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January 21, 2017 / 23 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Knesset’

Israel’s ‘Muezzin Law’ with Tougher Fines Submitted for Preliminary Knesset Vote

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

A bill prohibiting the use of public address systems outside houses of prayer, a.k.a. “Muezzin Law,” was submitted a second time for a preliminary plenum vote and is expected to receive an expedited procedure, Walla reported Monday. According to the revised version of the bill, houses of prayer will be prohibited to use their exterior PA systems from 11 PM to 7 AM. This both reserves Israeli mosques’ right to use their exterior loudspeakers to call Muslims to prayer five times a day, and no longer threatens the use of Jewish pre-Shabbat alerts. The bill, which also limits the decibel levels of those exterior PA systems when they are being used, was submitted by MK Mordhay Yogev (Habayit Hayehudi) and Coalition Chairman MK David Bitan (Likud).

The bill calls for a fine of between $1,300 and $2,600.

It is expected that the Muezzin Law, which initially got a hostile reception from most Arabs – although some revealed secretly the law would bring much needed relief to their families – will be expedited through the plenum and in committee, so that it can be presented next Sunday at the Ministerial legislative committee. The bill’s language prohibits nighttime use of the exterior PA systems of all houses of worship, although in practice this only means mosques and their practice of calling on the believers to dig out their prayer rugs and start prostrating.

“Hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens in the Galilee, Negev, Jerusalem and other locations in central Israel suffer routinely and daily from the noise caused by the PA systems of houses of worship,” goes the “Muezzin Law” introductory segment. “The proposed law introduces a worldview according to which freedom of religion need not be a source of interruption of citizens’ sleep, suggesting houses of worship limit the use of their PA systems overnight.”


Despite Growing Cynicism, 81% Are Proud to Be Israeli

Monday, December 19th, 2016

The 2016 Israeli Democracy Index was presented to President Reuven Rivlin Monday, with its top findings that suggest a lack of trust in the government and its institutions. It shows that in 2016 trust in the President of Israel stands at 61.5% (versus 70% last year).

At the bottom of the list are political institutions. Public trust in the Knesset stands at 26.5% (versus 35% last year), trust in the government stands at 27% (versus 36% last year) and trust in political parties is down to less than 14% (versus 19% last year).

In addition, trust in several other institutions has started to drop: Trust in the police stands at 40% (versus 42.5% last year), trust in the Supreme Court stands at 56% (versus 62% last year), and trust in the media dropped significantly to only 24% (versus 35.5% last year).

The only institution that more closely maintained it standing was the Israel Defense Forces; public trust in the IDF by Jewish Israelis is at 90% (versus 93% last year) and at 82% by all Israelis. Only 32% of Israeli Arabs, however, trust the IDF.

But despite the lack of trust most Israelis feel for their politicians and institutions, most Israelis are proud citizens (86% of Jews and 55% of Arabs, respectively). As in the past, Israelis evaluate the general situation in Israel as positive. Some 36% of respondents assess Israel’s overall situation as “good” or “very good,” 40% say it is “so-so” and less than one-quarter (23%) view the overall situation as “bad” or “very bad.” In addition, the majority of Jews (78%) and Arabs (60.5%) categorize their personal situation as “good” or “very good.” Some two-thirds of Israelis are optimistic about Israel’s future. Most Jews (71%) agree that Israelis can always rely on each other in a time of need. The Arab public is divided on this question (42% agree and 44.5% disagree).

The IDI survey is based on 1,531 interviews that were conducted as follows: 891 constituting a representative sample of the Jewish and “other” public; 278 of the Haredi public; 362 interviews the Arab public (Muslims, Christians, and Druze). All interviewees in the survey were aged 18 and over.


Police Summon Arab MK Ghattas on Suspicion of Security Violations

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

Israel Police will summon Joint Arab List MK Basel Ghattas for an interrogation on suspicion of security violations, based on information received by the special investigations unit Lahav 433, from the Prisons Authority, Haaretz reported Sunday evening. Apparently, MK Ghattas maintained ties with one or more security prisoners, which raised suspicions that he, too, was involved in state security violations.

According to the current report, there is no connection between this and the recent investigation into the Arab Balad party. However, investigators plan to check a possible connection between monies transferred to security prisoners by Balad and the lawmaker’s talks with security prisoners.

The Balad party on Sunday morning revealed that party politburo member Nibin Abu Rahmoun has also been interrogated by police.

Ghattas announced he would negotiate a time for his police interrogation, calling the police behavior “vengeful” and declaring he wasn’t afraid of such moved in the past and won’t be in the future.

The Ghattas interrogation follows the interrogation of his two colleague MKs in the Balad segment of the Joint Arab List, Jamal Zahalka and Hanin Zoabi. The interrogations of this highest echelon of Arab politicians come in the wake of sweeping arrests of Balad rank and file members, including former Balad Gen. Sec. and current President Awad Abdel Fattah and senior civil servants and attorneys.

The widespread investigation began a few months ago and deals with financial irregularities and suspicion of money laundering and document forgery during two campaigns in 2013 – one for the Knesset, the other for local municipalities.

Former Balad MK Azmi Bishara in April 2007 resigned from the Knesset through the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, following Israeli police investigation into his foreign contacts, and accusations of allegedly aiding the enemy in wartime, passing information to the enemy and having contacts with a foreign agent, as well as laundering money received from foreign sources. Bishara denied the allegations, and said he was staying abroad because he believes he wouldn’t receive a fair trial.


Knesset Speaker to Set Up Team to Reexamine Dress Code

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

In a meeting Wednesday afternoon between Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein and several legislators, it was agreed on setting up a combined team of MKs and the Knesset Management to examine the checking of visitors’ dress code at the entrance to the House. Meanwhile, according to Speaker Edelstein, the dress code will not be enforced until a new one is issued.

Last week the Knesset guards began stopping female staffers at the entrance to the House and sending them home to change, because their attire was deemed inappropriate. On Sunday, Shaked Hasson, an aide to MK Merav Michaeli (Zionist Camp), was stopped at the entrance to the Knesset for an hour and reportedly examined by five male Knesset guards because her dress was too short.

Knesset staffers in disqualified skirts. Photo credit: Lahav Harkov

Knesset staffers in disqualified skirts. Photo credit: Lahav Harkov

Knesset director general Albert Saharovich has apologized to the parliamentary aides, in the wake of a protest that saw 40 women staffers protesting, dressed miniskirts, the new dress code, including aides to Yesh Atid MK Yael German, Meretz MK Michal Rozin, Joint Arab List MK Dov Khanin, MK Manuel Trajtenburg and Yesh Atid MK Karin Elharar.

MK Trajtenberg took off his shirt at the Knesset entrance, cautioning that “tomorrow all of you will have a burqa.”

The meeting with the speaker included MKs Merav Michaeli, Yael German, Aida Touma-Suleiman, karin Elharar, Aliza Lavie, Rachel Azaria, Dov Khanin, Emanuel Trachtenberg, Ilan Gilon, Ayelet Nahmias and Knesset director general Albert Saharovich.

All the participants emphasized the need to adhere to a dress code, but objected to a code that was dictated by the more conservative, Haredi members of the House. According to Ha’aretz, Sakharovich said in private that the MKs who initially complained about the female staffers’ attire described it as “Sodom and Gomorrah.”


Knesset Passes Law Requiring Representation of Haredim, Olim, in Civil Service

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

The Knesset plenum on Monday night approved in a second and third reading a new law requiring appropriate representation of Haredim and Olim in the public sector, submitted by UTJ MKs Moshe Gafni and Uri Maklev. The mandated representation includes civil service positions and spots on the boards of government-owned companies.

The introduction notes to the bill note that proper representation legislation in recent years has used affirmative action to boost public sectors whose presence in the civil service does not represent their share of the population – such as women, Arabs, Druze, Circassians, and people with disabilities. The Haredi sector has been absent from this effort, Gafni and Maklev argued, despite the fact that the government has established its inclusion as a national goal.

The bill was passed with 35 for, no objections and two abstaining.

David Israel

Knesset to Weigh Decriminalizing Weed as War on Drugs Authority Flips

Monday, December 12th, 2016

The War on Drugs Authority on Monday presented a new position on Marijuana to the Knesset Committee on Combating Drugs and Alcohol, reversing past positions on decriminalizing Marijuana use. “The problem of cannabis use is social and medical, and only marginally criminal,” Authority CEO Eitan Gorni told the committee, admitting that his agency in the past had turned the margins into its focal point.

Committee Chair MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) supported the new position, saying that “Legalization is only a matter of time.”

In recent years there has been a rise of 71% in prosecution of cannabis growers, according to Head of Police Claims, Rutti Shitrit. But while prosecution of weed growers has been increasing, prosecution of users has dropped.

MK Meirva Ben Ari (Kulanu) told the committee she supports the Portuguese model, which views drug use as a health, rather than police issue. She argued that under Israel’s current drug policy, “Police waste their time, and we don’t help users move out of their situation.”

The Drug Authority’s Chief Scientist, Yossi Fisch, explained that according to the Portuguese model punishment is administrative rather than criminal. Drugs continue to be illegal, but users of up to 25 grams are not prosecuted in criminal court and enforcement is limited to public areas. He also noted that the incidence of Marijuana serving as a “gateway drug” is “negligible, zero.”


Survey: Only 22% of Israeli Jews Completely Trust Supreme Court

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

A new survey published by Prof. Avi Degani, founder and President of the Geocartography opinion and marketing institute, points to a sharp, 25% drop in the Israeli public’s trust, Jews and Arabs alike, in the Supreme Court. Only 22% of Israeli Jews expressed their complete faith in the court.

A similar survey that was done in 1991, 25 years ago, showed that 80% of the Israeli public, including Arabs, had a high or complete trust in the Supreme Court, compared with only 56% today. 12% of the Jews say have no trust whatsoever in the court, as opposed to only 3% that held the same view in 1991.

41% of Israelis had complete faith in the Supreme Court in 1991 – today it’s down to 22%.

Another institution that has suffered a severe loss of prestige is the State Auditor. In 1991, 80% had complete or high trust in this institution – today only 55% do. In the Arab sector, the drop was from 57% in 1991 to only 47% today.

The Knesset has maintained most of its status, but that’s only because it was very low 25 years ago – 27%. Today it’s down to 23%.

Prof. Degani cautioned that the fate of democracy is uncertain when the two branches of government whose job it is to restrain the executive branch are being held in such low regard by the public.


Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/survey-only-22-of-israeli-jews-completely-trust-supreme-court/2016/12/11/

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