Arab neighborhood

Israel News for 11-13-17

Jerusalem Demolitions
The Jerusalem Municipality, led by Mayor Nir Barkat, will demolish six apartment buildings in the Arab neighborhood of Kafr Aqab, which is part of Jerusalem but outside of the security barrier. The buildings slated for destruction are all at least 6 stories high and one of them houses a mosque. The buildings were all built illegally, without permits. The demolition will be carried out in a joint operation between city officials, Israel Police, the IDF, and the Shin Bet.

A spokesman for the mayor’s office said, “The demolition orders were issued months ago against [the buildings] which had been built illegally and without building permits and which had no residents [when the orders were issued] and which today are still largely empty. Time and again, the courts, including the Jerusalem District Court and the Israeli Supreme Court, issued [demolition] orders.”

He added, “Demolition of the illegal buildings will enable the City of Jerusalem to pave a highway, improving the lives of tens of thousands of residents. The new road is absolutely necessary, and it will benefit all of the residents of Kafr Aqab.”

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Secret Meetings
According to Israeli media reports, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizonkot traveled to Belgium for a secret meeting with the commander of the American forces in Europe, US General Curtis Scaparrotti, over the weekend. The two military leaders reportedly discussed the Iranian military build-up in Syria and the country’s civil war winding down. This was the second meeting between the two men in the past two weeks.

Satellite images commissioned by the BBC seem to show Iranian construction activity at a Syrian army base eight miles south of Damascus and only 30 miles from the Israeli border.

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Health News
According to a study just released by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, 53 percent of Israelis are overweight including 16.6% who are obese. The numbers are still below the OECD average of 54% for overweight and 19% for obese. In the US, Hungary, New Zealand and Mexico, over 30% of the population is obese. Japan is the thinnest nation.

The OECD survey found life expectancy for Israelis has increased by 10 years since 1970, with an average person now living to the age of 82.1. Israeli women live 4 years longer (84.1 years) than Israeli men. Japan has the highest average life expectancy, with 83.9.

Israeli teens eat more vegetables than those in all other OECD countries, except for Belgium. But Israeli teens are also the least likely to do daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

Israel has the highest rate of colon cancer survival in the OECD, at 71.7%, compared to an average of just 62.8%. Israel also has the fifth lowest suicide rate among developed nations.

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Netanyahu Biography
If you’re interested in learning more about the longest serving Prime Minister in Israel’s history, you should read this new biography called The Netanyahu Years, by Ben Caspit. The book is basically divided into 3 parts. The first part traces Netanyahu’s life from his childhood through his rise to the PM’s office. The second part focuses on his tumultuous relationship with US President Obama and the third part on the Iranian threat.

There’s a lot you’ll learn from this bio that you might not know about the PM. For example, did you know that Netanyahu was married three times? He met current wife Sarah when she was an El Al flight attendant on one of his flights before he became PM. His second wife an American Christian woman who converted to Judaism under the auspices of the Conservative movement. The fact that Netanyahu enjoys the support of the Haredi parties, who reject Conservative conversions, is a true testament to his political prowess. On the flip said, his only daughter from his first wife is now Haredi.

While the author of the book doesn’t seem to be Netanyahu’s biggest fan, it is still a relatively balanced and factual account of the PM. But a warning: you might not like what you learn.

To check out the book on Amazon click here.