Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-22-2019

PA Weapons
The Palestinian Authority recently received 10 light armored vehicles from the US with Israel’s approval. Representatives of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria strongly criticized the move, calling it calling it irresponsible, dangerous and risky.

Yossi Dagan, chairman of the Shomron Regional Council, said, “It’s amazing how the same people who chanted ‘don’t give them rifles’ at protests against the Oslo Accords are now giving them armor. “I call on those who made this unfortunate decision to regain their composure. This is a decision that can draw a high price in blood.”

PM Netanyahu and former defense minister Avigdor Lieberman authorized the transfer nine months ago at the request of the United States after years of delays, apparently in an attempt to appease the Palestinians after withholding hundreds of millions of dollars in tax payment (because they use the money to support terrorists and their families).

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Equal Treatment
The Knesset has decided to give equal treatment to heterosexual and homosexual couples among its members. According to the new rules, spouses of gay members will be registered and treated the same as all other spouses. Among other things, they will be given permanent entry passes for the Knesset, be invited to all official ceremonies and events, and allowed to drive any Knesset-issued vehicles assigned to their partners. The new Knesset has 5 openly gay members.

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Peace Movement
The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia both confirmed on Tuesday they would take part in the June 25-26 “Peace to Prosperity” economic workshop hosted in Bahrain and sponsored by the United States.

The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said in a statement that the workshop “aims to lift the Palestinian people out of misery and to enable them for a stable and prosperous future. The UAE reiterates its support for the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

Saudi Arabia’s official news agency published a statement saying, “The minister’s [Minister of Economy and Planning] participation in this event is a continuation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s firm positions supportive to the sisterly Palestinian people in a way that achieves their stability, growth, and good living, and achieves their hopes and aspirations and yields security, stability and prosperity for the region in general. A number of businessmen and investors from the Arab countries and the world at large in addition to a number of finance ministers will take part in the workshop as they are going to review ideas and investment opportunities in the region and discuss the potentials of economic growth, development of human capital, creation of incentive investment environment in the region in general and in Palestine in particular.”

The Palestinian Authority announced that it will boycott the conference.

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Israeli Arabs
Saudi Arabia is about to pass regulations that would permit Israeli Arabs to work in the kingdom. Apparently, Arab graduates of Israeli universities are looked upon highly in the Arab world.

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Kabbalistic Celebration
The day is Lag B’omer, the 33 day in the traditional counting of the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot. During that time period the 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva (and Rashbi’s teacher) were stricken by a plague and died as punishment for their lack of mutual respect and brotherly love. But on the 33rd day, Lag B’omer, the dying ceased. The day also marks the anniversary of the death of Rabi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi), the second century sage who is believed to have authored the Zohar, the cornerstone text of the Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism).

Hundreds of thousands of Jews will celebrate the “hilullah” of Rashbi, in Meron (near Tzfat), where he is buried. The Aramaic word “hillulah” literally means wedding, but it is used to commemorate the Rashbi’s day of death, during which he is believed to have revealed the deepest secrets of Kabbalah to his close circle of students (a good reason to celebrate).

The celebration at Meron is highlighted by the burning of a huge bonfire that is lit by many prominent Hassidic Rebbes, with the Boyaner Rebbe leading off the festivities. Thousands of smaller bonfires are also lit in the Meron area and throughout Israel — and barbecue, marshmallows and amores are often not far behind.

It’s also customary for young boys to get their first haircuts at Meron (after letting it grow until age 3), so barbers eagerly join the crowds and do a brisk business — as do vendors of all sorts of cabalistic amulets and charms.

Any event that can bring together hundreds of thousands of Jews from different religious walks of life is something to celebrate. May the merit of Rashbi and the Jewish unity at Meron bless Israel and the Jewish People with peace and success.