chief rabbis

Israel News for 6-30-17

Conversion Controversy
PM Netanyahu is meeting this morning with the heads of his coalition partners to attempt to work out a solution to solve the controversy generated by a bill that would make the Chief Rabbinate the only body authorized to convert people to Judaism in Israel. The bill would pull the government’s recognition of private conversions, namely those not conducted by the Chief Rabbinate, even when those conversions are conducted by Orthodox rabbis or courts.

While the bill does not directly effect conversions conducted outside of Israel, the fear is that it might eventually impinge on those too.

The approval of the bill by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation gives the proposal coalition support, which generally all but guarantees its passage in the Knesset. But statements against the proposal by Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Lieberman could potential threaten its passing.

The PM is leaning towards delaying the Knesset vote on the bill for at least six months.

For further reading click here.

Congressional Critics
Four Jewish Democratic members of Congress criticized PM Netanyahu’s suspension of the agreement to build a non-Orthodox prayer space at the Western Wall. They are Representatives Eliot Engel, Nita Lowey and Jerry Nadler of New York and Ted Deutch of Florida.

Engel said, “I typically refrain from weighing in on internal Israeli government decisions, but the recent developments affecting Kotel prayer and conversion have deeply affected the entire Jewish community, including communities in my district. Certainly, the Jewish community is stronger when united rather than divided. I implore the Israeli government to reverse these decisions and engage in a dialogue with the diverse diaspora Jewish community on how to move forward.”

Lowey said, “Israel should provide an opportunity for all Jews, men and women, to have egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall.”

Nadler said, “I am deeply concerned by trends showing young American Jews’ dwindling levels of support for and identification with the state of Israel, and I worry that this decision by the Israeli government will only affirm suspicions that their voices and perspectives have been deemed irrelevant.”

Deutch said he some of his Jewish constituents had expressed disappointment to him about Netanyahu’s decision. “These are members of the community who deeply love and support Israel and they’re hurt and disappointed. I have to say I’m disappointed, too. And I say that not just as a member of Congress, but also as an American Jew.”

For further reading click here.

No German Deal
Germany has scrapped a billion dollar deal to lease Heron-2 drones from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). The reason for the cancellation is because the new drones were already equipped with offensive weapons systems. Germany’s government coalition is against using drones for attacking targets. They want to use them exclusively for intelligence gathering. Germany is currently operating more than ten Heron-1 drones around the world.

For further reading click here.

Olmert Out
Former PM Ehud Olmert will be paroled from prison on Sunday after serving a year and four months or two thirds of his sentence.

The Justice Ministry said in a statement:

“In a discussion at the attorney general’s office this evening, with the participation of the state prosecutor and the top echelon of the State Attorney’s Office, the parole board’s decision in the case of Ehud Olmert was thoroughly studied.”
“The State Attorney’s Office recommended that, on considering all the circumstances of the case, there is no basis for appealing to the district court against the parole board’s decision. The attorney general adopted the recommendation, and accordingly it was decided not to file an appeal with the district court.”

For further reading click here.

Super Shekel
The Israeli shekel continues to gain strength over the dollar and euro. That’s bad news for tourists heading to Israel. It’s also bad for Israeli exporters, whose products are now more expensive. Today the shekel fell below NIS 3.50 per US dollar.

The Bank of Israel is now coming under intense pressure to intervene in foreign currency trading and buy foreign exchange in order to weaken the shekel and help exporters. In April and May, the Bank of Israel bought over $2 billion in foreign currency, intervening every time the exchange rate went below NIS 3.60 per dollar. But for the past month now, the Bank of Israel has sat on the sidelines while the shekel slipped below NIS 3.50/$.

For further reading click here.

Math Wiz
According to the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), a prominent annual publication of university rankings by Shanghai Ranking Consultancy, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem ranks 11th in Math. The Weizmann Institute was ranked 10th in computer sciences and 50th in chemistry.

For further reading click here.

Jewish Link
The Jewish Link of New Jersey has published a great feature article about IsraelAM. To read the article click here.

mossad startups

Israel News for 6-28-17

Mossad Investing
The Mossad, Israel’s version of the CIA, has launched Libertad – a new fund for investing in technological innovation. The fund will be involved in investing in startups related to research and development for new technologies.

The fund is contacting civilian startups and asking for proposals for the development of content technologies of interest to the Mossad in its regular work. Those selected will receive investments of up to NIS 2 million per venture. In certain cases, the fund plans to invest larger amounts in various R&D ventures. The fund will not disclose the names of the companies it supports.

The Mossad’s areas of interest include breakthrough technologies in flexible robotics; miniaturized systems; navigability solutions and silencing solutions in the air, land and sea; innovative technologies offering solutions for expanding the scope of operations or reducing their dimensions; new high-speed information encryption technologies using methods described as “unconventional and pioneering;” technologies for automated identification of personal characteristics, based on online patterns of operation and behavior; and automated methods for summarizing documents, cataloging, extracting entities and semantic connections, etc.

The Mossad will receive licenses to use the technologies developed. The companies will benefit from business and commercial freedom of action. No restrictions whatsoever will be placed on the developments, nor will the companies be required to pay royalties to the Mossad or the state.

The fund plans to invest in five projects a year.

For further reading click here.

Cyber Warfare
Speaking at a cyber defense conference in Tel Aviv yesterday, Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman announced that the Shin Bet has gone on the offensive against hackers trying to carry out cyberattacks against Israel on the internet. He said that “passive defense” is not enough, and that the Shin Bet studied hackers’ strategies and developed “a variety of ways and methods” on how to strike back. Israeli cyber officials are ordinarily reluctant to discuss the use of offensive capabilities against hackers.

For further reading click here.

Haley Stands Firm
Speaking on Tuesday before the House Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, US Ambassador to the UN Nikkey Haley was asked to explain why the US blocked the appointment of Palestinian Authority PM Salam Fayyad as the UN envoy to Libya. Haley responded that while Fayyad was “very well qualified and is a good, decent person,” the decision was based on the fact “that the US does not recognize Palestine… and because that is how he was presented, we did oppose that position.”

She said, “If we don’t recognize Palestine as a state, we needed to acknowledge also that we could not sit there and put a Palestinian forward until the US changed its determination on that front.”

For further reading click here.

Photo Gallery
A photo exhibition opened last week at the Jerusalem Theater that aims to portray Israel’s natural beauty and diversity. The exhibition is based on Karen Lehrman Bloch’s book “Passage to Israel,” which is filled with 200 images by 34 photographers taken across Israel and Jewish settlements. The Jerusalem exhibit features 30 photos by 21 photographers.

To view photos click here.

Haredi Parties

Israel News for 6-27-17

Shabbat Transport
One day after successfully pressuring the government to disband the compromise agreement allowing for an egalitarian prayer area at the Kotel, the ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and UTJ sent a letter to the Ministry of Transport asking that it revoke permits for public transportation on Shabbat in municipalities that permit it including Holon, Ramat Hasharon and Herzliya.

The letter said, “Amendment 28 to the Traffic Ordinance enables the Minister of Transportation to preserve the honor of Shabbat and to decrease its public desecration. The amendment states that ‘the Minister shall take into account, as far as possible, the tradition of Israel, with regard to the prohibition on the movement of vehicles on days of rest’. This refers to the desecration of Shabbat and Jewish holidays via public transportation.”

On a related issue, the Haredi parties have succeeded in moving a bill through the Knesset that places the sole authority to conduct conversions under the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate. The law would bypass the Supreme Court’s decision to recognize private conversion for the purpose of the Law of Return.

Currently, all conversions conducted abroad by Orthodox or non-Orthodox rabbis are accepted by the State of Israel for granting citizenship under the Law of Return. The state rabbinate only recognizes conversions by Orthodox rabbis who are on a pre-approved list. The rabbinate controls marriage registration. That means converts converted by non-Orthodox rabbis or by Orthodox rabbis not on the “list” cannot be married in Israel.

The ultra-Orthodox parties view prohibiting public transportation on Shabbat and authority over conversion as vital to maintaining the Jewish character of the state.

For further reading click here.

Air Strikes
The Israeli Air Force attacked two Hamas military targets in Gaza last night after a rocket launched from Gaza landed in Israel (in an open area). A terror group related to ISIS claimed responsibly for the rocket attack. Israel holds Hamas responsible for all military activity in Gaza.

For further reading click here.

Outsourcing Tech
Due to a growing shortage of computer programmers and engineers, Israeli tech companies are outsourcing to Eastern Europe. There are currently hundreds of development centers located primarily in the Ukraine, but also in Lithuania, Bulgaria and Poland.

For example,, which helps small businesses build websites and is one of Israel’s hottest tech companies, employs 120 workers in two development centers in Ukraine and another 80 at a site in Lithuania. Salaries in the Eastern European countries are 40% lower than in Israel. Most of the European workers speak English and there are also many Russian speaking Israeli, so communications isn’t a problem. Also, the countries and Israel share the same time zone.

The government is working on initiatives to improve math and science education and to integrate more Arabs and Haredim into the tech industry. But the shortage of programmers and engineers is expected to grow to over 10,000 within a decade.

For further reading click here.

IDF Tanks

Israel News for 6-26-17

IDF Strikes
The IDF yesterday attacked a series of targets belonging to the Syrian military after several projectiles from Syria landed in the Israeli Golan. The IDF said it targeted two Syrian artillery positions and an ammunitions truck. There were no immediate reports of casualties. As a precaution, the IDF instructed Israeli civilians from gathering in open areas in the border area. It was the second day in a row that the IDF struck targets in Syria. On Saturday Israeli aircraft struck various positions, destroying two tanks, in response to more than 10 projectiles that landed in Israel.

PM Netanyahu said, “Our policy is clear: We will not tolerate any spillover or trickle whatsoever—neither mortars nor rockets, from any front. We will respond strongly to any attack on our territory or our citizens.”

The Syrian army released a statement saying, “the Syrian army general command warns against the dangers of these aggressive activities and lays the responsibility for the dangerous repercussions of these old actions on the Israeli enemy, whatever its excuses may be. The general command stresses that it is determined to defeat the terrorist organizations, the Israeli enemy’s emissaries in the region.”

For further reading click here.

No Deal
The Cabinet last night agreed to suspend the agreement approved by the government to create a non-Orthodox run egalitarian prayer area at the southern end of the Kotel. The decision came as a result of massive pressure from the Ultra-Orthodox parties along with members of the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party. Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman were the only two ministers to vote against the decision. Lieberman warned that cancelling the plans would only harm the unity of the coalition and the state and would also jeopardize relations between Israeli Jews and International Jewry.

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, who was at the meeting in which Netanyahu announced his decision, said in a statement:

“As chairman of The Jewish Agency for Israel, and on behalf of our partners, I must express my deep disappointment at today’s decision by the Government of Israel to suspend the implementation of its own decision to establish a dignified space for egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall. After four years of intensive negotiations, we reached a solution that was accepted by all major denominations and was then adopted by the government and embraced by the world’s Jewish communities.

Today’s decision signifies a retreat from that agreement and will make our work to bring Israel and the Jewish world closer together increasingly more difficult. The Jewish Agency nevertheless remains staunchly committed to that work and to the principle of one wall for one people.”

The government’s decision was slammed by leaders of the Reform, Conservative and other progressive Jewish denominations.

Israel’s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau praised the prime minister’s decision to temporarily nullify the plan. “The decision of the government that will divide the Western Wall—which is the heart of the Jewish people—was fundamentally wrong and it is a good thing that it was stopped.”

For further reading click here.

IDF Funerals
The IDF has changed its standing orders to allow families of fallen soldiers to choose between conducting a religious or secular (civil) funeral. The previous order required all funerals to be led by an IDF rabbi according to Orthodox Jewish law. The civil funerals will be held in civil cemeteries and will not be able to contain military ceremonies including an honor guard or gun salute. However, the unit’s commander will be able to speak in memory of the fallen soldier. The Defense Ministry will also provide the family with full logistical assistance in preparing for the funeral, such as organizing shuttles to the cemetery, publishing death notices, and helping digging the grave.

For further reading click here.

damascus gate

Israel News for 6-23-17

Increased Security
PM Netanyahu announced last night that he intends to beef up security arrangements and implement other changes at the Damascus Gate in the Old City, where numerous terror attacks have taken place including the recent one that claimed the life of Hadas Malka.

He said, “I asked for changes at the Damascus Gate. They have prepared a plan to augment security and restrict the freedom of action by potential terrorists. I approved the this plan and it will be implemented extremely soon.”

Regarding the Damascus Gate he said, “The gate has become a gathering for murderers time and again, for attackers time and again. It has become a symbol of terrorism and has also become a symbol for anti-terrorism, of the fight against terrorism. That is why I asked for a plan and changes.”

For further reading click here.

Blood Money
Speaking in the name of Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, PA spokesman Nabil Shaath said the Palestinians have a “social responsibility” to offer monetary payouts to the families of prisoners in Israeli jails because they are “political prisoners,” and that the payouts are the PA’s way of “look(ing) after innocent people affected by the incarceration or killing of their loved ones as a result of the military occupation.”

The statement incurred a wave of responses from victims of terror groups, saying that it showed the true face of the Palestinian political leadership.

Can the peace process move forward while these terror payments continue?

For further reading click here.

Lights On
Egypt has shipped 1 million liters of fuel to power the sole electricity power plant in Gaza yesterday. The move undercuts Abbas’s attempt to punish Hamas by cutting off his supply of electricity to Gaza and stopping tax payments to Israel, which caused Israel to cut its electricity supply to Gaza too. Hamas officials said more fuel shipments are expected this week, adding that 1 million liters can keep the plant running for three-and-a-half days.

Abbas has not commented publicly on the Egyptian shipment, but aides have said he is upset with the Arab nation for undercutting his pressure campaign. The Egyptian aide seems surprising, since Egypt has been trying to isolate and weaken Hamas, which it blames for supporting unrest in the Sinai. But there are political motives behind the aide, which relate to a former Gaza leader, Mohammed Dahlan, whom the Egyptians would like to see back in power. The aide is apparently part of a deal to increase Dahlan’s political presence in Gaza.

For further reading click here.

Beersheva Parade
Around 4,000 marchers participated in Beersheva’s first ever gay pride parade last night. City Mayor Rubik Danilovich said in a statement, “Be’er Sheva is for everyone and I am the mayor for everyone. … Be’er Sheva is united, accepting and tolerant. Even if we are difference, we are all equal in the same exact way.”

The parade was originally supposed to take place in 2016 but was cancelled by the Supreme Court’s rejection of a petition submitted by the Israeli National LGBT Taskforce (also known as the Aguda) and Pride House (a local Be’er Sheva LGBT center), requesting that Be’er Sheva’s first ever Pride parade be allowed to march down the city’s main road.

Police arrested a hared man with a knife who was trying to make his way into the crowds.

For further reading click here.

Big Donation
US billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a major Republican party supporter, will donate around $20 million for the major expansion of Ariel University, which is located in the West Bank (Samaria). The expansion will include buildings will be dedicated to natural sciences, social sciences and community health, as well as a faculty of Jewish heritage. The cost of the entire project is estimated at $113 million.

For further reading click here.


Israel News for 6-22-17

Kushner Visit
Jared Kushner arrived in Israel yesterday. One of his first stops was to pay a shiva visit to the family of Hadas Malka, who was murdered by a terrorist last Friday night while on duty in Jerusalem. US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman accompanied Kushner. During the half hour long visit, Kushner conveyed the condolences of President Trump on behalf of the US.

Kushner met with PM Netanyahu yesterday in Jerusalem. Netanyahu welcomed Kushner with a hug and said, “This is an opportunity to pursue our common goals of security, prosperity and peace. Jared, I welcome you here in that spirit. I know of your efforts, the president’s efforts, and I look forward to working with you to achieve these common goals.”

Kushner responded, “The president sends his best regards and it’s an honor to be here with you.”

Jason Greenblatt and Ambassador David Friedman also joined in the meeting.

A White House statement released after the Netanyahu meeting said, “The United States officials and Israeli leadership underscored that forging peace will take time and stressed the importance of doing everything possible to create an environment conducive to peacemaking. The three United States officials discussed Israel’s priorities and potential next steps with Prime Minister Netanyahu, acknowledging the critical role Israel plays in the security of the region.”

Kushner, Greenblatt and U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem Donald Blome met with PA President Abbas last night in Ramallah. Palestinian sources said that ahead of Kushner’s meeting with Abbas, they had been asked to draw up a list of 12 ‘bullet point’ demands they would want met in any negotiations.

In a statement summarizing the meeting, the White House described it as “productive” and that the sides “reaffirmed their commitment to advancing President Trump’s goal of a genuine and lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians that enhances stability in the region.”

The statement also noted that Kushner, Greenblatt and Abbas discussed “priorities for the Palestinians and potential next steps, acknowledging the need for economic opportunities for Palestinians and major investments in the Palestinian economy.”

For further reading click here.

Jerusalem Construction
According to reports, PM Netanyahu has ordered the activation of thousands of construction permits for new apartments in Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem including Gilo, Har Homa, Ramot and Pisgat Ze’ev.

Deputy Mayor Meir Turgeman, who also chairs the Jerusalem Local Planning Committee, told Channel 2 News on Wednesday that in a phone call with the government’s Jerusalem district planner, Dalia Zilber, he was told the plans should be approved immediately and put into action.

Turgeman said, “These thousands of housing units were frozen for many years. Jerusalem very much needs apartments. It is unreasonable that in the era of the Trump administration, which says it has no problem with building in Jerusalem, there should be an order to not build.”

For further reading click here.

Gaza Electricity
Israel has cut its electricity supply to Gaza for the third straight day on the request of PA President Abbas, who is trying to apply pressure to force Hamas to accept PA authority.

Defense Minister Lieberman accused Abbas of trying to drag Hamas into a war with Israel. Lieberman stressed that Israel has no intention of going to war with Hamas or in the north with Hezbollah.

For further reading click here.

Musical Chairs
Back in 2015 an 82 year old woman, Rina Rabinowitz, was a passenger on an El Al flight when a flight attendant asked her to relocate to a “better” seat at the request of an ultra-orthodox male passenger who was seated next to her. Rabinowitz sued El Al.

Yesterday the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court accepted a compromise agreement reached between Rabinowitz and the airline, determining that El Al’s policy on the subject is unlawful.

Judge Dana Cohen-Lekach ruled that, “Under no circumstances should a staff member approach a passenger next to whom someone doesn’t want to sit on account of the passenger’s gender and ask the passenger to move to another seat on the plane, as this constitutes a violation of the law against discrimination in services.”

 The judge ordered El Al to instruct its employees in writing within 45 days and conduct frontal instruction within six months on the matter. In addition, the judge ordered the airline to pay Rabinovitz NIS 6,500 in damages.

El Al said in response, “The sides reached an agreement that the airline’s procedures on the matter would be clarified to its employees. The court validated this agreement and the company will respect the verdict.”

For further reading click here.

Missing Children
Hundreds of people, including members of Knesset, attended a rally in Jerusalem on Wednesday evening ahead of the Awareness Day for the Kidnapped Children from Yemen, the Middle East, and the Balkan. The demonstrators demanded recognition and justice for the thousands of mostly Yemenite children who were allegedly kidnapped from their families by officials employed by the government and given to Ashkenazic families for adoption.

In December, the National Archive’s website made available to the public some 3,500 case files including 210,000 documents dealing with the disappearance of the Yemenite children. The searchable documents provide information on thousands of children, including where they were buried and what their cause of death was.

Likud MK Nava Boker, who pushed to open the archives to the public, spoke about her own experience: “My parents passed away without learning the fate of their child… I demand recognition of these kidnappings cases; they shouldn’t be treated as adoption cases. There were criminal actions done.”

For further reading click here.

IDF soldiers

Israel News for 6-21-17

Terror Stabbing
A Palestinian terrorist attempted to stab soldiers on patrol in the West Bank yesterday. He was shot and critically wounded by the soldiers. No soldiers were injured. The terrorist succumbed to his wounds afterwards.

For further reading click here.

Shiva Visit
US envoy Jason Greenblatt paid a shiva visit on Sunday night to the family of Hadas Malka, the female Border Police officer killed in a terror attack last Friday. In a statement following the visit he said, “Incidents such as this underscore why it is vital to realize President Trump’s vision of a Middle East free from threats of terrorism and extremism.”

Greenblatt visited the Kotel on Monday morning and also met with PM Netanyahu and then with Palestinian officials on Tuesday.

Jared Kushner is expected to arrive in Israel today.

For further reading click here.

Haley vs Hamas
Yesterday, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley urged the Security Council to condemn Hamas. She said, “The Security Council must unite to say that enough is enough. We need to pressure Hamas to end its tyranny over the people of Gaza. We should condemn Hamas in this Council’s resolutions and statements. We should name Hamas as the group responsible when rockets are fired from Gaza, or when fresh tunnels are discovered. And we should designate Hamas as a terrorist organization in a resolution, with consequences for anyone who continues to support it.”

She added, “We must do much more to show Hamas that we will never tolerate terrorism. We must show that when Hamas uses homes and schools to hide its terrorist infrastructure, there will be consequences. Those who give Hamas the arms, money, and political support to operate must cease. And if they do not, Member States of this United Nations need to come together to put real pressure on supporters of Hamas to stop.”

“Every ounce of what we do should be against Hamas. They are a dangerous actor who has no care for the Palestinians, no care for the Israelis, and they are determined to destroy everything in their path. So once again, we are having this session, and once again, we will hear speeches on whether you’re for Israel, against Israel, for Palestinians, against Palestinians. But I would ask you to please address the real threat that is causing so many people harm, and that’s the threat of Hamas.”

For further reading click here.

Not So Fast
We recently reported that Egypt had agreed to transfer two islands at the mouth of the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia. Yesterday, an Egyptian court struck down the agreement, labeling it as unconstitutional. Can that happen in Egypt?

For further reading click here.

Shabbat Work
The Haredi parties of Shas and UTJ threatened PM Netanyahu that they would leave the government if work on the Israel Railways infrastructure continues to take place on Shabbat. They urged the PM to put a stop to the work and to efforts by local government to pass regulations to circumvent Shabbat work laws.

The parties published a statement after the meeting saying, “We demand that the prime minister abide by the coalition agreement, return to the status quo as it was, immediately stop the unnecessary infrastructural work on the train, both regarding the additional lines on Shabbat and the lack of enforcement of pirate companies operating public transportation on Shabbat.”

For further reading click here.

Raw Deal
The movie Wonder Woman has so far brought it over $500 million dollars in just its first two weeks. But Israeli actress Gal Gadot reportedly was only paid $300,000 for her starring role. In fact, she signed a three movie deal at $300,000 per movie. Oh well, there’s always number four.

For further reading click here.

Israel News for 6-19-17

High Alert
IDF forces in Judea and Samaria as well as in East Jerusalem are on high alert for the last ten days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, fearing copycat attacks of the Friday night terror attacks that claimed the life of a female border police officer.

Israeli has also cancelled around 250,000 Palestinian entry permits into Israel and PM Netanyahu has ordered the area around the Damascus Gate be declared a security area.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman blamed the Palestinian Authority, saying, “We will continue to fight relentless Palestinian terror and the unbridled incitement that feeds it. We will pursue the perpetrators and instigators wherever they may be. The thunderous silence from the PA, which refuses to condemn terrorism, and the claims by Abbas that Israel murdered three innocent Palestinians, proves there is no partner on the other side.”

For further reading click here.

Hero funeral
Thousands attended the funeral of Master Sergeant Hadas Malka, who was stabbed by a terrorist on Friday night in Jerusalem while she tried to draw her weapon and defend herself. Among the mourners were Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan, Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh, Border Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai and other ministers and Knesset members.

PM Netanyahu expressed condolences on behalf of the government and the nation to the Malka family Sunday morning at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting saying, “Their grief is our grief; their sorrow is that of the entire nation. Hadas was a young person full of life. She was imbued with a sense of mission of defending the State of Israel. Her commanders and those under her command loved her and trusted her.”

He also said, “I call on the countries of the world to condemn both the murder and those who praise it, and demand the immediate cessation of Palestinian Authority payments to the families of terrorists, something that only encourages terror.”

The Palestinian Authority issued a statement on Saturday condemning the deaths of the three attackers, calling it a “war crime” by Israeli forces. The PA has not condemned the Friday night attacks.

For further reading click here.

BBC Apologizes
The BBC apologized for its news headline regarding the Friday night terrorist attack that read, “Three Palestinians killed after deadly stabbing in Jerusalem.” The headline was only changed after strong protest from the foreign ministry and the Israeli Ambassador in London, Mark Regev. The two sharply criticized the network for refusing to use the word “terror” when it comes to attacks against Israelis.

In response to the widespread outcry, the BBC said, “We accept that our original headline did not appropriately reflect the nature of the events and subsequently changed it. Whilst there was no intention to mislead our audiences, we regret any offense caused.”

For further reading click here.

Haj Flight
As a result of secret negotiations between Israel, the US, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the PA, there apparently will be special flight organized exclusively for Palestinians to fly from Israel directly to Saudi Arabia for the Has, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. A senior Israeli source said the talks are already in advanced stages and that the flight would be carried out through a foreign company that is neither Israeli nor Saudi.

For further reading click here.

US Visits
Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt will be in Israel this week to try to move President Trump’s peace initiative forward. They will hold meetings in Jerusalem and Ramallah.

A White House official said, “It is important to remember that forging a historic peace agreement will take time and to the extent that there is progress, there are likely to be many visits by both Mr. Kushner and Mr. Greenblatt, sometimes together and sometimes separately, to the region and possibly many trips by Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to Washington DC or other locations as they pursue substantive talks.”

For further reading click here.

Binary Options
One year after the Israel Securities Authority banned trading in binary options for Israeli customers, the cabinet and the Ministerial Legislative Committee yesterday approved a bill proposed by Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon extending the ban to overseas customers. The Knesset is expected to pass the bill without any difficulties.

According to the bill, trading in binary options by Israeli concerns involving customers in Israel or overseas will constitute a predicate offense under the Prohibition of Money Laundering Law, due to the “criminal characteristics likely to accompany this industry,” as set out in the explanations accompanying the bill.

The Securities Authority said that there were additional reasons for extending the ban to overseas customers, including Israel’s image. People all over the world have filed complaints against unscrupulous binary options trading companies originating in Israel.

For further reading click here.

abbas and trump

Israel News for 6-15-17

Terror Payments
On Tuesday US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee that the Palestinian Authority has stopped payments to the families of terrorists. Yesterday, the PA’s head of prisoner affairs, Issa Karaka, denied that claim saying that demanding the stoppage of payments was “a declaration of war” against Abbas and “an invitation for the dismantlement of the Palestinian Authority.” He said, “it would not lead to stability and would not serve a peace process in the region.”

Karaka explained, “The Palestinian society is made up entirely of families of prisoners and Shahids, and they are all victims because of the Israeli occupation. This demand to stop payments for prisoners’ families is no small matter, but something very big with social ramifications.”

He added, “No one in the Palestinian Authority could make such a move. It would be very difficult for the Palestinian Authority to stop the humanitarian aid to the families of prisoners and Shahids.”

Karaka did confirm that the PA stopped payments to over 200 released Hamas prisoners, but that it was done because of a dispute between the PA and Hamas and not because of American or Israeli demands.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and other Israeli officials also asserted that they saw no evidence of the PA stopping terror payments.

So what exactly was Tillerson talking about?

For further reading click here.

Another UN Report
The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) issued a report yesterday in which it accused Israel of using, “force that has at times been deemed excessive” against the Palestinians, “which may have amounted to extrajudicial executions.” According to the ECOSOC report, from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017, Israeli security forces killed 63 Palestinians, including 19 children, and wounded 2,276 others, including 562 children.

The report also accused Israeli security forces of “deprivation of basic legal safeguards for administrative detainees, isolation and solitary confinement of detainees, including minors, punishment and ill-treatment of hunger strikers, torture or ill-treatment of Palestinian children and the hindering of visits of relatives for child prisoners.”

Danny Danon, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, remarked, “This is another blood libel against Israel. Just as we got the previous farfetched report scrapped, we will fight against this distorted and false report. We won’t allow slandering of IDF soldiers.”

For further reading click here.

Islands Transferred
Egypt has transferred two islands located in the Straits of Tiran to Saudi Arabia. The islands, which have been disputed for many years, are located at the mouth of the Red Sea and could potentially block Israel’s access to the Gulf of Aquaba and Eilat.

To view a map of the area click here.

Earthquake Exercise
Israeli first responders and security forces have completed a major exercise to prepare for dealing with an earthquake. After viewing the final part of the exercise Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan said, “It is very important to practice what you see here. There is a fear of the need to evacuate tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands of civilians from their homes, and of total chaos, in which incidents of public disorder, looting, food shortages and the need to rescue civilians from ruins could occur. We have to examine how these organizations communicate with one another, and because of this, this exercise has tremendous importance.”

Erdan also noted that the chances of a major earthquake hitting Israel increase each year.

For further reading click here.

Wonder Woman
You’ll be relieved to know that Jordan has decided not to ban Wonder Woman, and the Israeli super hero will be seen on the big screen throughout Jordan next month. Maybe Wonder Woman can truly use her super powers to bring peace to the region?

For further reading click here.

stopping terror payments

US says Palestinians stopping terror payments – IsraelAM 6-14-17

Terror Payments
In a hearing before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson revealed that the Trump administration has demanded that Mahmoud Abbas stop transferring payments to families of suicide bombers. He said that he had received a report that the Palestinians “have changed that policy and their intent is to cease the payments to the families of those who have committed murder or violence against others. We have been very clear with them that this is simply not acceptable to us.”

When the issue was raised by Republican Senator Jim Risch, Tillerson responded by saying that the issue “was discussed directly with President Abbas when he made his visit to Washington.” He added, “The president (Trump) raised it, and I had a bilateral meeting with (Abbas) later and I told him—you absolutely have to stop this.”

But a senior Israeli official said there was no evidence the PA had taken any steps to change its policy of funding terrorists and their families. “In Israel, we don’t see any change whatsoever in the Palestinians’ policies, as they continue to fund terrorists’ families. The Palestinian Authority continues to praise, incite, and support terrorist with payments.”

US lawmakers are considering legislation that would slash funding to the Palestinians as long as the payments continue.

On Sunday, Israeli ministers approved a bill that would cut tax transfers to Palestinians by the amount paid out to the terrorists. The Palestinians have paid out some NIS 4 billion — or $1.12 billion — over the past four years to terrorists and their families,

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Back to NZ
Israel will return its ambassador to New Zealand after a six month absence that came as a result of New Zealand co-sponsored a UN Security Council resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement activity. In a letter to PM Netanyahu, New Zealand’s PM Bill English wrote, “I regret the damage done to Israel-New Zealand relations as a result of New Zealand proposing Resolution 2334 at the Security Council.”

Earlier this month Israel announced that it would return its ambassador to Senegal, which also co-sponsored the resolution. The other two co-sponsors, Venezuela and Malaysia, have no diplomatic relations with Israel. The UN resolution passed as a result of a US abstention (no veto) under the Obama administration.

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UN Report
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein published a report yesterday accusing both Israel and the Palestinians of failing to bring alleged perpetrators of war crimes to justice. There was no reaction from either party. Maybe this will bring Israel and the Palestinians closer together?

US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley gave formal notice last week that the Trump administration was reviewing its participation in the Human Rights Council and called for reforms to put Israel “on equal footing.” Israel is not a member of the council.

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Army vs National Service
Religious girls in Israel have traditionally chosen two years of National Service (Sherut Leumi) as an alternative to army service. The National Service would usually be performed primarily in special education schools, hospitals and social service roles.

But over the past few years the number of religious girls enlisting in the IDF has risen dramatically. In addition to army service, many girls now have the option of volunteering for their National Service in the Shin Bet, Mossad and government ministries. As a result, many of the traditional National Service positions have been left vacant. That’s a problem.

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Happy Birthday
Wishing a very happy birthday to my amazing wife and cofounder Natalie. May you enjoy a blessed year filled with health, happiness and success. If you’d like to make a donation to wish Natalie a happy birthday, click here :)