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?

Good Question.

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.

About the author



  • You think Shas did this without consulting with Netanyahu first? So what you’re really saying is that the entire Israeli government is stupid and they should all go. Just wanted clarification on that.

    • Yes, they did it without consulting with Netanyahu first, just like the first time. In case you haven’t noticed, Shas and Israel Beteinu like to flank Netanyahu from the right.

      Yes, the entire current Israeli government is stupid and lacking in diplomatic sophistication and something called “advance planning.” They go from putting out one fire to the next and harm Israel in doing so.

      Sadly, their replacements in waiting at Kadima are not much better. I do have hope for Yachimovich but turning Israel into a welfare state in the vein of Sweden is not a great solution for Israel’s circumstances.

  • The timing of the announcement wasn’t good, that’s true. But if Israel is going to treat Jerusalem like a settlement (contrary to their own laws) then they might as well renounce their claim to the city right now. Shrill, overreacting posts such as this one just reinforce the funhouse mirror Western worldview of the I-P conflict, where apartments in Jerusalem represent a bigger impediment to peace than, say, Hamas.

    The settlement narrative defies logic and reason, witness the non-reaction to the opening of the J’lem light rail. Apparently constructing transit stops and laying down rail tracks all over J’lem is fine, but putting up an apartment building warrants international condemnation and the fall of the Israeli government, according to you. Does this make any sense? Of course not, because building is building, what’s the difference between building a backyard and a bus stop?

    Yishai’s incompetence is a problem for Israel, but it’s something way down on my list of concerns vis a vis the peace process. I’m not losing sleep over a few more apartments in a Jewish neighbourhood that will expand Gilo westward and won’t encroach one bit on West Bank land that the Palestinians want for their state. It’s only a big deal if you treat it like one.

    • Listen, this is a war. You win wars by winning battles and making sure that your allies cover your back. In order to cover your back, they don’t appreciate it when you don’t cover theirs or embarrass them or go against deals you’ve cut in the past. Timing is everything and twice now, intentionally, Yishai timed things so they were very hurtful for Israel.

      As for the “shrill funhouse mirror Western worldview of the I-A conflict,” I should point out that it exists and you either play smart and make the rules of the game work for you, or you act dense as if the rules of the game don’t apply, and eventually somebody will make sure you understand they do matter. Kinda like what’s happening right now.

  • A lot of Israelis disagree with with you and vote Sha”s because Sha”s was there when nobody else cared about the underprivileged. Also, Sha”s cleaned up the Internal Ministry pretty well after it was in a lot of dissarray after the Olmert-Administration. I know there are plenty of points that you can disagree with Sha”s but basically they make reasonable politcs – for Israelis. Like it or not, this is why Sha”s will stay in power as Kingmaker in any coalition.

  • This has got to be the most idiotic (yes, literally too) post I’ve ever read on Jewlicious in my eight years here (I think it’s been that long).

    You see, middle is continuing the same lame Jewish-leftist defeatist attitude trying to pound our self-esteem into the ground so hard so that we will accept any idea some goyish media or government figure tells us will look good for us, no matter how bad it is for us AND no matter how good our situation really is.

    For people his type, who write defeatist posts and articles, or own defeatist newspapers and media like this, we are always guilty of everything and if we only did what they suggested, our status would increase, ( and frankly their’s too) and our lives would be better. You see: they have low self-esteem themselves and they desperately want to be accepted by others to the point of trying to endlessly guess what they need to do in order to get some good recognition by others. Do they need to wear cool clothes? Do they need to say ‘smart’ things?

    You see, while we know that Israel is not safe and that Iran is still going for the bomb, it really is one of the best times in the last century to be living in Israel: National dignataries and delegations regularly visit Israel to understand how we do things so well, the economy is outperforming almost everything else on the planet and not because people are borrowing on credit to buy things, our national credit-rating was increased while many other western countries have seen the opposite, and Israeli unemployment is at an all time LOW. On the geo-political scene, the paradigm of the Israeli occupation being the reason for the regions ills has been exposed for the lie it always was. Countries all around us, our biggest enemies, are crumbling and in disarray – certainly in no position to A) purchase significant new weapons systems and b) launch any attack on us. The Arabs of Judea and Samaria seeing their regional pity dissipate, pulled out their joker card at the worst possible time and also exposed their two true intentions – Israeli occupation has existed since 1948 and no matter what, Judea and Samaria will be Jew-free under their rule – and the western world did not join in the applause. Even Obama/Clinton, who have shown two years of hostility toward us have suddenly backtracked into being anti-PA state.

    Netanyahu also went for broke by mentioning a PA state, but also the ‘new’ basic demand that Israel would remain a Jewish state – and the west pretty much accepted this reasonable condition (rejected outright by the PA Arabs).

    So middle is going to make a futile attempt at delegitimizing the most stable Israeli government in memory by ridiculing Shas.

    Middle is a citizen of the USA. He, like the US government, seem to be more worried about US interests than Israeli needs. Israel has a housing crisis – so it announces it will build more. Middle seems to think internal Israeli governmetn ministries should think twice about what Uncle Sam will say about their policies.

    And Bidden is no friend of Israel, just looks better than Obama. And the only thing that has changed is that Israel is building more, and Obama had to backtrack in the UN in order to stay alive politically. Thank you Eli Yishay.

    • 1. Notice how you have no comment about the incompetence relating to the fires?
      2. Notice how I didn’t even get into their stupidity when it comes to registration of Jews?
      3. Notice how your arguments about how great Israel is have nothing to do with an incompetent Ministry of the Interior?
      4. Notice how Israel could have had a slam dunk without the stupid Gilo announcement, but because of the announcement, they are being equated with the Palestinians and have actually opened the door to the Palestinians to make demands in advance of negotiations?
      5. Notice how the EU would never have mentioned that they concur with the settlement freeze demand if Israel hadn’t opened the Gilo door?

      What would it have taken to win this situation outright? Maybe another month. At most. Let the Palestinians keep shooting themselves in the foot while watching them and saying, “Sure, we’re open to negotiations.” It’s a gimme. An easy victory. Then, some idiot in the Ministry of the Interior lets loose and ruins a very good situation. Now, you can’t explain why he did it. You can’t explain it because there’s no good explanation. It’s just an announcement that could have waited. Nothing, absolutely nothing, was gained by making this announcement. Nada. Which is why the best you can do is write a long comment about self-defeatists, about how shitty Israel’s image is anyway, how there is or isn’t international support, about Netanyahu, about the US, about nothing. You wrote nothing of relevance. Nothing. You know why? Because there is nothing to say and nothing that can explain Yishai’s stupid move. Nothing.

      • Hrmpph, I was just getting started.

        1) In a normal country, ministers and heads of state take responsibility for scandals and quit. Yet why should Eli Yishay being the saint when you and others have never called for anyone to resign like Ehud Barak and all members of Kadima who brought upon us the fatal disengagement plan which has resulted in the continued terror of the south, Jewish death and injury, who knows how much smuggling into Gaza, and the crime against humanity of ripping 9000 people out of their homes and throwing them into refugee camps. If we had a tradition of personal responsibility, Eli Yishay would have to go. But we don’t, so all those who are calling for specific resignations are merely hypocrites.

        2) sure
        3) Come live here and then you can talk about incompetent ministries. I try to resist criticizing an inept and hopeless US government who is destroying your country.
        4) You still think that Israeli ‘tactics’ influence anything. The world was been quiet quiet from demanding anything of Israel since Netanyahu and Lieberman came to power and have been talking more strongly in Israel’s defense.
        5) You truly think so? Gimme a break. The Eu making any statements about settlement freeze are irresponsible and uninformed. The 10 month freeze was a [recent] precedent (it was done in the past a few times as well, who cares to remember….) but it also meant that a repeat application of it will come at a higher price to the other side (world and Arabs). Simple negotiating tactic (you know about that?) We already froze building as our ticket to get to negotiations but the PA Arabs did not use it. This means that in order for us to use it again, they will have to pay a higher price – like us not accepting it.

        The PA Arabs will continue to shoot themselves in the foot. Creating a country in the West Bank and Gaza, while Gaza is not even controlled, on a land with virtually no sustainable resouces and with a population that does not have the brains to be self-sustainable means that it is a still born country either doomed for endless charity by the world or just another temporary part of the plan of stages – like Abbas Zaki, senior Fatah Central Committee member, mentioned in a September 23, 2011 Al-Jazeera interview Referring to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama as “scumbags,” Abbas Zaki advocated Israel’s withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines and followed-up by stating, “everybody knows that the greater goal [of conquering Israel] cannot be accomplished in one go.” He further noted that reaching the “greater goal” would be impossible initially, and that revealing it would not be smart; “If we say that we want to wipe Israel out… C’mon, it’s too difficult. It’s not [acceptable] policy to say so. Don’t say these things to the world,” he warned. “Keep it to yourself.”
        Cmon middle, do you really think that small clerks at the Interior ministry are running the country? Do you really think that a small clerk is responsible for the urban planning, engineering and approval for 1200 housing units? Do you know anything about negotiating? If you are headed toward negotiating, you build up your chips as high as possible beforehand. The past Israeli governments gave everything away, but kept going back to negotiations and starting again. I don’t like it, but it does seem that a pragmatic Netanyahu is trying to build up more negotiating leverage before sitting down.

        The main point you obviously missed of my original reply was who gives a crap about Israel’s image. We are flying high with that ‘sitty image’ 🙂 Who cares about international support of our prime minister, does any other country elect heads of state depending on how they will be accepting by others? NOOOOOOO! On the other hand, you voted for Obama who looked great for the world who so much loved him, gave him a Nobel Peace Prize based on ‘intentions’ and absolutely nothing to show for it? People like you who so much worry about their image are destroying America, Israel and the world. People are not supposed to run countries based on ‘how we look’.

        • Dude, all that writing and you still haven’t answered what Israel gained by the announcement and why it was necessary or mildly important. You are guessing that it wasn’t Yishai. But it was. Twice. And twice with stupid timing. And twice without any reason or benefit to Israel. And you are wrong about “how we look.” If it didn’t matter, Israel would be in much better shape than it is. But whatever, apparently you support Shas and think they belong in the government. Well, you may get what you wish for. Poor you.

          • You simply decided not to listen.

            Israel gained hundreds of housing units in an economy with a housing shortage in the Jerusalem area and/or another bargaining chip and/or a sign of independence (to show that we are not the 51st state) and/or to show unhappiness with the general lack of support for Israel by the Obama administration and continued slap in on our face by this same admin. You might like to see Israel as perpetually subservient, but it was certainly necessary to put Obama and Bidden in their place. If Netanyahu made Eli Yishay the fall guy, than it was certainly a smart deniable move (did you see any public denial by Netanyahu? Not. And Yishai is still minister).

            Great timing. The benefit was Israeli independence and Obama’s pro-Israel speech at the UN was the greatest gift you seem to insist on ignoring. With regard to Shas, I respect that around 10% of the voters continue to give them that representation, why don’t you respect democracy and the ballot box? If you have a problem with that, move to Israel and vote instead of whining about it.

            FWIW, not that I have to frame my comments, but I am not a Shas voter and I certainly do not like all their policies and actions, but I will defend them from a ridiculous anti-democratic tabloid post betting on other people’s ignorance. Your analysis is false, these actions have strengthened Israel’s hold on ‘east Jerusalem’ physically and abstractly as well. Come check out Homat Shmuel / Har Homa. Your exact comments were made over ten years ago by other defeatists and now it is a beautiful and vibrant area.

          • Israel would have gained the exact same number of units without the announcement. It could have waited a couple of weeks and then made the announcement. The timing was stupid and actually undermined Obama right after the put his neck out for Israel. Construction can proceed without announcements at critical and sensitive moments in Israeli diplomacy and at worst will be delayed by a few weeks. Big deal. He timed the announcement stupidly and he did it on purpose. You know why? Read up on Dunning-Krueger and you’ll understand why.

            Second, what is undemocratic about saying they shouldn’t be in the government? I am hoping that people will think about this and decide not to vote for them. It’s a very democratic post.

            Third, you know how I know that Israel is subservient? Because the last time Yishai pulled this stunt, an Israeli PM, for the first time ever, froze all settlement construction and even put a moratorium on eastern Jerusalem construction. I know people in Ramat Shlomo and they waited a long time for this sudden freeze to lift. Your bold talk is just that, nothing more. Israel needs the US and most certainly did not put Obama and Biden in their place but the other way around. Had Obama not continued to put his foot in it, particularly with the ’67 borders speech, then he wouldn’t have experienced the drop-off in Jewish support that he has seen recently. That has played a role in what has happened, but you just wait to see what an angry Obama will do if he wins re-election and he senses that the Israeli leadership is dissing him.

            Fourth, if Netanyahu didn’t kick Yishai out, it’s because of coalition considerations. Netanyahu knows full well that it’s better to be in power than out of power, which is why he keeps smirking every time Livni, whose party won more seats than his, speaks publicly.

            Fifth, I don’t recall ever speaking against Har Homa. Let them build there all they want.

  • clarification: Jewlicious is definitely not part of the defeatist media 🙂

  • I certainly don’t want to defend Sha”s here. But there are an integral part of Israeli politics and society. You better get to terms with it that they are not going anywhere anytime soon. You might think that Israel is a western country. You are wrong. Only dwindling parts of it are western and those parts aren’t doing so well with their social problems and their declining birth rates. So speaking in political parties, Israel is becoming more Sha”s and less Labour every minute – that’s just a fact.
    And belive me, middle, you are not the only Anglo with problems to get his head around the facts here, no offence meant.

  • “Shas will apparently always be a part of the government.”

    Do you remember back when Labor won every election?

    • That even proves my point more. Look at the contezt of that. The Mapai had a stranglehold on the Histadrut (virtually everyone had to be a member of or else you were a nobody), and there was no internet or alternative media to the main friendly media.
      Since then, the non-ashkenazim have woken up to realize their power and the Likud and Shas have grown. Most people these days also have other media to get alternative opinions – whether it’s Yisrael Hayom and the internet.
      Theoretically, the left-wing could put up a decent blocking block of Labour, Kadima, whatever Barak made, and even meretz too, but frankly, it would not be over 60 seats and since Shas is the quintesessential central party it is an easy partner.

  • That is a very absolute thing to say so obviously wrong again.

    You obviously only hear about Shas and other parliamentary issues from your own newspapers and have no idea what they are doing. Do you browse the Knesset website to get a summary of Knesset member activity?

    A few years ago when blogs were in their limelight, there was talk about giving them journalistic accreditation. Thank God this never came to light.

    Shavuah tov.

  • I think your an ashkenazi racist
    This is the gist of what you said:
    “The palestinians wanted to take our land for their future state and Eli yishai didn’t let them! What an idiot!”