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July 28, 2015 / 12 Av, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Foreign Ministry’

Hotovely Says Foreign Dignitaries Must Visit Western Wall

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Israel finally has an honest religious Zionist as acting Foreign Minister.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely has changed protocol for foreign dignities who now will be asked to visit the Western Wall (Kotel) as well as Yad VaShem and Mt Herzl Cemetery.

The new protocol is at least the second major change she has introduced into the Foreign Ministry since her appointment by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

When she took office, she met with Foreign Ministry officials and gave them a short sermon on Torah – “Dvar Torah” in Hebrew – and instructed them to made the Jewish People’s Biblical right to Israel as part of  the “Hasbara” public relations program.

Now she wants foreign dignities to understand that official visits to Jerusalem sites should not be limited to the sadness identified with the military cemetery and the Holocaust Memorial.

Hotovely told the new head of the “Ceremonies Branch”” of the ministry to include the Kotel as part of the itinerary for foreign dignitaries, Yediot Acharonot reported.

She explained:

In my eyes, the fact that the Kotel will become part of official visits of foreign dignitaries in Israel is a meaningful statement that strengthens the position of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

This visit will take dignitaries from the ethos and sentiment of Yad VaShem, which deals with the catastrophe of the Holocaust, to the positive character of the Kotel that speaks of deep roots of the city.

This will change the view of visits from 100 years of Zionism to 3,000 years of Zionism.

Hotovely she has taken into account that there will be some dignities who will refuse to visit the Western Wall because they consider it part of “disputed territories,” depending on the visitor’s political agenda.

Barack Obama anxiously visited the Kotel when he was campaigning for president in 2008. In his last visit to Israel, he refused to come near to the holy site and instead opted for Tel Aviv.

“If there are those who refuse to visit, we will try to convince them to do so, but the change is that until now, visiting the Kotel was not even a priority in the Foreign Ministry.

She added that she will not object if dignities condition their visits to the Western Wall on their being able to go to the Temple Mount, presumably to visit mosques and not to utter forbidden non-Muslim prayers, or to the Holy Church of the Sepulchre.

The first foreign dignitary to come under the new protocol will be Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who will be met at Ben Gurion Airport next week by Hotovely. She will escort him to the Kotel.

Hotovely’s innovations – a Dvar Torah and now visits to the Kotel – are brilliant if not simple moves that should have been part of policy from Day One of the modern State of Israel.

The beauty in the changes is that leftist and pluralistic politicians and media cannot easily oppose them.

They may not like including a bit of Torah in Israel’s explanations to the international community, but how can they be against it without saying that the Torah should not an official part of Israel?

They may not like her including the Western Wall as a part of the protocol for vesting dignities, but as Hotovely said, the Western Wall is part of the Israeli consensus.

Hotovely’s real innovation is that her observance of Judaism is above politics, exactly what has been lacking in Israeli governments.

Israeli Navy Waiting to Intercept Flotilla on High Seas

Friday, June 26th, 2015

The first of three or four boats trying to break Israel’s anti-terror maritime embargo on Gaza left the Greek island of Crete Friday morning and is scheduled to dock in Gaza on Sunday or morning.

Israel has said that the boats will not reach Gaza under any circumstances.

The Israeli Navy will stop the flotilla, as it has done in the past, but activists say that since the Marianne of Gothenburg boat flies the Swedish flag, Israel could be accused of a war crime

“War crime” is the buzz words these days, usually referring to any action by Israel that does not further the aims of the Palestinian Authority, which yesterday said it is bringing  to the International Criminal Court (ICC) charges that building homes for Jews and a highway in Jerusalem are war crimes.

Pro-Hamas activists have learned their lessons from previous publicity stunts and are keeping mum on the boats’ location, a rather childish act since the IDF has enough surveillance equipment to know exactly where they are without any help from the flotilla’s public relations staff.

The departure date of the flotilla had been delayed. Activists claim that Israeli agents sabotaged at least one of the boats, but others say that inclement weather forced the activists to postpone their trip.

As usual, the activists are trying to attract as much attentions as possible and have brought an Israeli Arab Knesset Member with them. MK Basel Ghattas and a former Tunisian president are among the 70 people on board the lead ship.

Organizers of the flotillas have assured Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that they are not bringing any weapons with them. In 2010, Turkish-based terrorists used iron bars and two pistols to challenge Israeli Navy officers who boarded the Mavi Mamara ship. Ten of the terrorists were killed in the clash.

“If there is some kind of violent confrontation, it won’t come from our side,” a left-wing Israeli activist said.

The Marianne is carrying one solar panel and medical supplies, all of which can easily reach Gaza by land from Israel. A single solar panel is absolutely useless, except as propaganda to “con the world,” as seen in the video below.

Lost in the hype and reports by establishment media that are hungry for anti-Israel news is the fact the solar panels and medical supplies cannot enter Gaza so freely from Egypt, which has blocked passage several times, including this past month.

The last word in the new flotilla stunt already has been written: The IDF will stop the boats before they can get too close to Gaza, the Foreign Ministry told The JewishPress.com.

If the passengers indeed are unarmed, the whole scene will be a circus for the media.

The IDF will warn the captain of the boats not to proceed. He will refuse, forcing the Navy to surround the ships.

The Navy officers will try to find a way to take over the wheel if the captain does not cooperate.

Everyone will arrive in the port of Ashdod, and the passengers will call the soldiers “war criminals” and perhaps will sit down in a circle and clasp hands, singing “We shall overcome” as four soldiers haul each passenger off the boat.

The news photographers will love it, and perhaps Gaza terrorists will celebrate by launching a rocket or two at Israel.

If they are lucky, the missiles won’t fall short and explode on a house in Gaza, in which case Israel would be accused of committing a war crime because the “occupation made them do it.”

Below is the video “We Con the World,” produce by the Latma satirical group after the Mavi Mamaras clash five years ago.

The Schabes Report Had ‘Biased Mandate’ and ‘Unreliable Sources’

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Israeli officials continue to analyze The Schabes Report sparked by the United Nations Human Rights Commission, and authored by the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict.” Most have noted the striking anti-Israel bias in the report.

“It is regrettable that the report fails to recognize the profound difference between Israel’s moral behavior during Operation Protective Edge and the terror organizations it confronted,” said a statement from Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in response.

“This report was commissioned by a notoriously biased institution, given an obviously biased mandate, and initially headed by a grossly biased chairperson, William Schabas.”

Schabas, a Canadian professor of international law, was found to have been a past legal adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), a clear conflict of interest that he tried to conceal from the United Nations, according to the Foreign Ministry. Israel revealed the history, forcing Schabas to resign in February 2015.

“The Commission of Inquiry … lacked the necessary tools and expertise to conduct a professional and serious examination of armed conflict situations,” the ministry added.

The human rights watchdog agency NGO Monitor noted in a separate statement that the report was an “improvement” over its UN investigation-generated predecessors, including the 2009 Goldstone Report.

However, “it still quotes extensively from biased and unreliable political advocacy NGOs,” noted the agency.

“The UNHRC report would be entirely different without the baseless and unverifiable allegations of non-governmental organizations,” said Anne Herzberg, Legal Advisor at NGO Monitor.

“Despite efforts to consult a wider array of sources, the report produced by McGowan Davis and her team lacks credibility as a result of NGO influence.”

NGO Monitor’s initial review of the Commission of Inquiry’s “detailed findings” showed that NGOs were referenced, cited, and quoted at a high volume: B’Tselem was the most referenced NGO with 69 citations, followed by Amnesty International (53), Palestinian Center for Human Rights (50), and Al Mezan (29). UNWRA and UN-OCHA were also featured throughout the report.

NGOs were also sourced for factual claims beyond their capabilities: in one instance, the report repeated B’Tselem’s conclusions about whether individuals in Gaza “posed [] danger to other persons.”

Human Rights Watch, as opposed to a military expert, was quoted with regards to the “lethal radius for a 155mm high explosive projectile.”

Breaking the Silence was cited as the basis for the accusation that the IDF adopted “the vast scale of destruction…as a tactic of war.”

The lack of military expertise in the Commission and the UN staff clearly hampered the investigation and the resulting publication,” continued Herzberg. “In particular, the COI makes numerous assertions about feasible precautions, identification of military objectives, military necessity, and standards applied by reasonable commanders.

“In at least four independent studies by military experts, including Richard Kemp, the former head of British forces in Afghanistan, former senior U.S. generals and the former senior military officer for NATO all concluded that not only did Israel exceed the requirements of international law in the Gaza Conflict, but that its precautionary efforts to protect civilians were unprecedented in the history of warfare.”

NGO Monitor and UN Watch have prepared an independent, fully sourced and detailed book on the 2014 Israel-Hamas conflict, called “Filling in the Blanks, which provides an alternative narrative to The Schabes Report. The book is available to readers for download in PDF format by clicking here.

Hamas War Crimes Revealed in New Report

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

Hamas committed war crimes against both the Israeli population and the population of Gaza during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge, a new report from the Foreign Ministry has revealed.

Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold released the report Sunday afternoon (June 14), one day before the United Nations is expected to release its own report on the 2014 war.

The report found that Hamas intentionally held battles in populated urban areas, in an attempt to use Gaza civilians as a human shield. Hamas frequently wired civilian homes with bombs or used them as command centers. In some cases, Hamas fighters forced Gaza civilians to remain in their homes despite Israel warning them to leave.

Hamas also violated international law by storing weapons in schools and by fighting from mosques, as well as by disguising its soldiers as civilians or as Israeli soldiers – both of which are prohibited under international law.

Much of the fighting centered on Hamas’ efforts to prevent Israel from destroying tunnels it had built from Gaza into Israeli territory, with the goal of staging terrorist attacks. The report noted that the tunnels were built in populated areas, and often within homes themselves.

The report noted that during the fighting, Hamas fired 4,500 rockets and mortar shells at Israel. The areas targeted by the rockets were home to 70% of Israel’s population.

The report found that Israel made several efforts to prevent civilian casualties. Among other things, the IDF issued warnings to civilians before entering areas where tunnels were to be destroyed, ran multiple checks to ensure terrorist positions had been correctly identified before opening fire, and cancelled planned strikes if it was known that civilians were in the area.

In addition, Israel ensured that humanitarian aid entered Gaza during the fighting, despite Hamas attacks targeting the crossings through which the aid was delivered.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely praised the report, which she noted was the result of many months of in-depth research.

“Anyone who isn’t trying to ignore the facts will see that the IDF did obey the law,” she declared.

Democracies must fight terrorism “with one hand tied behind their back,” Hotovely said, quoting former Supreme Court justice Aharon Barak. However, she added, “There are those who are making a cynical effort to tie both hands behind our backs” – a possible reference to tomorrow’s UN report, which is expected to be highly critical of Israel.

Anti-IDF ‘Breaking the Silence’ to Speak in Swiss Parliament

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

The leftist Green Part in Switzerland has invited Yehuda Shaul, leader of the anti-IDF Breaking the Silence group, to speak in the parliament a week after the government funded his exhibit that charges the military with human rights violations.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry last week failed to cancel the Breaking the Silence exhibition, which it said has the ” sole purpose to tarnish the image of Israel’s …and Israel’s image.”

The Swiss Foreign Ministry shelled out $25,000 to help Breaking the Silence stage the exhibit and justified its action as a “commitment to increasing dialogue about human rights.”

Yehuda Shaul is as an Orthodox Jew in Jerusalem but has stated he was Not raised as an Israeli.” His agenda is clearly leftist, and he states on the Breaking of Silence website:

Moral values disintegrate, that’s inherent in these circumstances and you can’t both be there and not be there. Occupation is an equation. Soldiers dominate civilians. It starts with what I talked about and ends with what we don’t want to listen to, yet we must because our society is an occupying one, and our soldiers are doing these things in our name.

Shaul founded Breaking the Silence, which is generously funded by the leftist New Israel Fund, and he has recorded allegations by anonymous soldiers of indiscriminate fire at Arabs in Gaza during last summer’s Protective Edge counter-terror campaign.

Ten Swiss parliament members strongly opposed last week’s the exhibit and stated, as translated and published by The Jerusalem Post:

Disinformation and the political ideology of hatred are being directed against the Jewish state and, of all things, it is shameful that Switzerland, on whose soil the nucleus of peaceful political Zionism developed in Base at the First Zionist Congress in 1897, is participating in such activities.

Israeli pressure so far has not stopped the Green Party, which issued an invitation to Shaul to speak in the parliament to speak.

IDF Reservists last week appealed to Hotovely and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to stop the exhibit and said they also “will not remain silent in the face of an organization that retries to degrade the IDF.” They should form a group and call it “Breaking the Slander.”

The Breaking the Silence report is ammunition for BDS. Its 237-page report titled “This Is How We Fought in Gaza” is full of anonymous testimonies form 60 soldiers among tens of thousands who were called up during the war.

NGO Monitor has charged Breaking the Silence with making “sweeping accusations based on anecdotal, anonymous and unverifiable testimonies of low-level soldiers.” It added:

These ‘testimonies’ lack context, ignoring the fact that during the 2014 Gaza war heavy fighting took place between Israel and terror groups in Gaza, and that soldiers faced grave danger throughout the conflict from rockets, mortar shells, and terrorists emerging from tunnels dug beneath private homes. These distortions and erasures dovetail with BtS’s ideological agenda and fuel delegitimization campaigns against Israel.”

With Liberman Out , Bennett Toughens Position, But Who Will Blink First?

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Following the resignation of Avigdor Liberman from the Foreign Ministry and his decision to bring the Yisrael Beytenu party into the opposition, the Bayit Yehudi held an emergency meeting on Monday evening to reconsider their strategy and Netanyahu’s offer/threat.

Kulanu, UTJ and Shas have already signed with the Likud to join the coalition. The only options left open to Netanyahu at this point to put together his coalition is with either Bayit Yehudi, Yesh Atid or the Zionist Camp, and he has only until this Wednesday to sign one of them, otherwise President Rivlin will offer a different party the opportunity.

UTJ will absolutely not sit with Yesh Atid, nor does Netanyahu want Lapid in his coalition.

The Zionist Union could be a possibility, but it would be a major betrayal of the Likud voters who don’t want them in the government, and most likely they would need to dump Tzipi Livni, whom Netanyahu also doesn’t want to see again in his government, if possible. The Zionist Camp has said they won’t sit in Netanyahu’s coalition.

So, the keys to the kingdom are in Bennett’s hands.

Bayit Yehudi is a natural partner, but the Bayit Yehudi party feels that Netanyahu is not giving them a fair deal, especially after quietly acquiescing to Netanyahu’s siphoning off their voters with his emergency appeals right before elections.

Bennett also claims that Netanyahu, before the elections, offered him the Defense Ministry, and then recanted the offer after the elections.

Bayit Yehudi was also offered to chair the Judicial committee, but it is unlikely that the Likud will allow them to make major reforms against the overly powerful Supreme Court, so that position may be less valuable than previously thought.

At the emergency meeting, Bayit Yehudi saw Liberman’s withdrawal as an opportunity to get the Foreign Ministry, which they have demanding since the elections were over. Bayit Yehudi is particularly miffed that Shas got full control of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, and will probably now roll back all the progress that Bayit Yehudi made in rectifying that troubled field.

With the keys in his hands, Bennett has the opportunity to demand corrections in the deal with Shas (unlikely as Shas will bolt), as well as to demand a more significant post or posts.

The question is, in this game of chicken, who will blink first?

Israeli Rescue Planes on Way to Nepal as 2nd Quake Hits; 2,000 Dead [video]

Sunday, April 26th, 2015

A second earthquake registering 6.7 on the Richter scale rocked Nepal Sunday morning at the same time Israelis teams were en route to help with the rescue effort and to evacuate Israelis.

The Foreign Ministry hopes that all Israelis with whom contact has been made, including 25 surrogate babies, will be in Israel by tomorrow night.

Ministry officials estimate that Israelis who were injured suffered only light bruises. Approximately 400 Israelis are in Nepal at this time, but the whereabouts of 150 are unknown.

The death toll has passed 2,000 and is expected to rise. Thousands of others were injured in the first quake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale.

At least 17 people were killed on Mount Everest.

The earthquake was the worst in 80 years. In 1934,  an  8.1 magnitude earthquake centered near Mount Everest killed more than 10,000 people.

“The reports of the devastation are still coming in and the numbers of people killed, injured and affected by this earthquake continue to rise,” said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement.

Tremors from the quake were felt in Tibet, where more than a dozen of people were killed as roads and buildings collapsed.

At least 34 people died in tremors felt in India.

British mountain climber Daniel Mazur, stranded on Mt. Everest, tweeted to Indian NDTV, “Aftershock @ 1pm! Horrible here in camp 1. Avalanches on 3 sides. C1 a tiny island. We worry about icefall team below.. Alive?”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-rescue-planes-on-way-to-nepal-as-2nd-quake-hits-2000-dead-video/2015/04/26/

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