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October 9, 2015 / 26 Tishri, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Prime Minister’s Office’

Killing Cash

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

The Israeli government hopes to put the kabash on cash transactions, starting with a plan that places a ceiling on the amounts starting in fiscal 2015 budget.

The director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office, Harel Locker told journalists in a briefing at the beginning of this week the government plans to limit cash transactions between businesses to NIS 5,000 after a one-year period, with the initial phase to begin at just NIS 7,500. Private citizens will be allowed cash transactions of up to NIS 15,000. But if the legislation goes through, the use of checks will also be restricted.

The initiative is aimed at ending the “black economy” that operates in much of the country, Locker explained, adding that  money laundering has risen over the past two years. He pointed to some three million cash transactions, each of which was more than NIS 5,000, that totaled some NIS 273 billion since 2012, as proof that things have to change.

The government, said Locker, has instead decided to take a leaf from the American notebook and is recommending that banks issue debit cards, rather than the VISA and MasterCard credit cards they currently use.

Most Israelis do not carry out transactions for more than NIS 5,000, Locker contended, thus he said it is expected the new plan will not cause difficulties for most of the population.

Nice and tidy — but that may not be the case: newlyweds who are buying furniture and other necessities for new homes often make their purchases with the cash gifts they receive at their wedding. Those shopping sprees are seldom carried out for less than NIS 10,000 and often involve the use of cash for extra bonus points or discount savings.

Other special events and holiday sales also often involve cash purchases as well – a fact the government seems not to be taking into account. Although Locker said he expects approval of the new law by the end of 2014, it is likely there will be more than a few bumps along the way – probably after his colleagues’ spouses find they find they can no longer go shopping without the government getting in the way.

But mostly, this is about too much government intrusion into the private lives and transactions of its citizens, by a government which wants to, invasively, be able to more easily track its citizens down to the smallest detail.

What’s next? Our biometric data on file with the government?


PM Rejects Danon’s Statement that Govt Opposes 2-State Solution

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

Officials in the Prime Minister’s office have told Reshet Bet Radio that statements made by Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon to Times of in Israel do not represent the Prime Minister’s position nor the position of the Government of Israel. According to these officials, Netanyahu is interested in renewing the peace process negotiations without preconditions, and his statements about a two-state solution is still in effect. In fact, the sources reiterate, Netanyahu is calling on the Palestinian Authority to begin without delay the talks, in which all the contested issues will be discussed. The Palestinian Authority state its demands, and Israel will bring up its demands, which will include, among other things, strict security arrangements, recognition of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people and declaring an end to the conflict.

Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon told Times of Israel that the Likud and the governing coalition are “staunchly opposed to a two-state solution and would block the creation of a Palestinian state if such a proposal ever came to a vote.”

“Look at the government,” Danon told the news website, “there was never a government discussion, resolution or vote about the two-state solution. If you will bring it to a vote in the government — nobody will bring it to a vote, it’s not smart to do it — but if you bring it to a vote, you will see the majority of Likud ministers, along with the Jewish Home [party], will be against it.”

“The international community can say whatever they want, and we can do whatever we want,” Danon said.

Labor MK Nachman Shai criticized Danon’s remarks, saying the Knesset should debate his statements, especially in light of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent push for kickstarting the talks and his announcement that time was running short.

“Is Danny Danon the child who discovered that the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes?” MK Shai wondered.

Palestinian Authority foreign minister Riyad al-Malki on Saturday reiterated the Palestinian commitment to relaunch peace talks, in order to achieve peace and establish an independent state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, Ma’an reported.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said last week that he wants to return to negotiations “as soon as possible.”

“The ball is in the Israeli court,” Abbas told reporters in Ramallah. “Palestinian demands are known by Israel and the U.S., and now it’s time for Israel to accept them in order to start the negotiations.”

PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said earlier that the Palestinians were making “every possible effort” to help Kerry succeed in bringing the two sides to the table.

And so, the stalemate remains as it was: the Palestinians demand their preconditions, the Israelis demand there be no preconditions, and Kerry is expected, according to sources in Ramallah, to be visiting the area one more time, possibly as early as this week.

Obama Boycotting the Knesset and Ariel University

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

U.S. President Barack Obama has decided not to address the Knesset during his visit to Israel next week. Senior U.S. officials said that, after long deliberations and discussions, the White House decided that the president will address students from universities in Israel at the ICC (Binyaney Ha’uma) in Jerusalem.

That initial snub did not go unnoticed. The Prime Minister’s Office and a number of Knesset members passed messages to the White House saying they would be much happier if the speech took place in the Knesset. But senior U.S. officials have insisted that Obama decided to deliver his messages directly to the Israeli public, especially the younger generation, not just to politicians in the Knesset.

Has the president been following the recent changes in the Knesset? Many of the new elected MKs wouldn’t know a politician if they ran one over on their mountain bikes. But, obviously, Obama does not think much of national institutions in third world countries, or he wouldn’t be spending so much treasure overturning them.

On Tuesday it turned out that the White House has little respect for Israeli academic institutions as well. According to Reshet Bet, almost all of Israel’s universities received invitations to hear the president’s speech in the big hall in Jerusalem – with the noted exception of Ariel University.

Habayit Hayehudi MK Yoni Chetboun revealed this latest snub to Reshet Bet Wednesday morning, saying this was unacceptable, as Ariel is an officially accredited university, and its students—Jews and Arabs—are part of the Israeli public.

Ariel has over 600 Arab students, as well as the largest number Ethiopian university students in all of Israel.

The White House has refused to comment on Obama’s refusal to endow with his message of hope and peace Israelis who go to school on the wrong side of the “green line.”

MK Chetboun called on Ariel students to come greet President Obama outside the national auditorium in Jerusalem, if only to prove to him that they, too, exist.

According to recent news stories, the U.S. embassy (in Tel Aviv) is in charge of sending out the invitations to some 2000 Israelis, as well as 300 members of the press. It is possible, then, that the boycott against Ariel was not necessarily conceived in Washington, but right here, on Hayarkon Street on the shore of the Mediterranean.

Perhaps the White House will clarify this later today.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/obama-boycotting-the-knesset-and-ariel-university/2013/03/13/

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