Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu slammed German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Friday over Gabriel’s recent meeting with radical left-wing organizations during his trip to Israel, calling the decision to meet with the groups “tactless”.
Gabriel met with representatives of the anti-IDF organizations Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem a day after Holocaust Remembrance Day, despite an admonition by Netanyahu that a high-level meeting between a representative of the German government and fringe groups would not be tolerated by Israel, and would result in the cancellation of planned meetings between the Prime Minister and Gabriel.
Gabriel responded to the ultimatum, calling it “regrettable”.
Despite Netanyahu’s warning, Gabriel met with members of the radical left-wing NGOs on Tuesday, prompting the Prime Minister to cancel the planned meeting with Gabriel.
Later on Tuesday, the Prime Minister reached out to Gabriel by phone to explain the reason behind the ultimatum and subsequent cancellation. According to the Prime Minister’s Office, however, Gabriel refused the call – a claim the German Foreign Minister has denied.
On Friday, Netanyahu spoke with the German newspaper Bild, criticizing Gabriel’s behavior over the past week.
"I find it extremely tactless for such a meeting to take place at this time," said Netanyahu, referring to Gabriel’s meetings with the two fringe groups. "On this day we mourn the murdered members of our people and our fallen soldiers."
Netanyahu said the logic behind his decision to cancel the meeting with Gabriel was straightforward.
"My principle is quite simple: I do not receive diplomats from other countries that visit Israel and meet with organizations that call our soldiers war criminals.”
Despite denials by Gabriel, Netanyahu insisted he did in fact attempt to call Gabriel to explain the cancellation, but was turned down by the Foreign Minister.
"I wanted to call on Foreign Minister Gabriel to explain my point of view and to clean up the matter, but he declined the telephone call."
The Prime Minister added that despite the spat, he would be willing to meet with Gabriel in the future – provided he does not meet again with anti-IDF groups.
"I hope Gabriel will meet with me on his next visit to Israel, rather than with a radical marginal group that undermines Israel's security."
President Donald Trump is likely to use his upcoming trip to Israel to announce the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a senior Republican official said Thursday.
On Wednesday it was reported that President Trump is planning a trip to Israel, his first ever to the Jewish state, and is in talks with Israeli officials regarding the trip.
Unconfirmed reports claim the date of May 22 is strongly being considered for the president’s visit. According to the report, the president will visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum during his two-day, one-night stay in Israel.
A separate report published Thursday morning by Yediot Ahronot claimed President Trump plans to recognize Jerusalem as the united capital of Israel, though no change in the location of the US Embassy will be forthcoming.
But a Republican Congressman who led a fact-finding mission for a possible embassy move claimed the president would likely use his visit to Israel to announce the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to the Israeli capital.
Ron DeSantis (R-Florida), who has oversight on American embassies around the world as House Oversight National Security Subcommittee Chairman, said the timing of President Trump’s trip to Israel was no accident.
The visit, he noted, coincides with the annual Jerusalem Day holiday in Israel, commemorating the liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordanian occupation.
Jerusalem Day will be celebrated in the evening of May 23 and day of May 24 this year, while Trump’s visit would likely span May 22 and part of May 23.
The timing of Trump’s trip is also notable in that no previous president has ever visited Israel so early in their administration.
“What better time could there be to announce the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem when you are over there celebrating with our Israeli friends this very important 50th anniversary of the liberation of Jerusalem,” DeSantis said.
“I think the announcement of that trip is a signal that it is more likely to happen than not, and will send a powerful signal to other countries around the world that America is back and will stand by our allies and will not let folks cower us into not doing the right thing.”
Five Jewish activists who were returning to the Temple Mount, toured the Old City of Jerusalem on Thursday night. While they walked around the Temple Mount gates they were attacked by an Arab mob.
The Arabs surrounded the group and violently attacked them. One of the Arabs who was with his car even tried to run them over.
The group was accompanied by two policemen, who at the beginning of the events summoned reinforcements and were afraid to intervene in the incident. With the arrival of the other officers, to the astonishment of the group members, the police detained the Jews instead than their Arab attackers.
After their interrogation by the police, the detainees were informed they would be released after they sign an order expelling them from the Old City until a hearing on their matter on Sunday. Two of the detainees refused to sign and were arrested. A hearing on their case is scheduled to take place this morning at the Jerusalem Peace Building.
"This is a serious failure of the Israel Police, which not only failed to protect the youths in the capital of Israel, but to cover up the story; it stopped the attackers and delayed them for many hours beyond the law," said Nati Rom, of the Honenu legal aid organization, which represents the group.
"I hope that the Israel Police will deviate from its current practice and present to the court the videos of the incident that reinforce the detainees' claim, shows the serious attack on the detainees that took place in the area - and even the mishandling of the incident by the police officers."
Following yesterday's report of an organized tour of Jewish Jordan Valley-area outposts planned for today (Friday) to "stop the outpost thugs", MK Zahava Galon (Meretz) tweeted an order issued by army Central Command General Roni Numa, forbidding the group from approaching the "Baladim" outpost, the real goal of the provocation.
"OC Central Command Roni Numa issued a closed military zone order that prevents hundreds of @PeaceNowIL activists from entering the Baladim outpost for a tour. Not that it's forbidden to enter, just not us," Galon tweeted.
In reality, the Baladim outpost has been the subject of various such military orders for at least two years, due to the sensitivity and strategic importance of the area to future Jewish sovereignty.
Later, another Peace Now believer who calls himself "Carmel Dangor" tweeted a photo of hundreds of left-wing agitators marching on a gravel path that appears to match Baladim terrain, with a caption saying that because buses are prevented from reaching the area, they are making their way to Baladim on foot. The tweet was removed minutes after posting.
Baladim residents are unperturbed, reacting to reports they may be overrun by leftist agitators with grim stoicism, expressing their desire to attend to their agricultural activities.
Earlier today, it was reported that Galon had besmirched Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria with a bizarre and totally fabricated accusation, claiming “settlers” had committed “pogroms” against left-wingers, Arabs, and even the IDF.
This story is developing. Arutz Sheva will provide updates when they become available.
The president of the Great Synagogue of Tel Aviv, Shlomo Pivko announced this morning that he is closing the gates of the mythological synagogue, claiming that the Tel Aviv municipality has confiscated the synagogue's bank account to cover the Synagogue's outstanding municipal taxes, the Behadrei Haredim Hebrew news site reported
According to Behadrei Haredim, the debt owed by the synagogue to the municipality stands at 2 million shekels ($500,000), which, as noted, was accumulated from municipal taxes that were not paid for 6-7 years. In recent years, Pivko has raised hundreds of thousands of shekels to cover the debt, but did not manage to reach the full amount.
This morning, Pivko told Behadrei Haredim, "Unfortunately, I have to close the gates of the Great Synagogue. The Tel Aviv Municipality, in the atmosphere of the Supreme Court ruling [permitting businesses to open on the Sabbath], looted the bank account in a brutal, brutal and aggressive way. Therefore, I have no choice but to close the gates to the Great Synagogue".
Pivko added that "it is a disgrace that in the State of Israel, on the eve of Independence Day, the Tel Aviv municipality, which only today we learned has pocketed 150 million shekels ($41 million) from parking reports in 2017, is behaving vengefully and harming everything related to religion, tradition and holy places. The Great Synagogue in recent years has been a bridge and a meeting place between the religious and the secular, and it is a cultural center and a magnet for all city residents, no matter what their lifestyle. This is a sad day for the city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa."
The Great Synagogue has been a part of the history of the city and of the State of Israel since the founding of the state. David Ben Gurion, Israel's first Prime Minister, attended services at the Synagogue during the first Independence Day in 1949. The Synagogue also hosted the inaugurations of Israel’s Chief Rabbis and the funerals of Israeli national icons, including Israel's national poet Haim Nachman Bialik and pre-state Zionist leader Haim Arlosoroff who was assassinated while walking on the Tel Aviv beach.
The idea behind the children's homes in the old kibbutzim, where the entire community would raise its children rather than their parents, refuses to die.
The left-wing organization 'Anu' (We), which has ties to the New Israel Fund, sent an email to journalists in Israel today, with a link to the questionnaire on "The Public Debate on Early Childhood Care."
"In the past year, a large group of organizations has joined together to raise the issue of state responsibility for children from birth until the age of 3," the email reads."We would appreciate if you could answer a brief survey on the subject."
Journalists are asked to say how much they are aware of the lack of public frameworks for children up to 3 years old, and about the lack of supervision in frameworks for children between birth and age 3. In addition, they are asked "And have you heard of the Coalition for Congenital Education?"
It should be noted that the extreme left advocates centralization and government control not only in the economic sphere, but also in the family and educational spheres. In Israel, the Jewish state, the family is a supreme value, and therefore on the left they know that it would not be wise to come directly and tell people, "We want to take the children from their parents' authority and educate them in our institutions."
Last year, the Knesset narrowly voted down a proposal, ironically drafted by right-wing MKs, which included a provision dramatically reducing the rights of parents as the natural guardians of their children.
Tucked away in a bill intended to equalize the rights of fathers and mothers in cases of divorce, the proposed legislation would have ceded substantial powers to social workers, who would have been empowered under the law to remove children from homes which did not educate them in such ill-defined areas as their "responsibility in society". The law also would have allowed social workers to enforce parents to respect the equally vague notion of a child's "freedom of thought, expression, conscience, and religion."
Despite the failure of the bill in 2016, other proposals significantly eroding the rights of parents to decide how best to raise their children have been implemented in recent years.
One of the measures was taken following the social protest of 2011: As part of the implementation of the Trajtenberg Committee's recommendations, the government decided to implement a law that was presented as a "free education law from the age of 3". The public, which was happy to receive something for free, supported the law, but did not notice that it also includes the word "obligatory" alongside the word "free". As a result, children from the age of 3 (and sometimes from the age of 2 years, 9 months) are now required to study in out-of-home frameworks.
Another step taken is to raise difficulties for parents who wish to remove their children from the kindergarten before the end of the school day.
A majority of Israeli Jews identify as either religious (Orthodox) or traditional (mesorati) with a minority identifying as completely secular or irreligious, a report by the Central Bureau of Statistics shows.
In a report released ahead of Israel’s 69th Independence Day, figures provided by the CBS show that of Israel’s total population of 8.68 million, 74.7% are Jewish, or roughly 6.484 million. Another 20.8% are Arabs, totaling 1.808 million, while 4.5%, or 388,000, did not fall into either category.
Of those 6.484 million Jews, the CBS reports that less than half (44%) of them consider themselves secular or non-religious.
Nearly one-third of Israeli Jews identify as religious (32%), while the remaining 24% say they are traditional.
When broken down further, the religious population includes 9% of the country which identifies as haredi, 11% as religious (dati), and 12% as religious-traditional.
American Jewry, by comparison, has been characterized in recent studies, including a Pew Research Center survey, as overwhelmingly secular, with just over10% of America’s nearly six million Jews identifying as Orthodox.
According to Pew, 30% of Jews identify with no Jewish denomination or movement, while 53% identify with non-halakhic movements including Reform (35%) and Conservative (18%). However, the report states, Orthodox numbers are rising, while Reform and Conservative are falling steadily.
Among non-Jews in Israel, 4% self-identify as extremely religious, 52% as religious, 23% as mildly religious, and 21% as not at all religious.