The “Hamas summer camp” in Israeli prisons is about to be terminated, with a new bill submitted by MK Oded Forer (Yisrael Beiteinu), demanding the revocation of privileges for security prisoners in Israel.
The Bill, “Denial of privileges of security prisoner belonging to a terrorist organization” amends the current Prisons Ordinance and regulates the system of awarding privileges to prisoners convicted of attacking Israeli citizens and belonging to terror organizations. The new bill is in keeping with the basic rights of security prisoners according to international conventions.
The privileges which will become outlawed should the bill pass are conjugal visits, canteen purchases, possession of TV sets and game consoles, high school equivalency and academic studies, vacations, and receiving clothing and provisions from the outside.
MK Forer said that it is inconceivable that while terror victims and their families are paying such a high price and suffering so much, the terrorists who caused their anguish would play video games and enjoy educational and leisure activities in prison. “Back in 2009, a special commission determined that security prisoners in Israel enjoy privileges without compare anywhere else in the world,” he said.
MK Forer stressed that these privileges are not based on any international convention. “This bill demands that we act according to international conventions that define the basic human rights [to which security prisoners are entitled] and stop the summer camp that’s been created regarding the conditions for security prisoners,” he reiterated.
In a move that seemingly contradicts the conventional media views of his self-interested party boss manner, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) on Monday appointed two talented men to head two of Israel’s top military industrial institutions, despite the fact that both men have walked out on his party a year ago.
Liberman appointed Yair Shamir as chairman of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), and Yitzhak Aharonovich as chairman of Israel Military Industries (IMI). The appointments were made in coordination with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu). The announcement of the two appointments said that “these are the most appropriate people for these roles and they will advance the companies they will head.”
The son of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, Yair Shamir served as MK for Yisrael Beiteinu between 2013 and 2015, and held the post of Minister of Agriculture. Shamir has already served as chairman of IAI, between 2005 and 2011, when Defense Minister Ehud Barak removed him from office. He was credited with the company’s stunning recovery, most importantly because in his first year as chairman he replaced 13 of the company’s 19 top managers. Under his leadership the company’s net profit grew from $2 million in 2005 to $130 million in 2006, with revenues growing from $2.341 billion to $3.148 billion by 2010. Shamir issued Israel Aerospace Industries tradable bonds worth $363,360. He also took IAI to the Russian market, established a leading position in the drone industry and launched four space satellites.
In January 2015 Shamir, whom Liberman had appointed party leader in 2012, announced he was leaving the party and would not run in the 2015 elections because of disagreements with Liberman over foreign policy.
Incidentally, in an interview with The Jewish Press in 2004, Shamir said that he did not believe in surrendering Israeli-controlled land to the Arabs, and criticized Benjamin Netanyahu for caving in to pressure too easily. Shamir stressed that Israel should do what it thinks is right without regard to what the world thinks.
Yitzhak Aharonovich in January 2015 announced that he was retiring from politics, and would not run in the 2015 elections, but did not spell out his reasons. His tenure as Minister of Public Security was marred with the escalation of terrorism in Jerusalem, including attacks on the light rail, a gas station, and the Temple Mount police post, several ramming attacks, the Har Nof synagogue massacre, the assassination attempt on Yehuda Glick, and countless riots on the Temple Mounts. Several high-ranking police officers were forced to retire over sex abuse violations. Aharonovich was criticized by many for his failure to instill law and order, most notably by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and by political rival Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi).
A former commander of the Border Police, Aharonovich’s only experience in corporate management was his one year (2004 to 2005) as director-general of the Dan Bus Company.
In 2009, Aharonovich was widely criticized and forced to apologize for telling an undercover police detective in Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station that he looked as dirty as an “Araboosh,” the Hebrew equivalent for the N word for Arabs.
MKs Hanin Zoabi (Joint Arab List) and Zehava Galon (Meretz) were removed from the Knesset on Wednesday after a storm that erupted in response to vile allegations made by Zoabi as part of the daily agenda proposals. The Arab MK spoke in response to the rapprochement agreement between Israel and Turkey, but her language was so rude and offensive, MK Oren Hazan (Likud) felt obligated to interrupt her, at which point the rest of the House started to pay attention, and crowded the podium demanding that the offending MK be removed from the plenum. When MK Galon asked the Deputy Speaker, Hamad Amar (Yisrael Beiteinu), why he’s not removing Hazan as well, the Deputy Speaker removed her from the plenum.
MK Zoabi began her statement saying, “I stood here six years ago. Remember the incitement, the hatred and the noise back then? And where have we arrived? An apology and reparations to the families of those who were once called terrorists. They, who confronted the soldiers, were trying to prevent an act of piracy of the Shayetet (Naval special forces) that probably was looking to kidnap and murder.”
At which point Hazan called out, “You’re talking about the soldiers? You should be named Captain Hook. You are a pirate, supporting terrorism, rukhi (Arabic for go away) to Gaza.”
MK Amar, a Druze who served in the IDF from 1982 to 1986 (he also holds a fifth degree black belt in Martial Arts) told the plenum that Zoabi wished to apologize. But when she received the floor she demanded an apology on behalf of “all the political activists who were on the [Turkish boat Mavi] Marmara, and an apology to MK Hanin Zoabi whom you attacked and persecuted for six years. All of you need to apologize, all the MKs in this building.”
Hazan continued to cut her off, calling her, “Traitor, you are the national inciter, go to Gaza.” He then turned to Amar, saying, “There’s a limit to everything, take her off the podium.”
“He who committed the murder must apologize. You need to apologize,” Zoabi persisted. But at that point the plenum had erupted in a storm, with many MKs. crowding the podium and demanding that Zoabi be removed. Finally, Amar ordered her removed saying that she “lied” when she told him she wished to apologize.” Which is when MK Galon stood up to inquire how come Hazan, who also interrupted the proceedings, had not been removed — so she was removed, too. Then MK Mickey Levy (Yesh Atid) was removed for yelling “Traitors” at the Balad party MKs (Balad is one of the four factions in the Joint Arab List).
By now the Knesset resembled one of those eastern European or Asian parliaments, where the members take to fisticuffs when words would no longer do. Hazan was thrown out, several Arab MKs followed, the speaker, who had long since lost all hope of controlling the proceedings just kept on yelling at everyone in his field of vision. It was a brawl, but without actual violence, only the Knesset ushers were busy gently manhandling the MKs so they won’t hurt one another.
Outside the plenum, Zoabi told reporters: “Israel did not disengage from Gaza, Israel disengaged Gaza from the world and from life. I demand an apology, and I want reparations, which I will donate to the children of Gaza, and to the next flotillas.”
The entire afternoon was a kind of Déjà vu: on May 31, 2010, Zoabi participated in the Gaza flotilla, and was on board the Mavi Marmara when violence broke out as Israeli commandos were attacked with metal rods, knives, broken bottles and the kitchen sink as they were trying to board and take over the ship. Zoabi was arrested. At a later news conference, Zoabi called the raid criminal, saying she had witnessed two wounded passengers bleed to death after the Israelis refused to provide medical aid. She also stated, “It was clear from the size of the force that boarded the ship that the purpose was not only to stop this sail, but to cause the largest possible number of fatalities in order to stop such initiatives in the future.”
That was a blatant lie, as could be seen in the videos taken during the event, showing the IDF soldiers coming down a rope from a chopper, to be showered with punches, blows and cuts. There were easier ways to cause fatalities, if that were on the IDF’s mind.
In a speech at the Knesset one day after her release, MK Zoabi called the raid a “pirate military operation” and demanded an international investigation. She also demanded to know why the Israeli government had not released photos and videos it confiscated from passengers that might shed light on why nine passengers were killed and dozens wounded. During her address she also said, “Israel spoke of a provocation, but there was no provocation. Why does the government of Israel oppose an investigation?”
Of course, the videos that were released showed ample provocation and then some.
Zoabi was repeatedly interrupted and shouted down during that initial speech in 2010 by other lawmakers, one of whom shouted “Go to Gaza, traitor!” The chaos reached a peak when MK Anastasia Michaeli (Yisrael Beiteinu) charged the podium in an attempt to prevent Zoabi from continuing.
Former Yisrael Beytenu Tourism Minister Uzi Landau has resigned his post as co-chairman of the Keren Kayemet L’Israel (KKL) organization, which until recently used to be linked to the Jewish National Fund (JNF).
Landau turned in his resignation in a letter submitted Monday in which he accused KKL chairman Danny Atar, a former member of Knesset, of fiscal mismanagement and improper administration at the top.
Landau wrote he had accepted the position “in order to advance [the organization’s] vision, help develop the periphery, and advance relations with the diaspora.” But he said he realized it would be impossible for him to achieve these goals with Atar at the helm.
The former minister left the Knesset in December 2014 after 31 years in Israeli politics. Although he began his political career with the Likud party, he eventually joined Avigdor Liberman in Yisrael Beytenu.
Landau was the only Likud minister to be fired by then-prime minister Ariel Sharon for opposing the 2005 Disengagement from Gush Katif in Gaza.
MK Hanin Zoabi, whose National Democratic Assembly (Balad) party is one of the three partner factions making up the Joint Arab List, has been the most frequent candidate for removal both from the elections list and, as MK, from the plenum, as well as defendant in court, all owing to her vicious attacks on Israeli values and on Israeli public officials—including, most recently, cursing out and spitting on Arab police. Now, all who trust in the wisdom of the voters are entitled to a big high-five, as Zoabi has been pushed in the primaries for her faction’s list of Knesset candidates down to spot number 9, well outside the realistic expectations for the 21st Knesset, Makor Rishon reported Friday.
The Joint Arab List, which has one Jewish MK, is a new political creature, a coalition made up of four different parties whose only common denominator is the fact that they are Arab and appeal to the Arab Israeli voter. Hadash, the United Arab List, Balad, and Ta’al, which make up the third largest faction in the 20th Knesset, were, essentially, the brain child of then Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who pushed for a higher vote threshold, requiring that a list gain close to four seats before it can claim any of its seats. Realizing that the new rule could wipe out the bulk of the Arab representation in the Knesset, the four parties, with communists, business leaders, ultra-nationalists and religious zealots, found a way to unite in order to stay alive. Ironically, Liberman’s own party, Yisrael Beiteinu, barely made it past the same threshold.
With the four factions sharing the 13 seats they were granted by the voter, it is unlikely for any one of them to get more than three or four MKs, so that Zoabi’s failure to get enough votes for the third or fourth spot in her faction means a resounding demotion by her party members.
But Zoabi did relatively well compared with her fellow Balad MK Basel Ghattas, who shared with her a much slammed ceremony honoring the families of Jerusalem terrorists who had died while murdering Jews. Ghattas was dropped to the 23rd spot, which is political death in the reality of Arab politics.
Another demoted Balad leader, also member of the honor guard to the killers, is Jamal Zahalka, who landed the fifth spot, which would only get him a seat should the Joint Arab List pick up between 18 and 20 mandates, a feat that would necessarily require direct involvement from Mohammed himself, if not an even higher authority.
Anonymous members of the Joint List told Makor Rishon they were pleased with the choices of Balad voters, who replaced their fanatical leaders with seemingly more pragmatic ones, including a woman, Nibin Abu Rahmoun, at the top of the list. The latest choices could revitalize the Balad faction as well as the entire Knesset list, possibly attracting one or two additional seats.
With MK Ghattas’ resounding defeat Balad voters have severed their ties to his uncle, former MK Azmi Bishara, who back in 2007 resigned from the Knesset through the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, following police investigation into his treasonous activities, aiding the enemy during wartime, passing information on to the enemy and contacts with a foreign agent, as well as laundering money received from foreign sources. With that shameful legacy out of the way, the new faces in Balad could devote themselves to improving the quality of life for Israeli Arabs.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi) appeared on journalist Aryeh Golan’s Israel Radio morning show Wednesday in response to the surprising statements—first by the new defense minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) that he was all in favor of the two-state solution, followed by the cooing response of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who appeared eager to get together and chat peace with comrade Yvette.
And so, Aryeh Golan opened: “Mahmoud Abbas is saying if Liberman supports the two-state solution there’s no reason not to meet him. [Ma’alot-Tarshiha Mayor] Shlomo Bohbot [who met with Abbas on Tuesday, along with other Galilee regional council heads] says, I found an amazing man. Lieberman says the wholeness of the nation takes precedence over the wholeness of the land. You hear new voices from both sides regarding a meeting, [renewed] negotiations?”
“We’ve already seen Mr. Liberman speaking this way one time, that way another, presumably in accordance with international pressure and other factors,” Ariel answered. “I would have preferred it to be different, but these are the facts.” He advised: “Talks are not a scary thing. The question is what do we say during the talks.”
Golan: Prime Minister Netanyahu sounded as if he approves the Saudi initiative, ahead of the [Paris] foreign ministers conference Friday.
Ariel: I’ve said it in the past, this is not the position of the government, nor the Likud, nor any authorized political entity.
Golan: The Prime Minster is not authorized enough?
Ariel: He is first among equals. There is no decision at all, not political, not by any party, not national, certainly not in the Knesset. On the contrary, last year MK Yoel Hasson (Zionist Camp) tried to pass the Arab initiative in the Knesset and the Likud rejected it.
“I see here a verbal maneuvering,” Ariel added. “I’m sorry it’s been done, I would have preferred that he [didn’t do it] but for that you have Habayit Hayehudi — why are we here? — To speak the truth.”
Golan: And should the Prime Minister embrace the French initiative? Do you agree with Liberman’s statement (originally made by the late Rv Ovadia Yosef) that the wholeness of the nations takes precedence over the wholeness of the land?
That was Liberman’s signal slogan upon entering office this week: he cares more about national cohesiveness than about territories. That’s usually something politicians say just before making some section of the national whole really miserable (see Gush Katif in a Google search near you).
Ariel: In my opinion the French initiative is totally screwed up at its foundation. It sets an end date [for the talks]. So that the other side can just linger, play for time, until the date arrives and then Israel is to blame. Which is why the PM does not agree with the French initiative. He talks about direct negotiations about which, in this context, he is certainly right, it’s better this way — the way the peace agreements with Jordan and with Egypt were reached, in direct talks between us and the Arabs and not through others.
“As to the statement about the wholeness of the nation — there’s no contradiction here,” Ariel insisted. “It’s comparing two unequal terms, like it’s better to eat spaghetti than to dance the waltz. It’s true, but so what? It doesn’t work this way.”
“We’re about to celebrate Jerusalem Liberation Day on Sunday,” Ariel pointed out. “We’ve been in the territories for 48 years. Jordan had been there only 19 years. The slogan sounds nice, but, again, it’s a verbal maneuver in ever-changing situations.”
So, at least while Habayit Hayehudi is in government, those territories are non-negotiable. Unless you like spaghetti with your waltz.
Jerusalem (TPS) – While most eyes have been on Avigdor Liberman being appointed as Defense Minister, another new minister from the Yisrael Beiteinu party was sworn into office on Tuesday afternoon in the Knesset. Incoming Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver, an Olah (immigrant) from Russia, has now returned to the office she headed between 2009 and 2015 and will be in charge of successfully integrating Israel’s many immigrants into society.
Sofa Landver, 66, was born in Leningrad in the Soviet Union (today Saint Petersburg, Russia) and moved to Israel in 1979. After serving in the Ashdod city council and in the Jewish Agency, she was elected as Knesset member for the Labor party in 1996 – the first former Soviet citizen to become a member of the Israeli parliament.
She was a Labor MK until the elections in 2003 when she lost her seat in the parliament. But in 2006 Landver made a significant political shift by leaving the left-wing Labor party and becoming a Knesset member for the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party headed by Avigdor Liberman, another immigrant from the former Soviet Union.
After the last elections in March 2015 Landver was forced to leave her office when her party did not join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition. Ze’ev Elkin, also originally from the Soviet Union, replaced her for one year until Liberman rejoined Netanyahu’s government last week.