Israel Press Review of 30/08/2016
Israel Press Review of 30/08/2016
- Liberman accuses Israeli media of preventing army from fighting terror
Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman has accused Israeli journalists of preventing IDF soldiers from carrying out their missions by instilling in them the fear that they will be judged harshly in the media, the Times of Israel reports.
“I would expect the Israeli press to work hard to strengthen the Israeli deterrent capability against our enemies — not to deter Israeli soldiers from fighting terrorists and fighting terror,” Liberman said during a press conference on Monday, following a tour of Bedouin communities in southern Israel.
“I want a free press, not a press that deters IDF soldiers,” he added.
Liberman’s comments came amid two developing cases in which soldiers are suspected of killing Palestinians unlawfully.
Elor Azaria is currently standing trial for manslaughter for a March incident in which he shot dead a wounded, disarmed Palestinian assailant after a stabbing attack in the West Bank city.
In the second case, a soldier from the Kfir Brigade’s ultra-Orthodox Netzah Yehuda Battalion on Friday shot and killed a Palestinian man who allegedly approached an army outpost in a threatening manner near the West Bank settlement of Ofra.
Following his tour in southern Israel, the defense minister told reporters: “Remember that in Israel, as in every democratic country, only the court of law convicts — not the press, but the court. So long as the person hasn’t been convicted, they are innocent, and that includes Elor Azaria and the soldier from Netzah Yehuda.”
- Knesset may punish MKs who call to boycott Israel
The Knesset House Committee plans to add a punishment for calling for a boycott of Israel to the legislature’s rulebooks when it returns from its summer recess at the end of October.
The move follows a report in The Jerusalem Post on MK Basel Ghattas (Joint List) calling for a boycott and sanctions against Israel in Montreal earlier this month.
House Committee chairman Yoav Kisch (Likud) said he plans to amend Knesset regulations so that there will be consequences for such behaviour. The proposed change, the details of which Kisch has yet to reveal, was inspired by Ghattas’ call for a boycott of Israel at the World Social Forum, a radical left-wing conference in Montreal two weeks ago.
- Netanyahu to meet with religious party leaders in bid to avert coalition crisis
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was to meet with the heads of the United Torah Judaism and Shas parties on Tuesday in an effort to resolve a coalition crisis over work at Israel Railways being done on Shabbat, the Jerusalem Post reports.
The meeting will be clouded by a letter written by Israel Railways CEO Boaz Tzafrir to Transportation Ministry Director-General Keren Turner, which warned that preventing work on Shabbat could cost taxpayers millions of shekels and harm tens of thousands of people.
Tzafrir’s letter warned that the opening of the fast rail line between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv could be postponed by two years, or that all rail lines in Tel Aviv and its southern suburbs could be closed down for four straight months. He warned Turner that cancelling the work at Tel Aviv’s Hashalom Station, which caused the current crisis last weekend, could alone cost the state at least NIS 10 million.
“Delaying development and infrastructure work of Israel Railways that was set to take place on Shabbat would cause grave harm directly to the public, significantly increase traffic on the streets of Israel, and massively delay the conclusion of giant national projects,” Tzafrir wrote.
The letter, which was first revealed on Monday morning by Army Radio, lists key projects that are currently being advanced on Shabbat, and the impact of stopping that work. According to the letter, there are projects whose stoppage could harm as many as 190,000 passengers.
The heads of UTJ obtained the letter and have been meeting with experts ahead of their meeting with Netanyahu. They intend to try to prove to the prime minister that Tzafrir is wrong and that such work could be done without breaking Shabbat.
“They claimed that work is being done on Shabbat to save lives, but we see from the letter that all they really care about is saving money,” UTJ MK Uri Maklev told reporters at an event in Jerusalem on Monday.
Meanwhile, Channel 2 revealed on Monday that Bayit Yehudi MK Uri Ariel’s agriculture ministry employs workers on Shabbat.
The report embarrassed Ariel, who tweeted on Saturday night that work on Shabbat by a government body like Israel Railways could lead to a political crisis. His associates said it was important that a religious Zionist party defend the Sabbath just as much as the ultra-Orthodox.
Ariel responded that until the report, he was not aware that work was being done on Shabbat and that he would put a stop to it.