European Jewish Congress
Israel Press Review of 19/12/2016
Israeli Press Review
Israel Press Review of 19/12/2016

Major Headlines 
  • Amona residents take deal and avert forced expulsion

In a move likely to quell fears of a violent showdown between West Bank settlers and security forces, residents of Amona voted on Sunday to evacuate their outpost peacefully, accepting a proposal from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that would see 24 families moved to an adjacent plot of land while the rest set up in nearby Ofra, the Times of Israel reports.

The state said earlier that it would request an extension for the evacuation notice — set for December 25 — which the High Court is likely to accept, in order to allow time for the implementation of the compromise deal.

The residents voted 45 in favour of the proposal, with 25 opposed and two abstentions. A few hours later, cabinet ministers embraced it in a unanimous vote.

The last-ditch effort to prevent the forced evacuation of Amona, presented on Saturday night, was built on a previous proposal, rejected by the settlers last week, that would have seen only half as many families remain on the hilltop.

Under the agreement, presented by Netanyahu, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Yossi Dagan, head of the Shomron Regional Council, 24 of Amona’s 40 families would receive mobile homes on a plot just metres from the outpost — as opposed to the 12 in last week’s offer — while the remaining families would be given temporary residences in Ofra.

MK Bezalel Smotrich of the right-wing nationalist Jewish Home party, who had taken up the cause of the Amona settlers in the Knesset, praised them for taking the deal and said their struggle brought hope for the future of the settlement enterprise.

“Today with their decision, the people of Amona are continuing on the path of hope. My brothers who are heroes of hope, thanks to you, the settlements will continue to grow and strengthen,” he said in a statement.

MK Tamar Zandberg, of the left-wing Meretz party, criticised the deal, calling it a “capitulation” to the settlers. In seeking a deal, she said, the state had “danced to the tune of 40 families who have no qualms about trampling the Israeli interest and rule of law.”

Click here to read the full article in Times of Israel


  • Ex-president and convicted rapist Moshe Katzav to be freed on parole

Israel's ex-president Moshe Katsav, who is serving a prison sentence for rape, was granted early release by a parole board on Sunday, despite the prosecution's objection to the move, Ha’aretz reports.

Katsav will have served five out of his seven years sentence. The prosecution has asked the court to delay his release by a week, during which it will decide whether to appeal the decision.

The parole board wrote that Katzav had undergone a change, “unlike the things he said in the past two hearings."

"The prisoner was asked many questions by the committee members regarding the circumstances of the offense, the victims' positions, his attitude to the victims and his understanding of his acts and their consequences, and the committee members were impressed by the honesty of his intentions," it added.

Odelia Carmon, one of Katsav's victims, condemned the parole board's decision.

"I feel that Israeli society has reached the edge of the abyss," she said. On the same day that lawmaker Nissan Slomiansky suspended himself after sexual harassment claims, admired general Ofek Buchris admitted to sexual offenses and a rabbi was indicted for rape, "the parole board decided to make this horrible decision," Carmon said.

Carmon was Katsav's media adviser and was known as O. from the Transportation Ministry during the proceedings against him. According to her, Katsav only expressed his remorse in a weak, feeble voice before the members of the parole board. The parole board's decision impacts all women in Israel, she added.

Katsav, who served as Israel’s eighth president from 2000 to 2007, was convicted in 2010 of raping and sexually assaulting a former employee at the Tourism Ministry. He was also convicted of sexually harassing another woman at the President's Residence. Finally, he was also convicted of obstruction of justice.

Once he returns home to the southern Israeli town of Kiryat Malachi, Katsav will begin a prisoner rehabilitation programme. He will be under house arrest between 10 P.M. and 6 A.M. for the remainder of his sentence. He will also be required to attend Jewish studies, take part in a weekly support group and meet with a psychosocial therapist. He is forbidden to give interviews and work in positions where he has authority over women. 

Click here to read the full article in Ha’aretz


  • Israeli scientist reelected as Vice-President of CERN’s Council

The Council of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) unanimously reelected Israeli Professor Eliezer Rabinovici as Vice-President of the organisation’s supreme decision-making authority.

Rabinovici, who is Professor of Physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, also heads the National Committee for High Energy of the Israel Academy of Science and Humanities.

Ambassador Aviva Raz Shechter, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN and other international organizations in Geneva, noted that “this vote is another proof of Israel’s excellence in advanced scientific research areas, and of its positive contribution to CERN.” She expressed her “profound respect for Professor Rabinovici, who has been doing an outstanding work at CERN over the past many years.”

Israeli scientists have and are making major contributions to the experimental and theoretical programs at CERN. In recent years, they have played a key role in building the detectors and the analysis which had led to the historical discovery of the Higgs scalar. 

Israel became member of CERN in September 2014, where two other of its nationals serve as members of key Committees.


  • Lieberman wants “butcher” Assad ousted

The removal of Bashar al-Assad from power is an Israeli interest and ultimate goal, Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Thursday, amid claims that troops loyal to the Syrian president were perpetrating a massacre in Aleppo, the Times of Israel reports.

Lieberman’s remarks, which constitute an unusual departure from Israel’s policy of non-alignment in Syria, came as he addressed a Limmud FSU conference on Jewish learning in Eilat.

“Assad is a butcher who has massacred people,” Lieberman said. “The State of Israel has said ‘never again” he added, quoting a phrase used to reject genocidal policies in the wake of the Holocaust perpetrated by Nazi Germany and its allies against the Jews.

“This massacre, occurring in plain view with chemical weapons, is morally unacceptable,” he said.

Click here to read the full article in Times of Israel 


Monday, December 19, 2016
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