girl with Israeli flag

Israel News for April 28, 2017

Population Stats
With Israel Independence Day next week, the country’s population statistics are out and looking strong. The population in Israel is currently 8,680,000, up 159,000 (1.9%) from last year. The Jewish population is 6,484,000, which is about 75% of the total population. Arabs make up just over 20% with 1.8 million people. There are close to 400,000 people classified as non-Arab Christians or members of other religions.

Within the Jewish population 44% classify themselves as non religious, 24% as traditional, 12% as “modern” religious and 11% as Haredi (ultra-orthodox).

Regarding happiness, 89% of those surveyed said they were happy with their lives in Israel, 59% were happy with their financial condition and 52% assumed that their lives would improve in the future.

There are eight cities with over 200,000 inhabitants: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Rishon Letzion, Petach Tikva, Ashdod, Netanya and Bersheeva.

To read more statistics click here.

Senate Warns UN
The 100 members of the US Senate signed a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warning the UN to stop picking on Israel.

The letter said, “While much good is being done and has been done by the body, many of its member states and agencies are using the UN’s privileged platform to advance an ant-Israel agenda. Too often, the UN is exploited as a vehicle for targeting Israel rather than as a forum committed to advancing the lofty goals of its founders. These actions have at time reinforced the broader courage of anti-Semitism…”

The Senators stressed, “…we are united in our desire to see the United Nations improve its treatment of Israel and to eliminate anti-Semitism in all its forms.”

The letter pointed out several specific steps the UN should take to improve the treatment of Israel including the termination of funding for agencies and committees related to the BDS movement, and the stopping of anti-Israel resolutions at UNESCO, UNRWA and UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

The letter ended with a strong demand for Guterres to, “engage member states in a comprehensive effort to directly confront and root out this [anti-Israel] bias.”

To read the entire letter click here.

Trouble Up North
A Patriot anti-ballistic missile was fired from the northern Israel to destroy an drone that had penetrated into the Golan from Syria. This comes in the aftermath of a reported Israeli attack on Hezbollah weapons depot in the Damascus International Airport early Thursday morning. The weapons are regularly sent to the Assad regime by Iran.

In an unrelated event, a Lebanese citizen was arrested by police in Kiryat Shmona, just over the Lebanese border, after he was spotted by citizens at the towns central bus station. The man was found to have infiltrated from Lebanon. Police are investigating.

For further reading click here.

Bennett in Charge
Bayit Yehudi leader and Minister of Education Naftali Bennet won his party’s primary election by a landslide, consolidating his position of leadership. Bennett won a whopping 80% of the vote. He said, “The choice was not about me. Rather, the choice was about the way… the way to maintain Israel’s security without compromise, to preserve our Jewish identity, to maintain unity and to open the party’s ranks. Anyone who believes in our values, this is his home.”

For further reading click here.

Help Israel
The World Jewish Congress has launched a campaign to stop FIFA, the international soccer association, from potentially banning Israel from the organization.

The WJC has launched the #LetIsraelPlay campaign on social media to defeat the boycott movement’s attempt to kick Israel out of FIFA.

To participate:

1) Visit the FIFA Facebook page and tell them to keep politics out of football.

2) Paste this video ( and the following message to their Facebook wall before May 11:

FIFA, one of the world’s most important sports organizations, is contemplating the world’s biggest mistake — to expel Israel from FIFA. We can not let this happen!

Israel News for April 27, 2017

Trump Tax and Israel
US President Trump revealed a new tax plan that proposes to reduce corporate taxes from 35% to 15%. That’ll be great for US companies, but potentially not so great for Israel. Many Israeli startups that do most of their their business in the US may decide to incorporate in the US to take advantage of the favorable tax rate.

According to Jonathan Irom, a partner at the International and High Tech Department at the GKH law firm in Tel Aviv, “If the corporate tax rate in the US will be cut to 15% as proposed by Trump, this will put a lot of pressure on Israeli startups to succumb to investors’ demands and incorporate in the US.”

He explained, “Up until now the US tax rate was higher than in Israel — an average US rate of 35% compared to the Israeli rate of up to 25%. Israeli entrepreneurs have been able to use the lower tax rate as an excuse to incorporate here in Israel. But once the rate is cut in the US that excuse will no longer be valid, and this will drive a lot of startups to seriously consider incorporating in the US rather than in Israel. That means less foreign investment in Israel, less companies in Israel that are paying taxes locally and lower revenues from M&A deals under certain structures.”

Israel also stands to lose a significant amount of tax revenue from companies like Apple and Google who have recognized income in Israel because of lower tax rates. With the drop in US rates the companies will move their profits back to the US, which is exactly what Trump wants.

The Israeli government is working on a new plan to significantly lower corporate taxes. But will it be good enough to compete against the Trump tax cuts?

For further reading click here.

Trump Visit
President Trump is expected to visit Israel next month, and he won’t be coming alone. US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, as well as US Ambassador David Friedman and Jared and Ivanka, will accompany the president on his visit.

For further reading click here.,7340,L-4954695,00.html

Another UNESCO Vote
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is set to vote on Tuesday, Israel’s Independence Day, on a resolution against Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem. Despite efforts by the Israeli Foreign Ministry to convince countries to vote against it, the resolution is expected to pass. The US administration is also working to pressure UNESCO and the member nations to postpone the vote or to oppose it.

For further reading click here.

Gaza Skirmish
Israeli troops patrolling near the Gaza border cam under fire yesterday from Gaza. None of the soldiers were hit or injured. Shortly after, in response, an IDF tank destroyed a Hamas position in Deir al-Balah, in central Gaza. Although no terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack against the soldiers, Israel holds Hamas responsibility for all military activity within Gaza.

For further reading click here.

Cyber Attack Foiled
The National Cyber Authority (NCA) announced that it recently blocked a massive cyber attack on Israeli businesses and infrastructure. According to the authority, the attacker posed online as a legitimate organization, sending emails in the name of that organization while simultaneously trying to attack about 210 other organizations, government ministries, public bodies, and private individuals.

In response to the attack, the NCA said it will publish instructions for individuals, businesses, and government ministries to protect themselves against technology attacks.

For further reading click here.

NBA in Israel
The NBA is preparing to head to Israel this summer to run its Basketball Without Borders program. The camp will take place from Aug. 13-16 in Netanya. The top teenagers from over 30 countries, including Israel, Spain, Germany and France, will get coaching and tutoring from NBA and FIBA players, coaches and former stars, including former Spurs All-Star David Robinson. The teens will also perform community outreach in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Kathy Behrens, NBA president of social responsibility and player programs, said, “We’re looking forward to the chance to bring all communities together for this program. This is going to be about bringing the Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Druze and other communities together.”

Regarding Israel she said, “It’s a country that loves basketball. I think they will be a great host. It has an extraordinarily rich history. So I think the people who are going to be at the camp participating will learn a lot and certainly appreciate that aspect of it.”

For further reading click here.

israel terror attacks

Israel News for April 26, 2017

Terror Attacks
Early today two Palestinian terrorists (cousins) charged at soldiers with a knife near the IDF’s Samaria Regional Brigade headquarters near Nablus (Shechem). Soldiers managed to shoot and neutralize them. Yesterday, at the same location, a Palestinian terrorist attempted to stab soldiers but was shot several times and wounded. All three terrorists were taken to an Israeli hospital in Petach Tikvah for treatment. No soldiers were injured.

For further reading click here.

Missiles Destroyed
The IDF announced that it destroyed over 100 Hezbollah missiles in an attack on Syria last week. The attack was in retaliation for three stray mortar shells that fell in Israel. The mortars caused no damage, but providing the perfect excuse for getting rid of a whole load of missiles that would probably have been aimed at Israel one day.

For further reading click here.

Undercover Bust
Two police officers dressed up as Haredi IDF soldiers walked down a street in a radical Haredi neighborhood in Beit Shemesh. A crowd gathered around them, shouting abuse. Then two Haredi men began physically assaulting them. That’s when other undercover officers, dressed as haredim, sprung into action and arrested the attackers.

The police said that this is just one part in a series of operations in which police officers disguise themselves as Haredi soldiers to elicit attacks, following a series of recent violent incidents against Haredi soldiers wearing their uniforms in certain Haredi neighborhoods.

The incidents are few and far in between, but still disturbing and unacceptable.

For further reading click here.

Fighting the Scam
One of the most notorious international financial scams existing today, Binary Options, is centered primarily in Israel. Many of the employees that work for the companies to scam people of their savings are American immigrants to Israel. The PM has condemned the industry and the Knesset is in the process of attempting to create legislation to shut it down. In the meantime the Israeli based scam is stealing billions.

Recently, some American Olim who were once employed in the industry have started a company to help scam victims recover their money.

To read about this new company and the entire scam, click here.

No Apologies
According to Palestinian Authority government sources, the British Government has refused their demands for an apology for issuing the 1917 Balfour Declaration that recognized the Jewish People’s right to a state in the land of Israel. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for the apology in an address to the UN General Assembly in September, but Britain plans to hold celebrations along with Israeli officials, including PM Netanyahu, to mark the Nov. 2 centenary of the Balfour Declaration.

Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian ambassador to Britain, said that unless Britain apologized, cancelled planned celebrations and recognized the state of Palestine, the Palestinians would go ahead with plans for a lawsuit. There was no immediate comment from Britain’s Foreign Office.

For further reading click here.

Balfour Petition
The Israel Forever Foundation is working on a monumental drive to to collect 1 million signatures by the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration on November 2, 2017 to be presented to world bodies, organizations, and heads of state, to remind the world that Israel was established with the full backing and support of the international community.

To sign this important petition click here.

So Israeli
Check out this music video about the things that are so very Israeli — it’ll make you smile and get your feet moving! Thanks to for posting and adding the translated lyrics.

To view the video click here.

Israel News for April 25, 2017

Religious Threats
On Monday the Supreme Court ruled to approve an amendment passed by the Tel Aviv municipality to allow select supermarkets to remain open on Shabbat. The existing regulations prohibit all commercial establishments from operated on Shabbat.

In response, the spiritual leader of Shas (the sephardic UltraOrthodox Knesset faction), Rabbi Shalom Cohen, has threatened to quit the governing coalition. Members of Haredi parties have also quit their posts on the Tel Aviv municipal council in protest. Minister of the Interior Aryeh Deri (Shas) is attempting to promote a law in the Knesset to bypass the Supreme Court’s decision.

For further reading click here.

German Ultimatum
PM Netanyahu has presented German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel with an ultimatum: either he cancels his meeting with Breaking the Silence — an Israeli NGO that publishes the testimonies of former Israeli soldiers who report on human rights abuses in the West Bank and Gaza — or the PM will refuse to meet with him.

German officials said today that Gabriel will not change his schedule. Gabriel said, “It’s difficult for me to imagine that the meeting will be canceled, because this would be very regrettable.”

Explaining his planned meeting with Breaking the Silence, Gabriel said, “In no country in the world can you get a reasonable and comprehensive impression if you only meet with government representatives. You have to meet, as we did yesterday, with writers, with artists and students, and also with critical organizations.”

He added, “These are topics of the daily political news circle on which we need to form a political view. Therefore I find it totally normal to talk to them. I can’t imagine that we would stop doing this in the future only so we could meet with government officials.”

President Reuben Rivlin will meet with Gabriel as scheduled.

For further reading click here.

Doctor Incentives
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Health Minister Yaakov Litzman have agreed on guidelines for financial incentives which will encourage doctors to move to outlying areas and communities.

The grants will be allocated in accordance with published criteria and according to the requirements of hospitals, clinics and the healthcare system. Hospital directors will be given flexibility to allocate grants according to their local requirements. The goal is to strengthen the general state of healthcare in the “periphery” of the country.

For further reading click here.

Balfour Petition
On November 2, 1917, British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour sent a letter to Lord Rothschild – head of the Zionist Federation – expressing British support of a Jewish State in Palestine. While this represented the first political recognition of Jewish nationalism by a world power, it was a reflection of the philosophical, practical, and spiritual meaning behind the historical link of the Jewish nation to its ancient homeland.

The Israel Forever Foundation is working on a monumental drive to to collect 1 million signatures by the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration on November 2, 2017 to be presented to world bodies, organizations, and heads of state, to remind the world that Israel was established with the full backing and support of the international community.

To sign this important petition click here.

Israel News for April 24, 2017

Terror in TA
An 18 year old Palestinian terrorist from Nablus stabbed 3 men and 1 woman at the Herod’s Hotel on Tel Aviv’s seaside promenade yesterday. The terrorist was overpowered by hotel staff and police.

Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai has frozen all daily permits to enter Israel after investigators found that the terrorist had a similar permit. All permits will remain frozen and no new permits will be given until further notice.

This morning a 41 year old Palestinian mother of nine stabbed a female soldier in the shoulder at the Qalandya checkpoint near Jerusalem. The woman was arrested and under questioning revealed that she was attempting to commit suicide because of a domestic dispute. The female soldier was only lightly wounded.

To view security footage of the TA attack click here.

Chinese Workers
Israel and China have signed an agreement to allow 6,000 Chinese construction workers into Israel. However, reports say that the workers will be prohibited from working in areas considered to be across the “Green Line” (West Bank). The Israeli government is hoping that the workers will help alleviate the housing shortage in the country by facilitating more and quicker construction.

China considers Judea and Samaria to be occupied territories. But, business is business.

For further reading click here.

Holocaust Commemoration
Last night, Israel ushered in the beginning of the annual Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day with a state ceremony at Yad Vashem’s Warsaw Ghetto Square on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem.

The ceremony, the theme of which was “Restoring Their Identities: The Fate of the Individual During the Holocaust,” was attended by the president, prime minister, speaker of the Knesset and deputy president of the Supreme Court. Some 2,500 Holocaust survivors also attended, along with Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, members of the Diplomatic Corps and IDF soldiers.
President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev spoke at the ceremony. Esther Miron, a Holocaust survivor, spoke on behalf of the survivors. Six survivors lit torches commemorating the six million. The Chief Rabbis recited psalms and kaddish.

In his address PM Netanyahu said, “We have to be able to defend ourselves on our own against any threat against any enemy. From a helpless people, we have turned into a robust nation. From a defenseless nation, we have turned into a powerful country that can defend itself with one of the strongest armies.”

Netanyahu also cited newly released documents from the United Nations showing that the Allies were aware of the Nazis’ systematic extermination of the Jews at least two years earlier than previously known, and that if they had acted on that information at the time could have saved some 4 million of the Jewish Holocaust victims.

He said, “If the powers in 1942 had acted against the death camps — and all that was needed was repeated bombing of the camps — had they acted then, they could have saved 4 million Jews and millions of other people. When terrible crimes were being committed against the Jews, when our brothers and sisters were being sent to the furnaces, the powers knew and they did not act.”

In a video message to the World Jewish Congress, US President Trump said, “On Yom HaShoah, we look back at the darkest chapter of human history. We mourn, we remember, we pray, and we pledge: Never again. I say it, never again.”

He continued, “The mind cannot fathom the pain, the horror, and the loss. Six million Jews, two-thirds of the Jews in Europe, murdered by the Nazi genocide. They were murdered by an evil that words cannot describe, and that the human heart cannot bear.”

Trump also said, “Today, only decades removed from the Holocaust, we see a great nation risen from the desert and we see a proud Star of David waving above the State of Israel. That star is a symbol of Jewish perseverance. It’s a monument to unyielding strength. We recall the famous words attributed to Theodor Herzl: If you will it, it is no dream. If you will it, it is no dream.”

“We must stamp out prejudice and anti-Semitism everywhere it is found. We must defeat terrorism, and we must not ignore the threats of a regime that talks openly of Israel’s destruction. We cannot let that ever even be thought of. To all of you tonight, who have come from around the world, let it be known, America stands strong with the State of Israel.”

At 10am this morning a two minute ling siren was sounded throughout the Israel, and people froze in place silently. All traffic came to a halt as people stopped and exited their vehicles for the moments of silence.

Remembrance ceremonies will be held at different locations throughout the day.

For further reading click here.

Survivor Stories
The stories of the the six survivors who lit the torches at the official Yad Vashem ceremony last night are displayed on the Yad Vashem website along with a video of each one.

To watch the videos and read their stories, click here.

How We Remember
In Israel it is almost impossible to not remember and reflect upon the horrors and tragedy of the Holocaust. Especially on this day of remembrance, the Holocaust permeates every aspect of Israel’s existence. But for those living in the US, it takes effort to remember. Even if you try, the sheer numbers — 6 million — are simply overwhelming. How can anyone possible even begin to try to understand the suffering, brutality and horror inflicted upon millions of Jewish men, women and children in homes, schools, hospitals, on streets, in forests and in ghettos and concentration and death camps? It’s impossible.

The only way to attempt this awesome task is to start with individuals. The Holocaust destroyed ordinary individuals — the kind of people you see in your own family and community.

Think of the accomplished woman dressed in her finest business suit (is it you or someone you love?) being marched to her gassing. Imaging the accountant, professor, musician, storekeeper, carpenter or plumber being suddenly torn from their daily routine, herded into a forest and gunned down into a mass grave.

The sun shone, the birds sang and the local gentile population looked on (for the most part) as the Jewish populations of entire towns (like Teaneck, Lakewood, Monsey, Houston, San Diego etc.) were hunted down, collected in a central square and then forced onto trains heading to Auschwitz, Treblinka, Belzec, etc.

Distinguished rabbinic sages with long white beards and young yeshiva students immersed in Torah study alongside secular university students and communist activists went to their deaths with dignity and shared their final resting places in mass graves or ash piles.

If you’re willing to go one step further into a place that is almost too painful to even consider [if you can’t then please stop reading here]— take a look at your own young children or grandchildren (or nieces and nephews) and imagine those pure and innocent souls marching to their deaths — and imagine yourself helpless to do anything to help other than watch them…

Now you can begin, in the tiniest sense, to fathom the Holocaust, remember the tragedy and strive to ensure that it never happens again.

May the souls of the millions that perished in the Holocaust be elevated and may they finally find some form of rest knowing that the Jewish nation can now live securely in the homeland they prayed and yearned for.

Israel News for April 21, 2017

Mattis in Israel
US Secretary of Defense James Mattis arrived in Israel last night on his first official visit since taking office. Mattis met with Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman this morning. In a press conference following the meeting he said, “I’m honored to return to Israel once again to show my respect for this country and for the Israeli people. I am keenly aware that we stand together this morning, just a week before the Holocaust Remembrance Day, and we share a common determination to never allow such horrific event to reoccur.”

He added, “Cooperation between the countries continues. I came from Saudi Arabia and other visits in the region. In the meeting with Lieberman, we promised to establish the strong connection between Israel and the United States.”

Mattis also warned Syria against using chemical weapons and reiterated the need to confront Iran. Meanwhile, President Trump accused Iran of violating the spirit of the nuclear agreement.

Mattis also met with PM Netanyahu and President Rivlin.

Prior to his Israel visit, Mattis visited Egypt and Saudi Arabia. He will also visit Qatar and Djibouti.

For further reading click here.

Russian Conference
The Russians will be sponsoring an International Security Conference in Moscow next week. Countries set to attend include Iran, Iraq, UAE, Jordan, Indonesia, Cuba, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Brazil…and Israel. You heard right, Defense Minister Lieberman will attend the conference where he will meet privately with the Russian Foreign Minister. The US is expected to boycott the event.

For further reading click here.

Hezbollah Press Tour
Hezbollah’s information department gave journalists a tour of the border with Israel yesterday, highlighting new IDF fortifications, antennas, armored vehicles and watchtowers—defensive positions that Hezbollah guides claim will be overrun so that “resistance forces will penetrate their settlements.”

IDF engineering units have been constructing obstacles and fortifications along the northern border to prevent or impeded Hezbollah incursions. The IDF said that the press tour served as conclusive evidence that Hezbollah is violating Security Council Resolution 1701 by being deployed and armed south of the Litani River.

For further reading and to view images click here.

Sinai Reopens
The Taba border crossing between Israel and Egypt’s Sinai will re-open to Israelis that would like to travel to Egypt’s Sinai. The announcement was made today by Ofir Gendelman, the Prime Minister’s Arab media spokesman. However, Gendelman also tweeted that the terror threat remains and Israelis currently vacationing in the area should return.

The Taba border crossing was closed to Israelis before Passover.

For further reading click here.

Music and Peace
When musician Yoni Sharon, a resident of Kfar Eldad in Gush Etzion, heard music emanating from the nearby Arab village of Al-Fureidis, he drove his car into the village to investigate. He ended up taking patron an Arab wedding.

To watch the video click here.

Jewish Cemetery
Government officials in Vilna (Lithuania) have approved plans for the construction of a new National Convention Center on the site of the ancient Jewish cemetery in the city. The cemetery dates from the 15th century and contains thousands of bodies including many great sages.

To sign a petition to stop the proposed construction and desecration, click here.

Israel News for April 20, 2017

Gaza Sisters
Two sisters entered Israel from Gaza yesterday in order to receive their cancer treatments. Luckily, security forces at the Erez Crossing searched them. They discovered explosive making materials hidden inside medical supply tubes. According to the Shin Bet, an initial investigation indicated that the explosives were sent by Hamas and were intended to be used in terrorist attacks in Israel in the near future.

The Shin Bet stated: “This is a continuation of the attempts of the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, led by Hamas, to take advantage of the humanitarian infrastructure and medical assistance that Israel provides to the residents of the Gaza Strip to carry out terrorist attacks in Israel.”

For further reading click here.

Soccer Crisis
The latest diplomatic crisis facing Israel is playing out on the soccer field. The Palestinian soccer federation has asked FIFA, the international football (soccer) association, to ban Israeli teams that play across the “Green Line”. That includes teams from Ma’aleh Adumim, Ariel, Kiryat Arba, Givat Ze’ev, Oranit and the Jordan Valley — all of whom play in low level leagues.

FIFA’s bylaws bar any country from setting up teams in another country’s territory, or letting such teams play in its own leagues without the other country’s consent. The Palestinians want this clause used against the settlement teams and argue that if Israel doesn’t suspend them from its leagues, Israel itself should be suspended from FIFA.

FIFA is set to meet in Bahrain next month. Israeli diplomats have been ordered to work on convincing their host countries to prevent FIFA from taking action against the “settlement” teams or from suspending Israel from the international league.

For further reading click here.

Less Taxes
Starting next week, buying a smartphone in Israel will be a lot cheaper. Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon has signed an order canceling the import tax of mobile telephones as part of his “Family Net” tax cut plan. Currently, importers must pay purchase tax of 15% on the import of mobile phones and smartphones as well as 17% VAT. For example the cheapest iPhone 7 model in the iDigital chain, which currently costs NIS 3,749, should now cost only NIS 2,868. Samsung’s Galaxy S7, which currently costs NIS 2,799 should be reduced to NIS 2,141.

For further reading click here.

Iran Passes
The Trump administration has notified Congress that Iran is complying with the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal and has extended the sanctions relief given to the Islamic republic in exchange for curbs on its atomic program. The certification of Iran’s compliance, which must be sent to Congress every 90 days.

Despite the sanctions relief, Iran remains on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism for its support of anti-Israel groups and is still subject to non-nuclear sanctions, including for human rights abuses and for its backing of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government.

At the same time, in a letter sent late Tuesday to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the administration has undertaken a full review of the nuclear agreement.

For further reading click here.

Hamilton Advice
The Haredi magazine Mishpacha wrote about how much PM Netanyahu enjoyed seeing Hamilton on his last trip to NYC. In fact, Netanyahu said he made a suggestion to producer Lin-Manuel Miranda on how to improve the play [of course]. The PM said that he read that when Alexander Hamilton was a child in the Caribbean, his tutor was a Jewish woman who taught him to recite the Ten Commandments in Hebrew. Later in life, Hamilton expressed admiration for the Jewish people, saying they have a “unique destiny” that is “part of God’s greater plan.” That, Netanyahu said, should go into the play.



The Passover Issue

Passover Break
As the Israeli government and most of the country shuts down for the Passover holiday, we’ll be doing the same. We’ll see you back after the holiday. Wishing you all a very happy and peaceful Passover!

Air Water
Israeli company Water Gen, which literally makes water out of air, has signed deals with India and Vietnam worth over $150 million. In India, Water Gen will deploy its technology to supply drinking water to remote villages. The Vietnam project will generate tens of thousands of liters of water a day for the people of Hanoi. Water Gen devices use thin plastic leaves to condense water from warm, humid air. The company says that its largest unit can produce 825 gallons of water per day for only 10 cents a gallon (mostly in energy costs).

For further reading click here.

Destroying Haughtiness
The Torah commands us to destroy our chametz – leavened products — before the onset of Passover. Jewish law dictates that we conduct a search for any chametz in our homes, to make sure that none remains in our possession during Passover. In a spiritual sense, chametz represents haughtiness and misplaced pride and self importance. In preparation of our redemption (on Passover) we are meant to destroy the chametz within us. It is then that true redemption, both personal and national, can be achieved.

Getting rid of physical chametz is not too difficult. But vanquishing our spiritual chametz is a challenge of epic proportions. For it is that chametz that gives us the permission to belittle, mistreat, mock or simply ignore those whom we deem to be not quite good enough for us. It’s what often makes us feel good about ourselves when we do things that we shouldn’t and directs us to put our own interests before those of others, even if those interests are ethically or morally corrupt — or simply not very nice.

So here’s a challenge: in addition to getting rid of our physical chametz, let’s put at least as much attention into getting rid of our spiritual chametz. Doing so will allow us to experience redemption in its truest sense.

Is it Enough?
One of the most famous and beloved songs we sing at the Passover Seder is Dayenu, which means “it would be enough for us”. The song enumerates the great miracles performed for the Jewish people from the Exodus until their entrance into the Land of Israel and after each one proclaims “Dayenu”. For example, “If God had just taken us out of Egypt but not split the sea, that would have been enough for us”. But would it really have been enough if God had taken us out of Egypt but not split the sea? The same question can be asked about nearly every even mentioned in the song. Would it really have been enough?

In order to answer this question, we need to understand that Dayenu is really a love song. When someone is truly in love, every moment and memory with their beloved is precious. Of course we’d love to have it all – – the best house, car, job, vacations, clothing, jewelry etc. But if we truly love our spouse, family or friends, then we can still be happily fulfilled with less. When you have love, then the other stuff isn’t that important.

Let’s use this Passover holiday as an opportunity to appreciate the love in our lives. If we do, we’ll find that the other things are not so important after all. And we’ll also gain a greater appreciation for the things we have been blessed with.

Israel News for April 4, 2017

Terror Attack
Terrorists opened fire at the settlement of Shavei Shomron in Samaria yesterday, hitting the security fence surrounding the community. No one was hurt. The IDF is on high alert to prevent prevent expected terror attacks during Passover.

For further reading click here.

Exporting Gas
At a press conference in Tel Aviv today, the Israeli, Cypriot, Greek, and Italian energy ministers expressed unanimous strong support for exporting natural gas from Israel and Cyprus to Europe through the planned 1,300-kilometer undersea gas pipeline. Such a pipeline, if built, would be the world’s longest such pipeline. They emphasized that the first stage of the pre-feed feasibility study had been completed successfully, and that it was now time to move to the second stage: a more detailed examination of the feasibility of the front-end engineering development.

For further reading click here.

IDF Pesach Prep
In preparation for the Passover holiday, the IDF Food Center has purchased 61.5 tons of matzo, 8.5 tons of fish, 52 tons of chicken, turkey, roast beef and grilled meats, 115,000 schnitzels, a ton of horseradish, two tons of haroset, two tons of artichokes and 8.5 tons of kosher for Passover cakes and cookies. And you thought you had a lot of shopping?

The IDF will provide thousands of soldiers in camps, bases and outposts with food for the seder and the rest of the holiday.

Included in the food prep are vegan, gluten free and various allergy free menu items.

For further reading click here.

Model Seder
Rabbi Yitzhak David Grossman, Israel Prize laureate, Ashkenazi Rabbi of Migdal Ha’emek, and head of the “Migdal Or” national education network, held a model seder that was viewed by over 100,000 students (2nd to 6th grades) in schools in Israel, the US, Mexico, Russia and the UK.

Rabbi Grossman said, “In reading the Passover Haggadah, we commemorate the birth of the Jewish people and their exodus from Egypt to eternal life,” said Rabbi Grossman. “In this way, we fulfill the commandment of ‘You shall tell your son’ and thus dedicate the holiday to educating our children and instilling faith in future generations. I am happy to take part in this innovative project that connects thousands of children from Israel and abroad to their past and history of their people. These children are the future generation and investing in their education will serve as a basis for a better future for them and for Israeli society.”

For further reading click here.

Sacrificial Offering
From the time of the Exodus from Egypt throughout the existence of the Temple in Jerusalem, the primary Passover service revolved around the Korban Pesach, the Passover sacrificial offering. Without a Holy Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, offering the sacrifice is impossible — or is it? According to a new video released by the Temple Institute in Jerusalem, there are traditional sources in Jewish law that permit the offering of the Korban Pesach today.

To view the video click here.

Kotel Cam
Want to see what’s happening at the Kotel right now? Well, thanks to the Arutz Sheva Kotel Cam, you can do just that. For a small fee you can even control the camera view.

To view the Kotel Cam in action click here.

settlements israel

Israel News for April 3, 2017

Peace Initiative
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Jordan’s King Abdullah II are scheduled to meet with President Trump this week and are expected to present him with an Arab peace initiative for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. El-Sissi will meet Trump today and Abdullah will meet with him on Thursday.

The Arab peace initiative, discussed at the recent Arab League summit, will reportedly call on Israel to release Palestinian prisoners and to freeze all settlement construction as a starting point. The plan would be based on a two-state solution.

The Dubai-based al-Khaleej Times reported that Trump would respond to the Jordanian-Egyptian initiative during his meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas tentatively scheduled for later this month in Washington. The paper also reported that the Trump administration aims to host an international peace conference on the Israeli-Palestinian issue in September.

It’s unlikely that the Israeli government would agree to a total settlement freeze. It already has agreed to halt construction of new settlement while continuing to build within, or adjacent to, existing settlements.

The reason for Israel’s decision is to heed Trump’s request (warning?) to “slow down” settlement construction. But what if Trump, after meeting with the Arab leaders, decides that the best thing for peace negotiations is a total construction freeze? Will Israel continue to heed Trump? Could doing so cause the far right to bring down the Netanyahu government?

The Dubai-based al-Khaleej Times said Trump would respond to the Jordanian-Egyptian initiative during his meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas tentatively scheduled for later this month in Washington.

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Terror Arrests
On Shabbat a Palestinian terrorist stabbed two men (aged 18 and 20) and a police officer in Jerusalem’s Old City. Police pushed the terrorist and shot and killed him. The Israel Police later announced that the stabber was a resident of the West Bank. The victims of the attack were all lightly injured.

Yesterday police arrested two religious workers at the Al-Aqsa mosque as part of their investigation into the attack.

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UN Report
The UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) is expected to publish a report equating “the Israeli Occupation” to slavery in the US and estimating the financial damages suffered by Palestinians as a result of “50 years of occupation” in the billions of dollars. The commission is dominated by Arab countries. Surprised?

The report is expected to be published next month, coinciding with the anniversary of the Six Day War. Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, is currently working with senior officials in the UN to thwart the report’s publication.

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David’s Sling
PM Netanyahu attended a ceremony marking the operational integration of the David’s Sling air defense system yesterday at the Hatzor Air Force Base. The missile system is meant to intercept mid-range missiles. It is also portable, so it can be moved around to cover all parts of the country. The Iron Dome missile system handles short range missiles and the Arrow 3 system intercepts long range missiles. Patriot missile batteries, designed to shoot down missiles and aerial vehicles will remain in operation for at least the next five years.

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Rally Cancelled
An organization related to the Haredi extremist Jerusalem Faction (Peleg Yerushalmi), which is behind the riotous demonstrations against the IDF drafting of yeshiva students, was planning to sponsor a huge rally at the Binyanei Ha’uma convention center in Jerusalem. But as a result of alleged pressure from Haredi members of Knesset, the convention center has cancelled the event. The mainstream Haredi leadership has voiced strong opposition to the demonstrations.

Meanwhile the Jerusalem Faction is threatening to shut down Ben Gurion airport with massive protests, during the busy pre-passover vacation rush.

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Border Fence
The border fence between Israel and Jordan that Israel promised to construct two years ago to prevent infiltrations from Jordan will be completed soon…sort of. The high security fence stretches for just 30 kilometers, from Eilat to the new international airport at Timna. It cost around $55 million. Fencing the entire border is estimated to cost close to a billion dollars (and Jordan, or Mexico, isn’t paying for it). Will the fence along the entire border ever be completed?

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