Friday, May 18

Israel Must Bear the Responsibility for the Creation of Hamas

The situation in Gaza has become intolerable for Gazans. Israeli pundits, including the Israeli Government, have laid the blame for this inhuman situation on Hamas and its allies. If this is the case then we must widen the blame game even further.

All fingers must point to Israel. Prior to the establishment of Hamas, Israel had been playing dirty politics by adopting a policy of “divide and rule” (הפרד ומשול) in order to weaken the Palestinian Liberation Organization under Yasser Arafat. Hamas rose as an offshoot of the Gaza Mujama al-Islamiya branch of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, which had been actively encouraged by Israel to expand as a counterweight to the influence of the secular Palestine Liberation Organization. 1 Israel had ruthlessly given its support to the predecessors of Hamas:


“Israel's military-led administration in Gaza looked favourably on the paraplegic cleric, who set up a wide network of schools, clinics, a library and kindergartens. Sheikh Ahmed Yassin formed the Islamist group Mujama al-Islamiya, which was officially recognized by Israel as a charity and then, in 1979, as an association. Israel also endorsed the establishment of the Islamic University of Gaza, which it now regards as a hotbed of militancy. The university was one of the first targets hit by Israeli warplanes in the [2008-9 Operation Cast Lead]”. 2.


‘The Islamic associations’, the Israeli weekly magazine Koteret Rashit observed in October 1987, ‘have been supported and encouraged by the Israeli military authorities’ who were ‘convinced that the activities [of the Islamists] would weaken both the PLO and leftist organizations in Gaza.’ While most of these activities were funded largely by contributions from the Gulf states, some former Israeli intelligence officers claim that money also came covertly from Israel itself. 3.

The Muslim Brotherhood had been founded in Egypt in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna to reclaim Islam’s political dimension lost with the abolition of the Ottoman Caliphate in the wake of the First World War. ‘Allah is our objective’, the Brotherhood declared in its founding statement. ‘The Prophet is our leader. Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.’

Surveying the wreckage of a neighbour's bungalow hit by a Palestinian rocket, retired Israeli official Avner Cohen traces the missile's trajectory back to an "enormous, stupid mistake" made 30 years ago.

"Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel's creation," says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel's destruction. 4.

In retrospect, Israel had a huge hand in the creation of Hamas as a balance to combat the PLO under the leadership of Yasser Arafat in the 1970s. We all see how they had helped to create this monstrous organization that had backfired against Israel to this very day and it will remain so for many years to come.

The decision by Israel in those days can be viewed as one of the gravest errors that Israel had made. It had bounced back at Israel with a vengeance and together with Israel’s right-wing has dealt a death blow to any peace agreement in the foreseeable future.

The lowest common denominator that links the right-wing Israel Government to Hamas is their opposition to the Two-State Solution. The former is in favour of a One-State Solution with a certain amount of autonomy being given to the Palestinians to run their own affairs. This is similar to the old Bantustan Policy of apartheid South Africa that will ensure the inferiority and powerlessness of the Palestinian People. The latter wishes to replace Israel with a Palestinian State that is ruled by Hamas that today does not recognise Israel's right to exist nor is it even prepared to negotiate any form of a peace agreement let alone a solution to the conflict. The newly revised Hamas Charter of 2017 makes this perfectly clear.

One does not have to be an expert on the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict to conclude that there is no common ground between the two sides to even initiate negotiations on a solution to this festering conflict. The Palestinian Authority under the failing leadership of Mahmoud Abbas is becoming irrelevant.

The present unrest in Gaza with its demonstrations and rioting that has cost the lives of 62 Palestinians over the past week is a terrible tragedy. On the one hand, Israel has a right to defend itself against this unrest that threatened to break the security fence and create havoc and bloodshed on the Israeli side of the border. The moral dilemma that has arisen as to whether Israel's Defence Force was justified to use sniper fire to kill these demonstrators (many of whom, though certainly not all were armed). The answer to this is not all that clear-cut. Bearing in mind that the death of any human being is a tragedy, it would have been more justifiable to use non-lethal methods of violent riot control and arrest those responsible for the damage caused to property as well as injury to innocent people.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamas. Accessed 14 May. 2018.
  2. The monster Israel Helped Create Pandemonium
  3. How Israel Helped Create Hamas Washington Post.
  4. How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas WSJ








Sunday, April 29

The Demonstrations of Gazans on the Israeli Border

 The Gazan Palestinians have been demonstrating for a number of weeks now. There is no doubt that these demonstrations are being orchestrated by Hamas. Only this time they have changed their tactics. They want to give the international media the false impression that it is a popular, peaceful uprising against the occupation and that Hamas is not responsible for this unrest but rather the will of the Palestinian People to fight the occupation. Note that there are no Hamas flags near the border.



This is a big lie and it is obvious that Hamas is behind these “peaceful” demonstrations and there have even been attempts by some Palestinian demonstrators, including children to breach the security fence and infiltrate into Israel. The purpose of this infiltration IS NOT to have “kumbaya” with Israelis. It is rather to carry out acts of terror and murder of innocent Israelis under the facade of “peaceful protest”. The scenario of unarmed, peaceful protest makes for great propaganda by Hamas against Israel and it appears to be working posing Israel as the heartless oppressor not allowing the Palestinians their right of protest. It may be argued that the use of sniper live ammunition is not justifiable. The use of non-lethal ammunition against demonstrators, who have breached the security fence, is an acceptable option. Live ammunition should be reserved only for life-threatening situations which do not appear to be the case here. The use of live ammunition strengthens Hamas in its resolve to use of women and children as human shields. This, of course, does not help Israel in its attempts to stop the violence. Hamas tactics somehow create more international antagonism towards Israel including in the UN. They have been warned by Israel not to infiltrate into Israel but to no avail. We must remember that Hamas terrorists are indiscriminate when it comes to murdering Israelis.


Many people, who view the scenario of sniper-fire, view Israel as the evil Goliath and the Palestinians armed with slingshots and Molotov cocktails as the David. This is the impression that Hamas behind the headlines portrays to the foreign media. Even the UN shows a bias towards Israel as it usually does when there is Palestinian unrest.

The Hamas mantra of seeking Israel’s total destruction as well as its refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist is the slogan behind these demonstrations. The exploitation of young children and women is a well-known tactic of the evil Hamas terrorist organization that tolerates no opposition to its tactics and Palestinians, who do not agree with Hamas are arrested and even put to death in a kangaroo court system.  Hamas is not interested in Palestinian human rights or democracy, let alone human dignity. They are fighting for a Palestinian State to replace Israel. It has nothing to do with the occupation of territory after the June Six Day War of 1967. As far as they are concerned, Israel has occupied territory since the Day it was established in May 1948.

When Israel has to deal with the Hamas Palestinian Leadership with its mindset on Israel’s destruction and using the impoverished Palestinian people to riot and kill Israelis, how can any form of negotiation even be initiated?

The tragedy in Gaza has been wrought on the Palestinians by Hamas and their multi-millionaire leadership that have pocketed all the monies donated by various countries for rehabilitation of Gaza. It is not in the interests of Hamas for the Palestinians to be rehabilitated or having a decent future. By weeping crocodile tears they enrich themselves even more. Many countries in the free world fall for this ploy which is what makes the situation in Gaza so untenable. Hamas feed their people with hatred and their religious leaders constantly preach sermons of hate against Israel and the Jewish People.

It appears that the unrest at the Gaza border is not going to subside for a while and it will continue until the Palestinians are tired of demonstrating and it will just decrease in numbers of participating demonstrators over time.

The question one should ask is: How would other countries react to demonstrations on their borders by hostile elements, who wish to achieve unrest and destruction of their respective countries as well as having a bloodlust to kill innocent people?

The cause of Israel’s total destruction and its replacement by a Hamas-ruled Palestinian State is the mantra behind all these demonstrations. Those people, who sympathise with  Hamas and its portrayal of their cause are not aware of what Hamas hopes to achieve. It is definitely not for the freedom of a democratic Palestinian State but another ISIS (Daesh)-like state slated to replace Israel. If we bear these factors in mind, Israel has the full right to defend itself by any means the IDF seems feasible under these circumstances.  

On the other hand, the Palestinians are deserving of a state that is democratic, promotes human values and dignity. Israel must recognize that an end must be made to the occupation that is eroding Israel’s democracy and human values. This can only be achieved if there is an honest desire on both sides to negotiate an end to the conflict. A desire to destroy Israel is not negotiable. Under the present circumstances, it is obvious that there is no motivation on either side to reach any form of agreement.

Sunday, April 15

Israel's 70 Years of Independence

Declaration of Independence
Israel has only one day annually that is celebrated without any religious constraints or “mitzvot”. This is a day that secular and religious Israelis celebrate as well as those who identify with Israel and its people. 

The Israeli Arab Citizens do not celebrate. There are no flags or symbols of celebration in their villages. It is a great pity that the two peoples - Jewish and Arab Israeli citizens are divided in their respective narratives causing the Israeli Arab sector not to celebrate Israel’s independence. Here in Israel, we have failed to achieve a common loyalty in Israel for all its citizens - Jew and Arab alike. It could have been achieved but Israel has failed to be the state of all its citizens for a number of reasons. The most striking, perhaps, is the non-inclusive character of Israel’s Jewish majority. An example of this is the non-inclusive wording of Israel’s National Anthem “Hatikva” - The Hope.




The wording of Hatikva could be modified to include Israel’s non-Jewish minority symbols of culture without changing the wording of Jewish desires and hopes. This could go a long way in promoting a common patriotism that is all-inclusive. This could also be done through education from an early age as well as encouraging the establishment of integrated Jewish-Arab schools, where education in unity among all Israel’s peoples could be achieved.

Culture Minister Miri Regev unveils the logo for Israel's 70th-anniversary celebrations, during a press conference on January 15, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Israel’s 70 years of independence should be a nation-wide non-political affair that is inclusive of all Israeli citizens. The person in charge of all the festivities and ceremonial protocols this year is the divisive and controversial Minister of Culture and Sport, Miri Regev. She is turning the 70th Independence Day celebration into a “Likudiada” political affair with her own agenda taking preference. She is punting so hard for PM Netanyahu’s survival in the midst of all criminal investigations against him by the police.  

Regev’s invitation of the President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, to light the annual torch, is a disgrace in itself apart from going against protocol, in order for PM Netanyahu to be also one of the participants as well as being given an opportunity to make a speech rather than the Speaker of the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein, as is the annual Independence Day tradition. President Hernandez is suspected of corruption as well as being an abuser of human rights. However, Hernandez is a strong supporter of Israel and has pledged to move the Honduras Embassy to Jerusalem. 
Hatikva - Israel's National Anthem

 Hernandez declined the invitation because of opposition in Israel. We must remember that Regev’s idea of democracy is her right to do what she wishes as her party is the majority party in power and this means that those who oppose her and her party are leftists and traitors to Israel. After all, Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East as Israel’s rulers and its pundits claim. Others in Regev’s view are an obstacle to her agenda and are deserving of condemnation. She has megalomaniac tendencies that are divisive, racist and a total disregard for those who do not share her worldview and agenda. She is no democrat and does not even know the meaning of democracy. In fact, she makes no bones about her Moroccan roots at every opportunity that she regards as all-embracing and superior to other cultures that form Israel’s character. The whole 70th Independence ceremony became a storm in a teacup. Eventually, a compromise was made that satisfied the Likud and its shenanigans.


It is a great pity that this year’s Independence Day celebrations will have a right-wing political slant to it which will, unfortunately, spoil its non-political nature.

Wednesday, March 28

The Relevancy of Pesach of Today

Pesach (Passover) is here and apart from gorging ourselves to the hilt and reciting the Haggadah to celebrate the liberation from the slavery of the Israelites from Pharaonic Egypt over 5 000 years ago, much has happened to the descendants of the Israelites over the centuries.

Most observant Jews in Israel and in the Diaspora will be sitting down to the Pesach meal or Seder with all its symbolism of freedom from slavery in Egypt. The Haggadah is read before the Seder meal. Many feel that it is archaic and lacking in relevance. The reading is rushed through rapidly as it becomes a tedious exercise in resilience.  

While very few even think of Pesach from a wider more modern viewpoint and are so involved in outdated rituals as to what is Kosher for Pesach and what is not. The religious hair-splitting explanation over what is “kitniyot” –“legumes” that are forbidden to be eaten by religious Ashkenazim.    
 
The  11th Plague today that is missing - the corrupt Chief Rabbinate of Israel
We should be giving more thought to those who are still not free in countries that deny their citizens' basic human rights.

We should also be sensitive towards the Sudanese and Eritrean refugees in our midst and cease using the term “infiltrators” to justify their deportation from Israel to strange countries, whose inhabitants share their skin colour and nothing else - not language, not culture probably not even religion. They have suffered endlessly in their countries of origin and their lives 
Detail of the 'Maror' page of the Sarajevo Haggadah (courtesy of the Foundation for Jewish Culture)
 are endangered there. They arrived in Israel to seek a better life for themselves. We should not be concentrating on “ghettoising” them in South Tel Aviv, where they are not even given work permits. They should have been allowed to live in other areas in Israel where they can work. The alternative to deportation is incarceration in prison for an indefinite period. Is this the new hospitality to the “stranger in our midst”?

The latest statement of the Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel Yitschak Yosef (son of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef of which more is written later in this article) referring to black people as monkeys.

The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict still defies a solution. The occupation has taken on a different perspective. It is a moral dilemma. On the one hand, it is desirable that there should be a move to ending the occupation of the Palestinians by Israel so that the Palestinians do achieve an independent state with freedom coinciding with human dignity and democracy. On the other hand, even if Israel withdraws all the settlers from the occupied territories on the West Bank, there will be no desire on the Palestinian side to sign a peace treaty. The corrupt, wealthy Palestinian leadership have no desire to recognize Israel’s right to exist. It is their bread and butter.The terrorist activity coming from the Palestinian side is not conducive to any solution in ending the Israeli occupation.

The migrant and foreign workers, many of them coming from the Philippines, India and Thailand are contract labourers. The caregivers of our aged are on duty 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. While these people get free board and lodging from their employers. Time off is a gesture and not compulsory as there is no law to protect them from exploitation. Many caregivers do other chores in the home and do housework which is not part of their contract. They also do Pesach cleaning for the family.

I guess this is how we celebrate our freedom from oppression according to the teachings of the revered Late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who said that the "goyim (strangers or non-Jews) were created by God to serve the Jews".  This "sage" has made many hurtful, racist statements in the past. This explains many paradoxes in our treatment of "the goyim". Sources in Judaism seem to back this up. If a contracted foreign worker's work permit expires, come hell and high water, he /she cannot renew the work permit under any circumstances.What about the situation of asylum-seekers whose future is a perpetual exile? It is a matter of time before the Israeli Immigration Police sniffs them out and deports them to a detention centre awaiting expulsion from Israel under demeaning conditions. They live in fear as this could happen at the whim of an unscrupulous employer or informer (“shtinker”).



"WE ARE TROUBLED when we see fear and hatred toward “the other” in Israel. In our beloved Israel, it is sadly common to encounter fear and loathing of “the other” with whom we share the land. Even in times of turmoil and insecurity, we must strive to empathize with our neighbours and treat all with dignity. We must commit ourselves to working together with Israelis and with Palestinians to realize a future of freedom, justice and peace.

 LET US STRIVE TO LOVE THE STRANGER and journey toward our Promised Land. Tonight, as we reenact our enslavement and celebrate our freedom from oppression, let us work toward loving the stranger, treating all with dignity and equal protection. Only then can we truly inhabit our Promised Land and reach the future we wish to see.

WE REMEMBER when we were strangers. Tonight, at our Seder, we remember when we were strangers. We recall the Exodus from bondage and reaffirm our memory that we were once the dispossessed, the immigrants, those who fled from the lash in the hopes of finding our way to our Promised Land. We remember countless times in the Jewish story when we have pushed away, wandering, vulnerable, even hated. Why do we tell this story year after year?

WE SEEK TO KNOW the heart of the stranger. The Torah explains: “Know the heart/the feelings of the stranger, for you once were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 23:9). We tell the story so that we remember to empathize with “the other,” so that we will not do to others that which was hateful to us. “Love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Deut. 10:19). At this moment, we seek to know the heart and feelings of those who are treated as “the other” today and dwell on what it means to love them.  

WE ARE TROUBLED when we see fear and hatred toward “the other” here in America. In the United States, we sit down to our tables at a time of unprecedented anti-immigrant and xenophobic sentiment, Islamophobia and the stirring of hatred towards those who look different than us. We remember tonight that once we were proud to call ourselves a nation of immigrants."


Happy Pesach!

חג פסח שמח!

Saturday, March 17

Election Threat that Passed and ultra-Orthodox Power

We, in Israel, witnessed a real “general electoral trial circus”. Was it “to be or not to be, that is the question?” The reason for holding the elections was the Conscription Bill that the ultra-Orthodox Parties in the Knesset opposed. Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who supports compulsory conscription of the Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) youngsters to the IDF and as a result the government nearly fell with the threat of early elections.
The Knesset


A compromise was reached and the threat of early elections passed with plenty ado and the ruffling of some coalition feathers and perhaps a sigh of relief from the opposition with the exception of Meretz.


It was unclear as to whether beleaguered  PM Netanyahu supported the idea of early general elections or not bearing in mind the various suspect criminal files against him. In any case, the past few days was a charade if not a political circus.


The message that this political charade and Knesset filibuster brought to the public is the tremendous powers that the parasitic ultra-Orthodox parties have over the coalition. These parties have great potential of blackmailing any coalition of which they always manage to be part.  The contribution to the wellbeing of Israel is not the priority of the ultra-Orthodox parties. Their agenda is very sectarian especially when it comes to financially feathering the nests of their parasitic yeshivot, which has zero contribution to the State of Israel. Their youngsters are discouraged from serving in the IDF and the extremist Lithuanian cult in their midst hold massive demonstrations against those who serve in the IDF. The few ultra-Orthodox youngsters that do serve in the IDF are ostracised and in many cases are dealt with violently by the extremist ultra-Orthodox sects in their various communities.


It is a disgrace that the ultra-Orthodox parasitic bunch of scoundrels and blackmailers in Yahadut Hatorah and Shas Parties have tremendous powers far beyond what they deserve. They can cripple any ruling government on a whim. They do everything in their power to prevent their yeshiva students from serving in the IDF and doing their national duty.


“In 1953, as a part of the “Status quo agreement” which was meant to create a stable coexistence between religious and secular elements in Israeli society, the Personal Status Law was passed. Under this law, all issues of personal status were passed over to the exclusive control of the Orthodox religious establishment. This has created enormous tensions within Israel since all sorts of different groups feel marginalised and unrepresented in issues of personal status. Many groups, such as Ethiopian and Russian immigrants, have suffered what they perceive as almost wholesale discrimination and humiliation at the hands of representatives of the Orthodox establishment.” from The Role of Religion In Israeli Society


There is no doubt that the establishment ruling Orthodox Rabbinate has caused much pain to those, whose Jewishness is in doubt according to their interpretation of Halacha. The Chief Rabbinate of Israel also blacklists Diaspora rabbis 1. What right do they assume in doing this?


Establishment Orthodox Judaism in Israel has become more extreme and less tolerant over the years. There is a dearth of so-called Zionist right-wing rabbinical bigots, who make disparaging remarks about women serving in the army. What right have they got to interfere with the decisions of the IDF as far as women conscripts are concerned? These bigots have taken it upon themselves to be the watchdogs of morals pertaining to their hell and brimstone-style of Judaism.

These establishment rabbis, whether Haredi or right-wing Zionist Orthodox are driving a wedge within Israel’s society. I have asked myself if these rabbis have anything to contribute to Israel apart from their narrow world view and their desire to manipulate the naivety and ignorance of many observant Jews. This is where their power lies! They are political, divisive, despicable and hungry for power, influence and financial enrichment. The Chief Rabbi of Safed, Shmuel Eliyahu 2 is an example of a rabbi with a narrow, racial worldview. Unfortunately, there are quite a few of them with his philosophy. He also ruled that rape in war is justified.3


The time is overdue for separation of Orthodox Synagogue and State. Prolonging the unhealthy situation of establishment Orthodox Judaism that encroaches on personal freedom of the Jewish People in Israel to be secular, Reform or Conservative with the freedom to have civil marriages as well as recognition of non-Orthodox rabbis to perform marriages according to the desires of their adherents.


Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau (L) and Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef
Israel can never claim to be a true democracy while the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate establishment hegemony has so much power in Israel. They are also those who decide who are Jews and who are not. The Chief Rabbinate must have its immense powers of blackmail, bribery, corruption and hypocrisy curtailed.4 The Chief Rabbinate of Israel holds the monopoly on Judaism! Now with the Pesach festival on our doorstep, the “Kosher for Pesach Circus” is upon us. In general, the Kashrut services are riddled with corruption according to the State Comptroller Report of 2017. No doubt, the same will be true of 2018. It is all monopoly with Chief Rabbinate approval with financial kickbacks to most that are involved in its enforcement. However, it appears that the self-styled “Watchdogs of Judaism” - the Chief Rabbinate of Israel - overlook all the religious, clerical corruption in their midst in their so-called duty to prevent assimilation and ensure the preservation of Jewish identity 5 and more importantly their power. The Chief Rabbinate of Israel has no place in a modern society. This institution must go!

Rabbi Uri Regev on the Chief Rabbinate

References: 
  1. "Israeli Chief Rabbinate blacklists 160 Diaspora rabbis - Israel News ...." 9 Jul. 2017, http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Chief-Rabbinate-forced-to-publish-rabbinical-blacklist-of-160-rabbis-in-Diaspora-499171. Accessed 15 Mar. 2018.
  2. "Shmuel Eliyahu | The Times of Israel." https://www.timesofisrael.com/topic/shmuel-eliyahu/. Accessed 15 Mar. 2018.
  3. "The Chief Rabbi of Safed, Shmuel Eliyahu, rules that rape in war is ...." 30 Aug. 2017, https://medium.com/@TonyGreenstein/the-chief-rabbi-of-safed-shmuel-eliyahu-rules-that-rape-in-war-is-justified-607f6b2c0ac3. Accessed 15 Mar. 2018.
  4. "Ex-Israeli chief rabbi Yona Metzger indicted for corruption | The Times ...." https://www.timesofisrael.com/ex-israeli-chief-rabbi-yona-metzger-indicted-for-corruption/. Accessed 15 Mar. 2018.
  5. "Jewish identity - Wikipedia." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_identity. Accessed 17 Mar. 2018.
See

Israel's Chief Rabbinate and Corruption are Blots on Israel's Democracy


Friday, February 23

Noose is Tightening Around PM Netanyahu & His Cronies

The noose is tightening around PM Netanyahu and his faithful cronies, many of whom are business tycoons, who need his help in further enriching themselves. This is of course at the expense of the Israeli taxpayer. Bibi is as tight as Scrooge and seems to be involved in cupboard love of wealthy business tycoons in order to maintain his decadent lifestyle of luxury. Time will tell when all the investigations against him are completed and the attorney-general comes to a decision once all the evidence is in his hands as to whether Netanyahu will be indicted or not. This will take over a year. If Netanyahu is indicted and found guilty, the possibility of him spending prison time cannot be ruled out.


  1. Case 1000 - the “Champagne - Cigars” File.
  2. Case 2000 - The “Noni Moses -Yediot Ahronot, Yisrael HaYom” File.
  3. Case 3000 - “Submarine File” - Netanyahu not implicated in this file to date.
  4. Case 4000 - “Bezeq communications” file in which close Netanyahu aides have been arrested and Netanyahu is due to give evidence under oath. The investigation will revolve around Shaul Elovitch's ties to the prime minister and his close associates and the suspicion he enjoyed benefits for the Israeli telecommunications giant Bezeq in return for favourable coverage of Netanyahu on the Walla! 1
  5. Case 1207 - alleged attempts on Netanyahu’s behalf to dangle a promotion over former  District Court Judge Hila Gerstel in exchange for her cooperation, Supreme Court Judge President, Esther Hayut tells police former District Court Judge Hila Gerstel confided in her that during her candidacy for the post of state attorney, a PM associate, Nir Hefetz, approached her indirectly to offer the position on condition that she close a case against Sara Netanyahu; 'Gerstel expressed shock to the president about the incident 2.
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and Shlomo Filber, left, one of Netanyahu's closest allies.Moti Milrod / Maged Gozani

File 1000 and 2000 have been more or less completed and sent to the Attorney-General, Avichai Mandelblit 3 for his perusal in order to decide whether there is enough evidence to place PM Netanyahu on trial for fraud, bribery and breach of trust. This remains to be seen and can take over a year 4.

Case 4000 is under police investigation and this appears to be the most threatening case for Netanyahu’s career as a prime minister in which Netanyahu may be suspect of wrongdoing. Naturally, Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing in this case as well. It will take time for the police to complete their investigation in this case before they refer it to the Attorney-General for his decision to indict Netanyahu. Police harness evidence against PM Netanyahu by nearly clinching central suspect—former Communications Ministry director-general Shlomo Filber—who is expected to incriminate Netanyahu as he prepares to ink state witness deal in a fresh corruption case involving benefits for more favourable media coverage.

According to a report from YNet:

Bezeq majority owner Shaul Elovitch, former media adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Nir Hefetz, and former Communications Ministry director-general Shlomo Filber are among those arrested Sunday in the Bezeq corruption affair, it was cleared for publication late Monday.19th Feb 2018.

Recordings provided by Walla! News CEO Ilan Yeshua to Securities Authority convinced AG Mandelblit to give go-ahead to police to also investigate Bezeq case; recordings reportedly show blatant instruction by Bezeq majority shareholder Shaul Elovitch to sway news coverage in PM Netanyahu's favour.

Or and Iris Elovitch, the son and wife of Bezeq's owner, and CEO Stella Handler were also arrested.

Suspects are alleged to have either given or received bribes, in a quid pro quo relationship involving actions that benefited Bezeq and Walla! News—a news site owned by the telecommunications giant—in return for flattering coverage of Prime Minister Netanyahu and his family”.

PM Netanyahu views all these suspicions as a witch-hunt against him 5. He blames the police, the court system, the left-wing and the opposition.

However, Netanyahu has wall to wall support from his shenanigans in the Likud Party as well as in his government coalition. Even the majority of his supporters amongst the Israeli electorate believe that he should remain in office. According to Netanyahu’s supporters (and there is no lack of them), there is nobody that can replace him. Netanyahu can remain in office from a legal point of view as he is still innocent and has not been proved guilty of any crime.  At this stage of the investigations, he is regarded as a suspect and theoretically, he can serve out his term of office until the next elections and even be re-elected.

One of Bibi Netanyahu’s pundits, Chairman of the Knesset's House Committee MK Miki Zohar 6 (Likud) compared on Haifa Radio Monday the murder of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin with the investigations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and their attendant media coverage, alleging that Netanyahu had also suffered a form of political assassination. This is such an odious comparison and illustrates the lengths that Netanyahu’s Likud MKs is prepared to go to make irresponsible statements against the police and the rule of law. It appears that “Kaiser” Netanyahu is above the law and can do what he wishes. Anybody in Israel, who do not accept this, is treacherous, according to Netanyahu’s cronies. Miki Zohar’s outrageous and disgraceful comparison to Rabin’s assassination places a slur on Israel’s law authorities. Miki Zohar is an attorney and he should show better judgment. However, like most of his Likud colleagues, he is incapable of that. Another example of a “cosa nostra”- like Member of the Knesset and Coalition Chief Whip is David (Dudu) Amsalem, whose remarks against state witnesses and even Yair Lapid, who was summoned by the police to give a witness report, are not far from gangster-like expressions.  

While Netanyahu, as mentioned earlier in this article, need not resign and can continue in his post as prime minister. However, the question remains whether it is in the public interest for him continue in his position as prime minister under these suspicions of a felony. When former Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert was under suspicion of committing a crime and had not been formally charged. Netanyahu was in the opposition. He stated that Olmert should resign. Today Netanyahu is in a similar situation to Olmert was then (in 2008) and he hangs on. Obviously, Netanyahu’s advice to others does not apply to himself. Netanyahu’s supporters state that he (Netanyahu) can function as prime minister even while he is busy with his defence lawyers to clear his name of all suspicions. That is doubtful. Naturally, Netanyahu denies all allegations against and views these cases as a witch hunt against him. Even Ehud Olmert, the previous prime minister denied allegations against him. No suspect in a crime ever admits guilt or committing a crime. Netanyahu is no different.

While PM Netanyahu has to come to terms with the various cases that appear to be very incriminating towards him, the question that should be asked is whether Netanyahu should resign. If one answers this question from a moral point of view and in the interest of the public, the answer is a definite “yes”. Netanyahu cannot function efficiently as prime minister while these files are hanging over his head like the sword of Damocles. Israel has so many problems, internal and external, that it is essential that its leader will not be bogged down with criminal files and consultation with his lawyers to clear his name of all suspicions of a felony.



References:
  1. 17 Feb. 2018, https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5117784,00.html. Accessed 20 Feb. 2018.
  2. "Chief justice confirms attempted bribery in Case 1207 - Ynetnews." 20 Feb. 2018, https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5123604,00.html. Accessed 21 Feb. 2018.
  3. "Avichai Mandelblit - Wikipedia." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avichai_Mandelblit. Accessed 20 Feb. 2018.
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