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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Knesset’

Liberman to Arab MK: Conditions at Checkpoints Are Unreasonable, Harmful

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

In a question-and-answer session in the Knesset this week, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman Addressed a question by MK Abd Al Hakeem Haj Yahya (Joint Arab List) about the conditions at checkpoints in Judea and Samaria, Liberman said “What’s happening at checkpoints is unreasonable, and there is no doubt it harms our security.”

“There are three authorities that deal with this issue — the Airports Authority, Defense Ministry and Public Security Ministry, and this creates a complicated chaos,” Liberman explained.

Liberman expressed his hope that the matter will be taken care of in next year’s budget, “to improve things from every perspective – security and humanitarian.”

Liberman was asked by MK Yoel Hasson (Zionist Camp) about the reconciliation agreement with Turkey and whether it constitutes recognition of the Hamas’ regime in Gaza. “Our starting point must be Egypt,” the defense minister said. “It is our most important, serious ally in the Middle East. How will it affect our relations with Egypt? Personally, I’ve invested a lot of effort in building relations of trust and cooperation [with Egypt]. There are many other considerations here which we must take into account.”

MK Orly Levi-Abekasis asked Liberman why IDF soldiers who became disabled during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge have yet to receive the benefits they deserve. “There is an absolute commitment to this issue, and those who are dealing with it are doing so with dedication. It has been examined in the various committees, and as a minister I have to trust those professional echelons. The disabled themselves are part of the formulation of those benefits. Intense debates are being held in order to improve their situation,” Liberman answered.

MK Masud Ganaim (Joint Arab List) asked the defense minister about his summoning of Army Radio commander Yaron Dekel regarding a program on Arab poet Mahmoud Darwish which was aired by the station. “It is okay to air an episode on Darwish, but in the framework of ‘know your enemy,’ together with the mufti and Goebbels,” Liberman retorted.

Asked by MK Michal Rozin (Meretz) about his decision to revoke the entry permit to Israel of senior Palestinian Authority official Mohammed al-Madani, Liberman said, “Part of the tradition in the Palestinian Authority is that the same people who at nighttime deal with harming Israel and worked hard to annihilate the State of Israel, during the daytime speak a lot about brotherhood among the nations, peace, and so forth.”

The minister noted that he cannot make such a decision alone. “There is the opinion of the Shin Bet (General Security Service) and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. They are certainly not political people. Only after they tell me in writing that they strongly suggest [a permit be revoked] do I perform the formal act.”

Al-Madani, the minister said, “is not an innocent person who thinks about brotherhood and peace between Jews and Arabs.”

“Questions 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.

JNi.Media

Knesset Committee Quarrels with Anti-Drug Officials over Colorado Legalized Weed

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

The Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse, chaired by MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz), is interested in drawing applicable conclusions from the legalization of soft drugs in Colorado.

“It’s been four years into the legalization in Colorado and the sky did not fall,” Zandberg said during the committee’s meeting last Monday. “When things are legalized, the assumption is that more people smoke legally and report it.”

Dr. Adi Inbar, from the Knesset Research and Information Center, presented the figures of the first year of legalization in Colorado: “The main conclusion is that it is too early to determine the effects of this move, the future trends and its implications on other places”.

Dr. Yossi Harel-Fisch, Chief Scientist of the Israel Anti-Drug Authority, said, “The result deriving from meetings of professionals from all around the world is that not enough time has passed to draw conclusions. We are worried about some trends – Colorado is unique also within the US for its high rates of drug use over the years. According to the figures, Colorado is placed first among the 50 states in marijuana use among youth aged 12-17.”

Harel-Fisch presented additional figures showing an increase of 32% in the number of students who are expelled from school due to drug-related issues, as well as an increase in marijuana use among students, a 30% rise in emergency room visits due to the use of soft drugs and an increase of 44% in the number of people killed while driving under the influence of soft drugs.

MK Sharren Haskel (Likud) said, “It is strange that people from the Knesset Research and Information Center say that there are no unequivocal figures, and yet the Israel Anti-Drug Authority presents unequivocal facts. It creates an uneasy feeling.”

Dr. Harel-Fisch replied that “The rates are not precise and therefore do not prove a causative relationship. There are many interpretations but no clear conclusions.”

Committee Chairwoman Zandberg replied: “It is unclear why cannabis stands for itself, it should be considered the same as any other substance on the list. While we see a moderate increase in cannabis use, we see a rise in designer drugs which cause harm. In Colorado figures show that the crime rate is declining, as is the number of road accidents. . . . and a new figure shows a drop in the use of medicine parallel to the increase in cannabis use.”

MK Michal Rozin (Meretz) stated that “The main concern is for children and teenagers, and the question is whether legalization was made alongside an educational plan. During a visit to the Geha Mental Health Center yesterday, I was told of an increase in the purchase of the ‘Nice Guy’ drug, which causes a rise in violence towards staff and mental patients.”

Orit Shapiro, Head of the Prevention and Education Division at the Israel Anti-Drug Authority, noted that “over the past few years we have found that some youths are confused as to what is allowed and what is not dangerous. Legalizing would have immediate implications on the use of drugs – if it is allowed by law, then it must be fine.”

In response, MK Zandberg said, “There is an improper situation here, and you claim that the discourse is harmful. We are trying to have an intelligent discussion — alcohol is a more dangerous drug than cannabis, designer drugs as well, and my feeling is that because cannabis is considered criminal — you cling to the horns of the altar.”

MK Dov Khenin (Joint List), said “Criminal law today does not reduce cannabis purchase, but it [negatively influences] the attitude towards criminal law. We must reexamine the policy and should begin with no incrimination. It will enable us to combine criminal law with the symptoms which should actually be tackled”.

JNi.Media

Knesset Committee Discovers Significant Drop in Immigrant Youth Crime

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

The past 15 years have seen a significant decline in crime committed by immigrant youth – from 23% of all minors involved in crime in 2001, to only 6% in 2013, this according to a study commissioned by the Yedidim social services organization. These figures were revealed during Monday’s meeting of the Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs, and Committee Chairman MK Avraham Neguise (Likud) stressed that “in light of the success of the organization’s ‘A Second Chance (Sikuim)’ program, the Education, Welfare, Immigrant Absorption and Public Security ministries must significantly increase their support for the program, mainly because rehabilitation and prevention save the state hundreds of thousands of shekels.”

Neguise noted that some 30% of imprisoned immigrant teenagers are of Ethiopian descent. Many of them have been to prison before, he said.

Yedidim’s website describes the second chance program as “a strategic partnership between the Ministry of Immigrant Integration, the police, the Ministry of Welfare, local municipalities and Yedidim designed to offer [immigrant juvenile delinquents] an opportunity for a fresh start and a clean slate.”

Yedidim Executive Director Shimon Siani said the program is aimed at “saving children and their families from a general deterioration.”

Professor David Leiser of Ben-Gurion University, who conducted the study, noted that for every shekel the state invests in preventing delinquency or rehabilitating a juvenile delinquent, it will save 5-10 shekels in the future by avoiding the delinquent’s imprisonment, compensating those hurt by the delinquent, etc.

Adva Meltzer, a social worker in charge of the program, spoke about the rehabilitation of 620 youths with the help of 400 tutors who are in charge of re-integrating the youths in the community. The tutors volunteer and assist weaker communities, provide life-skills and accompany parents, with an emphasis on multiculturalism.

Ilan Shemesh, manager of the National Youth Advancement department in the Ministry of Education, also praised the program, its success and the student-tutor guidance. However, he said his office grants only a modest amount of funds for the program. This is not the case in the instances of imprisoned youth, youth villages and rehab villages, in which the office invests hundreds of millions of shekels, and as a result many of the youths enrolled there complete their education and are entitled to a high school matriculation exam certificate.

According to Sarah Cohen, head of the Welfare Services Department at the Absorption Ministry, the program began as an initiative of the government, which manages it. She explained that Yedidim was chosen as an operational organization, and “does so successfully and with dedication.” She noted that the Ministry for the Development of the Negev and Galilee assisted in funding the program in other cities.

JNi.Media

Knesset Passes Law Assigning Running State Mikvahs to Chief Rabbinate

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

Following a lengthy debate and numerous objections, on Monday night the Knesset plenum passed the amended Jewish Religious Services Bill by a 41 to 35 majority. The amended law, proposed by MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) and endorsed by several MKs, will require that state-run mikvahs-ritual baths be subject solely to the directives of the Chief Rabbinate. The law will take effect within nine months of its passage in order to allow preparation for the new amendment.

The explanation attached to the bill reads, “Since the inception of the State of Israel, the mikvahs have been used for halakhic traditions and customs, and for this purpose they were allotted public funding for construction and maintenance. In the wake of petitions by entities wishing to destroy the accepted foundations of Judaism that have been in existence for thousands of years, the High Court has ruled that various sects should be permitted to use the mikvahs to their various ends.”

MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) said that “this is the first time that a mikvah, which is a place of purity, has become a place of exclusion. We view this as discrimination under primary legislation.”

“Others who are hurt by this are, of course, our Jewish brothers and sisters in the Diaspora,” Lavie continued. “Once again they receive the ‘heartwarming’ message that the State of Israel doesn’t count them in. Not at the Western Wall, or in marriages, or in conversions, and now at the mikvahs, too — you have no place in the State of Israel.”

“This law is neither Jewish, nor legal, nor democratic,” Lavie added.

Meretz Chair MK Zehava Galon said the law is part of a “battle over the face and character of Israeli society.” Turning to the ultra-Orthodox MKs, Galon said, “You feel threatened? Why? Because someone is trying to undermine your monopoly over the Rabbinate, over Orthodoxy, over a pluralistic and equal life here?”

MK Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Camp) said, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated so many times that every Jew, wherever he may be, should consider Israel his national home. So what do they do in order that a Jew feel at home in Israel? They do not allow him to wed in a civil marriage; they do not allow him to be buried next to his loved ones if he is defined as someone who is not worthy of burial in a Jewish cemetery; they do not allow him to convert in an appropriate and respectful manner; and then they pass the Mikvah Law which deals a devastating blow to all those who underwent a Reform or Conservative conversion, which is about 20 percent of all converts.”

MK Yehuda Glick (Likud), who is an Orthodox rabbi, also expressed his objection to the legislation. “MK Gafni, why does it bother you that a Reform woman immerses in a mikvah?” Glick asked the bill’s author. “She does not stop you from immersing. Why do we need this divisiveness? You said the Jewish Agency will build mikvahs (for the non-Orthodox), but a representative of the Agency told me they do not plan to build any,” he said. Glick held a 30-second moment of silence in the plenum in protest of the legislation.

MK Gafni argued back, saying his law is not discriminatory. “All the claims made here that this constitutes a ‘selection’ are baseless,” he said, adding, “There was a violation of the status quo by the High Court of Justice; we asked that the status quo not be violated. Reform Jews in the US don’t have a single mikvah. All of a sudden they need a mikvah over here? This law aims to prevent the Reform from getting this legitimization through the back door.”

Jewish Agency of Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky has released a statement in response to the passage of the bill, saying, “This bill, which offers no solution to the non-Orthodox denominations, circumvents the rulings of the High Court of Justice. It is unfortunate that the bill passed before such a solution was ensured.”

JNi.Media

Police Continue Nightly Harassment of Minor Targeted by Outgoing Defense Minister

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

“The minor from Yitzhar” has become its own paradigm in rightwing Israeli media (leftwing outlets are yet to report this outrage).

A 15-year-old boy who, by decree of the former defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, was ordered out of Judea and Samaria, where his parents live, in the settlement of Yitzhar. It was an administrative decree, issued at the whim of the permanent martial law authorities that have governed the Jewish communities in the “territories” for fifty years.

Said decree was not required to specify what the minor from Yitzhar had done to bring on himself the wrath of the minister, it was simply issued, and turned into a living hell the life of the boy, his parents and his family and family friends inside the “green line” where he was forced to seek shelter.

The latter part, about the living hell, has to do with the requirement of Israel police to check on civilians who are removed from Judea and Samaria by administrative decree. Police show up around three in the morning, the preferred time for action by police everywhere, ring bells, bang on doors, wake up entire neighborhoods, because it’s what police do. And so, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to discover that the minor from Yitzhar faced a hard time convincing his parents’ family and acquaintances — including his grandparents who live in Petach Tikvah — to give him shelter for too many nights in a row, because they need their sleep.

Take for instance last Monday morning, that’s very early Monday morning, when policemen and detectives arrived at a home in Karmiel, in northern Israel, where the minor from Yitzhar was staying, and picked him up for interrogation at the local police station. The reason was that the fax (what decade is this?) he was supposed to send police, telling them his address that night, had been sent just after the required time.

Ah, police harassment, that unique combination of abuse of power and contempt for civilians, it’s why Israeli police patrol cars don’t say silly stuff like the LAPD’s “To protect and to serve,” or the NYPD’s CPR: “Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect.” It just says “Police,” and if you’re a minor from Yitzhar tormented by the remnant ire of an already deposed defense czar, you know that patrol cars only spell harassment.

At noon on Monday, the legal aid society Honenu represented the minor from Yitzhar against the police’s attempt to keep him in jail until they’re done prosecuting him for that late fax.

Petach Tikvah Peace Court Judge Hannah Schnitzer-Zaga refused to proceed with the silly hearing and compelled the prosecution to reach a livable compromise with the defense. So they did, and the minor from Yitzhar was released on the same terms as before, including having to send those faxes on time. Also, police were warned not to carry out those late night surprise visits they enjoy so much.

Honenu attorney Chai Haber who represents the minor from Yitzhar noted that “it looks like all of the country’s security issues have been resolved, because otherwise it’s hard to understand why law enforcement is investing so many resources in harassing a 15-year-old boy with no priors.”

No one doubts that police harassment of the boy will continue. Attorney Haber related an incident when one night, when the minor from Yitzhar found himself without a place to sleep, he walked into a police station asking for help finding shelter for the night — so they opened a new case against him for breaking the terms of his release.

MKs Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) and Yehuda Glick (Likud) have requested an urgent Knesset discussion of the case of the minor from Yitzhar, whose life has been interrupted and uprooted for several months now by what appears to be Moshe Yaalon’s sheer vindictiveness. One man has the power to put an end to this cruelty is Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan (Likud). His email is gerdan@knesset.gov.il.

David Israel

After Filibuster Knesset Passes ‘Dismissal Law’ Empowering It to Oust Sitting MK

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

The Knesset late Tuesday night passed into law a bill that allows it to remove a sitting lawmaker from office. According to the so-called “Impeachment Law,” which passed by a 62 to 45 vote, the Knesset can oust a legislator for incitement to racism and support of armed struggle against the state—which many in Israel’s media have said makes the law all but tailor-made for the inequities of one MK — the vociferous Haneen Zoabi (Joint Arab List). Incidentally, since Zoabi’s own party members have already ousted her from a realistic spot for the next Knesset elections, it is doubtful the law will be employed any time soon.

Another obvious reason why the new law is unlikely to be used in the foreseeable future is the fact that it requires a majority of 90 lawmakers to launch expulsion proceedings, following which the votes of 70 out of the 120 MKs are required to oust a sitting legislator, and those votes must include 10 opposition lawmakers.

So the new law is all for show.

The vote itself Tuesday night was great parliamentary theater, as opposition MKs who had submitted hundreds of objections to the bill, which they were set to discuss into the wee hours, suddenly withdrew them in a hurry and demanded the vote be held immediately, when they realized that the 66-seat coalition did not have enough members present to pass the vote. But the coalition whips were not born yesterday, and they managed to filibuster the vote until enough lawmakers had been rustled in to guarantee a majority.

The filibuster method they used was perhaps less elegant than those late night readings of the Cat in the Hat by US Senators, but it was just as effective: Likud Minister Ze’ev Elkin stood at the podium and repeated the phrase: “Today it has become clear that the Labor party and Yesh Atid work for Haneen Zoabi. You should be ashamed of yourselves.” He just kept saying this mantra until enough coalition MKs had arrived.

Opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog (Zionist Camp) said about the new law: “There will be a big stain on the Knesset if we allow this law to pass.”

Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chairman MK Nissan Slomiansky (HaBayit HaYehudi) opened the debate over the new law, saying, “The Knesset will no longer be a shroud for terrorism and racism. Members of the Knesset whose salary is paid by the state cannot use it to undermine the state’s foundations.” He added: “If there is an MK who is thinking of being involved with racism, I hope this law will deter him and we will not have to use it.”

Opposition MKs said the law itself was racist, targeting as it does an Arab House member, which would technically mean that MK Slomiansky could become the first target of the Dismissal Law, in an M. C. Escher-like serpentine of parliamentary cause and effect.

Under the law, an MK may not face impeachment proceedings during an election campaign, 180 days before Election Day.

The impeachment proceedings would begin with a request which shall be submitted to the Knesset Speaker. The Speaker will pass the request to the Knesset Committee for discussion. Approval of the request will require support from a three-quarter majority of the Knesset Committee members. After approval by the committee, the request shall be submitted for final approval by the Knesset plenum.

JNi.Media

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

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-tells-knesset-inquiry-of-his-suspected-corruption-a-lot-of-hot-air-video/2016/07/19/

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