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October 22, 2016 / 20 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Defense Minister’

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

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

President Reuven Rivlin’s eulogy at the funeral of Israel’s Ninth President Shimon Peres

Friday, September 30th, 2016

“Laugh and play with my dreams, I am the dreamer who wanders. Play because in man I will believe, and I still believe in you.” So wrote the poet Shaul Tchernichovsky, and so you played, our dear President, during the uplifting moments of elation, in times of difficulty and crisis, and with the small joys of day-to-day life, “because in man I will believe, and I still believe in you.”

I am speaking to you today for the final time Shimon, “as one President to another”, as you would say each time you called to offer strength and good advice. As I speak, my eyes search for you, our dear brother, our older brother, and you are not there. Today you are gathered to your forefathers in the land which you loved so, but your dreams remain, and your beliefs uninterred. As one man you carried an entire nation on the wings of imagination, on the wings of vision. The “Brave son”, was the pseudonym you chose as a youth, as the name of Isaiah the Prophet, a visionary. Yet, you were not only a man of vision, you were a man of deeds. Like you, I was also born into the Zionist Movement in those decisive years between vision and fulfillment. I was fortunate to look up to you as a partner in the building of the State of Israel from its very foundations. For both of us, the State of Israel could never be taken for granted. However, with much thanks to you Shimon, for our sons and daughters, for our friends – and yes for our opponents – the State of Israel is an indisputable fact.

You had the rare ability, Shimon, to conceive what seemed to be the inconceivable, and see it to fruition. Your eyes saw far ahead, while your feet covered great distances on the landscape of Jewish and Zionist history. You always walked onward and upward, as a skilled mountaineer who secures his hook before ascending ever higher to the peak. This is how you lived your life. At first you would dream, and only when in your mind’s eye could you truly see the State of Israel reaching new heights, would you then begin to climb, and take us all with you towards the new goal. You succeeded in moving even the most stubborn of politicians, and to melt away even the hardest of hearts of our opponents. You strived until your final breaths to reach the pinnacle of the Zionist dream: an independent, sovereign state, existing in peace with our neighbors. Yet you also knew that true peace could only be achieved from a position of strength, and you were sure to secure the path to this goal. Few among us understand, and much more will be written about how many mountains you moved, from the days of the State’s establishment and till today in order to ensure our security and our military qualitative edge. How deep was your belief in the sacred combination of ethical leadership and military prowess, that Israel must act not just with wisdom, but with justice, faithful at every moment to its values as a Jewish and democratic state, democratic and Jewish.

My dear Shimon, you were the only one in the history of the State of Israel to serve in the three most senior positions in government: Foreign Minister, Defense Minister, and Finance Minister. You are the only one to have served as Prime Minister and as President. It is no exaggeration to say that: more than you were blessed to be President of this great nation, this nation was blessed to have you as its President. In all these roles you were our head, but even more so, my dear friend, you were our heart; a heart that loved the people, the land, and the State. A heart which loved each and every person, a heart which cared for them.

Your stubborn faith in mankind and the good of people – in the victory of progress over ignorance, in the victory of hope over fear – was your eternal fountain of youth, thanks to which you were the eternal fountain of youth for all of us. The man of whom we thought time could never stop. With all your love for history and tremendous knowledge of history, you despised wallowing in the past, or being entrenched in a sense of self justice at the cost of the possibilities and opportunities that tomorrow brings. “The future is more important than the past” you said. “What happened yesterday does not interest me, only tomorrow does,” you would say. The love you received, which transcended political divides in the later years of your life – from your supporters and opponents – was an expression of the yearning of all us to be infected by your unequivocal optimism. Even when we did not agree with you we wanted to believe that perhaps you were right. Believe me, it was not easy to refuse your optimism, and at times your innocence.

Who more than you knew the heavy price of innocence, and yet, who more than you believed that heavier still was the price of mediocrity and being of little faith?

Shimon, I unashamedly confess, on the eve of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, at your graveside among the graves of the leaders of our nation, also your forgiveness must be asked. We will ask your forgiveness. It was permitted to disagree with you. Your opponents had a duty to express their opinion. However, there were years in which red lines were crossed between ideological disputes and words and deeds which had no place. You always acted according to what you believed with all you heart was best for the people, whom you served.

As President, you were for us an honest advocate. You taught many around the world to love the State of Israel, and you taught us to love ourselves, not to speak ill, and see the good and the beautiful in everything.

This is a sad day, Shimon, this is a sad day. The journey of your dreams which began in Vishnyeva, comes to its end in Jerusalem our capital, which is also a dream which became a reality. Your death is a great personal and national loss, as it is also the end on an era, the end of the era of giants whose lives’ stories are the stories of the Zionist movement and the State of Israel. This is our profound feeling today. A feeling of the end of an era in the nation’s life, the end of a chapter in our lives. Our farewell to you is also a farewell to us from ourselves. When we see world leaders – our friends from near and far – who have come here to bid you their final respects, we understand that not only here but across the world you will be missed. And all of us already miss you. Farewell Shimon. The man whose ‘ways are pleasant, and all of his paths peaceful’. Rest in peace, and act (in Heaven) as an honest advocate for the people of Israel whom you loved so. “Because my soul aspires for freedom, I did not sell her for a golden calf. Because I will also believe in man, in his spirit, his spirit of strength.” Farewell Mr. President.

Jewish Press Staff

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.


Liberman Allocates NIS 17M for IDF Jewish Identity & Conversion Course

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has decided to allocate NIS 17 million for the IDF Conversion Course from the basic Defense Ministry budget.

Known as the “Nativ” course, the “Jewish identity education for IDF soldiers” program is also open to those who participate in National Service.

According to the Keren Hayesod website about ‘Nativ’, up to 1,000 immigrants from the former Soviet Union enroll in the course for conversion each year.

Those who wish to participate, however, will be required to make the decision early in their service, so as not to disrupt their training later, according to the Defense Ministry.

Hana Levi Julian

Private Recording: Bennett Promising ‘Strategic Solution’ for Land Ownership Challenges [audio]

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett on Wednesday attempted to calm his followers’ fears regarding the imminent uprooting of the community of Amona in Benjamin Region, in a private recording distributed to activists over WhatsApp. Bennett stressed that he and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked have been trying to come up with a global, strategic solution that would remove the current threat hovering over thousands of housing units which are facing the same predicament as Amona. So far, attempts to introduce a legal mechanism that would offer fair market value to new Arab claimants against Jewish Homeowners across Judea and Samaria have been rejected by the court.

The left has been outright hostile to the idea, among other things because leftwing NGOs like Peace Now have based their very existence on seeking out potential Arab claimants to contest legal transactions between other Arab owners and the Jewish buyers. A fair market value solution would satisfy both the Arab claimants and the Jewish homeowners, but would leave many NGO agents without employment.

On Tuesday, Kipa published a letter from the residents of Amona, accusing the rightwing members of government, especially Bennett and Shaked, of a lackadaisical approach to Amona’s impending doom (a term actually used, in paraphrased form, by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman).

In the recording, obtained by Kipa, Bennett tells Habayit Hayehudi activists that he and Shaked “have decided to use a strategic solution and to stop gong after local solutions the way did in Amona and in Gush Etzion.” He continued: “Right now Ayelet and I are laboring very seriously over a single, large-scale strategic move which would solve all our problems.”

Bennett suggested several options, including the application of the Edmund Levy committee report which recommended imposing Israeli law on Area C of Judea and Samaria. “It might be a change in the government’s decision, it could also be the arrangement law,” Bennett said, referring to a bill being promoted by coalition MKs that compels Arab claimants to accept fair market value for their claims—a bill that was rejected four years ago by Prime Minister Netanyahu. But no matter which solution they choose, it’s going to go into effect within the next few weeks, Bennett promised in the recording.

Bennett blamed on previous Netanyahu governments the current mess in Amona, where as many as 17 homes have been slated for demolition by the Supreme Court, in a community that was designed and supported by the State. He voiced his support for an outline suggested by the Amona residents, known as the Absentee Property outline. Absentee property was the way the State of Israel in the past dealt with thousands of properties that had been left behind by Arabs who fled to Jordan and Egypt during the 1948-49 Israeli War of Independence. “After much resistance we have been able to pass the outline in the government, but we don’t yet have a complete guarantee that it would pass.”

As usual, the one possible deciding vote to kill a market value bill or a realignment of Amona, in a government with a decisive, pro-settlements majority, is the man at the helm, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who probably does not relish a new battle with the Administration during the lame duck season.

Justice Minister Shaked on Wednesday told Army Radio that the Amona residents share in the blame for their current emergency, since a year ago the Defense Ministry had offered them an alternative settlement near Shilo, and they refused. She acknowledged, however, the validity of their absentee property solution and promised to pursue it in the cabinet.


Netanyahu: US Never Offered Us More than $38 Billion

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday morning opened his weekly Cabinet meeting telling his cabinet ministers that despite reports to the contrary, the $38 billion military aid package Israel received from the Obama Administration for the next 10 years was the highest amount that had ever been suggested by the Americans.

“I hear all kinds of background noise and disinformation about the agreement,” Netanyahu said, noting, “I would like to make it clear: We were never offered more. We were not offered more money, not even one dollar, and we were never offered special technologies. These are distortions and fabrications by interested parties; either they do not have the facts or they are distorting the facts, and they are, of course, showing ingratitude, and in my view this is the saddest thing of all, ingratitude to our greatest and best friend, the United States.”

The reports that suggested Israel stood to receive as much as $45 billion over ten years came from opponents of Netanyahu, most notably prime minister wannabe Moshe Ya’alon, whom Netanyahu had removed from the defense ministry, and former Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who served as Netanyahu’s defense minister before Ya’alon. The reports also suggested that Netanyahu’s refusal to accept the Iran nuclear deal, and the fact that he dared go behind President Obama’s back to speak directly to Congress against the deal, is what cost Israel the additional funds.

But Netanyahu denied all that, insisting “the support for Israel in the United States is stronger than ever. It crosses political parties and embraces the length and breadth of the United States and it finds expression in this agreement. This is the largest assistance agreement that the United States has ever provided to any country in its history, and this agreement proves the depth of the relationship, and the strength of relations, between Israel and the United States.”

In an earlier statement, last week, Netanyahu also stressed Israel’s strong ties with the US, saying the “agreement illustrates a simple truth: relations between Israel and the United States are strong and steadfast. This does not mean that we do not have disagreements from time to time, but these are disagreements within the family. They have no effect on the great friendship between Israel and the United States, a friendship that is expressed in this agreement, which will greatly assist us in continuing to build up Israel’s strength in the coming decade.”


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-us-never-offered-us-more-than-38-billion/2016/09/18/

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