Security forces have announced the arrest of the terrorist who detonated bombs at two Jerusalem bus stops in November, killing 2 Israelis and wounding several others. The arrest occurred on November 29th, but was not made public until yesterday. The terrorist, Islam Faroh, 26, was a resident of East Jerusalem and had no criminal record. He is the son of two doctors and a graduate of the Azrieli College of Engineering in Jerusalem, where he attained a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, as well as extensive technical knowledge that helped him plan out the attack. He is not a member of any terrorist organization.
According to sources in the security services, Israel is negotiating for the release of the bodies of two IDF soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oren Shaul, as well as two civilians, Avera Mengistu and Hisham Al-Sayed, who are currently being held by Hamas in Gaza. Israel will reportedly release several Hamas prisoners serving lengthy sentences, including Abdullah Barghouti, who was convicted and sentenced to 67 life sentences and an additional 5,200 years in prison for his involvement in attacks that resulted in the deaths of numerous Israelis and the injury of hundreds of others during the second Intifada from 2000 to 2004.
The prisoners, who all hold Jordanian passports, will be transferred to Jordan where they will serve between 5 and 10 years in a Jordanian prison. Upon their release, they will be granted a royal amnesty but will not be allowed to return to the West Bank or Gaza and will instead remain outside the region. Israel will also release the bodies of Palestinians who have been involved in recent terror attacks.
The Knesset has passed an amendment that removes the obstacles to allow Shas leader Aryeh Deri to serve as a minister and Religious Zionism leader Betzalel Smotrich to serve as a minister within the Defense Ministry, giving him more power over decisions related to Judea and Samaria. The Knesset also passed a law giving the national security minister, slated to be MK Ben Gvir, authority over the police. This clears the way for Shas and Religious Zionism to officially join the government coalition. Likud and United Torah Judaism signed a coalition agreement yesterday. Netanyahu is planning to announce his new government on Thursday.
In the wake of reports that lawmakers from the Religious Zionism party are planning to support legislation that could discriminate against members of the LGBTQ, it seems increasingly likely that Amir Ohana, an openly gay Knesset member, will be named the next speaker of the Knesset.
Mike Ben-Ari who was last week extradited from Bosnia to Israel was today indicted of defrauding NIS 550 million from 960 investors. To read more, click here.
Mekorot Israel National Water Co. and the Israel Water Authority today launched the “Reverse Water Carrier” project in the north. The project will allow desalinated water from the Mediterranean Sea to flow inland to Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). The aim of the project, which has been set up at a cost of NIS 1 billion, is to maintain the level of the Kinneret in dry and low rainfall years.
Most of the water that flows out of the taps in Israeli homes comes from desalination plants and not from the Kinneret, but the level of the Kinneret is important as the country’s emergency reservoir for water, as well as in ecological terms. Israel also supplies water from the Kinneret to Jordan as part of the peace agreement between the two countries. Recently, Israel agreed to double the amount of water it supplies to Jordan to about 100 million cubic meters annually, making the need to maintain Kinneret’s level even more critical. For more, click here.