Hardline ex-defense minister has relied on support from Russian-speaking Israelis, but polls show his refusal to capitulate to demands of religious parties is widening his appeal
AFP — In a former hotel turned social housing building for elderly Israelis from the former Soviet Union, one politician remains more popular than all others.
“Here, the vast majority of people vote (Avigdor) Liberman,” said Nadejda Yermononok, 75, referring to the gruff hardline leader of the nationalist Yisrael Beytenu party.
At the “Diplomat” building housing more than 400 people in southern Israel, residents call the ex-defense minister Yvet, the Russian version of his first name.
He has done so in part with his stand against ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties, which he accuses of seeking to force religious law onto Israel’s secular population.
He has also been seeking to end exemptions for the ultra-Orthodox from performing mandatory military service like most other Jewish Israelis.
In many ways, Liberman is the reason Israel is holding another election only five months after the polls in April, unprecedented in the country’s history.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party along with its right-wing and religious allies won a majority of seats in April, but Lieberman prevented his old nemesis from forming a coalition.
‘Only one who fights’
Liberman refused to agree to a coalition deal that did not include legislation that would seek to have the ultra-Orthodox serve in the military.
That was a deal-breaker for the ultra-Orthodox parties, which would have been an important part of the coalition.
Netanyahu opted for fresh polls rather than risk the possibility of President Reuven Rivlin selecting someone else to try to form a government.
And he harshly criticized Liberman, who headed the premier’s office during Netanyahu’s first term in the 1990s.
Liberman resigned as defense minister in November over a Gaza ceasefire deal that he called a “capitulation to terror.”
Most of Israel’s Russian-speaking population arrived in the 1990s, and those with origins in the former Soviet Union now make up some 12 percent of the country’s nearly nine-million-strong population.
ermononok said Liberman “is the only one who fights the special treatment the ultra-Orthodox get” from the state — echoing a common complaint from secular Israelis.
They “don’t work, don’t serve in the army, receive child benefits and all sorts of discounts in transportation, municipal taxes and education,” the former nurse said.
“Other Israelis, including the Russians, work like crazy, pay their taxes and send their children to combat units.”
Ultra-Orthodox men have been exempted from military service to devote themselves to religious studies since the creation of Israel in 1948 when there were only a few hundred to enjoy that privilege.
To continue reading click here.
The Democratic primary for Brooklyn’s Surrogate Court Judge on June 25 is expected to have one of the lowest voter turn-outs in history. That’s a shame. The race for Surrogate Court Judge is the last chance to cut off the cash supply of the Brooklyn Democratic Party Machine, which makes its living off the Brooklyn courts.
In 1966, New York’s newly elected Senator Robert Kennedy drew national attention to the race for the Manhattan Surrogate Judge. Kennedy backed an obscure Russian-Immigrant Manhattan Judge Samuel Silverman, for Surrogate court against the Manhattan Democratic Party hack judge for three reasons: to purge the democratic machine patronage from the Surrogate’s Court, to get even with the party leaders who blocked his proposed party reforms to end corruption and to open the Democratic Party to all New Yorkers.
Robert Kennedy said that electing Silverman to the Surrogate Court was the first step in cleaning up the court patronage–the “worst element in our political parties.” Like Silverman, Judge Elena Baron running for the Surrogate Court, is a Russian immigrant, who has already shown her independence by getting elected to Civil Court in a grassroots campaign against the party machine.
The self-proclaimed “Progressive-Reformers” in Brooklyn have had an unhealthy arrangement on ceding control of the Brooklyn Courthouse to the Democratic Party for the past decade.
To continue reading click here.
By Andrea Karshan, a Jewish woman currently living in Crown Heights
In Chabad Crown Heights, the Jewish community is holding elections, and women aren’t allowed to vote.
Elections are being held in June in Chabad Crown Heights for the Vaad Hakohol and the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council for the first time in 8 years. The Vaad Hakohol is a religious organization in Crown Heights that deals with Kashrut. And the Crown Heights Community Council is a secular organization in Crown Heights that is partly government funded. The Crown Heights Community Council deals with food assistance, housing, medical insurance, community relations, and other things.
When I found out about this election, I was excited. And I thought to myself how can I get involved. But then I was told that women aren’t allowed to vote. I am a woman who lives alone. So my household will be not be spoken for in the election. The leaders of these organizations don’t just serve the men in the community. They serve the women too. Women should be able to vote also. We should have a voice in choosing the people who represent us in the community. In general elections, whether it be for city council, president or any other political position, Jewish women in Chabad Crown Heights are encouraged to vote, especially for candidates who local Chabad community leaders have endorsed. So forbidding Jewish women to vote in Crown Heights only applies to this election.
This policy of women not voting in these elections completely excludes unmarried, divorced and widowed women from the voting process. As for married women and women living with their fathers, the assumption is that everyone in the household would vote the same way. But perhaps the wife and husband or father and daughter would vote differently. Therefore, they should have their voice when it comes to voting. Any Jewish resident of Crown Heights over the age of 18 male or female should have a vote.
After hearing that women cannot vote in the upcoming Vaad Hakohol and Crown Heights Community Council elections, I went to talk to someone at the Crown Heights Community Council about it. One thing he told me was that the Crown Heights Rabbonim believed that based on Jewish history that only men voted, Jewish law was that women could not vote in this type of election. I replied to him what if we based American law on American history that only white men had rights and blacks and women didn’t? He couldn’t answer me. The Torah may be timeless. But these policies are definitely outdated.
The representative from the Crown Heights Community also told me that women voting policies were voted on by the community (men and women, and I believe that’s the only time that women voted) following a lawsuit in the 1990s. And the community voted that men only should vote. But the CrownHeights Rabbonim before the vote advised the community to vote that only men should vote.
I think as long as the Rabbonim are advising people to think this way about women voting in these elections, it is hard for people to publicly go against the Rabbonim. But I think privately many Lubavitchers in Crown Heights are for women voting in these elections.
As a note to this article, we believe that this is a remarkable things for Israel, for Beit Shemesh and for the secular and religious communities. Dr. Bloch is a moderate and the defeat was of a radical conservative.
Counting of soldiers’ votes finds Dr. Aliza Bloch has defeated incumbent mayor Moshe Abutbul and will be the city’s first female mayor.
Dr. Aliza Bloch, the Zionist candidate for Mayor of the city Beit Shemesh, on Wednesday night won the mayoral elections in the city by 500 votes over incumbent mayor Moshe Abutbul.
By doing so, she will become the first woman to head the city of Beit Shemesh.
Overnight Wednesday, 1,300 votes were counted in Beit Shemesh, including about 300 of disabled persons, about 1,000 of soldiers and a few dozen prisoners. At the end of the counting it became clear that Bloch had closed the gap of 251 votes that separated her from Abutbul and even gained an advantage.
Upon learning of her victory, Bloch delivered a speech outside her campaign headquarters.
“The people of Israel look at the city of Beit Shemesh and wake up to a new hope. Beit Shemesh decided to cancel the walls and partitions,” she said, adding, “Today we have proven to ourselves and to Israeli society that we respect each other and do not create gaps.”
“As mayor of Beit Shemesh, I intend to engage in finding the good and the common, and together we will become a model for Israeli society, each of whom will live his life in his own way with respect for the other,” Bloch declared.
Education Minister Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett congratulated Bloch on her victory.
“I congratulated Aliza Bloch on her historic win in Beit Shemesh. This was a critical campaign for the future of the city. The residents of Beit Shemesh chose hope, unity and future. We agreed to meet next week to build a plan to boost education in the city. Something new is starting in Beit Shemesh,” Bennett tweeted.
Bloch, married and mother of four, is an educator by trade and has won many awards in this field.
IS THERE INTEGRITY TO THE VOTING LAWS, THE ELECTORAL PROCESS AND THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS IN ROCKLAND COUNTY?
Note to readers:
We received this from a concerned citizen and it is being re-printed from a post on Facebook. There was additional information posted on the Facebook Post that we chose to leave off of this post due to names and signatures, though we do believe we could have posted it under the http://rocklandgov.com/departments/law/freedom-of-information-law-foil/.
The Facebook post can be accessed by clicking here.
Part 6: How can I, as a citizen, have faith or confidence in our Boards of Elections and electoral process?
Wake up Orangetown? Wake up Rockland!
Potential Voter Fraud in Our Own Backyard…
No matter what your political party affiliation is, you should be VERY concerned.
FOR THE RECORD: WHATEVER I WRITE OR HAVE WRITTEN CONCERNING THIS ISSUE IS BASED UPON INFORMATION FROM A DIRECT AND PRIMARY SOURCE. I DO NOT RELY ON HEARSAY WHEN PRESENTING FACTS.
38 invalid petitions for Conservative Party Committee Members have been subsequently validated by the Rockland County Board of Elections (BOE) resulting in the election of 40 ineligible candidates and another 35 ineligible candidates being placed on the September 13 Primary ballot.
This has occurred even though a thorough investigation was conducted by yours truly providing irrefutable evidence that all 38 petitions were invalid.
THE THOROUGH INVESTIGATION AND IRREFUTABLE EVIDENCE WAS PROVIDED TO THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS. IN THE TIME THAT IT TOOK COMMISSIONER STAVISKY TO “CONSULT WITH”, PREPARE AND WRITE HER NUMEROUS LENGTHY RESPONSES TO ME, SHE AND THE BOE COULD HAVE EASILY REVIEWED THE EVIDENCE AND SUBSEQUENTLY SUBSTANTIATED THE INVALIDATION OF ALL 38 PETITIONS.
1. In her many email responses to me, BOE Commissioner Stavisky has repeatedly stated that the BOE does not perform investigations. This was also stated to me by a BOE attorney. Ms. Stavisky has also indicated that the BOE does not have enough personnel to perform investigations. They both have reiterated that all petitions are considered valid unless objected to by registered voters. Election Law Section 6-154 states this. Yet there are exceptions. The BOE could very well have invalidated petitions for election districts 49, 55 and 85 because they each did not have the required number of signatures. The NYS Board of Elections Law Update (page 15) clearly states that a BOE can invalidate a petition without the necessary number of signatures even without objections. THE BOE SHOULD HAVE INVALIDATED THE ABOVE 3 PETITIONS.
2. All 8 petitions filed for 8 Orangetown election districts are invalid because all petition signers clearly do not reside within the district that the candidate is running for, as prescribed by election law. All petition signers clearly live in Ramapo. THERE WAS NO NEED FOR AN INVESTIGATION HERE; THE BOE COULD HAVE EASILY NOTED THE INVALID ADDRESSES BY VISUAL SCAN IN LESS THAN ONE MINUTE. THE BOE SHOULD HAVE INVALIDATED ALL 8 PETITIONS.
3. 29 petitions for 29 Ramapo election districts are invalid because all petition signers do not reside within the district that the candidate is running for, again as prescribed by election law. THE BOE SHOULD HAVE INVALIDATED ALL 29 PETITIONS.
4. Election districts 7, 100 and 104 have no registered Conservative Party voters therefore all 3 petitions should have been invalidated.
5. THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN. How can effective decisions be made when there exists a dual power-sharing model which has 2 equal election commissioners (one democratic, one republican) in charge? This method was enacted in 1974. Our state legislators need to take a hard look at the Board of Elections hierarchies. No ONE individual is in charge.
I mention this because “I have been told” (hearsay) that the Rockland County republican commissioner, Ms. Giblin, had asked for an investigation of several or all of the 38 petitions. Since mid-July, I have written to both election commissioners and have repeatedly received responses from Ms. Stavisky, the democratic commissioner. The only response I received from Ms. Gibln was a confirmation concerning my inquiry regarding the elected/primary statuses of the 75 ineligible candidates. I am unsure of the BOE protocol regarding responses to the public.
IT SHOUD BE NOTED THAT COMMISSIONER STAVISKY IS ALSO THE CHAIRWOMAN OF THE ROCKLAND COUNTY DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE.
6. Both election commissioners took an oath of office, in part, to defend the Constitution of the State of New York. I fully understand and appreciate the obvious problems that can be inherent with the existing dual power-sharing model that exists within the Rockland County Board of Elections. This absolutely should not excuse the BOE officials from not doing everything professionally possible to prevent ineligible candidates from being considered for election. This is why I believe our Rockland County Board of Elections has failed the citizens of Rockland County.
7. I have either emailed and/or faxed an updated letter to the NYS Board of Elections (attached), Rockland County District Attorney, NYS Attorney General, Senator Carlucci, Assemblywoman Jaffee, Assemblyman Zebrowski, each of the 17 Rockland County Legislators, Congresswoman Lowey, Governor Cuomo and multiple media outlets.
A group calling itself Freedom Counts and a Member of the Board of Elections of Rockland County, New York started the below petition on Change.Org. The purpose is to obtain the signatures necessary to begin removal proceedings to have Rockland County Legislator Aron Wieder removed from office, in part for his use of social media in a means that is allegedly inconsistent with the Legislature’s Social Media “Best Practices” guide. We note that this is not really a surprise. A search of our site will show that Mr. Wieder’s tactics are not beyond reproach. We further note, for New Yorkers who will be voting tomorrow, that Tish James is a favorite of Mr. Wieder and his community, which community has generously supported her campaign. If you are a Rockland County reader, you may want to do your own research.
New Yorks’ Rockland County Legislator Aron Wieder – it is claimed…
Aron Wieder is in clear violation of the legislature’s own Social Media Guide, which states, in the section on “Social Media ‘Best Practices’ for Elected Officials,” that officials should strive, when posting on social media, to be “honest, straightforward, and respectful”. Aron Wieder has done nothing but the opposite, choosing to harass, make false accusations, and publicly humiliate others for any beliefs or opinions that should differ from his own, via Social Media. He is not fit to to be legislator and should be removed immediately from his current reign. It is up to the people of Rockland regardless if they are within his district to stand up use your voice it matters. He might be the legislator for District 13 however all of Rockland is feeling his wrath. It is time to act we can either sit back and allow this man to continue to lead the charge, or we can start by signing this petition, sharing it, and understanding this can no longer go on. We need to remind ourselves and this government that “We the people” are in charge and without us they would not be in their ELECTED position(s).