IDF in Jenin

Israel News for 7-12-17

IDF Attacked
IDF troops came under attacked in Jenin during a search for wanted terrorists last night. Terrorists used explosive devices and firearms. The troops from the Special Forces unit Maglan returned fire, killing two of the terrorists and wounding a third. No soldiers were wounded. In other operations, security forces also succeeded in arresting 21 wanted terror suspects throughout the West Bank.

For further reading click here.

Road Rage
Last night the IDF returned to the Palestinian Authority the body of the terrorist who carried out an attack in Gush Etzion on Monday in which an IDF soldier was lightly wounded.
After the body was returned there a mass funeral procession.

To see how that looked, click here.

Terror Lawsuit
The State of Israel has filed suit against the family of the terrorist who rammed his truck into a crowd of officer cadets at a popular Jerusalem promenade in January killing 3 female and one male soldier, all in their 20’s. The terrorist was shot and killed at the scene.

This is the first time that Israel has sued the families of terrorists. The prosecution is demanding compensation for the costs of the burials of the soldiers, as well as the payments it makes to the bereaved families. In addition the prosecutor mentioned “loss of earnings for the lost years, loss of pension and pension rights…and compensation for the pain and suffering that reflects the cruelty of the acts and the great suffering of the murder victims.”

Efrat Oren, the spokesperson of Jerusalem’s District Attorney’s Office, explain, “The primary claim behind the lawsuit filed, following the terrorist attack that resulted in the death of Israeli soldiers, is meant to reimburse the state’s coffers for any expenses incurred following such incidents.” If the family does not pay this sum, the debt will be passed on to the terrorist’s children. The family’s house has already been destroyed.

For further reading click here.

Rwanda Open
Paul Kagame, the president of the West African nation of Rwanda, visited Israel earlier this week and met with PM Netanyahu and President Rivlin.

Kagame said, “Cooperation between our countries has blossomed in many areas, among them technology, agriculture, and energy, as well as security. We appreciate what Israel has to offer in these and other fields, and we are very happy to be working with you.”

He added, “Rwanda is open for business and we look forward to welcoming private sector delegations from Israel even more frequently in the future. Ever since the Prime Minister’s visit to West Africa last year, Israel has continued to follow through on its commitments and objective of scaling up engagement across Africa this is a very positive trend which can only be welcomed and merits our support.”

Netanyahu thanked Kagame for supporting Israel as it works on forming and improving relations with African nations. He said, “We see how you stand up for Israel in international forums, and you already expressed a simple principle that we did, which is that bilateral relationships should be reflected in multilateral forums.”

For further reading click here.

Hiding Jewishness
The CEO of Israel’s department of education has issued guidelines for Israeli students visiting Poland on school organized trips. The guidelines include not wearing religious garments such as kippot (skullcaps), tzizzit, or the talis (tallitot) in public. The guidelines also prohibit students from singing and dancing in public and from displaying Israeli flags other than in the actual concentration camps.

For further reading click here.

Real Estate Bargain
If you’re looking to buy a house on the most expensive street in Israel, now’s your chance. Dafna Harlev, co-owner of family real estate company Aviv, is putting her home in Herzliya Pituah up for sale for NIS 100 million ($28 million). The approximately 5,000 sq.ft. house is located on a .25 acre plot on Galei Tchelet Street, the closest street to the sea in Herzliya Pituah. Neighbors include the US ambassador’s residence and other major Israeli business magnates.

In similar past scenarios, the buyers have proceeded to knock down the existing structures and build new homes (Sounds a lot like Teaneck). So if you’ve got the cash and the dream, why not give it a shot?

To see a photo of the property and read more, click here.

Israel News for 7-11-17

Terror Attack
A terrorist rammed his car into an IDF roadside station at an intersection in Gush Etzion yesterday. He then got out of the car with a knife and attempted to stab soldiers. He was shot and killed by security forces at the scene. One soldier was lightly injured by a pole that fell on him as a result of the ramming.

For further reading click here.

Labor Leader
The Labor Party has elected Avi Gabbay as its new leader. Gabbay beat favorite Amir Peretz in a runoff election last night. Gabbay is the former CEO of Bezeq, Israel’s premier telecommunications company. In 2014 he formed the Kulanu party with Moshe Kahalon, and was appointed to serve as the environmental protection minister in Netanyahu’s government. During his tenure, he promoted the “Bags Law” requiring customers to purchase plastic bags at supermarkets, worked to remove the ammonia tank from the Haifa Bay and also to reduce the emission of pollutants from the Israel Electric Corporation’s power plants. 

In 2016 Gabbay resigned from his post and party in protest over the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as Defense Minister. Shorty after, he joined the Labor Party.

Gabbay, in his victory speech, said, To all those who mourned the Labor Party as not being an alternative to the government, to all the citizens of Israel who lost the hope for change—the answer is tonight. Our path is going to lead us to a new administration in Israel…I call on citizens of Israel to join me.”

Israel’s next general election is scheduled for 2019.

For further reading click here.

Fast Day
Today, the 17th day of the Hebrew month of Tammuz, is observed as a day of fasting to commemorate and mourn five events recorded in the Talmud that occurred on this day:

1. Moses broke the tablets when he saw the Jewish people worshipping the Golden Calf.

2. The walls of Jerusalem were breached by both the Babylonians (First Temple) and the Romans (Second Temple). Three weeks later, on the 9th of Av, the Temple (both 1st and 2nd) was destroyed.

3. Apostomos, a Roman or Greek general, publicly burned the Torah.

4. An idol was placed inside the Temple.

5. The daily offering in the Temple was discontinued as a result of the siege of Jerusalem.

Ashkenazic Jews observe various customs of mourning for the next 3 weeks, culminating in the fast of Tisha B’av.

To read more about this day and the customs associated with it click here.

New Member
Kibbutz Eilon, located just south of the Lebanese border in the western Galilee, has just accepted a Bedouin family as full members of the kibbutz. This is probably the first time that an Arab family has been granted membership in a kibbutz. The family of five got 116 votes out of 124. The family had previously been renting on the kibbutz.

Mahmoud, 49, and Hadil, 32, are both nurses by profession and have three sons, Yazan, Adam and Amari. Hadil works at the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya, while Mahmoud works for the National Insurance Institute and Clalit Health Services.

Mahmoud related, “My father actually grew up on a kibbutz from age 10 as an adopted child of a Polish family on Kibbutz Matzuva and to this day he is known by the name Asher. He was a shepherd for the kibbutz and lived there until he was 30. Our decision to move to the kibbutz was completely accepted by our families and my mother even congratulated us. We are totally involved in kibbutz life.”

Mahmoud’s first project for the kibbutz was the establishment of an emergency medical center staffed by doctors and nurses, including him and his wife. Hadil also took a project upon herself and established a recreation center for kids and their parents.

They said, “We believe in coexistence, love the sense of togetherness and the level of love, warmth and compassion. Our grandparents always supported kibbutzim in the area and the village always had a connection with them, even supplying flour and food.”

They added, “There is a pool here, a gym, friendliness, support to mothers, peace of mind, communal meals on Friday nights and most importantly, accepting others as people.”

For further reading click here.

Silent Dance
Students at the Belzer hassidic yeshiva in Brooklyn figured out a way to party without disturbing the neighbors. To watch how they accomplished this click here.

chief rabbinate

Israel News for 7-10-17

Rabbi List
A list of 160 rabbis from 24 countries was released to the press over the weekend. The list is allegedly a blacklist of rabbis whom the Chief Rabbinate does not trust to verify the Jewish identity of immigrants. Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Lau has denied any knowledge of the list and has strongly reprimanded the rabbinate employee who leaked it to the press.

The Reality
When someone immigrates to Israel (aliya), in order to obtain automatic citizenship under the Law of Return, he must obtain a letter from a rabbi confirming that he is Jewish. A letter from a Reform or Conservative rabbi of a synagogue or institution is acceptable for the purposes of obtaining citizenship. The Israeli rabbinate does not have jurisdiction over citizenship.

If a person converts outside of Israel under the auspices of a recognized Orthodox or non-Orthodox rabbi, the convert is eligible for citizenship under the Law of Return. The Ultra Orthodox parties are backing a law in the Knesset that would give the Chief Rabbinate sole authority over all conversion conducted in Israel. But the law does not effect conversions done outside of Israel.

Since the rabbinate does have jurisdiction over marriage and divorce, the issues of acceptable rabbis and Jewish identity arise when the person in question wants to register for marriage with the rabbinate. In order to do that he (or she) must bring proof of his Jewish identity. At that point the rabbinate can demand evidence based on its own standards. Hence, the “blacklist”.

Regarding the “blacklist”, the overwhelming majority of the rabbis on it are affiliated with the Conservative or Reform movements, which we already know the Chief Rabbinate does not recognize.

So the uproar is apparently regarding the dozen or so US Orthodox rabbis on the list. Almost all of those rabbis are not accepted as members by the RCA (Rabbinical Council of America), which is the primary Modern Orthodox rabbinical umbrella organization, usually because of the quality or source of their rabbinic ordination or affiliations. For example, graduates of the Chovevei Torah are not eligible for RCA membership.

So while this “Blacklist” story makes a great headline and does much to create hatred and dissension within the Jewish community, it really isn’t anything new and doesn’t have much practical effect. (Fake news??)

Obviously, the story doesn’t help the Chief Rabbinate’s PR, but after the freezing of the Western Wall agreement and the push for the Conversion Bill, it doesn’t seem like PR is the rabbinate’s top priority.

Jewish Hebron
Last week UNESCO passed a resolution recognizing the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron as a Palestinian World Heritage site. The cave is the burial place of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob and Leah. Rachel is buried in Bethlehem.

In response to the resolution, PM Netanyahu has decided to cut an additional $1 million from Israel’s membership fees to the UN and allocate the funds instead to the construction of The Museum of the Heritage of the Jewish People in Kiryat Arba and Hebron, as well as additional heritage projects in Hebron.

The PM said, “Against UNESCO’s denial, Israel will present to the world the historical truth and the Jewish People’s deep connection—of thousands of years—to Hebron just as we did with UNESCO’s other delusional decision regarding the absence of a connection to Jerusalem.”

Netanyahu also put on a Kipa and read the passages from the Torah describing Abraham’s purchase of the cave.

For further reading click here.

Israeli Commandos

Israel News for 7-6-17

Terror Raid
Security forces entered the Palestinian village of Al-Ram near Jerusalem last night and discovered equipment used to manufacture weapons in two illegal workshops. The weapons were confiscated and the workshops sealed off.

Meanwhile, IDF combat engineers prepared the home of the terrorist who murdered Hamas Malka for demolition in the village of Deir Abu Mash’al.

For further reading click here.

New Housing
The Jerusalem Planning and Building committee is expected to approve 800 new housing units in the East Jerusalem Jewish neighborhoods of Pisgat Ze’ev, Neve Yaakov, Ramot and Gilo. Construction plans will also be submitted for 114 housing units in the East Jerusalem Arab neighborhoods of Jabel Mukaber, Ras al-Amud, Sharafat, Shuafat and A-Tur.

Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat issued a statement, saying, “Building in Jerusalem is necessary, important and will continue full strength in order to enable more young people to live in Jerusalem, build their future and strengthen the capital of Israel.”

For further reading click here.

Indian Welcome
Ten thousand members of the Indian community in Israel came out to welcome Indian PM Modi at an event in at the Tel Aviv Convention Center last night. Some arrived dressed in traditional Indian clothing, and some wrapped themselves in Indian flags or wore shirts emblazoned with Modi’s image.

PM Netanyahu spoke at the event and said, “We are in a historic meeting, your visit, of two ancient peoples seizing the future. Prime Minister Modi and I have decided on a vast program to bring our partnership and our friendship to new heights. But we always remember that there’s a human bridge between us—you. We admire you, we respect you, we love you.”

Yesterday Modi and Netanyahu visited 11 year old Moshe Holtzberg, the son of Chabad emissaries who were killed in a 2008 terror attack in Mumbai.

There are currently 6,000 Jews living in India. The community is hoping to be granted official minority status by the Indian government as a result of the visit.

To view photos of the event click here.

Play Boycott
More than 60 artists, including four Pulitzer Prize winners and other prominent writers, actors, directors and playwrights, have signed an open letter calling on Lincoln Center to cancel performances of a play co-produced by two Israeli theater companies and backed by the Israeli government.

The play, “To the End of the Land,” is produced by the Cameri Theater of Tel Aviv and Ha’Bima National Theater of Israel and is based on a critically acclaimed 2008 novel by David Grossman about a mother who tries to escape from her worry over her son’s military service by going on a hike in the Galilee. Grossman is known as an outspoken critic of the Israeli Government.

The open letter, organized by the anti-Israel group Adalah-NY, said, “It is deeply troubling that Lincoln Center, one of the world’s leading cultural institutions, is helping the Israeli government to implement its systematic ‘Brand Israel’ strategy of employing arts and culture to divert attention from the state’s decades of violent colonization, brutal military occupation and denial of basic rights to the Palestinian people.”

For further reading click here.

Lt. David Golovenchich

Israel News for 7-5-17

Tragic Accident
Yesterday, 22-year-old Lieutenant David Golovenchich from Efrat was killed when a fellow soldier accidentally fired his rifle during a routine patrol in Hebron. Golovenchich was serving in Golani’s 12th battalion, which is in charge of the Hebron sector. He received emergency treatment at the scene and was rushed to a nearby hospital by helicopter, where he succumbed to his wounds.

Golovenchich will be buried today at 4:00pm with full military honors at the Har Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem. He is survived by his parents, two sisters, and two brothers.

The commander of the Central Command, Major General Roni Numa, has appointed a committee of experts headed by Colonel Ronen Tamim, the head of the Idan division, to investigate the circumstances of the incident.

For further reading click here.

Terror Foiled
Border Police stopped and searched a vehicle at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Jerusalem and found a bag containing knives, stun and grenades and Molotov cocktails. The six men in the car, all from Nablus, were arrested for questioning.

For further reading click here.

Drone Crash
An IDF Skylark drone crashed in the southern Gaza Strip on Monday. The IDF said it was investigating the crash and that there was no fear of leaked information from the aircraft. Last Thursday, another Skylark crashed near Bethlehem before being recovered by the IDF.

According to a senior IDF officer, “The majority of crashes are caused by technical failures and that appears to be the case with this particular crash as well. A technical failure can be caused by a particular component flaw or the engine. People need to understand this is a very basic aircraft, certainly relative to the incredible things it can do. The system is very widely used and every incident such as this is investigated thoroughly by the IDF and the manufacturer to reduce the amount of failures.”

The Skylark drone does not retain any intelligence data and can only be operated by its handlers via a special operating device. The IDF claims that there is absolutely no practical value to the enemy that finds the downed drone.

For further reading click here.

No Demolition
The Supreme Court rejected a petition by the Abu Khdeir family demanding the demolition of the homes of the Jews convicted in the brutal murder of their son. The families wanted the same punishment applied to Arab terrorists to be applied to the Jewish murderers.

Judge Rubinstein noted that regulation 119—which allows ordering the demolition of a home where suspected terror activity occurred or a home of terrorists, their accomplices or supporters—applies both to Arab terrorists and to Jewish terrorists.

However, the judges pointed out that demolition is used as a deterrent and not as a punitive measure. Judge Neal Hendel pointed out that while “we can understand how the victim’s family feels… we are dealing with a deterrent and not punitive measure. It should be remembered that the perpetrators were given lengthy prison sentence.”

In May 2016, Yosef Ben-David was sentenced to life (25 years) and a cumulative punishment of an additional 20 years in prison. One of the minors was sentenced to “only” 21 years in prison after judges determined that he played a “minor role” in the murder, while his accomplice received a life sentence.

For further reading click here.

Indian Visit
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off a three day visit to Israel yesterday by thanking PM Netanyahu for his warm friendship and by saying, “India is a young nation, in which talented youth is the driving force. In a world where rapid progress and development is taking place, India considers Israel as one of its most important partners.” Modi is first Indian PM to visit Israel in the 25 years since Indi and Israel established diplomatic relations.

PM Netanyahu welcomed Modi and said, “We love India and admire its culture, its history and democracy, your commitments and your progress. We see you as close souls in the task of bringing a better future for citizens and the world.”

During the welcome ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport Netanyahu introduced Modi to all of his cabinet ministers and got most of their portfolios right. When he introduced Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, he pointed out that he was also the Foreign Minister. In addition to welcoming the Indian PM and shaking his hand, some of the ministers added their own personal comments.

To watch a video of the welcome ceremony click here.

Herzog Ousted
Isaac Herzog was ousted from his role as leader of the Labor Party when he suffered a resounding defeat in the first round of the Labor Party primaries yesterday. The winners were Amir Peretz and Avi Gabay, who will go head to head in a runoff on July 10th. Around 52,000 registered party members participated in the voting.

For further reading click here.

Aliyah Day
Over 200 North Americans celebrated the Fourth of July by making Aliyah – immigrated to Israel. Among the new olim, who arrived on a flight organized by Nefesh B’Nefesh, were 14 new IDF soldiers, 5 sets of twins, 34 families, 78 children and 51 singles. Over 2,000 new immigrants from North America are scheduled to arrive in Israel this summer.

For further reading click here.

US Navy
The US Navy’s USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier, with its 6,000 sailors, is docked in Haifa for a four day stay. Sailors are taking advantage of the opportunity to tour and get acquainted with the country, especially the Haifa pubs.

One Haifa bartender, Daniella, described the Americans: “They are very polite. They don’t demand anything. They say ‘thank you’ and ‘excuse me’. They are polite and fun. It’s an experience seeing them be so polite. I wish every Israeli would be like that.” Go Navy!

For further reading click here.

IDF Destroys PA Memorial

Israel News for 7-3-17

Terror Memorial
Last month, the Palestinian Authority created a memorial in Jenin to Khalid Nazzal, a leader of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) terrorist group who was responsible for a deadly terror attack in the northern town of Maalot in 1974 in which 22 children were killed and 68 injured. The PA also renamed a public square in Jenin in his honor. Yesterday, the IDF entered Jenin and destroyed the memorial.

For further reading click here.

Ban Lifted
PM Netanyahu has decided to temporarily lift the ban on Israeli lawmakers visiting the Temple Mount. The ban will be lifted for five days later this month as a test, to see whether the visits trigger violence at the holy site.

The decision to lift the ban came after Likud MK Yehuda Glick petitioned the Supreme Court to be allowed to visit the Temple Mount. Click said, “The decision to open the Temple Mount is right and appropriate. It’s too bad that we had to petition the High Court for it to be made. I call on all members of Knesset to ascend the Mount and respect the place appropriately, leaving disputes and agendas behind.”

Knesset members, Jewish and Muslim, have been banned from visiting the Temple Mount since October 2015.

For further reading click here.

Funding Threats
Jewish real estate magnate and philanthropist Isaac “Ike” Fisher has announced that he will withdraw funding and fundraising for Israel projects until the government resolved the Kotel and conversion bill crisis. Just last week Fisher invested one million dollars in Israel bonds but has since asked for his money back.

Fisher told Yediot Ahronoth, “It isn’t a matter of Reform or Conservative. This is a serious act of contempt for the rabbis and leaders of our communities. They say ‘you don’t matter. They say to our women ‘your Judaism isn’t Judaism.’ It is intolerable and we have an obligation to put an end to it.”

Many Israeli leaders fear that Fisher might just be one example of the fallout that could occur as a result of the government actions relating to non-Orthodox Jews worldwide, and that the consequences could represents a serious danger to Israel’s economy and security.

For further reading click here.

Startup Nation
The Wall Street Journal published an article called “Tech Companies to Watch” listing 25 leading startups, and six of them are Israeli. Three of the four cyber security companies on the list are Israeli. Other Israeli companies on the list include Via (think Uber), Lemonade (homeowners insurance) and Life on Air (social media).

For further reading click here.

Britney Arrives
Singing icon Britney Spears arrived in Israel yesterday ahead of her Monday night concert in Tel Aviv to which 50,000 are expected to attend. Spears visited Jerusalem and the Kotel yesterday, but cancelled her planned meeting with PM Netanyahu as a result of being mobbed by hundreds of adoring fans. She apparently isn’t yet used to Israeli exuberance (pushiness?).

To view photos of Britney in Israel click here.