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Sun. Aug 28, 2016 News from Israel

  • Former Minister Ben-Eliezer Dies
  • Coalition uproar over Sabbath work on train station
  • Witnesses testify for soldier Azariah

Former Israeli minister Benjamin Fuad Ben-Eliezer died on Sunday at the age of 80. He had been hospitalized following evidence of a possible heart condition. Fuad served as Deputy prime Minister, Defense Minister, and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. It has been revealed that he was the secret messenger of various governments to Cairo. Two years ago, Ben –Eliezer ran for president of Israel until an investigation was opened against him regarding charges of taking bribes.72 hours before the vote, he was forced to leave the race. Zionist Union leader, Isaac Herzog said of Fuad, "He suffered in the last years, but we will remember his beautiful and impressive moments."

Following the uproar of Ultra-orthodox Knesset members regarding the work on the Hashalom light rail station this past Sabbath, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz responded by saying that he understood that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had reached an agreement with the factions regarding the work on the Sabbath. The heads of the Ultra-orthodox parties requested a meeting with the Prime Minister to protest the violation of the Sabbath. Katz reprimanded the director general of the ministry for using drones to film the work over the weekend in a move to appease the Ultra-orthodox.

In an interview on Channel 2 news with Katz, he stated, "I convened a meeting with the orthodox parties to discuss the laws regarding work on the Sabbath. We worked according the rules and policy as dictated by the state. We are talking about very important infrastructure. The police said very clearly that this work during the week would present a danger to our citizens."  Regarding the allegation the Netanyahu threatened to remove him as minister, he said, "No one threatened to fire me."  

In a demonstration in Stockholm on Sunday, hundreds attended to show support for Israel. Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid was present at the rally and accused the Swedish Foreign Minister of anti-Semitism, " If  the Swedish Foreign Minister is concerned about human rights in the Middle East, she needs to talk about the Palestinians’ use of children as terrorists and human shields. She needs to talk about the discrimination against the gay community."  

Iran has arrested a member of the team that negotiated the nuclear deal with the US and world powers on suspicion of spying. According to Iranian news outlets, the suspect was released after spending several days in jail. This is not the first time a member of the Iranian negotiating team was arrested for spying.  In 2007, a member of the negotiating team was also arrested, jailed shortly and then found innocent of all charges.

After a month break, the trial of Elor Azariah, the soldier who shot a Palestinian after he was neutralized was renewed on Sunday. Azariah’s attorneys presented witnesses who corroborated his story in court. Lieutenant Colonel Eliyahu Libman, head of security for the Jewish settlement in Hebron was the first witness. He testified that people in the area yelled that there was a bomb  and that he felt that Azariah’s commander had failed in this incident. It is expected that Dan Biton and Uzi Dayan, other top security officials will also testify on Azariah’s behalf. Libman said, “The people who were present felt that there was an immediate danger. There were two terrorists who came to slaughter Israeli soldiers and citizens.

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