European Jewish Congress
Israeli Press Review of 30.05.2016
Israeli Press Review
Israeli Press Review of 30.05.2016

Major Headlines
  • Environmental protection minister resigns

Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabai announced his resignation on Friday, saying that in light of the recent cabinet reshuffle he could no longer remain a member of the government, Ha’aretz reports.

Gabai slammed the appointment of Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman as defence minister and warned that the move could polarise Israeli society.

"I see the recent political moves and the replacement of the defense minister as grave acts that ignore what's important to national security, and will widen societal rifts," he said. "I cannot be partner to this line of action."

Gabai, a founding member of the Kulanu party, is not a member of the Knesset, which means that his resignation has no bearing on the size of the coalition. 

Click here to read the full article in Ha’aretz


  • Deputy minister admits he visited Syria

Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara, a member of the Likud faction, admitted on Saturday he has visited Syria since the beginning of the civil war in the country, Ha’aretz reports.

Kara, the deputy regional cooperation minister, was asked about his experience in Syria at a cultural event in Be'er Sheva. He said that the situation was "very hard, a very serious situation, you can't even imagine… it's a whole other world. When you crossover from Israel to Lebanon or Syria, you see the difference."

When asked if he had crossed into Syria sometime in the past year, Kara, who is Druze, refused to divulge details. "I won't get into it… I've been accused of visiting Aleppo in order to save the last Jewish family [there], I never denied or confirmed it."

Kara did, however, describe the city, saying that "Aleppo today is abandoned… Today when you enter it, you won't even think that it's Aleppo. It doesn't even remind you of Aleppo." He added that 20,000 Jews once lived in the city, with "harmony between Jews and Druze and all other minorities."

Earlier this month, Kara claimed he was involved in the release of Berjas Aweidat, a Druze man from the Golan Heights town of Majdal Shams. Syria released Aweidat, 47, after 13 years in jail.

The reason for his detainment was unclear, but Kara said he was suspected of spying for Israel.

Click here to read the full article in Ha’aretz


  • Coalition crisis over as Netanyahu and Bennett reach compromise

A looming coalition crisis, which threatened to thwart Avigdor Lieberman and Yisrael Beytenu's entry into the government and potentially result in a national election, was averted on Sunday, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett announced on social media that he and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had come to an understanding over the unresolved issue regarding the security cabinet. 

Bennett had been demanding that a military secretary regularly brief the security cabinet, which consists of senior MKs including himself, rather than allow Netanyahu and incoming defence minister Lieberman to control the information flow from the military and security services to the remaining members of the body.

According to a Facebook post some minutes after his initial tweet on the subject, Bennett said that as of Monday, "there will be a military secretary" appointed to brief the security cabinet. 

Bennett and other senior figures have been vocally critical over the operation of the cabinet, which is responsible for making critical decisions, such as authorising the deployment of IDF ground troops. 

Bennett, clearly keen to move on from the crisis, concluded his post: "The Jewish nation won. Back to work."

The vote to expand the government was now set to go ahead on Monday.

Click here to read the full article in Jerusalem Post


  • Netanyahu apologises after police say gang rape of disabled woman likely not nationalistic attack

The gang rape of a disabled Jewish woman by a Palestinian man and teenager and an Israeli man was likely not a nationalistically-motivated attack, police said on Sunday.

“Until now, there has been no indication of a nationalistic motive,” police spokesperson Luba Samri told The Times of Israel.

“The suspected rape is still under investigation,” she said.

The suspected rape is “a complex incident, and is likely not a nationalistic attack,” another police spokesperson added in an interview to Army Radio.

Police revealed last Wednesday that the two Palestinians were arrested in the rape of a mentally and physically handicapped Israeli woman in Jaffa earlier this month. A third man, an Israeli citizen, is also believed to have been involved in the sexual assault and remains at large. According to reports, one of the suspects filmed the attack.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday night used the incident to denounce the Israeli left and media, whom he said did not condemn the attack. But the prime minister on Friday backtracked and apologised for drawing conclusions before the police investigation was completed.

In a Facebook post on Thursday evening, Netanyahu wrote: “We can only imagine what would have happened if the tables were reversed,” suggesting that the outcry would have been stronger had Jewish men raped a disabled Palestinian woman.

Netanyahu’s post was roundly condemned by left-wing and centrist politicians.

On Friday, Netanyahu wrote that the “incident, as it was reported, caused me deep pain and shock. At the same time, it was wrong that I address the subject before an investigation and I regret that.”

Earlier Thursday, before Netanyahu’s original post, Meretz head Zehava Galon wrote on Facebook that the incident was “so awful, that it’s hard to even read about it, and impossible to imagine what the victim was going through right now.”

Click here to read the full article in Times of Israel


  • Police recommend indicting Sara Netanyahu over irregularities at PM’s residence

Israel Police have recommended indicting Sara Netanyahu, wife of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, concerning irregularities in the running of the prime minister's households in Jerusalem and Caesarea, Haaretz reports.

Netanyahu was questioned under caution - as someone who might be charged with a crime - in December 2015 by Israel Police's Lahav 433 fraud investigation unit. 

She was said to be asked to detail her involvement in the running of the prime minister's official residence in Jerusalem and explain whether state funds were used to pay service providers at their private residence in Caesarea.

The probe, based on a state comptroller’s report issued in February, along with evidence supplied by Meni Naftali, a former chief caretaker at the official residence, focused on three issues.

One is the employment of electrician Avi Fahima, a former Likud Central Committee member who has been close to Binjamin Netanyahu for years and often did work at the Caesarea residence in the years when Netanyahu was out of office.

The second issue related to refunds on recycled bottles. As Haaretz reported earlier this year, between 2009 and 2013 Sara Netanyahu allegedly pocketed thousands of shekels in such refunds. The refunds should actually have gone to the government, which paid for the original drinks. Two years ago, after this issue first came to light during Naftali’s lawsuit against the state and the Netanyahus, the prime minister repaid the state 4,000 shekels. But Naftali claimed the real sum Sara Netanyahu took was around 24,000 shekels.

The third issue related to garden furniture purchased for the prime minister’s official residence. Police suspect the new furniture was actually transferred to the Caesarea home, while the official residence was left with the old furniture.

Click here to read the full article in Ha’aretz


Monday, May 30, 2016
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