On Wednesday, MK Yehuda Glick (Likud) announced that he has petitioned the High Court regarding Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision to ban MKs from visiting the Temple Mount. Interior Minister Gilad Erdan said this week that “The Israeli police believe, based on their professional assessments, that it is possible to resume the visits.” Netanyahu has not been persuaded to cancel his ban on MKs visiting the Temple Mount despite the police statement that he could do so.
On Monday, Turkey denounced as “unacceptable” and an “insult” a bill being discussed in the Knesset to limit the volume of calls to prayer at mosques. Israel and Turkey had earlier this year finally mended a years-long crisis in relations with the naming of ambassadors, but a considerable potential for tension remains. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said that for centuries the Islamic call to prayer, church bells and Jewish prayers had mixed together in multi-faith Jerusalem.
“The creation of real jobs requires the restoration of economic growth,” Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said on Friday when he presented the government’s declaration to the House of the People’s Representatives ( HPR). “Real jobs are created by growth,” added Chahed, adding that his government’s economic program, whose finance bill is a tool for its achievement, is based on the resumption of growth. It is a question of working to offer employment to more than 600 thousand unemployed among including 250 thousand among the higher education graduates, he said. “The strategy of the national unity government in the field of employment is based on three axes namely the impulse of growth, the strengthening of private initiative through the encouragement of young people to create jobs and the implementation of employment policies for young people suffering from chronic unemployment, “he said, adding that these axes will serve both young people and the inland regions. The Prime Minister recalled that post-revolution low growth rates limited employment in the civil service, indicating that the organized private sector was able to create only 10 thousand jobs while the number of higher education graduates, which reach the labour market annually, stands at 50 thousand people.
On Wednesday, Turkish President Erdogan named his country’s ambassador to Israel, signaling the nearing of the full renewal of diplomatic ties between the two countries, which ruptured following the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident. Turkey’s Kemal Ökem was selected to head the embassy in Tel Aviv the day after senior diplomat Eitan Na’eh was nominated as Israel’s ambassador in Ankara. Ökem was nominated to the ambassadorship from his current position of foreign policy adviser to the Turkish Prime Minister. Once Na’eh’s appointment is approved by the cabinet, Israel and Turkey are expected to simultaneously announce the mutual exchange of ambassadors.
In a bid to deal with the problems of the desalination plant in Tobruk once and for all, the Beida-based interim Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni summoned all the top water resources officials in the east of the country to an emergency meeting today. Tobruk has been facing water shortages for years, in part because of a rise in consumption but also because of declining production at the desalination plant, the result of inadequate maintenance over more than 13 years. Cracked pipes and boilers have resulted in a drop in output. Distribution pipes in the town also need replacing. Faced with this, the local authorities have been looking at various alternatives over the past year and more – from digging new wells to the construction of a new plant with a capacity of 150,000 cubic metres of water a day.
President-elect Donald Trump invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to meet with him in the United States at the earliest opportunity. Netanyahu had called Trump to congratulate him on his electoral victory earlier in the day. According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the invitation came during that phone call.
Netanyahu assured Trump that the United States has no better ally than Israel as they discussed regional issues. The conversation between them was heartfelt and warm.
On Thursday, President Reuven Rivlin held a working meeting at his residence with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. “Russia has always had an important role in our region, perhaps today more than ever,” Rivlin said. We are faced by many challenges, and at the same time opportunities, and we need to be prepared for both.” President Rivlin concluded, “As we mark 25 years since the renewal of relations between us, your visit here is also an important opportunity to discuss the close ties between our peoples, and I am looking forward to our meeting today with you and your delegation.”
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, on Wednesday, called on French tourists to return to Tunisia and take full advantage of their holidays in this “beautiful country”. Tourism is a driving element of the Tunisian economy and the security situation has improved considerably, he said at the end of his meeting with Prime Minister Youssef Chahed. He is making a two-day official visit to France. Some 464,665 French tourists visited Tunisia in 2015, down 35.5% compared to 2014. France has been the leading European customer of Tunisia in terms of tourism since 2004. In an exclusive statement to TAP, France’s ambassador to Tunis, Olivier Poivre d’Arvor stressed his country’s determination to actively encourage the rapid return of French tourists to Tunisia. “This position is explained by the stabilisation of the political and security situation in Tunisia insofar as the danger of terrorism is largely controlled by the efforts exerted by the military and security institutions,” he said.
“We have to invent new relations between Tunisia and France,” Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said on the eve of his official visit to France (November 9 and 10), the first to a European country since he took office as PM. The political commitment of France to Tunisia “needs to be taken to a higher level.” Being “the exception in the Arab Spring, the challenge now is a successful transition to a new model,” he stressed in an interview with French newspaper “Le Monde” on Tuesday. Youssef Chahed said Tunisia defends the same universal values of democracy and human rights on which Europe is built and therefore “we have to be a strategic partner with a strong commitment from the international community.” Asked about his decision to postpone salary increases in the public service and to impose new taxes on liberal professions, the Prime Minister said Tunisia is facing “a difficult economic situation (requiring) tightening a bit the belt”. “We need everyone to be involved in these sacrifices to rescue the public finances,” he said.
Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, on Sunday, asked Defence Minister Farhat Horchani to head to Kasserine to visit the family of soldier Saïd Ghozlani, who was killed by a terrorist group last Saturday night. Chahed has also instructed the Minister of Justice to offer his condolences to the family members of the martyred soldier, an official source in the office of the Prime Minister told TAP. He also gave instructions to ensure that “no effort will be spared to find the terrorists responsible for this heinous act” and tasked Minister of Health, Samira Merai with providing psychological support to the victim’s family, said the same source. A terrorist group composed of 20 individuals stormed the soldier’s home located on the side of Mount Mghilla in the town of el-Khraïfiya (Kasserine) on Saturday at around 7 p.m. and gunned him down, a source in el-Khraïfiya who requested anonymity told TAP on Sunday morning. Saïd Ghozlani, a young soldier aged 26 with the rank of sergeant, has been stationed in Medenine (South) for two years. Heavy police and military reinforcements were deployed in the region. Extensive sweeping operations are conducted across the area in search for the terrorist group, said military sources.