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July 25, 2016 / 19 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Knesset’

Netanyahu Tells Knesset Inquiry of his Suspected Corruption ‘a Lot of Hot Air’ [video]

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday fielded questions he did not get a chance to read in advance from MKs, in a fashion reminiscent of the British Parliament’s Question Time. This was Netanyahu’s first-ever Question Hour appearance.

Question Hour is a new parliamentary feature in the Knesset’s plenary sessions. Each year, the opposition has the right to invite 10 ministers to answer questions they did not see in advance. One of those times, it can be the prime minister. At least three-quarters of the questioners must come from the ranks of the opposition.

MK Yael Cohen Paran (Zionist Camp) asked Netanyahu, “It was written that an allegation is being checked [by police] that your son, Yair Netanyahu, used a passport with a fake name that the Mossad gave him to open a bank account in Panama to which hundreds of thousands of dollars were funneled. I want to ask you, did your son Yair Netanyahu get a falsified passport, and in which situations can a citizen get a passport with a fake name?”

In response, Netanyahu said, “There’s no passport, no Panama, no bank account, nothing. There is a flood of foolishness, of nonsense, of fabrications, of lies. Although they’ve been dealing with this for many years, they haven’t found anything for one simple reason: there isn’t anything and there never was anything. There’s no fire and no smoke. There’s hot air – a lot of hot air. Spoiler alert – nothing will come of this, because there is nothing. Therefore, I ask all those who are asking questions and those who may have hope in their hearts: don’t hurry to have suits made. Stop the tailors. Spoiler alert – nothing will come of this, because there is nothing.”

“Since there are those who are still interested in all sorts of things like this, I want to give you all a tip: In the beginning of September I am going to Holland and afterwards I’m continuing to the UN General Assembly,” Netanyahu continued. “Since I’ve noticed that these piles (of nonsense) usually come in certain proximity to my political travels, here I’m giving you the time to come up with new things.”

Netanyahu told the House he was delighted to have this opportunity to speak to the MKs, whom he said asked better and more challenging questions than the press does. “I’m enjoying every minute,” he said, and looked it.

Addressing a question by MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) on the anti-gay remarks made by Rabbi Yigal Levinstein and why he did not address them, PM Netanyahu said “I’m not a professional internet commentator and neither do I work on MK Zandberg’s schedule, but the comments are unacceptable. The LGBT community is part of us. They are citizens like everyone else. Israel needs to be a home for all Jews.”

Asked by MK Esawi Frej (Meretz) whether he would “launder the land theft in Amona,” the prime minister said “I do not support the laundering or appropriation of lands anywhere, and I suggest that you be careful when using such terms, because they apply to many places. The court ruled that [the Jewish settlement Amona in Samaria] should be evacuated, even if there is no specific ownership over it. It is private land, but it is not known who it belongs to exactly.”

“Amona is a matter of doing justice in an issue that’s been going on for many years. Several proposals have come up, and the Defense Minister asked for a few days to examine the matter. All involved parties would like to see a settlement rather than anything else.”

MK David Amsalem (Likud) asked PM Netanyahu about the US Senate report establishing that the US State Department had interfered with the previous Israeli elections by funding the V-15, or “Victory in 2015” organization, which operated with the explicit goal of causing Netanyahu to lose the election. “I want to explain what is improper about V15,” Netanyahu said. “We have non-profits that need to work with the minimum transparency, but there is one thing that we cannot accept – bypassing the election law. How does the [election] financing law work in Israel? It sets out how each party should fund its election [campaign]. The law limits the amounts. V15 bypassed this. How? They said ‘we’re not giving to a party but rather opposing a party.'”

Netanyahu said the money was used to influence the results of last year’s Knesset election. “We in Likud complained about this loophole and didn’t get relief from the court. It’s clear to me that this is intervention. These are huge sums. This needs to be stopped, for everyone, by the way.”

Addressing a question by MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid) on the conversion crisis, PM Netanyahu said, “The rabbinate is not mine. It was established in arrangement in the State of Israel from the time [the country] was established and even before that. I can’t tell you that I have managed to reach a consensus. I haven’t.”

MK Zouheir Bahloul (Zionist Camp) asked Netanyahu about the “expulsion bill.” Netanyahu said, “In the United States [a legislator) can be dismissed with a small majority without any explanation. I believe that in Israel’s Knesset there cannot be MKs who support terror or the annihilation of Israel.”

MK Hilik Bar (Zionist Camp) mentioned a video clip from a 1990s talk show that resurfaced recently, in which Netanyahu said he supports a two-term limit for prime ministers.

Netanyahu – who is now on his fourth term, third consecutive one – said “When I made that remark I was referring to direct elections [for prime minister]. There are restrictions if someone is elected in the presidential system. I voted in favor of changing the system of government in contrast with my party’s position. If you strengthen governance, limit the number of terms, and if you do not strengthen governance, do not limit the number of terms.”

MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint Arab List) asked Netanyahu what his diplomatic plan was. “The desirable solution for us is a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state,” he said, adding that the Arab League’s peace initiative could be a basis for peace talks with the Palestinians, but only in a revised form.

“If it’s a script, then certainly we cannot [agree to it]. If it’s a basis to open talks, then sure,” he said.

JNi.Media

One Third of Public Complaints to Israel’s Ombudsman ‘Justified’

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

Retired Judge Joseph Shapira, who serves as both State Comptroller and Ombudsman, on Monday submitted his annual Report to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein.

Edelstein noted that the number of public complaints filed with the Ombudsman’s office last year – 15,000, marks an increase from 2014.

“This is a positive statistic which shows that the citizens are fighting bureaucracy and foolishness, but it also shows that there are many more issues which must be dealt with, particularly when a third of the complaints were found to be justified,” said the Knesset speaker.

“The complaints were handled in a professional, thorough and fair manner, and perhaps this will motivate citizens to file more complaints,” Edelstein added, saying, “I am certain that the people in the State Comptroller’s Office, whom I thank for their dedicated work, will provide the appropriate professional service wherever necessary.”

State Comptroller Shapira said in response that “it’s important that the public is showing concern and is not willing to ignore [violations]. There are companies where the percentage of justified complaints was [very high]. At the Israel Postal Company, for instance, some 69 percent of the complaints were found to be justified. It is [gratifying] to see that the public is taking this matter seriously. It contributes to a better society.”

Besides the postal service, the government bodies with the highest number of justified complaints were: Ministry of Transport and Road Safety – 52%, Broadcast Authority – 48%, the IDF – 44%, Israel Electric Company – 41%, and Ministry of Education – 40%.

Government agencies with 100 complaints or more in 2015 were: National Insurance Institute (Israel’s Social Security agency), The Israel Postal Company Ltd., Israel Police, Ministry of Economy and Industry, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Transport and Road Safety, Ministry of Housing and Construction, and Israel Tax Authority.

Shapira said that in 2015 he issued 20 orders which legally protect citizens who expose corruption, 15 temporary and 5 permanent. “This is above the average [number of orders],” he noted.

2015 saw an increase of 25% of complaints filed online.

State Control Committee Chairperson MK Karin Elharrar (Yesh Atid) said the report indicates that the complaints filed with the Ombudsman’s Office relate to the daily affairs of the country’s citizens. “I call on all the government offices to [work together] so that corruption will gradually subside,” she said.

The principal function of Israel’s state comptroller is to review the legality, regularity, efficiency, economy, and ethical conduct of public institutions. The reviews are performed by ongoing as well as spot inspections of the financial accounts and activities of all ministries, the armed forces and security services, local government agencies, and any corporations, enterprises, or organizations subsidized or managed by the state to any extent.

By law, the State Comptroller also functions as Ombudsman to whom members of the public may send complaints about actions by governmental bodies that have caused them harm.

JNi.Media

Who Is Occupying the Temple Mount?

Monday, July 18th, 2016

This must be shared and the truth must be told. Maybe if enough people see it, we can bring about some much needed change.

It seems the world is so caught up in hypocrisy, that when someone tells the actual truth and exposes the ugly hypocrisy, they are often shunned and called an extremist.

Anti-Israel activists often charge Israel with being an “Apartheid” State. The Arab citizens, doctors, lawyers, teachers, policemen / women, soldiers, parliament members and Supreme Court judges would easily prove this charge libelous and there is no excuse for anyone who is educated and honest to to be fooled by this often used piece of anti Israel propaganda.

BUT…

They say in every lie there is a grain of truth.

It is difficult for me to write these words because it is our own Jewish government that upholds an apartheid like behavior that would be considered anti-Semitic if carried out in any other country.

The Temple Mount is currently being occupied by an Islamic mosque and a shrine.

Let me elaborate on that point, Muslims built a mosque and a shrine on the Jewish Temple Mount and we are the occupiers?

As if that is not insulting enough, the Mufti has demanded that the State of Israel prohibit Jews from praying on the Temple Mount.

One would think the Israeli government would have laughed this anti-Semitic request out of the Knesset, right?

WRONG!

Believe it or not, Israel has agreed to this racist anti-Semitic demand.

Once again, people’s freedoms are suspended in order not to offend radical Islamic ideology.

Why aren’t the liberals up in arms about the lack of religious rights and freedom in Jerusalem?

Not only is Israel enforcing this racist policy, WE are doing so with the utmost tenacity. Several days ago, someone photoshopped himself on the Temple Mount holding a flag. There would have been no problem if the person was an Arab with a Jordanian or an Arab flag, but it was a Jew who was holding an Israeli flag. This Jew posted his photoshopped picture on Facebook and before you can say ‘THIS IS INSANE’, Israeli police showed up at this door to arrest him for waving an Israeli flag on the Temple Mount.

First of all, the picture was photoshopped!

Second, even if it was real, what the %^& is illegal about waving the country’s flag on the Jewish holiest site!

THIS is why we are not winning this war on terror. We are not only ignoring terrorist demands, we are actually agreeing to them!

So, I’m reposting a picture I found on JewishPress.com! Is ‘big brother watching?

Not allowing Jews to pray on the Temple Mount is a law that reminds me of darker times in Jewish history. To have our own government, in Israel, uphold such an antisemitic law is shameful!

What can we expect from the world when this is what we do to ourselves!

#HarHabayitHAYABeyadeinu

(The Temple Mount WAS in our hands)

Well, it was, till we decided to give it away… shameful!

Ari Fuld

Shabak Chief: Most Female Terrorists Faced Honor Murder by Families

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

The new General Security Services (Shabak) chief Nadav Argaman told a Knesset committee on Tuesday that more than 40 women were involved in the current wave of terror, and that in almost every case the background to the individual woman taking up arms in a suicidal attack was internal family conflict over disapproval of the woman’s sexual conduct. In some cases, he said, it was even known that family members delivered the women to the scene of the attack.

Argaman argued that the women were sent to their certain death as an act of redemption for their misconduct, and also as a means for their families to earn a monthly stipend from the Palestinian Authority.

Argaman appeared before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in his first presentation. He showed the committee charts proving that the peaks in the wave of terror have been related to tension surrounding the Temple Mount compound. He warned that a heated situation on the Temple Mount could bring about a new explosion of terror.

The new chief of clandestine operations also remarked that Hamas, which is in the midst of a strategic duress, is not interested in going to war at the moment. He noted that there is a tight cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in intensively perusing Hamas in Judea and Samaria.

Like many other in the security apparatus leadership, Argaman stressed the value of issuing work permits in Israel to Judea and Samaria Arabs, suggesting that these working people are a source of calm in the Arab society there, who also prevent terror attacks. Today there are about 120 thousand Judea and Samaria Arab residents who work in Israel, legally and otherwise, supporting about one third of the population at home.

Argaman said that since the start of the new wave, security forces and Shabak have foiled about 240 significant attacks, and in the first five months of 2016 alone 11 suicide bombing attacks were thwarted, as well as 10 kidnapping attempts, and more than 60 shooting attempts, most of them by Hamas members.

According to Argaman, since the official date of the current escalation, October 1, 2015, there have been more than 300 significant attacks and attempted attacks (not including the countless daily incidents of stone and Molotov cocktail throwing). Out of those there were some 180 stabbing attacks, more than 90 shootings, and some 30 ramming attacks using a car. He noted that most of these attacks were carried out by lone individuals, while the number of attacks carried out by terror organizations has been relatively low.

Argaman told the committee that the decline in the number of attacks in recent months, compared with October 2015, can be explained by the high number of prevented attacks, improvements in the Israeli alert capacity regarding lone attackers, and the focusing of deterrence on the attackers and their close environment.

David Israel

Knesset Committee Approves Flag Burning Bill for Final Vote

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

The Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee on Monday approved for a second and third reading in the plenum an amendment proposed by MK Nava Boker (Likud) to Israel’s Flag, Emblem and Anthem Law, which seeks to increase the punishment for dishonoring the national flag or emblem. The bill equates the punishment for dishonoring the national symbols with the punishment for doing the same to the symbols of countries friendly to Israel.

Currently the law sets the punishment for dishonoring the Israeli national flag and symbols at up to a year in prison or a fine of up to 300 Israeli liras (pounds). The lira was replaced by the shekel as Israel’s legal tender back in 1980, which shows how long it has been since any legislator was last troubled by the dishonoring of the national flag.

However, dishonoring the flag of a friendly country will put you in prison for up to three years, and the alternative financial penalty is $15,000, so the bill seeks to extend the sentence and fine to those same levels.

Committee Chairman MK David Amsalem (Likud) complained about the fact that “we belittle ourselves. Anyone whose national flag is burned will be offended. When we are insulted the result is a conviction for a year, and when someone from abroad is upset it’s three years? Do the police keep records of the number of convictions given for such an offense? The national emblems are a source of national pride in every country. It is not a political matter. An American whose flag is burned is offended.”

“Freedom of expression does not mean you are allowed everything. Even religious emblems deserve elementary respect. A person who arrives at a synagogue or a mosque cannot do whatever he wishes. Even at a concert you don’t stand up and laugh. There is no need to exaggerate, but it’s illogical that there are no sanctions against those who burn flags,” Amsalem added.

MK Abdullah Abu Maaruf (Joint Arab List) asked to lower the punishment from three years in prison as the bill states, to a day, and remove the financial penalty. His request was rejected.

David Israel

Knesset Committee Approves Submission to US IRS Tax Compliance Act

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

After weeks of debates, on Monday the Knesset Finance Committee approved a bill to apply the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which the US has already signed with 113 countries. The 2010 federal law enforces the requirement for US citizens living abroad to file yearly reports on their non-US financial accounts to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN). The law also requires all foreign financial institutions (FFIs) to search their records and to report the assets of US citizens living abroad to the US Department of the Treasury.

Finance Committee Chairman MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) was able, after lengthy negotiations with the Israeli Finance Ministry, to increase the protection of Israeli citizens whose information will be handed over to the US, and reduce in half (from about $27 thousand to about $13 thousand) the sanctions against financial institutions that fail to comply with new law for technical reasons. Gafni also managed to change the definition of charity organizations in the Haredi community (Gmachim), changing their definition from “financial institutions” to “organizations that benefit the public,” thus removing them from the FATCA zone.

The committee also succeeded in repelling the Israeli tax authority, which wanted initially to be able to use information gathered by Israeli banks for FATCA to their own local tax collection ends. As Gafni put it, “This is a bad law, and to come now and use it for other purposes that have nothing to do with its essence would be unthinkable.”

The issue of forcing foreign financial institutions and foreign governments to collect data on US citizens at their own expense and transmit it to the IRS has been attacked outside Israel as well. Former Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty objected to the law’s “far-reaching and extraterritorial implications” which require Canadian banks to become extensions of the IRS and could jeopardize Canadians’ privacy rights.

There have also been reports of many foreign banks refusing to open accounts for Americans, making it harder for Americans to live and work abroad.

JNi.Media

Raucous Knesset Passes NGO Foreign Funding Transparency Bill

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

The Knesset plenum on Monday night passed the NGO Law, a.k.a. the Transparency Law, by a 57 to 48 majority. The new legislation’s official title is “Law on disclosure requirements for recipients of support from a foreign political entity.” It was the brain child of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) and it requires NGOs that receive more than 50% of their budget from a foreign source to report this fact to the NGO registrar and to note it in a visible fashion in all their publications as well as their communications with public officials.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented Monday night on his Facebook page that “the purpose of the law is to prevent an absurd situation whereby foreign countries intervene in Israel’s internal affairs through their NGO funding while the Israeli public is unaware of it. Contrary to the arguments on the left, passing the law will increase transparency, contribute to creating a dialog that reflects accurately the views of the Israeli public and will bolster Democracy.”

The vote followed a boisterous, even rowdy six hour debate during which the opposition submitted no less than one thousand reservations, and opposition members expressed resolute objections to the bill. Meretz chair Zehava Galon accused the bill’s authors that their purpose “isn’t enhancing the transparency but [constitutes] political persecution. … the bill’s authors and promoters wish to shut the mouths of organizations that challenge government policy.”

MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Camp) warned that the new law “defames our reputation in the world worse than any NGO could have done and destroys us from within.” Other ZC members were also of the opinion that the law is intended to quash opposition to the rightwing majority, at the expense of Israel’s reputation as a world democracy.

For comparison, the US Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), passed in 1938, requires that agents representing the interests of foreign powers in a “political or quasi-political capacity” disclose their relationship with the foreign government and information about related activities and finances. The purpose is to facilitate “evaluation by the government and the American people of the statements and activities of such persons.” In 2007 the Justice Department launched an online database which can be used by the public to search filings and current reports.

The US law requires periodic disclosure of all activities and finances by people and organizations that are under control of a foreign government, of organizations or of persons outside of the United States (“foreign principal”), if they act “at the order, request, or under the direction or control” of this principal (i.e. as “agents”) or of persons who are “controlled or subsidized in major part” by this principal. Organizations under such foreign control can include political agents, public relations counsel, publicity agents, information-service employees, political consultants, fundraisers or those who represent the foreign power before any agency or official of the United States government.

But the US law provides explicit exemptions for organizations engaged in “religious, scholastic, academic, or scientific pursuits or of the fine arts,” as well as for those “not serving predominantly a foreign interest.”

Constitution, Law and Justice Committee Chairman MK Nissan Slomiansky (Habayit Hayehudi) told the House that “anyone wishing to influence the agenda of the Israeli public must be transparent. It is inconceivable that foreign states would hide behind associations and organizations acting on behalf of interests that are not in line with those of the State of Israel. Now everything is on the table, everything is revealed, and they will undergo the public’s scrutiny.”

Slomiansky proceeded to read from a list of just how much money some leftwing NGO received from abroad—some of whom get 100% of their budget this way—and the opposition benches went on the warpath, drowning his voice with their angry shouting.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/raucous-knesset-passes-ngo-foreign-funding-transparency-bill/2016/07/12/

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