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April 18, 2015 / 29 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Reuven Rivlin’

Israel’s Arab Minority Integrating Politically and Economically

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Throughout late February and March, “Israeli Apartheid Week” took place across 200 cities around the world, from the UK and South Africa to Canada and the USA. Anti-Israel events have been held on university campuses and academic institutions, with the official aim, according to the organizers’ website, to build Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) campaigns against Israel while educating about Israel’s apartheid policies.

Meanwhile in Israel, the March 17th elections for the Jewish state’s 20th Knesset brought 13 seats to the Joint Arab List, making the united Arab party the third largest faction in the Israeli parliament.

The new Knesset will have 16 Members of Knesset who are Arab, four more than the previous Knesset. Among the 16 are four Arab parliamentarians who represent Zionist parties including Druze MK Hamad Amar of Avigdor Lieberman’s party, Yisrael Beitenu as well as Arab MKs from Likud, Meretz, and Zionist Union.

“We see the new electoral threshold law as a blessing in disguise and hope it will increase the voting percentage among Israeli-Arabs, enabling us to reach 16 seats in the Knesset,” Emilie Moatti, the spokeswoman for the Arab Joint List told Tazpit News Agency before the elections.

The Joint Arab List, whose historical unification of four Arab-dominated parties took place in January, has one sole Jewish member, Dov Khenin.

Israeli Apartheid Week of course does not take note of the above nor of the fact that the head of Israel’s Central Elections Committee who oversaw the recent Israeli elections is Justice Salim Joubran, an Arab judge who serves on the Supreme Court of Israel. Furthermore, on the economic end, more than 100 PA Arab businessmen recently participated in a conference in the Ashdod Port organized by Israel’s Civil Administration, which is part of the Coordination of Government Activities at the Territories (COGAT), a subordinate to the Minister of Defense. The head of the Palestinian Authority Importers and Exporters Association, Muhammad Abu-Ein, the acting CEO of the Ashdod port, Itzhak Blumenthal and representatives of USAID and the UN Conference on Trade and Development took part in the conference held in February.

Throughout 2014, more than 1,000 PA Arabs participated in different agriculture courses across Israel. Israel’s Civil Administration also sponsored in cooperation with USAID the planting of strawberry fields maintained by PA workers in the Jenin area.

In addition, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin met with local Arab council heads in February and following the meeting, is launching a new employment cooperation project. The President’s Office will work with the Collective Impact Initiative, which works to further the level of employment among Israeli Arab professionals. Within this framework, the President will establish a quarterly business forum of managers who will guide the process of integrating the Arab population into different Israeli companies.

Around 20 percent Israel’s eight million citizens are Arabs. According to the Israeli Democracy Index, a public opinion survey project conducted by the Israeli Democratic Institute and the Guttman Center for Surveys found last year that 65% of Israeli-Arabs are proud to be Israeli.

Kulanu Chairman Moshe Kahlon Becomes ‘Kingmaker’ in Israel

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Former Likud member Moshe Kahlon, leader of the Kulanu party, became the “kingmaker” of the next coalition Monday when recommended President Reuven Rivlin task Likud’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with the formation of the new government.

“We nominate Netanyahu and the broader the base of the coalition, the better it will be for all of us,” said Kahlon, who told the president that his party had a social orientation that was focused on the human being.

Kahlon’s hearty endorsement brought Netanyahu to an absolute majority of 61 votes in his favor, which allowed Rivlin to announce the prime minister would be tasked with forming the next government – one of the swiftest coalition assignment determinations ever to take place.

Also voting for Netanyahu on Sunday in addition to the Likud were the delegates from the Bayit Yehudi, Shas and United Torah Judaism parties. An endorsement from Yisrael Beytenu that followed shortly after brought Netanyahu’s total to 67 mandates.

The total meant that although the president had yet to meet with the far-left Meretz party, which had five votes to either add or withhold, neither would change the outcome.

At present, not including Meretz, the merged Zionist Union led by Labor party chairman Isaac (“Buji”) Herzog holds 24 votes. The remaining 24 potential coalition members, which include Yesh Atid and the Joint Arab List are holding back for the time being.

Rivlin pointed out that it is not a given that all those who voted for Netanyahu will actually support the government he assembles, when the time comes.

Even after a president has tasked a designated person to form a government, and even that person successfully forms a coalition, the government still must be approved by the Knesset plenum, he noted.

Pres. Rivlin Launches Joint Project to Integrate Israeli Arabs into Private Business Sector

Sunday, February 8th, 2015

President Reuven Rivlin launched a joint project Sunday evening with Collective Impact, a group working to increase employment among Israeli Arabs, to integrate the population into the private sector.

CEOs and employers involved with the group met with Rivlin at the President’s Resident to discuss the project.

“The Arab public with all its diversity today makes up more than 20 percent of the general population and more than a quarter of children in first grade,” Rivlin pointed out.

“One may like it, one may fear it, but one cannot ignore it. This is a community, part and parcel of this land, for whom this land is their homeland.

Sadly, too few Israeli Jews are familiar with the Arab society, beyond assumptions of stereotype.  Therefore, there exists a significant gap, created over the years, between the two societies which live side by side, together – yet blind to one another.  Over this divide, this gap, we must build a bridge, step by step.  The mission to build a bridge, and a basis for a sense of cooperation between the Jewish and Arab communities, is for me a humanitarian, Jewish, Zionist, and national mission of the very highest priority,” he added. 

Rivlin pointed out that the project to integrate Israeli Arab workers into the private business sector could go a long way towards ending social gaps and perhaps some security issues as well. There would be no guarantees — but also every opportunity possible to succeed.

“The success of our journey may alter our long-term reality, yet its failure may lead to pain and distress,” he said. “We do not have the privilege to fail, nor to give up.  Good-will alone will not suffice. 

“One thing that I can assure you – as long as you stand by your commitment to this mission, I will be here with you and for you, and my door will always be open to you.  We are partners in this national mission which you have taken upon yourselves.  We are partners on this journey which is our duty to our children, for us all, each and every one of us.”
 
Among the companies that participated in the study that launched the project were The Strauss Group, Amdocs, Fattal, Check Point, Herzog-Fox-Ne’eman; Shikun&Binui; Teva Pharmaceuticals; HP; Migdal; Matrix and others. Ofra Strauss, chairwoman of the Strauss Group, Ilan Birnfeld, CEO of Deloitte, Shai Levy, CEO of Amdocs and Imad Telhami, CEO of Babcom were present at Sunday night’s meeting, along with a number of others as well.

Rivlin Cuts Short US Trip

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has instructed his staff to shorten his stay in New York, where he is currently visiting so that he could speak at the United Nations special session in commemoration of the Holocaust and the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Rivlin will depart from New York as early as this evening with the desire to be in Israel, with the bereaved families and the wounded, following the events in northern Israel. The President will arrive back in Israel tomorrow afternoon, two days before he was due to return.

President Rivlin said;

I am here today moments before my address to the United Nations special session to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day. However, my heart and my mind are at home in Israel. I want to send my condolences to the bereaved families as well as my wishes for a full recovery to the wounded. I am certain that the IDF knows how to manage the situation, and that Israel’s leaders will work to calm the situation as much as possible. We are with you, even when we are required to do our job abroad, for our country and for our people.

UNRWA Runs Out of Money that Israel Says Being Used for Terror Tunnels

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

UNRWA said Tuesday it has suspended it program  rehabilitate Gaza, which may be good news for Israel since it says material shipped to Gaza are also being used to rehabilitate terror tunnels.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told President Reuven Rivlin in New York Monday night that the United Nations has sent a team to Gaza to investigate assertions by Israel that metal and cement shipped into Gaza are being used for tunnels as well as homes.

UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness told The Jewish Press he is not aware of any money being used for the tunnels, some of which have been identified by the IDF as newly constructed.

The UNRWA program to help Gazans, whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Hamas rockets as well as Israeli fire in last summer’s war, is dependent on pledges of $5.4 billion, including $720 million for UNRWA, made by foreign donors at a conference in Cairo last October..

“The gap between expectations after the October Cairo conference and present reality is widening. There are genuine fears that if UNRWA halts this program, the consequences could be dramatic,” said Gunness.

He added, “All of the money that we can dispense has been spent. There is no more money.” He also stated that no money is missing.

There are two UNRWA aid plans, one for rental subsidies and the other for cash payments for Gazans to buy materials.

The Jewish Press has learned that most of the money that actually was turned over to UNRWA came from Saudi Arabia, followed by the European Union.

The constant threat of violence from Gaza is often fueled by great expectations, and the halt to work for homes in Gazans could stir up the locals again.

And what happened to all of the pledges?

Par for the course, most Arab countries have not lived up to their promises.

For example, Qatar pledged $1 billion.

With the price of oil having caved in since October, perhaps the richest country in the world, which has investments of more than $100 billion, cannot find the shekels for its poor brethren in Gaza.

Qatar’s Sheikh Hamad may need the small change for the maid to clean his home in London, for which he paid $62 million and then spent another $110 million to refurbish, complete with marble bathrooms.

Rivlin Meets Parents of IDF Lone Soldiers who Fell During Operation Protective Edge

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

On Monday evening, Jan. 26, the President and First Lady of Israel, Reuven and Nechama Rivlin, met in New York with parents of IDF Lone Soldiers who fell in battle during Operation Protective Edge.

The President and his wife met with Evie and Stuart Steinberg, parents of Sgt. Max Steinberg, and Rachel and David Adir, parents of Lt. Liran Adir.

Max served in the Golani Brigade, and fell in combat in the Gaza Strip. In an emotional tribute, over 30,000 Israelis attended his funeral in Jerusalem.

Liran served in the Armored Corps and also fell in combat in the Gaza Strip, just three weeks after he had married. He was also buried in Israel. The president invited both Max and Liran’s parents to be his guests at the United Nations for the International Holocaust Remembrance Day Special Session scheduled for this Wednesday.

The President warmly embraced the Steinberg and Adir families and said,

The citizens of the State of Israel, and the Jewish people as a whole owe you a debt which can never be repaid. You have lost what was most precious to you. You have endured the unthinkable, the loss of a child. We share in your grief, we share in your pain, and indeed, we share in your pride, that your dear children were dedicated to defending the Jewish people, and the Jewish homeland. Your children are our children, and we promise to preserve their brave legacy as defenders of the people and the country.

David, father of Liran Adir, told the Rivlins about the great loss they had suffered, and how they missed their son. “I cannot accept he is gone” Adir said.

Stuart, father of Max, said that, “Max had a mission, and he followed that mission, and that is the feeling that I carry with me. If only I was able to undo what has happened, but I can’t and so I find comfort in that Max fulfilled his mission.”

Max’s mother, Evie, explained to the President how proud Max was to serve in – and wear the uniform of – the IDF.

“Max was always so tough, even though he was not so big. He always carried the heaviest of burdens, and never gave up, even with the most challenging of physical obstacles,” Mrs. Steinberg said, “I have saved all the messages he sent me, and find comfort in the knowledge of how much he loved the State of Israel.”

Pres. Rivlin Meets with Henry Kissinger

Monday, January 26th, 2015

On Sunday evening, Jan. 25, Israel’s president Reuven Rivlin met with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, during Rivlin’s trip to New York.

According to Rivlin’s spokesperson, the two men discussed a range of issues facing Israel, and spoke about the long history of Israel-U.S. relations.

President Rivlin thanked Mr. Kissinger for the meeting and said, “We appreciate you and cherish your opinions and positions.  The leadership you displayed throughout your many roles was inspiring.

“You stood alongside Israel in both good times and bad, and while of course we did not always see eye to eye on everything, we always felt your concern and desire for the prosperity of the State of Israel.”

Mr. Kissinger, a 1973 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, expressed great interest in developments currently taking place in the Middle East.

The two also spoke about various options to initiate a renewal of the “peace process,” according to Rivlin’s spokesperson.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/pres-rivlin-meets-with-henry-kissinger/2015/01/26/

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