Is Ayelet Shaked Leading a Revolution in Judea and Samaria?

Known for her tough stance in regards to Israel’s overtly left-wing activist court, Ayelet Shaked is leading another battle that is riling the left. If she wins she will change the relationship between Israel and the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

Known as the Settlements Regulations Law, the measure drew severe criticism fromt he left, when it was passed in the Knesset earlier in the year.  Now, 13 left-wing NGOs have petitioned the Suprement Court to nullify the law. The law would effectively legalize 4,000 Jewish homes built with government help on private “Palestinian” Land.  This land often time lies vacant and unused as most owners abandoned it decades earlier.

Having lost at the ballot box election after election, the left and its European partners decided to use Israeli Supreme Court as a tool to upend Jewish growth in Israel’s biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria.  Most NGOs locate a tacitly related relative to the original landowner, most of the time living in Amman.  Once located these NGOs file a complaint with the Supreme Court. Almost always, the Supreme Court has ruled in the Arab’s favor.

This process has led to whole communities becoming uprooted, even if they were established decades ago. The Settlements Regulations Law is the first major step to reeling the power of the Supreme Court in relation to housing in Judea and Samaria and handing it back to the Knesset. The Law not only grants legality to these communities, it compensates the Arab 125% of the value of the property.

This is what Ayelet Shaked meant when she told the Jerusalem Post last week that “We want to revolutionize our [legal] perception,” she said. “Foremost is that it is possible for [the Knesset] to legislate [for Judea and Samaria] and in addition that we don’t solve one injustice with another.”

As usual, the left is caught up with the present Supreme Court case. Yet, they themselves are blind to what is actually playing out. Whether or not the Supreme Court rules in favor of the Settlements Regulations Law, is not the point. For years, the left has had a superficial strategy in dealing with the natural and just recalmation of Jewish land in Judea and Samaria, but this strategy ended up being just a set of tactics, that the right could never figure out how to take down until Shaked decided to go where no one dared to go before.

By taking on the root cause of the internal challenges facing the State of Israel, Shaked has made a solution that is far more attenable than settling another hilltop. By limiting the power of the Supreme Court to constitutional decisions, these matters which are essentially a matter of eminant domain can be decided primarily by the Knesset itself.

This is why those who back Judicial activism are so incensed by Shaked.  The elite left has finally seen the proverbial writing on the wall.  What makes matters worse for them is they are cornered.  If they fight too hard against Shaked they will make her into an unmovable leader of the right and set her up to be a possible candidate for Prime Minister after Bibi Netanyahu leaves.

On the other hand, if they do not oppose her, their judicial cartel will wither and die along with the last remaining avenue for the left’s battle against the Jews in Judea and Samaria.  Essentially, Shaked has set up the ultimate Gordian Knot.

Justice Minister Shaked Takes on EU Funded Anti-Israel NGO

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked called on Israel’s attorney general Avichai Mandelblit to open a criminal investigation against “Bladna,” an Israeli-Arab non-profit organization that she says incites Druze youth against IDF enlistment.

“Incitement against IDF enlistment is not only a violation of the law, but harms the cultural fabric and ethos of Israeli society,” said Shaked. “It is inconceivable that this illegal activity occurs under the noses and with the backing of elected officials.”

Shaked’s statement came in response to a report released by the Zionist organization Im Tirtzu, which claimed that Bladna’s anti-enlistment activities were in violation of the law because they targeted Druze youth who are required to serve in the IDF.

According to the report, Arab members of Knesset including Joint List head Ayman Odeh have publicly supported the organization and have participated in their events at recent as April 2017. The report also notes that Bladna’s donors include the US-based New Israel Fund and the European Union, which donated nearly 2,000,000 NIS to the group in 2015.

Druze members of Knesset also responded to the report.

d“I am proud of the members of the Druze community who enlist in the IDF and sanctify the ‘blood covenant’ that exists between the Druze community and the State of Israel,” said Minister of Communications Ayoob Kara.

“I will not allow for any organization, whether political or extra-parliamentary, to harm the unique and strong social fabric created over the years by inciting against IDF enlistment.”

Yisrael Beiteinu MK Hamad Amar, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, pointed to the high percentage of Druze enlistment, calling their loyalty to the state “unquestionable.”

“Not Bladna nor any other organization will be able to uproot the deep and strong connection between the Druze community and the State of Israel,” said Amar.

Kulanu MK Akram Hasson also responded to the report by requesting the non-profit registrar to disband Blanda. “They will not succeed in stoking the flames of quarrel between brothers,” said Hasson.

Chairman of the Subcommittee for Personnel in the IDF, MK Amir Ohana (Likud), announced his intention to convene an emergency committee session to discuss the findings of the report.

“We cannot allow for the haters of Israel to harm the IDF and its soldiers,” said Ohana. “These despicable individuals are trying to discourage IDF enlistment of the Druze community, which includes the best of our warriors and heroes.”

Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg emphasized how the New Israel Fund and European governments are trying to “brainwash” Arab youth against integrating in Israeli society.

“It is inconceivable that anti-Israel incitement can penetrate unhindered into Israeli schools,” said Peleg. “It is important to note how the ones to suffer the most are the Arab youth who are being brainwashed to oppose the society in which they live.”

“We are calling on the Attorney General to open an investigation against this foreign agent organization, for both inciting the Druze sector against IDF enlistment and for engaging in seditious activity by calling on an entire population of society to oppose the state.”

Jared Kushner is in Israel, Is Peace Actually Happening?

Jared Kushner landed in Israel just under 24 hours ago and after rushing to visit the grieving Malka family over their daughter’s murder on Shabbat he wasted no time going to visit Bibi Netanyahu.

The purpose of Kushner’s visit is to push Trump’s “ultimate deal” to broker Israel-Palestinian peace.  To casual observers it appears that there is really momentum towards a peace deal.

Perhaps there is, but let’s look at five reasons this could all be just a show or even more importantly a deal that has nothing to do with the Palestinians:

  • Trump agrees with Israel’s rights as the sovereign in Jerusalem, “Palestinians” will never agree to that.
  • Trump does not really care about “settlements,” “Palestinians” believe they must go.
  • Trump has opted for regional normalization first before any agreement on final status issues.
  • If Mahmoud Abbas, the “Palestinian” strongman agrees to any deal he will be killed by his own people.
  • Trump agrees that Israel should have full security control over Judea and Samaria.

Given the above list, peace does not seem likely anytime soon.  So what’s really going on?

Interim Deal and Normalization

Trump’s team is pushing normalization first and then an interim solution leaving out final status issues for the foreseeable future. This is essentially a rendition of Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s Stability Plan. The interim deal will see some sort of non contiguous Palestinian State arise in Area A and B where they already have some sort of autonomy.  C will continued to be controlled by Israel.  “Settlements” will continue in two different capacities.  In the main blocks there will unrestrained building.  In the rest of the Jewish communities in Area C building will continue to allow for natural growth.

Furthermore, Israeli communities across Area C will be given the same political status as any other Israeli community.  This has already been established by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked earlier in the month.

So they would Abbas or the Sunni Arab world go for any of this?

Abbas doesn’t want a real deal for reasons mentioned above. He does want a long-term status quo with an upgrade for the territory he manages.

The Sunni world has never liked the Palestinians.  They have created a “cause” in order to push back on Israel.  Now they need Israel and they need the “cause” they created to quiet down.  The interim plan is the way for this to happen.

Look for Kushner to push the beginnings of an interim solution, a solution that will be so long-term it may just be permanent.


Why Did Bibi Netanyahu Agree to Build 14,000 New Homes for PA Arabs on Israeli Land?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_btn title=”FOR $5/MONTH YOU CAN SUPPORT ORIT’S WRITING” color=”primary” size=”lg” align=”center” button_block=”true” link=”|||”][vc_column_text]Last night it was announced that Netanyahu approved 14,000 new housing units for 50,000 Arab residents of Qalqiliya for construction in Area C, which is under full Israeli responsibility.

News reports add that the construction would double the size of the city, located in Area A at the expense of land in Area C which was intended for Israeli development. Doubling the size of Qalqiliya, which sits on the green line 9 km from the Mediterranean is a dangerous development.

The announcement drew immediate criticism from Netanyahu’s right leaning ministers, Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked:

“We objected to the plan called ‘carrot and stick,’ which was and remains a program of reward for terror and the promotion of the Palestinian takeover of Area C. There is no doubt that the plan’s meaning is stringent against the very limited scope of construction approved by the prime minister for Israeli settlements.”

“The Israeli government must promote Israeli interests in Judea and Samaria, not those of the Palestinians. In light of these implications, we will demand a freeze on the plan until the cabinet can discuss it or marketing of 14,000 housing units for Israelis in Area C [is carried out to balance the Arab building plan],” the two said.


Today reaction was just a serious from Bibi Netanyahu’s own party.  Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said the following:

“The PA continues to incite to terror and harm the security of Israeli civilians. The PA systematically disregards all of its obligations, therefore it is right that the decision to expand Qalqilya be reassessed, as the damage inherent in the plan is great.”


With all of the push back from vital members of the Prime Minister coalition and essentially those that have their ears to the base of the right, why did Netanyahu approve the building, which would radically change the balance between Arab and Jewish areas in Judea and Samaria?

The Trump Peace Initiative Takes Shape

All the moves we are seeing whether they are the Saudis freezing out Qatar, to the PA coordinating with Israel to shut down Hamas are intending to create the atmosphere where Israelis would feel comfortable enough to sit down with the Arab world to negotiate. Trump’s team does not want to repeat the same mistakes as the past. A regional initiative where Israelis and Arabs learn to rely on each other against Iran’s drive for regional control is there to provide a back drop for the next phase, the contours of a Palestinian state.

So what are the contours of this future Palestine under the Trump initiative?

Let’s assume both sides begin talking and agree to the following:

  • Demilitarized Palestine
  • Jewish communities stay even outside the blocks
  • Israel annexes settlement blocks

With these three elements agreed upon the complicated questions of security control, Jerusalem, and refugees will then come into play.  By this time the Sunni Arab States and Israel will have some sort of normalized relationships.  Direct flights, trade relations, and what not.  Trump’s plan rests on the fact that Israel craving this normalization will make the requisite concessions for the Arabs to sign on to making peace or the Arabs needing Israel’s help against Iran, will concede elements to Israel.  There is a logic to all of this except that neither side views this as a real estate deal and so unless one of the sides capitulates completely the process will break down.  Unfortunately, by then Israel will have lost Area C and perhaps more.

The real question is why the Trump administration has not entertained another plan altogether? Why has it insisted on the same old Arabist approach with just different semantics associated with it?

Why has the Prime Minister agreed to build so many houses rather than just telling President Trump, no?

There are a number of possibilities:

  1. He believes the process will break down and so he can freeze them.
  2. He needs a new foil and will allow his right flank to stop the plan, which is a strategy he employed numerous times with Obama.
  3. He really wants to build more Arab homes.

Any of the above could be the answer. With Bibi you never know and that is the challenge.  We are being led down a path where no one except the Prime Minister knows the end game.

The problem with the “peace process” itself is that it is being built by people with little or no understanding of the complex issues Israel and its neighbors deal with. It’s true, the Arabs are being herded towards making peace, but it is Israel that will end up sacrificing the most whether or not Trump lands the ultimate deal or it fails along the way.


With the Latest Judicial Appointments The Left’s Control Over the Israeli Supreme Court is Finally Falling Apart

Education Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted the following after four new Supreme Court Judges were chosen yesterday:

“Kudos to Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked who has achieved the unbelievable and led a real revolution within the Judicial Selection Committee with the appointment of some wonderful conservative judges. Bravo, Ayelet!” 

There are few things most Israelis agree on. The Supreme Court being too favorable to leftist and international viewpoints is one of them. If the appointments yesterday of four non activist judges was a revolution, then the way Minister Shaked broke the negotiating power of the Left leaning Supreme Court was something that will forever change Israeli politics.

Shaked did this by threatening to back a bill in the Knesset which would have stripped the Supreme Court of the power to be part of the selection committee that decides who should be a Supreme Court Judge (that’s right, in Israel the Supreme Court gets to help decide its own members). Facing legislative extinction the old guard and leftist elite folded on the immediate selections and in order to keep a bit of power.  Shaked and the ruling government shelved the nuclear option in favor of changing the court from within.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said that “today we have made history. This evening the Judicial Selection Committee headed by me appointed four judges to the Supreme Court, after we have already appointed 150 judges since the beginning of my term in office. The appointment of the judges this evening will enable expression of the human and judicial mosaic which is so necessary for us as a society and was so lacking until today in the highest judicial forum. The rudder of our judicial flagship has changed its course tonight.”

Minister Shaked has now shown the way forward in battling the judicial tyranny of the Left.  Take it on directly and never back down.

Will Ayelet Shaked Be Prime Minister One Day?

It seems that her abilities to change the system go far beyond simple laws.  She has in fact built a unique bridge to an unlikely ally. If Asher Axelrod, the Chairman of the Jerusalem District of the Israeli Bar Association was placing bets on who would likely be Prime Minister one day he would have to go with Ayelet Shaked, Israel’s current Justice Minister.

“It’s no secret that Shaked does a lot of important work beyond the appointment of judges, but to devote such care to this issue is very important, and I’m not sure that politicians gave it the proper attention in previous years.”

This is an incredible turnaround for Axelrod, who once opposed Shaked’s appointment.

“The involvement of Religious Zionism in the courts now is unprecedented, and that’s to the credit of Minister Shaked,” said Axelrod. Ayelet Shaked has always been known as a change candidate.


To Annex or Not to Annex That is the Question

If anything proves the Left’s assertion that the Likud led government is pushing Israel towards a One State solution, it is the Norms Bill. The Norms Bill, pushed by the Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked will apply Israeli Law to all Israelis living beyond the Green Law.  Since 1967, the Southern command has been in charge of deciding which Israeli Law could apply for Israeli Citizens in Judea and Samaria.  

Despite the Right’s rebuffing of the Left’s attack on the Norms Bill, the legislation does push forward the notion of a de facto annexation by directly applying civil law for its citizens, which in a sense contravenes the international law of an occupying power. Two points below are especially relevant:

  • The occupant does not acquire sovereignty over the territory.
  • Occupation is only a temporary situation, and the rights of the occupant are limited to the extent of that period.

It would be hard to prove that the Israeli government does not not understand this.

Forcing the Issue

The Norms Bill, although welcomed by the Right and a majority of the country creates a moment of decision if Israel wants to preserve the notion that it is playing by Western rules. The Israeli government has constantly displayed the need to preserve the status quo in relation to the Palestinian question.  

The Norms Bill forces a true discussion of which direction the Israeli government wants to go.  If passed, the signal is that Oslo is at last buried.  The challenge is what comes next.  The World and the Palestinian Street will use the measure to force Israel to make decisions that may be dangerous.  

Bibi and his cabinet are not stupid, they understand that the status quo is long gone and it is time to push an Israel first agenda forward.  The question will be, if the solution they want will be implemented in a way that not only works for Israel, but can be explained to others.


Bibi is Coopting Parts of Bennett’s Solution

Naftali Bennett ran on a proposal to deal with the Palestinian conflict by allowing limited autonomy in areas A and B, while applying full Israeli Sovereignty to area C. He called it the Stability Plan. With Bibi and Yaalon attempting to pull the IDF out of Area A, the push back from Bennett and Shaked was swift and serious. The Norms Bill gives Bennett and Shaked and the broader right of center camp a piece of what they want.  Mix the two actions together and you get a condensed version of Bennett’s plan.

So why is Bibi doing this and why now?  It is clear that the Western World is going to try to impose some sort of terms of agreement on the situation in Judea and Samaria.  Bibi has always viewed the situation unsolvable. The most he will offer is some sort of Middle Eastern version of Luxembourg, which the Palestinians and their Arab allies will not accept.  Given the terrain, the current Israeli government is trying draw up their own terms, but literally on the ground.  Time will tell if this status quo with a few changes will be enough to stall the international consensus that some solution needs to be forced.

[podcast] Israel: Land of Judicial Tyranny

It has become clear in the last few years just how bad the judicial overreach here is in Israel.  Despite the rising sentiment to change the judicial system, the cadre of elitists still hold on to the last bastion of their control. Shai and I discuss, the history of judicial activism in Israel, why it is so bad, and the chances of change being implemented.

Sources used in this podcast: