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Posts Tagged ‘parliament’

Far-Right Victories in Greece Frighten Jewish Community

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Jewish leaders in Greece expressed concern and disappointment after the fascist Golden Dawn party was poised to enter the Greek parliament for the first time.

Speaking to a news conference on Sunday, Golden Dawn leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos warned Greece’s enemies – inside and outside the country – that they should be “very afraid.”

“We are coming,” said Michaloliakos, one of the party’s only nationally known leaders. He came to prominence when he won a seat on the Athens City Council in 2010 and celebrated by giving the Nazi salute at the first City Hall meeting.

The party had campaigned on an anti-austerity, anti-immigrant platform, preying on the fears of ordinary Greeks who have seen their neighborhoods overrun by the nearly 1 million immigrants who have flooded the country from Asia and Africa hoping to use it as a gateway to the European Union.

With most of the ballots counted, Golden Dawn received nearly 7 percent of the vote in Sunday’s elections as Greeks punished the mainstream parties they blame for the country’s financial crisis and accepting harsh European austerity measures.

“It is very disappointing that in a country like Greece, where so many were killed fighting the Germans, that a neo-Nazi party is now in parliament,” David Saltiel, president of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, told JTA.

It was a major victory for Golden Dawn, whose flag closely resembles the Nazi swastika. In the 2009 elections, the party garnered just 0.29 percent of the vote. In Greece, a party needs more than 3 percent of the vote to make it into parliament.

Saltiel said Golden Dawn entering the parliament was of ” very great concern because they are extreme right,” but he expressed his hope that the party may now moderate its positions.

“We are looking at how the situation will be in parliament and what their positions will be,” he said.

During the elections, young party supporters with shaved heads and wearing black shirts with the Golden Dawn symbol set up vigilante groups to protect Greeks from  immigrants. They have been blamed for several attacks on foreigners; the party denies the charges.

The party’s election platform included plans to landmine Greece’s borders, immediately arrest and expel illegal immigrants, and set up special labor camps for legal immigrants who commit crimes.

Its manifesto does not specifically mention the country’s small Jewish community, saying only that the party would tolerate religious freedom “except in cases that affect national interest and undermine Hellenism.”

However, the party openly displays copies of “Mein Kampf” alongside works on Greek racial superiority at party headquarters and the party symbol has been found at the sites of anti-Semitic attacks in the past.

Netanyahu, Liberman, Prepare for Election Day Battle Over Haredi Draft

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

After the Israeli Supreme Court struck down the Tal Law, which sought to encourage the inclusion -over time- of Haredim in military service, the court, for all intents and purposes, has required the state to draft some 60,000 Haredi youths this August, in addition to 7,000 yeshiva students who already serve in keeping with the expiring, old law.

Prime Minister Netanyahu this week told representatives of reservist activists, who are protesting as part of the “suckers’ encampment,” that the Tal Law will be replaced with “a more egalitarian and just law,” and that “the division of the burden must be changed. What has been is not what will be.”

The 2002 Tal Law, named after retired Supreme Court justice Tzvi Tal, must be extended every five years. Among other things, the law allowed full-time yeshiva students to delay their army service until age 23, at which time they could choose to study full time, enlist for a shorter military service, or volunteer for a year of national service.

“I know that there are many hitchhikers who voted to automatically extend the Tal Law. I am not one of them,” Netanyahu told the protesting reservists. “The Tal Law will be replaced by a more egalitarian and just law, and I will submit it.”

Netanyahu said the new law would include civilian national service for Arab citizens, who are not required to serve in the military.

Meanwhile, à la guerre comme à la guerre, opposition leader Shaul Mofaz, along with the head of the Labor and Meretz parties, have threatened to bring proposals for early elections before the Knesset in the coming days.

Likud coalition partner Yisrael Beytenu has also threatened to bring a request for early elections over amending the Tal Law, with party leader Avigdor Liberman saying that “Our obligation to the coalition is over.”

In preparation for the August deadline, and perhaps as a show of political muscle on the eve of an approaching early election, on May 9 Yisrael Beytenu will introduce the bill “IDF, National, or Civilian Service Law Proposal” in the Knesset, to regulate, once and for all, the enlistment of all Israelis into military, national or civilian service.

Submitted by MKs David Rotem, Moshe Matalon, Robert Ilatov, Anastassia Michaeli, Hamad Amar, Lia Shemtov, Faina Kirshenbaum, Alex Miller, and Orly Levy Abekasis, the new law sets out to promote “equal sharing of the burden of service among the State’s citizens.”

The new law introduces a framework in which every citizen will serve in the IDF, or in national or civilian service.

While “National Service” is already established as an alternative, voluntary option for Israeli youths who do not wish to serve in the IDF for a variety of reasons, the new law establishes compulsory “Civilian Service,” or community service, in “institutions for the absorption of new immigrants, health care, institutions for the elderly population, nursing homes, welfare departments in local authorities, fire services, the Israel Police Force, Environmental Protection and volunteer organizations.”

The new law will keep in place some of the existing deferrals of military service, such as the “Hesder Yeshivas,” which integrate periods of active IDF service and periods of study. Likewise, the Defense Minister may “exempt or grant a deferral from IDF service to outstanding students at universities, outstanding athletes and outstanding artists, provided that the number of exemptions and deferrals under this section not exceed one thousand per year.”

It is unclear what will be the basis for the quota of one thousand exemptions. The Jewish Press attempted to seek an explanation from the IB faction as to why this particular number but so far have not received a response.

But the number coincides with the other limit, of a maximum of one thousand exemptions and deferrals per year to long-term yeshiva students, “in order to continue the cultivation of prodigies among yeshiva students.”

And shortly afterwards, the new law arrives at the center piece of the matter – overturning of the Deferral Law for long-term yeshiva students. In one, laconic phrase, the proposal decrees:

“The Deferral of Service Act for Long-term Yeshiva students of 2002 (5762) is hereby overturned.”

The proposal concludes with an ideological substantiation of the above, curt statement:

“The idea that Torah study somehow forbids seeking employment or justifies deferring IDF service is incompatible with the Jewish faith. Maimonides explicitly states: “Anyone who decides that he will occupy himself with Torah and will not do any work profanes the Name of God, degrades the Torah, extinguishes the light of religion, hurts himself, and removes his life from the world to come – for it is forbidden to derive any benefit from matters of Torah in this world” (The Laws of Torah Study 3).

“Therefore, it is proposed that every citizen be obligated to serve the State of Israel. Anyone serving a complete term of civilian service, will be exempted from IDF service. Conditions and terms during and after the term of service will be comparable to the terms of those who served in the national service, whose terms are regulated by legislation.”

Egyptian Parliament Unanimously Votes to Expel Israeli Ambassador, Halt Gas Exports

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

The People’s Assembly in Egypt unanimously approved a resolution demanding the expulsion of Israeli ambassador, Yaakov Amitai, and the halting of gas exports to Israel.

In an evening session of the Islamist-led parliament on Monday, legislators responded with fury to Israel’s retaliatory strikes against the Gaza rocket campaign, and also demanded the withdrawal of the Egyptian ambassador from Tel Aviv  in protest.

The resolution read, “Egypt after the revolution will never be a friend of the Zionist entity, the number one enemy of Egypt and the Arab nation.” It also urged the Egyptian government to reconsider “its relations and accords with that enemy,” supported Palestinian resistance “in all its kinds and forms,” and called for implementation of the Arab boycott of Israel.

Parliament speaker Saad al-Katatny demanded that the resolution be implemented by the Egyptian government, which has been at the center of efforts to mediate a cease-fire.

The resolution is largely symbolic, as only the governing Military Council is empowered to enact such measures, and though it is unlikely to impact Egypt’s relations with Israel, it contributes to the general atmosphere of outright hostility to Israel prevailing in post-Mubarak Egypt.

There was no immediate comment from Israel on the vote.

Muslim Brotherhood To Head Key Parliamentary Committees

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party has been voted to lead the Labor and Planning and Budget committees in Egypt’s new parliament.

The economic committee will be headed by an ultra-Conservative Salafist MP from the Nour Party.

UPDATE: Secretary-General of Muslim Brotherhood Party Appointed Speaker of Parliament

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

In the aftermath of the resounding Islamist victory in Egypt’s parliamentary election, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Saad el-Katatni was voted as the new parliament’s speaker.

Katatni was quoted recently saying: “A long time has passed since the Camp David accord was signed and like the other agreements it needs reevaluation and this is in the hands of the Parliament.”

The Freedom and Justice Party, the Brotherhood’s political party, won close to 50% of the seats in the recent parliamentary elections.

Report: Bedouin Take 70 Hostages at Sinai Resort

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

In a sign of increasing lawlessness in the Sinai, Egyptian media outlets have reported that approximately 70 armed Bedouins have stormed a popular Sinai resort village and are holding its employees hostage.

The hostage-takers are demanding four million Egyptian Liras (over $650,000) for the employees’ release.

Bedouin leaders recently expressed dismay at the exclusion of Bedouin in the formation of a new Egyptian government. “We will not allow a parliament without Bedouin representation,” said one Bedouin leader in a meeting last week.

“We have declared war against the military and will not wait for them to kill us all,” declared another Bedouin leader.

Iran UPDATE: ‘Arrests have been made’ in Assassination of Nuclear Scientist

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Iran has arrested a number of individuals in the assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist, parliament speaker Ali Larijani said Tuesday.

“We have discovered some clues and some arrests have been made,” Larijani was quoted as saying by the Tehran Times daily. He did not provide additional details on the arrests.

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/iran-update-arrests-have-been-made-in-assassination-of-nuclear-scientist/2012/01/17/

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