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Israel News for 12-4-17

Self Defense
The investigation into the shooting death of one of the Palestinians, who attacked a group of young boys on a bar mitzvah hike in Samaria last week, by the father of one of the boys is continuing. The father, who was one of two adult escorts on the hike, is being accused of involuntary manslaughter. The IDF claims that the hike did not have the required authorization from the IDF. But the accused father yesterday presented an email that he sent to the proper IDF authorities requesting authorization, and he claimed that he received verbal authorization.

Naomi Ofen, whose son was among the hikers, remarked, “My son came back traumatized. He said they were going to die. He’s still suffering from anxiety and it’s shameful the army and police are treating the heroes who saved the children as criminals and distorting the picture by turning the assaulted into the assailant.”

Meanwhile, a group of settlers hiked to the location of the incident near the village of Qusra today to demonstrate the right of Jews to hike anywhere in the country. They were attacked by Palestinians throwing rocks. Security forces arrives at the scene. There was gunfire. One Palestinian was reported injured.

To see a brief video of the encounter click here.

Saudi Plan
Last month PA President Abbas visited Saudi Arabia to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. According to Palestinian, Arab and European officials who heard Abbas’s version of the conversation, the peace plan proposed by the prince would grant the Palestinians limited sovereignty over a non contiguous state in only parts of the West Bank. The vast majority of Israeli settlements in the West Bank would remain. The Palestinians would not be given East Jerusalem as their capital and there would be no right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants.

The White House on Sunday denied that was its plan, saying it was still months away from finalizing a blueprint for peace, and the Saudi government denied that it supports those positions. The Saudis have also denied the plan.

The reported Saudi peace plan, coupled with rumors that President Trump will officially declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel and move the US embassy there, are making the Palestinians extremely uneasy (to say the least).

To read the entire NYTimes article click here.

Case Closed
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced last night that he was closing the investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against Bayit Yehudi MK Nissan Slomiansky because of insufficient evidence.

The investigation was initially launched by police on the basis of the testimonies of several women who accused Slomiansky of sexually inappropriate behavior. Slomiansky claimed he never sexually harassed anyone and postulated his accusers may have misinterpreted his warm and affectionate behavior.

A statement issued on his behalf claimed, “MK Nissan Slomiansky has never harassed women. After a meeting with several rabbis, he understood that his warm and affectionate behavior, which is the same toward everyone, is sometimes interpreted in a different way, and for that he is sorry. MK Slomiansky has been serving the public for 40 years, including time in the Knesset, and he will continue to do so.”

Case closed.

For further reading click here.

No to Corruption
Tens of thousands of people participated in the “March of Shame” Saturday night in Tel Aviv in protest of government corruption and what demonstrators said was foot-dragging in the investigations against PM Netanyahu.

The demonstration was specifically aimed at the Recommendations Bill, which would prohibit the police from recommending indictments, leaving all recommendations in the hands of the government prosecutor or attorney general. The bill, which passed its first Knesset reading, is viewed by many as an attempt to protect PM Netanyahu from an ongoing police investigation against him.

The PM denies that the bill is aimed at protecting him and has instructed the bill’s sponsored to modify the wording of the bill to specifically exclude the PM’s personal situation.

He posted via Facebook: “The recommendations bill is a good bill. It protects human dignity. Unfortunately, the bill has been used as a political battering ram against an elected government that has made unprecedented security, economic, social and diplomatic achievements. To ensure the discussion on the bill remains on topic and is not used for political propaganda, I’ve asked MK Amsalem to ensure the bill is worded in a way that it does not apply to the investigation conducted into my affairs.”

The bill was scheduled to be voted on again in the Knesset today but was postponed until next week in light of hesitation from ministers in the Bayit Yehudi and Kulanu parties. The government needs the votes of all of its coalition MK’s in order to pass the bill.

For further reading click here.

Shabbat Law
The government approved Sunday the so-called “supermarkets bill,” which gives the Interior Ministry the power to overrule municipal bylaws and order the closing of supermarkets during Shabbat. The bill also states any new bylaw pertaining to opening shops or recreation centers on Shabbat will have to be approved by the interior minister himself. It will not apply, however, to existing bylaws approved by the High Court, such as the ones allowing supermarkets to remain open in Tel Aviv.

The bill, sponsored by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas), passed by a vote of 10 – 2. The dissenters were Yisrael Beytenu’s Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman and Minister of Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver.

The bill is part of a compromise proposed by PM Netnayhu to placate the Haredi parties and keep them in his coalition. It will need to be approved by the Knesset to become law.

For further reading click here.

Bad Cash
The new Israeli 50 shekel banknote recently released features the image of the late poet Saul Tchernichovsky. The new bill has stirred anger in the nationalistic and religious sectors because the poet was married to a Russian born Christian woman, with whom he had a daughter.

Dr. Hagi Ben-Artzi, brother of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, remarked, “Shaul Tchernichovsky has become a symbol of assimilation, of assimilation ideology. It is inconceivable that such a person, as important a poet as he may be, should become a symbol in the State of Israel.”

Prominant Sephardic rabbi Bension Mutzafi that he felt it was prohibited to look at the poet’s image on the bill. Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, the head of the Ateret Cohanim yeshiva in Jerusalem, said, “Tchernichovsky was indeed an incredibly talented author and poet, and is tied to the people of Israel, but a terrible dishonor was deeply imprinted on his life, as he was married to a gentile woman, a very religious Christian,” adding that it was unthinkable that an intermarried poet should be “glorified on the nation’s banknote.”

For further reading click here.