Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-20-19

Conference Cancelled
The conference of 4 Eastern European nations in Jerusalem was cancelled after Poland refused to attend because of alleged remarks by PM Netanyahu and confirmed remarks by Israel’s acting Foreign Minister saying that Poland collaborated in the destruction of the Jews during the Holocaust. Instead, the PM met privately with the Prime Ministers of Czechoslovakia, Slovakia and Hungary and then hosted a lunch with all 3 leaders. [The truth is that all 3 countries played a role in the destruction of “their” Jews. The PM has taken flack for forging close relations with them.]

Hungary’s PM announced that Hungary will open a trade office in Jerusalem that has “diplomatic status”.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher recommended that Israel’s FM apologize for his remarks.

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Single US Mission
Last October, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States Consulate General in Jerusalem, which serves Palestinians, will be merged into the new US Embassy. Yesterday a US official said, “The merger of the consulate and the embassy will take place on March 4th or 5th, at which point the position of the consul-general will end.”

The Palestinians have condemned the upcoming move, which highlights the united nature of Jerusalem. Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, “Contacts at the political level with the American administration have been cut off and will remain so unless the American administration changes its positions on Jerusalem and the refugees.” He added, however, that there are still “contacts at the security level to fight terrorism.”

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Morocco Visit
PM Netanyahu is reportedly planning a visit to Morocco before the upcoming April elections. Morocco sees Israel as a path to Washington, while Israel sees Morocco as an opportunity to open relations with a major Arab country. [Doing so before the election would definitely help the PM.] The Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the report.

For further reading click here.

Lawsuit Revived
The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit overturned a ruling by a federal judge who, in August 2017, threw out a $1 billion lawsuit by Palestinians seeking to hold billionaire Sheldon Adelson and more than 30 other pro-Israel defendants liable for alleged war crimes and support of Israeli settlements. Other defendants included billionaire Larry Ellison, Bank Leumi BM and Bank Hapoalim BM, construction and support companies such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co and Volvo AB, 13 nonprofits, and the United States.

The federal judge had decided that it was inappropriate for her to resolve the issue of settlements and other politically related issues. But Circuit Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson of the Appeals Court said that a court could rule on whether the defendants conspired to expel non-Jews or committed war crimes “without touching the sovereignty question, if it concluded that Israeli settlers are committing genocide.”

For further reading click here.

Kinneret Rising
The water level in the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) is expected to climb above the lake’s lower red line for the first time in two years, at which point pumping will no longer face government restrictions. The water level now stands at 23 centimeters below the lower red line, but is expected to pass that within a few weeks, thanks to the heavy rains and snow this winter.

But we’re not out of the woods yet. Kinneret Authority Deputy Chairman Pinchas Green warned, “Every summer, the lake’s waterline decreases by 0.5-1 cm per day due to water evaporation, which means the Kinneret will again plunge below the lower red line.”

For further reading click here.

Torah Podcast
Please check out and subscribe to my new Jewish Wisdom podcast. The latest episode is on this week’s Torah portion (parsha) of Ki Tisah.

To access the podcast on iTunes click here, or just search for Jewish Wisdom.