israelAM for August 3, 2015

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Stabbing Victim Mourned
Shira Banki, the 16 year old stabbed at the Jerusalem Gay Pride parade, died of her wounds yesterday. Her parents have decided to donate her organs to save the lives of others. Hundreds of people gathered to remember her in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The PM and other ministers and Knesset members issued statements of consolation and support for the family, while condemning the hate crime in the strongest terms. “We strongly condemn the attempt to instill hatred and violence in our midst and we will deal with the murderer to the fullest extent of the law,” the PM said.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett told the Jerusalem crowd that, “Shira was murdered because extremism reared its head. Because people believe they own the entire truth. Because we don’t know how to accept the other.”

Shira’s family said, ““Our Shira was murdered simply because of the fact that she was a happy 16-year-old girl, full of life and love, who came to support her friends and everyone else’s right to live as they please.”

A police investigation into why Yishai Schlissel, the murderer, was not being monitored is under way.

Smotrich vs. Gay Pride
Bayit Yehudi Kneeset member Betzalel Smotrich called the Gay Pride march an “abomination march” in a Tweet on Sat. Night. Yesterday he posted this on Facebook: “So here I say it again fearlessly: I object vehemently to violence, and promise to object no less vehemently to the recognition of same-sex couples in the Jewish State. I promise to fight violence, and no less than that, I will fight any attempt to besmirch traditional Jewish family values.”

Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennet was slated to speak at a gay rights demonstration in Tel Aviv on Saturday night, but was disinvited after refusing to sign a pledge committing to advancing homosexual-themed legislation. “I am in favor of full rights for the gay community,” Bennett told Army Radio on Sunday. “In terms of formal recognition by the State of Israel for marriage, I am not.” In a Facebook post on Sunday, Bennett said: “Whoever wants to find me fighting against violence, I am next to him with all my strength. Whoever wants me to remain silent, I will stand up to him with all my heart.”

Bottom Line
It’s simply not possible for a religious party to support same sex marriage. It’s also clear that every party supports and protects the personal freedom of expression and civil rights of all individuals. But calling a march “an abomination”, especially after the stabbing attack doesn’t seem like a very smart move for a lawmaker to make.

Manhunt for Terrorists Continues
As security forces conduct an intensive manhunt for the attackers who killed a Palestinian baby and wounded his parents and brother, the government’s security cabinet authorized the use of administrative detention against the suspects, which allows law enforcement officials to detain suspects indefinitely without a trial or access to an attorney. The cabinet also established a committee chaired by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon that is to take additional measures to combat hate crimes and terrorist attacks. Committee members will include Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.

According to the Arab newspaper Rai al-Youm, Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas called on his security forces to prevent any revenge attacks against Israel, in order not to lose the political advantage the Palestinians currently have following the Duma attack.

There have been scattered clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces throughout the West Bank, and the IDF has beefed up their forces and taken measures to prevent escalation.

Meanwhile, a group of 150 rabbis and members of the national religious community gathered in Gush Etzion to protest the murder of the toddler. The head of the Har Etzion Yeshiva Rabbi Yaakov Meidan and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid both addressed the crowd. Senior Rabbi Yoel Bin Nun lead the people in reciting psalms for the healing of the wounded Palestinian family members.

PM Netanyahu told his cabinet, “This is what distinguishes us from our neighbors. We deplore and condemn these murderers. We will pursue them to the end. They name public squares after the murderers of children. This distinction cannot be blurred or covered up. It is important to say this even as we utter our condemnations and unite against the criminals among our people.”

President Threatened
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s security force filed a police complaint over threatening messages Rivlin received in the wake of his condemnation of an arson attack that killed a Palestinian baby. Threats on social media included a call for Rivlin’s assassination and a photo showing the president wearing a black-and-white-checkered kaffiyah.

Following the predawn attack on Friday Rivlin said in a statement, “It seems we have been lax in our treatment of the phenomena of Jewish terrorism. Perhaps we did not internalize that we are faced with a determined and dangerous, ideological group, which aims to destroy the fragile bridges which we work so tirelessly to build. I believe that the more we understand this significant danger to the State of Israel, the more we will be aware to confront it, and uproot it.”

On a related note, the Mayor of Kiryat Yam’s car was torched after he posted a Facebook message promoting love and respect for all people.

Observing Israel’s Nukes
Egypt and other Arab and Muslim Countries are pushing for a resolution at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s General Conference in mid-September to subject Israel’s nuclear facilities to international supervision.

The resolution condemns Israel, demands that it open its reported nuclear facilities to IAEA inspection, and calls for an international conference on making the Middle East a nuclear-weapons-free zone. It has been defeated several time before, but this time might be different. The recent Iranian nuclear deal could focus more attention on Israel’s nuclear capabilities. On the other hand, the Iranian deal could cause the US and other European nations to cut Israel some slack, given Israel’s fierce opposition to the deal.

The resolution isn’t binding. It could, however, kick off a process that could lead to future action. So it’s important for Israel to muster support to defeat it.

Tax Dodgers Beware
The Israel Tax Authority is declaring war on tax evaders that are costing the country 50 billion shekels in lost revenue. Instead of raising taxes, the authority has created a regulation stating that tax evaders can be charged with money laundering, be locked away for 10 years and have their property confiscated. Critics of the regulation claim that it is too broad and can effect people who aren’t actual money launderers.

Border Trouble
Over the weekend 3 rockets were fired from Gaza, landing on the Israeli side of the border with Sinai. Also, 10 African refuges broke through the Sinai border fence and were apprehended by Israeli forces. Business as usual.

Have an amazing day! We’ll see tomorrow.

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