European Jewish Congress
Israeli Press Review of 18.05.2016
Israeli Press Review
Israeli Press Review of 18.05.2016

Major Headlines
  • Former IDF generals back Ya’alon

Even though Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Moshe Ya'alon apparently "settled their differences" on Monday following Ya'alon's comments the night before urging the IDF's top brass to continue speaking their mind, several senior officers in reserves have now come out in support of the defence minister, Yediot Aharonot reports.

The controversy was prompted by comments this month by IDF deputy chief, Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan, who compared recent trends in Israeli society to the atmosphere in Nazi-era Germany. Netanyahu called Golan's statement, made in a speech marking Holocaust Memorial Day, as "outrageous" - while Ya'alon supported the general's right to speak.

On Sunday, Ya'alon encouraged top military generals to continue speaking their mind in public, even if their comments contradict government sentiments.

"Do not be afraid. Do not hesitate," Ya'alon said. "A good army is an army whose commanders, junior and senior alike, feel confident in their ability to speak their mind at all times. Continue to act in keeping with your human conscience and compass, and not to follow the way the wind is blowing."

An outraged Netanyahu countered that military officials can speak freely in closed circles, but should not delve into political disputes in public. Ministers in his Cabinet largely lined up behind him on Monday.

Following their meeting, Netanyahu and Ya'alon issued a joint statement denying any dispute and asserting that "officers are free to express their opinions in the relevant forums."

Meanwhile, former GOC Central Command Maj.-Gen. (res.) Gadi Shamni told Ynet that "it's a good thing that the defence minister urged officers must speak their minds. An army of 'Yes-Men' is dangerous for Israel."

Commanders for Israel's Security, a movement that brings together some 200 senior security officials in reserves, also backed Ya'alon.

"Senior officers are supposed to express their opinions both on matters of national security and on the IDF's values," the movement said. "The defence minister did well to see the difference between independence of thought and obeying decisions. Ya'alon provides a faithful expression of these values, which were formulated by (first PM) David Ben-Gurion."

Click here to read the full article in Yediot Aharonot


  • Suspected mastermind of Jewish terrorism released from detention

The Shin Bet security service's number one Jewish suspect of terrorism will be released from administrative detention later this month, state prosecutors said on Tuesday.

According to the prosecutors, the Shin Bet security service will not ask to extend the administrative detention order against Meir Ettinger when it expires at the end of May, Ha’aretz reports.

Ettinger, the grandson of the slain far-right activist Meir Kahane, was detained following the murder of the Dawabsheh family in the West Bank village of Duma last July, and was placed in administrative detention for six months. His detention was later extended by a further four months.

The prosecutors told the Lod District Court that Ettinger will be released at the end of the month, and that an administrative order will be issued to restrict the people he can make contact with and the places he can reside in.

Following his detention, a judge noted that Ettinger encouraged acts of violence that harmed Israel's security, and that he organised a violent revolt aimed at toppling the state. 

Click here to read the full article in Haaretz


  • Jesus’s baptismal site to be cleared of landmines

Qasr al-Yehud, the site where many Christian traditions believe Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, will soon be cleared of some 4,000 landmines and other ordnance left over from the 1967 war and its aftermath, the Times of Israel reports.

The move, announced on Monday, aims to allow pilgrims to visit areas inaccessible for nearly 50 years, blocked off by barbed wire fences intended to keep visitors from walking too close to the minefields.

Part of the site, located south-east of Jericho in the West Bank north of the Dead Sea, was cleared in 2011, allowing limited access for pilgrims and tourists, thousands of whom now visit the location each year, especially during the Epiphany holiday in January.

The mine-clearing project will be carried out by HALO Trust, a UK-based demining group that operates in 19 places around the world and has worked in the past to clear mines elsewhere in the West Bank.

Israel mined the area along the Jordan River following the Six Day War in a bid to prevent Jordanian tanks and infantry, as well as Palestinian guerrilla fighters and terrorists, from infiltrating into Israeli-held territory and attacking Israeli settlements.

The site is also important in Jewish tradition, where many view it as the location where the Israelite tribes under Joshua first crossed into the land of Israel after their 40-year desert journey from Egypt. The Arabic name Qasr al-Yahud, “the Jews’ Fortress,” is a corruption of the earlier name, “the Jews’ break,” where they broke through the river into the Promised Land.

Click here to read the full article in Times of Israel

Wednesday, May 18, 2016
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