Israel News for 8-14-17

Terror Attacks
An Arab woman stabbed a Jewish man near the Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem on Shabbat afternoon, lightly injuring him. The woman, 29 and a mother of five from East Jerusalem was tackled and arrested by Border Police after the stabbing. She reportedly told police during the initial investigation that she intended to stab a Jew.

Last night Arabs attacked Israeli vehicles near Beitar Illit, south of Jerusalem in Judea. Beitar Illit has 50,000 residents and is the second largest Jewish community in Judea and Samaria after Modiin Illit. Both cities are Haredi.

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Dimona Land
Dimona Mayor Benny Biton (Likud) received city council approval to gift over 100 acres of city land to the neighboring illegal Bedouin community of Qasr al-Sir. Biton received the support of all Likud and Shas council members despite opposition by many of the city’s residents.

According to Negev newspaper Hashavua Hahadash, “Benny Biton gifted municipal lands to the Bedouin, receiving nothing in return. This land, which could have been used for shops, factories, commercial centers, or other business ventures to benefit Dimona’s residents, will now become a Bedouin enclave Dimona, bringing their city dangerously close to Dimona’s entrance. We will not even receive property tax for it. Benny Biton is the only mayor who will be remembered on the one hand as pushing the Israeli government to build five Jewish towns around Dimona, and on the other giving 411 dunams of the city’s land to Bedouin.”

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PM Pro Kurds
PM Netanyahu told a visiting delegation of 33 Republican Congressman last week that he is in favor of an independent state for the Kurds, calling them “brave, pro-Western people who share our values.” An independence referendum for Iraqi Kurdistan will take place next month.

Zach Daniel, a Middle East analyst based in Tel Aviv and Iraqi Kurdistan and an expert of Kurdish affairs, praised Netanyahu’s statement saying, “Netanyahu’s reiteration of his 2014 declaration-which was followed by virtually every major Israeli political figure-had a unique audience. The Trump administration has so far failed to change course from the same Obama and Bush policies on Iraqi Kurds and Iraq’s unity, and Netanyahu was encouraging Congress to lead on this, and the issue of containing Iran’s proxies. These statements buoy the Kurds, as they look abroad for support for their independence referendum in September.”

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Latin American Visits
PM Netanyahu is planning to visit Argentina and Mexico in September, which would make him the first sitting Israeli PM to visit Latin America. The trip would coincide with the 70th anniversary of the UN partition plan vote when 13 Latin American and Caribbean countries were among 33 states that cast ballots in its favor, paving the way for Israel’s independence. The trip would be part of Netanyahu’s policy of seeking to improve ties with regions of the world in which Israel has not heavily invested or concentrated on in the past.

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Anti Smoking
A bill to raise the legal age for smoking from 18 to 21 is making its way through the Knesset. The bill has the support of 20 MKs including Yehuda Glick (Likud), Tamar Zandberg (Meretz), Micky Rosenthal (Zionist Union), Yael German (Yesh Atid), Yakov Margi (Shas), Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home), and Tali Ploskov (Kulanu).

Eight thousand Israelis die each year from smoking, with 10% of them victims of secondhand smoke. In Israel, 85% of smokers begin smoking before the age of 21.

An unlikely opponent of the bill is Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, who claims that he is currently working on legislation that would restrict smoking in public areas and “does not see a need” for an additional bill.

How about raising the minimum age AND restricting smoking in public areas?

For further reading click here.

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