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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Video: Ben Gurion airport worker robs suitcases


A member of Ben Gurion International Airport's ground crew was arrested after he was documented stealing from luggage.
  
The 62-year-old man was arrested Monday for allegedly looting passengers' suitcases he was charged with supervising as they were loaded onto aircraft.

The man's job was to examine suitcases being loaded onto planes lifting off from the airport, to make sure they had the proper sticker and fit the designated flight.
  
During the investigation he was filmed opening the very same bags he was charged with overseeing and stealing their content. Investigators believe he stole goods worth thousands of shekels.
  
In recent days, airport management received numerous complaints of thefts from their luggage. One of the passengers even claimed his wallet was stolen.

In wake of the complaints, a special unit from the airports internal security began to investigate one of the airport's workers whom they suspected was behind the thefts.

As part of the investigation into the suspected culprit, a resident of Or Yehuda, surveillance equipment was installed to better follow his actions.

The resulting video revealed his mode of operation. The investigation revealed that he used stolen credit cards to shop in the airport's duty-free shops as well as fill his car with gas.

He was arrested with the help of airport police and during interrogation he incriminated himself. He was released on bail and barred from entering the airport.

Yisrael Beytenu seeks to disband Israel’s religious councils


A new bill proposed Monday by two Yisrael Beytenu MKs would mark a revolution in the Israeli state’s religious services for Jews, a source in the party told The Times of Israel.
  
The measure, proposed by the powerful chairman of the Knesset Law Committee, MK David Rotem, and MK Robert Ilatov, would transfer all responsibilities and assets of dozens of religious councils throughout Israel into the hands of local elected municipal and regional governments. 

This would include funding and oversight of local synagogues and rabbis, the building and maintenance of mikvaot, or ritual bathing facilities, burial and more.

Local governments would receive the right to institute taxes to fund the religious services, which are today funded partly by the national state budget. 

And the cabinet-level oversight for the new municipal-run religious services would be in the hands of the Interior Ministry.

The effect of the bill — and its purpose — would be to place local religious services in the hands of local elected officials, make their funding dependent on local tax collection and thus make them more answerable to local needs.

Within hours of its proposal, the bill garnered a stream of invective from ultra-Orthodox media.
  
“This is the complete decimation of religious services,” an unnamed “official in the religious services” told the Kikar Hashabat,” website, a Haredi news and opinion site named after a central intersection in Jerusalem’s Haredi neighborhood of Geula.

“It’s a mistake to think that the religious councils’ primary purpose is to provide jobs,” the official said, alluding to accusations of cronyism and wastefulness long leveled at the councils by some Israeli political leaders and religion-and-state critics.

“Their primary purpose is to keep the religious services autonomous, so that a situation never arises in which a secular local government, which lacks even a basic understanding of religious services, is given charge of the religious services of Israel’s citizens,” the official explained.

“This cannot be allowed to happen. We must fight aggressively to prevent this bill [from passing],” he added.

Yisrael Beytenu representatives could not immediately be reached to comment on the new bill, but initial assessments suggest it stands a good chance of passing into law. 

Between the secular-leaning parties in the coalition, especially Yisrael Beytenu itself, together with Yesh Atid and Hatnua, and the expected support of significant opposition parties such as Labor and Meretz, it will probably enjoy a significant majority in the Knesset plenum.
  
The bill follows close on the heels of the successful passage of the so-called Tzohar Bill, which passed into law in the last Knesset session over the summer and formally went into effect Monday.

The Tzohar Bill, too, sought to weaken local religious monopolies, this time by allowing Israeli Jews to register their marriage at the rabbinic registrar of their choice anywhere in the country. 

Since rabbinic registrars are paid on a per-registration basis, the measure sought to create a “buyer’s market” in which rabbinic marriage registrars work to attract Israeli Jewish couples, instead of the previous system in which many local rabbis, who did not have to worry about couples going elsewhere because they were not legally allowed to do so, would heap ever-growing demands for proof of the couple’s religious identity and religious observance as a precondition for allowing them to marry.

Chabad Missions to be Recognized as National Service


The committee charged with increasing national service by hareidi-religious Jews accepted, Tuesday morning, a proposal by Member of Knesset Elazar Stern (Hatenua') to recognize emissaries of the Chabad Lubavitch hasidic movement as doing national service within the framework of yeshiva students providing aid and assistance to Israelis outside the country's borders, subject to certain criteria.

Stern cited Chabad for working on a completely voluntary basis without government recognition. He noted that at any given moment, Chabad sends 250-300 emissaries around the world.

Israel - "Arik Einstein" Tops Most Viewed Wikipedia Entries


A review of the most viewed Wikipedia pages in Hebrew during 2013 were released this week. 

The page for "Israel" came in first place. Arik Einstein, the iconic Israeli singer who passed away unexpectedly a month ago came in second. Others in the top 20 most viewed pages were: 

David Ben-Gurion, Menachem Begin, Yair Lapid, Jerusalem, Naftali Bennett, Benyamin Netanyahu, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Eyal Golan, Yom Kippur War, Yitzhak Rabin, Wikipedia, Facebook and the United States.

Two Israeli television programs make the top 20 as well, Galis (Planet Kids) and Hashminiyah. Two American TV shows made the list, Game of Thrones, and Grey's Anatomy.

המלצה: כתב אישום נגד אב בית הדין הרבני בירושלים הרב חיים יהודה רבינוביץ

הרב חיים יהודה רבינוביץ

המשטרה סיימה את חקירת החשדות למעורבות פסולה בתיקי גירושין של אב בית הדין הרבני בירושלים הרב חיים יהודה רבינוביץ' ועורכי דין ממשפחתו החשודים במרמה והלבנת הון.

בחקירה שנערכה ביחידה להב 433 של היחידה הארצית לחקירות הונאה, עולה חשד

ביחידה הסתיימה חקירת פרשה שעניינה חשד לביצוע עבירות מצד הרב רבינוביץ', בנוגע לחשד למעורבותם הפסולה בטיפול בתיקי גירושין. בין היתר, עסקה החקירה בחשד לפעילות מרמה וגניבה שיטתית מצד קרובת משפחתו עורכת דין לענייני משפחה בהקשר לאותם תיקים ולתיקים אחרים בהם טיפלה.

החקירה החלה בהמשך לבקשת פרקליט המדינה, ובאישור היועץ המשפטי לממשלה, בעקבות תלונה שהוגשה לנציבות התלונות נגד שופטים ולהנהלת בתי הדין הרבניים.

ניהל תיקים של קרובתו

מהתלונה עלה חשד להתנהלות פסולה של הרב רבינוביץ' ולביצוע עבירות הפרת אמונים ושימוש לרעה בכוח המשרה, בכול הקשור לניהול חלק מתיקי הגירושין שדן בהם. ממהלך החקירה עלה כי החשוד הרב רבינוביץ' דן בתיקי גירושין, שבמהלך הרגיל לא היו אמורים להידון בפניו, תוך שהוא מנצל את סמכויותיו להשפיע על ההליך ועל הצדדים בתיק ולקבל החלטות שלא על פי כללי הדין ושיש בהן ניגוד עניינים, מתוך כוונה לקדם את ענייניהם של קרובי משפחתו ובעיקר של עורכת הדין לענייני משפחה, אשר ייצגה את אחד הצדדים בתיקים אלה.

כנגד עורכת הדין התבסס חשד כי בנוסף לעבירות המרמה הנוגעות לטיפול בתיקי הגירושין, פעלה באופן שיטתי לשימוש בכספי נאמנות של לקוחותיה בחשבונות בהם שימשה נאמן.

במהלך החקירה, נחקרו מעורבים רבים, בוצעו חיפושים שונים ונתפסו מסמכים רלוונטיים. עוד נתפסו נכסים, רכוש וכספים בהיקף של מיליוני שקלים כדי שתישקל לגביהם הגשת בקשת חילוט.

במשטרה אומרים כי נתגבשה תשתית ראייתית לכאורה לכך שהרב רבינוביץ' ביצע עבירות של הפרת אמונים ושימוש לרעה בכוח המשרה וכי התגבשה תשתית ראייתית כנגד קרובי משפחתו בגין עבירות של גניבה בידי מורשה, זיוף בנסיבות מחמירות, הלבנת הון, שיבוש מהלכי משפט ועוד.

תיק החקירה הועבר לעיון הפרקליטות מחוז ירושלים אשר ליוותה את מהלך חקירתו והוא צפוי לעבור בהמשך להכרעת היועץ המשפטי לממשלה.

הבעל סרב לתת גט ונמלט - ארה"ב הסגירה


לראשונה: מעגן שנמלט לארה"ב הוסגר ע"י השלטונות לישראל. האישה פתחה תיק לגירושין שבמהלכו התגלה כי בעלה פדופיל ופגע באחותה ובבנה. הבעל נמלט לארה"ב למרות צו עיכוב יציאה שהוצא נגדו. אגף עגונות בהנהלת בתי הדין איתרו את הבעל וניסו לנהל משא ומתן לקבלת גט, אך הדבר לא הועיל.

אגף עגונות בבתי הדין פנה למחלקה הבינלאומית במשרד המשפטים על מנת שיביאו להסגרתו לארץ על רקע עברו הפלילי. בסוף השבוע האחרון הובא לראשונה הבעל המעגן לישראל  לאחר שהוסגר ע"י שלטונות ארה"ב.

בני זוג הם חרדים שנישאו בבני ברק לפני מספר שנים ונולדו להם שני ילדים. לטענת האישה, בראשית נישואיהם הבעל לא היה מתייחס אליה בכבוד והיה מתעלם ממנה לחלוטין. בחמשת השנים הראשונות ישב ולמד בכולל, ולדברי אשתו ניהל את כספי המשפחה בחוסר זהירות.

האישה ניסתה להתגבר על הקשיים באמצעות טיפול זוגי מקצועי וייעוץ עם רבנים שונים אך לא השתנה דבר. כתוצאה מכך החליטה האישה לפתוח תיק לגירושין בשנת 2010.

במהלך הליך הגירושים הסתבר שהגבר קיים מערכת יחסים כפויה עם אחותה של האישה, כשהייתה קטנה ועם בנם הקטן. כשהאחות בגרה והתחתנה היא פתחה את הסיפור והבעל הואשם בפדופיליה. כשהתגלו הדברים הבעל ברח לארה"ב עם דרכונו של אחיו.

לאחר תקופה קצרה אותר על ידי חוקר פרטי ששכר אגף עגונות בהנהלת בתי הדין הרבניים. מנהל האגף, הרב אליהו מימון, פנה למנהל המחלקה הבינלאומית במשרד המשפטים בבקשה לטפל בהסגרת הבעל לארץ בתואנה כי מדובר באדם מסוכן בעל רקע פדופילי וכי הוא מעגן את אשתו. לאחר משא ומתן ארוך נעתרו השלטונות בארה"ב לבקשה והבעל נעצר ביום חמישי האחרון.

למחרת הוא הובא לארץ למעצר בבית הכלא, אך בית המשפט העביר אותו למעצר בית, זאת בניגוד להחלטת בית הדין הרבני שטען כי אדם כזה מהווה סכנה לסביבה והוא עלול לברוח בכל עת. "ידו הארוכה של בית הדין הרבני תגיע בסופו של דבר לכל בעל בכל מקום בעולם ותביא מזור לאותן נשים עגונות שעדיין משוועות לחיים נורמאליים", אמר מימון.

עו"ד אבי לביא נמלט מהארץ: חשוד בהלבנת הון

עו"ד אברהם (אבי) לביא

הותר לפרסום: עו"ד אברהם (אבי) לביא, אחד מפרקליטיו של הנשיא לשעבר משה קצב, חשוד בביצוע עבירות הלבנת הון בהיקפים ניכרים ובסחר ביצירות אמנות מזויפות. לביא יצא מהארץ ב-11 ביוני, והוא דרוש לחקירה על-ידי הרשויות.

החשדות נגד לביא הן במסגרת חקירה שמנהלת יחידת להב 433 יאח"ה, בשיתוף עם המשטרה הפדרלית הגרמנית, רשות המסים, הרשות לאיסור הלבנת הון והיחידה למתן שירותי מטבע במשרד האוצר, בליווי פרקליטות מיסוי וכלכלה.

עניינה של החקירה הוא חשדות לקיומה של רשת הלבנת הון מקצועית שפעלה בתחום לאורך שנים וכמו כן של רשת בינלאומית מתוחכמת שעסקה בזיוף ובמכירה של יצירות אמנות ופעלה לאורך שנים בארץ וברחבי אירופה.

החקירה נוהלה במשך מספר חודשים כחקירה סמויה וביוני השנה הפכה לגלויה, נערכו חיפושים בבתיהם ובמשרדיהם של החשודים כמעורבים בפרשה, הוקפאו חשבונות בנק, ונתפסו נכסים. בפעילות עוכבו לחקירה כ-18 מעורבים, בהם מומחי אמנות ואנשי כספים.

במסגרת החקירה נעצרו ונחקרו מעורבים רבים בארץ ובחו"ל, נתפס רכוש רב לרבות יצירות אמנות, נכסים וחשבונות בנק, והחקירה עודנה נמשכת בארץ ובחו"ל.

את החקירה מוביל כוח משימה הפועל ביחידה בכפוף לוועדה המתמדת ומתמחה בתחום הלבנת ההון, וייעודו חשיפה של פרשיות בתחום זה.

מממצאי החקירה עלה כי במקרים רבים זויפו פרטי אמנות וציורים באופן מתוחכם ומקצועי, תוך שימוש בחומרי גלם שפותחו ונרכשו במיוחד לצורך ביצוע הזיוף האיכותי. כמו כן עולה חשד כי בסיוע מעבדות ואנשי מקצוע נוספים, הוכנו מסמכים שלכאורה נתנו כיסוי חוקי ליצירות. מלביני ההון ומומחי האמנות חברו יחד, על-פי החשד, והפיצו את היצירות בגלריות בישראל ובאירופה במקביל להלבנת הכספים מהמכירה.

בנוסף, בחקירה עלה חשד לפעילות רבת-שנים של הלבנת הון מתוחכמת והעלמות מס, בין היתר באמצעות משרדים למתן שירותי מטבע ובאמצעות גורמים שהם עורכי דין במקצועם.

החשד הוא כי במקרים רבים נעשתה העברת כספים בעבור לקוחות שביקשו להעבירם מישראל ולתוכה תוך הימנעות מדיווח כדין, זאת בעבור תמורה כספית לחשודים כ"מלבינים".

לחשודים מיוחסות עבירות על חוק איסור הלבנת הון, מירמה בנסיבות מחמירות, זיוף בנסיבות מחמירות, קשירת קשר לביצוע פשע, שימוש במסמך מזויף, רישום כוזב במסמכי תאגיד, מרמה ועבירות על פקודת המכס.

עו"ד לביא טרם נחקר בפרשה, כיוון שכאמור, בטרם הפכה החקירה לגלויה ביוני השנה הוא יצא מן הארץ וטרם חזר. זאת, גם לאחר שהובהר לו כי הוא דרוש לחקירה בגין החשדות המיוחסים לו.

עם הפיכת החקירה לגלויה ולבקשתו של לביא, באמצעות עו"ד רועי בלכר, ניתן צו האוסר את פרסום שמו, אשר הוארך מעת לעת.

במהלך החודשים יוני ויולי השנה, כאשר לביא שוהה בחו"ל, נערכו חיפושים בביתו ובמשרד של לביא, ולאחר פעולות אלה ופעולות חקירה נוספות, לפני כחודש וחצי, התיר בית משפט השלום בראשון-לציון את פרסום שמו, בייחוד על רקע העובדה שהוא יצא מן הארץ.

לביא ערער על החלטה זו לבית המשפט המחוזי מרכז. לביא לא טרח לחזור לארץ לצורך הדיון, ובמהלך הדיון טען בא-כוחו, עו"ד בלכר, כי פרסום שמו יגרום נזק בלתי ניתן לתיקון לאור קהל לקוחותיו והפרופיל התקשורתי הגבוה שינתן לפרסום. עוד טען כי לו היה מדובר בעורך דין שמעל בכספי לקוחות או הטריד מינית, אז ברור כי יש עניין לציבור בפרסום, אך הדבר שונה כאשר מדובר במקום בו עורך הדין נחשד בהלבנת הון בעצמו או עבור אחר - שאז לטענתו אין עניין מיוחד בפרסום.

באת-כוח המדינה, עו"ד הילה גבאי, ציינה כי בעובדה שלביא שוהה בחו"ל מזה כחצי שנה ולא שב יש בכדי לעכב את החקירה, ומעבר לכך ישנן ראיות לשיבוש ממשי של החקירה על-ידי פעולות יזומות בהן הוא נוקט מחו"ל.

השופטת שירה בן-שלמה קיבלה את עמדת המדינה ודחתה את הערעור, כאשר היא מציינת כי להימלטותו של לביא מן הדין, כשהוא יודע שהוא נדרש לחקירה, יש משמעות רבה בהחלטה לחשוף את שמו.

"נוכח עוצמת החשדות, הזמן שחלף, הימנעות המערער מלשוב לארץ, דבר הפוגע בקידום החקירות ובגילוי האמת - ביטול איסור פרסום פרטיו מוצדק", קבעה השופטת.

באי-כוחו של עו"ד לביא, עורכי הדין רועי בלכר ומשה מזור ממשרד גולדפרב-זליגמן ושות', מסרו בתגובה: "לצערנו, איננו יכולים להרחיב בכל הנוגע לסיבות הימצאותו של עו"ד לביא בחו"ל. עו"ד לביא משתף פעולה עם הגורמים הרלוונטיים ברשויות האכיפה באמצעות באי-כוחו. אנחנו מקווים שבקרוב ייווצרו התנאים שיאפשרו את חזרתו לישראל".

רקע: פרקליטו של קצב

עו"ד אברהם לביא, 41, מתגורר בבני-ברק על גבול רמת-גן. הוא אב לחמישה ונשוי ליעל, עובדת סוציאלית. "אני שייך לזרם החרדי-אורתודוקסי", הוא הסביר בריאיון שנתן בעבר למוסף G של "גלובס".

את עיקר פרסומו רכש לביא כשנמנה עם צוות ההגנה שייצג את הנשיא לשעבר, משה קצב, בשורה של הליכים משפטיים. צוות ההגנה כלל גם את עורכי הדין הבכירים מלביא, ציון אמיר ואביגדור פלדמן.

קצב, כזכור, הועמד לדין והורשע בביצוע עבירות אונס, מעשה מגונה בכוח והטרדה מינית של נשים שהיו כפופות למרותו בעת שכיהן כשר התיירות וכנשיא המדינה, ובשיבוש מהלכי משפט, ומרצה על כך 7 שנות מאסר בכלא מעשיהו החל מדצמבר 2011.

הרשעתו של קצב הגיעה רק לאחר שהוא החליט לחזור בו מהסכמתו לחתום על הסדר טיעון מקל עם המדינה שבו יודה במקצת העבירות ולא באונס.

בריאיון ל"גלובס" סיפר לביא על תחושתו נוכח החלטתו של קצב שלא לחתום על הסדר עם המדינה: "במהלך השיחות בינינו, בעת התגבשות הסדר הטיעון, הוא שידר לי לא אחת שהוא לא מרוצה מהתגבשות ההסדר. ידעתי על הרגשות והמחשבות המבעבעים בו לסגת מאותו הסדר טיעון. אבל לכל אורך הדרך חשבתי שעשיתי הכול כדי לשכנע אותו מדוע ללכת להסדר הטיעון היא הדרך הנכונה. בשנייה הראשונה שבה הוא החליט לסגת מאותו הסדר היינו מופתעים ממש, אבל זה לא בא מהחלל, למרות שעוד קצת ניסינו לשכנע אותו".

The New Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot,


Gal Gadot, the Israeli supermodel recently cast as Wonder Woman in the upcoming movie “Man of Steel,” opened up on an Israeli talk show about her new role.

The slender Gadot has received significant criticism from Wonder Woman fans about her physique. Some claim she is too thin and too flat-chested to properly embody the iconic superheroine.

“I represent the Wonder Woman of the new world,” she told the Israeli program ‘Good Evening with Guy Pines.’ “Breasts … anyone can buy for 9,000 shekels and everything is fine.”

Gadot also delved into her character’s backstory. In her comic book incarnation, Wonder Woman’s secret identity is Princess Diana of Themyscira, a princess of the Amazons, a fierce race of warrior women who lived near the Don River in contemporary Russia. In some iterations of the myth, Amazons cut off their right breasts in order to throw their javelins with greater accuracy — a fact Gadot picked up on in her interview.

“By the way, Wonder Woman is Amazonian, and historically accurate Amazonian women actually had only one breast. So, if I’d really go ‘by the book’ … it’d be problematic,” Gadot said.

She added that she plans to work out with weights in order to gain the extra muscle required for the role.

Avi Lavi, Haredi Attorney Suspected of Laundering $20 million

Avi Lavi

Israel Police has begun investigating attorney Avi Lavi, who represented former president Moshe Katzav at one point, on suspicion of laundering $20 million. Lavi fled abroad in June after suspicions against him arose, and has not returned to Israel since.

The investigation, which is being carried out by Lahav 433, the police’s umbrella crime-fighting unit, is one branch of a global probe of allegations that a European crime ring headed by Israelis sold fake art works worth tens of millions of dollars, defrauded insurance companies and laundered money.

The investigators noticed that Lavi had cashed checks totaling roughly $20 million at the check-cashing establishments in Bnei Brak where the money received for the art works was laundered. 

An undercover probe turned up several sources of large sums of money that were allegedly laundered: the ring selling the fake art works, a Haredi businessman and the court of Rabbi David Abuhatzeira of Nahariya. About two weeks ago police questioned Abuhatzeira’s son, Shlomi, in connection with the case.

In a raid on Lavi’s offices several months ago, police found a great deal of material, including documents related to the fake art works. Lavi’s name had been under a gag order until Sunday, when the court lifted the order.

Lavi’s attorneys, Roy Blecher and Moshe Mazor, told TheMarker yesterday: “Unfortunately, we cannot elaborate on the reasons why Mr. Lavi is abroad. He is cooperating with the relevant law-enforcement agencies through his attorneys. We hope that the conditions enabling his return to Israel will soon be created.”

Israel Defense industry lobbying to ease exports to China


Israeli defense and technology firms have been lobbying the government to ease restrictions on their exports to China, TheMarker has learned from industry sources.

According to the source, the manufacturers have the support of the Prime Minister’s Office as well as the economy and foreign ministries, which want to expand exports to and joint ventures with China. 

Their officials are open to discussing changes to the restrictions, including ones on so called dual-use technologies that have both civilian and military applications. But they face opposition from the Defense Ministry, the sources said .

One source in the defense industry, who asked not be identified, said manufacturers are pushing for a more liberal policy in light of “the increasing difficulty of selling to Israel’s Defense Ministry and the exchange rate, which is eroding the profitability of exports.”

One of the changes proposed by the industry and its supporters would be to allow the sale of older technologies to China, for example, last-generation UAVs, since Beijing could just as easily acquire them from other countries.

Israeli military exports were $7.5 billion in 2012; the Asia-Pacific region was the biggest market. But at the behest of the U.S. government there are tight restrictions on the sale of defense and dual-use technology to China and other countries. Companies must first receive approval from the Defense Ministry’s Defense Export Controls Agency, whose staff includes representatives from the foreign and economy ministries.

In response to U.S. demands, Israel has in recent years widened the list of sensitive countries to include India, Russia and many Eastern European countries. In 2009, Washington cleared Israel to jointly produce unmanned aerial vehicles with Russia, but a year later blocked state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries from bidding on a contract to upgrade Indian jet fighter aircraft even though American companies were bidding.

The U.S. restrictions have a chilling effect on all Israeli high-tech companies, even those not dealing in defense or dual-use technology, that want to sell to China, say industry sources. 

Companies fear harming their reputation in the key American market, or finding that their products were, in fact, used by the Chinese military even when they were sold to civilian customers.

Defense industry sources believe the Defense Ministry has been trying to win Washington’s quiet consent to specific export deals to countries considered sensitive. But the ministry isn’t giving eased exports the highest priority, as it is now holding talks on strategic cooperation with Washington on developing and financing new weapons systems.

The Economy Ministry confirmed in a response that it was examining the guidelines for dual-use exports and was in communication with other government agencies on ways to ease export restrictions while still complying with Israel’s international treaty obligations.

The Foreign Ministry said it does not speak to the media about defense exports.

In its response, the Defense Ministry said its exports policy complies with Israeli law and with international agreements and understandings to which the state is a signatory.

Bnei Brak - Arrest in Death of Haredi Teen


An 18-year-old from Bnei Brak has been arrested in connection to the death of a 17-year-old from the city.

The 17-year-old went missing on Saturday. Volunteers and police conducted searches beginning Saturday evening.

On Monday, the young man’s badly burnt body was found in a grove on Hatzvi Street. While investigators were initially unsure if his death had been caused by suicide, police soon indicated that they suspected murder.

The suspect will be in court Tuesday for a hearing on the extension of his remand.

The city of Bnei Brak was hit by serious crime a second time this week, as well: on Sunday, a young man was critically injured in an attempted murder. The 24-year-old man was shot by attackers who opened fire from a passing car not far from the heavily-used Coca Cola Junction.

Monday, December 30, 2013

IDF interrogator accused of torturing Lebanese operative reveals own name, Doron Zahavi

Doron Zahavi

The identity of the Israel Defense Forces interrogator code-named “Captain George”, accused of torturing Lebanese militia operative Mustafa Dirani, was revealed Monday night at his own request.

The gag order on the interrogator’s real name – Doron Zahavi – was lifted at Zahavi’s request by Tel Aviv District Court Judge Dalia Ganot, who is hearing his damages suit against the Defense Ministry.

The state did not oppose the lifting of the order on condition that Zahavi’s military activities remain classified.

Zahavi, who was accused of abusing suspects, is suing the Defense Ministry claiming that the ministry turned him into a scapegoat after Dirani accused his Israeli interrogators of torturing and raping him following his capture in 1994.

In April, Ganot rejected the claim for compensation Zahavi submitted against the state for damages included after he was dismissed from the Military Intelligence unit in which he served as an officer following Dirani’s claims.

The state claimed that Zahavi’s suit should be rejected because of the statute of limitations, since more than seven years had passed since Zahavi ended his employment in 2002.

In response, Zahavi said that the evidence revealed on Channel 2’s investigative journalism program “Uvda” in 2011, which supported his claims, obviated the state’s invoking the statute of limitations. The program showed a segment in which the commander of the unit, a colonel, is seen conducting Dirani’s interrogation while the prisoner was naked.

In another interview with Zahavi for “Uvda,” which has not yet been aired, he explained why he decided to ask that his true identity be revealed. “I am tired of hiding behind a nickname. I understand that the public needs to see my face, to hear my natural voice, and to understand that I was a person doing a job and my job was a mission from the state.”

Zahavi also said: “If you know that a certain subject of interrogation was central to an investigation, and insists insolently about something that is very important, and in the previous session you were given permission to strike [him], then the slap you gave him will change his behavior and impact the rest of his interrogation, and that of others as well.”

Zahavi petitioned the High Court of Justice at the time to have the tape released, however the state concealed its existence and gave him other tapes. Zahavi argued that he could not file his suit before the tape that confirmed his story was released, and added that concealing the existence of the tape constituted fraud and deceit.

Zahavi also claimed that in its first response, the state demanded that he pay the fee for filing his suit and did not mention that the statute of limitations. However, the court rejected this claim, saying that the state had the right to keep this claim to itself to argue later.

Jacob Appelbaum, Latest NSA Revelations From The Edward Snowden Documents


London - A well-known privacy advocate has given the public an unusually explicit peek into the intelligence world’s tool box, pulling back the curtain on the National Security Agency’s arsenal of high-tech spy gear.

Jacob Appelbaum, a security expert and independent journalist, on Monday spoke to a hacker conference in Germany about dozens of purported NSA documents, including descriptions of how iPhones could be rigged to turn them into eavesdropping tools and radar wave devices that could harvest keystrokes even when a computer isn’t connected to the Internet.

The provenance of the documents, which were first published by German magazine Der Spiegel, wasn’t made explicit.

Appelbaum and Der Spiegel have both played a role in the disclosures of NSA leaker Edward Snowden, but neither has clarified whether these documents came from Snowden.

BBC: DR Congo 'repulses' TV, airport and army base attacks


The state TV headquarters, the international airport and a military base in the city were all targeted.

The information minister said the situation was now under control and about 46 attackers had been killed.

Meanwhile, the army has also clashed with unknown gunmen on the outskirts of Lubumbashi, a military spokesman said.

He told the BBC that some of the attackers in Lubumbashi, the main city of DR Congo's southern mineral-rich Katanga province, had been arrested.

President Joseph Kabila, who won his second term in office two years ago, is touring Katanga but was not under any threat, DR Congo's Information Minister Lambert Mende told the BBC.

'Shooting everywhere'

Mr Mende said the attackers at the state TV and radio headquarters had been armed with weapons such as knives, and there was "no chance of them even to maintain their positions, even for a single hour".

"People were frightened when security personnel were firing against these attackers," the minister told the BBC's Focus on Africa radio programme after visiting the RTNC headquarters.

He said the attackers numbered fewer than 100 and that the security forces had killed about 46 of them and captured about 10.

On the government's side, an army colonel was killed when the attackers struck the military base, Mr Mende told the BBC.

He said he understood that two staff members forced to read a statement on TV were safe.

Reuters said the statement appeared to be a political message against President Kabila's government.
"Gideon Mukungubila has come to free you from the slavery of the Rwandan," said the message, according to Reuters.

In 1997, Rwandan-backed troops ousted DR Congo's long-serving ruler Mobutu Sese Seko and installed Laurent Kabila - the father of incumbent leader Joseph Kabila - as president.

According to Reuters, Gideon is the nickname used for religious leader Paul Joseph Mukungubila by his followers. He ran unsuccessfully for president in 2006.

Mr Mende told the BBC the shooting in Lubumbashi was linked to a disarmament programme and not to the attacks in the capital.

The armed youths stormed the studio in Kinshasa around 08:40 local time (07:40 GMT) during a live magazine programme, shouting slogans - one of which in French said "for the liberation of Congo".

In a separate incident, a taxi driver told AFP that he had heard about "six or seven shots" from heavy weapons fired at the Tshatshi military camp. The shots were heard between 09:00 and 09:30 local time.

After RTNC went off air, a customs official at Ndjili airport told Reuters: "Shooting has started here. They are shooting everywhere. We are all hiding."

Kinshasa RTNC TV has now resumed normal programming.

The US embassy in Kinshasa has advised all US citizens not to travel around the city until further notice.

"The embassy has received multiple reports of armed engagements and fighting around Kinshasa… The embassy has also received reports that there are police and military checkpoints and barricades in many places,"

Belzer Rebbe Shlita Unlikely to Travel with the Admorim to the USA


Gabbaim of the Belzer Rebbe Shlita informed the Gerrer Rebbe Shlita that due to personal reasons, the rebbe is not likely to be participating in the delegation of admorim traveling to New York City. 

It appears the rebbe will send his son in his place, HaRav Aaron Mordechai Rokeach.

Kikar Shabbos reports efforts are continuing to persuade the Belzer Rebbe to make the trip. Officials in the Belz and Gur Chassidic Courts are unwilling to confirm or deny the details of the story.

NY state police investigating Judge Judy's son


CARMEL, N.Y. - Authorities are probing the son of TV's Judge Judy - a suburban New York prosecutor already involved in a conflict-of-interest case - for his prosecution of a 2009 county sheriff candidate.

State police Senior Investigator Paul Schneeloch tells TheJournal News Saturday "there are strong inclinations" the office of Putnam County District Attorney Adam Levy might've acted improperly.

Levy's mother is Judy Sheindlin. He declined to comment to the newspaper.

Authorities are looking into allegations Levy improperly prosecuted a 2009 county sheriff candidate for petition signature fraud. They're also probing the plea deal in that case.

Prosecutors are also examining whether Levy's contribution to the defense fund of a friend accused of child-rape created a conflict of interest. Levy's recused himself and has said he's met all ethical standards.

Claim: I was fired by anti-Semitic boss


He wouldn’t fire his Jewish co-worker, and then he got the ax himself.

Thomas Greco, a 51-year-old father of five from Mickleton, NJ, claims he got his walking papers after refusing to fire a man his boss described as a “no-good New York City Jew.”

Greco said he had just started working as a superintendent at the US Custom House downtown in May 2011 when the man who hired him laid out a job requirement.

His boss, Howard Anastasi, a director of human resources at Alaska-based Brooks Range Contract Services, invited him to lunch.

“He says: ‘You got a guy working for you — Chuck Brenner — he’s a no-good New York City Jew,’ ” Greco said. “ ‘You know what that means: He’s no good. You gotta get rid of him.’ ”

In May 2012, Greco slipped down a flight of steps and took a leave of absence.

Two months later, Anastasi called to tell him he was fired. “I said, ‘Why are you firing me?’ He said, ‘I told you to take care of something, and you didn’t,’ ” Greco said.

Greco filed a complaint with the city Human Rights Commission and the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in September.

Anastasi refused to comment.

Pregnant IAF pilots wing way to change in flying policy


The Israeli Air Force has decided to let pregnant pilots keep flying.

It was 15 years ago that the first woman graduated from the Air Force Flight Academy, and since then, many other high-quality women have reached the same prestigious stage. Now these pilots will only have to take a minor pregnancy recess to keep up with their male counterparts.
  
According to the recent change in policy, women will no longer be grounded if they're pregnant. Despite the potential threat of flying while pregnant, the IAF's medical unit has decided that women can be part of the aircrew under conditions and regulations that will minimize their risk and guarantee a safe flight.
  
Flying during the 15th to 25th week of the pregnancy will be allowed for transport flights that are up to four hours long, under 8,000 feet, and accompanied by another pilot.

Before boarding the plane, the pregnant pilot will undergo a full check-up, and once a month she will visit an aviation medical examiner.

"In 1995, the first women cadets flew in their inaugural flights, and ever since the Air Force has gone a long way to integrate women," Dr. Lieut. Col. Yifat Erlich, the commanding officer of the IAF's medical unit, said. 

"There are women fighter pilots, and their needs have to be addressed." It is noted that foreign Air Forces also include pregnant pilots within their operation teams.

Bnei Brak - Missing Hareidi Youth Found Dead


The body of a 17-year-old hareidi youth who had gone missing Saturday evening was found Monday morning in a grove on Hatzvi street, in Bnei Brak's Kiryat Herzog neighborhood.

It is not yet known if the youth was the victim of a criminal assault.

The search for the youth began Saturday evening. Police and volunteers from rescue organizations looked for him but did not find anything until investigators succeeded in pinpointing the location of his cell phone.

The phone was found to be located in Bnei Brak, not far from the Ayalon Shopping Mall.

"He was last seen on motzaei Shabbat [the evening hours of Saturday, after the sun sets and Shabbat ends – ed.], that was when they saw him last,” Ihud Hatzala volunteer Efi Feldman said Monday. “Last night we began initial searches and this morning we went out in large forces because they began to fear for his life.”

A large situation room was set up near the Ayalon shopping center for coordinating the search, and the Dan Precinct Police's jeep unit and mounted police unit fanned out to search for the youth.

Dozens of Ihud Hatzala paramedics in ambulances as on motorcycles also combed the area, until the body was found.

NSA 'hacking unit' infiltrates computers around the world


A top-secret National Security Agency hacking unit infiltrates computers around the world and breaks into the toughest data targets, according to internal documents quoted in a magazine report on Sunday.

Details of how the division, known as Tailored Access Operations (TAO), steals data and inserts invisible "back door" spying devices into computer systems were published by the German magazine Der Spiegel.

The magazine portrayed TAO as an elite team of hackers specialising in gaining undetected access to intelligence targets that have proved the toughest to penetrate through other spying techniques, and described its overall mission as "getting the ungettable". The report quoted an official saying that the unit's operations have obtained "some of the most significant intelligence our country has ever seen".

NSA officials responded to the Spiegel report with a statement, which said: "Tailored Access Operations is a unique national asset that is on the front lines of enabling NSA to defend the nation and its allies. [TAO's] work is centred on computer network exploitation in support of foreign intelligence collection."

Der Spiegel has previously reported on documents leaked by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The report on Sunday was partly compiled by Laura Poitras, who collaborated with Snowden and the Guardian on the first publication of revelations about the NSA's collection of the telephone data of thousands of Americans and overseas intelligence targets.

On Friday, the NSA phone data-collection programme was ruled legal by a federal judge in New York, days after a federal judge in Washington declared the operations unconstitutional and "almost Orwellian".

On Sunday, appearing on the CBS talk show Face the Nation, former air force general and NSA and CIA chief Michael Hayden called Snowden a traitor and accused him of treason. He also accused Snowden of making the NSA's operation "inherently weaker" by revealing not just the material that comes out of the agency but the "plumbing", showing how the system works inside the government.

On NBC's Meet the Press Ben Wizner, a legal adviser to Snowden, said the contrasting opinions of the two federal judges were now likely to see the case end up in front of the supreme court.

"It's time for the supreme court to weigh in and to see whether, as we believe, the NSA allowed its technological abilities to outpace democratic control," Wizner said.

Asked if Snowden, who was granted one year's asylum in Russia, should return to the US to face charges, Wizner said: "For now, he doesn't believe and I don't believe that the cost of his act of conscience should be a life behind bars."

In a recent interview with the Washington Post, Snowden declared that he had "already won" and accomplished what he set out to do. On Sunday, Wizner said Snowden's mission was to bring the public, the courts and lawmakers into a conversation about the NSA's work.

"He did his part," Wizner said. "It's now up to the public and our institutional oversight to decide how to respond."

According to the Spiegel report, TAO staff are based in San Antonio, Texas, at a former Sony computer chip factory, not far from another NSA team housed alongside ordinary military personnel at Lackland Air Force Base. The magazine described TAO as the equivalent of "digital plumbers", called in to break through anti-spying "blockages". The team totalled 60 specialists in 2008, the magazine said, but is expected to grow to 270 by 2015.

TAO's areas of operation range from counter-terrorism to cyber attacks, the magazine said, using discreet and efficient methods that often exploit technical weaknesses in the technology industry and its social media products.

The documents seen by Der Spiegel quote a former chief of TAO saying that the unit "has access to our very hardest targets" and its mission would be to "support computer network attacks as an integrated part of military operations" using "pervasive, persistent access on the global network".

New ‘kashrut police’ planned by Religious Affairs Ministry


Officials of Israel's Chief Rabbinate are seeking to establish a "kashrut police," in an effort to broaden the authority's power over businesses that present their merchandise as kosher but have no rabbinate-issued kashrut certificate.

In a memorandum of law distributed Sunday in the Knesset, Deputy Religious Services Minister Eli Ben Dahan proposed that the rabbinate's kashrut inspectors be allowed to enter restaurants and businesses, take food samples, and oblige citizens to identify themselves and even be summoned to questioning.

Inspectors of the "kashrut police" - members of the Chief Rabbinate’s Kashrut Fraud Division - would wear identification badges and even uniforms, according to the memorandum.

Officials of Ben Dahan's bureau say the measure is the first step in regulating the kashrut-supervision field in Israel, which is rife with irregularities and lacks transparency. In future stages, Ben Dahan, a certified rabbi and a member of the Habayit Hayehudi party, hopes to sever the dependent relationship between kashrut inspectors and those whom they inspect - the business owners, who currently pay the inspectors' salaries.

The main purpose of the "kashrut police" is to stamp out the incidence of establishments that call themselves kosher, but have no kashrut certificate. In recent years restaurants and cafes in Jerusalem, and, following in their lead, in other cities, began operating without the rabbinate’s kashrut certificates.

The business owners said doing so was an act of protest and disgust over the unreasonable demands made by the rabbinate and its inspectors. Still, these restaurants and cafes remained kosher, sometimes maintaining an even stricter standard of Jewish dietary laws than the regulations require. 

The Kashrut Fraud Division slapped steep fines on some of the business owners, even those whose restaurants displayed no certificate on which the word “kosher” appeared, but legal proceedings against the owners stopped at a certain point.

Under Israeli law, business owners may not market their merchandise as kosher, or use the word “kosher” in any form to describe it, unless they have obtained a valid kashrut certificate from the Chief Rabbinate.

Still, the law is not enforced in neighborhoods such as Jerusalem's Mea She’arim, where businesses carry kashrut certificates issued by independent religious courts and private kashrut organizations.

On Sunday, Eli Ben Dahan told Haaretz in a telephone interview that the employees of the Kashrut Fraud Division do not currently have enough tools to enforce the law.

“They go to a place, but they cannot take anything from it or take photographs, and the business owner often throws the inspector out,” he said. “We want to give them the power of inspectors from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, who, if they see a problem, have the right to take the findings with them and engage in preliminary questioning.”

According to his memorandum, a kashrut inspector wearing a uniform and an identification badge would be permitted to “require any person to give his name and address and show an identification card or other official identifying document; to require any person involved in a case to provide any information or document that ensured he was abiding by the law... to take samples of products and materials and send them for examination... to enter a business or production facility, including places of storage and refrigeration on the premises or under the control of the one being inspected, including entering stationary vehicles, as long as he did not enter a place of residence except by court order.” If the inspector’s suspicions were aroused, he would be permitted to “question any person connected with the aforesaid violation, or who might have knowledge of the violation,” and also to “seize any object connected with the violation.”

This is Eli Ben Dahan’s second move against those wishing to meet the requirements of Jewish law in various spheres without involving the rabbinate. 

His first move was to add a clause to the “Tzohar Law” mandating prison terms for Jewish couples who married in private wedding ceremonies without registering with the rabbinate, and those who officiated at such weddings.

In reply to a question about his ministry’s policy, which advocates legislation that would make it difficult for people to abide by religious law without involving the rabbinate, Ben Dahan said, “As you know, I support the state of Israel as a Jewish state, and we need to work toward greater enforcement of the state’s laws. In many spheres there is no law enforcement, and there are many examples of this, such as construction violations that nobody does anything about.

But I, at least, in the small sphere that I deal with, will make sure to enforce the law by which the state is the one to issue kashrut certificates and register marriages, and those who do not obey should be punished.”

Boro Park - Bankrupt biblical 'zoo' moving stuffed animals to Catskills


The Torah gave man dominion over the animals, but also famously commanded people to be considerate of other species. Fittingly, none of the hundreds of stuffed specimens at Torah Animal World in Brooklyn’s Borough Park was killed for the sake of the display – and none will be staying when the bankrupt “zoo” is tossed out on its ear, the New York Post reports.

Torah Animal World contains about 350 animals mentioned in the Old Testament and the Talmud, artfully crammed into a two-bedroom house. None are alive: All are examples of the taxidermist’s art. Some are mere heads; others are in full-action if glassy-eyed mode, such as a bear tackling a deer.

It’s the perfect place for kids who stress out in the presence of predators with mouths bigger than their heads. It’s rather reminiscent of a crowded, biblical version of New York’s Natural History Museum’s stuffed animal collection.

It would seem, however, that the world isn’t beating a path to the World’s door. Lacking sufficient income to stay afloat despite charging $10 per visitor, the house is for sale and only a timely champion on a live white horse could help.

If none arrives, the animal collection will be moving from Borough Park to the Catskills, laments Rabbi Shaul Shimon Deutsch, who owns and runs the museum.

Meanwhile, don’t just show up and expect to walk in. Visits are by appointment only. But if you make the effort, you could be rewarded by a lesson on the difference between kosher and unkosher animals, demonstrated visually with the help of the collection.

Michael Schumacher still in critical condition

                                       Schumacher and his wife Corrina

PARIS -- Seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher was in critical condition after undergoing brain surgery following a weekend skiing accident that has stunned drivers, fans and athletes around the world.

The Grenoble University Hospital Center said the retired racing driver arrived at the clinic in a coma on Sunday and underwent immediate surgery for a serious head trauma.

It was not clear whether the 44-year-old Schumacher was still in a coma but the hospital statement, which was signed by a neurosurgeon, an anesthesiologist and Marc Penaud, the hospital's deputy director, said "he remains in a critical condition."

Schumacher fell while skiing off-piste in Meribel in the French Alps on Sunday morning and hit his head on a rock, according to a statement from the resort. Resort managers said he had been wearing a helmet and was conscious when rescuers first responded to the scene.

The Meribel resort initially said Schumacher had been taken to Grenoble for tests and authorities said his life was not in danger.

But the situation began to appear more serious when the resort said that orthopedic and trauma surgeon Gerard Saillant had traveled from Paris to the hospital in Grenoble to examine Schumacher. German news agency dpa said it was Saillant who operated on Schumacher when he broke his leg during a crash at the Silverstone race course in 1999.

In an email to The Associated Press, Schumacher's manager, Sabine Kehm, said the champion German driver was on a private skiing trip and "fell on his head."

"We ask for understanding that we cannot give running updates on his condition. He wore a helmet and was not alone," Kehm said. Schumacher's 14-year-old son, Mick, was skiing with his father when the accident happened, the resort said.

ESPN F1 reported that Schumacher's wife and children were at the hospital, along with Jean Todt, his former Ferrari team boss and now president of motorsport's governing body, the FIA. Ross Brawn, who worked with Schumacher at Ferrari and Mercedes F1 teams, was reportedly also at the hospital, where a gathering of media and fans was swelling.

As news of the accident spread, Formula One drivers used social media to wish Schumacher a quick recovery.

His former Ferrari teammate, Felipe Massa, who himself recovered from life-threatening head injuries sustained at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2009, wrote on Instagram, "I am praying for you my brother!! I hope you have a quick recovery!! God bless you Michael."

British former world champion Jenson Button said posted that his "thoughts are with Michael Schumacher at this tough time. ... Michael more than anyone has the strength to pull through this."

Romain Grosjean of Lotus tweeted: "All our thoughts to Schumi and his family! Hope you will recover soon #legend #Schumi."

Support also came from leading German sports personalities, ranging from the NBA to soccer. Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki said his thoughts were with Schumacher, while Lukas Podolski, who plays for Arsenal in the English Premier League, tweeted: "Bad news from Switzerland: please get well soon, Michael Schumacher. All the best for you, my friend! #getwellsoon #MichaelSchumacher."

Boris Becker, the retired tennis champion now working with Novak Djokovic, posted: "Let us all pray for realschumacher michael for a full and speedy recovery!!!"

Tel Aviv - Teenager arrested for harassing Bar Refaeli


A teenager is suspected of harassing Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli and was arrested as a result Sunday morning.
  
The 17-year-old boy from the southern city of Ashdod has been arrested on suspicion of threatening and harassing Refaeli while impersonating her brother – all in an attempt to secure a meeting with the supermodel.

According to the police, after the boy succeeded in passing as the X Factor host's brother he gained access to the phone numbers of several of Refaeli's family members.


He went on to harass them through the phone, and sent them text messages at all hours of the day.

According to the boy, he is a devoted X Factor fan, and after watching the program he decided that he wanted a date with Refaeli. "I like her," the boy said.

In the past, Refaeli lodged a complaint with the police against paparazzi photographers. The most recent of such complaints took place a month ago, when she filed a complaint against a two photographers.

"She was harassing her," a Refaeli affiliated said about one of the two camera-people, "she was pestering her and was waiting for her around every corner – outside the restaurant, outside the gym, everywhere. (Rafaeli) had no choice but to file a complaint."

Bnei Brak - Man critically injured in shooing


Police suspect an assassination attempt took place Bnei Brak on Sunday night, Israel Radio reported.

A man who is known by police was shot on a street in Bnei Brak and suffered critical wounds. He is currently hospitalized at Sheeba Medical Center.

Police are investigating the incident.

In Israel, child poverty, abuse, obesity, idleness rise, study finds


Too many Israeli children are poor, but even those who are not impoverished don’t eat right and spend too much time at the TV and computer, according to the 22nd statistics almanac “Children in Israel,” presented to President Shimon Peres on Sunday by the National Council for the Child.

There is, however, a trend of lower drug and alcohol abuse than in the past, the report notes.

Of the 2,626,400 children in Israel at the end of 2012, 33.7 percent, or 885,000 children, lived in poverty. In 1980 only 8.1 percent of Israeli children were poor, meaning that child poverty has grown fourfold over the past 30 years.

Among first through ninth graders, 27.3 percent are overweight, with Arabs and non-Haredi Jewish children more likely to be overweight than Bedouin or Haredi children. Around 3 percent of kids in those grades are underweight.

The overwhelming majority of children aged 12-17 reported that they use social media frequently (88.9 percent among 12 through 14 year olds and 87.6 percent of those 15 to 17). Nearly 70 percent of teens said the primary reason they use social media is to keep in touch with friends. Some 40 percent of 15-17 year olds read blogs and a quarter write them. More than three-quarters of kids aged 12-17 watch videos online frequently.

More than 80 percent of teens (aged 13-18) have a Facebook account. Twenty-one percent reported seeing a video or photograph that showed one of their friends or teachers in a humiliating situation.

“It’s important to address the issue of children’s leisure time, which is one big no-man’s land,” said council chairman Dr. Yitzhak Kadman. “Kids in Israel are too fat, they don’t eat fruits and vegetables and they don’t eat breakfast, but they’re champions at watching television and surfing the Internet in all its forms.”

He added that “Every second child reported encountering negative sexual content on the Internet, and many of the kids become victims, while others suffer from online harassment and bullying.” Unfortunately, he said, the leisure options for children that don’t involve Internet or television have become very expensive.

Peres responded to the report’s findings by saying, “It’s impossible to accept a situation in which every third child in Israel is poor and every fourth child has been a victim of sexual attack. Services like education and health cost families a lot of money, even though most of them can’t make ends meet and the first to suffer are the children.

“To protect the weak in society isn’t just a slogan,” Peres said. “There must be real action to aid and strengthen children.”

On the positive side

The good news is that according to data from between 2008/9 and 2010/11, the percentage of children of all age groups reporting that their consumption of alcohol had dropped, and there was also a decrease in the percentage of kids using drugs. The percentage of pupils in grades 7 through 9 who had ever smoked marijuana or hashish dropped from 4 percent in 2008/9 to 2 percent in 2010/11, and in grades 10-11 the rate dropped from 7 percent to 5 percent.

According to the report, between 1998 and 2012 there was a 31.3 percent increase in the number of police files opened for harm done to minors, from 6,370 files to 8,361. In each of the years the number of cases of child assault by non-family members exceeded the cases of assault by family members; in 2012 the ratio was 71 percent to 29 percent. Of the 2,425 cases of abuse within opened in 2012, 21 percent were for sexual abuse.

In 2012, investigators questioned 2,578 children up to age 14 who were victims of sexual crimes, a 54 percent increase over 1990. In 2012, 16.2 percent of those questioned by investigators were immigrant children, though new immigrants make up only 9.1 percent of the population.

The report also provides data on children with no official status in Israel. As of March 2013, there were 156,987 children in Israel without citizenship (an increase of 25 percent over 2001). Of those, 85,684 had no legal status of any kind, most of them having arrived on tourist visas that had long since expired. This number includes the children of immigrants whose status is uncertain, children of foreign workers, children of asylum seekers, and others.

All told, in 2012 those under 18 made up 32.9 percent of the population, compared to 33.8 percent in 2000. Between 1970-2012 the number of children doubled, with the number of Muslim children more than tripling. In 2012 there were 170,940 births in Israel, 76 percent of them Jewish. This constitutes 46.3 percent more births than in 1995, when 116,866 children were born.