israelam news

Israel News for 12-26-17

Embassy Moves
Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales announced in a Facebook post Sunday night his country will be transferring its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He wrote, “Dear citizens of Guatemala, I have spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today. We spoke about the excellent relations our countries have enjoyed since we supported Israel’s creation. One of the important topics broached were transferring the Guatemalan Embassy to Jerusalem, and I hereby announce I have instructed the embassy’s staff to plan such a move. May God bless you.”

Guatemala has received extensive US aid in the past few years and Morales has had some conflicts with the UN, which has leveled allegations of corruption against him. The country was one of only nine to vote against the recent UN General Assembly resolution denouncing the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and declaring it “null and void”.

Israeli sources say that Honduras, which also voted against the resolution, and Paraguay, which abstained, will also probably move their embassies to Jerusalem. But any embassy moves will only come after the US moves its embassy, which could take several years.

Prior to 1980, Guatemala, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, The Netherlands, Panama, Venezuela and Uruguay all maintained their embassies in Jerusalem. But Israel’s passage of a law in 1980 proclaiming Jerusalem its “indivisible and eternal capital” led to a UN Security Council resolution calling upon those countries to move their embassies to Tel Aviv, which they did.

Israeli President Rivlin praised Guatemala’s decision saying, “Guatemala showed the entire world last night that it too knows that Israel is the capital of Israel. I welcome the decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem am grateful for the friendship between the two countries. We are waiting for you in Jerusalem!”

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Shabbat Work
Early today, the Knesset passed an amendment to the Work and Rest Hours Law to allow the Labor and Social Services Minister to define and limit the conditions under which government employees or employees of state-owned entities may work on Shabbat. The amendment passed by a vote of 50 to 38.

According to the amendment, the Welfare Minister must take into account certain factors before granting a permit to employ workers on Shabbat. These include “employee welfare, the tradition of Israel, [whether an] alternative that does not require employment during the weekly rest day [exists], and the extent of harm caused to the public sphere.”

The law enables the minister to allow workers to be employed during the weekly rest day if he is convinced that stopping work for such a rest day could harm the security of the state or of a particular property or entity, or if it could harm the economy, a work in process or essential provisions for the public or part of it.

The impetus for the new law was the continued construction being done on the railways and roads on Shabbat.

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Airport Upgrade
Israel’s Airport Authority announced that it will undertake a $1.43 billion upgrade of Ben Gurion Airport to handle an expected 50% increase in passengers over the next 5 years. The Authority intends to add 86 check-in stations to one of the airport’s two departing terminals, as well as additional stations for self check-in. It will also add six more security screening machines, eight passenger boarding bridges and two more shuttle gates.

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