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September 19, 2014 / 24 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘peres’

Israeli Top Brass: We Will Defend Israelis

Monday, November 12th, 2012

As Israel’s border with Gaza heats up, Israeli officials from the highest echelons – even some who are known for their anti-war philosophies – have declared that the State will defend Israeli citizens and restore order in the south.

On Sunday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that he would support a ground incursion into Gaza in the name of Israeli security. “If we are forced to reenter Gaza in order to deal Hamas a blow and restore security for all of Israel’s citizens, then we will not hesitate to do it,” he said.

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post on Sunday for their 80th anniversary supplement, President Shimon Peres called rocket attacks from Gaza “idiotic”, questioning the goals of the terrorists and adding that “if they shoot, we have to respond fully and immediately.  There is no room for any consideration.”  Yet Israel should continue to try to “achieve peace” even while it defends itself, he said.

Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon said he supports the targeted killing of terror chiefs, which he said were very effective at maintaining quiet when he was IDF Chief of Staff in 2003-2004, prior to his resignation due to his refusal to participate in the forced expulsion of Jews from the Gush Katif communities of Gaza under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.  Ya’alon said the possibility of re-enacting this policy, and of sending Israeli troops into Gaza, was “being weighed”.

Internal Defense Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich recommended that the IDF act in a way which is “painful” to Hamas in order to bring an end to the “intolerable” situation of Israelis in the south.  He did not advocate Israel retaking the land.

Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter said the “terror state” in Gaza should be treated to a “totally different deterrence situation”, and told Israel’s Army Radio on Sunday that the government would do the right thing for Israel’s security, without regard to how it might affect upcoming prime ministerial elections.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said Israel had no choice but to respond to the rockets, which would otherwise just begin reaching farther into Israel.

Beersheva mayor Rubik Danilovich called on the government on Sunday to end the “war of attrition” between Israel and terrorists in Gaza, and will meet on Monday with Prime Minister Netanyahu, where he is expected to urge the prime minister to do whatever it takes to bring an end to the attacks.

The loudest voice against taking military measures to protect Israeli citizens belongs to Labor Party head Shelly Yechimovich, who told Army Radio that army activity would get in the way of the approaching election season. “We are on the eve of elections, and operations more than air strikes or targeted attacks require stability and national consensus.”

“It could be that such an operation is needed, but not now,” she said.

$1 Million Israeli BRAIN Prize To Be Awarded in 2013

Monday, September 24th, 2012

A $1 million dollar prize has been announced which will go to the individual or team with the highest potential for helping people around the world by the non-profit organization Israel Brain Technologies.

The Breakthrough Research and Innovation in Neurotechnology (BRAIN) prize will be awarded by a panel of international leaders in neuroscience, technology, and business.

Israeli President Shimon Peres, whose love of brain research led to the founding of IBT, lauded the potential for make inroads against debilitating brain diseases, both in terms of the benefit to mankind and the possibility of economic profit.

The first BRAIN Prize will be awarded at IBT’s Global Brain Technology Conference in 2013.

Israeli Vows to ‘Bike for the Fight’ Against Cancer

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

A new initiative – Bike for the Fight – will raise money for the Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF), a North American organization funding grants to top Israeli cancer researchers and scientific institutions, by biking for three months across the United States, according to a report by NoCamels.

Started by Tom Peled, a 24 year student at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya who lost his father to cancer in 2011 after an 8 year battle,  the venture will see Peled bike from Los Angeles and through Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and ending in New York City.  The mission will begin on August 1.

The recipients of ICRF funds are used to fund research into the development of life-saving early diagnostic devices and new drugs for such cancers as leukemia, bone marrow cancer, breast and ovarian cancer, and others.

Peled has attracted the support of Hillel, Maccabiah 2012, and Microsoft Israel, which is creating a special app for the project, as well as President Shimon Peres and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

Biking for the Fight has already raised NIS 41,000 by selling campaign bracelets, and signed up hundreds of people for organ donation.

Blogging Tomorrow at the President’s Conference

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

My first stop on the final day of the President’s Conference was a special bloggers meeting first with Dr. Yossi Vardi and then with President Peres. Bloggers joked on Twitter that they felt like calling Peres ‘Saba’ after spending the past few days with him, and I can understand why. He certainly has a grandfatherly type of spirit made up of a kind smile and a warm glow that radiated through the low lighting of Exhibition Hall.

The bloggers had the opportunity to ask President Peres some questions at the gathering. Bloggers from both national papers and personal websites were represented and asked questions that ranged from straightforward politics to ones that were more personal. One inevitably centered around the status of Iran, in which Peres answered that Iranians are using dangerous means that don’t give Israelis much of a choice when deciding what to do next. Peres explained that in the recent nuclear negotiations, the Iranians came to the table half-hearted. If the leaders don’t agree to economic sanctions, then all options will be on the table. A heavy calm had permeated the room throughout Peres’ discussion, but hearing the idea of the potential for more extreme measures took it to a deeper level.

That feeling was lifted during one of the most moving parts of the session when Peres was asked about his reflections during his time in America with President Obama. A clear advocate and friend to America, Peres explained he was charmed by the President. He said the unique thing about America is that it’s the only power in history that got its strength not by taking, but by giving. “This is a new concept about the strength of generosity,” he said. As kind as his words were, I can’t help but poke a hole in the message. I don’t think the Native Americans would be so quick to talk about America’s generous nature. On top of that, America is a capitalist country that inspires starry-eyed youth with the idea of the ‘American dream.’ The greed and corruption that can result from the concept doesn’t match up. Further, when America started the War on Terror, they exercised their strength under the cover of generosity, wanting to set up a democracy in a less fortunate area, but the true reasons for invading were far less altruistic. That being said, even if America may not be the most generous historically, honoring Israel certainly falls into that category. Seeing Israel in that respect was incredibly moving for Peres and for many bloggers in the room.

Some questions were injected with religion. One blogger asked Peres what he would ask God for at the Kotel. Peres said that God resides in each of us and He guides us. We can follow him or we cannot follow him, but he would ask him to continue to give the right advice and in turn, we will do the right things. It’s an idea that I’ve been learning about at seminary for a few weeks now, and an aspect that can be included in all areas of life. The overarching idea mimics the theme of the conference in general. We don’t know what’s in store for the future, but we must have faith that tomorrow’s world will be better than today’s. Peres said that in the Hebrew language there is only past and future, no present. In response to the words of the prophets, he said that “there is nothing on the waiting list.” The prophets’ words advise us in which way to change for the future. Peres’s actions set the stage for that. By creating the President’s Conference, he is setting up a means to exchange ideas and meet new people that together can create that change.

Peres exuded the same fervor in response to the most fun question of the day. @Roopunzel (on Twitter) asked, “What’s on your wish list for your next birthday present?” Peres didn’t hesitate. He responded that his wish is for all people to have happy birthdays. I hope that’s a message that can be delivered.

The President Speaks: Peres Expresses Optimism About the Future, Mideast Peace

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

People flocked to the auditorium for the second plenary of the evening – and with good reason. The line-up was stacked with notable names including President Shimon Peres, Dr. Henry Kissinger and Former Prime Minister of the Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Tony Blair.

Mr. Philippe Amon, Executive Co-Chairman of SICPA Holding SA was the opening speaker from Switzerland. He was impressed by the diversity and number of people at the conference- more than 4,000 participants from 20 countries and five continents. The session was titled The Compass for Navigating Tomorrow, and aimed to enlighten the audience with messages of peace and optimism.

Kissinger was honored with the Presidential Award of Distinction for his unique contribution to peace in Israel. Peres took the stage to introduce the award and kindly described Kissinger not only as a friend, but a brother. The two have essentially grown up together, as they have known each other since the early 1960s. He called Kissinger an “inspiration to those who see peace between nations and people.”

Kissinger then glided through the bursts of camera flashes to the stage to embrace Peres and pose for photos as he received his medal. He started his acceptance speech by making the crowd laugh. “It is unusual for an 89 year old to say, ‘I wish my parents could be here,’” he said. “They would be more proud of this than any other honors that have come my way.” That’s not something to be taken lightly, as his other honors include winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973, being a former Secretary of State and former National Security Advisor. He recently published a book On China, released last year, one that Peres called a “literary masterpiece.”

Kissinger asked, “How does one achieve both justice and equilibrium?” He called Israel an island of stability in a moment of upheaval everywhere else. The recognition of the state is the beginning of peace, not the end. He noted that everyone else knows the sacrifices Israel has and will make for peace, and aimed to fill the audience with hope and to be able to inspire others to have this hope too. “This country was a dream before it became a reality and its reality resided in its vision,” he said.

Tony Blair showed visible excitement as he stepped up to the podium following Kissinger. Smiling, he said how humbled he felt to be seated between Kissinger and Peres. Blair jokingly admitted that he didn’t know much about the world when he became Prime Minister, but he was told that 40 minutes with Henry Kissinger were worth more than four years at Oxford. Blair recounted how he said to Henry, “‘Tell me about the world.’ And he did.

Blair focused the remainder of his speech on the importance of not fearing change, but rather embracing  moving with it. He encouraged people to be open-minded and hopeful about lasting peace. “This is the moment for those that believe in the open-mind to bring that message into the world,” he said, echoing the conference’s theme about looking to the future with optimism.

Peres concluded the evening gala. He addressed the idea of navigating tomorrow, and split the concept into three subsections of moral virtue, pursuing peace, and a love of learning. He sought to imbue his message with Jewish values like loving thy neighbor as yourself, and not rejoicing in the demise of your enemy. He believes in peace, he said, and Israel’s need to be strong in order to achieve it, even if it takes a historic compromise. He mentioned that he had met with President Abbas and was left with the impression that they also need and want peace. The problem with peace lies in Iran, he said, but remained confident that President Obama will step in and prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

In closing his introduction to the conference, Peres expressed optimism about the future of the world, which he said was embodied in Israel’s national anthem of ‘hatikva’, or hope. “I evaluate that the next decade will be the most successful,” he said.

Peres’ Hernia Surgery Successful

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

Israeli President Shimon Peres successfully underwent surgery to treat a hernia.

Peres underwent the surgery on Friday at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer. Doctors say that the surgery was successful and that Peres is feeling well.

The hernia was discovered in Peres’ abdomen during his recent state visit to Canada.

The Morning After: Israel’s Political System Shaken, Stirred, Realigned

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

The stealth move Monday night by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Shaul Mofaz has left everyone in Israel’s political arena reeling. First, the very idea that such a game-changing deal could be kept secret in Israel was shocking. It served to remind everyone of the military combat background of both leaders.

And then there was the realization that by joining forces the two have almost accomplished the oldest dream of every Israeli premier since David Ben Gurion – to rule without partners.

Today, a Likud and Kadima coalition relies on 55 of the 61 seats needed for a majority government.

But in reality, Kadima is “Likud light,” having been formed in 2005 by then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, with Likud members who were willing to support Sharon’s plan to uproot the Jews of the Gaza strip, dubbed the “unilateral disengagement plan.”

In that sense, the Likud-Kadima coalition is more reunification than realignment. Mofaz et al are more lost children coming home than political foes overcoming their differences.

Back in December of 2005, then Defense Minister and Likud MK Shaul Mofaz sent personal letters to party members who were defecting to Ariel Sharon’s new party, begging them to return home. Later Mofaz would be ridiculed for the memorable slogan he included in his personal letter, “You don’t desert your home,” because shortly after coining it, Mofaz himself up and deserted that very home.

Seven years later it appears that all is forgotten.

Incidentally, Shaul Mofaz is fast becoming the Mitt Romney of Israeli politics, famous for making bombastic announcements which he disregards in a matter of days. Just before the Kadima primaries in March, Mofaz wrote on his Facebook page: “Listen well, I will not join Bibi’s government. Not today, not tomorrow and not after I become the head of Kadima on March 28. It is a bad, failing and disconnected government, and Kadima under my stewardship will replace it in the coming elections. Clear enough?”

Clear indeed.

The new deal awards the Kadima returnees significant legislative powers.

Under the section “Sharing the burden of military service,” the agreement states:

“The Parties undertake to enact, by July 31, 2012, a law regulating fair and just distribution of the burden of military service among the various segments of the population in Israel, in accordance with the Supreme Court ruling. Clear goals will be set for Haredi recruitment with progressive increases over the years. The bill will be written by a team from Kadima.”

Under the section “Correcting the system of government,” the agreement reads:

“The Parties undertake to fundamentally change the system of government in Israel, establishing a system of governance which will enhance governmental stability and effectiveness. Among other things, the new system will allow a prime minister to fulfill his agenda as determined by the voter, to create continuity of government, enhance the capacity for long-term planning and the protection of the public good.”

Under the section “The political process,” the agreement reads:

Both sides agree that the government will act to renew the political process and to advance negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. Both sides agree on the importance of preserving the State of Israel as a democratic, Jewish state, and on the importance of maintaining defensible borders.”

This third segment essentially embraces the two-state solution, which is bad news for the Jews in settlements east of the security fence. It means the beginning of a countdown towards the evacuation of thousands of Jews, and should that undertaking appear unrealistic, many settlers recalled today that Shaul Mofaz, serving as Sharon’s Defense Minister, was the enforcer in the removal of thousands of Gush Katif’s Jews.

The immediate huge loser of this move is Prime Minister wannabe Yair Lapid, who – before last night’s earthquake – was projected to gain between 11 and 12 seats in the coming elections, as newbie center parties have been doing in Israeli politics since 1977.

Coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin, on Tuesday morning told Israel’s Army Radio that it is clear that Yair Lapid is the big loser of the new move. “He was already revving up his engine and saw himself in the Knesset,” Elkin mocked.

Lapid’s Facebook page offered this entry by the disappointed proto politician:

“What you saw today is exactly the old politics, dingy and ugly, which the time has come to kick out of our lives. Politics of seats instead of principles, of jobs instead of the public good, of interest groups instead of the whole country. They think now they will play for time and we’ll forget, but they are wrong. This disgusting political alliance will bury all its members under its ruins.”

But while the damage to Lapid’s dreams adds comic relief to the story, the new coalition deal means decidedly sobering news for Israel’s two major religious camps – the Haredim and the Religious Zionist settlement movement.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/the-knesset/the-morning-after-israels-political-system-shaken-stirred-realigned/2012/05/08/

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