settlements israel

Israel News for 10-3-17

Recognize Israel
Jason Greenblatt, the US President’s special envoy to the Middle East, took to Twitter yesterday to urge the Palestinians to recognize Israel. He Tweeted a statement that read, “The United States stresses that any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence, recognition of the State of Israel, acceptance of previous agreements and obligations between the parties, and peaceful negotiations.”

Greenblatt also praised Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and his Fatah delegation for visiting the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in an attempt to reconcile with Hamas and return PA rule to Gaza.

In an interview with Egyptian television, PA President Abbas said that he would demand that Hamas dismantle its military wing in Gaza and said, “I won’t accept the reproduction of the Hezbollah experience of Lebanon”, where Hezbollah operates independently of the Lebanese government.

Abbas also acknowledged that, “The time will come for a Palestinian state, but it’s not going to happen anytime soon.”

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Settlement Expansion
PM Netanyahu today told Likud members in the city of Ma’aleh Adumim, which is located in the West Bank (Judea) that, “Ma’aleh Adumim will always be part of the State of Israel” and that “we will build thousands of housing units here.” He added, “this is new news, in new times, regarding ancient objectives.”

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IDF Fault
The IDF has concluded its investigation into the events surrounding the terror attack that claimed the lives of three members of the Salomon family in Halamish this summer. The investigation blamed the IDF units responsible for protecting the settlement as well as the settlement’s civilian security personnel. Several low ranking IDF commanders have been reprimanded and one has been court martialled.

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Mossad Citation
For the first time ever, the PM presented the Prime Minister’s Citation award to Mossad teams. The citation was awarded to entire units within the Mossad, rather than to individual operatives. The PM said, “I salute you for the initiative, the daring, the professionalism, the planning and the execution.“ Mossad Director Yossi Cohen accepted the award.

Netanyahu added, “The Mossad works like a synchronized fist. All its parts are recognized (with this citation), and what is no less important, really, is the coordination with other bodies. I salute you, and I salute your families, who are an important part of your action.”

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Stolen Bombs
Dozens of explosive devices, including mines, were stolen yesterday morning from an IDF combat engineers base in the Golan Heights. An investigation has been launched. The assumption is that the stolen equipment will be sold to criminal organizations.

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No Tennis
Israeli tennis player Dudi Sela, ranked 77th in the world, left the match he was in on Friday afternoon at the ATP Tour Shenzhen Open when he realized that it was almost sunset and Yom Kippur was about to begin.

The match was tied at 1 set to 1 set when Sela informed the umpire around 8 minutes into the tie breaking set that he would have to forfeit the match. By doing so he also forfeited his chance at reaching the semi-finals.

We salute Sela for being true to his faith and principles. He is a winner in our book.

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On Simchat Torah, in a little over a week, we will complete the reading of the Torah and begin again from Genesis. Then we’ll read one parsha (Torah portion) each week. In a book called Deep Waters: Insights into the Torah and the Jewish Holidays, I’ve included original insights and lessons on each of the 52 Torah portions and on all of the Jewish holidays. Each lesson is usually no longer than a page or two, so you can absorb it minutes. The book is for people of all levels of Jewish knowledge, from beginner to advanced. And the book is available on Amazon Prime, so you can get it quickly and return it if you don’t like it (but you will like it).

To get your copy of Deep Waters click here.

Israel news cover

Israel News for 10-2-17

Mossad Equality
The Mossad (Israel’s version of the CIA) has, for the first time, appointed two women as division heads, with ranks comparable to the IDF’s major-general. Both women have served in the Mossad for two decades or longer. The Mossad also appointed women to head several subdivisions and units as part of an organization-wide gender equality campaign.

For further reading click here.

Russia Trade
Trade between Israel and Russia has grown by 25% in the first half of 2017. The increase comes amid tightening cooperation between Israel and Russia on security issues connected with Syria, where Russian forces are actively supporting the Assad regime. The fact that the US and European Union has imposed sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine is most likely a factor in the increased trade with Israel.

For further reading click here.

PM Denies Meddling
PM Netanyahu denied an accusation by Turkish President Erdogan that the Mossad interfered with the recent Kurdish vote in favor of independence. Erdogan last week also threatened to halt steps being taken toward normalization with Israel if it does not end its support for an independent Kurdish state.

The PM said, “I understand why those who support Hamas and want to see the Mossad everywhere that is uncomfortable for them, but Israel had no part in the Kurdish referendum, apart from the deep, natural sympathy that the people of Israel have had for many years for the Kurdish people and their aspirations.”

Netanyahu was the only leader in the region to endorse the referendum. Israeli flags are oven seen waving at Kurdish pro-independence rallies.

Alexa Israel
Amazon has announced the opening of a new Alexa Shopping research and development center in Israel, which will operate out of two new office spaces in Tel Aviv and Haifa. The company has already begun recruiting product managers, software engineers and scientists to join the new team, with the goal of filling 100 new positions.

Amazon announced that the Israeli team will work on core technology pertaining to the Alexa shopping assistant, concentrating on the fields of natural language and high-precision search. Amazon started building its presence in Israel in 2013 with a cloud services division. The company said the new R&D center will double its current presence in Israel.

For further reading click here.

Beware of Wolves
There’s apparently a pack of around 20 wolves that lives between Masada and Ein Gedi, near the Dead Sea. The area is a popular tourist destination. Recently, there have been several incidents of wolves “encountering” humans in the area. Wolves usually keep away from humans, but a few of them have seemingly lost their fear of humans. People have also been feeding the wolves, which is also enticing them into coming close to camp sites.

Some locals want the wolves exterminated, but park rangers have decided to trap the troublemakers and transfer them to more distant wilderness areas. Two wolves have been captured so far.

For further reading click here.