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Israeli press review: Many Israelis believe God intervenes in international affairs

Meanwhile, a scholar stirs up drama claiming Yitzhak Rabin's assassin is not the man serving time in jail, and the justice minister takes a swipe at the attorney general's office
While 52 percent of Israelis say God plays a role in world affairs, 20 percent say they don't believe in God at all, according to a new Haaretz poll (AFP)

Israel's divine intervention

Just over half of all Israelis - 52 percent - say they are firm believers in God and his divine intervention in international affairs, according to a recent Haaretz opinion poll.

But the poll shows 20 percent of Israelis don't believe in God, and the rest hang somewhere in between the two.

The poll also revealed:

  • Fifty-one percent are dissatisfied with the support that US Jews give the state of Israel while 31 percent say Israel should listen to American Jews and consider their views
  • Fifty-two percent felt close to diaspora Jews, a percentage that jumped to 84 percent in the ultra-Orthodox community
  • Fifty-five percent of Israelis want Shabbat to be like any other day with convenience stores open and public transport running
  • Thiry-six percent said they read the Hebrew Bible about a month ago while 41 percent couldn't remember the last time they read it

A selection of the results are available here in English.

Scholar says wrong man pinned for Rabin murder

An Israeli academic has stirred up controversy ahead of the anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination saying the former prime minister was not, in fact, killed by the man serving a life sentence for his murder.

Rabin was shot at the end of a rally in support of the Oslo Accords in Tel Aviv on 4 November 1995 and died less than an hour later at a hospital.

Yigal Amir, a law student at the University of Bar-Ilan, confessed to the police and was convicted of shooting Rabin in 1996.

But Mordechai Kedar, a scholar of Arabic culture at Bar-Ilan university, said the killing was orchestrated by a politician trying to crush the Oslo deal.

“The right assassinated Rabin,” Kedar said. “Yigal Amir is sitting in prison in isolation? Why in isolation? So he can’t tell the truth to anyone. Ladies and gentlemen, from here, I call for a real investigation into Rabin’s assassination.”

University officials quickly distanced themselves from Kedar's statements, saying they "completely condemned" his remarks.

Justice minister attacks attorney general

Israel’s justice minister Amir Ohana attacked the office of the state’s attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit, calling the department “a small sect supported by court papers".

A loyalist to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Ohana is Israel’s first gay minister who was appointed last June.

During a Tuesday press conference, Ohana said that there is a prosecutor “within the prosecutor’s office", speaking in defence of Netanyahu who faces corruption charges. 

He said that “public confidence” had been severely damaged in Israel because of leaks to the media about Netanyahu’s cases.

Mandelblit, and the state’s attorney, Shai Nizan, issued a statement saying they rejected Ohana's comments.

“The law enforcement system will not be dragged into the political field, as it has not been in the past," they said.

"The general prosecution's independence is a fundamental principle of a proper democratic regime."

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