Israel news summary

Israel News for 10-30-2019

News Update

A terror attempt was foiled today when a female terrorist was neutralized when she tried to stab Border Police officers at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. A preliminary investigation into the incident revealed the attack was pre-planned and the woman managed to make it through several checkpoints at the heavily guarded shrine.

Moving Funds: PM Netanyahu indicated in a speech this week that he plans to move funds designated for civilian purposes to military spending to meet any threats from Iran. There are no details about amounts or timing.

Blue and White leader Gantz will be the key speaker at the annual memory service for the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin that will take place Saturday evening at Rabin Square outside Tel Aviv city hall. Also, Gantz said this week, “When I will be the Prime Minister of Israel, I will embrace all streams of Judaism. We are part of an inspiringly colorful mosaic of cultures and traditions. I will nurture this pluralism.” He promised to implement the compromise agreement relating to creating a non denominational prayer area at the southern part of the Western Wall.

Israeli embassies and consulates throughout the world shut down today in protest of the Finance Ministry’s demand that foreign ministry employees pay taxes on the financial allowances they receive for being overseas.

There’s been a butter shortage in Israel for the past year, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get better anytime soon.  The reason for the shortage stems from the fact that the government caps the price of butter, which makes farmers divert their production to more profitable products. There are also import quotas and duties on imported butter.

The Jerusalem municipality wants to triple the size of the Malcha Mall, but neighborhood residents are fighting the plans, claiming that the expansion will harm their quality of life.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 10-28-2019

News Update

J Street, the left-wing Jewish Middle East policy group, is calling on Democratic presidential candidates to make U.S. aid to Israel conditional. Jeremy Ben-Ami, the group’s president, called on candidates to reverse Trump administration policies that have favored Israel over the Palestinian Authority and announced that the organization’s student wing, J Street U, launched a campaign to press the Democratic Party to include in its platform a call on Israel to end its presence in Judea and Samaria.

Visiting Jerusalem today, US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin promised to “ramp up” US sanctions and other pressure against Iran.

Unity Talks: Blue and White leader Gantz and PM Netanyahu met on Sunday to discuss the possibility of forming a unity government. Nothing was accomplished, other than decided to meet again. No one wants another election.

Soda Stream plans to replace all of its plastic bottles with metal ones by 2021, eliminating the production of hundreds of millions of disposable plastic bottles over the coming years.

Over the weekend Israel and Jordan marked 25 years since signing a peace treaty.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 10-25-2019

News Update

Security forces destroyed 2 structures built by settlers near Yitzhar, where an IDF soldier was slightly wounded by stones thrown at troops by a small group of settler youth earlier in the week.

The residents of Yitzhar claim that they fully support the IDF, and that the youth are from outside of the settlement. They are condemning the IDF demolition of the structures, calling it a “devastating and improper punishment.” Last night a settler “activist” set fire to a Border Police tent on a nearby hill.

PA President Abbas ordered the house of a terrorist to be rebuilt. 

The order to rebuild the house of the terrorist who murdered an Israeli soldier in 2018 was given just hours after the house was demolished by the IDF — for the second time. The house was rebuilt after the first demolition. The rebuilding of demolished terrorist homes is apparently common.

Shas chairman and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said yesterday that his party was join a Blue and White coalition if the leadership agrees to maintain the status quo and does not demand changes on matters related to religion and state.

Israel is set to be hit by a rare hybrid tropical storm over the weekend that is expected to bring heavy rainfall, strong winds, and flooding, primarily is low lying areas of the central and southern parts of the country. Israel’s national electric company has advised people to remove any objects from their balconies and rooftops that are susceptible to being blown away or damaged by the storm. Officials in Gaza have declared a state of emergency. The storm is due to hit Egypt too.

Israel has risen 14 places in the World Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business” rankings and is now in 35th place out of 190 countries, up from 49 last year. Israel has risen 19 places in the past two years. Israel’s most significant improvement has been in the Paying Taxes ranking where the country has risen to 13th place from 90th last year. This achievement is attributed to increased digitalization and the improvement of services provided by the Israel Tax Authority over the past few years. Other significant improvements are in the categories of getting credit, registering property and building permits.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 10-23-2019

News Update

President Rivlin will hand over the mandate to form a government to Blue and White leader Benny Gantz tonight.

PM Netanyahu was unable to put together a coalition during his 28 day time period. Now Gantz will have the same amount of time. He’ll need to try and convince some of the parties currently part of the right wing block to join him, which seems unlikely. If he can’t then Israel will go to a third election. According to the most recent poll, half of the voters who voted for Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party will not do so again. However, a poll taken yesterday showed that Yisrael Beytenu would get the same number of seats.

The IDF said that one of its drones crashed in Lebanon today.

The drone was on a routine mission along the border. No intelligence is said to have been leaked. Lebanese media reported that Hezbollah shot down the drone. However, a Lebanese satellite television station affiliated with Hezbollah – Al-Manar – said a resident of Kafarkela, a village in southern Lebanon not far from Israeli border, downed the UAV with his shotgun.

The rabbi of the ultra-orthodox city of Elad, in central Israel, prevented a crew from the Israel Electric company from repairing a power outage during the Simchat Torah holiday on Monday.

The residents of Elad were left without power for 11 hours, until after the holiday. The rabbis own community have a generator.

The rainy season is Israel has begun. May we be blessed with abundant rainfall.


Israel news summary

Israel News for 10-11-2019

News Update

The One and Only – The Likud party’s central committee voted Thursday night for a resolution affirming that PM Netanyahu will be the Likud’s one and only candidate for the premiership during the 22nd Knesset. That means he will be the only candidate that all the members of the party will back, squelching any possibility of chief rival Gideon Sa’ar of challenging the PM — at least this time around.

PM Netanyahu condemned the Turkish invasion of Kurdish areas in Syria and warned of an “ethnic cleansing” against the Kurds. added that Israel is prepared to extend humanitarian assistance to the “gallant Kurdish people.” He added that Israel is prepared to extend humanitarian assistance to the “gallant Kurdish people.”

Economic Progress – Israel is working with the Palestinian Authority to reach compromises on economic related issues to improve the Palestinian economy. Finance Minister Moshe Kahalon is leading the Israeli side. He is the only Israeli government minister in regular contact with the Palestinian leadership.

The severe Palestinian economic crisis came as a result of the PA refusing to accept around 500 million shekels a month of tax money collected by Israel on behalf of the Palestinians, because Israel has been withholding an amount of money equal to the money that the PA pays as pensions to the families of terrorists (around NIS 40,000). Despite the compromises reached to improve the Palestinian economic situation, Israel is continuing to withhold the terror payments sum. (source: Globes)

Jordanians are furious at the arrest and 2 month detention of a 24 year old Jordanian woman by Israel. The woman was attempting to cross the border at the Allenby Bridge to attend the wedding of a relative in the West Bank when she was arrested and handed over the Shin Bet, who have reportedly placed her in administrative detention for up to 6 months. The Shin Bet has declined to provide any information on why the woman was arrested.

Jordan’s Foreign Ministry recently sent a strongly-worded letter to Israel’s embassy in Amman demanding her immediate release.

The prisoner launched a hunger strike over two weeks ago to protest her arrest and holding conditions, drinking only water, and has lost around 10 kilograms. Her lawyer says she has been isolated, abused, verbally assaulted and held in brutal conditions. He said interrogators had threatened her that she could be held for years and never allowed to return to Jordan.

Israel has declined to comment on the situation. (source: TOI)

Arab MK’s led a convoy of hundreds of cars from the north of Israel to Jerusalem on their way to a meeting with Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan to discuss ways to combat the rising violence in Israel’s Arab communities yesterday.

I’m still experimenting with the format of this newsletter in an attempt to make it easier to digest and less liable to end up in your spam folder. A shorter email with less links should have a better chance of making it through to your main email box, since very long emails filled with links are often either promotional or spam. The majority of feedback to the new format has been positive. Please let me know what you think.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 10-07-2019

News Update
Foreign Minister Israel Katz tweeted yesterday that he is working on a plan for Israel to sign an “historic” non-aggression pact with Gulf states. He said the deal would bring an end to the conflict with the Arab signatories and help to foster non-military cooperation until a peace agreement is reached with the Palestinians. He added, “During my UN visit, I presented the plan to Arab foreign ministers and the U.S. envoy Greenblatt. I will continue to work to strengthen Israel’s status in the region and around the world.”

The fourth and final day of hearings in the cases against PM Netanyahu begin today.

Public Security and Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan responded to wide spread protests in the Arab community against the lack of government and police response to rising violence in their community by saying that, “Arab society, and I say that with sadness, is a very violent society.” He added, “It has to do with the fact that a mother can give a son permission to murder his sister because she is dating a man who isn’t liked by the family. “It has to do with the fact that in their culture many verbal disputes end with someone pulling out a knife or weapons.” Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh slammed Erdan’s comments, calling the remarks “racist” and blamed the government for not providing sufficient resources to police Arab communities.

The Palestinian Authority is removing all mentions of Jewish historical connection to the land of Israel and Jerusalem from school textbooks. It’s also removing mention of all agreements between the PA and Israel. So much for planting the seeds of coexistence and peace in the next generation.

Finally, it rained in Israel over the weekend, even in Eilat. Always a good sign for a blessed new year.

This Wednesday (starting Tuesday night) is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Israel will pretty much be closed. So will we.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 10-04-2019

News Update
PM Netanyahu and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Lieberman met yesterday for less than hour without reaching any agreement for Lieberman to join the PM’s coalition and give him the majority needed to form a government. Lieberman insists that the only option he will support is a national unity government between Likud and Blue and White.

In a move that might help make a unity government a reality, Blue and White co-leader Yair Lapid said that he will give up his right to serve as prime minister in a rotation with Benny Gantz, the party leader, as was originally agreed by them. This means that Gantz and Netanyahu could both potentially serve as prime minister in a rotation if a unity government is formed. A three way rotation (including Lapid) would have been out of the question.

Lapid also called on PM Netanyahu to step aside due to his criminal investigations and allow a new leader of Likud to emerge. Instead, Netanyahu is pressing for a new election within Likud, to solidify his leadership position in the party. But his chief opponent, Gideon Saar is apparently ready to take on the challenge and give the PM a run for his money, although it’s extremely that the party will drop their long time champion.

With the prospect of a new election hovering over them, the members of the new 22nd Knesset were sworn in yesterday. The 13 new Arab Knesset members chose to boycott the ceremony in protest of the rising violence and loss of live in Arab communities.

On the business front, content recommendation giants Outbrain and Taboola, both Israeli companies, are merging. Each  company is valued at over a billion dollars on its own.

Special Note

As you’ve probably noticed, we’re trying out a bit of a different format than usual. Instead of having 4 or 5 stories in separate sections with reference links, we’re putting them together in one concise summary that we hope is easier and quicker to read and digest. We also think that the large number of links in the email are causing some email services to mark the email as spam — so we’re testing it out with fewer links. Please send us your feedback and let us know which format you prefer.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 10-02-2019

News Update
A series of three pre-trial hearings in the corruption investigation of PM Netanyahu kicked off today. The hearings focus on 3 cases, for which the PM could face fraud and breach of trust charges. Netanyahu will not attend any of the hearings, but will be represented by his legal team. After hearing the arguments, the attorney general is expected to decide by the end of December whether to indict Netanyahu.

Meanwhile, the PM was meeting with leaders of the right wing parties, to solidify their support in his attempt to form a government. This comes after talks to form a unity government with Blue and White fell apart.

The PM and his allies must decide whether to return the government forming mandate to the President, as it seems almost impossible for him to form a new government. The only alternative seems to be a third round of elections.

On another front, the Iraqi Prime Minister accused Israel of orchestrating attacks on Iranian backed militias in his country. Israel declined to comment (wink).

Finally, today is the Fast of Gedalia, which always comes the day after Rosh Hashanah and mourns the assassination of the Jewish governor of Judea and the end of any semblance of Jewish sovereignty and the exile of the remaining Jews  shortly after the Babylonians destroyed the first Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.  In addition to fasting, it is a day of prayer, repentance and reflection. It is also a reminded of what divisiveness in Israeli politics can lead to.