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July 2, 2016 / 26 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘government’

Cabinet Passes 2015-2016 Budget, DM Ya’alon Abstains

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

The Cabinet passed the 2015-2016 budget early Thursday morning after a long day of wrangling and debating.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon was the only holdout, abstaining due to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s support for recommendations by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon to set the defense budget at NIS 55.3 billion for 2016. Kahlon conditioned on raising the budget to NIS 59 billion on the adoption of the recommendations of the Locker Committee.

The Locker Commission, headed by Maj.-Gen. (res) Yochanan Locker last year issued a 77-page report calling for massive across-the-board cuts to the IDF budget. Included were 53 recommendations on budget savings and “efficiency reforms” totaling NIS 9.6 billion annually between 2016 and 2020 that Locker said could be “reinvested” as new funds by the IDF.

Among the recommendations were cuts to pensions for IDF non-combat officers, capping the defense budget at NIS 59 billion, limiting mandatory service for men to two years and 11 percent cuts in personnel.

The IDF viewed the recommendations as short-sighted, pointing out the new challenges facing the military such as the need for advanced development of cyber defense, Iron Dome anti-missile training and technology and similar cutting-edge financial needs. At the time, Ya’alon also said the commission’s recommendations were incompatible with the threats facing Israel which have not decreased but rather, have only changed.

Additions to Israel’s present budget were made throughout the day on Wednesday to individual budgets in ministries where coalition promises had been made.

The ministers had already been warned ahead of time by Netanyahu that the government would collapse if they did not stop their demands and get behind the budget.

From the outset, on Tuesday, Netanyahu said bluntly, “The State of Israel will have a budget because otherwise it will not have a government and our economic and security situation will deteriorate. Demands always exceed what there is but in the end, the right decisions are made. We will do so this time as well.”

An extra NIS 8 billion ($2.1 billion) had already been pulled together for the NIS 414 two-year budget, but ministers clamored for more spending on education, defense and police. In addition, there was an outcry over value added tax (sales tax) which social activists want eliminated on basic goods.

An addition of NIS 1.7 billion was made, for example, to the budget of Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan over the next two years.

Cutbacks were cancelled in the budget of Sport and Culture Minister Miri Regev, and an additional NIS 50 million was found to sweeten the deal.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett received NIS 290 million for his budget as well, to ease the cutbacks to his ministry’s coffers.

“We have to continue the economic growth and that is why taxes will not increase,” Netanyahu said when introducing the budget on Wednesday. “When the money gets to the citizens, they will make better use of it than the bureaucrats will.

“There are reforms here that reduce the cost of living for citizens. It’s important to reduce the price of food, transportation and health, and to increase the supply of housing,” he said.

After having passed the Cabinet, the budget will go to the Knesset plenum for a vote on August 31. Final passage of the budget must be completed in the Knesset by November 19.

Hana Levi Julian

FM Moshe Kahlon to Present ‘Cornflakes Reform’ Budget

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon made final preparations Tuesday in the Socio-Economic Cabinet to tie up loose ends in the budget for presentation to the full Cabinet on Wednesday (Aug. 5).

Kahlon said, “We are presenting genuinely significant reforms…in the banks and financial sector – the cost of living, food, removing impediments and lifting import quotas that have made things very difficult for consumers in the State of Israel.

“I have no doubt that we will receive the support of the ministers because – I reiterate what the Prime Minister said (at the start of the cabinet meeting) – this is a social and responsible, responsible and social, budget that truly puts people – the citizens of the state – in the center, alongside responsibility for economic growth, job creation, reduction of gaps, bringing the periphery closer to the center, infrastructures, housing and – of course – education.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu commented at the start of the cabinet meeting that as a prime minister and finance minister, he had “passed over a dozen budgets” in his tenure, and always sees the same situation: “everyone has demands. Demands always exceed what there is,” he said, “but in the end the right decisions are made. “We will do so this time as well,” he added.

“The State of Israel will have a budget because otherwise it will not have a government and our economic and security situation would deteriorate. I trust the collective responsibility of our ministers. We will pass the budget in the full Cabinet tomorrow,” he said firmly.

“The ‘cornflakes reform’ that we are leading here at the Prime Minister’s Office, will affect many food products on the market,” Netanyahu went on to say.

“We are also enacting changes in what is referred to as ‘housing supply’ to further increase the number of apartments in the State of Israel.

“In the end this is the only way to lower prices. We are doing things to lower the cost of health services in the State of Israel such as supplementary insurance and private insurance.

“This will affect very many families regarding hundreds of shekels, which is not a small thing.

“We are also taking steps to advance the natural gas economy. First of all, we are linking factories to gas; what point is there to having gas if it cannot be utilized? With a side reference to the difficult financial situation faced by nearby Greece, Netanyahu commented, “I think that Israel has seen fit to navigate its economic path with the policy we have led over many years and it did not fall into the pits into which other countries have fallen, some not far away from us.

“We must continue not only to avoid these pitfalls but to scale the heights. The budget, and what we are doing here today, are designed to achieve these goals – continued growth and the continued lowering of prices.”

Hana Levi Julian

Hackers Stole Personal Data of All US Federal Workers, Past & Present

Friday, June 12th, 2015

That cyber attack on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, revealed to the American public just a few days ago, turns out to be a mammoth violation; worse than the White House is willing to admit.

The personal information of every single federal worker, retired, current, past and present has been stolen in one of the biggest heists by hackers the U.S. has ever faced — affecting far more than the initial report of “at least four million government employees,” according to a report in the Friday edition of the New York Post.

It is believed the attack was traced back to China, according to myriad American media reports. The Obama administration has to yet to formally accuse China of the cyber security attack, however.

China has been involved in numerous industrial cyber attacks on corporations in the United States. Hackers traced to Russia have also carried out a number of cyber attacks in the U.S.

In Israel, cyber warfare has long been considered a major threat — one the Jewish State geared up to deal with by creating an entire government division devoted solely to cyber defense and cyber warfare.

The U.S. OPM breach apparently occurred in December; but it was not until April that it was discovered, and the news did not reach the public until this month.

Among the personal details stolen by the cyber thieves were the social security numbers, dates of birth and addresses, according to J. David Cox, head of the American Federation of Government Employees.

Military records, employment histories, gender, race and insurance information was also taken from the records penetrated in the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

In a letter that Cox wrote to OPM director Katherine Archuleta, he charged the agency with not encrypting highly sensitive personal data of those who work for the government.

“We believe that Social Security numbers were not encrypted, a cybersecurity failure that is absolutely indefensible and outrageous,” Cox said.

Personnel data files contain up to 780 pieces of information about each federal employee, according to the NY Post.

OPM has signed a $20 million deal with a private cyber security firm to provide 18 months of identity fraud protection for those who are affected.

Hana Levi Julian

Gen. Dempsey Tells Netanyahu ‘Friendship with IDF a Gift’

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Visiting U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said Thursday morning with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, “The greatest gift has been the friendship that we’ve managed to forge with the leaders in the IDF, and I know you’re proud of them but we are too. It’s our constitution, and you know that that’s what inspires us as I know service to your nation inspires you.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu told Dempsey, “You’ve been a wonderful friend and a grand champion of America and of America-Israel relations. We appreciate it. I want to take this opportunity to also express our respect and deep admiration for America’s fighting men and women.

“We know you’re extended around the world, including in our region. We know we have no better friends than the American people, the American governments, the American fighting men and women. You fight for America, but you also fight for freedom.”

 

Jewish Press News Briefs

Cyber Attack Strikes More US Govt Offices , 4 Million Affected

Friday, June 5th, 2015

Do you or any of your family work for the federal government? If so, prepare to change all of your computer passwords and consider doing the same at your bank.

At least four million current and former civil service workers have had their privacy violated by hackers who breached computer systems at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and the Department of the Interior.

According to a report in The Washington Post, the attack was carried out by Chinese hackers, as have previous U.S. industrial breaches.

OPM notified those whose “personally identifiable information” may have been compromised, offering 18 months of credit monitoring for those who were affected.

OPM Director Katherine Archuleta told journalists at a news conference the government is working on trying to improve its cyber security. “We take very seriously our responsibility to secure the information stored in our systems,” she said.

The breach was first detected in late April and confirmed in early May. It is unclear when the attack began.

It is the Department of Homeland Security that is tasked with cyber defense. DHS officials said they were working with the FBI to get to the bottom of who was behind the current attack.

“DHS is continuing to monitor federal networks for any suspicious activity and is working aggressively with the affected agencies to conduct investigative analyses to assess the extent of this alleged intrusion,” DHS spokesperson Sy Lee said.

Congressman Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said “The cyber threat from hackers, criminals, terrorists and state actors is one of the greatest challenges we face on a daily basis, and it’s clear that a substantial improvement in our cyber databases and defenses is perilously overdue.”

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu Tells Israelis Military Challenges Due to Iran Are ‘Piling Up’

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Israelis Tuesday in an interview aired on Channel 2 television that the US-brokered deal with Tehran will “pave the way for Iran to atom bombs.”

Speaking at Home Front Command headquarters during the week-long “Turning Point” nationwide military defense drill, Netanyahu said challenges from the rising risks of imminent attacks are “piling up.”

The threat of rocket and missile fire has hung over Israel for decades. Most of the weapons have been supplied to the terror organizations by Iran, both north and south of the border.

“When speaking of the security of the citizens of Israel I rely first and foremost on us only. Proof of the wisdom of this is the agreement emerging between the world powers and Iran,” said the prime minister. He pointed out that the deal would inject billions of dollars into the Iranian economy, in addition to “paving the way for Iran to atom bombs.”

With the funds it receives, Iran “can continue to arm our enemies with high trajectory weapons and other arms, while also arming its own war and terror machine which is acting against us and the Middle East, and which is much more dangerous than the Da’esh (ISIS) terror machine, which is also dangerous,” Netanyahu said.

U.S. President Barack Obama is slated to present his case for the deal with Iran on Israel’s Channel 2 television later in the evening on Tuesday night.

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu Warns Campaign to De-Legitimize Israel Will Become Existential Threat

Monday, June 1st, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a grave warning at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday (May 31) that Israel is facing a “great struggle” that will be an existential threat.

“We are in the midst of a great struggle being waged against the State of Israel, an international campaign to blacken its name. It is not connected to our actions; it is connected to our very existence,” he said.

“It does not matter what we do; it matters what we symbolize and what we are.

“This is a phenomenon that we have known in the history of our people – what hasn’t been said about the Jewish People? They said that we are the focus of all evil in the world. They said that we are the poisoners of the wells of humanity. They said that we drink the blood of little children. All of these things are being said about us today as well. It was not true then and it is not true today. This does not have a shred of truth,” Netanyahu continued.

“I read again the poem of the great Alterman, about the accusations that are hurled at us, and he says that the most important thing is that we do not believe the awful things aimed at us because in the end that will be the victory against us. As long as we do not believe, as long as we reject these things and do not flagellate ourselves, we will be strong and steadfast.

“I think that it is important to understand that these things do not stem from the fact that if only we were nicer or a little more generous – [since] we are very generous, we have made many offers, we have made many concessions – that anything would change. [Because] this campaign to de-legitimize Israel entails something much deeper that is being directed at us and seeks to deny our very right to live here.

“I think that one must ask how can it be that Israel is accused over homes in Gilo, or over this or that action that we take to defend ourselves from terrorists, but that when a hundred times more victims – a hundred times more, not twice or ten or 50 times as many, but a hundred times – more people are being slaughtered in Syria, just in Syria – there are no protests, no condemnations, no 80% of decisions by United Nations human rights committees, against Syria.

“It is we who are accused, IDF soldiers who are accused of killing children. I saw the IDF delegation to Nepal which rescued Nepalese children and brought babies into the world. I did not see a delegation from Boko Haram. I did not see delegations from Iran there. I did not see delegations from Al Qaida and I did not see delegations from Syria.

“There is no justification for the campaign of de-legitimization being waged against the State of Israel, in which they are trying to suspend us from international organizations.

“The last thing we need to do is to bow our heads and ask where we went wrong, where we erred.

“We have done nothing wrong and we have not erred. We are not a perfect country; we do not pretend to be such, but they are setting standards for us that are both twisted and higher than those for any other country, any other democracy.

“There is no democracy that is more challenged than the State of Israel, which respects human rights, which respects pluralism, which respects humanity even in the most difficult war situations, even when thousands of missiles are being fired at our cities.

“Therefore, here we are not dealing in justifications, here we are telling the truth.

“This past weekend we had to rebuff a major international effort to oust us from FIFA and I am pleased that we succeeded. This was part of the continuing effort; I am not deluding myself that these efforts will cease, and we need to act on a very broad front, but the first thing that we must arm ourselves with is the truth — the truth, and also with the inner pride that we know who we are and what we represent, and that we will not capitulate to libels.

“And therefore, an accomplishment must be noted, an important accomplishment, but it must also be noted that this was a milestone in a long campaign in which we will insist on our rights and in which we will uphold the truth – not on our truth alone, but on the truth and we will not allow ourselves to be ousted from important sports organizations nor from those which are not important.”

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-warns-campaign-to-de-legitimize-israel-will-become-existential-threat/2015/06/01/

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