israelam news

Israel News for 1-2-18

Rocket Fired
Another rocket fired from Gaza landed in Israel over the weekend in an open field near a settlement in the Eshkol Regional Council. There was no warning siren. Israeli jets pounded Hamas targets in Gaza over the weekend in retaliation for rockets fired at the end of last week.

How long will Israel take the rocket fire from Gaza before launching a major offensive to end it permanently? The Shin Bet and IDF believe that Hamas is not looking to instigate a major military encounter with Israel and that it is arresting members of other terror groups in Gaza who are responsible for the rocket attacks against Israel. However, Hamas is stepping up efforts to promote terror attacks in and from the West Bank. During 2017, the Shin Bet uncovered and detained at least 148 Hamas cells in the West Bank.

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Terrorists Arrested
A joint operation by Shin Bet, the IDF and the police led to the arrest of five members of a Hamas terror cell who planned to carry out attacks under the direction of a Hamas operative from the Gaza Strip. A Shin Bet official said, “The Hamas command in the Gaza Strip has been increasingly motivated of late to promote attacks via Hamas members in Judea and Samaria. Security forces will continue to take determined action to foil Hamas’s efforts to carry out attacks in Israel and wish to make it clear that Hamas in Gaza will be held responsible for any attack carried out at its behest.”

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Migrant Exits
Interior Minister Arye Deri outlined a plan on Monday to offer migrants living in Israel a cash incentive to voluntarily leave. There are currently estimated to be 40,000 migrants illegally living in Israel.

According to Deri’s proposal, published on the Population, Immigration and Border Authority (PIBA) website, any migrant in the country who agrees to be sent to their home country or to a third country by March 2018 will receive $3,500, plus funds for their flight and assistance in arranging travel documents. According to PIBA, the proposed grant for so-called “voluntary deportation” will be reduced after March.

Deri and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan released a joint statement on Sunday stating that they plan to present migrants “with two options only: Voluntary deportation or sitting in prison.”

According to figures released by PIBA on Sunday, no “infiltrators” entered Israel in 2017. This is compared to 18 in 2016 and 220 in 2015, according to the government authority. It also said that 4,012 illegal residents voluntarily left the country in the past 12 months.

A special cabinet meeting is scheduled to take place on Wednesday to discuss Deri and Erdan’s plan. It is unclear if their decisions will end up before the Supreme Court, which has ruled previously that migrants and asylum seekers cannot be detained indefinitely.

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Tax Impact
PM Netanyahu convened senior Israeli government officials to discuss the possible impact the U.S. tax reform may have on Israel’s economy. Many US companies have, and continue to open, research and development facilities in Israel. But the new 21% US corporate tax rate could convince them to stay in the US. It could also push Israeli companies to incorporate in the US and set up their operations there.

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First Baby
The first Israeli birth of 2018 was at Rambam Hospital in Haifa. Adi Sharban (27) from Kiryat Ata gave birth to her firstborn son about a half an hour into the New Year. The healthy baby weighed 3.1 kilograms. The baby arrived five days ahead of schedule. The first baby girl of 2018 was born at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon to Yevgenia and Andrei Danor from Beersheva.

For more of the first babies born in various Israeli hospitals click here.

Population Stats
As 2017 came to a close, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics released its latest data on the population of Israel. There are 8,793,000 people in Israel of which 6,556,000 (75%) are Jewish. Arabs make up 21% of the population (1,837,000) and the remaining 4% is made up of 400,000 non-Arab Christians and others without any religious classification.

In 2017, Israel’s population grew by 165,000, with 180,000 babies born—74 percent of them Jewish, 23 percent Arabs and 3 percent non-Arab Christians or not classified by religion—and 44,000 people passing away. Around 27,000 people immigrated (aliyah) to Israel.

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Rain Rain
Last week thousands gathered at the Kotel to pray for rain. Yesterday, Israel saw heavy rainfall in the northern and central regions accompanied by thunder storms, with flood warnings in the communities of the Coastal Plain. The rain spread to the Negev, with flood warnings in the streams of the Judea Desert, Dead Sea and Negev.
The level of the Kinneret rose one centimeter, leaving Israel’s largest body of fresh water at -214.365 meters, or 1.365 meters below the lower red line. More rain is forecasted for this week.

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