European Jewish Congress
Israeli Press Review of 22.06.2016
Israeli Press Review
Israeli Press Review of 22.06.2016

Major Headlines
  • Israel slams EU backing of international peace conference

The foreign ministers of the 28-member EU threw their support on Monday behind the convening of an international peace conference at the end of the year, triggering an irritated response from Israel, the Jerusalem Post reports.

“The EU is determined, alongside other international and regional partners, to bring a concrete and substantial contribution to a global set of incentives for the parties to make peace with a view to an international conference planned to be held before the end of the year,” read a statement issued at the end of the meeting held in Luxembourg which – among other issues – discussed the so-called French diplomatic initiative.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry, which has come out strongly against the French initiative, issued a statement saying that “peace with the Palestinians will be achieved only through two-way, direct negotiations without preconditions.”

According to the statement, “the international conference like the one that the Foreign Affairs Council welcomed today distances peace because it enables the Palestinians to continue to avoid direct negotiations and compromise.”

“This is an unfortunate step that moves backward the efforts to achieve peace which Israel is committed to,” the statement continued.

According to the EU foreign ministers’ statement, “Both parties to the conflict need to demonstrate, through policies and actions, a genuine commitment to a peaceful solution in order to rebuild mutual trust and create conditions for direct and meaningful negotiations aiming at ending the occupation that began in 1967, and resolving all permanent status issues.”

Click here to read the full article in Jerusalem Post


  • Booklets demonising IDF draft circulate in yeshivot

Booklets encouraging students not to join the IDF and which compare soldiers to Nazis and cannibals have been distributed in recent days in mainstream yeshivot, Yediot Aharonot reports.

They have also been sent via emails, with the recipients requested to print physical copies to distribute them to yeshivas.

The 57-page "guide" produced by Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Jews, describes the trajectory that awaits young persons of their sector from their first call-up notice. It claims that the IDF representatives who meet with them during the process only seek to harm them. It thus recommends avoiding cooperating with them as much as possible. "For the next hour," the booklet says, "they will examine your every smile and every sentence to give you a deadly assessment, similar to the 'assessors' at Auschwitz's gates of death who assessed the state of every youth, and even the slightest change could determine his fate to die."

The booklet is not signed by any official organisation, but, as opposed to previous similar publications in the past against service in the IDF, it cannot be associated only to known anti-Zionist groups, as it is directed for mainstream yeshiva students. Amongst its distributors are members of the so-called “Jerusalem faction" of the Lithuanian Haredi sector.

The faction's leader, Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, declared war against the law to draft ultra-Orthodox Jews, including its modified and weaker version. He blamed senior Haredi leaders in that matter, and he ordered his followers not to present themselves at all at the induction office as required. His faction also organises from time to time demonstrations at central junctions throughout the country in response to arrests of yeshiva student deserters.

Young ultra-Orthodox youth are warned in the guide not to be impressed with the warm reception that they receive in the induction office, as it has but one goal: enticing them to leave the world of Torah. The soldiers whom they will meet there appear as "cannibals" via a series of fables and stories.

"It's not excitement and admiration of your many skills and your special personality," the booklet reads, "They don't need you as a person. They need you as a pound of meat…for every person that they draft, they get money—a lot of money."

The IDF is described as a "dark, cruel, cold and aloof" place that brings soldiers to utter depression and complete exhaustion. The booklet alleges that the suicide rate ("number 1 cause of death in the IDF") is higher and that "for every person who commits suicide, there are another hundred who wanted to and who didn't have a weapon on hand, and a thousand wandering about with suicidal thoughts."

"Make up whatever you want— just don't sign," the booklet adds. "Say that you swore to your father with a handshake that you wouldn't sign. Tell them that you swore to your mother that you wouldn't sign. Tell them that you made a thousand-dollar bet with your friend that you wouldn't sign."

Click here to read the full article in Yediot Aharonot


  • Lapid fined for Knesset absences

The Knesset Ethics Committee (KEC) will impose a 6,000 shekel fine on Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid for his absence from a number of Knesset sessions, Yediot Aharonot reports.

The fine, which constitutes four days of Lapid’s total monthly salary, was decided in light of a report published on Monday night which addressed the matter of absenteeism among MKs from Knesset winter sessions.

It found that 117 MKs, ministers and deputy ministers met the minimum attendance rate required. However, three were found to have exceeded the number of permitted absences, prompting the committee to examine their justifications.

During the winter session, the committee said, the Knesset convened 75 times. Therefore, according to the rules, an MK is required to explain his or her reasons is absent 25 times or more. Similarly, a deputy minister must do so if absent 30 times while a minister must do so if absent 38 times.

The inquiry found that MK Lapid was absent from 32 sessions, 8 above the permitted quota. In an effort to defend his actions, Lapid claimed before the committee that he views Israel’s status in the international arena as a top priority, particularly in light of the BDS movement. “In accordance with this, I was requested to appear in many international forums and to represent Israel in the struggle against the delegitimisation of Israel in the world,” he stated, pointing out that he met with many European foreign ministers and delivered speeches against the UN Human Rights Council and therefore took absence from the plenum.

The Ethics Committee determined that the established quota of lawful absences was intended to enable MKs to take part in tours, to give lectures and to engage in different activities in Israel and around the world and that absences which exceeded the permitted quota was beyond reasonable justification. “First and foremost, an MK is obliged to carry out his parliamentary duties, at least during the days of plenary sessions within the assigned quota,” the report read.

In light of its conclusions, the committee decided that the reasons provided by Lapid were deemed unreasonable. “Despite the significant deviation, the Ethics Committee is inclined to see this fact as a first time,” the report read. “Therefore, in accordance with the law of immunity, it has been decided that MK Lapid will have four days only of his salary revoked.”

Click here to read the full article in Yediot Aharonot

 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016
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