A new Taoiseach was elected on Saturday and a range of new Ministers were appointed. Here’s all you need to know about them:
Israel’s drone deals with Germany began in 2009, when it first leased drones to the German army for use in Afghanistan. Seven years later there was a similar transaction, this time to operate the drones in Mali.
JASON HIRSCH, Public Policy Manager,
Jason Hirsch joined Facebook’s Public Policy team in October 2018, where he focuses on development of policies to help guide Facebook’s approach to content distribution and moderation. Within that role, Mr. Hirsch heads up Facebook’s Health Integrity Policy efforts, including leading the development of Facebook’s multi-faceted approach to combatting misinformation about vaccinations.
Examine the feasibility of developing a common vaccination card/passport for EU citizens (that takes into account potentially different national vaccination schedules and), that is compatible with electronic immunisation information systems and recognised for use across borders, without duplicating work at nati
In a decision that could have momentous implications for the Middle East, the Israeli Supreme Court has rejected petitions from several Israeli advocacy groups that challenged the legality of the agreement between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his chief rival, former Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, to form a National Unity government.
The Knesset (Israel Parliament) also passed a raft of legislative changes to the country’s semi-constitutional Basic Laws, paving the way for a government to be established after more than a year of political deadlock.
The parties also decided that emergency orders instated to fight the coronavirus pandemic would not extend beyond six months.
The bill known as the „Norwegian law,“ which allows any Member of Knesset (Israel Parliament) appointed to a ministerial post to temporarily resign from the legislative chamber, will reportedly be dropped.
Every day that passes provides more proof of the twisted state of Israeli democracy, in which a defendant under criminal indictment leads the government and is a candidate to form the next one.
Thousands of workers, unemployed, self-employed and small business owners took part in demonstrations throughout the country Saturday night, May 2, against the economic and social policy of the far-right government, while demanding support in the wake of the economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
Saturday night, rallies were held in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Beersheba, Eilat, Kiryat Shmone and Kufr Qassim, with demonstrators condemning as woefully inadequate the government’s limited economic support by means of unemployment stipends and grants.
According to The Times of Israel, Chief Justice Esther Hayut signaled during the proceedings that the court will neither stand in the way of Netanyahu forming a government nor of the coalition deal moving forward.
The Israeli justice system has received eight complaints from good governance groups and lawmakers concerning the terms of the coalition agreement and the possibility of Netanyahu leading the government despite facing multiple indictments in a wide-ranging corruption investigation.
Expanded panel hears arguments Sunday on request that prime minister be disqualified over the criminal charges against him
The so-called „Black Flag“ protests were organized by the Movement for Quality Government under the slogan “Saving the court, saying no to corrupt government”. Protesters carried signs that read „We’re sick of corruption“ and „emergency government, corruption government“. At the mention of members of Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan party the crowd booed and shouted, „Shame!“
‘We are moving towards a new normality.’ This is how Germany’s finance minister, Olaf Scholz, put it at a coronavirus press conference last week, alongside Angela Merkel and various state premiers. The government was announcing its timetable to phase out the lockdown measures. Before it began, the conference had an almost religious feel, with those gathered seeming to wait for proclamation and guidance.
Two weeks ago, the council had already discussed the possibility of a popular revolt and how the government could prevent an uprising against the authorities. Among other things, it considered how the state “could forestall dangers that could lead to widespread social unrest” that might spark protests against the government and state institutions.
It turns out that soldiers and officers from one of Military Intelligence’s classified intelligence gathering units gathered data and analyzed it for the task force that the National Security Council appointed for this purpose.
Thousands of Israelis demonstrated Saturday to protest a deal struck earlier this week between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and parliament speaker Benny Gantz to form a unity government.
As part of the agreement, Netanyahu will be able to veto the appointments of the next attorney general and state prosecutor. His trial in three corruption cases is set to begin on May 24.
Owen Alterman reports from a ‚Black Flag‘ protest in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, where Israelis are protesting against Benjamin Netanyahu.
The pattern is familiar and dangerous: Start with ostensibly minimal means for a limited time, then expand the means and duration until they become permanent. Now it’s the fight against the coronavirus, tomorrow it will be the fight against crime – and finally the fight against the government’s opponents. History is paved with examples of emergency measures becoming routine.
Rivlin agrees to give Gantz until Wednesday
Gantz Is set to give a statement to the press at 9:00 P.M. in which he was expected to give details regarding the talks. His statement was originally scheduled for 8:30 P.M. before Netanyahu announced he would also be speaking, at 8:20 P.M.
With Joe Biden possibly the U.S. president come January 20, many Likudniks think it’s now or never for a West Bank land grab
One of first jobs facing a Netanyahu-Gantz government will be to appoint a permanent state prosecutor. Netanyahu must not be allowed to control or have even the slightest influence over who gets this post, given the important role the state prosecutor will play both in managing Netanyahu’s trial and in potential future investigations.
A criminal defendant will stay prime minister. Netanyahu has been rewarded, not punished, for his misuse of power in recent days. The exclusion of the Arab minority continues. And more than a million Israelis who voted for Blue and White have received a brutal lesson in political cynicism.
In all of this, Gantz is now Netanyahu’s partner.
„The coronavirus pandemic appears to be accomplishing something that three elections couldn’t — it’s forcing Israel’s deeply divided leaders to put the health and safety of the nation ahead of their own political fortunes,“ Israeli-American political analyst and author Joel Rosenberg told CNBC over the weekend.
Israel Resilience party leader Benny Gantz will reportedly support a new law allowing incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to serve in the government despite multiple indictments against him, according to Hebrew media.
Current Israeli Parliament (Knesset) legislation bars elected officials from serving as government ministers while being charged with a crime.
The activists say they use the black flag, pinning them to the back of vehicles, to symbolize the danger a prime minister under indictment poses to Israeli democracy, according to The Times.
Netanyahu was indicted last year on three charges following a years-long corruption investigation, including breach of public trust, bribery, and fraud.
Peretz’s decision to join the government does not dramatically alter the political balance, as there are only three Labor lawmakers in the new Knesset, and one of them, Merav Michaeli, might decide to defect to Meretz, which sits further left on the political specturm, if Labor joins Netanyahu.
The letter was signed by Spain, France, Portugal, Slovenia, Greece, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy, the Italian premier’s office at Palazzo Chigi said.
European Union leaders failed to agree on Thursday on the scale of support for their economies battered by the coronavirus, but gave themselves two more weeks to work out details in a dispute between the ailing south and the fiscally conservative north.
Highlighting how the pandemic is testing the bloc’s cohesion, Germany and the Netherlands blocked a call from Italy, Spain and France to issue joint debt to help finance a recovery.
Lapid, who heads Yesh Atid, told journalists at a press conference that „Benny Gantz decided today to break apart Blue and White and crawl into Netanyahu’s government.“
„What’s being formed today isn’t a unity government and not an emergency government. It’s another Netanyahu government. Benny Gantz surrendered without a fight,“ he added.
Gantz was a source of hope to millions of Israelis yearning to put an end to Netanyahu’s rule, which is crushing democracy while tearing the population to shreds. On Thursday their hope was shattered, to the laughter of the opposing camp, the one that led the country into moral corruption and that has now added another soldier to its ranks and bought about the disintegration of the alternative.
Benny Gantz could have made history by forming a minority government with the support of the Palestinian parties. Instead he dismantled his own political camp and joined his rival.
Lapid lambasted Gantz’s actions as „a betrayal to voters and a theft of votes.“
Horovitz added that Gantz was “spitting in the face” of his voters with his latest decision.
The Meretz leader called on others in the left bloc to not support this move.
In a dramatic turn of events, the Blue and White Party that served as the alternative to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the March 2 election, broke up on Thursday after party head Benny Gantz decided to enter Netanyahu’s government.
On top of all that, this would be political idiocy of the highest order, because sooner or later, Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi will discover what their colleagues in Kahol Lavan’s cockpit, Moshe Ya’alon and Yair Lapid, have already learned through bitter experience: That Netanyahu is exactly what people say of him – a liar, devoid of credibility and dangerous to Israel, just as Kahol Lavan’s leadership so ably explained in election after election. And then, when people once again seek an alternative, nobody in Kahol Lavan’s electorate will give it their vote.
Germany, for example, caused outrage in Austria and Switzerland by stopping shipments of face masks to its neighbors. Several states have export restrictions, usually hidden in impenetrable legalese, on medical equipment from goggles to gloves and ventilators. Italy, in particular, feels let down. When it first tried to invoke an EU mechanism to share medical supplies, no member state helped. Ironically, only China sent equipment.
Benny Gantz – the main rival to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – has been given the chance to form a new coalition government in Israel.
Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party won more seats than Mr Gantz’s Blue and White in the general election. But Mr Gantz was backed by a thin majority of lawmakers.
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is one of the founding members of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and has committed a total of 90 million euro to its work. CEPI brings together a range of diverse stakeholders to develop much-needed vaccines for the prevention of future pandemics. Anja Karliczek, Federal Minister of Education and Research, said:
“The Coronavirus is currently the source of concern for many people. The development of a vaccine is an extremely important element in the effort to combat this viral infection. It is encouraging to see that this process now has the support of the international CEPI alliance, which is also making use of German research and development expertise. I hope that good results can soon be achieved for which so many people are waiting at this time.”
While more than two dozen pharmaceutical firms are in a race to develop the first effective vaccine against the coronavirus, CureVac may have an edge thanks to an experimental technology that allows it to deliver the prophylactic in extremely small doses.
It appears to have caught Mr Trump’s eye when he met the company’s chief executive during a crisis summit
(March 15, 2020, 4:54 PM CET)
She declined to comment on any takeover possibilities but referred to Germany’s foreign trade law, under which Berlin can examine takeover bids from non-EU, so-called third countries „if national or European security interests are at stake“.
There was no comment immediately available from the U.S. embassy in Berlin when contacted by Reuters on Sunday over the report, and nobody was available to comment at CureVac. Welt am Sonntag said CureVac declined to comment.
“Tomorrow, around midday, the president will assign the task of forming the government to head of (centrist Blue and White party) Benny Gantz,” President Reuven Rivlin’s office said in a statement.
German government sources told Reuters on Sunday that the U.S. administration was looking into how it could gain access to a potential vaccine being developed by a German firm, CureVac.
Earlier, the Welt am Sonntag German newspaper reported that U.S. President Donald Trump had offered funds to lure CureVac to the United States, and the German government was making counter-offers to tempt it to stay.
His subjects, thanks to the terrifying television broadcasts, have become a hysterical herd. They have gone into war mode. It’s as if this war fell out of the sky as a gift to Netanyahu. But it’s not just luck. It’s also brains. Netanyahu refused to resign and refused to give up. Campaign after campaign, he grasps at his seat like a drowning person grasps at driftwood floating in the middle of the sea. He grasps and grasps and refuses to let go, until the ship comes along to carry him to safe haven, the corona ship.
The party has rejected this option in the past on principle that Netanyahu should not serve as premier because of his indictment in corruption cases.
Both Netanyahu and Gantz have repeatedly spoken of winning a “Jewish majority” in the election, a deeply controversial notion that in spirit delegitimizes the votes of Arab citizens of Israel. However senior lawmakers from Blue & White met with their counterparts from the Joint List on Wednesday to discuss the possibility of the latter’s recommending Gantz as prime minister during consultations with President Reuven Rivlin tomorrow (Sunday, March 15). Gantz, the head of Blue & White, needs the support of the Joint List to show he has enough backing to form a government. Before the Corona crisis, Gantz had adamantly refused to join a government headed by Netanyahu as long as he is under indictment.
Next Tuesday, March 17, Netanyahu’s trial will commence in the Jerusalem District Court.
For the European Union and the new team at its executive arm, the European Commission, led by Ursula von der Leyen, this pandemic is a challenge to her intention to have a “geopolitical commission,’’ Ms. Stelzenmüller said — ‘‘if the member states let her.”
According to a statement from Netanyahu’s bureau on Friday morning, the premier stressed to Gantz during their nighttime meeting that „terror supporters“ cannot be part of said government, neither in normal circumstances nor in emergency.
The comment seems to be implicitly refering to members of the Arab-majority Joint List, the third largest party in the Knesset, which Netanyahu heavily vilified during Israel’s numerous election campaigns over the last year.
Kahol Lavan leader says ‚emergency‘ government should ‚include all parts of the house‘ ■ Party officials believe that the health emergency would make it difficult for Gantz to gain legitimacy to promote political moves
„Unite now, fight later,“ Bennett said at a Tel Aviv press conference in which he proposed passing a bill to freeze the current political situation for six months.
Liberman suggested a government of only Likud and Blue and White to deal with the coronavirus on Thursday in an interview with the Russian-language Channel 9.
Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said the ceasefire needs to be strengthened by adding a no-fly zone over the province to stop further bombings of hospitals.
“It would be wise to add a no-fly zone,” he told reporters as he arrived for a meeting with EU counterparts in Zagreb.
Mr. Stoltenberg briefed the Coalition on the decision in principle by Allied ministers to enhance NATO’s training mission in Iraq. As a first step, this will consist of NATO taking on some of the Global Coalition’s current training activities in the country.
Mr. Stoltenberg highlighted that NATO’s work in Iraq is helping strengthen the Iraqi armed forces and institutions to ensure ISIS cannot return, and Iraq no longer requires support.
He briefed on the Allied decision to enhance #NATO’s training mission in #Iraq. #MSC2020.
Read more: http://bit.ly/2UUFLb5
Angela Merkel’s grand transition plan has derailed after her handpicked successor, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, unexpectedly called it quits on Monday.
Kramp-Karrenbauer, better known as AKK, announced she would not stand as the Christian Democratic Union’s (CDU) candidate to be German chancellor in the next federal election. She is also stepping down as the party’s chairwoman, according to the CDU’s press office
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer plans to step down as leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, a spokesman for the party said in a statement on Monday. Kramp-Karrenbauer will also not seek to run as chancellor candidate for the CDU in the next election.
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, speaking in an interview at the World Economic Forum on Thursday, said that Germany aims to keep its forces in Iraq, but can only do so at the behest of the government in Baghdad.
“We need to keep in mind that in Iraq, IS is not yet defeated,“ Kramp-Karrenbauer told Bloomberg Television in Davos, Switzerland. “If the pressure is reduced, then the danger is great that it resumes its regime of terror.”
Let’s imagine the next scenario: A unity government has been set up in Israel along the lines of President Rivlin’s proposal – which specifies a rotation of the premiership between Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz. Donald Trump lays the “deal of the century” on the table. Netanyahu would say this is no time to change a prime minister. This is a historic, one-time opportunity Israel is getting a de facto green light for annexation from the United States.
Germany is moving some of its military personnel from Iraq to neighbouring countries over security concerns, the government told lawmakers, days after the killing of a top Iranian military commander in a US drone strike.
About 30 of the 120 German soldiers in Iraq who mainly train Iraqi security forces will be redeployed to Jordan and Kuwait, the government told parliament in a letter on Monday.
Jabareen added that if that is the case, Gantz and his faction will not be able to count on the support of the Joint List — an option seriously discussed following the September elections. “There was talk all along the way of our external support to enable the formation of a different kind of government, but this will not happen given the annexation intention and masquerading as Likud II,” Jabareen said.
He reminded us that the Joint List — the Knesset’s third-largest faction — wields significant power both in the domestic political arena and in the international one.
Officials in attorney general’s office reportedly say that if Netanyahu extends sovereignty over Jordan Valley, settler leaders and IDF officers could be probed
In his remarks made at a conference in Jerusalem, Gantz said that Netanyahu turned the annexation of the West Bank — a highly contentious issue — into a talking point, but did little for the people living there.
Blue and White, he said, would be just the opposite – the plans for annexing the Jordan Valley, set to be Israel’s ‚eastern wall‘, are ready, and standing at the helm the party will implement them.
The corruption involved in the purchase of submarines and ships from the German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp makes it among the worst such affairs in Israel’s history. It involves bribery, fraud, breach of trust and money laundering by a criminal network that functioned at the highest levels of Israel’s government and business people between 2009 and 2019 , funnelling government funds from the defense budget into private pockets, by swaying decisions regarding purchases from the German shipbuilder.
France, Germany and the United Kingdom said in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres circulated Wednesday that Iran was developing „nuclear-capable ballistic missiles,“ which they say is in violation of a Securiy Council resolution endorsing the 2015 nuclear deal.
The letter cites footage released on social media April 22, 2019, ..
The agreement with ThyssenKrupp included provisions for what would happen if corruption were discovered on the German end; in that situation, the corporation would be able to cancel the existing deals. But it included no provisions on what would happen if corruption were discovered on the Israeli end.
Israel’s attorney general said Thursday he intends to charge the personal lawyer of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with money-laundering in the state’s purchase of submarines from German firm Thyssenkrupp.
The justice ministry said that charges were also expected against a businessman who represented the firm in Israel and against a former head of the Israeli navy.
Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman has told Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan that he would join a narrow right-wing government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu if the party doesn’t agree to let Netanyahu be first to serve as premier in a rotation agreement.
Lieberman’s staff said on Tuesday that he was approached by Knesset members who asked him to enter a right-wing government to prevent Israel from going to a third election this year.
Spanish agents in Syria are cooperating with Operation Gallant Phoenix, a U.S.-led effort to identify fighters from Western nations who have joined Islamic State (ISIS) and Al Qaeda-affiliated groups in the region, counter-terrorism sources told EL PAÍS.
“New Zealand began participating in Operation Gallant Phoenix in late 2014 in support of our efforts to uncover information relating to the location of a New Zealander taken hostage by ISIS,” Jacinda Ardern said.
SPD members chose a pair of government critics, 67-year-old Norbert Walter-Borjans and lawmaker Saskia Esken, 58, to lead their party instead of a pro-Merkel ticket led by her finance minister, Olaf Scholz. The result may signal the party’s willingness to pull out of Germany’s grand coalition after years of paying the political costs for keeping the chancellor in office.
The new designated leaders in her coalition’s junior partner have warned they would leave the coalition without a sharp swing to the left
According to the report, Edelstein planned to announce an agreed deal in a press conference on Wednesday, after receiving signatures supporting the move from Blue & White’s Benny Gantz, Yisrael Beiteinu’s Avigdor Liberman, and two-thirds of the Likud faction.
However, at the end of a five-day political maneuver, the Likud’s second on the Knesset list — preceded only by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — realized he does not have enough votes to push forth the idea,
Alluding to Netanyahu’s role in the right-wing campaign against former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in the run-up to his assassination, he said: „Someone who spearheaded the harsh and painful campaign against Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of blessed memory, which ended in a national disaster, should know that dangerous words are doomed to turn into deadly bullets.“ He added that „a true patriot“ would not „hold Israeli citizens hostage to his legal battle.“
Senior Likud member Gideon Sa’ar has called for a Likud leadership primary, criticizing Benjamin Netanyahu’s attack on Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit and the claim that the decision to indict the prime minister on corruption charges is „an attempted coup.“
„Whoever heads the executive branch can’t say that Mendelblit’s decision is an attempt of a legal coup. That’s not right, it’s not responsible,“ Sa’ar, seen as Netanyahu’s main rival in the party, told Channel 12 News on Saturday.
Gantz said after meeting with Netanyahu in a statement on his twitter that „Israel needs a broad and liberal unity government, which will consist primarily of the two major white-led political parties that won the elections.“ According to him, it is „a government whose founding lines will be set on the basis of the major parties and therefore cannot be built on one or the other sectoral bloc.“
Moreover, the two main inciters, Netanyahu and Lieberman, are exploiting both the tense security situation and their polished racist rhetoric to put enormous pressure on Gantz to enter a unity government based on the president’s proposal. Gantz, who until now has demonstrated impressive steadfastness, must not cave into this pressure. Soon, the dense smoke of the rockets will dissipate, and Israel will once again be overshadowed instead by the picture of the serial criminal suspect Netanyahu, the man who is unfit to be prime minister.
Until now, it seemed the entire political system was fumbling all the way to another election, and that perhaps this was our new system of government – elections and yet more elections, devoid of either victory or significance. But on Tuesday, Israelis woke up to a historic moment. A “crisis government” led by Netanyahu, with the participation of Benny Gantz and his Kahol Lavan party, now seems like the most probable outcome.
Yair Lapid, the No. 2 on the Kahol Lavan roster, said at the party meeting that a government can’t be created in the space of 48 hours, and that all Netanyahu had to agree to was to be second in the rotation – i.e., to agree that Gantz serve as prime minister first, then Netanyahu. But what Netanyahu wants is a third election, Lapid said.
“That’s what his lawyers suggested to him, that’s what he needs because of the indictments,” Lapid said.
According to reports in the Hebrew media, Gantz could offer Netanyahu a “compromise deal” that would force him to choose between including his religious allies in the coalition, and being prime minister first in any rotation deal.
STUTTGART, Germany — When the new U.S. and German defense chiefs held high-level talks in Washington this week, Defense Secretary Mark Esper wasted no time getting to his main point — the dollars and cents of defense spending.
While Saudi Arabia wanted to avoid war and escalation, Iran would be held accountable for the drone and missile strikes, Adel al-Jubeir told the BBC.
A US assessment claiming Iran was behind the attacks was backed up by the UK, France and Germany this week.
NEW YORK — The leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom on Monday blamed Iran for an attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia earlier this month.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the attacks on oil facilities on Saudi territory on September 14th, 2019 in Abqaiq and Khurais, and we reaffirm in this context our full solidarity with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its population,” French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a joint statement after meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
Yes, this initiative of yours, Mr. President, is very grave indeed! You are dividing the country on an ethnic basis, you are placing one people above another, one public above another, one group above another, when your job is to say loud and clear: They are all my sons. And for this you do not have a mandate. You do not have a mandate to divide the country between Jews and Arabs. You do not have a mandate to exclude a fifth of the population.
“The time has come for Iran to accept negotiation on a long-term framework for its nuclear program as well as on issues related to regional security, including its missiles program and other means of delivery,” the three countries added
Less than a week after his impressive electoral achievement, the head of the largest Knesset faction, Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz, conceded his right to be the first to try and form a coalition government. The explanation given by “party sources” for this concession is that Gantz prefers to wait for Netanyahu to try first and fail.
Regrettably, this lame excuse is unconvincing. This move looks like a capitulation without a fight, an admission that the right wing’s long-standing tactic of delegitimizing parties representing Arab society succeeded.
Netanyahu getting a first nod from the president would land a harsh blow on the center-left’s morale, which could facilitate Netanyahu’s plan to divide the party from within. The nightmarish vision of Netanyahu settling back in the driver’s seat and recklessly pushing the gas pedal to reach his target would make a mockery of his clear-cut defeat in last Tuesday’s election. While Gantz and his colleagues rejoice over sucker Netanyahu supposedly falling into their well-laid trap, their supporters will see them as naive novices who could soon add insult to injury by reneging on their main pledge not to participate in his coalition.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) shakes hands with Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz (R) as President Reuven Rivlin looks on, at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, on September 23, 2019.
“It is clear for us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack,” the leaders of the three European powers said. “There is no other explanation.”