Israel News for 8-7-17

Arab Stoners
Arabs hurled stones at Jewish vehicles near the Jewish town of Karmei Tzur, off Route 60 at the southern edge of the Gush Etzion bloc yesterday. One of the rocks smashed through the window of a bus and hit a one year old boy. The child was evacuated to Shaarei Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem and is listed in light condition.

In an unrelated incident, a Jewish man walking to a yeshiva in the Old City of Jerusalem was attacked by an Arab who struck him in the head several times. Police officers chased the attacker and arrested him.

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African Diplomacy
Senegal and Guinea, both predominantly Muslim countries in West Africa, are sending their first ever ambassadors to Israel. They will, however, be non-resident ambassadors. Senegal’s Talla Fall, who also represents the country in Egypt, will work from Cairo, while Guinea’s Amara Camara will be based in Paris. Back in February Israel broke off all diplomatic relations with Senegal after it sponsored an anti Israel resolution in the UN Security Council. Relations were reinstated in June.

PM Netanyahu has visited Africa twice in the last 14 months and plans to attend a major Africa-Israel summit in Togo in October. Several African leaders have also visited Israel in recent months.

Under the motto “Israel is coming back to Africa and Africa is coming back to Israel,” Netanyahu has declared diplomatic outreach to Africa as one of his key foreign policy objectives, offering African states development aid, economic cooperation, and anti-terrorism know-how in the hopes of gaining African support in the UN and other international organizations. Earlier this week, Cape Verde announced it will no longer vote against Israel at the UN.

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Apartment Tax
Israel’s Supreme Court has struck down a proposed law that would impose a special tax on owners of more than two apartments. The law was created by Finance Minister Moshe Kahalon in an attempt to increase the available housing supply by inducing owner investors to sell their apartments.

The court ruled that the bill was rushed through the Knesset, which didn’t allow for the proper legislative process. It said, “Since the members of the Knesset in the Finance Committee who wished to do so were not allowed to hold a proper discussion and formulate an informed position regarding the multi-apartment tax legislation, the principle of participation was severely undermined. Under these circumstances, there is no alternative but to determine there was a flaw in the very root of the process of legislation.”

Kahalon is already planning to push through a similar law.

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Happy Valentines
Today is Tu B’av, the Jewish version of Valentine’s Day. According to the Talmud, on the 15th day (Tu) of the Hebrew month of Av (today), single Jewish women would gather in a designated field near Jerusalem and dance, while the single Jewish men would watch. Sort of like a huge singles mixer. But it was far from a superficial scene. The women would wear borrowed white garments, so as not to embarrass those who couldn’t afford the latest designer fashions. And they would sing these words from Proverbs 31:30, “Charm is deceptive and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears G-d shall be praised.” The men and women would meet and well, the rest is history.

According to recently released statistics, Israel has one of the highest marriage rates among developed countries. At the same time, Jewish men and women in Israel are getting married at a later age than they did back in the 70’s. The average marriage age is 28 for men and 25 for women. That means that the number of singles in their 20’s has drastically increased. It has also lead to an increase in people who have remained unmarried into their upper 40’s, from 3% to 12%.

So take some time out today to celebrate the Jewish version of Valentines Day, in whatever way you deem appropriate.

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Cause Israel
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