European Jewish Congress
Israeli Press Review of 20.06.2016
Israeli Press Review
Israeli Press Review of 20.06.2016

Major Headlines
  • Government approves 72 million shekel additional funding injection for West Bank settlements

The government approved on Sunday a massive financial package of 72 million shekels for settlements in the West Bank, Yediot Aharonot reports.

While the budget is largely being justified on security-related grounds, an examination of where the money will be directed shows that a large proportion is intended for fields which are not related to security matters.

The programme will assign the Interior Ministry a one-time grant of NIS 15 million to local authorities in settlements in light of the expenses arising from the security situation in the region.

As part of the programme, the Interior Ministry will allocate 15 million shekels to the local authorities of the settlements in light of the outgoings which have come from the situation in the area. The Ministry of Agriculture will undertake efforts to convert temporary structures into permanent and renovated buildings for the public to strengthen security. The sum allocated for this will be NIS 10 million.

Furthermore, money will be allocated toward funding resilience centers in order to strengthen the preparedness of communities in the West Bank for emergencies and to support psychological and social programs. The investment will total 12 million shekels over the course of 3 years. Additionally, the Ministry of Social Affairs will increase its activities in the West Bank at a cost of 6 million shekels.

The assistance program will augment other similar programmes which the government decided upon during the last year which cost millions of shekels.

MK Itzik Shmuli (Zionist Union) said on Saturday, “This is simply an outrageous decision. At a time when people are marching in Jerusalem because of government malpractice, it decides to pour tens of millions of shekels into the settlements. When will this government start caring about the periphery which is being left behind?” 

Click here to read the full article in Yediot Aharonot

  • Former IDF chief says Israel not under existential threat

Former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz said on Friday at an academic conference that the State of Israel is not currently under an existential threat. However, he did say that he presumes that threats do exist that have the potential to become existential, such as the Iranian nuclear programme or if ISIS were to get its hands on chemical or biological weapons, Yediot Aharonot reports.

Gantz was speaking at a conference of the Open University in Haifa, and he refused to address the statements of former IDF chiefs of staff and defence ministers Moshe Ya'alon and Ehud Barak on Thursday at the Herzliya Conference. However, Gantz intimated that he would prefer activity with social, rather than political, components. On Thursday, Gantz announced that he would be joining former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi in a new educational movement, Pnima ("inside"), that former minister of education Shai Piron intends to establish. Piron himself denied that Ashkenazi and Gantz are joining and said that the details have not yet been fixed.

Gantz added that if ISIS obtains chemical weapons, they will assuredly use them. Therefore, it is important to focus on developing the IDF's intelligence and offensive capabilities, not just in relation to ISIS, but also in regards to other threats to the country.

"We need to completely overcome ISIS until the phenomenon disappears," said the former chief of staff. "This is a kind of idea and kind of organization whose existence the free world cannot accept. We need to conduct a ground war, including international forces, but making sure that local coalitions in the Middle East will ensure that the phenomenon does not recur."

Click here to read the full article in Yediot Aharonot

  • IDF officer called “traitor” for giving evidence against soldier who shot disarmed terrorist

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot on Sunday came to the defence of the IDF officer who testified in the case of Elor Azaria, the soldier accused of manslaughter for shooting an already neutralized and unarmed Palestinian terrorist, the Jerusalem Post reports.

"Major Tom Naaman has the full support of the IDF," Eisenkot stated after Naaman received hundreds of hate-filled phone calls, as well as text and Facebook messages deriding him as not worthy of being an officer, being a "traitor" and other such comments.

"The norm expected of IDF personnel is first and foremost to tell the truth and let the court-system work without external pressures," said the chief of staff. He condemned any pressure on the witnesses involved in the Azaria trial.

Naaman, who was Azaria's officer during the time of the incident, testified on Thursday that Azaria told him after the shooting that the "terrorist was alive and needed to die." Naaman also said in his testimony that he did not feel that there was any danger coming from the terrorist at the time of the incident. Both facts came in direct contrast to Azaria's claims.

Politicians from across the political spectrum responded quickly, coming to Naaman's defence.

MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) stated that "in the face of such attacks on Major Naaman who did his duty and truthfully testified in court, we must all stand with him against these attacks. Silence is not an option."

MK Yoav Kish of the Likud also came out against the attacks on Naaman, stating, "I absolutely condemn the contemptible comments directed at Major Naaman. I call on the police and Justice Ministry to deal with the inciters."

Formeר defence minister Moshe Ya'alon said incitement against the officer had "crossed a line."

"Incitement against the company commander Major Tom Naaman, is another example of crossing a line, and it must be fought," Ya'alon wrote on Facebook. "I urge the leadership to stop winking at the extremist minority, and come out loud and clearly against this unacceptable phenomenon, and provide basic management and support for a soldier and commander who has shown courage, not only on the battlefield."

Click here to read the full article in Jerusalem Post


  • Defence ministry says no need to demolish homes of Abu Khdeir killers

Israel’s defence ministry believes the 2014 nationalistically motivated murder of east Jerusalem teenager Muhammed Abu Khdeir does not warrant the demolition of the killers’ homes, the Times of Israel reports.

Abu Khdeir was abducted and killed on July 1, 2014, by three Jewish attackers. The murder came two days after it emerged that three Israeli teens who had been abducted three weeks earlier in the West Bank had been killed by their Palestinian kidnappers. An autopsy found that the 16-year-old Arab teenager had been burned alive.

The Jerusalem District Court has handed down a life sentence, plus 20 years in jail, to Yosef Haim Ben David, found to be the ringleader of the group that murdered Abu Khdeir. The two other killers — both minors — were sentenced to life in prison and 21 years, respectively. But the Abu Khdeir family has demanded the state demolish their homes, as it does for Palestinian terrorists.

In the letter from the defence ministry’s legal adviser to the Abu Khdeir family’s lawyer Muhannad Jbara last week, the ministry argued that because cases of Jewish terror are so infrequent in relation to Arab attacks against Jews, there is no need to establish a deterrent for future Jewish attackers by demolishing the Abu Khdeir killers’ homes.

“Under the current circumstances,” the letter ended, “the appropriate action is to ensure justice is carried out for the murder of Muhammed Abu Khdeir, and not the demolition of homes pursuant to defence regulations.”

Click here to read the full article in Haaretz


  • Molotov cocktails thrown at Jerusalem house

Four Molotov cocktails were thrown at a house in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Armon HaNatziv on Thursday night. The petrol bombs from the nearby village of Jabel Mukaber. One hit the house and the others caught fire in the house’s garden, Yediot Aharonot reports.

Israel Police and Border Policemen were deployed to the scene and they arrested four suspects from Hebron for residing illegally in Israel. An investigation was opened to locate and arrest those who threw the Molotov cocktails.

Click here to read the full article in Yediot Aharonot


Monday, June 20, 2016
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