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October 20, 2016 / 18 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Avigdor Liberman’

Israel Announces Heavy Fines for Gaza Smugglers

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

By Andrew Friedman/TPS

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has instructed the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) to ramp up oversight of materials entering the Gaza Strip. Major General Yoav Mordechai, commander of COGAT, said Thursday that the order was given in order to prevent raw materials requiring security clearance from reaching the Hamas-led canton.

“Any attempt to smuggle dual-use materials into Gaza without coordinating the shipments with [Israeli] security officials raises strong concerns that the materials are willingly being provided to terror operatives,” said Mordechai in a statement Thursday. ”The only goal these groups have is to harm the security of Israeli civilians. The responsibility for [preventing] smuggling does not only fall on the people ordering the materials, but also on [Israeli] companies and on truck drivers who transport the material that is intended for terrorism into Gaza.”

Liberman also said that companies that help smuggle materials into the Strip will be fined. At least one telecommunications firm has been advised that it will be fined hundreds of thousands of shekels for attempting to smuggle communications and fiber-optic cables. Defense officials believe the materials were intended for terror elements in the Strip.

Up to now, prohibited materials were confiscated at Gaza entry points, and truck drivers received warnings. The new policy was adopted following consultations with COGAT, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), the Land Border Crossings Authority of the Defense Ministry, Israel police and legal scholars.

The new policy calls for stiff penalties against all levels of the smuggling chain, from company administrators down to truck drivers. Possible sanctions include impounding trucks used for smuggling attempts, including the cargo. Fines for smuggling could reach approximately NIS 1 million (US $261,730). Used car parts will also be banned from the Strip, after security forces discovered parts in shipments that could be used to build a 4X4 jeep to be used by terror groups.

“We will hit back strongly and will not allow anyone to avoid responsibility. [We will try to ensure that] aiding terror simply does not pay,” Mordechai added.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Islamists’ Ultimatum to Hamas: Release our Members or We’ll Shoot at Israel

Friday, October 7th, 2016

After the Israeli town of Sderot was hit last Wednesday with a rocket shot from the Gaza Strip, the responsible Salafi terror group Aknaf Bait al-Maqdis delivered an ultimatum to the Hamas government: release our activists from your jail within 48 hours, or we’ll target Sderot again, Ma’ariv reported Friday.

The ultimatum was issued by a senior in the Salafi terror group, Abu Bakr al-Maqdisi, who declared on his Facebook page: “We presented to Hamas a 48 hour ultimatum which they did not obey so we hit Sderot. Now we give them another 48 hours to release our activists from Hamas jail.”

Aknaf Bait al-Maqdis, an ISIS affiliate, was one of two groups who claimed responsibility for the Sderot rocket, with the declaration: “The shooting was part of our ongoing efforts against the Jewish enemies of Allah, as well as revenge for the arrest of our people by Hamas.”

Another, less well know group, Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, also claimed responsibility for the same rocket. There are several warring Islamist group in the Gaza Strip, which are in constant conflict with the Hamas government. Last week, five Salafi terrorists were arrested by police in Rafah and in Gaza City.

Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi told Ma’ariv it would be “unacceptable” for his town to become the battleground for various Gazan factions to fight each other. “Sderot is not Gaza’s gun fodder,” he said. “If there’s no quiet in Sderot, there must be no quiet in Gaza either. I count on the prime minister, the defense minister and the IDF to shortcut this pattern.”

The terms “Salafist jihadist” and “Jihadist-Salafism” were coined by scholar Gilles Kepel in 2002, to describe “a hybrid Islamist ideology” developed by international Islamist volunteers in the 1980s’ Afghan anti-Soviet jihad, organized largely by the CIA. Since then these hybrid Islamists have spread across the Middle East and North Africa, beheading and exploding their path to divine redemption. Three or four such groups planted themselves in the Gaza Strip and northern Sinai.

On August 14, 2009, Sheikh Abdel Latif Moussa, spiritual leader of Jund Ansar Allah, an armed Salafist jihadist group in the Gaza Strip, announced during his Friday sermon the establishment of an Islamic emirate in the Palestinian territories, and vowed an attack on the ruling Islamist group Hamas, for failing to enforce Sharia law. Hamas forces circled his mosque complex and in the fighting that ensued Sheikh Abdel Latif Moussa and 23 others were killed, and more than 130 were wounded.

Salafist jihadists have also been involved in protests against King Abdullah II of Jordan, and the kidnapping and killing of Italian peace activist Vittorio Arrigoni in Gaza.

Israel, which under its new defense minister, Avigdor Liberman, has been retaliating swiftly for every single violation of the 2014 ceasefire, refuses to distinguish between the different rockets shot across the Gaza border. It holds Hamas accountable for all of them, and, in fact, has taken advantage of the recent few rockets and mortar shells to hit Hamas training facilities in the northern Gaza Strip.

David Israel

Liberman: ‘Not Looking for Adventure, But There Will Be No Compromise’

Friday, October 7th, 2016

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Thursday at a ceremony for IDF commanders that although Israel has no intention of escalating the conflict with Gaza’s Hamas terrorist rulers, “all fire from Gaza towards Israel’s sovereign territory will be met by a strong response.”

Liberman said in his statement, “We’re not looking for adventure, and nobody is pushing for a tougher response against Hamas in Gaza, but we are determined to guard the citizens of Israel, and on that point there will be no compromise.

“It is not our intention to initiate a military process. However, we will not tolerate any gunfire or provocations from anyone against Israeli citizens, or any strike against Israeli sovereignty. Neither shooting nor flotillas,” he said.

Hana Levi Julian

IDF Shelling Northern Gaza in Retaliation for Sderot Rocket

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

The IDF on Wednesday morning fired artillery shells at targets in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, Just one hour following a rocket that had been fired from the Gaza Strip and landed on a residential street near a school inside the city of Sderot, Arab media reported.

According to local witnesses, at least one artillery shell landed in a terrorist training ground in Beit Hanoun. It is not yet clear which terror group operates the facility. Israeli media sources reported the site was run by Hamas.

No injuries have been reported on the Israeli or Arab side.

Around 10:30 AM Wednesday, rocket sirens were heard in Sderot and nearby communities alongside the Gaza Strip, following which an exploded rocket was discovered. The IDF spokesperson’s office reported road damage as a result of the rocket.

Several Sderot residents were treated for shock.

The swift retaliation represents a continued new policy instituted by incoming Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu), of hitting back inside Gaza as soon as someone on that side violates the 2014 ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

David Israel

Woman of the Year 5776: Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

The January 22, 2013 general elections in Israel marked the emergence of two new parties; one, journalist Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid, was yet another attempt to grab the undecided center among Israel’s voters; the other, Habayit Hayehudi, was a coalition of National Religious parties led by hi-tech executive Naftali Bennett and his long-time political ally, a 30-something computer engineer from Tel Aviv named Ayelet Shaked, who stood out as the only secular Jew in an otherwise Orthodox Jewish party. Both parties did well, although Lapid’s party took seven more seats than Bennett’s (19 vs. 12). Both parties also represent new challenges to the current power status quo in Israel, with Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud leading a right-leaning coalition government over an opposition being led by Labor (a.k.a. Zionist Camp).

At this point in the life of the 20th Knesset, the polls are showing Yesh Atid as the new largest party, siphoning off votes from Likud’s centrist voters and Labor’s more nationalistic supporters, as well as from Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party which barely passes the threshold percentage in the polls. At the same time, Likud is also being bitten on its right flank, by Habayit Hayehudi. And, also for the first time, the National Religious leader Naftali Bennett has been speaking openly about his ambition to be Israel’s next prime minister, at the helm of a rightwing, pro-religious, pro-settlements government.

That ambition is a new thing to a party that, since its incarnation as NRP in 1956, has always seen itself as a second banana, always in government, be it with leftwing or rightwing majority parties, but never at the helm. And while Chairman Bennett has been outspoken about his ambition to carve out a new direction for the country in the image of his party’s ideology, another Habayit Hayehudi leader has been giving the nation an idea of how a national religious government would carry out its agenda — Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.

Since the end of the 1990s, it has become clear that Israeli Jews are only going to become more traditional, even religious, and, consequently, the chance for a left-leaning party to receive the largest percentage of the vote will continue to grow dimmer. But while political positions have been given by the voter to rightwing governments, key decisions on issues that are close to the heart of the same rightwing voters have continued to lean to the left. This has been most notable in the liberated territories of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, where evictions of Jewish settlers have been carried out over the past decade and a half by rightwing-led governments, and those same governments have been refusing to implement Israeli civil law in Jewish communities hat have been living under martial law since the 1970s.

This is because the judiciary in Israel has been ruling as a shadow government, unelected and with a leftwing, secular agenda. In addition, Israel has had the most activist supreme court anywhere in the West, a court that has seized for itself powers well outside the norm in countries that uphold the principle of three branches of government. In countless cases, the high court has acted as a legislator, siding with the opposition against a ruling government (the recent vote on exploiting Israel’s natural gas come to mind, when the court torpedoed a government signed contract with US and domestic companies). The judiciary has also had its hand on the executive branch through the Attorney General and the legal counsels who are appointed to every ministry, and who often force the hands of elected officials using the threat of legal action against them.

The appointment of Ayelet Shaked to be the Minster in charge of this judiciary stronghold of the real power in Israeli society was received with a great deal of alarm and trepidation in the leftwing media, which called her “Israel’s Sarah Palin,” and accused her of inciting the mobs against the Supreme Court justices, “as if she were the worst [Internet] talkbacker and not the minister in charge of the holiest holy of every democracy — its separate and independent judiciary.” (Uri Misgav, Haaretz, Aug. 11, 2015).

The attack came in response to the new Justice Minister’s tweet on the same evening the Supreme Court was convening to rule on a law designed to block infiltration of illegal migrants from Africa through Israel’s southern border. Shaked tweeted that the law had already been quashed twice by the court, causing the infiltration, which had been reduced to single digits, to grow to dozens of new border crossings.

“If the law is revoked a third time,” Shaked tweeted, “it would be tantamount to declaring south Tel Aviv an official haven for infiltrators.” She then added that, until the court’s ruling, she would upload every two hours a new video describing the “intolerable life conditions of south Tel Aviv residents,” urging her followers to spread the message.

The court took notice and restricted itself to a few minor corrections, mostly regarding the length of time an illegal migrant could be held in a locked facility until his case is resolved by the Interior Ministry. The court continued to take notice throughout Shaked’s first year in office, and has been noticeably mindful of the need to avoid unnecessary friction with a Justice Minister who is probably the most popular minister in Israel. How popular? In 2013 she was picked by the Knesset Channel as the summer session’s most outstanding MK, and in 2014 as the second most outstanding MK of the winter session. In 2015 the Jerusalem Post ranked her 33rd on its list of the most influential Jews in the world. In 2015 she was ranked by Forbes Israel as the fifth most influential woman in Israel. And in 2016 Lady Globes ranked her second on its list of 50 most influential women.

Most importantly, Minster Shaked has afforded Israelis a view of a nationalist, rightwing politician who can be trusted to run the country’s third most complex system, after Finance and Defense. As Justice Minister, Shaked also chairs the ministerial legislative committee which decides which bills receive the backing of the government. Her role is comparable to that of the Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House, in terms of influencing the legislative process. And the fact that she has been a competent, creative and resourceful Justice Minister might suggest to people in the secular center and right of center that her and Bennett’s party is worthy of their vote.

Shaked and Bennett are in troubled waters currently, over the fate of Amona, a Jewish community in Judea and Samaria that the Supreme Court has slated for demolition by early December, 2016, over claims to ownership of the land by Arab PA residents. The fact is that no one on the right in Netanyahu’s government believes that Amona could be saved, which Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman stated openly. Shaked wants to see the residents being relocated to a nearby plot of land, that could turn out to be just as problematic. But both Bennett and Shaked are also interested in advancing new legislation that would compel future claimants to settle for fair market value or comparable land from the Israeli government. At stake are an estimated 4,000 homes, the bulk of which were built as part of a government sponsored settlement program. The Supreme Court has rejected these “arrangement law” initiatives, and the current AG, Avihai Mandelblit, also objects to them, even though he himself is on the record as supporting them in the past.

For now, Shaked and Bennett are under attack by their voters, who cannot believe that a government that is as rightwing as this one would still engage in the forceful removal of Jews from their homes. And the last thing Shaked and Bennet want is to be forced to resign from Netanyahu’s government over this dispute.

Shaked, like Bennett, is a vehement enemy of the two-state solution. But she is also a liberal when it comes to many legislative initiatives. She has fought court activism; she objected to imposing jail sentences on Yeshiva students who refuse to enlist; and she supports a free and open market and reducing state regulations of businesses. She also believes in cutting down on new laws.

Noting that her government legislative committee has processed over the past year and a half no less than 1,500 new legislative proposals, Shaked wrote an op-ed in the right-leaning website Mida, saying that “every time the Knesset puts its faith in a new law intended to serve a worthy cause and solve a social or economic problem, we are, in effect, raising our hands to support a vote of no confidence. … It’s a vote of no confidence in our ability as individuals and as communities to manage ourselves in a good enough manner; it’s a vote of no confidence in the wisdom of the nation and of each person to create and preserve mechanisms that are better than those which are designed artificially by experts; it’s a vote of no confidence in the ability of familial, social and economic communities to run their own lives and strive successfully to reach their goals.”

Spoken like a true, sane Libertarian. And a Libertarian who knows how to combine the principles of freedom with the ideals of nation and Torah — could make one fine prime minister some day. Which is why we believe 5776 was the year of Ayelet Shaked.


Rightwing Paper Crowns Shooting Medic Azaria ‘Man of the Year’

Friday, September 30th, 2016

On Wednesday, Hagai Segal, editor of the right-leaning Makor Rishon, directed at the National Religious public, revealed on Twitter the Friday cover page of his newspaper’s Shabbat supplement Dyokan (Portrait) dedicated to their pick of Man of the Year 5776, with a flattering image of Sgt. Elor Azaria, the medic whose shot that killed a terrorist on the ground at a Hebron check post last Purim Day also appears to have killed a long-held belief that the IDF’s values and priorities were synonymous with those of the Jewish nation in Israel.

“The court will rule on the severity of his action,” says the subheadline on the same cover, “but there’s no doubt that the single bullet he shot at the terrorist ignited the stormiest debate in Israel’s society this year.”

Many readers confuse the meaning of a publication’s Man of the Year pick with an endorsement, even praise of his actions. Segal’s team made certain to convey that they picked Azaria not because they necessarily agree with his shooting of an already “neutralized” terrorist, but because of his strong influence on Israelis — the majority of whom rebelled publicly and in no uncertain terms against a confused military and political leadership that actually considered charging an IDF soldier with murder of an Arab terrorist who had already stabbed another soldier in the neck.

The military prosecution finally gave in to the tide of public rage and settled for a manslaughter indictment, which did not make it or the man at the helm of the defense apparatus, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud), more popular in the least. In the end, Ya’alon was ousted, replaced by Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu), allowing Prime Minister Netanyahu to kill two birds with one convenient stone, getting rid of an increasingly unpopular (and preachy) defense minister, and adding a crucial coalition partner to give him a safer edge in the Knesset.

Despite the fact that Israelis were preoccupied with the passing of the late Shimon Peres this week, the Segal tweet received its share of boos and applause, much of it revolving around the difference between picking the MOY because he was influential vs. being praiseworthy.

Former Peace Now chief Yariv Oppenheimer tweeted back that he’d pick Hagai Klein, the man who was shot by an Arab terrorist gunman at the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv, and despite his injury managed to tackle the shooter with his bare hands. Obviously, a brave man worthy of a medal, but few Israelis would recognize his name without Googling it.

There was one tweet suggesting the man of the year award should be given to the B’Tselem cameraman who captured the shooting — which makes sense in a big bang theory kind of way.

Meretz Chairwoman MK Zehava Galon attacked the choice on it’s merit: “Enough already,” she wrote. “Azaria didn’t ignite a debate. He shot the head of a neutralized terrorist.” She then rebuked Segal’s choice, saying that “choosing him as man of the year sends a clear message to anyone who understands it.” Meaning, obviously, that Azaria wasn’t only influential, he was also right in the eyes of many Israelis, and that in itself is dangerous.

It so happens that another Israeli newspaper, Ma’ariv, which hovers around the center-right political zone, on Friday published a column by journalist Ben Kaspit who also picked Azaria as his choice for man of the year. “One shot from Elor Azaria, a simple soldier from the Kfir Brigade, woke up all the sleeping demons in Israel’s society,” Kaspit wrote, adding, “Like it or not, Elor Aazaria was the most influential man of the year 5776.”

We will be revealing our choice for Man of the Year Saturday night. Here’s a hint: she’s not a man. Unless, of course we’ll have one of those editorial brawls today and come up with someone else. Stay tuned.


16 Senior Yisrael Beiteinu Officials to Be Indicted on Corruption Charges

Monday, September 26th, 2016

AG Avihai Mandelblit and State Attorney Shai Nitzan on Monday decided there was sufficient evidence to indict Former Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov, former Deputy Minister Faina Kirshenbaum, and fourteen additional senior members of public institutions pending a hearing, Walla reported. According to a State Prosecution announcement, Misezhnikov and Kirshenbaum are likely to face corruption charges.

The initial charges were revealed in the 2013 State Auditor report on Misezhnikov’s conduct regarding various bids estimated at millions of dollars under his authority, which he was accused of steering towards people in his close circle. The investigation revealed that Misezhnikov approved million dollar budgets for projects on condition that they would employ his confidant Julia Root, at the time he was serving as Tourism Minister. The Auditor’s report also accused Misezhnikov’s chief of staff at the ministry, Limor Barzilai, of knowingly interfering with the investigation.

The State Attorney’s Office Economic Department told the legal representative of 16 suspects on Monday that their idictment is being considered pending a hearing. Misezhnikov is suspected of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, possession and use of a dangerous drug, and obstruction of justice. Deputy Minister of the Interior and the Secretary General of the Israel Beiteinu party Kirshenbaum is suspected of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, money laundering, and tax evasions.

Among the additional suspects is Director of the Organization Department of the Israel Beiteinu party David Godovsky, former Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture Rami Cohen and his wife Batya Cohen, Tamar Regional Council Head Dov Litvinoff, Ayalim Association Chairman Matan Dahan, and his deputy Danny Glicksberg.

This represents the culmination of the two-year long “Case 242” that was conducted by the Investigations and Intelligence Division Lahav 433 of the National Fraud Unit, which involved the investigation of 480 individuals, the seizing of tens of thousands of documents, arrests, and more than 900 statements. So far police have also seized property in an estimated value of $6.65 million. Police have so far recruited seven state witnesses, including Gershon Mesika, who resigned his post as head of the Shomron Regional Council.


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/16-senior-yisrael-beiteinu-officials-to-be-indicted-on-corruption/2016/09/26/

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