web analytics
May 1, 2016 / 23 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Benjamin Netanyahu’

American Reform Rabbis Warn of Disconnect with Israel

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

American Reform rabbis are warning of an imminent disconnect with Israel in their movement. The distance is growing over insulting comments by Israeli lawmakers and their outrage over the long-standing “Who is a Jew” issue that seems to again be returning for another round of debate between Israel and the Diaspora.

The Reform Movement is the largest stream of the faith in the United States, although it has marginal numbers in Israel. It has provided key support for the Jewish State both politically and financially in the U.S. and whenever Israel is threatened, the movement is among the first to respond.

The angst between American Reform Jewry and Israel was reflected during a meeting last week between the movement’s leaders and Israeli officials.

“How do you ask Jews around the world to support Israel politically, economically, socially … and at the same time you have these ministers who say to our people ‘you’re not really Jewish’ or ‘you don’t have a place here in Israel?’

“It’s a real problem for us,” said Rabbi Steven Fox, the chief executive of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. The 2,000-member CCAR held its septennial convention in Israel last week.

Israel faces a thorny dilemma, being a Jewish State where some key laws are based on those in Torah, such as the definition (for marital purposes) of “who is a Jew” and what constitutes a legitimate Jewish marriage and divorce.

The state has tried to make diplomatic compromises in that it has stretched the identification of a Jew to embrace all those who met “Hitler’s definition” – that is, anyone who can prove the Judaism of a single grandparent on either side.

But the American Reform movement today includes temples with mixed gender seating, female rabbis and members who violate the Sabbath by driving to services. Many no longer recognize the kosher laws as relevant either, relegating that practice to antiquity as an ancient law used to protect public health. Some members have even taken on the practice of installing a Christmas tree in the home around the winter holidays, so their children won’t feel “different.” Many are intermarried.

Last month after three years of delicate negotiations, the state risked a crisis with the Orthodox population and designated a special mixed-gender prayer section at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. In that section, women are permitted to wear prayer shawls and yarmulkas as do Jewish men.

The upheaval that followed rocked the Jewish world in Israel and the Orthodox world around the planet. Israel’s chief rabbis were furious and the rabbi of the Western Wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, threatened to resign.

The American Reform movement was overjoyed, as was the activist Women of the Wall organization.

But now American Reform rabbis are angry because an Israeli minister called the movement a “waning world.” Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, himself a secular Jew, pointed out that intermarriage and assimilation will eventually lead to the disappearance of the Jews who engage in those practices. Levin commented that the mixed-gender prayer site at the Western Wall would likely become unnecessary within two or three generations.

A hareidi-religious lawmaker was more abrupt and far less polite, comparing the Reform movement to the “mentally ill.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is not observant, was caught between having to try to force his lawmakers to behave with some dignity and respect, and having to pacify the deeply insulted visiting Reform rabbis.

Netanyahu had already rejected “disparaging and divisive remarks” about Reform Jews. He called the movement “part and parcel of the Jewish people” and reminded Israelis that a Jew is a Jew, regardless of which synagogue he attends. He also met with the visiting Reform rabbis, albeit without a public notice.

Hana Levi Julian

PM Netanyahu, Egyptian Ambassador Khairat, Meet at Knesset

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Monday (Feb. 29) at the Knesset with new Egyptian Ambassador to Israel Hazem Ahdy Khairat.

The two men discussed how to strengthen Israeli-Egyptian relations.

Also on the agenda was the issue of the “peace process” and final status talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu: No 2-State Solution Possible For Now

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is standing firm on a stance he took in 2009, at the start of his current tenure in office: that for Israel and the Palestinian Authority to “live side by side in peace” the PA must demilitarize and recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish People.

It has done neither, nor has its government expressed any intent to do so in the future. Instead, the PA has deliberately brainwashed an entire generation to grow up as future jihadists and anti-Israel terrorists. Its leaders continue to glorify killers with Jewish and Israeli blood on their hands, honoring them by marking events, public streets and other venues in their names. Social media campaigns, sermons in the mosques, school textbooks and government-approved children’s television programs all continue to eliminate any existence of the State of Israel and encourage murderous attacks against Jews and Israelis. Enticing children and teens’ summer camps featuring special military training are promoted every year. Families of convicted terrorists and those who die in attempted attacks enjoy a generous, guaranteed government-paid monthly income for life.

So why would a PA child or teen not want to grow up to kill Israelis? Why would any adolescent with the normal hormonal shifts of the teenage years not find solace after a fight with a parent, sibling or friend in reaching eternal peace and family honor as a shahid (Islamic war martyr)?

In such an environment, peace cannot even sprout, let alone blossom. Both Netanyahu and Opposition leader Isaac Herzog long ago reached this conclusion, albeit via different paths.

Netanyahu told the Knesset in its session on Wednesday the PA has yet to meet even the basic requirements for a final status agreement. He favors a two-state solution, he said – but practically speaking, it’s just not possible unless PA leaders meet the two basic requirements.

“The first principle is mutual recognition,” the prime minister said. “The Palestinian Authority demands we recognize a national state of theirs; and they will also have to recognize our national state, in any peace agreement. It is only natural for them to give us what they wish for themselves.”

In addition, the PA must demilitarize. “The Palestinian areas must be demilitarized of forces hostile to Israel,” Netanyahu said.

Nevertheless, negotiations were not precluded from the equation. The prime minister noted that talks have been launched in the past without these conditions having been met.

“I want to clarify once again for the thousandth time that I did not condition the start of negotiations on the acceptance of these principles,” he said.

“Rather, I made it clear that in order to complete the negotiations successfully, these principles had to be fulfilled.”

Netanyahu emphasized that only Israel can enforce such demilitarization, a point that both the United States and the European Union have repeatedly attempted to invalidate.

“Experience shows that neither the UN nor an international force but only the IDF and Israel’s security agencies can ensure this demilitarization. Israel must continue to be the force responsible for security on the ground,” he said.

“There is no security separation. None. It doesn’t exist,” Netanyahu said, responding to claims by the Opposition that “total separation” will ensure peace and can ensure Israel’s safety.

Herzog, as chairman of the Zionist Union party and leader of the Opposition had advocated for “total separation” — but reluctantly he too has told reporters in the past several weeks that a two-state solution is “just not possible at this point.”

“Israel must be responsible for its security,” Netanyahu underlined. Without the two basic requirements of a demilitarized Palestinian Authority state, and mutual recognition of each other’s right to a “homeland” Netanyahu made it clear that Israel cannot gamble with the lives of its citizens.

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu: ‘I Expect World to Condemn Desecration of a Synagogue’

Sunday, February 7th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Saturday night that Israel will hunt down and prosecute the arsonists who set fire a few hours earlier to Torah scrolls and holy books in a Judean synagogue next to the Jewish community of Karmei Tzur.

“Last night a synagogue in Givat Sorek, in Gush Etzion, was set on fire by Palestinians,” Netanyahu said in a post on his Facebook page, written in Hebrew and in English. “We will prosecute the perpetrators of this crime.

“I expect the international community to condemn the desecration of a synagogue, an act that is the result of incessant Palestinian incitement,” the prime minister stated.

The small prayer tent is located in a scenic spot overlooking the area where the bodies of three Israeli teens were found, who were murdered by Hamas terrorists after being abducted near their yeshiva in June 2014.

The flames badly damaged the sacred texts. They had been piled up outside the prayer tent before the arsonists set them afire.

Judea and Samaria district police said the footprints of the suspects were found leading to a Palestinian Authority village near the town of Halhul, according to Ynet.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, chairman of the Bayit Yehudi party, said in a statement that “a red line has been crossed… we will not allow this to go unpunished.”

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu Visits ‘Heroic, Resourceful’ Policewoman in Hospital

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited one of the two surviving wounded Israeli Border Guard Police officers hospitalized at Hadassah Mount Scopus Medical Center on Thursday.

Ravit was one of three who were wounded in a complex terror attack at the Damascus Gate entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem.

It was the police officers who prevented a certain mass casualty attack from taking place within the Old City, having fearlessly approached the suspects to ask for identification when they acted suspiciously. As one presented his ID, his two companions produced concealed guns and knives, and immediately stabbed the police officers.

The officer with whom the prime minister visited, Ravit, told him what had happened during the attack. She added, “We are here to protect Israel’s citizens. That’s why we enlisted, and why we are here.

“I have no doubt that Hadar knew this and acted from this belief. I realize that Hadar saved my life,” she said.

“Your responsiveness and resourcefulness prevented a huge disaster,” Netanyahu said in praise of all the officers. “All of Israel embraces you, and sends to you wishes for a speedy recovery.”

The prime minister also visited an IDF soldier wounded in a terror attack Sunday in Samaria near Beit El carried out by a member of the elite, U.S.-trained Palestinian Authority security police force.

After the visit, Netanyahu declared, “Ravit acted heroically and resourcefully along with her colleagues. Together with the commander of their force, they prevented a large disaster. And of course we are all saddened by the death of Hadar Cohen, a real heroine. We all embrace her family.”

Netanyahu told reporters the government is carrying out a “large effort against terror.

“Qabatiya (the home village of two of the terrorists) is closed. The IDF is operating there with the Shin Bet and making widespread arrests. We have canceled many work permits into Israel, and the attorney general informed me… he has added a number of terrorists’ homes to be marked for demolition. This is only a portion of our efforts.

“It will take time to overcome terror – Islamic terror has spread throughout the world, inciting millions in countries from Jakarta to Africa, all the way to California,” Netanyahu pointed out.

“We are in this fray – it is not passing us by – but we are fighting it with great power and will continue to do so.”

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu Talks ‘Cyber Defense’ in Davos with World Industry Leaders

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

Cyber defense was the number one item on the agenda at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting Thursday with top officials from Sony, Hitachi, Lenovo, Intel, IBM and Hewlett Packard at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Participants discussed cyber threats and their implications on the development and assimilation of innovative technologies.

The talk focused on the economic, social and strategic risks posed by these threats.

Also discussed was the cooperation required between government and business in order to use the cyber revolution for the benefit of global social welfare and economic growth.

Netanyahu emphasized that the rapid development of cyber is creating unprecedented opportunities for human society and the global economy.

He said, “Cyber has substantially changed basic elements of our lives both as individuals and nations. “In the new age, it is cyber defense that makes the future possible and constitutes a precondition for growth and security.” As a result, he said, Israel has set for itself the goal of becoming a cyber power as a top priority.

The Jewish State intends to become a “global cyber greenhouse,” Netanyahu said, “in which the spirit of innovation and technological assets create pioneering strategies and solutions for Israel and the world.”

Israel is carrying out various improvements in order to reduce the organizations’ vulnerability to cyber threats, he noted.

The country’s newly-established national cyber defense authority is working with the private sector on an ongoing basis even as it leverages the capabilities and know-how of the defense establishment, he pointed out.

Israeli cyber industry exports for 2015 stand at approximately $3.5 billion, Netanyahu said – around five percent of the $75 billion global market. Solely in products, Israel’s share is approximately seven percent. Private investments last year are estimated at $500 million, more than double the figure for 2014. Esimates on global private investments have yet to be issued. As of the first half of 2015, Israel’s share was almost 20 percent, second only to the United States. It is not expected that this will change significantly vis-à-vis for the entire year, Netanyahu said. Mergers and acquisitions for 2015 are estimated at $1.3 billion, almost double the figure for 2014.

The company leaders expressed appreciation for Israel’s cyber activity; Prime Minister Netanyahu invited them to invest in Israel and join the cyber companies that are already in Israel. Prime Minister’s Office Director General Eli Groner, Israel National Cyber Bureau (INCB) Head Dr. Eviatar Matania and National Economic Council Chairman Prof. Avi Simhon also participated in the meeting.

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu Meets With U.S. VP Joe Biden in Davos

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Thursday morning with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

He is also scheduled to meet with Secretary of State John Kerry, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Argentine President Mauricio Macri.

“The meeting was friendly and cordial and was held in an excellent atmosphere,” said the prime minister’s media adviser in a statement. “The two men discussed Middle East security and strategic issues and energy.”

On Tuesday, the U.S. joined the United Nations and the Palestinian Authority in condemning Israel’s plans to designate 370 acres of agricultural land in the Jordan Valley as official state land.

State Department spokesperson Mark Toner said in a statement, “We strongly oppose any steps that could accelerate settlement expansion and we believe they’re fundamentally incompatible with a two-state solution and call into question frankly the Israeli government’s commitment to a two-state solution.”

Netanyahu flew to Davos on Wednesday with his wife Sara and a delegation that includes National Economic Council Chairman Professor Avi Simhon and National Cyber Bureau head Dr. Eviatar Matania, as well as the director of the prime minister’s office, director-general Eli Groner. He is expected to return Friday.

Although the prime minister’s main objective is to present the Israeli economy to the international community in a positive light, with emphasis on its strength in cyber and technology, Netanyahu also will obviously take the opportunity for necessary chats with relevant global leaders.

So far, he has met with Uber co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick and HP president and CEO Meg Whitman. Also on the schedule is a public dialogue with CNN journalist Fareed Zakaria.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-meets-with-u-s-vp-joe-biden-in-davos/2016/01/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: