For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun, as a famous Chinese leader once said. In Lebanon, the guns are in the hands of Hizbullah.
Jonathan Spyer JPost/Opinion 08 November 09
Following statements from both government and opposition sides in Lebanon over the weekend, it now looks likely that Prime Minister-elect Saad Hariri will announce the formation of a new governing coalition in the next few days.
The announcement that a deal has been reached on a unity government was made by the Hizbullah-led March 8 opposition movement after a meeting on Friday.
The details of the deal have not yet been made clear, but it appears that the main stumbling blocks have been overcome.
The formation of a new government will bring to an end four months of political paralysis in Lebanon, following the victory of the pro-western March 14 coalition in general elections in June.
However, the new government will have no bearing on the key political fact looming over Lebanon today: namely, the existence of a parallel state maintained by Hizbullah, which makes its decisions without consulting the nominal rulers of the country.
The deadlock regarding the formation of the government was itself related to the agenda of the Hizbullah parallel state. It is worth remembering that agreement for the formula of cabinet appointments was reached in July. But this agreement solved little.
Hariri was determined to prevent the opposition from obtaining veto power in the new government. To exercise a veto over cabinet decisions, the opposition needed to control at least 11 portfolios in the 30-member cabinet - that is, one-third plus one of the cabinet seats.
In July, both sides accepted a formula of 15 portfolios for the March 14 coalition, 10 for the opposition, and five to be appointed by President Michel Suleiman.
The key issue then became the identity of the ministers to be appointed by the president. If only one of them were to be inclined toward the opposition, this would mean that Hizbullah would effectively have kept the veto it exercised before June. Since the final names have not yet been announced, it is too soon to draw any firm conclusions in this regard.
It looks likely, however, that Hariri has compromised in another key area.
Hariri announced after the election that he was determined to keep the Telecommunications Ministry for his party. The Hizbullah-led opposition was equally determined to obtain this portfolio for themselves.
Hizbullah maintains a large-scale independent communications network which is an essential part of its military stance vis a vis Israel. Its determination to keep this network away from government scrutiny was one of the factors that triggered the fighting in Beirut in May 2008. (Continue to read...)
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"