israel news

Israel News for 11-26-18

Terror Attack
Early today, 3 soldiers doing road work on Route 60 in Gush Etzion were hit by a car driven by a terrorist. Two of the soldiers are listed in light condition and the third in moderate condition. The terrorist fled the scene but was later shot and killed by security forces.

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Bahrain Next
After visiting Oman last month, PM Netanyahu will reportedly visit Bahrain. The Gulf state has 1.4 million people, including 40 Jews and one synagogue. Huda Ezra Ibrahim Nunu, a Bahraini Jewish woman, served as Bahrain’s ambassador to the US between the years 2008-2013. Attorney Nancy Dina Kadouri, also Jewish, serves as one of the members of the upper house of the National Assembly in Bahrain, whose members are appointed by the king. 

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Africa and Israel
Chad’s President Idriss Deby visited Israel this past weekend for the first time. Chad is a Muslim majority central African nation that severed ties with Israel in 1972. At a press conference on Sunday with Deby, PM Netanyahu said, “Chad is a very important country. It’s an important country in Africa. It’s an important country for Israel. In the last two years I’ve been three times in Africa—East Africa and West Africa. Now I’m going to drop a big hint, I hope to come to the center of Africa. And I wish to bring with me Israeli entrepreneurs, Israeli experts, Israeli companies, everything that can improve the life of the peoples of Africa, which is something we believe in. Israel is coming back to Africa, Africa is coming back to Israel.”

One of the issues Netanyahu and Deby discussed was Israel’s intention to launch a direct fight route from South America to Israel crossing Nigeria, Sudan, and Chad’s skies, to which Deby reportedly agreed. Deby promised to assist in convincing Sudan to open its skies to Israeli flights.

The PM said, “As a leader of an African country, an important African country, a majority of whose population is Muslim, you are coming to Israel to renew our friendship and our relationship. I think it is a testament of what is going to happen with other such countries in Africa as well, and I believe that you are paving the way for many others.”

Deby said, “I’m happy to be here in your beautiful country. This visit will allow us to turn over a new leaf in the relations between both countries. This visit is historic for Israel as well as for Chad.”

Deby also met with Israeli President Rivlin, to whom he stressed his desire for a resumption of full diplomatic relations.

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Thai Workers
After a year long investigation, the BBC is reporting that Thai workers in Israel are subject to abuse and neglect. The report suggests that the workers are subject to unsafe work practices, unsanitary living conditions in filthy and polluted environment, and that many of them are “overworked and underpaid.” The report also highlighted the dozens of unexplained deaths among Thai workers.

According to the report, the Israeli and Thai governments signed an agricultural labor agreement back in 2012, which saw 25,000 Thai workers being brought to the country to work on Israeli farms, and although technically the workers are legally protected, their working conditions depend on the farmers, who provide them with food and shelter and could terminate their employment at any moment.
Many of the Thai workers are forced to work many hours spraying pesticides without being provided protective equipment, with Israel using more pesticides per agricultural dunam than any other OECD country.

The Ministry of Labor issued an official response to the report, saying hundreds of inspections are carried out annually on farms that employ Thai workers with the help of interpreters. The ministry said, “More than 1,500 investigations have been opened since 2013—into pay and working hours. We’ve issued 3,000 warnings and 200 fines totaling more than $3.8 million.”

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Major Pipeline
After two years of intensive discussions, Israel, Cyprus, Greece and Italy, with the backing of the EU, have reached an agreement on laying the world’s longest underwater pipeline for the export of gas from the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe. The agreement should be signed in February 2019. Estimates are that it will take one year to arrange the financing for the project and five years to lay the pipeline, so that if all goes according to plan, the pipeline could be in place by 2025.

Under the terms of the agreement, exports of gas to the European market from Israel and Cyprus will be given preferential status. Other countries can be allowed to link up to the pipeline with the agreement of the founding countries. The pipeline, which will have a capacity of 10-20 billion cubic meters of gas, will be laid from Israel’s economic water to Cypriot waters and across Cyprus and via sea onto Greece, Crete and Italy.

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