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December 5, 2016 / 5 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘official’

Official Statements on the Passing of President Shimon Peres [video]

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Special Cabinet Meeting

“This is the first day in the State of Israel without the late Shimon Peres. Shimon Peres was among our greatest leaders, who left behind him a long trail of unique achievements. On behalf of the entire Jewish People, the citizens of Israel and the Government of Israel, I convey deep condolences to Shimon’s family.

Shimon Peres lived a life rich in deeds, which symbolize the history of a revived Israel – the life of an ancient people that marches, revived, on its land, the power of our people to defend itself, and is building up its homeland with sweat and courage.

When Shimon, as a youth, went to the Ben Shemen agricultural school, he wrote: ‘The goal of my life is to serve my people.’ He realized this goal. He believed with all his heart in the goals of Zionism and was a man of inspiring vision. Shimon accompanied the state since before its birth, stood by the cradle, and made sure that it could stand on strong legs. He was at the side of David Ben-Gurion during fateful decisions, at a time when the young Israel was fragile and its military strength had yet to be realized. Shimon greatly contributed to the building up of our strength. He made a unique contribution to the strengthening of our security both openly and in areas that are best left unspoken.

One of the summits of his life was the successful operation to free those of our people who had been hijacked to Entebbe. As Defense Minister in the government of Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon played a crucial role in the decision to dispatch our planes and commandos into the heart of Africa. But alongside this, alongside all of his work on behalf of the security of Israel, Shimon Peres never stopped striving for peace and believing in peace. His hand was always extended toward historic reconciliation with our neighbors. Even if this reconciliation tarried, he taught us not to give in to despair but to cling to the hope and to continue working.

Shimon Peres was an MK for almost 50 years. He served as a minister in various governments in many and varied portfolios. He twice led our country as Prime Minister. He opened our international links, contributed to stabilizing the economy and worked greatly on behalf of immigration from the USSR and Ethiopia.

We all know that political life was not always kind to Shimon. Alongside his achievements, he also knew disappointment, he also knew difficult moments, he also knew pointed criticism. But through his great strength of will Shimon continued to move forward, imbued with the aspiration to advance the development of the country that he loved so much, and imbued with the aspiration to bring peace.

There were many things that we agreed on and the number of these grew over the years. But we also had our disagreements, which are a natural part of democratic life. Even in these instances, the respect that I felt for Shimon was never impaired. On the contrary, as time passed our relations became closer. I esteemed him. I loved him. During his tenure as President, we had many personal meetings, often lasting deep into the night. These were fascinating, in-depth meetings in which I learned to recognize the man, to recognize his life’s story and to listen to his thoughts.

Only two months ago I came with my wife to launch the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation. We shared a common vision – a vision of progress and technology. Shimon saw the presence of Israel at the forefront of scientific and technological progress, and rightly so, as a key to human welfare, the key to peace. At that meeting I was stirred by his curiosity, his ability to mobilize a vision of the future world. After the ceremony, we sat for a long time. We arranged to meet again, to continue to promote the common vision of technology and innovation – and yes, also peace.

Unfortunately, this meeting will not take place. The prayer which I made on behalf of all citizens of Israel from the podium of the United Nations, the prayer that I offered for his recovery did not materialize. But our consolation is that so many things in the life of Shimon did come true. And the seven years of Shimon Peres’ presidency were a rejuvenation. He won the public’s bipartisan, cross-sector admiration. Love of the people was forthcoming and warmed his heart.

Shimon was a man of vision, he was a man of peace, he was also a man of letters, and without these two elements there can be no national revival. For all these reasons Shimon won worldwide international recognition. Heads of state sought him out and honored him. Many of them, along with us, will accompany him on his last journey to eternal rest in the soil of Jerusalem. Shimon’s work will yet remain with us for many generations. He will be enshrined in my heart always and etched in our hearts forever.

May his memory be blessed.”

President Reuven Rilvin

“This is a sad morning for all of us. There is not a chapter in the history of the State of Israel in which Shimon did not write or play a part. A man who was a symbol for the great spirit of this people. Shimon made us look far into the future. As one man he carried a whole nation on the wings of imagination, on the wings of vision, and we loved him dearly. We loved him even when we did not see things eye to eye, because he made us dare to imagine not what was once here, nor what is now, but what could be.”

Minister Miri Regev

“We are officially convening the ministerial Committee on Symbols and ceremonies, which today mourns the passing of former President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres. We are preparing for a very large and complex funeral that will coordinate very many elements. Here today is the Director General of the Foreign Ministry and the Jerusalem District Police commander, as well as representatives from the Defense Ministry, Knesset, and the Prime Minister’s Bureau, among others. We are, in effect, working to coordinate the entire effort.

I would like to thank Minister Ofir Akunis and Minister Sofa Landver, who are present as members of the committee. We will work under the ‘Havatzelet’ protocol to facilitate a respectable funeral that will allow the citizens of the country and the world leaders who will arrive to pay proper respect to former President Peres. Therefore, as soon as the committee votes on its decisions, everyone will go to work in his area and we will meet from time to time on a more reduced basis to oversee coordination.

There will be several centers: The airport, to which the leaders will arrive. The second center is the Knesset. The third is Mt. Herzl, including the interment itself. There are many elements here that we will need to coordinate so that everything goes smoothly and respectably, despite all the constraints we are under and the complexity of the event. There is also, of course, Shabbat that we must take into account and see that we finish on time so that all of the police and other elements working on the event can return home in time for Shabbat.”

Yad Vashem

“Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, mourns the passing of the ninth President of Israel, Shimon Peres and offers its sincerest condolences to his family and all of the people of Israel.

Former President Peres was a dedicated supporter of teaching the legacy of the Shoah, so that the Jewish people – and all humanity – may have a brighter future.  Shimon Peres worked tirelessly to further the causes of justice and peace for all humankind.”

Israel Atomic Energy Commission

“Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) Director Ze’ev Senir and the commission’s employees and retirees mourn the passing of former President, Prime Minister and Defense Minister Shimon Peres. His work is interwoven with the work of the IAEC since its founding.

Shimon Peres substantially contributed to the establishment of the Negev Nuclear Research Center and the foundation of Israel’s nuclear policy as a significant contribution in ensuring the national strength of the State of Israel. His legacy will accompany the work of the IAEC in the future as well. May his memory be blessed.”

David Israel

Pentagon Official Says F-35 ‘Failing to Deliver’

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Dr. J. Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s senior advisor to the Secretary of Defense on operational and live fire tests and evaluations of weapon systems, has written to Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, Air Force Chief of Staff General David Goldfein, and the Pentagon’s acquisitions chief Frank Kendall that he is unhappy with the progress of the most expensive fighter plane ever produced on planet Earth, the Lockheed Martin F-35 — whose delivery to the Israel Air Force is scheduled to start in September.

Gilmore’s Aug. 9 memo, published Wednesday by Bloomberg News, suggests “the program is actually not on a path toward success but instead on a path toward failing to deliver” the F-35’s much touted, 21st century near-sci-fi capabilities, “for which the Department is paying almost $400 billion by the scheduled end” of the plane’s development in 2018.

Gilmore cautioned that “achieving full combat capability with the Joint Strike Fighter is at substantial risk.” He says that despite promises to the contrary by the manufacturer, “most of the limitations” that plagued the F-35’s software, data fusion, electronic warfare and, the most crucial aspect of a fighter aircraft — weapons employment, appear to persist.

Gilmore warned that Lockheed Martin’s F-35 program “is running out of time and money to complete the planned flight testing and implement the required fixes and modifications,” observing that “flight testing is making progress but has fallen far behind the planned rate.” He pointed out that the F-35’s most sophisticated software capabilities “are just being added,” and that the system is, to put it mildly, full of bugs, which “continue to be discovered at a substantial rate.”

The US Air Force and the US Dept. of Defense both released statements saying Gilmore’s concerns were nothing new, and the F-35’s issues are being dealt with.

David Israel

Israel Arrests Second Gaza Aid Official Moonlighting for Hamas

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

Wahid Abdullah Borsch, 38, from Jabaliya in the Gaza Strip, was arrested in July on suspicion of using his employment by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to carry out missions for Hamas. UNDP carries out housing and development projects for the Gaza population, including renovating homes damaged in the military conflicts with Israel.

The Southern District Prosecutor has indicted Wahid Borsch in Beer Sheva District Court for assisting the Hamas organization.

According to Shabak, Borsch has worked for UNDP since 2003, and his responsibility included demolishing damaged homes and removing rubbish from the area. In his interrogation Borsch revealed that in 2014 he had been directed by a senior Hamas official to focus on his work at UNDP in ways that benefit Hamas. These benefits included diverting UNDP resources to building a clandestine marina in the northern Gaza Strip in 2015, to be used by the Hamas military arm.

Borsch also confessed to influencing his superiors at UNDP to prioritize the rehabilitation in areas where Hamas seniors lived — following instructions he had received from Hamas.

Borsch told his interrogators about several cases in which Hamas openly and brutally usurped the UNDP activities to its needs. For instance, whenever a UNDP rehabilitation project exposed military equipment or tunnel openings in the homes being renovated, Hamas would take over the site and collect the loot — in violation of the clear protocol requiring a report to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), which is in charge of removing and destroying illegal military equipment.

Borsch revealed the names of several Hamas agents who have penetrated humanitarian aid organizations in Gaza, as well as information regarding storage facilities, bunkers and tunnels appropriated by Hamas.

Shabak commented that the Borsch case, coming as it does on the heels of the scandal around the World Vision charity’s senior official Mohammad El Halabi who diverted millions of dollars to Hamas, shows the callused way in which Hamas is using international aid for its murderous aims.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry released a statement saying, “Israel updated the UN secretary-general’s office and the heads of the UNDP in New York on the arrest and the charges [against Borsh]. We expect the UN, and particularly the UN’s aid organizations, to unequivocally condemn Hamas for the exploitation of the aid mechanisms, and to take concrete action to ensure humanitarian aid reaches those who need it and not the heads of Hamas.”

JNi.Media

Statue of Egyptian Official Found at Tel-Hazor

Monday, July 25th, 2016

In a historic find, a large fragment of an Egyptian statue measuring 45 X 40 centimeters, made of lime-stone, was discovered In the course of the current season of excavations at Tel-Hazor, north of the Sea of Galilee in Israel. Only the lower part of the statue survived, depicting the crouching feet of a male figure, seated on a square base on which a few lines in Egyptian hieroglyphic script are inscribed.

Hazor is the largest biblical-era site in Israel, covering some 200 acres, and has been recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The population of Hazor in the second millennium BCE is estimated to have been about 20,000, making it the largest and most important city in the entire region. Its size and strategic location on the route connecting Egypt and Babylon made it “the head of all those kingdoms” according to the biblical book of Joshua (Joshua 11:10). Hazor’s conquest by the Israelites opened the way to the conquest and settlement of the Israelites in Canaan. The city was rebuilt and fortified by King Solomon and prospered in the days of Ahab and Jeroboam II, until its final destruction by the Assyrians in 732 BCE.

The archaeologists estimate that the complete statue would equal the size of a fully grown man. At present only a preliminary reading of the inscriptions has been attempted, and the title and name of the Egyptian official who originally owned the statue are not yet entirely clear.

The monumental Egyptian statute of a high official from the Middle Kingdom in Egypt, found in the administrative palace at Hazor, north of the Sea of Galilee in Israel. / Photo credit: Shlomit Bechar

The monumental Egyptian statute of a high official from the Middle Kingdom in Egypt, found in the administrative palace at Hazor, north of the Sea of Galilee in Israel. / Photo credit: Shlomit Bechar

The statue was originally placed either in the official’s tomb or in a temple – most probably of the Egyptian god Ptah – and most of the texts inscribed on the statue’s base include words of praise to the official who may have served and most probably practiced his duties in the region of Memphis, the primary cult center of the god Ptah. They also include the customary Egyptian funerary formula ensuring eternal supply of offerings for the statue’s owner. This statue, found this year, together with the sphinx fragment of the Egyptian king Mycerinus (who ruled Egypt in the 25th century BCE) discovered at the site by the research team three years ago, are the only monumental Egyptian statues found so far in second millennium contexts in the entire Levant.

The discovery of these two statues, in the same building currently being excavated by the research team, indicates the special importance of the building (probably the administrative palace of the ruler of the city), as well as that of the entire city of Hazor.

According to Prof. Amnon Ben-Tor of the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who has been conducting excavations at Tel-Hazor for over 27 years, Hazor is the most important site from the Biblical period. Shlomit Bechar, a doctoral student at the Institute of Archaeology who has been excavating at Hazor for a decade, is co-director of the Hazor excavations and director of the main excavation area.

In the course of close to 30 years of excavation, fragments of 18 different Egyptian statues, both royal and private, dedicated to Egyptian kings and officials, including two sphinxes, were discovered at Hazor. Most of these statues were found in layers dated to the Late Bronze Age (15th-13th centuries BCE) – corresponding to the New Kingdom in Egypt. This is the largest number of Egyptian statues found so far in any site in the Land of Israel, although there is no indication that Hazor was one of the Egyptian strongholds in Southern Canaan nor of the presence of an Egyptian official at Hazor during the Late Bronze Age.

JNi.Media

Republicans Officially Embrace New Blockbuster Pro-Israel Plank [video]

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Last night the JewishPress.com brought the news that a GOP subcommittee drafted and endorsed a pro-Israel plank that includes every single item on every (truly) pro-Israel wish list, thanks to the hard work of a few lawmakers such as South Caroline State Rep. Alan Clemmons and several pro-Israel organizations, including the Iron Dome Alliance.

But this morning brings more huge news: the full committee endorsed the pro-Israel plank with no changes. And the passage of that adamantly pro-Israel plank was met with a standing ovation by those in the room.

The Republican party ain’t what it used to be, or at least it doesn’t match the anti-Israel party portrait which so many people have tried to peddle.

And what of the Democrats? Jeff Ballabon, chairman of the Iron Dome Alliance, told the JewishPress.com that his coalition has made it very clear that they “would still love for Democrats to accept the same language and will attempt to persuade delegates in light of today’s success but ha[s] little optimism that it would be accepted.”

He said the coalition didn’t want this (strongly pro-Israel) policy to be tied only to one party, “this should be America’s policy,” but the enthusiasm with which the important language was met and embraced by the Republican platform committee speaks volumes.

While rumors have been swirling that the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC has been trying to stop the truly pro-Israel plank from getting out of the station, if they engaged in that effort, it failed.

And if AIPAC did not work to defeat this non-Two State language, it’s a whole new AIPAC world in which Israel is now in control of the best resolution of the various conflicts besieging the Jewish State, rather than bowing its head to dictates from the U.S. It also signals a change in the lobby’s stance regarding the disputed territories, which it has never strongly embraced.

Here is the language of the new Republican Party Platform on Israel:

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And here’s the video of Rep. Alan Clemmons speaking to the GOP subcommittee, introducing the pro-Israel plank:

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Official: Water Crisis in Samaria Caused by Arabs Stealing 400 Million Gallons a Year

Friday, July 1st, 2016

On Thursday, during an emergency meeting on water shortages in Samaria in the office of Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan (Habayit Hayehudi), it was revealed that systematic water theft by Arabs, as well as dereliction of duty on the part of the Israeli water authorities, are to blame for the current crisis.

Over the past two weeks or so, the Jewish communities of eastern Samaria—Karney Shomron, Ariel, Kdumim—have been under emergency water procedure. These communities, with roughly 60,000 residents, experience interruption of their water service every few days, and it has been presumed that the shortages are due to the failure of the water authority to expand its infrastructure to match the Jewish and Arab population growth in Samaria.

On Monday, MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) ordered Knesset Finance Committee management to freeze debates over budgets intended for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), including freezing its budget of about $20 million until the water crisis in Samaria is resolved.

Also on Monday, Yesha Council heads met with Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) and presented alarming data on the absence of long-term infrastructure planning by the various government ministries throughout Judea and Samaria. Steinitz promised to take over the coordination of the different entities, including the Water Authority and the national water utility Mekorot.

The Thursday night meeting in Ben-Dahan’s office on the water shortage in Judea and Samaria (most acutely in Samaria) included representatives of COGAT, the Civil Administration, and the water Authority. During the meeting, Ben-Dahan stated that “for many years there has been neglect of everything having to do with the water infrastructure in Judea and Samaria, which resulted in the absence of promoting master plans to develop the water resources in the area. Unfortunately, none of the entities involved has been properly prepared to deal with the growth in both the Jewish and Palestinian populations, as well as the growth in agricultural land which require a great deal of water.”

“In addition,” Ben-Dahan stated, “there’s the phenomenon of water theft by the Palestinians in the amount of 5,000 cubic meters of water daily, a factor in the shortage of water.”

To illustrate, 5,000 cubic meters is the equivalent of 1,100,000 gallons a day. Over one year, water theft by Arabs in Judea and Samaria reaches a staggering 401,500,000 gallons.

The debate in Ben-Dahan’s office, reported by Srugim, resulted in short- and long-term solutions. Over the next few days there will be a regular rotation of 15 water trucks that will refill the reservoirs in communities where they have dried out. In addition, the entities involved will examine the possibility of constructing 27 above-ground pools to provide for locations where the crisis has been particularly acute. Existing pumping stations which have been left in disrepair in Ariel and additional locations will be repaired speedily.

In coming weeks, both Deputy Minister Ben-Dahan and Minister Steinitz will meet to plan the promotion of a master plan for the water infrastructure in Judea and Samaria.

Interestingly, not one word was said about ways of preventing the flagrant theft of water by Arabs.

Meanwhile, on the Palestinian Authority side, the responsibility for the shortage is being placed squarely on Israel. In mid June, Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said that Israel was “waging a water war against the Palestinians. Israel wants to prevent Palestinians from leading a dignified life and uses its control over our water resources to this end; while illegal Israeli settlements enjoy uninterrupted water service, Palestinians are forced to spend great sums of money to buy water that is theirs in the first place.”

Ayman Rabi, executive director of the NGO Palestinian Hydrology Group, told Al Jazeera that “some areas had not received any water for more than 40 days. People are relying on purchasing water from water trucks or finding it from alternative sources such as springs and other filling points in their vicinity. Families are having to live on two, three or 10 litters per capita per day.”

Mekorot denied cutting the water supplies, but admitted there was a reduction in water supply “as a result of the shortage of water supply.”

“We have made a broad reduction of the supply to all residents in the area,” Mekorot told Al Jazeera. “All the facilities are working and the capability to supply is less than the rate of consumption. The water authority recently approved a master plan for the water sector and accordingly we will build the systems that will meet the West Bank’s required consumption.”

Now, if only Mekorot had told Ministers Ben-Dahan and Steinitz about this new master plan, it would have saved everybody a lot of time.

JNi.Media

Official: Israeli CEO Salary Cap Law May Result in Hundreds Fleeing Banking Industry

Monday, June 20th, 2016

As many as 80 senior employees at Israel’s two largest banks, Hapoalim and Leumi, are threatening to leave shortly, in response to a new law capping the salaries of senior bank officers, Israel Army Radio reported Monday. The report cites a letter from the Supervisor of Banks in Israel Bank Hedva Bar to Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi), which warns that as many as 215 senior bank administrators are expected to retire from the two top banks. Bar added that in the rest of Israel’s banks the numbers of departing administrators would be smaller.

So far Bank Hapoalim CEO Zion Keinan and the number two administrator at Bank Leumi Danny Tsiddon have already retired, and according to Bar there are 39 high ranking administrators at Hapolalim and 43 at Leumi who are at a very high risk of retiring.

These figures are particularly worrisome to Bar, who wrote that such mass departure could expose the banks to a real crisis — a managerial breakdown as well as a loss of knowledge and experience. The banks are preparing for such a scenario and have set aside the funds in case all these CEOs would be leaving close to one another and the banks would have to lay out their severance pay all at once — about $70 million.

Meanwhile, the banks have lost their first appeal to the Supreme Court against the salary cap law. And the Knesset, the Finance Ministry and Israel Bank have informed the court that they object to an interim ruling on the senior CEO salary cap law. The banks were asking for the time out to try to figure out whether the salary cap would include the severance and pension benefits the senior bank administrators have accumulated — would those funds also be limited to $650 thousand a year like the capped salaries? The banks fear that if the caps apply retroactively and include severance pay and pensions, a much larger number of bank officials would be seeking to leave before the law goes into effect in October.

The Knesset and the State argued in court that the banks are actually requesting the suspension of a law that otherwise passes constitutional muster in the eyes of the high court — something the court has applied on very rare occasions in the past.

The Knesset and the State also told the court that, assuming the appeal hearings would take roughly three weeks, this should be ample time for the banks to figure out the intricacies of the law and whether or not it applies retroactively.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/official-israeli-ceo-salary-cap-law-may-result-in-hundreds-fleeing-banking-industry/2016/06/20/

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