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Netanyahu Refusing to Apologize for Ex-Envoy Oren's Obama-Slam


The Obama Administration has been pressuring Jerusalem to criticize an article by former Ambassador to the US, Michael Oren (Kulanu), in which he accused President Barack Obama of purposely causing a deterioration in US-Israel relations. Arutz Sheva has learned that the US pressure – which began after the article appeared in the Wall Street Journal Monday – continued Thursday, but that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu does not intend to criticize Oren.

The Prime Minister's Office and the Foreign Ministry have remained silent despite US anger, as expressed by the State Department and by US Ambassador in Israel Dan Shapiro. Shapiro has held meetings and contacts with senior officials in the Foreign Ministry as well as ministers – including the Prime Minister – in an attempt to make Israel apologize for the accusations, or at least make Oren apologize himself.

This pressure appears to have borne fruit in two cases: Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, head of the Kulanu party, said Wednesday that the statements are Oren's personal opinion and do not reflect the positions of the party, and Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) has also published criticism of Oren's statements. However, Netanyahu's confidants said that he does not intend to respond to the article at all.

Oren's op-ed said President Barack Obama had dropped the two core principles guiding Israeli-US ties of "no daylight, no surprises." Oren, a former U.S citizen, who served as ambassador from 2009 to 2013, acknowledged that Israel blundered in some instances, but added that "while neither leader monopolized mistakes, only one leader made them deliberately. From the moment he entered office, Mr. Obama promoted an agenda of championing the Palestinian cause and achieving a nuclear accord with Iran. Such policies would have put him at odds with any Israeli leader," Oren wrote.

Palestinian Terrorist Prisoners Planning Hunger Strike for More TV Channels


The Israel Prisons Service are presently preparing for the possibility that towards the end of Ramadan, in July, terrorist prisoners will go on hunger strike to protest their prison conditions. However, the benefits they are striking for goes beyond the pale of basic living conditions, according to a report released Wednesday. Among the demands are more television channels and a canteen budget of 200 shekels ($52) per terrorist prisoner, according to Walla! News.

Immediately after the abduction and murder of three teenagers Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Sha'ar, and Naftali Frankel, the IPS decided to re-examine the prison conditions of security prisoners. The results showed that prisoners have living conditions that are too good - 17 TV channels, a large canteen budget, and other incentives which may keep offenders from rehabilitating.

The outgoing IPS chief, Aharon Franco, and his deputy, Eli Gavison, decided to reduce these benefits to only three TV channels - 1, 2 and 10. It was also decided to reduce the budget given for canteen purchases.

However, months after the decision was made, the IPS and the Israel Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet) have discovered that there are various attempts from leadership within the prison system to organize a mass protest on the issue. Leaders named include Ahmed Saadat from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Abdullah Barghouti, who just managed to embarrass the IPS when he was interviewed by telephone by a bootleg radio station in Gaza. Representatives of the prisoners have demanded that the IPS loosen their standards, even partially, by adding more TV channels, allowing more family visits, and more.

IPS Intelligence and the Shin Bet believe that prisoners will launch a hunger strike towards the end of the month of Ramadan, which opened on Thursday, inter alia, to test the flexibility of the new Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud), as well as the flexibility of the new IPS commissioner expected to be appointed in the upcoming days.

Ramadan Begins for Muslims of Israel and the World.


The Muslim world on Thursday has started celebrating the start of the month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from early morning to night and pray for a whole month.

Countless people around the world and Israel will consecrate the next month to the purification of the soul by avoiding food, drink, smoking, and sexual relations. In the Arab sector they point out that during Ramadan many will try to "quit lying, gossip and profanity."

The fast lasts for nearly 16 hours, starting at 3:45 a.m. and ending at 8 p.m. On the last day thousands of children and their parents attended processions in Arab towns and handed out candy to motorists. Most Muslim business owners tend to give discounts on food and gifts during Ramadan. Muslims will try not to yield to the extreme heat that makes fasting difficult.

Amir Asi, a lecturer and adviser on Arab affairs, said: "Ramadan is considered by some Muslims as a way to weight loss and by others it is a comprehensive insurance policy for the sins committed in the past year and the opening of a new page with God. "Just as not all Jews fast on Yom Kippur, not all Arabs fast during Ramadan. One must remember that according to Israeli law there are no days off for Ramadan. Youths and children who do not go the mosque every day, flock to the mosques."

Group of 78 'Lost Jews' from India Makes Aliyah


The Shavei Israel organization brought a group of 78 Bnei Menashe immigrants on Aliyah Thursday from the northeastern Indian state of Manipur, which borders Burma and Bangladesh.1

These new olim (immigrants) will be settled in Katzrin on the Golan Heights, which was the tribal patrimony of Menashe (Manasseh) in Biblical times. This is the first time that Shavei Israel is settling a group of Bnei Menashe on the Golan, some 2,700 years after their ancestors were exiled from the land. The new batch of Bnei Menashe olim brings the number of these olim to 3,000.

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