European Jewish Congress
Israel Press Review of 02/09/2016
Israeli Press Review
Israel Press Review of 02/09/2016

Major Headlines
  • Liberman says Israel will obey court order to destroy Amona outpost

Israel will carry out a court order to demolish the Jewish settlement of Amona in the West Bank by the end of the year, Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman said on Thursday.

However, a proposed plan to simply move the settlement to a nearby location has raised international concern, the Times of Israel reports.

“I have said before and I say again to the settlers of Amona, there is a judgment of the Supreme Court and we shall honour it,” Liberman said at a Jewish school in Susya in the southern West Bank on the first day of the new school year.

Amona, home to about 40 families, was built on lands privately owned by Palestinians, who successfully petitioned Israeli courts for the outpost’s removal.

After repeated delays, the Supreme Court ordered the settlers’ eviction and the demolition of their homes by December 25 this year.

Liberman, a hard-liner who himself lives in a West Bank settlement, also said that just as he would obey court orders to tear down Amona he would do the same with regard to unauthorised Palestinian construction in Susya, a tiny Palestinian hamlet Israel says was put up without permission near the settlement where he was addressing schoolchildren on Thursday. The Jewish settlement also uses the name Susya.

“I think that the world, especially the free world… needs to respect our judicial system and it cannot be that it demands one thing of the Amona settlers and something else regarding what happens in Susya,” he told the pupils, in recorded remarks distributed by his office.

Click here to read the full article in Times of Israel


  • More than two million Israeli children return to school

Some two million Israeli school kids grabbed their backpacks and headed back to school on Thursday morning, as the 2016-17 school year got off to a largely uneventful start, the Times of Israel reports.

According to the Education Ministry, a total of 2,232,172 students are attending 4,733 schools and 18,972 kindergartens this year. Of those, 158,958 were starting first grade, and 123,497 were starting 12th grade, their last in the state-run educational system.

In a statement, Education Ministry director Michal Cohen said the year “started as planned” despite the annual threats of strikes by parents or teacher associations.

The central Arab town of Tira appeared to be the exception, where a school strike over the disputed ownership of the town’s two high schools kept thousands of kids at home.

For the 2016-17 school year, the average size of first- and second-grade classes was reduced from 34 to 28 children, and kindergartens were allotted an additional teaching assistant.

Meanwhile, hundreds of parents and students protested outside a Tel Aviv high school that the municipality announced would be revamped into a school for the children of the city’s predominantly African migrants.

Angry parents of students at Shevah Mofet have demanded Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai support the continued functioning of the school in its present form, and met with school administrators on Thursday to discuss the issue.

Click here to read the full article in Times of Israel


  • Police chief apologises to Ethiopian-Israeli community

Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh apologised on Thursday to Israelis of Ethiopian descent for his controversial comments earlier this week, Yediot Aharonot reports.

In a meeting with the joint steering committee for the police and the leadership of the Ethiopian community in Israel, Alsheikh promised that encompassing work would be done in all police districts to evaluate if existing cases were due to over-policing and to continue to promote the closing of as many cases as possible.

The steering committee raised hard questions regarding the amount of cases opened for minors of Ethiopian descent. At their request, the police presented data showing a decrease of about 20% in the opening of cases this year when compared to the parallel period of last year.

The commissioner apologised to anyone who felt insulted from the publications of his statements and added, "There was no intention, Heaven forbid, to offend, but rather to raise the problem to promote agreed-upon solutions."  

During the meeting, a dialogue took place relating to continued cooperation between the police and the Ethiopian community with a goal of restraining over-policing and reducing crime amongst youth.

In addition, to avoid incidents of friction between police and the Ethiopian community, "intensive work of the police to attain the appropriate tools for police to work with all strata of Israeli society will continue."

A message from the police stated that "The steering committee noted positively that police activity is a leading example that has no parallel in any other ministry in its scope and effectiveness in reducing the gaps regarding the Ethiopian community in Israel."

During an Israel Bar Association conference on Tuesday, Alsheikh had told listeners that it was “natural” for police to suspect someone of Ethiopian descent more than somebody from a different ethnic background.

Click here to read the full article in Yediot Aharonot


  • Police say insufficient evidence to bring campaign funding charges against Herzog

Police announced on Thursday that there is insufficient evidence proving any suspected illicit campaign funding by Labour party chairman and opposition leader Isaac Herzog, Yediot Aharonot reports.

However, police have accumulated a plethora of evidence to bring Shimon Batat to trial, a former senior official in Herzog’s campaign team.

The evidence compiled against Batat indicates the falsification of corporate documents and the acceptance of prohibited contributions. Additional evidence has been found regarding transgressions relating to illegal contributions made by Gilad Ramot, an owner of a private company.

The concluded investigation was centred around the suspicion that Herzog received illicit donations that were never reported during the Labour primaries in 2013. The investigation initially began over suspicion that a smear campaign against Labour MK Shelly Yachimovich was funded with improperly reported donations that might constitute an illicit donation. Herzog was later implicated in the smear campaign and was consequently investigated under the approval of the Attorney General.  

The investigation concluded that during the 2013 primaries, the suspected company owner used 40,000 NIS to fund a smear campaign targeting Yachimovich, who ran against Herzog for the party's lead position. Herzog also signed a deposition saying that the State Comptroller was not informed of the supposedly illicit donation. Batat, who had run Herzog's campaign, was suspected of heading the smear campaign against Yaochimovich.

Despite these conclusions, the investigation did not manage to find evidence that linked Herzog to any criminal offense, as he was not found to have known about the donation. 

Click here to read the full article in Yediot Aharonot

Friday, September 02, 2016
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