Friday, August 09, 2013

9-Aug-13: Counting heads: Who's for, against and not sure about the decision to release unrepentant killers?

Cabinet meeting: Political decision making entirely
from the public's viewpoint
Today, on the (civil calendar) anniversary of the 2001 Sbarro terror attack, please remember the sixteen victims of that cold-blooded massacre, the travesty of justice that freed its chief perpetrator, and the so-called political leaders for whom that outrage seems not to matter enough.

Among them, recall especially the cabinet members who empowered our prime minister in the past fortnight to make the decision to release - gratis - more than a hundred murderers of Jewish innocents. Their unforgivable vote in favor of this latest release of murderers comes with both history and consequences.

Remember too the absolutely clear-cut state of Israeli public opinion on this fateful decision - wall to wall opposition: "28-Jul-13: Releasing unrepentant killers: a massive 9.4% of Israelis are in favor". So how did this affect the actions of the political leadership? (Names are listed alphabetically within each category.)

Who voted against the decision to free the convicted killers?
  1. Uri Ariel - Habayit Hayehudi (Minister of Housing)
  2. Naftali Bennett - Habayit Hayehudi (Minister of Industry, Trade, and Labor; Minister of Religious Services; Minister of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs)
  3. Gilad Erdan - Likud (Minister of Communications)
  4. Yisrael Katz - Likud (Minister of Transport)
  5. Uzi Landau - Yisrael Beyteinu (Minister of Tourism)
  6. Uri Orbach - Habayit Hayehudi (Minister for Pensioners Affairs)
  7. Yair Shamir - Yisrael Beyteinu (Minister of Agriculture)
Who voted for freeing the convicted killers?
  1. Yitzhak Aharonovich - Yisrael Beiteinu (Minister of Internal Security)
  2. Meir Cohen - Yesh Atid (Minister of Social Affairs)
  3. Yael German - Yesh Atid (Minister of Health)
  4. Sofa Landver - Yisrael Beyteinu (Minister of Immigrant Absorption)
  5. Yair Lapid - Yesh Atid (Finance Minister)
  6. Tzipi Livni - Hatenuah (Minister of Justice, and designated overseeer of Israel's diplomatic initiatives and peace talks with the Palestinians)
  7. Binyamin Netanyahu - Likud (Prime Minister)
  8. Amir Peretz - Hatenuah (Minister of Environmental Protection)
  9. Yaakov Perry - Yesh Atid (no portfolio but the 125th-Greatest Israeli of all time)
  10. Shai Piron - Yesh Atid (Minister of Education)
  11. Gideon Sa’ar - Likud (Minister of Internal Affairs)
  12. Yuval Steinitz - Likud ( Minister of Intelligence, Minister of International Relations and Minister of Strategic Affairs)
  13. Moshe Ya’alon - Likud (Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Strategic Affairs, Defense Minister)
And the abstainers?

Two cabinet members abstained on this crucial vote: Minister of Culture and Sport Limor Livnat (Likud), and Minister for Regional Development, for the Development of the Negev and Galilee and of Energy and Water Silvan Shalom (Likud). Haaretz columnist ("Eyes Wide Open") Uri Misgav addressed this matter of abstaining on the free-the-killers vote a few days ago:
We’ve reached the crown jewel – the abstentions. Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat, and Regional Development Minister Silvan Shalom. I don’t understand what it means to abstain in a decision to release prisoners. Either you’re for it, or against it. Obviously this is a complicated issue. Obviously it can go either way, otherwise there would be no need to argue or convince, or hold a vote. Truthfully, I believe we need to take the option of abstention off the table at all cabinet meetings. Tell the ministers it doesn’t exist. You want to abstain? Step down from your position. Whoever is unable to form a coherent opinion and stand behind it, is apparently unable to serve as a government minister... [Uri Misgav, July 31, 2013 in Haaretz, )
To be clear, we don't align ourselves with Misgav's political views. But the point he makes is itself a serious one: we too are unable to understand what it means to abstain in a decision to release prisoners. If you're sitting in the cabinet room and you're not against it, then you're for. And (excuse the bitterness), it's long past time that ministers did a grown-up job of acting as if they are responsible for what they say they're against or for.

Then again, if the government plans to develop a way for Israel's citizens to abstain from becoming victims, that would be an impressive political undertaking.

1 comment:

NormanF said...

We have to carry on those memories. If we don't, no one else will.

Jews are not gestures, sacrifices for peace or subhuman vermin!

They are human beings who deserve to be honored and if no one understands that, then peace is worth nothing and it can only be worth nothing in the absence of justice!

Now, it remains our duty to mourn the dead!