European Jewish Congress
Israeli Press Review of 24.03.2016
Israeli Press Review
Israeli Press Review of 24.03.2016

Major Headlines
  • Israel imposes closure on West Bank and Gaza during Purim holiday

In an unusual step, the Israel Defense Forces has imposed a closure on the West Bank and Gaza during the Purim holiday, and will not allow Palestinians to enter Israeli territory, Ha’aretz reports.

The decision to prevent the entry of Palestinians from the West Bank into Israel was made by the political leadership on Tuesday, at the conclusion of a situation assessment. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon approved the decision. This is a comprehensive step that will restrict the work of at least 80,000 Palestinians during the holiday and the coming weekend.

Entry into Israel was prohibited starting on Wednesday night for 57,000 Palestinians employed in Israel who have work permits and will continue until Saturday at 11:59 P.M. Another 20,000 Palestinians who have commercial permits in Israel will be prevented from entering. According to the IDF spokesman, during those days, which are defined as a time of “general closure,” entry into Israel will be permitted only in cases related to humanitarian and health-related issues. That will also require the approval of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. The defence establishment added that entry to the West Bank will be permitted.

On Wednesday it emerged that the closure will also apply to the Gaza Strip. Only some 870 Christians with the appropriate permits will be allowed to pass through the Erez Crossing for Easter.   

Usually, the defence establishment imposes a general closure on the territories during major Jewish holidays, mainly during Yom Kippur and Passover. Imposing a closure on Purim is considered exceptional, and has not been done in recent years. 

Click here to read the full article in Ha’aretz


  • Netanyahu: We are teaching other countries how to fight terror

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called a press conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday evening, to discuss the bombing in Istanbul, in which three Israelis were killed, and the synchronised terrorist attacks in Brussels that killed 31 people, Yediot Aharonot reports.

Netanyahu told the media that he had spoken to Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini, expressing his condolences.

"If there's one people in the world who know what they're going through, it's the citizens of Israel, who have been standing bravely and courageously against terror attacks for many years," Netanyahu said, "I offered them Israel's full assistance in the fight against terror – intelligence and security assistance."

The PM further said that "It's a war of cultural people vs. people of darkness. Terror strikes everywhere. It strikes in Paris, where 129 people were murdered in one evening, in Ankara, and Brussels where dozens were murdered. It strikes in Istanbul, where three Israelis were murdered as well. It strikes the Ivory Coast, California, Jerusalem, and in villages and cities in the land of Israel."

Netanyahu mentioned the Palestinians, saying, "I've said many times already that terrorism does not emerge out of the occupation, or out of despair, but out of hope. The hope of ISIS terrorists that they will establish an Islamic caliphate over the entirety of Europe. The hope of Palestinian terrorists that they will manage to establish a Palestinian state over the entirety of Israel. We must work together and take that hope away from them.

Click here to read the full article in Yediot Aharonot


  • Rivlin: BDS is Antisemitism

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin met with merchants from West Bank settlements that are faced with an economic boycott on Wednesday night and declared, "BDS is an expression of clear antisemitism, manifested in a desire to harm Israel and to question its very existence." 

Central at the meeting were representatives of the organisation Lev Ha’Olam, which, in cooperation with the Samaria Residents Council, aids small businesses in the territories dealing with boycotts of their products in different locations across the world, Yediot Aharonot reports.

Among other activities, the organisation purchases a wide variety of products every month from business owners, and sends them in packages to more than 1,000 customers worldwide. The venture exports cosmetics, olive oil, honey, Judaica, chocolate, tea and other items.

 "One cannot cast any doubt on our historic connection with the Land of Israel, with our country and our homeland. The boycotts are motivated by an opposition to Israel's existence," Rivlin told the business owners. 

Rivlin continued, "One of the important things in making peace between us and our neighbours, the Palestinian Arabs, is creating and building trust, and the importance of that is everyone's ability to live well in this land and to cooperate. Joint enterprises in which Jews and Arabs work together are an example of creating this trust, and this is expressed not only in Jerusalem and Haifa, but also in Judea and Samaria."

Click here to read the full article in Yediot Aharonot

Thursday, March 24, 2016
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