Friday, January 19

The Present Israeli Government is an affront to Human Rights

The present Netanyahu Government is filled with right-wing sycophants that are racist, divisive as well as some being potential felons under police investigation.

Some are even suspected of felonies such as PM Netanyahu (Case 1000, 2000) and MK David Bitan 1 (both under police investigation) and a few on the “waiting list” (Minister of Welfare and Social Services, Chaim Katz 2 as an example) as well as being surrounded by a plethora of extra-parliamentary tycoons, businessmen and even lawyers David Shimron, (Netanyahu’s cousin) 3, and Yitzchak Molcho are suspected of involvement in an illegal submarine deal (Case 3000).
(L-R) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's personal lawyer David Shimron, his former diplomatic envoy Yitzhak Molcho, his former bureau chief David Sharan, former deputy national security adviser Avriel Bar-Yosef and former commander of the Israeli Navy Eliezer Marom (Flash90)

Even in culture, the foul-mouthed, screaming Netanyahu sycophant, Miri Regev, Minister of Culture and Sport 5 is punting and funding what she views as culture and threatens to withhold state funding of cultural projects that do not conform to her Moroccan ancestry and Likud agenda. She doesn't know what culture is, especially western culture. This definitely does threaten Israel's once-vibrant democracy. Having grown up in apartheid South Africa, I remember the censorship or banning of cultural projects that did not conform to white government agendas outright.

Surely there is a certain feeling of déjà vu! Israel is a very different Israel to what it was 40 plus years ago. It is becoming less tolerant of those, who are different (non-Jews). The treatment of refugees is appalling. We have forgotten that we were once refugees as well. The settlements in the occupied territories are viewed as holy creations, including the settlers, most of whom are embedded with an extremist religious Zionist ideology. They appear above the law. Many of the settler offspring and their ilk are involved in the destruction of Palestinian property and go unpunished.

The present government is passing laws weakening the law courts and the police force in order to protect the potential felons in their midst. They pander to the ultra-Orthodox coalition partner religious coercion by passing laws such as the Minimarket Law making it illegal to open businesses on Shabbat.

There is also the Darfur in South Sudan and Eritrean refugee issue. The treatment of refugees from South Sudan and Eritrea is appalling and cruel.These refugees are being deported with some pocket money to countries in Africa where their lives are endangered. This is done because of the fear of Israel’s Jewish citizens being assimilated. It is as if Israel is deporting them to their deaths. Does this not remind us of a very evil power in Germany from 1933 to 1945? Nazi Germany had death camps to exterminate Jews that were not deported. In Israel, those who cooperate with the deportation authorities to send the refugees to their fate are also guilty of being accessories to murder. The Minister of the Interior, Arye Deri, is responsible for signing the orders of the expulsion of asylum seekers from Israel. He, himself, is an ex-convict as well as Shas Party chairman and his wife are under investigation for money laundering, fraud, breach of trust and tax offences. He views himself as a “Shomer Mitzvot” 6 (שומר מצוות) and part of that is “purity” of the Jewish People in his view.
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (l) and his wife Yaffa seen leaving their home in Jerusalem, on May 29, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

This is an unforgivable tragedy. Israel has lost its Jewish heart and soul. The deportation of refugees (the racist right-wing regime refers to them as “infiltrators”) is cruel and heartless. We have lost our humanity preserving it for Jews only. Many of us had family who suffered the devastation and cruelties of the Nazi Holocaust and has forgotten what it is to be a refugee. These people are no threat to Israel’s security and if the government could allow a budget for their rehabilitation and absorption into Israel and its workforce this problem would be solved. Instead of the massive monthly salaries - 5000 shekels or $1452.82 - increase for Israel’s boorish cabinet ministers this money could be used for rehab and absorption.

Inspectors, who are responsible for sniffing out refugees for deportation are just “carrying out orders”. Sounds familiar? Many offspring of these refugees were born in Israel, speak Hebrew and are Israeli no less than the “Chosen People”. Israel is a signatory to Geneva Convention to the receiving of refugees - now they are squirming. They are no threat to Israel’s security. Israel is squandering lots of money today to give their boorish cabinet ministers a 5000 shekel raise in their monthly salary as well as the monies that go to sectarian ultra-Orthodox yeshiva projects for maintaining their putrid coalition. There is money to absorb these refugees and turn them into productive citizens by allowing them to work as well as being sent to other parts of Israel and not crowding them in south Tel Aviv under disgraceful living conditions as well as not being allowed to work legally.

The Holocaust survivors, handicapped, aged and the inadequate health system are under subsidized by the state. The government gave themselves an exorbitant rise in monthly salary, as mentioned earlier in this article, that they do not deserve.

The Netanyahu dynasty is ruling Israel. Yair Netanyahu, Bibi’s son has bodyguards and a luxury car at his disposal even when he frequents strip clubs of ill repute for his urges at the taxpayers' expense 7 as if we do not pay enough taxes already.

While I never agreed with Likud ideology, the previous generation of Likud members such as Late PM Menachem Begin, his mentor Ze'ev Jabotinsky and their associates (they would turn in their graves if they knew what had become of their Revisionist ideology), who cared more for Israel than the present lot of shenanigans that care for their Knesset seats and making a quick buck. They also get their support from many Israelis, who are racist.

  1. "Coalition chair MK David Bitan suspected of ... - The Times of Israel." 3 Dec. 2017, Accessed 19 Jan. 2018.
  2. "Haim Katz - Wikipedia." Accessed 15 Jan. 2018.
  3. "Legal Affairs: Who is Netanyahu's right-hand man, David Shimron ...." 20 Jul. 2017, Accessed 19 Jan. 2018.
  4. "David Shimron | The Times of Israel." Accessed 19 Jan. 2018.
  5. "Miri Regev's Culture War - The New York Times." 20 Oct. 2016, Accessed 19 Jan. 2018.
  6. "Mitzvah - Wikipedia." Accessed 19 Jan. 2018.

Friday, January 5

The Right-Wing in Israel and Corruption

The year 2017 has ended and if we reflect back on that year we observe that despite PM Netanyahu’s claim that Israel’s diplomatic relations with the moderate Arab States have taken a turn for the better, this is an over-statement. It really is a case of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. This is certainly the case with Iran that is threatening the Sunni Arab States in the region and is filling the vacuum since the defeat of Daesh (or rather the weakening of Daesh). The Daesh idea of a caliphate still exists and the non-Muslim countries, as well as the Muslim countries, are still under threat as the Daesh tactics are now cells scattered in many countries of Europe. These cells are involved in lone terrorist attacks against innocent people and no country is immune. There will be more of the same in the coming year, unfortunately.

The trend all over Europe in their general elections is a strong move towards the centre-right and extreme right, including a move towards neo-fascism and its xenophobic tendencies. The flood of refugees from the Middle East and Africa is a factor that has resulted in this trend.

In Israel, this is also true. Israel has the most right-wing government in its history. Those who do not hold the right-wing Israeli Government Coalition view are ostracised and even viewed as traitors to Israel. The left wing in Israel has become weak and ineffective. Even the new leader of the Zionist Camp, Avi Gabbay, is certainly not left of centre. He is really Likud-lite and is dragging the so-called opposition towards a more right-wing direction in his effort to attract disgruntled Likudniks.

The main coalition partner - the Likud, has been troubled by a large number of corruption scandals of which much has been written in the Israeli media. The Likud support in Israel is not so high - only 30 seats out of 120 seats in the Knesset. The only reason why they are in power is that they managed to cobble a coalition of extreme right-wing parties including the ultra-Orthodox parties. This  has resulted in various controversial Bills - the Recommendation Bill, which limits the power of the police to investigate suspected felons, who are Knesset members as well as the weakening of the law courts

MK David Bitan, the ex-Likud Coalition Chairman 1, is being investigated for bribery, corruption money laundering and every day the case against him thickens as he is being interrogated by the police for the fifth time 2. Bitan and his replacement, MK David (Dudu)  Amsalem, were both very keen on pushing this Bill through. The former appears to have been keen on this Bill as he knew that he was on the road to a criminal investigation and probably wanted to ensure that he would have a trouble-free term in the Knesset. More business people close to Bitan are being questioned 3 by the police and are willingly spilling the beans to save their own skins and incriminating Bitan 4, their”cupboard love friend” even further. PM Netanyahu is also under investigation over receiving gifts for favours (Case 1000) as well as making a deal with the director of Yediot Ahronot, Noni Moses (Case 2000), to publish favourable reports about him in his newspaper. In the shady submarine deals (Case 3000) he still remains clear and is presumed innocent. Even Sara Netanyahu, Bibi Netanyahu’s wife, has been demanding presents from Bibi’s tycoon friends. Apparently, she is Bibi’s keeper and despite Bibi’s denials, she has much influence on her husband and in her own eyes is deserving of massive kickbacks. She may also be facing criminal charges.

 Another scandal involving Netanyahu is Case 4000 known as the “Bezeq affair,” this corruption scandal began with a special state comptroller report, published in July, on the problematic relationship between the Communications Ministry and Bezeq, Israel’s telecom giant. The report found that Shlomo Filber, director general of the Communications Ministry and a former top aide to Netanyahu, had been providing Bezeq with confidential documents and other information from which the company stood to benefit. Netanyahu had brought Filber to the Ministry of Communications after he fired Avi Berger, his predecessor at the job. Berger had been trying to advance a broadband reform that would have hurt Bezeq.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held seven meetings with Shaul Elovitch, the controlling shareholder of Bezeq, Israel's biggest telecommunications company, between 2013 and 2015, according to a report revealed in a freedom-of-information request.

All these irregularities occur because the Likud Coalition has been in power for too long. Netanyahu views Israel as his private playground. He seems to behave as if Israel is his private property and he can do what he wishes in the interests of Israel, which really is his own private interests to carry on the good life at others' expense. He is as stingy as Scrooge and he has his providers. It is unlikely that he will treat anybody for a meal at his own expense.
Another pseudo-religious
Arye Deri
creep, Interior Minister
Aryeh Deri, has been convicted and spent time in prison in the past, leader of the pseudo-religious ultra-Orthodox Shas Party is part of the Coalition Government. A more insensitive creature is hard to find. He treats refugees (Sudanese and Eritreans) with contempt and finds ways of expelling them thus 
endangering their lives. Israel is a signatory to the Geneva Fourth Convention concerning the status of refugees. The reason - “contamination” of the Jewish People is Deri's main concern. Israel’s present rulers are masters of double standards. They are always in the forefront in sending aid to countries suffering from natural disasters but their attitude to those in distress, who are non-Jews and arrive as refugees is deplorable! 5

Deri also consulted a rabbi to find a way of coercing a fellow MK, Yehuda Glick, who is mourning his wife’s (sitting shiva) death, to come and vote in the Knesset on a controversial Bill prohibiting certain businesses from operating on the Sabbath - the Minimarket Bill. All in the name of God to prevent desecration of the Sabbath. What a sanctimonious, double standard creature!  Deri and his “God-Fearing” wife, Yaffa Deri,6 are also facing further police investigation for corruption. Deri’s behaviour is deplorable no less than the other band of Likud shenanigans that are in the Knesset today!
David (Dudu) Amsalem L and David Bitan R Tweedledee and Tweedledum

The Likud has been in power too long and its leader, PM Netanyahu, can serve for as many terms as he wishes on re-election. In the US and in the UK, as well as in many Western democracies, a leader is limited to serving two terms - not in Israel, where the leader can serve ad infinitum unless his/her party loses the election. This opens the door to corruption in high places from which even the ruling prime minister is not immune.

According to the Association of Civil Rights in Israel, the present government is responsible for anti-democratic
initiatives as well as the erosion of democratic values in Israel:

In recent years we have witnessed a disturbing trend toward the erosion of democratic values in Israel and the promotion of anti-democratic initiatives. It is particularly alarming that democratic values are being undermined and the rules of the democratic process are being broken in the Knesset – Israel’s parliament and the heart and symbol of Israeli democracy. Statements and actions by senior political figures have far-reaching ramifications and influence on the attitudes of the Israeli public regarding democracy, human rights, and political, social and ethnic minorities.

The most basic rules of the democratic game have been challenged recently. The foundations of the democratic system have been attacked, including the separation of powers and respect for the office and function of the different branches and institutions that exist in a democracy; the role of civil society; and protection of human rights, for example the freedom of expression, the right to protest, and respect for the underlying value of equality. By using the “defensive democracy” approach, these areas have been subjected to systematic erosion through biased and distorted interpretations.”

We have reached a new low in Israel’s “thriving democracy” as the present government is doing everything in its power to suppress personal freedom by enacting legislation that endangers the law courts’ ability by weakening it as well as the Israeli Police Force when it comes to investigations of suspected felons serving in the government coalition.

Those who care for decent, fair government in Israel, devoid of any corruption suspicions must avoid voting for the Likud and those who served as their coalition partners in the next Israeli General Elections. Failing to do so will ensure the continuation of further erosion of the law and more laws will be enacted to protect suspected felons in power. 

  1. "MK David Bitan submits letter of resignation to PM Benjamin ...." 20 Dec. 2017, Accessed 4 Jan. 2018.
  2. "Netanyahu's right-hand man David Bitan resigns as coalition whip ...." 20 Dec. 2017, Accessed 4 Jan. 2018.
  3. "MK David Bitan submits letter of resignation to PM Benjamin ...." 20 Dec. 2017, Accessed 4 Jan. 2018.
  4. "David Bitan | The Times of Israel." Accessed 4 Jan. 2018.
  5. "Aryeh Deri | The Times of Israel." Accessed 4 Jan. 2018.
  6. "Interior Minister Deri, wife questioned again in graft probe | The Times ...." Accessed 4 Jan. 2018.