Ezra Nawi

Israel News for January 12, 2016

Terror Attack
A Palestinian attempted to stab Israeli soldiers today outside the village of Beit Anoun near Hebron. The terrorist was shot and killed. No soldiers were harmed.

Also today, terrorists fired at soldiers manning the Abu Dis checkpoint, northeast of Bethlehem. According to an IDF report, the terrorists arrived at the checkpoint by car and shot at nearby soldiers, before driving off. IDF forces are combing the area in an effort to locate them.

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Undercover Informer
You probably never thought that real estate was a dangerous business to be in. But if you’re a Palestinian living under the Palestinian Authority, selling property to Jews could cost you your life.

The PA’s Preventive Security Service, which is the Authority’s counterintelligence service, identifies Palestinians who sell land to Jews, beats and then kills them. The security service finds out about these sales through a network of informants. One of those informants was Ezra Nawi, an Israeli left wing activist.

In an investigative TV program aired by Channel 2, Nawi is seen on a hidden camera boasting about how he passes photos and phone numbers of Palestinians who sell property to Jews to the PA security service.

The footage was obtained by a right wing organization that employed a group of Israelis who posed as far-left activists in order to infiltrate Israeli human rights NGOs working in the West Bank.

Police arrested Nawi at Ben Gurion Airport yesterday as he attempted to leave the country. He will be investigated by the special investigative unit of the Judea and Samaria police on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a crime.

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No Body
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said yesterday that Israel will not return the body of Nashat Melhelm, the Tel Aviv terrorist, to his family for burial until it is sure that his funeral will not turn into a show of support for terrorism. He said, “As long as the family meets the demands the Israel Police have made to ensure that the terrorist’s funeral will not be turned into a show of support for terrorism and incitement to additional attacks, then the body will be released.”

Eight people remain under arrest on suspicion of either directly assisting Melhem or for not reporting his location to police.

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Shaked Responds
In an unusual move, the US government has expressed its displeasure with a law being promoted by Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked that requires that NGO’s reveal their funding sources. The law is generally seen by opponents as targeting left wing groups that receive a large portion of their funding from European governments and EU sponsored groups.

US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro met with Shaked on Sunday to discuss the so-called “NGO transparency bill. Yesterday, the U.S. embassy issued a highly irregular statement regarding the Shapiro-Shaked meeting stating,“The Ambassador noted that Israel is a strong and vibrant democracy, which gives substantial voice to all points of view and promotes a thriving, transparent civil society. He reiterated the United States’ view that such a free and functioning civil society is an essential element of a healthy democracy, and that governments must protect free expression and peaceful dissent and create an atmosphere where all voices can be heard.” The assertion here is that the new law will impede that “free expression and peaceful dissent.”

Shaked rejected any American criticism and spoke out against any external intervention into Israel’s internal affairs. She said, “I met the American ambassador and was under the impression that the American administration’s interest and concern is sincere. But there is no cause for concern. Israel is a strong democracy and as such there is no need for other nations to intervene in internal legislation. Our door is open to dialogue with friends.”

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Tree and Lizards
As we approach the holiday of Tu Bishvat, which marks the new year for trees in the Jewish calendar, the tradition of planting trees in the Israel might need to be rethought, at least in part.

The Jewish National Fund (JNF), the organization in the forefront of tree planting in Israel to reforest the country, has come under attack for its work in the northern Negev.

According to a study conducted by HaMaarag, Israel’s National Nature Assessment Program, which operates under the auspices of the Israel Academy of Science and Humanities, some local reptile species are being endangered by the new forests. One of those creatures is the Be’er Sheva fringe-fingered lizard, a species that exists nowhere else in the world. Along with other species of Negev wildlife, the lizard is being pushed out of its natural habitat by the runoff waters created by the trees as well as by predatory birds who can now observe them from the trees.

The Environmental Protection Ministry, the Israel Parks and Nature Authority and the JNF also participate in the study. Solutions to the problem are being discussed.

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