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The Day in Israel: Tues Mar 31st, 2009

Click refresh to see new updates during the day

At 5:00PM today, the swearing-in ceremony for Binyamin Netanyahu’s new government – aka the biggest obstacle to Middle East Peace according to the terrorists of Fatah, Hamas, the Arab League and their supporters – will take place.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

11:10PM: Kadima leader Tzipi Livni wins the Sore Loser of the Day award.

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni on Tuesday wished success to the incoming coalition as it prepared to be sworn in at the Knesset in Jerusalem, but quickly added that the deal under which the government had been assembled would “not benefit the state at all.”

Livni, who lost out on the opportunity to form the new government despite her Kadima party’s slim win in the February elections, told lawmakers on Tuesday that the opposition under her leadership would act responsibly.

“I would like to see new government succeed,” Livni said, as she took the podium following incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address.

Her speech was heaped with criticism of Israel’s 32nd government, though, calling the coalition deal “a shame to the Knesset.”

Livni also blasted the “enormous” size of the cabinet, which will comprise 30 ministers and seven deputy ministers.

“The honorable prime minister-designate, the skinny man who is getting skinnier every day,” Livni said, alluding to Netanyahu’s feted metaphor of the private sector struggling to support the wasteful public sector. “On this thin man’s shoulders you have now dumped this bloated government, filled with ministers of nothing, deputy ministers of nothings, and all sorts of other ridiculous titles,” she said.

“A big and lavish cabinet is wrong at a time of economic constraints,” said Livni, adding that “the public will have to carry the enormous weight of a bloated cabinet.”

10:33PM: It’s the Muammar Show!

10:30PM: Will someone please explain to me how Israel can allow this?

New Balad MK Haneen Zuabi, the first woman to be elected to the Knesset as a representative of an Arab party, has welcomed Iran’s growing influence on Palestinian affairs and praised Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapon as a means of offsetting Israel’s regional military edge. Having Israel as the region’s sole nuclear power, she said, was “dangerous to the world.”

Interviewed in English twice in recent days – in her Knesset office and in a Jerusalem hotel – Zuabi, one of Balad’s three MKs and the former director of the I’lam: Media Center for Arab Palestinians in Israel, said Iran’s role in Palestinian affairs was “more useful” than that of regimes like Jordan and Egypt, in that Iran stood more firmly “against occupation than a lot of the Arab countries. This is our interest.”

She said Egypt and Jordan were scared of a free and democratic Palestinian state.

Queried regarding Iran’s quest to manufacture nuclear weapons, Zuabi stated that having Israel as the region’s sole nuclear power was disadvantageous. “It would [sic] be more supporting me to have a counter-power to Israel,” she said. “I need something to balance [Israel’s] power.”

Zuabi was asked if she felt worried, living among Jews, that Iran was getting close to acquiring a nuclear weapon. She replied: “No, I am not.” Indeed, she said was “more afraid from the Israeli nuclear [weapons].”

Israel does not officially admit to a nuclear weapons capability, but is widely believed to have had such a capability since the 1960s.

When asked if she thought that Israel would use nuclear weapons, she replied, “The Israelis? I think yes… And I am afraid from real risk rather than from potential risk.”

The Iranian bomb was only “a potential” threat. The real danger was the Israeli army, she said. “Every day the Israeli [army] uses its violence, army violence.”

Zuabi said that Israel was an aggressor state, and that only a situation similar to that which existed between the Soviet Union and United States in the form of the doctrine of “Mutually Assured Destruction” would restrain Israel. “It is more dangerous to the world, more dangerous to everyone, more dangerous to the Palestinians, to Israelis, to have Israel as the only powerful state. I need something to balance its power because this balance of power will [sic]restrict the Israeli using of power. The Israeli violence of the army is an outcome of Israel’s convenient feeling that no one will restrict her, that no Arab country will really declare a war against [Israel].”

She added: “I believe that [Israel] would respect its use of power if she’s afraid of others. The fact that [Israel]is not afraid of Arab countries, the fact that [Israel]is not afraid of a potential declaration of our Arab world to declare war against Israel, makes Israel more violent. You understand me?”

Asked whether an Iranian bomb would make America nervous and lead to more US pressure on Israel, and whether that would be good from her point of view, Zuabi replied: “Exactly.”

Zuabi declared that the very concept of a Jewish state was “inherently racist”, saying that Israel must be turned into a “state of all its citizens,” which would eliminate its Jewish or Zionist nature.

The Knesset Central Elections Committee disqualified the Balad party from running in the recent elections due to its members’ refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and reported calls for violence against it. The ban was overturned by the Supreme Court.

For a supposedly smart people, Jews can be really dumb.

7:13PM: George Galloway’s response to his ban from entering Canada.

7:08PM: Incoming Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has addressed the Knesset during the induction ceremony of his new government.

Via Ynet:

“I stand before not with a glee of victory, but with an overwhelming sense of responsibility; these are not normal times. I ask for your faith during this time of unprecedented crises,” incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset during the induction ceremony of his new government Tuesday afternoon.

“The greatest danger to the State of Israel and to all of mankind will come from a radical regime that will try to arm itself with nuclear weapons,” he said, adding “Israel is facing two immense challenges on the economic and security fronts. Our decisions and actions will determine whether we are able to weather the storms.”

In his speech, Netanyahu spoke of the virtues of unity. “I believe we can overcome any obstacle, and therefore it is my goal to unite all of the major (political) forces in the country. I am glad that the Labor Party has made the decision to join hands with Likud.”

Speaking of the global financial crisis, the newly inducted prime minister equated Israel with “a small race boat sailing between big ships.”

Netanyahu then called on the Palestinian Authority to embrace peace: “If it is really peace that you seek – we can achieve it. We will advance (the negotiations) in three avenues, the financial one, the security one and the diplomatic one… we will support a Palestinian mechanism which will fight terror. We have no desire to rule over another people. The final (peace) agreement will enable the Palestinians to rule over themselves, with the exception of what may threaten Israel.

“Past efforts to find shortcuts have only produced the opposite results – more terror and more bloodshed. We will pursue a realistic route with the honest purpose of ending the conflict.”

His government, said the incoming PM, will also be tough on crime: “It is inconceivable that parents in Israel will be afraid to send their children to school or to the beach… We will put an end to it. We will exacerbate punitive action, push for reforms in the police and bolster its ability to fight crime.”

Just before ending his speech, which was riddled with repeated interjections by members of the opposition, Netanyahu thanked outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, saying simply “Thank you, Ehud.”

Ha’aretz adds:

In his address, Netanyahu called radical Islam and the Iranian regime major threats to regional security, but praised Islam itself as a rich religion.

Meanwhile, it is interesting to see what the different Israeli media outlets took away from his speech:

Jerusalem Post:






3:16PM: I’ve had a very hectic day so far, preventing much in terms of updates. So here’s a brief summary of what has happened since the early morning.

  • The IDF vaporized two terrorists planting bombs along the Gaza border fence
  • Palestinian terrorists fired 4 Qassams into Israel
  • Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu still has some headaches ahead of his swearing-in ceremony later today

6:04AM: The Canadian Federal Court has refused to overturn a Canadian government decision to deny George Galloway entry into Canada.

6:00AM: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says his government wasn’t considering restoring diplomatic ties with Israel.

Tell someone who cares, boofhead.

5:58AM: Quote of the Day:

“I am thrilled and amazed that Israel is making ‘The Office’ with local writers, directors and actors. I mean, who ever heard of Jewish entertainers?”

– Comedian and creator of The Office Ricky Gervais, after hearing that Israel plans an Israeli version of the hit TV show

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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