Showing posts with label Israel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Israel. Show all posts

February 14, 2020

36% Increase in Crimes Against LGBTQ in Israel

Anti-LGBT incidents in Israel increased by 36 percent in 2019, according to a report published Thursday by the Aguda — Israel’s LGBT Task Force nonprofit.
According to the annual report, which was published for the seventh year, 2,125 cases were recorded last year — or one almost every four hours. The report added that some 39% of the incidents of anti-LGBT bias came from state branches, particularly discrimination by employees of the Administration of Border Crossings, Population and Immigration (PIBA) dealing with marriage and parenthood records, requests to change one’s gender listing, and surrogacy abroad.
Last month, however, Aguda representatives and other LGBT rights activists met with the head of PIBA, who expressed willingness to take action on the matter.
Some 29% of the incidents happened within the family, the report said, adding that 272 teenagers were forced to leave their homes due to anti-LGBT harassment.
About 8% of the cases happened in public spaces, and 5% occurred in education institutions. Three percent of incidents occurred in workplaces — with about half the offenders being managers or bosses and half being colleagues.  
Members of the LGBT community and activists protest against Education Minister Rafi Peretz in Tel Aviv on July 14, 2019 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
The vast majority of the cases, 60%, were recorded in the Tel Aviv area, where many members of the LGBT community are located and where there are many shelters and community centers.
Some 11% of the incidents were recorded in Haifa, 10% in Beersheba and 9% in Jerusalem.
“LGBT-phobia kills and hurts thousands of victims who are physically and verbally assaulted, thrown out of their homes and pushed to the edge — sometimes to the point of total despair and suicidal thoughts,” Aguda chairperson Hila Peer and CEO Ohad Hizki said in a joint statement.
“This reality doesn’t come out of nowhere — there are those who choose to feed it,” they added. “It grows stronger when Israel’s education minister wants to convert an entire part of society. We won’t allow ourselves to be erased from the public sphere, we will protect the personal safety of the community members and we will continue taking action for equality and freedom.”

November 19, 2019

Are You and Your Male Partner Adoptive Parents? Israel Would Like to Know Which One Is The Mom?

"History tells us without any doubt when religion controls the government the worse injustices take place based on a book or a high up in their hierarchy, Why do people still choose to live controlled by those forms of government?" (Adam)

Guy Sadaka and Hai Aviv were preparing to enroll their 2-year-old twins in preschool in Tel Aviv. The program is subsidized by the government, so the couple, who have been together for 12 years, applied with the Ministry of Labor and Social Services for tuition assistance. But the agent who answered the phone on Wednesday told the two men that one of them would have to declare himself the children’s “mother” on the paperwork, as first reported by the Israeli news site Ynet.

"I understand that you are both fathers and that you run a shared household, but there is always the one who is more dominant, who is more ‘the mother,’" the representative said, according to Sadaka. "I am just asking for a written statement declaring which of you is the mother. From the point of view of the work — who works less than the father? Like in a normal family.”

Guy Sadaka (left) and Hai Aviv with their 2-year-old twins.
 Guy Sadaka (left) and Hai Aviv with their 2-year-old twins.Etty Gennis

Guy Sadaka (left) and Hai Aviv with their 2-year-old twins.Guy Sadaka (left) and Hai Aviv with their 2-year-old twins.Etty Gennis

Sadaka, 33, said the agent was sympathetic but claimed her department was subject to archaic guidelines from the Ministry of Economy. “Don’t think about it too much,” she advised. “We are not going to investigate this, we are not going to check, we are only examining your eligibility.”

Aviv and Sadaka were both stunned by the absurdity of the request and shocked that they were being asked to lie to the government.

“It kind of made me laugh,” Sadaka told NBC News. “But this ignorance in a government office when it’s just about 2020 just seems crazy to me. I felt frustrated that I have to give answers that don’t make any sense."

By Wednesday afternoon, the ministry had issued an apology, stating it was addressing the family’s case “immediately" and would be updating procedures with its call center to prevent similar incidents in the future.

“We emphasize that the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs’ practices explicitly treat all types of families and grant equal rights to all,” a representative said in a statement. 
Israeli-Palestinian conflict tears into LGBTQ Jewish community
But Ohad Haski, director of Israeli LGBTQ organization Aguda, called the apology “insufficient.”

"Shame that even in 2019 discrimination against the gay community continues to exist in our government offices,” Haski told Ynet.

Israel is often praised as the most gay-friendly country in the Middle East, but LGBTQ people still face significant hurdles in building families: Same-sex marriage is still not legally recognized and, until 2017, gay couples were only allowed to adopt children who were older or had special needs. From 2008 to 2017, when the Israeli government announced opposite and same-sex couples would be treated equally in the adoption process, just three gay couples were approved to adopt.

And it wasn’t until December 2018 that both parents in a same-sex couple could be listed on a child’s birth certificate, thanks to a landmark decision from Israel’s High Court.

Guy Sadaka (left) and Hai Aviv with their 2-year-old twins.Guy Sadaka (left) and Hai Aviv with their 2-year-old twins.Etty Gennis

While the country legalized gestational surrogacy in 1996, it is only available to straight couples. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he supports surrogate parenthood for the LGBTQ community, but he opposed an October 2018 bill that would have legalized surrogacy for same-sex couples and single women, claiming his coalition government didn’t have enough votes to pass it. “When we do, we will do so,” he added.

Until then, prospective same-sex parents must go outside the country, devoting small fortunes and massive resources to create their families. After multiple attempts at surrogacy across three different countries, Sadaka and Aviv estimate they spent close to $250,000 in travel, medical bills and other expenses.

And they’re relatively lucky — in Tel Aviv, Sadaka said, families like theirs aren’t uncommon. Neither they nor their children have faced much in the way of discrimination.

“Outside Tel Aviv, it’s not the same situation,” he explained. “And even in the city, there are landlords who won’t rent to gay couples.” 

The couple’s twins, a boy, and a girl were born in the U.S. via surrogate in 2017. While Israel immediately recognized the children as citizens, each child was conceived using a donor egg and sperm from each of the two men. As a result, Sadaka and Aviv still have to undergo a bureaucratic procedure to “unify our family” and grant parental rights to each other’s biological child — an extra step Sadaka said straight couples don’t have to deal with.

“As long as the religious parties still control the government, we won’t see a real change,” Sadaka said.

For now, he and Aviv are just glad neither has to be listed as their twins’ mother.

August 21, 2019

Palestinian Police Denies LGBT Group From Holding Activities at The West Bank

This Monday, June 29, 2015 photo provided by Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar shows his painting of a rainbow flag on six slabs of the West Bank security barrier in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (Khaled Jarrar via AP)
This Monday, June 29, 2015 photo provided by Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar shows his painting of a rainbow flag on six slabs of the West Bank security barrier in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (Khaled Jarrar via AP)
Palestinian Authority police have banned a Palestinian LGBT rights group from organizing any activities in the West Bank and threatened to arrest them, saying such activities are contrary to the “values of Palestinian society.”
In a statement Saturday, police spokesman Louay Arzeikat said events such as those organized by the group al-Qaws “go against and infringe upon the higher principles and values of Palestinian society.” 
Arzeikat also charged that “suspicious parties” were trying to “sow discord and undermine Palestinian society’s peaceful state of affairs” and asserted that the police would pursue al-Qaws’s staff and turn them over to judicial authorities if it successfully collars them. 
He also called on Palestinians to report on any al-Qaws activity, promising informers confidentiality. 
Al-Qaws is an non-governmental organization established in 2001 that aims to support gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender Palestinians and Arab Israelis. It’s website says it has offices in East Jerusalem and Haifa; PA security forces cannot enter those areas, according to agreements between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization.
The police statement came after al-Qaws said on its Facebook page that it had held a gathering in the northern West Bank city of Nablus on August 4 that discussed gender pluralism in the city.
It also said it was planning to hold a “queer camp” on August 30 and 31 at a location to be announced at a later date.
It said the two-day program “provides a place for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth from Palestine to meet, learn about the basic concepts of gender pluralism and explore the different sides of our human sexuality.”
The group says it “is at the forefront of vibrant Palestinian cultural and social change, building LGBTQ communities and promoting new ideas about the role of gender and sexual diversity in political activism, civil society institutions, media, and everyday life.”
While there are no PA laws on the books that ban homosexual acts, the Palestinian LGBT community largely exists underground due to familial, religious and government repression, a source familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Times of Israel.
Later Sunday evening, al-Qaws condemned the police statement as “very unfortunate” and urged authorities to familiarize themselves with its work.
The group noted that the police statement had come just hours after “an unprecedented assault by dozens of people on al-Qaws’s social media pages including threats of violence.”
A view of Nablus in the northern West Bank. (Adam Rasgon/The Times of Israel)
On Sunday The Times of Israel was only able to locate a few threatening posts made by Palestinians on al-Qaws’s social media pages. But Laith Itmaiza, who used to work as a journalist at Quds News Network, wrote on his Facebook page that he had counted 643 comments written on Saturday evening in the span of three hours by Palestinians against the LGBT community.
Haneen Maiki, the director of al-Qaws, told Ultra Palestine, a Palestinian news site, that the despite the PA police’s statement, the group “would continue its work in different parts of Palestine, while taking into account the generally loaded atmosphere because of media outlets and the police’s incitement, so that we do not put any of our activists or friends at risk.”
Ahmad Harb, commissioner-general of the Independent Commission for Human Rights, lashed out at police, saying that they were effectively calling for vigilante action.
“The Palestinian police’s statement regarding the barring of the gathering of ‘gays’ and activists from the al-Qaws organization and threatening to pursue them and asking citizens to secretly inform on ‘suspects’ is very bad,” Harb wrote on his Facebook page. “It rises to the level of calling for ‘community violence and inciting a crime.’ Many understood this statement as a call to wastefully spill blood and take the law into one’s hands by implementing killing operations.”  
“This is not how issues are handled. This is not how the police protects its citizens,” he added.

July 22, 2019

Jerusalem Post: "Conversion Therapy Can Kill"

In a nation in which the Education minister supports putting gays particularly young ones through the ovens of homophobes to change who they are and who care less about the damage they do. Jews should remember about that and in the US the majority of jews do know that (exception hazzidics). Adam

20-year-old religious Zionist yeshiva student from Jerusalem, who asked to remain anonymous, said he wanted to cry when he heard Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz say last week that he recommends LGBT people undergo conversion therapy.

His reaction was similar to that of many LGBT people who have suffered through conversion therapy, a multifaceted form of psychotherapy that attempts to “convert” a gay person to heterosexuality.

Shay Bramson, deputy director of the religious gay support and advocacy group Havruta, said he was “very angry. It was really stupid because he’s not a physician, he’s not a social worker, he’s not a therapist in any way – and yet he claimed to understand and know how to do [conversion therapy] and that he himself performed conversion therapy, although he wasn’t so clear about that.” He pointed out that as a minister, parents might respect him and therefore choose to send their kids to such therapy.

Conversion therapy has been called “dangerous” and “ineffective” by Israeli psychological associations, Bramson said.

Bramson himself is gay and religious, and said that growing up he struggled with his sexuality, thinking that “a gay man is a very bad person… God doesn’t want it and I wanted to be very close to God. I wanted to be very religious; I was very religious.”

He was also afraid of how those around him would react. Therefore, he chose to try conversion therapy at Atzat Nefesh, an organization he found through the Internet.

Atzat Nefesh was wary at first to treat him since he was only 13 and a half, and it is illegal to treat a minor without parental consent. Bramson emphasized that he was treated by a psychotherapist who was a professor at Bar Ilan University, although he knew that some people who had “enjoyed the services” of conversion therapy were consulted by people who weren’t psychotherapists and who had no academic or professional license or education. 

During therapy, they emphasized traumatic events and told him that he had a very masculine mother and that his father was absent.

”He tried to put the narrative that would make sense [as to] why I’m gay,” Bramson explained. “They looked for criminal tendencies in the family and addiction. I didn’t feel like it actually fit my story.”

Bramson told The Jerusalem Post that part of the therapy was “to punish myself and to give myself penalties if I think about boys.”

He was also warned that being gay is not okay – not just religiously, but also because “gay people are often secular and live in Tel Aviv, and they have AIDS and other sexual diseases, and were lonely and suicidal and have no family.”

“I didn’t know any of this... so I actually believed him,” Bramson explained, noting that he was also scared that if his parents found out that he was gay they would kick him out of the house.

“I would have no life anymore,” he said.

Around that same time, they were learning in yeshiva about a rule in Jewish law that in certain cases, you must choose to die rather than transgress a prohibition, which led Bramson to contemplate suicide. “I tried to do it and, luckily, I failed.”

THE ANONYMOUS 20-year-old yeshiva student’s story is more modern, but not so different. When he was 13, he first understood that he was gay. He kept it inside until at age 19 when he decided to try conversion therapy.

People in the religious Zionist community “believe that if you don’t try conversion therapy, you’re not religious,” the student explained. “Conversion therapy is in the DNA of religious Zionism... [and] a form of psychological terrorism.

“There’s a lot of anger at your parents and shouting,” he continued. “It was explosive.”

The therapists “tell you that if you work until the end, you’ll get out of being gay, but since this isn’t the case, they end up opening deep wounds and not closing them,” the student said. “At the end of a day of therapy, you would simply cry for hours.”

He said that he thought it was just not working for him in the beginning and that this feeling was just part of the therapy – until after a few months he realized that the reason he felt bad was that it was not working.

In a Facebook post, Ze’ev Goren, 20, explained that “Being a gay religious Jew in the [religious] community is one dimensional. ‘You’re gay? You’re not a part of it.’

“There’s no issue with conversion therapy per se,” wrote Goren, “but these treatments are based on lies. Throughout every treatment, they say, ‘you have a choice how to live’ – but you don’t. ‘You have a choice in what to believe’ – but you don’t.”

In other words, he explained that in the religious community, one who chooses to live as openly gay is ostracized for being different.

“The platform is simple: Live like us or die,” wrote Goren, explaining that conversion therapy is the choice for people who feel helpless and afraid of being out of the closet, and hence kicked out of their community.

Furthermore, those interviewed said that conversion therapy has had lasting effects on them.

“Suicidal thoughts scour your soul and leave wounds on you that affect your whole life afterward,” said Bramson. “Depression, self-hatred, suicidal thoughts: That’s what I was left with. Even 16 years after this, it still affects me today. Not the exact feeling of self-hatred – now I have self-confidence and a new identity – but still, things affect you.”

According to the student, the conversion therapists keep an eye on anyone who goes through the process and even afterward.

“They tail you to make sure you’re on track and that you’re not speaking trash about the therapy,” he explained.

After his initial comments in support of conversion therapy, Peretz clarified that he would never force anyone to do conversion therapy, but would just present it as a viable option. Later, he denied that he supports conversion therapy, saying: “I know that conversion therapy is illegitimate and severe. This is my unambiguous position.”

Neither the clarification nor the retraction made the original statement any less harmful, Bramson and the others told the Post.

“I wasn’t forced to go to conversion therapy, I wanted to do it,” explained Bramson. “Still, it was dangerous for me.”

He emphasized that the issue “is not a black and white option of being religious and straight or being gay and secular. There is a very healthy, happy and growing community of religious LGBT people in Israel. They’re accepted in their communities and synagogues; they’re happy.

“It’s not the end of the world,” he continued. “It will be better if your kid will be gay and alive and happy, than in the closet and hating himself – or marrying a woman [based] on lies without her knowing about the sexual orientation of her husband.

July 17, 2019

Israel “Education Minister" Backs Conversion Therapy Against World Scientists' Findings

Amid an outcry over the education minister’s comments backing so-called conversion therapy, a growing number of gay Israelis who grew up in religious communities are coming forward to share their experiences of predatory therapists and bizarre behavioral treatments as part of the controversial practice, which many say drove them to attempt suicide.
Health officials around the world say that conversion therapy is scientifically dubious and possibly dangerous. Gay conversion therapies, also called reparative therapies, have been strongly discouraged in Israel, the US, and elsewhere, with major health organizations pointing to what they term pseudo-scientific methods and the treatment of homosexuality as a mental illness. {Times of Israel}
Religious participants in the annual gay pride parade in Jerusalem, September 18, 2014. (Hadas Parush/ Flash90)

JERUSALEM — {Associated Press}
Israel's new education minister's remarks in favor of "conversion therapy," a controversial technique that seeks to turn gays into heterosexuals, came under widespread criticism and led hundreds to protest Sunday.

Rafi Peretz, who leads a small religious-nationalist party, said in a televised interview over the weekend that he supports conversion therapy and has performed it. The statement was attacked across the political system, including by the prime minister and other members of the government.

It was Peretz's second major controversy in just a month on the job. Last week, he elicited uproar, particularly from overseas Jews, when he compared intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews to a second "Holocaust."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on Twitter Sunday that Peretz's remarks on conversion therapy were unacceptable and "do not represent my government's position." 

Philippines' Duterte claimed he was once gay but now 'cured'
Another member of Netanyahu's party, Justice Minister Amir Ohana, who is openly gay, said "sexual orientation does not require therapy nor conversion. Preconceived notions and ignorance require therapy and conversion."

Health officials have said that conversion therapy is scientifically dubious and possibly even dangerous.

Etai Pinkas-Arad, a Tel Aviv city councilman in charge of LGBTQ affairs, said that conversion therapy can "in some cases cause death by suicidal attempts" and called on Peretz to be fired.

Peretz, a former chief rabbi in the Israeli military, "shouldn't be holding this position any longer, or relevant position in the future," he said.

Hundreds protested in Tel-Aviv on Sunday, calling on Peretz to resign. 

Israeli-Palestinian conflict tears into LGBTQ Jewish community
In recent years, Israel has turned into one of the most gay-friendly travel destinations in the world, with the Tel Aviv pride parade attracting crowds of more than 200,000 people. In Israel, homosexuals serve openly in the military and in parliament and many popular artists and entertainers are openly gay.

Israel's reputation as an LGBTQ haven has also caused critics to accuse the country of "pinkwashing," or using its tolerance for liberal gay culture to conceal its violations of Palestinian rights.

While Netanyahu likes to boast about Israel's broad acceptance of gays, he has been attacked by LGBTQ activists for homophobic comments by members of his coalition, which is dominated by religious and conservative politicians. Last year he was also criticized for voting against surrogacy for gay fathers, presumably under pressure from his Ultra-orthodox coalition partners.

May 7, 2019

If It Didn’t Get Filmed It Never Happened and Israel Has Restricted Photo Documentation About Military

If adopted, a proposed bill could ban the filming and photographing of Israeli soldiers on duty. Photo by Flickr user Tal King (CC BY-NC 2.0)
When Israeli police brought in bulldozers to demolish the Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar on 4 July, the small community of 200 people did not stand still. 
Photos and videos shared online showed local residents and activists climbing into and blocking bulldozers. Israeli forces responded by assaulting and arresting protesters, leaving 35 injured and 11 detained. 
One video that made the rounds online showed Israeli military officers ripping off the headscarf of a woman protester as they were beating her, before wrestling her to the ground and taking her away.
Such violent encounters with the Israeli military and security forces have long been commonplace in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory. Documenting and speaking out against such encounters is possible and has become much easier in the past decade, with the advent of smart phones. 
But it may soon become more difficult — or even illegal. Israeli legislators are pushing two bills that would further restrict speech by activists and journalists critical of its policies in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory.
The first bill would place restrictions on the filming and photographing of Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), prescribing a five-year prison term against anyone convicted of “filming, photographing, and/or recording soldiers in the course of their duties, with the intention of undermining the spirit of IDF soldiers and residents of Israel.” If a court ruled that the photographer's intention was to “harm [Israeli] state security,” the penalty would extend to ten years in prison.
The “Prohibition Against Photographing and Documenting IDF Soldiers” would also criminalise the dissemination of the photos or footage on social networks and mainstream media. 
The second bill would streamline processes for government officials to demand that social media platforms remove online content considered “incitement to violence”, and is set to be approved by the Knesset.
Knesset member Robert Ilatov described the first bill as a response to “harassment” of Israeli soldiers by “left-wing operatives” at the Gaza-Israel border, where IDF officers have violently dispersed protests.
Since 30 March 2018, thousands of Palestinians living in the besieged Gaza Strip have gathered at the border with Israel for the ”Great March of Return” protests, marking 70 years since 700,000 Palestinians were forced to flee during the creation of the state of Israel, events known as Nakba in Arabic (translated as catastrophe or disaster). 
The protesters are demanding the right to return for those who were displaced and their descendants, along with an end to the 11-year Gaza blockade. Since protests began in late March 2018, Israeli forces have killed at least 138 protesters and injured thousands.

Journalists targeted by Israeli fire on Gaza border

Two journalists were killed and several others injured when they were hit with live ammunition fired by Israel Defense Forces (IDF), while covering the ”Great March of Return” protests.
On 6 April, Yaser Murtaja, one of the founders of the independent news agency Ain Media (“Eye Media”), was shot by Israeli forces. He died later that night of his injuries. “When shot, he was wearing a vest with the inscription ‘Press’ that clearly identified him as a journalist,” Reporters Without Borders said
On 25 April, Ahmed Abu Hussein, a Palestinian photographer for the Gaza-based Voice of the People Radio, died from bullet injuries to his abdomen after he was shot by Israel forces on 13 April while covering the protests. On 8 June, AFP photographer Mohammed al-Baba was shot below in the leg while covering the protests. Many other journalists were injured as well.
In a 15 May statement, RSF submitted a request to the International Criminal Court to investigate “the direct shots that IDF snipers have fired at some 20 Palestinian journalists during the “March of Return” protests in Gaza.

Why shield soldiers from public scrutiny?

In its explanatory note, the bill refers to “a worrying phenomenon of documentation of Israeli soldiers” by non-governmental organizations engaged in documenting violations against Palestinians. 
One such organization is The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, better known as B'Tselem. On 4 July, B’Tselem’s field researcher director Kareem Jubran was arrested as he was filming preparations for the forcible removal of the community of Khan al-Ahmar, before he was released the same day.
“As an organization, we have had staff members beaten, harassed and arrested,” B’Tselem spokesperson Amit Gilutz told Global Voices. Giltuz views the bill as part of a government led campaign that portrays those who “advocate for the human rights of all people living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea” as ‘traitors’.”
“What is clear is that the documentation of the reality that Israel is trying to hide – instead of changing – will continue nonetheless,” he said. 
While the bill's adoption may not stop activists and rights groups from documenting Israeli policies and practices in occupied territories, its impact will particularly be felt among Palestinian communities and activists.
Nadim Nashif, the executive director of the Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media, told Global Voices:  
This bill aims solely for censorship of commonplace Israeli forces’ human rights violations under the motto of “if it isn’t recorded, it didn’t happen.” If passed, it will dangerously increase the impunity of Israeli soldiers and further endanger Palestinians that have already been stripped of almost all means to protect themselves and advocate for their basic human rights.
Palestinians resisting the occupation already face a myriad of threats and restrictions, including violence, administrative detention, imprisonment and repressive laws. Those who turn to social media to criticise human rights violations and Israeli occupation policies or to simply show the everyday realities of occupation face arrests and prosecution for incitement.
The ‘Removal of Terror-Inciting Content from Social Media’ bill
And there's the second bill. The Removal of Terror-Inciting Content from Social Media Bill would criminalise content the Israeli government considers an “endangerment to personal, public or national security,” or speech that “could severely damage the Israeli economy or infrastructure,” local media reported.
This would double down on existing practices of prosecuting people for online speech and asking social media companies to remove allegedly inciting content. Incitement to violence is already illegal under Israel's 1977 penal code and under the 1945 Emergency Regulations.
In September 2016, Palestinian activists documented numerous suspensions of personal Facebook accounts of Palestinian journalists and media pages. Four editors at the Palestinian Shehab News Agency and three journalists from Al Quds News Network, which both have millions of followers, had their personal accounts shut down. Supporters responded, protesting online under the hashtag #FBCensorsPalestine. Facebook later apologized for the suspension and said that it was mistake.
Critics say the bill represents a threat to freedom of expression. A new report by the Israel Democracy Institute concluded that the bill sets a “dangerous legal precedent” and “opens the door to the dangers of state censorship”.
According to the report's authors Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler and Rachel Aridor-Hershkovitz:
The use of administrative law ex parte, with no admissible evidence to determine whether a criminal act has been committed, is an unprecedented international juridical act.
Social media companies, Facebook in particular, already face accusations of “complicity” in censoring Palestinian speech. One of the bill's initiators Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked declared that Facebook complies with ”most of the state's requests to remove inciteful [sic] content”.
“Instead of protecting freedom of expression online, social media companies are almost blindly following Israeli government requests for removal,” Nashif said.

March 1, 2019

Trump’s Buddy NetanyahuPM in Israel To Be Indicted For Corruption

Netanyahou and the Trump are so close they might as well could have been clone together. The orange and the overgrown olive that can not be use for wine nor vinegar. So close it reminds me a sclack of Port BBQ ribs. Their beliefs are mutual. Wether is what you do wih people behind your walls or the people with the wall you would like to built. Netanyau more than Trump came to power with very little but now he is a millionaire...well Trump came as millionair and now he is a billionaire but all of those things are tittles because if they go to jail, the money will dissapear in lawyer's fees, etc.


After months of anticipation, Israel's attorney general has told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he is preparing to indict him on corruption charges.

It's a major blow to the long-serving premier and Trump ally, though not a final decision on an indictment. Netanyahu will still have a chance to hold off any indictment during a court hearing. And in the meantime, he remains in office and seeks reelection in April.

If Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit decides to press charges, which expert expect he will do, it would be the first time a sitting prime minister in Israel has been indicted.

The announcement shakes up Israeli politics just six weeks before voters decide whether Netanyahu gets another term. He has been serving as prime minister for a decade.

Israeli Police Recommend Indicting Netanyahu In 3rd Corruption Allegations This Year
Israeli Police Recommend Indicting Netanyahu In 3rd Corruption Allegations This Year
Mandelblit has been studying three different corruption cases and has outlined them in a document over 50 pages long sent to Netanyahu's lawyers, Israeli media reports. The details of the accusations are well-known. Israeli police recommended months ago that Netanyahu be indicted for all three sets of allegations.

First, he's facing a possible breach of trust and fraud charges— for accepting cigars and champagne and expensive gifts from wealthy businessmen, including Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan.

Second, he's facing more possible breach of trust and fraud charges charge — for trying to strike a deal with a newspaper publisher to advance legislation to help the publisher's business, in exchange for giving Netanyahu positive media coverage. The deal never went through.

The final case is the most serious one because the charges the attorney general is considering include bribery. Netanyahu allegedly approved a lucrative company merger for a telecoms businessman, and in exchange the businessman's news website gave Netanyahu favorable coverage.

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Though Netanyahu will receive a hearing prior to a formal indictment, the authority will remain with the attorney general to decide. A final indictment could take a year or more. The hearing date has not yet been made public. 

NPR News Interviews Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Netanyahu has called the bribery charge "absurd." He's decried the probe as interference in the upcoming Israeli elections, and described the accusations as a "house of cards."

He's accused Mandelblit of caving to pressure from the left and the left-wing media to rush to announce charges before the elections. The embattled prime minister is expected to address the Israeli public on Thursday evening.

This saga has divided voters. A recent poll from Haifa University shows about half of the public doesn't have much trust in the attorney general. At the same time, another poll from the Israeli television show Meet the Press said that 64 percent of Israelis wanted Mandelblit to announce his decision prior to the election, Haaretz reported.

The Justice Ministry said in a statement that "the Attorney General has reached his decision after thoroughly examining the evidence collected during the investigations conducted by the Israel Police and the Israel Securities Authority, and after considering the detailed opinions provided by the State Attorney's Office. Furthermore, the Attorney General has conducted a series of lengthy discussions with senior members of the State Attorney's Office and the Office of the Attorney General."

Netanyahu has signaled that if indicted, he would remain in office and fight in court.

The non-partisan Israel Democracy Institute called on Netanyahu to "carefully consider" what's best for Israel.

"Is it best for the country to be governed by a leader charged with serious criminal acts of corruption, or is it best for him to resign and focus on proving his innocence in the courts?" the institute said in a statement.

It warned about the "serious potential damage to the public's trust in the state's institutions caused by a situation in which the government is headed by an individual charged with criminal misconduct involving abuse of power."

In the upcoming vote, his base will still likely support him — indeed, in a Haifa University survey, 65 percent of his party's supporters said they believe law enforcement is trying to force Netanyahu out. That party, Likud, said Thursday that this announcement represented a "political witch hunt" aiming at toppling Netanyahu's government.

Other voters, though, may question his ability to lead the country amid an uncertain political future as he faces these charges.

Netanyahu has been the front-runner in the upcoming elections, but if his poll numbers slip — even slightly — it could tip the scales. He would need to build a governing coalition with other parties in order to stay in power, and with likely criminal charges hanging over his head, it's unclear if other parties will be willing to stay by his side.

There's also a new centrist list led by a former army general – who is strong in the polls and who could win instead.

January 14, 2019

Israel Bans Doctors From Trying Gay Conversion Therapy But It All Depends on the Next Election


Reporting about anything to do with LGBT in Israel takes patience because everything to do with sex there is complicated. As most LGBT understands it Israel is a homophobic country that likes to hide the homophobia behind a rainbow flag so they can get the gay tourist dollars. Would you think a country or city is anti-gay when you see rainbow flags hanging from their roofs. Exacly! The money and their religious beliefs are separated. 

A ban on conversion therapy by Israeli doctors will help protect gay people from treatments that claim to make them straight, but more work needs to be done with religious groups that support controversial "cures," activists said on Wednesday.

Members who perform conversion therapy could now be expelled from the Israel Medical Association (IMA), which represents 90 percent of the country’s doctors, if a complaint is filed to its ethics committee, said IMA spokeswoman Ziva Miral. 

“The treatments to change one’s sexual orientation have been found to be ineffective and could cause mental damage, such as anxiety, depression and suicidal tendencies,” the IMA said in a position paper on the practice.

Conversion therapy, which can include hypnosis and electric shocks, is based on the belief that being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is a mental illness that can be cured.
It is used in many countries, except Malta, Ecuador and just over a dozen U.S. states that have outlawed it, according to the ILGA, a network of LGBT+ rights groups. Several states are considering bans, including Britain, New Zealand and Australia.

Ruth Gophen, one of the authors of IMA’s paper, published on Monday, said it was impossible to estimate how many Israelis have undergone conversion therapy because it is usually done in secret, as most doctors view it as unethical.
Israel is one of a handful of Middle Eastern countries - along with Jordan and Bahrain - that allow same-sex relations, in a region where several states impose a death penalty.
But many religious communities in Israel, where three-quarters of its 9 million-strong population are Jewish, are deeply conservative.

Chen Arieli, chairwoman of the Israeli LGBT Association, described the IMA’s ban on conversion therapy as a “breakthrough” but said outlawing the practice could make it harder to eradicate in communities where it is prevalent.
“We need to have a holistic approach regarding conversion treatment,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Our goal is to strengthen the religious LGBT organizations, to help them outreach (to) those youth that may be at risk of having conversion treatment.”

Julien Bahloul, spokesman for the Association of Israeli Gay Fathers, which campaigns for gay couples to become parents, said he hoped parliament would now pass a law making conversion therapy illegal.

“The fact that professional people, doctors, say today that this kind of therapy... is not acceptable and not in any way related to medicine is a huge victory for us,” he said.

However, Bahloul cautioned that it would depend on the results of elections scheduled for April 9.
It is often not possible to form a government in Israel without going into coalition with smaller parties, many of which are religious.


December 14, 2018

In Israel The Court Rules for Gay Parens in Birth Certificate

Illustrative: The High Court of Justice in session. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Thousands protest in support of the right of LGBT couples to adopt children at a demonstration in Tel Aviv on July 20, 2017. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Thousands protest in support of the right of LGBT couples to adopt children at a demonstration in Tel Aviv on July 20, 2017. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
In a victory for same-sex parents, the High Court of Justice ruled on Wednesday that the Interior Ministry cannot refuse to write an adoptive parent’s name on a child’s birth certificate because of the parent’s sex.

The ruling came in an appeal by two gay men who jointly adopted a son. They attempted to procure a birth certificate from the Interior Ministry for the child, but ministry officials refused to write both the men’s names as the boy’s parents on the certificate, the Haaretz daily reported.

The couple, who filed their appeal together with The Aguda – Israel’s LGBT Task Force, a major gay rights advocacy group, argued that the refusal to record both legal guardians in the certificate could hurt both parent and child in the future, as it would make simple administrative and legal actions that required proof of the parent-child relationship more difficult in the case of the unrecorded parent. 
The judges noted that the case did not only concern the parents’ right to be recognized as parents irrespective of their same-sex relationship, but also, and more importantly, the child’s right to recognition as their child.
“The principle of ‘the good of the child’ argues for the recording of his entire family unit,” Hendel wrote, “and doesn’t permit us to limit ourselves to only one of his parents in the birth certificate…. The contrast with the treatment of a child adopted by a heterosexual couple, who has the right to have both adopted parents written in a birth certificate, is a contrast that applies both to the child and to the parents.”

From a simple administrative perspective, too, Hendel wrote, “it is unreasonable for the couple to be [legally] recognized as parents but for the certificate not to give expression to that fact.”

The court ordered the Interior Ministry to produce a birth certificate with both fathers’ names.

The ruling puts to rest an ongoing dispute between Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, of the conservative Haredi political party Shas, and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit over the question. Deri has defended his ministry’s refusal in recent months to register same-sex couples on their children’s birth certificates, leading Mandelblit to openly come out against the policy. Once two individuals legally adopt a child, Mandelblit has argued, there are no legal grounds for refusing to register both parents on a birth certificate on account of the parents’ sex or sexual orientation. The policy amounted to illegal discrimination, Mandelblit has told Deri. 

Wednesday’s ruling is expected to influence two additional cases before the court, Haaretz reported. In one, a lesbian couple is appealing to force the Interior Ministry to have both women listed as parents on a birth certificate, for a child born to one of the women. In the other, a transgender man who was born a woman is asking the court to force the ministry to change his designation in his child’s birth certificate from “mother” to “father.”

“We’re happy that the court reminded the Interior Ministry of something that should have been self-evident — that parents are parents, no matter their sex, sexual orientation or gender,” the couple’s attorneys, Hagai Kalai and Daniella Yaakobi, said in a statement Wednesday.

“The court clarified that this policy of nitpicking, which abridges the rights of LGBT parents for no reason, cannot stand. We can hope that the court’s clear statement will lead the Interior Ministry to reconsider its policy of refusing to register two parents of the same sex in their children’s birth certificate, and refusing to register transgender parents in their children’s birth certificates with their correct gender.” 
Hen Arieli, chair of Aguda, said the decision “pulls the rug out from under the state’s strange arguments whenever LGBT parenthood comes up. It’s time to end the illegitimate discrimination against us. We will continue to fight in the streets, in the courts and in the Knesset until we are no longer second-class citizens.”

October 10, 2018

Why is Israel Afraid of 22 Yr Old Florida Native Who's Been Detained at The Airport for Her Views

Lara Alqasem, a 22-year-old Florida native, landed at Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport last Tuesday, expecting to start her studies in human rights at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Instead, she has spent the past week detained.
Alqasem, whose father is of Palestinian heritage, was barred from entering the country and accused of supporting a boycott of Israel that was started by Palestinian leaders.
Her mother, Karen Alqasem, told WMNF that "when she went through the gate to try to enter the country they asked where her father — you know she has the Alqasem name — so they asked where does that name come from, where was her father born?"
She showed the security agents her student visa, her mother said, but they made a call and detained her. 
Alqasem was denied entry to Israel because of a 2017 lawbarring visitors who support or call for a boycott against the country or its settlements in the West Bank. The measure passed after the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, a Palestinian-led campaign to exert pressure on Israel, gained traction internationally.
"Israel, like every democracy, has the right to prevent the entry of foreign nationals, especially those working to harm the country," Israeli Minister of Public Security and Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan said on Monday. "Therefore we work to prevent the entry of those who promote the anti-Semitic BDS campaign, which calls for Israel's destruction."
Erdan said the student was "president of a chapter of one of the most extreme and hate-filled BDS groups" in the U.S., which has chapters that "repeatedly engaged in anti-Semitic and violent activity with the goal of bullying and silencing students simply for their support of Israel." 
He also questioned why she "changed her story several times" since arriving in Israel and erased her social media accounts prior to traveling.
He also said she is free to return to the United States.
According to a profile page about Alqasem on a website that claims to document people and organizations "that promote hatred of the USA, Israel and Jews on North American college campuses," she was the president of Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Florida. 
Alqasem appealed the order, reportedly telling the Tel Aviv Court of Appeals that she no longer identified with the boycott movement. The court recommended that she remain in custody until a decision was reached. "The weeklong detention is the longest anyone has been held in a boycott-related case," The Associated Press reported.
As she awaits the court's decision, she told her mother that there was a bedbug infestation in her cell, according to the AP. Her cellphone was confiscated and she felt "completely cut off from the world."
On Tuesday, Erdan said that the government would reconsider her entry if she denounced the boycott movement.
Her attorney, Yotam Ben-Hillel, did not immediately respond to NPR's request for comment.
"We're talking about someone who simply wants to study in Israel, who is not boycotting anything," Ben-Hillel told the AP. "She's not even part of the student organization anymore."
Erdan said the leader of the boycott movement, Omar Barghouti, has an Israeli residency permit and studied at Tel Aviv University. Erdan argued that studying in Israel did not mean Alqasem could not be part of the boycott movement.
Dror Abend-David, a Jewish language and culture professor who taught Alqasem Hebrew at the University of Florida, offered support for her in an opinion letter to Haaretz: "It was impossible not to notice that she was an exceptional student — hard-working, curious and ambitious. ... She was curious about Israel and never expressed any negative sentiment or anger about Israel." 
A spokesperson at Hebrew University of Jerusalem told NPR that it would join Alqasem's appeal. Some 400 academics from the university and other Israeli schools have called for her to be allowed into the country, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Hebrew University Rector Barak Medina told The Washington Post that authorities prevented university representatives from visiting her at the airport on Sunday.
"This kind of legislation might actually enhance the tendency to boycott Israel, instead of mitigating it," Medina was reported to have said. "These are a collection of policies that are not only aimed at narrowing freedom of speech but also show the extent to which Israel is not acting like a liberal democracy should."
In recent months, a number of vocal critics of the Israeli government, including U.S. journalist Peter Beinart, have been interrogated about their political views by border agents. As NPR's Daniel Estrin reported, the practice has revived a debate about whether Israel is suppressing dissent. 

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