European Jewish Congress
Israel Press Review of 16/11/2016
Israeli Press Review
Israel Press Review of 16/11/2016

Major Headlines 
  • Israel ratifies Paris agreement on climate change

Ten days after the Paris Agreement on climate change went into force, the Israeli government ratified the international accord on Monday evening, the Jerusalem Post reports.

The Paris Agreement is a universal climate accord first adopted on December 12 at last year’s UN Conference on Climate Change – Conference of Parties 21 (COP-21). Signatories to the agreement determined that the global temperature rise must be kept “well below 2°C” by means of varying national targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

After ratifying the agreement on Monday, Israel joined 109 parties that have already done so, and which together account for 79% of the world’s emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Ministry.

Israel’s ratification took place as this year’s UN Conference on Climate Change – COP-22 unfolded in Marrakech, Morocco. Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin is slated to fly to Morocco on Tuesday to represent Israel at the convention.

“The Paris Agreement not only binds the State of Israel to reduce greenhouse gas emissions like all developed countries, but it is also a tremendous opportunity for the growth of the Israeli cleantech sector, providing new technological solutions in the field of environmental protection and coping with climate change for the whole world,” Elkin said on Monday.

Click here to read the full article in Jerusalem Post


  • Israel appoints new envoy to Turkey as tensions ease

The Foreign Ministry on Tuesday appointed Eitan Na'eh as Israel's new ambassador to Turkey, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Israel and Turkey have not had ambassadors in each other’s countries since Ankara recalled its ambassador in Tel Aviv in 2010 following the Mavi Marmara incident, and expelled Israel’s envoy to Ankara in 2011.

The exchange of ambassadors will formally mark the re-establishment of full diplomatic ties between the two countries, following an August deal to end the six-year rift between the two regional powers.

Relations between Israel and Turkey crumbled after IDF soldiers raided the Turkish ship to enforce a naval blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip and ten Turkish activists on board were killed attacking Israel Navy commandos.

Na'eh will take the post after having served as the deputy ambassador of Israel's mission in London since 2013. He is due to return to the embassy in Ankara after having served there in 1993 as 1st and 2nd secretary. 

Click here to read the full article in Jerusalem Post


  • New tenders to be offered for offshore gas exploration

Israel is launching a bidding process for oil and gas exploration licences off its Mediterranean coast, the first such offers in four years, the Times of Israel reports.

The government has high hopes for the new blocks being offered following the discoveries of the Tamar and Leviathan natural gas fields off its coast since 2009. Israel hopes the Leviathan field will eventually allow it to become a gas exporter, which could provide it with additional leverage in the turbulent Middle East.

According to the energy ministry, 24 offshore blocks will be offered for exploration in the first round starting on Tuesday and ending around March 2017, each up to 400 square kilometers (155 square miles).

The Tamar field, discovered in 2009 and which began production in 2013, has estimated reserves of up to 238 billion cubic meters (8.4 trillion cubic feet).

Leviathan, discovered in 2010 and set to begin production in 2019, is estimated to hold 535 billion cubic meters (18.9 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas, along with 34.1 million barrels of condensate.

Last month, Israel and Turkey agreed to start discussions on building a gas pipeline to pump Israeli gas to Europe.

Click here to read the full article in Times of Israel


  • Haredim block muezzin bill vote

Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman effectively blocked Wednesday’s planned vote on the “muezzin bill” banning religious institutions from having outdoor loudspeakers, out of concern that it would ban the siren announcing the beginning of Shabbat, the Jerusalem Post reports.

In a letter to the cabinet sent on Tuesday evening, Litzman submitted an appeal of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation’s approval of a bill, citing the Talmud, which says that a shofar would be blown as the Sabbath began.

“For thousands of years in the Jewish tradition, different tools were used for this action, including the shofar and trumpets. With technological developments, loudspeakers are used to announce the beginning of Shabbat at a volume permissible by law,” he wrote.

As such, Litzman argued, the muezzin bill would break the current status quo on religion and state.

The initiative in question seeks to prohibit all religious institutions from using outdoor loudspeakers, but both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the bill’s primary sponsor, MK Moti Yogev (Bayit Yehudi), spoke specifically about the Muslim call to prayer waking people up.

Yogev has indicated that he would be willing to alter the legislation to ban only the use of loudspeakers at certain times, so the muezzin’s call can be played during regular waking hours, though at a limited decibel level. However, Netanyahu said he prefers the proposal to remain as it is.

Some MKs in the Joint List called for civil disobedience if the bill passes.

MK Ahmed Tibi (Joint List) said Muslims should “non-violently disobey this law,” meaning to continue the call to prayer five times a day, including at dawn, from outdoor loudspeakers. Tibi said if Netanyahu does not like the call of the muezzin from Jisr e-Zarka, near the prime minister’s home in Caesarea, he can “go and move to Herzliya Pituah.”

“I am a Muslim, the muezzin says Allah Akbar five times a day. It’s been this way since before Netanyahu arrived in this country and before he moved to Caesarea,” Tibi told The Jerusalem Post.

According to Tibi, the bill is “Islamophobic,” and that if there were a law against blowing the shofar in Germany or France, it would be called antisemitism.

“There are laws that a person with a conscience cannot obey. Thomas Jefferson said that if the law is not just, it is not only right not to obey it, it is obligatory not to obey it,” he said.

On Monday, MK Taleb Abu Arar (Joint List) chanted the call to prayer from the Knesset podium. Amid vocal protest from MK Oren Hazan (Likud), the deputy Knesset speaker on duty, Yitzhak Vaknin (Shas), said that Abu Arar was within his rights.

Joint List activists had planned to hold a protest against the bill at the Jaffa clock tower on Wednesday evening.

Click here to read the full article in Jerusalem Post

Wednesday, November 16, 2016
More News
Israel Press Review of 03/02/2017
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