IDF in Jenin

Israel News for 11-30-17

Children Attacked on Hike
A group of 25 children and 2 adult escorts (at least one of whom was a parent) were attacked by Palestinians while they were on a hike in Samaria near the settlement of Migdalim and the Arab village of Kida.

The group was attacked by dozens of Palestinians throwing rocks and then took refuge in a cave while Palestinians continued their attack. After firing warning shots into the air that went unheeded, one of the parents escorting the group fired at the attackers, hitting a 48 year old man who later died of his wounds.

One of the Israeli escorts suffered a light head wound and the other sustained an injury to one of his arms.

The Samaria Regional Council said in a statement that there were approximately 100 Palestinians who attacked the group of children and parents.

IDF forces arrived at the scene soon after the attack and dispersed the crowds and attempted to treat the wounded terrorist.

Avraham Binyamin, a spokesperson for the Yitzhar settlement, said the hike was part of a “bar mitzvah trip for one of the children.”

For further reading click here.

Gaza Attack
The IDF has released a statement saying, “A short time ago, our forces struck four terror targets in the Gaza Strip. The attack came in response to a ballistic attack carried out toward a military position adjacent to the northern Gaza Strip. We view the Hamas terror organization as responsible for the events in the Gaza Strip.”

The IDF attacks, using tanks and aircraft, came in response to 15 mortar shells that were fired from Gaza into Israel today.

For further reading click here.

New Samaria City
A special committee appointed by the Interior Ministry’s director general has recommended the creation of a new city in Samaria (West Bank). The new city would be created by joining together the existing settlements of Etz Efraim, Sha’arei Tikva, Oranit and Elkana. Construction would be done on the lands currently separating the settlements, which has until now been prohibited due to political considerations. It would be the first new city to be established in Samaria since Ariel, 20 years ago.

The four settlements that would form the new city have a total of 22,000 residents. While the Finance Ministry would need to invest over NIS 100 million in the city’s formation, the government would end up saving money since the settlements would no longer need to maintain 4 separate service systems.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Hotovely commented on the decision, saying, “Unifying the four Samaria settlements and creating a new city is the correct, appropriate decision and constitutes a clear, meaningful statement to the world: the settlement grows and strengthens.”

She added, “It also signifies an enormous budgetary investment in Samaria by the Finance Ministry, while also being a cost-saving measure for the state and strengthening Judea and Samaria. Every additional city in Judea and Samaria is an important increase in strength. (Interior) Minister Aryeh Deri is worthy of every praise for this important move.”

The new city would lie just across the Green Line and moments from Highway 6.

For further reading click here.

Gaza Shuttle
Israel on Wednesday launched a program to provide shuttle service for Gazans who need to travel to the US Consulate in Jerusalem.

In recent months, Israel has barred Gazans from entering Israel for visa interviews at the US Consulate after some applicants fled into hiding in Israel to seek work. The restrictions have prevented several hundred people from applying at the Consulate for visas to travel or study in the US.

Unfortunately, two of the passengers on the initial shuttle run ran off and are in hiding in Israel.

For further reading click here.

Hotovely Punished
PM Netanyahu yesterday canceled a scheduled trip by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely to participate in a diplomatic dialogue in Prague. The move by the PM was apparently in response to comments Hotovely made in an interview with i24 that American Jews do not understand the reality of life in Israel because they do not send their children to the military or live under the threat of missile fire.

After Netanyahu threatened to fire her as a result of intense pressure for him to do so from various politicians and US Jewish organizations, Hotovely apologized for her remarks.

Hotovely’s office said that her trip was not canceled, just postponed at the request of the Prime Minister’s Office, until 2018. The PM’s office had no comment.

For further reading click here.

Embassy Move Reports
In the aftermath of comments made by US VP Pence that President Trump was actively considering “when and how” to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, reports are circulating that an announcement by the White House officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel might be imminent. The reports also support the VP’s remarks that Trump is seriously considering the embassy move.

But at a press conference Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied that any such announcement was imminent saying, “This is a premature report. We have nothing to announce.”

Jordan’s King Hussein, meeting with US lawmakers in Washington yesterday, said that moving the embassy before a comprehensive peace solution is reached “would have implications on the Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim scene, and would threaten the two-state solution.”

He added, “moving the embassy must come within a comprehensive solution that leads to the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem [sic] as its capital, living side by side with Israel,” and that a move now “could be potentially exploited by terrorists to stoke anger, frustration, and desperation in order to spread their ideologies.”

For further reading click here and here.


Israel News for 11-29-17

Partition Anniversary
On Nov. 29, 1947 (70 years ago) the UN General Assembly passed a resolution calling for Palestine to be partitioned between Arabs and Jews. The vote was 33 in favor (including the USSR), 13 against, 10 abstentions and 1 absent. That momentous vote led to the established of the modern State of Israel. [Since then there hasn’t been much celebrating by Israel at the UN.]

The partition plan was accepted by the Jewish Agency for Palestine, which represented the Jewish community. The Arab leaders rejected the plan. Civil war broke out between Arabs and Jews right after the UN resolution was passed. When the British withdrew from the country, the State of Israel declared its independence on May 15, 1948. Then the Arab nations invaded, were defeated and … here we are.

To read more about the details of the partition plan and the breakdown of the voting by country, click here.

Embassy Move
Yesterday, US VP Mike Pence spoke at an event at Israel’s Mission to the United Nations in Queens, NY, celebrating the 70th anniversary of the United Nations’ vote calling for the establishment of a Jewish state. At that time the UN was located in Flushing, Queens. In his remarks Pence said, “President Trump is actively considering when and how to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”

He added, “America stands with Israel because her cause is our cause, her values are our values and her fight is our fight,” added Pence. “The days of Israel-bashing at the United Nations are over.”

The VP was greeting with thunderous applause and a standing ovation.

For further reading click here.

Rwanda Plan
During his one day visit to Kenya, PM Netanyahu met with the leaders of several African nations including Rwanda, Gabon, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, South Sudan, Botswana, Namibia and Ethiopia. In his talks with the President of Rwanda, the PM discussed a plan to transfer over 10,000 illegal African infiltrators from Israel to Rwanda, in exchange for a payment per head. He also announced the upcoming opening of a new Israeli embassy in the Rwandan capital. The PM also spoke with all the leaders about issues related to cooperation in energy, agriculture, technology and security.

For further reading click here.

Most Promising Startups, the Israeli business news outlet, has named its top 10 most promising startups in Israel. The number one spot goes to a project management software company, The number two company is, a sports fans content platform.

To see the entire list and learn more about each company click here.

Healing List
Last week we published a call for prayers for the recovery of the sage Rabbi Shteinman, who’s condition has since improved slightly. That got us thinking about the power of prayer, especially when done by an entire community.

So we’ve decided to launch a new project to give people the opportunity to send us the name(s) of individuals that are ill and desperately need our prayers. We’ll publish those names at the end of each IsraelAM issue, so that everyone can see and add them to their own prayers. We will start the list fresh at the beginning of each week.

So please take this opportunity to email us the names you want included in our “healing list”. The traditional Jewish custom is to include the person’s Hebrew name and mother’s name, like “Moshe ben Sarah”. But if you don’t know the Hebrew name or the person isn’t Jewish, just send in the person’s name in English.

We’re excited and honored to be able to provide this platform to unite thousands of people in prayer for the benefit of those who need healing.

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

Israel News for 11-28-17

Protecting the PM
The Recommendation Bill has passed its first reading in the Knesset. The bill stipulates that when police conclude their investigations into a case they can no longer attach a recommendation whether to indict the suspect. Instead they must let the State Attorney’s Office decide on the matter independently. The bill is viewed by many as an attempt to protect PM Netanyahu from the police investigations he is currently under. Opposition leaders lashed out at the bill, while supporters say it has nothing to do with protecting the PM.

For further reading click here.

PM Petition
PM Netanyahu signed a petition yesterday calling on President Reuven Rivlin to reconsider granting amnesty to Elor Azariya, the IDF soldier convicted for shooting to death a wounded terrorist. Last week the President refused a request by Azariya for a pardon and came under fierce attack by right wing MK’s and segments of the public.

Regarding the petition, the President’s office pointed out that, “it is important to remember that according to the policy used in the handling of pardons over the years, a renewed request for amnesty can be submitted only six months after the president’s decision was made in the previous application of the convicted person, unless there is a material change in the circumstances of the application.”

For further reading click here.

Under Pressure
A senior Palestinian Authority (PA) official told Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom that, “the PA is under tremendous pressure from countries in the region to return to the negotiating table with Israel and to fully and comprehensively renew security coordination with Israel, in an attempt to create a regional front in the fight against terror and Iranian influence in the region.”

He said that Egypt, in particular, was pressuring the PA in light of the recent terror attack in Sinai and Egypt’s suspicion that some of the terrorists fled to Gaza through Hamas smuggling tunnels in Rafiah with the knowledge of senior members of the organization.

For further reading click here.

Off to Africa
PM Netanyahu landed in Nairobi, Kenya this morning for a one day official visit to attend the inauguration of Kenya’s president. The PM will also hold meetings with several African heads of state.

The PM said that the purpose of his trip “is to deepen ties with Africa, including by establishing connections with nations with which we do not have diplomatic relations.” He added, “Four diplomatic offices have been opened in Africa in the past two years, and I hope that by the end of today I will be able to announce the opening of yet another Israeli embassy in an African nation. And this is just the beginning.”

For further reading click here.

Israel News for 11-27-17

Health Minister Resigns
Health Minister Yaakov Litzman of the Haredi United Torah Judaism (UTJ) party resigned from his cabinet post yesterday in protest of government supported work being done on the national railway. Litzman’s decision was based on the instructions of his rabbi, the Gerrer (Gur) Hasidic Rebbe. Although he resigned from his cabinet position, Litzman remains a member of Knesset (MK) and the UTJ remains a member of the government coalition, at least for the time being.

In his resignation message Litzman said, ”The Holy Shabbat is the national day of rest, and we have been taught to safeguard against Shabbat’s desecration. Sadly, and with great pain, due to government work that has been carried out in public by Israel Railways for a long time now, I have decided to resign from my position as health minister. I cannot take ministerial responsibility for the public, state-condoned desecration of Shabbat, in opposition to the Jewish people’s sacred values, status quo and coalition agreement.”

He added, “I’m happy for the privilege I had to promote and improve Israel’s health system. I acted in every way to benefit those who are ill, without discriminating between populations and communities. I resign with my head held high, with a sense of purpose, of merit and Jewish calling. I will continue to do all I can for the people of Israel, anywhere and in any way.”

Not So Fast
In order to avert a coalition crisis (which would occur if the Haredi parties pulled out), PM Netanyahu struck a deal with the Haredi parties that would include passing a law to allow a deputy cabinet minister to exercise the powers of a full cabinet minister. That would allow Litzman to stay on as Deputy Health Minister while retaining his original powers. The Supreme Court had previously ruled that giving a deputy minister full ministerial powers to be illegal, but the new law would circumvent that ruling.

Litzman, however, said that he would reject the deputy minister compromise unless the government passed laws prohibiting all railway work on Shabbat and strengthening the protection of the Shabbat, including the closure of all supermarkets on Shabbat.

As part of his compromise deal PM Netanyahu promised that the government would pass laws strengthening the Shabbat work prohibitions. However Likud members of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation refused to promote the proposed legislations at last night’s ministerial meeting. Likud officials, who don’t wish to be seen as caving in to Haredi demands, instructed Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who heads the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, not to put the bills up for discussion.

The Justice Ministry is continuing to work on the legislation that would allow Litzman to maintain his powers while serving as deputy Health Minister.

For further reading click here.

UN Blacklist
Israel and the US are working feverishly to prevent the publication of a UN blacklist of companies operating in the West Bank or East Jerusalem.

Israeli officials say that about 100 local companies that operate in the West Bank and east Jerusalem have received warning letters that they will be on the list. In addition, some 50 international companies, mostly American and European, also have been warned.

The companies have not been publicly identified, but one official said they include Israeli banks, supermarkets, restaurant chains, bus lines and security firms, as well as international giants that provide equipment or services used to build or maintain settlements.

The effort to block the list has shown some signs of success. The UN’s Human Rights Council, which ordered the list’s publication, said the release of the report has been pushed back again, from December to early next year.

For further reading click here.

No to Uber
The Tel Aviv district court has prohibited Uber from operating in Israel, citing insurance issues as the main reason for its ruling. The company has been offering ride sharing services in certain areas in Israel since last year.

Under Israeli law, only registered taxi drivers can accept fares for a ride and the Transportation Ministry would have to change its regulations for Uber to be used legally. Uber has tried to circumvent the law by offering ride sharing services where the drivers are charging their fee simply to cover the costs of maintaining their cars.

The Transportation Ministry has been trying to force Uber out of Israel, contending that it does not properly vet its drivers and its cars are not subject to the safety requirements that regular taxis are required to have. Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz also says that allowing Uber to enter the Israeli market would destroy the local taxi industry.

For further reading click here.

Amazon Coming
According to anonymous sources in the know, Amazon is planning to set up its ecommerce and fulfillment operations in Israel. The company is reportedly negotiating the lease of warehouses in central Israel for operational activities and for supplying the local market.

Currently, Amazon’s deliveries to Israel are supplied mainly through shipping centers in Germany, the U.K., and the U.S. The company also has sales and delivery outposts in other European countries like Italy and Spain. This operational structure leads to high shipping and delivery fees that in turn inflate the prices of the products and also increases delivery times to the country, which can currently take up to a few weeks.

The rumored move by Amazon into the Israeli market will most likely hurt local Israeli retailers. But consumers will clearly benefit.

For further benefit click here.

Rav Steinman

Israel News for 11-22-17

Call to Prayer
Haredi rabbinic leaders have called on all yeshiva students to interrupt their regular studies to recite psalms to pray for the recovery of Rabbi Aharon Steinman, the 103 year old sage who is the leader of the Haredi (Lithuanian) community in Israel. The rabbi was rushed to the hospital in Bnei Brak this morning with a high fever and is in serious condition. His full name is Rabbi Ahron Yehuda Leib ben Gittel Faige.

Early today PM Netanyahu called MK Moshe Gafni, the leader of the Degel Hatorah party that represents the Lithuanian Haredi community, to ask about the rabbi’s condition and said that the entire nation of Israel is praying for his full and speedy recovery.

Also this morning Rabbi Steinman’s eldest daughter, who is 72, suddenly passed away as a result of a massive heart attack. She was buried this morning.

For further reading click here.

Office Closure
The US State Department has declined to renew the permit for the PLO office to operate in Washington, DC because of Palestinian Authority attempts to bring action against Israelis in the International Criminal Court (ICC). The decision is based on a 2015 Congressional provision directed that the Palestinians may not try to influence the ICC concerning investigations into Israelis.

President Trump now has 90 days to permit the office to remain open if he decides that “the Palestinians have entered into direct, meaningful negotiations with Israel”. A State Department spokesperson said that negotiations are in the process to keep the office open. Meanwhile the Palestinians have threatened to freeze all communications with the US if their office is closed.

For further reading click here.

Gaza Infiltration
IDF forces spotted two Palestinians illegally infiltrating into Israel from northern Gaza yesterday and opened fire wounding one of the infiltrators. Both men were arrested and additional armored forces arrived to secure the border area. The IDF is on high alert on the border in response to threats of revenge attacks following Israel’s destruction of a major terror tunnel earlier this month.

Also, Israeli border guards confiscated tons of explosive substances that were attempting to be smuggled into Gaza from Israel.

For further reading click here.

Tough Talk
The Lebanese government is talking tough against Israel. First the foreign minister told a Russian newspaper that, “We should not be provoking Israel into a war simply because it is likely to lose it. We should restrain Israel from starting a war exactly because Lebanon is sure to win it.” Now the Commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces Joseph Aoun called on soldiers near the Israeli border to be on “full readiness” and warned that they should be ready to face “threats of the Israeli enemy and its violations.”

Lebanon believes that Saudi Arabia is trying to persuade Israel to take military action against Iranian backed Hezbollah, which for all practical purposes controls the country. Saudi Arabia and Iran are arch-enemies.

For further reading click here.

New Airport
The brand new Ilan and Asaf Ramon International Airport, located 18 kilometers north of Eilat, will be opening in a few months. What’s the big deal? To read 10 reasons to be excited click here.

Israel News Rivllin US visit

Israel News for 11-20-17

Pardon Rejected
President Reuven Rivlin has rejected a request to pardon Elor Azaria, the IDF soldier convicted of manslaughter for shooting a neutralized terrorist in the head and killing him. Azaria is serving a year and a half sentence.

Azaria filed his request a month ago, telling the president: “I unfortunately did not receive a just trial. This is how I feel, and nothing can change it. In any case, I ask for a measure of justice and mercy, the essence of the presidential pardon, from His Honor the President in this request.”

In a letter to Azaria explaining his decision Rivlin wrote, “… an additional lightening of your sentence would harm the resilience to the Israel Defense Forces and the State of Israel. The values of the Israel Defense Forces, and among them the Purity of Arms, are the core foundation of the strength of the Israel Defense Forces, and have always stood strong for us in the just struggle for our right to a safe, national home, and in the building a robust society.”

He added, “In addition, in September 2017, the Chief of Staff saw fit to further ease your sentence and reduce the punishment by four months from the prison sentence imposed upon you, for reasons of compassion and while taking into consideration your military service as a soldier in the operational arena.”

Defense Minister Lieberman and Culture Minister Miri Regev both lashed out at President Rivlin’s decision not to pardon Azaria. Rivlin was also attacked on social media, where images of him wearing an Arab kaffiyeh were posted. Police are investigating what they are considering to be incitement to violence against the president. Opposition MKs are calling on PM Netanyahu to speak out in defense of the president.

For further reading click here.

Terror Judgement
The Jerusalem District Court has ordered the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the terrorists who killed three Israelis on Highway 443 in 2001 to pay 62 million shekels to the victims’ families. The PA was ordered to pay 40% of the damages. The verdict clearly place blame on the PA for supporting terror activity.

For further reading click here.

Haredi Arrests
Hundreds of protestors from the Jerusalem Faction blocked several main highways and intersections in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak yesterday to protest the drafting of Haredi yeshiva students by the IDF. Some of the demonstrations turned violent and around 40 demonstrators were arrested.

For further reading click here.

IDF Strikes Syria
IDF tanks in the Hermon area fired warning shots at Syrian army positions in the northern Golan Heights in Syria on two separate occasions. The IDF claims Syria violated the 1974 ceasefire agreement on the Golan Heights by using heavy tools to fortify a military post in the demilitarized zone between the countries. The IDF complained to the UN peacekeeping force stationed in the area before firing the warning shots. IDF tanks were deployed to Mount Hermon earlier last week.

For further reading click here.

Cruise Time
Did you know that 85,000 Israelis went on cruises this year? Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) believes that number will rise by 20% next, and they’re looking to take advantage of it by offering route with a variety of kosher supervision and second vacations at half price. According to NCL’s managing director, Israel is in sixth place worldwide in the number of per capita cruise passengers.

For further reading click here.

terror Gush Etzion

Israel News for 11-17-17

Terror Attack
A 17 year old Arab terrorist drove his vehicle into a 70 year old man at the Efrat south junction in Gush Etzion this morning. The man was lightly injured. Then the terrorist continued driving to the Gush Etzion junction where he ran over a 35 year old man, seriously wounding him. The terrorist then got out of his vehicle brandishing a knife and attempted to stab soldiers in the area. Soldiers opened fire and wounded the terrorist.

The IDF has surrounded and sealed off the terrorist’s home village of Hilhul, south of Hebron.

For further reading click here.

Shabbat Crisis
In the face of threats by the Haredi parties to quit the coalition and bring down the government if construction work on the railway lines continues on Shabbat, PM Netanyahu has worked out a compromise by which only non Jewish workers will be allowed to work on the railroad on Shabbat. It was also agreed to move forward with a law to prohibit Shabbat desecration related to the railway works.

For further reading click here.

Buying Water
Based on forecasts for another relatively dry winter, the government has increased the amount of water it purchases from the desalination plants at Palmahim, Sorek, Ashkelon and Hadera. Almost all of the drinking water used in Israel comes from desalination plants.

For further reading click here.

Economy Growing
Israel’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew 4.1% on an annualized basis in the third quarter of 2017, the Central Bureau of Statistics reports. GDP on an annualized basis grew by 2.5% in the second quarter and only 0.9% in the first quarter.

For further reading click here.

Israel News for 11-16-17

Arrests and Maintenance
Police swooped down on the East Jerusalem Arab area of a-Tur overnight and arrested dozens of suspected terrorist. As part of the same operation, police and municipality workers removed piles of garbage and abandoned vehicles from the streets of the neighborhood, erected street signs that were missing, fixed traffic and streetlights and erased graffiti from walls.

Jerusalem District police commander Maj.-Gen. Yoram Halevy said at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies conference last week that these operations are meant to create balance and show the residents of east Jerusalem that “those who’ve done wrong will be treated as such and those who’ve done good will be rewarded.”

Halevy said this was part of the implementation of a new strategy by the Jerusalem District Police to shift its power from only chasing the “bad guys” to also nurture the “good guys,” so they “can help the police help them.”

For further reading click here.

Confiscating Land
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced yesterday that, in certain circumstances, confiscating privately-owned Palestinian land for settlements is legal. He was specifically referring to the confiscation of Palestinian owned land for the construction of a main access road to the settlement of Harsha.

The attorney general’s announcement was primarily predicated on a ruling made a few weeks ago by Israeli Arab Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran, who stated that private Palestinian land could be confiscated for settlements in certain circumstances, justifying his contention on the fact that “Israelis are also part of the local population.” He said, “Israelis there have the right to life, dignity, property and all rights afforded to other people in Israel.”

For further reading click here.

Prisoner in Gaza
US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt hosted the family of Abera Mengistu, the Israeli held by Hamas in Gaza for three years, at the White House yesterday.

Greenblatt tweeted, “Today I welcomed the family of Abera Mengistu to the White House. Abera has been held by Hamas in Gaza for over 1,000 days since he disappeared in September 2014. It is outrageous that Hamas will not let him return home or communicate with his family.”

The Mengistu family, which is visiting the US as part of its effort to raise awareness for the struggle to bring him home, also attended the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly in Los Angeles, where they met with President Reuven Rivlin. They will also be visiting the United Nations.

For further reading click here.

Better Banking
Transferring money from a US bank account to an Israeli account is an expensive and time consuming process, with transaction fees and bureaucracy on both ends. But Joseph Sokol, a 21 year old American oleh (immigrant) from Los Angeles, has come up with a solution.

Sokol has created, OlehPay, a website that enables users to inexpensively send money from the US to Israel. The website saves users foreign wire and processing fees, which make up the bulk of the costs of transfers. Users on average save about $65 on wire fees per transaction.

Sokol explained, “Our system debits the account in the US as a local transaction — which is cheaper than an international transaction, and credits the account in Israel as a local transaction as well. We do away with SWIFT, checks processing fees ATM fees and wire transfer fees.”

OlehPay limits transfers to NIS 50,000 ($14,000), because under NIS 50,000 Israeli law does not require a face-to-face meeting.

Regarding security, Sokol said, “All of the information is secured by segmenting the information on three separate servers, to fragment information about the transactions, personal information and account details.”

The company is licensed through its partners as an accredited money service business in the US and Israel and holds customer funds in individually secured FDIC (Federal Department of Insurance Corporation) insured accounts — ensuring the safety of customer funds.

The 2 man company, Sokol and his partner Meir Leff (22), currently has around 400 users and is in negotiations with an interested Chinese billionaire investor.

For further reading click here.

To check out the website click here.

iron dome israel

Israel News for 11-14-17

Iron Dome Active
The IDF has deployed Iron Dome anti missile batteries in the center of the country in the shadow of Islamic Jihad threats to retaliate for the destruction of their terror tunnel two weeks ago.

In a video uploaded over the weekend, IDF Maj. Gen. Yoav (Poli) Mordechai warned in Arabic, “It should be clear: any response by Islamic Jihad, whatever it may be, will be responded to by Israel with power and determination, not only against Islamic Jihad but also against Hamas. We advise the Islamic Jihad leadership in Damascus to be careful and get things under control. Leaders of Islamic Jihad in Damascus—Ramadan Shalah Ziad Nakhaleh—get your hands around this quickly because you are the ones who will be held responsible.”

Despite the rising tensions along the Gaza border, Israel is working with Palestinian officials in Gaza to improve the water treatment system to improve the drinking water for the population of Gaza.

For further reading click here.

No Peace Yet
In a statement released by the US Consulate General in Jerusalem yesterday, US negotiator Jason Greenblatt said that the US is not yet prepared to present a proposal to jump start negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Greenblatt said, “We are not going to put an artificial timeline on the development or presentation of any specific ideas and will also never impose a deal—our goal is to facilitate, not dictate, a lasting peace agreement to improve the lives of Israelis and Palestinians and security across the region.”

Greenblatt added that the decision not to present a proposal now comes after spending “a lot of time listening to and engaging with the Israelis, Palestinians and key regional leaders over the past few months.”

For further reading click here.

EU Members Banned
Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs, and Information Gilad Erdan and Minister of the Interior, Development of the Negev and Galilee Aryeh Deri have refused to grant entry permits to 20 European officials including members of the European Parliament, members of the French parliament, and mayors of French cities, because they supported a boycott against Israel. The delegation had planned to visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority on November 19-23.

Deri said, “This is not the first time that I have prevented the entry of boycott activists into Israel. This time, however, it is a delegation of senior European figures coming to act against Israel, and the matter is assuming a different character. After examining the background and the circumstances, I decided that there was no place for this delegation in Israel.”

The authority to prevent entry to Israel was granted under a law passed in March. According to this law, the Population and Immigration Authority in the Ministry of the Interior is entitled to prevent a person from entering Israel if he called for a boycott against the country.

Although Israel has prevented BDS activists from entering country before, this is the first time that it has done so to government officials.

For further reading click here.

Terror Payments
On Wednesday, November 15, the US House Foreign Affairs Committee will consider the Taylor Force Act, a bill that would freeze U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) until it stops using American tax dollars to reward Palestinian terrorists for murder of or attacks on Israelis and Americans. The bill currently has 150 co-sponsors.

The legislation is named for Taylor Force, a 28-year-old Vanderbilt University graduate student and U.S. Army veteran who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in March 2016 during a trip to Israel. Another 10 people were injured in the attack. Under Palestinian law, the family of Force’s killer is rewarded with a life-long pension that amounts to three times the average Palestinian salary in the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority (PA) currently spends $344 million in foreign aid money a year on monthly salaries to terrorists and their families. 

Arab neighborhood

Israel News for 11-13-17

Jerusalem Demolitions
The Jerusalem Municipality, led by Mayor Nir Barkat, will demolish six apartment buildings in the Arab neighborhood of Kafr Aqab, which is part of Jerusalem but outside of the security barrier. The buildings slated for destruction are all at least 6 stories high and one of them houses a mosque. The buildings were all built illegally, without permits. The demolition will be carried out in a joint operation between city officials, Israel Police, the IDF, and the Shin Bet.

A spokesman for the mayor’s office said, “The demolition orders were issued months ago against [the buildings] which had been built illegally and without building permits and which had no residents [when the orders were issued] and which today are still largely empty. Time and again, the courts, including the Jerusalem District Court and the Israeli Supreme Court, issued [demolition] orders.”

He added, “Demolition of the illegal buildings will enable the City of Jerusalem to pave a highway, improving the lives of tens of thousands of residents. The new road is absolutely necessary, and it will benefit all of the residents of Kafr Aqab.”

For further reading click here.

Secret Meetings
According to Israeli media reports, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizonkot traveled to Belgium for a secret meeting with the commander of the American forces in Europe, US General Curtis Scaparrotti, over the weekend. The two military leaders reportedly discussed the Iranian military build-up in Syria and the country’s civil war winding down. This was the second meeting between the two men in the past two weeks.

Satellite images commissioned by the BBC seem to show Iranian construction activity at a Syrian army base eight miles south of Damascus and only 30 miles from the Israeli border.

For further reading click here.

Health News
According to a study just released by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, 53 percent of Israelis are overweight including 16.6% who are obese. The numbers are still below the OECD average of 54% for overweight and 19% for obese. In the US, Hungary, New Zealand and Mexico, over 30% of the population is obese. Japan is the thinnest nation.

The OECD survey found life expectancy for Israelis has increased by 10 years since 1970, with an average person now living to the age of 82.1. Israeli women live 4 years longer (84.1 years) than Israeli men. Japan has the highest average life expectancy, with 83.9.

Israeli teens eat more vegetables than those in all other OECD countries, except for Belgium. But Israeli teens are also the least likely to do daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

Israel has the highest rate of colon cancer survival in the OECD, at 71.7%, compared to an average of just 62.8%. Israel also has the fifth lowest suicide rate among developed nations.

For further reading click here.

Netanyahu Biography
If you’re interested in learning more about the longest serving Prime Minister in Israel’s history, you should read this new biography called The Netanyahu Years, by Ben Caspit. The book is basically divided into 3 parts. The first part traces Netanyahu’s life from his childhood through his rise to the PM’s office. The second part focuses on his tumultuous relationship with US President Obama and the third part on the Iranian threat.

There’s a lot you’ll learn from this bio that you might not know about the PM. For example, did you know that Netanyahu was married three times? He met current wife Sarah when she was an El Al flight attendant on one of his flights before he became PM. His second wife an American Christian woman who converted to Judaism under the auspices of the Conservative movement. The fact that Netanyahu enjoys the support of the Haredi parties, who reject Conservative conversions, is a true testament to his political prowess. On the flip said, his only daughter from his first wife is now Haredi.

While the author of the book doesn’t seem to be Netanyahu’s biggest fan, it is still a relatively balanced and factual account of the PM. But a warning: you might not like what you learn.

To check out the book on Amazon click here.