Thursday, December 31, 2009

My predictions for 2010

January - After the failure of Iran to negotiate with the International Community, weak sanctions are applied against it by the UN aiming to prevent it continuing nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile Hamas replies to the Israeli position in regard to its continued holding of Gilad Shalit in captivity, sadly saying he will not be released unless Israel released 1500 prisoners to the West Bank and Gaza. Israel's Government (despit the huge public wish for him to be released) correctly reject this offer, saying they can not allow terrorists to have a change to continue to threaten the people of Israel.

February - I will become a father.

After the failed Christmas bid to blow up an airplane, the US bomb Yemen.
Gordon Brown says he is tackling the terrorism threat in the UK, but meanwhile 1000s of terrorists are preparing in Britain for an attack somewhere in Europe.

March - In their Budget Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown declare that they have saved the UK economy, as the UK achieves growth of 0.3%, meanwhile inflation in the UK starts to rocket.

April - Anti-Government protests in Iran continue to increase, while the Iranian Government announces it is only a year away from having a nuclear bomb. However, the UN fail to agree stonger sanctions agains Iran.

May - The General Election is held in the UK, and the Conservative Party wins a majority of between 30 to 60 seats.

The Palestinian leadership continue to refuse to negotiate with Israel, while the European Union calls on the world to accept a Palestinian State.

Gordon Brown says he wants to carry on with being Labour leader.

June - World Cup fever hits the world and England get knocked out in the quarter finals, with Germany become world champions again.

July - Alex Ferguson says he wants to be the new England manager.

August - Israel bombs Iran.

September - A revolution in Iran overthrows the Government and Ayatollah and the new leadership announce the end of its nuclear programme.

October - Jose Murino becomes the new England manager.

November - Oil prices surge as the world goes back into recession.

December - Huge snow storms around the world, as the EU continues to claim important measures are needed to tackle climate change.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My review of 2009

As is traditional at this time of year I thought I would comment on what has been a big year for me personally but which has also seen major changes in Israel and England.

Of course the biggest moment for me in 2009, was making aliyah in March. After nine months I am to say that I think that my wife and I made the right decision. Whilst life is not always easy when you move to a new country and need to find a place to live, learn a language, find a new job and settle into a new community, these challenges can be overcome and lead to a better life, which I believe we are achieving here in Israel.

Moving to a new country also gave me a new perspective on the country I left behind and the one which I have now moved to.

The year kicked off with the dramatic events of the Gaza war, when the Israeli Government finally set about stopping the daily barrarge of missiles shot by Hamas into Israel. This war was a military success for Israel so that instead of the tens of thousands of the Sderot region had to suffer every year for eight years, this year since the end of the war they have only suffered about 200 missiles, so that the residents can now almost now live normal lives.

However, while the Gaza war was a military success, it has led to the worst anti-semitism around the world and in England since World War Two (sadly something which has been said every year for the past few years).

Israel also had an election earlier this year in February, when the right-wing parties received a majority and at the beginning of April Benjamin Netenyahu was able to form a government. Over the past eight months Netenyahu has proved to be a success and has been able to lead a strong Government (something unsual in Israel) in his work to ensure Israel has a strong economy, make sure he can achieve peace in Israel - something our neighbours - don't seem to be as supportive of, and ensured Israel has a good civil society while trying to play an importnat part in this world.

In comparison , in my last few years living in England I thought it was deteriorating but now when I view it from abroad I see it in an even worse situation. The economy is of course in a terrible mess and is a country verging on bankruptcy, according to foreign press, while being mocked as one of the few countries still to be in recession.

However, more worrying in my view is the rising levels of anti-semitism which I have written about before and yet I have been criticised for exagerating the problems but just look at the evidence.

- 609 reginstered anti-semitic attacks in the UK in the first half of the year.
- Jews attacked on the streets of Golders Green

This is also seen at official level when the Government seems not to care about Israel and to see it as more of a threat than an ally where just this month, Israel's former foreign secretary was not able to enter Britain - just like many Israeli Ministers - because the courts have agreed to their arrest warrants, something for dictators, not leaders of democratic allies.

I hope 2010 is a good year and I will be posting my predictions tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Who should be the next leader in Barnet?

Tomorrow night my former colleagues in Barnet will be deciding who will be the next leader of the Council.

I do not know if my views today have any influence, especially as I am now living here happily in Israel, but I thought I would give my views anyway. I can also confirm that I have not been asked by either candidate or their supporters to support them.

Just over three years ago I was pleased to support Mike Freer as leader of the Conservative Council, and I am glad that I did, because I believe he was an excellent leader that made Barnet a better place for its residents to live. He also came up with very important policies such as 'Future Shape' that I believe will be vital in improving public services. Barnet's loss will hopefully be Britain's gain.

The two leadership candidates will also both make very good leaders, and as we know it will be a woman, something Conservative's should be proud of, hopefully she will be as successful as Margaret Thatcher.

Though in an election you always have to choose, and my choice would be Fiona Bulmer. I believe she has been an excellent Cabinet Member in helping to ensure Barnet has some of the best schools in Britain. I also believe she led her portfolio and was able to understand and explain the issues, while also being transparent and able to lead officers.

I also believe she would be a leader that would help to ensure Conservative policies and ensure Conservatives get elected, by helping the local Consevative Parliamentary candidates, and being an excellent Conservative Council leader under a Conservative Cameron led Government.

I therefore urge my former colleagues to support Fiona Bulmer tomorrow.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Netenyahu takes steps for Peace and the EU.....

Last week after months of negotiations with America, Netenyahu the Israeli Prime Minister made the historic step of announcing that Israel would stop all new building of private properties in the West Bank area of Israel.

These American - Israeli negotiations when they began earlier this year, were a promise by Obama's team that through this decision by Israel, the Palestinian and Arab neighbours of Israel would also make some compromise as a prelude to full these negotiations. However, sadly the American's have been unable to persuade the Arab world to start accepting that Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish State.

Even so, Benjamin Netenyahu has said he is a man that wants to achieve peace and so last week made the corrageous decision to halt all new developments in the West Bank. I say corrageous because in doing this he is Israel's first Prime Minister to stop Jews from being allowed to build in their homeland. In doing so he has gone against the ideology of most in his Likud Party, as well as those of other right-wing parties and so could put his Government at risk.

However, this decision was made because as Israel has always shown it is willing to compromise to make peace. Israel agreed to compromise in 1947 when it agreed to a tiny state. It then agreed in 1999, 2000 and 2008 to give back all of the West Bank to a Palestinian State.

This week just like each on many previous occassions the Palestinian's have said they do not want to accept to negotiate for peace with Israel, and have said they will not negotiate unless Israel agrees to give up all it's land and Jerusalem. I just hope that the rumors that instead of peace the Palestinians are talking about a new Intifadah war are wrong.

Meanwhile, while the American's have welcomed Netenyahu's decision as a historic step, the Eurpean Union have shown they have no wish to support Israel. Next week, the Eurpean Foreign Minister's will discuss a policy, which according to a Jerusalem Post article the British Government is supporting, to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian State.

How are European's able to accept Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian State, before it has even become a state or even been negotiated in a peace treaty with Israel. This is even more concerning in light of the fact that despite Jerusalem being the capital of Israel since the Declaration of Israel in 1948 (even before the 6 Day War); Jerusalem has never been recognised as Israel's capital by European States.

When will European Union like its Palestinian friends start to recognise that Israel does have a right to exist as a Jewish homeland, with Jerusalem as it's capial and push the Arab world to negotiate a peace with Israel?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dismore or Dannon who is the better Member of Parliament

I again have decided to compare two politicians one in England and one in Israel.

This week the MP for Hendon, Andrew Dismore has again made the news for all the wrong reasons, for claiming thousands of pounds of the public's money over the last ten years for a second home in London and travelling from Notting Hill to Hendon. He has always said that he didn't want to be a Minister because he wanted to help people. It looks more like he wasn't up to it and wanted to make as much money as possible.

Meanwhile, in Israel the Likuds MK, Danny Dannon has been speaking up for children asylum seekers. Danny Dannon - since he was elected less than a year ago - has shown that it is possible for backbench politicians to have an impact on policy. I believe that his recent support for child asylum seekers from Africa and children of immigrants, who some politicians want to force out of the country is the right moral stand to take and should be supported.

In recent weeks we have been reading in Bereshit about Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, and how he showed one of the most important traits a person can have is to welcome guests. Danny Dannon is therefore showing that the Jewish State should continue this trait should welcome guests or asylum seekers, when they most need our help. I therefore hope more people will support this cause.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

92 Years since the Balfour Declaration

Yesterday (2nd November) was the anniversary of the one of the major steps on the way to the recreation of the State of Israel.

On 2 November 1917, Britain's than Foreign Secretary of Britain, Arthur James Balfour declared that the British Cabinet

"viewed with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people,and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country".

Just thirty-one years later the Jewish people were able to declare their national home.

However, despite intense efforts the Palestinian leadership are still refusing to negotiate with Israel and to recognise Israel as the Jewish home.

This past week we also read the Torah portion of Lech-Lecha when Abraham was commanded to move to the Land of Israel. However, during the reading we also read of G-d's promise to Abraham that his descendents would receive the Land of Israel as his inheritance. This is the reason why Israel should be the Jewish homeland. However, it can also be seen as the source of the Israeli-Arab conflict.

This source, Chapter 17 of Bereshit (Genesis) sees a covenant between G-d and Abraham in which G-d makes the commandment of circumcision and in return promises the Land of Israel to Abraham's descendents. As Abraham only had one son at the time Ishmael (who I believe Muslems see as their patriarch), many people would have thought that this promise would be to him and his descendents. Indeed even Abraham at first thinks this as described in verse 18. However, G-d than makes clear in verse 19 that Abraham will have another son (Isaac) a patriach of the Jewish people, who will receive the covenant of the Land of Israel.

The Torah thus makes clear that Israel should be the Jewish homeland, which 92 years ago was supported by the Balfour Declaration. However, while a dispute continues to exist, maybe one day we will receive an answer like in Sam Bourne's novel 'The Last Testament'.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

It's meant to get colder in October

When we made aliyah I knew I had to get used to the heat, but I did not expect it to rise to 100 degrees fareignheight in October. It should be getting colder, shouldn't it?

It's summed up well here

In the beginning

On Friday, the UN's Human Rights Council continued its long history of condeming Israel for defending its citizens from eight years of rockets and bombings from Hamas in the Gaza Strip. This continues a long history of the UN attacking the rights of Israel to be a Jewish State and defending itself against attacks from Arab states and terrorists.

However, this criticism of the rights of the Jewish People in regard to Israel is not new. Yesterday, we read the first sedra of the year, Bereshit, about the creation of the world. Writing approximately a thousand years ago, Rashi who is still today the most important of the commentators on the Torah and Talmud; asked why the Torah begins with Bereshit (Genesis) and does not start with Shemot (Exodus) with the start of the laws given to the Jewish people.

His answer is that throughout history, the Jewish people's right to Israel will be questioned. However, through the story of creation the Jewish people will be able to show to all people (or at least people that believe in G-d) that the world was created by G-d, and G-d chose that the land of Israel should be for the Jewish people, therefore we can point-out to our critics that the creator of the world supports the rights of the Jewish people to have a soverign State of Israel.

Lets hope, a thousand years after Rashi, wrote this idea, people that question the right of the State of Israel to exist will think again, allowing the Jews to live without fear, so that we no longer have to defend ourselves against our enemies.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Why is anti-semitism rising in Britain?

Since the Labour came to power in 1997, anti-semitism has been on the rise in Britain, which has markedly risen in the past couple of years, particularly in the Hendon Constituency where I used to live. This has not been helped by the lack of support that the Labour Government has shown for tackling anti-semitism and possibly even encouraged, such as during the 2005 General election with their anti semitic campaign posters.

However, last week the Labour Party led by the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband and the Director of Labour Friends of Israel, Luciana Berger, tried to accuse the Conservative Party of joining-up with anti-semitic parties in the European Parliament. This is obviously one of their last efforts to try and win the election in Hendon and Golders Green. However, the allies are not anti-semitic but are just trying to reduce the EU'S domination of national sovereignty, supported by the majority of the public in Britain.

Instead of trying to make false accusations of anti-semitism, maybe Luciana Berger should be supporting Israel by attacking the two Labour Cabinet Ministers who are anti-zionist and arguably anti-semitic.

Ben Bradshaw, Secretary of State for Culture, earlier this year was clearly anti-semitic when he accused Israel of having a "long reputation of bullying the BBC". While John Denham, Secretary of State for Communities, according to the Jewish Cronicle has a long history of being hostile to Israel and has often supported Islamic extremists such as the Muslim Council of Britain.

So Luciana, maybe instead of creating false accusations, you should start critising Cabinet Minsters in your own party who make anti-semitic comments because of their hatred of Israel.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Yom Kippur - what to think about this year?

Ask anyone around the world that knows anything about Judaism, what the holiest day of the year for Jew is and you will almost always get the correct answer Yom Kippur, and in Israel we will really experience it.

In Britain and I presume much of the western world things slow down on Christmas Day, with virtually all shops shut and people spend time with their families. However, in Israel things go even further on Yom Kippur, not only does all public transport shutdown (as it does every Shabbat) but Ben Gurion International Airport also shuts down, and it is illegal to drive. While even more shocking today in the western world, the television companies stop broadcasting for a whole day.

This year it seemed to become fashionable for prominent people around the world to call for people to try and understand what it is like for Muslims during Ramadan. So I urge my non-Jewish readers and also Jewish readers, about the biggest issue that will affect not only the Jewish people but the whole world in the coming year. On Yom Kippur, the Jewish people pray not only for a healthy and successful year for themselves, but for all the Jewish people , and the entire world.

As Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu said this week at the UN, now is the time to think about the biggest issue facing the world. Are we going to confront Iran, whose leader not only denies the Holocaust, but is now developing nuclear weapons, which under the current leadeship would use it to attack Israel and other countries. Together with Mr Netenyahu I thank Britain and the other countries that walked out of the UN General Assembly this week when the Iranian leader began his anti-semitic speach. However, I urge all right minded individuals on Yom Kippur to consider the threat that Iran now poses to the world, and over the next year to show your support for confronting this threat.

Friday, September 18, 2009

6 months and the start of a New Year

I would like to wish a Shana Tova to all my readers and hope the new year is sweet and successful.

As we approach Rosh Hashana and another new year, now is a good time to look back on the 6 months since aliyah. It is hard to believe that yesterday it was 6 months since Sonia and I landed in Israel to begin a new stage in our life. These six months have not always been easy, and starting a new life in any country including Israel can be challenging but to anyone who is contemplating aliyah (or even not yet considering it) I would recommend it.

In order to absorb ourselves into Israeli life here in Modiin we have there have been a number of challenges but like the vast majority of olim we have overcome them.

We are starting to get a little better at speaking in Hebrew. I can now understand what most people ask me and get by in Hebrew. However, there is always more that can be done and so this week we began a new term of ulpan in Modiin, and it is nice to be in a class of brand-new olim and see their early excitement of life in Israel. It also helps to remind me why we came to Israel when life begins to become routine.

As I have mentioned in a previous post, I am also now working at the Jerusalem Post and am pleased to be working with nice people in a job which is helping to grow Israel's economy and spread Israel's message through the Jerusalem Post newspaper. After two months working in Israel, it also makes me feel that I have settled here and am able to learn from veteran olim and sabras about what life is like here in Israel. While the money is a lot less than I was earning in England, it is enough to ensure we are able to lead a nice life.

I have also been reading Daniel Gordis' latest book and in his words, the reason the Jewish People need Israel and should live in Israel is because, it allows the Jewish people to determine its own lives and laws and to lead freely and unthreatened, something which until 61 years ago was not possible for 2000 years. I am therefore be pleased to be entering my first full year in Israel and to be part of Israel's and the Jewish People's future. Life will not always be easy and we will face challenges both on an indiviual and national level, but we will overcome these and be able to have a successful future.

Happy new year

Friday, August 28, 2009

Lets hope Barnet can be Easy

Barnet Council has made the news today, with its plans for major changes the Conservative Administration is planning to the way it is planning to run the Council. To those not from Barnet, or even England, this news might not sound that exciting, but I hope they mark a real change in the way in which beaureaucratic public services are provided in Barnet and across England.

After the last local elections in I supported Mike Freer as the Leader of the Council, as he promised to make major changes to the way the Council was run in order to save it money and so help to cut Council Tax for the public. These aims have taken a long time to come about and still appear to be a while from being implemented but at last some exciting plans seem to be emerging which will help to ensure the Council will be trying to make radical savings.

For the past seven years since being elected the Council administration has been making cost savings (I prefer 'cuts') to the Council Services but the easy options have now run out, and in Barnet as across the whole public sector, the time has come to look for really radical ways in which the publics money can be saved. This is even more urgent now, with the extoadinaly huge debts the Labour Government have got itself into, so that over the next few years, major cuts will have to be made in the public sector.

I am therefore pleased that at last Mike Freer is bringing forward these proposals to help change the way public services are offered in Barnet. It has just become too expensive for the public sector to continue with the way it has been delivering public services in Britain. I hope when the plans are announced in late September/early October they really are radical. If they show that the costs to the Council are going to be cut and more importantly Council Tax can be reduced, I look forward to giving my support to these proposals.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

EU Presidency supports blood libel

In an increasing anti-semitic Europe, a sad new peak was reached this week by the Swedish Government who are currently the Presidency of the European Union Council.

Last week the Aftonbladet newspaper published an article saying that Israeli solders were stealing body parts from Palestinians. I understand that newspapers can print articles criticising Israeli actions against its enemy during times of war, but when an article is printed with bocus accusations that body parts are being taken from Palestinians this should be criticised and dismissed as anti-semitic.

This accusation is not just anti-semitic but is a return to the pre-20th century anti-semitism of Europe, when Jews were attacked for stealing body parts and blood of Christian children, which were known as blood libels. Thus again showing that anti-Israel comments are often just another form of the age old anti-semitic attacks.

Correctly the Swedish Ambassador to Israel apologised for this but she was told to retract this apology by the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, by trying to justify freedom of speech. Thus the leaders of Europe are not against anti-semitic attacks. So until they condem this attack, there is no need for Israel to listen to an anti-semitic Europe.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Future - Newspapers or Blogs?

In my new job at the Jerusalem Post I am often asked by customers why they should buy a newspaper when they can read the same for free on the internet. I still feel there is nothing like being able to read a good newspaper while having a cup of coffee or travelling on the bus or train and so I believe there is a good reason to buy newspapers. However, as a blogger I am sure you would expect that I also like reading blogs from people of all different perspectives.

With the lack of news in England over the summer, debate has been turning as to the future of news reporting, and whether it will be through newspapers or blogs. This week there was a disagreement between The Financial Times and who I believe to be the leader of political blogging in the UK, Tim Montgomerie of Conservative Home, who here defended the future of blogs.

I am also pleased to see that in recent months two of my friends from UJS in my university campaigning days have joined the blogging community, Danny Stone and Luciana Berger. Sadly these two have not seen the light and are still supporters of left-wing causes and the Labour Party. I also think they are suffering from too much sun (or maybe rain) this summer and still don't want to see any change to a health system which is not the best in the world, despite billions being spent on it under a failing Labour Government.

In Israel, politics has also been only a little quieter over the summer, but things are starting to build up for what I think will be a very busy autumn, which will dominate not only Israeli politics but world politics.

Firstly, the Israeli Government is increasing it's pressure on Prime Minister Netenyahu not to give into American pressure on the right for Israeli's to settly in Jerusalem and its towns in the West Bank. (This is interesting in itself in that the Prime Minister is unable to dominate Israel's policy but has to reach a political consensus.)

The big question though will be Iran and if it will agree to at least negotiate with the west to stop its nuclear programme or carry on with its development of a nuclear bomb (with a lack of pressure from President Obama) so that by early 2010, according to President Shimon Peres, it will be able to cause another Holocaust.

So we will be having a busy autumn, which will be well reported in both newspapers and on the blogs.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The NHS is NOT the best in the world

When I lived in England I was always a supporter of the NHS. Luckily I have rarely had to use its services, but from others I understood it was good although not perfect. However, maybe for patriotic reasons I thought it was one of the best health services in the world.

However, now I am not sure. Since moving to Israel I have seen how hospitals and doctors surgeries look much cleaner than in England and in terms of waiting to see the doctor times are much shorter.

Waiting times are hours instead of days, and days instead of weeks and months.

Given the current debate in the UK and America over health services, what I find interesting is that former Brits feel that the Israeli health system is much better than the NHS, while Americans think that the health system in America is better than in Israel. Maybe this gives some idea about where the NHS lies.

I have never been an expert on funding health systems, but I also think the Israeli system is quite a good model.

There are four health insurance providers in Israel, and everone must be a member of one of these providers. Therefore there is some competition ans these providers compete to attract users by providing better services.

Everyone has at least a basic cover, partly paid by Government and partly paid for by a national insurance contribution which comes out of your wage. Individuals are than either to get extra insurance cover from their provider or just pay extra for services which are not covered by the basic insurance.

I don't know how good a system is but overall it is definitely better than Britain's NHS which is badly in need of reform.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Update, Jobs and Greens

I haven't had a chance to write a blog for a while. This is partly because I haven't known what to write about and also because I started in my first job in Israel a couple of weeks ago (well ... unless you count working on Kibbutz during my gap year. I worked as a farmer and don't think I will ever have to work as hard again).

I am working at the Jerusalem Post in the International Sales Team, so if you would like to start receiving any Jerusalem Post publication, let me know. This is a very different job to what I have been used to, given that I have only worked in the British public sector, trying to help the public, and now my ownly concern is making a profit.

So let me know if you want to get the:

-International Weekly Edition of the Jerusalem Post
- Jerusalem Report Magazine
- Christian Edition of the Jerusalem Post (a monthly magazine)
- 400 page Jerusalem Post Front Page Album

Following that advert, I would like to welcome the new olim that came on the Nefesh B'Nefesh flights yesterday and will be coming in the next few weeks. This reminded me of the excitement four months ago when we arrived in Israel. This already seems like a long-time and we are now use to sweltering in the heat and our daily lives in Modiin.

Finally, after work last night I caught the end of the Maccabi Haifa match, which they won and got through to the last qualifying round of the champions league. Haifa our my team in Israel, because during my gap year in Israel I went to their games throughout their European run 10 years ago, lets hope they can repeat their success this year, so come on the greens!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fruit and Veg

One of the things I enjoy most about living in Israel is the fresh fruit and vegetables that we can buy in the shops.

Virtually all this produce which is sold in Israel is home produced, so that the products available are seasonal. We are now enjoying melons, water melons, grapes, peaches and cherries. (However, strawberries only last until May).

I also find that the fruit and vegetables are sold at relatively low prices and so help towards a healthy diet. It also means that when you buy a felafel or shwarma, you can get free unlimited salad. It has even helped me to lost weight since getting here.

The reason I am writing about this now, is because this week Prime Minister Netanyhau decided to drop the Government's proposal to introduce VAT on fruit and vegetables. This had been an unpopular policy with the public, which would have hit many people hard in these difficult economic times. This decision by the Prime Minister, while maybe making him look weak, at least showed that the listens to the public. I think this is therefore a corrageous decision, which leaders in other countries could learn from.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Time to support JFS

As a former pupil of JFS in London, I was shocked to hear this week that the Court of Appeal decided that administration policy of JFS was racist.

JFS only accepts pupils that are deemed to be Jewish by Jewish law, when a child has a Jewish mother or has converted to Judaism under an orthodox Rabbi. This has always been the way that Judasim has recognised Jews. JFS, as a voluntary aided school, are therefore quite right to use this law, as determined by its Governing Body, to accept its pupils.

However, last week the schools admission policy and therefore Jewish law was deemed to be racist by a Court of Appeal Judge. I therefore urge the whole community to get behind JFS, one of the best schools in London, as it fights this decision all the way to the House of Lords.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Believe in ourselves

Last Shabbat we read the Sedra of Shelach Lecha (this coming week outside of Israel), which tells us about how the leaders of the Jewish people went to view the Land of Israel, as the Jewish people were preparing to enter the land from the desert, as G-d had promised them.

However, we read how 10 of the leaders told the Jewish people, how it was too dangerous for them to live in the Land of Israel, which the Jewish people agreed with. Our Rabbi's tell us how the Jewish people consintued to have a slave mentality , as they had only been freed from their lives as slaves just over a year preiously. They were therefore unable to believe that they could successfully defeat the incumbent residents of the land and rule themselves.

Last week I went on a tiyul (tour) in which I saw some of the sites along Road 1, where the battles took place to safeguard Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, during the War of Indepence between 1947 and 1949. I learnt of how in many of the battles, Israel's soldiers were Holocaust survivors of only three years previously. Despite this though, they were strong enough and had the belief that they could help to defend Israel, so that they were able to live in the Jewish State of Israel.

During the Tiyul, I was able to see how in modern times, our heroes who help to protect the land of Israel, have been able to overcome the difficulties that many Biblical Leaders were scared to accept, and thanks to these modern day heroes, our soldiers, we are able to safely live in the Land of Israel.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Don't let them stop people travelling

The last few days have seen two international cities disrupted by groups trying to stop the public from using transport systems and I condemn both groups.

On Shabbat, so called religious Jews from Mea Shearim tried to block the opening of a car park near the Old City of Jerusalem. The City Municipality wanted to open this car park, so that many non-Jewish tourists to Jerusalem would easily be able to access the Old City on Shabbat, when other car parks are shut. This car park was free and was operated by non-Jewish workers so that Shabbat law would not be broken. And yet, the so called religious Jews decided to riot to stop visitors to Jerusalem from being able to use this car park and even attacked policeman, therefore breaking Shabbat themselves. This group should learn their lesson and make it easier for tourists to visit Jerusalem.

Today and tomorrow in London, workers on the London Underground are holding what appears to be their annual strike, despite being some of the highest paid public sector workers in London. They are therefore also disrupting people from geting to work or allowing people to travel around London for leisure purposes, thus causing further disruption to the economy when London is trying to recover from a recession. Its about time they were banned from striking.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Dear Angry Labour Supporter

In my post below, an anonymous person has left a rather angry comment, who from his rant is I suspect a Labour supporter. Here is my response below.

Dear Anonymous

You sound very angry, maybe you should relax.

Let me answer your points one by one.

Although I have moved to Israel, I am still also a UK citizen and care for the future of my former home town, particularly as my family still live in Edgware. Maybe if the Labout Party felt the same, they would call a General Election straight away so that the country can rid itself of the useless Gordon Brown.

As a Councillor I was always very concerned to ensure that Edgware was as good as possible, as I wanted to live in a nice town, and I hope many people agree that the Conservative Councillors and the Administration did a good job to achieve this. I am sure Councillors Hart and Scannell also felt the same way as me, and I hope Darrel will be the same, as he is also an Edgware resident.

I resigned as a Councillor when I moved to Israel, up until that time I continued to work hard to represent Edgware's residents. Given that Burnt Oak residents often also came to me for help, I probably also did more than the Labour Burnt Oak Councillors.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Edgware and Totteridge - Excellent Conservative Results

In addition to the European elections, there were two bye-elections in Barnet yesterday in Edgware and Totteridge

A few local campaigners have been arguing that the Conservative run Barnet Council was doing a bad job, and were not popular with the local public.

However, the results, with both Conservaive Candidates getting over 50% of the vote shows that the people of Barnet want to elect a Conservative Government as soon as possible but also have confidence in the Conservative Council.

It also shows that when the country get rid of Gordon Brown, Hendon will also throw out Andrew Dismore and replace him with the Conservative Candidate Matthew Offord.

I would like to congratulate Darrel Yawitch and Alison Cornelius on becoming new councillors. I hope with the current concerns about politicians in the UK they are able to live up to their principles and beliefs and help to make Barnet a better place.

I also think based on number of votes received, Darrel is the most popular Councillor in Barnet, happy to be corrected if I am wrong. I am sure as he replaces me, Edgware will continue to have another excellent Councillor alongside Helena Hart and Joan Scannell.

Obama Calls for Peace in the Middle East

In years past, yesterday I would have been working hard campaigning in London on election day, instead I had the change to hear Obama's speach on his views between the West and the Middle East.

Over the past couple of weeks Obama has been making a number of difficult requirments for Israel, which I have been critical of, but yesterday I thought Obama made a good speech even though I disagreed with much of it.

What I think is clear is that Obama wants to create peace between Islam and the West and between the Arabs and Israel. These are worthy aims but I am not sure whether he can achieve them.

The West and Israel do want to live in peace with the Arab and Islamic world but I believe they will struggle to find partners for peace. Obama has already started to make concessions with his greater tolerance of Iran (the most dangerous country in the world) as they get closer to having nuclear weapons. Israel, in my view will also be willing to make concessions on its settlement of the West Bank and a Palestinian State, (as it has done time and time again) even if many Israeli's disagree with these concessions.

However, the Arab's are looking to wipe Israel off the map, and Islam as described by Bin Ladin yesterday, said they are willing to embark on a long war for Islamic domination of the world. These are enemies that are not going to accept peace. That is why even if Obama calls on them to accept the histroy of the Jewish people, including the Holocaust and its right to a homeland in Israel, not even he can persaude them to accept a peaceful outcome.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Israel is not giving into Obama

President Obama's administration appears to be continuing with its statements that the future of Middle East Peace is reliant on Israel stopping all construction of settlement activity in the West Bank.

The American Government wants Israel to not allow any new house extensions or new buidlings in existing towns in the West Bank (which makes up almost 10% of Israel's population). However, in his meeting last week with the Palestinian leader Abbas, President Obama hardly requested anything of the Palestinians, despite them continually being the party that opposes peace treaties.

However, I am pleased to say that Netenyahu and his whole Government continue to support the continuation of settlements in the historic Jewish homeland, while rightly trying to stop outposts with legal planning.

This week President Obama is likely to set out his broad plans for how to achieve in the Middle East, when he visits Egypt. I hope the other Barak, Israel's Defence Minister, can talk some sense into the Americans during his vist this week, before the President makes his major speech.

Friday, May 22, 2009

United Jerusalem

42 years ago today, Israel defeated Jordan and the other Arab neighbours in the Six Day War, and Jerusalem was again united as one Jewish city, which could again become the Capital City of Israel and the Jewish People, with the Old City and the Western Wall at its heart.

After 2000 years, the Jewish people again had sovereignty over our holiest site. Last night I enjoyed being part of the celebrations in our united capital of Jerusalem, as ten's of thousands of people made their way to celebrate in the old city. Prior the refunification of the city, Jews found it very difficult if not impossible to pray at the Western Wall or even enter the old city. Now, under Israel's sovereignty, every religion is able to carry out their religion freely and safely.
I believe that Israel must therefore retain full sovereignty over the old city of Jerusalem.

This week Barak Obama and Binyamin Netanyahu met to discuss how peace could be reached between Israel and its Arab neighbourhs, before Obama this weeks meet with the Palestinian leadership.

According to reports the American President wants to achieve peace in the Middle East by Israel withdrawing from the West Bank and east Jersualem (including the old city). This plan is not very different from the many peace plans that have been promoted since 1947 and which each time have been rejected by our Arab neighbours, most notably by Yasser Araft in 2000.
Israel has continually shown it is happy to agree peace with the Arab nations, and even completely withdrew from Gaza. However, this independence for Gaza saw the rise of Hamas and the continual use of rockets by Hamas as they have been fired into southern Israel.

So I say to the new American President, yes we do want peace but before we can agree to peace, we need to be sure that our Arab neigbours will actually accept Israel as a Jewish State and not continually attack it, as they have done for the past 61 years.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Are spending and tax cuts on the way in Barnet?

Barnet Council are tonight approving the Mayor and Executive for the upcoming year.

Much of the local news and blog coverage has concentrated on Councillor Brian Coleman becoming Mayor and Councillor Lynne Hillan becoming the Deputy Leader and Resources Member.

What I find more interesting is that Councillors Robert Rams and Dan Thomas are joining Councillor Richard Cornelius on the Executive. These three Councillors who were part of the 2006 in-take have continually spoken about the importance of cutting spending and council tax.

I hope now that they are in the Executive they will use their power to deliver Conservative principles by cutting public spending and so Council Tax. This also means that they need to find cuts and efficiencies in their own portfolios.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Support the Young Jewish Political Network today and Keep out the BNP

If you are free this afternoon, I urge you to get down to Golders Green Road this afternoon to help the YJPN campaign to keep out the BNP in the European elections on 4 June.

Just over a year ago, together with a few friends I helped to set up the Young Jewish Political Network.

I thought that an organisation was needed where young Jewish adults who wanted to make a political difference needed an organisation where they could get together to help represent Jewish and Israeli causes. We therefore set about launching the organisation and to find members which we were able to do with the help of the CST and the Jewish Leadership Council.

Following a number of networking events, I am pleased to say that this afternoon, the YJPN will holding their first campaigning event where they will be urging people to vote in the European Elections on 4th June, so as to maximise the vote and to keep out the BNP.

I wish good luck to the YJPN and hope that this is the first of many successfuly events as it develops into a vital organisation in London.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Good Luck to Darrel Yawitch

Darrel Yawitch will be the Conservative Candidate in the election on 4th June, where the residents of Edgware will vote to decide who will replace me as a Councillor for Edgware.

I would like to wish good luck to Darrel Yawitch, and urge all the residents of Edgware to vote for him.

As an Edgware resident, Darrel has already worked hard for other local residents by helping to open and build the new Edgware Jewish Primary School. I am sure as a new Councillor for Edgware he would be an excellent representative for the people of Edgware.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Its the economy stupid!

With just ten days to go until the Binyamin Netenyahu meets Barak Obama, it seems to be becoming increasingly clear what the new Israel Government's position will be in terms of working to negotiate a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

While not ruling out a Palestinian State, the Israeli Government appears to be moving towards a position where instead of allowing a Palestinian State to be declared as soon as possible, the Israeli Government will work with our neighbours in the Arab world and other interested participants from around the world, to help develop the economy and civil society of the Palestinian people.

I believe this is a good move.

Last week in Israel and around the world, we celebrated Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day, and we celebrated how 61 years ago Israel was able to become an independent Jewish State. However, 61 years ago Israel did not majically appear, the Jewish people for fifty to eighty years previously had worked to develop a civic society and economy that could support an independent state. We see this as we celebrate the 100th birthday this year of Tel Aviv.

61 years ago, when the United Nations voted to accept Israel as an independent state, the Jewish people worked hard to create a successfull indpendent state, and it has continued to develop successfully over the past 61 years. However, at the same time the Arab world rejected Israel and so also rejected the idea of a neighbouring Palestine. This view has continued amongst the Arab world, until today so that in Camp David Arafat refused a Palestinian State, and so did Abu Mazen last year, when offered it by Prime Minister Olmert. Therefore, while Israel has continued to develop, the Palestinian people have been working to destroy Israel instead of trying to build their own society and economy.

Therefore, even if the Palestinian's were to accept their own state alongside the Jewish State of Israel, they would not now be in a position to do so effectively. Therefore, firstly the world needs to work with a Palestinian Authority Government (that recognises that they will have to live side-by-side with Israel) to help develop their economy and society and then this will help create a more stable environment which would allow for an independent state to be created.

It is not for nothing that a successful economy is vital for a successful government.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I was told that late 1970s were bad

I think I made a good decision coming to Israel....

Britain has another 15 months of a disastrous government

Monday, April 20, 2009

Yom Hashoa and the UN's View

Tonight and tomorrow is Yom Hashoa where in Israel and for Jews around the world, we will be remembering the martyrs of the Holocaust (this date was chosen by Israel to commemorate the start of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising).

However, on the same day the Iranian President who will be the keynote speaker at the UN's Human Rights Conference, publicly denies the existance of the Holocaust and has called for Israel to be wiped off the map.

I have recently written about how I am concerned about the rise in anti-Semitism that over the past five or so years has started to increase in Britain. However, this is not a phenomenon that is just occuring but which is increasing all over the world. In effect we are experiencing the worst period of anti-Semitim since the Holocaust.

Holocaust Days were introduced in order to highlight the result of hatred and racism, so as to never again allow a genocide to happen again. However, despite us having these days to reflect on the result of hatred and racism, we have still allowed genocides to happen in the former Yugoslavia, Rwuanda and currently in Darfur and Zimbabwe.

The United Nations was also established just over 60 years in order to stop hatred and racism, and in 2001 held a Human Rights, Anti-Racism Conference in Durban South Africa. However, rather than try and halt human rights abuses around the world, whether in the forms of sexism, racism or homophopia; the UN as its sole human rights objective, again began a battle with Israel by effectively defining it as a racist state. As a student at the time I immediately noticed an increase in the hatred of Israel and Jewish students at the time, to the result that on campuses around Britain, groups began to try and ban Jewish Societies in the same way as they did in the 1970s. Not only this, Jewish students were both verbally and physically abused.

I therefore believe that it was the UN's 2001 so called 'anti-racism' conference that has led to the worst anti-semitism occuring in the past 60 years.

This week the UN are again holding a Human Rights, Anti-Racism Conference. I hope unlike in 2001, the delegates actually choose to find a way to tackle racism, sexism and homophobia around the world. However, I am not confident and so I back the few countries such as Italy, the USA and Australia who have supported Israel in boycotting the Conference.

The reason I am not confident is because the UN have invited the Iranian President Ahmadinejad to be the key speaker. Mr Ahmadinejad has actively denied and supported others who deny the Holocaust occured and has called for Israel to be wiped off the map, at the same time as developing nuclear weapons. Given this fact and that Iran together with Libya have prepared the conference, I am concerned that the Arabic World and their supporters will again try and target Israel, which will further worsen the level of anti-Semitism around the world. If this does occur I hope Britain and other delegates will walk-out of the conference and show it for the farce that it is.

Only through actively showing that the world does not support anti-Semitism and the destruction of Israel, can the world help to defeat these evils.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hendon's Labour MP will be taking more taxpayers money in 2009/10

British news has recently been dominated by Labour sleaze and MPs wasting taxpayers money. When I was an aspiring Councillor I hoped I could try and help to change this political culture in Britain, however, alas I was unable to and the scinical abuse by many British politicians is not something I will miss when I resign as a Councillor.

Andrew Dismore the Labour MP for Hendon I believe is one of the worst examples of MPs abusing their expenses and taxpayers money. Over 10 years as an MP he has failed to even reach the first ladder of Government, yet consistently has had one of the highest expenses bills in the country. However, this week he has tried to pretend that he will be reducing his expenses when in reality they will be increasing.

Mr Dismore has said he will be claiming less tax payers money in 2009/10, when in fact he will be claiming more.

He has proudly issued a press release announcing that he would no longer be claiming the MP's Second Home Allowance. This he has been claiming for his flat in Burnt Oak (which I don't think he lives in much) while mainly living in Westminster, where he has lived since even before becoming an MP. Mr Dismore announced that he would stop claiming this allowance, which he said in 2008/9 was likely to be £3056.

However, instead he will continue to claim the London Weighting Allowance for his flat in Westminster. In 2009/10 this will increase by £4600 from £2900 to £7500. Therefore because Mr Dismore intends to live in Westminster and not Burnt Oak, next year he will be claiming about £1500 more than he will have claimed in 2008/9.

This is yet another example of Labour MPs taking the taxpayer for a ride.

Friday, April 10, 2009

‘This year we are here – next year, may we be in the Land of Israel.’

I would like to share with you one of the thoughts that I had as we enjoyed our Sedar at our friends Yehuda and Rachel Newman.

On Wednesday night, Sonia and I sat down to our first Sedar together in Israel and as usual began with Ha Lachma Anya, part of which reads; ‘this year we are here – next year, may we be in the Land of Israel.’

For all our lives we have been beginning the Sedar with the hope that we would be able to fulfil this desire to be able to live in the land of Israel, and this year just three weeks after making aliyah, our hopes have been fulfilled. For us this was a relatively easy move, albeit with all the difficulties of any migration.

Our journey to Israel though is a small-microcosm of the history of the Jewish people. As the Rabbi’s write; the lives and stories of our forefathers in the Torah, are a parallel of future events. The whole Pesach story is the story of how G-d helped the Jewish people to escape Egypt and eventually reach Egypt, after the Yaacov and his sons migrated to Egypt because of the famine in Egypt. The line above in the Hagadah refers to the hope that the Jewish people had for 2000 years after they were exiled from Israel by the Roman Empire.

This hope that next year we would be able to live in Israel, is found all through Jewish prayer. One place it is found is in the Sheva Brachot that we say on behalf of new married couples, there we request that we may again here in the cities of Israel and in the streets of Jerusalem, voices of joy and gladness, voices of the groom and bride … and the voices of young people feasting and singing.

This hope that we would one-day be able to live happily in the Land of Israel has been seen over the last hundred years and especially since the founding of the State of Israel almost 61 years ago.

Therefore, as the Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sack says in his Pesach Hagadah, just as at Pesach we remember the historic returns of the Jewish people to Israel, we should also thank G-d for our new return to Israel. This is because;

“Pesach, like a seed frozen in suspended animation, contained the latent energy the led Jews in the twentieth century to create the single most remarkable accomplishment in the modern world, the rebirth of Israel, the land, the state, the nation and the people.”[1]
[1] The Chief Rabbi’s Haggadah, Essays by Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, page 52.

Modiin's main squre full to bursting during Bichat Hachama, Wednesday 8 April, Erev Pesach

On Wednesday morning before our Sedar night, here in Modiin I was able to take part in the celebration of the creation of the world, at the cities communal Birchat Hachama service. Here I saw the voices of joy and gladness as we the Jewish people were able to thank G-d and celebrate here in the land of Israel.
However, just as in the past our future in Israel is not secure. Just in the last few days, since the swearing in of the new Netanyahu Government we have heard many statements which has created questions about what Israel will look like in the future. We have seen Gerry Adams meet with the leader of Hamas in Gaza, we have seen Iran move forward with its Nuclear programme, we have heard President Obama say it is vital to create a two-state solution, and we have heard the new Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman say that it is for the new Israeli Government to set out a process for peace in Israel.

This Pesach I am going to continue enjoy celebrating the history of the Jewish people and our return to Israel, but in the coming weeks I hope to look at what awaits our future here.

Chag Sameach

p.s. I enjoyed being able to write this on 2nd day Pesach (Yom Tov in England).

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Future of my blog -

Given that I will be soon be standing down as one of the Edgware Councillors on Barnet Council. I thought now would be a good time to update you on the future of my blog.

However, firstly I would like to thank the organisations that have helped to make our aliyah to Israel possible. Nefesh B'Nefesh, the Jewish Agency and the Modiin Absorption Centre have so far all helped to make our aliyah smooth and easy.

Being a Councillor has many benefits, including being able to make a difference for your local community. However, being a Councillor also means that I had to accept collective responsibility and so I had to limit my views made in public, whether I agreed or disagreed with a Conservative Policy.

Now that I am relinquishing my responsibilities I will again use this blog to express my opinion on various issues and events. I plan to use this blog to comment on local and national issues both in Israel and England. I hope to make this blog interesting for you the readers, and hopefully to provide new and useful insights.

Chag Pesach Sameach.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Modiin - Our new home

Following my resignation letter of yesterday I thought you might be interested in where Sonia and I are now living.

We have chosen to live in Modiin.

Modiin is a town that is only 12 years old, in central Israel, with a population of about 60,000 people, but which as plans to become the third or fourth largest city in Israel. The town, which is half an hour from both Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv, has a very Israeli-Mediterranean feel, with lovely white Jerusalem stone buildings, lots of parks. There is also a large anglo-population with lots of immigrants from England. The website is an excellent information tool and if you are interested provides lots of information on Modiin.

In reporting my resignation yesterday, the Edgware Times picked up on my comment that due to the worrying rise in anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in England, many Jews no longer feel safe. However, I would like to make clear that is not the reason why Sonia and I are making aliyah.

As I wrote yesterday, we believe that Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people where it is right that we should live and where we want to live the rest of our lives; in order to help contribute to the successful future of the Jewish people, in the centre of Jewish life. We are therefore being pulled to Israel and not being pushed away from England.

However, I also see the growing levels of anti-Semitism that are occurring across Europe and see the re-emergence of anti-Semitism that has occurred in Europe throughout the past two-thousand years. The difference today though is that for the past 60 years, as a Jewish people we now have Israel as a State to support and defend us. I therefore feel lucky that I am able to settle here in Israel the home of the Jewish people, when I think of how many millions of Jews, over the past two-thousand years could only dream of living here in Israel.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

My Resignation as Councillor

I am writing to let you know that two weeks ago my wife Sonia and I decided to make aliyah (emigrate) to Israel. I have therefore decided to step down as a Councillor for Edgware Ward.

For the past three years I have felt privileged to serve, support, represent and help the people of Edgware both on their individual issues and those relating to Barnet Council. I have also been proud to be part of the Conservative Administration running Barnet Council under the leadership of Councillors Mike Freer and Matthew Offord and hope you have experienced some of the improvements that I have helped to achieve.

These achievements have included amongst others:
- the improvement of Edgware Library and its opening on Sundays;
- improvements to Stonegrove Park and Edgwarebury Park, which recently received a Green Flag;
- continued improvements to local schools,
- the rebuilding of Broadfields Primary;
- the planning permission for Edgware Jewish Primary School;
- improvements to recycling so that plastic and cardboard can now be recycled;
- fighting for better health care;
- good local cohesion; and
- working closely with the local police.

In order to save you the local taxpayers the £10,000 cost of a by-election, my resignation will be timed to coincide with the European elections, scheduled for 4th June. In the meantime you will continue to be represented by my two colleagues:
Cllr Helena Hart - 020 8371 0658
Cllr Joan Scannell - 020 8959 5921

My wife and I have decided to emigrate to Israel, because we believe passionately in Israel as the home of Jewish people and believe it is where all Jews should strive to live. Therefore, at this stage in our lives we believe this is the correct step to make. Whilst, we are moving for positive reasons, we are also concerned about the rising levels of anti-Semitism in England, where Jews no longer always feel comfortable living as Jews and supporting Israel.

Over my life I have learnt to love Israel, and for the past ten years I have been doing my best to show this to others by supporting and representing Israel. However, I also believe that it is time for us to contribute even more to Israel by living our lives here and helping to make it as successful a country as possible.

I hope that during my time as Councillor, you have appreciated what I have done, even if you did not always agree with it. I also apologies to anyone that I upset.

Finally, I hope to see you all in the future, either here in Israel or in London.

Cllr Richard Weider

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Live Blog of Israeli Election Results

21:50 - Thats it for tonight more comment tomorrow

21:45 - Shas are recommending Likud as the main governing party and Netanyahu and Lieberman are speaking on the phone.

21:40 - Is this the end of Barak and Labour. Yes to the first, increasinly likely to the latter. What are we to make of the continual decline of the founding party of Israel.

21:10 - Sky news are suggesting that Kadima, Likud and Labour could form a grand-coaltion. While, others are trying to suggest and workout how Kadima or Likud form their own coalitions, I think the grand-coalition is quite likely.

21:05 - Turnout was 65%. Despite predictions of Israeli's not being interested in the election. This shows what happens when an election is close, turnout goes-up by over 2% from last time.

20:50 - Despite being the second largest party, Likud, including Netanyahu are predicting they will form the Government. That is confident at this stage.

20:45 - The people have spoken but as usual in Israel in recent years the elections have been very close. Therefore in the days and weeks ahead as the parties negotiate to try and form a Government, I urge them to remember that they are working to lead Israel, the Jewish state. They should respect who ever forms the Government and becomes Prime Minister, as a Government should. However, the new Government should also remember their responsibility as leaders of Israel and work to help all citizens.

20:40 - Thunder and heavy rain in Israel. Let's hope it is G-d welcoming a new Prime Minister, but who will it be?

20:35 - Earlier today both Kadima and Likud said the size of their votes would be determined by organisation, organisation, organisation. Given that Kadima's volunteers are paid to help the party, unlike the others, could this be the reason for Kadima winning.

20:30 - The exit polls are a bit of a shock. Polls prior to the election were showing that Likud were expected to be the largest party even if their lead had dramatically declined in the past few weeks. However, Likud's falling lead was argued to be because of Yisrael Beitanu having an increasing number of seats from them. This though does not seem to be the reason for Kadima being in the lead as Yisrael Beitanu have not got as many seats as predicted.

20:20 - Twenty Minutes ago the polls closed in the Israeli election results. The exit polls are showing that out of the 120 seats in the Knesset:

Livni's party Kadima are the largest party with 29 - 30 seats
Netanyahu's party Likud are second with 27 - 28 seats
Leiberman's party Yisrael Beitanu have 14 - 15 seats
Barak's party Labour have 13 seats
Shas 9 - 10 seats

Taking in the minority parties is predicting that right wing parties have 63 - 65 seats and the left wing parties 55 -57 seats.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Israeli Elections

The Israeli elections are just two days away on this coming Tuesday and are looking increasingly intriguing.

If I were to be living in Israel I would be supporting Benjamin Netenyahu and the Likud.
However, despite the majority of Israeli’s looking to be supporting parties on the right of Israel, there will be questions over whether Likud can win enough votes to form the Government.

Will they be able to stop voters moving to Israel Beitanu, which could see Kadima become the largest party?

Will the centre-left and left parties see their vote decline dramatically?

Who will be the surprise party in this election.

What type of coalition will be formed?

On Tuesday evening, I hope to be running a live blog answering some of these questions as the results come in and events unfold, see you then.