Israel news summary

Israel News for 3-29-18

Terror Payments
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has decided to return to directly providing financial aid to families of terrorists imprisoned in Israel and to families of terrorists killed in attacks against Israel. The PA had been indirectly paying the families of the “martyrs” for four years, but has now decided to pay directly.

The PA move is a show of defiance against the US, after Congress passed the Taylor Force Act last week, which halts economic aid to the PA until it ceases paying stipends to terrorists and to the families of deceased terrorists.

The Palestinian Media Watch group released a copy of the PA budget for 2018, in which NIS 550 million was budgeted as stipends for Palestinians imprisoned in Israel and NIS 687 million for the families of terrorists who were killed while carrying out terror attacks or in attempted attacks against Israel.

The total budget for terrorist related stipends, NIS 1.2 billion, makes up 7 percent of the total PA budget and is only slightly less than the budget of the PA’s Health Ministry.

For further reading click here.

Palestinian Numbers
According to new data published by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, there are 2,881,000 Palestinians living in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, and 1,900,000 in Gaza. If you add the Israeli Arab population of 1.84 million, the total Arab population living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean is around 6.6 million. The Jewish population is 6.9 million.

Based on the numbers, a one-state solution that gives citizenship to all Arabs doesn’t look like such a great idea for maintaining a Jewish state. A two-state solution doesn’t look any better.

Any ideas?

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Fighter Deal
Croatia announced that it plans to purchase around 12 refurbished Israeli F-16 fighter aircraft in a deal worth approximately $500 million. Israel beat out a more expensive proposal ($700 million) by Swedish manufacturer Saab for a new fighter squadron.

For further reading click here.

El Al Sues
El Al has filed a lawsuit against the government for allowing Air India to fly over Saudi airspace on its New Delhi-Tel Aviv flights, which El Al says puts it at an unfair disadvantage. El Al is asking that the Air India flights be halted until Israeli airlines are also allowed to fly over Saudi Arabia.

El Al claims that when it was privatized back in the 1990s, the Israeli government at the time pledged to “encourage fair and healthy competition” between Israeli airlines and their foreign competitors. El Al claims that this pledge is now being undermined.

For further reading click here.

US Style
Urban Outfitters, the US clothing retailer, has opened its first store in Israel, located in the Big Fashion center in Ashdod. Three more Urban Outfitters stores are slated for opening this year: the first on Mamilla Boulevard in Jerusalem in May, followed by a store in the Ir Yamim shopping mall in Netanya and the Dizengoff Center branch (Tel Aviv), which will be the chain’s leading store.

For further reading click here.

Whiskey Imports
Figures provided by the UK embassy in Israel show a record of 4.5 million bottles of Scotch whisky imported into Israel in 2017. In monetary terms, Scotch whisky imports have soared from £10 million in 2012 to over £30 million in 2017. Scotch whisky imports totaled £26 million in both 2015 and 2016.

An alcoholic beverages reform introduced by the government eight years ago greatly reduced the price of expensive alcoholic beverages in Israel. For example, the price of a bottle of 18 year-old Chivas Regal or Johnny Walker Black Label whisky was cut in half at the time.


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Charedi Groupings
A report recently published breaks down the the percentages of the various groups that make up the Charedi community in Israel:
Lithuanian – 29.1%
Hassidic (non Chabad) – 29.7%
Sephardim – 22.9%
Sephardim educated in Lithuanian institutions – 12.4%
Chabad Hassidic – 5.9%

For more info in the report, click here.

Happy Passover
The Passover (Pesach) holiday begins this Friday night and lasts for 7 days in Israel and 8 days outside of Israel. The holiday commemorates the miraculous liberation of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. The story is retold at the Seder, along with the drinking of 4 cups of wine, the eating of Matzah and bitter herbs (Maror), and a lot more singing, eating and celebrating. During the entire holiday no leavened grain based products (like bread, pasta, cookies etc) may be consumed, possessed or benefited from.

May this Passover mark the beginning of our final, permanent and complete redemption, and may we be blessed with health, success and peace.

NOTE: The next IsraelAM issue will be published after Passover.