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Israel News for 10-26-17

Shabbat Ruling
In her final ruling as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Miriam Naor ruled today that Tel Aviv businesses may continue to operate on Shabbat. The court rejected a petition to prevent the Tel Aviv municipality from granting dispensations to supermarkets allowing them to operate on Shabbat.

Health Minister Yakov Litzman (UTJ) blasted the ruling saying, “The decision of outgoing Supreme Court Chief Justice Miriam Naor is in line with her traditional of anti-religious rulings. This is her ‘parting gift’ and a callous attempt on the part of the Supreme Court judges to harm Israel’s Jewish character, while causing moral injustice.”

He added, “This ruling tramples on the rights of thousands of workers, harms their livelihoods, and prevents them from enjoying their basic right to a day of rest with their families. All of the religious and haredi representatives agree that we must stop the anti-religious floodgates which the Supreme Court opened with this ruling. We will fight to fix the injustice in this ruling.”

Meanwhile, Defense Minster Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) praised the ruling saying, “This was a worthy decision. There is no reason the State of Israel should harm the character of Tel Aviv and force all its residents – and most of Israel’s citizens – to live a lifestyle which is not theirs and which they do not want.”

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People Against Immunity
According to a recent poll conducted for Yedioth Ahronoth, 63% of Israelis are against the proposed Likud bill that would grant the PM total immunity from any police investigations. Only 31% support the bill. Within the Likud itself, the party membership is split down the middle regarding the bill. The Attorney General and State Prosecutor have both expressed their opposition to the bill.

In light of recent opposition from coalition partners Kulanu and Bayit Yehudi, discussion of the bill in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation has been postponed for a month. Many Kulanu MKs have indicated that they will vote against the bill.

Since it is an amendment to Basic Law: The Government, the bill requires a majority of 61 MKs to pass. Without the votes of all the members of Kulanu, the legislation is unlikely to pass.

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Haredim Hit Back
Mainstream Haredi activists have launched a massive PR and social media campaign against the radical anti-draft activists of the Jerusalem Faction. The objective of the campaign is to shame the leaders of the faction, and calls on the public to boycott their businesses. Haredi leaders believe that the often violent Jerusalem Faction demonstrations and disruptive acts are tarnishing the reputation of the Haredi community.

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Temple Mount Visit
PM Netanyahu gave special permission to MK Yehuda Glick (Likud) to visit the Temple Mount with his son on the occasion of the son’s wedding. It is the second time that Glick has received permission to visit the Temple Mount since the PM forbade MKs from visiting the holy site in October of 2015. Glick congratulated the PM on the rare approval, describing it as “the best gift I could have received on the occasion of my son’s wedding.”

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Mnuchin in Israel
US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin landed in Israel today for a two day visit during which he will meet with the PM and the Minister of Finance and will tour Yad Vashem. He is accompanied by Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker and senior Treasury Department staff specializing in financing of terrorism. Mnuchim met with Arab finance ministers in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.

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Judo Discrimination
The International Judo Federation has called on the United Arab Emirates to treat Israeli athletes equally during this week’s Grand Slam tournament. The request comes after news that the team will be prevented from wearing the Israeli flag or any other national emblems on their uniform, including the designation ISR for Israel. If they win a place on the podium they will not hear their national anthem, “Hatikvah.” Instead, they will be identified as competing as part of the International Judo Federation.

Tournament organizers claim that security issues make it dangerous to publicly identify the Israeli team.

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Einstein Note
A note to a Japanese courier in Tokyo written by Albert Einstein was sold at auction in Jerusalem for $1.56 million. The note was part of a collection belonging to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The note, on Imperial Hotel Tokyo stationery, says in German, “a quiet and modest life brings more joy than a pursuit of success bound with constant unrest.” It is thought that Einstein did not have money to tip the courier and gave him the note instead.

In the same auction, another note saying, “Where there’s a will there’s a way,” was bought for $250,000, while two other letters written by Einstein fetched a combined $43,200.

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