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Weekly News Items from the Israeli Press, August 2, 2012


Welfare and Social Issues

Online pedophile ring exposed in Israel

Over 30 suspects arrested in what police say was first, largest undercover investigation of its kind. Suspects 'fell' for police officer posing as young girl.


Unemployment in Israel hits three-year high

(Israel Hayom) Figures for June show 7.2% unemployment with over a quarter of a million Israelis seeking work.


Civil Society

Sowing seeds of Jewish-Arab coexistence, one shell at a time

(Haaretz) Artist plans art installation from shells of sunflower seeds, produced by dozens of 'expert' Arab and Jewish seed-eating shell-spitters from across Israel.


Israeli Arabs hit back at mandatory service calls

(Jpost) Mandatory volunteering would increase socioeconomic gaps, communities lack infrastructure, student union rep says.


At the army’s Jerusalem induction center, it’s internal Jewish warfare as usual

(Times of Israel) As of Wednesday, all Israelis, including the ultra-Orthodox, are supposed to be drafted. In practice, the divides, the inequalities and the dialogue of the deaf continue.


Social Protests

10th Gay Pride Parade set to kick off in Jerusalem

(Jpost) March to pass location of 2005 stabbing of 3 participants; marks 3rd anniversary of shooting at LGBT center in TA.


Religious Pluralism in Israel

In a Jerusalem park, a group of potential ultra-Orthodox IDF recruits find a bridge between two worlds

(Times of Israel) The goal of Aharai is to help develop leadership and social skills among youth from the country’s projects, development towns, absorption centers, boarding schools and shelters.


US, in annual report, raps Israeli discrimination against non-Jews, non-Orthodox Judaism

(Times of Israel) State Department’s assessment of global religious freedom slams Hamas for harassing non-Muslims in Gaza. Clinton: We’re closely watching how Egypt’s Islamist leaders treat minorities.


Marriage licensing is hostage to the whims of rabbis, says report

(Israel Hayom) A new report faults rabbis for each having their own interpretation of laws and guidelines, specifically when it comes to scrutinizing someone's "Jewishness".


Jewish World

Police close Temple Mount to Jews on Tisha Be'av

(Jpost) Closures a response to warnings about planned "provocations" as Jews mark Tisha Be'av, Muslims observe Ramadan.


Israel Advocacy/Relations

Report: Rise in global anti-Semitism

(Ynet) US State Department report on international religious freedoms sees rising tide of anti-Semitism throughout globe. Adds Israel has not improved, deteriorated in protecting rights.



Wanted: Bedouin school psychologists

(Israel 21C) Ben-Gurion University of the Negev launches special program preparing Bedouins to fill a dire need in their community’s schools.


Israel-US Relations

'Israel and America are reflections of one another'

(Israel Hayom) Full text of U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney's speech in Jerusalem on Sunday: "For an American abroad, you can’t get much closer to the ideals and convictions of my own country than you do in Israel."


Israeli Economy

Fischer: 'Things do not look good' for economy

(Jpost) BOI governor tells Knesset Finance C'tee to pass Netanyahu's tax increases, budget cuts to shield economy from potentially severe European recession, global stagnation.


VAT hike postponed for one month; gas prices climb

(Israel Hayom) VAT increase part of government's austerity package. Increase postponed following pressure from the head of the Knesset Finance Committee Moshe Gafni.



Israeli Tennis Players Make History in London

(Israel National News) Israeli tennis players Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich beat world champion Roger Federer and his partner in London, advance to quarterfinals.



Forget Olympic gold, Israel will go for 'green' in 2013 in Beijing

(Israel Hayom) Israeli team has developed a greenhouse that generates more electricity than it uses for entry in the 2012 Solar Decathlon China competition.


Op-Eds and Opinion Pieces from the Israel Press

Ma'ariv relates to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's statement yesterday which immediately made headlines and waves in the electronic media, "'The political echelon decides, the military echelon carries out, only I will determine whether to attack Iran.' We, like a heard of sheep, were mesmerized and enthralled by this empty spin. Netanyahu's only aim was to change the media agenda. Let them talk about Iran and not VAT. He is strong on Iran (in the meantime only in words). He is a bit weak when it comes to [economic] edicts and VAT and income tax. Therefore a quick switch has to be made. Was there anything new or interesting in what Netanyahu said? Not really. It is the political echelon who decides, this everyone knows. There is no argument. Such are democracies, and no Chief-of-Staff will remain in the room when the Cabinet votes. I haven't yet decided whether to attach, Netanyahu added, and here too he was inaccurate.  Unlike the American President, who is also the Commander-in-Chief, and can approve on his own (although a declaration of war must be approved by congress), in Israel an attack on Iran (which means war) must receive, at least, the approval of the Cabinet. Therefore, Mr. Netanyahu, it is not 'I', it is 'We'."


Yisrael Hayom argues that, "It would have been good if the Ministry of Finance had imposed the taxes on those who do not intend to pay them. It is still possible to do so for 2013." The paper suggests imposing VAT on tourists, a one-time levy of NIS 700 million on the banking system, and the imposition of a tax on the passive income of Israelis abroad. The author asserts, "Lowering the deficit is crucial and, in my opinion, we are paying a relatively reasonable price compared to what we are liable to pay if we postpone dealing with the problem."