Israeli press review: No compensation for Gaza doctor over children's killing

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Meanwhile, Netanyahu is coordinating with Hungary over revisionist Holocaust museum

Some 1,300 Palestinians were killed during the 2008-2009 Gaza conflict (AFP)
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Friday 7 December 2018 11:05 UTC
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Israel refuses to compensate Gaza doctor over family’s killing

An Israeli court ruled that the defence ministry did not owe anything to a Gaza doctor after three of his children were killed in their home by Israeli tank fire during an attack on the small blockaded enclave a decade ago, Kikar Shabbat reported.

Izz al-Din Abu al-Aish became one of the faces of Palestinian suffering during Israel’s 2008-9 assault on the besieged Gaza Strip, when three of his daughters and a niece were killed at the exact moment he was giving an interview to Israeli television on 16 January 2009.

Abu al-Aish’s voice had been sought out by Israeli media as he is a fluent Hebrew speaker, having previously worked as a physician at the Sheba Medical Center in central Israel.

In court, Abu al-Aish’s legal team argued that his kin had been unjustly targeted by tank fire, as they were situated in Jabaliya in northern Gaza, kilometres from any Israeli army presence on that day.

The court, however, deferred to testimony from the commander of the tank team that fired the fatal missiles, who said he gave the order because he thought figures spotted on the roof of the building were relaying information about Israeli troop movements to Hamas, the de facto ruling party in Gaza.

It later emerged that the people seen on the roof had only been members of the Abu al-Aish family.

In 2017, Israeli human rights group B’Tselem issued a report examining Israel’s routine avoidance in paying financial compensation to Palestinians harmed by Israeli forces in the occupied territory.

Netanyahu guiding Holocaust rewrite for Hungarian museum

As a Hungarian Holocaust museum has come under fire for its attempt to frame the Nazi genocide in a way that some say minimises the role of Hungarian collaborators, support has come from an unexpected quarter, Israel Channel 10 reports.

Unnamed top Israeli officials told Channel 10 that emissaries of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - who also serves as Israel’s foreign minister - were negotiating the museum’s contents with the government of far-right Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, which is funding the project.

Although Israeli diplomats have urged the museum not to whitewash the participation of Hungarian officials in the deaths of half a million Jews - then more than two-thirds of the country’s Jewish population - advisers to Netanyahu and Orban will meet on Thursday in Jerusalem to negotiate possible revisions to the museum’s content.

Scheduled to open in Budapest in 2019, the House of Fates is owned by a group led by a rabbi of Chabad, a far-right ultra-Orthodox Jewish movement. However, the museum was founded at Orban’s request by revisionist historian Maria Schmidt.

Last week, a local magazine published by Schmidt ran a photograph on its cover of the leader of the Hungarian Jewish community surrounded by currency notes - a dog-whistle to anti-Semites.

Netanyahu came under criticism in July for reaching a similar understanding with the government of Poland after it passed a law forbidding reference to Polish responsibility for the crimes of the Holocaust.

Rabbi committee kept silent about serial sex offender

A committee of leading Israeli rabbis formed to deal with allegations of sex crimes in religious communities chose not to go public with its decision to sanction one of their own, a convicted sex offender, in order to spare his family any public embarrassment, Channel 10 reports.

After receiving testimony of new accusations of sexual harassment, the Takana Forum ruled that Rabbi Moti Elon may not give religious instruction or advice, and that his workplace must be fitted with cameras in order to document his activities.

According to a report in Maariv, Elon is said to have requested the forum’s approval to relocate to Ukraine, but this suggestion was reportedly quashed out of fear that Elon would prey on students in that country as well.

The new sanctions, leaked in a report by national broadcaster Kan, followed new allegations that Elon had abused his position as an educator by injecting sexual content into his conversations with a male student who had approached him for advice.

Elon was convicted in 2013 of indecent assault by force against a minor and sentenced to community service. Despite Elon’s serious infractions, the Takana Forum did not forbid him from returning to teaching, and in June 2017, Elon founded a new religious seminary.

* Israeli press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.