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October 21, 2016 / 19 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘MKs’

Rebellion: 25 Likud MKs Tell Netanyahu to Avoid Amona Demolition

Saturday, September 17th, 2016

As of Saturday night, 25 Likud MKs have signed a petition calling on the Netanyahu government to pursue legislation to prevent the demolition and evacuation of Amona, an Israeli outpost in central Judea and Samaria. Israel’s Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that the Amona community is illegal under Israeli law, but its status remained unresolved as the government continued to fight the court’s eviction order. In December 2014, the court ordered the state to completely evacuate and demolish the settlement within two years.

Likud MKs petition to save Amona

Likud MKs petition to save Amona

Last week, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said the Court ruling was unequivocal, and there was no hope to keep Amona intact. “There is no way that Amona can be left as it is built today, because most of the houses are built on private Palestinian land,” Liberman told an audience in Ariel University. But he added that “all the rules that apply to Amona apply to every other place as well,” suggesting that leftwing MKs and NGOs, as well as the EU and the US government, are only interested in removing Jews from their homes, “but when it comes to enforcing rulings against other trespassers everyone stands up on their hind legs.”

The court has ordered the final date for the evacuation of the entire outpost to be no later than December 25 this year.

MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Habayit Hayehudi) has submitted a bill dubbed the “Arrangement Law,” suggesting that homes that have been constructed using government supports would not be demolished should the claimants be able to show prior ownership. Instead, the land of the community in question would be confiscated by the State and the claimants would receive fair market value. This moves the burden of proof from the Jewish residents to the Arab claimants.

The signatories on the current petition include the vast majority of the Likud Knesset faction, including a few sworn enemies of the PM, such as Transport Minister Yisrael Katz and MK Oren Hazan. But since the entire Likud list is only 30 members strong, there are also many Netanyahu supporters who would like to see Amona spared.

Back in 2012 Netanyahu torpedoed a similar bill, submitted by Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi), which attempted to save the community of Migron, north of Jerusalem. Netanyahu employed the coalition discipline, which killed the bill with a 69 to 22 vote. The same bill came up during the Knesset summer session, but the ministerial legislative committee decided to kill it.

The legal community opposes the idea, and AG Avihai Madelblit is on the record as saying such a law would be unconstitutional (a strange phrase in a country without a constitution), and is sure to be killed by the Supreme Court. He prefers instead purchasing land nearby and transporting the entire community over, at an enormous cost. Why not purchase the land and give it to the claimant? Why not lease the land from the claimant? Why not offer the claimant an opportunity to sell the land to the community? Apparently, all those ideas have not risen to the same constitutional validity as that of destroying a Jewish community.


Likud MKS Meet With Amona, Ofra Residents to Protest Court-Ordered Demolition of Homes

Monday, September 12th, 2016

by Ilana Messika Likud MKs Yehuda Glick, Yoav Kish, Oren Hazan and Amir Ohana, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotolevy and Judea and Samaria Council Head Avi Roeh all hosted an emergency meeting with residents of Amona and Ofra on Monday (Sept. 12, 2016) to protest the scheduled demolition of their homes.

Amona, a neighborhood on a hill overlooking Ofra, is located in the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council district and is home to about 40 families. In December 2014 the High Court of Justice ruled the community was built on private Palestinian Authority property and ordered the residents to evacuate by the end of 2016.

The meeting follows the government’s approval of a Civil Administration plan to transfer Amona residents to a 1600-dunam (395-acre) site about 20 kilometers northeast of the current location, east of the Jewish town of Shiloh. Residents have slammed the decision as a government sellout.

“Defense Minister [Avigdor] Liberman has raised the white flag of surrender to extreme left organizations and the Palestinian Authority, both of whom abuse the Israeli legal system to bring about the destruction of settlements in Judea and Samaria,” said one participant at the meeting. “We call on Liberman, the prime minister and the other coalition parties to prevent the eviction.”

Hemdat Shani, a resident of Ofra, told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) “This ruling of the the High Court of Justice discriminates badly against Judea and Samaria. This is the only place in Israel where a Jewish community could receive a court order like this without verification of the ownership of the land.

“[It is ironic because] Judea and Samaria actually possess the strongest link to the Jewish ancestral homeland,” she stated.

The Likud Party has been in turmoil since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Liberman said in recent months that they intend to obey the Court’s ruling.

“The time has come for the prime minister to understand that people who choose to live in Judea and Samaria do so out of a sincere belief that it is our right… The story of Amona is not only about Amona, but about the whole of Israeli history,” said MK Oren Hazan.

Demolition orders also threaten several more Jewish communities around Judea and Samaria. Last week, the High Court of Justice ruled that 17 unauthorized homes in the Netiv Avot outpost in Gush Etzion must be dismantled by March 2018, and last week security forces evicted people from their homes at the Esh Kodesh outpost in Samaria and from the Mitzpe Avichai outpost near Hebron on Tuesday.

“This decision to remove us from our land is unjust, anti-Zionist, and it cannot happen that a right-wing Likud government should be the one to see it done,” said Hemdat Shani.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Israeli Arab MKs’ War on Israel

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

It’s unclear why, 16 months after the election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suddenly decided last week to apologize for his Election Day warning that Arabs were “going to the polls in droves,” especially since his explanation – that he was referring to “a specific political party” rather than Arabs as a whole – may seem like a distinction without a difference: The vast majority of Arabs vote for that specific party, and the vast majority of that party’s voters are Arabs. Nevertheless, in one sense, his remarks proved very timely: The previous few weeks had provided ample evidence of just how right he was to warn against that party, the Joint List, and this week, even more evidence arrived.

This week’s news was that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had actively worked to turn out the vote for the Joint List. That isn’t actually surprising, since the party’s own voters have long complained that its primary concern is the Palestinian cause rather than the welfare of Israel’s Arab citizens. But given Abbas’s energetic campaign against Israel in international forums, Israelis are understandably unhappy that he effectively also has representatives in Israel’s parliament.

Even more outrageous, however, is what happened during the two weeks preceding Netanyahu’s apology. Twice during those weeks, one of three parties that ran together as the Joint List took the unprecedented step of publicly condemning a leading Arab state for forging warmer relations with its own country, the one in whose parliament it serves. Then, not content with trying to undermine Israel’s foreign relations, it even voiced support for anti-Israel terrorist groups. And these statements were made not by the Joint List’s radical fringe, but by Hadash, the party generally considered the most moderate of the three – the one whose chairman, who also heads the Joint List as a whole, likes to compare himself to Martin Luther King, Jr.

The first condemnation came after Egypt’s foreign minister visited Israel last month for the first time since 2007. In a press statement, Hadash not only bewailed the fact that the country to whom its parliamentary representatives swear allegiance seems to be paying “no diplomatic or economic price” for following policies Hadash opposes, but even accused the burgeoning Egyptian-Israeli alliance of being “an alliance that undermines a just peace and real stability in the region.”

Think about that for a minute: A party sitting in Israel’s parliament has just declared that peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors – something one would think every Israeli would welcome, and its Arab citizens above all – actually undermines regional stability. Does Hadash think Israeli-Egyptian hostility, which led to no fewer than five wars in the 30 years before the countries signed their peace treaty, would somehow be better for regional stability? Or is it simply so hostile to the country it ostensibly represents that it views anything beneficial to Israel, like peace, as evil by definition?

That question was effectively answered the following week, when Hadash issued its second condemnation – this time, of the first-ever visit to Israel by a Saudi delegation. Israel has no diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, so the fact that a group of Saudi academics and businessmen, headed by a retired general who formerly held senior posts in the Saudi government, obtained Riyadh’s permission for this visit was groundbreaking.

Once again, Hadash condemned the visit on the grounds that it would “legitimize” Israel’s policies. But this time, it went even further: The visit deserved condemnation, its press statement said, because it “is part of the normalization of cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Israel against Iran, Syria and resistance movements in the region.”

In other words, Riyadh’s great sin in Hadash’s eyes is cooperating with Israel against groups openly sworn to Israel’s destruction – Iran, which constantly reiterates its desire to wipe Israel off the map and backs anti-Israel terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, and the “resistance movements,” an Arab euphemism for those same anti-Israel terrorist groups, which also endlessly declare their desire for Israel’s eradication and have repeatedly attacked it. Evidently, Hadash would prefer to let these groups pursue their goal of destroying Israel unmolested. It’s the exact equivalent of a U.S. congressman condemning other countries for aiding America against Al-Qaeda after 9/11.

This isn’t the first time Hadash and its leader, Ayman Odeh, have revealed their true colors. Odeh also notoriously refuses to condemn Palestinian terror: “I cannot tell the nation how to struggle … I do not put red lines on the Arab Palestinian nation,” he said last year. Yet this never seems to stop either Israeli or foreign journalists from fawningly parroting his own comparison of himself to Martin Luther King while scrupulously ignoring all evidence to the contrary. The obvious facts that King had no trouble condemning violence and would never have supported terrorist organizations against his own country seem to elude them.

It’s hardly surprising that Netanyahu, like most other Israelis, isn’t thrilled by having a party so openly hostile to Israel sitting in the Knesset and getting funding from the Israeli taxpayer. But one might ask why it really matters, given the Arab parties’ seeming impotence: After all, Hadash’s press statements clearly didn’t discourage either the Egyptian or the Saudi overtures.

The answer is that while Arab Knesset members have very little power to harm Israel’s foreign relations, they have enormous power to harm relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel. When Israeli Jews hear statements like those above from parliamentarians who have repeatedly received the vast majority of the Arab vote, they naturally assume ordinary Arab voters must share their MKs’ views – that they, too, support anti-Israel terror and seek Israel’s diplomatic and economic isolation. As I’ve noted before, this assumption isn’t necessary correct, but it’s perfectly rational. And it’s a huge barrier to Arab integration, because normal human beings will always be reluctant to welcome a minority into their workplaces, neighborhoods and governing institutions if they have good reason to suspect that minority of wanting to destroy their country. That isn’t prejudice; it’s common sense.

Netanyahu, as I’ve written before, has actually tried hard to further Arab integration, and he understands that Arab politicians, with their endless flow of anti-Israel vitriol, are poisoning this effort. That’s why he was entirely justified in warning against that “specific party,” and why American Jews eager to promote coexistence should do the same. Far from being the solution, existing Arab parties are a huge part of the problem, and endlessly calling them “moderates” won’t make them so.

What Israel desperately needs is a truly moderate Arab political leadership. But it will never have one as long as people who favor coexistence insist on embracing radicals rather than shunning them.

Evelyn Gordon

Speaker Edelstein Asking Police Chief Alsheikh for Clarifications on ‘MKs List’

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein on Wednesday met in his office with Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh to request clarifications on a recently leaked secret police document known as the “MKs List,” a.k.a. “The Yitzhaki Report,” detailing evidence on alleged offenses committed by dozens of Knesset members, including seven sitting ministers, which police allegedly keep on a shelf for an opportune time.

Knesset Legal Adviser Eyal Yinon and the head of the police Investigations and Intelligence Branch, Meni Yitzhaki, were also present at the meeting.

On Sunday, Channel 10 revealed the existence of “The Yitzhaki Report” that had allegedly been compiled by order of Yitzhaki and reportedly completed in 2014. According to Channel 10, it contains all investigative information collected by police on the 120 members of the previous Knesset, including information on suspected crimes and corruption.

Alsheikh informed Edelstein that police are forbidden to initiate investigations on public officials without first receiving instructions to do so by the Attorney General or the state attorney. The document, he said, was for internal use to ensure that nothing fell through the cracks during investigations of Knesset members, and that all relevant information was passed on to the Attorney General. Alsheikh said police would investigate who leaked the existence of the document.

Speaker Edelstein accepted the police chief’s explanation, but said that the leaked document casts a cloud over all MKs and creates the public perception that dozens of MKs are suspected of criminal offenses. The Knesset Speaker stressed the importance of releasing — as soon as possible — an official clarification regarding the document and its relevancy, if it has indeed remained relevant.

Such a clarification, Edelstein said, would show the public that Israel Police is doing its job faithfully and is investigating MKs when necessary, and it would also indicate to the lawmakers that they can be certain that police are not holding information against them which could be revealed at some point down the line and hurt their work or chances of obtaining a certain position.


Five MKs Reveal How the State Stole their Families’ Children

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

During Tuesday’s debate at the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice committee, five MKs shared their families’ stories about the disappearance or the kidnapping of their relatives, presumably at the hands of public officials. MKs Yoav Ben-Tzur (Shas), Yoseph Yonah (Zionist Camp), Nava Boker (Likud), Rachel Azaria (Kulanu), and Nurit Koren (Likud) and their families have been living with the pain of that cruel separation for more than half a century.

The committee on Tuesday debated public demands to reveal the sealed protocols of the state investigating commission on the kidnapping of Yemenite, Mid-Eastern and Balkan children by government officials in the early years of the State of Israel. The commission’s findings have been sealed until the year 2071 in keeping with the State Archives Law.

The investigation dealt with the disappearance of thousands of babies and children who arrived in Israel from Yemen and other third-world countries in the 1950s, whose families were told that they died even though their bodies or their graves were never presented. Family members of the disappeared and several NGOs have called in the past for the public exposure of the findings of the investigation, but the state has remained firm in its refusal. Now, in response to increased public pressure, Prime Minister Netanyahu assigned Minister Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) to look into the matter and submit his recommendations.

Hanegbi, son of illustrious underground radio broadcaster and former MK Geula Cohen, is from Yemenite extraction himself.

The Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice committee / Courtesy the Knesset

The Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice committee / Courtesy the Knesset

Committee chair MK Nissan Slomiansky (Habayit Hayehudi) opened the debate, saying, “The question is where have we been until now? It’s crazy — everybody knows there are protocols and it’s all locked up. As if these are the nuclear secretes of the State of Israel. It looks completely hallucinatory to me.”

State Archives official Dr. Jacob Lazovic told the committee that the archives possess more than one million pages of the investigating commission’s proceedings. “I personally, and we as an organization would be only to happy to reveal everything, but we are operating within the law, which imposes two limits on exposure: one based on the State Archives Law and the other on the Privacy Law,” he explained.

Dr. Lazovic added that while the government has the authority to order the exposure of said material, it is not authorized to permit the publication of content which relates to private persons. In his expert view, this problem could be resolved in short order by the archives’ staff who could go over the documents and redact the private information with black ink. “There are 3,500 cases,” he said. “My estimate is we’ll need one thousand work days.”

MK Meir Cohen (Yesh Atid) who initiated the debate, called the disappearance of the Yemenite children “a stain, a mark of Cain, a gross tumor on Israeli society. I’m trying to think what would have happened nowadays if a mother would have given birth and the next day was informed that her child had died. This phenomenon is rife with racism.”

MK Yonah told the committee, “I carry with me the story of the family of my uncles who passed away three years ago. They had a child named Tzipora who became sick with jaundice, which is why she was being treated in hospital, and was in progressive recovery. One day before she disappeared or kidnapped her mother still nursed her. When they called her to come get her daughter from the hospital, my aunt arrived, but was told, ‘Your child died.’ She asked, ‘How can it be? Only yesterday they told me about her quick recovery.’ My aunt described in chilling details how she ran through the different rooms looking for her girl. The child was gone.”

Yonah continued, “My uncle arrived at the hospital and was also told his daughter had died. He asked to see the death certificate and then, in complete reversal of the message of the state wishing to be modern, they told him, ‘You think you’re living in Iraq? At this age we don’t issue death certificates.'”

Tragically, according to Yonah, “when Tzipora turned 18, her enlistment order arrived in her family’s home, but she was not there, obviously. She is somewhere out there in the world and her brothers want to know where she is.”

Responding to the archives official’s comment regarding the limits posed by the privacy law, MK Yonah said, “My family members are those private people whose privacy is being damaged. Now, clearly, there is no demand on the part of families of the disappeared children for justice or revenge. But a society that wishes to advance to its future must heal its wounds and we need this for the sake of our own future. To face the inequities, not in order to sink but to face and overcome them.”

MK Boker, who co-sponsored the committee debate with MK Cohen, on Monday shared her own family’s story on her Facebook page, speculating that her older brothers and sisters had been among the kidnapped children. “I wasn’t fortunate enough to know my older brothers and sisters … According to what my mother told me when she was still alive, my older brother died at age one year and a half, but now we know he has two graves, rather than one. As to my sister, as soon as she was born, the doctors told my mother she was dead. My mother never saw the body, didn’t receive a death certificate, and that sister was never buried. The doctors and the medical staff probably took advantage of my mother’s naiveté and took away her daughter.”

“It’s time to expose the truth behind this shocking episode, an episode that is a black stain on the history of the State of Israel,” MK Boker said.

The committee meeting ended with a call on the government to open up the protocols; representatives of NGOs working to expose this episode called on the government to accept responsibility and recognize that this is a case of the mass kidnapping of children.


Arab Primary Voters Dump Terror-Supporting MKs Zoabi, Ghattas

Friday, June 17th, 2016

MK Hanin Zoabi, whose National Democratic Assembly (Balad) party is one of the three partner factions making up the Joint Arab List, has been the most frequent candidate for removal both from the elections list and, as MK, from the plenum, as well as defendant in court, all owing to her vicious attacks on Israeli values and on Israeli public officials—including, most recently, cursing out and spitting on Arab police. Now, all who trust in the wisdom of the voters are entitled to a big high-five, as Zoabi has been pushed in the primaries for her faction’s list of Knesset candidates down to spot number 9, well outside the realistic expectations for the 21st Knesset, Makor Rishon reported Friday.

The Joint Arab List, which has one Jewish MK, is a new political creature, a coalition made up of four different parties whose only common denominator is the fact that they are Arab and appeal to the Arab Israeli voter. Hadash, the United Arab List, Balad, and Ta’al, which make up the third largest faction in the 20th Knesset, were, essentially, the brain child of then Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who pushed for a higher vote threshold, requiring that a list gain close to four seats before it can claim any of its seats. Realizing that the new rule could wipe out the bulk of the Arab representation in the Knesset, the four parties, with communists, business leaders, ultra-nationalists and religious zealots, found a way to unite in order to stay alive. Ironically, Liberman’s own party, Yisrael Beiteinu, barely made it past the same threshold.

With the four factions sharing the 13 seats they were granted by the voter, it is unlikely for any one of them to get more than three or four MKs, so that Zoabi’s failure to get enough votes for the third or fourth spot in her faction means a resounding demotion by her party members.

But Zoabi did relatively well compared with her fellow Balad MK Basel Ghattas, who shared with her a much slammed ceremony honoring the families of Jerusalem terrorists who had died while murdering Jews. Ghattas was dropped to the 23rd spot, which is political death in the reality of Arab politics.

Another demoted Balad leader, also member of the honor guard to the killers, is Jamal Zahalka, who landed the fifth spot, which would only get him a seat should the Joint Arab List pick up between 18 and 20 mandates, a feat that would necessarily require direct involvement from Mohammed himself, if not an even higher authority.

Anonymous members of the Joint List told Makor Rishon they were pleased with the choices of Balad voters, who replaced their fanatical leaders with seemingly more pragmatic ones, including a woman, Nibin Abu Rahmoun, at the top of the list. The latest choices could revitalize the Balad faction as well as the entire Knesset list, possibly attracting one or two additional seats.

With MK Ghattas’ resounding defeat Balad voters have severed their ties to his uncle, former MK Azmi Bishara, who back in 2007 resigned from the Knesset through the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, following police investigation into his treasonous activities, aiding the enemy during wartime, passing information on to the enemy and contacts with a foreign agent, as well as laundering money received from foreign sources. With that shameful legacy out of the way, the new faces in Balad could devote themselves to improving the quality of life for Israeli Arabs.

David Israel

Despite Pressure, Ethics Committee Votes to Keep MKs Off Temple Mount

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

The Ethics Committee on Tuesday voted to uphold its decision from seven months ago, banning Knesset Members from entering the Temple Mount compound. In its November 2015 decision the committee said it had been told by senior Israel Police officials that visits by MKs to the holy site in eastern Jerusalem would significantly deteriorate the security situation throughout the country.

The Ethics Committee stated that, until further notice, visiting the Temple Mount, which is holy to both Jews and Muslims, may be considered an ethics violation that carries sanctions. It cited the ethics rule that MKs are supposed to act for the good of the country.

The Ethics Committee said it discussed the matter again on Tuesday following pleas by committee member MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint Arab List) and Jewish MKs. Jerusalem District Police Commander Major-General Yoram Halevy briefed the committee and said that for the time being Police position on the ban remains unchanged.

The committee said it was further informed that in light of the relatively calm situation, Israel Police is considering allowing Arab MKs to visit the Temple Mount towards the end of the month of Ramadan, and allowing Jewish lawmakers to visit the site as well after the Ramadan and the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

“In light of what the committee has heard, it has reached a majority decision to uphold its previous decision for the time being,” the Ethics Committee said in statement, adding that it would change the decision should the security forces decide that MKs may be allowed to visit the Temple Mount once again.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/despite-pressure-ethics-committee-votes-to-keep-mks-off-temple-mount/2016/06/14/

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