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July 26, 2016 / 20 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Rivlin’

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.

JNi.Media

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

Pres. Rivlin Warns Israeli Arabs, Druze at Iftar Meal, ‘Beware Efforts to Destroy Coexistence’

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

President Reuven Rivlin warned participants at an Iftar meal (Ramadan fast breaking feast) Monday in the northern Israeli city of Sakhnin to beware those trying to undermine ‘the remnants of trust… between two peoples.’

The event was attended by municipal and faith community leaders from Muslim and Druze communities.

“Yesterday we were all shocked by the massacre in Orlando, and I want to send my condolences to the families, and to the American nation, following this cowardly and criminal act of terrorism,” the president said.

“We too are still in the shadow of the terror attack against us just last week, terrorism which is unrelenting toward us.”

Rivlin stressed the need to stand united against terrorists. “It is hard not to see that the terrorists are acting in every way possible to undermine the remnants of trust and the fragmented remaining bridges between the two peoples,” he said.

“We must stand together, Jews, Christians and Muslims, against evil which sometimes claims to speak in God’s name. And we must insist on fighting for the message of religion as one of ‘choosing life.’”

Rivlin said Israelis must insist that murder and violence are the result of intellectual distortion which has nothing to do with a healthy religion.

“We cannot be silent,” he said. “We cannot let those violating religion by committing atrocities in its name, to cast a stain on those of faith, or to destroy the fabric of our lives here together.

“As believers, we must not let our children, Jews and Arabs, grow up with a distorted understanding that religion equals terror and death, that religion means extremism.”

The president concluded by thanking his hosts, and expressed his hope for coexistence between the different communities of Israel.

“Our lives and your lives here in this country are intertwined,” he reminded his hosts.

Mayor of Sakhnin Mazen Ghanaim thanked the president, saying, “You are a sensitive and caring person. We all condemn in the strongest terms all acts of violence. The distance from Ramallah to Jerusalem is just 15 minutes.” He made clear, “We are working to promote employment, equal education, and peace.”

The mayor took the opportunity to note, “Today in the Knesset it was announced by the Finance Minister that the five-year economic plan for the Arab community has been held up.

“We ask of you Mr. President to continue to work to see the program come into being.”

Rivlin assured Ghanaim that he would speak with Kahlon about the matter.

Hana Levi Julian

While Islamic Terror Raging Everywhere, Pres. Rivlin Attends Ramadan Meal in Israeli-Arab City

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

President Reuven Rivlin on Monday evening addressed an Iftar (daily Ramadan fast breaking feast) in the northern Israeli-Arab city of Sakhnin. The event was attended by municipal and faith community leaders from the Muslim and Druze communities.

“Yesterday we were all shocked by the massacre in Orlando, and I want to send my condolences to the families, and to the American nation, following this cowardly and criminal act of terrorism,” said the President, and continued, “We, too, are still in the shadow of the terror attack against us just last week, terrorism which is unrelenting toward us.”

Sakhnin, population 26,000, is located in the Lower Galilee, about 14 miles east of Acre. Its population is Arab, mostly Muslim, with a sizable Christian minority. Sakhnin is home to the largest population of the esoteric cult of Sufi Muslims in Israel—approximately 80 members. In 1976, Sakhnin was the site of the first Land Day marches, in which six Israeli Arabs were killed by Israeli forces during violent protests. Two more were killed in clashes during the 2000 Intifada.

President Rivlin stressed the need to stand united against terrorists and said, “It is hard not to see that the terrorists are acting in every way possible to undermine the remnants of trust and the fragmented remaining bridges between the two peoples. We must stand together, Jews, Christians and Muslims, against evil which sometimes claims to speak in God’s name, and we must insist on fighting for the message of religion as one of ‘choosing life.’ We must insist that murder and violence are the result of intellectual distortion which has nothing to do with a healthy religion. We cannot be silent and we cannot let those violating religion by committing atrocities in its name, to cast a stain on those of faith, or to destroy the fabric of our lives here together. As believers, we must not let our children, Jews and Arabs, grow up with a distorted understanding that religion equals terror and death, that religion means extremism.”

The President concluded by thanking his hosts, and expressed his hope for coexistence between the different communities of Israel. He said, “Our lives and your lives here in this country are intertwined. We are here together, and we will remain here together, and we should all learn and teach every day how to live a life of kindness and tolerance, a life of equality and fairness, a life that each and every one of us deserves and that we all deserve together.”

Sakhnin Mayor Mazen Ghanaym thanked the President and said, “You are a sensitive and caring person. We all condemn in the strongest terms all acts of violence.” Noting there is no real difference between Arabs in Israel and in the Palestinian Authority, Ghanaym said, “The distance from Ramallah to Jerusalem is just 15 minutes,” and, “We are working to promote employment, equal education, and peace.”

Ghanaym, who is also Chairman of the Arab Mayors’ Association, told the President, “Today in the Knesset is was announced by the Finance Minister that the five-year economic plan for the Arab community has been held up. We ask of you Mr. President to continue to work to see the program come into being.”

Back in February, the president hosted 67 heads of Arab municipalities as well as the directors-general of government ministries, to discuss the government’s new five-year plan to aid Arab cities.

On Monday night, the President assured Ghanaym that he would speak with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon.

The five-year plan, which was announced last December by PM Netanyahu and Kahlon, will cost between $3 and $4 billion and increase funding for housing, education, employment of Arab women, infrastructure, welfare services and public transportation.

JNi.Media

The Pilgrimage

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Politicians from across the political spectrum made a pilgrimage today to the Sarona Food Market to show that terrorists may occasionally succeed in killing us individually, but as a society we are stronger than them, and we will overcome them.

Politicians at Sarona Food Market

Politicians at Sarona Food Market

Politicians at Sarona Food Market

Photo of the Day

Pres. Rivlin Congratulates Delegation on Israel Bonds’ 65th Anniversary

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

President Reuven Rivlin welcomed a delegation of 140 Israel Bonds representatives from around the world, on Sunday, led by the organization’s president Izzy Tapuchi.

The president congratulated the delegation on the 65th anniversary of Israel Bonds.

“I have witnessed the miracle of seeing the ‘desert bloom’, and the ‘hi-tech boom,’ Rivlin said, noting “we could not have achieved all this without your support.

“Israel Bonds is not just a way to show support for Israel, it is a way to show faith in Israel; faith in our growth, faith in our development, and faith in our future.”

Rivlin spoke about the socio-economic challenges Israel faces against the background of changes in Israeli society and gaps between the different communities.

“The President’s Office is proud to be involved in a number of projects bridging the gaps,” he said, “in schools and on the sports field, in the classroom and in the workplace.”

Hana Levi Julian

Rivlin: Faithful Jews Are not Anti-Christian or Anti-Muslim

Monday, December 28th, 2015

President Reuven Rivlin told Christian leaders Monday that “a faithful Jew cannot be anti-Christian or anti-Muslim.”

He added that “we all have a duty…to show the world that the conflict in this region is not a war about religion; it is a war against hate.”

Absent from his speech was the questing of how to deal with clerics who preach hate in the name of their religion.

Hosting the traditional annual reception for leaders of Israel’s Christian communities to mark the civil New Year, he praised the 50-year-old fifty-year-old Nostra Aetate declaration, which defined the Catholic Church’s policy against anti-Semitism.

President Rivlin added:

I was honored this year, to meet with the Pope in the Vatican, where we spoke about how this relationship has grown stronger over the years….. Pope Francis said, ‘A true Christian cannot be an anti-Semite’.

Let me say – a faithful Jew cannot be anti-Christian or anti-Muslim….

I am proud that Israel protects the freedom of worship and expression for everyone, of every faith. It is not enough for us to only be a safe home for Christians. We want the community to prosper, and play a part in Israeli society.”

He said this mission as President is “to build bridges between our communities, in the Holy Land and around the world…and show that people with different beliefs can live side by side, and even together; in schools and universities, in the workplace, in parliament, and even on the soccer field.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rivlin-faithful-jews-are-not-anti-christian-or-anti-muslim/2015/12/28/

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