Israel news summary

Israel News for 4-5-19

Laid to Rest
Zachary Baumel, the IDF soldier who went missing in action during the 1982 Lebanon war, was laid to rest at the military cemetery on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem Thursday. His body was returned to Israel a few days ago after Russian troops located them in the Palestinian refugee camp Yarmouk in Syria. The funeral was attended by PM Netanyahu, President Rivlin and other government ministers and officials.

Baumel’s body was located as a result of a 2 year long Israeli military intelligence mission, called Operation Bittersweet Song, initiated by then Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Israel asked Russia’s help in located the body, after Russia began military operations in Syria. Baumel’s was identified by his IDF overalls and Tzizit (ritual fringes), in addition to other forensic methods.

Russia’s President Putin said that Russian troops located the body, and will continue searching for the other 2 IDF soldiers who went missing along with Baumel. He said, “Russia considers it its duty to search for MIAs and that is what we will do.”  

In an unrelated news item, the Russian army chief of staff demanded that Israel give more warning time before any attacks on military targets in Syria.

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Election Update
According to the latest and final pre election poll released today, Blue and White will win 28 seats vs Likud 27. According to a poll released yesterday, Blue and White will win 30 seats vs Likud 26. A poll published on Wednesday showed Likud winning 30 seats and Blue and White 27.

In any case, the right wing block is still projected to win a 64 seat majority, which would give PM Netanyahu the only clear path towards forming a government. There doesn’t seem to be any clear path for Blue and White leader Benny Gantz to form a government, even if he wins the most seats. A lot will depend on the actual voter turnout on election day, next Tuesday. And of course, political parties have been known to make deals that they said they never would, in order to be in the government.

Yair Lapid, the number 2 Blue and White candidate, is in France today to meet with French President Macron, who invited him to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian and Iranian issues and the fight against antisemitism in Europe. It seems like Macron wants to give Lapid a pre election boost, similar to the one President Trump apparently gave to PM Netanyahu by recently meeting with him in the White House.

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Moon Pics
The Beresheet lunar lander, Israel’s first spacecraft, has sent back its first pictures taken from the far side of the moon after successfully establishing a lunar orbit.

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Healthy Diet
Research carried out by Dr Christopher Murray, Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington in the US has found that Israel has the world’s least unhealthy diet. His study says, “The countries with the lowest rates of diet-related deaths were Israel (89 deaths per 100,000 people), France, Spain, Japan, and Andorra.” The UK ranked 23rd and the US 43rd.

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