a different side of Israel

Tag: Eli Yishai

One Way to Solve the Housing Crisis

In a story broken by NYGrime’s Jerusalem Bureau Chief, Ethan Bronner, the US State Department said it would withdraw $100m of funds to the Gaza Strip, if Hamas insists on the audit of American-financed charitable operations in the region.

Such funds go to health care, agriculture and water infrastructure. Hamas officials suspended International Medical Corps operating in Gaza upon their refusal to submit to Hamas inspections in their offices.

Now, despite the Fatah/Hamas merger meant to strengthen the Palestinian Authority, after slight guerilla warfare and a war of attrition between the factions called the Wakseh, the United States still forbids any kind of direct contact between American-backed groups and Hamas, which is considered by the State Department as terrorist organization.

Hamas spokesman Taher al-Nounou told the NYGrimes:

“These organizations do not recognize and do not want to recognize the Palestinian law. We do not kneel down to any threat. Any organization that wants to operate in the Palestinian territories must respect the laws.”

Hamas has been tightening the noose on NGOs in Gaza, demanding that they register with the central government, pay a fee and submit financial reports.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is seeking, despite adversity coming from Israel, the US and other heavyweights, a state without Jewish settlements.
To prove how far away the issue is from any feasible solution, on Thursday Israel’s Interior Ministry gave approval to build a 1,600-apartment complex in East Jerusalem in Ramat Shlomo and will soon be approving an additional 2,700 housing units there. Last week, Israel planned 936 new homes in Har Homa also in East Jerusalem, Jerusalem being the proposed capitol of a Palestinian State. Housing in East Jerusalem makes up more than 35% of projects in the city.
Interior Minister and Shas leader Eli Yishai suggested that expanding Ramat Shlomo was meant to alleviate a housing shortage which partly ignited a wave of protests throughout the country demanding social and economic reforms.

42 lawmakers, more than a third of Israel’s parliament, urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to solve the housing crisis by building tens of thousands of new units. This includes Judea and Samaria.

Peace Now, the Israeli NGO who advocates the dismantling of the settlements said there is no connection between expanding Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem
Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator said the building was “further proof that this government is committed to investing in occupation rather than peace…Recognizing the State of Palestine on the 1967 border and supporting our admission to the UN is the appropriate response to Israel’s rejectionist and expansionist agenda…”

Four Kinds of Jews

There are four kinds of Jews.

  • There is the non-believer, who has a nasty nihilistic outlook.
  • There is the non-believer who still seeks positivity in the world.
  • There is the believer who employs a rational, utilitarian and liberal mindset.
  • And there is the believer who lives in an anachronistic, ridiculous, fundamentalist haze of long-debunked dogma.
  • The Iraqi born, Sephardic Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel and spiritual leader of the Shas party, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef ascribes the recent disaster on the Carmel which claimed one-third of the National Park’s ecological splendor, and 43 lives, to desecration of Shabbat.

    “Fires only happen in a place where Shabbos is desecrated”

    He said, quoting from the Talmud.

    “Homes were ruined…entire neighborhoods wiped out, and it is not arbitrary. It is all divine providence…We must repent, keep Shabbos appropriately. When the People of Israel repent, God safeguards them with a wall of fire.”

    Rabbi Dov Lior, Chief Rabbi of Hevron and Kiryat Arba said the fire was Divine punishment for giving away parts of the land of Israel to terrorists.

    Only God knows what God thinks but here is what I can tell you:

    For years, Israeli firefighters have complained of undersized crews, outdated equipment and minimal supplies. Israel only has 1,400 firefighters, far below the worldwide average. Israel does not have a single firefighting plane; and emergency crews actually ran out of flame retardants on the first day of the disaster.

    The state’s Interior Minister, Eli Yishai, is responsible for Israel’s firefighting forces.

    He refuses, though, to assume blame for the disaster which took 83 hours, at least, to extinguish and demanded assistance from several nations, including Palestinians. Yishai, amid the blaze, accused Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and treasury officials of turning down his requests to increase the firefighting budget.
    Meanwhile, negligence, not intentional arson, seems to be the cause of the fire.

    A 14-year-old resident of the Druze village, Usfiya, is suspected of igniting the inferno by throwing away a charcoal from a water pipe. Authorities are declining to confirm that an additional 13-year-old resident of the town has been questioned in recent hours.

    Police Commander Ahuva Tomer Is 42nd Victim of Carmel Fires

    Today Commander Ahuva Tomer, Police Chief of the Haifa station (Israel’s largest police station) passed away from her injuries. She was one of the first to respond to distress calls on the road to Beit Oren in the beginning of the Mt. Carmel Fires. She was buried today at 3:00 PM in the Military Cemetery in Haifa. Ahuva was 52 and was the highest ranking female Police officer in the service. She was destined for great things, a leader for women in the armed forces and was loved and admired by her peers. She exemplified the bravery and dedication of a true police officer until her last minutes.

    During the first hours of the Carmel Fires a TV crew on the scene recognized her and she briefly stopped to let them ask her a question. She was driving with her Operations Commander of her station, who was killed as well, and she just sped off into the flames. That was the last time she was seen unharmed. The bus as well as the police cruiser were burnt to ashes when the fire engulfed the road they were on. Fire fighters managed to get her out of her cruiser and for the past 3 days she managed to battle the burns to 80% of her body, until her condition deteriorated suddenly this morning. She is the 42nd victim of this disaster.

    Eli Yishai still thinks he holds no responsibility for this. He feels the media is “lynching” him unfairly.

    Yishai vs. HaRachmana

    For the purpose of this blog post we will pretend that bending over backwards to undo and defend Israel’s blemished national image, is not a waste of energy – Jews in large numbers have been unpopular since the beginning of time; there’s really nothing we can do to help that. But if there is any influential member of Israel’s government who is ruining her reputation, it is none other than Shas party-leader and Interior Minister, Eli Yishai.

    Eli Yishai deportation protestSadly, he who leads the most powerful, religious political faction in the State of Israel is an unapologetic racist. Yishai, for the last year or so was at the helm of the movement to expel the children of foreign workers. He claims the amount of non-Jewish families, as a result of the foreign workers is detracting from the ‘Jewishness’ of the country. Adon Yishai forgot that a genuine concern for humanity and love for the people of all nations is the responsibility of Israel.

    According to a government decision, last August, all children must be registered in the Israeli school system; they must speak Hebrew; they must been either born in Israel, or entered before their 13th birthday; they had to have lived in Israel for at least five consecutive years and the children’s parents must have entered Israel under a legal permit – or else, deportation.

    Former prime minister, Ehud Olmert’s wife, Aliza, was active in the battle to have the children remain, repeatedly petitioning the government to show them compassion. Also in August, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s wife, Sarah, wrote this letter to Yishai on behalf of 400 children facing deportation:

    “Dear Eli, I turn to you as a mother of two young sons and a psychologist in the public service…From the depth of my heart, I ask of you to exercise your authority… and allow most of the 400 children to stay in Israel…Israel must find a solution for these children. I would like to believe that my pleas on this matter helped the prime minister’s position that 800 out of 1,200 children in question were allowed to stay. I am certain that in this case too, you can find a creative solution for the children of the foreign workers [through] the government’s decision and the power you hold as interior minister, in a way which will not harm Israel’s national interests as a Jewish state and its policy on immigration.”

    Eli Yishai Directly Responsible For National Disaster in Israel – Must Go!


    We will continue to report on Eli Yishai until he will either resign or be dismissed from his office as Minister of Interior. These are some of the quotes from online publications about his responsibility for the biggest fire in Israel. Instead of worrying about deporting immigrant worker children from Israel, Yishai should have worried about the time bomb that was the responsibility of his office.

    If he could bring the government to its knees for the Orthodox students and the obscene budgets given to the Yeshiva students, Yishai should have been worried about the lives and well being of everyone in Israel. He failed and is now trying to roll the responsibility on to the Ministry of Finance.

    He now called for an investigation as a way of weaseling out of his negligence and it will not work. By calling for an “immediate investigation” he believes that the best defense is an offense and that will not do.

    Eli Yishai will go home!

    “Eli Yishai is the Interior Minister. Yesterday, when PM Netanyahu did the right thing and showed up at the emergency command center in Haifa, Yishai was nowhere to be found. Earlier, he tried to spin the story, blaming the finance ministry for the budget cuts.
    I don’t remember Yishai mentioning this issue before. The Ministry of Interior’s main political project last year was a failed effort to have 1,200 foreign workers’ children deported out of Israel, as part of a larger demographic battle against all non-Jews in Israel. He was also very vocal in his insistence on continuing construction in East Jerusalem. Apart from his attempts to sabotage the peace process and his xenophobic initiatives, Yishay didn’t do much.”

    From 972Mag

    “Yet this failure has an address. This person disappeared from the public eye Thursday, and this was no coincidence. He is intimately familiar with the firefighting force’s grim state. His name is Eli Yishai and he is the interior minister, who holds the ministerial responsibility for the failure. Had Yishai shown the same kind of care for Shas’ schools and its yeshiva students, Rabbi Ovadia would have fired him a while ago.

    Some six months ago, Minister Yishai received the state comptroller’s draft report on the nation’s firefighting services. The report will be published within days. If Yishai remains in his post after this report’s publications, the notion of ministerial responsibility would lose its meaning.”

    From Ynet

    Why Is Shimon Romach Protecting Eli Yishai?

    Shimon RomachEli Yishai has been serving for 3 consecutive terms. He is the person who is directly responsible for the fire in the Carmel and he was in a position to do something to prevent this. Today when a channel 10 reporter confronted the inapt minister as to the blatant disregard to the state of the fire prevention capabilities in Israel, he stated that 100 Million Shekel were appropriated to the Fire Department but it will take several months before they get dispersed (accountants and bureaucracy). But then guess who jumped in to protect the minister? Shimon Romach, the Chief of Fire and Rescue in Israel. He was quick to jump in and say that Eli Yishai was doing everything he could to provide for the Firefighters. Apparently he feels that everything that could be done was done by the good minister.

    From 500 Million Shekel that was needed for the firefighters the government appropriated 100 Million shekel. Not saying that the government was doing the right thing here BUT if you are the minister in charge of this critical functionality you don’t let go. You keep at it. You fight for this to happen the same way that Eli Yishai fights for the Yeshiva students and the monies that are appropriated for the Orthodox.

    What Shimon doesn’t understand is that where there is a will there is a way, something that Eli Yishai can teach him a little about after 12 years as a minister in the Israeli government.

    In Israel there are 7,000 citizens for every firefighter, where the standard in Europe is 1,000 citizens per firefighter.
    There are 420 firetrucks out of which a third are usually out of commission. The tallest ladder in Israel reached 42 meters and there is ONE of those in Israel. In other countries the standard tall ladder is 105 Meters. There are 1,200 firefighters in Israel and there are supposed to be 2,500 at the minimum. The office in charge of all this is the Ministry of the Interior and the head of that office is Eli Yishai.

    This is a recap of the Carmel fire so far..

    Carmel Fire Still Rages On – Day 2

    Just an update at the end of day two. This is a channel 10 news update from the scene 6:30 PM. The planes that were working all day from Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria didn’t do much to help apparently. The reports are mixed and while the Fire Chief is reporting progress and that things are looking better look at the screen and see that things are not quite under control. In fact earlier tonight two 35 year old, Daliyat El-Carmel residents were arrested for arson. There have been 6-7 reports of arson today and it seems like this is a new form of terror in Israel.

    The Ex Chief Police for the North was interviewed and did not hold back on the incompetence and direct responsibility of Eli Yishai in all this. But we knew that already. Shabbat Shalom Eli.

    The Geographic Department of Haifa university had a stationary camera on the carmel and the following video broadcast on channel 10 shows the first 24 hours of the fire in fast forward. Notice the skies as the fires begin.
    The video loops.

    Carmel Fire Updates – FIRE !!!!!

    Information, help and donations to the Carmel Fire victimsHERE

    **See updates below.

    Eli Yishai is the Minister of Internal Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister. The National Fire Department services are directly under his responsibility. He is the head of the Shas party and is an important part of the coalition that keeps Netanyahu’s party in government. He is the directly responsible guilty party that should be held responsible. He should be discharged from his position in government. He will not be. Our government is weak and this is the corrupt political structure we have. In a few months another commission will make suggestions and some low level dismissals will take place.

    The only thing Eli Yishai will always worry about is money for the Orthodox party he represents (Shas) and, the all important fact the migrants should not be allowed to settle in Israel and are the cause of disease. This is what he considers the priorities of his office!

    In my opinion Eli Yishai is a disease for Israel. He represents the uneducated, ignorent (Iran like), corrupt cancer that is eating up Israel and turning it into a fundamental, religious, backward country. Considering this is the only Jewish state we have, maybe we should not let this happen. As long as people like Eli Yishai can be allowed to govern and hold positions in the highest levels of government disasters like this will continue to happen.

    Over 40 were killed in the last few hours in a fire that is raging on the carmel mountain and several other points in the North of Israel. There 135 firefighters – 135! that are fighting this mega fire and so far there is no signs of slowing down.

    One of the main disasters of this event is the death of 40 officer trainees that were called into the scene to help the firefighters and were burnt alive in the bus that was taking them to the scene.
    An ongoing investigation is showing that this maybe an arson and that the fire started in 3 different locations at the same time.

    The recent weeks have been dry and there were no rainy days at all, making this one of the driest spells in Israel’s history. The North of Israel has been experiencing one of the worst “winters” in history with a record number of fires occurring in the past few weeks. The warning signs were there all the time and firefighters were warning that resources were low. Tonight when the “mother of all fires” has hit, it finds Israel unprepared.

    Reinforcements are being called in from France, Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria and there is a hope that planes with fire extinguishing equipment will be arriving later tonight.

    View Larger Map


    UPDATE 8:02 PM 2/10/10

    A high ranking police officer Chief Deputy for Haifa Police (Ahuva Tomer) was interviewed earlier tonight, a few hours later she was caught in the flames and is now in critical condition in hospital with 80% burns to her body. Doctors are fighting for her life.

    We are getting reports of several firefighters who are currently missing and some injured are being evacuated to the local Haifa hospitals. The current list of evacuated locations are:

    Beit Oren
    Ein Hod
    Haifa University
    Denia (Haifa)
    Tirat HaCarmel

    UPDATE 11:02 PM 2/10/10
    4 prisoners escaped tonight taking advantage of the evacuation of the local prisons in the area in a police vehicle (feel like the apocalypse yet?). They apparently took advantage of the evacuation of the Damun prison. The Prison Authority is now looking at the case and are checking the details. Damun Prison holds illegal aliens and petty crime offenders.

    Interviews are showing the evacuees from local neighborhoods in the Carmel being moved to local hotels and hostels in the area. The forecast so far is that the fire will not end quickly and that the fire will continue to rage unhampered until the beginning of next week.

    Another “interesting” announcement – Turkey our close “friend” has offered help. We should really check that they are not going to use this excuse as a way of landing equipment in Gaza as a way to “help”…

    Barak has managed to get a commitment from the French government of approx. 40 tons of fire extinguishing materials.

    Why are we asking for help from Azerbaijan?
    Why doesn’t Israel “have the necessary tools to extensguish the fire” (Benjamin Netanyahu)?
    How is a country like Israel, a supposedly advanced country, not have the capability to protect its citizens from a fire this size?
    Is anyone going to be held responsible for this fuck up?
    Will it be the right person (see above)?

    UPDATE 8:02 AM 3/10/10
    Planes from Bulgaria and Greece have landed in Ramat David airfield and with them a Bulgarian plane with 100 firefighters. There are so far 15,000 evacuees in the Carmel area. Kibbutz Beit Oren was 20% burnt down it was also the location of the bus that was burnt earlier. Additional towns that were evacuated include Osafia, Nir Etzion, and Tirat Hacarmel.

    Ecologically this is the worst disaster ever in Israel. The Carmel woods were considered the most beautiful National Reserve in Israel and they are completely gone – 7.7 Square Miles of forest are gone and the fire is still raging.

    The winds in the morning are intense and the fire is continuing to rage. Over night the fire reached highway 4 and it is now closed from Faradis Interchange in the North. So far there are 41 killed. Two Police officers and 2 firefighters are missing.

    Tirat Hacarmel is being evacuated now and over the early hours of the morning Denia (a lucrative neighborhood) was evacuated as well.

    Supreme Court decides: Running someone over and leaving them for dead IS a crime

    Judge Moshe DroriImagine that upon exiting a Jerusalem supermarket parking lot under video surveillance, somebody has the audacity to charge you. The supermarket clerk actually comes up to your car and asks for the money you refused to pay. So you can do one of two things. You can either pay and get on with your life, or you can leave without paying. Apparently—and I just today discovered this — there’s a third option, and it’s pretty original: You can hit the clerk with your car and drive off.

    Judge Edmond LeviKeep in mind that this is all recorded. The man in question, a Yeshiva student and the son of the chief Rabbi of a major Israeli city, was let off by circuit court judge Moshe Drori (on the right) last September with community service and a 10,000 NIS fine without being convicted. This, due to the fact that a conviction would ruin his chances of being appointed a rabbinical court judge.

    Now, far be it from me to impose my own personal value of not running people over with cars on the rabbinical court system, but I guess I’m just a far-be-it-from-me kind of guy, and I really feel like imposing my value in this case. And apparently I’m not alone, because today, Israel Supreme Court justice Edmond Levy (on the left), while theatrically pounding his fist on the table, imposed that value as well, and the Yeshiva student was convicted in an appeal yesterday.

    Noga ZoraishThe rabbinical court system in Israel has often been accused, among other things, of misogyny, being completely out of touch with mainstream Israeli society, and judging converts by ultra strict Hareidi standards (for example, requiring a female potential convert to change her profession from policewoman to something that wouldn’t require her to wear pants). It’s too bad that these strict standards don’t apply to their judges and include forbidding running people over with your car because you don’t want to pay a bill.

    Shas chairman Eli Yishai, in the traditional manner of Hareidi-pulling-for-Hareidi, put it this way in his letter to Drori last year requesting leniency:

    “If a recommendation for non-conviction carries weight, then this is the time and place. Even now,” Yishai wrote of the accused, “he serves as a spiritual leader and an address for all those in need.”

    Except, of course, for Noga Zoraish, the woman he ran over with his car.

    Time to Shift Gears

    Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is preparing to leave office very soon, while on the other side of the border, Gilad Shalit is “celebrating” 1,000 days in captivity this month. It’s time to step up the efforts for Gilad’s release.

    Noam and Aviva Shalit, Gilad’s parents, are moving to Jerusalem today, in order to reside inside a protest tent in front of Olmert’s residence. They will remain there until Olmert leaves office, or until Gilad’s return.

    Gilad and Noam Shalit

    They believe Olmert’s last days in office is a window of opportunity to finally seal the prisoner exchange deal. Gilad was captured on Olmert’s watch, and therefore it is his responsibility to resolve the matter before Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition takes the reigns.

    The parents of kidnapped soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, whose bodies were returned to Israel via a prisoner exchange deal, are joining the Shalit family in Jerusalem, in a joint effort to increase public pressure and awareness.

    Shas chairman, Eli Yishai, uttered a remarkably patronizing statement this morning, which I believe precisely captures the government’s stance on Gilad’s captivity: If the protest tent assuages the feelings of the Schalit family, it is a positive thing.

    Dear Mr. Yishai, the matter on hand isn’t “assuaging” the Shalit family or the public opinion; it’s releasing Gilad!

    Israeli Maccabiah games

    Maccabiah opening ceremoniesThe 17th Maccabiah games (AKA. Jewish Olympics) started this week, an event that happens every 4 years. Over 7,000 athletes from 55 countries will participate in the events. The ceremony was impressive, big, colorful and uniquely Israeli, a real world class events with a reported 30,000 in attendance. Run loosely along Olympic guidelines, the 11-day event includes athletics, swimming, football and tennis as well as lawn bowls, chess, bridge, netball and cricket.

    The opening ceremonies were attended by senior members of government, all sitting behind bulletproof glass, of course. Sharon in his address basically tried to encourage Aliyah (a permanent return to Israel) and took the opportunity to blatantly tell the athletes to basically stick around when the games are all done. There is traditionally a certain percentage of athletes that remains after these events and the big man was trying his best convince them to stay.

    And now for something completely out there, Shas Party (the main religious party) Chairman, Eli Yishai, attacked the 17th Maccabiah management for desecrating Shabbat by requiring personnel to work on Saturday to prepare for the dress rehearsal of the opening ceremony. He said their actions were a “disgrace” that crossed red lines. Yishai said a worker told him he and his friends had to start preparing for Saturday night’s dress rehearsal before the end of Shabbat.

    The worker refused to reveal his identity out of fear they would lose their jobs. Funnily enough it seems that this employee would rather keep his Shabbat desecrating job then quit though – interesting. Maccabiah spokespeople responded by saying, “We would be happy to see Yishai among the Knesset Members and government ministers that will partake in this international event.”, in short telling Yishai to take a flying leap.

    Netanya suicide attackUnfortunately, the next day after the opening ceremonies a suicide bomber drove into the center of Netanyah, approximately 35 minutes from Tel Aviv, blowing up, killing 4 women and wounding 90 people. The blast took place outside a busy downtown shopping mall.
    An hour earlier, the Dutch soccer team attending the Maccabiah games left that same mall for soccer practice. The team is staying at a local Netanyah hotel and after the blast several team members said they wanted to go home. Several forum posts on local news sites suggested the players try London..

    Their team manager said, “Most of our players are in shock, and we do not know how they will deal with it. Most of them want to leave Israel as soon as possible, because they are not used to such a thing. I will try to convince them to stay for the games, but it is their individual decision.”

    Netherland players looking pale

    And in all this, a truly great story, an Israeli Arab teenage girl from the town of Sakhnin became one of the first medalists in this year’s Maccabiah Games with a victory in the women’s 200-meter breastroke in the Wingate Institute pool, causing a wave of pride in her father, family and community.

    Asala wins a gold medal

    Halaj Shahada, proud father of Asala, 17, said there would be celebrations in Sakhnin following her gold medal win. “The Maccabiah belongs not only to all the Jews, but also to all the Israelis, and I am a proud Israeli,” Asala said.

    Israeli Olympics, never a dull moment.

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