Former Yisrael Beytenu Tourism Minister Uzi Landau has resigned his post as co-chairman of the Keren Kayemet L’Israel (KKL) organization, which until recently used to be linked to the Jewish National Fund (JNF).
Landau turned in his resignation in a letter submitted Monday in which he accused KKL chairman Danny Atar, a former member of Knesset, of fiscal mismanagement and improper administration at the top.
Landau wrote he had accepted the position “in order to advance [the organization’s] vision, help develop the periphery, and advance relations with the diaspora.” But he said he realized it would be impossible for him to achieve these goals with Atar at the helm.
The former minister left the Knesset in December 2014 after 31 years in Israeli politics. Although he began his political career with the Likud party, he eventually joined Avigdor Liberman in Yisrael Beytenu.
Landau was the only Likud minister to be fired by then-prime minister Ariel Sharon for opposing the 2005 Disengagement from Gush Katif in Gaza.
The makers of a Gaza TV candid camera show in honor of the month of Ramadan were wondering how would rank and file Gazans respond if they realized that there are a couple of Israelis standing and walking in their midst. The concept was funny enough, and the two actors, Chouikh and Abu Zubaydah, depicting the hapless Zionists were equipped with a visual aid, just in case their subjects didn’t get the idea from their mix of broken English and Arabic — they each had an unmistakable, blue and white Israeli flag printed on their shirts. And so, with the hidden camera rolling, the two brave actors showed up in different parts of Gaza City, in front of a variety of astonished local men of all ages.
The funniest reactions were those of irate Gazans who grabbed the provocative Israeli before them and started beating him up, and the canned laughter loved those scenes. Some of the violent responses immediately followed the appearance of the blue Star and David between two parallel lines; others emerged following an exchange with the actors, in a clothing store, on a soccer field, on the street in front of a warehouse. Each time, the actor under attack, occasionally under a mob attack, would start yelling, “It’s a hidden camera” and urged the crew members to save his life.
But there were less violent, and more introspective reactions, too, when the subject would enter a lengthy argument with the two actors over their proposal that he become Israeli, for instance, because Israel is a mighty superpower. Unaware of being on camera, several subjects stood up to declare their fealty to their nation and their faith, expressing their anger at the provocation.
In one exchange, early on, one of the actors tries to speak Hebrew to a subject, who is older and therefore versatile in the language. What develops is a strange dialogue between a faux Israeli who can barely finish a sentence in Hebrew, and a Gazan who speaks fluent Hebrew. The actor asks, “Ma shlomekh,” how are you, except in the wrong declension, using the female form. His subject forgives the mistake, answering, “Barukh Hashem,” as many Israelis would.
Despite the obvious rage many in the video, especially the younger ones, unleash at the mere sight of an Israeli avatars, it is clear that Israel, Israelis and their own identity in relation to the Jewish State are central to the culture and the communal psyche in Gaza. The fact that the video makers manage to treat the tension over the subject matter with humor, albeit lowbrow humor, suggests there may be more under the shallow surface of hatred and denunciations, including a longing for a time when the sound of Hebrew in the streets also represented prosperity, more personal safety and probably more humor.
It’s a hidden camera, I’m telling you. Hidden camera!
It’s a hidden camera, I’m telling you. Hidden camera!
“Hillary Clinton will be a disaster for Israel,” former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee told Walla on the sidelines of the 2016 Herzliya Conference Wednesday. Huckabee, an early dropout in the GOP presidential race, suggested Clinton would continue President Obama’s policy regarding Israel. “And I don’t think anyone would say that Israel-US relations have been good under his leadership over the last eight years,” he commented.
In his address to the conference, Gov. Huckabee said that “every friend of Israel is a friend of the United States and every enemy of Israel is an Enemy of the United States.” He also suggested that “America is looking into the mirror and sees Israel.”
Huckabee noted that the greatest common foe facing Israel, the US and the free world was “radical Islamic ideology that takes us back to the 7th century.” He then reiterated: “We have a common enemy and that enemy is radical Islam that wishes to destroy civilization itself and wishes to turn the clock back to centuries ago.”
Mentioning the past week’s two acts of terror, one killing four in Tel Aviv, followed by the mass shooting in Orlando, Fl. that killed 49, Huckabee said that the argument about whether the Orlando shooting was a terror attack or hate crime is “ridiculous. All terror is based on hate.” He said that he feared that sometimes people were afraid “to call out the common enemy of radical Islam in case we offend someone,” but went on to state that he was offended when “innocent people were murdered in the name of an ideology that wishes to destroy all semblance of peace.”
He referred to the “Ill-fated and tragic deal to trust the Iranians,” saying that “here can be no deal with those who believe its okay to murder people” because of their race, religion or ethnicity. “It’s impossible to enter into any agreement with the present leadership of Iran… I hope and pray that it will be rescinded.”
Focusing on the Israeli-Arab conflict and the talks about a two-state solution, Huckabee said that the idea is naïve and cannot be realized “unless both sides agree that the other side has a fundamental right to exist.” He said that until there were no longer schools in Judea, Samaria and Gaza celebrating the death of Jews, there could be no solution. He added that there was no magical formula for the issues but that the basic issue of radical Islam and one people wanting to destroy another and celebrating every time someone on the other side was killed had to be solved first. “This is not a conflict about land, or about power, but about existence,” he asserted.
“Neither Israel nor the United States is perfect but we do have a system of laws that we insist are abided by… we do not name streets after or make heroes out of terrorists.”
Huckabee also focused on the issue of Jerusalem, saying that “the notion that Jerusalem should be divided is nonsense…. Only one nation in the world every claimed it as its capital… it is never even mentioned in the Quran… At some point we have to come to grips that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, not because it has been since 1948 but because it has been for 3000 years and it has to be accepted.”
Returning to his original point, Huckabee concluded, “We have to recognize that if it’s good for Israel then it’s ultimately good for the United States and if it’s good for the United States then it’s ultimately good for Israel… the similarities between the two countries are just too glaring to ignore… our alliance is too precious.”
He said that Israel’s sovereignty, safety and security had to be protected because Israel was just the first “domino” and the United States would follow. “Anyone who comes after you is after us next,” Huckabee said.
Gaza Arabs have been debating the mystery of the disappearance of a commander in the Al Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military arm, and many have suggested that he defected to Israel, Channel 2 News reported Tuesday night. The man in question is a senior commander in the Nukhba unit, an elite Hamas force specializing in underground tunnel warfare and in kidnapping Israeli civilians and soldiers. He is a resident of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, and the son of a Hamas religious judge.
According to rumors from Gaza, the man told his family he was going for a walk and would be back in the evening, but instead crossed the border fence to Israel. Some in Hamas claim that the man was kidnapped by the IDF. In any event, he should be a source of valuable information for Israeli security forces.
In early May the Shin Bet revealed that another Hamas senior from the tunnel forces, Mahmoud Atawnah, 29, was arrested and has been providing information about the Hamas tunnel digging enterprise. Atawnah was reportedly arrested at the beginning of April after crossing from Gaza into Israeli territory armed with two knives. The Shin Bet said he confessed his plan to kill Israeli civilians or soldiers.
A five-year veteran of the Al Qassam Brigades, Atawnah reported that Hamas was creating an interwoven network of tunnels designed for the movement of fighters and weaponry, equipped with sleeping chambers, showers, and dining areas. Atawnah’s training included placing improvised explosive devices targeting Israeli troops.
Atawnah provided his interrogators with information on the tunnels routes in the northern Gaza Strip, the methods for digging the tunnels, using private homes and public institutions as bases for the digging crews, and the construction materials being used.
Military AG Gen. Sharon Afek has ruled that Lt. Col. Neria Yeshurun, who as armor battalion commander during operation Protective Edge in Gaza in 2014 ordered his troops to shell a local building with a kind of 3-volley salute, would be reprimanded by Deputy Chief Of Staff Major General Yair Golan. The MAG recommended that the event be taken into consideration in future decisions regarding Yeshurun’s career.
No one was injured in the gun volley, and the investigation found out that the building was not a clinic, as previously reported.
During the operation, Col. Yeshurun ordered firing shells at what was referred to as a clinic in the battalion’s communications, as “an honor and a salute” in memory of armor officer Dima Levitas who had been killed the day before.
Officers who served under Yeshurun told the investigators as well as the media that the shelling was part of the operation, and that the commander’s talk of honoring a fallen officer with it improved soldiers’ morale. According to Yeshurun himself, the operational shelling was taking place at the same time Levitas was being buried on Mt. Herzl, “So we decided to shoot during the funeral a volley of shells at the point from which he was killed.”
Hamas has been providing medical aid, communications and technical support as well as assistance with funding resources to the group via its Gaza tunneling system, some of which snakes its way beneath the Egyptian border — and, at least until recently — under the Israeli border as well.
The Sinai Province group, once known as Ansar Beyt al-Maqdis, is also linked to the Muslim Brotherhood — as is Hamas — and is committed to toppling the Cairo government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.