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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Olmert keeps Shas in his coalition cheaply

Determined to keep his coalition together and having apparently concluded that there is no one on the 'Palestinian' side to whom the country will allow him to gift Judea and Samaria, Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert has apparently decided to give (or make like he is going to give) the Golan to Syria. That will keep Labor in the coalition backing the crooked Olmert. But how to keep the more right wing Shas in the coalition? They came cheap this time. The cost: construction of 286 new housing units in the ultra-Orthodox town of Beitar Ilit, which is just over the 'green line' in Judea. Beitar Ilit is part of the Etzion bloc, which is one of the large 'settlement blocs' that the government envisions keeping under any future arrangements with the 'Palestinians,' so Olmert can claim he's not even violating the government's understanding of the 'road map' requirements. Don't get me wrong - I'm all in favor of building housing in Beitar Ilit and every place else Jews want to live in this country. But the cynicism here on Olmert's part should be obvious to all of you.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's approval Wednesday of 286 new housing units in the haredi settlement of Betar Illit marked the second time in less than three months that Shas has freed up a major haredi construction project in the West Bank.

In March, Shas leader Eli Yishai took credit for the green light given to a new 750-unit project in the West Bank settlement of Givat Ze'ev. At the time, Yishai announced that further construction would be authorized in Betar Illit as well.

Although construction is continuing in many settlements, the work is based on old permits. In the last year, the government has approved only a smattering of small-scale projects in the settlements.

The largest of those construction projects was for 100 new homes in the Mevo Horon settlement, and that was a direct result of the voluntary evacuation of an outpost just outside the settlement.

Now the two exclusively haredi projects, in Givat Ze'ev and Betar Illit, make up the bulk of new construction permits in West Bank settlements.

Yishai's spokesman told The Jerusalem Post that Wednesday's announcement was a direct result of the Shas leader's lobbying efforts.

"We said this would happen, and it did," Yishai's spokesman said.


Betar Illit, which is exclusively haredi, is a mere .4 km. over the Green Line.
And in return? You guessed it. Shas is staying in the coalition and will bury their heads in the sand and pretend that the government is not planning to give away the Golan - just like Shas has done up to now in Jerusalem.
Shas chairman Eli Yishai announced on Wednesday that he would keep his party in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's coalition despite the revelation from the Prime Minister's Office that the government had been carrying out secret talks with Syria.

Olmert called Yishai moments before a message was sent to reporters to inform him about the talks. Yishai's associates said the news caught him by surprise and that he would have preferred not to hear such news at all.

"It is forbidden to negotiate with the axis of evil and certainly to abandon the Golan to the axis of evil," Yishai told reporters. "At the moment when we see that there is real danger of giving the Golan to the axis of evil, Shas, of course, won't be in the government. We are constantly evaluating whether we should remain in the government."
But until then, Shas will play the brinksmanship game and continue to take money from the government. The fact that the government might actually succeed in giving away the Golan and the fact that it will make 'concessions' that Syria will pocket for the next round no matter what doesn't seem to bother Shas. As it says in Ecclesiastes, "money will answer all."

For those of you who are mystified by Olmert's motivations, National Union/National Religious Party MK Aryeh Eldad (one of the few honest members of the Knesset) explains:
"The announcement that was made by the Prime Minister's Office is the corrupt spin of a man who is well-known to police investigators, constructed in an attempt to get the law enforcement system and the media off his back," said MK Aryeh Eldad (NU-NRP), who heads the Knesset's anti-corruption lobby.

"Olmert is certain that if Sharon was saved from trial because of Disengagement, he, too will be saved from being removed from office through treason against the State of Israel and offering up the Golan Heights to a person who planned on preparing nuclear weapons to use against us and who operates Hizbullah and Hamas."
Regardless of whether people in this country are against or - God forbid - for giving away the Golan, it ought to be clear to everyone that Olmert is cynically manipulating events to keep himself in power and to keep his coalition intact. We look like are a third-world country.


At 8:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SHAS should not be represented by an ostrich with its head in the sand. Even a drawing of Nero fiddling while Rome burns is too sympathetic a portrait of them.

Maybe I have to go to Der Sturmer.....

Was that harsh or what?

At 9:25 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

What's a bribe here and a bribe there? Treason has been fashionable in Israel for a long time and no one in power has been ever punished for acts that have resulted in the murder of Jews and the giving away of Jewish land. Ehud Olmert is simply the latest gonif who's tried to do it with no consequences whatsoever. If he loses his job, rest assured it won't be because he sold out Israel.


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