Israel passes controversial nation-state law defining country as Jewish national homeland
62 lawmakers vote in favor of the bill after a stormy debate ■ Arab lawmakers tossed out after they tear bill in protest, call it ’apartheid law’
Jonathan Lis and Noa Landau Jul 19, 2018
The Knesset passed early Thursday a controversial bill that officially defines Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people and asserts that “the realization of the right to national self-determination in Israel is unique to the Jewish people,” with 62 lawmakers voting in favor of the legislation and 55 opposing it.
The nation-stae law also includes clauses stating that a “united Jerusalem” is the capital of Israel and that Hebrew is the country’s official language. Another says that “the state sees the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation.”
It passed after a long and stormy debate that began in the afternoon, with lawmakers voting on hundreds of clauses presented by the opposition that objected to differents parts of the bill.
>> Nation-state bill heralds the end of Israel as a Jewish, democratic State | Analysis ■ As an Arab, I support Israel’s Jewish nation-state bill | Opinion ■ Israel’s nation-state bill betrays insecurity about its right to the land
Immediately after the law passed, Arab lawmakers tore copies in protest, and were subsequently removed from the Knesset plenum hall. Lawmaker Ayman Odeh, chairman of the Joint List, released a statement saying that Israel “declared it does not want us here” and that it had “passed a law of Jewish supremacy and told us that we will always be second-class citiziens.”
Speaking moments after the bill passed into law, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “This is a defining moment – long live the State of Israel.”
Arab lawmakers tear the nation-state bill in protest after it passes in the Knesset.
Netanyahu further said that “122 years after Herzl made his vision known, with this law we determined the founding principle of our existence. Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people, and respects the rights of all of its citizens.”
The prime minister also said that "in the Middle East, only Israel respects [rights]. This is our country, the Jewish state. In recent years there have been those who have tried to undermine that and question the principles of our existence. Today we made it into law: This is the country, the language, the anthem and flag.
As they left the Knesset plenum, Arab MKs from the Joint List party confronted Netanyahu. MK Ahmed Tibi and MK Ayeda Touma-Souliman yelled at Netanyahu: “You passed an apartheid law, a racist law.”
MK Tibi lashed at Netanyahu: “Why are you afraid of the Arabic language?” The premier retorted by saying: “How dare you talk this way about the only democracy in the Middle East?”
Opposition head Isaac Herzog also spoke up at the plenum, saying that “it’s a little sad to me that the last speech I make will be against this kind of backdrop. The question is whether the law will harm or benefit Israel. History will determine. I really hope that we won’t find the fine balance between a Jewish and democratic state to be hurt.”
The sponsor of the bill, MK Avi Dichter, said during debates that took place prior to the vote that “unlike the disinformation and fake news that were tossed around [regarding the bill], this basic law doesn’t hurt the culture of minorities living in Israel, doesn’t hurt their sabbaticals and holidays and certainly doesn’t hurt the Arabic language, which remains a mother tongue for 1.5 million of Israel’s citizens.”
The draft bill the Knesset voted on is fundamentally different form the version the coalition had sought to advance in the past decade. Its main clauses were moderated following pressure within the coalition ranks and beyond.
Initially, the bill was intended to significantly limit the discretion of Supreme Court justices’ decisions, requiring them to set the state’s Jewish character above its democratic character in rulings where the two clashed. This clause was removed from the bill already in May.
The most controversial clause, which appeared to pave the way for the creation of communities segregated by nationality or religion, was removed from the legislation earlier this week.
The nation-state law establishes as a basic law, or quasi-constitutional law, a set of values, some of which already appear in existing laws. The law stipulates that Israel is the Jewish nation’s historic homeland and that this nation has the singular right to national self-determination in it. The law anchors the flag, menorah, Hatikva anthem, Hebrew calendar, Independence Day and Jewish holidays as national symbols.
The law states that the “whole and united” Jerusalem is the state’s capital, which appears today in Basic Law: Jerusalem. The nation-state law further grants the status of an official language only to Hebrew.
Another controversial clause stipulates that the state will invest resources in preserving Israel’s affiliation to world Jewry, but not in Israel. This wording was demanded by the ultra-Orthodox parties to prevent the state from linking up with the Reform and Conservative communities in Israel.
As part of the protest against the law, Peace Now activists waved a black flag in the Knesset balcony during the debate, until security guards made them leave the room. Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh also raised a black flag during the debate against the legislation.
“As [the 1956 massacre] in Kafr Qassem was a blatantly illegal order, with a black flag over it, so is a black flag hoisted over this evil law,” he said.
J Street’s president and founder, Jeremy Ben-Ami, harshly criticized the nation-state bill and Netanyahu’s government: “It was born in sin, its only purpose is to send a message to the Arab community, the LGBT community and other minorities in Israel, that they are not and never will be equal citizens. Two months ago we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Israeli Declaration of Independence, where it was written that the State of Israel ’will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or gender.’ Today Netanyahu’s government is trying to ignore those words and the values that they represent.”
On Monday, Netanyahu said the bill was “very important to guarantee the foundations of our existence, which is Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people” – though critics say he is mainly keen to drum up support before the next Knesset election, due by November next year.
Ireland approves bill boycotting Israeli settlement goods - Israel News - Haaretz.com
Ireland’s Senate approved on Wednesday a bill to boycott products from West Bank settlements.
The bill passed with 25 lawmakers voting in its favor, 20 against it and 14 abstaining. The legislation prohibits “the import and sales of goods, services and natural resources originating in illegal settlements in occupied territories.”
Earlier this year, a vote on the bill was delayed at the Irish government’s request. The government, at Israel’s urging, then sought to soften the language, but was unable to reach a compromise.
The bill has passed thanks to votes from opposition legislators and independents. Senator Frances Black, the independent who sponsored the bill, recently posted a video urging the Irish to pressure their representatives to support it.
Israeli plan to jail anyone filming soldiers in the West Bank hits legal wall
Attorney general says new legislation that outlaws documenting soldiers is unconstitutional; government to vote on bill anyway
Jonathan LisSendSend me email alerts
Jun 17, 2018 12:51 PM
The present version of the proposed law to ban the filming of Israeli soldiers carrying out their duties is problematic from a constitutional standpoint, so much so that it may not be able to be enacted into law, said Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit.
The bill will be brought on Sunday for approval of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, which would give it official government backing.
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The committee is expected to approve the bill in its present form, after which it will go to the full Knesset for its preliminary vote. The bill is expected to pass this reading too.
But a senior politician in the government coalition told Haaretz that an agreement has been reached with MK Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beitenu), the sponsor of the bill, that after the bill passes its preliminary vote in the Knesset, it will be changed significantly in committee. The new version will ban interfering with IDF soldiers carrying out their duties and not a full ban on filming and documentation, a change that could pass constitutional muster.
Dutch TV comedian blasts Israel with spoof of Eurovision winner ‘Toy’ -
Sanne Wallis de Vries’ pastiche of Netta Barzilai’s winning song criticizes Israeli army for killing of Gazans and has the chorus ‘Look how beautifully I launch missiles’
Itay Stern May 21, 2018
A satirical Dutch TV show has lampooned Israel’s Eurovision Song Contest-winning song “Toy,” with new lyrics that harshly attack Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians.
Popular Dutch comedian Sanne Wallis de Vries, starring in the eponymous “Samme Wallis de Vries Show,” appeared looking like Israeli Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai in the spoof, sporting both a kimono and similar distinctive hairstyle.
skip - Sanne Wallis de Vries’ version of Toy
Sanne Wallis de Vries’ version of Toy - דלג
The first verse of her song, freely translated from the original Dutch, says: “Look at me, I’m a very sweet country / The world’s leaders are eating out of my hand / With one kiss I put out every fire. We’re throwing a party, are you coming? Later, at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which will be empty soon anyway.”
>> Eurovision organizers tell fans to hold off on booking flights to Israel - sparking instant controversy
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Just before the chorus, De Vries replaces the original transition that mentioned Wonder Woman with the words: “From Haifa to the Dead Sea, there are fireworks and kosher satay / Come dance with me to the music.”
Instead of the chorus where Barzilai sings “I’m not your toy,” the Dutch comedian sings, “Look how beautifully I launch missiles.”
The video accompanying De Vries shows footage of the Palestinian protests on the Gaza border last week, including scenes of smoke and Gazans being taken to hospital on stretchers.
When De Vries sings about Israel’s 70th anniversary, she notes, “The Palestinians aren’t invited to her party.” As she sings, in the background viewers are shown the opening ceremony for the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, with special emphasis on President Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka.
The spoof version triggered much discussion online, with some Dutch viewers tweeting that the song was “anti-Israel” and also “Jew-hating.”
Egypt and Qatar working on long-term ceasefire, Hamas disarmament plans for Gaza - Israel News - Haaretz.com
According to diplomatic sources in Israel, Egypt seeks to promote reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, expand the Palestinian Authority’s role in the Gaza Strip, initiate economic relief and arrange for the gradual dismantling of the Hamas military wing. Qatar is proposing that an unaffiliated council of experts manage the Gaza Strip, a halt to Hamas arming itself with offensive weapons and getting international organizations involved to monitor the process. Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations’ special coordinator for the Mideast Peace Process, is trying to organize a new regional forum that will include Israel, Egypt, the PA and the UN to create and operate a long-term aid mechanism for the Strip.
From Israel’s perspective, the gaps with Hamas are too great to bridge at the moment. Israel is concerned that a “Hezbollah model” could emerge in the Gaza Strip, in which Hamas keeps its weapons while the PA takes responsibility for managing civilian issues. It is also skeptical about international monitoring mechanisms to prevent arms smuggling, which failed in an agreement brokered by the Bush administration after the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in 2005.
Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip and the organization’s current strongman, gave a rare interview Wednesday to the Al Jazeera network. Sinwar, who spent more than 20 years in Israeli prisons for murdering Palestinians who cooperated with Israel, was singing a new tune. He announced that Hamas had reached an understanding with Egypt that the demonstrations along the border with Israel would continue but would not deteriorate into a military confrontation. He then praised the “popular nonviolent struggle,” a new position coming from a man who for years headed Hamas’ military wing, which fired rockets at and dug tunnels into Israeli territory.
Israel and the U.S. are triggering a risky, unnecessary war of choice in the Middle East
Triggering a Risky, Unnecessary War of Choice in the Middle East
But neither Israel’s prime minister, nor other regional U.S. allies, have any assurances America will stick around to manage the dangerous fallout from the Iran deal’s implosion
Daniel Levy May 10, 2018
We will probably never know the extent of responsibility Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bears for the U.S. withdrawal, under President Trump, from the Iran nuclear deal.
U.S.- Iranian relations have certainly long been poisonous, independent of Israel. Congressional enthusiasm for the deal was always low and, within the GOP, support for it near non-existent.
Still, Netanyahu and the campaign he spearheaded certainly helped to create part of the backdrop to Trump‘s announcement; indeed, in his announcement, Trump gave Israel direct credit for supposedlysupplying “definitive proof” that Iran’s nuclear intentions were never peaceful. Not for the first time, a U.S. presidential text read like it was written in Jerusalem.
Israel will now have to live with the consequences of that success. Following Trump’s announcement, the nuclear deal is now on a clear path to unravelling completely, with only a small chance of reversing that trajectory.
Iran has been honoring the stipulations of the JCPOA, something that Netanyahu and the deal’s many critics said would never happen, and they have produced no evidence to the contrary.
The concerns which the U.S. and Israel had raised regarding the limitations of the deal, and with which Europeans, at least, were sympathetic – the sunset clause arrangements regarding Iranian nuclear energy, ballistic missile development, and especially the challenges posed by Iran regionally – all will now have to be addressed in an atmosphere of growing crisis.
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That atmosphere will only be heightened now the nuclear issue is presumably back on the table, while tensions are escalating on Israel’s northern border, and the value of American international commitments have been significantly devalued.
Without batting an eye-lid, President Trump has effectively just called his European allies (as well as the Chinese and Russians) a bunch of morons for negotiating what he described as a “horrible,” "one-sided," “decayed,” "rotting" and “defective” deal.
Despite his recent protestations that a shortcoming of the nuclear deal was its failure to address Iran’s regional ambitions, Netanyahu was among those who pushed hardest to keep the nuclear and regional files separate in any P5+1 dealings with Iran. He has now helped bring those two together.
After Trump’s withdrawal decision there might be an attempt to create a semblance of continuity – Europeans and Iranians might explore avenues for retaining the deal which was, after all, blessed by the UN, and they could attempt to address the additional concerns raised by the U.S. But the odds are heavily stacked against that succeeding, if it is even attempted.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech on Iran’s nuclear program, in Tel Aviv, April 30, 2018.JACK GUEZ/AFP
Europe cannot salvage the deal without the U.S. Thus far, Iran has implemented its side of the bargain without the reciprocal economic easing really materializing – that is primarily because European banks and companies feared being frozen out by U.S. financial institutions. Now what was speculation and risk management from European business has become fact, even fewer in the European private sector will risk extensive business dealings with Iran.
A strong economic stand by Europe against U.S. direct and secondary sanctions, possibly even at the WTO, might make a difference. There are few signs that Europe is preparing such a response.
On the Iranian side the smart money will be on this strengthening those who cautioned against any expectations from the West in general, and the U.S. in particular, to honor agreements.
To try and claim, as the White House has done recently, that this exit could be a prelude to a better deal is to stretch incredulity to breaking point.
The logic of Trump’s announcement is that he and his team expect one of three scenarios to play out - regime change in Iran, capitulation by Iran or confrontation with Iran.
The music suggests that that the U.S. is betting on scenarios one or two. Neither option has much going for it other than wishful thinking. American-driven attempts at regime change have a very poor record indeed in the Middle East, and anyone who thinks that Iran will agree to terms dictated by Washington, Riyadh and Jerusalem has not been paying attention.
All of which points in the direction of an increasing likelihood of the gloves coming off and of direct confrontation between some combination of the key protagonists (the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia on one side, Iran, Hezbollah and allied militias, including in Iraq, on the other.)
Anti-Semitism. Jeremy Corbyn Orchestrated Offensive in the UK
For months, a campaign has been aimed at destabilising British #Labour_Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, accused of anti-Semitism. The right-wing party, Tony Blair’s heir, and pro-Israel circles are targeting both Corbyn’s left-wing line and his support for the Palestinian people. Britain’s opposition leader should have plenty on his plate at the moment, but Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is spending much of his time instead putting out fires as he is attacked from within and without his party for (...)
« ►https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/enough-is-enough-protest-labour-mps-join-hundreds-of-activists-outside-p »
« ►https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/17/jeremy-corbyn-accused-of-lacking-moral-clarity-on-antisemitism »
« ►https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmhaff/136/136.pdf »
« ►https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/labour-party-membership-soars-by-33000-in-four-days-since-general- »
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« ►http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-36177333 »
« ►https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/14/ken-livingstone-i-didnt-say-hitler-was-a-zionist »
« ▻http://mondoweiss.net/2017/12/holocaust-service-israel »
« ►https://labour.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Chakrabarti-Inquiry-Report-30June16.pdf »
« ►https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-antisemitism-jeremy-corbyn-ruth-smeeth-jewish-mp-accused-of-co »
« ►https://cst.org.uk/news/blog/2018/02/22/new-publication-antisemitic-content-on-twitter »
« ►https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/apr/27/labour-activist-marc-wadsworth-expelled-from-party-over-antisemitism-ro »
« ▻http://www.lfi.org.uk/in-parliament »
« ►https://www.aljazeera.com/investigations/thelobby »
« ▻https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-s-anti-bds-ministry-pushes-to-keep-its-activities-secret-1. »
« ►https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/asa-winstanley/jewish-labour-movement-worked-israeli-embassy-spy »
« ►https://www.lrb.co.uk/v39/n09/stephen-sedley/defining-anti-semitism »
« ►https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/sep/26/new-antisemitism-row-for-labour-over-fringe-speakers-holocaust-remarks- »
« ►https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/27/labour-denial-antisemitism-party-dark-place »
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« ►https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2018/03/combat-left-anti-semitism-corbynism-must-change-way-it-sees-world »
« ▻https://www.jacobinmag.com/2018/04/jeremy-corbyn-antisemitism-labour-party »
Hamas in message to Israel: Willing to negotiate long-term truce -
According to intelligence assessments, the organization is still in dire distress and is currently more open to discussing options it rejected in the past
Amos Harel May 07, 2018
Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip have recently conveyed messages to Israel indicating their willingness to negotiate a long term cease-fire in the enclave. These messages were passed through different channels on several occasions over the last few months. Hamas wants to tie the cease-fire with an easing of the siege on Gaza, permission to embark on large-scale infrastructure projects and a prisoner and body exchange deal.
As far as is known, Israel has not responded clearly to the messages.
Reports presented to senior defense establishment officials and the political echelons say that tensions in Gaza will remain high even after the massive Nakba Day demonstration Hamas has planned for May 15, when Palestinians mark the expulsion of Arabs from their homes during the 1947-49 Israeli War of Independence. According to intelligence assessments, Hamas is still in dire and unprecedented strategic distress and is currently more open to discussing options it rejected in the past.
The Hamas leadership is engaged in a lively debate regarding the negotiation of a cease-fire and the exchange of prisoners and bodies. The daily Israel Hayom reported two weeks ago that Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’ leader in Gaza, is in favor, while the overall Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh is opposed. The paper claimed that Sinwar accused Haniyeh of yielding to Iranian pressure in forming his positions.
At the same time, reconciliation efforts between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas are still on hold after the assassination attempt on the PA’s Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah during his visit to Gaza in March. The PA blamed Hamas for detonating explosives close to Hamdallah’s convoy while Hamas blamed internal rivalry within the PA and attributed the attempt to the head of the General Intelligence Service in Ramallah, Majid Faraj, who was also in the convoy.
Winner of prestigious Israeli award to donate prize money to human rights organizations
Feminist and scientist Evelyn Fox Keller, a former professor at MIT, will give her Dan David Prize money to anti-occupation organization B’Tselem, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Physicians for Human Rights
Haaretz.com | Amira Hass May 07, 2018 8:11 AM
One of the winners of this year’s Dan David Prize plans to give the prize money to three Israeli human rights organizations.
Prof. Evelyn Fox Keller, one of nine people who received the award at Tel Aviv University Sunday night, will give the money to B’Tselem, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Physicians for Human Rights.
The scientist and feminist thinker told Haaretz that the moment she found out she had won the prize, she decided she could accept it only if she gave the money to organizations combating Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians.
In a written statement to Haaretz on Sunday, the 82-year-old, who last taught at MIT wrote, “I am deeply grateful to the Dan David Foundation both for the honor conferred by the prize, and for the opportunity it provides me to support those elements of Israeli society committed to peaceful coexistence and to the protection of human rights for all.”
Asked why she didn’t just refuse the prize, since it is granted by an Israeli university which is part of the system and doesn’t criticize it, she replied, “I didn’t see it that way. I am accepting the prize in support of people who resist the system. I didn’t see what would be served by turning it down. As a political statement, it is stronger if I take the prize and give it away.”
The interview with Fox Keller took place last Thursday, less than 24 hours after she landed in Israel. She said she decided to announce her plans for the prize money through this interview rather than during the ceremony because “I didn’t want it to be a ‘fuck you’ statement. I don’t want to be the focus of the night.”
On Saturday, she revealed her plans to her two co-winners in the “Past – History of Science” category, Prof. Lorraine Daston of Berlin’s Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and Prof. Simon Schaffer of Cambridge University. The other six winners were in the categories of “Present – Bioethics” and “Future – Personalized Medicine.” The $3 million purse will be evenly divided among the nine of them.
The prize, named for the international entrepreneur and philanthropist who established it, is granted annually “for achievements having an outstanding scientific, technological, cultural or social impact on our world,” according to its website. Fox Keller won for “pioneering work on language, gender, and science” which “has been hugely influential on shaping our views of the history of science.” Her research specialties are theoretical physics, mathematical biology, feminist thought and history of science.
The website’s reference to her “pioneering work” refers to her discovery of the degree to which modern scientific thought and its depiction of natural phenomena were shaped by patriarchal ideology and language. For instance, biologists searched for a “master” molecule – a dominant molecule that would operate an entire system – rather than recognizing the cooperation and self-organization of the various component parts.
Christina Agapakis, a biologist and founding editor of “Method Quarterly,” wrote in her introduction to an interview with Fox Keller in 2014, “Throughout her career she has pushed the boundaries of science, confidently crossing the borders that separate disciplines and breaking down the barriers keeping women out of the highest reaches of scientific achievement.”
Asked whether she thought Israeli universities should speak out against infringements on Palestinians’ academic freedom — such as Israel’s refusal to let students from the Gaza Strip study in the West Bank and obstacles it places before foreign academics and students who wish to teach or study in the occupied territories — Fox Keller responded, “Of course I think they should, but they don’t. And they don’t want to and don’t have a voice.”
It’s not just Tel Aviv University that “doesn’t have a will,” she added. “None of the universities in Israel have a will.”
Her last visit here was 10 years ago, when she was hosted by the Weizmann Institute of Science. She said she was shocked by the changes in her friends, who used to consider themselves liberals and socialists, yet had no idea what was happening in the Palestinian territories under Israeli rule.
“The biggest change is probably the children, the effect the army had,” she said.
“I said [then that] Israel makes me ashamed of being a Jew,” she added. “Yes, I feel the same today.”
Asked why she should feel that way, since she’s an American Jew rather than an Israeli, she replied, “It was just a gut response. I cannot defend it ... [except to say that] my political commitments are whatever remains of my Jewish leftist heritage.”
Israel braces for Iran missile attack from Syria over last month’s deadly strike
Israeli officials believe Iran is determined to retaliate for the April 9 airstrike on Syria’s T4 airbase, which killed seven Iranian military advisers and members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards
Israeli defense officials are bracing for the possibility of an Iranian revenge attack from Syria in the near future, in the form of rocket and missile launches at northern Israel.
Officials believe Iran is determined to retaliate for the April 9 airstrike on Syria’s T4 airbase, which killed seven Iranian military advisers and members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Iran blames Israel for this attack.
>> Iran’s proxy wars: The four battlegrounds Iran uses to threaten Israel and the Middle East | Analysis: Despite Iran’s threats, Israeli army pushes aggressive line against Tehran in Syria >>
Israel has detected unusual involvement by Hezbollah in Iran’s preparations for retaliation, even though the organization has been trying to keep its activity low-profile so as not to affect its position within Lebanon. Aside from Hezbollah commanders, operatives from the Shi’ite militias that Iran funds in Syria have also been active in the preparations.
The operational planning, however, is being done by members of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds force.
Israeli minister : Natalie Portman’s boycott of Netanyahu borders on anti-Semitism - Israel News - Haaretz.com
Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman’s decision not to accept the Genesis Prize and her statements on the matter border on anti-Semitism. Portman said she would not accept the award in the presence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was scheduled to speak at the award ceremony to be held in Jerusalem.
“Natalie Portman has played into the hands of the worst of our haters and of the worst of the anti-Semites in the Middle East,” Steinitz said in an interview on Sunday with the Kan public broadcasting corporation. Portman had made a serious mistake and owes Israel an apology, the energy minister said.
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“Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism. Boycotting Israel has elements of anti-Semitism,” Steinitz asserted, adding that Portman would not have boycotted China or India. Boycotting the ceremony because of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s participation practically constitutes a boycott of Israel, Steinitz asserted.
Gaza footage shows protester shot in the back while running away from Israeli border wall
According to the committee organizing the march, the Palestinian in the video is Abed el-Fatah Abed e-Nabi, 18, and was killed as a result of the shooting ■ IDF claims Hamas distributes many videos, some of which are partial and fabricated
Jack Khoury and Yaniv Kubovich Mar 31, 2018 12:38 PM
A Palestinian taking part in Friday’s “March of Return” near the Gaza border was shot with his back to Israeli army soldiers while moving away from the border fence, so appears to show a video published on Palestinian media Saturday.
According to the committee organizing the march, the Palestinian in the video is Abed el-Fatah Abed e-Nabi, 18, and was killed as a result of the shooting, which occurred east of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza strip.
The video shows two Palestinians running away from the border towards a large group of protesters. When they are several feet away from the group, a shot is heard, and one of the Palestinians, reporedtly e-Nabi, drops to the ground. A small group gathers around to assist him. According to the committee behind the march, the video “clearly shows e-Nabi poses no threat.”
skip - Video shown on Palestinian media
Video shown on Palestinian media - דלג
Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson has issued a reply, saying that Hamas distributes many vidoes, among which are those that show partial events that have been edited and fabricated.
“IDF acted Friday against violent protests and terrorists activities which included live fire towards its soldiers, attempts to inflitrate Israel ... stone throwing, bottle boms,” read the statement. “The forces acted according to open-fire protocols and in a reasonable manner as they avoided harming civilians posted there by Hamas, who wish to embarrass Israel while risking those civilians ... anyone who partakes in violent protests puts themselves at risk.”
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E-Nabi is one of a 15 Palestinians killed in Friday’s demonstrations, in which 758 were wounded from live fire, 148 from rubber-tipped bullets, 422 from inhaling tear gas and 88 from other causes.
The UN Security Council convened Friday night to discuss the events on the Gaza border, despite the United States’ and Israel’s request to postpone deliberations for Saturday, due to Passover holiday eve. No Israeli envoy was present during discussions.
In a statement released Saturday, Israel’s envoy to the UN Danny Danon said “This disgraceful abuse of the holiday will not prevent us from presenting the truth regarding Hamas’ violent protests, whose only purpose is to ignite the sector and incite provocations.”
An Israeli Arab human rights organization condemned Israel’s action on the Gaza border as ’unlawful’ on Saturday, alerting Attorney General Avichay Mendelblit that Israel was in breach of international law.
’Shoot anyone breaching the fence’: Israeli army gears up for Gaza mass protest -
Israeli army calling up snipers and extra soldiers to help local troops deal with Friday’s demonstration ■ Defense officials certain army can prevent Palestinian from crossing Gaza border
Yaniv Kubovich Mar 29, 2018 10:07 AM
The defense establishment believes that the army will succeed in preventing Gazans from crossing the border into Israel during the March of Return scheduled for Friday, even if that means Palestinian deaths.
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Defense officials said Gaza residents do not seem eager to take part in the event, but Hamas is making efforts to bring as many of them as possible to the fence on Friday. As a result, the troops may have to deal with a particularly large demonstration.
<<This Friday, Israel’s Tear Gas and Tanks Will Confront Palestinian Marchers. But Brute Force Can’t Be Israel’s Only Answer |Opinion
A Palestinian poster calling for people to join ’The Great March of Return’ on the Gaza-Israel border on Friday, March 30 2018
Over the last few days the Israel Defense Forces has warned that it would open fire on anyone who tries to breach the border fence and enter Israel.
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The IDF has brought a brigade, snipers and soldiers from various courses, to help local troops deal with Friday’s demonstration. The snipers have been instructed to shoot demonstrators who breach the fence.
In a ceremony marking a change of Military Intelligence commanders on Wednesday, Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot said that the situation in Gaza is “highly explosive” and “threatens to damage the sensitive life fabric and safety of the region’s residents.”
<<Israel’s Defense Minister Says There’s No Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza. Here Are the Facts<<
Eizenkot visited the Gaza division several times this week to supervise the preparations. On Wednesday he and Shin Bet chief Argaman presented to the cabinet ministers preparations and intelligence evaluations ahead of the events, noting that stopping the Palestinians from crossing the fence and entering Israel was the troops’ main task.
They also presented a scenario in which a large crowd comes to the tent compound on the other side of the fence. The assessment is that the army will manage to handle the event, though possibly only at the cost of Palestinian fatalities.
’Grandfather, we will return soon’ - Palestinian poster ahead of ’The Great Return March’
On Wednesday, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Major General Yoav Mordechai, warned the Palestinian bus companies slated to carry demonstrators to the fence that their entry permits would be revoked.
“We contacted more than 20 bus companies in Gaza, who were paid by Hamas to take people to violent demonstrations and warned that we’ll take personal steps against their owners,” he said.
Preparations for Friday’s event come in the wake of growing tension along the Gaza border and several attempts — some successful — to cross it.
On Wednesday, the army struck two Hamas observation posts in the northern Gaza Strip after two Palestinians set a fire near the border fence. The suspects did not cross into Israel.
Also Wednesday, a Palestinian from Gaza was arrested on the Zikim beach in Israel near the Gaza border and taken in for questioning. He was unarmed.
On Tuesday, three Palestinians, armed with grenades and knives, were found and arrested after infiltrating 20 kilometers into Israeli territory. On Saturday, Israel struck Hamas targets after four Palestinians carrying bottles filled with flammable material approached the fence on foot and managed to cross the border into Israel near Kibbutz Kissufim.
The army also said it will impose a closure on the West Bank and Gaza crossings for the duration of the Passover holiday. The closure will begin Thursday at midnight and be lifted on Saturday, April 7. The army added that passage will be allowed for humanitarian and medical cases, pending approval by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.
Israeli universities urged to bar professors from calling to boycott
We will not be used as a ’political thought police for the government,’ heads of universities say in unusually harsh response
Yarden Zur Mar 25, 2018
A panel for higher education headed by Education Minister Naftali Bennett adopted a code of ethics Sunday that moves to bar academics from calling for a boycott of Israel.
The subcommittee of the Council for Higher Education, in adopting this measure and a list of other principles prohibiting discrimination and advocacy based on political beliefs, rejected a controversial ethical code written by Prof. Asa Kasher at Bennett’s request.
The heads of the universities in Israel harshly rejected the move, saying they would not agree to be “used as a political thought police for the government.” The move “continues the unfortunate line by which the ethical code is political sensorship that crushes underfoot the most basic principles of academic freedom,” it added.
The principles do not mention a specific call to ban academic boycotts in the settlements, but calls for a “ban on discrimination, positive or negative, of students based on their political opinions,” and a “ban on discrimination, positive or negative, of a faculty member or candidate for such or for promotion, based on their political opinions.”
The measures would extend to both teaching faculty and administrators. The fourth principle bans “party propaganda in the framework of teaching,” and the fifth would prohibit “presenting or publishing materials “with political or personal opinions as if they are the opinions of the institution.”
Education Minister Naftali Bennett speaking at a Knesset committee in February, 2018.אילן אסייג
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The committee also proposed that lecturers be prohibited from “wrongly taking advantage of the teaching platform to systematically and improperly exhort a political position that clearly exceeds what is required by the teaching of the course in its broader context within its field.”
The adopted principles were formulated last week and sent to the heads of Israel’s academic institutions for response. The issue will then be brought before the entire council.
The subcommittee recommends that these principles become part of institutions’ disciplinary codes by early 2019; however, there is some uncertainty among panel members as to whether this can be enforced by the council.
Adoption of the recommendations, a source told Haaretz, are ultimately up to the institutions themselves because the council is left with no avenue to enforce the measures. The only existing means against an institution that does not respond to the recommendations is to revoke its recognition as an institution of higher education, and that, of course, is unrealistic.
“A code of ethics,” said the source, “is designed to define and spell out accepted norms of conduct in a specific community, and divergence from it can’t be considered a disciplinary infraction.”
The original, rejected ethical code formulated by Kasher included wide-ranging directives in almost all areas of academic life, including campus activity, the classroom, publications and promotions, and was met with wide protest in the academic world.
Kasher’s ethical code treated the issue more stringently, stating that a lecturer “will not allow himself to deviate from the syllabus and the field of the academic unit, neither for political activity nor for similar exhortation, beyond a momentary and insignificant deviation. A significant deviation, for political purposes or similar exhortation, is improper and might also constitute wrongly taking advantage of authority.”
Earlier, the Committee of University Heads called the code “a collection of government-dictated rules over an ensemble of academic activities of the academic faculty in Israel.
The American Association of University Professors, harshly criticized Kasher’s code, stating that it was damaging to Israeli democracy.
Israel condemns hundreds of Palestinians to unemployment – due to their last name
Israeli authorities revoked the work permits of over a thousand Palestinians solely because they have the same surname as the perpetrator of a stabbing attack
Gideon Levy and Alex Levac Mar 23, 2018 1:54 PM
If this isn’t collective punishment, then what is collective punishment? If this isn’t arbitrariness, then what is arbitrariness? And if this measure doesn’t ignite a fire in the relatively tranquil West Bank town of Yatta, then what is the measure intended for? Yatta is distraught, its economy is threatened with collapse, and all because of one person who transgressed, because of whom Israel is punishing an entire town.
Up until a few months ago, over 7,000 residents of this town in the south Hebron Hills had permits to work. Of them, 915 residents with the surname Abu Aram worked in Israel and hundreds more in the settlements, according to the Palestinian District Coordination and Liaison office in Yatta. But those workers then lost their jobs in Israel and the settlements solely because of their names, in the wake of an astounding, draconian decision of the Civil Administration, Israel’s governing body in the West Bank. In desperation, dozens even changed their names in their ID cards, but to no avail. Their way back to work in Israel, where they’ve held jobs for years, is blocked, though they have done nothing wrong. Here’s what happened:
Last August 2, a 19-year-old Yatta resident, Ismail Abu Aram, stabbed Niv Nehemia, the deputy manager of a supermarket in the Israeli city of Yavneh, wounding him seriously. The assailant was arrested. The next day, the authorities decided – in accordance with standard procedure after a terrorist attack – to bar the assailant’s family from entering Israel. The ban was lifted 10 days later, family members returned to their jobs in Israel and the settlements, and Yatta resumed its usual way of life.
Palestinians’ new doomsday weapon has Israel scared to death
The first field trial is next week, the day of Passover. A new weapon against occupation, wielded by Palestinian refugees. And Israel, with its layers of defense against every manner of killing devised by man, is unprepared
Bradley Burston Mar 20, 2018
It is the sum of all fears of Israel’s ruling right. It is a weapon against which one of the world’s most powerful, advanced militaries is at a loss.
It could succeed where suicide bombings, ballistic missile barrages, and sophisticated attack tunnels have failed. And it’s coming on Passover, just over a week away.
Beginning on the day of the Passover seder, just a week from this Friday, Palestinians plan mass marches toward Israeli and Israeli-held territory, as well as sit-ins and vigils. They will press for Israeli and world attention to UN Resolution 194, the legal basis for what is known as the Palestinian Right of Return.
The plan is this: They will be unarmed. They will not throw stones. They will be organized by family clans rather than militant groups. They will avoid clashes with Israeli troops.
And Israel, with its layers of defenses against attacks from space, cyberspace, nuclear submarines, and every manner of killing machine devised by man, is unprepared.
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“All the announcements we’ve been hearing about mass marches - these are very, very problematic developments,” former Shin Bet chief and ex-minister of Home Front Defense Avi Dichter said Monday. “This is not a military war, rather it is a war of the masses, different in its essentials.”
"If on Friday afternoon, at the end of Friday prayers, if thousands or tens of thousands [take part], or if it turns into a number even larger than that, this is an issue which the IDF will need to prepare itself for in a different manner [than it is used to], significantly so, more so," Dichter, a senior Likud figure and chair of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, told Army Radio.
Who’s hiding Israeli air force participation in major exercise with UAE and U.S.?
It’s unclear why Israel is not mentioned on the promotional website of the annual Iniohos exercise with the U.S., UAE, Greece, Britain, Cyprus and Italy
Yaniv Kubovich Mar 20, 2018
The Israel Air Force began a joint exercise in Greece with the air forces of the United Arab Emirates and the United States. Italy, the United Kingdom and Cyprus also participated in the exercise.
A number of IAF F-16 jet fighters, along with dozens of planes from the other air forces, are participating in the annual Iniohos exercise.
This is not the first time that the IAF has taken part in the exercise in Greece and the UAE’s participation was publicized, even though Israel does not have diplomatic relations with the UAE.
Fighters and pilots participating in the multi-national Iniochos 2018 exercise in Greece Hellenic Air Force
skip - IAF
IAF - דלג
IAFΠολεική Αεροπορία / YouTube
This year, however, Israel does not appear on the Hellenic Air Force website that gives details about the exercise. It does not appear on the list of participants, nor does Israel’s flag appear in the group photo and Youtube video clip in which the flags of all the participating countries are shown next to an array of the countries’ planes.
It isn’t clear why Israel’s participation is being hidden; in past years its participation was widely publicized. There is a hint of Israel’s involvement, however, in the patch worn by the pilots on their flight suits, where Israel’s flag can be seen along with the flags of the other countries.
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Last November the air forces of eight countries took part in the international Blue Flag exercise at Uvda Air Base in southern Israel. In addition to the IAF, the air forces of the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Greece and India participated. It was the first time the air forces of Germany and France had taken part in air exercises in Israel.
>> Blue Flag 2017: Israel’s Fighter-jet Diplomacy | Analysis >>
At the time, the IAF said that despite the operational importance of the exercise, the real achievement was a diplomatic one. As for the exercise in Greece, the same is probably true, but the IAF plans continue the tradition of participating in this exercise.
Mahmoud Abbas’ health deteriorates, and Israel prepares for bloody succession fight -
Head of West Bank’s Palestinian Authority was hospitalized for tests in U.S. at end of February
Amos Harel Mar 07, 2018
❝In recent months there has been a deterioration in the health of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who will be 83 at the end of the month. Information about his health has been submitted to Israeli political and security officials.
Although the security cooperation between Israel and the PA continues to be managed well, Israel is readying itself for the possibility that a continued worsening of Abbas’ health will intensify the succession wars in the PA and undermine the relative stability that now prevails in the West Bank.
At the end of last month, while he was in the United States to address the UN General Assembly in New York, Abbas was hospitalized for a few hours for tests in a Baltimore hospital. He also underwent tests in a Ramallah hospital last July. In both instances, the PA spokesman issued denials regarding illnesses Abbas supposedly had and insisted that his medical condition was satisfactory. Abbas himself, in an interview with Palestinian television on February 22, said he was in good health.
However, Palestinian activists opposed to Abbas’ regime claim that he’s ill and getting worse. There was even a claim on social media that he was suffering from cancer of the digestive system. This claim was never confirmed.
Some 20 years ago Abbas was operated on for prostate cancer, and the surgery was said to be successful.
The PA president has cut down his work hours over the past year. People around him say he seems to be getting more short-tempered and argumentative with his aides and other senior PA officials. Aside from his health and advancing age, Abbas’ behavior seems to indicate that the PA, and his leadership, are facing a crisis.
The main reason is the bad relationship with the Trump administration and the United States clearly positioning itself on Israel’s side with regard to its diplomatic dispute with the Palestinians. This American position is accompanied by other moves that are liable to undermine the Palestinian economy, like pushing the Taylor Force law through Congress (which limits American aid to the PA because of its financial support for imprisoned terrorists and their families) and the plan to reduce support for UNRWA, the United Nations’ refugee agency.
At Abbas’ orders, the PA security agencies are continuing to closely coordinate with the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet security service, and they are regularly assisting in the rescue of Israelis who stray into Area A, which is under PA control. In closed forums with foreign diplomats, senior PA officials admit that the IDF is showing restraint in the West Bank and its approach is preventing violent flare-ups.
But as Abbas’ health gets worse, the battle among the many contenders hoping to succeed him will intensify. There are nearly 10 Palestinian politicians and security officials who see themselves worthy of the job, and there could be temporary alliances formed between some of them in an effort to win the leadership of PA. Israel is concerned about the instability that could ensue the closer the end of Abbas’ tenure seems – and is concerned that the internal tension will impact the degree to which the PA security services will work to prevent attacks on the IDF and Israeli civilians in the West Bank.
Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi’s trial begins; reporters barred from covering it - Israel News - Haaretz.com
Tamimi is charged with a long list of crimes, including assaulting soldiers and incitement to violence. The charges include aggravated assault, threatening a soldier, incitement on Facebook and throwing objects at people and property.
Ali Abunimah on Twitter: ““[Ahed] Tamimi is charged with a long list of crimes, including assaulting soldiers and incitement to violence.” Can you imagine the chutzpah of this criminal and illegitimate occupation regime to “try” one its child victims? ▻https://t.co/ZllkGD5axH”