Israel news summary

Israel News for 2-27-19

Meeting Putin
PM Netanyahu is meeting with Russian President Putin in Moscow today. The PM told Putin, “Our direct contact has prevented friction between our armies, and contributed to the security and stability of the region.” He added, “The greatest threat to the safety and stability of the region is Iran and its partners, and we are determined to continue our actions against Iran’s entrenchment in Syria.”

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Terror Arrests
The Shin Bet today released a statement saying, “This morning, in a joint operation by the Shin Bet security service, Israel Defense Forces and Israel Police, Zakaria Zubeidi and Tarek Barghout were arrested in connection with their involvement in serious and current terrorist activities.”

Zubeidi, a former commander of a Fatah terror unit and an architect of several terror attacks, is suspected of being engaged in current terror activities. Barghout, an attorney who represents terror suspects, was arrested for the same reason.

Also today, Israeli police arrested Adnan Gheith, the Palestinian Authority’s chief of the Jerusalem governate, following riots on the Temple Mount. Palestinian media reported that Gheith was among 22 Arabs residents arrested in overnight in raids in east Jerusalem.

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Ban Attempt
Yesh Atid joined the Labor and Meretz parties in attempting to ban members of the far right Otzma Yehudit party from running for the Knesset. Otzma Yehudit accused Yesh Atid and its partner Jewish Resilience (the new unity party is called Blue and White) of planning to include Arab Knesset members in a government if they win the election. Blue and White clearly already stated that they would never join with the Arab parties.

The decision to ban Otzma Yehudit will need to be approved by the Central Elections Committee. The issue would then be brought before the Supreme Court, which in the last election cycle overruled bans on an Arab lawmaker and a far-right right activist now in Otzma Yehudit from participating in the elections. So despite the protests and outcries, unless something unexpected occurs, it looks like Otzma Yehudit will be taking part in the upcoming elections.

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Bennett Warns
Naftali Bennet, the head of the New Right party, is warning that unless the right wing block wins big in the election, a Palestinian state will be created right after the elections. He related his warning to an interview given by Jared Kushner in which Kushner said, “the American peace plan is very detailed and will focus on drawing the border and resolving the core issues.”

Bennett said, “Kushner’s words prove what we already know, that the day after the elections, the Americans will push the Netanyahu-Lapid-Ganz government to allow the establishment of a Palestinian state on Route 6, to agree to the division of Jerusalem – and Netanyahu will be forced to acquiesce.”

He added, “Netanyahu and Trump are coordinating the timing of the plan’s release to be immediately after the elections. Even the crawling into the coalition of the Left wing Lapid-Ganz party is already understood. There is only one way to prevent this, and that is with a strong and powerful New Right party, that will recommend Netanyahu, but will exert counter-pressure to stop the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

[Nothing like some fear mongering to fire up the voters.]

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Walmart Purchase
Walmart has acquired Tel Aviv based artificial intelligence (AI) startup Aspectiva for an undisclosed sum reported to be in the tens of millions of dollars. Aspectiva uses AI to analyze consumer opinions and turns them into valuable insights for retailers. Walmart said that Aspectiva’s natural language processing capabilities will help it to further enhance the end-to-end shopping experience. The Aspectiva team has joined Store N° 8, Walmarts technology incubator, and will continue to operate from Aspectiva’s offices in Tel Aviv.

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