European Jewish Congress
Israeli Press Review of 28.03.2016
Israeli Press Review
Israeli Press Review of 28.03.2016

Major Headlines
  • IDF general dies in plane crash

Brigadier General Munir Amar, Head of the IDF Civil Administration, was killed in a plane crash in the Lower Galilee on Friday afternoon, Yediot Aharonot reports.

Amar, a resident of the Druze village of Julis in northern Israel, had just celebrated his 47th birthday with close friends and family on Thursday.

A husband and father of three children, he served in the army after being drafted for his compulsory service. He was just appointed as head of the Civil Administration in the West Bank.

Azzal Amar, Munir's family member, described him as "a humble individual with a good heart. He usually did not enter the village in uniform because he did not want the residents to see his high ranks. Moreover, his house was open to everyone."

Amar took off in a plane from an airport in Haifa and crashed around 1:30PM near Mount Kamon on Friday afternoon. Rescue teams were deployed immediately to search for BG Amar after contact with his plane was lost. Firefighters found the plane shortly thereafter, and a team from air force search and rescue unit 669 withdrew Amar from his plane, but he had already passed away.

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot expressed his deep sadness for Amar's death.

"Munir was an exceptional officer, who served in a number of senior IDF positions with success." He added, "We share the pain of (his) family and we are embracing it during these difficult hours."

Minister of Defence Moshe Ya'alon said that his death is an enormous loss for the IDF and the State of Israel. The Yesha Council also issued a statement, mourning Amar's passing.

Click here to read the full article in Yediot Aharonot


  • Chief Rabbi: Non-Jews should not be allowed to live in Israel

Israel’s Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef said that non-Jews should not live in the Land of Israel if they do not abide by a set of seven laws mandated by Judaism, the Times of Israel reports.

“According to Jewish law, gentiles should not live in the Land of Israel,” Yosef said Saturday in a sermon. “If a gentile does not agree to take on the seven Noahide Laws, we should send him to Saudi Arabia. When the true and complete redemption arrives, that is what we will do.”

The only reason non-Jews were still allowed to live in the Jewish state was the fact that the Messiah had yet to arrive, he said. “If our hand were firm, if we had the power to rule, that’s what we should do. But the thing is, our hand is not firm, and we are waiting for the Messiah,” he added.

Yosef added that gentiles who do agree to take on the Noahide Laws — a basic moral code that includes prohibitions on denying the existence of God, blasphemy, murder, illicit sexual relations, theft, and eating from a live animal, as well as a requirement to instate a legal system — will be allowed to remain in the land and fulfill roles reserved for gentiles in the service of Jews.

Like his late father, the legendary Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Yitzhak Yosef has sparked controversy with his statements. Two weeks ago he said Israelis should kill knife-wielding terrorists without fear of the law.

“You shouldn’t be afraid,” he insisted, quoting the ancient rabbinic exhortation, “He who comes to kill you, arise to kill him [first].”

Yosef then cautioned Israelis to not be concerned by what he suggested were the vicissitudes of judges or generals. When faced with an armed assailant, “Don’t start worrying that someone will take you to the High Court of Justice, or that some [IDF] chief of staff will say otherwise.”

He went on to warn against killing a terrorist who no longer posed a threat, however, saying the not-yet-arrived Messiah was the only arbiter who could sentence a non-threatening enemy to death.

In early 2015, the rabbi came out strongly against smartphones and recounted an incident in which he submerged such a device in water.

When the phone rang during a class he was delivering, Yosef told its owner, a student, to bring a bowl of water, he said. “He went to bring a bowl of water, and put it on the desk. I put it inside, it bubbled and was gone. The phone was gone,” he recalled.

Click here to read the full article in Times of Israel


  • Food prices in Israel have fallen over last two years

Food prices in Israel dropped 2.3% in 2014-15 at a time when prices in other developed economies were rising 4%, but they still remain high compared to other countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Treasury said on Sunday.

At the end of 2015, Israeli food prices were 10% higher than the OECD average, although that is down from 16% at the end of 2011, it noted. Prices had been rising since 2006 and the downtrend began in Israel in began in 2014 and will likely continue this year, Ha’aretz reports.

Although prices have been falling, a 2015 poll by the Treasury, shows consumers haven’t noticed it: 93% of those surveyed said prices were rising. That could be because Israelis were shopping less at discount supermarkets and more at convenience stores and minimarkets, which generally sell food at higher prices.

The report comes as the government moves ahead with plans to pressure food prices lower and close the remaining gap. Ahead of this year’s Passover holiday, it raised quotas for duty-free imports and plans long-term reductions in duties starting in 2017 as part of an overhaul of the farm sector.

However, an experiment in lowering prices for cheese and meat by exempting some imports from duties had at best mixed results. Data collected by the Finance Ministry through Nielsen, the market research firm, showed that prices for hard cheese fell only 1% in 2014 and 2% in 2015, not much faster than overall prices. Fresh meat prices fell 5% in 2015 but shot up 11% in 2015.

Click here to read the full article in Haaretz


  • Netanyahu warns of difficulties in mixed gender Western Wall scheme

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday that there were difficulties that could hamper a historic agreement to allow egalitarian Jewish prayers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, sparking condemnation from the country’s Reform and Conservative movements, the Times of Israel reports.

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said that “some difficulties have arisen” in the scheme, but noted that Netanyahu remains committed to resolving the problems and hopes to propose a solution within 60 days.

“Two months ago the government took a decision to implement the recommendations of an advisory team on the matter of prayer arrangements at the Western Wall. After taking the decision, some difficulties have arisen. We are working to find a solution to them,” the statement read.

Netanyahu did not clarify what difficulties had arisen from the decision, which would move to create an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall alongside the traditional separated men’s and women’s sides.

Officials from the Reform and Conservative streams of Judaism coloured the decision as a Netanyahu retreat from pressure from the ultra-Orthodox community.

Click here to read the full article in Times of Israel

Monday, March 28, 2016
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