Knesset approves probe of left-wing groups

Israel’s Knesset voted to form a parliamentary committee to investigate left-wing Israeli organizations that criticize the Israeli military’s actions.

The initiative, proposed by the Yisrael Beiteinu Party, passed Wednesday by a vote of 47 to 16.

The committee will be charged with determining if the groups are funded by foreign countries or by other groups with links to terrorism.

Israeli human rights groups have criticized the initiative.

State Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein ruled in the summer that organizations cannot be investigated for criticizing the Israel Defense Forces activities.

Some of the organizations singled out during the discussion included Yesh Din, Machsom Watch, B’tselem, Adallah and Breaking the Silence,

“Investigate us all, we have nothing to hide,” read an open letter signed by 16 Israeli human rights organizations that was excerpted in Haaretz. “You are invited to read our reports and our publications. We will be happy if for a change you relate in a germane way to our questions instead of trying to besmirch us. It did not work in the past and it will not work this time.”

Egyptian Jewish leader gets reprieve

An Egyptian court voided the conviction of the head of Egypt’s Jewish community for fraud because she did not receive a summons.

Carmen Weinstein, 82, will not have to enter prison now that the trial has been canceled, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Weinstein did not appear for the beginning of her trial in Heliopolis Appeals Court on Nov. 20. The court determined that it had the jurisdiction to retry Weinstein, the Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.

The summons had been sent to a vacant building, the Post reported. The plaintiff can submit charges again against Weinstein.

Weinstein was convicted in July by an Egyptian court and sentenced to three years in prison, as well as fines and restitution totaling more than $8,000.

She allegedly fled the country following her conviction in order to avoid prison. But Weinstein, who has difficulty getting around without a cane, has been in Egypt the whole time, her friend Michelle Mazel, wife of the former Israeli ambassador to Cairo, told The Jerusalem Post.

Weinstein was convicted of selling an Egyptian businessman a Jewish community building that did not belong to her and then refusing to return his money. Weinstein said documents proving she had sold the building for 3 million Egyptian pounds, or $520,000, were forged.

On Oct. 30, an Egyptian court annulled her sentence and ruled that Weinstein should be retried before a new court. Weinstein’s lawyers appealed the new trial and have said they will appeal now to a higher court, according to reports.