israelam news

Israel News for 12-29-17

Rocket Strike
A rocket fired from Gaza hit a structure in the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council yesterday. Two other rockets fired were intercepted by the iron Dome system. The rocket attack occurred during a ceremony held in Kfar Aza marking the would-be 24th birthday of soldier Oron Shaul, whose body has been held by Hamas in Gaza since Operation Protective Edge. In response, IDF tanks and fighter jets attacked Hamas positions in northern Gaza.

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Lebanese Statement
The Lebanese Foreign Minister is being severely criticized and attacked for making the following statement during a television interview this week: “We have no ideological dispute with Israel and we are not against the existence of the State of Israel and its right to security. All nations must live in peace and recognize each other. We are a people that want to live alongside others, even if they are different from us, but it will only be when the other (Israel) wants it, and it does not want it.” How dare he…

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Bill Passes
The Recommendations Bill became a law yesterday by a vote of 59 -54 in Knesset. The law prohibits the police from from publicly releasing its recommendations on indictment. It will put an end to a police practice in recent years to release a statement at the end of any investigation that is of interest to the public. If the police think enough evidence has been collected to file an indictment, it normally includes a note to that end in its investigation conclusions before prosecutors decide whether or not to press such charges. That will no longer be permitted.

Opposition leaders are threatening to take their case to the Supreme Court. They have claimed that the law is specifically intended to shield PM Netanyahu from ongoing criminal investigations against him. But the law will not effect any investigations already in process.

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Tourism Record
More tourists visited Israel in 2017 than in any previous year. The Ministry of Tourism reported that Israel hosted 3.6 million visitors this year, a 25% increase from last year. The data does not include the month of December.

Tourists from the U.S. constitute the largest group, with 716,000 people, a 21% increase from the previous year. In second place was Russia with 307,000, a 26% increase. France was third with 284,000, an 8% increase. Israel also hosted 105, 000 Chinese tourists, which represents a 46% increase from 2016 and a 139% increase from 2015.

The data also shows that 30% of visitors arrived as part of guided trips, 25% for religious pilgrimage and 41% had been to Israel at least once before.

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Economic Diplomacy
The tiny island nation of Nauru (pop. 11,359) was one of the nine countries to vote against the recent UN General Assembly vote condemning the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Two weeks before the vote Israel purchased a sewage treatment system for Nauru for around $70,000, upon the request of the island’s president. Good deal.

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Prayer for Rain
Thousands of Jews gathered at the Kotel yesterday, on the fast of the 10th of Tevet, to pray for rain. The gathering was spearheaded by Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel in response to the ongoing drought, which will soon be entering its fifth year. Barely any rain fell in November, which is ordinarily a month of substantial rainfall.

The president of the Israel Farmers’ Union Dubi Amitai, the secretary general of the Moshav Movement and chairman of the Israel Farmers Union Meir Zur, and the secretary-general of the religious kibbutz, Amitai Porat, along with farmers from all over the country attended. Both of Israel’s Chief Rabbis along with other prominent rabbis led the service, which included the plowing of long trumpets (mentioned in the Torah).

Minister Ariel said, “after four years of drought, so far there have been less rainfall than the multi-annual average, and this winter looks like it will be another drought. I am happy that the public responded to the prayers and brought umbrellas.”

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