Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-13-19

Syria Strikes
PM Netanyahu confirmed on Tuesday that Israel had carried out a military strike in the Syrian Golan Heights the night before. Syrian state media reported that Israel shelled targets in the deserted town of Quneitra, just over the border from the Israeli Golan.

According to another Syrian news outlet, two officers in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp were killed in an Israeli airstrike in the Quneitra area.

Israeli military reporters were told that the strike targeted Iranian-backed Shiite militiamen trying to set up a base of operations near the Israeli border. The tank shelling was also meant to serve as a warning to Syria and other Iranian proxies that Israel would not tolerate Tehran’s efforts to establish a permanent military presence in the Syrian Golan.

The PM, on his way to an international conference in Warsaw to discuss Iranian activity in the Middle East, said, “We are working all the time to block Iran. We operate every day, including yesterday, against Iran and its efforts to entrench itself in the region.”

The Syrian army has reportedly sent reinforcements to the border area.

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Terror Support
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri indicate that his government would allow Hezbollah to keep its weapons. Under UN Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah, Lebanon committed to disarming the Iran-backed terror group.

But as Hezbollah is a major force in the government and has the most powerful armed force in the country, it doesn’t seem like the Lebanese PM has much of a choice. Does that make Lebanon a terrorist state that should be condemned, or dealt with militarily by the free world?

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Cyprus and Israel
On a recent visit to Cyprus where he met with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, President Rivlin said, “Security ties between our two countries have never been better. Our navies and commando units share space, knowledge and experience.”

Israeli-Cypriot relations have blossomed in the last decade following gas discoveries in waters off both countries. Israeli company Delek has a stake in Cyprus’ Aphrodite gas field, which lies close to Israel’s massive Leviathan deposit. Greece is also a partner with Israel and Cyprus to build an underwater pipeline to carry natural gas from deposits in the eastern Mediterranean to Europe via Greece and Italy. Turkey, however, claims that exploration off the shores of Cyprus infringes on its rights and the rights of breakaway Turkish Cypriots.

Rivlin said that he and Anastasiades discussed expanding the Israel-Cyprus-Greece partnership to include other countries.

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UN Ban
The United Nations Human Rights Council has reportedly warned a number of companies in Israel and abroad that they face inclusion in a UN blacklist over their operations in Israeli towns and industrial zones in Judea and Samaria, as well as eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

According to Yediot Ahronot, the UNHRC is preparing an expanded blacklist, set to be published at the 40th UNHRC session in Geneva next month, over the objections of the US and Israeli missions to the UN. The list is thought to include some major international companies including Coca Cola as well as the major Israeli banks, pharmaceutical giant Teva and military contractor Elbit Systems.

The new blacklist could cause some foreign businesses to leave Israel and could make it more difficult for Israeli firms on the list to secure investment capital from abroad.

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Startup Nation
Prognose 220 Mil, an Israeli startup located in the Negev, is using specially trained dogs to sniff saliva samples to determine if that person has cancer. The test costs NIS 400. If the dog sits still after sniffing the sample, it indicates that cancer is present.

Researchers in the United States discovered back in 2011 that dogs can accurately detect advanced stages of colon cancer using breath and stool samples of patients. The study showed that the dogs were able to successfully identify even early stages of cancer in 33 out of 36 (92%) breath samples and in 37 out of 38 (98%) stool samples.

For further reading click here.

To view the company website (in Hebrew) click here.

US cybersecurity company Symantec Corp. (NASDAQ: SYMC) yesterday announced the acquisition of Israeli SaaS security platform developer Luminate Security. No financial details were disclosed but sources close to the deal estimate that it was for about $200 million.

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New Podcast
I’ve launched a new podcast called Jewish Wisdom, as part of a larger project that will include a website and some books. The goal of the project is to share authentic Jewish teachings, insights and advice based on the Bible, Talmud and Kabbalah. To kick things off I’ll be publishing a weekly podcast on the Parshah (weekly Torah portion). You can find the podcast on iTunes or Google Play. Please subscribe and share!

To listen to the podcast in iTunes click here.