A7News: Teachers’ Strike Set to End After Chanukah

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Teachers’ Strike Set to End After Chanukah

The National Labor Court forces Israel’s school teachers back to work after Chanukah vacation. Photo: Israel’s Finance and Education Ministers

  1. Teachers’ Strike Set to End After Chanukah
  2. George W. Bush to Visit Israel Next Month
  3. Modiin, Home of the Maccabees, Marks Chanukah
  4. New Site Opens to Counter ‘Peace Now’
  5. Peace Now Documents Numerous Building Starts in Judea & Samaria
  6. Protests Call For Release of Jewish Nationalist Prisoners
  7. News Briefs

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1. Teachers’ Strike Set to End After Chanukah

by Ezra HaLevi

The National Labor Court has decided to force Israel’s striking school teachers back to work when after the Chanukah vacation.

The court on Tuesday night approved the government’s request to issue an injunction against the teachers in a decision that calls for classes to resume on December 13. The teachers have been striking for nearly two months.

The injunction request was filed by the Finance and Education Ministries, and resulted in the court acting as mediator between the striking teachers and the government. Negotiations will now continue under the shadow of the injunction. Finance Minister Roni Bar-On called the injunction a “last resort.”

National Labor Court Judges Steve Adler, Nili Arad and Yigal Plitman lamented the suffering that the strike has caused Israel’s students educationally and teachers financially. They said they hoped the injunctions would protect both groups from harm during the remaining negotiations.

Secondary Teachers Union chief Ran Erez says he will appeal to Israel’s Supreme Court to annul the injunction. However, he said he would not disobey legally-issued injunctions. The union’s attorneys dispute the veracity of statistics presented to the court by government representatives.

MK Zevulun Orlev (NU/NRP) reacted with disappointment at the Labor Court’s decision. This is “a sad day for labor relations in Israel and a mortal blow to the basic right to strike,” Orlev said. The back-to-work order is “a ringing slap on the cheek” to teachers, he said, and a sign that the government does not trust them.

Orlev complained that the government leadership’s behavior has led to a collapse of Israel’s educational system, “which must be built up and revived.”

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2. George W. Bush to Visit Israel Next Month

by Gil Ronen

United States President George W. Bush will visit Israel in the middle of January. The trip was planned during Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s visit to the White House last week and was kept secret until Tuesday, when it was announced on Channel 2 television.
It still is not clear if Bush will also visit other countries in the region, and whether he will meet with Mahmoud Abbas.

Bush’s visit to Israel is seen both as a follow-up on the Annapolis conference, and a show of support for Olmert and Israel against the background of the Iranian nuclear crisis. It still is not clear whether President Bush’s wife, Laura, will accompany him on the trip, nor is it known if Bush will visit other countries in the region, like Jordan or Egypt, and whether he will meet with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

George W. Bush has visited Israel previously, most recently when he was Governor of Texas, in 1998. He met with many Israeli leaders and visited various sites, including the Western Wall. In 2003 he took part in the Akaba summit, just west of Eilat.

US President George Bush and wife Laura during a meeting with former Israeli President Ezer Weitzman at his residence in Jerusalem, Dec 25 1998.
Flash 90

Some critics of US President Bush blasted him before the Annapolis conference, for not having visited the region he was so concerned about in the years since taking office.

‘We will use our prowess to help you’
In the recent summit at Annapolis, Maryland, Israel and the PA agreed to hold intensive negotiations with the aim of reaching an accord by the end of Bush’s second term, in late 2008. In his speech wrapping up the summit, Bush said that while the events of the peace conference were significant, they were “not nearly as important as tomorrow and the days beyond.”

“The US will be actively engaged in the process,” Bush told the two leaders who stood by his side. “We will use our prowess to help you,” he promised.

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3. Modiin, Home of the Maccabees, Marks Chanukah

by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

The modern Israeli city of Modiin, partially built atop the town the Maccabees called home, is marking the Chanukah festival with a children’s march through the streets, lectures on the ancient city, and other community events. A participatory battlefield
A public candle-lighting for the first night of Chanukah will be broadcast live from Modi’in.
reenactment is planned in the area for next week.

Chanukah, an eight-day holiday, begins Tuesday night.

The Chanukah celebrations in Modiin begin Tuesday afternoon with a torch-light procession by the city’s schoolchildren and youth groups through the streets to the city hall. A public candle-lighting for the first night of Chanukah will then be broadcast live from Modiin on the Israel Broadcasting Authority’s Channel 3. A performance artist using flames, reminiscent of the city’s emblem and of the candles lit during the holiday, will provide the centerpiece for the evening’s entertainment.

On Wednesday, the Fourth Annual Yair Pereg Modiin Heritage Conference will take place in the city’s multidisciplinary center. The conference is named in memory of the well-known geneticist who in later years devoted himself to developing the city of Modiin.

“The conference will give the wider public the opportunity to hear from the leading lecturers on the subjects of Chanukah and Modiin of the past, present and future,” said Alex Weinreb, Modiin’s Deputy Mayor and an organizer of the conference. Weinreb noted with pride that most of the lecturers are themselves residents of Modiin.

The day-long conference will include lectures on Modiin-area archeology, nature and history, as well as on Chanukah as seen through modern historiography, art and food.

Another historical study, using a far more active teaching method, will take place on Sunday in nearby Canada Park. The Nature Preservation Society is organizing a reenactment of a major battle that took place in the Modiin area between the Greek army and the forces of the Maccabees around 165 BCE. The public will not be sitting on the sidelines, however. Visitors to the park will be divided into two groups – one led by “Judah the Maccabee” and one led by “Georgias,” a Greek army general who commanded the troops at the fateful Battle of Emmaus.

In honor of soldiers of the modern state of Israel, Karnit Goldwasser, wife of abducted IDF soldier Ehud Goldwasser, will be lighting a 23-meter-tall Chanukah candelabra on Wednesday at the Merkavot Latrun Park, south of Modiin. Tzvi Regev, father of abducted soldier Eldad Regev, will recite the blessings over the candles.

83% Plan to Light Candles
According to a joint Ynet and Gesher Institute poll, 83% of Hebrew-speaking Jews in
…a reenactment of a major battle that took place in… 165 BCE.
Israel say they will kindle Chanukah lights nightly over the course of the holiday, with only 2% saying they would not celebrate Chanukah at all. Among those describing themselves as secular, a full 68% will light the candles nightly.

The primary symbolism of the holiday for 40% of the public is the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks, and 35% say the celebration is about family.

Hellenism Today
41% of the public felt that excessive hours spent in front of the computer, on the Internet or watching television are symbols of a latter-day Hellenism. “Americanization” is the new Hellenism, according to 18% of those polled. Modern justice and democratic systems are symbols of Hellenism to 10%, consumerism to 9%, and obsession with body image to 8%.

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4. New Site Opens to Counter ‘Peace Now’

by Shimon Cohen and Hillel Fendel

A new internet site has been opened with the goal of pointing out the damage caused by the far-left Peace Now organization.

Aryeh King, a long-time activist on behalf of Jewish interests in eastern Jerusalem, has opened the new Hebrew-language website as part of his long-time struggle against the dangers of Peace Now. Peace Now was founded in 1978 on the basis of the belief that only the removal of all Jewish presence from Judea, Samaria and Gaza would lead to peace, and has ever since made it its goal to destroy all vestiges of Jewish life in those areas.

King is hoping to prepare an English version of the site as well.

The new website is replete with little-known details about Peace Now and its history, and tells the stories of the organization’s founders: Education Minister Yuli Tamir, Eran Shendar (who was Israel’s State Prosecutor until last week), Meretz MK Avshalom Vilan, and Attorney Tzali Reshef, the brother of nationally-known Army Radio broadcaster Rafi Reshef.

One section of the website includes the various legal cases that have been filed and opened against Peace Now members, including accusations of assault against Tel Aviv Municipality workers, stealing a caravan in the Binyamin area, contempt of court, false accusations against Rabbi Zalman Melamed of Beit El, and more.

“If it Can’t be Sued, it Can’t Sue”
Website founder King recently filed a suit against Peace Now based on Tzali Reshef’s admission that the organization does not legally exist. In response to an earlier suit by King against Peace Now demanding an award for damages, Reshef said that Peace Now cannot be sued because it is not technically a legally-recognized association. King then countered with a suit demanding that Peace Now be erased from all the cases it itself brought against Jewish interests in Judea and Samaria.

“If it can’t be sued, then it can’t sue,” King says. He expresses astonishment that the State Prosecution – headed until last week by Peace Now co-founder Eran Shendar – never “realized” that the many court suits filed over the years by Peace Now were illegal.

“How can it be,” King asks in his latest suit, “that no one in the State Prosecution, over the course of many years and dozens of court suits and petitions by Peace Now, ever noticed that Reshef himself said that Peace Now cannot be recognized as a legal association that can sue and be sued?”

King’s new site invites all those who feel they have been harmed by Peace Now or its members to submit their stories and reveal relevant documents. A warning reminds would-be submitters not to include information that may serve Peace Now in its efforts to close down the new site.

King writes that his new website has three objectives: “To reveal the truth regarding the radical organization known as Peace Now; to enable mutual help among those who have been hurt by Peace Now in sharing information and the like; and to encourage judicial and other legal actions against Peace Now and its activists.”

Bedein: Peace Now “Spying on Israel” in the Service of Foreign Countries
An often-forgotten tidbit that appears on the site is the fact that Peace Now was funded to the tune of nearly two million shekels by European Union countries in 2003 – including from the Foreign Ministries of Great Britain and Norway – as well as another 1.75 million in 2005. In later years, reports independent researcher David Bedein, other EU countries joined in the funding, which was reached a total of five million shekels ($1.25 million) in 2006.

Britain and Norway are fundamentally opposed to the existence of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, thus the money they give Peace Now invariably serves those governments’ foreign policy interests. Bedein reports that Peace Now is thus “in effect spying on Israel for foreign governments,” as its surveillance activities cover not only Israeli communities, but also military installations belonging to the IDF.

The new site also informs its readers that Reshef is the Director-General of the Erldan Company, which has built in the past in Gilo and French Hill – areas that were liberated from Jordan in the Six Day War. Similarly, Peace Now co-founder MK Vilan is a “settler since the day he was born,” the site tells us, as he was born and lives in Kibbutz Negba – on lands formerly occupied by two Arab villages, Biet Afa and Abdis.

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5. Peace Now Documents Numerous Building Starts in Judea & Samaria

by Hillel Fendel

Radical left-wing Peace Now has released a report stating that Jewish construction continues on a wide scale throughout Judea and Samaria, despite official policy against new construction there.

The report alleges that the law enforcement agencies largely ignore the Jewish growth, having knocked down less than 3% of the “illegal” building starts. Another 5% were self-evacuated.

Peace Now, whose goal it is to remove or destroy all Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria, reports that 3,449 files have been opened against illegal building starts by Jews in Judea and Samaria in the past ten years. Of these, Peace Now claims, only 107 were destroyed, and another 171 were self-evacuated.

The Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria (Yesha) said in response that the report presents a “distorted and one-sided picture,” omitting all information on the number of illegal Arab structures throughout Yesha. “Providing the figures on illegal Arab construction throughout Judea and Samaria and the Negev would give the proper proportions on the extent of the real problem,” the Council stated.

In first place in building starts in Yesha, according to Peace Now, is the community of Ofrah, between Jerusalem and Shilo, with 196. Following way behind is Beit El, just five kilometers to the west, with 107.

In the “illegal outposts” category, Bruchin (near Ariel) is first, with 104 building complaints registered, followed by Shvut Rachel (adjacent to Shilo), Migron (near Psagot), and HaYovel (outside Eli, north of Shilo).

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6. Protests Call For Release of Jewish Nationalist Prisoners

by Ezra HaLevi

The families of Jews imprisoned for attacking Arabs demonstrated Tuesday night outside President Shimon Peres’s home. The families want their loved ones to be released.

Among the demonstrators were the Dvir, Zeliger, Morag and Tessler families.

“Jewish nationalist prisoners are not afforded the wholesale releases granted to cursed terrorists, who continue to be released all the time,” a statement from the families read. “[Jewish prisoners] do not merit visits from well-connected MKs,” they added – a reference to frequent visits with Fatah’s Marwan Barghouti and Hizbullah’s Samir Kuntar by Arab and left-wing MKs.

Protesters, some whose parents are incarcerated for attempting to carry out reprisal attacks on Arabs, carried emotional placards reading “Free my Father.”

Others held placards reading: “Release our brothers the Jewish prisoners and not the Arab murderers of our loved ones” and “free brothers, not enemies.”

A similar protest took place earlier Tuesday opposite the IDF’s Horon Army Base in Samaria during a visit by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to the facility. That protest was joined by families of those murdered by Arab terrorism, including the Lieberman family from Elon Moreh. Hillel Lieberman was an unarmed Jewish man who was murdered in the first days of the Oslo War in 2000 as he walked toward the ransacked Joseph’s Tomb.

“On the day that marks one year since the death of the Jewish nationalist prisoner Asher Weissgan, who lost hope that he would ever be released during his lifetime, the same judges that sealed his fate delivered similar verdicts to the murderers of Minister Rechavam Ze’evi,” the groups states. “They know that their punishments will not be carried out, just like those of 430 cursed terrorists who were released today by the government of Israel, whose punishments will never be carried out.

“We, the families, call upon the public to act in every way to bring about the release of Jewish nationalist prisoners,” the group appeals.

The protests were organized by the families of Jewish ideological prisoners as well as the Honenu Legal Aid organization.

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7. News Briefs

by IsraelNN Staff

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Wednesday, Dec. 05 ’07
25 Kislev 5768

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