As Israel’s fourth prime minister in four years begins to stitch together a new parliamentary coalition, some American Jewish leaders are cautiously optimistic that Ehud Barak will fulfill campaign promises and usher in a new era of religious pluralism in the Jewish state.
by Lawrence Cohler-Esses |
Just one day after his landslide victory, aides to Israel’s newly elected prime minister put one of American Jewry’s key pro-Israel groups on notice.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, organized Jewry’s pro-Israel Washington lobby, “has been less than wise in several of their endeavors over the last few years,” Alon Pinkus, Prime Minister-elect Ehud Barak’s spokesman, said Tuesday.
Benjamin Netanyahu, dubbed by the Israeli press as “the most vilified prime minister ever,” is battling for his political life in Monday’s election and his opponents — and even some supporters — smell blood.
Limor Livnat, the cabinet minister directing Netanyahu’s media campaign, reportedly was preparing to challenge Netanyahu for leadership of the Likud Party should he lose. And Netanyahu was said to be ready to fire Livnat if he does not receive more than 50 percent of the vote and is forced into a June 1 runoff election.
For the first time, the Jewish Theological Seminary, which likes to be known as the spiritual center of Conservative Judaism, is involving itself ever so cautiously in next week’s Israeli elections. Just in time for the May17 vote, the seminary is advertising in two Israeli newspapers to gently remind Israeli voters not to forget the religious pluralism issue, which threatens to divide voters.
“VOTE WITH YOUR HEART — AND YOUR HEAD,” urges the ad slated for the May 14 edition of Haaretz and Maariv.
The divisive tensions in Israeli society became political fodder this week as the main political parties pitted Ashkenazi against Sephardi, the “elite” vs. “the street.” Ehud Barak of the One Israel Party said he would not allow Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party to draw the country into a civil war just two weeks before the May 17 election, which some are calling Israel’s most crucial.
by Lawrence Cohler-Esses |
Chai L’Yisrael, the cheaper of the two at $180 round trip from New York, is offering flights tied to the May 17 election for prime minister and parliament, the Knesset. The latter will decide the fate of the Orthodox religious parties.
Kesher’s round-trip flights are for an expected June 1 runoff between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the right-wing Likud Party and Ehud Barak of the left-leaning One Israel Party. Kesher’s fares are $449 from New York and $649 from Los Angeles.