European Jewish Congress
Israel Press Review of 30/11/2016
Israeli Press Review
Israel Press Review of 30/11/2016

Major Headlines 
  • Israel honours foreign firefighters for “bravery in our time of need”

More than 70,000 people were forced out of their homes by the recent wave of fires that swept Israel, but no lives were lost thanks to local and foreign emergency personnel, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said on Tuesday at a ceremony at Hatzor air base in southern Israel to thank the departing foreign firefighters.

Firefighting planes from countries including Russia, Turkey, Greece, France, Spain, and the US helped dump tons of water and retardants on some of the fires that blazed across Israel for nearly a week, fanned by unseasonably dry easterly winds. The Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Jordan, Cyprus and Italy also contributed personnel and equipment, the Times of Israel reports.

“The number [of casualties] was zero because of the bravery of the Israel Police and the firefighters, as well as our friends from abroad who arrived to help us in our time of need,” Erdan said.

The minister hailed the foreign crews who rushed to Israel for “carrying out your mission professionally and heroically, without hesitating to endanger your lives in order to save others.”

At the ceremony, Erdan also made reference to the suspected arson that was allegedly behind a number of the fires, saying that there is “zero tolerance” for “such behaviour,” and that those involved would feel the full force of the law.

“I have instructed the police to save no effort to identify these terrorists and bring them to justice. We will find anyone who tries to harm the well-being and security of Israeli citizens,” Erdan said.

Click here to read the full article in Times of Israel


  • Hackers take over Israeli news broadcast

Hackers took over a Channel 2 broadcast on Tuesday night, streaming throughout northern Israel messages of incitement relating to Israel's recent fires, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Overplayed with the sounds of a Muslim call to prayer, the hacked footage flashed various messages written in Hebrew in reference to divine retribution. "Punishment from God," read the text of one message with others reading: "The fire burned hearts".

The hackers, who appeared to be from Saudi Arabia, allegedly took over the satellites due to the "muezzin bill," which has angered many in Muslim communities both inside Israel and abroad.

Channel 2 responded to the hacking stating: "Residents in northern Israel viewing Channel 2 via satellite TV reported that during the evening broadcast someone took over central control of the broadcast and played the voice of the muezzin."

Click here to read the full article in Jerusalem Post


  • Rivlin decries bill to muffle mosques, stresses interfaith dialogue

President Reuven Rivlin spoke out on Tuesday against a controversial bill that would prohibit mosques in Israel from using loudspeakers to summon believers to prayers early in the morning, the Times of Israel reports.

The draft of the so-called muezzin bill, which sparked outrage around the Arab and wider Muslim world, was set to be submitted for its first reading in the Knesset on Wednesday.

Its original form was amended last week to not affect the sirens that announce the start of Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest, at sundown each Friday.

Rivlin on Tuesday hosted in his Jerusalem residence a meeting of religious leaders “seeking to bridge gaps over the issue of the muezzins,” the Muslim lay officials charged with calling the faithful to prayer across the country, a statement from his office read.

“I thought that perhaps such a meeting could have an impact on the whole public, and that it would be a shame that a law should be born which touches on the issue of freedom of faith of a specific group among us,” the president told participants. “Perhaps the voices heard today can be used to pave the way.”

“I am the son of someone who translated the Quran and observed the Jewish commandments, and I recognise the need to tread a fine line,” he added.

Click here to read the full article in Times of Israel

Wednesday, November 30, 2016
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