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November 28, 2015 / 16 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Attorney General’

AG Weinstein Overrides Judge’s Decision, Permits Soccer on Shabbat

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

(JNi.media) There will be soccer league games in Israel this Shabbat, despite a ruling by Labor Court Judge Ariela Glitzr Katz to the contrary. Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein announced that the policy of ignoring Shabbat labor laws regarding soccer—practiced for more than 50 years in Israel—will continue. In other words, should the teams violate Israel’s labor laws and play this Shabbat, government inspectors will continue to avoid serving them with summonses.

In an interview on Army Radio, Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan (Bayit Yehude), criticized Attorney General Weinstein’s ruling, that there is no reason not to hold a soccer game on Shabbat. “If Weinstein were to say the same thing about any other topiv, there would have been a great outcry in response.”

On Tuesday, Israel’s Football Association’s management confirmed that it would not play on the day of rest without the authorization of the Ministry of the Economy. Economy Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) was not available to extend the league the needed permit absolving them of the requirement to observe Shabbat.

The hullabaloo began when Israel’s professional players’ union demanded to move all league games to weekdays, arguing they wished to spend the holy day of rest with their families, like the rest of the Jewish people. That reversed a practice that some say dates back to the first word war. Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev (Likud) said on Wednesday that “we need to reach a compromise between the association, the management, the Ministry of Culture and the teams. Fromt the start, I told the leaders of the Association that some in the Knesset wanted to pass such a law, but we couldn’t make it happen. Now they will have no choice but to be flexible.”

Weinstein’s decision only absolves the football teams from the threat of administrative criminal sanctions. Players, individually or in a class action suit, can still seek remedy from the teams or the players’ union in civil court. The defendants would in turn appeal to the Labor Court for an injunction against holding the games on Shabbat. It was precisely such a petition which has been was filed—and removed in the meantime—which began the entire controversy.

Best Friends Forever?

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked met with Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein at a special Cabinet meeting held in the Israel Museum on May 19, 2015.

The position of Attorney General is one of those that Shaked hopes to reform.

Likud Breaching Bayit Yehudi’s Coalition Agreements One by One

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

The Bayit Yehudi party may be wondering if the coalition agreements it signed are worth the paper they’re written on.

Last week, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein ruled that a coalition agreement between the Likud and Bayit Yehudi, which increased the budget to the Settlement Division is not valid and therefore won’t be implemented.

This week, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon (Likud) said that he refuses to transfer control of the Civil Administration over to Deputy Minister Eli Ben-Dahan.

According to the coalition agreements, the Civil Administration is supposed to be under Ben-Dahan’s control.

The Civil Administration controls and coordinates security, construction and infrastructure in Area C of Judea and Samaria, specifically affecting Jewish and Arab communities there, as well as interfacing with the Palestinian Authority.

Instead, Yaalon said he wants Ben-Dahan to deal with Reservists and the Home Front.

A Bayit Yehudi party source very matter-of-factly told JewishPress.com, “We expect Likud to live up to the coalition agreement that was signed.”

He didn’t add any threats or warnings to his statement.

But what will Naftali Bennett do to enforce it?

Israeli A-G Breaks Own Rule, Interferes in Gov’t Coalition Talks

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

by Ben Niran

In a controversial move seen by democracy watchdog groups as endangering Israel’s separation of powers, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein announced when his opposition to a bill proposed last year by Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party, the Justice Ministry reported in a statement to the press.

Coming on the last, crucial day of the coalition negotiations, Weinstein’s rejection of the bill, which proposed to limit the powers of Israel’s High Court of Justice, was interpreted by The Movement for Governability and Democracy as a blatant interference in the negotiations, and a move that contradicts a directive Weinstein himself issued two years ago, in which he forbade government involvement in coalition affairs.

“The separation between the national public sphere and the [political] party sphere is a basic notion in Israel,” the Movement for Governance and Democracy, a non-profit watchdog group, wrote in an open letter to Weinstein, and demanded an explanation for his statement.

“This separation is necessary in order to prevent a conflict of interests and the politicization of public service,” the organization wrote.

Coalition Last Minute Talks: Likud Capitulates, Bayit Yehudi Wins Justice + 2 Security Cabinet Votes

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

It appears that Bayit Yehudi’s Ayelet Shaked will be made Justice Minister in Israel’s next government, Israel Radio reported.

Bayit Yehudi party chairman, Nir Orbach said, that talks with the Likud are now in a very sensitive state, and “all options are open,” including the Justice portfolio going to Shaked—which, incidentally, was a promise made to the voters by party chief Naftali Bennett at the onset of the campaign, back in January.

Orbach wrote to Bayit Yehudi activists Wednesday morning that unity and cohesiveness have awarded the party with unprecedented achievements and an opportunity for real impact on the future of the country.

Speculation is that, should the current intense talks reach a positive outcome, Bayit Yehudi would indeed come out the big winner, despite its loss of 4 seats in the March 17 vote. Netanyahu is desperate to seal a deal by midnight, and Bennett is taking full advantage of that.

With Shaked in charge of Justice, she will be able, for the first time since 1967, to start reforming this office’s largely anti-settler, left-entrenched civil service, starting with the appointment of the next Attorney General. She will also be able to reform the process of appointing judges, including supreme court justices, shifting the balance of power in the committee to appoint judges, which to date has been dominated by a closed circle of professionals, with lawmakers—the representatives of the voter’s will—in the minority.

Having control of the Justice Ministry will also balance out the Chareidi control over the Ministry of Religious Affairs, since the Justice Ministry enforces government decisions. The Justice Ministry also controls the appointment of Rabbinic judges, along with the enforcement of kashrut laws. This means that restaurants and other food-related businesses could be allowed to buy their independent kashrut supervision—regardless of the policy set up by the Shas run ministry of religious services.

Update: Benjamin Netanyahu pulled a twist on Naftali Bennett, reportedly agreeing that Shaked could be Minister of Justice, but with a few very significant restrictions, specifically that Shaked would not have the ability to select judges or other judicial appointments, and won’t be sitting on the ministerial committee for legislation and the judicial appointments committee. Bennett has said he will only accept a while Justice Ministry.

Also, Bayit Yehudi scored two seats in Netanyahu’s security cabinet, which will influence countless choices, including the treatment of settlers.

Despite settling for the less influential Education portfolio, going to Bennett, the party leader will also be deputy minister of defense, a role which would give him control over specific departments in the ministry.

And Bayit Yehudi’s Uri Ariel is likely to be given ministerial control over the Agriculture Ministry with the Settlement Division, which should favor expansion of settlement building, as well as support services.

So far, Bayit Yehudi denied reports from Likud sources that they demanded the defense portfolio in negotiations. According to Bayit Yehudi, they’re only insisting on Ayelet Shaked getting the Justice portfolio, which they say Netanyahu promised her months ago.

Senior politicians now tell Israel Radio the crisis is over, and Netanyahu is going to present a 61-seat government to the president tonight. A Likud source said the new proposal made to Bennett was “rich and fair.”

It’s about time.

Update: The rumor mill says that Shaked’s appointment will have certain restrictions, specifically related to the appointment of judges.

Obama Promises Peres A-G Will ‘Check Into’ Pollard

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama assured Israel’s outgoing President Shimon Peres on Wednesday he would ask Attorney-General Eric Holder to “check into” an offer that Peres made regarding the case of former Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard.

Peres’s office submitted his request to the White House prior to arriving for what will be his last official state visit as Israel’s president.

“I made an offer but won’t go into details about it,” he told reporters on Wednesday. However, he did discuss the specifics with members of the Pollard family, he said, before presenting the plan to Obama.

“If I share too many details it will just ruin things,” he said at the briefing. “I cannot say that [the president] responded positively on the spot. I don’t want to add to what he said, which was that the U.S. Attorney-General would decide.”

Pollard is entering his 29th year of incarceration in a North Carolina prison after being convicted in 1985 on a single charge of passing classified information to an allied nation, Israel. The crime usually carries a maximum penalty of up to four years in jail. But although Pollard’s attorneys worked out a plea bargain with the prosecution, during the sentencing a note was passed to the judge. Suddenly Pollard was charged with and convicted of treason without recourse to a new trial. His attorney had no access to the evidence that had apparently led to the new charges, which was locked due to “national security” — and instead Pollard found himself sentenced to life in prison. All attempts at appeal have since failed.

Since Peres was serving as Israel’s prime minister at the time of Pollard’s arrest, and since it was he who submitted the documents to the U.S. with Pollard’s fingerprints that were used to incriminate him, it is Peres who is most likely to persuade Obama now to grant clemency for humanitarian reasons.

He and Obama also share a unique status as being the only two current heads of state in the world who are both Nobel Peace Prize winners.

Pollard’s health has deteriorated significantly over the past several years, and the request by Peres is reportedly to be based on the issues of Pollard’s extremely poor health, the impact on his wife, and the length of his time already served — in short, humanitarian reasons. At age 90, Peres this year retires from politics and made a promise to Pollard’s wife and the people of Israel prior to his departure that he would try to win her husband’s release during his visit to the U.S. He is scheduled to meet again with Obama Thursday.

Enemy of Settlements Picked for AG in Time for ‘Peace’ Enforcement

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

A civil servant named Shai Nitzan was appointed this morning to be Israel’s next Attorney General. No one would accuse Nitzan, who’s been serving as Deputy AG for some time, of being bad at his job. He is an excellent jurist by most people’s account.

Here’s the problem: Shai Nitzan has been a sworn enemy of National Religious Jews, most emphatically of those of them who reside in Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem. He is the brain daddy of preventive removal of Jews from their homes, not because of things they’ve done, but because of what he suspects they will do. He’s been known to pick up prominent rabbis for questioning based on their writings (See: Committee Recommends Another Leftist, Anti-Settlements AG).

Again, none of what he did in his various roles at the Ministry of Justice was illegal or even unethical, at least by Israeli standards. The curious part about his appointment is that it was done with the near-unanimous support of the Netanyahu government.

Three of the five parties that formed the current coalition government describe themselves as right wing, and certainly as friends of the settlement movement: Likud, Israel Beiteinu and Jewish Home. In any normal democratic system, where a correlation exists between the will of the voter and the direction of the government, Shai Nitzan would not have been proposed, much less approved for a position that gives him—literally—the power of life and death over a population of close to half a million people which he detests on ideological grounds.

In the democratic West, this kind of corruption of the will of the voter—and the settlement movement could share with you thousands of stories, believe me—is possible only in Israel. But this particular plot gets thicker.

Mk Avigdor Lieberman, boss of the Israel Beiteinu party, was recently acquitted by a panel of three magistrate court judges of all charges of political corruption. Liebrman had given up his ministerial office for the duration of his trial, and after the unanimous acquittal was reinstated. But it was decided that he couldn’t vote today, because the current AG, Yehuda Weinstein, hasn’t yet decided whether or not to appeal the acquittal. It seemed more ethical that way.

Except that the committee that recommended Shai Nitzan for the job was chaired by… AG Yehuda Weinstein.

In other words, a civil servant, Weinstein, can prevent an elected official from voting on his recommendation even though said public official is not only innocent until proved guilty – he is innocent by a unanimous court decision.

I emailed a Lieberman staffer for a comment on this bizarre situation, and he preferred to pass. They don’t need trouble.

Wait, there’s more. The search committee for these high level jobs normally comes back with two to three candidates. It’s a courtesy to the political echelon, but also a reflection of an honest effort to provide elected officials with ample choices. The fact that the Weinstein committee went with a single candidate was a dare to Netanyahu and to the right. And the whole country knew Bibi would blink first.

The folks at the State’s Attorney have dossiers on everyone, and some of the folks in government today, including Netanyahu, have already tasted what it’s like to be dragged like common criminals for questioning in police interrogation rooms. And as any person who’s ever delved into politics knows, there’s always something you did wrong.

The entire country knows that the miraculous transformation of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon from being the father of Jewish settlement in the liberated territories to the scourge of Gush Katif had to do with a case the civil servants were going to bring him down with, involving the 1999 Greek island scandal, millionaire developer David Appel and Sharon’s son Gilad.

This is why staunch opponents of Nitzan in the government, like Israel Beiteinu’s Yair Shamir and Israel Katz of Likud ended up voting in favor, and why Lieberman played nice and didn’t start trouble for AG Weinstein: they’re afraid of the State’s Attorney’s office and of the police.

Former Justice Minister Daniel Friedman, whom no one suspects of being a right winger, is to date the bravest reformer of the process by which judges, in all levels of the system, are chosen. His entire term in office was marked by bloody skirmishes between himself and the judicial system. His new, voluminous book, hot off the presses, titled “The Purse and the Sword,” is a well documented attack on his old nemesis, arguing quite successfully that Israel’s democracy is governed not by its elected officials, representatives of the voter—the only legitimate sovereign in a democracy—but by its jurists, led by the Supreme Court and the Attorney General (known here as the government judicial advisor, an innocent title that packs a lot of fang).

I plan to devote a great deal of time in coming days to Prof. Friedman’s book, because it points out Israel’s most severe threat to its democracy and independence. So much so, that I’ve been having a hard time deciding today which vote would bring more harm to the Jewish State, the 5+1 vote to greatly reduce the Iran sanctions, or the Shai Nitzan vote, which placed a staunch enemy of the settlements at the head of the system that may be issued, in a few months, with task of uprooting thousands of Jews from their homes.

Iran’s threat comes from the outside, and as such it may even have a positive effect on Israeli society, uniting it and enhancing its resolve. But the complete control the judiciary has gained over the other branches of government is a seeping cesspool of corruption that may decompose the country from within.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/enemy-of-settlements-picked-for-ag-in-time-for-peace-uprooting/2013/11/24/

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