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March 3, 2015 / 12 Adar , 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Binyamin Netanyahu’

PM Netanyahu Competes in International Bible Quiz

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu competed on Tuesday in the fifth International Bible Quiz held in Jerusalem on Tuesday… but despite his year-long study sessions at the prime minister’s office and at home, the winner was an Israeli named Hananel Malka.

Netanyahu accepted the loss with grace, commenting that he loves to learn.

“I study Bible every week with my son, and I draw enormous strength from it,” the prime minister said. “Therefore I decided to re-establish the Bible Quiz for adults, and I renewed the Bible department…

“That’s the spirit that gives us the strength to stand against all of the challenges and pressures,” he added.

Deputy Education Minister Avi Wortzman told participants at the competition, “The Bible was and is the main unifier of our identity as a nation. The Bible is the source of our lives; it is the source of our rights to fight for our lives here in the Land of Israel.”

Wortzman added that just as the Bible is connected to all, “we must do everything so that it returns to the main street of Israeli society.”

President Erdogan Sends Hanukkah Greetings to Turkey’s Jews, Beats Obama to Holiday!

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lost no time this year in publicly offering warm holiday wishes and Chanukah greetings to the nation’s Jewish community.

In fact, he issued that greeting via all media outlets an entire day ahead of the holiday, light years ahead of the annual holiday greeting to the Jews of America issued from the White House by President Barack Obama.

(By the way, there was no such delay in this year’s greeting from Obama to American Muslims for this year’s holy Islamic month of Ramadan, which began on Saturday evening, June 28. Obama’s holiday salutation came a full day ahead of time, on Friday June 27, 2014.)

“I congratulate our Jewish citizens on the advent of Hanukkah with my most sincere wishes. We see the diversity in our social, cultural and anthropological being as the greatest wealth that has made Turkey what it is today, and reinforced its unity and cooperation as well as enhanced our solidarity and fondness,” Erdogan said in a statement released Monday by Turkey’s Presidential Press Center.

“Turkey will continue to carefully protect this rich cultural and historical heritage carefully today, as it has done until now,” the statement continued, according to an article posted in the Daily Sabah.

The Turkish newspaper went on to explain that “Hanukkah Day, celebrated by the Jews worldwide for eight days and nights, is celebrated on the 25th day of Jewish month of Kislev, which coincides with late November to late December on the secular calendar. In Hebrew, Hanukkah means “dedication”, as the holiday celebrates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Jewish victory against Seleucid monarchy in 165 B.C.E.”

Absolutely correct.

Coming from the leader of nearly any other industrialized nation, this greeting to Jewish citizens would be prompt, timely for all time zones, and not at all out of place. But this is the president of Turkey we are talking about, the man with a track record of ambivalence, at best, in his relationship with Jews and the Jewish State.

Erdogan scored major points in the majority Muslim population in Turkey this summer for raising more than $20 million in aid to Gaza residents left homeless after Israel’s defensive war with Hamas and allied terrorists.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Authority Arab families were aided by Turkey, including many in Judea and Samaria as well. In addition, Turkish aircraft transferred a number of wounded to Ankara for medical treatment as well. But the aid was secured by an agreement with Israel, and the aircraft used an Israeli airport. Israel facilitated the movement of goods from the aircraft to their destinations, and patients were transported to the aircraft the same way.

All that, despite some rather vicious, anti-Israel rhetoric by the same Turkish president-elect who the day before Chanukah offered warm greetings to his Jewish citizens.

In July, Erdogan told the Daily Sabah, “Jews in Turkey are our citizens. We are responsible for the security of their lives and property… I talked with our Jewish citizens’ leaders… and stated that they should adopt a firm stance and release a statement against the Israeli government. I will contact them again, but whether or not they release a statement, we will never let Jewish people in Turkey get hurt.” Erdogan suggested that Turkish Jewish leaders criticize “Israeli aggression,” the newspaper said, and said Israel’s government “abuses all Jewish people around the world for its fraudulent policies.”

It was Erdogan who said that Israel had “committed acts of genocide and surpassed Hitler in barbarism” during the summer war forced on the Jewish State by incessant rocket fire launched by Hamas.

Jack Rosen, president of the American Jewish Congress, sent a letter to Erdogan in July, demanding he return the Profiles in Courage award he received in 2004. Rosen wrote that Erdogan was “spewing dangerous rhetoric for political gain and inciting the Turkish population to violence against the Jewish people… your attacks on Jews call into question everything we honored you for… However, should your views change in the future we hope to be able to return the Profile of Courage award.” Subsequently Erdogan returned the award.

Netanyahu Says Israel Can Withstand PA’s UN Diplomatic Attack

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says the Jewish State will withstand the diplomatic ambush being prepared by the Palestinian Authority and Arab Nations in the halls of the United Nations.

Netanyahu said at the start of Sunday’s weekly government cabinet meeting this week that any resolution to force Israel to withdraw to the 1949 Armistice Lines by November 2016 – as is called for in a draft resolution circulated by Jordan – will be rejected by the UN Security Council.

“This will bring the radical Islamic elements to the suburbs of Tel Aviv and to the heart of Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said. “We will not allow this. We will rebuff this forcefully and responsibly. Let there be no doubt; this will be rejected.”

Washington appeared to waffle on whether or not to commit to a concrete veto of any resolution that would force an Israeli withdrawal to the “1967 lines,” as the 1949 Armistice lines are sometimes referred to.

Nevertheless, a senior U.S. official told the Reuters news agency the Palestinian Authority proposal as currently phrased was not acceptable.

“The Palestinian draft through the Jordanians contains a hard deadline for the withdrawal from the West Bank of two years, so that is not the way we would look at handling a very complicated security negotiation, by simply mandating a flat deadline of two years,” the official explained.

Netanyahu has made it clear that the most recent spate of rocket fire from Gaza during last summer’s 50-day Operation Protective Edge underscored the risks Israelis have faced daily since the last time a major piece of territory was handed back to PA Arabs. More than 12,000 rockets, missiles and mortars have peppered southern and central Israel since that time, killing and mutilating thousands of Israeli civilians. That was the price for having uprooted nearly two dozen Jewish towns and expelled nearly 9,000 families from their homes and businesses – and in Judea and Samaria alone, nearly half a million Jews call the region “home.”

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to meet with Netanyahu in Rome to discuss the various alternative proposals circulating around the UN.

Kerry then travels to Paris for talks with his European counterparts before leaving for London, where he will meet with Arab envoys.

PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat will join a delegation of foreign ministers from the Arab League in meeting with Kerry in hopes of persuading the U.S. not to use its veto in the UN Security Council against the PA proposal.

Netanyahu, American Jews Urge White House to Free Pollard

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made a personal call to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Saturday night after hearing that former agent Jonathan Pollard fell unconscious in a North Carolina prison and was taken to a hospital.

Netanyahu urged the United States to grant release to the former spy, who has applied for parole but whose request was rejected by the parole board.

“Pollard’s life is in danger. After 30 years in prison it’s time he should be released and live the rest of his life as a free man,” Netanyahu said Saturday night after the phone call.

Netanyahu’s efforts were followed up by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which also issued a statement urging President Barack Obama to commute the remainder of Pollard’s sentence to time served.

“We urge President Obama, especially in this holiday season and given Mr. Pollard’s worsening health, to take steps immediately to expedite Mr. Pollard’s release and to commute his life sentence to the more than 29 years he has already served,” the group stated.

Authorities plan to return Pollard to the infirmary at the federal prison where he is incarcerated in Butner, North Carolina. Reportedly he will require surgery in the coming days, according to activists working for his release.

The former Navy analyst was convicted on a single count of passing classified information to an ally — Israel — and has been in prison since his arrest in 1985. He was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 despite having agreed to a plea bargain deal with the prosecutor’s office. The crime for which he was jailed usually carries a sentence of two to four years in prison.

Bennett Cites Agreement with Netanyahu During Campaign

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Bayit Yehudi party chairman Naftali Bennett have agreed to a truce, at least during the upcoming campaign, according to Bennett’s account.

The two men have often been at odds with each other over the past year, even during this past summer’s counter terror Operation Protective Edge.

But in order to face a common threat to a possible coalition deal ahead, the two came to an “arrangement,” Bennett said Saturday night while at the Saban Forum.

“I was critical, and I still am critical of his policies,” Bennett said. “He supports a Palestinian state and I oppose it. I thought that in many cases he made mistakes and I told him, and sometimes publicly, when I thought it might influence the outcome.”

However, he added, “We have an arrangement where we don’t attack each other during these elections. Last time I was strongly attacked by Likud, and ultimately we want to form a strong national bloc which, obviously in my opinion, is good for Israel.”

 

Kerry Says US ‘Not Involved,’ Hopes Israel’s New Gov’t ‘Can Negotiate’

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was cautious Tuesday and offered no direct comment on Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision to take the government to new elections by firing Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni.

In Brussels, he ducked questions from international journalists who asked how he thought the decision might affect relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

“We hope that whatever government is formed, or whether there are elections, that those elections will produce the possibility of a government that can negotiate and move towards resolving the differences between Israelis and Palestinians, and obviously, the differences in the region,” Kerry said.

The first political poll of the “new season” shows that the next Israeli government is likely to be “more right wing and extreme,” observed PA Foreign Minister Riad Maliki. Speaking from the PA capital of Ramallah in the Samaria region, Maliki estimated that such a government might draw more international support for the Palestinian Authority’s effort to secure recognition as an independent sovereign country.

 The current Israeli coalition broke down over Netanyahu’s decision to submit a bill to define Israel at the legislative level as the “Jewish State.” Although Israel is already defined as such in its declaration of independence, Netanyahu is insisting the definition must be reiterated at the constitutional level in order to send a message to the rest of the world, and in particular to Israel’s enemies.

In the version of the measure authored by Netanyahu (there have been several different versions of the bill, authored by others) Israel’s democratic character is preserved and the rights of all other citizens are maintained, contrary to reports circulated in some international media.

 Hebrew is listed as the national language, with Arabic as an honorary but not mandatory second.

Election Fever in Israel

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

The Likud party, led by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, is set to hold primary elections next month. Members will cast their ballots on January 4, 2015 to decide who will lead the party, just a day before primaries are held by the Bayit Yehudi party, led by Naftali Bennett, for the same reason.

The announcement that the two leading right wing parties in Israel are both set to hold primary elections next month comes in the wake of a failed “peace” attempt between Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid, chairman of the left-centrist Yesh Atid party, on Monday night.

The prime minister told Lapid at that meeting the coalition would be unable to stand as long as Lapid and his party members continued to attack the very same government in which they participate.

Netanyahu listed five conditions to be met by Lapid in order to hold the coalition together and avoid early elections:

  • Cease attacks on the coalition, Israeli construction in Jerusalem and the nation’s relations with the United States;
  • Transfer NIS 6 billion to the defense budget to fund development of APCs (armored personnel carriers), the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, and military training programs;
  • Release funds to facilitate the IDF move to the Negev in accordance with previous agreements. The project was officially frozen Sunday by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon due to a lack of funds from Finance Ministry;
  • Support the Jewish State Law version authored by Netanyahu as presented at the cabinet meeting on Sunday;
  • Freeze the zero percent VAT bill, a centerpiece project of Yair Lapid.

Given the final condition in particular, it appears that early elections are inevitable. The  zero percent VAT bill is one that Lapid has promised his constituents he will pass.

The Yesh Atid party said in an official statement following the Netanyahu-Lapid meeting that the prime minister “chose to act irresponsibly and put the needs of the Israeli public at the end of his list of priorities… The prime minister prefers to drag the entire economy into elections that will paralyze the economy, will stop all the reforms designed to benefit the citizens of Israel and prevent young couples from having the opportunity to buy their own apartment with the realization of the zero percent VAT law.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/election-fever-in-israel/2014/12/02/

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