Israeli police are concluding an investigation that a senior official in the Ministry of Defense embezzled more than NIS 2 million earmarked for defense purposes. Details of the investigation have not yet been publicized.Jewish Press News Briefs
Posts Tagged ‘Ministry’
A group of 16 retiree couples ages 50 to 80 made Aliyah to Israel in mid-August on Nefesh B’Nefesh charter Aliyah flight that left out of JFK airport in New York. The retirees joined their children and grandchildren who had made Aliyah over the last decade.
The mature Olim, who wore specially made T-Shirts saying “Aliyah: A Family Tradition,” reinforced the Nefesh B’Nefesh vision that western Olim successfully making Aliyah encourage others to do the same. They were greeted in Israel by PM Benjamin Netanyahu as well as a countless number of relatives at Ben Gurion Airport; sporting signs and various family t-shirts, all overjoyed to be welcoming their parents and grandparents to Israel.
Nefesh B’Nefesh is celebrating its tenth anniversary this summer, marking a decade since its inaugural charter Aliyah flight in 2002. The milestone comes as the organization prepares to welcome more than 2,500 North American and British Jews making Aliyah this summer on two charter and seven group Aliyah flights, in cooperation with the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption and The Jewish Agency for Israel. Nefesh B’Nefesh is expecting to bring a total of 4,800 newcomers to Israel in 2012.Jewish Press Staff
The Israeli Interior Ministry reports a dramatic drop in the number of illegal infiltrators for the first half of July.
Only 140 illegal infiltrators were able to enter Israel from the Sinai, and all were arresteed.
In June, 1213 illegal infiltrators crossed the border, of whom, 928 were arrested.
And that number was just half of the 2031 who entered illegally from the Sinai in the month of May.
By next week, 200 kilometers of border fence will be completed along the Sinai-Israel border, and by October all but 14 kilometers near Eilat will be completed, and that segment will be completed in 2013.
Was there a similar attempt to kill Israeli tourists in Bulgaria in January?
A news report from January 2012 in a Bulgarian News Site discusses a eerily similar attempt on Israeli tourist in Bulgaria.
The report said:
January 9, 2012
Bulgaria’s border police have no information of a bomb being found in a bus boarded with Israeli tourists traveling towards a Bulgarian winter resort, the country’s Interior Ministry has stated.
On Sunday, Israeli media reported that Bulgarian authorities last week foiled a bomb attack targeting a bus chartered to take Israeli tourists to a local ski resort. According to the report, there is an ongoing investigation concerning a terrorist group based in Europe and linked with Hezbollah.
The device was allegedly found by Bulgarian authorities last Tuesday.
However, representatives of the Bulgarian Interior Ministry told the Bulgarian National Radio on Monday that they have not received any information of such device being discovered.
Already last week, Dan Shenar, head of security at the Israeli Transportation Ministry, told the Bulgarian Darik radio that a suspicious package found on a bus carrying Israeli tourists from Turkey to Bulgaria was the cause for Israel’s request to boost security over its citizens traveling in the country.
The planned attacks were said to be in connection with the February 12 anniversary of the killing of Lebanese militant Hezbollah group leader, Imad Mughnieh.
The Bulgarian authorities reacted by denying having received information from Israel concerning possible terrorist attacks on the country’s territory.
On Friday, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov advised the media against publishing sensational information about possible terrorist attacks in the country, explaining that such reports would hurt the ties between Bulgaria and the Arab countries.
Jewish Press News Briefs
Samaria will have its first full university, pending the go-ahead of the Israeli military.
The Ariel University Center on Tuesday was recognized as a full university by the Judea and Samaria Council for Higher Education, which handles educational concerns in the “disputed territories.” The center, which has more than 10,000 students, Jewish and Arab, would be called Ariel University.
The 11-2 vote came despite a vehement recommendation against approval by the planning and budget committee of Israel’s Council for Higher Education, as well as opposition from the country’s other seven universities, and from public figures, all of whom objected to upgrading a college which had passed all the prerequisites for the boost, but was still unable to conceal the damning fact that it was located in the “West Bank.”
Last month, in a letter to Netanyahu, the presidents of Israel’s seven universities said that an eighth university would deal a “fatal blow to the higher education system in general, and the universities in particular.”
On Sunday, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz announced that his ministry would earmark extra funds for the Ariel University Center, so that it would not cut into the funding of Israel’s other universities. Steinitz said he will ask the government to grant an allocation of some $5 million to $7.5 million for the next two fiscal years, with plans to increase the sum in future years.
That’s an approximately $4 million a year fatal blow.
Professor Daniel Zajfman, head of the Weizmann Institute of Science, said he would cancel all academic and professional cooperation with Ariel U.
Hebrew University President Menahem Ben-Sasson was concerned about gentile reaction to the move, specifically Norwegians and Swedes, warning: “We are putting the next Nobel Prize in danger.”
MK Einat Wilf, head of the Knesset Education Committee, said it was still all about the money: “If the Finance Minister and the Education Ministry have tens of millions of extra shekels for higher education, they should have been used to assist the existing universities, which are recovering from a decade of tough budget cuts.”
Again, that’s approximately $4 million a year.
For comparison, as of 2010, the Hebrew University deficit was estimated at $2.5 billion.
And the Tel Aviv University salaries and pensions alone have reached $165 million a year.
No doubt, depriving the fledgling Ariel of $4 million a year would go a long way to balance those hemorrhaging deficits.
Of course, the report on the center’s progress that was submitted to the committee of Israel’s academic establishment praises Ariel’s accomplishments and left no doubt as to its ability to take its rightful place as a major academic institution.
The final authorization for making the Ariel center a university will be made by the IDF central commander in the West Bank, Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon. At this point, Alon is expected to back up the Judea and Samaria council’s decision.
The Judea and Samaria council was established in 1997 after the Council for Higher Education refused to discuss academic issues concerning the “West Bank.”
In 2007, the Ariel academic center was granted temporary recognition as a so-called university center, and its status was to be reexamined within five years. The city of Ariel, with a population of about 20,000, is located southwest of the biblical city of Shchem, where the patriarch Jacob was hoping to settle down and study some Torah, when unexpected thing started to happen.
Like it or not, Jacob’s dream is becoming a reality now.
JTA content was used in this report.Yori Yanover
The Ministry of Transport published last week a primarily web-based campaign showing the impending changes, transformations and expansions undertaken in air, sea, and land transportation in the country. The Ministry of Transport, headed by Minister Israel Katz, has been working intensively in recent years to develop and implement far-reaching programs that could affect every Israeli citizen’s life. Videos distributed by the Ministry of Transport online show the expected investment of about 100 billion Shekels over the next six to eight years. The Ministry’s publicized objective is the promotion of national transportation that will leverage economic development, connect the periphery to the major cities, and place Israel among the most advanced countries in terms of transportation.
It is no secret that transportation development has suffered neglect and lack of promotion in the past two decades. Until recently, roads have not been revamped, the train’s route was not developed, and traffic jams across the country intensified due to an increase in the number of private vehicles. Today, most citizens own at least one car, and in many cases two, a situation demanding immediate solutions. Lately, however, Israel has witnessed developments everywhere. Across the country, from north to south, there are new roads, interchanges have been built, railroads placed and more.
In Jerusalem, the Ministry promises to construct a new entrance. The road will be called “Route 16” and will reach downtown. The road will contain mostly tunnels and should relieve traffic congestion. The busy highway 1 linking Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will become a two-track road which should, according to transportation officials, solve the heavy load on this road.
Also, a special railway line of about 57 km should be open by the year 2017, which will connect Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by only 28 minutes travel.
In the North, one of the major projects that the Ministry of Transport presented is the establishment of the Golani Junction interchange – a huge project that began this year and is scheduled to be concluded in 2013. The junction will connect in the future to a network of highways and to Highway 6, which will allow a smoother trip with no traffic lights from the north of the country to its center.
Another project is the extension of Highway 6, Israel’s most significant highway. Today it ends in the north at the Ein Tut intersection near Yokneam. In the future it will be expanded to Shlomi, taking the highway even further North. As for the southern segment of the highway, The Ministry of Transport promised to expand the highway to the outskirts of Be’erSheva, which will further connect the south to central Israel.
A more grandiose project is the “Ha’Emek Train” – a flagship project of the Ministry which has set to develop the Valley Railroad, establishing a fast connection along the Haifa – Nazareth – Beit Shean rout. This project is scheduled to be ended by 2016. Minister Katz briefly introduced the project’s future benefits for the entire region: “The Jordanians are interested in promoting such a project, which will allow them to export and import cargo by train, arriving at the port of Haifa.”
In the center of the country, the Ministry of Transport presented the light rail which should constitute in the near future an extensive transportation network in the greater Tel Aviv area. The first line to be built is the Red Line, which will connect Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Petach Tikva, Bnei Brak and Bat Yam. The 11-billion-Shekel project will include additional lines, and will be completed gradually by 2017.
Furthermore, the ministry is establishing in the Sharon area a transportation system of special buses called BRT lines, which will have its separate lanes. The BRT lines are intended to transport large numbers of passengers. The network is scheduled to be opened in 2014.
In the south of the country, modern rail lines should connect the Tel Aviv metropolitan area to the south of the country, including Eilat, and will allow passengers on the train to get from Tel Aviv to Eilat in two hours. At Timna, a new international airport will replace the existing one in Eilat. The new airport will be called “Ramon Airport,” named after Ilan Ramon, an Air Force pilot and the first Israeli astronaut, and Assaf Ramon, Ilan’s son who was also an air force pilot and who was recently killed in a training accident. The Ministry of Transport did not supply an exact date of completion for this project.Tom Nisani
The AP has apparently caught the Israeli government red handed on the eve of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to the Jewish state, as said government has “quietly agreed to grant subsidies to build more than 500 new homes in the West Bank, backtracking from a promise earlier this year to deny these incentives to the settlements.”
It’s our habit at the Jewish Press to scrub the “west bank” thing and replace it with the more biblical “Judea and Samaria,” despite the inherent reference within that name to a period in the life of the nation in which it was split into two kingdoms, both of which were eventually scrapped by enemies from without and corruption from within. But in this case it makes sense to keep the WB in place, to retain the brazen cold heartedness of the AP report.
The AP reports that the planned construction has enraged Palestinians, although it is difficult to tell at this point what doesn’t enrage Palestinians. But in this case, the move – imagine, housing for 500 Jewish families – would likely also enrage Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is determined to “re-energize” the Mideast peace efforts.
Back in January, Netanyahu’s Cabinet identified more than 550 communities, “including 70 West Bank settlements,” as national priority areas, the AP reminds us. The list drew immediate protests from… you guessed it, the Palestinians. And so, shortly thereafter, Netanyahu quietly held a second vote in a phone meeting to exclude the settlements from the measure.
That figure of 500 housing units has been bandied about a lot lately, including as compensation for the court ordered demolition of a section of Beit El’s Ulpana Hill neighborhood.
The AP cites Israel’s Housing Ministry, saying that the government has approved subsidies for 24 homes in Efrat, south of Jerusalem, as well as “nearly 500 other homes” in Efrat, Beitar Illit and Ariel.
A Housing Ministry spokesman told the AP that construction bids for the 500 homes have not closed yet.
The AP story mentions the Levy committee’s ruling on the legality of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, but it suggests that with more than 500,000 Jewish settlers now living in “the West Bank and east Jerusalem,” the Palestinians say their dream of an independent state is fading as it grows tougher to partition the land between Israelis and Palestinians.
And who among us is heartless enough to want to see a dream fading away?
Of course, each time Israel as much as hints that it is serious about facilitating this dream of binational coexistence based on mutual recognition, it somehow ends in rivers of blood, as the Palestinians are still unwilling to embrace the concept.
Some dreams are better defined as nightmares.Yori Yanover