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Israel News for May 5, 2017

Israeli Law Extended
Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked and Tourism Minister Yariv Levin are promoting an initiative that would apply all Israeli governmental legislation to the West Bank.

Currently, Israeli law does not apply in the territories. Instead, the GOC Central Command, who is the ex officio sovereign in the conquered territory, applies some laws to the Israeli residents by means of military orders. According to the directive promoted by the ministers, every governmental law would automatically become an order issued by the general officer commanding.

Shaked said, “It is impossible to accept a situation in which Israeli law does not address the 430,000 citizens of the State of Israel living in Judea and Samaria. Judea and Samaria are not Israel’s backyard, and from now on (the) ministerial committee will ask to clarify, with respect to every government law at its table, how the initiating ministry intends to treat the settlers.”

Levin said, “The settlement of Judea and Samaria is a fait accompli; it is not a temporary or transitory thing. The time has come for the State of Israel to treat all its citizens equally and apply all the same laws. The measure we are leading will put an end to the blatant discrimination and the disregard by the laws of the State of Israel against the regions of the homeland and the Israeli citizens living there.”

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No German Meeting
According to reports, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has decided not to meet with representatives of Breaking the Silence during his upcoming trip to Israel. While Steinmeier’s office said the president will not meet the left-wing group, he will highlight the organization’s activities and its importance to democracy in a speech at Hebrew University. Steinmeier’s spokesman said that he intends to meet with representatives of other left-wing civil society organizations.

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Holocaust Property
President Rivlin reaffirmed Israel’s commitment to seeking the restitution of Jewish property stolen as a result of the Holocaust. He spoke at a meeting in his residence attended by the German ambassador to Israel, Clemens von Goetze; the European Union’s head of delegation to Israel, Ambassador Lars Faaborg–Andersen; the deputy ambassador of the United Kingdom, Tony Kay; representatives of the US and French embassies; and the French government’s special envoy for restitution, François Croquette. Israeli government ministers and officials also attended.

Rivlin said, “We always say: ‘Crime doesn’t pay.’ But for many people the crimes of the Holocaust did pay. We cannot allow this. The property must be returned. In addition, time is running out. Less than 400,000 survivors are alive today. About half are here in Israel, the other half live around the world—many in the countries represented here.”

Minister for Social Equality Gila Gamliel said, “The Jewish people and the Jewish state have a moral duty to make every effort to return the stolen property of Holocaust survivors. Returning the Jewish property is a complex issue that requires extensive and sensitive international action. Only if the Jewish world will speak with one voice and claim the confiscated property from the victims of the Holocaust will it be possible to work with the different countries to return the stolen property to its rightful owners, and achieve some historical justice.”

At the end of the meeting, the participants joined representatives of the MFA, representatives of the WJRO, and the director general of the Ministry of Social Equality and his staff for the signing of a joint work plan to see the return of Jewish property stolen from the victims and survivors of the Holocaust.

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Soldiers Reprimanded
Last week a Lebanese man was able to cross the border into Israel before being arrested by police at a bus station in Kiryat Shmona. After an investigation by the IDF Northern Command, a battalion commander is to be officially reprimanded, a deputy company commander will be dismissed, and four other soldiers will face disciplinary hearings.

The IDF spokesman said, “The lessons of the incident will be transferred to the forces and additional professional complementary investigations will be carried out to prevent recurrence of such cases in the future.”

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Shabbat Busing
While there is no official public transportation in Tel Aviv on Shabbat, there is one non-profit co-op called Noa Tanua that has been operating two private bus lines in the area. After a recent successful crowdfunding campaign that raised almost $100,000, it will be launching two new bus routes.

The non-profit co-op has been operating since 2015 with the help of volunteers. Only members of the co-op can use the service, with membership being free while the bus ride itself costing NIS 9 (US$2.49). Payment is done using the HopOn mobile app.

Roy Schwartz, the co-op’s founder, said, “People should not have to stay at home on Shabbat because they can’t afford a car, and they should be able to enjoy their one day off.”

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Trump Tweet
Following his meeting with PA President Abbas at the White House on Wednesday, President Trump tweeted, “An honor to host President Mahmoud Abbas at the WH today. Hopefully, something terrific could come out it between the Palestinians & Israel.” The tweet included a video of the two shaking hands and was retweeted thousands of times. Then it was deleted from Trump’s account. Second thoughts about the “honor”?

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