Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-4-18

Abbas Apologizes
Palestinian Authority President Abbas apologized today for anti-semitic remarks he made regarding Jews and the Holocaust earlier this week. He said, “I condemn the Holocaust, which was the worst crime in human history. If anyone, especially anyone of the Jewish religion, was insulted by what I told the Palestinian National Council, I apologize to them.”

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Arms Exports
According to data released by the Israeli ministry of defense on Wednesday, Israeli arms exports reached $9.2 billion in 2017, up 41.5% from 2016. The dramatic increase was bolstered by $2 billion-worth of missile system deals signed between state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and India.

Israel is among the top ten countries exporting arms, with the U.S. and Russia holding first and second place, respectively. Israel has a major advantage in arms exports, since it can often market its exports as “battle-tested” due to its continuing conflict with the Palestinians.

Israel’s largest arms customers are located in Asia, accounting for 58% of total exports. India alone accounts for a third of all sales. Europe accounts for 21% of Israeli arms exports, and the US for 14%. Most of the export trade is divided between the industry’s four largest defenses manufacturers: IAI, Rafael, IMI Systems, and Elbit Systems Ltd.

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Bus Driver Attacked
Shimon Gabbay, a 60 year old bus driver in Afula was stabbed Wednesday night by 2 youths who he described as belonging to an ethnic minority. The attack caused the driver to lose control of the bus and hit a nearby private vehicle, a water pipe and a wall. He was evacuated to Rambam Hospital in critical condition. His attackers escaped, prompting police to launch a manhunt. The motive of the attackers is still not clear.

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Dead Sea Scrolls
An Israeli researcher has uncovered three new fragments of writings in the Dead Sea Scrolls. The writings, which are invisible to the naked eye, have been identified as being part of the Psalms scroll, the Temple scroll, and a new scroll as of yet to be discovered.

The scrolls, comprised of thousands of passages, were written during the Second Temple period over 2,000 years ago and are considered to be the oldest Hebrew manuscripts ever discovered. While researchers were able to piece together some of the more prominent writings, many of the scrolls had to be placed in boxes without being sorted or studied due to their minute size and poor condition.

Recently, as part of a digitization project, select samples from the unsorted boxes were viewed using state-of-the-art photographic equipment developed by NASA, and turned up new markings understood to be handwriting on some parchments that seemed to the naked eye to be completely blank.

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Log B’omer
If you couldn’t make it to Meron to celebrate Lag B’omer with tens of thousands of other Jews yesterday, here’s a video of the lighting of the first bon fire by the Boyaner Rebbe. Lot’s of amazing singing and dancing. To watch the (long) video click here.