Yom Kippur 2017

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

May we all be granted forgiveness and be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life.

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

Israel News for 9-28-17

Settlement Demands
The Yesha Council, representing the communities (settlements) in Judea and Samaria, presented PM Netanyahu with a list of grievances against his “discriminatory” policy against settlements and demanded that he commit to approving 10,000 new housing units in the settlements.

A few months ago, the government announced that NIS 116 billion from the state budget would be invested into a multi-year plan aimed at developing infrastructure. The plan, which was supposed to be implemented between 2017 and 2021, includes 147 projects throughout the state.

However, settlers were disheartened by the fact that according to the figures of the plans, the West Bank, which comprises an area equal to one-quarter of the size of the State of Israel and which has about 2.5 million inhabitants, is to be the recipient of a mere NIS 70 million, constituting 0.6 percent of the total budget.

Yesha representatives complained, “While in small Israel, both in the urban centers and in the periphery, huge investments are being made, in Judea and Samaria there is neglect that has been going on for years of everything related to the development of transportation, water, electricity and gas infrastructure.”

Yesha leaders are upset that Netanyahu doesn’t seem to be taking advantage of what appears to be a very pro-Israel US administration. The PM, however, does not want to antagonize the Trump, who has asked him to hold off on settlement expansion. Trump officials reportedly told the PM not to be a “Hazer” (the Yiddish word for pig) when it comes to settlements.

For further reading click here.

Interpol Farce
Despite intense lobbying by Israel and the US, the Interpol general assembly yesterday voted 75 to 24 (with 34 abstentions) to admit the Palestinian Authority into the international policing organization.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki hailed the vote as a “victory for law enforcement” and “voice of confidence in the capacity of law enforcement in Palestine.” He promised to uphold Palestinian commitments to combating crime and strengthening the rule of law.
Zeev Elkin, Israel’s Minister of Environmental Protection and a close associate of Netanyahu, said in retaliation for the Palestinians joining Interpol, Israel should cancel gestures granted to the Palestinians, including work and entry permits, and special travel permits for Palestinian leaders.

So even though “Palestine” is not a state and the PA openly supports terror by paying pensions to the families of terrorists and by not condemning all acts of terror against Israel, the Palestinians will now be privy to all the valuable counter terrorism intelligence used by Interpol in the war against terror. Let’s hope too much info isn’t leaked to Hamas or other related terror organizations.

For further reading click here.

Busy Borders
Security forces had a busy day at Israel’s borders yesterday. Two fighter jets were scrambled near the Jordanian border when a Jordanian civilian aircraft got a bit too close to the border. The plans returned to base when it became clear that the plane would not cross the border.

In the south, IDF forces apprehended a Palestinian who crossed the Gaza border into Israel. He was taken for questioning and appeared to be unarmed.

For further reading click here.

Training Tragedy
Two IDF soldiers in an artillery who were killed in a training accident in the Golan Heights early Wednesday morning when a self-propelled cannon overturned into a ditch. The two were Second Lieutenant Avshalom Armoni, 22, of Beit Horon and Sergeant Avinoam Cohen, 22, of Jerusalem. Four other soldiers were injured. Armoni was the cousin of Na’ama Henkin, who was killed with her husband Eitam in a drive-by shooting terror attack in October 2015.

Hundreds of people attended the funeral of Avinoam Cohen at Mount Hertlz military cemetery yesterday. He was a student at the Elon Moreh yeshiva. His sister had given birth just a few hours after the accident and came to the funeral on a stretcher, straight from the hospital.

Cohen’s father eulogized, “Today, the people of Israel lost a pure soul, right before Yom Kippur. For 22 years we had this gift and we now have to return it, and we did. It hurts, it hurts, it hurts. But we accept it.”

For further reading click here.

Gift to UN
Israel presented the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) with a replica of a portion of the Arch of Titus depicting the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. The replica, created by Israel’s Antiquities Authority, depicts a triumphal procession by Roman soldiers returning from destroying the Second Temple and carrying the Temple’s Menorah.

Israel hopes that the replica, which will be put on display at UNESCO’s headquarters, will serve as a reminder that the Second Temple had existed on the Temple Mount, a fact denied by the Arab states and the Palestinians.

For further reading click here.

har adar terror victims

Israel News for 9-26-17

Terror Attack
A Palestinian terrorist shot and killed a Border Policeman and 2 security guards and injured a fourth security guard at the gate of the Har Adar settlement northwest of Jerusalem this morning.

The attack took place when security forces were opening the back gate where dozens of Palestinian day laborers were waiting to enter. One of the Palestinians aroused suspicion. When the security forces approached to arrest him, he removed a gun from his shirt and opened fire at close range. A female Border Police officer, who was the settlement’s security coordinator, shot and killed the terrorist.

The Border Policeman killed was identified as Staff Sergeant Solomon Gavriya, 20, from Be’er Yaakov. Gavriya joined the Border Police 18 months ago. He is survived by his parents and three siblings. Gavriya had previously been injured while stopping a terrorist attack, but insisted returning to his unit to continue defending his country.

The security guards killed were Or Arish, 25, of Har Adar and Youssef Ottman of Abu Ghosh.

The terrorist, identified as Nimer Jamal, was a 37-year-old resident of Beit Surik with no record of security offenses, who held a valid work permit. He was married with four children. An initial inquiry into the attack uncovered Jamal suffered from severe personal and family issues, including domestic violence. Residents of War Adar said that he had cleaned their houses for the past two and a half years and was a “completely normal” and “good-natured” man.

The IDF surrounded his village and arrested other terror suspects there and in the area.

PM Netanyahu said, “This is a difficult morning with three Israelis murdered by a terrorist. On behalf of the government and the entire people of Israel, my condolences go out to the families of the deceased, and I also wish a speedy recovery to the settlement’s military security coordinator who was also injured. The attack and its ramifications are still under investigation. What we can say now, however, is that the terrorist’s home will be demolished, the IDF has already encircled his village and the work permits of his extended family will be revoked.”
He added, “This murderous attack is a result of methodical incitement by the Palestinian Authority and other entities, and I expect Mahmoud Abbas to denounce the attacking rather than attempt to justify it. Security forces will continue working against the incitement and terrorism as they do every day, and we will conclude the inquiry into the specifics of this attack.”

Hamas praised the attack.

For further reading click here.

PA in Gaza
The Palestinian Authority government will meet in Gaza next week to begin taking administrative control of the strip from Hamas. Last week Hamas agreed to relinquish administrative control over Gaza but it did not agree to disband its security forces.

PA President Abbas pressured Hamas by cutting off payments for the electricity supply to Gaza and by slashing by 30% the salaries of 60,000 Gazans employed by the PA. Egypt and other US-allied Arab countries have been pushing for the reconciliation. But the presence of Hamas military (terror) forces could make any attempt at real reconciliation moot.

For further reading click here.

Haredi Employment
Over the past number of years, the government has made a concerted effort to increase the employment rate of Haredi (ultra-orthodox) men. The government’s goal was to achieve an employment rate of 63% by 2020. According to the weekly economic review published yesterday by the Ministry of Finance, that goal will not be reached until 2030. The current male Haredi employment rate is about 50% as compared to 87% for non Haredi men. The Haredi employment rate is rising by abut 1% per year.

On the bright side, the employment rate among Haredi women has already exceeded the target set for 2020.

For further reading click here.

Cyprus Getaway
A lot of Israelis will most likely be heading to Cyprus in November — at least those who take advantage of the special Ryanair 9.99 (pounds) discount one-way fare to the island. Can’t beat that (even though it doesn’t include luggage). The special ended last night at midnight.

For further reading click here.

Mexican Fans
The IDF soldiers sent to Mexico City to conduct search and rescue operations in the wake of the earthquake that hit the city are getting lots of local fans. Photos of Israeli soldiers are creating a (loving) stir on social media. The soldiers are flattered at having their pictures on the web, but are staying focused on their mission.

To see photos click here.

Hassidic Gathering
Before the High Holidays the Hassidic sect Toldos Ahron joined their Rebbe on a visit to Meron, the burial place of Rabi Shimon Bar Yochai, the second century rabbinic sage who is traditional believed to have authored the Zohar — the cornerstone of Jewish mysticism.

To watch a video of the visit click here.

Israel News for 9-25-17

PM Bows to Trump
PM Netanyahu told his security cabinet last night that he would postpone a meeting scheduled for this week of the West Bank Civil Administration’s planning committee, at the request of US President Trump. The PM told the ministers present that he had no intention of humiliating the Trump administration by making decisions relating to settlements, particularly since Trump’s special advisor Jason Greenblatt will be visiting the region this week.

For further reading click here.

Missile Aid
The US Senate last week voted to increase US aid to Israel for development and production of anti-missile defense systems. The US House of Representatives approved the same amount for the Israeli missile defense programs in July.

The Trump administration proposed granting Israel $147 million for its anti-missile programs in the 2018 fiscal year. At Israel’s requests, the Senate increased the grant by $558 million to $705 million, $100 million more than the aid that Israel received last year for this purpose.

US aid for the missile programs is unlinked to the $3.1 billion annual military aid, which was the amount set by the 10-year Israel-US memorandum of understanding. Missile aid comes from the US Department of Defense budget, while military aid is part of the US foreign aid budget.

Starting in 2019, when the new memorandum of understanding goes into effect, military aid will total $3.8 billion annually – $3.3 billion in regular military aid and $500 million in aid for the missile program. Israel will no longer be able to ask Congress to supplement this aid. This condition was demanded by the Obama administration, in an attempt to prevent Congress from giving Israel too much US taxpayer money.

One question remaining is whether Israel will have to pay back $75 million granted by Congress as part of the regular defense budget after the memorandum was signed.

For further reading click here.

Interpol Lobbying
Israel and the US are lobbying to persuade Interpol, the international policing organization, to deny membership to the Palestinian Authority. Israel claims that Palestinian acceptance to Interpol will only politicize the organization and give Palestinians another platform to harass Israel from. Israel also fears the PA would manipulate Interpol to put out arrest warrants for high ranking Israeli officials, and that classified documents passing through the police organization relating to terrorism would trickle down to Hamas and terrorist groups related to Fatah.

The Interpol General Assembly is currently meeting in China to decide on how to proceed.

For further reading click here.

New UN Rep
Danielle Daseta, an Ethiopian immigrant, has been appointed Israel’s new representative for environmental, developmental and economic issues at the UN. As part of her new position, Daseta will be promoting Israeli innovation and collaborations with other members of the international organization. Daseta made Aliyah in 1984 with her family during Operation Moses.

For further reading click here.

IDF in Mexico
An Israeli delegation, made up of 71 IDF soldiers and officers, has been conducting search and rescue operations in Mexico City in the aftermath of the massive earthquake that hit the city last week.

PM Netanyahu spoke on the phone to Israeli Ambassador to Mexico, Yoni Peled, and the commander of the IDF delegation, Col. Dudi Mizrahi, over the weekend. He said, “You are doing is a mitzvah. You are shining Israel’s light in the world, a big light. It is important from a humanitarian standpoint and also to show the world the true Israel. You are making the State of Israel very proud.”

To view images of the IDF rescue efforts click here.

Israel News for 9-19-17

Trump Meets Netanyahu
President Trump and PM Netanyahu met, for the third time this year, at the Plaza Hotel in NYC yesterday. Netanyahu pressed his case for dissolving the nuclear deal with Iran. He told Trump, “I look forward to discussing with you how we can address together what you rightly called is the terrible nuclear deal with Iran and how to roll back Iran’s growing aggression in the region, especially in Syria.”

Netanyahu also mentioned Israel’s seeking out peace with the Palestinians and the Arab world in general. He said, “As you said, we will discuss the way we can seize the opportunity for peace between Israel and the Palestinians and between Israel and the Arab world, I think these things go together and we look forward to talking about how we can advance both.”

Trump agreed with him, saying that they “are giving it an absolute go,” and that “we’re working very hard” to reach a deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Netanyahu also stressed the importance of the Israeli US relationship and ended with a Rosh Hashana message saying, “I want to wish you, the Jewish community of America, Jews everywhere, people everywhere, Shana Tova, Happy Healthy New Year. Thank you, Mr. President.”

Last night the PM also met with Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in what was their first public meeting since al-Sisi took office in 2014. The two have already had secret meetings and maintain close ties.

PM Netanyahu will address the UN General Assembly today at 1pm, where he is expected to focus on Iran as he has done for the past few years.

For further reading click here.

US Base in Israel
The US has opened its first ever army base in Israel. The base, located within the grounds of the IDF’s Mashabei Sadeh aerial defense school in the southern region, will permanently house dozens of American soldiers operating a large, joint US-Israel, radar.

For further reading click here.

Terror Attack
An Israeli resident of the settlement of Kfar Adumim, Gabi Shifrin (35), was driving through East Jerusalem on his way home from work on Sunday when he was forced to slow down on a narrow road near the Mt. Of Olives because of traffic. That’s when he hear a loud bang on his and saw a masked Palestinian near a pile of rocks throwing rocks at him. Shifrin lifted his personal handgun. When the assailant saw it he ran off down an alleyway.

Before he had a chance to turn around, Shifrin’s car was hit with another rock. Shifrin recounted, “I felt another huge bang, this time behind me. I cocked my weapon, turned around and saw another boy throwing large rocks at me. The back windshield burst and he, too, disappeared. It was at that moment that I realized I only had a few seconds. A pathway cleared and I zoomed out of there.”

Shifrin shared the thoughts that went through his head during the attack: “You feel as if you’re fighting for you very life. I saw a lynch about to come and looked death in the eye. It was horrifying.”

Police are investigating the attack.

For further reading click here.

Population Stats
Marking the end of the Jewish year, the Central Bureau of Statistics has released the latest population stats. Israel’s population currently stands at 8.743 million which includes 6.5 million Jews (75%), 1.8 million Arabs (20.5%) and almost 400,000 people who fall into other categories such as Druze and non-Arab Christians.

Israel’s birthrate was 3.11 representing 181, 405 babies born, which is the highest in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Around 25,000 new immigrants moved to Israel, with the highest number coming from the former Soviet Union, followed by France and the US.

Israel’s population is expected to reach 10 million people by 2024 and 20 million by 2065.

For further reading click here.

Rosh Hashana
Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, will begin tomorrow night and last until Friday night. We will take a break from sending out IsraelAM until Monday. Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and sweet new year. Shana Tova!

To read a short word of Torah about the holiday click here.

Israel News for 9-18-17

Police Brutality
Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich condemned police brutality after watching videos of the violent Haredi anti-draft demonstration in which police officers are seen punching, kicking and tackling demonstrators.

Alsheich said, “I had a bad feeling when I saw the videos yesterday. The haredi Jewish [demonstrators] were also violent, but in the videos, I witnessed incidents in which the use of force by the policemen that was not justified.”

The videos have been transferred to the Police Internal Investigations Department.

To watch a quick video clip click here.

Prayers in Awarta
Hundreds of Jews prayed, under IDF protection, at the graves of Itamar and Elazar, the sons of Aaron the High Priest (the brother of Moses), in the Arab village of Awarta in Samaria. The village is the home of the terrorist who murdered the Fogel family and is known as a hostile village that supports terror.

Among those attending was the head of the Shomron Council, Yossi Dagan, who said: “We have the privilege to live in a generation that is fulfilling the dream of generations – the right to say selichot and pray at the graves of the nation’s great figures. The contrast in the fact that these great and righteous people are specifically buried in the terrible village from which the despicable murderers of the Fogel family came illustrates the importance of guarding the site and continuing organized entries there, so as to protect sites holy to the Jewish people.”

To view a video of the prayers click here.

Smoking Battles
The IDF has declared war against smoking. It will ban the sale of cigarettes on bases, limit the number of designated smoking areas on bases and enforce a strict disciplinary policy for those caught smoking anywhere else. The new anti-smoking guidelines also prohibit tobacco companies from sponsoring IDF units and prohibit cigarette donations to soldiers through the army’s donation program.

In addition to the prohibitions, every soldier will be assigned to an anti-smoking program and those who smoke will be assisted in attempts to overcome the habit and offered support groups.

For further reading click here.

Kosher or Not
The Supreme Court rules last week that while the official state rabbinate has the sole authority to certify a restaurant as “kosher”, restaurants are permitted to describe the kosher status of their food and the type of kosher supervision they employ. The ruling opens the door to independent kosher certification organizations to provide supervision to establishments that either choose not to pay for rabbinate supervision who that do not meet the criteria required by the rabbinate to obtain certification.

For example, a restaurant that serves strictly kosher food but is open on Shabbat, and thus cannot receive kosher certification from the rabbinate, can now receive kosher certification from an independent rabbinic supervisor and advertise that fact, as long as it does not display an actual “kosher certification” certificate.

After the ruling, the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization announced that it would provide independent kosher certification. The Chief Rabbinate sent a letter to Rabbi Stab, the head of Tzohar who is also the official Chief Rabbi of the town of Shoham, that he will lose his position if he offers independent kosher certification.

For further reading click here.

Uman Journey
Around 30,000 Jews, mostly from Israel, will spend Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year) in the Ukrainian town of Uman, 130 miles south of Kiev. The town is the location of the tomb of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, an 18th century Hasidic master and grandson of the Ba’al Shem Tov (the founder of the Hasdic movement). Rabbi Nachman spent the last 5 years of his life in Uman and requested to be buried there. He also promised to intercede on behalf of anyone who would come to pray at his grave on Rosh Hashana – – hence, the annual pilgrimage.

The annual pilgrimage to Uman has been a huge boon for the local economy. The area around the tomb, where around 500 Jews live, has become a vibrant neighborhood with Hebrew signage, 20 kosher restaurants and 25 hotels (mostly operating in apartment buildings). In addition to the Rosh Hashana pilgrimage, thousands of Jewish pilgrims visit Oman throughout the year. Some of the new businesses are owned by Israelis who settled in Uman while others are owned by Ukrainians or are joint Israeli-Ukrainian ventures. A good deal of the commercial growth in town is due to secular Jewish visitors as opposed to the Hasidim.

Unfortunately, the Uman pilgrimages have also spawned anti semitic attacks, drug use, prostitution, disorderly conduct and a powerful organized crime presence.

For further reading click here.

To hear a song about the Uman pilgrimage click here.


Israel News for 9-14-17 [VIDEO]

It’s another slow news day but we didn’t want to just skip today’s email, so we did some searching and found a few current video that we think you’ll find informative and enjoyable to watch.

No More Refugees
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely was recently in Washington where she met with State Department officials, Senator Ted Cruz and other US officials. One of the issues she discussed was US funding of the UN refugee relief organizations, which are perpetuating the Palestinian “refugee” status instead of working to alleviate it. She was interviewed on Fox News about that and other issues.

PM in Colombia
As part of his 11 day Latin America trip PM Netanyahu met with Colombian President Santos. Watch this video to see what the PM had to say.

Arab Armies
This video analyzes the reasons why Arab armies perform so poorly in combat and lose wars. Interesting. Good news for Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu surrounded by Knesset members after a vote on the state budget for 2015-2016, November 18, 2015.

Israel News for 9-13-17

Big Promise
Despite mounting pressure on him to resign in the face of multiple corruption investigations against him, PM Netanyahu dismissed the pressure and promised to lead his Likud party to a “big” victory in the 2019 general elections. Netanyahu made the statement at a press conference in Argentina, where he his currently visiting as part of a 10 day trip to Latin America.

Regarding the rumors that he might resign, the PM said, “It’s nonsense. The support for me in the Likud party is so powerful. You have to come and see. Not only to the meetings. Come with me to the streets and see it. I don’t remember support like this since 1996, not for me or for my wife. I see tremendous power. There is no other word to describe this.”

For further reading click here.

MK Resigns
Shas MK Yigal Guetta resigned his Knesset seat today in the face of criticism from his Ultra-Orthodox party members for attending the weeding of his gay nephew. In a recent radio interview Guetta revealed that he had attended the wedding out of respect for his sister. Even though he didn’t attend the actual ceremony, just showing up at the event was reason enough to stir up a swarm of rabbinic reproachment. Guetta will remain active in the Shas party.

For further reading click here.

Haredi Draft
The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the amendment to the law which set an annual quota for Haredi conscripts was unconstitutional. The original law, spearheaded by Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, allowed Haredi men of military age to delay their service on the condition that the annual quota of Haredi conscripts was met. The annual quota was seen as a breakthrough in the attempt to remedy the situation in which Haredi men did not serve in the IDF.

When PM Netanyahu formed his coalition in 2015 with the backing of the Haredi parties, the law was amended to significantly lower the Herd conscript quota. But with the court’s almost unanimous decision to cancel the amendment, the quota will have to be increased within a year. The ruling was attacked by the Haredi leadership and praised by Yair Lapid.

For further reading click here.

Russian Warning
Russia has warned Syrian President Assad not to attempt to retaliate against Israel in the aftermath of an Israeli airstrike against the country’s Scientific Studies and Research Center last week. Israel has not admitted to the attack.

For further reading click here.

Shanghai Flights
Chinese airline Hainan Airlines has launched a new Tel Aviv-Shanghai route. Ticket prices will start at $500. Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin, currently on a visit to Shanghai, said, “I congratulate Hainan for opening the route from Shanghai to Israel as part of its fruitful cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism. When I became minister, one of my main goals was to increase tourism from China, and we are now seeing a major rise in tourist traffic from that country. I believe that by the end of the year, we will break the record for tourist entries from China, with the number of Chinese tourists visiting Israel exceeding 100,000.”

For further reading click here.

Illegal Kippot
Inspectors from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority confiscated Kippot (skullcaps) made of snake skin and crocodile skin from a new judaica store in Jerusalem’s Old City on the suspicion that they were imported illegally without the required permits. The store was selling the exotic items for thousands of shekels. Hard to believe there’s actually a market for this stuff?

For further reading click here.

jewish divorce israel

Israel News for 9-11-17

Supreme Court
The Supreme Court today rejected a petition to force the government to allow public transportation on Shabbat. The petition was filed by the Reform movement’s Center for Religion and State, along with the Hiddush NGO and Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg. The judges pointed out that the prohibition against public transportation on Shabbat is an explicit law and can only be circumvented by a special license requested by a company. Justice Chanan Meltzer said, “You cannot appeal in the name of a company which does not exist.”

In a related matter, Haredi political leaders have been pressuring the PM to stop Israel Railways from carrying out construction on the new Jerusalem Tel Aviv line on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.

For further reading click here.

Shabbat Soccer
The government is considering officially permitting professional soccer matches on Shabbat, in the face of opposition from the Haredi parties and from many soccer players.

While Israel’s top league rarely plays on Shabbat, its lower leagues play almost entirely on Shabbat, which makes it impossible for religious-observant athletes to complete. Israeli law forbids forcing someone to work on Shabbat.

The Supreme Court recently accepted the petition of the Movement for a Jewish and Democratic State, which claims that holding soccer matches on the Sabbath is against the “work and rest hours” law and the government must order the cessation of games on the Sabbath or to adjust the games to satisfy requirements through legislation or regulations.

In response, the government plans on invoking a legal mechanism that allows a company to obligate its employees to work on Shabbat to prevent significant economic and cultural damage.

Last week more than 310 soccer players from Israel’s top two leagues signed a petition calling on PM Netanyahu not to amend the law, and thereby force them to desecrate the Shabbat.

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) said yesterday that his party would not allow legislation permitted soccer on Shabbat to mover forward. Shas ministers concurred.

According to a new poll just released, the majority of Israelis believe that soccer players should not be forced to play on shabbat and that the games should be postponed to allow shabbat observant fans to attend.

For further reading click here.

No Tefillin Fine
Last Friday a Chabad emissary in Herzliya set up a table near the Chabad house and was offering men the opportunity put on tefillin. A traffic enforcement officer ordered him to remove the table and then fined him 750 shekels for bothering pedestrians. Yesterday, the mayor of Herzliya, along with a delegation of city officials, publicly apologized to Rabbi Halperin, the Chabad rabbi in town, for the incident, claiming a misunderstanding.

The mayor also wrote a letter of apology to the Lubavitcher Rebbe (deceased) asking for forgiveness.

For further reading click here.

Sonic Boom
Israeli jets apparently flew a bit further north and caused a sonic boom over the south Lebanese city of Sidon yesterday morning. The sonic boom reportedly shattered glass in building and stores. Lebanese security officials told a Hezbollah-affiliated radio station the Israeli sorties were part of a large training exercise to prepare for future war with Hezbollah. The IDF did not comment on the reports. Lebanon is planning to lodge a complaint with the UN.

For further reading click here.

Bad Boy
Yair Netanyahu, the son of the PM, posted a nasty cartoon on his Facebook page which included caricatures of opposition leaders and resembled Nazi era anti-semitic cartoons. He took the cartoon down, but not before causing a huge storm of protest. He also drew praise from unlikely source: the neo-nazi publication The Daily Stormer, which heaped praised upon him and his cartoons.

To read more about this click here.

Florida Rescue
An Israeli rescue team organized by the Israel Rescue Coalition (IRC), an umbrella group of rescue groups, arrive in Florida yesterday ahead of hurricane Irma. Moti Elmaliah, a spokesman for the IRC, said, “Our job as volunteers will be to help the community and deal with the situation as best we can in the absence of American officials, until they arrive. We will take care to organize residents’ committees to deal with the issues that arise from Hurricane Irma, which has been classified as the most powerful storm ever to hit the Atlantic Ocean.”

The IRC also recently sent teams to Houston to assist in rescue and recovery efforts there.

For further reading click here.

9-11 Memorial
Ambassador Friedman participated in a memorial service sponsored by the US Embassy in Israel to remember the victims of 9-11. The service was held at the memorial built by the JNF outside of Jerusalem. Opposition leader Isaac Herzog laid a reef and spoke representing the Israel. No government minister was present at the event.

Let us all take a moment today to remember and say a prayer for those that lost their lives in the tragic 9-11 terror attack.

To view the entire event on the embassy’s Facebook page click here.

Inspirational Performance
This inspirational performance about coexistence by Yonatan Razal and Motti Hamar is worth watching – click here.

Israel News for 9-8-17

No Policy Shift
Last week US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman gave an interview to the Jerusalem Post in which he said that the Israeli left-wing is opposing the “alleged occupation” of the West Bank. His words implied that the West Bank was not really “occupied” territory. Official US policy however does consider the West Bank to be occupied territory.

Heather Nauert, the State Department’s spokeswoman, was asked about Friedman’s choice of words on Thursday and replied: “Our position on that hasn’t changed. The comment does not represent a shift in U.S. policy.” When asked why the sitting American ambassador in Israel therefore used those words, she repeated the same answer.

For further reading click here.

Trump Optimistic
At a news conference with the Emir of Kuwait at the White House yesterday President Trump expressed optimism at reaching an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. He said, “I think we have a chance of doing it, I think the Palestinians would like to see it happen, I think the Israelis would like to see it happen and usually when you have two groups that would like to see something happen, good things can happen. I think there is a chance that there could be peace.”

Trump will meet with both Netanyahu and Abbas on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly later this month.

For further reading click here.

Sara in Trouble
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced today that he intends to indict Sara Netanyahu, the PM’s wife, over her alleged misuse of vast sums of public funds to purchase extravagant meals from restaurants and chefs.  

Mandelblit determined that between September 2010 – Match 2013, Mrs. Netanyahu, along with Deputy Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Ezra Saidoff, claimed that no cook was employed in the PM’s residence, allowing her to order meals from restaurants and chefs reaching a total cost of around NIS 359,000 ($102,000).

Following an investigation into the matter, it turned out that cooks had in fact been employed there throughout the entire period.The investigation raised suspicions that invoices for the meals were then forged in order to exceed the limit placed on food costs by splitting payments across numerous invoices.  

Mandelblit notified Mrs. Netanyahu’s attorney of his intention to indict her after which she will be called in for a preliminary hearing, before the attorney general makes a final decision to proceed.

PM Netanyahu responded on Facebook to Madelblit’s announcement by placing the blame for the fraud on on Meni Naftali, who was the residence caretaker at the time of the unusual spending. He posted, “Expenses on food and meals in takeaway trays were magically inflated during Meni Naftali’s time as chief caretaker of the residence, and no less magically plummeted when he left. They told us about the garden furniture, the electrician, the bottles, the waiters, the caretaker. Now all we’re left with is the unbelievable, false story about the trays, most of which were ordered by Meni Naftali. And that too will evaporate come the hearing.”

For further reading click here.

Terror Down
According to a monthly report published by the Shin Bet, there were 110 terror attacks in Israel in the month of August. Most of the attacks (83) consisted of the throwing of Molotov Cocktails (firebombs). This is a dramatic decrease from the July total of 222 terror attacks. The spike in July was apparently related to the crisis surrounding the Temple Mount.

To read the full report click here.

Eagle Returned
One of the few eagles still remaining in the Golan Heights Gamla Nature Reserve recently flew over the Syrian border. It was wearing a tracking device. The eagle was captured by Syrian rebel forces. Similar incidents have lead to accusations of Israeli espionage via the tracking device. But this time the rebels returned the eagle to Israel as a gesture of thanks for Israel’s humanitarian aid to the Syrian people.

The eagle was transferred to the Ramat Gan Safari’s wildlife hospital with a leg injury and is recuperating nicely.

For further reading click here.