(Reuters) - Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman will be indicted for fraud and breach of trust, charges that may lead him to resign, but the Justice Ministry dropped more serious corruption allegations in a nearly 12-year-old case.
The announcement comes just weeks before a January 22 election in which the right-wing party of Lieberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is predicted to win. […]
Police on Tuesday arraigned 31-year-old Elhanan Estrovich, a resident of Bnei Brak, for spray painting anti- Zionist hate slogans on the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum on June 11, as well as similar vandalism attacks on Ammunition Hill and the Jordan Valley.
During the police investigation of Estrovich, the young haredi man said that he would have blown up the Knesset, the courts and IDF bases if he could.
Police arrested four haredi suspects from Jerusalem, Ashdod and Bnei Brak on suspicion of spray painting anti-Zionist hate slogans at the Yad Vashem last month. The suspects, members of Natorei Karta, were found in possession of large amounts of texts condemning Zionism and Israel; PLO flags; and paint. Texts suspected to be incitement to hatred were also found on computers. Natorei Karta is a small but vocal, extreme anti-Zionist sect, which believes that the founding of the State of Israel, without specific divine intervention, was a sin.
Knesset Rejects Marriage Equality Bill
By Lahav Harkov
May 16, 2012
“Freedom of Choice in Marriage” bill fails; Meretz calls rabbinate and halacha extremist, dark, anachronistic, chauvinist.
The Knesset voted down a bill on Wednesday that would allow same-sex, as well as interfaith couples to wed.
The legislation, by MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) opens the option of civil marriages for those who may not be wed according to halacha (Jewish law), as well as those who choose not to be married by the Chief Rabbinate. It was rejected, with 39 MKs opposed and 11 in favor.
Horowitz said there are tens of thousands of homosexual couples in Israel, and his law would help them and others who cannot exercise the basic right to be married and build a family.
‘There is an extremist, dark institution deciding who may or may not get married,’ the Meretz MK said. ‘The public is sick of the rabbinate.’
According to Horowitz, coalition parties betrayed their secular voters by rejecting the bill, choosing to pander to haredi (ultra-orthodox) parties, instead.
Horowitz’s ‘Freedom of Choice in Marriage’ bill would allow for any couple that is not recognized by the Chief Rabbinate to have a civil marriage. This includes same-sex marriages, as well as marriage between Jews and gentiles. — JPost 5/16/12
24 hours ago, everyone in Israel, from citizens to senior politicians alike, had accepted the fact that the current Israeli Knesset would be dispersed, with elections seemingly slated for September 2012.
In a shocking turn of events, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Kadima party leader Shaul Mofaz (who narrowly defeated former party leader Tzipi Livni weeks ago) announced hours ago that elections will not be held, with Kadima becoming a member of the Israeli parliament’s coalition in the framework of a unity government and the Knesset remaining in its current form.
No elections, Kadima joins government: In a dramatic move, the Likud and Kadima parties agreed on a unity government early Tuesday, averting the prospect of early elections.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz finalized the surprising unity agreement hours before the Knesset was expected to approve its own dissolution and set September 4th as the date of the next elections.
PM Netanyahu announced that Kadima’s Mofaz will be appointed deputy PM and minister without portfolio, while also being included in Israel’s security cabinet. Mofaz told Kadima members the party will likely get more portfolios later on, apparently in 2013. As part of the deal, Kadima will also chair the Knesset’s Economics Committee.
Today, a full-page advertisement supporting the New Israel Fund will appear in the New York Times. Paid for by a generous donor who is launching a matching-gift campaign, the ad features a news photo of an actual billboard in Jerusalem, with a poster of a woman’s face that has been clawed and defaced by ultra-Orthodox extremists. The ad specifically references the troubling growth of gender segregation and the exclusion of women in Israel, a phenomenon now in the public eye but not yet defeated.
In his defense of Israeli democracy last week, Ambassador Michael Oren wrote that “gender equality, not prejudice, remains an Israeli hallmark,” and cited the numerous women serving in the Knesset and in other leadership roles. Stipulated and granted. And it was heartening to see, after Secretary of State Clinton criticized gender-segregated buses and other evidence of a troubling turn towards repression of women, that so many Israeli leaders stepped forward to defend women’s equality as intrinsic to Israeli society.
MK Anastassia Michaeli (Yisrael Beiteinu) poured a cup of water on her colleague MK Raleb Majadele (Labor) during an argument that ensued between the two at a heated Knesset Education Committee debate on Monday morning.
This is not the first time Michaeli has been involved in a violent confrontation with an Arab Knesset member. During a stormy parliamentary debate about the Gaza flotilla last June, Michaeli forced her way over to MK Hanin Zuabi (Balad), who was trying to address the plenum from the Knesset podium, and attempted to forcefully remove Zuabi while blocking the microphone.
Michaeli was reprimanded for physically interrupting the speech her colleague, while Zuabi was sanctioned for participating in the 2010 Turkish-sponsored flotilla to Gaza.
The Knesset’s Ethics Committee decided Tuesday to suspend MK Anastassia Michaeli (Yisrael Beiteinu) from the Knesset plenum and all committees for a period of one month following Monday’s incident where she threw water in MK Ghaleb Majadele’s face during a Knesset’s Education, Culture and Sports Committee meeting. […]
A long-time popular figure in Israeli media, Yair Lapid - the son of late Minister “Tommy” Lapid, founder of the now defunct “Shinui” secular party and Justice Minister under Ariel Sharon - is expected to form new secular-oriented party. This contradicts previous predictions that he would join one of the existing political parties, with polls showing the potential for forming a coalition that would rival the Likud party headed by Benyamin Netanyahu.
Veteran Israeli journalist Yair Lapid announced Sunday he was leaving his longtime news anchor position at Channel 2 in order to compete in the next Israeli elections.
According to Channel 2, Lapid informed CEO Avi Weiss of his departure in order to enter the ‘public realm.’ Weiss expressed regret over Lapid’s departure, but said he understood the decision.
Yair Lapid posted a response on his Facebook page and called on his followers to recruit for his up-and-coming political campaign.
“I’m embarking on a new path. I am equipped with the power of knowing that I am doing something that I believe in. You are my community, and I draw strength from you. I promise to post updates here and continue to listen to you.”
It is unclear at this point which political party Lapid will seek to run under, although it is believed he will seek to run under a newly-established independent party.
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni (Kadima) welcomed Lapid’s decision, saying that more people should join politics in order to ‘make positive change in Israel.’
Shelly Yachimovich (Labor), who had previously worked with Lapid on his Channel 2 news show, called Lapid a ‘person of substance’ but stated that his entrance into politics would only strengthen those with ‘right-wing conservative views.’
Several recent surveys forecasted that a Lapid-led party could garner between 15 and 20 mandates in the Knesset.
A recent poll stated that a party headed by Lapid would become the second largest party in the Knesset.
Netanyahu faces heavy criticism by members of the coalition, as well as the opposition, in the wake of a report that he’s considering dividing the city of Beit Shemesh in half in bid to end religious tensions.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was criticized by both opposition and coalition members Wednesday morning following a Yedioth Ahronoth report that he is considering ending the tensions between ultra-Orthodox and religious residents in Beit Shemesh by dividing the city in half.
According to the report, Netanyahu said in closed forums that he was in favor of any solution which would prevent violence, including the possibility of dividing the city into one city for haredim and another city for secular and religious Jews. The newspaper said Netanyahu had already discussed the issue with Likud and Shas ministers.
Knesset Member Yohanan Plesner (Kadima) slammed the prime minister, saying that “instead of dealing with the problem, Netanyahu is – as usual – only dealing with the symptom.
“I expected the prime minister to say he plans to halt the distribution of 25,000 new apartments planned in the city exclusively for haredim, and instead he raises this unfeasible idea to divide the city.
This comes in the wake of increased public criticism and outcry in Israel over a recent wave of incidents aimed against women in particular and non or moderately-religious Israelis in general, carried out by factions of religious extremists, as previously reported here: Israel: Thousands Protest over religious-based segregation
Good riddance to one of the most ridiculously insane pieces of attempted legislation i’ve seen in a long while, and whose implementation would have also cost the Israeli populace hundreds of millions…
Israel: National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau decided Sunday to pull the “kosher electricity bill”, which would have forced the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) to operate power stations “according to halachic demands” and allowed the Rabbinate to cut off power.
Landau’s plan to promote the bill generated thousands of angry responses on Websites and social networks, including a Facebook group which organized a demonstration outside the Knesset.
Following the public pressure, Landau stressed his concern that the proposal would lead to a change in the status quo. He clarified that he would continue to search for a solution to the life-endangering situation in which thousands of families in Israel receive electricity illegally.