European Jewish Congress
Israeli Press Review of 21.06.2016
Israeli Press Review
Israeli Press Review of 21.06.2016

Major Headlines
  • Israel sends more planes to fight Cyprus fires

After dispatching three firefighting planes on Saturday, Israel has sent additional help to Cyprus as it struggles to put out a massive wildfire still raging in its territory, the Times of Israel reports.

The IDF sent two planes on Monday morning to the Mediterranean island to aid local fire services struggling to control the blaze near the village of Argaka in the Paphos region. Firefighters had managed to contain the fire, which burned over five square kilometers of vegetation, but heavy winds have bolstered the blaze over the last day.

Local reports said the fire was the biggest Cyprus has seen in recent years.

The army said in a statement it would “continue to provide assistance and knowledge it has acquired in dealing with this sort of fire.”

In April, Israel, Greece and Cyprus conducted the first-ever joint fire-fighting exercise in a bid to create a regional network of emergency cooperation between the countries that would be operational during emergency situations.

Click here to read the full article in Times of Israel


  • Ethiopian-Israeli chief rabbi allegedly fired over anti-racism stance

The chief rabbi of Israel’s Ethiopian community has reportedly been fired from the position over his participation in a campaign over the Chief Rabbinate’s alleged racial discrimination against Jews of Ethiopian descent, the Times of Israel reports.

Rabbi Yosef Hadane’s contract will not be renewed at the end of July. Senior officials in the Religious Affairs Ministry said the decision came in response to criticism Hadane had expressed against the rabbinate over the marriage registration woes of Ethiopian couples in the central city of Petah Tikva.

The timing is ostensibly connected to Hadane reaching the retirement age of 67. Other rabbis, however, have been automatically granted an extension when they reach 67, with many municipal rabbis employed by the Religious Affairs Ministry serving into their 80s and beyond.

Tzohar, a group dedicated to bridging gaps between Jews in Israel and offering a more liberal Orthodox alternative to the rabbinate, said it was “deeply disturbed” by the decision to not extend Hadane’s contract.

“Seemingly his only transgression was his brave decision to stand in defense of Ethiopian Jews who had been denied the right to marry according to halacha by the Petach Tikva rabbinate,” the group said in a statement.

While Ethiopian Jewish immigrants from the Beta Israel community are recognised as fully Jewish and did not need to undergo conversion upon arriving in Israel, immigrants from Ethiopia belonging to the Falash Mura community, which converted from Judaism to Christianity in the 19th century, are required to undergo Orthodox conversion after immigrating.

In 2014, Ethiopian Israelis in Petah Tikva leveled similar complaints of discrimination against the city’s rabbinate and Attias.

Click here to read the full article in Times of Israel


  • Minister suggests offshore seaport for Gaza

Israel's transportation minister said on Monday he is pushing for the construction of an "artificial island" off the coast of Hamas-ruled Gaza, claiming it will alleviate economic hardship in the blockaded coastal strip and connect it to the rest of the world, Yediot Aharonot reports.

Yisrael Katz said his plan calls for an eight square kilometer (three square mile) island linked to Gaza by a five-kilometer (three-mile) bridge. He said the island, estimated to cost $5 billion, would include a port and perhaps a future airport as well. Israel would supervise security checks but it would otherwise be run by Palestinians and the international community.

Katz, a top deputy of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, said Israel had no objection to easing the Gaza blockade as long as its security needs are met.

"I do not think it is right to lock up two million people without any connection to the world," Katz said in a briefing with foreign reporters. "Israel has no interest to make life harder for the population there. But because of security concerns we can't build an airport or seaport in Gaza."

Israel destroyed Gaza's airport during the second Palestinian intifada. Gaza City has a small seaport that is not large enough to handle container ships and is mainly used by fisherman.

Katz said Israel will not negotiate directly with Hamas, which is sworn to its destruction, but has received indications that the Western-backed Palestinian Authority would welcome such a plan. 

Click here to read the full article in Yediot Aharonot

 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016
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