Bibi Netanyahu

Israel News for August 3, 2016

Two States
The new Republican party platform may have backed away from supporting a two state solution in Israel, but apparently Prime Minister Netanyahu hasn’t. In a meeting with six Republican members of Comgress who are visiting Israel on an AIPAC sponsored mission, the PM emphasized that he continued to back a two state solution based on direct negotiations with the Palestinians. He also reiterated his desire to resume those negotiations, which were broken off by PA President Abbas.

The PM also expressed optimism that the security memorandum between the US and Israel would be signed in the next few weeks. The members of Congress at the meeting were North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, North Carolina Rep. David Rouzer and Montana Sen. Steve Daines.

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Racial Discrimination
According to Israeli law, anyone exempt from military service is eligible to volunteer for National Service (Sherut Leumi), which includes various educational, and social service related tasks. Yesterday, The Chairman of the Civil and National Service Administration, Sar-Shalom Gerbi, revealed at a hearing of the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora that discrimination exists against national service volunteers of Ethiopian origin seeking to volunteer at particular institutions.

Earlier, Sar-Shalom told Army Radio that, “Latent racism exists – but it’s not like they come and tell me explicitly, ‘we won’t accept her because she has dark skin,’ because, as you can imagine, such an institution would be shut down immediately.” But he would not reveal the names of specific institutions. Shouldn’t he be obligated to do so? More importantly, if he’s aware of racist discrimination, shouldn’t he stop it?

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Hezbollah Trick
A documentary was broadcast last Saturday on the Hezbollah-affiliated satellite channel Al Mayadeen featuring some of Israel’s most senior politicians and military officials during the second Lebanon War in 2006.

In the first segment of the three-part documentary entitled “What happened in 2006,” former Defense Minister Amir Peretz, MK Tzipi Livni and Maj. Gen. (res.) MK Eyal Ben-Reuven are heard discussing the war and the kidnapping of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser.

The documentary also included an interview with Tomer Weinberg, who was injured and managed to flee the patrol humvee which was ambushed by Hezbollah militants before the IDF soldiers were abducted. The first part of the series also features an interview with former head of the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate Amos Yaldin.

How did these Israeli VIP’s grant interviews to Hezbollah? They didn’t. They gave interviews to an Italian journalist who claimed that he was working for the BBC and Al Jazeera.

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Hotel Law
Yesterday the Knesset approved a law proposed by Tourism Minister Yariv Levine aimed at bringing down the cost of vacations in Israel. The new law streamlines the regulations relating to approval of new hotel construction, which will make it easier for developers to quickly add hundreds of new hotel rooms to the current supply, thus lowering prices. The law also will allow zoning variances to enable hotels to be built in areas previously zoned for residential properties.

The current time to build a new hotel in Israel is ten years or longer, because of the bureaucracy and regulations involved. Hopefully, this all will now change.

Israel Hotel Association President Eli Gonen praised Minister Levine, saying, “With consistency, patience, and determination, he has acted to promote the tourism industry. The new amendment in the law removes bureaucratic constraints that have hampered the development of hotels until now. The amendment will make it easier to build new hotels and to expand existing ones.”

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Haredi Paratroopers
Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben Dahan has announced the formation of a Haredi (ultra orthodox) paratroop unit called “Arrow”, which will become active in November. He tweeted the news and called on all Haredi men who are interested, to join up. The unit will train and be housed on a male only base. Members of the unit will serve for two years and then be eligible to study for a degree or train for a career during their third year.

This will be the first Haredi unit in the paratrooper brigade. There is already a Haredi unit in the infantry (Givati).

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