Israel News for October 31, 2016

Terror Ramming
A Palestinians rammed his car into Border Police officers at a checkpoint near Hebron yesterday. Three officers were lightly wounded and evacuated to Shaare Tzedek hospital in Jerusalem. The terrorist was shot dead by other officers at the scene.

Shortly before, a five year old boy was injured when the car he was traveling in near Gush Etzion was stoned. The boy was taken to Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem.

For further reading click here.

Terrorist Sentenced
A year ago on Rosh Hashana, four Palestinians decided to stone Israeli cars driving on the main rode in the Armon Hanetziv neighborhood of Jerusalem. They attacked a driven by 64 year old Alexander Levlovich who, as a result, drove off the rode, hit a tree and was killed. He is considered to be the first victim of last year’s wave of terror.

Today one of the attackers, a minor, was sentenced to 9 years in prison as a result of a plea bargain agreement, after agreeing to testify against his accomplices. The attorneys representing the other defendants are also seeking plea bargains for their clients, including one that would give the primary defendant an 18 year sentence. The Levlovich family is objecting.

For further reading click here.

Rabin Memorial
November 4th will mark the 21st anniversary of the tragic assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. But the organizers of the rally announced yesterday that the annual memorial rally in Rabin Square would be cancelled, due to a lack of funding and sponsors. After hearing this, opposition Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog declared that his party will sponsor an alternate rally, on short notice. Details will follow in the next few days.

For further reading click here.

Trump Kotel Note
Donald Trump has written a note to be placed in the Kotel. He apparently wrote the note after a conversation with his daughter Ivanka, and gave the note to one of his advisors. The note was photographed and sent to Yediot Ahronot before being inserted into the Kotel. It said, “May you bless the United States, our armed forces and our allies. May your guiding hand protect and strengthen our great nation.”

To see the original click here.

Thousands Celebrate
Thousands gathered to celebrate the anniversary (hillula) of the death of Rabbi Shimon Hatzadik, the High Priest and Sage who lived in third century BCE Jerusalem. He was known for his great piety and as the leader who greeted Alexander the Great when he approached Jerusalem. The tomb is located in the Shiekh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem.

To see photos and a video of the celebration click here.

To read more about Shimon Hatzadik click here.

Israel News for October 28, 2016

Terrorist Arrested
The Shin Bet announced yesterday that they arrested a terrorist who was planning to carry out a shooting attack against security forces and civilians in Jerusalem. He was also involved in a number of rock and molotov cocktail throwing incidents as well as aiming fireworks at security forces. His Facebook page was full of posts praising terror, supporting Hamas and inciting violence.

The arrest was made three weeks ago. The suspect, Muhammad Mussa Muhammad Abassi, was a resident of the Ras al-Amud neighborhood of East Jerusalem, which gave him the ability to move freely throughout Jerusalem.

Peres Unveiling
The tombstone for Shimon Peres was unveiled today. PM Netanyahu, President Rivlin and family and friends were present for the ceremony. The stone contains several inscriptions.

One from David Ben Gurion says, “the spiritual character and Israel’s inner strength will be a main factor in the future of our security and our international position.”

Another, from Isaiah says, “and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”

Another, an excerpt from a poem by Hayim Nahman Bialik says, ‘For one more song he had…And see now, the song has perished, His song is lost, gone for good.”

Peres is described on the gravestone as “one of the founding fathers of the state which he served his entire life.” His most distinguished political positions are also listed, including president of Israel, prime minister, defense minister, foreign minister and finance minister. Also listed are some of his most significant contributions to Israel’s security including the establishment of the Dimona nuclear reactor.

Finally, his family chose to describe Peres as, “a statesman, a lover of books, poetry and art, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, a visionary and a pragmatist.”

For further reading click here.

Altalena Monument
A new monument was unveiled today at the Nahalat Yitzhak cemetery in Tel Aviv to commemorate the 16 Irgun members who were killed when their ship, the Altalena, was shelled by the fledging IDF in June of 1948. The incident is shrouded in controversy and confusion, and nearly lead to a civil war in Israel.

PM Netanyahu said, “Great pride is accompanied by great pain that lasts until today. Five weeks after the founding of the state Jews shot Jews. All that happened due to an exaggerated sense of strength, hasty decision making and firing unnecessarily. Bitter pride led to bloodshed that left deep scars that hurt the soul of the nation. Menachem Begin will be remembered as someone who prevented major disaster with his restraint and his spirit. He made us unify even in the most difficult of moments.”

To read more about the Altalena incident click here.

To read more about the unveiling ceremony for the new monument, click here.

Stormy Weather
Israel experienced its first major rainstorms last night and today, which resulted in flash flooding and sandstorms in the south. Eilat was hit particularly hard with massive torrential rains equaling its average annual estimated rainfall amount. Streets and hotels were flooded and the airport was temporarily shut down.

The bad weather forced the plane carrying the President of Fiji and 20 members of his entourage to make an emergency landing in Eilat. The President was on his way to inspect his troops, which are part of the Multi-national Force and Observers mission (MFO) stationed in Sharm el-Sheikh in Sinai. He was met by the airport director and taken to a hotel.

For further reading click here.

Israel News for October 27, 2016

Child Terrorists
Two eight year old Palestinian boys carrying knives were arrested by IDF soldiers at the entrance to Migdal Oz, in Gush Etzion. The boys told investigators that they had been dropped off at the settlement by a man who gave them the knives and instructed them to commit a stabbing attack. Since they’re under 12, which is the minimum age for criminal responsibility, the boys were returned to their families.

For further reading click here.

Kotel Controversy
Israel’s Supreme Court has given the government a November 17 deadline to explain why it has not implemented its agreement to create a new non-Orthodox prayer space at the southern end of the Kotel.

The deadline was set in response to a petition submitted by the Reform and Conservative movements, the Women of the Wall and several other Israeli organizations. The petition demanded that the government either build a new egalitarian space at the southern part of the Kotel as promised in the compromise agreement or create separate egalitarian spaces at the existing Kotel prayer area.

Over the High Holiday period, government leaders reportedly received 20,000 emails from around the world urging them to follow through with their agreement to create the new Kotel prayer space. The emails were part of an organized campaign by the non-Orthodox movements to pressure the Israeli government into action.

The leaders of the world Reform and Conservative movements will be in Jerusalem next week attending the annual Board of Governors meeting of the Jewish Agency. The keynote speaker at the opening session will be Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who will undoubtedly be asked to explain the government’s position on the Kotel matter. The Reform and Conservative leaders will also participate in a morning prayer service at the Kotel, organized by Women of the Wall.

The Supreme Court will also be hearing an appeal by the Liba Center, a pro-Orthodox non-profit group, against the Kotel compromise agreement.

For further reading click here.

Jerusalem Construction
The Jerusalem municipality and the government will be launching a massive eight year construction project around the area of the Binyanei Hauma. The project will include building 230,000 square meters in industrial space, 130,000 square meters of hotels, and 49,000 square meters in commercial, entertainment, and leisure space. There will be 24 new buildings, including 14 skyscrapers with at least 24 stories each and nine buildings with 36 stories.

There will also be major new transportation projects including a massive five story underground parking lot with 1,300 spaces, and two new light rail stations. The Central Bus Station and the Central Railway Station will also be renovated.

The projects are estimated to create over 40,000 jobs.

For further reading click here.

Tefillin in Moscow
Israel’s Minister of Science, Technology and Space Ofir Akunis (Likud), who is leading the Israeli delegation to an international technology conference that began in Moscow yesterday, paid a visit to Moscow’s Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar. A photo of the visit was spread via WhatsApp. A friend of the minister’s who saw the photo immediately responded to Akunis saying, “Warm regards to Rav Lazar with love from Israel. There’s no way you’re getting out of there without the rabbi putting teffilin on you…”

What do you think happened next?

To watch a video click here.

Israel News for October 26, 2016

Soldier Wounded
IDF soldiers from the Golan brigade working on defenses on the Lebanese border near Metula were fired upon from a vehicle passing on the Lebanese side. One soldier was hit by shrapnel and lightly wounded. The soldiers returned fire.

For further reading click here.

Wedding Incitement
Back in December of 2015, a video of a wedding celebration was released which showed Jewish guests dancing with rifles, knives and fake molotov cocktails and singing songs calling for violence against Palestinians. Guests were also shown stabbing, tearing and setting fire to photos of Ali Dawabsheh, an 18-month-old baby who was murdered in an arson attack on their home in the village of Duma, and of his two parents, who were also murdered in the attack. The photos had the word “Revenge” written on them.  

The video triggered an investigation by police and arrests. Today, thirteen wedding guests, including the groom, were indicted for incitement and possession of firearms. The suspects also include the wedding singer and five minors between the ages of 14 and 17.

The indictment stated, “with their actions, defendants jointly called for an act of violence or terrorism; praise, sympathy or encouragement of an act of violence or terrorism; and support or identification with such an act. Based on the contents of the inciting actions and the circumstances in which they occurred, there is a real possibility that it will lead an act of violence and terrorism.”

An attorney for one of the defendants said, “This is a populist move by the State Attorney’s Office. I propose that before the State Attorney’s Office files an indictment concerning this wedding, they file incitements against guests at weddings in Umm al-Fahm, who actually fire their weapons and not just dance with them.”

For further reading and to see the video, click here.


Light Terror Sentence
Last year, on the night of Shavuot, an Arab terrorist stabbed and wounded two Breslover Hassidic yeshiva students in the Old City of Jerusalem, who were on their way to the kotel. Now a judge has sentenced the terrorist, a Christina Arab, to just nine years in prison. The prosecution was seeking 20 years.

The judge claimed that he could not label the attack as attempted murder or terror, because he felt that the attacker was under the influence of alcohol and drugs and not nationalistically motivated. This is despite the many nationalistic posts on the attacker’s Facebook page. The families of the victims angrily protested the verdict. The attacker will probably be released from prison after serving half of his sentence.

For further reading click here.

Another UNESCO Vote
Two weeks ago UNESCO passed a resolution denying any Jewish connection to the Western Wall or Temple Mount. Today UNESCO passed another resolution on the matter, but this one is a bit less harsh.

For example, the resolution refers to the Western Wall by its Jewish name, which is not in quotation marks, as it has been in previous motions. Additionally, references to the site by its Muslim name, al-Buraq plaza, have been removed. So, too, has the term “occupying” force in regards to Israel, after years of Palestinian refusal to drop the term in UNESCO resolutions on Jerusalem. The resolution however still only refers to the Temple Mount only by its Muslim name, Haram al-Sharif or Al-Aqsa Mosque.

For further reading click here.

More Cars
The bad traffic on Israeli highways is on track to get worse. Over 300,000 new cars will be purchased by Israelis this year, which is over 50,000 more than last year and over 100,000 more than in 2012. The reason for the increased car spending is thought to be record low interest rates and the easy availability of 100% financing. That means borrowers can pay just a few hundred shekels a month for their new car. The banks don’t seem worried about the risk, pointing to a default rate of just .25% compared to 1.24% to 1.5% for general purpose consumer loans.

For further reading click here.

Israel News for October 21, 2016

IDF Patrol Attacked
An IDF patrol vehicle came under heavy attack from Palestinian rock throwers south of the Gush Etzion Junction. The soldiers came out of the vehicle, warned the attackers to cease and fired a warning shot into the air. When the attackers continued, the soldiers followed standard engagement protocol and opened fire. One attacker was killed. One soldier was lightly injured in the rock attack. The IDF is investigating the incident.

For further reading click here.

Terror List
The US State Department has added Hezbollah commander Haytham Ali Tabatabai to its Specially Designated Global Terrorist list, which “imposes sanctions on foreign persons determined to have committed, or pose a serious risk of committing acts of terrorism.”

The US Treasury Department also sanctioned Tabatabai and three other individuals and one company under a standing executive order that prohibits US banks from having any dealings with “persons who commit, threaten to commit or support terrorism” and blocks any property or assets they may have in the United States. The Treasury said it was a joint action with Saudi Arabia aimed at “disrupting Hezbollah’s worldwide commercial and financial infrastructure.”

For further reading click here.

Post Election Action
If you want to promote any anti Israel resolutions in the UN Security Council, you should wait until after the US presidential elections to do so. At least that’s the message that the US and Egypt have sent the Palestinians. The US is a permanent member of the council and Egypt currently holds a rotating seat there.

The US has made it clear that it will veto any resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian issue before the election. The Palestinians are heeding the warning and biding there time. Regarding their planned anti-Israel resolution, one senior Palestinian official said, “We’re at the consultation stage now, and we’ll advance our move after the elections. At the moment, there’s no agreement on the final wording, and it’s not clear to us what the American position will be and if, after the elections, the administration really will be willing to cooperate, or will still cast a veto.”

For further reading click here.

Amona Protest
Thousands of people demonstrated in Amona, the settlement that is slated for evacuation by the end of the year, calling on the Prime Minister to go against the Supreme Court decision ordering the evacuation. Likud and Bayit Yehudi MKs were in attendance.

Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan (Bayit Yehudi) said, “We were here on the eve of Yom Kippur when we told the residents of Amona that we are committed to solve the issue of the Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria, with Amona included. We won’t give up, and if that doesn’t happen, we will present the Resolution Bill ourselves at the beginning of the next Knesset session. There won’t be a government without a resolution.”

The Likud issued a statement in response to the rally saying, “Prime Minister Netanyahu is calmly and responsibly leading a concerted effort to find a solution to the problem of Amona and its derivatives together with the minister of defense, minister of justice and attorney general. It is unfortunate that some people cannot handle the pressure, so that instead of joining forces as part of a real effort would rather charge ahead with a baseless and irresponsible political battering ram that only hurts Amona and the settlement project in general.”

For further reading click here.

Priestly Tombs
Did you know that the tombs of Elazar, the son of Aaron the High Priest, and his son Pinchas (the one who the torah portion is named after) are located in the Arab village of Awarta in Samaria? The village is also the home of two of the terrorists who massacred the Fogel family in their home in nearby Itamar in 2011. Samaria Brigade Commander Colonel Gilad Amit will participate in a special prayer service at the tombs.

Samaria Regional Council Head Yossi Dagan said, “Wherever you go in the land of Israel there is proof that the land belongs to the Jewish people. This proves how ridiculous the UNESCO resolution that tries to deny the connection between the land and the Jews is. Not only on the Temple Mount, but here in this village in Samaria, where those evil murderers came from, there is proof that this land was always Jewish. Even the most heinous murders fail to break the connection between the Jewish people and their land.”

For further reading click here.

Israel News for October 20, 2016

Terrorists Arrested
The Shin Bet and police have arrested 5 terrorists from the Palestinian village of Ni’ilin who shot at IDF soldiers on Yom Kippur. The arrests occurred just hours after the attack, but were only cleared for publication yesterday. No soldiers were injured in the attack.

Israeli forces also shut down a printing press in a-Ram that was publishing posters praising the terrorist that killed two Israeli’s in Jerusalem last week.

To watch a video of the attack and arrests, click here.

Women March
Last night thousands of women participated in a demonstration called the “March of Hope” outside of the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem. The event was organized by Women Wage Peace, which includes both Israeli and Palestinian women and which has organized similar demonstrations in different parts of the country.

For further reading click here.

PM Warns Settlers
In a meeting with residents of Ofra and the outpost of Amona, which is meant to be evacuated by the end of the year, the Prime Minister urged them not to make any “mistakes” during the final weeks of the Obama administration that could provoke the outgoing President to support a UN resolution unfavorable to Israel.

The PM warned the settlers that other US Presidents have used the period just before leaving office to advance initiatives contrary to Israel’s interests.

For further reading click here.

Jewish Congressmen Protest
A group of Jewish US members of Congress signed a statement yesterday condemning the recent UNESCO resolution that denied any Jewish historical connection to the Temple Mount and Western Wall. The group included Nita Lowey (D-NY), Sandy Levin (D-MI), David Cicilline (D-RI), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Susan Davis (D-CA), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Alan Grayson (D-FL), Steve Israel (D-NY), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Jared Polis (D-CO), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), John Yarmuth (D-KY), and Lee Zeldin (R-NY).

The statement concluded by saying, “Such brazen disrespect and failure to recognize the legitimacy of Jewish existence in the ancient Jewish homeland only serves to distort history, inflame tensions, and impede peace between Israelis and Palestinians. We commend the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, Lithuania, and Estonia for voting against and the 26 countries that abstained from supporting such a biased and counterproductive resolution.”

For further reading click here.

Seeking Blessings
Thousands lined up in Bnei Brak yesterday to receive a blessing from Rav Chaim Kanievsky, one of the most senior Haredi rabbinic leaders.

To watch a video and see photos of the event, click here.

Over 30,000 people visited the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron yesterday. Prayers services were lead by Assisted Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Dahan, who also addressed the crowd and reiterated the Jewish connection to all of the Land of Israel.

To watch a video of the minister click here.

Israel News for October 19, 2016

Terrorist Shot
A female Palestinian attempted to stab Border Police officers stationed at the Tapuach Junction checkpoint in Samaria (West Bank) today. She was shot and killed by the officers before she could cause any harm.

IDF Review
A military committee has released its report on Operation Protective Edge (the last Gaza war), in which it found that the IDF was not adequately prepared to handle Hamas tunnels. The report claims that the IDF did not have plans and procedures in place as to how to neutralize tunnels and that the destruction of tunnels was done in an improvised fashion by battalion and company commanders.

The committee also found that Hamas succeeded in effectively commanding its forces throughout the course of the war despite hundreds of daily, accurate IDF attacks.

The committee is now deliberating whether to release the report to the public. Some fear that the government will attempt to prevent this from happening.

Education Minister and Bayit Yehudi Leader Naftali Bennett praised the report, calling it “a testament to transparency.” He added,”The political echelon should act like the army. This is exactly how you should investigate, and I’m proud of the IDF for being able to examine itself.”

For further reading click here.

Kotel Prayer
Tens of thousands of Jews flocked to the Kotel this morning to attend the bi-annual mass Birkat Cohanim (Priestly Blessing). A fitting response to the recent UNESCO resolution denying any jewish connection to the Western Wall and Temple Mount. Both of Israel’s Chief Rabbis and the Chief Rabbi of the Kotel were there to meet worshippers in a large succah.

To see photos of the event click here.

Brotherly Love
A young soldier stationed in Jerusalem was trying to get home to Nahariya for Yom Kippur when he found himself stranded in the Haifa bus terminal just a few hours before the start of the fast. All public transportation had already been halted for the holiday and he only had around 100 shekels in his pocket, not nearly enough for a cab. Then another young man ran into him in the station, took him to the taxi stand outside the terminal, put him in a cab and paid for his trip to Nahariya. The “good samaritan” remained anonymous.

When the soldier arrived home and told his parents his story, his father was so overwhelmed with gratitude that he decided to find the young man who had so kindly helped his son. So after the holiday he posted the story on Facebook and asked if anyone could identify the man. After thousands of “likes” he succeeded. He then called the man and thanked him for being an “angel” and helping his son. He then called on everyone to help soldiers in need and for all Jews to help each other.

For further reading click here.

Israel News for October 14, 2016

As expected, UNESCO voted in favor of a resolution which denies any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount or the Western Wall. Twenty-four countries voted in favor of the resolution, six against, 26 abstained and two were absent.

The U.S., Britain, Germany, Holland, Lithuania and Estonia voted against the resolution. None of the European countries, including France, Spain and Sweden, voted for the resolution. Neither did India and Argentina.

Israeli and Jewish leaders across the political spectrum slammed the UNESCO vote. PM Netanyahu said, “To say that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall is like saying that China has no connection to the Great Wall of China and that Egypt has no connection to the Pyramids. With this absurd decision, UNESCO lost the little legitimization it had left. But I believe that the historical truth is stronger and the truth will win.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who also leads Israel’s National Commission for UNESCO, suspended all activities and participation with the organization.

For further reading click here.

Security Council
The UN Security Council will be holding an informal session today entitled, “Illegal Israeli Settlements: Obstacles to Peace and Two-State Solution.” The session, spearheaded by the Palestinians, will be co-chaired by Angola, Egypt, Malaysia, Senegal and Venezuela.

B’Tselem, the left wing Israeli human rights watchdog, will make a presentation at the session. B’Tselem’s executive director, Hagai El-Ad, said, “This will be one of the most important diplomatic opportunities in the history of B’Tselem, and that “the occupation is not an internal Israeli matter, and the Israeli public is not authorized to decide if it wants it to continue. It is a clear international matter.”

A press release from B’Tselem stated, “The responsibility for ending the occupation and the human rights violations that it entails lies first and foremost with Israel, yet this reality will not change as long as the international community stands idly by.”

Peace Now announced that it would not participate in the meeting, but Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now (which is affiliated with Peace Now) will speak.

Israel’s permanent representative to the UN, Amb. Danny Danon, criticized the meeting, saying, “The Palestinians continue to look for a way to bypass direct negotiations and are generating diplomatic terrorism against Israel. It’s sad and disappointing that precisely on days of self evaluation and prayers for the unity of the people of Israel, Israeli organizations are giving moral cover to the persecution of Israel at the UN.”

B’Teselem, in turn, attacked Danon for attacking them.

For further reading click here.

Spiritual Meeting
Jewish and Muslim religious leaders participated in a forum in Jerusalem to discuss ways of countering religious driven violence. The forum was hosted by Israeli President Reuven Revlon and included Israelis and Palestinians.

The Jewish delegation was led by Israel’s Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef. The Muslim-Palestinian delegation was led by the Palestinian Authority’s Chief Sharia Justice and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Advisor to Muslim Affairs Sheikh Mahmoud al-Habbash.

Rabbi Yosef called on Muslims and Jews to overcome the minority of extremists on both sides and to live in peace, as he claimed Muslims and Jews had done in the past (although the Muslims were always in control back then).

He also spoke out against the “genocide” in Syria saying:

“As we sit here, people not far from us, women and children in nearby Syria are being murdered with chemical weapons, biological weapons and air bombs. Millions of refugees are without a roof over their heads, hundreds of thousands of others are starving under siege. They may not be our friends, but they’re people going through a small Holocaust.”

“The people of Israel went through a terrible Holocaust 70 years ago. Millions of Jews were murdered, millions of others remained refugees without a safe haven. The Nazi beast murdered all those millions, while the world saw this and stayed silent. We, as Jews who physically paid the price for that silence, let out a cry all those years, asking how the world knew and stayed silent.”

“I want to take advantage of this stage to say that as Jews, we cannot be silent. Let the call come out of here: we cannot move on from genocide, not in Syria nor anywhere or with any people, even if they are not our friends.” He added that “we are all human beings. I call on you, leaders from all religions—lift up your voices. Let each person use their influence. If this happens, perhaps we will be able to prevent such atrocities.”

For further reading click here.

Dore Gold Resigns
Dore Gold, the American born and educated Director General of the Foreign Ministry, has resigned from his position due to personal reasons. Gold previously served as Israel’s Ambassador to the UN and as a political advisor to PM Netanyahu.

Gold was apparently not allowed to participate in talks with Turkey, Egypt, the US or the Palestinians, but was instead relegated to dealing with African leaders as well as internal budgetary matters in the Foreign Ministry. But Gold gave spending more time with his grandchildren as his main reason for resigning.

PM Netanyahu currently serves as Foreign Minister and Tzipi Hotovely as Deputy Foreign Minister.

For further reading click here.

Israel News for October 13, 2016

Yom Kippur Riots
Israeli police clashed with violent rioters in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan yesterday, during Yom Kippur. During the riots, which lasted several hours, masked men threw rocks and molotov cocktails at police on patrol in the neighborhood. One terrorist was shot and killed. He had recently been released from prison, after serving a year and a half sentence. Silwan residents gathered at his home to praise him, and Hamas also praised him.

Police and Border Police also clashed with Palestinians in Isawiya and Jabel Mukaber yesterday. Police dispersed the rioters with no injuries on either side.

For further reading click here.

Amona Petition
As a result of threats from Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett to cause a coalition crisis, PM Netanyahu has agreed to order the State to appeal to the Supreme Court to postpone the evacuation of Amona for six months. The PM met today with Bennett, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (also from Bayit Yehudi) and Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, where they agreed to petition the court.

The current court ruling orders the evacuation to be completed by December 25th. But a plan for where to house the Amona residents has still not been finalized. Settler leaders want the residents moved to nearby land, but Palestinian claims of ownership over that land has made that legally untenable. Israeli plans to build housing units in nearby Shiloh have been condemned by the US and also been rejected by Amona leaders.

The hope is that with more time, a solution to the crisis can be discovered.

For further reading click here.

Temple Mount Resolution
The members of UNESCO, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, will vote today on a resolution which, in addition to condemning Israel on several matters related to Jerusalem, claims that the Temple Mount is only holy to Moslems and has no historical connection to Judaism.

Over the past few weeks Israeli ambassadors and diplomats have lobbied countries to vote against the resolution, or at least to abstain. A senior Foreign Ministry official said that although the resolution is expected to pass, Israel’s diplomatic efforts had achieved some results. For example, France is expected to keep its promise and abstain from voting. Spain, Sweden and Argentina are also expected to abstain and Israel hopes Slovenia will join them. The official said that even several Arab states are unhappy with the Palestinian sponsored UNESCO resolution, but as a result of public pressure they are forced to support the Palestinians.

The US has suspended it membership, and membership fees, to UNESCO.

To read the UNESCO resolution draft, click here.

New Ferry Launches
After ten years of bureaucratic battles, a new ferry between Haifa and Acre has finally been launched. The ferry will transport tourists between the coastal cities for just 55 shekels round trip (30 one way).

For further reading click here.

Gaza Crowding
On Tuesday the two millionth resident of Gaza was born. The baby boy’s father, Jihad Shaath, proclaimed, “I hope that just like we broke the barrier of two million in the Gaza Strip, we’ll also break the Israeli blockade on it. I hope that my son will become one of the soldiers of the al-Aqsa (Martyrs’ Brigade) who will bring about the liberation of the al-Aqsa Mosque.” [With the first name “Jihad”, what do you expect?]

There are 2.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank, which is 16 times larger than Gaza.

For further reading click here.

Rare Photos
A collection of rare photos taken by Israeli photographer Dan Hadani has been made available to the public by the National Library of Israel. The collection features photos taken of Israeli leaders in the 1960’s in candid situations.

To see some of the photos click here.

Israel news cover

Israel News for October 11, 2016

Closing Jerusalem
Police will set up roadblocks on yom Kippur to block Palestinian vehicles from traveling from East Jerusalem to Jewish neighborhoods in the western part of the city. Palestinian vehicles will be able to travel between their neighborhoods as well as to the Old City and Temple Mount. Palestinian crossing points from the West Bank and Gaza will also be closed.

Call to Kerry
On Saturday night PM Netanyahu had a phone conversation with US Secretary of State Kerry in which the PM said that he expected that President Obama would not promote or support a UN Security Council resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian issue after the US elections and before leaving office. Kerry responded that the US administration has still not made any decision on the issue.

Netanyahu also explained Israel’s position regarding the planned evacuation of the Amona settlement outpost and the building of substitute housing for the displaced residents in the nearby Shiloh settlement. The US has condemned Israel’s plans to construct the additional housing units, claiming that it constitutes the establishment of a new settlement. Netanyahu reiterated to Kerry that the construction is part of an existing community on State owned land and not a new settlement. The US isn’t buying that argument.

The Security Council is set to meet on Friday for a special session to discuss Israeli settlement activity. While no resolutions will be voted on, the session will undoubtedly turn into a platform for condemning Israel.

What will happen after the US election is still the big unknown. In a statement released after her meeting with the PM in NY, Clinton said that she would oppose any unilateral steps against Israel at the UN. Based on that, sources in the Prime MInister’s Office believe that if Clinton wins, she will restrain Obama from proposing a UN resolution. Trump would obviously oppose such a resolution, but his winning might push Obama into pushing it through.

For further reading click here.

Controversial Police Rabbi
On Monday the Israel Police appointed Rabbi Rahamim Berachyahu as its new Chief Rabbi. R. Berachyahu is the chief rabbi of the West Bank settlement of Talmon and heads religious programming at a Jerusalem study center called “Believing in the Police,” which encourages men from the national religious community to join the police force and runs a special cadet program that combines police training with Torah studies.

Several female MKs have written letters in protest of the appointment, citing the rabbi’s ruling that prohibited gay and lesbian couples from living in Talmon. In his defense Berachyahu said that his ruling does not “remove our obligation, as individuals and as a community,” to treat members of the LGBT community “with sensitivity and humanity. A humane relationship between the Torah community and these people is in my eyes an ethical obligation.”

R. Berachyahu also remarked in the past that a male and female police officer should not serve together alone in a car at night, and that religious women should not serve in the police.

For further reading click here.

Flight Ad Rejected
The Port Authority of NY and NJ has rejected, at least for the time being, the displaying of a billboard ad that advises women not to give up their seats on airline flights.

The ad, sponsored by the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), which is the public and legal advocacy arm of the Reform movement in Israel, is aimed at women who travel on Israeli flights who are asked to switch seats by Haredi men who do not want to sit next to women for religious reasons. Instead of switching seats to accommodate the request, the ad urges women to keep their seats and explains that requiring a person to switch seats because of gender is illegal and that flight attendants are not allowed to ask a passenger to switch seats to enable segregation by gender.

The IRAC wanted to display the ad in the EL AL waiting area in Newark Liberty International Airport, but Port Authority guidelines prohibit ads that promote or transmit a religious or political message. The IRAC has hired a lawyer to convince the Port Authority to allow the ads.

For further reading click here.

Daring Rescue
In commemoration of the 43 anniversary of the Yom Kippur War the IDF has released a recording taken during a daring rescue mission led by Yoni Netanyahu, the older brother of the PM who was later killed leading the famous raid that rescued hostages in Entebbe.

The mission was to rescue Brig. Gen. Yossi Ben-Hanan, who laid wounded on the battlefield for over four hours, during which time he continued to direct artillery fire and also guide the rescue team to his location.

To listen to the recording click here.

Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins tonight at sunset and lasts until nightfall tomorrow night. It is the only time that the Torah mandates that we “afflict” ourselves. We accomplish that by refraining from eating, drinking, wearing leather shoes (they didn’t have Crocs back then), bathing for pleasure or engaging in marital relations. We spend our day asking God for forgiveness, but not nearly enough time asking the same from our fellow man. Perhaps this year we should make an effort to focus a bit more on how we treat each other and create an environment in which we can leave together in unity and peace? When we succeed at living in peace with each other, we’ll be much more prepared to make true peace with our enemies.

Wishing you all an easy fast and a Gmar Chatima Tova.