Israel News for 11-3-17

IDF Says No
The IDF has refused to allow Hamas to retrieve the bodies of its terrorists that were killed in the tunnel destroyed earlier this week unless Hamas releases more information regarding the bodies of slain IDF soldiers killed in 2014’s Operation Protective Edge. Hamas had appealed through the Red Cross on Wednesday. Although the bodies are technically in Gaza, the IDF prohibits Gazans from getting within 300 meters of the border.

Several left-wing organizations yesterday appealed to the Attorney General and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories demanding that the IDF allow the Palestinian search and rescue teams to enter the border area to locate and retrieve the bodies.

A spokesperson from one of the organizations, Muna Haddad, said, “To prevent them from locating and rescuing those missing in the area currently under the control of the Israeli army is a blatantly illegal policy and contravenes both Israeli and international law and violates the Geneva Convention.”

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Air Force Show
This coming Sunday, Israel will host air force units from around the world as part of the biannual “Blue Flag” international training exercise. The exercise, which is centered at the Ovda airbase in southern Israel, will be the largest ever in Israel’s history. It will include around 70 foreign aircraft, and hundreds of pilots and air support team members. Participants in Blue Flag include the United States, France, Italy, Greece, Poland, Germany, and India.

To watch a video and see images click here.

Birthright Makes Change
Two years ago Birthright, the organization that organizes free trips to Israel for Jews in the early twenties, integrated meetings with Israeli Arabs into their trip itineraries. This week they suspended those meetings. In a statement to Haaretz, Birthright explained that the “results of the initial evaluation have shown that there is a need for further analysis of this module in the context of the educational trip as a whole.”

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union of Reform Judaism, criticized the decision saying, “The fact  that Birthright Israel has decided to halt their outreach to Arab citizens of Israel shows just how out of touch Birthright is  becoming. Birthright has been a transformative experience for over half a million young Jews, 40 percent who self-identify as Reform, but many are now questioning whether the ten-day trips are exposing participants to a too-narrow slice of contemporary Israel.”

Jacobs added that cutting out the meetings, “will communicate loudly and clearly that these are trips with a narrow political agenda that is out of step with today’s young Jews and most of their parents as well.”

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Chief Rabbi
According to a report in the haredi Mishpacha magazine, top officials in the Shas party are considering asking Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef to resign as Chief Rabbi of Israel and join Shas in order to revitalize the party. As Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Yosef is forbidden from engaging with a political party.

Shas officials believe that Rabbi Yosef can blunt Shas’ continuous slide in the polls if he would join the party due to his stature as the son of Shas founder and former Chief Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef. A senior Shas official said, “Thousands of attendees fill every event which the Chief Rabbi appears at. It’s almost like 25 years ago when Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef was still alive – he brings electricity with him”.

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Kosher Beauty
Rotem Rabi, 21, is Miss Israel 2017. Now she’s in China for the international Miss World pageant. Rabi was raised in a traditional family and keeps kosher, always. That’s not so easy in China. Rabi said, “I’m having difficulty with the food, almost nothing here is kosher.
I’m living on pineapple and cookies, and I hope that the problem will be solved in the next few days.”

I’m sure Chabad will be on the case after they read this.

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Shabbat Music
What happens when a group of Sephardic musicians get together for an informal jam session to sing Shabbat songs? You will definitely enjoy.

To watch the video click here.