The Haredi UTJ party is threatening not to support the new 2019 state budget unless a law is passed that would equate studying in a yeshiva with army service. Yesterday, PM Netanyahu warned that if no solution is found, new elections would be called.
Economy Minister Eli Cohen (Kulanu) said that his party, which is led by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, will not compromise on the budget. He said, “We explicitly said that if the state budget is not approved in the current (Knesset) session, we’re going to elections. You can’t turn the budget into a tool for extortion.”
UTJ leader Yaakov Litzman is demanding that all 3 readings of their proposed law are done, and the law passed, before they agree to the budget, which is scheduled to be passed this week. But some Haredi MKs are willing to settle for just one reading of the proposed law before supporting the budget.
Deputy Minister Meir Porush (UTJ), meanwhile, rejected a compromise to the crisis that entails a more moderate version of the draft law amendment, which does not include a Basic Law that recognizes the value of Torah studies. Such a compromise, which would help those who oppose the legislation “swallow the bitter bill,” will not be enough to guarantee the status of yeshiva students and their immunity from being called up for IDF service.
Could this coalition crisis bring down the government? Everyone is awaiting the PM’s return from Washington on Friday to see what he does.
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US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley addressed the AIPAC Policy Conference yesterday. She said, “What President Trump did, to his great credit, was recognize a reality that American presidents had denied for too long. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. That’s a fact. And President Trump had the courage to recognize that fact when others would not. Sometime in the future, the day will come when the whole world recognizes that fact.”
Haley added, “I hope to be there and join our great ambassador, David Friedman, on the day when we open our brand new American embassy in Jerusalem.”
Regarding Israel at the UN, Haley said, “Israel is a strong country with a strong military. But at the UN, it’s a different story. Israel does get bullied there. It gets bullied because the countries that don’t like Israel get away with it. That just doesn’t sit well with me.”
VP Mike Pence addressed the AIPAC Policy Conference yesterday, following ambassador Haley’s speech. Pence said, “I stand before you today in (President Donald Trump’s) behalf to convey a simple message: America stands with Israel—today, tomorrow and always, because we believe in right over wrong, in good over evil, in liberty over tyranny. President Trump promised to ensure that Israel would have the resources and tools to defend itself by itself. And today, American support for the security of the State of Israel is greater than ever before.”
Regarding Jerusalem he said, “While every president in the past two decades promised to recognize the capital of Israel, President Trump did more than promise—he delivered.”
Pence reiterated the US commitment to a peace plan and said that the US would support a two-state solution if that’s what both sides agreed upon. He added, “The US will never compromise the safety and security of the Jewish state of Israel.”
PM Netanyahu met with President Trump in the White House yesterday. Regarding the decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem, Trump said that it “was a wonderful thing, and I know it was very much appreciated in a big part of the world, not just in Israel.” He added that he might come to Jerusalem for the opening of the new embassy.
Regarding a peace deal Trump said, “If we could do peace between Israel and the Palestinians, that would be a great thing for the world, that would be a great thing for this country, and a great thing for everybody.”
The meeting was the 5th between the two leaders since Trump took office last year.
Netanyahu will address the AIPAC conference today.
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Last month Air India announced it would launch 3 weekly flights between India and Israel and that the flights would fly through Saudi Arabian airspace. That caused the General Authority of Civil Aviation in Riyadh to deny it had granted Air India permission to do so. But yesterday, PM Netanyahu told reporters that the Saudis had now granted Air India permission to fly over its territory.
If the PM is correct, the move would reflect a thawing in the relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia. However, it’s unlikely that El Al will get permission to fly over Saudi territory, which puts the airline at a severe disadvantage, since it must take an extra 2 hours to fly south to Ethiopia to avoid Saudi airspace before heading east to India. India Air will be quicker and significantly cheaper, since it will be saving money on fuel.
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IsraelAM is giving away 3 books to help you learn more about Israel.
The first two are historical fiction by bestselling, world famous Jewish writer Herman Wouk. The third is a non fiction work about Israel’s innovations in the field of water technology — and what Israel can teach the world in that vital area.
1. The Hope, by Herman Wouk
2. The Glory, by Herman Wouk
3. Let There Be Water, by Seth M. Siegel
Winner will be announced on Monday. After you enter, make sure you check your inbox for the confirmation email to confirm your entry.
Books can only be shipped within the US…sorry :(
To enter the giveaway click here.