European Jewish Congress
Israeli Press Review of 31.03.2016
Israeli Press Review
Israeli Press Review of 31.03.2016

Major Headlines
  • Herzog under investigation for party finance violations

The Israel Police and the country’s tax authorities are conducting a preliminary investigation against Opposition leader Isaac Herzog on suspicion he violated the party financing law during the last Labour party primary elections, Yediot Aharonot reports.

The probe is still in its initial stages and police have yet to launched an official criminal investigation.

"I welcome the preliminary investigation that is being conducted, following the decision of the attorney general," Herzog said in response. "This is political slander that the Likud party and disgruntled activists tried to spread before the elections, and it was denied at the time. I'm certain the investigation will disprove these absurd claims once and for all. I will fully cooperate with whatever I'm asked to do, so the issue can be promptly clarified."

The Zionist Union leader served as cabinet secretary in Ehud Barak's government following the 1999 elections. Allegations arose against Barak’s campaign of violating the Parties Financing Law, and Herzog was suspected of fundraising for the One Israel (Labour) party with the help of NGOs. At the time, he was questioned under warning and police recommended to indict him. But Herzog maintained silence, and the attorney general eventually decided to close the case, citing insufficient evidence.

Click here to read the full article in Yediot Aharonot


  • Israeli Arabs protest and strike on Land Day

Israel's Arab citizens went on a general strike on Wednesday to mark the 40th anniversary of Land Day, Yediot Aharonot reports.

Businesses, public institutions, and medical centres in the Arab sector were closed throughout the day, while protests organisd by the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel were held in the Galilee and the Negev in the afternoon.

Thousands of people protested in the villages of Arraba and Sakhnin in the Western Galilee and at Umm al-Hiran in the Negev. Protesters called to continue the fight against home demolitions and land expropriation. They waved Palestinian flags and banners that read: "Give me land or give me death."

Protesters were joined by Arab MKs and by the leader of the outlawed northern branch of the Islamic Movement, Raed Salah.

Land Day is marked on March 30 every year since 1976. On that day 40 years ago, Israeli Arabs declared a general strike in protest at government decisions to expropriate Arab lands in the Galilee. A day before the strike, violent clashes broke out between IDF and Border Police forces and residents of the villages of Deir Hanna, Arraba and Sakhnin in the Galilee. In an effort to stop the escalation of violence, the IDF sealed off these villages as well as nearby villages. Some of the residents tried to leave and six protesters were killed and 38 wounded in clashes with security forces.

Click here to read the full article in Yediot Aharonot


  • Deri faces corruption investigation

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit has opened an investigation into corruption allegations against Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, Yediot Aharonot reports.

Deri wrote on his Twitter account, "I spoke with the attorney general tonight and I demanded he lift the gag order against the publication of everything pertaining to my case. I informed him that I will answer all questions asked of me."

According to a Channel 2 report Wednesday evening, Deri has been accused of extensive corruption. Details of the case have been censored by a gag order and still cannot be published despite Deri's Twitter comment. 

Deri was forced to resign from the cabinet in 1993 for accepting $155,000 in bribes while serving as interior minister. He was sentenced in 1999 to four years in prison. 

After thirteen years outside of politics, he returned to the leadership of the Shas party in October 2012.

Click here to read the full article in Yediot Aharonot


  • Treasury lowers Israel’s forecasted growth rate for 2016

The Finance Ministry lowered its growth forecast for the year, and is now predicting that Israel’s economy will expand at a 2.8% rate, Ha’aretz reports.

This is less than the previous forecast of 2.9% set last September. That forecast was used to draft the 2016 budget.

The latest ministry forecast also predicts that the budget deficit will come out to 2.8% of the GDP this year.

The ministry’s growth statistics indicate that Israel’s economy expanded 2.5% last year. Earlier this week, the Bank of Israel also released updated growth forecasts for the year. The central bank also sees growth of 2.8% this year, and 3.0% next year.

Last November, the OECD had forecast slightly more brisk growth for Israel, 3.2% for 2016.

Click here to read the full article in Haaretz

Thursday, March 31, 2016
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