European Jewish Congress
Israel Press Review of 22/12/2016
Israeli Press Review
Israel Press Review of 22/12/2016

Major Headlines 
  • Former president Moshe Katsav released from prison

Former president Moshe Katsav was released from Ma’asiyahu Prison in Ramle on Wednesday after serving five years and 15 days of his seven-year sentence for rape and other sexual offences, the Jerusalem Post reports.

The news that he would be let free emerged suddenly mid-afternoon after the state prosecution, confounding some predictions, announced that it would not appeal the Parole Board’s decision on Sunday granting Katsav’s request for an early release.

The board had granted the prosecution’s request for a one-week delay in implementing Katsav’s release, to allow the state to weigh its options regarding an appeal to the Lod District Court.

Katsav was convicted of two counts of rape, one count of committing an indecent act using force, one count of committing an indecent act, two counts of sexual harassment, one count of harassing a witness and one count of obstructing justice. He entered Ma’asiyahu Prison in December 2011.

He was greeted by his wife, Gila, and other supporters, and later by a larger group of family members and supporters at his home. Prohibited from speaking to the media as a condition of his release, Katsav did not utter a word, but his wife and lawyers expressed tremendous happiness after his release, and his lawyers said he could not contain himself when he was told that the prosecution would not appeal the board’s decision and that he would be released immediately.

In contrast, Meretz chairman Zehava Gal-On, Odeliah Carmon, one of his accusers and multiple women’s support groups have condemned Katsav’s early release as problematically shifting the narrative to him being a victim from him being the victimiser.

Click here to read the full article in Jerusalem Post


  • Government officials refuse to meet representatives from far-right Swedish party

A Wednesday meeting between Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely and a pro-Israel conservative delegation that included a senior member of US President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team was scuttled because one of the group’s members is from a far-right political party in Sweden with a neo-Nazi past, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon said that when the ministry learned that Kristina Winberg, a member of the European Parliament from the Sweden Democrats Party – a far-right anti-immigrant party – was in the delegation, it advised Hotovely not to meet her.

“The message was passed on to the group that Hotovely was interested in meeting them, but not with that particular member,” Nachshon said.

The group, which included parliamentarians and business people from the US, Europe and India, then refused to meet Hotovely without Winberg.

“It was their decision, not ours,” Nachshon said.

The group is in Israel taking part in the Jerusalem Leaders Summit. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who was scheduled to be a keynote speaker at the conference on Monday, also cancelled at the last minute.

Instead of meeting as a group with Hotovely, the delegation met in the Knesset with three MKs: Likud lawmakers Amir Ohana and Yehudah Glick, and Nachman Shai of the Zionist Union.

Hotovely eventually met separately with Dunlop and a few members of the group when they were eating in the Knesset. 

Click here to read the full article in Jerusalem Post


  • 16,000 young Jews to visit Israel on winter Birthright trip

Some 16,000 young Jews from over 22 countries worldwide are expected to participate in Birthright Israel's winter trip, Israel Hayom learned on Wednesday. Over 500,000 Jewish youths have already visited Israel through the Birthright programme.

The participants, aged 18 to 26, are expected to arrive from countries including the United States, Canada, France, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, Mexico, Spain, Panama, the United Kingdom, and Hungary.

During the trip, participants are expected to visit sites around the country, including the recently dedicated "State of Mind" innovation centre, a Birthright Israel collaboration with the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange that aims to showcase Israel's global impact as the start-up nation.

A recent report by audit firm Ernst & Young estimated Birthright Israel's contribution to Israel's economy at 4.7 billion shekels ($1.2 billion), through direct spending on accommodation, food, transportation, site admissions, tour guides, and security, as well as indirect contributions from spending by participants who extended their stay beyond the programme's schedule.

According to the report, Birthright Israel contributes significantly to supporting local businesses in the country's periphery. The report also found that Birthright Israel helps improve the state's international image and bolsters the connection between Israel and the Diaspora. In addition, Birthright Israel provides its participants with knowledge to advocate for Israel around the world.

Click here to read the full article in Israel Hayom


Thursday, December 22, 2016
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