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Posts Tagged ‘Israel Hayom’

Israelis Should Avoid Visiting Turkey, Govt. Says

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

The Israeli government issued an unequivocal travel advisory on Monday warning Israelis to avoid visiting Turkey, a popular vacation destination for Israelis over the summer and during the upcoming Jewish holidays, Israel Hayom reported.

The Prime Minister’s Office issued its routine semi-annual travel warning, formulated by the office’s Counterterrorism Bureau, stating that all non-essential visits to Turkey “should be avoided.”

The threat issuing from Turkey is defined as an “ongoing potential threat,” a mid-level threat on the bureau’s five-level scale. Turkey is now on the same threat level as countries where jihadi terror cells are known to be operating, including Nigeria, Kenya and Azerbaijan.

The travel warning is for the upcoming Jewish holidays in September. So far, over the summer months of July and August, tens of thousands of Israelis have visited Turkey.

The Counterterrorism Bureau also recommended that Israelis avoid visiting the two countries with which Israel shares a border and a peace agreement: Egypt and Jordan. In those two countries, the threat facing Israelis was defined as a “basic concrete threat,” one level higher than the threat facing Israelis in Turkey. For Morocco, another popular destination for Israelis, an “ongoing potential threat” warning was issued.

Sheldon Adelson’s Corporation Admits ‘Likely’ Anti-bribery Violation

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

The Las Vegas Sands Corporation, controlled by billionaire Sheldon G. Adelson, has informed the Securities and Exchange Commission that it likely violated a federal law against bribing foreign officials, the NY Times reported.

The admission was included in the Sands’ annual regulatory report published by the commission on Friday, in which the Sands reported that “there were likely violations of the books and records and internal controls provisions” of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

The Times noted that the above disclosure came while investigations by both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau are investigating the company’s business activities in China.

This is the first time the Sands has publicly acknowledged possible wrongdoing. Ron Reese, a spokesman for the Sands, declined to comment on the Times’ report.

Federal investigators started paying attention to the Sands’ business in China after a 2010 wrongful-termination lawsuit filed by Steven C. Jacobs, the Sands’ former president of the company’s operations in Macau.

Jacobs accused the Sands of turning a blind eye toward Chinese organized crime figures operating in its casinos.

According to the Times, Chinese authorities have fined some Sands subsidiaries more than a million dollars for using unreported money for business purposes.

Sheldon Adelson’s Macau operation has made him one of the richest people in the world, with a fortune that stands, according to Forbes, at just under $25 billion.

Adelson is a personal friend of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and his Hebrew daily Israel Hayom frequently runs articles supporting the PM.

Adelson’s Daily, Likud, Shas, Throwing Wedge btw Bennett and Lapid

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Billionaire Sheldon Adelson, the man who spent $100 million on electing absolutely no one in last November’s elections, owns a daily Israeli news freebee called Israel Hayom (Hebrew for Israel Today—arguably the most popular daily in Israel—hey, it’s free) whose central political position is wherever Bibi Netanyahu happens to be at the moment. It’s as good an ideological base as any (albeit more biodegradable than most), and this morning—in keeping with its party line—Israel Hayom is attempting to throw a wedge between Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid.

We reported yesterday that Lapid and Bennett have agreed to enter Netanyahu’s government together—or not at all. This was an astute, if not outright brilliant political move, creating a block of 31 Knesset members opposite Netanyahu’s 31 Knesset members. The jury is out on how long the pact would last – Israel is not a place where those things come with long-term warranties. But it is exciting nonetheless: two successful young men, newcomers to parliamentary politics, each with his own election miracle, one to Bibi’s right (Naftali), the other to Bibi’s left (Yair). They could certainly give the old, beaten down fox a run for his money.

Which perfectly explains why Israel Hayom would make it its goal to talk them down from that dangerous penthouse (I was going with tree house, but figured these two guys could afford better).

The Israel Hayom pair of political writers Yehuda Schlesinger and Matti Tochfeld on Tuesday morning came out with a column titled: “Naftali Should Calm Down,” in quotes. Some editor, realizing perhaps that this was too combative even for a Bibigraph, changed the headline to the anemic “The 19th Knesset on its Way.” But online titles don’t lie, and the original heading is still up there, at the top of everyone’s browsers. It’s a dismissive headline, so scornful, it could have been written by Sara herself. The rest goes:

“Chairman of the Jewish Home Naftali Bennett is strengthening his ties with Yair Lapid, but in his own home there are some who are not satisfied with the alliance between the two new stars of Israeli politics. Rabbi Zephaniah Drori, Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Shmona, dean of a hesder yeshiva (for National Religious men dividing their time between learning and military service) and a religious Zionist leader, addressed the issue of burden equality (meaning the idea of Haredim serving, too) and the conduct of Naftali Bennett, saying yesterday: “If in these issues he (Bennett) decides alone, not based on rabbinic judgment, it will be the end of his political career.”

Now, as Maariv reported this morning, Jewish Home MK Uri Ariel, who leads his party’s coalition negotiations team, regularly updates the party’s rabbis, who in turn have expressed their full confidence in the party politicians. Also, the same group of rabbis did not deem fit to act on Rabbi Drori’s complaints.

It appears that the Lapid-Bennett axis is causing panic not only in the Likud-Beitenu circles (we’ve been hearing from Jewish Home sources that the Likudniks are telling the Bennett people lots of Lashon Hara on Lapid, with the implied promise that the knitted yarmulkes would be better off in Mamma Likud’s bosom) – the other frightened bunch are the Shas folks, whose spiritual leader, Rav Ovadia Yosef, only the other day described Jewish Home as made up of goyim. They’re trying desperately to rewind that one—MK Nissim Zeev of Shas said the Rav was only talking about the proposal for civil marriages for the unweddables. (Better they should get married in Cyprus and join the ranks of Israelis who despise their own tradition on account of a near-autistic chief rabbinate).

Shas is aware that it’s about to lose its two seats of absolute power: Interior and Housing. If Lapid is serious about real equal burden legislation, it can’t be done with Shas inside the government, and certainly not with Shas holding the purse strings. So Shas is pushing for a coalition that would include them, Torah Judaism, and Bennett. Without Bennett that entire structure collapses on itself. This is not ideology, mind you, this is the lifeblood of Shas: they have patronage jobs to be awarded, and young Haredi couples waiting for government-subsidized apartments. If those same jobs and apartments go elsewhere, Shas would plummet to a single-digit entity next time.

Carter and Obama: ‘He Who Is Merciful to the Cruel Ends Up Cruel to the Merciful’

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

When the Iranian student revolutionaries took American hostages in 1979, U.S. President Jimmy Carter chose a path consistent with his character, but inconsistent with the American character.  He tried desperately, again and again, to prove to the Islamist revolutionaries and their ruling Mullahs that the big bad United States would not be a bully or resort to violence to enforce its views or to protect its assets, even when those assets are American citizens.  His strategy failed.

That strategy is still a failure. And, by all accounts, our current president is hell-bent on employing it whenever he can.

In a book that shows clearly the parallels between the dilemma posed to America by Iran during Carter’s regime and the one Iran presents to our current president, To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the “Arab Spring,” Ruthie Blum brings the not-so-distant-history alive.

Blum’s book is a must read for those who lived through and remember that first Iranian assault on American leadership. But it’s also for those too young to remember that episode – and really, it’s for everyone now living through the current Iranians’ attack on America’s role as leader of the free world and bulwark against the unfree world.  In both cases the Iranians have played America for a fool, and in both cases they had a U.S. leader who willingly, maybe even eagerly, took on that role.

For those old enough to remember, in 1979, when Jimmy Carter was president, he was furiously engaged in an effort to persuade the Islamists in Iran that the United States harbored only “genuine good will” towards them.  What he most sought from them was “dialogue,” not disagreements.  His timidity encouraged rather than discouraged those who sought to overthrow America’s long-time ally, the Shah of Iran.  Instead of reaching out to meet U.S. overtures, Ayatollah Khomeini and his followers refused to meet, let alone negotiate, with Carter’s emissaries.

Sound familiar?

Blum’s clear writing, coupled with her ability to convey the real drama of the historical events she describes, allow the reader to place the complicated series of diplomatic falters, Iranian acts of aggression and the parading of blind-folded Americans for more than a year, in a comprehensible context.

Blum then juxtaposes America-Under-Carter’s response, to that of the Obama administration’s fawning over the Arab Spring and reluctance to meddle in the efforts of today’s revolutionaries across the Arab Middle East – other than to hand millions of dollars to Islamists organizing these nationwide riots that our President seems to think are events of national liberation.  Blum’s book is essential reading for those who want to understand why, this time around, we should have known better.

Blum’s book shows that what look to some uninformed Westerners, including the president of the United States, like progressive, democratic impulses, have turned out instead to be determined flights backwards to the Middle Ages.

Tunisian pushcart merchant Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-incineration as the spark for the greatest upheaval in the Middle East in modern times is laid out in Blum’s book.  She illuminates the path from Tunisia to Libya, to Yemen and Bahrain and, where it remains hovering, over Syria and, possibly, hopefully, back toIran.

After reviewing Carter’s misguided and disastrous Middle East strategy, it is painful to then read how closely our current administration’s strategy tracks the Carter debacle in its mindset and its failures.

Blum reveals the perfect consistency between Carter’s craven posture before Ayatollah Khomeini and Obama’s whiplash-like series of always-off-kilter responses to the Arab Spring: his cutting ties with former ally Tunisian president Ben Ali, his refusal to do more than mouth platitudes to support the outraged Iranian citizenry when their election was stolen by the tyrannical Ahmadinejad, his delivering a swift kick out the door to our former close ally Egyptian President Hosnai Mubarak. And so on.

The admonition from Kohelet Rabbah 7:16: “Those who are kind to the cruel end up being cruel to the kind” is perfectly illustrated by the misguided efforts of two recent American leaders who thought they could convince truly evil adversaries to refrain from doing evil if only the powerful America would treat them more nicely.

Although To Hell in a Handbasket is very consciously launched during this election season, it would be a shame for it to be relegated to merely a momentary flash in the literary pan.  At fewer than 200 pages and written from hard historical sources that might otherwise seem dry to an average reader, Blum’s book moves like a novel.  It will be an invaluable addition to any college or sophisticated high school student’s library as a tool for understanding America’s place in the geo-political moment.

Don’t Blame Adelson For Collapse Of Israel’s Monolithic Liberal Media

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Liberal pundits have coined a new saw: Sheldon Adelson and the newspaper he owns, Israel Hayom, are primarily responsible for the collapse of many Israeli media outlets, and this endangers Israeli democracy.

The assertion is wrong on both the business and ideological levels.

The imminent failures of Maariv and Channel 10 television, and the deep troubles of Haaretz and other smaller publications, are first and foremost the function of long-term market forces, such as the advent of Internet news sites, that predate Israel Hayom.

Maariv’s downward slope began long before Israel Hayom debuted in 2007, which explains why Maariv was bought and sold four times – always at a loss – over the past 20 years. Its consistently terrible management and lack of brand positioning spelled its doom.

The same for Channel 10. The same for the Davar, Hadashot and Hatzofe newspapers – all of which have folded over the past 20 years. Sheldon Adelson had nothing to do with these bankruptcies.

Undoubtedly, some readers have moved from Maariv, Yediot Aharonot and Haaretz to Israel Hayom because the latter is distributed free. These readers also may have discovered that Israel Hayom is a good paper, with solid editing, experienced reporters, comprehensive coverage and a fine lineup of sharp columnists (full disclosure: including me).

But Israel Hayom also has tens of thousands of subscribers who pay for home delivery. And now Maariv and Yediot are distributing tens of thousands of free copies every day, too, on trains and in shopping malls across Israel.

What really irks the veteran Israeli media outlets is that readers have abandoned them for ideological reasons. Readers fled Yediot and Maariv because they became crass, trashy publications dominated by glossy features about models, actors, singers, rich playboys and the “true heroes” of Israel – journalists themselves.

By contrast, Israel Hayom features academics, scientists, pioneers, and Zionist and social activists. It also promotes hiking and travel within Israel, not the casinos in Greece, the restaurants in Rome or the fleshpots of Thailand.

Readers also edged away from Maariv, Yediot and Haaretz because of the deep gap that opened between the left-wing ideological viewpoint peddled by these publications and the healthy, increasingly conservative instincts of the Israeli public.

Those papers idolized Shimon Peres and his “new Middle East,” puffed up Yasir Arafat and promoted the Oslo process long after its failure was clear, and they lionized Ariel Sharon and pumped for Gaza disengagement while ignoring Sharon family corruption.

Yediot and Haaretz also regularly dump on Jerusalem, Israel’s largest city, as medieval and backwards while exalting Tel Aviv as cool and cultured. They sneer at Orthodox Judaism and mock religious Jews. They disparage Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with savage vehemence and fanatical constancy. Not a month goes by without Yediot conjuring up some nasty, cockamamie story about Netanyahu’s wife, Sarah.

For Haaretz, Israel can do no right and the Palestinians can do no wrong.

There’s more. In the 1970s and ‘80s, Yediot under editor Dov Yudkovsky, and to a lesser extent Maariv under editors Rosenfeld, Shnitzer and Dissenchik, became razor-sharp media watchdogs, launching one investigative report after another into government and financial sector corruption. They were papers with values and an edge.

But under Yediot publisher and acting editor Noni Mozes, and under Maariv’s disgraced and jailed publisher Ofer Nimrodi and current owner Nochi Dankner, the last decade has been dismal. The papers became enmeshed in promoting the financial and political careers of Israel’s liberal elites and the vested business interests of the publishers themselves. They often defended corrupt politicians and attacked attorney generals and the system of law enforcement. They came to represent the interests of their owners’ business and political connections, not the public interest. This is a real threat to democracy.

It’s no surprise that Israel’s top crime-busting investigative journalist, Mordechai Gilat, left Yediot in disgust after a 30-year career there. Gilat now writes for Israel Hayom.

Israel’s Ted Koppel, a journalist named Dan Margalit – former editor of Maariv, anchor of Israel’s top TV political debate program and the man who exposed Yitzhak Rabin’s financial misdemeanors – is Israel Hayom’s senior political and diplomatic columnist.

It’s also no surprise that Yediot and Maariv are now running an unabashed, aggressive campaign promoting the return to politics and national prominence of Ehud Olmert and Aryeh Deri, both of whom earned reputations as corrupt politicians and both with criminal convictions. And lo and behold, both happen to share left-of-center political orientations.

How Not to Keep Israel from Bombing Iran

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

There are no deadlines:

The U.S. is “not setting deadlines” for Iran and still considers negotiations to be “by far the best approach” to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Bloomberg in an interview published Monday.

Speaking to Bloomberg Radio on Sunday after the conclusion of meetings at an Asia-Pacific forum in Vladivostok, Russia, Clinton said that economic sanctions are affecting Iran and the U.S. is “watching very carefully about what [the Iranians] do, because it’s always been more about their actions than their words.”

And there are no red ones either, according to State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland yesterday:

QUESTION: Toria, your closest ally in the Middle East, Israel, is quite upset with a interview that the Secretary gave, particularly when she was asked about redlines or deadlines for Iran’s nuclear program. Do you have positions or levels in Iran’s nuclear enrichment that you consider unacceptable and that would force some sort of change to the current stalemate, let’s say?

MS. NULAND: Well, as we have been saying for many months, and as was clear when the Secretary was in Jerusalem earlier this summer, we have extensive and ongoing contacts with our close ally Israel to discuss the full range of security issues, but obviously to compare notes on the challenge posed by Iran, and we will continue to do that…

QUESTION: Well it’s a very – will you agree that it’s – are you – is there a specific policy of being – of constructive ambiguity here? Because, I mean, not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon means many different things to many different people. As you know, the Israelis have one definition of what it means to have a nuclear weapon, and maybe you have another one. So could you provide any –

MS. NULAND: Among the many reasons, Elise, why these consultations with Israel need to be constant, they need to be detailed, they need to be private. …

So we are absolutely firm about the President’s commitment here, but it is not useful to be parsing it, to be setting deadlines one way or the other, redlines. It is most important that we stay intensely focused on the pressure on Iran, the opportunity for Iran to fix this situation through the diplomacy that we’ve offered, and intensive consultations with Israel and all the other regional states, as we are doing.

Nuland seems to be trying to suggest that there is more going on under the surface with Israel, but Israel Hayom quoted “senior diplomatic sources in Jerusalem” saying that,

Hillary Clinton is speeding up the Iranian centrifuges with her erroneous public comments … Without a clear red line, Iran will not halt its race for nuclear weapons.  … not only do Clinton’s comments not deter Iran, they actually appease it.

So to recap: there are sanctions, but Iran’s 20 biggest trading partners have exemptions. Iran still refuses to let IAEA inspectors into its test site at Parchin, where it appears that experiments related to weaponization have been carried out. The I.A.E.A. also reports that Iran is carrying out computer simulations of the destructive power of nuclear warheads. Iran continues to add centrifuges to bolster its enrichment capabilities.

But the U.S. is not prepared to issue an ultimatum. It will go no further than to repeat that “we will not allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon,” but it will not say — publicly or to Israel — how far it will allow Iran to go.

The Iranians understand this to mean that they can keep on doing what they are doing, which is putting all the pieces in place to sprint to the finish line when they choose to do so. It’s by no means clear that we will know when this is about to happen, or that we will be able to act quickly enough to stop it, even if we do know. It is also generally accepted that the ability of Israel by itself to prevent Iran from building a weapon is eroding with time.

The U.S. has the power to issue a credible threat to destroy Iran’s nuclear capability, as well as a great deal of its military assets — missiles, air defense systems, etc. Such a threat would most likely cause Iran to pull back and would not actually have to be carried out.

By not doing this, the administration leaves Israel with only one option, which is to try to destroy or delay Iran’s program itself. While an American threat carries the risk that the Iranians will call our bluff and provoke a conflict, an Israeli attack guarantees one.

Incidentally, it should be mentioned that the former Israeli security officials like Meir Dagan who are opposed to an Israeli attack in the near term do not believe that Iran should be allowed to get nuclear bombs. They simply disagree with the PM and Defense Minister aboutwhen there will be no other way to stop Iran. If the US persists in allowing Iran to proceed, then even Meir Dagan’s red line will be crossed.

If the administration wants to prevent an Israeli attack on Iran, it has a strange way of showing it!

FM Sends Letter Encouraging EU to Sideline ‘Weak’ Abbas; Netanyahu Refutes, Abbas Incites

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman penned a letter to the Mideast Quartet earlier this week, calling on its members – the US, the EU, the UN, and Russia, to encourage new elections in the Palestinian Authority in order to remove current President Mahmoud Abbas, whom he described as “encouraging a culture of hatred.”

The letter, dated August 20, was addressed to EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton, and was obtained by Haaretz, in an apparent attempt by Ashton to cause embarrassment for and dissension within the Israeli government.

Written as a status report of Israel’s relationship with the PA, Liberman starts the letter by saying that Israel has “undertaken several significant gestures towards the Palestinians” – including an NIS 180 million advance of tax remittances – but that in response “we encountered repeated Palestinian patterns of refusal and consistent attempts to turn to pointless activity, counterproductive to any constructive efforts.”

Liberman went on to accuse Abbas of “damaging behavior towards Israel, including extreme cases of encouraging a culture of hatred, praising terrorists, encouraging sanctions and boycotts, and calling into question the legitimacy of the existence of the state.”

“The Palestinian Authority is a despotic government riddled with corruption,” he continued. “Due to Abbas’ weak standing, and his policy of not renewing the negotiations…the time has come to consider a creative solution, to think ‘outside the box,’ in order to strengthen the Palestinian leadership.”

He ends the letter by calling for general elections in the PA “ so that a new, legitimate, hopefully realistic Palestinian leadership should be elected.”

In response, spokesmen for Abbas on Wednesday condemned the letter as “incitement” that engenders an “atmosphere of violence and instability,” and called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to refute Liberman.

Indeed, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement later in the day distancing the government from Liberman’s remarks, saying that “The Foreign Minister’s letter does not represent the position of the prime minister or that of the government.”

“The prime minister agrees that Abu Mazen Abbas creates difficulties in negotiations,” the statement continued, but “Israel does not intervene in internal politics in other places.”

In related news, Israeli daily Israel Hayom reported that Abbas made statements on Tuesday denying the Jewish people’s connection to Jerusalem.

In a statement marking the 43rd anniversary of an arson attack on the Al-Aqsa mosque, Abbas said that “the Israeli occupation authorities…ultimate goal is to rob Muslims and Christians of their holy shrines, destroy Al-Aqsa mosque and build the alleged Jewish Temple.”

According to Palestinian News Network, Abbas “reiterated in his statement that there will be no peace, no security and no stability unless the occupation, settlers and settlements are gone from Jerusalem. He stressed that the city is at the core of Palestinian identity and remain the eternal capital of the Palestinian state.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/fm-sends-letter-encouraging-eu-to-sideline-weak-abbas-netanyahu-refutes-abbas-incites/2012/08/22/

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