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January 22, 2017 / 24 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Meretz’

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

UPDATE: Knesset Committee Votes to Remove MK Ghattas’ Immunity

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

UPDATE:The Knesset Committee on Wednesday voted unanimously to recommend to the plenum to remove MK Basel Ghattas’ immunity. The committee may hold another session at 4 PM local time to allow for a second vote.

Following the confession of MK Basel Ghattas (Joint Arab List), who told police interrogators that he had smuggled cellular equipment as well as various documents to security prisoners at Ketziot Prison, AG Avichai Mandelblit approached Knesset Speaker uli Edelstein (Likud) with a request to remove the lawmaker’s immunity from prosecution. The change in Ghattas’ legal status would make it easier for law enforcement agencies to carry out their investigation.

The AG wrote the Speaker that his request is based on concrete suspicions on the part of police that MK Ghattas “handed the security prisoners at Ketziot, without permission, cellular phones and accompanying equipment, as well as documents, thus committing criminal offenses.”

Mandelblit assured Edelstein that the evidence against Ghattas “justifies the removal of his immunity,” and called it “urgent.” The AG noted that the MK’s immunity prevents investigators from searching his person, home, and belongings, as well as arresting him. Israel’s Channel 2 News noted that this likely means police will arrest the suspected MK as soon as his immunity is revoked.

The Knesset Committee, chaired by MK Yoav Kisch (Likud) is planning to debate the issue and vote on revoking Ghattas’ immunity in advance of his arrest and search. “I will conduct a debate on the topic and not an explosive contention,” Kisch told Channel 2 News. “The implications are serious and we will treat them accordingly.”

The committee debate will take place following a request from the AG.

MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz) called on Ghattas to give up his immunity before it is revoked. “The crimes of which Ghattas is blamed are serious, and if he believes otherwise, he can prove it without his immunity as an MK.” Gilon made the point that revoking an MK’s immunity by the Knesset to facilitate a criminal investigation is different from a new bill, dubbed the Impeachment Law, to which the Meretz MK objects.

MK Ghattas will be allowed by law to appear at the Knesset Committee and argue his case, following which the committee would vote on whether or not it recommends a vote at the plenum on removing his immunity. Once the Knesset votes to remove, Ghattas will remain a full member of the House, except he could be searched, arrested, arraigned and indicted.

JNi.Media

Appointment of IDF Chief Rabbi Delayed by Court

Monday, November 21st, 2016

The appointment of Colonel Eyal Karim as the next IDF Chief Rabbi has been held up by the High Court of Justice.

The court issued a temporary injunction Monday against the appointment, and asked the rabbi to file a deposition clarifying his positions on the issues of homosexuality, women, and refusal of orders by IDF soldiers.

The move comes in the wake of past comments by the rabbi, and in response to a petition filed by the Meretz party against his appointment.

Chief Justice Miriam Naor said during a hearing on the matter that the Court wants to hear what e rabbi has to say about it, “What his position was then, what it is now, and whether he has changed his mind,” Ynet reported Monday.

In the past, the rabbi has expressed opposition to homosexuality (as does the Torah), military female enlistment in the current situation, and discussed the Torah laws regarding rape during wartime. His remarks, posted on the Kipa religious website, were taken out of context as has happened with many other rabbis who have taught classes on similar issues in the past.

“Col. Karim asks to clarify that his statement was issued as the answer to a theoretical question and not in any way whatsoever a question of practical Jewish law,” said the IDF Spokesperson’s Office in a response to the furor raised by Meretz and women’s groups over the rabbi’s remarks. “Rabbi Karim has never written, said or even thought that and IDF soldier is permitted to sexually assault a woman in war—anyone who interprets his words otherwise is completely mistaken. Rabbi Karim’s moral approach is attested by his years of military service in command, combat, and rabbinical positions in which he displayed complete loyalty to the values and spirit of the IDF, in particular the dignity of the person.”

Rabbi Karim, 59, is an alumnus of Bnei Akiva Nachalim and Yeshivat Ateret Cohanim. He has served as a combat paratrooper and as a commander of the elite reconnaissance unit prior to serving as head of the Rabbinate Department in the Military Rabbinate.

Hana Levi Julian

Haredim Block Muezzin Law, Say It Threatens Pre-Shabbat Siren

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

Health Minister and United Torah Judaism Chairman Yakov Litzman on Tuesday appealed the decision of the Government Legislative Committee Sunday approving a bill prohibiting the use of Mosque PA systems. The appeal will require a new committee debate.

Comparing the Mosques’ loudspeaker announcements, which reverberate through entire neighborhoods in Israeli mixed cities five times a day every day, starting as early as 4 AM, to the pre-Shabbat loudspeaker warnings in many Israeli cities, which take place, by definition, once a week (more if there’s a holiday), Litzman suggested the “Muezzin law” might damage the status quo between the state and the religious Jewish community.

Litzman was supported by Shas Chairman and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, and also by MK Issawi Freij (Meretz), who wrote Litzman that “the right to worship is a fundamental right for everyone. Noise problems should not be resolved through legislation.” Joint Arab List Chairman MK Ayman Odeh congratulated Minister Litzman on his move, saying it was “a significant step toward cooperation between the weakened segments of society.” Meaning, presumably, that both the Arabs and the Haredim face government policies intended to keep them down.

MK Moti Yogev (Habayit Hayehudi) stated in the bill itself that he has no intention “to harm religious freedom, rather it is intended to prevent the sleep interruption suffered by the majority of citizens due to muezzin calls.”

Interestingly, several Muslim and European countries have enacted laws compelling their mosques to “muffle” their loudspeakers, including Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. Cities that have banned or restricted the use of loudspeakers by mosques include Cairo, Egypt, Mumbai, India, Lagos, Nigeria, and several cities in Michigan. Restrictions of calls of prayers by muezzins exist in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France, the UK, Austria, Norway, and Belgium.

JNi.Media

Backlash Following Political Rabin Memorial

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

By Michael Bachner/TPS

The annual Tel Aviv rally marking former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination was held on Saturday night. Just three days prior it appeared it would have to be canceled due to lack of funding from the coalition of groups that normally organizes the rally. A faction in the Zionist Union Knesset party then stepped in to fund the event.

Several speakers and participants at the event sharply criticized organizers afterwards, saying the gathering was nothing more than a “cynical political rally” for the Zionist Union.

Thousands flocked to Rabin Square, after the Labor Party, Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog slammed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for remaining silent in the face of “incitement”, adding that he was taking the possibility of a unity government with the Likud party “off the table.”

But following the rally, several attendees said they regretted having participated.

Rabbi Benny Lau apologized for calling on the public to attend, saying, “I am sorry, it was a cynical political rally.” He told Galei Yisrael radio that “politics taking over the gathering is a disgrace.”

Rabbi Lau, a liberal rabbi who heads a prominent Orthodox community in Jerusalem and is the nephew of former Israeli Chief Yisrael Meir Lau, said during his speech at the memorial that it “should not be owned by a political party.”

Later, Lau wrote on Facebook that the rally he attended had transformed into a into a political demonstration for the left-wing Zionist Union and Meretz parties. “Coming to speak was the only chance I had to stand in front of my friends from the left and ask them to free the event of political ownership,” Lau wrote.

Also social activist Daphni Leef, who gained notoriety as the spokeswoman for the social protest movement in the summer of 2011, also voiced her dissatisfaction with what the Rabin memorial has become.

“I came to [Rabin] Square,” she wrote on Facebook. “I thought I would simply meet people to discuss the rifts in Israeli society, intolerance, and the significance of Rabin’s murder. Instead I arrived at an elections rally for Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni. Balloons that bore no messages, only names of political parties. I am fed up with politics and the cynicism upon which it is based.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Meretz Chairwoman Forced Supreme Court to Work on Shabbat

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

Meretz Chairwoman MK Zahava Galon forced the Israeli Supreme Court to desecrate Shabbat, with an appeal which was already irrelevant when she filed it, argued pundit, author and Holocaust scholar Itamar Levin in a column he published on the News1 website.

Galon appealed to the court on Shabbat day, Sept. 3, asking that it order the Ministry of Transport to carry out the scheduled works on the Railroad infrastructure which had been halted on Friday night due to Haredi party pressure. “This meant that the employee on call at the reception had to receive the appeal and pass it to the Justice on call, which happened to be Anat Baron,” Levin wrote, suggesting this could also mean that the people on call in the Justice’s chambers had to work on Shabbat as well.

But, as turns out from the Justice’s ruling, also given on Shabbat, the appeal was not urgent and did not justify forcing a state employee to desecrate Shabbat. Justice Baron wrote: “The appeal was submitted today, Shabbat day, at 3 PM. When it was submitted, the infrastructure works had been ceased yesterday, following the prime minister’s order shortly before the start of Shabbat. Under these circumstances there is no point in issuing the requested injunction in response to a situation which the appellant claims was created on this weekend.”

Justice Baron instead ordered the State to respond by Monday, Sept. 5, to Galon’s appeal for an injunction — an appeal she could have submitted Saturday night, Levin wrote.

Israeli courts, including the Supreme Court, maintain skeletal Shabbat and Holiday shifts to respond to the most urgent needs. These include police requests for injunctions to prevent the smuggling of children, or for arrest warrants. But Levin wrote that he did not recall any other time when the Supreme Court was compelled to desecrate Shabbat to deal with an administrative issue such as the works on the railroad.

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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