” on these matters.


“Textbooks include negative stereotypes of Jews, Judaism and Israel. For example, textbooks tend to discredit the ties between Jews and the land of Israel.”


Most troubling is this situation that Ybarra describes::

“The textbooks tend to be critical of Jews and Israel, disrespectful about Christianity, and rather than represent Islam in an objective way, tend to glorify it. Textbook publishers often defer completely to Muslim groups for their content [on Islam] because they want to be sensitive to Muslim concerns.”

This story, which first appeared in The Jerusalem Post, can be found on IMRA at:


Please read the entire lengthy piece, which explains more about what is happening, and give thought to what can be done to address this.




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