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October 24, 2016 / 22 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Rivlin’

Pilot’s Family Tells President Rivlin, Cohen Nov Was ‘A Joyful Boy’

Sunday, October 9th, 2016

President Reuven Rivlin paid a condolence visit to the family of IAF Maj. Ohad Cohen Nov who was killed in a deadly crash of his F-16 fighter jet at Ramon Air Base in the Negev last week upon his return from an air strike on Hamas terror targets in Gaza. The attack had been carried out in retaliation for rocket fire aimed at southern Israel by Gaza terrorists earlier in the day.

Ohad’s parents, Doron and Chaya, spoke with the president about their son, about his joy for life and respect for all, and about his love for flying.

“My son loved everyone, he was a joyful boy,” Chaya told the president.

Rivlin responded, “I read and heard so much about Ohad, and on these things alone it is clear what a great loss he is for his family, for his unit, and for all the Israeli people. Your pain is infinite, and no words can bring comfort at this terrible time. All that I can do is come and be with you, together with you in your pain.”

The President spoke with Ohad’s widow, Shachar, and heard from her about the plans they had had for the future as a young family setting out. He wished for her that she should have the strength to continue looking ahead for their daughter, and for all the family.

Hana Levi Julian

President Rivlin Tours Gaza Border Communities, Praises IDF Operational Power

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Marking two years since Operation Protective Edge, President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday toured the region bordering the Gaza Strip, accompanied by IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir, and Gaza Division Commander Brig. Gen. Yehuda Fox.

The President received a situation update and heard about the IDF daily operations in the area, in particular following the recent terrorist rocket attack on Sderot. During his visit, President Rivlin was shown a terror tunnel discovered by the IDF, and discussed the initiatives the IDF was taking to tackle the tunnels problem.

The President later met with dozens of soldiers from the Bedouin Tracker Unit, combat engineers, and members of the Givati Brigade who are serving in the region. He told them, “Two years after Operation Protective Edge, the south has returned to its daily routine. The IDF guards the front in the very best way, and the front in return shows its appreciation. Just as we saw yesterday, we will not tolerate any disturbance of the quiet, and in the face of any such disturbance we will respond swiftly and firmly. On both sides of the border there are civilians who want to live in quiet and we will be sure that the citizens of Israel will continue to live in harmony. We do not seek war, yet, after having sat with our wonderful commanders I know that if war is forced upon us, we have an army as ready and professional as could be asked. The plan that was presented to me reflects operational strength.”

President Rivlin pointed that “two of our sons remained behind after the war which took place two years ago. The State of Israel has a moral responsibility to bring back Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul.”

The President added, “On my own behalf, and on behalf of all the Israeli people, I want to say thank you to the commanders, and to the service men and women. The calm here is not taken for granted, the children and the families who are now enjoying the summer holiday do so thanks to you.”

The President told reporters who accompanied his visit, “We are not interested in an escalation. Just as the other side wants to live in peace and live comfortable lives, so do we. At the same time, we are ready to face any hostility toward us. I am impressed by the readiness of the IDF to face any challenge in order to safeguard Israel’s security. I can say to the citizens of Israel, the IDF is prepared and ready to face any threat above or below ground in order to prevent any trouble not just around Gaza, but across the country.”

The President later met with council heads from the Negev and the southern region.

David Israel

Rivlin Denies Pardon to Rabbi Pinto

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday denied the pardon plea by Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto who is serving a prison sentence in a medical prison in Ramlah. Pinto based his request for a pardon on his bad health.

Rabbi Pinto entered white-collar Ma’asiyahu prison in February, and two months later submitted his pardon plea. Rivlin adhered to Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked’s recommendation to deny the plea.

David Israel

President Rivlin Receives New Ambassadors from India, Chile, Myanmar, Estonia, Lesotho

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

President Rivlin this morning (Wednesday) at his residence received the diplomatic credentials of new ambassadors to Israel from the India, Chile, Myanmar, Estonia, and Lesotho. Each ceremony began with the raising of the flag and the playing of the national anthem of the visiting country, included an honor guard, and – after the presentation of the credentials – the signing of the guest book, before the playing of Israel’s national anthem ‘Hatikva’.

First to present his credentials was Ambassador of India, H.E Mr. Pavan Kapoor. President Rivlin welcomed the Ambassador, his wife, and delegation and said, “The relationship between our two nations and our two states is being spoken about all over, and the cooperation between us is not only about innovation where we are trying our best to tackle problems in agriculture and water, energy, but also cyber and the need for security. I know that we can expand this cooperation and your appointment is an opportunity to look at ways we can do so. I convey my best regards to the President and Prime Minister, and I hope that the Prime Minster will be able to visit Israel and that I will be able to visit India in the coming months.”

Ambassador Kapoor thanked the President and said, “We are working to take our relationship further. We have received Israel’s help in a number of areas including defense, agriculture and water where we suffer a lot – in our country we either have droughts or floods, and we have a lot we can learn from Israel.” The Ambassador added, “We are looking forward to your visit and are working on dates for what I believe will be a landmark visit.”

President Rivlin thanked him and concluded, “The Indian and Israeli people have a lot in common, we know how to respect tradition and to be ready to learn and bring innovation to our lives for the benefit of our people and the whole world.”

Next the newly appointed Ambassador of Chile, H.E Mrs. Monica Jimenez De La Jara presented her credentials. The President welcomed her and showed her a picture of him as Speaker of the Knesset together with former President of the Chilean Senate and daughter of former Chilean president Isabel Allende taken at an international conference in Santiago. The President congratulated the Ambassador on her appointment and said, “I know that coming here from having served as Ambassador to the Vatican, you will feel at home in Jerusalem which is the center of the Holy Land. I welcome you also as a former education minister and we know that everything one can bring to our people begins with education. We are doing all we can in Israel; while 90 years ago we had only one university, now we have more than 6 universities and many colleges that are giving the opportunity to every citizen of Israel to study. We believe that the future of all people is together with education.” The President spoke of the relationship between the two governments and added, “From time to time we have some differences of opinion but we know that the relationship between our two nations and governments is strong. We can accept criticism – we do not accept boycott – but we can accept criticism.”

The Ambassador of Chile thanked the President for his warm welcome and said, “I am honored to have come from the Holy See to the Holy Land. I greatly appreciate being in a country with so much university activity. We have visited the Weizmann Institute, and the Hebrew University and we have plans to visit many more. We would like to have an academic delegation from Chile to reinforce the academic and research relations.”

She added, “I have worked all my life for peace. I know the situation in the Middle East is very difficult but Chile is ready with an open hand to do all it can to advance peace.”

Next, Ambassador of Myanmar, H.E Mr. Maung Maung Lynn arrived to present his credentials. The President welcomed him, his wife and delegation and said, “Mr. Ambassador, I remember as a student in High School when the Prime Minister of your country, U Nu, came to visit Israel, and then as a soldier in the IDF I remember Israel’s first Prime Minister Ben Gurion visited your country and brought back a great appreciation for your people and your culture. We are very proud of our connection and our relationship with your people. The Foreign Ministry started the idea of MASHAV in your country, the idea of connecting with other nations through learning together and sharing our knowledge about water for example. We also know that many Jews found shelter in your country until the outbreak of war. I want to congratulate you on the recent democratic elections in your country, which make Myanmar stronger.”

Ambassador Lynn thanked the President and noted, “It is a great pleasure to be here. I am here with my family and my daughter who will study here, and we have visited much of the country.”

Next, Ambassador of Estonia, H.E Mr. Sulev Kannike presented his credentials. The President congratulated him on his appointment and said, “We appreciate the wonderful relationship between our states and governments, and we appreciate your support for Israel in the international arena on so many issues, as well as the participation of Estonia in peace keeping efforts in the region. We appreciate also the understanding of Estonia on Holocaust education in your schools and among your people. In the field of cyber we are working together, in order to keep safe people in the region, and across Europe and the world.” The President added, “Please send my special wishes to your Foreign Minister who served as Ambassador of Estonia in Israel.”

Ambassador Kannike thanked the President and said, “I am happy to convey the greetings of my President who visited Israel in 2012. Bilateral relations between Israel and Estonia are almost without problems. We understand each other very well, and this is important for us. In July next year Estonia is taking over the Presidency of the European Union and I hope this will help us improve not only our bilateral relations but also our multilateral relations. I also express my appreciation for Israel’s work in cyber security and startups – an area in which Estonia is also working hard.”

Ambassador of Lesotho, H.E Mrs. Lineo Irene Molisa-Mabusela then presented her credentials as non-resident Ambassador to Israel. President Rivlin congratulated the Ambassador on her appointment and stressed, “The relationship between our two nations is very important to us and despite any crises, we have maintained uninterrupted relations.” The President spoke of the important cooperation between the nations in the fields of agriculture and water innovation, he said, “We would like to see more of your students come to study through MASHAV especially here in Israel.” The President added, “Israel would be pleased to return to its observer status at the African Union.”

Ambassador thanked the President and said “Allow me to pass the warmest wishes of His Majesty and the people of Lesotho. We are appreciative of the wonderful relations between our two countries, and we would like to work to open new channels of communication including in the fields of healthcare, agriculture, water and many others.”

Jewish Press Staff

President Rivlin Meets Shira Banki’s Family ahead of Jerusalem Parade

Monday, July 18th, 2016

President & First Lady Rivlin on Sunday hosted at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem the family of Shira Banki, along with representatives of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance (JOH), ahead of the gay pride march scheduled for next week, which marks a year since Shira was murdered in the same march.

“Shira was murdered for the freedom of every woman and man to express themselves and their sexuality freely,” said the President and continued, “The right of every man and woman to be who they are, to love as their heart desires, love that can be expressed openly. We must promote a safe public space in which even if there is disagreement, there is respect for each and every person. We must differentiate between disagreement and violent, hurtful, and destructive dialogue that at times also incites hatred.”

The President stressed, “We must end the incitement against the LGBT community, and any support that such views receive. I must say that the statements heard from the mouths of rabbis, leaders, and faith leaders have pained me greatly. I want to reiterate and remind everyone, that ‘Beloved is man created in God’s image’, any person, regardless of religion, race, or sex.” He added, “I am certain that the rabbis whom so many pupils look up to — some of them members of the LGBT community themselves — will also find a way to clarify that they don’t think otherwise.”

He continued, “Since Shira’s murder, I have initiated meetings between secular and ultra-Orthodox, right and left, men and women, so they will get to know one another, and come together united to learn, pray, and work in partnership in Shira’s memory. Political or religious differences, or differences in sexuality do not justify violence an incitement. This is not our way, not the way of Israeli society. We still have much work to do. Shira’s murder and the horrific terror attack in Orlando show that there needs to be a true effort to teach tolerance, and that a great struggle still lies before us. I congratulate the representatives of Open House for their work on behalf of the LGBTQ community, for an egalitarian, inclusive and tolerant discourse in Israel.”

Uri, Shira’s father, thanked the President for the meeting: “Such a clear, strong, firm, and public official statement calling for moderation, tolerance, and acceptance of others is something that the State of Israel needs today maybe more than anything. This is not a simple statement and it has a price as we have seen from time to time. It is a statement lacking in many places, and the words coming from this house are clear and consistent. For this our thanks go to the President and his office.”

The President responded, “Nechama and I are simply representing Shira.”


Report: IDF Prosecutor, Brass, Media Railroading Sergeant Elor Azaria

Saturday, June 25th, 2016

Political activist Baruch Marzel is identified strongly with the radical rightwing in Israel. He even ran for the Knesset on the extreme rightwing party Otzma LeYisrael list and has been visible in its many events of political street theater during the last election and the elections before that. After the medic Sergeant Elor Azaria had shot dead a terrorist who was already lying on the ground, “neutralized,” in Hebron last Purim, Marzel reportedly shook the shooter’s hand. Marzel also told anyone who would have cared to listen at the time that security forces were keeping him and other civilians away from the stabbing site where two terrorists were under guard, meaning there was fear one of them could blow himself up.

Ma’ariv reporter Kalman Liebskind noted on Saturday that there’s no doubt Baruch Marzel believed Azaria’s shooting was justified, surely on ideological grounds but also, it appears, based on the IDF rules of engagement. So how come, asks Liebskind, Military Police never took down Marzel’s testimony? Does it mean the MPs were only soliciting testimonies that fit an already preconceived theory on the shooting? It’s starting to look that way, Liebskind argues.

The most disturbing point about the Azaria episode is the counter-intuitive behavior of the IDF brass. One would have thought that in the case of an excellent soldier with a perfect record such as Sergeant Azaria, the IDF would be invested in finding him not guilty. But the fact is that the IDF prosecution is invested not only in finding him guilty, but in having him suffer humiliating conditions through the process, and associating him with political interests that he is not remotely connected to. And to make sure they find him guilty, the military prosecution conscripted one of Israel’s top litigators, Nadav Weisman, to lead its team.

So why are so many top officers and politicians, including the IDF chief of staff, the IDF spokesperson, and the former defense minister, so invested in giving the IDF a bad name should the court decide against Sergeant Azaria? Is it because they committed themselves early on to the B’Tselem version of events, based on a video, smeared a soldier’s name in public, accusing him of murder — and now they’ll look bad should he be found not guilty?

“The situation we’re in, with IDF and security apparatus senior officials who are crossing their fingers and praying for the conviction of the soldier and for a ruling that the terrorist was eliminated in an illegal manner — this might be the real story,” writes Liebskind.

Last Thursday, Azaria’s company commander Major Tom Naaman testified against him. There’s no doubt that his testimony did not help the defendant’s case. But then Israeli media began to report a huge incitement campaign against Naaman, complete with death threats. This incitement story was then repeated like a mantra by politicians, until eventually it became an established fact — the brave officer who dared testify against the shooter Azaria is now in fear for his life because of the thousands of rightwing hooligans looking to get even with him.

The only problem with this story is that it never actually happened. The website Perspectiva contacted the two biggest social network monitoring companies in Israel, which showed that on Facebook there had been only 100 large scale group discussions of the testimony, of which 68 were critical. Altogether, over the entire period there were 4,400 entries online mentioning Naaman’s name, out of which 1,500 used blunt language that could be described as crossing a red line. This out of 3.3 million daily entries on Facebook in Israel.

When former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon attacked Sergeant Azaria, he was vilified in 1,600 group conversations per day, and when President Rivlin spoke at a Breaking the Silence gathering in New York he was the subject of 1,000 daily hostile large-scale conversations online. The response to the company commander’s testimony was truly puny in comparison — but the powers that be in Israel’s politics and media needed a witch hunt against him, so a witch hunt they reported.

It was also an opportunity for Kfir Brigade commander, Col. Guy Hazut, and other senior officers to tell the media they supported Major Naaman, who stands alone against the mob of rightwing thugs — never mind that they are imaginary.

“Imagine what goes on inside the head of a soldier who is supposed to testify in this trial and wishes to support [the defendant] Azaria’s version,” writes Liebskind. “He has to be nuts to do it. He knows his testimony would contradict the testimony of his company commander, that it would show up the chief of staff, that it negates the perception of his brigade commander. Can anyone take seriously any of the testimonies in this case?”

Finally, Liebskind compares the two testimonies given by Major Naaman. In the first one, shortly after the shooting, Naaman repeats the very same answer: “I approached the soldier, asked him why he did it, and he said he saw [the terrorist] move.” Naaman later the same day told the MPs, “When I asked Elor after the event, on the side, what happened, he told me he saw him moving and that’s why he shot.” The MP investigator asked him, “In your opinion, did Elor feel danger from the terrorists who were lying down?” and Naaman responded, “I don’t know. I don’t think so, maybe he saw him moving and got scared.”

One night later, with the media circus celebrating all around the episode, Naaman gave a second testimony, and the version he had repeated four times, about Azaria telling him he had seen the terrorist, vanished. Instead, Naaman shared that Azaria told him the terrorist “needed to die.”

Two days later, Naaman gave yet another testimony, and now he told investigators: “I asked him why he did it and he told me, this terrorist is alive and he needs to die.”

When Azaria’s attorneys asked Naaman in court which of his testimonies they should go with, did the terrorist move, didn’t he, Naaman answered, “Now I don’t recall exactly.”

Needless to say, Liebskind does not believe it is possible for the court to make a reliable ruling with this much pollution surrounding the testimonies.


President Rivlin: Israel Is Democratic and Jewish and Tribal, and There Are Arabs, Too

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

The 16th Annual Herzliya conference opened at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, with a discussion by Israeli senior ministers and political party leaders on the joint initiative “Shared Israeli Hope.” President Reuven Rivlin opened his keynote address saying Israeli society has transitioned from being made up of a clear majority and minorities into a society made up of four main sectors or tribes, which are becoming more and more equal in size: secular, Modern Orthodox, ultra-Orthodox and Arab.

“We must speak the truth; this is not something that we expected,” he said, noting that many had called him a post-Zionist following his previous Herzliya conference address and questioned, “Is anyone who discusses the issues of Israeli identity, post-Zionist?” He explained that Israel was “Four tribes, four competing, different stories, about who we are, and what we want to be.” He noted that “the headline of the conference should have been, ‘Israeli hope: to be or not to be.’” He said that “a year ago there were those that interpreted my words as yet another typical, joyful presidential call… but first and foremost, my words were intended to serve as a call to wake up to the gaps and inadequacies between the reality of Israeli society and the system of Israeli institutions.” Looking ahead he said, “We are obliged to strive for institutional and systematic changes which must be conducted as a national effort… we must recognize that there are material and structural barriers to forming shared rules of the game for the different sectors… The creation of a shared Israeli identity and a shared Israeli hope is a mighty and noble process which will take a generation.”

One of the main engines for change Rivlin discussed was that of academia and employment. “Academia and the Israeli labor market will become an engine of real change, only when academic institutions and employers view the establishment of the Israeli dream – for a young man from Ofakim, a young woman from Bnei Brak, a young man from Jatt and a young woman from Binyamin – as a national mission of paramount professional and economic interests… Academia and the labor market today cater mainly to two tribes, but there are two more.”

He noted that if Israeli society were willing to embrace the necessary changes, the State of Israel would serve as a model for others, “A Jewish and democratic state; democratic and Jewish is one in the same.”

Following the president’s keynote address, senior ministers and political party leaders were given the opportunity to respond.

MK Naftali Bennett, Minister of Education and Minister of Diaspora Affairs, and Chairman of Habayit Hayehudi party, began his address by taking the audience on a journey to 3,000 years in the past: “We are in a sovereign state. A Jewish State under the rule of King David with great economic and political power.” He traced Jewish history through the periods, explaining how Jews in the Diaspora lived in survival mode, “Zionism was based on survival and security.” He noted that now, back in the Jewish homeland, Jews no longer needed to be afraid and could “break into a new creativity without being afraid,” adding that the new generation of Zionism needed to be based on “destiny.” He stressed that Judaism was a religion focused on contending “with the reality of the world and bringing values into it.”

Directing his address to his role as minister of education, Bennett said, “I am the minister of education of all children in Israel… they are all my children and they are equal regardless of their color, religion, politics or anything else. We express this with an intensity unlike anything else in Israel.” He also noted how his office had adjusted budget allocations to ensure that adequate funds were appropriated to areas in need in Robin Hood fashion: “We take from the strong and give to the week… when I took on my position… per capita more funds were invested in wealthier areas.”

MK Aryeh Deri, Minister of the Interior and Minister of Development of the Negev and Galilee, and Chairman of the Shas Party, said, possibly ignoring the entire books of Numbers and Deuteronomy: “It was never the dream that one [nation] should get rid of the other.” He stressed that the Arab citizens “truly want to integrate within us and be a part and parcel with us… We need to show them that we respect their culture, heritage and history… We have no desire to mix cultures but rather to live together in one state” with full equality and egalitarian rights. Also paying an homage to the man from Sherwood Forest, Deri said, “There are steps, even as painful as they may be, where we will take from the big… and give to the smaller ones.” He added that any “discourse of hatred” needed to immediately be stopped. To a round of applause he stated, “In our state it is prohibited that we should accept any racism or discourse of racism.” He should have possibly share this with the minister of Religious Services from his own party, who announced a while back (I paraphrase) that non-Orthodox Jews are not really Jewish.

MK Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint Arab List, opened his address noting all the ideals and values that he shared with the president: “Bringing the various populations closer to one another. Advancing the general welfare of all citizens. Building shared citizenship.” But he added that there are “important things that we cannot ignore… The basic thing that guides me in politics is my deep internal conviction that the guiding interests of both people are equal. Everyone wants the blessing of life.”

He emphasized the principles of nationalism: “What does it mean to be a citizen? What does it mean to be a national? We want complete equality on the national level and the civil social level.” He said that it was impossible to only talk about the economy and citizenship without nationalism. He also noted how he was always steered to discuss the future rather than the past: “We have a deep pain. In the heart of every Arab. The injustices of the past. And it hurts me so much when I hear narratives of 3,000, 4,000 years and I am told not to talk about the narratives of 60 years but to look into the future.”

By that narrative, MK Odeh referred to the fact that the Arabs of Mandatory Palestine had a chance to receive two thirds of the land if only they accepted that the Jews could have one third — and they refused. They wanted instead to murder all the Jews of the land with the help of the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. They failed and have yet to recover from the shame and disappointment of that terrible failure.

Odeh focused specific attention on the subjects of unrecognized villages and said that it would not hurt anyone for the state to “state recognizes the terrible massacre of Kafir Qasim and the massive injustices and confiscation of land.” He stated that his party’s stance was two states for two people, side by side with complete equality for both but “crimes occurred and we have to talk about that… There are citizens of the State of Israel who are not allowed to return to their land… Will it harm one Jewish person…. If people of Mahalul are returned to Mahalul… To build 80 villages… Will it harm one Jewish person?… We need to talk about civil and national rights for Arabs in Israel and it doesn’t have to harm anyone. The opposite. That is what will heal these two people.”

Naturally, when MK Odeh speaks of two states, he really means four states: three purely Arab — Jordan, the PA and Gaza, and one 20% Arab — Israel.

MK Zahava Galon, Chairman of Meretz, said that the “elephant in the room” was that the Arabs do not have their own state and we are “50 years into the occupation of the territories.” She said that no discussion could take place regarding the demographic question without talking about occupying this nation and controlling their lives.

Taking on the judicial perspective of “Shared Israeli Hope,” Chief Justice Miriam Naor, president of the Supreme Court, noted that “Our image as a democratic society requires a balance between the individual and society.” She said that the legal system plays a role in advancing Israeli partnerships and creating boundaries. “Discrimination undermines social solidarity. The courts are responsible for eradicating discrimination.”

Which is why they are appointing their own judges, evading the control of the legislator on judicial selections — because as soon as you let the people make their own decisions they’re bound to start discriminating.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/president-rivlin-democratic-and-jewish-is-one-and-the-same/2016/06/14/

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