European Jewish Congress
Israeli Press Review of 27/07/2016
Israeli Press Review
Israeli Press Review of 27/07/2016

Major Headlines
  • Bereaved families lash out at Netanyahu during memorial

While speaking at the state's two-year memorial ceremony at Mount Herzl for those killed during Operation Protective Edge on Tuesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke of a kinship between himself and the bereaved families of the fallen soldiers. The sentiment, however, did not go over well, as the parents of those who died during the operation interrupted his speech and demanded an independent investigation into the events that took place during those 50 days of battle, Yediot Aharonot reports.

Family members whose loved ones fell during Protective Edge booed Netanyahu, causing him to pause after saying that he, too, comes from a bereaved family. "We don't believe you," shouted Yoram Tal, whose son Omri fell during the operation. "My son died for democracy, not for this kind of government." Netanyahu responded by saying, "As a bereaved brother, I understand your pain."

Another heckler was Motti Mat, whose son Li also fell during the operation. He said that the families demand that the prime minister follow the example of former prime ministers, who had responded to public pressure by agreeing to an investigative committee, thereby appointing one for Operation Protective Edge.

Calling family members his "brothers and sisters in mourning," Netanyahu promised that his door would always be open to them. "The settlements surrounding Gaza are flourishing because of your boys. Children are able to play outside because of your boys, and farmers are able to plough their fields thanks to the soldiers and commanders who were called to arms and stood on the front line."

Click here to read the full article in Yediot Aharonot


  • New law bans non-Orthodox from using public mikvahs for conversion ceremonies

A bill which will ban the Reform and Masorti (Conservative) movements from using public mikvas (ritual baths) for conversion ceremonies was formally passed into law by the Knesset on Monday night, the Jerusalem Post reports.

In the last few weeks, some of the most senior leaders of Diaspora Jewry in the US strongly urged Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to halt the legislation due to the damage it could cause to Israel-Diaspora relations. 

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky said that it was “unfortunate” that the law was passed before a solution for the Progressive Jewish movements and their conversion ceremonies could be found. 

Leaders of the Reform and Conservative movements expressed strong criticism of the government and the prime minister in the wake of the vote, accusing him of failing to follow through with commitments made to Diaspora Jewry. 

The law, introduced by senior UTJ MK Moshe Gafni, will allow local rabbinates, which run public mikvas, to determine which organisations or government bodies it will permit to use its facilities. 

This formulation avoided explicitly discriminatory language in the bill itself, but will certainly lead to discrimination against Reform and Masorti converts wishing to use public mikvas for their conversion ceremonies. 

The law was first introduced by Gafni to circumvent a decision by the Supreme Court of Justice in February which ruled that the practice of a local rabbinate in Be’ersheva banning the Progressive Jewish denominations from using its mikvas for conversion ceremonies.

Yizhar Hess, director of the Masorti Movement in Israel, alleged that Gafni, not Netanyahu, was in charge of the government, and that the new law “polluted” the Israeli statute book. 

“This is an un-Jewish and undemocratic law which turns a blind eye to deep processes happening in the Diaspora,” said Hess. 

“Rabbis in North America, communal leaders and ordinary community members, who have dedicated their time and sometimes their wealth to defend the State of Israel and to support its needs are now looking at us and are amazed at the disdain, the condescension and the arrogance that the state  which they loved is demonstrating, and their hearts have been broken. Some of them are actually in a state of mourning. A nation state has decided to disconnect from its nation.”  

Click here to read the full article in Jerusalem Post


  • New broadcasting corporation to begin next year

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has decided to postpone the opening a new public broadcasting corporation until January 2018, Yediot Aharonot reports.

Following a torrent of criticism and a heavy political backlash, the new corporation is now set to begin operating on April 2017 and may even begin broadcasting from January 1.

The ministries of finance and communications accepted the plan suggested by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, the minister responsible for leading the change in public broadcasting which will include the closure of the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) and launching of the corporation.

On Monday, the new corporation issued a statement saying: “The corporation will become operational in accordance with the agreement between the finance minister and the minister of communications (Netanyahu). It will be ready for full, quality, popular and independent broadcasting by January 2017 on the assumption that the government will fulfill its obligations and enable the corporation to so on that day.”

Click here to read the full article in Yediot Aharonot


Wednesday, July 27, 2016
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