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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘minister’

Haredi Interior Minister Plans Closing TA Businesses on Shabbat Save for 3 Malls

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

After several years in which Israel’s coalition governments have not been rocked by battles over the status of Shabbat, the past two weeks have seen a possible reemergence of those old barricades, with both secular and religious politicians mouthing predictable platitudes about holiness and tradition vs. freedom and rights. In that context it should be noted that until Tuesday this week the Haredi parties did not look particularly eager to return to those tiresome confrontations, seeing as they had turned a blind eye for ten years on Shabbat works carried out by the Ministry of Transport, until the same ministry, intentionally or due to political myopia, made public its intentions to conduct massive works on Shabbat, complete with blocking off many of Tel Aviv’s vital traffic arteries.

Now Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) has launched his own campaign in an attempt to torpedo the recommendations of a committee of experts that examined the Tel Aviv municipality’s bylaw which permits operating businesses in the city on Shabbat. Deri is advancing legislation to impose a sweeping ban on all businesses in Tel Aviv, including newsstands and kiosks, with the exception of three open air malls: Tel Aviv Harbor, Jaffa Harbor, and HaTachana Mall in Jaffa. The bill will also permit keeping open convenience store attached to gas stations.

The commission of directors of government ministries that was appointed to look at the Tel Aviv municipal bylaw will submit its findings sometime this September, and according to leaks in Israel’s media, those will include three recommendations: the first one recommends accepting a new bylaw crafted by the Tel Aviv municipality allowing 160 businesses to operate on Shabbat; the second recommends reducing the number of businesses currently permitted to operate by 20%; and the third recommendation, proposed by former Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar, to designate specific areas where businesses are permitted to stay open on Shabbat.

Once the committee recommendations are delivered, and the new Tel Aviv bylaw goes into effect, Interior Minister Deri will have 60 days to respond, after which the new law stays. Deri apparently plans to fight all three recommendations, even at the cost of eroding the Netanyahu coalition, and his staff has also been instructed to craft an atomic solution, to be used only if the coalition is certain to collapse, declaring Shabbat as the day of rest for all of Israel and barring everything that moves from doing it on Shabbat.

JNi.Media

Coalition Chair: No Coming back from Netanyahu Vs. Transport Minister Crisis

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

Coalition Chairman MK David Bitan (Likud) admitted on Saturday that the crisis between Prime Minster Netanyahu and his Transport Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) has reached an irreversible phase, which could mean that the PM will fire his Minster in the coming days. The rift between the two Likud politicians is not new, and the last few months have seen several attempts by Katz to attack Netanyahu on a variety of issues, some personal (Katz has been promised the foreign ministry which Netanyahu is keeping to himself for now), others have to do with actions by Katz that are threatening the stability of Netanyahu’s government.

Last week, Katz forced a confrontation between his PM and the Haredi coalition partners over massive works in the Israeli train infrastructure that were scheduled for Shabbat. The protests from the Haredim resulted in Netanyahu ordering his minister to limit the Shabbat works to only those projects which could result in danger to the public should they be carried out on a weekday. In the end, the railroad and Tel-Aviv’s main urban highway, Netivey Ayalon (Rt. 20) were blocked to traffic throughout the last Shabbat in August, with heavy traffic jams that ended only when the works were concluded around 8 PM Saturday.

Last Friday, Sept. 2, five minutes before the start of Shabbat, Katz ordered the cancellation of all the projects that received special dispensation, pushing them off to Saturday night and Sunday. The order for the technical teams to abandon the work sites was given after they had taken apart some of the rails, so that there was no way to resume service Saturday night. In fact, as of Saturday night, train passengers have been told the service would only be renewed Sunday night.

Both sides, Netanyahu and Katz, are blaming each other for the crisis, with Meretz and Labor siding with the transport minister and urging their people to demonstrate in front of the shut down stations. Only a few hundreds have arrived at those rallies Saturday night — which blame Netanyahu for capitulating to the Haredim. In addition, the opposition parties have collected 25 MK signatures to call a special session of the legislature to debate “the desecration of Shabbat and the harm to soldiers and civilians by the train crisis.”

Sunday is the day thousands of IDF soldiers who spent Shabbat at home are riding the trains back to their bases, many of them for free. Now the IDF is working overtime rustling up buses for these soldiers. In a small and tense country like Israel, messing up with the schedule of our kids going back to the Army does not make one a popular politician. Which is why Meretz Chair Zehava Galon has already appealed to the Supreme Court against both Netanyahu and Katz, demanding that they be compelled to terminate their decision to cut Shabbat railroad works.

Netanyahu issued a statement Saturday saying, “This is an initiated and unnecessary crisis on the part of Minister Yisrael Katz designed to undermine relations between the Prime Minister and the ultra-orthodox public or alternatively to damage the image of the Prime Minister among the general public. From the outset there was no need to initiate work on Shabbat. It would have been possible to carry out the work on other dates that would not have harmed the ultra-orthodox public, passengers or soldiers. For example, it would have been possible to combine the work with the eight-day shutdown of the railroad – which has the approval of the Transportation Ministry – in the coming weeks. Israel Katz is holding passengers and soldiers as hostages in an unnecessary and artificial crisis that he initiated after having failed in his attempt to take over the Likud institutions. The Prime Minister is outraged over Minister Katz’s cynical attack on passengers and soldiers and is doing his utmost to minimize the damage to these publics in the next 24 hours. To this end, the Prime Minister and Defense Minister have agreed to place buses at the disposal of soldiers over the next 24 hours. The Prime Minister has also instructed the Transportation Ministry to boost public transportation between Tel Aviv and Haifa with additional buses.”

Yes, Katz tried and failed to take over the Likud institutions, about two and a half weeks ago, he got a huge majority (95%) of the Likud Secretariat, which he happens to head, to agree to the narrowing of the absolute power the Likud Chairman, one Benjamin Netanyahu, had enjoyed in personnel appointments and distribution of party funds. Katz apparently assumed Netanyahu was experiencing a weak period, what with police looking into his and his wife’s use of public funds, and figured the prime minister would shy away from confrontation with the third strongest man in Likud. He was outrageously wrong. The PM called him to his office at 9 AM the next day and, reportedly, handed him an unsigned letter of resignation, which he expected Katz to sign unless he issued a statement walking back the entire secretariat vote from the day before.

Katz capitulated, but apparently did not stop sulking and looking for new ways to force a showdown with the PM. The reason for his combative stance has to do with Netanyahu’s inviting Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) into his coalition government, which boosted his hold on his government and reduced the ability of any individual coalition member to get his way. Katz is aware that his days in this government are numbered, Netanyahu will never keep his promises to him regarding the foreign ministry, so, frankly, he might be better off outside the tent than inside.

Meanwhile, the Likud is splitting up between Katz and Bibi supporters, and the fact that several Likud ministers have thrown their weight — albeit politely — behind Katz, may be enough to avoid an actual showdown. Meanwhile, for the next 24 hours or so, Israeli train passengers remain in dire need of transportation alternatives.

JNi.Media

Agriculture Minister: Israeli Farmers Will Export Cannabis in Two Years

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi) is planning for Israel to begin exporting medical cannabis, Cannabis Magazine reported on Sunday. Referring to the new experimental cannabis farm at Israel’s Volcani Institute for Agricultural Engineering, Ariel promised that “within two years we will have a regulated protocol for growing cannabis, at which point we’ll allow farmers to grow it.” Nevertheless, the minister would not refer to Cannabis as an agricultural product.

The program regulating the medical cannabis industry was approved by the Israeli government some two months ago. But because of the objections of Health Minister Yakov Litzman (UTJ), and despite the support of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu), the program does not include approval for growing cannabis for export.

Unfortunately, cannabis growers in Israel are saying the only way they could afford to sell their product in Israel at a reasonable price is if they could raise most of their crops for export.

At the same time, the fact that the Volcani Institute is experimenting with Israeli cannabis suggests that eventually, when the time is right politically, Israeli cannabis might blow the competition out of the bong, since it is renowned for its agricultural research, focusing on plant sciences, animal sciences, plant protection, soil and environmental sciences, food sciences, and agricultural engineering, that have made Israeli farm products among the most prized in the world.

A sign announcing the launch of Israel's health ministry's medical cannabis center. / Photo courtesy Volcani Institute

A sign announcing the launch of Israel’s health ministry’s medical cannabis center. / Photo courtesy Volcani Institute

Over the weekend, Minister Ariel told Israel Radio that “the Agriculture Ministry is now devoting significant-size plots for experimentation and exhibition of cannabis growing,” in preparation for instructing Israeli farmers on the most efficient and productive methods of growing the plant. Ariel said he does intend to eventually reach a political consensus in the Netanyahu cabinet in favor of exporting cannabis. He expects the process of cultivating products, developing the proper protocol for growing and shipping, and getting political approval to take about two years, which means this could take place during the current Netanyahu government.

JNi.Media

Sports Minister Employed Kabbalist to Secure Yarden Gerbi’s Medal

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

Shortly before the start of Tuesday night’s round that ended in Israeli Judoka Yarden Gerbi’s victory in the Rio Olympic Games, Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev (Likud) who is present at the games, sent an SMS to “the kabbalist from Netivot,” Rabbi Netanel Shriki, a.k.a. “the tunnel collapser,” asking for his help.

One of the people close to the mystic disseminated a screenshot of his cell phone with the message from Regev: “Dear Rabbi, how are you? We here hope and pray that we’ll get a bronze medal. Yarden Gerbi’s bout is in halaf an hour, we deserve to get a medal and hear the national anthem.”

Rabbi Shriki praying at the Gaza border fence / Source: Facebook

Rabbi Shriki praying at the Gaza border fence / Source: Facebook

Rabbi Shriki’s followers believe that he has been bringing down the Hamas tunnels with the power of his prayers. During the two-month period last spring, when about ten Hamas tunnels collapsed, some burying Hamas terrorists under the rubble, the students of Rabbi Shriki from Netivot, near the Gaza border, were certain their rabbi was the cause. In early 2016, he began praying at the border fence, exposed to sniper fire from the other side, asking God to help Israel. His students have no doubt that his prayers were being answered (On Tuesday this week, just before Gerbi earned her bronze medal, yet another tunnel collapsed, burying alive the Islamic Jihad terrorists inside).

The students told website Haredi 10 they saw the rabbi go out to the fields to pray for the tunnels to collapse, and each time, a tunnel collapse was reported shortly thereafter.

“This is already not a case of a string of circumstantial events,” the students insisted. “Five times in a row he went out to pray for the tunnels to collapse, and each time it happened.”

JNi.Media

Israeli Public Security Minister to Outlaw Hizb ut-Tahrir Organization

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

By Michael Zeff/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced on Monday that he intends to outlaw international Islamic organization Hizb ut-Tahrir.

“It is inconceivable that an organization that incites and supports terrorism and that shares the same ideology as the Islamic State terror group is active in Israel,” said Minister Erdan. “I intend to do everything in my power to outlaw the organization.”

According to the Public Security Ministry, Erdan is scheduled to hold a meeting with the Jerusalem District Police in which they will outline a course of action as to how to execute the ban.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is an international political organization dedicated to pan-Islamism. The Sunni Islamic organization’s stated goal is the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate from North Africa to Southeast Asia, much like the Islamic State.

The organization was founded by Taqiuddin al-Nabhani in Jerusalem in 1953 when the city was under Jordanian occupation and has since then grown and spread with a branch on every continent. In Israel, the organization is active mostly in Jerusalem and specifically on the Temple Mount compound, which includes the Al-Aqsa mosque.

Al-Nabhani also wrote the organization’s constitution, which serves as the draft constitution of the potential caliphate as well. The constitution calls for the complete eradication of the State of Israel without compromise.

Hizb ut-Tahrir was an unlawful organization in most Arab countries until the Arab Spring of 2006 and it is only legally currently legal in Lebanon, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates. The organization is also outlawed in several European countries, including in France and Spain, while it is considered a terror organization in Russia and Kazakhstan.

According to the Public Security Ministry, Erdan recently saw intelligence about Hizb ut-Tahrir that highlighted the activity of the organization on the Temple Mount.

“Leaders of the organization hold regular classes and preach on the Temple Mount and their influence in that compound is growing,” said a Public Security Ministry spokesperson. “These sermons and classes are of a radical and inciteful nature; they encourage terrorism and challenge Israel’s right to exist.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

German Culture Minister Promises Reform of Judenfrei Nazi Loot Commission

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

German Culture Minister Monika Grütters is planning to reform the Limbach Commission, established in 2003 to mediate ownership disputes of Nazi-looted art. Ronald Lauder, the founder of the Commission for Art Recovery and president of the World Jewish Congress, has stated that the commission has been “cold and distant” in its treatment of Jews trying to claim their art that was looted by the Nazis.

The cool approach to Jewish rights of ownership of Nazi-looted property could possibly be attributed to the utter absence of Jews from the Limbach Commission.

The non-binding Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art, endorsed by 44 countries in 1998, recommend that governments establish independent commissions with “a balanced membership” to “assist in addressing ownership issues.” But according to The Art Newspaper, Germany’s interpretation of the phrase “balanced membership” has not included appointing a single Jewish panel member.

Grütters told the New York Times last March that the move was intentional, because, as everyone knows, a Jewish member “would be the only voice who would be prejudiced.” Her comment generated a torrent of accusations of anti-Semitism, and the culture minister promised Lauder to appoint a Jewish member. Eventually.

“Thirteen years after it was established it is time to think about the future development of the commission in the interest of improved implementation of the Washington Principles,” Minsiter Grütters said in a recent statement, and culture bureaucrats from the 16 German states and municipal associations are in the process of establishing a committee to recommend reforms, meaning to find a Jewish person they could trust with the process of examining the Nazi-looted art. According to a spokesman for Grütters, proposals should be coming in this year.

To illustrate just how (intentionally) frustrating the recovery process has been, according to the Center for Art Law in January a task force appointed by Grütters released the results of their two-year, $2 million investigation, which found the rightful owners of five of the 1,500 works in the Gurlitt collection. Grütters has admitted her own disappointment, but seems to be taking the slow and steady approach, to avoid “a second seizure” of the art — meaning that some lying Jewish family be improperly awarded one of the stolen masterpieces. Meanwhile, the entire collection continues to be exhibited in Germany this year.

In late February, also according to the Center for Art Law, Germany announced that it will pay for at least another year of research and hire additional staff to establish the provenance of works in the Gurlitt collection. Minister Grütters reaffirmed Germany’s pledge to return any looted art to its rightful owners or their descendants, and awarded the (ostensibly meticulous) research a budget of $6.5 million.

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

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/police-continue-nightly-harassment-of-minor-targeted-by-outgoing-defense-minister/2016/07/26/

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