Israel News for 7-17-17

Temple Mount
Israel reopened the Temple Mount yesterday, after closing it on Friday after two Israeli policemen were gunned down there by terrorists. New security measures, including metal detectors, have been installed at the entrances to the Temple Mount. Waqf officials protested the security measures and called on worshippers not to enter, while organizing a protest prayer outside the entrance. Nevertheless, hundreds of Muslim worshippers entered the Temple Mount to pray yesterday. Jewish visitors were prohibited from the area.

While Jordan’s King Abdullah personally condemned the terror attack in a phone call to Netanyahu, the head of the Jordanian parliament praised the terrorists as martyrs and asked parliament to pray for the souls of the three terrorists, all Israeli Arabs.

PA President Abbas also condemned the attack.

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French Visit
PM Netanyahu participated in a memorial service in Paris yesterday commemorating 75 years since French police rounded up 13,000 French Jews and held them in a stadium outside Paris from where they were eventually deported to death camps. Fewer than 100 survived.

Speaking at the event, French President Macron acknowledged that it was the French who were solely responsible for the roundup without any direct German involvement. He also pledged to continue to fight antisemitism.

Macron also appealed to Netanyahu to renew Israeli-Palestinian peace talks to create two independent states saying, “I call for a resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in the framework of the search for a solution of two states, Israel and Palestine, living in recognized, secure borders with Jerusalem as the capital.”

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Prostitution Bill
The Knesset Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved a bill yesterday to make soliciting a prostitute illegal. The punishment for a first offense will be a fine of no less than NIS 1,250. Sort of like a traffic ticket.

While human trafficking, pimpimg and organized prostitution (brothels) is currently illegal under Israeli law, prostitution and hiring a prostitute is not. The new law will will still not effect the prostitute, only the person hiring the prostitute.

The bill includes measures to ensure that men and women currently involved in the prostitution business receive assistance and protection in the process of rehabilitation and return to the community. It also calls for the establishment of a national authority to deal with prostitution.

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Greek Deal
The famous Roman Amphitheater and the hippodrome in the ancient Israeli coastal city of Caesarea have been sold by the Greek Orthodox Church, which owned the property. The area was sold to a holding company based in the Caribbean, but the identities of the actual buyers are as yet unknown. Most of the 172 acres sold are part of a national park. The church recently sold off 123 acres of property in wealthy neighborhoods of Jerusalem, also to an unidentified buyer.

The Greek Orthodox Church acquired some 4,500 dunams (1,110 acres) of real estate in the center of Jerusalem during the 19th century, primarily for agriculture. In the 1950s, just after Israel’s independence, it agreed to lease its land to the JNF for 99 years — with an option to extend. Even Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, is built on Greek Orthodox-owned land.

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Alexandria Shul
The Egyptian government has announced that it will allocate $2.24 million to renovate the Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue in Alexandria. The synagogue, which was built in 1850, was forced to close its doors after part of the ceiling over the women’s prayer section collapsed several months ago. While the official Jewish community, which consists of only 18 registered members, is technically required to pay for the renovation, the Egyptian government has decided to cover the costs.

The Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue can seat over 700 people and is considered to be one of the largest synagogues in the Middle East. It is the last active synagogue in Alexandria, which once was home to 50,000 Jews. Estimates today put the number of Jews living in all of Egypt at fewer than 50.

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