Israel News for 6-22-17

Kushner Visit
Jared Kushner arrived in Israel yesterday. One of his first stops was to pay a shiva visit to the family of Hadas Malka, who was murdered by a terrorist last Friday night while on duty in Jerusalem. US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman accompanied Kushner. During the half hour long visit, Kushner conveyed the condolences of President Trump on behalf of the US.

Kushner met with PM Netanyahu yesterday in Jerusalem. Netanyahu welcomed Kushner with a hug and said, “This is an opportunity to pursue our common goals of security, prosperity and peace. Jared, I welcome you here in that spirit. I know of your efforts, the president’s efforts, and I look forward to working with you to achieve these common goals.”

Kushner responded, “The president sends his best regards and it’s an honor to be here with you.”

Jason Greenblatt and Ambassador David Friedman also joined in the meeting.

A White House statement released after the Netanyahu meeting said, “The United States officials and Israeli leadership underscored that forging peace will take time and stressed the importance of doing everything possible to create an environment conducive to peacemaking. The three United States officials discussed Israel’s priorities and potential next steps with Prime Minister Netanyahu, acknowledging the critical role Israel plays in the security of the region.”

Kushner, Greenblatt and U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem Donald Blome met with PA President Abbas last night in Ramallah. Palestinian sources said that ahead of Kushner’s meeting with Abbas, they had been asked to draw up a list of 12 ‘bullet point’ demands they would want met in any negotiations.

In a statement summarizing the meeting, the White House described it as “productive” and that the sides “reaffirmed their commitment to advancing President Trump’s goal of a genuine and lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians that enhances stability in the region.”

The statement also noted that Kushner, Greenblatt and Abbas discussed “priorities for the Palestinians and potential next steps, acknowledging the need for economic opportunities for Palestinians and major investments in the Palestinian economy.”

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Jerusalem Construction
According to reports, PM Netanyahu has ordered the activation of thousands of construction permits for new apartments in Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem including Gilo, Har Homa, Ramot and Pisgat Ze’ev.

Deputy Mayor Meir Turgeman, who also chairs the Jerusalem Local Planning Committee, told Channel 2 News on Wednesday that in a phone call with the government’s Jerusalem district planner, Dalia Zilber, he was told the plans should be approved immediately and put into action.

Turgeman said, “These thousands of housing units were frozen for many years. Jerusalem very much needs apartments. It is unreasonable that in the era of the Trump administration, which says it has no problem with building in Jerusalem, there should be an order to not build.”

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Gaza Electricity
Israel has cut its electricity supply to Gaza for the third straight day on the request of PA President Abbas, who is trying to apply pressure to force Hamas to accept PA authority.

Defense Minister Lieberman accused Abbas of trying to drag Hamas into a war with Israel. Lieberman stressed that Israel has no intention of going to war with Hamas or in the north with Hezbollah.

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Musical Chairs
Back in 2015 an 82 year old woman, Rina Rabinowitz, was a passenger on an El Al flight when a flight attendant asked her to relocate to a “better” seat at the request of an ultra-orthodox male passenger who was seated next to her. Rabinowitz sued El Al.

Yesterday the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court accepted a compromise agreement reached between Rabinowitz and the airline, determining that El Al’s policy on the subject is unlawful.

Judge Dana Cohen-Lekach ruled that, “Under no circumstances should a staff member approach a passenger next to whom someone doesn’t want to sit on account of the passenger’s gender and ask the passenger to move to another seat on the plane, as this constitutes a violation of the law against discrimination in services.”

 The judge ordered El Al to instruct its employees in writing within 45 days and conduct frontal instruction within six months on the matter. In addition, the judge ordered the airline to pay Rabinovitz NIS 6,500 in damages.

El Al said in response, “The sides reached an agreement that the airline’s procedures on the matter would be clarified to its employees. The court validated this agreement and the company will respect the verdict.”

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Missing Children
Hundreds of people, including members of Knesset, attended a rally in Jerusalem on Wednesday evening ahead of the Awareness Day for the Kidnapped Children from Yemen, the Middle East, and the Balkan. The demonstrators demanded recognition and justice for the thousands of mostly Yemenite children who were allegedly kidnapped from their families by officials employed by the government and given to Ashkenazic families for adoption.

In December, the National Archive’s website made available to the public some 3,500 case files including 210,000 documents dealing with the disappearance of the Yemenite children. The searchable documents provide information on thousands of children, including where they were buried and what their cause of death was.

Likud MK Nava Boker, who pushed to open the archives to the public, spoke about her own experience: “My parents passed away without learning the fate of their child… I demand recognition of these kidnappings cases; they shouldn’t be treated as adoption cases. There were criminal actions done.”

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