israelam news

Israel News for 2-28-18 – Purim

Trump Peace Plan
We have learned from an extremely reliable source within President Trump’s inside circle of personal advisors that last night, during a private Purim dinner reception at the Venetian Resort Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas (owned by Sheldon Adelson), Trump revealed, for the first time, the major points of his Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

In addition to many prominent and mega wealthy Jewish men, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, Senior Advisor Ivanka and several dozen “very beautiful” (Trump’s words) Jewish women were at the exclusive event. To keep things fair and balance, several limo drivers of Arab descent were also allowed into the room during Trump’s announcement, although they were not compelled to drink alcohol (though many of them did).

Trump kicked off his remarks by praising Jewish women, saying, “I have to say this…you know I love all women, particular beautiful women…very, very beautiful women…in fact, I’ve been with some of the most beautiful women anywhere, ever…you might say I’m the world’s greatest expert on the topic…and I can honestly say that Jewish women are THE most beautiful women in world, right behind the Scandinavians, Eastern Europeans (wink to Melania — of course, right? Isn’t she beautiful?) and all-American blonde Christians (winks at Ivanka, who blushes and says, “oh daddy, that’s so sweet, but I’m Jewish now).”

“In fact, Israel has some of the most beautiful women — have you seen Wonder Woman? Right? And to be fair, the Arabs have some beautiful women too, but it’s hard to know since most of them are all covered up with the scarfs and hoods — you know what I mean. But believe me, there is gotta be beauty hidden beneath those burkas. Believe me.”

“These beautiful women, on both sides, deserve to live in peace and prosperity. That’s why I’ve come up with a plan — a deal — which will be the solution to probably the toughest deal ever. We all know that money – prosperity – solves all problems. The people in this room in particular should appreciate that. So what I’m proposing is a plan to bring such massive and overwhelming prosperity to the Israelis and Palestinians that they will simply forget all of their issues and just sit back and enjoy. Sounds interesting, right?”

So here’s how it will work (in Trump’s words):

1. With massive investment from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, the Gaza Strip will be transformed in something similar to the Las Vegas strip, only better. Sheldon (Adelson) along with Steve Wynn (a great guy — don’t believe the reports about him) will be managing the entire project. And my son Donald Jr. will be overseeing the entire project so I can be sure it’s done correctly — since the Trump name will be used throughout the strip on many of the best hotels. That should make Hamas very very happy.

2. To solve the Jerusalem issue, we’re going to create holding company that will develop and manage the Old City and all the religious sites. It will be composed of individual LLC’s and — oh, why don’t we just leave all that legal stuff to Jason Greenblatt, who’s the best real estate attorney in the world…and a really great guy…and one of my Orthodox Jews…he’ll do the right thing so that everyone comes out ahead and making money. Believe me. I truly believe that my Jerusalem development plans will make the Palestinians and Israelis very happy…and rich, so there shouldn’t be any problem on that front. I’ve also spoken with King Hussein of Jordan and he’s willing to take a piece of the action, as long as it’s equal to what I’m giving Bibi. Regarding Abbas, well, we’ll just have to see about him…

3. Now, as you all know, Hezbollah is a very big problem because they’re really very very bad guys. So we’re going to do the same thing in southern Lebanon as we’re planning to do in Gaza. Another amazing Trump hotel and casino strip that should draw business from around the Arab world and northern Israel. Everyone will be making so much money they won’t have time for terror.

Instead of a Palestinian State, we’re going to create a Palestinian corporation with shareholders, investors…it’s going to be beautiful, and more importantly, it’s going to make them rich.

That’s the crux of my plan. What do you think? Pretty brilliant, huh? Pretty pretty brilliant. The entire region will be happy, wealthy and a whole lot more fun than it ever has been. Believe me, it’s brilliant.”


PM Netanyahu was all smiles and giggles. He said, “I love Donald — he’s the best friend I’ve ever had (maybe the only one) and I know in my heart he is a lover of Israel and Jewish People. So whatever he says I will do.” Netanyahu denied any connection between his embracing of the peace plan and his 25% share of the Gaza and Jerusalem holding companies.

PA President Abbas blasted Trump for ignoring the righteous aspirations of the Palestinian people for their own state. He also pledged to stand firm against the peace plan unless he got at least a 10% equity stake in the Gaza enterprise along with an undisclosed lump sum payment.

Iran pledged to open it’s own casinos in Syria (with Russian help) to saturate the gaming market and put the Trump casinos out of business. Trump replied that he had plenty of experience dealing with bankrupt casinos.

The UN voted to condemn Israel, for a reason to be determined at a later date.

Kotel Plaza Renamed
After a fiery all night session, the Knesset passed a new law renaming the Western Wall (kotel) Plaza the Trump Plaza. The bill was sponsored by PM Netanyahu, who practically pleaded with his coalition members to support him, in what he called, “the ultimate gesture of friendship to my best friend in the world.”

Netanyahu almost did not get the required votes when the ultra-orthodox ministers called the renaming proposal “blasphemy” and a “shameful embarrassment”. But the PM offered to push through a special tax break for anyone wearing long black coats and black hats, and the ministers miraculously changed their minds — with the backing of the Council of Sages, of course.

Opposition leaders blasted the new law, demanding the plaza be renamed for a female secular socialist activist (anyone fitting the description will do just fine).

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have been chosen to inaugurate the new Trump Plaza @ the Western Wall. But before that, the government, in conjunction with the Trump advisory team, will need to decide whether or not there will be separate hotels for men or women or whether there will be one a hotel with a partition down the middle.

Women throughout the world are disrupting Purim celebrations to protest the the behavior of King Ahashverosh towards Queen Vashti. Protestors are calling the King’s behavior unacceptable and are hailing Vashti as a role model for abused women. The fact that the king’s behavior was totally acceptable in his time period isn’t stopping protesters from shouting MeToo every time the king’s name is mentioned during the reading of the Megillah. Rabbis are reluctant to shush the women for fear of provoking accusations of chauvinism and abuse.

Polish Law
Poland’s parliament has just passed a law making it a crime to say a Polish joke. According to law anyone, anywhere in the world, who is heard or recorded telling a Polish joke can be either extradited to Poland or tried there in absentia. Jewish groups in the US are claiming that the new law is anti-semitic, as it unfairly targets Jewish comedians.

The Israeli government is studying the law and preparing a response. One official was quoted as saying, “I can’t see how Israel can survive without Polish jokes.”

Trump weighed in on the issue saying, “Everyone should be free to make fun of whoever they want, whether it’s a Pollack, Jew, Wop, Mick and other words I can’t say…as president.”

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Israel News for 2-26-18

Navy Attacks
The Israeli navy attacked a Palestinian fishing boat that strayed from a permitted fishing area in the northern Gaza Strip towards Israel last night. The navy verbally warned the ship several and then fired warning shots which were all ignored. One person on the Palestinian boat was seriously wounded and was treated by Israeli sailors who subsequently boarded the boat, but he succumbed to his wounds. The two other men on the boat were taken in for questioning.

Boats are not allowed to stray beyond a fixed limit to the north towards Israeli waters. Israel restricts fishing to a seasonally adjusted zone of between six and nine nautical miles. Egypt keeps similar limitations to the south-west.

For further reading click here.

Pilots Faulted
A summary of the investigation by the IDF into the recent shooting down of an Israeli fighter jet by the Syrians said that the crew had chosen “to complete the mission and not defend themselves sufficiently. Their actions did not correlate with standard procedure while under enemy fire.”

The investigation determined that the advanced planning for the operation was done properly, and the intelligence for the mission was sufficient, leading to the successful destruction of the targets, which were marked prior to the retaliatory strike.

In total, the Syrian aerial defense apparatus launched 27 missiles at IAF planes throughout the night and early morning as events unfolded, 13 of them were fired while Israeli jets were attacking the Iranian drone’s control and command center. One of the missiles, a large long-range outdated SA-5 missile, hit the Israeli F-16.

The warning systems in the F-16 that was hit were found to be in order and alerted the pilot and navigator of the threat on time. But the F-16 flight team failed to deploy countermeasures.

A senior IAF officer said, “In the operational theatre, there were a number of planes that did indeed defend themselves against the Syrian launchings while completing their mission. One of the planes that did not defend itself, was hit.” Nevertheless, the investigation concluded that the pilot and navigator’s decision to abandon the plane after it was hit was the right one.

The officer added, “There was no Russian involvement in the incident.”

For further reading click here.

Settlement Expansion
The government yesterday unanimously approved a building plan for the Netiv Ha’avot neighborhood in Gush Etzion (West Bank), which will include the allocation of funds for the construction of 350 new housing units. Part of the neighborhood was slated for evacuation next month in accordance with an order by the Supreme Court.

Gush Etzion Council head Shlomo Ne’eman welcomed the decision saying, “This is a massive achievement for the Zionist enterprise in Judea and Samaria,” he said. “The crime of demolishing homes won’t be atoned for by new construction, but will bring about hope for the Zionist enterprise in Gush Etzion.”

For further reading click here.

Polish Law Update
Poland’s Justice Minister announced that the controversial law making any mention of Polish complicity in the Holocaust illegal will not be implemented until further discussions in the Polish Constitutional Court and until Israeli and Polish delegations have met to consider rewording it.

Poland’s Foreign Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, who also serves as the country’s state prosecutor, indicated that the law will not be implemented at this stage, despite being ratified, until the Constitutional Court makes a ruling. He also said that the law does not prohibit references to crimes committed by individual Poles and groups, and added that it will not apply to Holocaust survivors, journalists or academics.

For further reading click here.

Rabbi Passes
Thousands of mourners attended the funeral procession of Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, who passed away on Shabbat at the age of 86. Rabbi Aurbach, the eldest son of the late sage Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Aurbach ZT”L, was the founder and leader of the radical Jerusalem Faction of the Lithuanian ultra-Orthodox sect, which fiercely opposes the IDF drafting of yeshivah students as well as any yeshivah students serving in the IDF.

Addressing the crowds of mourners before they carried Rabbi Auerbach’s body to its final resting place in Jerusalem, Rabbi Tzvi Friedman, a prominent rabbi associated with the Jerusalem Faction, said in his eulogy, “We are in a war of destruction. No man should turn up (to the IDF recruitment office). Don’t be scared of the police. Go to prison happily. They can fill the prisons. It won’t help them. He single-handedly directed the struggle while facing ridicule from others.”

Rabbi Aurbach was buried next to his wife in the Har Hamenuchot cemetery in Jerusalem. He did not leave behind any children.

For further reading click here.

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Israel News for 2-23-18

Deportation Demonstrations
A giant rally is scheduled to take place in south Tel Aviv Saturday in solidarity with illegal African migrants and asylum seekers, who are soon to be deported to Uganda or Rwanda or face imprisonment in Israel.

The movement orchestrating the rally, known as “South Tel Aviv Against Deportation”, is expecting thousands to flock to the area to attend from across Israel in a bid to display widespread opposition to the Knesset’s approval of the deportation plan two months ago.

In an effort to counter the demonstration, crowds are planning to assemble from the other side of the camp, led by “The Front for the Liberation of South Tel Aviv” under the campaign banner of “Remember Esther Galili,” a victim whose murder came to symbolize anger over the migrants’ presence and galvanize protesters into action.

In January, Israel began notifying thousands of Africans who entered the country illegally that they have three months to leave or face incarceration.

The Population and Immigration Authority called on migrants from Sudan and Eritrea to leave “to their country or to a third country,” meaning Rwanda or Uganda. Those who leave by the end of March will be given $3,500, along with airfare and other incentives.

Rwanda announced Friday that it would only absorb Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seeker being deported from Israel if the measures were in accordance with international law.

For further reading click here.

Embassy Move
According to a report in the Associated Press, Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate and major Republican Party supporter, has offered to pay for at least part of the cost to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Adelson reportedly made his offer in December 2017, shortly after US President Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and promised to move the Embassy there. The report noted that the US State Department is investigating whether private donations may be accepted.

Both the White House and Adelson declined to comment on the report. The State Department said it had “nothing to announce” and “no confirmation or details” about whether Adelson would finance the move.

Adelson also owns the free, daily Hebrew language newspaper Yisrael Hayom.


Peace Plan
Speaking during a question-and-answer session at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said that the Trump administration’s first draft of a Middle East peace plan is approaching its completion and will be presented in the near future. She did not mention any specific deadline for the plan’s release. Haley said, “They’re coming up with a plan. It won’t be loved by either side, and it won’t be hated by either side.”

For further reading click here.

Tomb Vandalized
About a thousand people visited the tomb of Joshua (the biblical prophet and leader) in the village of Kifl Haris near the city of Ariel (Samaria) on Wednesday night to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Moses (the 7th day of Adar). They found the walls of the tomb vandalized with graffiti of swastikas and other anti-semitic phrases.

For further reading click here.

Abbas in Baltimore
Accorder to Jewish Insider, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was sighted on Wednesday in Baltimore, Maryland. According to a source, Abbas is receiving medical treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

For further reading click here.

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Israel News for 2-20-18

Gaza Attacks
On Saturday, two IDF soldiers were seriously wounded and two others moderately and lightly wounded when an explosive device was set off near an IDF patrol around the border fence in the southern Gaza Strip, opposite the Ein HaShlosha kibbutz.

Later Saturday night, the IDF responded by attacking 18 terror targets in Gaza. The Air Force hit an additional eight targets. Terrorists then fired another rocket into Israel, which landed on the roof of a residence in the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council. The family was home, but no one was harmed as the rocket failed to explode.

On Sunday evening a rocket launched from Gaza landed in an open area in the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council. In response, Israeli jets attacked and destroyed a Hamas terror tunnel in an open area in the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council.

Yesterday, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman confirmed the destruction of the tunnel and said, “The incidents proved that the IDF is ready for any scenario with zero warning. It wasn’t easy to achieve this kind of capability but the fact is that we have stood up for the tests and we have known how to handle them.”

For further reading click here.

Settler Population
According to the “West Bank Jewish Population Stats,” a report sponsored by a prominent settler organization, the Jewish population living in the West Bank is currently 435,159, up from 420,899 last year. This does not include the 200,000 Jews living in east Jerusalem.

For further reading click here.

Train Trouble
The new high speed train from connected Jerusalem and Tel Aviv is supposed to open in late March. But engineers and safety experts are warning that if the railway launches as scheduled, there is liable to be a disaster. They say that the railway line cannot be used for passenger trains before August at the earliest.

An investigation into the matter by “Globes” found that much work remains incomplete. Laying the track is still taking place, the communications systems in the tunnels are operating only in part, electrification work has not yet been completed, and essential coordination checks between the various systems have not yet been carried out. Even worse, information obtained by “Globes” indicates that safety rules are being ignored in the feverish effort to finish the project on time, while the State Comptroller has already warned in his recent report that the rush to finish the project is liable to endanger human life.

An engineering expert said that the two most important systems that must undergo several months of testing are the electrical system and the command and control system. “If the cables touching the train are not well synchronized down to the millimeter, there is a risk of collapse – including during a journey.”

One transportation source said, “They waited a decade, and it’s too bad that they are messing up at the very end.”

For further reading click here.

Gas Exports
Delek Drilling LP (TASE: DEDR.L) and Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) announced today that they have signed two binding agreements to export gas to Egyptian company Dolphinus Holdings Ltd. The energy companies will supply 64 billion cubic meters (BCM) of natural gas from the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields over 10 years. The gas is worth an estimated $15 billion. The gas will be transported either through an existing pipeline or through a newly constructed one.

For further reading click here.

Pilot Released
The F-16 pilot whose plane was shot down by Syrian anti-aircraft fire last week was released from the hospital. The pilot, a 35-year-old resident of central Israel, was seriously wounded in the incident, but left the hospital on his own two feet, appearing in good condition. His co-pilot, a navigator, was lightly injured and released from the hospital a few hours after ejecting from the plane.

For further reading click here.

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Israel News for 2-16-18

Bombing Attempts
On Tuesday and Wednesday, there were three attempts by Palestinians to smuggle pipe bombs into the military court in Salem, in northern Samaria (West Bank). All of the attempts were thwarted by vigilant Border Police officers stationed at the entrance to the court. The soldiers and police that guard the courthouse say that attempts at smuggling pipe bombs there have become almost a common occurrence.

For further reading click here.

Soldiers Injured
Seven soldiers were lightly injured when their vehicle drove over a landmine in the Jordan Valley Wednesday. A preliminary investigation revealed that the soldiers, from a military engineering unit, were engaging in work related to fixing the fence around a minefield near the Christian pilgrimage site Qasr al-Yahud north of the Dead Sea. During their work, their vehicle drove over an old M15 anti-tank mine that had apparently shifted and got covered in sand due to strong winds.

For further reading click here.

Temple Mount Visit
Oman’s foreign minister Yusuf bin Alawi made a rare visit by an Arab official to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount on Thursday after holding talks with Palestinian leaders in the West Bank. Such a visit would usually require coordination with Israeli officials but an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman said he was unaware of the visit and could not immediately comment.

For further reading click here.

No Polish Surprise
Poland has decided to reexamine a draft bill on restitution for Holocaust survivors whose property was confiscated during World War Two. The bill was put up for inspection by the country’s Justice Ministry, and may be shelved altogether.

Jewish sources within the country said they presumed the law’s return to the Justice Ministry was caused by a rising wave of anti-Semitism in the European country, which raised concerns in the upper echelons of government that speaking about returning lost property to Jews will not be taken well by the public.

The World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) voiced deep concern by the decision and called on the Polish government to move forward quickly with improved legislation to address property confiscations.

Israel, the US and other European countries have lodged official protests with the Polish government.


Is anyone really surprised that Poland, with virulent anti-semitism coursing through its veins and the blood of millions of Jews soaking its cursed earth and screaming for justice against the tens of thousands of Poles who participated in their murder, is trying to deny its crimes and keep the loot it plundered from its Jewish victims?

The bill itself is constructed in such a way that even if it did actually become law (which it won’t), it would be almost impossible for any survivors to get restitution. The fact that we even entertain the thought that Poland might actually have shed its anti semitism is our own foolishness.

The first step to repentance is admission of guilt. Until Poland does that, nothing will ever change. The fact that there were a very small number of Poles that helped Jews does not change this. Israel, and the US, should punish Poland for its crimes and it’s refusal to make amends.

As the child of survivors from Poland, I know the truth first hand. So if you feel the need to send me angry emails about how wrong I am, please just hit the unsubscribe link at the bottom of this email instead (thanks in advance).

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Israel News for 2-14-18

PM in Trouble
The Israel Police announced Tuesday that there is sufficient evidence to indict PM Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in two cases against him. In one case the PM allegedly received bribes from business moguls Arnon Milchan and James Packer. In the other, he is accused of talks with Yedioth Ahronoth owner and publisher Arnon Mozes regarding the rival Israel Hayom daily newspaper.

The recommendations now go to Attorney General Avihai Mendelblit, who will review the material before deciding whether to file charges. Netanyahu can remain in office during that process, which could drag on for months.

According to reports, Yeah Atid leader Yair Lapid testified as a witness in the investigation.

Netanyahu denied all allegations against him declared that he would not resign as Prime Minister, and vowed that his coalition government would serve out the remainder of its term, set to end in November 2019.

He said, “I feel that it is incumbent upon me to continue leading the State of Israel. Citizens of Israel, you know that all the work that I have done was with the good of the State of Israel in mind. Nothing will distract me from this sacred duty. Today isn’t any different from so many other days. Our government will finish its term.”

For more details about the cases against the PM, click here.

Pot Exports
Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman joined Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan in opposing the export of medical cannabis. Litzman said, “It’s shameful that the State of Israel exports cannabis because it’s a drug.”

Litzman added, however, that he would remove his objections if a significant portion of the export revenues will be transferred to the health system in Israel and significant manpower will be added to monitor possible leakage of medical cannabis to unauthorized persons.

On the other hand, Minister of Agriculture Ariel and Justice Minister Shaked both support exporting medical cannabis. Shaked said, “medical cannabis is important to medicine, and to date, there have been 0 indictments concerning spillover from the farms for criminal purposes. Israel is the only country in the world that can grow cannabis with a breakthrough clinical method. There is no reason why we should not act for both global medicine and the Israeli economy.”

It is estimated that if Israel approves exports of medical cannabis, it will be able to generate NIS 1 billion to NIS 4 billion a year in profits.

For further reading click here.

Torah Study Law
Senior rabbis in the religious Zionist community, including Rabbi Chaim Druckman, Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, Rabbi Tzfania Drori, and Rabbi Dov Lior signed an appeal to PM Netanyahu to promote a new Basic Law that would classify Torah study as a “basic value” for the State of Israel, thus alloying for army deferments for full time yeshivah students.

The appeal included the following excerpt, “We have no doubt that strengthening the status of the Torah of Israel and its students in the Basic Law will greatly contribute to the State of Israel, deepen our national recognition of the importance of the Torah, and be an additional important element in raising our prestige and the sprouting of our redemption.”

The new Basic Law proposal was drafted by haredi MKs following the Supreme Court’s nullifying of a law extending draft deferments for full-time yeshiva students.

For further reading click here.

Close Call
A Jewish mother and daughter were supposed to be on the doomed Russian airline that crashed on Sunday killing all 71 passengers and crew. The pair had flown to Moscow from their hometown of Orsk to participate in a Chabad run Torah seminar over Shabbat. They were supposed to fly back on Sunday but the rabbi heading up the program convinced them to stay the entire weekend to participate in a tour of the Moscow Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center. They agreed and, thankfully, missed the doomed flight. There were apparently no other Jews on the flight.

For further reading click here.

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Israel News for 2-12-18

Soldiers Attacked
Two IDF soldiers, a male and female, accidentally entered the Palestinian city of Jenin this morning. Their military vehicle was surrounded by Palestinian youth and stoned. The soldiers were lightly wounded and one of their weapons was stolen. Palestinian Authority police rescued the soldiers from the mob. The vehicle was retrieved afterwards.

An IDF spokesman praised the Palestinian police for their quick response in saving the soldiers from a situation that could have been deadly.

For further reading click here.

Israel Attacks Syria
On Saturday, an Iranian drone launched from an airfield in Palmyra, Syria crossed into Israeli territory and was intercepted and downed by an IDF Apache helicopter. The drone turned out to be a copy of an American drone that the Iranians once intercepted.

In response to the Iranian incursion, the IDF launched a large scale attack against Syrian aerial defense systems and Iranian targets deep in Syria. In a statement the IDF said, “Twelve targets, including three aerial defense batteries and four Iranian targets that are part of Iran’s military establishment in Syria were attacked.”

The attack was carried out by 8 Israeli fighter jets. During the attack the Syrian army responded with anti-aircraft fire and hit one of the planes. The two pilots of the plane managed to eject from the aircraft before it crashed and exploded in northern Israel. One pilot was seriously wounded and the other lightly wounded.

At least 6 members of the Syrian (or Iranian) military were reportedly killed in the attack.

PM Netanyahu told his security cabinet that the IDF “dealt severe blows to the armed forces of Iran and Syria.” He said, “We made it unequivocally clear to everyone that our rules of action have not changed one bit; we will continue to strike at every attempt to strike at us. This has been our policy and it will remain our policy.”

The head of Israel’s Air Force said that Israel carried out thousands of missions in Syria last year alone. Regarding the most recent attack in Syria he said, “There has not been such a strike since 1982; it was very broad and it will have an effect on their decision-making process. I assume that they will continue to attempt to defend themselves, but they were hit very seriously and the indications of that are only beginning to come to light this morning, despite their attempts to conceal it.”

For further reading click here.

Polish Law
Israel’s foreign ministry informed Poland’s ambassador to the country that Israel will not receive a Polish delegation scheduled to arrive to discuss the law recently passed by Poland making it a crime to say that the Poles played any role in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust. The passing of the law has triggered massive protests from Israel and a diplomatic rift between the two countries.

For further reading click here.

Trump on Israel
In an interview with Israeli newspaper Yisrael Hayom, US President Trump said that while US-Israel relations were “great,” peace with the Palestinians would make them “a lot better.” He said, “Right now, I would say the Palestinians are not looking to make peace. They are not looking to make peace. And I am not necessarily sure that Israel is looking to make peace. So we are just going to have to see what happens.”

Regarding settlements Trump said, “The settlements are something that very much complicates and always have complicated making peace, so I think Israel has to be very careful with the settlements.”

Regarding reaching a peace agreement he said, “I don’t know frankly if we are going to even have talks. We will see what happens, but I think it is very foolish for the Palestinians and I also think it would be very foolish for the Israelis if they don’t make a deal. It’s our only opportunity and it will never happen after this.”

Regarding the Obama administration, he said, “I mean you certainly weren’t very close with Obama, he gave you the Iran deal, which basically is a deal that says let’s ultimately do bad things to Israel. Obama was terrible. He was absolutely terrible for Israel. I think our relationships [US-Israel] are very good. I think they are probably as good as they have ever been.”

More Housing
Yoav Horowitz, the prime minister’s chief of staff, promised residents in Har Brakha on Thursday that he would “do everything” to approve the settlement’s zoning plan. Horowitz was paying a shiva call at the home of the widow of the rabbi murdered by terrorists last week. He brought with him and read a letter from the PM.

Horowitz said, “I know Har Brakha’s zoning plan well, I know the plan and I know the history of the processes that happened. We’ll do everything to implement (the zoning plan) as soon as possible. We’re examining when we could expand this community.”

There are currently around 5,000 residents in Har Brakha. There are 800 housing units awaiting zoning approval, after having been put on hold during the Obama administration. Approving the full zoning plan would potentially double the settlement’s population.

For further reading click here.

Music Video
This moving music video is a tribute to Rabbi Raziel Shevach, who was recently murdered by terrorists, and contains footage of him and his young children.

To watch the video click here.

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Israel News for 2-7-18

Terror Attack
Early this morning a terrorist stabbed a security guard in the settlement of Karmei Tzur in Gush Etzion. Another security guard shot and killed the terrorist. The guard was lightly wounded in the hand and taken to hospital for treatment. Security forces went to the terrorist’s village of Halhul, not far from Karmei Tzur, to question his relatives. Rioters hurled stones at the troops. Several were arrested.

For further reading click here.

Fugitive Terrorist
On Monday Rabbi Itamar Ben Gal, a 29 year old teacher and father of 4 from Har Bracha, was stabbed to death near the entrance to the city of Ariel in Samaria. He was laid to rest yesterday.

The terrorist, 19 year old Abed al-Karim Adel Assi, is still on the loose. He is a resident of Jaffa and is the son of an Israeli-Arab mother from Haifa and a Palestinian father from Nablus. His mother said, “My son has no right to hurt anyone. I condemn what he did, and I call on him to turn himself in, because what he did will not help anyone. On the contrary, he ruined himself and he ruined everything.”

The terrorist was abandoned by his parents as a child, became a drug addict, and lived in various social service homes in Israel. Growing up, he had no contact with his mother but continued to visit his father in Nablus, where he apparently became radicalized.

Security forces are hunting for the terrorist.

Meanwhile, security forces yesterday shot and killed Ahmed Nassar Jarrar, the head of the terror cell responsible for the murder of Rabbi Raziel Shevah. The terrorist was hiding in the village of Yamun, near Jenin. The governor of Jenin condemned Israel for killing Jarrar.

For further reading click here.

Israel Attacks Syria
The Syrian army claims that Israeli fighter jets fired missiles at a Syrian army outpost near Damascus early today and that Syrian air defense batteries destroyed most of the missiles. The Syrian army released a statement saying, “The general command of the armed forces holds Israel fully responsible for the dangerous consequences for its repeated, aggressive and uncalculated adventures.”

Israel is trying to prevent sophisticated Iranian weapons from being transferred to Hezbollah forces in Syria. Over the last few years Israel has reportedly carried out close to 100 attacks against weapons convoys and depots in Syria.

For further reading click here.

Northern Border
PM Netanyahu and members of the Security Cabinet toured the Golan Heights Tuesday afternoon and received briefings from IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot and other generals. At the end of the tour the PM said, “We desire peace, but remain prepared for any scenario, and I don’t propose to anyone to test that resolve. I’m impressed with the immense efforts of the IDF here to protect both our borders and our country.”

Meanwhile, Lebanon’s President, PM and Parliament Speaker agreed to “strenuously continue efforts on all levels to prevent Israel from constructing a concrete wall within Lebanese territory.” Israel claims that the wall is being built on Israeli territory.

For further reading click here.

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Israel News for 2-5-18

Jerusalem Collects
The Jerusalem municipality has handed out fines totaling millions of dollars to properties owned by the United Nations and by churches, citing a new legal opinion that says the properties are not legally defined as places of worship and therefore aren’t entitled to exemptions from property tax.

The municipal authority said Sunday that it has started collecting over NIS 650 million ($188 million) from some 887 properties in Jerusalem belonging to various churches and UN agencies.

The municipality has fined the Catholic Church almost NIS 12 million, the Anglican Church more than NIS 7 million, the Armenian Church NIS 2 million, and the Greek Orthodox Church about NIS 500,000. And there’s more to come.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said, “It is absurd for Jerusalem residents to fund municipal services for the churches and the UN on their own, and for the municipality to be prevented from collecting enormous sums that could significantly improving the city’s development and services. If the state wishes the current situation to continue, we demand that it fully compensate us for those sums.”

He added, “We intend to conduct administrative and legal enforcement, and if need be, we won’t hesitate to take the matter to the High Court of Justice.”

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Gaza Intercept
Israeli customs officials at the Kerem Shalom crossing point into Gaza intercepted a cache of explosives hidden in a shipment of medical equipment. Israel has a special lab at the crossing that uses advanced equipment to test materials.

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Walmart Coming?
According to a report in Bloomberg, PM Netanyahu met with senior Walmart executive John Furner on the sidelines of last month’s World Economic Forum in Davos and urged him to open up a branch in Israel. Netanyahu’s economics advisor Avi Simhon confirmed the meeting, saying that “we made it clear we are ready to ease regulatory burdens wherever possible to make the market more accessible to them. The door to Netanyahu’s office is open.” A Walmart spokesperson declined to comment on the substance of the discussion.

Netanyahu also attempted to persuade CEOs of other international conglomerates to expand into Israel during his time at Davos, with special emphasis on South Korean and Japanese companies, such as Mitsubishi.

Simhon said, “The prime minister decided to put the emphasis on these two key Asian economies during our meetings there. Our message to these companies was that we’re open for business. The Prime Minister’s Office is here to make their path smoother and easier.”

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Back to Uganda
Israeli construction company Shikun & Binui will be building a new airport in Uganda. The price for the project is estimated at $309 million. The airport at Entebbe, made infamous by the 1976 hostage rescue by Israeli commandos, was also built by an Israeli company, which is how Israel had access to that airport’s blueprints. You never know…

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Unlikely Owner
Russian President Vladimir Putin has become the owner of a one and half room apartment in the heart of Tel Aviv. The apartment belonged to his St. Petersberg high school teacher, Mina Yuditskaya Berliner, who immigrated to Israel in 1973. They were reunited in 2005 when Putin visited Israel. Putin began sending her gifts, including the apartment. Berliner left the apartment to Putin in her will. She passed away in December.

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israelam news

Israel News for 2-2-18

IDF Responds
In response to a rocket fired into Israel from Gaza last night that landed in an open field, the IDF attacked a Hamas observation post in northern Gaza early this morning. An IDF spokesman said that, “the IDF considers the Hamas terrorist organization solely responsible for what is happening in the Gaza Strip.”

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Infiltrators Arrested
Four men were arrested attempting to infiltrate into Israel from Gaza last night. One of them was found carrying knives and a grenade. The suspects were observed by IDF spotters as they approached the border fence and were apprehended immediately after crossing over into Israel.

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Security Control
In a meeting between PM Netanyahu and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel in Tel Aviv, the PM said Israeli control over the security of the West Bank is a condition for a peace agreement with the Palestinians. He added, “Whether or not it is defined as a state when we have the military control is another matter.”

Nabil Abu Rdeneh, spokesman for Palestinian President Abbas, said the Palestinians would not accept the presence of “one Israeli soldier” on sovereign Palestinian lands. “Either there will be full Palestinian sovereignty or there will be no security, no peace and no stability.”

The German FM said, “It is increasingly difficult for people like me to explain to them the reasons why our support for Israel must persist.” He added, “Germany is looking forward to the day when it will be able to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. But let me add: in two states with Jerusalem as their capital. There is no shortcut here.”

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Holocaust Coverup
The new Polish law, which labels it a crime to blame the “Polish Nation” or country for playing a role in the murder of Jews during the holocaust, passed both the upper and lower houses of Poland’s parliament and is now awaiting the Polish president’s signature in order to become law.

The law states, “Whoever accuses, publicly and against the facts, the Polish nation, or the Polish state, of being responsible or complicit in the Nazi crimes committed by the Third German Reich… or other crimes against peace and humanity, or war crimes, or otherwise grossly diminishes the actual perpetrators thereof, shall be subject to a fine or a penalty of imprisonment of up to three years.”

PM Netanyahu along with other Israeli leaders have blasted the law as a way of covering up the facts of the holocaust. In response to the law, Israel’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying, “In light of the Polish Senate’s approval of the bill, Israel asked to postpone the planned visit in Israel of the head of the Polish national security council.” The ministry also said, “The State of Israel categorically opposes the Polish Senate’s decision. Israel views with utmost gravity any attempt to harm historical truth. No law will change the facts.”

Responding to the attacks by Israeli leaders, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said, “We will never curb the freedom of the Holocaust debate. We owe that to all those who experienced it. We understand the emotions of Israel. We need a lot of work to make our common, often complicated, history possible to tell together.”

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Iceland vs. Bris
Lawmakers from four political parties in Iceland introduced a bill in parliament that would ban the non-medical circumcision of boys younger than 18 and impose imprisonment of up to six years on offenders. The parties make up 46% of Iceland’s parliament.

The bill calls the circumcision of boys younger than 18 a violation of their human rights and says it places them at an elevated risk of infection and causes “severe pain.”

Circumcision has come under attack in all of the Scandinavian countries, but none of the countries have actually banned it. In these countries, circumcision is primarily viewed as a Muslim practice and is associated with recent surges in Muslim immigration.

European rabbis have come out against the proposed ban, even though Iceland only has a few dozen Jewish residents (and just a few hundred Muslims). The fear is that the law would set a precedent other countries would follow.

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