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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1. Calls for Boycott against Israel
The European peace offensive
The Europeans have decided that the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Holy Land, over a hundred years long, must finally end. (…) The European intentions are laudable, but seem to be removed from the Middle Eastern reality. While partition of the Land of Israel between the Jews and the Arabs living in this small part of the world is desirable, the Palestinian national movement has proved to be the wrong partner to implement partition and is largely responsible for the failure of the two-state solution. (…) It is totally unrealistic to expect an agreement on final status issues in the near future. (…) As long as Hamas plays a central role in Palestinian affairs, no real Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation is possible. (…) Above all, the Palestinians refuse to accept Israel as a Jewish state, a core issue in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. (…) The turmoil in the Arab world has also hardened Israeli positions in negotiations with the Palestinians. (…) The two-state solution that everybody pays lip service to is simply not a realistic outcome under the current circumstances. (…) The best that can be achieved is interim agreements, tacit or formal, that do not entail grave security risks for Israel. (…) The European peace offensive, another exercise in futile diplomacy, will in all probability produce another bout of diplomatic activism in pursuit of another forum for an Israeli-Palestinian exchange of views that will similarly fail. (…)
Efraim Inbar, IHY, 01.06.15
The world is not against us
(…) According to the comprehensive Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute 2014 report, “Exports to five of the 10 main export destinations have risen in comparison to 2013.” Ironically, exports to Turkey, of all places, have increased by 10%. Furthermore, exports to the European Union, which is currently trying to boycott us in the other universe, have remained steady. Exports to the U.S. have gone up by 6%. A recent Gallup poll among Americans about their feelings toward Israel and the Palestinians revealed that 62% of Americans view Israel positively — exactly the same percentage that viewed Israel positively in the last Gallup poll, a year earlier. Nothing has changed (…). It seems that since we, the Israelis and Jews around the world, have been so effective in raising awareness over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we managed to focus the entire view of Israel around the conflict, and the conflict alone. The boycott movement has gone one step further and injected terms like “apartheid,” “racism,” “baby killers” and “organ harvesting” into the discourse surrounding Israel. These are terrible words to use to describe a country that is facing such difficult, unreasonable conditions. (…) Israel is a state, not a conflict. As such, we need to promote it more actively and invest more in marketing it to the world. (…) This is something in which everyone — from government ministries to municipalities to local organizations and businesses — can take part.
Joanna Landau, IHY, 03.06.15
NUS boycott decision a dangerous step that makes dialogue even harder
On Wednesday, the national executive council of Britain’s National Union of Students amended a Justice for Palestine motion condemning Israel for its activities in Gaza and the West Bank and calling for a widespread implementation of the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement.(…) Rather than taking positive steps toward a peaceful solution, this motion is another backward, divisive step that serves to undermine the work being done to promote moderate voices on both sides of the conflict. Masquerading itself as a motion that promotes Palestinian human rights, it actually shuns debate and makes dialogue on campus still more difficult. (…) to draw parallels on apartheid-era South Africa, when Israeli Arabs sit on the Supreme Court, represent Israel in its parliament, and have full and equal rights is to misrepresent history, and is frankly offensive. (…)
Adam Schapira, JPO, 04.06.15
For the sins of occupation, boycotts are a light punishment
(…) The Israelis are fighting for their right to persist in settling, exploiting and stealing land; to continue breaking international law that prohibits settlement, to continue to thumb its nose at the whole world, which does not recognize any settlements. They are now defending their right to shoot children who throw stones and (…) detain hundreds of people without trial, to hold political prisoners, to abuse them. (…) These are the sins and this is the punishment. Does anyone think that Israel can go on without being punished? (…) Hasn’t the world been unbelievably tolerant so far? Orange or SodaStream, academic boycott or artistic boycott, these are light punishments. The penalties will grow worse the longer Israel avoids drawing the necessary conclusions. As opposed to attempts by Israel and the Jewish establishment to divert the discussion, at its heart is not anti-Semitism. At its heart is the occupation. That is the source of the delegitimization. (…)
Gideon Levy, HAA, 07.06.15
Bury the boycotts by burying the occupation
(…) There’s a story of a passenger who asked a taxi driver to please close the window because it was cold outside. A wise man, who was also in the taxi, wondered in his usual aggressive way, “And if the window is closed, will it be warm outside?” And so, ladies and gentlemen, continue to try to persuade yourselves. Let Miri convince Danny, and let Benjamin persuade Naftali, and Tzipi, Bougie. It will be nice and warm inside. But while the echoes of the singing pierce the sky, the ship is sailing full speed ahead toward the iceberg. (…) let me mention that this week we are marking the 48th birthday of the lovely occupation. When it was born, enthusiasm swept the land. Everyone wanted to take credit for it. Today they flee from it as if it was a leper. (…) As great as the victory was then, that’s how great the curse is now. For 48 years they have been trying to legitimize one small occupation (…) and it doesn’t help. The occupation has rotted, and its stench fills the air. As the Arabs say, “We respect the dead by burying him.” It’s time to bury the occupation.
Oudeh Basharat, HAA, 08.06.15
Orange burns its bridges as Israeli brand
(…) Partner is trying to persuade us that it could do without Orange tomorrow (…) That is just hot air with nothing to back it, of course, aimed at avoiding a loss of customers with a particularly sensitive national ego. (…) If we’re playing on the field of monetary considerations, Partner cannot get rid of Orange tomorrow, just as France Telecom, which owns the Orange brand, cannot get rid of Partner and Israel. The one who makes the first move will lose a great deal of money, and that, it seems is still more important than any other consideration. (…) The Orange CEO opened his mouth – and, as of now, has done nothing. The Partner executives have talked quite a bit, and what have they done? (…) they are not really interested in a divorce. They hope we will think that they are serious, nationalistic, and value-driven – and that we do not notice that they are merely talking. Partner, however, cannot afford to leave it at that. It must try to get some kind of compensation out of France Telecom and Orange, and to disassociate itself from them as soon as possible. To put it in popular language, Orange has burned its bridges.
Doron Avigad, GLO, 04.06.15
Partner can come out ahead
Until 4-5 years ago, the Orange brand was ranked highly in the “Globes” Israeli brands index. (…) In recent years, this has ceased to be the case. The Orange brand lost its shine some time ago. It happened because of the opening up of the mobile telephony market to competition, completely eroding the value of the brand, and making the Israeli consumer look for a fair price instead of preferring the international aura that cost him or her so much.How many subscribers do you know today who really go to Partner because of the Orange brand? The churn figures show that, despite the brand, Partner has lost more subscribers than its competitors in recent months. That says it all. (…) Paying Orange NIS 15 million a year therefore makes no sense whatsoever for Partner. Partner would do well to take advantage of the opening to squeeze some juice out of this orange. NIS 15 million is a lot of money for a company likely to make a loss this year, so what’s the point of continuing to pay it when it’s clear that in any case the brand has become a liability rather than an asset? It would be sensible for Partner to find a way of adopting new values in the wake of the incident with Orange, to demonstrate that it is a proud Israeli company that will not be broken by boycott threats, and to tell Orange’s anti-Israel CEO that it will meet him in court. Today’s pictures of Partner workers with Israeli flags, demonstrating and singing, did the company a huge service, on the lines of “the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew”. That has to be Partner’s line. In the end, if it manages the incident wisely, it can only benefit from it.
Gad Perez, GLO, 04.06.15
2. Disqualification from FIFA thwarted
Rajoub can be deterred, but what about the rest of the world?
(…) Rajoub’s great days were during his term as head of the Palestinian security apparatus in the West Bank. If Yasser Arafat was the king of the West Bank, Rajoub was the crown prince. Shin Bet officials lauded him. (…) During Operation Defensive Shield in April 2002, Rajoub refused to turn in Hamasniks who received shelter in his compound. It was the order he got from Arafat. (…) Rajoub restored his career, as head of the Palestinian sports organizations. He spotted the economic, diplomatic, political and maybe even sportive potential. Israel has not been discriminating against his players. It has been treating them just like it treats other Palestinians living under an occupation – and that’s precisely the problem. (…) FIFA believes that Palestine is a state. It deserves to develop leagues and tournaments, with the finest players and masses of fans, who will arrive at the stadiums freely. It deserves to nurture and train a national team. The occupation has different rules, but FIFA isn’t built to recognize the rules of the occupation. The settlers’ lobbies are also playing make believe. They believe that the same law applies to Elon Moreh and to Be’er Sheva, that the same law applies to the factories in Barkan and to the factories in Tefen, and that the same law applies to Beitar Ariel and to Beitar Tel Aviv. Israel’s governments have been conducting themselves according to this dictation for years; the international community refuses to. (…) our problem in this issue is not the Palestinians, but a large part of Israel’s friends in the West. From one junction to another, from one vote to another, it is becoming increasingly difficult for them – both morally and politically – to defend the Israeli policy in the West Bank. Rajoub can be deterred. There are ways to do that. But as long as we have not occupied the rest of the world, we have a problem.
Nahum Barnea, JED, 02.06.15
Israel must not feel complacent after staving off Palestinian FIFA expulsion bid
A sigh of relief was heard in Israel after a Palestinian bid to oust it from soccer’s world governing body, FIFA, was dropped (…). The fear that the country would be expelled from this important sporting federation has dissipated, but Israel must not think that this means it is no longer under threat, or at risk of suspension from the family of nations. (…) Most (…) of the Palestinian demands are reasonable and justified. (…) Freedom of movement for Palestinian soccer players can and should have been ensured long before any threats of suspension, which have done a great deal of damage to Israel. Today, it is soccer; tomorrow, many other realms. FIFA spelled out to Israel what other, more important, international organizations have so far been unable to explain: that the occupation is unacceptable to any country in the world, and its continuation will result in a series of penalties and boycotts whose cost would be unbearable to Israel. (…)
Editorial, HAA, 31.05.15
Rajoub is riding the right horse
(…) Since South Africa, not a single country has been suspended from FIFA: Not Iran, which brutally oppresses human rights; not Turkey, which puts journalists in jail; and not Sudan, which committed genocide against its black residents in Darfur. There is also no chance that it will happen. Rajoub, who refers to the Jews as the “sons of Satan,” is gaining huge success thanks to the actual existence of this discussion. (…) Until today, admittedly, the boycott campaign against Israel, in all of its forms, has failed to produce any successes which affected the Israeli economy. (…) The honey trap of “a non-violent struggle against the Israeli occupation” is (…) working. (…) The international organization doesn’t care about the massacre of Sunnis, Shiites and Alawites in Syria. Nor is it interested in the fact that Israel cares for injured Syrians, or that Israel set up the biggest hospital in Nepal. (…) Rajoub is riding the right horse – the horse of hatred and incitement against Israel. (…)
Ben-Dror Yemini, JED, 29.05.15
No red card for Israel
(…) Since only apartheid-era South Africa has ever been suspended from FIFA, there is no need to explain what the ramifications would be if such a gambit were to succeed: (…) An important entity would have branded Israel an apartheid state. If the move had been successful, it would have given the Palestinians motivation for other initiatives with other international bodies. It’s a serious matter. And that was exactly what Jibril Rajoub was looking for. (…)He came as part of our Ramallah neighbors’ idea to censure Israel in every possible international forum. (…) Even if the discourse at times looked more like a bazaar, it was good that the whole matter ended with Eini and Rajoub shaking hands and compromising. The conclusion for the Palestinians is that negotiation can yield much more than conflict. (…) Eini was right when he refrained from entering a political argument and didn’t start explaining that hey, what can you do — terrorism exists in Gaza as well as in the PA territories. If only all this were behind us and we could finally play soccer against the Palestinians, even if we might not win. (…)
Boaz Bismuth, IHY, 31.05.15
3. War of Culture
Why does Israel have to fund those who despise it?
Freedom of expression is an important, even superior value in every democratic country. (…) We are talking about the air that democracy breathes. The freedom of incitement and false expression are also included in the freedom of expression. But there is no legal norm, in any civilized country, which requires the state to fund plays written by perverts, murderers or rapists. So Education Minister Naftali Bennett is doing the right thing. In Israel, people tend to confuse freedom of expression with state funding. Oddly enough, those who use artistic freedom to harm the state think that the state has to fund them for some reason. (…) It’s also unclear why those who despise Israel, who show empathy towards the murderer, think that the country they despise should fund them. They are neither progressive nor enlightened. They are hypocritical and spoiled. They want to drink from the well they are spitting in. (…)
Ben-Dror Yemini, JED, 10.06.15
The Jewish state has no more room for ‘good Arabs’
Norman Issa did almost everything possible to be a good Arab. He was born a Christian (…); studied at the Beit Zvi School for the Performing Arts; married Gidona, a Jew; cooked a dumpling and added pomegranates for the refreshment on “Master Chef VIP;” acted on stage in Hebrew; played Amjad, a good Arab, of course, on the TV series “Arab Labor,” which was written by another good Arab, Sayed Kashua, whom Israelis so love to love. If only we had a few more such Normans and Sayeds, then we certainly would already have had peace. That is how we like them, the Arabs, when they make us laugh in Hebrew. Hummus, chips, salad and comedy series on Channel 2. There were once good Arabs, and they are no more. Israel finished off the genre. If there is an Israeli patriot, then Issa is the man. If there was an Arab who could serve as a model for living in coexistence, then he is the character. Trying to preserve his honor and identity, balancing on a thin line. (…) Issa was born with the occupation, in June 1967, and tried to close one eye facing it. His father was expelled from the Galilee village Biram and not allowed to return despite all the promises – and Issa tried to forgive the country for that too. (…) Norman’s path has been blocked. The end of the good Arabs who are not total collaborators. (…) In the Jordan Valley they expel shepherds and destroy their villages, deny them electricity and water, and imprison them behind hills of dirt. There in the Jordan Valley stand facing each another the green settlements and the arid villages. There the apartheid is pure, visible to everyone. That is where Issa did not want to perform. These people, who live in this reality and are to a great extent responsible for its creation, he is not able to entertain. (…) Now the Cossacks of culture are threatening the apple of Issa’s eye: The Elmina Theater in Jaffa. A multicultural theater for children and young people, which he runs with his wife. (…) Issa is finished. The man who said there is no war worth fighting will be forced to wage a losing battle. (…) We are a Jewish state, there is no room here, not for Issa and not for Kashua. They should have known it from the start.
Gideon Levy, HAA, 11.06.15
Cry of the culture Cossacks
The burning fire of “repression of creativity and freedom of speech” is being stoked by the naive ones, by demagogues and, above all, by those with ulterior motives. The latter two both know very well that Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev will not silence — she has no power to silence — voices in Israel. What she did decide was this: The government is not obligated to pay out of its coffers for movies and plays that encourage a boycott against Israel, that present its soldiers (….) as bloodthirsty storm troopers, and that slander many of its citizens through malicious libel. (…) It is doubtful that Regev will have the power and authority to prevent them from continuing to commit their immoral acts and demanding to be paid as if they were righteous ones. (…) Let the competition between artists no longer be just about who can protest louder and be more radical; that the more slanderous the work, the better it is in the eyes of those who fund it. Free and balanced public debate on these matters (…) is still a distant vision. Army Radio is the best proof of where the public media stands when it comes to openness to a wide range of opinions. Most members of the media (…) were trained there. The opinions that most of them hold range from the moderate left and go all the way to the radical left. (…) This is the reason that this latest debate is also not being conducted with openness and tolerance, as is proper in a cultural dialogue, but with aggressiveness that characterizes the war between the sons of light and the sons of darkness.
Israel Harel, HAA, 12.06.15
Think About It: Is the recent threat to deny funding to two Arab theaters justified?
(…) The refusal of various Israeli actors to perform in Judea and Samaria, under the pretext that these territories are occupied territories which are not part of the sovereign territory of the State of Israel, and in which Palestinian are denied basic human and political rights, might annoy the Right, but cannot be considered a punishable offense, as long as the future of the territories remains unresolved. This issue first emerged in the summer of 2010, when a group of actors and theater directors announced that they refuse to perform in the new auditorium opened in Ariel. (…) Norman Issa – who is anything but a “troublemaker” – acted according to the accepted rules, and Regev had no concrete excuse to “punish” him, and certainly not at the expense of a theatrical enterprise whose main purpose is inculcating coexistence among Jewish and Arab children and youths. Regev certainly has the right to implement a policy which corresponds with her ideological views (…). However, her claim, (…) that she is free to set criteria for supporting culture in Israel, and that anyone who has a problem with these criteria is free to turn to the High Court of Justice – is outrageous, while her statement that on principle “the government is not obliged to support culture,” simply does not tally with the accepted principles in the civilized, democratic world. (…)
Susan Hattis Rolef, JPO, 14.06.15
Lines of defense for democracy
Freedom of expression, creative freedom, artistic license. These are some of the underpinnings of any liberal democracy. They should be cherished. But are they absolute? Are there any red lines they must not be allowed to cross? (…) Should state funding for theater productions come with strings attached? Artists do not need state funding to express themselves. We are all entitled to write, publish, perform or found a theater even without government support. Art, like free speech, can be guaranteed even without being funded by the state. (…) the government should occasionally support theater productions that criticize its policies and its conduct. (…) Students should, to some extent, be exposed to political debates and controversies through the arts and other cultural mediums. But we must strike a balance to avoid brainwashing and indoctrinations. Just because something is protected under free speech doesn’t mean it should automatically meet the criteria for state funding. Likewise, just because some production has been subsidized doesn’t mean it should be part of the school curriculum. This is where the red lines should have much darker hues. (…)
Uri Heitner, IHY, 11.06.15
The occupation – coming to a theater near you
(…) Minister Regev has decided that whether you live in Tel Aviv, Haifa or even Nazareth, she will bring the occupation home to you. (…) After all, what’s this story with Norman Issa? It turns out that he was not demonstrating, perish the thought, against the occupation. He did not seek to boycott the settlers. All he wanted, like a gentleman trying to avoid a headache, was quietly to absent himself from a Haifa Theater play. But Minister Regev has no room for people with a conscience. (…) The choice is a cruel one: Either go with the occupation with every bone in your body, or go against it just as strongly. (…) some people tell me that they are beginning to miss the previous culture and sports minister, Limor Livnat, She, at least, left the children out of it. According to the trend here, next time around we’ll miss Miri Regev. (…)
Oudeh Basharat, HAA, 15.06.15
4. Selection of Articles
A kinder gentler al-Qaeda
In recent months there have been salient and extensive organizational efforts by al-Qaeda and its affiliates to distinguish themselves from the Islamic State. Against the backdrop of the blatant brutality inflicted by the Islamic State on all its adversaries — Muslims, minorities and foreigners — al-Qaeda and its partners are seeking to portray a moderate and pragmatic image. (….) Abu Mohammad Al-Julani, the leader of Nusra Front, which is part of the al-Qaeda alliances (…) presented the operation of his organization as mainly defensive against the brutal aggression of Assad’s Alawite regime, which attacked, killed and exiled millions of Sunni Muslims. (…) Julani also declared that his organization will not forcefully impose religion on its rivalries or the minorities living in Syria. (…) Julani explicitly pointed at Hezbollah, which supports the Assad regime, as a primary enemy of his organization (…) Analyzing Julani’s rhetoric (…) clarifies that he is interested (…) to present a pragmatic and moderate image based on alliances and cooperation with local elements in order to implement the shared goal of toppling Assad’s regime. For this purpose he obscures his true intentions and plans to establish an Islamic State, which will operate under strict Sharia Law, which will surely be implemented by force. (…) Julani’s plans for the Jewish state are clear. A recent declaration by Al-Zawahiri, Julani’s supreme leader and head of al-Qaeda, stated that once Assad, the traitor from Damascus, is removed, the liberation of Jerusalem will follow.
Yoram Schweitzer, TOI, 07.06.15
It’s Islamic State or Nasrallah
The collapse of the Syrian Army in the face of the rebels, with Islamic State group and Nusra Front operatives on the front lines, brought Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah out of hiding to warn his Shiite followers in Lebanon that the barbarians are at the gates, and that he may recruit and mobilize Shiites to stop the Salafi tsunami headed for the border. There is a lot of truth in Nasrallah’s shrill cries. Based on its actions over the last year, Islamic State has proved that it is determined to send the Middle East back to the Dark Ages. (…) Nusra Front leader Mohammad al-Julani said his troops are in control of the majority of the Golan Heights. He explained that his group is concentrated in Syria and that he has no interest in turning the country into a base for terrorism against the West. He did not mention Israel at all. (…) The possibility of Islamic State and the Nusra Front taking control of Syria should concern Israel. (…) the more Hezbollah involves itself in the Syrian civil war, the more Assad becomes dependent on Nasrallah and the Iranians. And it is at this point that Israel’s logic of trusting Assad expires. Nasrallah, who has committed to preserving ancient artifacts and archeological remnants, and even to repairing the Magen Avraham synagogue in Beirut, draws the line on his enlightenment at the Israeli border. In a speech in which he attacked Islamic State, he declared his commitment to the destruction of Israel and called on the Jews who live there to return to their home countries. Indeed, the barbarians are at the gates, and even if they are busy fighting each other, sooner or later, they will point their weapons at Israel. (…)
Eyal Zisser, IHY, 02.06.15
How did a person like Oren Hazan get into the Knesset?
(…) MK Oren Hazan, the man who has been opening all newscasts in the past two days, who according to the Channel 2 inquiry and the different testimonies solicited prostitutes and used hard drugs, is the deputy Knesset speaker, who could fill the role of the president of Israel when the president is incapacitated. (…) It’s unbelievable how easily people can make their way from casinos and brothels in Burgas to the Knesset plenum (…) a person who ran a casino until recently, who is seen in shameful photos and who is the subject of such embarrassing testimonies, cannot serve as the young Likud members’ representative in the Knesset, the slot Hazan was elected for after competing against former MK Moshe Feiglin’s assistant. Netanyahu was so determined to keep Feiglin out of the Knesset, that he included Hazan on his list of recommended candidates. (…) One can only imagine seasoned politicians like Yisrael Katz, Silvan Shalom or Tzachi Hanegbi mocking the moral safety net which Herzog gave Netanyahu on Tuesday. They are the ones who would have been able to find the holes in this net in order to bring down their rival. And imagine how much Netanyahu laughed. And he, as always, has the last laugh.
Sima Kadmon, JED, 10.06.15
(…) Erdogan failed to amass the mandate he sought and, for the first time since his Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) rose to power 13 years ago, he lost his parliamentary majority. In itself that certainly appears to justify joy in Israel, which Erdogan – a Muslim Brotherhood torchbearer – bashes relentlessly and vituperatively. (…) An outcast in its neighborhood, Israel yearned for Muslim friends, for a comradeship of self-preservation with the region’s other non-Arabs – Turks and Iranians. (…) First Iran was lost to the ayatollahs, and then the “strategic alliance” with Turkey collapsed, despite the fact that pre-Erdogan, Ankara’s eyes seemed set westward as it coveted EU membership. None of the above trends (…) have changed with Erdogan’s letdown at the polls. (…) Erdogan’s hold on foreign policy has not diminished. The setback he suffered may only make him all the more aggressive and vindictive. (…). Erdogan is far from a defeated foe. (…) We can only hope that the election results are a harbinger of changes to come in the country that once seemed like it could be Israel’s strongest ally in the region.
Editorial, JPO, 10.06.15
Once again, Hamas may be coming to Israel’s rescue
It’s hard to explain how the gossip columnists have missed the love story of the year: Israel and Hamas are back together (…) a tahdiya, a long-term cease-fire of five or maybe even 10 years, the opening of the Gaza border crossings for incoming construction materials, the construction of a port and perhaps permission to operate an airport.(…) Thanks to Hamas, Israel can avoid entering into peace talks and at a cheap price, because when it comes to Hamas, there is no need to talk about evacuating settlements or withdrawing from territory. Hamas won’t turn to the International Criminal Court, the expanding boycott of Israel doesn’t affect it one way or another, and more generally, Hamas isn’t at all excited about any kind of peace agreement with Israel. Hamas and Gaza will get quiet and in return, Israel can declare that there is finally quiet in Gaza — and no urgency in advancing the peace process. (…) The residents of Gaza are not allowed to freely travel to the West Bank. Exports from Gaza are small, and mostly wither in the fields. (…) Trucks with merchandise from Israel don’t even supply a quarter of the consumption of the residents of Gaza, more than half of whom are unemployed (…) and tens of thousands of Gazans are still homeless thanks to Israel’s Protective Edge military operation last summer, which accomplished only the first step in urban renewal — tearing down without rebuilding. Israel is ignoring all of this. It only gauges the extent to which it is quiet in Gaza based on the number of rockets fired from there. (…) quiet in Gaza (…) requires a foundation that will ensure its existence, and is not a substitute for an overall peace process.
Zvi Bar´el, HAA, 10.06.15
Olmert´s easy day in court
The image of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in court evoked, at least at first, compassion. A prime minister sentenced to prison? The man who had his finger on the red button, locked away in a jail cell? The man who once held the country’s fate in his hands treated as a common criminal? (…) Then, of course, you are reminded of Olmert’s transgressions, and exactly how he paved his own way to jail, and the sympathy ebbs, replaced by reality. Hard facts trump compassion. You are reminded of the fact that Olmert is a serial offender, (…) for whom crime has become second nature. (…) Most of all, you are reminded of how he lied to the police and the court, and how he obstructed justice, perjuring himself in court time and again, as if he was above the law, as if the truth would never surface, and as if the money he gave his former bureau chief Shula Zaken could guarantee she would forever hold her peace. (…) With these dubious credits to his name, one would expect the Jerusalem District Court would have sentenced Olmert to at least one year in jail, (…). But the court, it seems, has decided to give Olmert yet another break, sentencing him to only eight months in jail. Again, the court’s strong rhetoric has not been reflected in the sentence, and the black flag of corruption waved over Olmert’s offenses has gone unnoticed.
Mordechai Gilat, IHY, 26.05.15
HAA = Haaretz
JED = JediothAhronoth / Ynetnews
JPO = Jerusalem Post
IHY = Israel HaYom
TOI = Times of Israel
GLO = Globes