European Jewish Congress
Israel Press Review of 06/10/2016
Israeli Press Review
Israel Press Review of 06/10/2016

Major Headlines
  • Israel rejects US settlement criticism

The 98 housing units approved in the West Bank town of Shilo do not constitute a “new settlement," according to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which responded to harsh US criticism of new settlement housing plans for Shilo on Wednesday evening. 

"This housing will be built on state land in the existing settlement of Shilo and will not change its municipal boundary or geographic footprint.  The units are intended to provide a housing solution for the residents of Amona who must leave their homes in accordance with the demolition order issued by Israel's High Court of Justice," the MFA clarified in a report in the Jerusalem Post.

The White House and State Department had slammed the plans and said it called into question Israel's intentions towards reaching a two-state solution, which the MFA refuted.

"Israel remains committed to a solution of two states for two peoples, in which a demilitarised Palestinian state recognises the Jewish state of Israel. The real obstacle to peace is not the settlements – a final status issue that can and must be resolved in negotiations between the parties - but the persistent Palestinian rejection of a Jewish state in any boundaries," the Israeli statement concluded.

Click here to read the full article in Jerusalem Post


  • Israeli Navy intercepts women’s flotilla on way to break Gaza blockade

The Israeli navy intercepted a flotilla aiming to break the blockade on the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, about 35 nautical miles from the Israeli coast, Ha’aretz reports.

According to a high-ranking officer, passengers on board the Zaytouna-Olivia offered no resistance when the troops took over the boat. The boat was redirected to the Israeli port city of Ashdod.

The Women’s Boat to Gaza, an initiative of the International Freedom Flotilla Coalition, which had set out from Barcelona, was scheduled to arrive at the port of Gaza on Wednesday night, according to its website. 

Among the Zaytouna-Olivia's 13 passengers were several parliamentarians, an Olympic athlete, a retired U.S. army colonel and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland. 

Another boat, the Amal 2, was forced to turn back to Barcelona due to a technical malfunction. However, organisers have voiced suspicions that the boat was sabotaged. 

According to reports and photos on social media, women and children were gathering on the beaches of Gaza ahead of the boat’s expected arrival.  

Click here to read the full article in Haaretz

  • Ethiopian immigration to Israel resuming after three-year freeze

The first group of Ethiopian Jews to move to Israel after waiting for three years will arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport on Sunday evening, almost a year after the government approved the immigration of 9,000 Jews still left in Ethiopia, the Times of Israel reports.

The 78 immigrants who will be on the flight were first approved by the Interior Ministry in 2013 but never came due to lack of budget for their absorption, which includes housing allowances for at least two years and apartment grants.

“The tickets are bought, the absorption centres are ready, and we’re going to welcome them with open arms on Sunday,” said Nimrod Sabbah, a spokesman for Likud MK David Amsalem.

“The people waiting for them at the airport, you’ll see, are soldiers and people who have served Israel, they have been waiting for years and years for their families,” he said. “It pains me to say this, but if they were blond with blue eyes they would have been here ages ago. But they’re black, and the government of Israel is behaving with deep racism towards them.”

Sabbah said that the unstable political situation in Ethiopia complicated the logistics for bringing the new immigrants. Originally, the first group was supposed to arrive in late August or early September.

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem will pay for the first group of flights for Ethiopian Jews. Last month, the ICEJ contributed $500,000 to the Jewish Agency via Keren Hayesod to cover the flights of the first wave of 523 Ethiopian Jews, as well as to sponsor flights for another 104 Jewish immigrants coming soon from France and the Ukraine, according to ICEJ spokesman David Parsons. Parsons added that the ICEJ is also fundraising to assist with absorption costs for Ethiopian Jews.

Last November, the government approved the absorption of the 9,000 Ethiopian immigrants, but the plan faltered because there was no budget allocated for it.

Two Likud MKs, Amsalem and Avraham Neguise, refused to vote with the coalition until the government funded the decision to bring the Ethiopian Jews to Israel, which it finally did in April. But the process has been stalled, and no plans had been made to resume the aliyah. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu refused to meet members of the Jewish community while on a state visit to Ethiopia in July.

Ethiopian immigrants are expected to arrive in Israel at the rate of about 100 per month starting in November.

Click here to read the full article in Times of Israel

Thursday, October 06, 2016
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