European Jewish Congress
Israeli Press Review of 29.03.2016
Israeli Press Review
Israeli Press Review of 29.03.2016

Major Headlines
  • Defence Minister castigates MKs backing soldier in Hebron killing

Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Monday levelled harsh criticism against lawmakers expressing support for a soldier who shot a disarmed Palestinian assailant in the head in the West Bank city of Hebron last week, the Times of Israel reports.

A preliminary investigation into Thursday’s shooting determined the incident “a case of a soldier gone bad, not a hero,” Ya’alon told Knesset members, defending the army’s investigation and the military prosecutor’s decision to charge the soldier with murder.

The soldier, whose name is being withheld from publication, was filmed on Thursday shooting a wounded and nearly motionless Palestinian assailant in the head following a stabbing attack in Hebron. The soldier was charged with murder on Friday, drawing anger from his family and right-wing politicians including Education Minister Naftali Bennett.

Without naming Bennett, Ya’alon, who has vociferously defended the army’s move to charge the soldier, kept up his attack on the minister, following a sharp exchange over the issue a day earlier.

“I regret that the coalition includes a minister who, instead of calling the defence minister before going to the media, called to encourage and support [the soldier],” he said.

On Sunday, Bennett, head of the hawkish Jewish Home party, accused senior politicians of capitulating to a left-wing agenda for their condemnation of the incident. On Monday, he claimed that there was no chance the soldier could be given a fair trial — as he had been judged guilty by the army and in the press.

But Ya’alon said the decision to charge the soldier was based not on a video from the B’Tselem human rights group showing the shooting, but on the recommendation of army officials, including the brigade commander of the soldier’s unit, the Military Police and the IDF chief of staff.

“Do you want a brutalized army that’s without a moral backbone?” Ya’alon asked.

“I am asking you not to intervene in these matters,” he urged, and added that “when someone is corrupted, they must be held accountable.”

Click here to read the full article in Times of Israel


  • Knesset passes first reading on bill to allow suspension of elected members

The Knesset gave its initial approval for the controversial MK suspension bill, which would allow the Knesset to suspend a member by way of a 75 percent voting majority in the house, Yediot Aharonot reports.

The bill was pushed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and came about following the meetings held by members of the Knesset Balad faction, which is part of the Arab Joint List, with family members of Palestinian terrorists.

The Knesset voted to approve the bill on first reading by a majority of 59 to 52, meaning it was approved by fewer than half of the total number of MKs and leaving it open to possible legal challenge.

Knesset bills require three rounds of votes in order to officially become law. Monday evening's vote was the first.

Click here to read the full article in Yediot Aharonot


  • Supreme Court overturns government’s natural gas deal

Israel's High Court of Justice has overturned the government's landmark deal on pumping natural gas, delivering a blow to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and a consortium of energy companies, Israel Hayom reports.

The ruling gave the Knesset a year to amend the plan or the framework will be cancelled. It cited a clause in the deal that would prevent Israel from making significant regulatory changes for the next 10 years as the main reason for scuttling it, arguing that the clause restricts the Knesset's powers.

Netanyahu has made the energy deal a centrepiece of his agenda, saying the gas sales from Israel's large offshore reserves would bring energy self-sufficiency and billions of dollars in tax revenues. Critics have said the deal gives excessively favourable terms to the government's corporate partners.

Netanyahu criticised the court's ruling, saying, "The High Court of Justice decision severely threatens the development of the gas reserves of the State of Israel. Israel is seen as a state with excessive judicial interference in which it is difficult to do business. Certainly nobody has any reason to celebrate that the gas is liable to remain in the depths of the sea and that hundreds of billions of shekels will not reach the citizens of Israel.”

On the other hand, Zionist Union MK Shelly Yachimovich praised the court ruling, calling it "historic and dramatic."

"The High Court justices chose to put the brakes on the unchecked recklessness that was benefiting the gas tycoons," Yachimovich said.

Click here to read the full article in Israel Hayom


  • Parole board postpones decision on releasing former President

A decision on former President Moshe Katsav's request for an early release on good behaviour has been postponed until next week after a lengthy hearing in front of the Parole Board, Yediot Aharonot reports. 

Katsav is serving a term of seven years in prison for two counts of rape, indecent assault and sexual harassment. Representatives of the prosecutor's office expressed opposition to Katsav's release, arguing he has never admitted to the crimes he was convicted of, never expressed remorse, and hasn't undergone rehabilitation treatment for sex offenders.

Click here to read the full article in Yediot Aharonot

Tuesday, March 29, 2016
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