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December 3, 2016 / 3 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Meretz’

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

Knesset to Vote on Paternity Leave

Monday, June 20th, 2016

The Labor, Welfare and Health Committee on Monday unanimously approved for its second and third readings at the Knesset plenum a bill presented by MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) making Israeli fathers eligible for five days of paternity leave after their spouse has given birth.

The leave, to run parallel to the leave granted mothers, will consist of three vacation days and two additional days on the account of the father’s sick-pay allocation—this in addition to the father’s permitted absence on the day the baby is born.

Since May 1998, fathers have been allowed to take paternity leave instead of — rather than in addition to — their wives, as well as one day of leave when the baby is born and a second day for the circumcision ceremony if the baby is a boy.

“This is nothing less than an historic achievement,” Zandberg said. “For the first time, a father will have the legal right to be at home during the first days after the birth, and this is the first time the term ‘paternity leave’ will enter the book of laws in Israel.”

“A birth is a family event which does not belong to the mother alone,” Zandberg continued. “The proposed bill was born of necessity — out of employers’ lack of support for their workers.”

Zandberg thanked Minister Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi) for his support in advancing the legislation.

Labor Committee Chairman MK Elie Elalouf (Kulanu) said, “This is a real improvement. Families should be together during these important moments.” Elalouf added that he would promote legislation that would enable the 270,000 self-employed Israelis to also take paternity leave.

MK Dov Khenin (Joint Arab List) said, “This is the beginning of a significant revolution. I stayed at home for three months with each of my children after they were born, and I enjoyed it very much.”

JNi.Media

President Rivlin: Israel Is Democratic and Jewish and Tribal, and There Are Arabs, Too

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

The 16th Annual Herzliya conference opened at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, with a discussion by Israeli senior ministers and political party leaders on the joint initiative “Shared Israeli Hope.” President Reuven Rivlin opened his keynote address saying Israeli society has transitioned from being made up of a clear majority and minorities into a society made up of four main sectors or tribes, which are becoming more and more equal in size: secular, Modern Orthodox, ultra-Orthodox and Arab.

“We must speak the truth; this is not something that we expected,” he said, noting that many had called him a post-Zionist following his previous Herzliya conference address and questioned, “Is anyone who discusses the issues of Israeli identity, post-Zionist?” He explained that Israel was “Four tribes, four competing, different stories, about who we are, and what we want to be.” He noted that “the headline of the conference should have been, ‘Israeli hope: to be or not to be.’” He said that “a year ago there were those that interpreted my words as yet another typical, joyful presidential call… but first and foremost, my words were intended to serve as a call to wake up to the gaps and inadequacies between the reality of Israeli society and the system of Israeli institutions.” Looking ahead he said, “We are obliged to strive for institutional and systematic changes which must be conducted as a national effort… we must recognize that there are material and structural barriers to forming shared rules of the game for the different sectors… The creation of a shared Israeli identity and a shared Israeli hope is a mighty and noble process which will take a generation.”

One of the main engines for change Rivlin discussed was that of academia and employment. “Academia and the Israeli labor market will become an engine of real change, only when academic institutions and employers view the establishment of the Israeli dream – for a young man from Ofakim, a young woman from Bnei Brak, a young man from Jatt and a young woman from Binyamin – as a national mission of paramount professional and economic interests… Academia and the labor market today cater mainly to two tribes, but there are two more.”

He noted that if Israeli society were willing to embrace the necessary changes, the State of Israel would serve as a model for others, “A Jewish and democratic state; democratic and Jewish is one in the same.”

Following the president’s keynote address, senior ministers and political party leaders were given the opportunity to respond.

MK Naftali Bennett, Minister of Education and Minister of Diaspora Affairs, and Chairman of Habayit Hayehudi party, began his address by taking the audience on a journey to 3,000 years in the past: “We are in a sovereign state. A Jewish State under the rule of King David with great economic and political power.” He traced Jewish history through the periods, explaining how Jews in the Diaspora lived in survival mode, “Zionism was based on survival and security.” He noted that now, back in the Jewish homeland, Jews no longer needed to be afraid and could “break into a new creativity without being afraid,” adding that the new generation of Zionism needed to be based on “destiny.” He stressed that Judaism was a religion focused on contending “with the reality of the world and bringing values into it.”

Directing his address to his role as minister of education, Bennett said, “I am the minister of education of all children in Israel… they are all my children and they are equal regardless of their color, religion, politics or anything else. We express this with an intensity unlike anything else in Israel.” He also noted how his office had adjusted budget allocations to ensure that adequate funds were appropriated to areas in need in Robin Hood fashion: “We take from the strong and give to the week… when I took on my position… per capita more funds were invested in wealthier areas.”

MK Aryeh Deri, Minister of the Interior and Minister of Development of the Negev and Galilee, and Chairman of the Shas Party, said, possibly ignoring the entire books of Numbers and Deuteronomy: “It was never the dream that one [nation] should get rid of the other.” He stressed that the Arab citizens “truly want to integrate within us and be a part and parcel with us… We need to show them that we respect their culture, heritage and history… We have no desire to mix cultures but rather to live together in one state” with full equality and egalitarian rights. Also paying an homage to the man from Sherwood Forest, Deri said, “There are steps, even as painful as they may be, where we will take from the big… and give to the smaller ones.” He added that any “discourse of hatred” needed to immediately be stopped. To a round of applause he stated, “In our state it is prohibited that we should accept any racism or discourse of racism.” He should have possibly share this with the minister of Religious Services from his own party, who announced a while back (I paraphrase) that non-Orthodox Jews are not really Jewish.

MK Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint Arab List, opened his address noting all the ideals and values that he shared with the president: “Bringing the various populations closer to one another. Advancing the general welfare of all citizens. Building shared citizenship.” But he added that there are “important things that we cannot ignore… The basic thing that guides me in politics is my deep internal conviction that the guiding interests of both people are equal. Everyone wants the blessing of life.”

He emphasized the principles of nationalism: “What does it mean to be a citizen? What does it mean to be a national? We want complete equality on the national level and the civil social level.” He said that it was impossible to only talk about the economy and citizenship without nationalism. He also noted how he was always steered to discuss the future rather than the past: “We have a deep pain. In the heart of every Arab. The injustices of the past. And it hurts me so much when I hear narratives of 3,000, 4,000 years and I am told not to talk about the narratives of 60 years but to look into the future.”

By that narrative, MK Odeh referred to the fact that the Arabs of Mandatory Palestine had a chance to receive two thirds of the land if only they accepted that the Jews could have one third — and they refused. They wanted instead to murder all the Jews of the land with the help of the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. They failed and have yet to recover from the shame and disappointment of that terrible failure.

Odeh focused specific attention on the subjects of unrecognized villages and said that it would not hurt anyone for the state to “state recognizes the terrible massacre of Kafir Qasim and the massive injustices and confiscation of land.” He stated that his party’s stance was two states for two people, side by side with complete equality for both but “crimes occurred and we have to talk about that… There are citizens of the State of Israel who are not allowed to return to their land… Will it harm one Jewish person…. If people of Mahalul are returned to Mahalul… To build 80 villages… Will it harm one Jewish person?… We need to talk about civil and national rights for Arabs in Israel and it doesn’t have to harm anyone. The opposite. That is what will heal these two people.”

Naturally, when MK Odeh speaks of two states, he really means four states: three purely Arab — Jordan, the PA and Gaza, and one 20% Arab — Israel.

MK Zahava Galon, Chairman of Meretz, said that the “elephant in the room” was that the Arabs do not have their own state and we are “50 years into the occupation of the territories.” She said that no discussion could take place regarding the demographic question without talking about occupying this nation and controlling their lives.

Taking on the judicial perspective of “Shared Israeli Hope,” Chief Justice Miriam Naor, president of the Supreme Court, noted that “Our image as a democratic society requires a balance between the individual and society.” She said that the legal system plays a role in advancing Israeli partnerships and creating boundaries. “Discrimination undermines social solidarity. The courts are responsible for eradicating discrimination.”

Which is why they are appointing their own judges, evading the control of the legislator on judicial selections — because as soon as you let the people make their own decisions they’re bound to start discriminating.

David Israel

Pro-IDF Arab Priest Gabriel Naddaf Denies Accusations of Sexual Harassment

Monday, May 9th, 2016

A Channel 2 News report Sunday night presented serious evidence of sexual abuse against Gabriel Naddaf, an Israeli priest of the Greek Orthodox Church, a judge in the community’s religious courts, and a spokesman for the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Naddaf, who has been selected to light a torch at the Independence Day ceremony this year for his role in encouraging Christian Arabs to enlist in the IDF, has allegedly conducted conversations rife with sexual innuendo with soldiers who sought his help. He is also accused of soliciting benefits from PA Arabs in return for helping them obtain entry permits into Israel.

Naddaf has been embraced by the Israeli establishment for his pro-Zionist activism, as part of a growing group of Israeli Arab activists of the Christian faith who declare their loyalty to the Jewish State and insist on being viewed and treated in a different manner than Muslim Arabs.

Naddaf issued a statement Sunday saying the source for the complaints against him are criminal elements in the Arab community who are determined to deny him the success he has enjoyed in promoting Christian youths’ enlistment in the IDF. He noted that he had passed two separate polygraph tests regarding the allegations against him and that he had filed a complaint with police over them.

MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) approached Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev demanding that she prevent Naddaf from lighting the torch in light of the allegations against him. Regev issued a statement Sunday night saying she supports the decision of the public committee which had chosen Naddaf unanimously for his good works in the service of the state, and as long as law enforcement official have not stated that they suspect otherwise, Naddaf is considered fit to be honored.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/pro-idf-arab-priest-gabriel-naddaf-denies-accusations-of-sexual-harassment/2016/05/09/

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