Eli Yishai is an idiot.
Eli Yishai hurts Israel gravely.
Eli Yishai is a menace to all Israelis.
Eli Yishai should retire tomorrow and his party needs to disappear. His party is Shas.
Who is Eli Yishai? He is Israel’s Minister of the Interior. This is a very important position in Israel, which is why Shas, a coalition-making party, demands it whenever they can. What does the Ministry of Interior do?
* Supervision of local authorities and direction of their policies in accordance with government social and economic policy.
* Regulation of personal and legal status of Israeli residents in matters of citizenship and registration, immigration, entrance to and exit from the country, censuses, and the dissemination of census information.
* Physical planning throughout the country via national, district, and local outline plans.
* Control of emergency services including evacuation, assistance, care of casualties in wartime, firefighting, and other emergency matters.
* Organization and administration of local authority elections and preparation of electoral rolls for national (Knesset) elections.
* Enforcement of planning and construction laws through the Construction Supervisory Unit.
As far as emergency services go, to show how incompetent Yishai is, consider that during the Carmel fire last year, it was revealed that Israel’s fire fighting services were out of fire fighting chemicals. This is a mere 4 years after the second Lebanon war in which Hizbullah fired a few thousand missiles at Israel. This is despite the blistering summers Israel experiences and the several-year drought it had been facing.
As the Carmel was burning, causing the deaths of about 40 Israelis and destroying entire forests, it became clear that not only were there no chemicals for Israel’s fire fighters, but there were also no planes available to fight the fires. Well, a couple of small planes were available, but they were meaningless in the context of the fire. Not only that, but Israel’s fire fighting services were woefully undermanned to deal with this fire. In the end, thanks to assistance from other countries such as Greece, which did have an air fire-fighting force with a bunch of specialty Canadian planes in service, the fire was controlled.
Okay, you say, but this points to incompetence, not idiocy. Besides, the Interior Ministry has a history of dismissing Israel’s fire fighting services, so why should Yishai leave the government?
Because he’s an idiot.
In 2010, Joe Biden, VP of the USA, Israel’s most important and closest ally, was on a visit to Israel. This was an important visit because it was intended to show Israelis and Americans who support Israel that the two nations still had an important relationship between them. That they were still close allies and that whatever Obama was doing or saying, however much he was dismissing or insulting Israel’s prime minister, the bonds between the USA and Israel were unassailable.
There was, however, one thing that was already known which is that Obama felt the settlements were an obstacle to peace. As he said in his Cairo speech:
The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.
And in case anybody had any doubts, Obama’s attack dogs at the State Department (yes, under Hilary) made sure that Israel understood eastern Jerusalem – which they call East Jerusalem – was considered an extension of the West Bank and construction there would be something that undermines the peace talks the US sought to bring about. As PJ Crowley, the State Department spokesman who had a pretty tough time calling Israel a Jewish state said,
“We’ve made our views known to Israel. This kind of construction is a type of issues that should be subject to permanent-status negotiations,”
Pretty clear, right?
So what did Eli Yishai do? He ensured that his Ministry of the Interior announced the approval of construction of 1800 new units in a Jerusalem neighborhood called Ramat Shlomo which sits in the eastern part of the city. The announcement was made during Biden’s feel-good trip to Israel.
It instantly turned the situation sour. In fact, it caused such a low point in Israel-US relations that it seemed as if this would be when the US imposes a peace agreement on Israel that precludes eastern Jerusalem with its holy sites.
Eli Yishai did that. And you can bet your sweet patooties that Yishai did it on purpose. He wanted to make a point to both the Americans and his prime minister about who really controls Jerusalem. By doing so, he instead weakened Israel’s hold over eastern Jerusalem dramatically. This was a slight that Obama will never forgive or forget. Besides, Yishai’s stupidity forced Netanyahu into such a difficult corner that for the first time ever, an Israeli PM agreed to freeze all settlement construction and although it was unstated, in Jerusalem there was also a moratorium on construction in eastern Jerusalem.
So what can one expect Yishai to do? What would an idiot do?
Repeat his mistake.
So Yishai did it again. The idiot actually did it again a few days ago. It was announced by his ministry that 1100 new homes had been approved in Gilo. Gilo is a Jerusalem suburb which is not inside the Green Line and therefore is presumably in the “1967 lines with land swaps” that Obama has announced as the baseline for future talks.
To remind everyone, a few days ago is when Israel and the Palestinians had a showdown at the UN about Palestinian statehood. Indeed, it was a week when Obama showed friendship and US support for Israel that he had not shown since entering office. He stood at the UN and despite the knowledge that his position would single out America, he said that the US rejected the idea as it had been presented. He also personally asked Abbas to back off from asking the UN for statehood and had the entire US foreign diplomatic service follow this position.
Israel actually met with some success last week at the UN. A number of countries indicated that they won’t support the Palestinian bid, or would refrain from active voting. Netanyahu gave a good speech and Obama’s speech also proved effective, and pro-Israel.
Those were just speeches, however. The real diplomatic fight was just beginning because the Palestinians went ahead with their request for a state. This meant that the UN Security Council needed to explore the question and vote on it. A majority would give the Palestinians a moral victory and isolate the Americans. Either way, it was likely to go up to the General Assembly as well. Israel’s allies are few but were trying to help out. In this regard, the Quartet, the US and Germany were extremely active. The plan was to try to get the Palestinians back to the table. The Palestinians were demanding a freeze on settlement activity in order to come to talks and Israel was refusing another freeze, but in light of the sensitivity of the discussions, everybody was keenly aware that the issue of settlements needed to be toned down dramatically.
The one thing that shouldn’t have happened is an announcement of 1100 new units in a part of the city that was bound to raise some serious opposition.
Thus, in the midst of one of Israel most critical periods, as it was battling to salvage a victory in what had been an extremely effective Palestinian strategy to single out Israel for approbation, to do an end-run around the Oslo Accords and UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, and to secure international consensus at the highest level possible that eastern Jerusalem to its 1967 lines, which includes the Kotel – the Western Wall – were in fact Palestinian, Eli Yishai decided to ignore the fire-red “fragile” sticker on the box and drop it. Hard.
The State Department jumped into action, immediately criticizing the new construction. Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, is humiliated and furious that her efforts at diplomacy on behalf of Israel were so blatantly undermined. The media is having a field-day with the story, and, of course, the Palestinians are using it as an example of Israel’s desire to steal Palestinian land and prevent their statehood. Yes, Holocaust revisionist Mahmoud Abbas is trying to convince the on-the-fence Security Council nations to vote for Palestinian statehood and he now has some excellent ammunition which arrived at just the perfect moment.
Because Eli Yishai is an idiot.
And furthermore, his party is not helping anybody with its shenanigans.
I didn’t even get into the issue of the many problems he and they have caused and are causing to converts, prospective converts, immigrants to Israel and Jews who aren’t Orthodox in general. Trust me, however, he and they are just as senseless when it comes to those matters. Yishai needs to leave government, and so does his party. Seriously, vote for Labor or something, not these screw-ups.