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January 20, 2017 / 22 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Likud’

Second Netanyahu Police Interrogation Touches Gifts and Mystery Charge

Friday, January 6th, 2017

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday was interrogated for the second time at his Jerusalem residence by police in relation to suspicion of receiving inappropriate gifts from business acquaintances, Israeli media reported. The PM was questioned for five hours by the Police National Investigations Unit, following a 9-hour inquiry Monday. The Thursday session included references to a yet to be publicized set of allegations which police have been keeping mired in deep secrecy under special confidentiality arrangements.

Police were hoping to surprise the PM with the details of the secret allegations, after the initial meeting found him well prepared with answers to every one of their questions. Those had to do with records of gifts from several business acquaintances, including billionaire Ronald Lauder – which Netanyahu described as being below the legal limit in terms of their monitory value.

AG Avicahi Mandelblit issued a statement after the Thursday interrogation explaining that police investigators presented a very long list of allegations regarding Netanyahu’s integrity. He noted that “the investigation has developed and branched away from the original material.”

So far, according to Mandelblit, investigators have decided to drop old allegations about Netanyahu’s running a second, clandestine elections headquarters in 2009; voting fraud in his favor by forging computer data at the 2009 Likud primaries; double billing for trips abroad; and receiving gifts, including flights, from wealthy associates.

Netanyahu, for his part, tweeted after the Monday questioning: “Long years of daily persecution of me and my family turned out yesterday to be nothing – nothing.”



David Israel

Defense Minister Urges Acceptance of Guilty Verdict, Lawmakers Call on President Rivlin to Pardon IDF Sgt. Elor Azaria

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

Within minutes after IDF Sgt. Elor Azaria was pronounced guilty of manslaughter in the death of an injured terrorist who had stabbed a fellow soldier, lawmakers were calling on the public to accept the verdict, but also urged President Reuven Rivlin to grant a presidential pardon.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman told reporters after the verdict was announced, “This is a difficult ruling.”

But he said, “We have to accept the court’s ruling on Azaria even if we don’t like it.” Sgt. Azaria is the first Israeli soldier in 12 years to be convicted for actions on duty.

Education Minister and Bayit Yehudi party chairman were the first to call for an immediate pardon for the soldier, as did Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, chairman of the Shas party. “The court has done its job,” Deri tweeted. “I respect its verdict. But now the correct thing to do is pardon him. The process of the trial and the suffering of the soldier and his family justify a pardon.”

Likud MK Oren Hazan also called for amnesty for Sgt. Azaria, as did Zionist Union MK Shelly Yachimovich, who said in a statement to media that the court acted professionally and bravely in its conviction but added the guilty verdict would deeply divide the nation.

“Azaria’s narrow shoulders will not be able to withstand the weight of that divide,” she said. For that reason, she said, President Rivlin should consider exercising his privilege to issue a pardon.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog also added his voice to the chorus, saying in a statement that although the verdict must be respected, “it cannot be ignored that to some degree, Azaria was a victim of the situation. But the ruling strengthens the IDF, since you cannot ignore the circumstances of the incident, which reflect an impossible reality in a field that is complicated, which IDF soldiers deal with daily, hourly.”

“Immediate clemency for Elor Azaria,” Bennett wrote on his Facebook page.

“We need to say the truth. The trial was corrupted from the outset. The harsh comments by political leaders even before the opening of the army’s investigation, the removal of the soldier, himself from the investigation process, the critical media coverage surrounding the case caused Elor irreparable harm.

“I expect Defense Minister Yvette (Avigdor) Liberman to keep his many promises and secure an immediate pardon for Elor Azaria, so that he does not have to spend a single day in prison.”

Likud Culture Minister Miri Regev also called for a presidential pardon, saying that she too would seek a discussion with President Rivlin to raise the issue on behalf of Elor Azaria. Regev, a former IDF spokesperson, accused the army of abandoning Azaria and attacked the IDF chief of staff – who rejected a public campaign slogan depicting him as “everyone’s child” – specifically for not backing him up. Regev underlined that in fact, Azaria is not only “everyone’s child,” but in fact is also “everyone’s soldier.”

The soldier has been living on his army base under an “open arrest” arrangement.

Hana Levi Julian

Tibi Predicts He’ll Be PM, Threatens to Settle Score With Jews

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

by Andrew Friedman

MK Ahmed Tibi (Joint List) referenced U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech Thursday and pointed a thinly-veiled threat at Jewish Israelis, predicting that he would “treat you [Jewish Israelis] the way you have treated us [Arabs] after becoming prime minister.”

Speaking at a debate hosted by the Ono Academic College about the controversial Muezzin Bill, Tibi said “John Kerry called this government a ‘government of settlements that is bringing about the end of the dream of two states and leading towards one bi-national state.’ That could be the Jews’ greatest nightmare.”

Tibi also said the residents of Amona are “land thieves,” and that government ministers have told him that Prime Minister Netanyahu is feeling pressure about the aforementioned bill.

“Another minister told me that because of Bennett’s Legalization Bill, Netanyahu has to pass another [controversial right-wing bill]…. We tried to talk to the United Torah Judaism party, we tried to talk to Aryeh Deri, even to President Reuven (Ruby) Rivlin, who is ideologically more extreme than Netanyahu, but more humane.”

The session, attended by fellow MKs Yehuda Glick (Likud), Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) and Amir Ohana (Likud), as well as by former Education Minister Rabbi Shai Peron, was attended by students and moderated by Prof. Yuval Elbashan, dean of the Ono College law faculty.

Responding to Tibi, Glick said that religious practices cannot be forced on people but also repeated his opposition to the current bill. “ I oppose, on the most fundamental level, coercing religious practices on others. I do not believe that the Western Wall will become more holy if I don’t allow women to pray there or that Be’er Sheva will be more holy if there is no gay pride march, and I oppose the imposition of core subjects [on Israelis students].

“The prime minister asked me why it should be different in Germany or France, why it’s no problem for those countries to ban the muezzin. The answer is that there, there are no mutual concerns like there are here,” Glick said.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Majority of Israeli Leaders Condemn US Secy’s Speech

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wasn’t the only Israeli leader who was deeply offended by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech on Wednesday, scolding Israel for nearly an hour over its settlement policies.

Education Minister and Bayit Yehudi party chairman Naftali Bennett had harsh words in response to Mr. Kerry’s speech, saying Israel should not support the establishment of what he called “another terror state” in the heart of the country. The minister said that if it were up to him, he “wouldn’t allow it to happen.”

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud party) likewise hit back at the American diplomat, saying Mr. Kerry “lacked the proper understanding of the conflict” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Mr. Levin added that Mr. Kerry “is trying to force on us, in his last days on the job, a world view that constitutes a prize for Palestinian terror and that completely ignores our rights to the country.”

He added that a “true friend of Israel” should have shown support for the elected government.

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, joined in the censure, writing in a tweet Wednesday night that the Obama Administration acted against Israel at the UN, and that “any claim to the contrary is a distortion of reality.”

The lone Israeli politician who spoke out in support of the speech was Opposition leader Isaac Herzog of the Zionist Union (Labor party). He called Mr. Kerry a “great friend,” adding in a tweet that the Secretary’s speech expressed “true concern” about the well-being and future of Israel.

Hana Levi Julian

Defending The ‘Fourth Front’

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

A year and a half ago his appointment as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations made headlines around the world. This week Danny Danon sat down with The Jewish Press to talk about his experiences on the job.

The Jewish Press: What does a UN ambassador do all day?

Danon: Coming from Israeli politics, I thought it would be more relaxed here in the UN but actually that’s not the  case. There are so many initiatives and resolutions regarding Israel we are constantly busy blocking, but at the same time we must promote our agenda.

Almost every week we have a positive event about Israel – like last night’s Chanukah party, or taking delegations of ambassadors to Israel, or the innovation event the prime minister attended. I call it soft diplomacy.

What’s it like carrying the responsibility of representing your country in what is often a hostile environment?

Well, it’s not easy. I came back from Israel last week. We visited the borders of Syria and Lebanon. Every morning the commander there has to wake up and make sure everything is OK, the fence is fine, etc. Same here; you wake up and you have the responsibility to make sure everything is OK.

People in Israel know about the fronts in Lebanon, Syria, Gaza. But there is another front – a “fourth front” – right here, in New York, at the UN.

You had several diplomats accompany you to Israel last week, as you did last summer. What do these visits accomplish?

We took a helicopter trip. In the morning we flew to the Gaza border. Then we flew to the Golan Heights. I told them “That’s Netanya on the left, and here’s the ‘green line’ on the right, and that’s my house here in the middle.” They look down at the narrow waist of Israel and can’t believe it. That’s something you can’t explain from a podium at the UN.

I wish I could take every ambassador and every UN official to Israel because it’s so effective. It doesn’t mean they’d all vote with us, but at least they would know the issues.

I’ll give you an example. At the Security Council, I bring up Hizbullah at almost every meeting and the fact that they are ignoring resolution 1701 by building bases and bringing missiles to the border. Now, the next time one of those ambassadors who went on our trip and actually saw Hizbullah across the border hears me speak in the Security Council, he’ll know what I’m talking about.

In your 2012 book Israel: The Will to Prevail,  you describe how your father, who sustained life-changing injuries during the Yom Kippur War, instilled in you two qualities: a deep connection to the Land of Israel and a willingness to speak out.

I was never exposed to another reality so for me it was normal to live with a father who was wounded and deaf. He taught me to speak up and not to be afraid to make bold decisions.

As Israel’s UN ambassador you constantly deal with conflict. Does it ever get you down on a personal level?

It can get exhausting sometimes when you sit in the Security Council for eight hours and one after another the other representatives get up and speak against us. But it’s like army service: you just have to keep blocking attempts to hurt Israel.

What are the chances Israel will get elected to a seat on the Security Council?

The prime minister’s recent declaration that we are running for a seat on the Council is a game-changer for Israel at the UN. It will obviously be a difficult campaign, but we proved when I ran for the chair of the Legal Committee that when it comes to a secret ballot at the UN, quiet diplomacy can lead to surprising results.

Your election to chair the Sixth Committee – the primary forum for the consideration of legal questions in the General Assembly – in the face of a strong opposition campaign mounted by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was viewed as near miraculous.  What factors do you think contributed to your victory?

We had a lot of opposition but we also had friends. For example, Iran, which is chair of the Non-Alliance Movement [NAM], circulated a letter saying that all member states should oppose my nomination. If no one opposes within 24 hours, it becomes the official position of NAM. Usually people are afraid to go against the chairman but we saw friends of Israel standing up. I think Singapore was first. Then India, Rwanda, Panama. For me it was amazing, because they sent a letter saying, Listen, you should not circulate that letter because it does not represent us; we support Danny Danon…

It was a remarkable experience, real proof of the relations we have been building with countries like India. The vote at the General Assembly was a secret ballot. Some 109 member states wrote my name on the ballot, while 44 countries opposed my nomination. But since there are 56 voting members of the OIC, it shows that maybe some of the Muslim countries are not really against us, and maybe some of that private diplomacy is paying off.

How are the Islamic Coalition states behaving? Do they accept your authority?

The first day they made a lot of comments against me. But I said, So what? I’ve heard worse in my life. I did not respond. And the next day, they came. They participated. They were part of the process, and that was it.

How does chairing a major UN committee compare to chairing a Knesset committee?

I was chairman of two committees in the Knesset and it’s different because here you have 193 members on the committee. There are long meetings; each one has a statement to make. It’s challenging but for me it’s a great experience, the fact that I’m sitting at the head of the table with a gavel in my hand. At the Chanukah party last night one of the members came up and told me, “I wanted to say thank you, the way you run the committee is so professional.”

Does the UN ever remind you of the Knesset?

Well, really it’s quite different. In the Knesset you have more energy, people don’t read their statements. Here in the UN, people come to the meeting and read a prepared speech. In the Knesset you have more of a dialogue, you can argue, you can try to convince.

You’ve spoken of a “private UN” that exists alongside the public one – backroom meetings where appreciation for Israel is expressed by representatives of countries formally recognized as opponents. Do you find this to be a source of frustration or of hope?

It depends. When I deal with the Arab countries it’s a different ballgame because the leadership understands the importance of  Israel, that Israel is a solution and not the problem, but they have a problem with their constituencies. So you have this phenomenon where publicly they speak against Israel but privately they will tell me what they really think.

I don’t like it, but I can understand it. One of them told me, “If we will be seen together I will have a problem flying to my capital tomorrow.” And that’s true.

On the other hand, with Europeans and other countries, I don’t accept it.

We all remember the Security Council meeting last April attended by the family of Dafna Meir, who two months earlier had been stabbed to death in her kitchen by a Palestinian terrorist. You abruptly stopped your speech to demand answers from Palestinian Authority Permanent Representative Riyadh Mansour. What was going through your mind in that moment?

Actually that’s the only time it looked like the Knesset. One of the UN photographers who has been in the Security Council for many years said he never saw anything like it.

Was it planned it ahead of time?

No. I was furious. It was such an emotional moment, visiting with Dafna’s daughter Renana, who witnessed her mother’s murder and was now addressing the Council. And then we got the message about a terror attack in Jerusalem. It just ignited everything. I thought it was an appropriate moment for both of us to condemn terrorism.

Did any personal experiences during your time as a student at Florida International University come into play with the anti-BDS initiative you organized?

Absolutely. I vividly remember standing behind a table with an Israeli flag and people were cursing at me. It’s not easy to face this on campus. I think anyone who was at the UN for the anti-BDS event and saw 2, 000 people in the General Assembly hall waving Israeli flags and singing “Hatikvah” will never forget it.

My approach is that we must keep denouncing resolutions against Israel even though we cannot get rid of them. But we must also continue to build achievements and victories, big and small. The Sixth Committee was a big victory. Getting Yom Kippur recognized as an official holiday was a victory, and so was getting kosher food in the cafeteria.

How does the Jewish community here in the U.S. fit into all this?

The involvement of the Jewish community is crucial. When the Venezuelan ambassador compared IDF soldiers to Nazis, the Jewish organizations joined me in condemning it. By putting pressure on him, we got him to apologize. I’m grateful for that. We need the Jewish community to be aware of what’s happening at the UN; we need their support.



Stephanie Granot

Israeli Cabinet Approves Budget for 113 More Bulletproof Buses

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

In light of the ongoing – and in some areas, escalating – terror attacks against Israeli motorists and bus drivers – the government has approved a proposal by Likud Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz to add another 113 bulletproof buses to the nation’s fleet.

The new buses will cost an estimated NIS 215 million and are to be purchased and added to the school and civilian bus lines in Judea and Samaria in the next four years.

“I attach great importance to the issue of increasing the number of bulletproof buses in Judea and Samaria,” said Katz. “This will strengthen the communities and allow us to increase the frequency on the routes to different destinations while making sure Israeli citizens who ride as passengers are safe.”

Shomron (Samaria) Regional Council head Yossi Dagan agreed, noting, “This was a critically important decision.” He thanked Katz for his efforts in getting the budget item passed, saying the increase of bulletproof buses would return the residents of Judea and Samaria “to their natural place as Israeli citizens with rights equal to other Israeli students and citizens.”

Just last week, Arab terrorists attacked Israeli drivers as they traveled along a bypass road in Judea, just a few minutes south of Jerusalem.

No one was physically injured as their vehicles came under the hail of stones, but there was no information about the extent of damage to the cars.

Last month an Israeli bus driver was injured after his bus came under a stoning attack by Arab terrorists on Highway 60 near the Jewish community of Ofra, in the Binyamin region.

The bus driver – whose bus was not the only vehicle to be damaged that night – was evacuated to Jerusalem’s Sha’are Zedek Medical Center with shattered glass in his eyes.

Hana Levi Julian

National Academy Bezalel Posts Image of Netanyahu with Hangman’s Noose

Monday, December 12th, 2016

Bezalel – the Israel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, on Sunday night displayed an image of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next to a hangman’s noose, according to Eli Hazan, Likud’s Director of Communications and International Relations.

Hazan wrote on his Facebook page Monday: “This is what’s being displayed, as of last night, at Bezalel – the Israel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. It’s presented as Art, right? Exchange the image for a representative of the left and it would be condemned as incitement, right? Pathetic.”

Netanyahu was accused before and after the 1996 elections of giving his tacit approval to virulent anti-Rabin demonstrations and posters, including a Likud rally with a hangman’s noose in front of then Prime Minister Rabin’s residence. Netanyahu has been denying any connection to those displays and has issued several documents proving his public condemnation of the phenomenon.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/national-academy-bezalel-posts-image-of-netanyahu-with-hangmans-noose/2016/12/12/

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