Israel News for 11-16-17

Arrests and Maintenance
Police swooped down on the East Jerusalem Arab area of a-Tur overnight and arrested dozens of suspected terrorist. As part of the same operation, police and municipality workers removed piles of garbage and abandoned vehicles from the streets of the neighborhood, erected street signs that were missing, fixed traffic and streetlights and erased graffiti from walls.

Jerusalem District police commander Maj.-Gen. Yoram Halevy said at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies conference last week that these operations are meant to create balance and show the residents of east Jerusalem that “those who’ve done wrong will be treated as such and those who’ve done good will be rewarded.”

Halevy said this was part of the implementation of a new strategy by the Jerusalem District Police to shift its power from only chasing the “bad guys” to also nurture the “good guys,” so they “can help the police help them.”

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Confiscating Land
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced yesterday that, in certain circumstances, confiscating privately-owned Palestinian land for settlements is legal. He was specifically referring to the confiscation of Palestinian owned land for the construction of a main access road to the settlement of Harsha.

The attorney general’s announcement was primarily predicated on a ruling made a few weeks ago by Israeli Arab Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran, who stated that private Palestinian land could be confiscated for settlements in certain circumstances, justifying his contention on the fact that “Israelis are also part of the local population.” He said, “Israelis there have the right to life, dignity, property and all rights afforded to other people in Israel.”

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Prisoner in Gaza
US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt hosted the family of Abera Mengistu, the Israeli held by Hamas in Gaza for three years, at the White House yesterday.

Greenblatt tweeted, “Today I welcomed the family of Abera Mengistu to the White House. Abera has been held by Hamas in Gaza for over 1,000 days since he disappeared in September 2014. It is outrageous that Hamas will not let him return home or communicate with his family.”

The Mengistu family, which is visiting the US as part of its effort to raise awareness for the struggle to bring him home, also attended the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly in Los Angeles, where they met with President Reuven Rivlin. They will also be visiting the United Nations.

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Better Banking
Transferring money from a US bank account to an Israeli account is an expensive and time consuming process, with transaction fees and bureaucracy on both ends. But Joseph Sokol, a 21 year old American oleh (immigrant) from Los Angeles, has come up with a solution.

Sokol has created, OlehPay, a website that enables users to inexpensively send money from the US to Israel. The website saves users foreign wire and processing fees, which make up the bulk of the costs of transfers. Users on average save about $65 on wire fees per transaction.

Sokol explained, “Our system debits the account in the US as a local transaction — which is cheaper than an international transaction, and credits the account in Israel as a local transaction as well. We do away with SWIFT, checks processing fees ATM fees and wire transfer fees.”

OlehPay limits transfers to NIS 50,000 ($14,000), because under NIS 50,000 Israeli law does not require a face-to-face meeting.

Regarding security, Sokol said, “All of the information is secured by segmenting the information on three separate servers, to fragment information about the transactions, personal information and account details.”

The company is licensed through its partners as an accredited money service business in the US and Israel and holds customer funds in individually secured FDIC (Federal Department of Insurance Corporation) insured accounts — ensuring the safety of customer funds.

The 2 man company, Sokol and his partner Meir Leff (22), currently has around 400 users and is in negotiations with an interested Chinese billionaire investor.

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To check out the website click here.