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May 27, 2016 / 19 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Benjamin Netanyahu’

NIS 900 Million Approved for Bedouins in the North

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – The Ministerial Committee of the Arab Sector headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved on Tuesday a 900 million shekel (US$235 million) program for the Bedouin towns in the north through 2020, in an effort to further integrate Israel’s Bedouin population with the broader Israeli society.

“We are partners,” said Netanyahu. “There is no reason for an entire community that contributes to the state not to share in education, infrastructure, law enforcement, and personal security.”

“The Bedouin population in the north is serving in the army, paying taxes, and bearing the burden,” acknowledged Minister for Social Equality Gila Gamliel (Likud).

“The proposal that I submitted to the ministerial committee today is a move that is uniquely designed to help close the gaps between the Bedouin sector and Israeli society and to address the many issues where the quality of life of the population must be improved,” added Gamliel.

Netanyahu also acknowledged existing gaps between the Bedouin community and the rest of Israel, as well as a strong desire to see such gaps closed.

“I know that people are suffering and it should not have to be that way,” remarked Netanyahu. “In the 21st century, people need to live.”

“I want to see young men and women join society, the economy, education and everything else,” added Netanyahu.

The prime minister also emphasized a desire to see an increase in the number of Bedouins enlisting in the IDF, arguing that it will help their communities integrate more with the rest of Israeli society.

“The topic of military recruitment is important to me,” Netanyahu noted. “I would like to work together with you to boost military enlistment recruitment. It will advance you, and the north in general, and it will bring integration with society.”

The developmental program for Israel’s Bedouins in the north will provide a number of tools designed to help jump-start and advance both economic independence and the standard of living in the Bedouin communities. A significant portion of the program’s budget will be invested in education and welfare programs as well as in the development of physical infrastructure such as sewage, water, transportation, and housing.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Israel, Austria Celebrate 60 years of Diplomacy

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

Austrian Ambassador to Israel Martin Weiss tweeted his thanks for an evening at the Israel Museum celebrating 60 years of Austrian-Israeli relations. The evening event featured a speech by Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, who began the week in Jerusalem, meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel Ambassador to Austria Talya Lador was present Sunday to greet the foreign minister upon his arrival in the country. For his part, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met this week with a group of young Austrians. “We really appreciate that you took the time!” tweeted Ambassador Weiss.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with a delegation of young Austrians.

Kurz took time Monday to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum, and spoke with Austrian Holocaust survivors in Jerusalem. He tied up the day by laying a wreath in a memorial ceremony at the Mount Herzl military ceremony in the capital.

Netanyahu and Kurz also met to sign a “working-holiday agreement” that provides easy access for the young to work in each others’ country,” Weiss said.

Kurz also met with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah during the day on Monday as well.

Hana Levi Julian

France Postpones May 30 Conference on ‘Peace Initiative’ Postponed

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

France has postponed the May 30 ‘peace initiative’ conference scheduled to be held in Paris, due to a “scheduling problem” with the United States. Although the conference is intended to work on the knotty issues facing final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, neither party is invited to attend the conference.

However, Secretary of State John Kerry informed France he too would be unable to attend due to “scheduling conflicts.”

President Francois Hollande made the announcement Tuesday on French radio, saying that because Kerry “cannot come on May 30… it has been delayed. It will take place in the summer.”

Hollande explained his country must take “a strong initiative” in the dispute, else “what will happen? Settlement building, attacks.”

French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault visited Jerusalem and Ramallah this past Sunday to discuss the French initiative with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Netanyahu made it clear that Israel has no interest in any multilateral “peace initiative” as they are simply ineffective. He is perfectly willing, he said, to engage in direct talks with Abbas “anywhere at any time.”

Moreover, Netanyahu bluntly said the impartiality of France was questionable at best following its support for the UNESCO resolution that removed the mention of any historic Jewish ties to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. The resolution also referred to Israel as an “occupying power” and the Old City of Jerusalem as “occupied.”

The United States has continued to support Israel in its determination to return to direct negotiations with the PA, as set forth in the internationally-recognized Oslo Accords.

“We’re in discussions right now with the French about any possible alternative date that might better work for the secretary,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said Monday. He added, however, that Kerry’s agenda is “jammed.”

Hana Levi Julian

PM Netanyahu, Austrian FM Discuss Israel-Palestinian Authority Peace Talks

Monday, May 16th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed a memorandum of understanding Monday with Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz on educational and cultural issues.

During their meeting in Jerusalem, Netanyahu underlined the importance of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. He noted the rising threat of radical Islam and its implications both for Israel and Europe, according to a spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office.

The two leaders also signed a work and holiday visa agreement.

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu Confronts Ya’alon Over Call to IDF Officers to ‘Speak their Minds’

Monday, May 16th, 2016

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Sunday night got on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wrong side when he urged IDF leaders to speak their mind in public and not fear reprisal. At this point it appears that some reprisal may be coming Ya’alon’s way from the Prime Minister, who summoned him to what the Israeli media described as a “rebuke meeting” Monday morning. Neither side in the meeting has issued a statement yet, which suggests that the meeting may not have ended in a compromise.

Ya’alon spoke at an event in Tel Aviv Sunday night and referred to the public storm around the speech by Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Gen. Yair Golan, which in turn had alluded to the episode of the IDF soldier who shot a neutralized terrorist on the ground in Hebron last Purim day. Golan, speaking at a Holocaust Remembrance Day event, compared episodes such as the Hebron shooting to the events in 1930s Germany which later resulted in the European Holocaust. At the time, Netanyahu was critical of Golan, and demanded that he apologize, since it sounded as if he was saying the IDF was a proto-Nazi army. Golan came close to saying just that, as many on the right suggested, while the IDF denied any such allegation.

An examination of the speech text reveals that the overall subject of Golan’s message was the concept of “purity of the weapon,” meaning that he was indeed criticizing phenomena inside the IDF when he made the Nazi Germany comparison.

Instead of an apology, the IDF Spokesperson’s office issued a denial, which Netanyahu probably did not love, but decided to let it go. With the narrowest possible majority in the Knesset, a puny 61 MKs, at least three of whom can be classified as Netanyahu’s enemies inside his own Likud party, the PM did not need another internal battle, certainly not with a national figure such as Ya’alon. But then, instead of the industrial peace Netanyahu needed so badly, on Sunday night his defense minister upped the ante with a new challenge to the boss, under the guise of protecting the freedom of expression of IDF officers.

“Tonight, too, I again demand of you and of your subordinates: continue to say what’s in your hearts. Do it even if your ideas are not part of the mainstream, and even if they challenge the ideas and positions adopted by the high command or the political echelon.”

Was the defense minister calling on his officer to rebel against the political class? Probably not, although he sounded dangerously close to saying just that. In his own mind, Ya’alon was probably hailing the old IDF tradition of encouraging questions from soldiers and officers, which may make the army a little harder to organize, but also encourages it to keep thinking outside the box, at least in some of its units. It should be noted that this tradition of rejecting iron clad “conceptions” dates back to the early, abysmal failure of the political and military leadership in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The accepted dogma was that the Egyptian and Syrian armies were too fearful of Israel after 1967 and the string of local victories by the IDF that followed, to dare launch another all out war against the Jewish State. A subsequent investigating committee discovered that the intelligence pointing to an imminent attack was all there — it was just discarded by the decision makers.

But, in the end, Ya’alon on Sunday night was not engaged in an educational effort to breed more independently thinking soldiers and officers. He was, in fact, declaring a culture war against rightwing Israel. He described the issue at hand as a struggle “against an extremist minority which is active on the ground and in social media. Some of it has infiltrated the social mainstream, too. Under cover and concealment it is trying to influence the character and values of the IDF. This is a hugely significant fight, perhaps the most vital and important in many years. Not only over the image of the IDF, but the image of Israeli society as well.”

Since the appointment of the new Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, the IDF has been engaged in a persistent effort to “de-Jewify” itself. Jewish education was removed from the military chief rabbinate and handed to HR, which in turn made it the purview of the Education corp, guaranteeing that it take on a secular bend. And there were several minor assaults on the traditional Jewish elements in the army, such as when soldiers were ordered to shave their beards. So that when Ya’alon reviles extremism he is not concerned with leftwing NGOs who turn in to the PA for imprisonment and a possible execution Arab land brokers. He is after the Jews.

 

YA’ALON AND THE WINTER AFFAIR

At this point we must pause to relate the story of Givati Brigade Commander Colonel Ofer Winter, who, on July 9, 2014, during the Gaza War, issued a daily “commander’s note” to his soldiers, in which he stated: “History has chosen us to serve at the forefront of the fighting against the terrorist enemy in Gaza, which is taunting, cursing and blaspheming against the God of the Armies of Israel. … I raise my eyes up to the heavens and say along with you, ‘Shema Israel, God is our Lord, God Is one.’ The God of Israel, please make successful the path we take as we prepare to fight for your nation Israel and against an enemy which blaspheme Your Name.”

Needless to say, the text, which refrenced Psalms 44 and Samuel I 17, as well as the She’ma Israel, was not received well by the Israeli largely secular media. It should be noted that Reform rabbi Uri Regev was among the first in Israel to attack the Colonel for mixing his private religious sentiments and the military. Many others continued to target Winter for the six months that followed.

It should be noted that Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon led the attacks on his subordinate. “I didn’t love it,” he told a forum of the heads of pre-military preparatory institutions. He said the Brigade Commander should have stuck with language that is common to all his recruits, presumably not language that cites from Jewish sources. He also questioned how a Druz soldier might have responded to the Jewish text, as if non-Jews should be naturally offended by the concept of a Jewish State and a Jewish army.

 

NETANYAHU VS. HIS GENERALS

Netanyahu has had a rough relationship with the military leadership for most of his terms as prime minister. It began in his first term in the late 1990s, with overt confrontations with then Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Amnon Lipkin-Shahak and head of Shabak Ami Ayalon, as well as Netanyahu’s defense minister at the time, Yitzhak Mordechai. Netanyahu dismissed Mordechai before he had a chance to resign, in 1999, and Mordechai left Likud along with several other members to establish a new Center party, which failed miserably and ended up joining Ehud Barak’s new Labor-led government.

If their meeting on Monday did not reach a working compromise, both leaders must be thinking back to the Yitzhak Mordechai episode and wondering how soon before Ya’alon would jump ship to Labor.

Ya’alon’s colleagues in the Likud went after him with a vengeance Monday morning. Culture Minister Miri Regev, who served as the IDF Spokesperson at one time, told Channel 2 News that “It is inconceivable that a serving officer would grab the reigns from the political echelon and conduct himself as if this is an army that also has a state.” She continued: “The defense minister is confused. Military officers should speak what’s in their hearts in the appropriate forum and regarding the issues under their care.”

Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz told Army Radio, “I do not understand what’s driving the defense minister in these statements. His job is to instill discipline in the IDF. There must be a red line between army and state and between army and politics. I think his words were a miserable mistake. Ben Gurion would never have allowed for such a thing to happen.”

And Likud MK Oren Hazan, who often opposes Netanyahu, stood squarely behind the PM in a tweet that went: “Someone should remind Bogy (Ya’alon’s nickname) that we are a democracy and not under martial law. The IDF is not a junta, his job is to carry out the decisions of the political echelon and not oppose it and set a different policy.”

JNi.Media

US State Dept ‘Concerned’ Iran Contest is ‘Platform for Holocaust Denial, Anti-Semitic Speech’

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry used his finest diplospeak Sunday to strongly urge Iran to cancel its Holocaust cartoon contest, even though it was highly unlikely Iran would cooperate.

The “suggestion” came in what appeared to be a prompt response to a personal request from Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry over the weekend to demand Iran cancel the Holocaust cartoon contest.

Netanyahu told reporters he had personally asked Kerry in a phone conversation Saturday night to condemn the Holocaust cartoon contest held over the weekend in Iran, the prime minister said Sunday.

“I think that every country in the world must stand up and fully condemn this,” Netanyahu said. “This is what I told US Secretary of State John Kerry last night in my conversation with him.”

Netanyahu posted photos of the contest registration being held in Tehran on Twitter with the tweet: Iran hosts Holocaust-denial cartoon contest while preparing another Holocaust. Shameful. Don’t stay quiet about it.”

Kerry was in Saudi Arabia on Sunday meeting with King Salman in talks on the conflicts in Syria, Libya and Yemen. He also met with the Saudi crown prince, deputy crown prince and foreign minister.

But Kerry was apparently also listening closely to the Israeli government’s outrage over Iran’s anti-Semitic Holocaust cartoon contest. He was also likely to have been considering the effect Iran’s actions – and America’s response – might have on the U.S. presidential election campaign, and/or the effect it could have on Israel’s increasingly close ties with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

Netanyahu is slated to fly to Moscow next month on an official state visit to mark the 25th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic ties with Russia.

Shortly after Netanyahu called on Kerry to denounce Iran’s actions, the State Department released a statement expressing “concern” over the effect the contest might have, and denouncing Holocaust denial in general.

“We are concerned that this contest in Iran could be used as a platform for Holocaust denial and revisionism and egregiously anti-Semitic speech, as it has in the past,” said the statement, tweeted by AP journalist Matt Lee.

“Such offensive speech should be condemned by the authorities and civil society leaders rather than encouraged. We denounce any Holocaust denial and trivialization as inflammatory and abhorrent. It is insulting to the memory of the millions of people who died in the Holocaust,” the statement said.

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu Demands That Kerry Condemn Iranian Holocaust Cartoon Contest

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally asked US Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday night to condemn the Holocaust cartoon contest held over the weekend in Iran, Netanyahu said on Sunday, while accusing of Iran of “preparing another Holocaust.”

“I think that every country in the world must stand up and fully condemn this,” Netanyahu said. “This is what I told US Secretary of State John Kerry last night in my conversation with him.”

Netanyahu’s conversation with Kerry preceded the US secretary of state’s scheduled meeting on Sunday in Saudi Arabia with Saudi King Salman on the conflicts in Syria, Yemen, and Libya.

The Holocaust cartoon conference in Iran over the weekend was not directly sponsored by the Iranian government though it was organized by the Owj Media & Cultural Institute and the Sarcheshmeh Cultural Institute, two non-governmental organizations with reported ties to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif denied the existence of any support from the Iranian government to the cartoon contest in an interview with the The New Yorker last month.

Iranian leaders, however, have a long history of Holocaust denial. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei released a video on his official website in January doubting whether the Holocaust is “a reality or not.”

“While it is not clear whether the core of this matter is a reality or not. Even if it is a reality, it is not clear how it happened,” Khamenei said in the video.

Netanyahu stressed the the problematic phenomenon of Holocaust revisionism in Iran, which held an international conference in December of 2006 that challenged the objective account of the Holocaust.

“We raise this here because it must be understood what our problem with Iran is,” said Netanyahu.

“It is not just its policy of subversion and aggression in the region; it is the values on which it is based,” continued Netanyahu. “It denies and belittles the Holocaust and it is also preparing another Holocaust.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-demands-that-kerry-condemn-iranian-holocaust-cartoon-contest/2016/05/15/

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