Israel news summary

Israel News for 1-15-2020

News Update

Syrian government and opposition sources are reporting that an Israeli missile attack hit a Syrian airbase near Homs, killing at least 3 pro-Iranian operatives and injuring others. The base houses an Iranian weapons depot. It has been attacked several times in recent years.

450 police and Border Patrol troops began demolishing two illegally built structures in Kumi Ori today, an outpost outside the Jewish settlement of Yitzhar, in Samaria. The structures housed two families and were demolished following a Supreme Court ruling last week rejecting a motion by one of the settlers who claimed Israel has no authority over the hilltop because it is part of a Palestinian administered area.

Local settlement officials condemned the demolition and said in a statement that ” the government of Israel is concentrating its efforts on the homes of Jewish settlers in Yitzhar though tens of thousands of buildings have been illegally constructed by Arabs in recent years.”

PM Netanyahu is pressuring the religious-Zionist parties to the right of Likud to unite ahead of the upcoming election. Netanyahu warned Naftali Bennett, who heads the New Right party, to form a union with Jewish Home or face losing his position as defense minister. At the moment the New Right has joined with Betzalel Smotrich’s National Union party and the Jewish Home party has joined with the far-right Jewish Power party. The PM wants one united right-wing list to assure that no votes are wasted, in the event that one of the factions does not pass the minimum threshold requirement running independently.

Meanwhile, the wife of Yigal Amir, the man who assassinated PM Yitzhak Rabin, has filed to register a new political party called Mishpat Tzedek (Hebrew for fair trial). Her primary goal is to get a retrial for her husband.

Israel today launched a pipeline that began supplying natural gas from its Leviathan offshore field to Egypt. In a statement on behalf of both Jerusalem and Cairo, Israel’s Energy Ministry said: “The flow of natural gas from Israel to Egypt has begun. This is an important development that will serve the economic interests of both parties.” Gas from the field is also being sold to Jordan.

The Jerusalem-based non-profit Shavei Israel, in partnership with the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), is opening a new English-language conversion institute in Jerusalem. The institute, named Machon Milton, will operate under the auspices of Israel’s Chief Rabbinate and prepare candidates for the conversion process.
Shavei Israel Founder and Chairman Michael Freund said his organization and the RCA are launching the institute because of the growing need and demand for it, as only a handful of options currently exist in Jerusalem for English-speakers who wish to undergo formal conversion to Judaism. The institute is named in memory of Freund’s late grandfather, Milton Freund, who was a prominent Zionist and Jewish leader.