Israel Political Brief October 27, 2011: Turkey Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu Says Accepting Israeli Aid Changes Nothing in Countrys’ Relationships

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, 10-27-11

The fact that Turkey agreed to accept aid from Israel to assist in rescue efforts of the thousands who were injured or killed has no political meaning, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Thursday. Speaking at a news conference in Amman with Jordanian leader King Abdullah II and his Jordanian counterpart Nasser Judeh, Davutoglu said that “political conditions between the two countries remain as they were”, and that Turkey’s views on the Middle East remained “principled.”

On Monday, after a lengthy period in which they did not communicate, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan to offer Israel’s assistance in the aftermath of the earthquake that hit eastern Turkey. Erdogan initially turned down the offer, but on Tuesday, Ankara changed its mind. turkey earthquakeAn Israeli plane with prefabricated mobile homes and other aid for quake victims arrived in Turkey Thursday. At least three more planes will arrive in the next few days, Israeli officials said.

Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak both stressed that Israel was appreciative of Turkey’s assistance in battling the Carmel forest last year, and that Jerusalem saw aiding in regional crises as part of its responsibility to the international community. Defense Ministry spokesperson Josh Hantman said that Israel did not see the aid as “a diplomatic matter, but a humanitarian one aimed at keeping men, women and children safe and warm.”

Speaking about the Israel-PA negotiating process, Judeh said that both Jordan and Turkey agreed on the need for the establishment of an Arab state in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem – the “two state solution” – as the basis of Middle East peace. “We do not want peace negotiations to start from scratch. There are agreements already signed and we want any future negotiations to be based on them,” he said.

Davutoglu added that the need to resolve the conflict was “crucial,” and that international pressure was key to pushing Israel to make a deal.

via israelnn.com

Related Stories:

Turkey Rejects Help Offers After 7.6 Quake
Shalit Deal Could Repair Israel-Turkey Relations
Turkey Now Accepts Israel’s Aid Offer

 

Israel Political Brief October 27, 2011: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Rides the Shalit Wave in Israel Polls

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Netanyahu Rides the Shalit Wave

Source: Virtual Jerusalem 10-27-11

There is no doubt that the results of the latest poll by the Smith Institute for “Globes” indicate a honeymoon for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The month, which began with his speech to the UN to frustrate Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s attempt to gain UN recognition for a Palestinian state, peaked with the return of Gilad Shalit. Netanyahu is seeing his broadest public support since the elections: were elections held today, the Likud would win 33 seats.

Likud voters are even more pleased with Netanyahu: nearly 80% of them who voted Likud in 2009 would do so again. The right wing-haredi (ultra-orthodox) bloc has reached a peak of 70 Knesset seats.

Netanyahu can definitely enjoy the polls, but he should remember President Shimon Peres’ remark that polls are like perfume: good to smell, but not to drink. As time passes, the Shalit effect will wane, and Netanyahu is liable to weaken.

The Shalit effect widened the gap between the coalition and leader of the opposition, Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni.

gilad shalit

Kadima’s loss of support, which began with the start of the summer’s social protest, is continuing, and the party is down to 17 Knesset seats, were elections held today.

After Livni failed to exploit the protest’s momentum to win support, her remarks about the Shalit prisoner exchange worsened her standing in the polls. Her infuriating remarks about the media coverage of Shalit’s return as a reality show apparently hit Israelis in a sensitive spot. We have not even mentioned MK Shaul Mofaz who is breathing down her neck.

The public prefers to support the Shalit deal. The poll clearly shows that it remembers only the short-term profit side of the deal, and that it is avoiding an examination of its negative consequences. Anyone who argues, as did Livni and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman, who honestly expressed his position, that there is long-term danger in the deal, loses Knesset seats.

In contrast, Labor’s new chairwoman MK Shelly Yacimovich, who supported the Shalit deal from the opposition benches, saw an immediate gain. Labor would win 20 Knesset were elections held today, becoming the second largest party in the house.

Netanyahu and the Likud are reaping a dividend from nurturing Yacimovich. Likud’s support for her has brought results – she is hitting Kadima and strengthening at its expense.

Which party would you vote for were elections held today?

Figures in brackets are numbers of seats won at the last election.

Kadima: 17 Knesset seats, down from 25 in August. (28)
Likud: 33 seats, up from 26 in August. (27)
Israel Beitenu: 14 seats, down from 15 in August. (15)
Labor: 20 seats, up from 11 in August. (13)
Shas: 10 seats, down from 12 in August. (11)
United Torah Judaism: 6 seats, unchanged. (5)
National Union: 4 seats, down from 5 in August. (4)
Habayit Hayehudi: 3 seats, unchanged. (3)
Meretz: 3 seats, down from 4 in August. (3)
Arab parties: 10 seats, down from 11 in August.(11)
Green Party 0, down from 2 in August. (-)

The survey was carried out among a representative sample of 500 people.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – http://www.globes-online.com

Israel Political Brief October 27, 2011: Ilan Grapel Lands at Ben Gurion Airport

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Ilan Grapel Lands at Ben Gurion

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, 10-27-11

Ilan Grapel was released from an Egyptian jail and boarded a jet bound for Israel on Thursday afternoon as a part of an ilan grapel ben gurion exchange for 25 Egyptians held in Israeli prisons, Reuters reported.

Grapel, 27, who has been held in Egypt for five months on spying charges, landed at Israel’s Ben Gurioun Airport shortly after 7PM local time.

Israeli representatives reported that Grapel was in good health and is happy to be free. His mother Irene met him at Ben-Gurion Airport. Grapel is expected to meet briefly with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday evening.
Ilan Grapel Hugs with his Mother Upon Arrival Avi Ohayon/GPO/FLASH90

Grapel was being escorted to Israel by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s envoy Yitzhak Molcho, and Kadima MK and former deputy Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) head Yisrael Hasson. Both men were insturmental in negotiating his release.

Meanwhile, the 25 Egyptian prisoners to be swapped for Grapel crossed into Egypt via the Taba crossing. According to the Israel Prison Service all of the Egyptian prisoners were serving time for criminal – rather than security-related – offenses.

ilan grapel ben gurion On Wednesday, MK Michael Ben Air took issue which that characterization saying, as weapons smugglers [who sold arms to terrorists -ed.] they should be classified as terrorists.

The United States, which provides Egypt with billions of dollars in military aid, took a hand in the negotiations due to Grapel’s dual American-Israeli citizenship.

The US-brokered exchange deal was reached on the heels of an Egyptian-brokered swap between Israel and Hamas that freed captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian security prisoners.

As a part of the deal to release him, the US has reportedly promised to Egypt’s ruling junta the F-16 strike fighter.

via israelnn.com

Israel Political Brief October 27, 2011: Illan Grapel Freed in Prisoner Exchange with Egypt

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Grapel Freed in Prisoner Exchange with Egypt

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, JTA, 10-27-11

Dual American-Israeli citizen Ilan Grapel reportedly has been handed over to Israeli authorities in Egypt.

Thursday afternoon’s release of Grapel, who has been held in Egypt since June and accused of being a spy, is part of the prisoner exchange between Egypt and Israel. He is scheduled to fly from Egypt to Israel on Thursday evening,

At the same time, 25 Egyptians were released from Israeli prisons and taken to the Taba border crossing for release. ilan grapel alleged israeli spy arrested in egyptThe Egyptians to be released under the Grapel deal, including three minors, are criminal and not security, prisoners, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) arrived in Israel late Wednesday to escort Grapel back to his parents’ home in New York, a statement from his office said. Grapel’s parents are Ackerman’s constituents and Grapel worked as an intern for the congressman.

Ackerman’s office said that the congressman had “personally” intervened with the Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the prime minister of Israel and the U.S. State Department to secure Grapel’s release.

Grapel, who has refuted the spying charges, is scheduled to be debriefed by Israeli defense officials before he leaves for New York.

Arab reports, including in the Palestinian news agency Maan, assert that the United States, which was heavily involved in the prisoner swap negotiations, agreed to sell to Egypt several F-16 fighter planes in order to grease the wheels of the swap.

Grapel, arrested in Cairo in June, was accused of espionage. Later he was accused as well of incitement and the attempted arson of the country’s Interior Ministry building and police headquarters in Cairo during January’s riots in the capital.

The agreement comes a little more than a week after captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was exchanged for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in an agreement reached with the terrorist organization Hamas.

Egyptian security officials said Grapel entered the country shortly after the start of the Jan. 25 uprising that led to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak and posed as a foreign correspondent. A law student at Emory University, Grapel allegedly said he was Muslim on the visa application that he filed with the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv and then entered Egypt using his American passport.

Grapel moved to Israel following his graduation from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, served as a paratrooper during the Second Lebanon War and was wounded in Southern Lebanon in August 2006.

via jta.org

Arie Hasit: Keeping the Jewish flame alive, even from afar

FEATURED OP-EDS

Arie Hasit: Keeping the Jewish flame alive, even from afar

Students who participate in programs in Israel return home impassioned and engaged; the challenge is for Jewish communities abroad to reach these excited, newly captivated students to maintain their level of interest in their Jewish roots and Israel.

Source: Haaretz, 10-27-11

Like most Israelis, I spent Tuesday, October 18 glued to the television. I listened to the radio incessantly and checked my phone for news updates every few minutes. I wanted to keep as up to date about Gilad Shalit’s return to Israel as possible, and I wanted to share it with as many people as I could.

But more than anything, I wanted to share my excitement about the news with my friends and loved ones abroad.

Of course, I was not the only one excited about this historical event – my Facebook newsfeed was loaded with status updates and shared articles on the prisoner exchange. However, I was particularly pleased to see how many of my former students and campers from Jewish programs that I have worked with over the years were eager to share the news as well.

Over the last number of years, I have been involved with different programs that give Jewish high school students the opportunity to come to Israel from anywhere from six weeks to four months. Once in Israel, these students undergo a transformative experience.

As Jewish educators in Israel we have unique opportunities that our North American counterparts lack. For many participants, being abroad without parental supervision is an adventure, and a new culture and language give the experience added appeal. More importantly, we have students excited to be in Israel not for the beach, but to become more intimately acquainted with their Jewish roots….

I am proud of my students who have made aliyah, as well as those who volunteer in underprivileged communities and even become educators themselves. These individuals have been inspired by their time in Israel and wish to impart their values on another generation.

Although knowing that I, along with other educators in Israel, have had a role in these achievements, it is up to the Jewish community in North America to give these teenagers and others like them the opportunity to stay involved with Israel even after their return home.

birthright - Erez Ozir - February 11 2011 Birthright participants at the organization’s ‘Mega Event’ in Jerusalem, February 2011.
Photo by: Erez Ozir

It is inspirational events like the return of Shalit that remind us of the lasting impression that positive experiences in Israel can have on Diaspora youth, and maintaining their impassioned relationship with Judaism and Israel for years to come.

Arie Hasit is an educator at Ramah Programs in Israel and is beginning the Israeli bet midrash program at the Schechter institute.

 

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