Israel news summary

Israel News for 6-7-2019

AG Says No
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit on Thursday rejected PM Netanyahu’s request to postpone his pre-indictment hearing, explaining that new elections did not constitute a justification for further delay to the proceedings. The attorney general has already granted the prime minister a three-month extension from the formerly agreed upon date of July 10 for the hearing.

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Syrian missiles
The IDF said yesterday that several anti-aircraft missiles were fired from Syria toward the Golan Heights. The missiles failed to reach Israeli territory.

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Justice Minister
PM Netanyahu appointed Likud MK Amir Ohana as the new Justice Minister. Ohana, who is the first openly gay Knesset member, will only serve until new elections in September. If the PM wins again, he will likely give Ohana the communications ministry and save the much sought after justice ministry for a valuable coalition partner, as a bargaining chip.

Announcing the appointment Wednesday, Netanyahu called Ohana “a lawyer who knows the judicial system well.” He added that the new minister was one of the proposers of the controversial Nation-State Law, which defines Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.

Ohana lives in Tel Aviv with his partner Alon Hadad, and their four-year-old twins who were born in the U.S. to a surrogate mother.

MK Bezalel Smotrich from the Union of Right-Wing Parties, who was outspoken in his desire to be Justice Minister, is likely to be appointed Transportation Minister instead. Smotrich recently said that he would like Israel to be governed by Jewish religious law (halacha).

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Parade Arrests
Around 15,000 people turned out yesterday for the Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem. At least 2,600 police officers were deployed to secure the event. The police said at least 49 people had been detained before and during the parade, including a man carrying a knife who was arrested by undercover police officers just hours before the event was due to get underway. The police said the suspect refused to identify himself and was taken for further questioning.

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Election Update
PM Netanyahu has decided not to allow Ayelet Shaked to join the Likud list for the upcoming election, as was initially speculated. Many senior Likud members had informed Netanyahu that they would oppose allowing her to join. Shaked can either run again with the New Right party or join the larger United Right.

According to the latest poll, Likud is estimated to win 37 seats against 33 for Blue and White.

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Richest Israeli
According to a report in the Hebrew business daily The Marker, Israeli-American philanthropist Miriam Adelson is the richest Israeli of 2018 with an estimated value of $22 billion. Most of her wealth was transferred to her this year as a gift from her husband, philanthropist and businessman Sheldon Adelson, in the form of stock shares of his Las Vegas Sands Corporation.

The Marker also reported that it was due to Miriam’s influence that her husband founded the daily newspaper Yisrael Hayom and has made huge donations to Israel-related projects over the years, such as Birthright Israel.

Miriam, 73, born and raised in Tel Aviv, went to medical school and practiced internal medicine in a Tel Aviv hospital.

Second on the list, Roman Abramovich, worth $13 billion.

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The holiday of Shavuot begins Saturday night and extends for one day in Israel and two days outside of Israel. The holiday literally means weeks, and is the culmination of the counting of 7 weeks (49 days) from the second day of Passover.

Shavuot is described in the Torah as the harvest festival during which farmers bring their first produce to the Temple in Jerusalem. Shavuot is also the anniversary of the giving of the Ten Commandments and Torah at Mount Sinai. The Book of Ruth is read in the synagogue, and dairy meals are traditionally eaten. It is also customary to stay up all night (first night) to study Torah.

Happy Shavuot!!