In Netanyahu's Israel, checks and balances are irrelevant or corrupt, accountability is conspiracy, and a watchdog media is a national saboteur. Tough times are ahead. There has been no shortage of people who were thrilled by the announcement Tuesday night that Israeli police recommend indicting Benjamin Netanyahu in two corruption cases. A Haaretz headline crowed that “Netanyahu’s countdown has begun.” Opposition figures such as Labor chairman Avi Gabbay said, “the Netanyahu era has ended.” [tmwinpost] But in Netanyahu’s defiant speech moments following the publication of the police recommendations, he insisted that his government would last its full term — through…Read More... | 2 Comments
Nobody expected Saturday's demonstration to be so enormous, but everyone was angry. Creative expressions of frustration were everywhere and demonstrators vowed to continue the protests — but what impact will they have? What started as a ripple on Israeli social media networks over the weekend burst out into a full-blown, massive demonstration against the government on Saturday night, in the heart of Tel Aviv, under the title of “the walk of shame.” Israeli news outlets estimated that tens of thousands turned out spontaneously to vent their anger against government corruption. [tmwinpost] Police closed off sections of Rothschild Boulevard and surrounding streets for part…Read More... | 2 Comments
Netanyahu is currently facing three separate corruption probes, and his political allies are promoting legislation to shield him from accountability. (Read Dahlia Scheindlin's report from the protest.) By +972 Staff and Haggai Matar Tens of thousands of Israelis packed into Tel Aviv’s posh Rothschild Boulevard Saturday night to protest government corruption, as well as new legislation that would shield Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from several active corruption investigations against him. One recent failed piece of legislation would have granted immunity to the prime minister for corruption charges. The latest version, which would make it illegal to publicize the findings of corruption investigations, is being…Read More...
At the beginning of June, hundreds of Israelis gathered in Petah Tikva to protest against the slow progress on investigations into government corruption, particularly the scandals surrounding Netanyahu, as well as against threats to freedom of expression. Read more: Civil society groups join forces to protect freedom of speech Netanyahu scandal exposes corruption in the Israeli pressRead More... | 2 Comments
The alleged dealing between Netanyahu and the publisher of ‘Yedioth’ reveals the driving force behind Israel’s biggest newspapers — a type of corruption that couldn’t exist in media outlets with truly independent journalists. By Shuki Tausig Israeli media this week revealed secretly recorded conversations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the publisher of the country’s best-selling newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth. The contents of the conversations, ostensibly negotiations between the two men, once again expose the bitter truth about the world of Israel's media: it is one in which media and journalistic outlets are driven solely by economic interests. They are beholden by…Read More... | 1 Comment
Ehud Olmert this week became Israel’s first former prime minister to head to prison. Here is a simple explanation of why, what legal troubles still await him, and the crimes for which he’ll never pay. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is going to jail — albeit only for 18 months. The Supreme Court shortened Olmert’s six sentence in a long-awaited appeal this week. The sentence was for a bribery conviction in a scandal referred to in the Israeli media as Holyland Affair. But that is far from the end of the plentiful legal sagas that forced the sitting prime…Read More... | 1 Comment
Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was sentenced Tuesday morning to six years in prison on bribery charges in the biggest corruption scandal in Israel's history. Olmert was convicted of accepting bribes in exchange for expediting the permit process for the Holyland real estate development while he was mayor of the city, years before his premiership. The sentencing comes 10 years after the state began its investigation. Olmert, who was acquitted of similar charges in a different case, had held out hope for a return to politics if he were acquitted in this case, too. Olmert is planning on appealing the court's decision. Olmert…Read More... | 35 Comments
If a militant nationalist wants to get elected prime minister of Israel, he has to repeat the word 'peace' over and over. Unlike a lot of other leftists in despair over Liberman's acquittal on Wednesday, I don't think it's a foregone conclusion he's going to succeed Netanyahu as prime minister. I agree that he may do it, it's definitely a possibility, but first he has a problem to overcome: as a candidate, he's scary to a lot of Israelis, maybe most Israelis, especially women. On the "Eretz Nehederet" ("Wonderful Country") TV news satire, he's portrayed as a KGB liquidator.…Read More... | 4 Comments
The man who has become the symbol of ultra-nationalist trends and anti-democratic legislation is cleared of corruption charges, allowing his return to helm of the Foreign Ministry, which Netanyahu has been holding for him. Former – and most likely soon-to-be-reinstated – foreign minister Avigdor Liberman was acquitted of all charges stemming from a years-long corruption investigation on Wednesday. The move paves the way for his return to the helm of the Foreign Ministry, from which he resigned when he was indicted last December. Less than an hour after the acquittal, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who merged political party lists with…Read More... | 3 Comments
Israel's foreign minister will soon be able to put his legal troubles behind him. He will then renew his quest for the premiership from a much more favorable position. Israel's foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, announced yesterday (Friday) that he will resign from his cabinet position due to the attorney general's decision to try him for breach of trust. Lieberman will still be the second name on the joint Likud-Yisrael Beitenu list for the elections, due to take place on January 22. This is a major step in Lieberman's effort to solve the most troubling aspect of his political career, namely,…Read More... | 11 Comments
This is one of the rare days when all four of the Israeli dailies lead with completely different headlines. Haaretz leads with Netanyahu's trip to the United States; the PM is "set to discuss a package of benefits in exchange for extending the temporary settlement freeze." Senior administration officials slovenly remind his highness that the benefits are still on the table. This, in a nutshell, is Obama's "tough love" for Israel: When the carrot doesn't work, try... more carrots. Haaretz notes in passing the PM's flight will cost us taxpayer one million dollars. Other headlines of interest include the police…Read More...
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