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June 27, 2016 / 21 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Defense Ministry’

Bennett: ‘You Can’t Be in Favor of Eretz Israel in Hebrew while Establishing the State of Palestine in English.’

Monday, June 6th, 2016

On Sunday night, during the celebrations of Jerusalem Liberation Day at the Merkaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem, the academic crown jewel of the rightwing Greater Israel movement, Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett flatly accused Prime Minister Netanyahu of lying about his true intentions regarding a Palestinian State. “You can’t be in favor of Eretz Israel in Hebrew while establishing the State of Palestine in English,” he said, obviously pointing to the PM, who was present at the same ceremony, and accusing him of telling his voters (in Hebrew) during the last campaign that he was opposed to dividing the land, while scheming with foreign dignitaries and a number of Israeli politicians to bring on some form of the two-state solution.

The relationship between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) and Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) is about as bad as can be, feeding on 20 years of bad blood, resentments, betrayals and condescension. Ten years ago, after fighting in the 2006 Lebanon War, Bennett served as chief of staff for Netanyahu, who was then the opposition leader. He helped Netanyahu dig his way up from a deep electoral hole, but couldn’t get along with Mrs. Netanyahu (few could). Eventually, in 2008, Bennett and his political partner, Ayelet Shaked, set out to carve their own path among Israel’s rightwing voters.

When they returned victorious in 2013, with 12 seats, as leaders of a National Religious Party that everyone had been certain was going to leave the political stage — they were considered Netanyahu’s natural coalition partners — but Sara Netanyahu put down her foot. Instead of a negotiation between friends, Bennett et al were put through the wringer. It took the intervention of a third party leader, MK Yair Lapid, who forged an ad hoc, mutual-benefit alliance with Bennett, to finally open the door. Then, after the 2015 elections, when Bennett generously endorsed Netanyahu’s message that it made no difference if the settler community voted for Likud or for his own party, because he had been promised they’d all be part of the same winning coalition in the end — Bennett ended up as the last man the PM had turned to for a government post. Promises of the Defense Ministry were reneged on, and Bennett, a party chairman, ended up with a second-tier portfolio. Mind you, Bennett believes a full five of Likud’s 30 Knesset seats should have gone to him. That’s ten years’ worth of resentment.

And now, as Netanyahu continues his pursuit of a broader coalition with MK Isaac Herzog’s Zionist Camp (Labor), voices in Labor are starting to say that they’d consider the offer only if the PM is sincere in his desire for a two-state solution, and the profound way in which he could signal that commitment would be by sacrificing the only dedicated enemy of the very idea of a Palestinian State, Naftali Bennett’s Habayit Hayehudi. If Netanyahu were to go ahead and fire, or demote Bennett and the other two Habayit Hayehudi ministers, Ayelet Shaked and Uri Ariel, it would mean that five seats worth of voters who believed Netanyahu was just as anti-two-state as Bennett, actually cast their vote to get themselves and their families evicted from their homes and lands. There’s plenty to resent there.

“There are some, in Israel and the world, who join various Arab initiatives according to which we would divide the land, divide–God forbid–Jerusalem, and return to the 1967 lines,” Bennett said, “because the world is pressuring, and we must appease them. I tell these individuals tonight: never.”

As to the dual-language policy, Bennett told Netanyahu: “It’s time to say in a clear voice: the Land of Israel belongs to the nation of Israel. In Hebrew, English, Russian and French, in summer, in winter, during elections and when there are no elections. Why? Because the world is listening to us. To every word we say. The world recognizes weakness, just as it recognizes strength. The world sniffs whenever we are not certain of our right to the land, and attacks us with the fury of boycotts.”

It was a painful, raging attack, that marked the worst day in the complex relationship of these two politicians. But it would be a mistake to suggest that Bennett was acting emotionally. In fact, this had to be a well planned assault, ahead of a foreseeable dismissal of Habayit Hayehudi from the coalition. Even before Sunday’s de facto declaration of war, Bennett’s party was up at least three seats in the polls, while Likud was down by those same three seats — that was the Judea and Samaria vote. And should Netanyahu actually pursue peace negotiations at this juncture, those three seats could grow to become five, putting in risk Likud’s numeric supremacy in the next Knesset.

It was such an aggressive attack on Bennett’s part, that the pushback had to come from Likud’s own rightwing, pro-settlements wing: an anonymous Likud senior official was cited by the press, but everyone knew it was Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Ze’ev Elkin, who accused Bennett of hypocrisy—since he had lived comfortably in the previous coalition government with Minister Tzipi LIvni, while the latter was in charge of the two-state negotiations. Elkin, speaking as senior anonymous Likud man, also said it was Bennett who was threatening the stability of the most rightwing government in Israel’s history.

In the end, the cooling down of the internal fighting came from the new defense minister, Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu), also a former Netanyahu lieutenant in Likud who broke up with the boss and has maintained a terrible personal relationship with him, complete with bad blood and burgeoning resentments. Liberman said Monday morning: “I call on Naftali Bennett to calm down. Right now we need fewer declarations and more coordinated, quiet work.”

“If he can’t hold back, I suggest he undergo surgery to remove his short fuse,” Liberman said about Bennett, in a bearish kind of humor.

Incidentally, you may recall that Liberman has endured his share of ridicule upon taking on his important new position, because in an interview Liberman had given only last April, he promised that should he become defense minister, he would demand that Deputy Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau Ismail Haniya return the bodies of Israeli soldiers in his possessions or face death. There’s even a website counting the days since Liberman’s appointment and noting that the Hamas leader is still alive.

“I suggest to anyone who is asking me regarding taking care of Haniya to wait until the end of my term, and not [harass me] in my first week in office,” the new defense minsiter said.

Except that in that interview Liberman actually said Haniya should be counting his days on this earth from Liberman’s first day in office. So the inquiries are certainly legitimate.

JNi.Media

Liberman Says No Interviews Till Rosh Hashana, But Ministry Will Pay Expenses for IDF Sgt. HaYisraeli

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Newly-appointed Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman says he won’t give any more interviews until at least Rosh HaShana. But he will at least make sure that IDF Sgt. Yehuda HaYisraeli will get his home adjustments paid for.

Liberman, who heads the Yisrael Beytenu party, opened the faction meeting on Monday by saying, “I will step into my position and learn the material,” before he says anything further to the media.

He did, however, also announce that the Defense Ministry will cover rehabilitative adjustment expenses for IDF Sgt. Yehuda HaYisraeli, who has returned home from the hospital after nearly two years in a coma and several months of rehabilitation.

HaYisraeli still has a very long way to go with rehabilitation treatment to continue at home, and hundreds of thousands of shekels must be spent on adjustments to the home.

Such expenses for soldiers wounded in the line of duty are always covered by the IDF and Defense Ministry. HaYisraeli was wounded during Operation Protective Edge in August 2014. He had raced after the Hamas terrorists who stole the body of his fellow officer, IDF Lt. Hadar Goldin, who was killed and then kidnaped in Gaza during what was supposed to be a cease-fire.

But because HaYisraeli lives in Ofra, a community located in Judea and Samaria, the government has held back on paying for the adjustments to the home due to a quiet construction freeze in the region implemented in hopes of placating the Palestinian Authority and its global supporters.

Liberman has brushed aside the freeze in the case of the wounded soldier, and said his ministry will pay the home adjustment expenses for IDF Sgt. Yehuda HaYisraeli.

Hana Levi Julian

Israelis Kickstart After IDF Wouldn’t Rehab Wounded Soldier Living in Settlement [video]

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

Decorated special forces soldier Sgt. Yehuda Yitzchak Hayisraeli who fought and was critically injured in the 2014 Gaza War, during the courageous attempt to retrieve the late Lt. Hadar Goldin who had been captured and killed by Hamas. Sgt. Yehuda was in a coma for two years, surrounded by his wife and family, who never gave up on him. His son Erez was born and was circumcised while his hero father was still in a coma, an event that focused national attention on the family one more time.

Then a miracle happened and Yehuda came out of the coma, a few months ago. Since then he has been engaged in a grueling and demanding rehab process, where he is re-learning a large variety of basic skills, on the way to full recovery. Eventually the time came for Yehuda to be discharged from the hospital to continue his rehab at home. Like every injured soldier, the defense ministry pays for adjusting his home environment to his rehab needs. But Yehuda is a resident of the community of Ofra in Judea and Samaria, and since the entire region is under a construction freeze in an attempt to please Israel’s many friends in the world, the funds could not be legally transferred to him, no matter how deserving he may be.

The family was dumbfounded at this degree of bureaucratic autism, but a group of Israeli citizens who last week heard about the case in the media decided to come to their aid. They launched a communal fundraising page on the website headstart.co.il, and asked for the equivalent of $156,000, the amount needed to pay for Yehuda’s accommodations. As of Sunday morning, the page has raised $373,061.61 from 7,778 individuals.

On the fundraising page, the organizers have thanked profusely everyone who contributed (including opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog who gave about $300), and declared that the collection will continue, at least until the official expiration time, which is in 26 days. The money will go to provide for Yehuda’s family in the next year or so.

What a wonderful example of community values in face of government deafness. (Click here for an update on the government’s response).

JNi.Media

DM Avigdor Liberman: ‘War and Peace Must Have Support of Majority’

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman held his first meeting with the military top brass in the IDF late Tuesday following the pomp and circumstance involved in his installation as head of the defense ministry.

At his first working meeting with IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot and the generals, Liberman underlined his vision of the importance of the bond between the army and the civilians.

According to a report broadcast by Israel Radio, the new defense minister told the generals that in a democratic society, matters of war and peace must express the will and enjoy the support of the majority of the people.

Liberman said “We cannot engage in unnecessary conflicts. In Israeli society we are only allowed to fight unavoidable wars.”

Earlier in the day he also held a conversation with his predecessor, former Likud Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, as well.

Hana Levi Julian

Defense Ministry to Demolish Amona, But Build Bigger Town Near Shiloh

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

The 40 families who live in the Samaria town of Amona have to find somewhere else to live by the end of this year; their town is to be demolished.

Although the town was built on land purchased — not stolen — from Arabs living in the Palestinian Authority, the deeds that prove the sale were not accepted as valid by Israel’s Supreme Court.

But officials remember the price paid over the court-ordered demolition of nine homes allegedly built on “privately owned Arab land” in 2006.

Hundreds of civilians were wounded in the clashes to defend the homes from the thousands of Israeli police and soldiers who came to destroy them. The vicious brutality of some of the security forces was caught on camera and a number of lawsuits followed; countless Israelis were permanently traumatized as well.

Media footage remains from that debacle.

This time, the Defense Ministry planned together with the Amana organization that built the town of Amona to create a new Samaria town in its stead, near the existent Jewish community of Shiloh.

If the state fulfills its promise, the new 139-home town will be built on state-owned property near the outpost of Geulat Tzion, a new community triple the size of that which they have been forced to leave.

Hana Levi Julian

Analysis: Deputy Chief of Staff Compares IDF to Nazis, Then Says He Didn’t

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, speaking at a commemoration of the Holocaust, said he sees in today’s Israel evidence of events that took place in Europe before the Holocaust. The ceremony, at the Massuah Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Kibbutz Tel Yitzhak, included dignitaries like Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi), who were visibly unhappy with what the man who could some day lead the Jewish Army thought about his subordinates.

Maj. Gen. Golan, who is the child of a Holocaust survivor whose entire family was murdered by the Nazis, said that what truly frightens him in recalling the Holocaust is to identify the same blood curdling processes that took place in Germany and in the rest of Europe “70, 80, and 90 years ago, and discovering evidence of their taking place here, among us, in 2016.”

Golan summed up the characteristics he found in both pre-Holocaust Europe and in 2016 Israel as follows: hatred of foreigners, fear mongering, brutalization, rhinocerization and self-righteousness. The one before last term refers to the 1959 play Rhinocéros by Eugène Ionesco, a Romanian exile in Paris, who explains Nazism and Fascism in a satirical tale of a small, provincial French town whose people turn into rhinoceroses.

The Golan statement goes to show that being the child of a Holocaust survivor does not automatically qualify one to be able to make convincing analogies between the state-organized, industrialized slaughter of six million Jews and what amounts to 150 years of a difficult relationship between neighbors in Israel. The comparison, inaugurated by the late professor of chemistry and ingenious commentator on Jewish law and Jewish history, Yeshayahu Leibowitz, who coined the term Judonazis, has been rejected with contempt by many Israelis, most notably the late Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin:

In 1993, Prof. Leibowitz was selected for the highest national award, the Israel Prize. Before the award ceremony, Leibowitz was invited to speak to the Israel Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, where his controversial remarks calling upon Israeli soldiers to refuse orders triggered outrage, and PM Yitzhak Rabin threatened to boycott the Israel Prize ceremony. The IP jury convened to withdraw the award from the provocative and intentionally nasty professor, but Leibowitz quickly announced that he would refuse to accept the prize, taking charge of his own public execution.

Maj. Gen. Golan on Wednesday night may have walked into his own public execution, which explains why he and the IDF spokesperson’s office and Army Radio have been swimming the backstroke all of Thursday trying to persuade a livid nation that the deputy chief did not mean the IDF was starting to look like the Wehrmacht.

So, here is what the man next in line to lead the IDF said about the IDF (translated from the full text of his speech, courtesy of Ha’aretz):

Saying that Holocaust Memorial Day must also be a day of national reckoning, Golan suggested such reckoning must include “unsettling phenomena.” Referring to the public debate over the purity of the weapon (a uniquely Israeli term, dating back to the pre-state years, meaning when Jews use their weapons they must do so ethically), he said he wished to comment on the matter.

The most notable “unsettling phenomenon” Golan was citing had taken place on Purim day, when two Arab terrorists stabbed an IDF soldier in the neck at a check post outside Hebron in Judea. The force at the site shot down both terrorists, killing one and neutralizing the other. About ten minutes after the incident, a 19-year-old medic who served with the same unit showed up to help treat the stabbed soldier, and was documented by a B’Tselem video as he shot dead the terrorist who was still living, who was lying on the ground. The IDF and the Defense Ministry reacted at lightening-speed to the video, turning what would have probably resulted in a disciplinary action, if at all, into a murder investigation. The sheer audacity of the military prosecution in attempting to pin a murder charge (which has now been reduced to manslaughter) on a combat soldier aroused a groundswell of popular protest, the likes of which Israel’s security apparatus brass had rarely faced before; and the protest also served to enhance the demarcation between left and right, Zionist and anti-Zionist, ruling elites and everyone else in Israel. When you read Maj. Gen. Golan’s notes below, keep all of that in mind as the subtext.

“Irregular use of weapons, and damage to the purity of the weapon have taken place in the IDF since its founding,” Golan conceded, adding, “The pride of the IDF has always been in our ability to investigate difficult incidents, without bias, to bravely investigate problematic behavior, and to accept full responsibility for the good but also for the bad and the unlawful. We didn’t justify, we didn’t hide, we didn’t paint over, we didn’t wink, we didn’t roll up our eyes to the heavens, we also didn’t make excuses. Our path has been and will continue to be the path of truth and accepting responsibility, even when the truth is hard to take and the responsibility heavy. We believe in the righteousness of our path — but not everything we do is righteous. We trust the morality of the IDF as an institution, but we do not overlook the exceptions. We demand of our soldiers precisely what we demand of ourselves, and we insist that being a personal example be second nature to every commander.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett issued a tweet saying, “One minute before the Holocaust deniers turn these erroneous words into a flag, one minute before our soldiers are compared to Nazis, God forbid, with approval from the brass, [we say] the deputy chief of staff made a mistake and he must correct it at once.”

The IDF released a statement saying, “The Deputy Chief Of Staff wishes to clarify that he had no intention of comparing the IDF and the State of Israel with events that took place in Germany 70 years ago. The comparison is absurd and utterly groundless, and there was no intent to create such a comparison, nor to criticize the political echelon. The IDF is a moral army which observes the purity of the weapon and the dignity of man.”

But, of course, he did just that, he compared the IDF and the State of Israel with events that took place in Germany 70 years ago — in fact, that very reference is a quote from his speech, spoken with a self-righteous tone reserved to the members of the ruling elite when they describe the plebeian masses who foolishly fail to adhere to the wisdom and moral uprightness garnered by decades of being in charge.

Come to think of it, the Golan speech was the perfect analogy for the decadence, hatred of foreigners, fear mongering, brutalization, rhinocerization and self-righteousness — of Israel’s Jewish left, and Holocaust Memorial Day was the perfect time for such an analogy.

The fact that a man who compares his subordinates to Nazis may be considered to replace the current chief of staff, who, for his part, has told the nation that the rabbinic principle of “He who rises to kill you, kill him first” is merely a metaphor and not a moral principle; and that both men are commanded by a Defense Minister who keeps Jews in prison for many months without charges, and uses brute force to evict Jewish dwellers from their homes — while permitting widespread illegal Arab dwellings — those are crucial lessons Jews must learn and absorb, lest we are tempted to believe that what followed the Nazi Holocaust was a full Jewish liberation.

There’s still a whole lot more liberation left to be done.

JNi.Media

Small Synagogue at Karmei Tzur Demolished in Civil Administration Pre-Dawn Stealth Move

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

A small synagogue recently rebuilt at the site of the Givat Soreq outpost on the outskirts of Karmei Tzur was demolished by Civil Administration forces before dawn Thursday in accordance with instructions from the Defense Ministry, according to the Hebew-language 0404 website.

It was in this same synagogue that sacred texts were set ablaze two months ago by Arab terrorists, a hate crime carried out by those in nearby Halhul.

Just a few days ago, holy books had been donated to the newly-rebuilt house of worship. But by Thursday 9 am, not a trace remained of the solid cement-block structure upon which the community’s rabbi had placed a mezuzah.

Outraged residents told 0404, “Thousands of illegally-built Arab homes and other structures exist, but the Defense Minister in his ignorance destroys a synagogue established in the memory of three Israeli teens who were kidnaped and murdered (by Hamas terrorists). It’s clear that it’s worth it to continue burning – because instead of dealing with the Arabs, the Jews are destroying themselves.”

It would indeed seem that perhaps the defense establishment has become confused about who it’s supposed to be defending and where retaliation is appropriate in political or military terms.

Karmei Tzur has been under siege from its Arab neighbors since the start of the current wave of terror, and has not shied away from the challenge.

Barely two weeks ago, about 500 Israelis marched from Karmei Tzur to the Gush Etzion junction to demonstrate against terror.

The marchers blocked Highway 60, a main north-south artery, in both directions as they demanded that deterrence be restored. The move came in the wake of a series of deadly attacks in the Gush Etzion region.

The timing of the demolition of the synagogue and the stealth with which it was carried out raises the question of whether the move came in retaliation for the community’s activism.

At the start of this month, Arab squatters returned to the Wadi Rashrash valley near Karmei Tzur – six months after they had been ejected by the IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT). Arabs had started to build a road there and were using the wadi as a garbage dump.

The area has been under processing for declaration as state land for some time. The violation was reported but it is not clear whether the government followed up.

Karmei Tzur has been repeatedly traumatized during this wave of terror. On February 24 one of the community’s founders and leading residents, IDF reserve Captain Eliav Gelman was killed in a stabbing attack at the nearby Gush Etzion junction. He was stabbed by an Arab terrorist who was then shot by IDF soldiers, who also hit Gelman by accident in the crossfire. Gelman was rushed to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem but could not be saved. He is survived by his pregnant wife and two young children.

Earlier that month, on February 9 an armed 16-year-old female Arab terrorist tried to infiltrate Karmei Tzur at the start of the day, dressed for school.

A resident of the community alerted the guard, who then warned the young wannabe stabber to drop her weapon – a kitchen knife – which she did.

The blade had clearly been sharpened, most likely after watching an Internet video of a sermon by one of the numerous radical Islamist clerics who urge their followers to murder Jews. They include detailed instructions on how to carry out those killings, complete with directions on how to sharpen the knives.

Three days prior to that attempted terror attack, Arab arsonists attacked the little synagogue on February 6 at Givat Sorek, the neighborhood on the outskirts of Karmei Tzur.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/small-synagogue-at-karmei-tzur-demolished-in-civil-administration-pre-dawn-stealth-move/2016/03/31/

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