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Yisrael Beytenu: Keeping Our Word

Published on: October 15, 2012

Today, Yisrael Beytenu held a press conference at the Knesset.  Minister Liberman praised Yisrael Beytenu’s record and touched on the major issues of the upcoming elections.

The Main Points of Today’s Press Conference:

  • “For the past four years, Yisrael Beytenu has been a stabilizing force in the Coalition.  We were the first party to sign an agreement with Prime Minister Netanyahu and have remained loyal to our policies and the coalition for the duration of the 18th Knesset.”
  • No citizenship without allegiance“: We have succeeded in establishing this principle as fundamental.  In this Knesset, I was happy to see Members of Knesset vying with each other, trying to be more “Yisrael Beytenu” than Yisrael Beytenu.

For the first time ever, IDF service will be an advantage to cadet applicants to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  That sends a clear message that contribution to our country is the responsibility of all.”

  • Social and Economic Progress: “We do not have enough time in this forum to enumerate Yisrael Beytenu’s many achievements in this area.  However to mention a few: The decision to double the solider’s grant upon release from the IDF – the fruit of MK Matalon’s labors;  MK Miller’s bill exempting pensioners and lone soldiers from the television-tax – something that can make a real difference to those living solely on their national insurance payments; MK Faina Kirshenbaum toiled to removed the regulation that denies single mothers who travel abroad their government subsidy; MK Orly Levi passed a law extending the maternity leave of women whose babies required extended hospital stays.
  • Tourism: “Under Yisrael Beytenu’s stewardship, tourism to Israel has reached new heights and has become an even greater force in the economy.  The cancellation of visa requirements for Russian and Ukrainian tourists was spearheaded by Yisrael Beytenu.
  • Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries: “This issue is finally receiving the international attention it deserves thanks to a campaign led by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and Yisrael Beytenu.”
  • Foreign Policy: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs can point to many achievements: our campaign during the Palmer Commission.  Our successful and dramatic campaign to stymie the PA’s attempt to gain recognition as an independent state from the UN Security Council; The “about face” of Judge Goldstone, who, for all intents and purposes, renounced his infamous “Goldstone Report;” changes in the laws of “Universal Jurisdiction” in Great Britain that have brought an end to Israelis facing arrest on UK soil; the cancellation of attendance of most Western countries to the third Durban Conference; the opening of eight new consulates around the world; Israel’s joining many international economic organizations; Appointing diplomats who represent Israel’s diverse social make-up.”
  • The Tal Law: “Yisrael Beytenu was the only party that not only “talked the talk” but put forward a bill to replace the Tal Law and require each and every citizen to serve either in the army or national service.  All of our 15 MKs voted in favor of our bill.  In the next Knesset, we expect the coalition to make universal service into law.
  • Housing: “We must change the entire approach.  It makes no sense that the number of years a couple is married gains it more credit points than if one has served in the IDF.  Yisrael Beytenu wants to make the changes that make housing more affordable for more young couples.
  • Changing the system of government: “We’ve burned many hours on government committees and conferences on how to reform the structure and system of our government.  We’ve faced coalition members who wish to block any progress on this issue.

We are going to demand of the next coalition that real strides be made.  We want to see a presidential system, direct elections for the prime minister, separation of powers – such that ministers cannot also serve as members of Knesset, a raising of the voter threshold, the budget no longer linked to no-confidence votes.

All of these issues are crucial for our nation’s ability to govern itself successfully.

  • Religion and Politics: “We are a movement that respects religion and tradition.  We also are against anti-religious sentiment becoming a religion in itself.  For the benefit of those who respect religion, we separate religion from politics.  For example, it is very problematic to have “Religious Councils” functioning as separate institutions. Such councils should be one department among many in local city halls. Another example is the political meddling by some MKs in Rabbinic councils. There is no reason why MKs should sit on Rabbinic councils.”
  • The Golan Heights: “We must be very clear:  We will not be part of a government that conducts negotiations on the Golan Heights – even at the expense of breaking up the coalition.  Whoever believed that Israel should cede the Golan Heights to Syria, should look where we would be now if the Golan Heights were in Assad’s hands today. The non-negotiability of the Golan Heights is for us a casus belli.  We will never back down from this position.”
  • List of Faction Members: “I am sure that there will be some new names on the list.  In the next few days we will be busy with our platform and fundamental principles.  By mid-November, we should have our platform ready for publication.  I assume that by the first of December, we will be ready to turn our attention to compiling our list.
  • The Elections and its Candidates: “I fully support the decision to call elections.  I’ve been listening to MK Shelly Yechimovitch and it seems to me that she is confused between Socialism and Communism, between the Scandinavian model and Cuba.  She has to get it straight: only a liberal market that encourages and rewards initiative can have the strength to support society’s vulnerable.

               Meretz lobbies for the Palestinians and puts their needs            before Israel’s.

               We also need to be wary of “one-hit-wonder” parties.  We all remember “Dash” and “Shinui.”  Whoever votes for Yair Lapid is voting for a one-Knesset only party. That does not make for good government.

            We expect to run an exciting election campaign!  We expect to play a central role in the Coalition – a coalition with a clear commitment to the issues I’ve enumerated here.”

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