“Schlaglicht Israel” offers an insight into internal Israeli debates and reflects selected, political events that affect daily life in Israel. It appears every two weeks and summarizes articles that appeared in the Israeli daily press.
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Main topics covered in this Publication:
- Racial Segregation in Hospitals
- Soldier shoots unconscious Terrorist
- Herzog und Deri are Suspects
- Selection of Articles
1. Racial Segregation in Hospitals
Hospital segregation? Remember we were strangers in a strange land
(…) there is something about illness and the power of healing that brings all people to the same level. In the world of the sick, we expect medical professionals to be colorblind. (…) Indeed in those very moments, intimacy of a kind not possible elsewhere can occasionally take place (…) Israel has a proud record of members of its Arab minority being part of all the major professions – medicine, law, politics, academia etc. (…) One of the features of Israeli society we can be most proud of is the diversity that we see in hospitals. Patients, doctors, visitors and other staff represent every grouping in Israel, Jew, Muslim and Christian, religious and secular, refugee and citizen alike. In Israeli hospitals, there is no “occupier” or “occupied,” only doctors and nurses and those they care for. They can be showcased as a great example of co-existence. MK Bezalel Smotrich’s comments on the topic represent the very worst of what our society represents (…). Thankfully, the phenomenon exists only in some, but not, all hospitals, but it is our responsibility to make sure such requests by new mothers are not tolerated anywhere. (…) it is our responsibility to create a society based on the highest Jewish values. Any other choice grants a victory to the terrorists and their extremist supporters.
Daniel Goldman, 06.04.16
Smotrich and segregated maternity wards are a sign of madness with no cure
(…) Smotrich has no interest in the issue of visiting relatives in maternity wards. Neither he nor his wife (…) believe that new mothers who are also Arab would enjoy resting peacefully after giving birth. Smotrich is interested in something quite different: a nationality-based segregation, from crib to grave. (…) And as everyone knows, whoever separates Arabs in hospitals will end up separating between Jews as well. (…) Why should we complain about Smotrich? Eleven minutes passed between the immobilization of the Palestinian assailant in Hebron and the time “the son of us all” shot a dying man in the head, a man waiting for the saving grace of a doctor. While watching the video showing this assassination, we’ve turned from being citizens in a law-abiding state, free and protected from wilful acts, into subjects of a state in which “every man does what is right in his own eyes.” This makes the crude remarks by Smotrich regarding maternity wards not just the words of a racist trying to get rid of other citizens lest they give birth in proximity to his own, but a sign of madness. This is a sign of madness that is spreading without, it appears, any cure.
Tal Niv, HAA, 08.04.16
Baby steps towards mutual understanding
I’ve given birth five times. Five times, I’ve shared a room in the maternity ward. (…) once it was an Arab woman who couldn’t speak Hebrew, and who needed some help from me with her computer. We managed to communicate as people do without language — with half-words and movement. (…) I am grateful for opportunities like these. In a state where we learn in separate educational systems, live in homogeneous neighborhoods, read the papers of our sector only, and listen to different radio stations, there aren’t a lot of opportunities for unconditional encounters with others. Despite the fact that we don’t meet each other and don’t live together, we do imagine each other. But we imagine each other only through the images and voices of the extremist versions of each other that we are exposed to through the media. (…) The “real other” is the extremist other in the media. (…) The policy of separating Arab and Jewish women in maternity wards that Dikla Aharon has exposed saddens me (…) it’s a terrible mistake on the national level. (…) we need precisely the opposite policy. (…) We need as many opportunities as possible to get to know each other, to be exposed to each other’s ideas, and to meet each other in the places where we are all the same: not dialogue groups for the elite and the self-selecting, and not situations of conflict and confrontation. (…) It won’t solve the national problems or the economic gaps, but it will get us to doubt the harsh identities that we assign to the other. (…)
Tehila Friedman-Nachalon, TOI, 09.04.16
On racism and criticism in Israel
(…) Bezalel Smotrich’s comments constitute pure racism. (…) For the information of Smotrich and his handful of supporters: There is a higher chance that the Arab child born on the same day as his son will be a doctor than a terrorist. Over 10 percent of Israel’s doctors are Arabs. (…) They’re among the best surgeons. They don’t take lives, they save lives. They’re a model of a slightly more dignified and fair life for the Arab minority among the Jewish majority. The percentage of those who grow up to become terrorists, meanwhile, is closer to zero than it is to a tenth of a percent. But Smotrich managed to turn this picture on its head. This is what anti-Semitism did to Jews – it portrayed all of them as dangerous. (…) Smotrich’s name should also be added to the list of shame. (…)
Ben-Dror Yemini, JED, 09.04.16
Are we really any less racist than Smotrich?
(…) this country has more racism than it has water. But because this time, the racism, Smotrich-style, was plain, unadulterated racism, free of the regular excuses of security or Jewish law. Racism, pure and simple. (…) Jewish law allows Jewish women not just to touch a non-Jew’s hand, but even to sleep with him. (…) But how many of you live in a neighborhood, let alone a building, with Arab neighbors? How many Arab children were in your children’s class? And all that isn’t segregation? It is absolutely segregation, ongoing, deep, constant, Zionist, substantial. Not for two days in a maternity ward, but lasting years, often a lifetime, in all realms. (…) Segregation is what Ehud Barak, the last “leftist” leader to reach national leadership, suggested as the recipe for peace with the Palestinians, and you voted for him. Segregation is what opposition leader Isaac Herzog is suggesting today as his bold peace plan, and you think that he will be the one to redeem us from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who, incidentally, also supports segregation, through “two states for two peoples,” a path to the peace he doesn’t want. (…) Benighted racism is not just two marginal Smotriches. It’s all of us.
Kobi Niv, HAA, 11.04.16
Refusing to give birth to racism: No to Arab-Jewish segregation in Israel’s maternity wards
(…) Even now, two years later, one particular night remains fresh in my memory. The ward’s head nurse had given me a mini primer on pumping breast milk (…). Soon enough two other Jewish Israeli women and an Arab woman, all either trying to pump milk or breastfeed their newborns, joined me. (…) I learned that night that there is no greater equalizer than sitting in a drab hospital room with women you might not otherwise have met, while breast pumps mechanically whoosh away, as you all try to eke out whatever you can to nourish your newborn. (…) One nurse in particular – an Arab woman and longtime employee of the hospital – stood out for me then, and still does, in the care and attention she paid me. When she could, she would sneak a few minutes away from the station and help me practice breastfeeding, all while telling me about her own children, little tidbits about their lives like what they were studying at school, what they hoped to be. (…) But for those few days, all the ugliness of the outside world, all the talk of “us” and “them” receded, and all of the mothers and their loved ones were united by one shared goal: to care as best as they could for the newest members of their families. (…)
Anat Rosenberg, HAA, 13.04.16
Center Field: ReligioGoons – the Jewish Taliban – threaten Judaism and Zionism
(…) While we differentiate between murderers, rioters and mere demagogues, there’s a disturbing phenomenon afoot. Israeli ReligioGoons mock Judaism’s ethical traditions. Their verbal violence often encourages physical violence. Their fanaticism demeans Judaism and Zionism. These Jewish Taliban embarrass me as a proud Jew and Zionist. (…) the cowardly silence of too many rabbis is particularly appalling. (…) Have they forgotten their role as moral leaders of their own community, the Jewish people and the world? (…) The natural mix between;Arabs and Jews in Israeli hospitals is one of the country’s marvels, which I have enjoyed personally. (…)When did the religious educational system start producing thugs? When did rabbis start worshiping human monsters? (…) I mourn what religious Zionism has become – and wrought. (…)
Gil Troy, JPO, 12.04.16
2. Soldiers shoots unconscious Terrorist
Inside the mind of the budding fascist
Along the way to full, official fascism (…) a society must experience two critical stages. The first is the complete dehumanization of “the “Other” — that is, members of a different religion, nation or race. (…) Last week Israeli society proved it passed this stage with flying colors. The dehumanization of the Palestinian “other” is complete. In the neofascist Israeli consciousness, the Palestinians are like cockroaches. Even when they lie on the ground, helpless, their heads must be crushed with a slipper, or punctured by a bullet. (…) The response of the witnesses to the act attested to the completion of the dehumanization process. The total indifference. The relaxed calm. The silent, routine consent. It was as though a rat had been run over, as though a mosquito had been squashed. (…) Discomfitingly enough, to explain this next stage I must resort to an ancient German word, vogelfrei. (…) In other words, an outlaw, whose property and whose very body are up for grabs. Even his life. (…) Gypsies, homosexuals, blacks, some Poles and members of a nation that has meanwhile managed to forget the lessons of its past, were semi-officially but publicly declared vogelfrei. A despicable government deprived them of their rights, looted their property and allowed them to be killed. The sickening commotion now being raised by the supporters and defenders of the attacker from the Israel Defense Forces is about precisely this issue. It’s about completing phase 2. It’s about carrying out their desire to make the Palestinian “other” vogelfrei as well. Fair game. Deprived of all legal protections, so that they can maltreat him without hindrance, hurt him without having to justify their behavior. (…) And, of course, to shoot him at any time, without encountering the annoying questions of some traitorous minority, whose day is also coming. It is fitting that Naftali Bennett and Avigdor Lieberman should lead this riff raff. From their perspective, so it would seem, the Palestinians have long become vogelfrei.
- Michael, HAA, 03.04.16
Israel is greatly indebted to Abdel Fattah al-Sharif
Israel is greatly indebted to Abdel Fattah al-Sharif. (…) Palestinian jaws must have dropped in amazement. What’s happened to the Jews? What a commotion over a dead Palestinian. (…) How did he succeed where thousands of other dead Palestinians failed? Is it because of the camera of Emad Abu Shamsiyeh, which penetrated every Israeli living room with its description of the single shot that shattered al-Sharif’s head? (…) Nonsense. We’ve already seen photos of executed prisoners and of a scissors-wielding girl being sprayed with gunfire at close range. (…) The explanation must be sought elsewhere. (…) The left needs the “shooting soldier” in order to bolster its weak spine and rally around “values” and the right needs him as a symbol of nationalism, which always fears defection in its ranks. (…) The two sides could not have had a better opportunity to dig in than the one provided by “the shooter.” The timing was perfect. (…) Abdel Fattah al-Sharif, who in his death bequeathed us a “war of values,” shaping our image. For that he deserves at least a small wreath.
Zvi Bar´el, HAA, 05.04.16
Behaving like animals
(…) People on the right expressed unqualified support of the soldier’s actions and even offered to present him with a medal of honor. Those on the left, however, concluded that the shooting was nothing less than premeditated murder. Both of these extreme “rulings” were made well before the actual facts were investigated. (…) The IDF needs to carry out a full, in-depth professional investigation of the Kfir Brigade soldier, his commanders and the entire brigade. (…) the real story here is not the attack, or even the soldier killing the terrorist, but the way Israeli society and our politicians have comported themselves following the incident. When you read the newspaper or watch the evening news, you get the feeling that the entire country has turned into a bunch of beasts, and not just our military. (…) as bad as the video makes the incident look, none of us really knows what actually happened out there (…) This incident is just another touchstone of the entire Israeli society and our elected officials. (…) This is further proof that Israel lacks a true leader, who could succeed in calming the flames and subduing the belligerence. Instead, we’ve turned into a physically and verbally violent nation. We are living in a pressure cooker that is constantly threatening to erupt. Many segments of the population are just waiting for sparks to light their fires of rage and anger. (…) The military court should have handled the case quietly and honorably in the courthouse instead of in the tabloids and on the street. But in the jungle, everyone behaves like wild animals.
Lior Akerman, JPO, 07.04.16
Stop lashing out at Ya’alon, Israel’s most effective antiterrorism authority
(…) Of all those taking part in the discussion, Ya’alon is probably the person most experienced in dealing with terrorists. (…) He certainly speaks with authority on fighting terrorism — more so than all those criticizing him. So give him a little respect, and lay off him! (…) How does the soldier know that the wounded terrorist does not present a danger? That evidently is a matter for the soldier to judge in a split second. (…) It is up to him to follow the orders he has been given to the best of his ability. (…) the judge will make an attempt to delve into the state of mind of the soldier at the time, the degree of stress he was under, and his ability under the circumstances to make a decision that would accord with the rules for opening fire as he was taught them during his army training. (…) Innocent until proven guilty is a principle held sacred throughout the civilized world. It applies to the soldier about to stand trial as well. That means that it behooves us all to withhold judgment until the military tribunal pronounces its decision. (…)
Moshe Arens, HAA, 11.04.16
Nothing justifies Palestinian stabbings, nothing justifies Israeli executions
(…) I’m a Palestinian citizen of the State of Israel. (…) I have no interest in the State of Israel disappearing or in expelling the Jews. (…) Ordinary Palestinians are the victims of the complete absence of any political solution to the occupation; they are losing hope. We’re not saints who can shrug off suffering. But none of this justifies a single Palestinian stabbing, nor do the stabbings justify the execution of a Palestinian by an Israeli soldier in the streets of Hebron. (…) Why are Netanyahu’s solutions only ever military? (…) And Mahmoud Abbas: haven’t you lost your legitimacy in terms of your people? Why have you told us before that you can’t meet with Israel to find a political solution, when your people can meet with Israelis all the time to coordinate security? Surely after all the blood that’s already been shed, it’s time for the leaders to meet – and not just to coordinate security, but to work toward a period of non-violence, a peaceful solution. (…)
Rita Khoury, HAA, 08.04.16
The Likud has abandoned Ya’alon
The Likud party has changed. (…) It’s not the Likud that passed Basic Laws assuring human rights, (…) democracy and liberalism. People in today’s Likud speak a different language, and it’s terrible. (…) Defense Minister Ya’alon showed leadership. (…) He needs to protect and back up soldiers, but when one of them does something wrong – they need to face justice. (…) I’m certain Ya’alon will stick to his guns, in order to mark the limits of what is and is not permitted to soldiers, and to Israeli society at large. We need to protect soldiers who are being sent on tough missions, but that doesn’t mean everything is permitted. There are rules. The soldiers are in a difficult position and should be helped, but not by compromising our values. The entire government has to stand by the Defense Minister. Prime Minister Netanyahu should have quickly backed Ya’alon up (…). Ya’alon stood for the rule of law and justice, and protected the IDF and its moral image – and in return he fell victim to personal attacks against him.
The attacks on Ya’alon are troubling, but the silence of the other ministers is even more so. A leadership needs to lead, not be dragged along. (…)
Dan Meridor, JED, 11.04.16
3. Herzog and Deri are Suspects
Column One: The stench of a rat
(…) In the past, prosecutors have leaked investigations to influence elections. (…) But today, no elections are on the horizon. (…) Who wanted the lead headlines to be about the grandeur of Deri’s vacation homes or Herzog’s questionable election finance activities? (…) one thing that is clear about the stories. They help the public forget Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit’s decision earlier this month to close the criminal probe against former Tel Aviv district attorney Ruth David (…), who (…) is on trial for her role in the illicit activities of attorney Ronel Fisher (…). Shortly after David’s initial arrest last May, then-attorney-general Yehuda Weinstein ordered a probe of her activities as district attorney. He decided to close the investigation shortly before he left office last month. Acting on Weinstein’s decision, Mandelblit officially closed the probe. Weinstein’s and Mandelblit’s decisions are a scandal of epic proportions. Investigative reports into her actions carried out by journalists since her arrest make clear that there is a lot that needs to be investigated about David’s actions as district attorney. Their decision not to do so stinks of a cover-up. (…) To justify his decision to close his investigation of David’s behavior as district attorney, Weinstein said that there wasn’t enough evidence to convict her and that anyway, the allegations against her were too old to prosecute. This brings us back to our corrupt politicians. Because we understand that power corrupts, we limit the powers of our elected officials.(…) power corrupts appointed officials just as much as it corrupts elected ones.(…) there is something deeply corrupt about the entire law enforcement system.
Caroline B. Glick, JPO, 01.04.16
The Israeli political Ferris wheel
Sometimes, it seems like our country is going in circles. Our political system is like a Ferris wheel, which, after a rotation, returns the same people to the top that were just there a bit before. (…) At times of crises, tantrums and fights the likes of which are frequent in Netanyahu’s cabinet, Deri is the calming influence who puts things back in proportion. He often comes in to order a debate that has gotten out of control. (…) Deri’s presence is sane and modera-ting, which is certainly welcomed by the security officials. There is no doubt that the story landed on Deri out of the clear blue sky. (…) And Herzog. Our Bougie. What can I say about the leader of the opposition, who (…) spoke of the unity talks that were progressing between him and Netanyahu. By the way, there’s no point in asking him about that. He’ll deny it. He always denies. But the question that will be asked about his police inquiry is “Why now?” Who wanted to put out a leg for him to trip over? And, as opposed to Deri, it’s conceivable that this is a targeted elimination from inside his own party. Just don’t underestimate Herzog’s capacity to survive. The nerdy character that we all know is just one side of his personality. The man is a lot more impervious than he looks. And when he needs it, his toy isn’t a teddy bear, but a sharp knife.
Sima Kadmon, JED, 01.04.16
The same old ethnic campaign
(…) in 1990 (…) Deri enlisted a few of his pet reporters (…) and used them to spread lies. Through this campaign, he tried to threaten the police, the State Prosecutor, and the attorney general, all in an attempt to stop the investigation. (…) Now we’re revisiting the same old story, with Deri once again claiming to be innocent. He enjoys the presumption of innocence, of course. But there are already signs that he didn’t learn his lesson. In one guise, he is promising to cooperate with the police, while in the other his chorus is starting to sing the song of ethnic persecution. The tired old ethnic issue is once again being aired. Deri is using that same old weapon in a time when a former prime minister is sitting in prison, along with the former chairman of Israel’s largest bank? If so, the interior minister has a problem. He seems to know something we still don’t.
Mordechai Gilat, IHY, 01.014.16
Israel’s opposition leader Herzog is guilty: Of a complete absence of leadership
I’m not one of those people who think Isaac Herzog should resign as head of the Labor Party just because the police reportedly want to launch a criminal investigation against him about alleged campaign-funding shenanigans. (…) The public hasn’t been shown a shadow of a reason to believe Herzog broke the law. No, I think Herzog should go home because he has yet to show a shadow of a reason for the public to suspect him of leadership. His presence at the head of the party – and of its alter ego, the Zionist Union – is a throwback to Labor’s colorless and aloof past. (…) Herzog has had the chance to position himself and his party as a clear alternative to the Likud and its partners. Instead, he has repeated two classic Labor mistakes. The first is to believe that if Labor is “centrist,” which is to say more hawkish, it will succeed in drawing votes from the right. (…) Given the choice between the real thing and the imitation, swing voters prefer the genuine article. (…)
Gershom Gorenberg, HAA, 14.04.16
4. Selection of Articles
Jordan’s Prince El-Hassan Bin Talal: Guns alone won’t stop ISIS
At the end of WWII, world leaders, horrified by the destruction and loss of life rendered through conflict, committed to a new humanitarian order. (…) One glance at the West Asia-North Africa region today and one cannot help but wonder how humanity has strayed so far from that pledge. (…) The blame lies less in what we have done, but in what we have failed to do. Once again, the nature of the threat has evolved too quickly for the legal framework to contain it. The defining characteristic of the military theater encompassing Syria, Iraq and Libya is the proliferation of violent armed non-state actors. Religiously-motivated organizations get the most press, most notably the Islamic State (…). International powers have been unable to halt the evolution of this new form of warfare, (…) while legal principles exist, their enforcement is political. (…) although certain crimes perpetrated in Iraq and Syria could be tried at the International Criminal Court, the required Security Council referral would inevitably be blocked. In short, the nature of warfare and balance of global power has shifted so dramatically, that the international legal architecture has been rendered obsolete. (…) The world is in a far more threatening place than it stood in the wake of the Second World War. (…) we don’t need new or elaborated rules of war. We all need ownership of a law of peace. (…) We need to make a qualitative step forward and wage peace. As painfully articulated by Sun Tzu, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”(…) the most effective way of preventing war today, is maintaining a post-conflict peace. (…)
Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, HAA, 03.04.16
Can the Israeli gas phoenix rise again
According to legend, the phoenix is a bird that regularly dies and then rises again. The closest things to a phoenix in Israel is the situation with the exploitation of the offshore natural gas reserves (…). it remains to be seen if the natural gas phoenix can rise yet again from its most recent near-death experience, and secondly what the court’s controversial decision may mean for the movement to legislate a reduction in its powers to strike down executive and legislative decisions and laws. (…) it is likely that an alternative method of ensuring stability will be found in the coming months; but if it is not, the phoenix’s run of luck may be at an end. As to the second, judicial activism is a problem for many countries, particularly the United States, where the Supreme Court has arrogated to itself ultimate arbitral powers, often through tortured interpretations of provisions of the constitution (…) or the “discovery” of constitutional “rights” found nowhere in the written document or its many amendments. How both of these situations play out will have very serious effects on both the economic and financial future of Israel, its foreign relations and its democracy. (…)
Norman Bailey, GLO, 06.04.16
April 8: PM’s Kotel moment
Negotiating with religious extremists is a waste of time. (…) The Kotel deal is a case in point. At the end of January, a majority of the ministers who make up the cabinet voted to reserve an area south of the Western Wall plaza for non-Orthodox prayer and to provide a place for the Women of the Wall group. (…) UTJ MK Moshe Gafni declared that his party would only accept the plan for a non-Orthodox prayer section if there were no common entrance for Orthodox and non-Orthodox visitors. (…) In addition to disparaging Jews for adhering to beliefs different from his own, Gafni rejected the authority of the Supreme Court. (…) Gafni and his fellow travelers are angry at the courts.(…) after the courts supported the right of Women of the Wall members to pray the way they wish to inside the Western Wall Plaza, the religious zealots were forced to negotiate with them so they would willingly go elsewhere to pray. (…) A compromise had finally been reached. But now like spoiled children, MKs who march to a different, more pious, drummer are trying to put pressure on the government to renege on a deal that was reached in good faith. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must rise to the occasion and remain committed to the cabinet decision. (…)
Editorial, JPO, 07.04.16
Where hawks and doves fly together
Hawks and doves usually don’t fly together. (…) We have differing perspectives on the history and current status of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and perhaps its ultimate resolution. But sometimes our viewpoints converge. We believe in peace and security for both Palestinians and Israelis. To get there, we recognize on the need to develop a Palestinian governance and economic infrastructure in the West Bank and Gaza capable of sustaining a future state living in peace, security and good neighborly relations next to Israel. And we believe government-to-government, civil society and people-to-people initiatives that foster cooperation and bolster trust between Israelis and Palestinians ought to be supported and expanded. (…) we both share a convictyon that any sustainable process toward a final peace agreement must be accompanied by mutual goodwill, cooperation and trust building reflected by the establishment of shared initiatives from health to high-tech. (…) The responsibility of making “peace” between peoples also is, or can be in the hands of the peoples themselves. There is a Palestinian “anti-normalization” campaign txat seeks to cut off contact with Israelis. And the pernicious global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which calls for the boycott of Israeli products and institutions, has captured the headlines. (…) Despite it all, there are Israelis and Palestinians continuing to work, without fanfare, toward reconciliation, mutual understanding and an enhanced quality of life for both peoples.(…) let us come together to support a more robust ongoing effort to anchor any future agreement between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in a genuine and lasting peace between the peoples.
Martin J. Raffel, Dan Diker, JPO, 12.04.16
Israeli politicians are jumping on the Bernie-bashing bandwagon
It began with a simple mistake by Bernie Sanders, and ended up with the bashing of the presidential candidate by spotlight-seeking Israeli politicians who were quick to take advantage of Bernie’s blunder, in an utterly unhelpful and unnecessary foray into American electoral politics.(…) frankly, in the current presidential campaign, given some of the wildly off-base assertions of certain candidates (Donald Trump, anyone?), the bar for factual accuracy has been set so low that a quickly corrected mistake like Sanders’ barely registered for most political reporters. (…) When Sanders publicly acknowledged his mistake, (…) it could have — and should — have been the end of it. But admitting error wasn’t good enough for Israeli politicians hungry for an opportunity to hit the international headlines by jumping aboard the Bernie-bashing bandwagon. (…) Israeli leaders responding to his mistake with gratuitous attacks and insults that have no clear goal other than to flex muscles score domestic political points, while demanding an apology for a corrected factual error only reinforces the image of Israel as an al|y who requires criticism-free fealty from U.S. leaders lest they go on the attack. For the American public, especially Democrats, it is an unpleasant echo and reminder of the icy relationship between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Obama administration. (…)
Allison Kaplan Sommer, HAA, 12.04.16
(…) Too much power is concentrated in the hands of a bunch of religious functionaries. They decide who can marry and who cannot; they decide who can divorce and under which conditions; they decide which food is kosher and which is not. And for too long now they have had control over a purely civil matter: who is eligible for Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return and who is not. (…) In coming weeks the haredi parties in the government coalition will likely push legislation that would bypass the High Court ruling. (…) this will set the government on a collision course with Diaspora Jewry – particularly in America where the vast majority of Jews are non-Orthodox. (…) We recommend that the present government maintain that policy of keeping the question of “Who is a Jew” out of the hands of a bunch of ultra-conservative, politically connected rabbis, at least with regard to citizenship. (…) The State of Israel was created to provide a national home for Jews of all kinds regardless of their affiliation or denomination. The State of Israel belongs to Reform and Conservative Jews no less than it belongs to Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jews. (…)
Editorial, JPO, 03.04.16
Don’t buy Michael Golan’s threats
(…) There has never been a period of such chaos in the telecommunications market as we are now experiencing, and all because of politics and the political hacks who have destroyed whatever was good at the Ministry of Communications, alongside inappropriate and unworthy appointments. (…) The letter that Golan Telecom sent to the prime minister, in which the company warned that it faced collapse if the merger between the two companies was not approved, is like a parricide pleading for mercy on the grounds of being an orphan. Michael Golan flouted all the rules, flagrantly breached the terms of his license, made a billion shekel killing out of the state, and now comes along and declares that his company will collapse. (…) The next instalment was the Ministry of Communications’ statement in which it declared that it was fully prepared for the day that Golan Telecom collapses. Let anyone who believes that stand up now. The ministry hasn’t the faintest idea what to do in that situation, and telecommunications operators that have been in talks with it say it’s all a bad joke. (…) Could the threatened scenario materialize? Presumably it could, but it’s not certain that it would be as terrible as Golan makes out. (…) this merger should be examined professionally and not politically. (…)
Gad Perez, GLO, 07.04.16
HAA = Haaretz
JED = JediothAhronoth / Ynetnews
JPO = Jerusalem Post
IHY = Israel HaYom
TOI = Times of Israel
GLO = Globes
Published: April 2016
Dr. Werner Puschra,
Head of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Israel