Israel News for September 12, 2016

Ethnic Cleansing
On Friday PM Netanyahu published a video on his Facebook page containing a statement that has raised an uproar. In the video the PM said, “The Palestinian leadership actually demands a Palestinian state with one pre-condition: No Jews. There’s a phrase for that: It’s called ethnic cleansing. And this demand is outrageous.”

PA President Abbas reacted to the comment saying, “The government of Israel is carrying out ethnic cleansing and deliberately killing—acts that have exposed it to international criticism all over the world.”

US State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said, “We obviously strongly disagree with the characterization that those who oppose settlement activity or view it as an obstacle to peace are somehow calling for ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank. We believe that using that type of terminology is inappropriate and unhelpful.” She added that the United States feels the settlement policy raises “real questions about Israel’s long-term intentions in the West Bank.”

David Friedman, the Israel advisor to Donald Trump, said, “Prime Minister Netanyahu makes exactly the right point. The Palestinians want Israel to absorb countless ‘refugees’ – people who never lived in Israel and whose ancestors were never forced to leave Israel – while their so-called ‘state’ is required to be, as the Nazis said, judenrein. It is an entirely racist and anti-Semitic position.”

He continued, “Arabs live and work side by side with Israelis in the State of Israel. They attend universities, enjoy the strongest human and civil rights (including women’s rights) in the region, and have access to world class health care. There is no better place for Arabs to live in the Middle East than in the State of Israel. With this background in mind, the Prime Minister of Israel correctly observes that the Palestinian demand to remove all Jews from their ancestral homeland in Judea and Samaria is nothing short of an attempt at ethnic cleansing. The State Department should be ashamed of their misguided reaction to Mr. Netanyahu’s remarks.”

To watch the video click here.

Shul Vandalized
Several large black crosses were spray painted on a synagogue in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gonen (Old Katamon) last night. Police are investigating.

To see a photo of the vandalism click here.

Arab Housing
Minister of Construction Yoav Galant (Kulanu) traveled to the northern Israeli Arab town of Baka al-Gharbiya to sign an agreement to build thousands of housing units for the Arab sector. According to the agreement, the Ministry of Construction will allocate 1.41 billion shekels for the project, as well as loosening restrictions relating to building on private land. The immediate goal is to facilitate the building of 30,000 housing units on private and government owned land.

For further reading click here.

Judges Reprimand on Kotel
While hearing a motion relating to the administration of the Western Wall plaza, the Supreme Court judges took the opportunity to reprimand the government for not moving to implement the compromise agreement reached several months ago that stipulated the creation of an alternate prayer space at the southern end of the Kotel that would not be under orthodox control. The Chief Justice of the Court, Miriam Naor, said, “Enough is enough.”

The government has not implemented the compromise agreement as a result of pressure from the ultra-orthodox parties, who are all members of the coalition and can potentially cause the government to collapse if they leave the coalition.

For further reading click here.