European Jewish Congress
Israeli Press Review of 16.05.2016
Israeli Press Review
Israeli Press Review of 16.05.2016

Major Headlines
  • Herzog quashes unity government rumours

Opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog (Zionist Union) denied on Friday that he is close to an agreement with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on forming a national unity government, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Herzog quashed the rumours after political insiders raised the possibility that his party would join the coalition in the coming days.

The Likud also denied that an agreement had been reached, saying that gaps between the party and the Zionist Union remain too large.

“For the past year, I have been asked to join the government every day, and I’ve always answered: It does not interest me to sit without a hand on the steering wheel. I am not the decorations committee,” Herzog said.

“Everyone likes the term ‘unity,’ but in my eyes, it’s a matter of our joint path,” he added. “If I get the mandate to stop the next wave of funerals and the danger of an international boycott, to bring back the US and Europe as our allies, to open negotiations with states in the region and separate from the Palestinians in a two-state deal, and to stop the continual campaign of terrorism, then I will know my hands are on the wheel.”

Netanyahu, Herzog and their surrogates continued negotiations to expand the narrow, 61-seat coalition early last week.

Should a broad coalition be formed, Herzog would likely be appointed foreign minister, a portfolio Netanyahu has held for the past year, while the Economy Ministry, another portfolio Netanyahu held in recent months, would likely go to Labour.

Click here to read the full article in Jerusalem Post


  • Netanyahu and Ya’alon in heated public exchange

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu summoned Defence Minister Moshe Ya'alon to his office on Monday for a "clarification meeting" after the two came head to head on Sunday evening in a public exchange of remarks regarding the IDF, Yediot Aharonot reports.

Speaking to the IDF's top brass, including the IDF chief and other generals, Ya'alon urged the military leadership to "continue acting according to human conscience and compass, rather than follow the direction the wind blows."

While the defence minister was still speaking at the ceremony in the Kirya Army Headquarters in Tel Aviv, the Prime Minister's Office released a statement saying "Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gives his full backing to the IDF, its commanders and soldiers.”

The PMO statement went on to further condemn a controversial statement made by Deputy IDF Chief Yair Golan on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, noting that "the prime minister remains steadfast in his opinion that the comparison (of events unfolding in Israel) to Nazi Germany was inappropriate, made at an inappropriate time, and caused Israel damage on the international stage. The IDF's commanders freely speak their minds—in relevant forums and on topics under their purview. The IDF is the army of the people, and should be kept out of political disputes."

Several high-ranked IDF officers have recently found themselves under criticism, the most recent of which was the IDF deputy chief of staff, Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan, who warned at a ceremony on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day of processes that happened in Germany of the 1920s and 1930s, which he now sees happening in Israel today.

“If there is something that frightens me about the memory of the Holocaust, it is seeing the abhorrent processes that took place in Europe, and Germany in particular, some 70, 80 or 90 years ago, and finding manifestations of these processes here among us in 2016,” Golan said at the Masua Holocaust Institute in Tel Yitzhak.

Golan's speech was met with scathing criticism from all directions, including from the prime minister himself who condemned the comparison made by the deputy IDF chief as "outrageous" and noted the remarks "wrong Israeli society and cheapen the Holocaust."

The defense minister and prime minister have also found themselves at odds over Sgt. Elor Azaria, who was charged with manslaughter after shooting dead an already-neutralised terrorist in Hebron.

While the defence minister and the top military ranks condemned the incident and called to bring the soldier to justice, the prime minister called the soldier's father to offer words of support.

Ya'alon warned that "over the past few months, we have found ourselves fighting against an extremist minority that acts both on the ground and on social media. A part of this fringe group also made its way to the mainstream, under cover and guise, and is trying to influence the character and values of the IDF."

Click here to read the full article in Yediot Aharonot


  • Massive heat wave leads to brush fires across Israel

A string of brush fires broke out across Israel on Sunday and caused by the massive heat wave currently engulfing the country, with hot and dry sharav conditions, Ha’aretz reports.

Six firefighting crews were battling three large fires in the Israeli Arab communities of Umm al-Fahm. Three tanker planes were called to help extinguish the blaze.

In Tiberias, a YMCA hostel and restaurant burned down, with three people being treated for smoke inhalation.

More than 400 people have required medical attention since the heat wave began on Saturday, including almost 200 who had passed out and over 30 suffering from dehydration. A 40-year-old man remains in serious condition after suffering heat stroke.

The current heat wave, which saw temperatures rising up to 34 degrees Celsius (93 degrees Fahrenheit), follows what was reported as the hottest April worldwide in 130 years. Temperatures are expected to drop on Tuesday, but will still remain unseasonably high, especially along the shore.

The predicted high in Tel Aviv for Sunday was 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit); In Eilat, the high was expected to soar to 44 Celsius (111 degrees Fahrenheit); Haifa with 39 Celsius (102 Fahrenheit); Jerusalem with 36 Celsius (97 Fahrenheit); Be’er Sheva’s with 42 degrees Celsius (107.5 Fahrenheit); and the Dead Sea was to have a high of 43 Celsius (109.5 Fahrenheit).

Click here to read the full article in Ha’aretz

Monday, May 16, 2016
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