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Sat. March 28, 2015 EDITOR'S PICKS :  
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Lead Story in Context
Issue: Israel's Jewish Identity. What Does it Mean?
MidEast Week
PA: Made "Generous" Offer; Israel: "Bring it to the Table"
Israeli and Palestinian Women Wage Peace
Israel's Arab Parties United For Election
More Arabs Join Israel's National Service
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Gaza Reconstruction Has Barely Begun
Palestinians Hope for Upset in Israeli Elections
Netanyahu's Planned Speech to Congress Sparks Controversy
Egypt Intensifies Crackdown on Islamists
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Stanley Fischer, Backbone of Israeli Economic Policy, to Step Down

Stanley Fischer, the man credited with steering Israel’s economy clear of the global economic turndown, has announced he will leave his post as the Bank of Israel’s governor after serving for eight years. He was recruited by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who was at the time serving as finance minister under former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. In 2010, Fischer was named by the international monetary publication Euromoney as best bank governor in the world. The kudos came after Fischer’s decision that Israel become the first nation to raise interest rates in 2009, a move that was followed by others in response to the crisis. During the economic downturn, Israeli officials boasted of far less negative impact than other nations were experiencing, with most of the credit being directed toward Fischer. His term was due to end in 2015.

Arab States Raise Money for Syrian Refugees

Officials from Arab nations are meeting in Kuwait to raise $1 billion for the care of refugees from the Syrian civil war. Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates each pledged $300 million to aid governments in the countries hosting the mass of refugees, and Lebanon’s President Michel Sleiman added another $370 million. Lebanon, which has received more refugees than any other of Syria’s neighbors, has divided its allocations between state-run institutions and international relief organizations to assist in providing for the estimated 223,000 Syrians now inside its borders. In all, it is believed that 700,000 Syrians are now refugees

Netanyahu Relents on Transfer of Funds Collected for Palestinian Authority

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has relented on the withholding of tax and tariff revenue Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority pursuant to terms of the Oslo Accords and will transfer about $107.2 million being held since the end of November 2012 in retaliation for the Palestinians’ decision to seek non-member status at the United Nations. The failure of the PA to receive the money contributed heavily to the acute cash shortage that has fomented labor disputes, prevented the PA from paying its bills and threatened its fiscal collapse. Israeli government sources said the prime minister’s decision is a one-time act taken in consideration of the severity of the PA’s financial predicament. A large amount of the money withheld was used by Israel to offset amounts owed to the Israel Electric Corporation for power supplied to the Palestinian territories. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad recently told The Media Line that the cash crisis was caused in part by Israel’s refusal to transfer the money and by the refusal of Arab states to make good on their pledges of support. Civil servants employed by the PA are currently on strike because they have not been paid.

Morsi Confidant Calls Holocaust “A US Hoax”

Fox News is reporting that a close political confidant of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi called the Holocaust “a myth.” Fathi Shihab-Eddim, who is in charge of editors of all state-run publications, was quoted by the American news agency as saying, “The myth of the Holocaust is an industry that America invented” during World War II “in order to destroy the image of their opponents in Germany, and to justify war and massive destruction against military and civilian facilities of the Axis powers, and especially to hit Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the atomic bomb.” The Fox story comes two weeks after Egyptian news agencies aired film clips of Morsi himself making speeches in which he asserted that “The Palestinian Authority was created by the Zionist and American enemies for the sole purpose of opposing the will of the Palestinian people and its interests…No reasonable person can expect progress on this track. Either (you accept) the Zionists and everything they want, or else there is war. This is what the occupiers of the land of Palestine know – these blood suckers who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, these descendants of apes and pigs.”

Jerusalem Soccer Team Fined for Racism by Fans

Israel’s popular Beitar soccer team has been fined 50,000 shekels (about $13,500) for the racist behavior of its fans at last Saturday’s match during which the Jerusalem-based team’s supporters chanted against plans to sign two Muslim players from the Russian Premier League. In addition to the monetary penalty, the Israel Football Association’s disciplinary tribunal ordered a section of the stands closed for the next five games. The atmosphere was tense at the capital’s Teddy Stadium on Tuesday, when Beitar faced-off against the team from Umm Al-Fahm, an Arab village in the north of the country. Police escorted the visiting players and despite some scuffles and the arrests of Umm Al-Fahm fans flying Palestinian flags, the evening passed peacefully. A petition by Beitar officials to ban fifty fans considered to be known for prior racist behavior was granted by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court.





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