Israel news summary

Israel News for 3-1-19

Indictment of PM
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced yesterday that he has decided to recommend indicting PM Netanyahu on bribery, fraud and breach of trust charges stemming from 3 cases. He said that his decision to indict was not final, as there was would first need to be a hearing arranged in coordination with the PM’s legal team. A last minute petition filed by the Likud with the Supreme Court to prevent the recommendation was rejected.

The charges against the PM include:

– accepting gifts from businessmen in exchange for providing them with favorable treatment related to various government related matters

– Making a deal with the owner of Yediot Ahronot to weaken rival newspaper Israel Hayom in exchange for favorable press coverage

– promoting regulations worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Bezeq and its then-majority shareholder Shaul Elovitch in return for bribes and favorable coverage on Walla! News, which is owned by Bezeq.

The PM denies all charges. Appearing on national TV following the announcement, the PM called the timing of the announcement, six weeks ahead of elections, “outrageous” and accused his political opponents of carrying out an “unprecedented witch hunt.” He accused the Attorney General of threatening democracy, called the accusations a “blood libel” and pledged to debunk all charges against him.

Gantz called on Netanyahu to “show responsibility and resign”. The leaders of Labor and Meretz also called for the PM to resign. Likud MK’s stood behind Netanyahu and dismissed the charges as being false. The right wing parties will also continue to support the PM.

[ So it’s doubtful whether this (potential) indictment will change the upcoming election results and prevent the PM from forming another government. ]

For further reading click here.

UN Report
Israel vehemently attacked a report released by the UN Human Rights Council which accused Israeli soldiers of intentionally firing on civilians and committing crimes against humanity during a string of riots by Palestinian demonstrators last year on the Gaza border that left 189 people dead.

PM Netanyahu said,  “The UN Human Rights Council is setting new records of hypocrisy and lies stemming from its obsessive hatred toward Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. Hamas is the one firing missiles at Israeli civilians, throwing explosive devices and carrying terrorist activity during demonstrations on the Gaza border.”

He added, “Israel won’t allow Hamas to violate its sovereignty and hurt its citizens and will preserve its right to defend itself. IDF soldiers will continue defending with determination Israeli communities and civilians from Hamas and other terror organizations funded by Iran, which declares its intention to annihilate Israel.”

The commission also faulted Hamas for not preventing use of incendiary devices tied to kites and balloons, used to attack Israel.

For further reading click here.

Jerusalem Housing
The Jerusalem City Council is set to approve a plan to construct 25,000 new housing units in the capital, including about 10,000 units for the haredi public. The plan includes building new neighborhoods and expanding existing ones. The plan was delayed during Nir Barkat’s tenure as mayor of Jerusalem, and has moved forward under current mayor Moshe Leon.

For further reading click here.

Poland Sues
The Polish Institute of National Remembrance has filed a lawsuit against NBC journalist Andrea Mitchell, who said in a recent report from Warsaw that the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was against “the Polish and Nazi regime.” She subsequently apologized on Twitter. But the Polish institute isn’t satisfied.

For further reading click here.