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Israels Benjamin Netanyahu caught on microphone slamming …

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was inadvertently picked up by a live microphone on Wednesday calling the European Union “crazy” and admitting to missile strikes in Syria.

Netanyahu was at a regional summit in Hungary at a closed-door session with the premiers of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia when his conversation was transmitted to reporters’ headphones.

Read more: Israeli’s fume over Netanyahu’s retraction of anti-Soros campaign

“It’s crazy. I think it’s actually crazy (that the EU maintains that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must come before closer trade ties),” Netanyahu was quoted as saying by the news agency AP.

“There is no logic here. Europe is undermining its security by undermining Israel. Europe is undermining its progress by undermining the connection with Israeli innovation because of a crazy attempt to create conditions (for peace with the Palestinians),” said Netanyahu.

Netanyahu urged the Central European leaders to encourage the EU to ease conditions for advancing bilateral ties.

“I think Europe has to decide if it wants to live and thrive or if it wants to shrivel and disappear,” he was quoted as saying by Times of Israel.

“I am not very politically correct. I know that’s a shock to some of you. It’s a joke. But the truth is the truth – both about Europe’s security and Europe’s economic future. Both of these concerns mandate a different policy towards Israel,” the Times of Israel quoted.

Read more: Moscow summons Israeli diplomat over Syria airstrike

We can prevent mass migration

“If I can suggest that what comes out of this meeting is your ability, perhaps, to communicate to your colleagues in other parts of Europe: Help, Europe… Don’t undermine the one Western country that defends European values and European interests and prevents another mass migration to Europe,” he reportedly told Hungary’s Viktor Orban, the Czech Republic’s Bohuslav Sobotka, Poland’s Beata Szydlo and Slovakia’s Robert Fico.

Read more: Orban admits Nazi collaboration was a mistake

The old City Wall and the gold-domed Muslim shrine, the Dome of the Rock, are visible in the background from the mountain ridge which lies to the east of the Old City. The Old Jewish Cemetery, situated on the western and southern slopes of the ridge, are in an area once named for its many olive groves. It is the oldest continually used Jewish cemetery in the world.

If it weren’t for the ancient Ottoman city wall and the shrine in the background, viewers might not realize this is the same site. The picture was taken on June 7th, 1967, when the peak was this brigade’s command post at the height of the Six-Day War, or Arab-Israeli War.

Al-Aqsa, with its silver-colored dome and vast hall, is located on Temple Mount. Muslims call the mosque the “Noble Sanctuary,” but it is also the most sacred site in Judaism, a place where two biblical temples were believed to have stood. As well, it is the third holiest site in Sunni Islam, after Mecca and Medina. There have long been tensions over control of the entire Temple Mount area.

The name Al-Aqsa translates to “the farthest mosque.” It is also Jerusalem’s biggest mosque. Israel has strict control over the area after conquering all of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War, and regaining access to its religious sites. Leaders at the time agreed that the Temple Mount would be administered by an Islamic religious trust known as the Waqf.

The historic Gate, named in English for the fact that the road from there heads north to Damascus, is a busy main entrance to Palestinian East Jerusalem, and to a bustling Arab bazaar. Over the past two years, it has frequently been the site of security incidents and Palestinian attacks on Israelis.

The gate itself – what we see today was built by the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in 1537 – looks much the same in this July 1967 picture. Seven Gates allow entrance to the Old City and its separate quarters.

Jerusalem’s vibrant Old City, a UNESCO world Heritage Site since 1981, is home to sites important to many different religions: the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque for Muslims, Temple Mount and the Western Wall for Jews, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians. Busy and colorful, it is a great place for shopping and food, and a top attraction for visitors.

This picture was taken in July 1967, but 50 years later, some things in the Old City haven’t changed at all. Boys like the one in the photo balancing a tray of sesame pastries – called bagels – still roam the streets of the Old City today, hawking the sweet breads sprinkled with sesame seeds for about a euro ($1.12) apiece.

This section of ancient limestone wall in Jerusalem’s Old City is the western support wall of the Temple Mount. It is the most religious site for Jewish people, who come here to pray and perhaps to place a note in a crack in the wall. There is a separate section for men and for women, but it is free and open to everyone all year round – after the obligatory security check.

The Western Wall is also known as the ‘Wailing’ Wall, a term considered derogatory and not used by Jews. The above photo of people flocking to the Wall to pray was taken on September 1, 1967, just weeks after Israel regained control of the site following the Six-Day-War. It had been expelled from the Old City 19 years earlier during Jordan’s occupation.

Author: Dagmar Breitenbach

Netanyahu told the leaders that the EU was alone in its stipulations for working with Israel.

“The European Union is the only association of countries in the world that conditions the relations with Israel – that produces technology in every area – on political conditions. The only ones. Nobody does it,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying by AP, citing Russia, China and India’s willingness to do business with Israel despite politics.

Admits Syrian strikes

Netanyahu also made a rare public admission that Israel has struck Iranian arms convoys in Syria bound for Hezbollah “dozens and dozens of times.” He also made positive comments about the change in US administration from Barack Obama to Donald Trump.

The EU does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over territories it captured in the 1967 Mideast war, including the West Bank and east Jerusalem. It has criticized Israel’s settlement construction and requires the labeling of goods produced in West Bank settlements.

After a few minutes it became clear that journalists could hear the comments and the sound was cut.

aw/rt (AP, dpa)

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July 22, 2017   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Netanyahu under pressure to remove metal detectors – The Jerusalem Post

An Israeli soldier looks over a massive prayer session outside the Lions’ Gate in Jerusalem, July 2017. (photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

The fate of the metal detectors placed at entrances to the Temple Mount remained uncertain at press time late Thursday night, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held emergency security consultations immediately upon his return from Hungary, in an effort to prevent riots from erupting during Friday prayer services.

Netanyahu held back-to-back meetings with defense officials and the security cabinet, to review options for how to calm tensions surrounding the issue of the metal detectors. The prime minister heard differing security opinions from the army, which believes the metal detectors should be removed, and the police, which holds they should remain.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told Channel 2 that once the redline has been crossed of automatic weapons on the Temple Mount [as seen in last Fridays terrorist attack], there is a need to change the security arrangements. He said the metal detectors should remain because the focus should be on preventing future terrorist attacks.

Jerusalem Police head Asst.- Chief Yoram Halevy said his officers could deal with any threats, so there was no need to remove the metal detectors.

The situation was tense on Thursday night, with Muslims throwing stones and glass bottles at officers as they left evening prayers outside the Old Citys Lions Gate, according to police spokeswoman Luba Samri. Police responded with riot dispersal methods and five police officers were lightly injured, she added.

Netanyahu is under pressure to remove the metal detectors, after five days of mass protest prayers on the street by Muslims who refuse to walk through the machines.

The US and Jordan are working behind the scenes to help Israel find a solution to the crisis that began last Friday, when three Israeli-Arab terrorists killed two policemen by Lions Gate. The terrorists were then killed in a shootout in the Temple Mount compound.

Fatah and the Wakf Islamic trust called on Jerusalem mosques to remain closed on Friday so worshipers could go to the Temple Mount.

We object to these metal detectors because they seize the control we have as the Wakf to direct al-Aksa Mosque, said al-Aksa Mosque director Sheikh Omar Kiswani. This is a breach for an internal case: Al-Aksa Mosque is for Muslims only for Muslims and we will never accept these metal detectors.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh called on Palestinians to head to the Temple Mount.

My clear message to the Zionist enemy is that al-Aksa and Jerusalem are a redline, said Haniyeh. I say to the Zionist enemy that the policy of closure and of implementing punishment measures against the Jerusalemites and the holy sites will never pass.

You [Israelis] never learn from history, and do not read geography.

You are blinded by your power. My clear word to you is that you should stop, you are lighting a fire.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah met in Ramallah with a group of European Union diplomats, and warned that the security situation could deteriorate if Israel continued in its attempts to change the status quo, according to WAFA, the Palestinian news agency.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov called for calm.

I welcome the commitment of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to uphold and respect the status quo at the holy sites, and Palestinian President Abbass firm condemnation of violence, specifically the deadly attack on two Israeli policemen on 14 July, he said.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Wednesday that the US was very concerned about tensions surrounding the Temple Mount/ Haram Al-Sharif, a site holy to Jews, Muslims and Christians, and calls upon the State of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to make a good faith effort to reduce tensions, to find a solution that assures public safety and the security of the site and maintains the status quo.

Israel has called on UNESCOs Director-General Irina Bokova to condemn any attempts to use the Temple Mount as a location from which to launch terrorist attacks.

Israels mission to UNESCO in Paris sent her a letter stating: The Old City of Jerusalem, and its Walls, including Har-Habayit (Temple Mount), is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and as the director-general of [that] organization, I urge you to strongly condemn this deadly and shameful attack, [which] occurred within a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Michael Wilner and Reuters contributed to this report.

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Poll: Israelis don’t believe Netanyahu on submarine scandal – The Jerusalem Post

Benjamin Netanyahu. (photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Nearly half of Israelis think that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is corrupt, but he is still the candidate found to be most suited to be prime minister, a poll by Panels Politics for The Jerusalem Posts sister newspaper Maariv found Thursday.

According to the poll, 48% of Israelis think that Netanyahu is corrupt, while 38% say he is not, and the rest do not know. More than half of the people polled (55%) said they do not believe that Netanyahu knew nothing of alleged corruption in connection to the governments purchase of submarines from Germany, while 30% believe him and another 15% dont know. Likud voters had markedly different answers, with 69% believing that Netanyahu did not know about the corruption allegations and 80% saying that he is not corrupt.

Despite the publics doubts, Netanyahu was the most popular answer to the question of who is most suited to be prime minister, with 26% of the vote, followed by none of the above (19%), Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid (14%,) newly-elected Labor leader Avi Gabbay (12%), Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon tied at 8%, and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (3%).

If an election were held this week, the Likud would remain the largest faction, with 24 seats, followed by Yesh Atid with 22 seats, Zionist Union with 19, Bayit Yehudi with 14, the Joint List with 11, Kulanu with 9, United Torah Judaism with 7, and Shas, Yisrael Beytenu and Meretz with 5 each.

If Netanyahu has to resign, over half (53%) of Israelis would prefer to go to an election; only a third (33%) would want a Likud-led government to live out its full term with a different minister at the helm. Right-wing voters were less likely to want a new election (38%), whereas over three-fourths of left-wing voters (77%) would want an election.

Nearly nearly half (47%) of Israelis think that the governments agreement that Germany sell submarines to Egypt harms national security, while 23% disagree with the statement, and the rest (30%) didnt know. Of those who think the submarine deal harms national security, half (49%) said it would influence the way they voted in the next election, 39% said it would not, and the remaining 12% didnt know meaning that 23% of those polled say their vote would be influenced by the matter.

The poll was taken on Wednesday, July 19, through an online panel of 555 Israelis over age 18, and its margin of error is 4.3%.

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Barak compares Benjamin Netanyahu to the ‘Godfather’ – Israel … – The Jerusalem Post

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) attends a meeting of the Likud party in the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Former prime minister Ehud Barak, using strong language in a video he posted on Facebook on Thursday, accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of being corrupt.

Speaking from the United States, Barak listed a series of criminal investigations tied to Netanyahu and his associates, including the expensive gift affair; newspaper collusion scandal; submarine episode; Bezeq probe; ammonia-moving controversy; problematic natural gas deal; and the case involving furniture in the two Netanyahu residences.

Hasnt the time come to put an end to all of this? Barak asked. Have we all gone crazy? He noted that Netanyahus lawyer, David Shimron, handles coalition negotiations and represented the agent of the submarine company ThyssenKrupp . He also said Netanyahu fired Communications Ministry director-general Avi Berger, saying and replaced him with a friend who coordinates with the tycoon. Are we suckers who are willing to live with it? Barak compared the situation to the Sopranos television show and the Godfather movies, but without style.

I have many Likudnik friends who are no less patriotic than I and no less serious, he said. Its not a matter of Right and Left.

Its what we are and who we are. Lets say together we are sick of the corruption. Lets take action.

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Netanyahu Tells European Leaders Concern for Palestinian Rights Is Crazy – The Intercept

The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, was caught on tape on Wednesday urging four European leaders to help him undermine a provision of a European Union trade agreement that imposes an obligation on Israel to respect the rights of the millions of Palestinians it rules in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

In private remarks to the leaders of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia that were accidentally broadcast to members of the Israeli media outside the room, Netanyahu was overheard calling it crazy for the E.U. to insist that Israel honor Article 2 of an association agreement signed in 1995 which makes trade with the bloc conditional on Israels respect for human rights and democratic principles.

Recordings of the Israeli leaders comments, made by correspondents for Haaretz and Israels Channel 2 News, were quickly posted online.

The European Union is the only association of countries in the world that conditions the relations with Israel, Netanyahu said, on political conditions the only one!

We have a special relationship with China, and they dont care, he added. I mean, they dont care about the political issues.

Its absolutely may I say I think its crazy. I think its actually crazy, Netanyahu said.

In recent years, Israel has destroyed hundreds of European-financed structures including schools, playgrounds and solar panels built to help Palestinians in the occupied territories.

Netanyahu and his ultranationalist supporters have harshly criticized European governments for providing financial support to Israeli rights groups, including Breaking the Silence and BTselem, which work to expose abuses by Israels military in the occupied territories.

The prime minister and members of his right-wing coalition government have also complained bitterly about an E.U. directive issued in 2015 to clarify that the label Made in Israel cannot be used for products from Israeli settlements built in the occupied territories, which are illegal according to both the Fourth Geneva Convention and the United Nations Charter.

After Netanyahus complaints were made public, the European Unions delegation to Israel responded with a statement that it still expects his government to show respect for international humanitarian law and make progress towards a two-state solution.

Netanyahus appeal for help to the four premiers of former Soviet bloc nations Viktor Orban of Hungary, Beata Szydlo of Poland, Bohuslav Sobotka of the Czech Republic, and Robert Fico of Slovakia was also notable for his claim that Israel was a bulwark of European values in the Middle East.

Dont undermine that one European, Western country that defends European values and European interests and prevents another mass migration to Europe, Netanyahu told the leaders, who have resisted the resettlement of refugees in their countries on the grounds that Muslim migrants could dilute their national character.

In his pitch, the Israeli prime minister seemed to barely sublimate an appeal to the anti-Muslim sentiment of European racists who constantly hype fears about their Judeo-Christian civilization being overrun by Muslim invaders.

I think Europe has to decide if it wants to live and thrive or if it wants to shrivel and disappear, Netanyahu said. I am not very politically correct I know thats a shock to some of you. Its a joke: but the truth is the truth.

We are part of the European culture, Netanyahu added. Europe ends in Israel. East of Israel, there is no more Europe.

Netanyahus private description of Israel as part of Europe, and the recent increase in pressure on Israel from the E.U. calls to mind the analysis of the historian Tony Judt, in an interview published in The London Review of Books shortly after his death in 2010.

Asked by Kristina Boi?, Is there anything Europe can do to exert pressure on Israel? Judts reply is worth quoting at length:

Israel wants two things more than anything else in the world. The first is American aid. This it has. As long as it continues to get American aid without conditions it can do stupid things for a very long time, damaging Palestinians and damaging Israel without running any risk.

However, the second thing Israel wants is an economic relationship with Europe as a way to escape from the Middle East. The joke is that Jews spent a hundred years desperately trying to have a state in the Middle East. Now they spend all their time trying to get out of the Middle East. They dont want to be there economically, culturally or politically they dont feel part of it and dont want to be part of it. They want to be part of Europe and therefore it is here that the EU has enormous leverage. If the EU said: So long as you break international laws, you cant have the privileges of partial economic membership, you cant have internal trading rights, you cant be part of the EU market, this would be a huge issue in Israel, second only to losing American military aid. We dont even have to talk about Gaza, just the Occupied Territories.

Why do Europeans not do it? Here, the problem of blackmail is significant. And it is not even active blackmail but self-blackmail. When I talk about these things in Holland or in Germany, people say to me: We couldnt do that. Dont forget, we are in Europe. Think of what we did to the Jews. We cant use economic leverage against Israel. We cant be a critic of Israel, we cant use our strength as a huge economic actor to pressure the Jewish state. Why? Because of Auschwitz. I understand this argument very well. Many of my family were killed in Auschwitz. However, this is ridiculous. Europe cant live indefinitely on the credit of someone elses crimes to justify a state that creates and commits its own crimes.

If Zionism is to succeed as a representation of the original ideas of the Zionist founders, Israel has to become a normal state. That was the idea. Israel should not be special because it is Jewish. Jews are to have a state just like everyone else has a state. It should have no more rights than Slovenia and no fewer. Therefore, it also has to behave like a state. It has to declare its frontiers, recognise international law, sign international treaties and agreements. Furthermore, other countries have to behave towards it the way they would towards any other state that broke those laws. Otherwise it is treated as special and Zionism as a project has failed.

People will say: Why are we picking on Israel? What about Libya? Yemen? Burma? China? All of which are much worse. Fine. But we are missing two things: first, Israel describes itself as a democracy and so it should be compared with democracies not with dictatorships; second, if Burma came to the EU and said, It would be a huge advantage for us if we could have privileged trading rights with you, Europe would say: First you have to release political prisoners, hold elections, open up your borders. We have to say the same things to Israel. Otherwise we are acknowledging that a Jewish state is an unusual thing a weird, different thing that is not to be treated like every other state. It is the European bad conscience that is part of the problem.

Top photo: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informs the press about his meeting with V4 Visegrads countries prime ministers, a press conference in Budapest, Hungary, on July 19, 2017.

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Netanyahu: German submarine deal will go through – The Jerusalem Post

Dolphin submarine . (photo credit:IDF SPOKESMANS UNIT)

The sale of three German submarines to Israel will take place after the investigation into alleged graft surrounding the deal is completed, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday. The prime minister spoke a day after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on the sale was postponed due to the investigation, which concerns some of Netanyahus closest confidants and the German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupps representative in Israel.

Netanyahu said that the Germans were waiting for the results of the investigation, and that the deal will then be signed. Let the investigation be conducted, he said.

Regarding allegations that Israel gave a green light for the sale of German submarines to Egypt, something that some believe damages Israels security interests, the prime minister said that this was a German decision. We did not decide to approve or not approve, he said. We expressed our opinion, and everything else that is being publicly said about this is irresponsible.

Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid, who was a member of the security cabinet in Netanyahus last government, said last week that the prime minister gave Germany the okay to sell Egypt the submarines.

I am responsible for Israels security, Netanyahu said.

The desire to harm me has no boundaries, and is now damaging Israels security this is irresponsible.

He stressed that he did not know about the involvement of his personal lawyer and close confidant David Shimron in the submarine deal.

Regarding the house arrest and investigation of former navy commander Eliezer Marom, Netanyahu said that the decisions on the submarines within the security establishment were all transparent.

I am not judging people, and they have the presumption of innocence, he said.

I dont know if anything will come of this.

Netanyahu also came to the defense of Shlomo Filber, another close confidant and a former director-general of the Communications Ministry, who is under house arrest as part of a securities investigation into Bezeq and other companies controlled by businessman Shaul Elovitch. Netanyahu said he knows Filber as someone who is straight and principled.

Meanwhile, Channel 10 reported on Wednesday that Miki Ganor, ThyssenKrupps representative in Israel who reportedly is on his way to turning states witness against Marom, Shimron and other top defense officials in the submarine affair, may also be a source for evidence in an expected probe concerning Environmental Ministry director-general Yisrael Danziger.

On Tuesday, State Comptroller Joseph Shapira requested that Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit open a criminal investigation regarding Danzigers actions relating to the debate over closing Haifa Chemicals Corporations ammonia storage facility in Haifa Port.

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On hot mic, Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu raps ‘crazy’ EU, admits Syria strikes – Washington Times

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was caught Wednesday by a live microphone railing against the European Unions crazy insistence on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a precondition for closer ties with the 28-nation bloc, and trumpeting Israel as essential to its prosperity and survival.

Netanyahu was meeting with leaders of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia at a regional summit. Netanyahu was discussing Iran, Syria, the Islamic State group, and EU-Israel relations when some of his comments and those of other leaders at the meeting closed to the media were accidentally broadcast to journalists in another room covering the conference.

Netanyahu also made a rare public admission that Israel has struck Iranian arms convoys in Syria bound for Hezbollah dozens and dozens of times.

The Israeli premier was overheard blasting the European Unions approach to Israel, saying its crazy. I think its actually crazy that the EU maintains that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must come before closer trade ties.

There is no logic here. Europe is undermining its security by undermining Israel. Europe is undermining its progress by undermining the connection with Israeli innovation because of a crazy attempt to create conditions (for peace with the Palestinians), said Netanyahu.

European ties with Israel would determine whether the 28-member union would live and thrive or shrivel and disappear, he added.

EU-Israel relations have been tense for years, with Jerusalem feeling that Brussels is targeting its policies far too much while being too soft on the Palestinians. While the EU is the main trading partner for Israel, frictions have persisted. Relations took a dive in November 2015 after Israel derided a decision by the bloc to label products made in Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

The EU doesnt recognize Israeli sovereignty over territories it captured in the 1967 Mideast war, including the West Bank and east Jerusalem, where the Palestinians hope to establish a state. It has been a vocal critic of Israels settlement construction and has adopted measures mandating the labeling of goods produced in West Bank settlements.

The European Union is the only association of countries in the world that conditions the relations with Israel that produces technology in every area on political conditions. The only ones. Nobody does it, Netanyahu said, citing Russia, China and Indias willingness to do business with Israel despite politics.

Netanyahu has pushed for closer trade ties with India and China in recent years. Earlier this month, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a state visit to Israel, during which the two countries signed a number of trade agreements cementing increasingly warm relations.

During statements to the media after their meeting, Orban shared Netanyahus view on the EUs relations with Israel, calling for a more rational approach with significantly better ties and less criticism of Israel.

The EU should value the efforts made by the state of Israel for stability in the region, Orban said. This is of interest not only for Israel but for Europe, too, as it protects us from more and more migrant invasions.

The EUs relations with Israel are not rational enough and need to be repaired, Orban added. Wed like relations between the EU and Israel to be characterized by rationality. Instead of criticizing Israel, we should open the door to cooperation with Israel.

If Europe fails to cooperate with Israel, it is punishing itself, Orban concluded. This makes no sense.

Orbans comments on Israel were in line with his similar views on countries like Turkey, Russia and China, where he also has chosen to emphasize improving ties and economic relations without delving, for example, into human rights issues.

Orban said the four Central European countries in the so-called Visegrad Group had accepted Netanyahus invitation to hold an upcoming meeting in Israel. Hungary holds the rotating presidency of the Visegrad Group until June 2018.

___

Ilan Ben Zion reported from Jerusalem.

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On hot mic, Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu raps ‘crazy’ EU, admits Syria strikes – Washington Times

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Netanyahu: No decision made yet on Temple Mount metal detectors – The Jerusalem Post

An Israeli police officer checks the identity of a Palestinian man next to newly installed metal detectors at an entrance to the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City July 16, 2017.. (photo credit:AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)

Israel is in contact with the Arab world and explaining that the installation of metal detectors on the Temple Mount is not a change of the status quo, but meant only to prevent the use of weapons at the site, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday.

Netanyahu, in a briefing with reporters in Budapest where he met with the heads of Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, said that there is currently no change in Israel’s position regarding the need for the metal detectors. He held phone consultations on the matter with senior security officials on Wednesday, but no decision was taken on whether to remove the devices.

Netanyahu said there will be other security consultations that he cannot discuss.

We want to solve the crisis in the quietest way possible, and return the quiet, he said. We are speaking with the Arab world, and explaining that there is no change in the status quo [on the Temple Mount]. This is a measure to prevent the use of weapons on the Temple Mount, something that happened for the first time.

Netanyahu, who earlier this week was in Paris, pointed out that there are metal detectors at the Eiffel Tower because of the security situation there, and that more people visit that site than the Temple Mount.

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Netanyahu: German sub deal likely to go ahead after probe – The Times of Israel

BUDAPEST, Hungary Israels deal with Germany regarding the sale of additional submarines will likely proceed, even though it is currently frozen, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday providing the first confirmation from Israel that the hugely important deal was on hold.

As soon as things clear up, I assume that the deal will go forward, he told reporters during a briefing in his Budapest hotel. I have no idea [how the current investigation into the matter will end] but believe it will go ahead.

Germany has reportedly told Israel that it is delaying the signing of a deal for Israel to purchase three new submarines amid the rapidly expanding corruption scandal surrounding several multi-billion-dollar naval deals between the two countries.

Berlin and Jerusalem were said to sign a memorandum of understanding next week, but this has been postponed indefinitely.

Theres now an asterisk in the deal, Netanyahu said, adding that the German side is waiting to see how the ongoing corruption investigation will play out. Theres a probe, let the probe be concluded, he said.

Netanyahu angrily dismissed all attempts to implicate him in the affair, saying much of the press is out to topple him. All these efforts to bring me down have crossed all boundaries and are beginning to hurt Israels national security, he said.

Netanyahu is not a suspect in the case but his personal lawyer, David Shimron, who was under house arrest for several days until his release on Saturday, had been questioned several times by the police investigation unit Lahav 433.

I had no idea about Shimrons involvement, Netanyahu said Wednesday. When this whole story is over I will say what I think about it. The allegations against Shimron his second cousin will turn out to be baseless nonsense, he said.

Another suspect in the case, the former commander of the Israeli Navy Maj. Gen. (res) Eliezer Marom, was released from house arrest on Saturday evening.

I dont know what is corruption and what is not corruption in the submarines affair, Netanyahu said. The decisions the security establishment took were transparent and matter-of-fact. I dont judge people; people have the presumption of innocence. I dont know what will come of it or not come of it.

Concerns that Germany might cancel the deal prompted Defense Ministry head Udi Adam to meet his counterpart recently in Germany, Yedioth reported on Tuesday.

The move follows Mondays revelation that a key suspect in the case Miki Ganor, a former agent for German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp is in talks to turn states witness.

Investigators suspect that Ganor, along with former National Security Council deputy head Avriel Bar-Yosef, paid out bribes in connection with a decision to buy three submarines from ThyssenKrupp, despite opposition from the Israeli Defense Ministry.

They also reportedly influenced decisions to buy naval corvettes to protect the gas fields and awarded ThyssenKrupp a contract to service other naval vessels.

Ganor is suspected of fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit a crime. He was arrested a week ago and remains behind bars, along with Bar-Yosef. Both mens detention was extended Monday for a further four days.

Germany, which is supposed to finance a third of the deal, has the right to change its mind thanks to a clause in the agreement permitting it to do so unilaterally if suspicions of corruption and fraud prove to be true.

It appears that the reports about Ganor turning states witness gave the country sufficient jitters to activate that clause. Germanys decision to freeze the deal has not been confirmed by government sources.

The three new submarines are intended as replacements for older models which will be retired in around 10 years.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit ordered the police to formally look into the submarine affair dubbed Case 3000 in November 2016, after accusations surfaced that Netanyahu may have been swayed to purchase the vessels by business ties that Shimron had with ThyssenKrupp. Late last year, Channel 10 News revealed that Shimron had also served as an adviser to Ganor.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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July 19, 2017   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Israels Benjamin Netanyahu caught on microphone slamming …

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was inadvertently picked up by a live microphone on Wednesday calling the European Union “crazy” and admitting to missile strikes in Syria. Netanyahu was at a regional summit in Hungary at a closed-door session with the premiers of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia when his conversation was transmitted to reporters’ headphones. Read more: Israeli’s fume over Netanyahu’s retraction of anti-Soros campaign “It’s crazy. I think it’s actually crazy (that the EU maintains that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must come before closer trade ties),” Netanyahu was quoted as saying by the news agency AP. “There is no logic here. Europe is undermining its security by undermining Israel. Europe is undermining its progress by undermining the connection with Israeli innovation because of a crazy attempt to create conditions (for peace with the Palestinians),” said Netanyahu. Netanyahu urged the Central European leaders to encourage the EU to ease conditions for advancing bilateral ties. “I think Europe has to decide if it wants to live and thrive or if it wants to shrivel and disappear,” he was quoted as saying by Times of Israel. “I am not very politically correct. I know that’s a shock to some of you. It’s a joke. But the truth is the truth – both about Europe’s security and Europe’s economic future. Both of these concerns mandate a different policy towards Israel,” the Times of Israel quoted. Read more: Moscow summons Israeli diplomat over Syria airstrike We can prevent mass migration “If I can suggest that what comes out of this meeting is your ability, perhaps, to communicate to your colleagues in other parts of Europe: Help, Europe… Don’t undermine the one Western country that defends European values and European interests and prevents another mass migration to Europe,” he reportedly told Hungary’s Viktor Orban, the Czech Republic’s Bohuslav Sobotka, Poland’s Beata Szydlo and Slovakia’s Robert Fico. Read more: Orban admits Nazi collaboration was a mistake The old City Wall and the gold-domed Muslim shrine, the Dome of the Rock, are visible in the background from the mountain ridge which lies to the east of the Old City. The Old Jewish Cemetery, situated on the western and southern slopes of the ridge, are in an area once named for its many olive groves. It is the oldest continually used Jewish cemetery in the world. If it weren’t for the ancient Ottoman city wall and the shrine in the background, viewers might not realize this is the same site. The picture was taken on June 7th, 1967, when the peak was this brigade’s command post at the height of the Six-Day War, or Arab-Israeli War. Al-Aqsa, with its silver-colored dome and vast hall, is located on Temple Mount. Muslims call the mosque the “Noble Sanctuary,” but it is also the most sacred site in Judaism, a place where two biblical temples were believed to have stood. As well, it is the third holiest site in Sunni Islam, after Mecca and Medina. There have long been tensions over control of the entire Temple Mount area. The name Al-Aqsa translates to “the farthest mosque.” It is also Jerusalem’s biggest mosque. Israel has strict control over the area after conquering all of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War, and regaining access to its religious sites. Leaders at the time agreed that the Temple Mount would be administered by an Islamic religious trust known as the Waqf. The historic Gate, named in English for the fact that the road from there heads north to Damascus, is a busy main entrance to Palestinian East Jerusalem, and to a bustling Arab bazaar. Over the past two years, it has frequently been the site of security incidents and Palestinian attacks on Israelis. The gate itself – what we see today was built by the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in 1537 – looks much the same in this July 1967 picture. Seven Gates allow entrance to the Old City and its separate quarters. Jerusalem’s vibrant Old City, a UNESCO world Heritage Site since 1981, is home to sites important to many different religions: the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque for Muslims, Temple Mount and the Western Wall for Jews, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians. Busy and colorful, it is a great place for shopping and food, and a top attraction for visitors. This picture was taken in July 1967, but 50 years later, some things in the Old City haven’t changed at all. Boys like the one in the photo balancing a tray of sesame pastries – called bagels – still roam the streets of the Old City today, hawking the sweet breads sprinkled with sesame seeds for about a euro ($1.12) apiece. This section of ancient limestone wall in Jerusalem’s Old City is the western support wall of the Temple Mount. It is the most religious site for Jewish people, who come here to pray and perhaps to place a note in a crack in the wall. There is a separate section for men and for women, but it is free and open to everyone all year round – after the obligatory security check. The Western Wall is also known as the ‘Wailing’ Wall, a term considered derogatory and not used by Jews. The above photo of people flocking to the Wall to pray was taken on September 1, 1967, just weeks after Israel regained control of the site following the Six-Day-War. It had been expelled from the Old City 19 years earlier during Jordan’s occupation. Author: Dagmar Breitenbach Netanyahu told the leaders that the EU was alone in its stipulations for working with Israel. “The European Union is the only association of countries in the world that conditions the relations with Israel – that produces technology in every area – on political conditions. The only ones. Nobody does it,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying by AP, citing Russia, China and India’s willingness to do business with Israel despite politics. Admits Syrian strikes Netanyahu also made a rare public admission that Israel has struck Iranian arms convoys in Syria bound for Hezbollah “dozens and dozens of times.” He also made positive comments about the change in US administration from Barack Obama to Donald Trump. The EU does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over territories it captured in the 1967 Mideast war, including the West Bank and east Jerusalem. It has criticized Israel’s settlement construction and requires the labeling of goods produced in West Bank settlements. After a few minutes it became clear that journalists could hear the comments and the sound was cut. aw/rt (AP, dpa)

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July 22, 2017   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Netanyahu under pressure to remove metal detectors – The Jerusalem Post

An Israeli soldier looks over a massive prayer session outside the Lions’ Gate in Jerusalem, July 2017. (photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST) The fate of the metal detectors placed at entrances to the Temple Mount remained uncertain at press time late Thursday night, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held emergency security consultations immediately upon his return from Hungary, in an effort to prevent riots from erupting during Friday prayer services. Netanyahu held back-to-back meetings with defense officials and the security cabinet, to review options for how to calm tensions surrounding the issue of the metal detectors. The prime minister heard differing security opinions from the army, which believes the metal detectors should be removed, and the police, which holds they should remain. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told Channel 2 that once the redline has been crossed of automatic weapons on the Temple Mount [as seen in last Fridays terrorist attack], there is a need to change the security arrangements. He said the metal detectors should remain because the focus should be on preventing future terrorist attacks. Jerusalem Police head Asst.- Chief Yoram Halevy said his officers could deal with any threats, so there was no need to remove the metal detectors. The situation was tense on Thursday night, with Muslims throwing stones and glass bottles at officers as they left evening prayers outside the Old Citys Lions Gate, according to police spokeswoman Luba Samri. Police responded with riot dispersal methods and five police officers were lightly injured, she added. Netanyahu is under pressure to remove the metal detectors, after five days of mass protest prayers on the street by Muslims who refuse to walk through the machines. The US and Jordan are working behind the scenes to help Israel find a solution to the crisis that began last Friday, when three Israeli-Arab terrorists killed two policemen by Lions Gate. The terrorists were then killed in a shootout in the Temple Mount compound. Fatah and the Wakf Islamic trust called on Jerusalem mosques to remain closed on Friday so worshipers could go to the Temple Mount. We object to these metal detectors because they seize the control we have as the Wakf to direct al-Aksa Mosque, said al-Aksa Mosque director Sheikh Omar Kiswani. This is a breach for an internal case: Al-Aksa Mosque is for Muslims only for Muslims and we will never accept these metal detectors. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh called on Palestinians to head to the Temple Mount. My clear message to the Zionist enemy is that al-Aksa and Jerusalem are a redline, said Haniyeh. I say to the Zionist enemy that the policy of closure and of implementing punishment measures against the Jerusalemites and the holy sites will never pass. You [Israelis] never learn from history, and do not read geography. You are blinded by your power. My clear word to you is that you should stop, you are lighting a fire. Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah met in Ramallah with a group of European Union diplomats, and warned that the security situation could deteriorate if Israel continued in its attempts to change the status quo, according to WAFA, the Palestinian news agency. UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov called for calm. I welcome the commitment of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to uphold and respect the status quo at the holy sites, and Palestinian President Abbass firm condemnation of violence, specifically the deadly attack on two Israeli policemen on 14 July, he said. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Wednesday that the US was very concerned about tensions surrounding the Temple Mount/ Haram Al-Sharif, a site holy to Jews, Muslims and Christians, and calls upon the State of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to make a good faith effort to reduce tensions, to find a solution that assures public safety and the security of the site and maintains the status quo. Israel has called on UNESCOs Director-General Irina Bokova to condemn any attempts to use the Temple Mount as a location from which to launch terrorist attacks. Israels mission to UNESCO in Paris sent her a letter stating: The Old City of Jerusalem, and its Walls, including Har-Habayit (Temple Mount), is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and as the director-general of [that] organization, I urge you to strongly condemn this deadly and shameful attack, [which] occurred within a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Michael Wilner and Reuters contributed to this report. Share on facebook

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July 20, 2017   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Poll: Israelis don’t believe Netanyahu on submarine scandal – The Jerusalem Post

Benjamin Netanyahu. (photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM) Nearly half of Israelis think that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is corrupt, but he is still the candidate found to be most suited to be prime minister, a poll by Panels Politics for The Jerusalem Posts sister newspaper Maariv found Thursday. According to the poll, 48% of Israelis think that Netanyahu is corrupt, while 38% say he is not, and the rest do not know. More than half of the people polled (55%) said they do not believe that Netanyahu knew nothing of alleged corruption in connection to the governments purchase of submarines from Germany, while 30% believe him and another 15% dont know. Likud voters had markedly different answers, with 69% believing that Netanyahu did not know about the corruption allegations and 80% saying that he is not corrupt. Despite the publics doubts, Netanyahu was the most popular answer to the question of who is most suited to be prime minister, with 26% of the vote, followed by none of the above (19%), Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid (14%,) newly-elected Labor leader Avi Gabbay (12%), Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon tied at 8%, and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (3%). If an election were held this week, the Likud would remain the largest faction, with 24 seats, followed by Yesh Atid with 22 seats, Zionist Union with 19, Bayit Yehudi with 14, the Joint List with 11, Kulanu with 9, United Torah Judaism with 7, and Shas, Yisrael Beytenu and Meretz with 5 each. If Netanyahu has to resign, over half (53%) of Israelis would prefer to go to an election; only a third (33%) would want a Likud-led government to live out its full term with a different minister at the helm. Right-wing voters were less likely to want a new election (38%), whereas over three-fourths of left-wing voters (77%) would want an election. Nearly nearly half (47%) of Israelis think that the governments agreement that Germany sell submarines to Egypt harms national security, while 23% disagree with the statement, and the rest (30%) didnt know. Of those who think the submarine deal harms national security, half (49%) said it would influence the way they voted in the next election, 39% said it would not, and the remaining 12% didnt know meaning that 23% of those polled say their vote would be influenced by the matter. The poll was taken on Wednesday, July 19, through an online panel of 555 Israelis over age 18, and its margin of error is 4.3%. Share on facebook

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July 20, 2017   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Barak compares Benjamin Netanyahu to the ‘Godfather’ – Israel … – The Jerusalem Post

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) attends a meeting of the Likud party in the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem. (photo credit:REUTERS) Former prime minister Ehud Barak, using strong language in a video he posted on Facebook on Thursday, accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of being corrupt. Speaking from the United States, Barak listed a series of criminal investigations tied to Netanyahu and his associates, including the expensive gift affair; newspaper collusion scandal; submarine episode; Bezeq probe; ammonia-moving controversy; problematic natural gas deal; and the case involving furniture in the two Netanyahu residences. Hasnt the time come to put an end to all of this? Barak asked. Have we all gone crazy? He noted that Netanyahus lawyer, David Shimron, handles coalition negotiations and represented the agent of the submarine company ThyssenKrupp . He also said Netanyahu fired Communications Ministry director-general Avi Berger, saying and replaced him with a friend who coordinates with the tycoon. Are we suckers who are willing to live with it? Barak compared the situation to the Sopranos television show and the Godfather movies, but without style. I have many Likudnik friends who are no less patriotic than I and no less serious, he said. Its not a matter of Right and Left. Its what we are and who we are. Lets say together we are sick of the corruption. Lets take action. Share on facebook

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July 20, 2017   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Netanyahu Tells European Leaders Concern for Palestinian Rights Is Crazy – The Intercept

The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, was caught on tape on Wednesday urging four European leaders to help him undermine a provision of a European Union trade agreement that imposes an obligation on Israel to respect the rights of the millions of Palestinians it rules in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. In private remarks to the leaders of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia that were accidentally broadcast to members of the Israeli media outside the room, Netanyahu was overheard calling it crazy for the E.U. to insist that Israel honor Article 2 of an association agreement signed in 1995 which makes trade with the bloc conditional on Israels respect for human rights and democratic principles. Recordings of the Israeli leaders comments, made by correspondents for Haaretz and Israels Channel 2 News, were quickly posted online. The European Union is the only association of countries in the world that conditions the relations with Israel, Netanyahu said, on political conditions the only one! We have a special relationship with China, and they dont care, he added. I mean, they dont care about the political issues. Its absolutely may I say I think its crazy. I think its actually crazy, Netanyahu said. In recent years, Israel has destroyed hundreds of European-financed structures including schools, playgrounds and solar panels built to help Palestinians in the occupied territories. Netanyahu and his ultranationalist supporters have harshly criticized European governments for providing financial support to Israeli rights groups, including Breaking the Silence and BTselem, which work to expose abuses by Israels military in the occupied territories. The prime minister and members of his right-wing coalition government have also complained bitterly about an E.U. directive issued in 2015 to clarify that the label Made in Israel cannot be used for products from Israeli settlements built in the occupied territories, which are illegal according to both the Fourth Geneva Convention and the United Nations Charter. After Netanyahus complaints were made public, the European Unions delegation to Israel responded with a statement that it still expects his government to show respect for international humanitarian law and make progress towards a two-state solution. Netanyahus appeal for help to the four premiers of former Soviet bloc nations Viktor Orban of Hungary, Beata Szydlo of Poland, Bohuslav Sobotka of the Czech Republic, and Robert Fico of Slovakia was also notable for his claim that Israel was a bulwark of European values in the Middle East. Dont undermine that one European, Western country that defends European values and European interests and prevents another mass migration to Europe, Netanyahu told the leaders, who have resisted the resettlement of refugees in their countries on the grounds that Muslim migrants could dilute their national character. In his pitch, the Israeli prime minister seemed to barely sublimate an appeal to the anti-Muslim sentiment of European racists who constantly hype fears about their Judeo-Christian civilization being overrun by Muslim invaders. I think Europe has to decide if it wants to live and thrive or if it wants to shrivel and disappear, Netanyahu said. I am not very politically correct I know thats a shock to some of you. Its a joke: but the truth is the truth. We are part of the European culture, Netanyahu added. Europe ends in Israel. East of Israel, there is no more Europe. Netanyahus private description of Israel as part of Europe, and the recent increase in pressure on Israel from the E.U. calls to mind the analysis of the historian Tony Judt, in an interview published in The London Review of Books shortly after his death in 2010. Asked by Kristina Boi?, Is there anything Europe can do to exert pressure on Israel? Judts reply is worth quoting at length: Israel wants two things more than anything else in the world. The first is American aid. This it has. As long as it continues to get American aid without conditions it can do stupid things for a very long time, damaging Palestinians and damaging Israel without running any risk. However, the second thing Israel wants is an economic relationship with Europe as a way to escape from the Middle East. The joke is that Jews spent a hundred years desperately trying to have a state in the Middle East. Now they spend all their time trying to get out of the Middle East. They dont want to be there economically, culturally or politically they dont feel part of it and dont want to be part of it. They want to be part of Europe and therefore it is here that the EU has enormous leverage. If the EU said: So long as you break international laws, you cant have the privileges of partial economic membership, you cant have internal trading rights, you cant be part of the EU market, this would be a huge issue in Israel, second only to losing American military aid. We dont even have to talk about Gaza, just the Occupied Territories. Why do Europeans not do it? Here, the problem of blackmail is significant. And it is not even active blackmail but self-blackmail. When I talk about these things in Holland or in Germany, people say to me: We couldnt do that. Dont forget, we are in Europe. Think of what we did to the Jews. We cant use economic leverage against Israel. We cant be a critic of Israel, we cant use our strength as a huge economic actor to pressure the Jewish state. Why? Because of Auschwitz. I understand this argument very well. Many of my family were killed in Auschwitz. However, this is ridiculous. Europe cant live indefinitely on the credit of someone elses crimes to justify a state that creates and commits its own crimes. If Zionism is to succeed as a representation of the original ideas of the Zionist founders, Israel has to become a normal state. That was the idea. Israel should not be special because it is Jewish. Jews are to have a state just like everyone else has a state. It should have no more rights than Slovenia and no fewer. Therefore, it also has to behave like a state. It has to declare its frontiers, recognise international law, sign international treaties and agreements. Furthermore, other countries have to behave towards it the way they would towards any other state that broke those laws. Otherwise it is treated as special and Zionism as a project has failed. People will say: Why are we picking on Israel? What about Libya? Yemen? Burma? China? All of which are much worse. Fine. But we are missing two things: first, Israel describes itself as a democracy and so it should be compared with democracies not with dictatorships; second, if Burma came to the EU and said, It would be a huge advantage for us if we could have privileged trading rights with you, Europe would say: First you have to release political prisoners, hold elections, open up your borders. We have to say the same things to Israel. Otherwise we are acknowledging that a Jewish state is an unusual thing a weird, different thing that is not to be treated like every other state. It is the European bad conscience that is part of the problem. Top photo: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informs the press about his meeting with V4 Visegrads countries prime ministers, a press conference in Budapest, Hungary, on July 19, 2017.

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July 20, 2017   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Netanyahu: German submarine deal will go through – The Jerusalem Post

Dolphin submarine . (photo credit:IDF SPOKESMANS UNIT) The sale of three German submarines to Israel will take place after the investigation into alleged graft surrounding the deal is completed, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday. The prime minister spoke a day after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on the sale was postponed due to the investigation, which concerns some of Netanyahus closest confidants and the German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupps representative in Israel. Netanyahu said that the Germans were waiting for the results of the investigation, and that the deal will then be signed. Let the investigation be conducted, he said. Regarding allegations that Israel gave a green light for the sale of German submarines to Egypt, something that some believe damages Israels security interests, the prime minister said that this was a German decision. We did not decide to approve or not approve, he said. We expressed our opinion, and everything else that is being publicly said about this is irresponsible. Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid, who was a member of the security cabinet in Netanyahus last government, said last week that the prime minister gave Germany the okay to sell Egypt the submarines. I am responsible for Israels security, Netanyahu said. The desire to harm me has no boundaries, and is now damaging Israels security this is irresponsible. He stressed that he did not know about the involvement of his personal lawyer and close confidant David Shimron in the submarine deal. Regarding the house arrest and investigation of former navy commander Eliezer Marom, Netanyahu said that the decisions on the submarines within the security establishment were all transparent. I am not judging people, and they have the presumption of innocence, he said. I dont know if anything will come of this. Netanyahu also came to the defense of Shlomo Filber, another close confidant and a former director-general of the Communications Ministry, who is under house arrest as part of a securities investigation into Bezeq and other companies controlled by businessman Shaul Elovitch. Netanyahu said he knows Filber as someone who is straight and principled. Meanwhile, Channel 10 reported on Wednesday that Miki Ganor, ThyssenKrupps representative in Israel who reportedly is on his way to turning states witness against Marom, Shimron and other top defense officials in the submarine affair, may also be a source for evidence in an expected probe concerning Environmental Ministry director-general Yisrael Danziger. On Tuesday, State Comptroller Joseph Shapira requested that Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit open a criminal investigation regarding Danzigers actions relating to the debate over closing Haifa Chemicals Corporations ammonia storage facility in Haifa Port. Share on facebook

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July 20, 2017   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

On hot mic, Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu raps ‘crazy’ EU, admits Syria strikes – Washington Times

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was caught Wednesday by a live microphone railing against the European Unions crazy insistence on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a precondition for closer ties with the 28-nation bloc, and trumpeting Israel as essential to its prosperity and survival. Netanyahu was meeting with leaders of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia at a regional summit. Netanyahu was discussing Iran, Syria, the Islamic State group, and EU-Israel relations when some of his comments and those of other leaders at the meeting closed to the media were accidentally broadcast to journalists in another room covering the conference. Netanyahu also made a rare public admission that Israel has struck Iranian arms convoys in Syria bound for Hezbollah dozens and dozens of times. The Israeli premier was overheard blasting the European Unions approach to Israel, saying its crazy. I think its actually crazy that the EU maintains that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must come before closer trade ties. There is no logic here. Europe is undermining its security by undermining Israel. Europe is undermining its progress by undermining the connection with Israeli innovation because of a crazy attempt to create conditions (for peace with the Palestinians), said Netanyahu. European ties with Israel would determine whether the 28-member union would live and thrive or shrivel and disappear, he added. EU-Israel relations have been tense for years, with Jerusalem feeling that Brussels is targeting its policies far too much while being too soft on the Palestinians. While the EU is the main trading partner for Israel, frictions have persisted. Relations took a dive in November 2015 after Israel derided a decision by the bloc to label products made in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The EU doesnt recognize Israeli sovereignty over territories it captured in the 1967 Mideast war, including the West Bank and east Jerusalem, where the Palestinians hope to establish a state. It has been a vocal critic of Israels settlement construction and has adopted measures mandating the labeling of goods produced in West Bank settlements. The European Union is the only association of countries in the world that conditions the relations with Israel that produces technology in every area on political conditions. The only ones. Nobody does it, Netanyahu said, citing Russia, China and Indias willingness to do business with Israel despite politics. Netanyahu has pushed for closer trade ties with India and China in recent years. Earlier this month, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a state visit to Israel, during which the two countries signed a number of trade agreements cementing increasingly warm relations. During statements to the media after their meeting, Orban shared Netanyahus view on the EUs relations with Israel, calling for a more rational approach with significantly better ties and less criticism of Israel. The EU should value the efforts made by the state of Israel for stability in the region, Orban said. This is of interest not only for Israel but for Europe, too, as it protects us from more and more migrant invasions. The EUs relations with Israel are not rational enough and need to be repaired, Orban added. Wed like relations between the EU and Israel to be characterized by rationality. Instead of criticizing Israel, we should open the door to cooperation with Israel. If Europe fails to cooperate with Israel, it is punishing itself, Orban concluded. This makes no sense. Orbans comments on Israel were in line with his similar views on countries like Turkey, Russia and China, where he also has chosen to emphasize improving ties and economic relations without delving, for example, into human rights issues. Orban said the four Central European countries in the so-called Visegrad Group had accepted Netanyahus invitation to hold an upcoming meeting in Israel. Hungary holds the rotating presidency of the Visegrad Group until June 2018. ___ Ilan Ben Zion reported from Jerusalem.

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July 19, 2017   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Netanyahu: No decision made yet on Temple Mount metal detectors – The Jerusalem Post

An Israeli police officer checks the identity of a Palestinian man next to newly installed metal detectors at an entrance to the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City July 16, 2017.. (photo credit:AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS) Israel is in contact with the Arab world and explaining that the installation of metal detectors on the Temple Mount is not a change of the status quo, but meant only to prevent the use of weapons at the site, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday. Netanyahu, in a briefing with reporters in Budapest where he met with the heads of Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, said that there is currently no change in Israel’s position regarding the need for the metal detectors. He held phone consultations on the matter with senior security officials on Wednesday, but no decision was taken on whether to remove the devices. Netanyahu said there will be other security consultations that he cannot discuss. We want to solve the crisis in the quietest way possible, and return the quiet, he said. We are speaking with the Arab world, and explaining that there is no change in the status quo [on the Temple Mount]. This is a measure to prevent the use of weapons on the Temple Mount, something that happened for the first time. Netanyahu, who earlier this week was in Paris, pointed out that there are metal detectors at the Eiffel Tower because of the security situation there, and that more people visit that site than the Temple Mount. Share on facebook

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July 19, 2017   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed

Netanyahu: German sub deal likely to go ahead after probe – The Times of Israel

BUDAPEST, Hungary Israels deal with Germany regarding the sale of additional submarines will likely proceed, even though it is currently frozen, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday providing the first confirmation from Israel that the hugely important deal was on hold. As soon as things clear up, I assume that the deal will go forward, he told reporters during a briefing in his Budapest hotel. I have no idea [how the current investigation into the matter will end] but believe it will go ahead. Germany has reportedly told Israel that it is delaying the signing of a deal for Israel to purchase three new submarines amid the rapidly expanding corruption scandal surrounding several multi-billion-dollar naval deals between the two countries. Berlin and Jerusalem were said to sign a memorandum of understanding next week, but this has been postponed indefinitely. Theres now an asterisk in the deal, Netanyahu said, adding that the German side is waiting to see how the ongoing corruption investigation will play out. Theres a probe, let the probe be concluded, he said. Netanyahu angrily dismissed all attempts to implicate him in the affair, saying much of the press is out to topple him. All these efforts to bring me down have crossed all boundaries and are beginning to hurt Israels national security, he said. Netanyahu is not a suspect in the case but his personal lawyer, David Shimron, who was under house arrest for several days until his release on Saturday, had been questioned several times by the police investigation unit Lahav 433. I had no idea about Shimrons involvement, Netanyahu said Wednesday. When this whole story is over I will say what I think about it. The allegations against Shimron his second cousin will turn out to be baseless nonsense, he said. Another suspect in the case, the former commander of the Israeli Navy Maj. Gen. (res) Eliezer Marom, was released from house arrest on Saturday evening. I dont know what is corruption and what is not corruption in the submarines affair, Netanyahu said. The decisions the security establishment took were transparent and matter-of-fact. I dont judge people; people have the presumption of innocence. I dont know what will come of it or not come of it. Concerns that Germany might cancel the deal prompted Defense Ministry head Udi Adam to meet his counterpart recently in Germany, Yedioth reported on Tuesday. The move follows Mondays revelation that a key suspect in the case Miki Ganor, a former agent for German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp is in talks to turn states witness. Investigators suspect that Ganor, along with former National Security Council deputy head Avriel Bar-Yosef, paid out bribes in connection with a decision to buy three submarines from ThyssenKrupp, despite opposition from the Israeli Defense Ministry. They also reportedly influenced decisions to buy naval corvettes to protect the gas fields and awarded ThyssenKrupp a contract to service other naval vessels. Ganor is suspected of fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit a crime. He was arrested a week ago and remains behind bars, along with Bar-Yosef. Both mens detention was extended Monday for a further four days. Germany, which is supposed to finance a third of the deal, has the right to change its mind thanks to a clause in the agreement permitting it to do so unilaterally if suspicions of corruption and fraud prove to be true. It appears that the reports about Ganor turning states witness gave the country sufficient jitters to activate that clause. Germanys decision to freeze the deal has not been confirmed by government sources. The three new submarines are intended as replacements for older models which will be retired in around 10 years. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit ordered the police to formally look into the submarine affair dubbed Case 3000 in November 2016, after accusations surfaced that Netanyahu may have been swayed to purchase the vessels by business ties that Shimron had with ThyssenKrupp. Late last year, Channel 10 News revealed that Shimron had also served as an adviser to Ganor. Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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July 19, 2017   Posted in: Benjamin Netanyahu  Comments Closed


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