European Jewish Congress
Israel Press Review of 10/01/2017
Israeli Press Review
Israel Press Review of 10/01/2017

Major Headlines
  • Netanyahu: Israel taking steps to deal with lone wolf terrorists

Israel is currently facing a new type of terrorist phenomenon: lone terrorists who decide on the spur of the moment to carry out deadly attacks, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Monday.

Netanyahu's comments came during a visit to Hadassah University Medical Centre in Jerusalem's Ein Kerem where he visited, along with Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, some of the wounded soldiers from Sunday’s truck-ramming attack in Jerusalem.

Israel is working on three different planes to deal with this “lone wolf” terrorism, he said.

The first is defensive: expanding physical barriers, such as concrete blocks at bus stations, to prevent these types of attacks. He said that in the last year Israel has erected many of these barriers at bus-stops and hitchhiking posts in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

“This has already saved lives, and yesterday the directive was given to expand this even more in Jerusalem, and possibly in other places as well,” he said.

The second plane is in the realm of preventive intelligence. “How do you know whether someone will do something like this, how do you know how to locate him beforehand?” he asked. “The security agencies have energetically been working on this for a full year.”

The prime minister said that Israel is taking additional steps, which he did not detail, “to be in a unique situation where we can identify these situations in advance – something extremely important.”

And the third plane in dealing with these attacks is the quick response by soldiers and civilians. “We saw this yesterday with the security guard, female officer and soldiers who acted swiftly to thwart a much bigger attack,” he said. His comments rebuffed some of the earlier criticism that the soldiers at the scene did not respond fast enough.

Netanyahu said that when he visited the three wounded soldiers in the hospital -- two females and a male -- they said to him that they want to return to the officers' course they were part of, and return to service. “That is the true secret of our state,” he said. “The reason we will win, and the reason we have won until now.”

Click here to read the full article in Jerusalem Post


  • Cabinet approves plan to ban Breaking the Silence from schools

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted unanimously on Sunday to provide government backing to legislation to bar the NGO Breaking the Silence from schools, the Jerusalem Post reports.

The measure would allow the education minister, “as the head of the system and the person responsible for the Israeli students,” to ban specific individuals or organisations that are not a part of the education system from performing activities inside schools, when the activities “undermine the educational goals or harm IDF soldiers,” according to a ministerial memorandum

“Whoever is going around the world aiming to harm the IDF’s soldiers at the UN, in South Africa and in Europe, will not be able enter schools in Israel... I expect full support from all cabinet ministers,” said Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi), who initiated the legislation.

Breaking the Silence CEO Yuli Novak said ahead of the vote that the bill only benefits her organisation.

“Bennett’s obsession with Breaking the Silence only makes us stronger. While he tries to silence us, more and more youth hear about the occupation."

“It is sad and pathetic that [Yesh Atid chairman] Yair Lapid supports the bill. He became a tool for the ‘Smotrichs’ and the ‘Yogevs,’” Novak said, referencing two far-right Bayit Yehudi MKs. “Although he gets a photo in the paper with Bennett, they get more legitimacy for occupying and ruining the democracy.”

The bill, submitted by Bayit Yehudi MKs Shuli Moalem-Refaeli and Bezalel Smotrich, and signed by lawmakers from coalition and opposition parties, would add “encouraging significant service in the IDF and protecting the status and honour of the IDF” to the goals of public education as listed in the law.

Dozens of mayors and heads of local authorities signed a petition ahead of the vote pledging to prevent Breaking the Silence from speaking in their schools.

In December 2015, Bennett banned the NGO from the education system, for disseminating “lies and propaganda against the IDF.” Despite this directive, some principals were not deterred from inviting representatives of the group to speak at their schools.

Click here to read the full article in Jerusalem Post


  • Lieberman: Azaria verdict had no influence on response to Jerusalem attack

Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beytenu) spoke at a party faction meeting on Monday, saying that there is no comparison between the conviction of Elor Azaria for the shooting of an immobilised terrorist who no longer posed a threat and the reactions of the soldiers who were present at Sunday's vehicular attack in East Talpiot, Jerusalem, during which four soldiers were killed, Yediot Aharonot reports. 

"I was sad to see all sorts of responses to IDF forces, to the soldiers who were present," said Lieberman. "What you have to understand is that this kind of event takes seconds, during which you need to figure out that it isn't an accident but a terrorist attack, before having to load your weapon."

Lieberman went on to say, "We haven't finished with the investigation yet. But it's clear that our soldiers immediately realised what was happening, mobilised and shot the terrorist, so it wasn't as some have claimed."

The Yisrael Beytenu leader stressed that “any attempt to tie this event to the Elor Azaria verdict is simply untrue. For anyone who does not know the facts: since the Elor Azaria case we have taken out 39 terrorists and wounded 15." He added that Sunday's real-time response by the soldiers "was a determined action of the IDF."

Moreover, he referenced the fact that the Palestinian Authority has yet to come out against the incident. "The other obvious point here is the Palestinian Authority's refusal to condemn this attack. We've been following the Palestinian Authority's official responses from Ramallah, but there's been silence. We have, however, seen a great deal of joy and support for the terrorist on social media."

Yesh Atid Leader Yair Lapid also rekected accusations that Azaria's case and his guilty verdict subconsciously impacted the reaction of the soldiers present at Sunday's attack, making them hesitate in opening fire, for fear that they too would be prosecuted. 

"Yesterday Shira Tzur, Yael Yekutiel, Shir Hajaj and Erez Orbach were murdered, may they rest in peace. While the injured fought for their lives and security forces were still at the scene, there were already those who quickly tried to drag this terrible attack into the political debate. They spread vicious lies, claiming that all the soldiers ran away from the scene because of what happened in Elor Azaria's trial. 'The Azaria Effect' they called it. They ignored the fact that soldiers fired in real time and took out the terrorist. Instead of embracing them, they once again attacked the IDF chief of staff, a man who has been leading warriors into battle for 40 years. We have to reinstate sanity in Israeli discourse," said Lapid.

Click here to read the full article in Yediot Aharonot 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017
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