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May 5, 2016 / 27 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Isaac Herzog’

Israel Police to Advise AG Not to Indict Isaac Herzog on Corruption

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

Israel Police say they plan to advise Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to close the department’s investigation into the allegations of wrongdoing by Opposition Leader and MK Isaac Herzog.

News of the impending recommendation was broadcast on Israel’s Channel 2 television news on Sunday night (April 24).

The probe into accusations of possible fundraising violations in Herzog’s 2013 campaign for Labor Party leadership by the Zionist Union leader began last month.

Herzog was questioned under caution by investigators on April 17, Channel 2 reported, and there have been no deliberations thus far on the case in the attorney general’s office.

Although police do not make the decision about whether or not to file an indictment, they can and often do make recommendations to the attorney general based on the evidence amassed during their investigation. The Israel Police LAHAV 433 branch is in charge of this investigation.

Hana Levi Julian

Labor Boss Herzog Interrogated with a Warning for 2nd Time

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

MK Yitzhak Herzog, chairman of the Zionist Camp (Labor) party and leader of the Knesset opposition, on Sunday was interrogated with a warning by the police anti-corruption unit Lahav 433 on suspicion of receiving illegal donations, failing to report donations and providing a false affidavit. The interrogation focuses on Herzog’s activity during the primaries for Labor Party Chairmanship in 2013, when he competed against incumbent chairman MK Shelly Yachimovich. The special police unit received the approval of Attorney Genral Avichai Mandelblit to pursue the interrogation.

Police want to know whether Herzog set up a parallel campaign center whose assignment was to find out and publish dirt on Yachimovich. Police suspect that Herzog funded that “dark headquarters” through copanies and business people whose interests he had served as minister of social services.

In May 1999 police investigated former prime minister Ehud Barak over alleged violations of the Party Funding Law, which later involved the interrogation with a warning of Herzog, who then served as cabinet secretary. In his interrogation Herzog maintained his right to keep silent. The prosecution eventually decided to close the case against Herzog, despite police objections. At the time Herzog was criticized severely for his conduct both during the campaign and in his interrogation by AG Elyakim Rubinstein (now Supreme Court Justice) and state prosecutor Edna Arbel (former Supreme Court Justice). But despite their rebuke, they let him get away with it.

Herzog’s office issued the statement: “Head of the opposition and chairman of the Zionist Camp MK Yitzhak Herzog arrived this morning to offer his version of events in response to a request from law enforcement officials. From the moment his investigation had been leaked, Herzog stressed and requested to be allowed to offer his version of events in order to leave the matter behind him, which he has done. Herzog has full confidence in the law enforcement officials and he is grateful for their dignified and decent conduct.”

MK Yachimovich said on Sunday that she is “convinced Herzog has the best interests of the party and the opposition on his mind.” She promised to “act in cooperation with him and with my colleagues in the party to decide what steps to take next. There is no doubt that an interrogation with a warning of the chairman of the party and the opposition makes the situation worse. I trust completely the police and law enforcement authorities.”

Last week Herzog referred to the possibility that he would be invited for an interrogation with a warning and said that the job of a leader is to “deal with crises, deal with criticism and also deal with libel.” Speaking at a ceremony of raising a glass in honor of the approaching Passover organized by MK Amir Peretz, Herzog added that “there are few leaders who have endured personal and political upheavals, absorbed nasty criticism, dealt bravely with a complex reality and still managed to carve out one of the most impressive success stories in military history ever — I believe Amir is familiar with all of the above up close.”

As defense minister, Amir Peretz endured a punishing war against Hezbollah in Lebanon and was ridiculed worldwide for looking through a pair of covered binoculars pretending to be seeing something. Eventually, though, he made his reputation as the man who dreamed up the concept of Iron Dome, the computerized defense system that allows Hamas to continue amassing and shooting rockets at Israeli civilian centers without Israel’s having to retaliate for it because few civilians are ever hurt.

Herzog told his party pals on that occasion: “You’ve followed me since I entered politics, you know my clean hands and honesty are the values in whose light I’ve walked and in which I believe. Since the announcement of the authorities’ looking into the party primaries became public knowledge, I’ve been telling all of you, publicly and personally, that this is part of the role of a leader: to also deal with libels that always rise up on the eve of elections. The job of the leader is to deal, lead and win. You elected me to lead this party and this camp towards governing and I intend to continue marching on this path, even if it is difficult and full of obstacles.”

David Israel

Foreign Affairs, Security and Education the Focus for Day 3 of CoP Mission

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

In an address Tuesday morning, Feb. 16, to the 42nd annual Conference of Presidents Leadership Mission to Israel delegation, leader of the Opposition and Head of the Zionist Union Party, Isaac Herzog, declared that “the true reality is that we are in the midst of the Third Intifada, which clearly has the support of various groups and schools of thought in the Muslim world.”

Herzog noted that eight attempted terrorist attacks occurred just yesterday.

Reiterating his ultimate support of a two-state solution, he said “under the current leadership of both sides, there is no way we can progress even one iota,” and added that he couldn’t promise that he would be able to reach an agreement with the Palestinians at this time. Herzog also made it clear that any final status agreement would be subject to a national referendum.

He outlined his three-point plan endorsed last week by the Labor Party, which consisted of: completing the security barrier around the settlement blocs and placing barriers around the 28 Arab villages in the Jerusalem area.

“We are not telling the truth when we say they are a part of the Jerusalem municipality,” Herzog said. “We must transfer civilian control to the Palestinian Authority and implement confidence-building steps that will enable the Palestinians to start building a state, including in the fields of agriculture and transportation; and initiate a multi-national ‘regional conference’ to address the host of problems in the Middle East.”

Herzog communicated his demand for a construction freeze outside the established settlement blocs and said, “In a way, the borders have already been drawn.” When asked about Ariel specifically, he said that it was one of the established blocs and would remain.

Herzog also said that Gaza must be part of the solution and called for simultaneous measures to relieve some pressure on the Palestinians there and to ensure the safety of Israel.

The delegation was briefed by the senior staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on a range of pressing issues. Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely delivered comments that outlined some critical challenges for the future.

Among them, Hotovely cited the ‘Jewish challenge’ saying that although Taglit-Birthright has brought more than 500,000 young Jews to Israel for 10-day visits, it has not managed to equip participants with the intellectual basis required to enrich the pro-Israel side of the international debate. She said, “It is the task of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to find the next birthright.”

The Deputy Foreign Minister also called for pressuring international donors, who fund 30% of the Palestinian Authority’s budget, to do more to guarantee that their contributions are not used to support incitement.

The delegation had a chance to meet informally with ambassadors and representatives of 35 countries. The group was also privy to an off the record security briefing by Israel’s Deputy Police Commissioner Maj. Gen. Zohar Dvir.

Minister of Education and Minister of Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett spoke to the delegation this afternoon exclusively about education in Israel, and how he is using education as an agent for change. He cited the recent “massive investment” in Israeli-Arab schools, for new teachers in particular, as well as hiring, for the first time, a head of Haredi education. He said “we need to teach the Haredim English and math, but on their terms.”

The Minister said that in the next three years he intends to more than double the number of high school students learning highest-level math, from 8,500 per year currently to more than 18,000. “That is the real future of the ‘start-up nation,’” he said.

On a positive note, the Minister expressed delight that in the past two months 253,000 Israeli kids have been playing Code Monkey, an interactive game that teaches computer programming. He also shared that for the first time every Arab student from kindergarten on is now learning Hebrew, which greatly increases their future job prospects.

Jewish Press Staff

Herzog Calls to Outlaw Islamic Movement

Monday, October 12th, 2015

Zionist Union leader and Opposition MK Isaac Herzog called on Monday to outlaw the extremist northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, as well as the Jewish extremist groups Lehava and La Familia.

Herzog said at the opening of the winter session of the Knesset that Israel’s parliament must “raise a moral voice.” He said that both Jews and Arabs must stand “from the whole nation” as one legal body to show responsibility, leadership and restraint.

Hana Levi Julian

Herzog Says Zionist Union ‘Would’ve Known Better’ How to Calm Situation [video]

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Opposition faction chief Isaac Herzog used a Thursday morning visit to the site of last weekend’s deadly terror attack in Jerusalem’s Old City of Jerusalem as a chance for political grandstanding.

Video credit: Josh Wander

Instead of subsequently calling for unity in the face of the rising Arab terror facing the Israeli public across the country, Herzog called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a separate statement to resign.

The Zionist Union head called the prime minister “weak,” saying he “performs well as a theater actor but poorly as a leader.”

Herzog insisted that had his opposition faction been in power, “we would’ve known [how] to calm the situation in Jerusalem a lot better.”

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu: Israel Cares But Cannot Drown in Refugee Flood

Sunday, September 6th, 2015

Israel is not indifferent to the human tragedy of the refugee crisis but is small and cannot simply throw open its doors to the flood, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.

“We have conscientiously treated thousands of wounded from the fighting in Syria, and we have helped them rebuild their lives,” Netanyahu said in response to recriminations from opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union), made in remarks yesterday.

“But Israel is a very small country, with neither demographic or geographic depth, and therefore we must control our borders.”

The prime minister pointed out that Israel must secure its borders not only against illegal immigrants searching for work, but also against terrorists hoping to slaughter Israelis. Instead, he said that he has spoken with African and European nations about developing aid programs for the countries from which the refugees are originating.

To protect Israel’s borders, he said, construction crews will begin to build a security barrier – as other nations have done for similar reasons around the world – similar to that built along the eastern border with Jordan from Gaza to Eilat.

“In the first phase we will build it from Timna to Eilat, to protect the airport being built there, and we will continue it to the Golan Heights, where a very strong security fence has already been built,” he said. “We will not allow Israel to be flooded with illegal immigrants, work-seekers and terrorist activists,” he said.

Immigration and Absorption Minister Ze’ev Elkin commented that the proposals by Herzog and Abbas to absorb refugees is an attempt to “bring the ‘right of return’ through the back door. That is not responsible and it absolutely cannot be allowed to happen.” Elkin said Herzog’s proposal is similar to that of Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who has requested to absorb refugees in Judea and Samaria.

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli Cabinet Sworn in after Being Sworn At

Friday, May 15th, 2015

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began his fourth term as Prime Minister of Israel late Thursday night, presiding over a cabinet of 20, after a raucous Knesset session culminated in the ministers’ swearing-in.  Lest there be any uncertainty about whether Israel really is both a Jewish and a democratic country, the Israeli Parliament session featured empassioned addresses by Arab legislators.

The session also featured a disgusted speech by Labour Party leader Isaac Herzog, who denounced the country’s newly-elected leader and refused to join the government, calling it a “circus” because its platform rejects the Socialist Worker views of the party that controlled Israel from 1948 until Menachem Begin became Prime Minister in 1977.

Herzog’s address was a frontal and personal attack on both Netanyahu and the entire concept of cross-party cooperation in the national interest:

“This is not the government the people wanted,” Herzog said. Facing Netanyahu directly, he went on: “Your partners swindled you. What you created was a circus. Your mentors Ze’ev Jabotinsky and Menachem Begin would have been embarrassed of you. Your way is not my way. My way is the way of the Labor movement that founded this country. Give the Foreign Ministry to one of your MKs. No decent leader would join your circus,” as reported by Gil Hoffman in the Jerusalem Post.

No doubt Bibi has very thick skin, but it would be hard for any human being, even a politician, to forget that personal insult, delivered in front of the entire government and, via the press, the rest of the world.

The  “swindling” that Herzog denounced was in fact a long negotiation with each person who wound up as a Cabinet official – and with several others who did not wind up as such – over who would hold which office.

After oaths had been administered, Netanyahu explained to the Knesset that this lengthy game of musical chairs was necessitated by Israeli’s system of parliamentary elections, which fractures power in the hands of numerous small parties, each of which then has the right to extort as high a price as possible for its support of a coalition.

Netanyahu called for change of this system Thursday night. Though both his own Likud party and Herzog’s “Zionist Union” – the two largest parties – would benefit from such reform, it’s hard to see how sufficient support for it could be found across all these criss-crossing party lines.

Still, there is some hope for progress on some fronts.  Ayelet Shaked will take over as Justice Minister, and she takes office with an ambitious plan to reform the Israeli Supreme Court – long seen by many as a profoundly anti-democratic institution that rejects Knesset-passed laws whenever a majority of its 15 justices disagrees with them.

Likud plans to introduce a bill in the Knesset that will, among other things, require a modest super-majority of the Supreme Court’s justices, rather than a bare majority, before a law could be struck down.

It will be interesting to see whether, if the Knesset adopts such legislation, the Supreme Court strikes that down.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-cabinet-sworn-in-after-being-sworn-at/2015/05/15/

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