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December 9, 2016 / 9 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘minister’

Research Staff ‘Down’ $52 K Gift Drone from Israeli Minister to Russian PM

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi) last week handed over to Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev a drone worth $52 thousand belonging to Volcani Center researchers.

Ariel hosted Medvedev on his tour at Israel’s world renowned agricultural research and development institute, introducing his VIP guest to several innovations Israel is hoping to get the Russians interested in, including a robot designed for spraying agricultural fields and crops in hothouses, a new tool for testing the sugar level in apples, new sensors to monitor milk quality and output in cows, and new wheat storage solutions that protect against pests.

According to Calcalist, one of the presentations was of a drone used for irrigation research, and when Ariel noticed how very interested Medvedev had been in this drone, he told his staff to deliver it to the Russian PM as a gift. Institute staff were shocked and then irate at this grab-from-above, but in agricultural institutions the Minister of Agriculture is second only to God.

Volcani senior staff member Moshe Reuveni told Calcalist that “transferring the device that was used by the Volcani Center for agricultural research projects currently in development disregards all administrative procedures and all rules and laws regarding high level visits.” Reuveni was furious that “aside from the damage caused by giving a device costing hundreds of thousands of shekels, and the damage to our image, there is also the obvious damage caused by freezing agricultural research.”

After the drone had been delivered and the Russian delegation flew with it back home, a Medvedev representative called the Agriculture ministry to inquire about the remote control device that had not been packed with the drone. According to Ma’ariv reported Ben Kaspit’s Twitt, Volcani staff told the ministry they’d hold on to the remote until they receive the budget for a new drone.

Meanwhile, as soon as he landed in Moscow, PM Medvedev was confronted with the arrest of Economic Development Minister Alexey Ulyukayev on suspicion of taking a $2 million bribe, so maybe it’s better his gift drone stays grounded.

David Israel

Russian MP Affirms Jews’ Temple Mount Ties, Foreign Minister Calls Israel’s UNESCO Reaction ‘Over the Top’

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

A delegation of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday held meetings at the Russian Federation Council — the upper house of the country’s Federal Assembly. Addressing the criticism of Russia’s vote in favor of UNESCO’s resolution which ignores the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the chairman of the Council of the Federation Committee on Foreign Affairs, Konstantin Kosachev, said Russia has never questioned the Jews’ right to the Temple Mount, nor has it questioned the right of others to the holy site.

However, in late October, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told TASS that Israel’s emotional approach to resolutions of UNESCO on Jerusalem is “not quite justified,” suggesting the Israelis’ “emotions are over the top.”

“Israelis have a sensitive attitude toward that issue,” he said, “But this time we felt that Israelis’ emotions are a bit over the top in that issue,” Gatilov said, adding that “in this regard, the excessively emotional approach of Israel is not quite justified.”

Knesset Committee Chairman MK Avi Dichter (Likud), and MKs Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beitenu), Eyal Ben-Reuven (Zionist Camp) and Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid), and their hosts stressed the importance of the relations between the countries, as well as the need to continue the diplomatic and security dialogue and continue developing the economic, cultural and technological ties.

The talks also focused on Israel’s and Russia’s mutual interest in seeking regional stability and combating terror, and ideas on how to cooperate were discussed.

As to the Russian government’s decision on paying working pensions to Israelis who immigrated from the former Soviet Union, the officials said the decision is supposed to be approved by the State Duma (the lower house of the Russian parliament) and the Federation Council by the end of the year.

The delegation also met with the Russia-Israel Friendship Association, and attended a dinner hosted by the Israeli ambassador. The dinner was also attended by four chairpersons of committees in the State Duma and the Federation Council, as well as by Russia’s chief rabbi.

On Tuesday the MKs are scheduled to meet with representatives of the Israeli Foreign Ministry in Moscow, with President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy to the Middle East, Mikhail Bogdanov, with members of the State Duma’s Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Defense Committee, and with the deputy head of the National Security Council.

David Israel

Public Security Minister: Israel Discriminates Against Jews on Temple Mount

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

The first Seekers of Zion conference, aimed at tightening the connection between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount, was held in the Knesset on Monday under the banner of “Jerusalem of Peace,” on the second anniversary of the assassination attempt on MK and Temple activist Yehuda Glick.

Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs, and Information Gilad Erdan (Likud) told the conference that “our right to the Temple Mount is indisputable, and no international entity can rewrite our history. The Temple Mount is the most sacred site to the Jewish nation and that cannot be changed.”

Having said that, Erdan admitted that “today’s status quo on the Temple Mount discriminates against the Jewish people. That is the truth. When I took office [the Waqf] limited the access of Jewish visitors on the Temple Mount based on racial and religious profiling, they came up close to them in an intimidating manner, let no one have any illusions about this — everything there was arranged, timed and paid for.”

“Together with the Prime Minister, the Defense Minister, and the cabinet, I led decisions to ban the Almoravid and Morabitat (separate male and female fanatical Islamic groups), and to ban the northern branch of the Islamic Movement,” Erdan continued. “My job is to secure the visitors ascending the Temple Mount, Jews, Christians and Muslims. The status quo discriminates against Jews. I’m glad there’s been a significant rise in the number of visitors on the Temple Mount.”

Turning to Glick, Minister Erdan said, “I think your victory, Yehuda, against those decrepit terrorists, is first of all the fact that more Jews are ascending the Temple Mount.” He added, “We believe that religion can be a source of reconciliation for people.”

Former MK Moshe Feiglin told the audience that “when we retreated in our hold on the Temple Mount, we retreated in our hold over the entire land.” He cited poet Uri Zvi Greenberg who wrote, “Whomever governs the mountain governs the land.”

Feiglin noted that when the nation lost its hold over the Temple mount, “we got the wave of knifings, we got a weakening of our hold on the rest of the neighborhood of Jerusalem, terrorist attacks in remote villages, rockets in Sderot, Beer Sheva and Tel Aviv, and our hold over the land continues to weaken.”

“Why the heck are we complaining against UNESCO who says we have no connection to the Mountain,” Feiglin asked, “when every Israeli government, especially this most recent one and especially this most recent prime minister are voting with their feet that we, indeed, have no ties to the mountain.”

Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan (Habayit Hayehudi) called for the speedy arrangement of of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, and the sooner the better.

Conference speakers included Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein; Minister for Jerusalem Affairs, Ze’ev Elkin; Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel; Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotovely; and Sheikh Ahmad Riyadh.

David Israel

Supreme Court President Pulls Gun on Justice Minister over Appointments Veto

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

Supreme Court President Justice Miriam Naor on Thursday sent a harsh letter to Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi), informing her that she and her colleagues on the bench will no longer discuss with her their proposals for new judicial nominees as long as Shaked persists in promoting a law that deprives the Court of the right to veto those appointments.

Justice Naor was referring to a bill proposed by three Yisrael Beiteinu MKs — Robert Ilatov, Oded Forer, and Sofa Landver — which she attributed to Shaked, based on media reports, and based on the fact that the Justice Minister had not rejected the bill nor its timing.

The bill proposes changing the voting requirement of the nine-member Judicial Appointments Committee to what it had been before 2008, when a Likud minister, Gideon Sa’ar, instituted the need for a special majority to decide a Supreme Court appointment: 7 out of 9 committee members, or 2 less than the number of members in attendance (6 out of 8, 5 out of 7). The Supreme Court is represented by three committee members, which gives it enormous leverage in deciding appointments by special majority, but not so much if the committee reverts to the simple majority requirement.

The bill comes just ahead of the parliamentary year of 2017, when as many as four out of the 15 Supreme Court justices will be retiring, to be replaced by the Shaked-chaired appointments committee.

Justice Na’or’s rage was outright Chekhovian: “Submitting the bill at this time is tantamount to putting a gun on the table,” she wrote the Justice Minister (who represents the will of millions of Israeli voters). “It means that should some committee members not agree with the appointment of certain candidates in a manner that would not facilitate their appointment by a special majority, the constitutional rules of the game would be changed so that they may be appointed by a simple majority.”

Meaning, the Supreme court could be forced by the sovereign, the Israeli public, to accept among its numbers justices with whom they may disagree ideologically. Imagine the scandal…

Na’or added that under such circumstances she and the rest of the high court members of the committee will cease all communications with the Justice Minister over future appointments.

Na’or’s imagery of putting a gun on the table likely referenced Russian playwright Anton Chekhov’s famous quote: “If you say in the first chapter that there is a gun hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off.” In other words, it’s a warning to the pesky Shaked that she may have started something she’d regret.

It could also be a reference to Eli Wallach’s character Tuco in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966), who said: “When you have to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk. Don’t stand around trying to talk him to death.”

Or it could be a reference to Russian roulette, a lethal game of chance in which a player places a single round in a revolver, spins the cylinder, places the muzzle against their head, and pulls the trigger.

The Justice Minister’s office issued a response statement saying, “Judicial Selection Committee meeting will continue as scheduled. In the coming days we will publish the list of Supreme Court candidates.”

Advantage Shaked.

JNi.Media

Report: Justice Minister ‘Simplifying’ Supreme Court Appointments

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) is working on changing the process of appointing Supreme Court justices, according to a Tweet by journalist Amit Segal (Channel 2 News). According to Segal, Shaked is using the good services of MK Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beiteinu), promoting a new bill that eliminates the need for a special majority to appoint Supreme Court judges, and also eliminates the need for approval for the appointments from the sitting members of the Supreme Court.

According to Segal, Shaked has informed both Court President Miriam Naor and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the move, which comes ahead of the replacement of a quarter of the high court judges.

Israel’s constitutional law on selecting judges assigns the appointments of new judges to a nine-member Judicial Appointments Committee, as follows:

The committee is headed by the Justice Minister (Shaked), as well as one other minister chosen by the government — the most recent choice has been Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu). It also includes two MKs, traditionally one from the coalition and the other from the opposition — however, currently they are MK Nurit Koren (Likud) and Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beiteinu), the latter, having been in the opposition earlier, has now moved over with his boss, Avigdor Liberman, to the coalition. To remind you, Ilatov is the author of the new proposed rules for picking new judges.

In addition there are two members of the Bar (this time one is Jewish, the other Arab), the president of the high court and two high court judges.

The committee requires a simple majority to appoint judges below the Supreme Court level; but a law enacted by then Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar in 2008 requires a special majority of 7 out of 9 committee members, or 2 fewer than the overall number of members in attendance (6 out of 8, 5 out of 7).

Historically, the three Supreme Court representatives aligned with the members of the Bar, as well as with the opposition MK, to push their own candidates, and the special majority requirement guaranteed their ability to torpedo the ones of whom they disapproved. Shaked is looking to erase this unfair advantage, then use the fact that both MKs on the committee are from the coalition to appoint four rightwing judges in 2017, with a simple 5-4 majority.

David Israel

Minister Ariel: If AG Can’t Defend Law Saving Amona, Let’s Get an Attorney Who Can

Monday, October 31st, 2016

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi) may end up being the politician who broke the iron hold of the judicial civil service on Israel’s democracy — when all along we were certain it would be his teammate, Ayelet Shaked.

In years past, when the Attorney General, who serves both as the executive officer for Israel’s law enforcement agencies and as the government’s legal counsel and litigator, would tell ministers that he could not defend a certain legislation before the Supreme Court, that was the end of said legislation. Which is why, early on in her term as Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) was looking to cut the job in half and hire one person to manage law enforcement, and another to manage the government’s legal affairs. But she couldn’t find enough support for the idea and, possibly, didn’t want to appear too radical so early in her administration.

Now, as the government is mulling legal means of bypassing a draconian Supreme Court decree calling for the demolition of the community of Amona in Samaria over a lawsuit by phantom Arab owners—the entire affair has been managed by Peace Now and other anti-Zionist NGOs—the AG, Avichai Mandelblit, on Sunday announced, through his deputy, Avi Licht, that he could not defend the proposed Regulation Act before the high court.

The bill compels Arab claimants against existing Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria to be treated like similar claimants inside green line Israel: if it can be shown that the land indeed belongs to them and the construction on it had been done illegally, the court rules on an amount, usually fair market value plus a fine, to be paid out by the defendant. No one inside 1949 Israel has ever demanded that standing buildings be struck down to remedy such a situation.

But over in Judea and Samaria, the Israeli Supreme Court has been riding high for years, insisting that the only remedy, even in cases in which there is no living and breathing claimant, the only acceptable remedy is destruction.

The cabinet decided to delay their discussion of the proposed Regulation Act until next week, to give the state time to petition the court for a postponement of the demolition date, December 25, 2016. It’s doubtful the Miriam Naor court, which has already voiced its exasperation over the Netanyahu government’s failure to carry out its demolition order for Amona given back in 2006, would grant yet another delay. As we noted earlier, should the court not grant a delay, Deputy AG Licht told the cabinet that his boss is not prepared to defend the proposed law before the high court.

Minister Uri Ariel then issued a statement saying, “I regret the prime minister’s decision to postpone the debate on regulating communities, most importantly Amona. It is an unjust decision which contradicts the prime minister’s own announcement two and a half months ago. We will continue to promote the Regulation Act despite the difficulties.”

And then Ariel released a shot across the bow of the AG’s office: “The AG’s statement regarding his inability to defend the state under certain conditions is unacceptable, and I hope he will change his mind. Should the AG not be willing to defend the new law at the Supreme Court, we’ll demand private representation, rather than give up our righteous struggle.”

And that’s how you teach a civil servant about the limits of his office.

JNi.Media

Finance Minister Exposing Fresh Meat Market to Foreign Competition

Monday, October 17th, 2016

At a time when free markets are losing favor in the eyes of GOP voters in the US, Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) has decided to open up the fresh meat market to competition from abroad. As part of this move, the quota for duty-free fresh meat imports will be doubled.

Needless to say, the move was not received well by Israeli farmers. On Friday, they demonstrated outside the Kfar Yehoshua train station, where the first commercial service on the Jezreel Valley railway line was being inaugurated. Armed with their tractors and pickup trucks, the cattle growers accused Kahlon of plotting to destroy Israel’s 460 cattle farms. They received support from MK Eitan Broshi (Zionist Camp), chairman of the agricultural lobby in the Knesset.

The Finance Ministry began exposing the local fresh meat market to foreign competition about two years ago, under Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) who now shares the opposition benches with Broshi. Indeed, this year there were a number of fresh meat brands available on the local market at roughly 25% less than the average price. The low price drove high consumer interest and supplies ran out before the end of the year.

According to the Agriculture Ministry, opening up the Israeli market to supplies from the EU countries is intended to replace the frozen meat market with higher-quality fresh meat, a move similar to the Agriculture Ministry’s eliminating the frozen poultry market, which used to encompass the bulk of Israel’s poultry market, replacing it with fresh poultry.

The new move will extend these lower prices to the coming years. The Finance Ministry has been conducting talks with the major local players in the industry, and an agreement has been reached on government subsidies to grass-fed, free range cattle growers and on spreading the import outline so that the market will become completely open by 2020.

The plan is for the quotas for fresh meat from abroad to be raised in 2020 to 17,500 tons, while duty will be reduced to 12%. In addition, local farmers will be permitted to import up to 10% of the market in fresh meat, to encourage local production and safeguard employment.

Israel’s  Chief  Rabbinate supervises the slaughtering of kosher meat  being  imported  to  Israel. Currently,  the  importation  of  non-kosher  meat  to  Israel  is  forbidden. The  Import Department of  the Chief  Rabbinate conducts tests  and  authorizes  slaughterhouses  and  teams of  inspectors.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/finance-minister-exposing-fresh-meat-market-to-foreign-competition/2016/10/17/

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