Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Business News

Antitrust director to force Dankner to sell telecommunications holdings

Demand is a condition for IDB acquisition of Bezeq. Strum: Dankner must resign from Cellcom Nochi Dankner will be required to sell his holdings in...


Swallowing a fly

Sharon has turned Shinui from roaring lions to purring kittens, willing to sit with UTJ. This may sound a little strange, but Shas, the party that is hardly being considered in the coalition negotiations, is actually the greatest influencing factor in coalition developments. There is...

A secular government

Israel wants and needs a strong secular government that can implement the disengagement plan. The government is falling apart and the prime minister is silent. Since the threat on the Likud party – that if its members will not vote for the goverment during the...

The myth of Jewish power

America’s supports Israel not because of the “Jewish vote”, since most Jews vote Democratic, but because of common, conservative values. A frequently-heard Israeli myth states that the United States supports Israel because of power of American Jewry. For example, speaking to the Jerusalem Post last...

The Temple Mount is in our hands?

The asymmetry between the seriousness with which Moslems relate to al-Aqsa and our disregard for holy places shows the desire for the national homeland to be a wild dream. During recent years, experts have been telling us how pragmatic and content with a minimum, Zionist...
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Daily News

Egged to allow women full membership

Following NRG Maariv expose, head of Committee for Advancement of Women MK Gila Gamliel announces changes in Egged code. One of Israel’s last bastions of sexism finally gets it.

After 71 years of blatant discrimination against women, Egged amended the code that prevented women from becoming full-fledged members of the corporation. Following an NRG Maariv article two months ago, Egged management decided to change the code and allow women to receive full membership.

In a letter sent by Egged to head of the Committee for the Advancement of Women Gila Gamliel (Likud), the company wrote that it had amended the code at the beginning of the week, thus enabling women to obtain equal membership in Egged and to be inserted into key positions in the organization – something that had been denied to them until now because they were women.

As a result of the NRG Maariv article, the Committee for the Advancement of Women summoned members of Egged’s board of directors to an urgent meeting. Egged members were issued an ultimatum that they must amend its code within three months or the Committee would move to limit company subsidizations.

“It should be noted that once we imposed a three month limit to Egged to change its code, they worked quickly to do so”, said MK Gila Gamliel, who added “I now expect to see women members – justice has been done”.

Construction of another section of barrier halted

Supreme Court judge issued a temporary injunction; Matter to be heard by a three-judge panel.

The Supreme Court continues to halt the construction of sections of the security barrier. Two days after issuing a temporary injunction freezing work in the Rosh Ha’ain area, a similar injunction has been issued for another section, this time in northeastern Jerusalem.

The petitioners, 11 residents of the village of Anata, located near the Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood in northern Jerusalem, argued that the barrier will separate them from the village’s cemetery and agricultural plots. According to the petitioners, the barrier undermines their freedom of religion. They also argued that the barrier can be constructed on state-owned land 420 meters to the south of the current site.

The injunction issued by a Supreme Court Justice Adiel forbids the IDF from demolishing the home of one of the petitioners or undertaking irreversible changes on the land. In addition, the Judge ruled that the matter will be urgently brought before a three-judge panel.

Attorney Sahar Ali, who represents the petitioners, told NRG Maariv: “What’s the logic of this fence? The army is not satisfied with separating between live people, now it also wants to separate us from our dead”.

Sharon and Peres to renew coalition negotiations

Have agreed to meet on Sunday to discuss national unity government

The PM has invited opposition leader to a meeting Sunday afternoon to resume negotiations over Labor joining the coalition to form a national unity government.

Sharon said he was happy with his present government, but was willing to change its make up to ensure the disengagement plan proceeds as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Peres said he was ready to continue coalition talks, but would only agree to enter the government if it was clear Labor would be a significant influence on both foreign and social-economic policies. “If we can influence things from within it is preferable”, he said.

Backbenchers in both parties have expressed their opposition to such a development. Uzi Landau and the other hawkish Likud MKs opposing disengagement say this is a further step in Sharon’s disengagement from and betrayal of his own party’s most basic principles.

Eitan Cabel (Labor), who opposes entering the government, said such a step would make Peres “responsible for the final demise of the Labor party, which cannot survive another term as Sharon’s sidekick. “We need to provide an alternative, not an accomplice”, he said.

Shinui, which has been a keen advocate of a Likud-Labor-Shinui government since the election campaign, has been silent, busy sorting out the fallout from the Paritzkygate scandal which broke last night.

There is also growing if unspoken concern in the party that if Labor joins, internal pressure from the Likud rank and file could force Sharon to replace Shinui with Shas and the United Torah Front.

Paritzky affair: IEC union admits to hiring of private investigator

Union’s David Beaton: PI hired in an attempt to gather information on Poraz. Claims contacts with him terminated after they found out about Paritzky’s interest in Poraz.

The workers’ union of Israel Electric Company (IEC) was responsible for hiring the private investigator in the affair that has already been named the Paritzky affair.

Acting union leader David Beaton admitted last (Thursday) night during an interview with Maariv that he was the one who hired the PI in an attempt to gather information on then MK Avraham Poraz. Since the death of Union Chairman Yoram Overkovitch, Beaton has been serving as the union’s leader.

At the time, while Poraz led a campaign against the perks the workers received, especially free unlimited electricity, the union led a battle against the former Finance Committee chairman’s intentions. According to Beaton, Overkovitch asked him to check if Poraz has political or personal interests regarding the battle he waged.

“We believed Poraz’s enthusiasm exceeded the norm. Our objective was to defend the interests of the workers of the IEC who stood to lose from his actions”.

Beaton added that the matter was kept secret at Overkovitch’s request and has not been brought to the attention of today’s union leadership, which denied any involvement in the Paritzky affair.

However, Beaton denied the claims he had met with Paritzky or anyone on his behalf. “We had nothing to do with Paritzky’s interest in Poraz. As soon as we found out, we immediately ceased any contacts with the PI”.

Yesterday, Shinui nominated MK Ilan Shalgi as minister instead Paritzky. Shalgi will be named Minister of Science only if Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would win a Knesset majority to approve the appointment. If he fails to win a majority, Sharon would have to appoint a temporary minister instead of Paritzky.

Although Paritzky said he would not submit his resignation because he needs “several days to think it over”, Sharon is expected to dismiss him in any case during Sunday’s cabinet session, following Channel One’s expose in which it was revealed that Paritzky was trying to “pin a case” on fellow party member and Interior Minister Avraham Poraz.

If Paritzky would accept the party’s decision and quit the Knesset as well, Ariela Golan would replace him as Shinui’s 15th MK.

Meanwhile, in a letter of response Attorney General Meni Mazuz wrote to the Movement for Quality Government in Israel regarding Infrastructure Minister Yosef Paritzky, the AG said he plans to examine the media reports to determine whether the affair has criminal aspects.

ElBaradei says Israel willing to enter nuclear disarmament dialogue

But only in the second stage of Road Map. During meeting with Sharon, IAEA chief says Israel should open nuclear facilities to inspection.

Israel is willing to take part in discussions regarding regional nuclear disarmament during the second stage of the Road Map, head of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohammed ElBaradei said.

ElBaradei, who spoke to reporters after an afternoon meeting with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in Jerusalem, added that he has asked the prime minister to meet with “nuclear spy” Mordechai Vanunu.

During the meeting, the IAEA chief said, “It is not my job to dictate Israel’s nuclear policy whether it should be open or obscure. The most important thing is to open its facilities to UN inspections”.

During a meeting ElBaradei held earlier with the senior staff of Israel’s Nuclear Energy Commission, headed by Gidon Frank, it was agreed that Israel would take part in an IAEA program, which aims at preventing the flowing of radioactive substances, especially from the former Soviet Union, to terror organizations that could use them to create a “dirty bomb” or in order to perpetrate a nuclear terror attack.

Regarding Iran’s alleged attempts to acquire or manufacture nuclear weapons, ElBaradei said he does not yet know if authorities in Tehran would seriously cooperate with the UN in this matter.

ElBaradei will meet later with Foreign Minster Sylvan Shalom and then leave the country.

The IAEA chief met on Wednesday with Health Minister Danny Naveh. The two announced the establishment of a nuclear medicine research plan in Israel, which is to be funded by the IAEA.

Also on Wednesday, ElBaradei was flown across the country but his aerial tour did not include the Dimona Nuclear Research Center.

Sharon to convene meeting on Hague ruling Sunday

PM, Shalom, Lapid, and Mazuz to discuss ramifications of the decision to dismantle barrier. Political officials term ruling as a “bad joke”.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will hold a special meeting Sunday to discuss the ramifications of the ruling of the International Court of Justice in the Hague (ICJ) by which Israel’s security barrier is illegal. The Foreign and Justice ministers will participate, as will the attorney-general and other senior staffers from the PM’s office and the two ministries.

Sources close to the PM have reacted to Friday’s ruling, saying the decision to order Israel to dismantle the barrier amounts to a “bad joke”. They made it clear that Israel has no intention of complying.

The US administration has already reaffirmed its previous guarantee to Israel that it will not permit any concrete action to be taken by the UN over this matter, and will veto any attempt by the Security Council to pass an anti-Israel resolution over this issue.

The PM has also said that Israel would launch a major diplomatic and PR offensive to undermine the legitimacy of the ruling. He said that only telegenic ministers with an excellent command of English will take part. He specifically mentioned Ehud Olmert, Silvan Shalom Tomi Lapid, and Benjamin Netanyahu.

Yesterday (Friday) The ICJ issued its verdict condemning the security barrier as a violation of international law. It called on Israel to dismantle it.

The ruling stated that the barrier violates basic Palestinian human rights, as it severely compromises their freedom of movement and access to their places of livelihood and educational opportunities.

The ruling says that the fence is not merely a security measure, but a political one, citing the fact that it encroaches into Palestinian territory to include as many Jewish settlements as possible.

The ruling rejected Israel’s claim that it is entitled to build the barrier as a self-defense measure, in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter. The panel ruled the article did not apply in this case. It did accept Israelis claim that it was the victim of sustained random violence against its population, and had a right to take action designed to protect its citizens from such violence. It ruled however that such steps must be in accordance with international law, and the barrier did not meet this criterion.

The court called on the UN to “consider what measures should be implemented to ensure compliance with the ruling, in order to be an end to this violation of international law”.

Two colonels injured in Morag attack

Both officers sustained moderate injuries while 3 other soldiers lightly in an attack on a jeep in Gaza Strip. Islamic Jihad claims responsibility.

Two senior IDF officers, Colonel Yossi Turjeman who heads the Southern Command’s Disengagement Authority, and another Southern Division colonel were moderately injured by a roadside bomb that detonated near their jeep at the entrance to the Gaza settlement of Morag this (Thursday) afternoon. Three other soldiers sustained light injuries in the attack. The injured were evacuated to Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva. According to inspections at the site of the attack, the IDF concluded that the weapon used was an explosive charge and not an anti-tank missile as initially believed. In addition, the Islamic Jihad issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack. They said a 50 kg. a charge was used. The military wing of the Islamic Jihad, the al-Quds al-Arabi Battalions, claimed responsibly for the attack. It said that the attack was a response to the killing of 10 Palestinians this morning in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, adding that it was filmed on video and will be broadcast in several hours.

JAG orders criminal investigation of senior Intelligence Corps officers

Suspected of recklessly endangering soldiers’ lives, and attempting to instigate cover up.

The IDF’s JAG has ordered the Criminal Investigation Unit of the Military Police (Metzah) to open an investigation against several senior Aman (Intelligence Corps) commanders suspected of knowingly exposing their subordinates to major health hazards and instigating a systematic cover-up.

Senior Medical and JAG sources say the behavior of the Intelligence Corps involved in the affairs is inexcusable and amounts to gross insubordination, criminal negligence and willful indifference to human life.

The affair goes back to 1998, when the OC Medical Corps issued a blanket order to all units to immediately replace asbestos boards known as Pikel boards, wherever they were still in use, because they constituted a major health hazard, exposing personnel to known carcinogens and other major health hazards.

Pikel boards are especially common at Intelligence Corps bases, where they are used to pin up maps. This is particularly hazardous, because small microscopic amounts of asbestos dust are released into the face of anyone either attaching a map to the board with a drawing pin or staple or removing it.

However, until the middle of 2002, the Intelligence Corps chose to willfully ignore the order to remove the boards, Senior officers aware of the danger covered it up, and took no measures whatsoever to protect the troops under their command from coming into contact with the hazardous material.

In some bases personnel aware of the dangers of asbestos tried to remove the boards by themselves, but as they lacked the proper training and equipment all they did was to increase their exposure to the asbestos dust.

In 2002 Intelligence Corps soldiers, aware of the dangers of asbestos decided to take matters into their own hands after their appeals to their superiors to solve the problem fell on deaf ears. They filed complaints to the JAG corps and the IDF Ombudsman.

An investigating committee was set up by the deputy CoS. The head of the committee was Brig. General Amnon Sofrin, commander of Aman’s counterintelligence and field security unit (Bitahon Sadeh). It also included another Aman officer and Lt. Col. Dr. Kobi Haviv from the Medical Corps.

It soon became apparent to Dr. Haviv that the committee had assumed the role of a fox guarding the henhouse. Instead of rectifying the situation, the committee sought to bury it. As two of the three members were Aman officers, they railroaded through a whitewash and threatened Lt. Col Haviv in order to intimidate him and prevent him from blowing the whistle.

Undeterred, Dr. Haviv presented his minority findings to the JAG. Corps. The Deputy JAG held a hearing, in which all the details of the affair came to light.

As a result of Aman’s attempt to cover up the affair, and especially in light of the attempts by Aman personnel to threaten and intimidate Lt. Col. Dr. Haviv, the Deputy JAG has ordered a full JAG inquiry,OC JAG Corps Maj. General Menahem Finkelstein has said he intends to ensure the affair is exhaustively investigated and has ordered Metzah’s top investigation unit to instigate a full criminal investigation of the suspicions against the Intelligence Corps officers involved. These include criminal negligence, blackmail, subverting military justice, gross insubordination and conduct unbecoming an officer.

Military sources are comparing the affair to the Nahal Kishon scandal, in which the navy deliberately and recklessly endangered the lives of its SEALS by conducting drills and diving exercises in waters heavily polluted with extremely hazardous industrial waste. Many of the men contracted cancer and had to sue the IDF for damages after the Navy and Defense ministry attempted to cover up the affair and denied them and their families any benefits, claiming there was no proof the cancer was connected to their having dived frequently in the polluted waters.

The IDF spokesperson said, “OC Jag Corps has initiated an MP investigation, which is currently underway”.

Israel to continue building security barrier

Justice Minister and Deputy Premier Lapid attack Hague ruling, says Israel will ignore “UN dictated politically engineered decision”.

Israel will continue to build the security barrier irrespective of the ICJ’s decision. This was announced in a statement made by Justice Minister Tomi Lapid, shortly before the panel began reading their verdict.

He said that Israel regarded the barrier as vital to its defense and the security of its citizens, as it has been proven beyond all doubt that it is a major obstacle and deterrent to would-be suicide bombers and other terrorists attempting to launch attacks against the civilian population.

He said that the only court pertinent to the government’s considerations is Israel’s High Court of Justice, which recently ordered several sections of the barrier to be demolished for causing undue and unjustified suffering to the Palestinian population. “Our justice system has proven itself capable and wiling of intervening in order to rectify what it regards at an injustice, even in cases such as the fence, which involve vital security issues”. He said the government would faithfully observe and carry out any High Court decision regarding the barrier, even if this meant delays, additional costs and compromising optimal security considerations as defined by the IDF.