Former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz gave his first campaign speech as head of the new Israel Resilience Party in Tel Aviv last night.
He said, “The nation is strong, the country is amazing, but an ill wind is blowing. The conflict between left and right is tearing us apart; the clash between religious and secular is dividing us. The tension between Jews and non-Jews is threatening us… The political arena is poisoned. In my view, the current leadership is obsessed with itself, not with you or us.”
Regarding his security plans he said, “We will strengthen the settlement blocs and never abandon the Golan Heights. The Jordan River will remain the eastern border of Israel and we will not allow the millions of Palestinians living on the other side of the fence to threaten our security and our identity as a Jewish state. United Jerusalem will be built and thrive and forever serve as the capital of the Jewish people and the capital of Israel.”
Gantz pledged to fight against inequality and the high cost of living in Israel, and to build thousands of affordable homes. He also introduced former defense minister and chief of staff Moshe (Bugi) Ya’alon as a new partner, after Ya’alon’s Telem Party agreed to join forces with Israel Resilience.
Gantz is also reportedly in talks to bring in former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi into his party as number three on the party list.
Meanwhile, the PM has been getting criticized for embracing the leaders of Lithuania, Ukraine, Hungary and Poland, all of whom have promoted legislation attempting to whitewash the roles that their respective countries played during the Holocaust.
Efraim Zuroff, the chief Nazi-hunter of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said, “It’s unforgivable. Netanyahu is giving them a green light. It’s like praising the Ku Klux Klan for improving racial relations in the South. We have to say the truth. We owe it to the victims.”
The PM has decided not to extend the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), a group of civilian observers from Norway, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey that have been operating in Hebron since 1997. The group reports on what they consider to be violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws. The group is viewed by the PM and many Israelis as biased against Israel.
Professor Eugene Kontorovich, the director of international law at the Kohelet Policy Forum, a conservative think tank in Jerusalem, said the Israeli decision was long overdue. He said, “TIPH was always designed to be a temporary force — that is what the T stands for, and why the mandate requires an affirmative decision to extend every three months. It was never meant to be a permanent institution, but diplomatic inertia has kept it in place for over two decades.”
In response to the Prime Minister’s decision, the Palestinian Authority asked the United Nations to deploy a permanent international force in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. The UN has not yet responded to the request.
PM Netanyahu announced on Sunday that Israel had decided to recognize the opposition in Venezuela as the country’s official government. The move was reportedly in response to intense pressure from the US. Israel had remained silent until now so as not to cause potential harm to the Jewish community in Venezuela. There are currently between 5 and 6 thousand Jews in Venezuela, mostly in the capital Caracas. Just ten years ago the community numbered around 20,000, before mass emigration to the US, Canada and Mexico.
Malaysia has been stripped of the hosting rights for the World Para Swimming Championships after refusing to let Israelis compete in the event. The International Paralympic Committee on Sunday said its governing board meeting in London decided to take the event from Malaysia after it “failed to provide the necessary guarantees that Israeli Para swimmers could participate, free from discrimination, and safely in the championships. This includes full compliance with the IPC protocols related to anthems and flags, and where required the provision of relevant visas.”
Yuli Edelstein (Likud), the speaker of the Knesset, had ordered that plans to send a delegation of Israeli lawmakers to Ireland be cancelled in protest of the Irish parliament’s support for a bill banning business with companies which operate in Judea, Samaria and the Golan. The delegation’s trip was planned in response to an invitation from the Irish parliament to meet with senior Irish lawmakers. The Irish bill is expected to be nullified by the Irish government, but still…
Israel’s cabinet approved on Sunday a law to allow exports of medical cannabis. The law, passed by the Knesset last month, allows companies approved by the health regulator and police to export medical cannabis to countries that permit its use. Exports could start in as little as nine months.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said, “I am glad this is finally happening. It opens a very big market in Israel. The technology is here in Israel and until now we simply had to give the technology to other countries. Therefore, I am glad we can reap the profits here in Israel.” The government estimates exports could raise tax revenue by NIS 1 billion ($273 million).
An IDF search and rescue team arrived in Brazil yesterday to join local teams to search for hundreds of people missing in the wake of a catastrophic dam collapse. The army said the search-and-rescue teams would use radar, underwater sonar, cellular detection systems and drones to locate the missing people.
Sunday marked the 74th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops in 1945. Approximately 1 million Jews were murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau during WWII, mostly in gas chambers. In total, approximately 6 million Jews were murdered during WWII. Survivors of the camp gathered at Auschwitz yesterday to give testimony. They were joined by Poland’s Prime Minister, the Israeli and Russian ambassadors and the Chief Rabbi of Poland.
Unfortunately, the world is forgetting about the Holocaust. According to a study released by the Claims Conference last year, 31% of all Americans and 41% of millennials believe that fewer than 2 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, and 45% of all Americans cannot name even one concentration camp.
This year the Conference released a similar survey of Canadian adults. According to the survey, 22% of millennials (ages 18 – 34) haven’t heard or are not sure if they have heard of the Holocaust and 52% cannot name a single concentration camp or Ghetto. Nearly one quarter of all Canadians (23%) believe that substantially less than 6 million Jews were killed (two million or fewer) during the Holocaust. In another survey just released, 5% of British adults believe the Holocaust never happened and 20% thought the number of Jews murdered was less than 2 million.
Why is it important to remember the Holocaust? So that it can never happen again, to the Jewish people or to any group of human beings anywhere in the world. And it CAN happen again, unless we make sure it doesn’t. Let’s each do our own part by making sure that those we interact with know the truth. Never Again.
https://i0.wp.com/www.israelam.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Netanyahu-e1548700318254.jpg?fit=1194%2C608&ssl=16081194Arnie Singerhttps://www.israelam.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/israelam-logoNEW-300x100-300x100.jpgArnie Singer2019-01-28 06:59:382019-01-28 13:33:54Israel News for 1-28-19
A 16 year old Jewish teen from the Mateh Binyamin area was charged with manslaughter, throwing a stone at a vehicle under aggravated circumstances as an act of terror, and intentional vandalism of a vehicle as an act of terror, after his DNA was found on the rock that hit the car that was carrying Palestinian mother Aisha al-Rawbi, killing her.
In October 2018, Rawbi, 47, was traveling on Route 60 with her husband and nine-year-old daughter when a rock allegedly thrown by Jewish youth hit the car’s windshield. The suspect was arrested on December 30th, along with 4 other teens, all students at the Pri Haaretz yeshiva in Rechalim. The 4 other teens were released to house arrest 10 days ago and have subsequently been released. All of the teens were interrogated by the Shin Bet.
The suspect told the Shin Bet that the reason why his DNA was on the rock was because his friends often went hiking in the area. Police are examining his version of events.
Border Police officers entered the Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem Thursday to arrest Palestinian youths who were throwing Molotov cocktails at a main road that runs near the camp. When one of the Palestinians continued the attacks, undercover officers shot and seriously wounded him. Two other attackers were arrested and taken for questioning.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry reprimanded Ireland’s ambassador to Israel today following the advancement of an Irish bill criminalizing Israeli products from areas captured in the 1967 war.
The ministry said in a statement, “It was clarified to the ambassador that the hypocritical and anti-Semitic legislation will have serious ramifications for Israel-Ireland relations and [Ireland’s] status in the region, should it be advanced. It would be better for Ireland to deal with dark dictatorships and terror groups instead of Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.”
The Irish bill would make illegal “the import and sales of goods, services and natural resources originating in illegal settlements in occupied territories.” It has already passed in Irelands lower house, but must still pass 3 additional stages before being made into law.
Israeli officials are confident that the Irish government will prevent the bill from passing, since the government has said that banning goods is the sole prerogative of the European Union.
Moroccan media reported on Thursday evening that talks were under way about a visit by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to Morocco. According to the reports, National Security Council head Meir Ben Shabbat is heading the contacts on the Israeli side, and American officials are acting as mediators with the authorities in Morocco. Neither Morocco nor Israel commented on the report.
Five years ago, when he was IDF Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz had a snowball fight with a Palestinian family. The photos, which were never published, have now been released ahead of the upcoming elections. To see them click here.
https://i0.wp.com/www.israelam.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/shareasimage-4.jpg?fit=683%2C340&ssl=1340683Arnie Singerhttps://www.israelam.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/israelam-logoNEW-300x100-300x100.jpgArnie Singer2019-01-25 07:53:022019-01-25 07:53:02Israel News for 1-25-19
Israeli warplanes launched a massive attack on Iranian targets in Syria early today, in response to a rocket fired by Iranian soldiers at the Golan Heights from Syria on Sunday. The rocket was intercepted by Iron Dome. The Israeli attack targeted an airport in Damascus and killed at least 11 combatants, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring organization.
In an official statement, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said munition storage sites, a site located in the Damascus International Airport, along with an Iranian intelligence site and an Iranian military training camp, had also been targeted. The statement also said, “During the strike, dozens of Syrian surface-to-air missiles were launched, despite clear warnings to avoid such fire. In response, several of the Syrian Armed Forces’ aerial defense batteries were targeted.”
The Russian Interfax news agency quoted Moscow’s defense control center as saying that Syrian military air defenses destroyed more than 30 cruise missiles and guided bombs during the Israeli air strikes.
PM Netanyahu visited the central African nation of Chad on Sunday to officially restore relations after nearly 50 years. Speaking from the capital city of N’Djamena, Netanyahu said, “Israel is making inroads into the Islamic world. This is the result of considerable effort in recent years. We are making history and we are turning Israel into a rising global power. We are continuing on, up the mountain, to new heights.”
Israel officially inaugurated the new Ramon International Airport today. The airport, located 11 miles north of Eilat will initially handle up to two million passengers annually, but will expand to a capacity of 4.2 million by 2030. But for the time being the airport will only handle Israeli domestic flights. The Ramon airport replaces the old airport located within the city of Eilat and the Ovda airport, which is around 37 miles from Eilat.
Israeli media have reported that a 26-meter (85 foot) high, 4.5-kilometer (2.8 mile) long “smart” anti-missile fence has been installed to help protect Ramon, which is adjacent to the border with Jordan.
Today is Tu Bishvat (the 15th day in the Hebrew month of Shvat), which marks the new year for trees. It marks the time when the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle. It also represents the idea that renewal and redemption begins even in the darkest times. Tu Bishvat is marked by eating fruit of the Land of Israel, including dates, figs, pomegranates, grapes, olives, as well as wheat and barley.
To read more about the holiday and the different ways to commemorate and celebrate the day, check out the tons of content offered by our partner The Israel Forever Foundation. Click here.
https://i0.wp.com/www.israelam.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/shareasimage-4.jpg?fit=683%2C340&ssl=1340683Arnie Singerhttps://www.israelam.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/israelam-logoNEW-300x100-300x100.jpgArnie Singer2019-01-21 07:14:372019-01-21 07:14:37Israel News for 1-21-19
The Jewish National Fund (JNF) said it is freezing all of its projects constructing security infrastructure in the Israeli communities along the Gaza border because of a dispute with the Finance Ministry. Several months ago, the JNF announced its decision to invest NIS 100 million in security infrastructure in the Israeli communities near the Strip.
The Finance Ministry said in a statement, “The ministry is in a dialogue with JNF officials in order to create a professional process that will give expression to the government’s priorities concerning its joint projects with the JNF. We hope understandings could be reached soon.”
The JNF said that, “in an unfortunate and unclear decision, the attorney general has recently decided to prevent government ministries from continuing their joint projects with the JNF. We sincerely hope this curious decision will soon be amended.”
The regional council heads are appealing to PM Netanyahu to intervene with the Finance Ministry to solve the crisis and allow the important JNF work to continue.
Former IDF chief of staff and the leader of the Israel Resilience Party Benny Gantz launched his election campaign on Thursday, unveiling his “Israel Before All” slogan. He said, “For me, Israel is before everything else. Join me as we embark on a new path, because things must change and we will change them.”
Meanwhile, Yair Lapid, the leader of Yesh Atid, published a video on social media in which he is seen shredding a series of laws passed by the coalition if he is elected, with the caption “What they have ruined, we’ll fix.”
A new poll by the Israel Television News Company shows Gantz’s party would gain 13 Knesset seats in the 120-seat parliament on April 9, while Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party would take 32 seats, and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party would earn 14 seats. The once-powerful Labor party would win just 9 seats. In fact, 3 Labor party MKs announced yesterday that they would not run in the Labor party primary elections.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit indicated Thursday that he will not rule out making a decision on whether to bring corruption charges against PM Netanyahu ahead of the April 9 elections, despite the PM’s demand that he wait until after the elections. A letter sent to the PM by a senior aide to the AG said that, “the work on the investigations concerning the prime minister, which began before the decision was taken to bring forward the elections, will continue as scheduled.” The letter does say, however, that Mandelblit is willing to meet with Netanyahu’s lawyers to discuss the issue next week.
In an interviewed on Egyptian television, Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said that the importance of the Palestinian cause has been somewhat “reduced.” He said, “There are more pressing matters we (Arab countries) must contend with, since the Arab world has dramatically changed.” Many Arab political analysts tried to frame his comments to imply that he really didn’t mean it, but some admitted that he was probably hinting at the fact that the Arab nations are moving towards establishing formal relations with Israel.
This week, Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko is touring Israel with Tokyo’s largest business delegation to the Jewish state to date. Some 150 representatives from 90 companies are taking part, including executives from Mitsubishi, Hitachi and Toshiba.
Seko will meet with PM Netanyahu and the Minister of Economy. A spokesperson for the ministry said, “The Japanese government, led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has encouraged innovation as an important part of his economic policy, which is aimed at reviving the Japanese economy. Since Israel is already well on its way in this endeavor, the Japanese government and businesses view the country as an important source of pioneering technologies.”
There’s no shortage of Israel news in English online these days, but finding the best ones that you can trust is a bit more challenging. At IsraelAM we get the Israel news for our daily email newsletter from a wide variety of reputable Hebrew and English Israeli and American news sources. In this blog post we’re going to let you in on the English Israel news sources we use.
If you have the time and the desire, these Israel news sources in English are definitely worth checking out on a daily basis. Some of them are more to the left and some to the right, so you need to read a bunch of them from all sides to get a balanced view of the Israel news.
We haven’t rated them or listed them in any particular order. But we have tried to give you some insight into their political leanings, writing style and ease of use.
Haaretz.com is the English language site of Israel’s oldest daily newspaper. The Hebrew newspaper was founded in 1918 and is now published in both Hebrew and English in print and online.
Haaretz’s political orientation leans left. You’ll find their articles to be critical of Israeli policies relating to the West Bank (which they consider to be occupied territory) and injustices directed against the Palestinians living there. The paper is also critical of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right leaning government, especially the right wing parties within it. Charedim and Orthodox Judaism don’t feel the love from Haaretz columnists either.
But even if you can’t stand their politics, Haaretz is worth reading for their thorough and accurate news reporting and interesting feature stories. You’ll just have to filter out their biases.
Most of the articles on Haaretz.com are translations of stories appearing on their Hebrew site www.haaretz.co.il. Those translations aren’t always 100% accurate or don’t fully capture the meaning of the original Hebrew. This most likely happens because the translators are sometimes just trying to translate word for word, which doesn’t always work from language to language.
Some of the stories on the English language site are different than on the Hebrew site, especially if the stories relate to domestic issues which the editors feel non-Israelis will not be interested in. So if you’re interested and are a Hebrew reader, you should click on the link at the top of their homepage to check out the Hebrew site and see what the top stories are for the natives.
The website doesn’t have nearly as many ads or annoying popups as some of the other Israel news sites, so getting the articles to load is relatively painless and won’t crash your computer. You probably will have to close a couple of ads to maintain your sanity, but I guess that’s par for the course.
While most of the headline news articles are free, many of the features and articles that contain analysis require a premium subscription. It comes out to about $9 per month, but you really have to be a fan of the paper to pay, with so many other free options available.
Jpost.com is the website for The Jerusalem Post, which was founded in 1932 as The Palestine Post. The Jerusalem Post is an English language newspaper with no Hebrew edition. Therefore, the articles don’t have the same problem of mistranslation from Hebrew like some of the other English language Israel news sites.
Jpost’s political leanings are supposed to be centrist, but they tend to pull to the right. The paper/site has interesting features and analysis, some for free and some for paid subscribers only.
The main problem with the website is that it has way too many ads and super annoying popups that significantly impact the site’s loading speed and make it almost unusable. I’ve repeatedly tried to use the site as a news source for our israelAM daily email, but I always find myself waiting ages for pages to load and my browser tends to slow down, which is totally unacceptable to me. So I end up just closing the pages and moving on. Maybe it’s just me or my computer, so you should try it for yourself and see how it goes for you. It’s worth a shot.
Ynetnews.com is the online English-language Israeli news website of Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s most-read newspaper, and the Hebrew news portal, Ynet. The Hebrew print edition is considered to be the newspaper of record in Israel and its reporting is fairly balanced.
The stories on the English language website are often about half a day behind the Hebrew website, so if you really want to stay current, you better brush up on your Hebrew. Since it’s a translation, the Ynetnews stories are sometimes lacking in grammar and completeness relative to the Hebrew versions, but you’ll still get the basic news from an Israeli perspective.
The site is totally free, but chock full of adds and popups that slow it down. But it’s not nearly as bad as jpost.com.
4. Israel Hayom
Israel HaYom (Hebrew: ישראל היום, lit. “Israel Today”) is an Israeli Hebrew-language free daily newspaper, first published in 2007. Israel HaYom has the largest daily circulation in the country.
The newspaper is owned by US casino mogul Sheldon Adelson who is a big supporter of Prime Minister Netanyahu. Therefore, the paper is clearly biased in favor of Netanyahu and chooses to play down events that don’t help to promote a positive image for Netanyahu, while on the other hand, touting and inflating events that help promote him and the Likud.
The English language website is basically a newsletter with the news that appeared in the Hebrew language version the day before. So you’re basically getting day old news. But you’ll still find interesting stories and analysis which you won’t find elsewhere, so it’s worth a look.
The site is totally free. If you want to be brave, you can also read the digital version of the Hebrew print addition online, which is really pretty cool.
5. Al Monitor
Al-Monitor (media site) features reporting and analysis by journalists and experts from the Middle East, with special focus sections (that Al-Monitor terms “pulses”) on Egypt, the Persian Gulf, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Turkey.
The Israel section of Al Monitor is heavily left leaning and pro-Palestinian. If you want the extreme left version of events, this is a good place to get it.
6. Arutz 7
Arutz 7 literally means channel seven, which was the call signal for the independent, pro-settlement radio station. The actual station no longer is active, but Arutz 7 has a Hebrew and English news site.
The English one is a www.israelnationalnews.com. It’s right wing, pro-settlement and a bit reactionary, but if that’s your cup of tea, it’s a great site to get your Israel news from. If you’re looking for the Jewish perspective of a recent incident on the Temple Mount or an attack on Jewish settlers, you’ll find it here (and possible nowhere else in English).
The actual website has lots of ads and can get slow. But it’s manageable.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) is an international news agency and wire service serving Jewish community newspapers and media around the world. It’s not-for-profit, with no political or philosophical leanings.
JTA.org has Jewish news from all over the world, but if you just want Israel news you can get it by clicking on the “Israel” link on the homepage. It’s a great source for unbiased and concise reporting. And there are no ads or popups, so the site loads quickly and painlessly.
Globes.com is the English language version of one of the premier Israeli business news publications. It’s a bit behind its Hebrew language version, but it’s still the best source for everything business and economy related in Israel. There are sections on real estate, technology and startups, just to name a few. Want to know which Israeli company just got purchased by Google or Microsoft? You’ll find the answer in Globes.
The site is fast, for the most part, with few ads.
9. Associated Press
One of the two major world newswire service, you can’t go without heading to the site and searching for Israel news. Many of the Israeli papers get stories from here, so you might as well read it in the original.
The other major world newswire service. Check out what we just wrote for the Associated Press.
Of course there are other general news sites like CNN, Fox News, NYTimes, The Wall Street Journal and many more that will contain some news about Israel, depending on the day and events. But if you want your daily dose of Israel news in English, on a regular basis, the 10 sites we listed are good bets to check out.
Of course, if you don’t have time to spend reading all of those articles, you can subscribe to our israelAM daily email newsletter and get the Israel news you need to know directly in your inbox every morning.
The Israel news in one free daily email.
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https://i0.wp.com/www.israelam.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/readingNewspaper.jpg?fit=1000%2C667&ssl=16671000Arnie Singerhttps://www.israelam.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/israelam-logoNEW-300x100-300x100.jpgArnie Singer2019-01-17 20:12:292019-01-20 22:54:52The 10 Best Online Israel News Sources in English
The United States Army has asked Congress for $373 million to buy two batteries of the Israeli Iron Dome missiles defense system. Israel has sold the US technological systems in recent decades, but this would be the first full weapons system. According to American news site Inside Defense, the US Army wants to acquire the two batteries off-the-shelf from Rafael and seeks to have them delivered by 2020. The batteries will include 12 launchers, two sensors, two battlement management centers and 240 interceptors.
The Americans have already tested the Iron Dome system. In September 2017, Israel loaned the US an Iron Dome battery, which was flown to the missile range in White Sands, New Mexico, where it successfully intercepted different types of threats that were launched at it.
According to Inside Defense, Iron Dome is also significantly cheaper than other American systems. For example, the system based on the AIM-120 AMRAAM costs $12 million for each launcher and $800,000 for each interceptor missile. The Iron Dome, meanwhile, will cost the Americans $1.37 million for each launcher, $150,000 for each interceptor missile, $4 million for the battlement management center and $34.7 million for the MMR.
But the US deserves a good deal on the system. While Iron Dome was developed by Israel, since 2011 the US has invested $1.4 billion in its development and its acquisition for the Israel Air Force. Raytheon, which manufactures the Patriot missile system, has partnered up with Rafael to produce the Iron Dome system, with over 50 percent of its components manufactured in the US, in accordance with US Department of Defense requirements in return for the funding. Raytheon is expected to also play a major role in the production of the Tamir missiles for the US Army.
Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi yesterday took over as the new IDF Chief of Staff. As part of his swearing in ceremony he visited the National Hall of Remembrance on Mount Herzl, the Western Wall and the President’s residence.
Kochavi, who was born in 1964, grew up in Kiryat Bialik. He is the second of the three children of the late Riba, who was a physical education teacher, and Shaul, a shop owner. He began his IDF service in the Paratroopers’ Brigade, excelled at infantry officers’ course and went on to serve as the commander of the 101st Battalion, the commander of the Paratroopers’ Brigade, the head of the Military Intelligence Directorate (MID), the GOC Northern Command, and the deputy IDF chief. He has a bachelor’s degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a master’s from Harvard University.
To see a video and images of his visit to the Kotel click here.
Malaysia’s foreign minister said today that his government will not rescind its decision to ban Israeli athletes from participating in a para swimming competition in the country and that Malaysia will not host any events in the future that include Israel. Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country that does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.
PM Netanyahu confirmed Sunday that the Israel Air Force (IAF) struck Iranian arms depots near Damascus airport over the weekend. He said, “The wave of recent attacks proves that we are determined more than ever to act against Iran in Syria.” He also said that the IAF has hit “hundreds” of targets belonging to Iran and its proxy Hezbollah in Syria.
The PM spoke in response to a report by the Syrian state news agency that said, “At 11:15 before midnight Israeli warplanes coming from Al-Jalil area launched many missiles towards Damascus area and our air defenses intercepted them and downed most of them.”
Benny Gantz, former IDF chief and leader of the new Israel Resilience Party, made his first political statement this morning, promising to work to amend the controversial Nation-State Law to make it more inclusive for the country’s minorities. The law defines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people and ends Arabic’s status as an official language of Israel. Critics claim that it discriminates against minorities.
Gantz told Druze protestors, “I will do all in my power to work to amend the legislation, so it will give expression to this bond, the deep bond that cannot be severed—not just in battle, but also in life; not just in difficulties, but also in good times. We’ll do this together.”
Likud Minister Yariv Levin, who sponsored the Nation-State Law, said: “The truth is out and the true motivation of the left-wing candidate Benny Gantz has been exposed. The Nation-State Law, which was passed by the Likud government, enshrines into law the Zionist foundation of the State of Israel, and any attempt to undermine it means undermining the Jewish settlement and the Jewish identity. We will continue defending the state’s identity and prevent any attempt to undermine the Nation-State Law.”
The New Right Party, led by Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, said in a statement, “Gantz’s first statement in politics makes it clear: Gantz joined the left wing. The Nation-State is a historic achievement that gives the state back its national, Jewish and Zionist character in light of the ongoing erosion caused by the High Court of Justice. Gantz’s plan to change the Nation-State Law makes his position clear.”
The Druze, who serve in the IDF almost exclusively in combat roles, are vowing to continue protesting the law, which they claim insults their loyalty to the state.
The IDF has agreed to relocate an Iron Dome missile defense battery located near the Gaza border after local Israeli residents pointed out that the battery, and the troops operating it, was endangering a rare local flower called “Iris Mariae”.
The IDF spokesman said, “We have started the process of moving the Iron Dome system to an alternative site. The placement of heavy artillery is coordinated with regional councils, the Nature and Park Authority and the Jewish National Fund (which plants trees in Israel. Combat troops appreciate the importance of preserving nature in the area in which they operate.”
Israeli sining star Omer Adam has turned down an invitation to perform the opening act at the 2019 Eurovision, which will take place on a Saturday night (May 18), because it would require him to participate in rehearsals on Shabbat. Adam, 25, is not religiously observant, but he does not work on Shabbat.
Israel officially opened a new highway (4370), northeast of Jerusalem (West Bank) that has a wall running down the middle. One side of the highway is only open to Israeli vehicles and the other side only to Palestinian vehicles. The highway rings around Jerusalem and connects the northern and southern areas of the territories (Judea and Samaria).
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan called the highway “an example of the ability to create coexistence between Israelis and Palestinian while guarding (against) the existing security challenges.”
The Palestinian Authority said in a statement that the “apartheid” road “poses a challenge to the credibility of the international community. It’s a shame on the international community to see an apartheid regime being established and deepened without doing anything to stop it.”
The Military Police Criminal Investigation Division (CID) arrested an IDF platoon commander and four combat soldiers from the IDF’s religious battalion Netzah Yehuda Thursday for allegedly beating two Palestinians who were held in custody.
Israel’s planned $500 million sale of 12 used F16 fighter jets to Croatia will apparently not go through due to US objections. The deal ran into trouble after Washington said that Israel needs to strip off the upgrades that were added to the aircraft after Israel took delivery from the US some 30 years ago. Israel upgraded the jets with sophisticated electronics, which was crucial in Croatia’s decision to buy the planes from Israel rather than from the US. Senior Israeli officials said the country doesn’t hold Croatia responsible for the cancellation as Israel couldn’t manage to get the US approval.
Israel has passed legislation to allocate 16,000 dunes of farmland near the Gaza border to Israeli farmers in the area after the IDF clears the land of landmines. The land has remained deserted for years due to landmines planted there decades ago.
Around 450 Israelis made a pilgrimage overnight to a site known as the Tomb of the Seventy Elders on the Hill of Pinchas, located inside the Palestinian Authority-controlled town of Awarta, south of Shechem (Nablus) in Samaria.
According to tradition, the Hill is believed to contain the burial places of a number of biblical figures, including Aaron’s sons, Itamar and Elazar, and Aaron’s grandson, Pinchas (Phineas).
A separate tomb on the Hill of Pinchas is also believed to contain the remains of the Seventy Elders – the judges appointed by Moses in the wilderness to adjudicate disputes, forming a court which would later be known as the Sanhedrin.
An Israeli woman driving her car was attacked by a gang of Arabs who blocked the road with their car and proceeded to smash her windows with a hammer. The woman managed to drive away and was lightly injured in the attack. The attack occurred in the Binyamin district of Samaria, near the Israeli town of Maaleh Levona. Security forces are searching for the assailants.
In response to a warning by Shin Bet Director Nadav Argaman against foreign countries meddling in Israel’s upcoming elections, Kremlin spokesman Dimitri Paskov said, “Russia is not interfering and does not intend to interfere in the elections in any country in the world.” He also also said that people should “not read the Israeli media.”
Argaman warned, “I don’t know in favor of whom or against whom the foreign country will interfere. At this point, I cannot say which political interest plays a role here, however, a foreign country will attempt to meddle in the April elections and I know what I’m talking about.”
The Shin Bet released a statement saying, “The Shin Bet would like to make clear that the State of Israel and the intelligence community have the tools and capabilities to identify, monitor and thwart foreign influence efforts, should there be any. The Israeli defense apparatus is able to guarantee democratic and free elections are held in Israel.”
Former Energy and Infrastructure Minister Gonen Segev signed a plea bargain with the state on Wednesday and will serve 11 years in prison for spying for Iran. Segev confessed and was convicted of espionage, aiding an enemy in war time, as well as providing information to the enemy.
He was first contacted by Iranian embassy officials in Nigeria in 2012 (where he was living at the time), and at a later stage traveled to Iran twice for meetings with his handlers—while being fully aware they belonged to Iranian intelligence. Over the years as an Iranian agent, Segev met with his handlers in apartments and hotels around the world, which he told interrogators he believed are used for covert Iranian activity. He also used an encrypted communications system to conceal the exchange of messages between him and his handlers.
To obtain the information he was asked for by his Iranian handlers, Segev maintained contacts with Israelis who have ties to Israeli security, defense and foreign relations. He worked to put the Israeli officials in contact with Iranian intelligence elements, who he presented as businessmen.
Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay announced that Benny Gantz’s new party will not join forces with Labor in the upcoming elections. Gabbay recently split off from the Zionist Union. All alone, polls say that Labor will win no more than 7 or 8 seats.
According to a recent Channel 10 News poll, 41% of voters would pick Netanyahu as PM vs 38% for Ganz and only 29% for Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid.