Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-25-19

Election Updates
PM Netanyahu defended his decision to support the inclusion of the extreme Otzma Yehudit party into a coalition of small right wing parties, against criticism from AIPAC and other American Jewish organizations. The PM called the criticism “hypocrisy and double standards”.

The latest polls show that the new Blue and White party of Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid will beat Netanyahu’s Likud by a handful of seats. But neither party will have enough seats to form a government without a coalition, and both the Left block and the Right block are projected to have only 48 seats.

That could leave the king making power in the hands of the Haredi (ultra Orthodox parties), and leaders of the UTJ (United Torah Judaism) have clearly stated that they will absolutely not join a government with Yair Lapid.

Meanwhile, Lapid said in an interview that Blue and White would seek to form a unity government with Likud. He said that he thought that Netanyahu would most likely step down as leader of the Likud after losing the election, paving the way for the possibility of a unity government. Lapid also stated that Blue and White would, under no circumstances, form a government with the Arab parties.

Let the horse trading begin!

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Tree Theft
Jewish settlers planted around 50 trees between Tekoa and Nokdim on Friday in memory of Ori Ansbacher, the 19 year old woman who was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist in a Jerusalem forest earlier this month. Ori lived in Tekoa. On Sunday Palestinians uprooted and stole the trees.

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No Apologies
Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz emphasized the close cooperation between the Israeli and Polish governments and Poland’s “significant contribution to the safety and stability” in the Middle East.

But he refused to apologize for his comments last week when he said, “The memory of the Holocaust is something we cannot compromise about, it is something clear and we won’t forget or forgive. Poles collaborated with the Nazis, and as Yitzhak Shamir, whose father was murdered by Poles, said, ‘they suckle anti-Semitism with their mother’s milk’.” Poland condemned Katz’s comments as racist and pulled out of a summit meeting in Jerusalem in protest.

[We commend Katz for speaking the truth and standing behind his words. While we can, and should, work for a better future, we cannot erase or falsify the past. Doing so desecrates and denigrates the memory of the 6 million martyrs.]

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Healthy Country
According to Bloomberg’s Healthiest Country Index released today, Israel ranked #10 out of 169 countries. The index grades nations based on variables including life expectancy while imposing penalties on risks such as tobacco use and obesity. It also takes into consideration environmental factors including access to clean water and sanitation.

The top 10 countries were Spain, Italy, Iceland, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Australia, Singapore, Norway and Israel. The US ranked 35, Canada 16 and the UK 19.

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