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September 28, 2016 / 25 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘scandal’

Unwitting Israelis May Still Be Eating Tainted Telma Cornflakes

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

Members of the Knesset State Control Committee are being called back from their vacations to a special session on Tuesday for an investigation into the failure to to prevent salmonella-tainted Telma cornflakes from reaching consumers in Israel.

An inquiry team will arrive at the Unilever Israel Telma factory in Arad as well to conduct a “comprehensive inspection,” lawmakers said, and may consider legal action against the firm.

The Health Ministry has also set up a separate commission of inquiry, headed by Prof. Itamar Gruto, chief of public health services at the ministry.

“We are considering removing the license on the production line,” said Health Minister Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) on Friday. “Unilever has failed in its conduct and lied to the public and to the Ministry of Health. We view that with severity.”

Inspectors at the manufacturer’s Unilever umbrella company discovered early Friday that 240 boxes of the popular cereal were nowhere to be found, according to a report by Channel 10 News.

All were part of the same shipment recalled by Telma last week due to the discovery of salmonella bacteria in one of the packages.

But it is feared the missing boxes have already reached consumers who shopped at the Shufersal supermarket chain. A customer called the Unilever hotline to report she had purchased a box of the cereal that matched the recalled product number.

Unilever contacted Shufersal to track down where the sale had taken place, eventually pinning it down to the store in Kibbutz Be’erot Yitzchak, in central Israel. Unilever Israel CEO Anat Gabriel also issued a public apology on Thursday night. “I apologize from the bottom of my heart for the recent events,” she said. “We apologize that we mistakenly announced that no product from the tainted line had reached the market.”

The incident sparked heightened concerns from the Health Ministry, which issued a statement Saturday night, warning that consumers who become ill to call a doctor right away. “We see in this announcement [that tainted boxes were sold] a result of negligence on the part of the company, both towards the public and toward the Health Ministry,” the ministry said.

“The species of salmonella [in question] is not rare or aggressive. It may cause diarrhea or fever. If these symptoms appear, please turn to your doctor.”

The missing packages, which were tracked, are not to be found in any of the storerooms nor on any supermarket shelves stocked by the distributors.

Unilever Israel also released a contamination notice to consumers that read: “Consumers who have in their possession a product on the above list are asked to not consume it and to contact Unilever’s consumer service desk, telephone 1-800-780-780, to obtain a replacement product and have the product in your possession collected.”

The “above list” referred to 240 750-gram packets of Telma brand cornflakes with kosher certification from the ultra-Orthodox Edah Haharedit organization and a production date of June 27, 2016.

The notice asked consumers to take a precautionary measure by avoiding several brands in particular such as Cornflakes of Champions cereal (Alufim) purchased on June 26 and 27; Eda HaHaredit kosher-certified Cornflakes purchased on June 23, June 27, 28 and 29; and Cocoman Tzedafim (Shells) cereal purchased on June 29 and 30.

Tazpit Press Service (TPS) contributed to this report.

Hana Levi Julian

The Benghazi Scandal You Always Knew

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Commentary Magazine website}

If the results of a two-year investigation into the Benghazi attacks feel politically charged, it is because this is a scandal about the administration’s response in Washington to a deadly attack on a diplomatic compound and CIA annex. For this, Barack Obama’s administration only has itself to blame. That hasn’t stopped Democrats from casting about in a frenetic effort to portray the fruitful and disturbing Republican-led investigation into these attacks as a partisan witch hunt.

The report from House Republicans on the Benghazi Committee is straightforward. The committee found that the U.S. military made no effort to intervene on behalf of the besieged Americans under attack in Benghazi over the course of that 13-hour assault. “Despite President Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s clear orders to deploy military assets,” the GOP report read, nothing was done to save the lives of the Americans who died only after hours of combat. It found that the White House relied on its political advisors and not its national security team to frame public perceptions of this attack so as to preserve the impression that the threat of Islamic terrorism overseas was on the decline.

The committee found that then-United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, who led the charge to exculpate the White House in the wake of that attack, contradicted and humiliated the State Department. Her appearance on the Sunday morning news programs following that attack betrayed what the Deputy Director of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs said was the fact that the White House was  “very worried about the politics” of Benghazi. While the White House remains selective about what it divulges regarding the president’s activities and whereabouts on the night of the attack, the committee learned that Obama declined his daily intelligence briefing the day after. Finally, the investigations uncovered that administration officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, were convinced of the terroristic nature of the attack even while they were relating something very different about its character to the American people.

That seems simple enough. In the press, however, the race is on to transform the findings of this investigation into something far more complex.

To gauge the level of media investment in the Democratic narrative regarding this investigation, all one has to do is read the second paragraph of NBC News’ dispatch on the subject.

“The 800-page document represents the end of a costly, politically charged investigation led by House Republicans who sought to highlight Clinton’s role in the slipshod response to the attack,” read the report authored by Andrea Mitchell, Alex Moe, and Abigail Williams. “But after more than two years, the report, released Tuesday, instead paints a more nuanced portrait of incompetence.”

One of the reasons the press has deemed this investigation a failure for the GOP is they are committed to the view that the Republicans were engaged in a purely partisan exercise. They are judging it as they would judge a debate—by assessing winners and losers. From that rigid construct, reporters permit themselves to declare the GOP’s presumed target, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a survivor and their efforts a waste.

First, if this were a political fishing expedition designed to harm Hillary Clinton’s image, the idea that the Benghazi Committee’s investigation turned up nothing of note is simply delusional. It was the work of this committee that uncovered the existence of Hillary Clinton’s homebrew email server and the scandalous conduct of a State Department that allowed this breach of protocol and colluded in covering up its existence. Considering the time Clinton has spent defending herself on this issue, the legal jeopardy in which it has thrust her staff, and the damage it has done to her political image, to declare the committee’s investigation both a political exercise and a failure is an example of the wish fathering the thought.

That’s why the Benghazi investigation should not be seen as a political event. Like Hillary Clinton’s secret server, which quite possibly exposed classified American diplomatic cables to foreign governments, the attack was a national security failure. The administration’s response to that national security failure, not this later investigation of it, is the scandal. What’s more, it is a scandal that is intuitively understood by just about anyone of modest political competence. That is, six weeks out from an election, Barack Obama’s White House was more concerned about the politics of the Benghazi attack than they were the security implications.

Democrats can rend garments over the political nature of the House GOP’s report all they want. They can call dub the results of the investigation a “conspiracy theory on steroids,” and go off on bizarre fundraising-friendly tangents about Donald Trump in their report on the committee’s findings. Their panicked reaction betrays a justified fear. The investigation paints a pretty clear picture of politicized behavior of the worst variety—one that the public can very easily comprehend. Republicans have Occam’s razor on their side. The very simplest explanation for the White House’s behavior suffices. It is a story of an administration more concerned with winning elections than relating a full and unvarnished account of the deadly attack in Benghazi. Despite all the bluster from Democratic partisans, that’s not “nothing.”

Noah Rothman

FIFA President Sepp Blatter Re-Elected Despite Corruption Scandals, Arrests

Friday, May 29th, 2015

FIFA President Sepp Blatter, 79, was re-elected Friday to a fifth term as head of the international soccer federation that controls the annual World Cup, even as controversy swirled around him and FIFA.

Support for Blatter came from a wide majority in the 209-member organization despite the arrest of seven top federation officials in Switzerland on Wednesday on charges of racketeering and corruption. The U.S. Justice Department indicted a total of 14 executives and marketing officials from the world body.

“I’m not perfect. Nobody is perfect. But we will do a good job together,” Blatter told members in his victory speech following the vote. “I take the responsibility to bring FIFA where it should be… At the end of my term [this time] I will give up FIFA in a strong position,” he said.

Calls for him to resign were issued by a number of world leaders, including UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

While the organization’s top echelon struggled with the allegations, Israel fought off a sportsfare attempt by the Palestinian delegation to expel its members from the world body. At the very last moment before a scheduled vote on the issue, Palestinian soccer league head and convicted terrorist Jibril Rajoub instead submitted an amendment cancelling the proposal.

 

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli Diplomats Suspended for Unprofessional Behavior

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Three Israeli diplomats have been recalled from their posts abroad for unprofessional behavior, using Twitter posts on their personal accounts to criticize top administration officials – the very government they represent.

Civil service regulations and Foreign Ministry rules are clear that foreign service personnel are prohibited from making their personal political views public. This particularly applies to diplomats representing the State of Israel and its interests in the world arena and who operate a source of public information and advocacy for Israel on social media.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman ordered the immediate suspension Wednesday of Israel’s Ambassador to Switzerland, Yigal Caspi. Also recalled from their posts were Assaf Moran, who handles political affairs at the Israel Embassy in New Delhi, and Yaron Gamburg, who works in the Department of Political Research and was a former spokesperson for the Israel Embassy in Paris. All three were told to return for disciplinary hearings prior to termination.

A retweet by Caspi originally written by a journalist read: “It’s shocking how Lieberman waved off his ministers. Not that they were especially good, and yet his use of people, bringing them in and letting them go when he is sick of them, is horrible.”

The ambassador also retweeted another journalist’s post, this one regarding Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s upcoming address to Congress: “Is it no longer possible to suffice in scaring us here in Hebrew? (He) has to fly all the way to the US Congress and tell them in English how dangerous Iran’s nuclear program is?”

There were a number of others retweeted by Caspi, written by the same journalist, all in a similar vein.

The other two diplomats likewise retweeted posts criticizing the prime minister and other ministers in government. One tweet was an original post aimed at Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, chairman of Bayit Yehudi.

The behavior is unprofessional at best, self-destructive and truly harmful to the state’s interests at worst. It proves this country still has a long way to go in weeding out those who hold tight to their jobs, not necessarily out of competence but thanks to their seniority and state benefits.

For this reason alone, Israel’s image abroad has suffered immeasurably, and will continue to suffer until there is a way to hire competent people to replace those who place their personal interests above loyalty to the state.

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu: ‘Could Be Time for Female Chief of Police in Israel’

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

PM Binyamin Netanyahu says it may be time to appoint a female chief of police in Israel.

“It could be the right thing to do,” he said in a speech today (Tuesday, Jan. 27). Possibly the time has come to appoint down the road a female chief of police.

“I want to advance this idea,” Netanyahu continued. “It would be a refreshing change, a female chief of the Israel Police.”

The prime minister’s remark followed an announcement Monday by the Justice Ministry’s Police Investigations Department (PID) that a senior officer was questioned about allegations he harassed a lower-level policewoman. Eight other women may have been harassed as well by the same officer, who is suspected of also having obstructed justice and having destroyed evidence.

National Chief of Police/Inspector-General Yochanan Danino met earlier today with Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch at the ministry in Jerusalem. On the agenda for the two men was the issue of how much damage had been caused to the image of Israel’s national police force by the continuing scandals and how to prevent repetitions in the future.

“This incident is a severe one,” Danino told reporters. “They deal a blow to public faith in the police and call for an organizational root canal.”

This was the seventh such scandal in just over a year. Danino told media that he would like to say to Israeli citizens, “You have a police force that you can trust despite these recent events and we have our way of dealing with them.”

The first female chief of police in the United States to be appointed in a major city was Penny Harrington, who became the chief in Portland, Oregon in 1985. The first female police officer to actually be appointed to a force in the U.S. was Lola Baldwin, who also was hired in Portland, Oregon on April 1, 1908. Today, one percent of all police chiefs in the United States are female.

Hana Levi Julian

Israel Presidential Elections Tuesday

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

Despite the mud, dirt, scandals, investigations and allegations, the Knesset will hold elections for President on schedule, on Tuesday.

One wonders what kind of taint this will put on the presidency for the next 10 years?

Jewish Press News Briefs

Yet Another Presidential Race Dropout Following Allegations of Wrongdoing

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

Labor MK Binyamin “Fuad” Ben-Eliezer dropped out of the race for President of Israel, just days before the June 10th election.

Ben-Eliezer quit following a much publicized last minute police investigation, examining whether or not illegally received money to buy an apartment.

Ben-Eliezer is the second MK knocked out of the race for president following much publicized investigations, the first was Minister Silvan Shalom, who dropped out after allegations that he had committed some sex-related crimes.

The Attorney General eventually closed the investigations against Silvan, but as a result Silvan decided to not run.

Ben-Eliezer maintains his innocence, and says he will continue to fight to prove his innocence, and called it a ‘targeted assassination’.

But even if he could prove his innocence in the next few days, the allegations are enough to kill his chance to be in a reasonable position to challenge Ruby Rivlin, the Likud front-runner, in a run-off race.

On the online Israeli political forums they’re taking it a step further, as members discuss how presidential candidate Dalia Itzik, after leaving politics in 2012, was able to afford a NIS 4.5 million luxury apartment in Tel Aviv in 2013. Itzik’s husband works for the Israel Electric Company.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein has offered Labor the option to postpone the presidential elections for 2 weeks to give them the opportunity to select a different candidate to support.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/yet-another-presidential-dropout-following-allegations-of-wrongdoing/2014/06/07/

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