European Jewish Congress
Israel Press Review of 08/12/2016
Israeli Press Review
Israel Press Review of 08/12/2016

Major Headlines 
  • Israel rejects French president’s offer for Netanyahu-Abbas meeting in Paris

Israel has rejected French President François Hollande's invitation to convene a meeting between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Paris in two weeks' time, a senior official in Jerusalem said. The proposed meeting would have taken place as part of the French peace initiative, Ha’aretz reports.

The senior official added that Israel conveyed the message to France and emphasised that it rejects the proposed meeting – which would have taken place following a summit of foreign ministers in Paris – in accordance with its general objection to the French peace initiative.

"It's quite clear that this is an attempt to try and make us accept the framework of the French peace initiative," the official said. "We're ready to meet with Abbas, without preconditions and not as part of the French peace initiative. If the French were interested in hosting, why didn’t they invite us a day before the foreign ministers' meeting or a month after the summit."

French newspapers Le Monde and Le Figaro reported on Tuesday that Hollande would like to convene a meeting of foreign ministers in Paris on December 21 to deal with the stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, as part of the peace initiative France launched at the beginning of the year. The planned summit would be a continuation of the foreign ministers' meeting on the matter that took place in Paris in June.

Israel already informed France several weeks ago that it opposes the foreign ministers' summit and it will not participate if it occurs. Accordingly, the French opted to hold the event without Israeli and Palestinian representatives and to invite leaders from both sides to a tripartite meeting with Hollande soon after. The French understand that current Israeli-Palestinian relations do not allow the renewal of direct negotiations at this time, and thus wanted to take advantage of the tripartite meeting to present the foreign ministers' conclusions and the international community's proposals and ideas to Netanyahu and Abbas. 

Click here to read the full article in Ha’aretz


  • Israel to spend NIS 136M on Diaspora Jewish schools

The education and diaspora affairs ministries plan to spend as much as 136 million shekels over the next four years to develop programmes for Jewish schools overseas, the first time Israel has engaged in such a large educational undertaking in Diaspora schools, Ha’aretz reports.

 The two ministries, which are both led by Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett, plan to develop programmes on Israel, the Hebrew language and Jewish history as well as provide schools with expert advice, teacher training and pedagogical services. Initially the programme will be offered to 65 Jewish schools in Europe and countries of the former Soviet Union.

“Ensuring the existence of Jewish communities in the Diaspora depends entirely on Jews’ desire and decision to live as Jews. Today, the majority of Jews aged six to 18 do not study at Jewish schools,” the two ministries said in a statement.

The aim of the program is “to strengthen Jewish identity and connection to Israel on the part of students at Jewish schools around the world by building a systematic pedagogic strategy in these areas inside Jewish schools,” they said.

Click here to read the full article in Ha’aretz


  • Lieberman breaks Israel’s secrecy over Syria policy

Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman unleashed a surprise on Wednesday afternoon when he spoke openly and in detail about Israel’s air strike policy vis-a-vis Syria to ambassadors from the European Union, offering new information and breaking with Israel’s characteristic silence on the matter.

Lieberman’s remarks follow an attack against a Syrian air base near Damascus before dawn on Wednesday. Syria’s official news agency quoted Syrian military sources as saying that Israel had fired missiles from the Golan Heights toward the base. Earlier, Arab media reported that Israel’s air force had been responsible for the attack.

As usual, Israel did not respond to the reports – neither denying nor confirming them.

During a meeting with envoys of European Union states, Lieberman emphasised Israel’s principled stance, reiterating that it has no interest in intervening in the civil war in Syria. He said Israel got involved only when necessary to preserve its security interests, and to prevent the flow of advanced weapons from Syria (some belonging to Bashar Assad’s army, some originating in Iran) to Hezbollah. 

Lieberman said that Israel thinks that neither Assad nor its Iranian ally can be part of the solution and part of a diplomatic deal to resolve the crisis in Syria. He said he believes that both have to go for Syria to be free.

Click here to read the full article in Jerusalem Post

Thursday, December 08, 2016
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