Israeli government to ask Supreme Court for 30 extra days to evacuate Amona outpost

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told lawmakers from his party that the government will ask Israel’s Supreme Court to delay by 30 days the evacuation of the Amona outpost.

Later on Sunday, Netanyahu told the Cabinet: “We are working overtime to find a responsible solution to the issue of Amona and for similar cases in the future. We are working to reach a rational solution and I expect all of you, ministers and lawmakers, to respect it. We must act responsibly and prudently here for a common goal: To defend settlement, and to defend the court. We are working in both spheres.” [Read more…]


Ecuador’s UN envoy compares Zionism with Nazism in General Assembly

(JTA) – The Ecuadorean representative to the United Nations equated Zionism with Nazism in his speech during the celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People at the United Nations General Assembly.

“We repudiate with all our strength the persecution and genocide that in its time unleashed Nazism against the Hebrew people. But I cannot remember anything more similar in our contemporary history than the eviction, persecution and genocide that today imperialism and Zionism do against the Palestinian people,” Horacio Sevilla Borja said on Thursday quoting a speech from late Cuban President Fidel Castro at the UN in 1979, the Jewish news service Iton Gadol reported. [Read more…]


Liberman says Assad and Iran must leave Syria as part of deal

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks at the Saban Forum in Washington D.C. on December 2 2016.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks at the Saban Forum in Washington D.C. on December 2 2016.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks at the Saban Forum in Washington D.C. on December 2 2016.

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said any outcome in Syria must include the ouster of the Assad regime and its Iranian backers, a posture that could lead to tensions with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.

“What is crucial for any deal on Syria, two preconditions: Assad out of Syria, Iranians out of Syria,” said Liberman, speaking Friday at the annual Saban Forum, a convocation of Israeli and U.S. leaders organized by the Brookings Institution. [Read more…]


Report: Iran owns 5% of shares of the German firm building subs for Israel

(JTA) – An Iranian state-owned firm has substantial shares in the German shipping giant that is supplying the Israeli navy with submarines, a newspaper in Israel reported.

The Iranian investments in ThyssenKrupp began in the 1970s, and were inherited by the Islamic regime when it took over Iran in the 1979 revolution, Yedioth Acharonoth reported Friday.

Currently, the the Iran Foreign Investments Company owns just under five per cent of the German shipbuilding company’s shares the report said.

A defence ministry spokesperson told the paper that the ministry was not aware of the Iranian involvement with ThyssenKrupp.

The discovery according to Yedioth raises concerns of potential leaks of classified information to Iran on one of Israel’s most advanced weapons platforms.

This revelation comes amid scrutiny in Israel of other aspects of the Israeli defense ministry’s contract with ThyssenKrupp in 2011.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit last week ordered the police to look into allegations that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s personal lawyer, David Shimron, used his close relationship with the premier to push for purchasing several submarines from ThyssenKrupp, award the company a contract for naval vessels to defend Israel’s gas fields and allow it to build a shipyard in Israel.

Shimron was a representative of the company in Israel.

Netanyahu said last month he did not know of Shimron’s ties to ThyssenKrupp. Several Israeli journalists alleged Netanyahu pushed for buying the submarines from ThyssenKrupp despite opposition from the defense establishment, though the Israel Defense Forces made a statement contradicting these claims.


IDF chief rabbi sworn in after apologizing over statements on rape in wartime

(JTA) – Rabbi Eyal Karim, whose appointment as the chief chaplain of the Israeli army was suspended over his remarks seeming to justify rape during wartime, was sworn in to the position.

Karim’s appointment as the chief rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces follows a Supreme Court review of his suitability last month. The court found no reason to challenge the appointment, which prompted left-wing lawmakers and activists to file for an injunction, citing quotes attributed to Karim from 2006. [Read more…]


After fires, heavy rainfall brings flooding to central Israel

(JTA) – Heavy rainfall in Israel’s north and centre ended dry weather conditions that had helped spread fires throughout the country, but flooded several residential homes in low areas.

The downpour Thursday, the first this winter, caused the Yarkon River to overflow, flooding the Mekorot Hayarkon Park near Rosh Ha’in 15 miles east of Tel Aviv. The downpour resulted in the flooding of several residential homes in the nearby city of Petah Tikvah, Ynet reported. [Read more…]


Israeli minister says up to half of fires were arson

An Israeli firefighter trekking through a forest burned by a massive forest in Haifa, Israel, Nov. 25, 2016. (Gili Yaari /Flash90)

An Israeli firefighter trekking through a forest burned by a massive forest in Haifa, Israel, Nov. 25, 2016. (Gili Yaari /Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel’s public security minister said 40 to 50 per cent of the fires that raged across Israel over the past week were caused by arson.

Addressing the Knesset Wednesday, Gilad Erdan said he came to those numbers based on “the estimates of professionals” and “findings on the ground,” according to a transcript of his speech. [Read more…]