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January 22, 2017 / 24 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘case’

Knesset Rejects Bill Calling to Appoint Replacement for Netanyahu ‘Just in Case’

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

With 47 nays and 32 yeas, the Knesset plenum rejected in a preliminary reading a bill submitted by MK Merav Michaeli (Zionist Camp) to compel every sitting government to appoint a replacement for the prime minister who is at the helm, who would be “a heartbeat way” should the PM be rendered unable to carry out his duties.

The opposition bill was submitted against a backdrop of growing expectations that Israel’s police will soon recommend to the state prosecution to open criminal procedures against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The current law gives the PM permission to appoint a substitute, but does not compel him or her to do so. The bill’s author suggests that “this creates a situation whereby, should the prime Minister become unable to carry out his duties, God forbid, the country could experience governmental distress.”

The bill went on to recall that on Dec. 27, 2013, Prime Minister Netanyahu was rushed to hospital, to be released two hours later, and during that time there was no specific person in charge of the government.

On the other hand, the bill continues, when in 2006 then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon fell into a coma, he had luckily appointed a substitute, Finance Minister Ehud Olmert, before falling into a coma. Alas, in 2008 Olmert was forced to leave office in disgrace, but that’s an entirely other kettle of fish.

MKs on both sides of the aisle were painfully (or joyously) aware of the sitting prime minister’s mounting legal problems, which so far have resulted in Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, being questioned by police investigators for many hours each (the PM in two sessions). Prime Minister Netanyahu is facing allegations in several cases, two of which were made public for the first time only this month. The “Case 1000” and “Case 2000,” which are reportedly linked, that he received very expensive gifts and benefits businessmen in Israel and abroad, in return for political favors.


Internal Report: Majority of IDF Soldiers Don’t Expect Support from Commanders in Case of Errors

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Just 41% of IDF combat soldiers expect their commanders to support them should they make a mistake, according to an internal IDF survey reported by Ha’aretz Thursday. When the respondents include a sample of the entire IDF population, a small majority, 51%, believe they would receive support.

Only 61% of combat soldiers say they are pleased with their commanders. In 2014 the figure was 65%, in 2012 76%.

Only 23% of combat soldiers want to become officers. In 2014 it was 24%, and in 2012 33%. Only 25% of combat soldiers consider a military career, compared with 32% in 2014 and 41% in 2012.

The study authors noted that “it can be assumed that these findings were influenced by the events with Elor Azaria.”

Interestingly, despite their clear mistrust, 73% of IDF combat soldiers say they are satisfied with their service, compared with 76% in 2012. However, when asked if combat service contributes more to the country, only 40% of combat soldiers agreed, compared with 54% in 2014. Among the general IDF population 41% feel the same way.

The IDF Spokesman’s Office refused to comment on what they said was an internal survey.

David Israel

FBI on the Case of Coordinated 16 JCC Bomb Threats

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and local police are investigating the source of Monday’s “robocall bomb threats” to 16 Jewish community centers in nine states. So far, no bombs have been found. According to Reuters, security officials said on Tuesday that the wave of telephone bomb threats possibly came from the same number, via an automated calling system.

But Paul Goldenberg, national director of nonprofit Secure Community Network advising Jewish groups on security matters, told Reuters only a few calls used “robocalling” and the rest were made manually.

So far the FBI has not mentioned suspects, motive, or a theory as to why the callers targeted Jewish centers in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and South.

“Bomb threats to Jewish communities are nothing new,” Goldenberg told Reuters. “What’s extraordinary is that we had so many in such a short period of time.”

Back in May, 2016, a wave of threats driven by automated calls were directed at schools across at least four US time zones, forcing authorities to lock down school buildings and evacuate students. Some districts reported that the calls included a bomb threat while others just described the calls as “threatening.” The calls were reported in California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

Monday’s phone calls were made to JCCs in Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Also on Monday, nine Jewish and non-Jewish schools across UK were put on alert after hoax bomb threats. The Metropolitan Police said in a statement: “Police were alerted at around 10:30 AM hrs on Monday, 9 January, to phone calls made to schools in Roehampton, Ilford and Brent in which bomb threats were made. Police officers attended the schools. All three incidents were stood down a short time later. An investigation into the threat will be conducted.”

It is still not clear if the calls against the British and American schools were related. According to Reuters, an analysis indicated the UK calls came from separate countries.

David Israel

Passover Vacation Punishment Case Against Orthodox Employee Continues to Travel Through the Courts

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

Susan Abeles’ saga began in 2013 when she took time off to observe the last two days of Passover, just as she had done annually for the past 26 years. During those years, Abeles, an Orthodox Jew, worked for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), mainly as a data specialist. The MWAA is the government-created public body that oversees Reagan National Airport in the District of Columbia and Dulles International Airport in Virginia. In 2013, the MWAA stunned Abeles by suddenly labeling her annual Passover time off as “AWOL” absenteeism. The charge arose not because Abeles failed to notify her supervisors in advance, which she had done multiple times in writing, but because the authority disapproved of how she reminded her supervisor, who was also on leave and could not be reached.

To punish Abeles, the MWAA slapped her with a five-day suspension without pay. Shaken, Abeles saw the action by her employer as a clear infringement of her religious rights prompted solely because she took time for the Jewish holiday. The last two days of the eight-day holiday are considered holy to all observant Jews throughout America, who abstain from work during that time. Due to the suspension, Abeles felt compelled to take involuntary retirement rather than endure what she has termed continued “harassment on account of her religious faith.”

For years, Abeles was told to routinely schedule her religious days off via various ordinary, direct means, including use of the official Outlook calendar utilized by her department. In 2013, the MWAA required an advance verbal approval from Abeles’ immediate supervisor. Even though Abeles, as in prior years, provided her supervisors with a complete list of all the days she would be out for religious holidays in 2013, her immediate supervisor was on leave the last work day prior to the end of Passover and was not available to acknowledge the final submitted request. So Abeles did the next best thing: she sent an email reminder to both her supervisor and her supervisor’s supervisor. The ranking supervisor promptly acknowledged the reminder with a reply email stating, “Thanks.” Despite these efforts, Abeles was still punished.

In May 2015, after Abeles left the MWAA, she sued the authority and her two supervisors, Valerie O’Hara and Julia Hodge, in Federal Court. Famed Jewish civil rights attorneys Nathan Lewin and daughter Alyza Lewin took up her cause. The Lewins charged violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. Defending the MWAA and its supervisors is Morris Kletzkin of the Washington, DC firm Friedlander Misler, and other attorneys.

The lower court dismissed the case, asserting Abeles had been properly penalized. The Lewins appealed. On December 8, 2016, the case was argued before the Federal Appeals court in Richmond Virginia, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III presiding. Several dozen local yeshiva students who had heard about the controversy jammed the courtroom to hear the legal case for penalizing Abeles for what she had been doing for more than two decades — taking her annual Passover leave.

Abeles’ legal claim involves a 1973 amendment to the Civil Rights Act that requires private employers to make a “reasonable accommodation” for employees’ religious observances, as well as the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. MWAA has contended that neither the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act provisions nor its Virginia state equivalent apply to it. The authority claims that although its board is appointed by the president of the United States, the governors of Virginia and Maryland, as well as the mayor of the District of Columbia, it is not subject to either the federal or Virginia laws protecting religious freedom against infringements upon religious observance.

The Authority’s defense has revolved around the minutiae of workplace process, because Abeles had not followed precise verbal procedures in this instance. For its part, the MWAA openly took the position in prior filings that Abeles, despite her 26 years of loyal service, “was a long-term, albeit mediocre, employee.” By utilizing the years-long procedure of email and official Outlook calendar postings in 2013, and not verbally reminding her direct supervisor and getting oral approval, Abeles was guilty of “insubordination,” the defendants argued. The Authority’s brief even denigrated Abeles’ legal arguments as “most bizarre.”

The oral arguments in Richmond lasted about an hour. After much debate about arcane job procedures, an exasperated Nathan Lewin finally declared:

Your Honor, I’m an Orthodox Jew. When I’ve worked for people, I’ve given them a list of what the Jewish holidays are at the beginning of the year. And they know that means I’m going to be out for those days. This is a phony response by [the company] saying, “We didn’t know why you would be out.” Of course, they knew why she was out. Everybody in the whole company knew that she was a Sabbath observer and for 26 years had been absent on Jewish holidays. She listed all the Jewish holidays at the beginning of the year. And, suddenly, to penalize her even though she has listed them and has notified her supervisors on the day before she was gone — we submit that’s outrageous.

After the hearing, Lewin addressed the assembled yeshiva students in the corridor, reminding them that in the real world, Orthodox Jews are not expected to secure signed notices before they take off for holidays.

The American Jewish Committee, the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs (COLPA) and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty have all filed amicus briefs on behalf of Abeles. COLPA argued that if the lower court’s adverse ruling “is adopted, a significant number of Sabbath observers might find it impossible to maintain their jobs and remain faithful to the dictates of their conscience.” Eric Rassbach, deputy general counsel of the Becket Fund, quipped, “It takes some chutzpah for the government to punish a Jewish woman for celebrating Passover. It takes even more chutzpah to say that they are the only government agency in DC exempt from our civil rights laws.”

Immediately after the oral arguments in Richmond, attorney Kletzkin was contacted by phone, refused to answer any questions and did not respond to this reporter’s email. Bruce Heppen, MWAA associate general counsel, refused to take a call on the case. Craig Marlow, a staffer in Heppen’s office referred calls to MWAA media relations, which did not reply to a voice mail message. Another media duty officer, Rob Yingling, issued a terse comment stating, “The Airports Authority does not comment on pending litigation.”

Asked how she felt after years of frustration in the case, Abeles stated:

My Jewish faith is an integral part of who I am and that includes observing Passover. I worked at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority for twenty-six years and provided to various supervisors the same advance notice of all Jewish holidays without incident. It is saddening that despite following the same protocol I had each year, I was put on AWOL and suspended for five days which drove me to retire early for simply practicing my faith.

Nathan Lewin said if needed he might appeal the case to the United States Supreme Court. “This is the ultimate plain denial of religious observance by an employer. Abeles gave plenty of notice and she got ambushed by her employer.” He added, “If this case is not illegal, then no such case will be illegal.”

Edwin Black

The Strange Case Of Senator Schumer

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

We are sorely disappointed in Chuck Schumer, the senior U.S. senator from New York.

For one thing, despite his seeming courageous defiance of President Obama last year in voting against the Iran nuclear deal, he has now declared that despite his vastly increased influence as Senate minority leader and the election to the presidency of an avowed opponent of the agreement, he is not prepared to work to end it.

In fact, because of the intricacies of Senate rules, the Democratic minority will have a lot to say about what gets passed in that body.

We continue to believe the Iran deal presents grave threats to U.S. security and perhaps an existential threat to Israel. That Mr. Schumer, who will now be in a position to do something about it, chooses to punt is very disturbing and puts into doubt the notion that he was being forthright in his initial opposition to the agreement.

Indeed, there were some who suggested at the time that Sen. Schumer made a deal with President Obama that he, Sen. Schumer, would vote against the Iran agreement only if his vote were not needed for approval. According to this view, Mr. Schumer was able to cravenly have his cake and eat it too, as it were.

For another thing, Sen. Schumer has now taken to strongly supporting the appointment of Congressman Keith Ellison for chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee. Mr. Ellison has been a relentless critic of Israel and proponent of the Palestinian narrative, has been a defender of the Nation of Islam’s Rev. Louis Farrakhan, and led an effort to insert an anti-Israel plank in the most recent Democratic Party platform.

The problem is that the DNC chairman will be the de facto face of the Democratic Party and its most potent organizing and fundraising tool at least until the next presidential campaign gets underway more than three years from now.

Already the Democratic Party in recent years has become vulnerable to the blandishments of anti-Israel voices such as Sen. Bernie Sanders. So the problem will become exponentially greater should Ellison become chairman and the longtime reality of solid bipartisan support for Israel takes another major hit.

Incredibly, Sen. Schumer freely admits that he supports Mr. Ellison because of Sen. Sanders’s importuning. He acknowledges his problems with Mr. Ellison’s feelings about Israel but brushes them off: “I’m not worried about the Israel stuff even though he and I disagree.”

Chuck Schumer has always been a stalwart supporter of Israel, which makes his current behavior all the more difficult to understand.

Editorial Board

Eight Crucial Things You Need to Know About the Amona Case

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

Yehuda Yifrach, Courts Editor for Makor Rishon, on Friday listed the eight most important and least known facts about the Amona case. If you haven’t read a rightwing Jewish publication in the last month, Amona is a community of some 40 Jewish families in Samaria, slated by the Supreme Court for demolition on Dec. 25. You can read some background material here.

1. Jordan had no right to parcel out lands
When the Amona case first reached the Supreme Court, a representative of the land registrar for the IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) argued that despite the fact that the location was a bald and abandoned mountaintop, there existed documented parcels of land which had been registered by the Jordanian government as belonging to area sheiks and clans. However, as an invading and occupying power, Jordan had no right to award these lands. Jordan’s rule over the “West Bank” was not recognized by the vast majority of UN member states save for the UK and Pakistan, and so this local Arab “ownership” is based on a lie.

2. Only 0.5% of the Amona land is registered to private Arab owners
After the Supreme Court had ruled in their favor, anti-Israeli NGO Yesh Din, which has been at the forefront of the Lawfare attacks on the Jewish State, decided to sue for damages over the years of denied use of the parcels in question. The problem is that while the Supreme Court does not entertain evidence, lower courts do, and in Jerusalem Magistrate Court it was discovered that out of the nine Arab petitioners, seven own land that is entirely outside the Amona perimeter, and have had no problem working their land had they been so inclined. The remaining two owned only a sliver – about half an acre altogether, out of the 125 acres of the Amona territory – less than .5%. The remaining land is registered to names of non-existent people who do not appear in the 1967 census.

3. COGAT didn’t differentiate between the parcels with known and unknown ownership
Despite the above facts, the COGAT prosecution related to the parcels whose owners are unknown as being privately owned, declaring that some 15 acres in the southern part of the settlement belonged to real private owners. They then told the court that, in fact, there was no difference between the various parts of the community and that the half-acre that became 15 acres was, in effect, indistinguishable from the rest, and the entire community had to come down.

4. The Settlement Arrangements Act does not violate international law
Regarding the Settlement Arrangements Act, which the left, as well as senior Netanyahu cabinet officials, are saying violates international law, former Tel Aviv University president and international law expert Prof. Yoram Dinstein has argued that “when an occupier appropriates the power to legislate in an occupied territory, said power belongs to the occupying state and not to one of its organs (COGAT).” In a recent article, Prof. Dinstein has shown how international law is entirely indifferent regarding the particular mechanics of legislation in an occupied zone, be it the local general or be it the government that posted said general in said zone.

5. International law compels Israel to care for the rights of Jewish and Arab resident
Another popular argument against the Settlement Arrangements Act is that it violates international law because it sanctions the impounding of Arab owned land for the sake of a Jewish community. However, it has been noted that international law compels the occupier to care for the needs of all the civilians under its rule, Jews and Arabs alike, and the right of a government to expropriate private property for public use, with proper payment of compensation (eminent domain) is inherent in exerting such care.

6. The Settlement Arrangements Act is consistent with the pre-67 law in Judea and Samaria
This one is quite interesting.
Unbeknownst to many, the Settlement Arrangements Act is consistent with the legal systems that were in use in Judea and Samaria before 1967. Both Ottoman law and Jordanian law determine that in a case where a man built and planted in good faith land belonging to another, should the value of the construction exceed the value of the land, the land owner is compelled to receive compensation.

7. Israel legislates retroactively when needed
Another argument against the Settlement Arrangements Act is that it retroactively alters a court ruling. But the state of Israel regularly legislates retroactively, as in the amendment that reversed many hundreds of court sentences of Arab terrorists, to facilitate the Gilad Shalit deal with Hamas.

8. The Settlement Arrangements Act is not unconstitutional
Finally, the most crucial argument against the Settlement Arrangements Act is that it is unconstitutional – the constitution in this case being Israel’s Basic Laws. Setting aside the paradox whereby one Knesset law is inapplicable in the territories while the same Knesset’s basic laws are applicable – does Israel’s basic law really dictate that 40 families with their 200 children who have lived in Amona for 20 years be evicted to satisfy the alleged rights of two claimants who own less than .5% of the land and have never lived there? Has the court become so immoral as to be the enemy of its constituents without any foundation?


Betrayed by Obama in 2014, IDF Switching to Rafael Missiles in Case of Hellfire Embargo

Friday, November 11th, 2016

In the summer of 2014, in the middle of the 50-day Gaza War (Operation Protective Edge), the Obama Administration betrayed its “greatest ally in the Middle East” by suspending arms shipments to Israel, and delaying delivery of US-made Hellfire missiles to Israel — expressing concerns that Israel would employ these missiles in areas in Gaza population centers. The unimaginable has happened.

This act of betrayal immediately led to Israel reassessing its views on US aid, particularly the notion that it could always depend on US re-supplies in wartime, and initiated new weapons projects to reduce its dependence on US weapons.

According to a Ynet report this week, The IAF has now modified its Apache helicopters to enable use of Rafael-manufactured air-to-surface missiles alongside and US-mad Hellfire. It means Israel will no longer be at the mercy of future American administrations when it comes to utilizing its most important advantage against Hamas — the helicopter.

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems manufactures a number of air-to-surface missiles, most notably the Popeye and the Have Lite missiles. Its website lists their Main features as being effective against high value land and maritime targets; versatile and cost-effective; offering pinpoint accuracy and lethal efficiency; day, night and adverse weather operation; Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) capability; and featuring a variety of trajectories to meet weather and threat conditions.

Israel deals directly with US companies for the vast majority of its military purchases, but those still require US government permission, which is far from being automatic. In March 2000 the Israeli government was refused permission to purchase BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles.

Incidentally, although the US sells Israel close to $3 billion in weapons, paid for by an aid agreement, the US military uses a variety of Israeli-made military equipment, including:

ADM-141 TALD (Improved Tactical Air Launched Decoy) – a device used to protect warplanes from enemy fire.

AGM-142 Have Nap “Popeye” – the standoff air-to-surface missile with precision guidance we described above.

M120 mortar – A 120 mm mortar developed by Soltam Systems.

B-300 / Shoulder-launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon (SMAW) – An anti-tank or bunker buster recoilless rifle developed by Israel Military Industries. The SMAW is based on the Israeli B-300.

Cardom – A 120 mm “recoil mortar system” using modern electronic navigation, self-positioning, and target acquisition.

Gabriel (missile) – A sea skimming anti-ship missile.

SIMON breach grenade – A rifle grenade designed to breach through doors.

LITENING targeting pod – A precision targeting pod designed to increase combat effectiveness of aircraft.

International MaxxPro – An MRAP armored fighting vehicle.

Samson Remote Controlled Weapon Station – A remote weapon system.

IAI Kfir – An all-weather multirole combat aircraft formerly used by the US Navy for training purposes.

DASH III helmet-mounted display – The first modern Western HMD, upon which the JHMCS was based.

Uzi submachine gun – compact submachine gun primarily used by the ZIM Integrated Shipping Services merchant marine and formerly the United States Secret Service.


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/betrayed-by-obama-in-2014-idf-switching-to-rafael-missiles-in-case-of-hellfire-embargo/2016/11/11/

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