Israel news summary

Israel News for 1-31-2020

News Update

The IDF attacked six Hamas targets in the southern part of Gaza in response to the launch of three rockets into Israel earlier. Among the targets hit was an underground Hamas facility used to manufacture weapons. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted two of the rockets and a third landed in open fields near the town of Sderot.

Earlier Thursday, the IDF attacked several Hamas observation posts and positions along the Gaza-Israel perimeter fence. The strikes were carried out in response to several incidents including the flying of incendiary balloons into Israeli territory and the shooting at an IDF post.

Naama Issachar, the Israeli-American woman jailed in Russia on drug charges, landed in Israel yesterday after 9 months in a Russian prison. She was pardoned by Russian President Putin. Issacher and her mother, who came to Moscow to meet her, were greeted by PM Netanyahu, who was in Moscow for meetings with Putin and were flown back to Israel on the Prime Minister’s plane. [a month before elections — good timing.]

Media reports have suggested that the pardon deal may have been eased by promises made by the Israeli government over the ownership of a building in Jerusalem which is important to the Russian Orthodox Church. The Alexander Courtyard, situated in Jerusalem’s Old City, has been contested for years and an Israeli court recently ruled in Russia’s favor.

[Hopefully, Israelis will learn not to carry drugs when traveling on international flights?]

Speaking of flights, Health Minister Yaakov Litzman has banned all flights from China to Israel, as a precaution against the coronavirus outbreak. Earlier Thursday, Israeli airline El Al said it will suspend all flights to China for at least two months.

The Palestinian Authority, Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups have finally found an issue that they can agree upon and unite around: opposition to the Trump peace plan. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas invited all the factions to Ramallah for an emergency meeting that coincided with the U.S. announcement. Now they can officially reject all attempts at peace negotiations, united.

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett announced today that Israel would implement a ban [starting Sunday] on importing agricultural products from the Palestinian Authority. The ban comes in response to a Palestinian ban on all Israeli cattle and livestock back in September. The Palestinian has hurt Palestinian butchers and merchants, since more than 90% of the beef calves consumed in the West Bank came from Israel. Palestinian merchants have protested the ban.

PM Netanyahu announced today that the cabinet meeting to be held on Sunday will be cancelled. The PM had said previously that he would push for cabinet approval of the annexation of the Jordan Valley at that meeting. But pressure from the US has made him change his plans. US advisor Jared Kushner has said in recent media interviews that the US does not want Israel to make annexation moves until after the Israeli elections.

Business is booming at Iran’s largest flag factory which makes U.S., British and Israeli flags for Iranian protesters to burn. The factory produces about 2,000 U.S. and Israeli flags a month in its busiest periods, and more than 1.5 million square feet of flags a year.