Netanyahu says anyone attacking Israel and her interests will be dealt a ‘ strongest blow’


Los Angeles Times Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu criticized for response to Charlottesville, Va., violence

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday, after an Iranian missile strike on U.S.-led forces in Iraq, that Israel would hit back hard against anyone who attacked his country.

Netanyahu reiterated his praise for U.S. President Donald Trump for the killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani last week, calling it a bold move.

The Israeli leader said Soleimani had tried to destabilize the region for decades and was “planning much worse.”

Netanyahu reiterated his praise for U.S. President Donald Trump for the killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani last week, calling it a bold move.

Without directly referencing Iran’s missile strikes overnight, in what Tehran called retaliation for the general’s death in Baghdad, Netanyahu said in a speech in Jerusalem that Israel stood beside the United States.

“Whoever tries to attack us will be dealt the strongest blow,” Netanyahu said, accusing Iran of leading a campaign to “strangle and destroy” Israel.


Israel’s Education Minister: Gay Conversion Therapy ‘Possible,’ Palestinians ‘Shouldn’t Vote’



Israel’s new education minister Rafi Peretz said in an interview Saturday that it is “possible” to perform conversion therapy, claiming he has done so in the past.

Netanyahu calls remarks ‘unacceptable,’ says Israel’s schools will accept all students regardless of sexual orientation.

Education Minister and Bayit Yehudi leader Rabbi Rafi Peretz caused a firestorm of protest Saturday night after stating he believes the highly controversial practice of “gay conversion therapy” – trying to change a gay individual’s sexual orientation – is effective.


FILE PHOTO: Israel’s Education Minister Rafi Peretz arrives to attend the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem June 24, 2019. Menahem Kahana/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
Read more at–conversion-therapy–11718876

Peretz said that he himself has participated in providing such “treatment” to gay individuals in the past and that his approach is for the person in question “to get to know himself better and then decide” on their sexual orientation.


The Health Ministry said in 2014 there was no scientific evidence that gay conversion, which includes counseling and even electro-shock therapy, is effective and said it can cause harm to those exposed to it.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly criticized his education minister for his remarks, and Peretz was assailed by opposition politicians and NGOs many of whom called on the prime minister to fire him.

The chairman of the Israel Association of Psychiatrists underlined in response to the minister’s comments that there is no therapy that can change a person’s sexual orientation.

Speaking during an interview with Channel 12 broadcast Saturday night, Peretz was asked about his attitude LGBTs and specifically his opinion on conversion therapy.

“I think that it is possible to convert [someone’s sexual orientation],” said the education minister when asked about the issue.

“I can tell you that I have deep familiarity on the issue of education, and I have also done it [conversion therapy].”

Asked how he would address an individual who told him he was gay, Peretz said “I would first of all embrace him, then I said let us think, let us learn, let us consider. The goal is that first of all he gets to know himself better and then he can decide.”

Peretz also said in his interview that he would continue the funding for the Israel Gay Youth movement (IGY) but that he could block the group from sending representatives to schools and would have to examine its “messaging” before deciding.

Netanyahu issued a statement saying he had personally spoken with Peretz to convey his criticism.

”The remarks of the Minister of Education regarding the LGBT community are unacceptable and do not reflection the position of the government under my leadership,” said Netanyahu.

“I spoke to Rabbi Rafi Peretz this evening and made it clear to him that the Israeli educational system will continue to accept all Jewish children whoever they are and without any difference based on sexual orientation.”

Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz said in response that homosexual conversion therapy was a dangerous practice “which causes extremely sever circumstances for youths, including suicide,” saying that the concept was not only irresponsible but endangered people’s lives.

“Rafi Peretz, what are you proud about? That you erased the identity of young men and women? That you caused people to feel that their sexual orientation is a sickness? That they have no place to be who they are and to love who they want?” demanded the Meretz leader.

“You are not fitting to be responsible for the future of our children… I call on Netanyahu to fire Minister Rafi Peretz immediately.”

Chairman of the Association of Psychiatrists in Israel Tzvi Fishel said he was “embarrassed and worried” that Israel’s education minister not only spoke out in favor of conversion therapy but had participated in it as well.

“As the the Israel Medical Association, the Association of Psychiatrists in Israel, and many other  doctors associations in Israel and around the world have determined, there is no therapy that can convert the sexual orientation of any person,” said Fishel.

“Conversion therapies that pretend to change sexual orientation have not only be scientifically proven to be ineffective but represent a danger and cause severe damage to the psyche of the individual and feelings of failure which are likely to lead to suicide,” saying that Peretz’s comments endangered lives.

Blue and White co-leader Yair Lapid said in a brief comment on Twitter that “Until Rafi Peretz undergoes conversion therapy for his benighted and crazy opinions he cannot continue to serve as education minister.”

Labor leader Amir Peretz responded that the education minister’s statement was inhumane and that everyone should have a right to love, marry and build a family with whomever they choose.

“In the upcoming election, the people of Israel will convert the Education Ministry out of the hands of the extreme Right,” Peretz said.

The Israel Gay Youth (IGY) movement, which receives funding from the education ministry, said its staff “were in shock” at the minister’s comments but would not be commenting further for the moment.

Peretz later attempted to clarify his controversial statements about gay conversion therapy, saying he did not intend that gay children must be sent to conversion therapy.

“A few clarifications about the interview that was broadcast this evening,” Peretz said.

“1. I did not claim that a child must be sent for conversion therapy.

“2. During my years as an educator, I met with students who felt terrible distress about their sexual orientation and chose to use professionals to change their orientation. What I said in the interview came from my personal experiences with those cases.

“3. The education system in Israel under my leadership will continue to accept all children of Israel as they are, regardless of their sexual orientation. That’s how I made it clear in the interview.”

The comments by Peretz come just a couple days after he had been slammed for comments he made comparing intermarriage to “a second Holocaust.”

“We [have] lost six million Jews in this way [due to assimilation] since the Holocaust,” he said.

“I absolutely condemn the remarks by the education minister concerning conversion therapy,” Justice Minister Amir Ohana said in response to Peretz. Ohana became the first gay minister in the Knesset in June.

“The Likud government, the national-liberal movement won’t give her hand to conversion therapy,” stated Ohana. “The serious studies in the world of psychology are united around the position that not only can they not ‘convert’ the sexual orientation – it’s dangerous and can cause pain and suffering to youth and even lead them to suicide.”

“Education minister, the youth of the entire State of Israel and yes, also of the national-religious sector, are looking to you,” added Ohana. “LGBTQ youth commit suicide three times as often as their percentage of the population. This is a matter of saving lives. Your clarification is important, but not sufficient. Learn the subject in depth, and review it.”

Gil Hoffman and Maayan Hoffman contributed to this report.


Israel – ‘Not MLK, but Malcolm X’: Is Jerusalem Having Its Black Lives Matter Moment?


Both countries are experiencing police violence against black citizens, but experts say there is major difference between African-American and Ethiopian-Israeli communities//

Jerusalem (CNN)An off-duty police officer was in a playground with his family when he saw two men fighting, according to police accounts, which have been challenged by eye-witnesses. When the officer identified himself, police said the men threw stones at him. Fearing for his life, the officer pulled the trigger, police said. The bullet hit a 19-year-old black man, who later died in hospital.

Worka (R), the father of Solomon Teka, mourns over his body during his funeral.

Anger in the teenager’s community erupted after the shooting. In the following two days, protesters torched cars, damaged ambulances and burned tires as the violence spread across the country.
As the investigation began into the circumstances of the shooting, the officer was taken into custody and subsequently released and placed under house arrest. But it was too late to prevent the rioting in which dozens were injured on both sides, and 136 protesters were taken into custody, according to police.
It’s the type of violence sparked by perceived racial injustice that we’ve often seen in cities in the United States.
But this happened in Israel, and the black man who died, Solomon Teka, was Jewish.


U.S. Senate Condemns Deepening Israel-China Ties, Cites ‘Serious Security Concerns’


A Senate committee promotes legislation expressing concern about Israel allowing a Chinese company to operate the port of Haifa, long a port of call for the Sixth Fleet//Crimson Tazvinzwa

Two years ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced during a visit to Singapore a “pivot to Asia,” an amusing echo of the Obama-era pivot that was much maligned and misunderstood. (It was criticized as proof that the Middle East would be abandoned, and for the appearance that it focused more on military cooperation with Asian countries wary of China, rather than a more three-dimensional engagement with the rising powers of the East.) For Israel, the announcement was a rhetorical flourish for a reality that had been evolving over many years.

From its early days as an independent state, Israel courted those members of the United Nations that might be willing to provide political recognition. The Philippines and Burma (today’s Myanmar) were the only Asian nations to provide support in 1947 and 1948, voting for the partition resolution and the admittance of Israel as a UN member, respectively. Burma’s leader, U Nu, was the first foreign leader to visit the state. In the 1950s, Israel helped Singapore develop its security sector, and relations have remained strong over the years, often out of the limelight, because of sensitivities about offending Singapore’s large Muslim-majority neighbor, Malaysia.

India and China, the two Asian powerhouses of today, established discreet relations with Israel in 1950, but it took 40 years to establish full diplomatic relations. Trade was modest in the early years, in the tens of millions of dollars, but today, China is Israel’s second-most-important trading partner, with more than US$17 billion in two-way trade in 2017, and with India around $5 billion. (The US-Israel trade volume, by comparison, was about $35 billion in 2017 and 2018.)

Israel is now a member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and China has begun to think of its strategic location as part of the massive Belt and Road Initiative.

In other measures of soft power, Israeli-China and Israeli-India relations are developing depth. There are two Confucius Institutes in Israel, based in the two major universities in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. An Israeli non-governmental organization, the Israel Asia Center, is committed to building ties among emerging leaders from China, Taiwan, South Korea and India. Tourist travel from Asia is growing annually by double digits, and the Israeli tourism industry plans expanded hotel capacity to accommodate an anticipated growth in travel from newly mobile Chinese citizens.

Economic relations in a global marketplace may not be the most important metric of power and influence. One could argue that all these examples simply show the power of mutual economic benefit. Israelis are pragmatic, and their location between Europe and Asia provides a distinct opportunity to sustain their economic success by expanding to new markets.

But with the rising Asian powers, it’s worth keeping in mind that the scale of economic interaction can lead to interdependence in some sectors, and that takes on larger political and security dimensions. For now, nearly all analysts would insist that there is no substitute for the security partnership with the US; Israel has been able to develop its high-tech defense sector and its civilian economy, and avoid painful compromises with the Palestinians, thanks to American political protection and support.

And in the past, when forced to choose between meeting US expectations or working with new Asian business partners, Israel has accepted the primacy of its ties to Washington. In the late 1990s and again in 2005, Israel had to publicly rescind lucrative transactions with China when the US objected to the technology transfer of airborne radar systems and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or drones).

Even now, as trade in defense goods forms a significant part of Israeli exports to India and to China, those transactions are still fraught with political considerations. Israel is wary of China’s arms trade with Iran, and China is unhappy with Israel’s important investments in India’s defense sector, estimated at about $600 million in one recent annual count. So one cannot make the case that Israel has deep relationships of trust with the Asian powers, comparable to its decades of strategic cooperation with Washington.

However, it’s still worth opening our minds to the potential shift. Trade in the billions of dollars takes on political value for politicians and industry leaders. They begin to have a vested interest in keeping those relationships steady. Should US-China relations move in a more adversarial direction, Israel may be faced with some difficult tradeoffs. The dilemmas will sharpen if a post-Trump administration walks back the over-the-top embrace of hardline Israeli positions, creating friction in that key relationship. And rising anti-Semitism in many Western countries will erode Israelis’ trust in the West.

It’s not self-evident that Israel’s pivot to Asia will harm its traditional foreign policy, but it might.



With Its National Security at Stake, Israel Takes Sides in U.S.-China Trade War


Israel’s Netanyahu Knows It’s Over?


Because of Netanyahu, the New Election Could Result in the Same Nightmare

Avigdor Lieberman,Yisrael Beiteinu party, brought down Netanyahu, pretends he’s a champion of religious freedom and a fighter against Jewish fundamentalism//CRIMSON TAZVINZWA//

Netanyahu may win the new election but it will be too late to push through the High Court override and the immunity from prosecution: Who will sign a coalition agreement with someone on his political deathbed.