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October 20, 2016 / 18 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘AG’

AG Recommends Evacuating Amona, Residents Hoping for Political Rescue

Monday, August 8th, 2016

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said on Sunday that there is no legal obstacle barring a review of the status of lands adjacent to the community of Amona in Benjamin regional council, to start a discussion of potentially moving there the residents of the community which has been slated for demolition by the end of the year by the supreme court. Mandelblit spoke at a discussion with government officials of regulating the status of Amona.

The Israeli Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that the Amona community is illegal under Israeli law, based on petitions of presumed original Arab owners of the land who had been rounded up by anti-Zionist groups like Peace Now and Yesh Din. Since then, the court has ruled again on the Amona case, ordering that the Jewish residents must be evacuated, the housing and infrastructure destroyed and the area be handed to the Arabs.

According to the Amona residents, when the community was founded in 1995 it was by a state initiative, promoted by then housing minister Natan Sharansky, who invested millions of dollars in creating an infrastructure, paving roads and promoting construction, all of it under the auspices of the state. If there were irregularities with the land purchase, it was the state’s problem, not theirs. Had they known the land was privately owned they would have stayed away, but they were told by the state to move in — let the state deal with the alleged original owners.

It should be noted that when Mandelblit was being considered for the AG appointment, he was favored by the right for his idea that in just these kinds of cases, with anti-Jewish settlement activists signing up claimants against existing Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and the claimants prove ownership (which is not so hard to do considering the land registration archives are kept in Ramallah, seat of the Palestinian Authority) — said claimants be compelled to accept fair market value for the property, or comparable property. Mind you, this is after some Arab real estate agent had received full pay for the same land.

Now, despite his wise recommendation on grandfathering existing Jewish communities, the AG is obviously feeling that he can’t go to battle against a clear Supreme Court ruling to demolish Amona, and so he recommends finding an alternative land not for the alleged Arab owners, but for the very real Jewish residents instead.

Amona was the site of one of the most brutal attacks of Israeli government forces on Jewish residents in the state’s history. On February 1, 2006, Amona Jewish residents and protesters were evacuated by 10,000 Israeli Police, Border Police, and Army troops. The estimated 4,000 Jews on the Amona grounds mostly consisted of youths from nearby communities. More than 300 were injured, including some 80 security personnel. Among the injured were three Knesset members. After several hours, the Amona homes had been demolished. A few girls that were evacuated accused police officers of sexual assault.

In March 2006, the Knesset parliamentary inquiry into the events at Amona determined that security forces had employed brutal force, striking protesters with clubs and charging them with horses. Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra was criticized for preventing police commanders from testifying at committee hearings. The committee also found contradictions between the testimonies of the Army Chief of Staff and the Internal Security Minister.

Today, none of the coalition parties wants to position itself behind a similar evacuation effort, a move which could kill their political aspirations among their rightwing voters. Likud, Habayit Hayehudi and Yisrael Beiteinu officials have stated recently that this government will not permit the destruction of Amona. When the brutal evacuation took place in 2006, it was carried out by the same government that had evacuated Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip in 2005, yet another traumatic event in recent Israeli history. That government was ruled by the Kadima party, a political albatross invented by soon-to-go-comatose Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, which has since disappeared from the political map, and serves as a warning to all Israeli rightwing parties wishing to err leftward.

With that in mind, it can be expected that Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Liberman and Justice Minister Shaked come up with a solution that keeps the Jewish settlers in place, risking the ire of the high court, as well as of Israel’s many friends in the free world. It should provide for great political theater, as these three politicians will show their ability to both capitulate and gravel while proudly standing erect. It’s time to call in the chiropractors.


Speaker Edelstein Calls on AG to Conclude Police ‘Blackmail List’ Investigation

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein on Wednesday demanded that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit conclude his examination of a secret Israel Police dossier which reportedly details evidence regarding alleged offenses committed by Knesset members.

In his letter to the Attorney General, Edelstein said, “On June 22, 2016 a meeting was held in my office with the Police Commissioner and the head of the Police Investigations and Intelligence Department regarding the police document that was prepared in 2014 and which summarizes criminal and intelligence information on Knesset members who served at the time. During the meeting I noted the sensitivity (of the matter) and the problematic situation that was created due to the fact that the existence of such a document had been leaked, because it allegedly casts a cloud over all Knesset members, and creates a feeling in the public as if dozens of Knesset members are suspected of criminal acts.”

“I also stressed the importance of publishing an official clarification as soon as possible, to the public and the Knesset members, regarding the list from 2014 and its relevancy, as much as it remains relevant today, so that on the one hand the public will be able to rest assured that Israel Police is doing its job faithfully and is investigating Knesset members when necessary, while on the other hand Knesset members will be certain that police are not holding information against them which could be revealed at some point down the line and hurt their work or chances of obtaining a certain position,” the letter reads.

“In response to my comments, the police commissioner said they were aware of the sensitivity (of the matter) and the harm caused to Knesset members and the Knesset by the reports, and that the list had been submitted for your examination so that an official clarification regarding this list could be released soon,” Speaker Edelstein told Mandelblit.

Edelstein stressed the urgency of concluding the examination and releasing the clarification “in order to minimize the damage caused by the continued reports about the list and by leaving them in the public and media environment without a clarification or official statement from the authorized elements.”

Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh appeared before the Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee on Wednesday and justified the document. “It was drafted so that it wouldn’t turn out later that there was something we should have reported to the State Prosecutor and Attorney General and for some reason it got stuck and did not surface [to be reviewed by] a person with authority.”

Israel’s Channel 10 News revealed last month the existence of a document nicknamed “The Yitzhaki Report” that was compiled under order of the head of the police investigations unit Maj. Gen. Meni (Menachem) Yitzhaki.

During the Knesset committee meeting, Yitzhaki told the Internal Affairs Committee that the document was written in order to comply with the attorney general`s guidelines.

Committee Chairman MK David Amsalem (Likud) said: “The head of Investigations and Intelligence Branch has power by virtue of his position. Power corrupts, and great power corrupts more. Therefore, he must act with caution.”

“I read that 80 percent of police officers use internal information for their own personal needs. It is obvious that there is information being used by people who do not have the authority to do so,” MK Amsalem added. “Something terrible is happening here. Is the information only on Knesset members? Perhaps there is information about the commissioner? Maybe there are summaries on major generals in the police force? Or on judges and journalists? I don’t think Yitzhaki acted maliciously, but there is always potential for wrongful use.”


High Court Sides with Rabbinate, Rejects AG Push for ‘Alternative’ Kosher Certificates

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Israel’s Supreme Court on Monday embraced the position of the Chief Rabbinate on the Law prohibiting kashrut fraud, that a business may not present itself in writing as kosher, with or without the use of the word Kosher, unless it receives a kashrut certification from the only legally authorized body — the chief rabbinate, Walla reported. The decision dealt a severe blow to alternative kashrut certification services which have been operating in several Israeli cities, including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, as well as food service businesses that keep kosher but do not carry a certification.

The appeal to the Supreme Court came from the Reform movement’s Israel Religious Action Center, in the name of two Jerusalem restaurant owners, Shai Gini and Yonatan Vadi, who argued that the food they serve is kosher despite the fact that they do not carry a kashrut certification from their local rabbinate. According to the appellants, there’s no problem with their presenting their food as kosher because it is. They appealed to the high court after their local Rabbinate levied fines on them based on the common interpretation of the kashrut fraud law, namely that only Rabbinate-certified food is accepted as being kosher.

The former AG, Yehuda Weinstein, reinterpreted the law following the appeal, ruling that the state may no longer fine restaurant owners who present kosher certificates from private kashrut services, and must cancel the fines that have already been issued. The AG only required that the restaurants in question not claim that the alternative certifications for their businesses had been issued by the Rabbinate.

In a rare exception, the Supreme Court permitted the Chief Rabbinate to present its case separately from the AG, and eventually accepted its position in a two to one ruling that the Rabbinate is the only statewide accepted authority on kashrut. The two justices in the majority were Noam Sohlberg and Elyakim Rubinstein. Justice Uri Shoham sided with the AG.

The Justices decided to limit their ruling to the next two years, subject to a system-wide change the court is demanding of the Chief Rabbinate, to reexamine the relationship between the certifying kashrut supervisor and the business he is auditing, so that they do not depend financially on the business they are expected to monitor. Justice Rubinstein suggested that “should this not be resolved in a significant and serious way, the entire subject may be reopened.”

Both Chief Rabbis commended the court’s decision; Rabbi David Lau said that a decision to permit alternative certificates, some of which are fictitious, would have led to a serious misleading of the public; Rabbi Yizhak Yosef said that the Chief Rabbinate regularly goes out of its way to make the kaashrut maintenance easier and cheaper for food service businesses.

MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) said it was “refreshing to see a conservative approach on the part of the Supreme Court,” and praised the majority justices on overcoming their tendency for activism. The MK said he yearns for a time of “more balance in the relationship between the judicial, legislative and executive branches of government.”


German Technology Giant Siemens AG to Pay $44 Million to Settle Israeli Corruption Case

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

German technology giant Siemens AG has agreed to pay Israel $44 Million to settle a charge that it bribed executives at the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) to win a bid to supply turbines from 1999 to 2005, Israel’s Justice Ministry announced Monday. The company has also agreed to appoint an external inspector to supervise its business in Israel.

“We are pleased that the Israeli State Authorities chose to have an arrangement that does not include an indictment against Siemens AG recognizing…. that Siemens fully cooperated in the course of the investigation,” Siemens said in an e-mailed statement.

Siemens AG says it plans to continue its business in Israel on a major scale, including purchasing Israeli products and services and investing in Israeli companies.

Six IEC executives are facing charges in Tel Aviv court for bribery and money laundering. They are accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash bribes or, for the discriminating corrupt officials, transfers to their Swiss bank accounts.

Last October a former finance officer for Siemens in Argentina admitted to paying $100 million in bribes to government officials to secure a contract to produce national identity cards.

And prosecutors in Germany are investigating Siemens for allegedly charging $2.2 million for work that was never done at Berlin’s long-delayed new airport.


Israel’s Next Political Storm: Minister Shaked Wants to Split AG Role

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

(JNi.media) Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) has told the search committee that selects Israel’s next Attorney General that she wants them to conduct their head-hunting while keeping in mind that she plans for the job to be split.

Currently, Israel’s AG (the official title is actually “the government’s legal counselor”) has two main roles: he heads the prosecution, and is, in fact, above the State Prosecutor; and at the same time he provides his legal opinion to the government and to government-run organizations.

Shaked’s plan is consistent with her view that there is too much “consultant activism” in Israel’s executive branch. She believes that the fact that the attorney general has so much authority gives the office executive power it should not have. It also needlessly limits government’s ability to function, and, in effect, makes it harder for the AG to offer useful legal counsel in a timely fashion.

And, of course, the fact that the same person who offers ministers his legal advice would likely be the person who eventually prosecutes them for failing to adhere to his advice, is intimidating to elected officials.

Two of Shaked’s predecessors, Justice Ministers Yaakov Ne’eman and Daniel Friedman, have attempted to split the AG’s two main roles into two separate positions, but both were met with fierce resistance from AG Yehuda Weinstein and the entire Judiciary apparatus.

Minister Ne’eman said at the time that there isn’t “a single individual in Israel who can be entirely dedicated to criminal law enforcement, coordination with the police, the Money Laundering Authority and the Tax Authority, in order to achieve credible results.”

It is expected that Shaked will propose creating a new position of “General Prosecutor,” who would be in charge of law enforcement, while the AG could do what the job description of “Legal Consultant” originally called for: consult ministers on legal matters.

The Movement for Government Quality has called on Shaked not to split the role of the Attorney General, warning that such a move could lead to the destruction of the rule of law in Israel. The movement went on to suggest some supporters of the split are politicians seeking to free themselves from the yoke of the law.

Another popular movement, “Governability and Democracy,” supports the idea of ​​the split, saying that concentrating so much power in the hands of a civil servant, who bears no parliamentary or political responsibility, is inconsistent with democracy.


PA Summons Palestinian Columnist for Interrogation

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Columnist Jihad Harb was summoned on Wednesday for interrogation by the Head of Public Prosecutions, on a complaint filed against him by the Chief of Staff of the Palestinian presidency, on charges of libel and slander, and direct insults to the employees in the Office of the President, through an article he wrote about two months ago, the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms reported.

Jihad Harb was questioned about the article that was published in a number of Palestinian news sites, and told him that he was accused of libel and slander according to the Jordanian Penal Code that is in force in the Palestinian territories. MADA center attorney Raed Abdel-Hamid and a team of lawyers, jurists, and a representative of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, accompanied Harb during the interrogation.

The Head of the prosecution realized during the investigation that Harb is employed by the Palestinian Legislative Council, which means that the Attorney General must first issue permission to detain him. A request has been submitted to the AG, and Harb will remain free until the prosecution is officially permitted to pick him up for questioning again.

While Jihad Harb was interrogated inside, several journalists, human rights activists and representatives of civil institutions protested in solidarity with him in front of the Public Prosecution Office in Ramallah.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Assembly Candidate Tischler Calls on AG to Move on DOH Circumcision, Criticizes Hikind

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

State Assembly candidate Moshe Tischler is calling on New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to explore all legal options against Mayor Bloomberg’s attempt to regulate the millennia – old religious practice of bris milah.

Over the last couple of weeks, hundreds of rabbis have signed a Kol Koreh (religious proclamation) that condemned the Department of Health’s effort to set conditions on Jewish religious practices by spreading misinformation.

The New York City Department of Health is expected to issue an order this week with regards to the religious ritual of metzitza b’peh which may require written parental consent.

“For the government to infringe on our religious practices is absolutely unacceptable,” said Tischler, “this is an attack on our religious liberties. The Bloomberg administration’s impending order needs to be stopped immediately. The Attorney General should take a close look at the legal options the state has to stop such regulations.”

Mr. Tischler also added, “It was unfortunate that Dov Hikind supported Brad Lander for City Council in 2009, who openly criticized bris milah and called it “ritual violence.” The NYC Council has direct jurisdiction over the Department of Health and Bloomberg now has another rubber stamp for his policy on bris milah.

“Unfortunately, having a proponent of this policy on the City Council is to the Orthodox community’s detriment. It’s incredibly ironic that my opponent is railing against this policy considering his past support for a candidate who’s view on this issue was criticized by Jewish leaders and The Jewish Press and Mr. Hikind chose to disregard their concern nevertheless and to continue to support Mr. Lander.

“Our community needs leaders who understand that we can never afford to send a signal that such views are acceptable in the name of a political accommodation. We need leaders who won’t compromise our values for a backroom deal. We need leaders who are pro-active; not reactive.”

Jewish Press Staff

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/new-york-state-assembly-candidate-moshe-tischler-calls-on-attorney-general-schneiderman-to-intervene-on-impending-bris-milah-order-criticizes-hikind-for-past-support-of-candidate-critical-of-bris-mil/2012/09/12/

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