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September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Israeli Arabs’

Brotherly love? Haredi MK Speaks Arabic, Arab Answers in Yiddish

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

At least one Haredi Knesset Member and Arab MK showed in the Knessset on Wednesday that they communicate with each much better than with most other MKs and Israeli citizens.

MKs Yisrael Eichler and Ahmed Tibi both are vehemently opposed to the new law that raises the entrance level for small political parties.

In their speeches against the law, MK Eichler showed his alliance with MK Ahmed Tibi by speaking to him in Arabic, to the enjoyment of Tibi’s colleagues, and the Arab MK returned the favor and told Eichler in Yiddish how much he appreciates the Haredi support for “democracy.”

Cabinet Approves Freeing 104 Terrorists

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

The Inner Cabinet late Sunday afternoon voted 13-7 to free 104 terrorists who were convicted and jailed before the Oslo Accords in 1993, but the decision does not necessarily give blanket approval to free Israeli Arabs who are on the list.

A mini-Cabinet, packed by ministers on the side of Prime Minister Binymain Netanyahu, will decide which terrorists can be freed in four stages stretching over a period of nine months.

Two ministers, Limor Livnat and Silvan Shalom, both of the Likud party, abstained.

Voting with Netanyau were:

– Likud ministers Yuval Steinitz, Moshe Ya’alon and Gideon Sa’ar;

– Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid, Yael German, Yaakov Peri, Shai Piron and Meir Cohen;

– Yisrael Beiteinu’s Sofa Landver and Yitzchak Aharonovitch; and

– Tzipi Livni and Amir Peretz of Livni’s HaTnuah party.

Likud ministers Gilad Erdan and Yisrael Katz voted against the government, as did the three Jewish Home ministers – Uri Ariel and Uri Orbach – and Yisrael Beiteinu ministers Yair Shamir and Uzi Landau.

Livni said the Cabinet should free the terrorists “for the sake of the future,” meaning the resumption of direct talks this week with the Palestinian Authority.

Likud Minister Yisrael Katz replied, “Releasing terrorists is a mistake, just like the building freeze was a mistake. There are ministers sitting here today who supported the building freeze and claimed it would lead to negotiations, and we have seen how far it got us. In six months, it will be clear that freeing terrorists will not bring us anything except  to worsen out situation in the region, and in the international community.”

Jewish Home chairman, Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett, voted against the government of which his party is a coalition member. “We used to free a terrorist in exchange for a soldier,”  he said, “After that, we freed terrorists for the return of the bodies of soldiers, Now, we free hundreds of terrorists in exchange for a process. We are teaching the world that everything is for sale.”

Cabinet OKs ‘Peace Process’ Referendum, Delays Vote on Terrorists

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

The Cabinet has approved a draft of a change in the Basic Law to require a referendum before giving up sovereign Israeli territory to the Palestinian Authority, but it has delayed for more than two hours a vote on freeing terrorists. Sovereign land refers to United Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, all of which have been legally annexed to Israel, but it does not include Judea and Samaria.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is confronted with massive and bitter opposition to freeing 104 terrorists, including Arabs with Israeli citizenship, to fulfill a condition of Palestinian Authority  chairman Mahmoud Abbas for renewing direct  talks.

The Prime Minister is scrambling for a majority, and the major sticking point is the idea of Abbas’ demanding that Israel free Arabs who are Israeli citizens.

Prime Minister Netanyahu packed the Cabinet to win a majority by adding Yesh Atid Minister of Science and Technology Yaakov Peri  to the inner cabinet committee that will vote on freeing the terrorists.

Likud ministers are divided, but the party’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon caved into pressure and said he will back the release of the Palestiniain Arab terrorists but not those with Israeli citizenship.

Jewish Home’s three ministers said they will vote against Netanyahu, as will Likud Minister Israel Katz and Gilad Erdan. The clincher could rest with the Likud’s Israel Beiteinu faction, whose leader Avigdor Liberman has given them the freedom to vote as they please. At least two minsters are expected to oppose freeing more terrorists.

The Prime Minister is expected to win a small majority, but if the Cabinet insists on keeping Arabs with Israeli citizenship off the list, it could torpedo  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s grand design for the resumption of direct talks on Tuesday.

Palestinian Authority officials have said they want “all or nothing.”

Opposition among the Israeli public and even left-wing media is rampant. Netanyahu understood he would meet stiff opposition, and on Saturday night, he took the unusual step of writing an open letter to the Israeli public.

He admitted that freeing the terrorists contradicts the value of justice but nevertheless said it was good for the country to do so.

At the opening of Sunday’s Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister continued to try to convince ministers to back him. “I believe that renewing the diplomatic process is important for Israel, both in order to bring an end to the conflict and in light of the complex realities in our region, primarily the security challenges from Iran and Syria,” he said.

Naftali Bennett, Jewish Home chairman and Minister of Economy, joined a Sunday morning protest against freeing the terrorists, many of whom murdered  elderly people and young children.

Yair Lapid, Finance Minister and chairman of the Yesh Atid party, reflected the view of those who are disgusted at the idea of releasing more terrorists but still hold out the hope against hope that it will help the cause of peace.

“These people should rot in prison all of their lives, but we need to do what is possible in order to start the peace process,” Lapid said.

One question remains unanswered: Why has Netanyahu broken his promises and stated policy – again?

He said direct talks must resume without any pre-conditions.

Maybe is gaining a promise from the Obama administration to take harsher action against Iran, or perhaps he is winning American agreement that the “red line” for acting against Iran is about to pass.

The U.S. government, like Netanyahu, have made lots of promises in the past.

Is It against Israeli Law to Fight with Syrian Rebels?

Monday, July 8th, 2013

An Israeli court on Monday sentenced an Arab with Israeli citizenship to 30 months in jail for traveling to the enemy state of Syria, where he joined the rebels for a week before changing his mind when he was asked to carry out a suicide attack in Israel.

State prosecutors charged him with training with radical Islamists in Syria, but a court in Lod, near Tel Aviv, decided against imposing the maximum 15-year jail sentence on the man because, according to Judge Avraham Yaakov, “There’s no legal guidance regarding the rebel groups fighting in Syria.”

Israel arrested Hikmat Massarwa in March after he returned to the country from Syria, via Turkey, after having sought out his brother. He is fighting with the rebels, assuming he still is alive.

He argued that although Syrian President Bassar al-Assad and the government of Syria are enemies of Israel, the rebels are not a danger to the country.

Since the “friendly” rebels asked him to kill as many Israelis as possible in a suicide attack, Massarwa finally pleaded guilty to travelling to a hostile country and meeting with foreign agents. The charges of training with an illegal militia were dropped, and Massarwa admitted that his short adventure could have threatened Israel’s security.

If nothing else, the case proves that whoever wins in Syria, if anyone ever does, Israel will be faced with an enemy state.

The case also is one more in a growing list of Arabs with Israeli citizenship who work with Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorist groups to work against the country. The vast majority of Israeli Arabs are not considered to be openly hostile to the country, but  a growing ”Fifth Column,” incited by radical Arab Knesset Members, has raised concerns in the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet).

There is no massive wave of Israeli Arabs working against the country, but there are large areas of blatant anti-Israeli activity, particularly in the Bedouin city of Tel Sheva, adjacent to Be’er Sheva, and in the Islamic Movement’s northern branch in Umm el Faham.

Lapid Threat: On Haredi Draft It’s ‘Equal Burden’ or New Elections

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid warned on Monday that if the government wants to stay in power, it will have to approve a committee’s recommendation on “equal burden,” including criminal actions against draft dodgers.

“If anyone thinks I entered politics only to solve the economic disaster that the previous government left in behind, they are making a big mistake, said the finance minister.

Lapid is proving himself to be a smart politician. He has the secular anti-Haredi public’s vote in his pocket, no matter what. He can scream to the rafters over compromises on the “Peri Committee” recommendations for equal military service for citizens  - well, at least for Jews – and can still agree to a compromise.

His threat to “dissolve the coalition” is real, but neither he nor the anti-Haredi public will mind if a small compromise is made because they know that a political bird in the hand is worth two doubtful birds in the bush. The alternative is a new coalition – probably one with Haredim – or new elections. Both options are really non-starters.

His party took home 19 seats to catapult his fledgling party into the number two spot, behind Likud Beiteinu, on the strength of his demand for equal burden in the draft, a break for the middle class and concessions to the Palestinian Authority for the sake of a peace agreement.

In fact, he has taken positions four-square against the demands of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Lapid even has sounded like a mild nationalist, stating that Jerusalem cannot be divided and making the totally impractical suggestion that Abbas take a step back and agree for interim borders for a new PA state. He even has approved funding for Ariel University located in central Samaria.

Concessions to the Haredim on the military draft is his red line, as he made clear on Monday after Naftali Bennett, chairman  of the Jewish Home party, argued against the Peri panel’s recommendations for criminal charges against draft dodgers.

He said he “does not want to see a police battalion” storm Bnei Brak to arrests Haredim draft evaders.

As with most apparent political crises in Israel, the hot air is a warning to the other side not to try to throw too much cold water on an issue, which in this case is the draft. After all of the thunder and lightning, some kind of compromise will be reached, such as changing the tone of the clause requiring criminal action against draft dodgers in return for extending the military draft for Hesder yeshiva students.

All of the noise has another advantage. It drowns out any mention of the massive draft dodging among many secular Israelis, the ones who voted for Lapid.

The drum beats for dissolving the coalition and risking new elections also silences any reminder about any obligation for the Arab sector.

If Bennett does not want to see a police battalion deployed in Bnei Brak, Lapid would fall over himself before allowing a police battalion to enter Umm-al-Fahm, home of the northern branch of the radical Islamic Movement.

Likud Beiteinu Tourism Minister Uzi Landau asked on Sunday why the Peri Committee did not recommend forcing Israeli Arabs to fulfill a duty of national service.

One obvious reason is that while there is a political benefit from taking aim at the Haredi public, no one is going to switch political support for someone who makes demands of the Arab sector.

Besides, the police would not dare storm Umm-al-Fahm.

And Lapid knows that Bnei Brak would not be a piece of cake, either.

Israelis Live Longer than Most OECD Countries

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

The average life expectancy in Israel is 81.7 years, fifth highest among OECD countries, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.

The annual report on the eve of Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, also reported that 10 percent of Israelis live in Jerusalem

Tel Aviv is the second most popular city, where 5 percent of Israelis live. The figures do not include the entire metropolitan Tel Aviv, known in Hebrew as Gush Dan and includes Kfar Saba, Ra’anana, Petach Tikvah, Bnei Brak, Ramat Gan and Rishon LeTzion, among others.

Arabs comprise 20.7 percent of the entire population, and the statistics reflect a continuing trend that denies the claim that the Arab percentage of the population is increasing.

However, the Bedouin population continues to soar in the Negev, where Jews are a small minority outside of Be’er Sheva.

Israeli Arab Citizen Charged with Joining Syrian Jihadists

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

An Arab with Israeli citizenship allegedly turned against the state and now is the first Israeli Arab to be charged with joining Syrian jihadists and fight with the rebels, according to an indictment filed in an Israeli court Wednesday.

The case has been under wraps since his arrest last at Ben Gurion Airport after the citizen, 29-year-old Hikmat Massarwa, returned from Syria via Turkey.

His lawyer claimed that Massarwa had no intention of harming Israel and was in Syria for the innocent purpose of locating his brother, who left Israel for Syria several weeks ago and also is suspected of joining  Al Qaeda-affiliated groups.

The increasingly frequent phenomenon of Arabs helping enemy states is of great concern not only to intelligence officials but also to politicians.

Avigdor Lieberman, who heads the Israel Beitenu faction that has since joined the Likud party, has won broad support from nationalists and horrified center-left parties by pushing for a loyalty oath and insisting that Arabs have no less an obligation to the country to fulfill a term of national service.

Israeli Arabs have no less than former Knesset Member Azmi Bishara to look “up” to as a model for a fifth column.

He fled the country six years ago after being indicted for passing on intelligent information to Hizbullah during the Second Lebanon War, in which thousands of Israeli soldiers and civilians were killed or wounded in the 34-day war that devastated northern Israel, including Haifa.

The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) said that Massarwa, a resident of an Arab area called the “triangle” because of its three-sided area between Netanya and Tel Aviv and the western border of Samaria, is a foreign agent.

Massarwa’s lawyer argued that after his client entered Syria to look for his brother, he was forced “to be part of this population,” referring to Syrian rebels associated with jihadists.

“He did not join the rebels. He helped them build tents and so on, said the attorney, Helal Jabar. “It seems more than a few Israeli Arabs have done this.”

Security agents asserted that rebels in Syria asked Massarwa about information concerning IDF weapons and the nuclear reactor in Dimona and that he was asked to carry out a terrorist attack in Israel, a request he refused.

Arabs with Israeli  citizenship have plenty of encouragement to work against the state. Most Arab Knesset Members not only side with the Palestinian Authority but also often speak against Zionism and the existence of a Jewish state. MK Hanin Zoabi boarded the Mavi Mamara flotilla ship, manned by IHH terrorists, three years ago and has incited against the state.

She has called Israel “inherently racist,” rejects the idea of Israel as a Jewish country, and Zoabi has backed Iran’s efforts to acquire a nuclear weapon, apparently preferring to die in an Iranian nuclear attack if Israel would be destroyed at the same time.

Other magnets for Israeli Arabs to help destroy Israel include the Hamas regime in Gaza, which recruit Bedouin Negev, turning several Arab population centers, such as Tel Sheva next to Be’er Sheva, into Hamas strongholds that Israeli police are frightened to enter.

Another attraction for Israeli Arabs to become Israeli traitors is the Palestinian Authority, whose official maps define Arab Palestine’s borders as the Mediterranean Sea in the west, the Jordan River on the east, and the Lebanese and Egyptian borders on the north and south.

With the spillover of the Syrian war into Jordan and Lebanon, and occasional fire on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights, Massarwa may not be the last Israeli Arab citizen to be charged with helping the enemy.

With Hamas ruling over Gaza and recruiting Bedouin allies in the Negev and with Palestinian Authority Arabs increasingly frustrated with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ failure to improve their political and economic lives, the Syrian civil war is another inducement to work against Israel.

With the spillover of the Syrian war into Jordan and Lebanon, and occasional fire on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights, Massarwa may not be the last Israeli Arab citizen to be charged with helping the enemy.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israeli-arab-citizen-charged-with-joining-syrian-jihadists/2013/04/10/

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