israel news

Israel News for 12-26-18

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Syrian Missiles
Israeli Missile Defense systems near Hadera were activated last night against a missile apparently fired from Syria. There were no injuries or damage reported. Also last night, Israel reportedly attacked 3 targets near Damascus. Syrian state media reported Syrian air defenses intercepted “hostile targets” near Damascus and added that the attack, “originated from above the Lebanese territories.” An Iranian 747 allegedly carrying advanced weapons for the Syrian army and Hezbollah landed in Damascus earlier last night, which could explain the reported Israeli attack.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense said today that 6 Israeli F16’s had carried out the airstrikes from Lebanese airspace and that Syrian missile defense had shot down 14 of the 16 missiles fired. The ministry said, “We are very concerned by the attacks and how they were made. This is a gross violation of the sovereignty of Syria.” Sources in the US Defense Department claim that several senior Hezbollah officials were hit in the strikes.

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Poll Results
Following PM Netanyahu’s calling for early elections to be held in April, a new poll published in the Maariv newspaper showed the PM’s Likud party winning 30 seats and the right wing coalition holding on to a majority of the Knesset.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s office is apparently going to hold off on making any recommendations either for or against indicting Netanyahu until after the elections so as not to influence the election results.

Nahum Barnea, a senior political commentator, said Mandelblit was in a no-win situation and likened his plight to that of former FBI Director James Comey during the 2016 American presidential election.

He wrote: “If Mandelblit decides to postpone the decision until after the elections, many Israelis will ask — and justly so — for whom are they being asked to vote. Is it for a man who is facing charges of bribery or for a man who is facing lesser charges?”

“If Mandelblit decides to release his decision in the midst of the run-up to the elections, he will be attacked by all of the candidates running on the Likud’s list, first and foremost among them Netanyahu. By what right is he meddling in the elections, they will ask.”

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Ambassador Resigning
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, reportedly plans to resign from his position in order to run for a Knesset seat on the Likud list in the upcoming early election to be held in April.

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More Homes
The Defense Ministry committee responsible for authorizing settlement construction on Tuesday advanced plans for roughly 1,300 homes in the West Bank, with some 400 more slated for approval in an additional session scheduled for today.

The communities that saw plans given a final okay included Adora (18), Tene (135), Ma’ale Michmash (62), Givat Ze’ev (220), Neve Daniel (180), and Carmei Tzur (120). Other communities with projects in various stages of approval include Beit Haggai (94), Shiloh (75), Halamish (100), Yitzhar, Rehalim, Shavei Shomron, and Har Bracha.

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Pot Exports
The medical cannabis export law proposed by MK Yoav Kisch (Likud) has been approved on its second and third Knesset readings. The Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Finance, and Ministry of Social Equality all support the legislation.

The issue of exports will now be referred to the cabinet. The law regulates export procedures, but does not yet constitute official approval for exports. Only a positive cabinet decision will enable exports to go ahead. Sources close to the cabinet believe that the decision will pass unless vetoed by the Prime Minister.

Eight cannabis growing companies and a number of cannabis products, production, marketing, and distribution companies currently operate in Israel. Dozens of farmers with licenses in principle to grow cannabis are waiting for a decision about exports in order to go ahead with activity in the field.

Revenues from cannabis exports could total as high as NIS 4 billion a year.

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