European Jewish Congress
Israel Press Review of 02/12/2016
Israeli Press Review
Israel Press Review of 02/12/2016

Major Headlines 
  • Police minister: Nearly half of fires were arson

Israel’s minister for public security said on Wednesday that of the fires that broke out across Israel last week were the result of arson, the Times of Israel reports.

Speaking at the Knesset, Gilad Erdan said that his claim regarding the percentage of fires started by arson was based upon “the estimates of professionals” and that the Fire Services back up his claim, according to a transcript of his speech distributed by the Knesset.

“These estimates are based upon facts. When you see two Molotov cocktails with flammable materials, and you see that the fire started from there, you understand that this is arson, and there were a number of cases like this,” Erdan said.

According to Yoram Levy, spokesman of the Fire Services, firefighters battled 1,773 brush fires around the country and the West Bank from November 18 to November 26.

Erdan called into question that number, saying that in many cases “20 people called in about the same event, and this was counted,” and that in other cases fires from unrelated car crashes were also included.

Erdan said that his claim that forty to fifty per cent of fires being the result of arson was calculated from what the Fire Services described as 39 significant fires, and was based upon “findings from the ground.”

The Fire Services refused to comment on Erdan’s allegation.

On Tuesday the Israel Police said it was too early to determine how many of the hundreds of wildfires that spread across the country last week were the result of arson and possible terrorism.

Click here to read the full article in Times of Israel


  • Sharansky: Israel’s failure to engage Diaspora Jews in dialogue “a serious threat”

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky said on Thursday that the State of Israel is failing to engage in dialogue with Diaspora Jewry and declared that this situation is a serious threat to Jewish solidarity, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Sharansky was speaking at a conference of the Israel Democracy Institute dedicated to the concept of “re-evaluating the boundaries of Jewish identity,” in which an array of prominent public figures, religious leaders and academics examined the issue from various angles.

“Communities can be different, but if they feel like they are part of a historic process then this can be the basis of solidarity,” Sharansky said during a panel discussion on the viability of Jewish solidarity during a time of pluralism.

He pointed out that Jews around the world are fighting for Israel in many different ways, in particular against the campaign of delegitimisation against the Jewish state that has taken root in recent years, but that Israel itself is not granting many of these Jews legitimacy.

In particular, he referenced the bitter war over Western Wall worship, noting that the progressive Jewish leaders and the representatives of Israel’s religious establishment never meet face to face but instead talk via the cabinet secretary as a mediator.

“This lack of dialogue is very harmful and is a real threat,” said Sharansky. “The fact that until now we have managed to preserve the solidarity of non-Orthodox Jews with Israel is due to our shared history, but it will not continue forever,” he warned.

Click here to read the full article in Jerusalem Post


  • Israeli Arabs donate wood to rebuild burned synagogue

Two Israeli Arab timber suppliers have offered to donate wood paneling to a Conservative synagogue in the northern city of Haifa that suffered extensive damage in last week’s brush fires, the Times of Israel reports.

Walid Abu-Ahmed and Ziad Yunis decided to supply the wood free of charge and cover the labour costs after the congregation’s rabbi, Dov Hiyon, sought estimates for synagogue repair work.

“I had tears in my eyes when I heard what was happening,” Hiyon said. “It was so emotional to hear that Muslims were asking to donate to a Jewish synagogue. I’ve invited them to evening prayers to personally thank them.”

“Jews and Arabs live together in Haifa, and there is no discrimination,” said Abu-Ahmed. “We must continue with this co-existence and promote peace.”

On Wednesday, the synagogue hosted Muslim and Christian leaders to issue a joint call for the “fires of hatred” to be extinguished.

Click here to read the full article in Times of Israel

Friday, December 02, 2016
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