Israel News for September 1, 2015

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Fighting in Jenin
IDF, Shin Bet and Police counterterrorism forces entered the West Bank Arab town of Jenin last night to arrest Ba’saam Alsaudi, a senior Islamic Jihad commander. Palestinian sources say that the forces surrounded his house and destroyed it. They were fired upon and there was a shootout. Hamas claims that two of its operatives were arrested. One Israeli soldier was wounded in the shootout. At least four terrorists were killed.

Increased Security
PM Netanyahu told ministers in a weekly cabinet meeting that the IDF and police force will increase security in the wake of an escalation in terror attacks in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. He said, “We will augment our forces and expand our fortification of vehicles in order to preserve the security of Israel’s citizens.”

On the subject of police, the PM also expressed his support for Gal Hirsch, the Public Security Minister’s nominee to head up the Israel National Police. Netanyahu said, “Gal Hirsch is the right person at the right time. He was a moral and ethical officer, he has great abilities to make change and contribute to the strengthening of the Israel police and the strengthening of law and order in the state.”

Hirsch is being investigated by the attorney general for alleged money laundering and other business improprieties. No evidence has so far been found against him.

Egypt, Fish and Tunnels
Israel isn’t the only country bent on destroying Hamas tunnels coming out of Gaza. This week the Egyptian army began a project to construct 18 fisheries along their 9 mile border with Gaza. The fisheries will grow mullet fish and shrimp. More importantly, the water will make digging tunnels impossible and cause the existing ones to flood.

Some Gazan smugglers are already installing water pumps to suck the water out and keep their tunnels operating. But it seems like just a matter of time before the twenty tunnels currently in operation get shut down, putting an end to smuggling and terrorist movement across the border.

Maybe Israel should consider creating fish farms along its border with Gaza? Salmon and whitefish might just solve Israel’s Gaza border problems.

Israeli Tunnel
Speaking of tunnels, Jerusalem police have uncovered the entrance to a 30 meter long tunnel in the yard of an East Jerusalem house adjacent to the Rockefeller Museum, just outside the Old City. The museum contains a major collection of artifacts from archaeological digs conducted during the British Mandate period.

Museum officials don’t seem to think that the purpose of the tunnel was to steal artifacts, but the police are investigating the possibility. They’ll keep digging until they figure it out (sorry for the tunnel humor).

Where there’s Smoke
Smoking seems to be on the rise in the Palestinian Authority, but PA tax coffers aren’t benefitting. Neither is the Palestinian run Jerusalem Cigarette Company. That’s because huge quantities of cigarettes are being smuggled in from Jordan every day, bypassing PA customs officials.

Most of the cigarettes are smuggled in by women, who strap them to their bodies, and delivered by Israeli taxis, which can’t be searched by PA authorities.

The Jordanian made cigarettes cost half as much as those made in the PA. According to one report, the smuggling is costing the PA over $100 million in lost revenue. Sales at the Jerusalem Cigarette Company have dropped significantly too. The instances of lung cancer can’t be too good either, but that’s just our guess.

Charedim Must Not Discriminate
One of the most prestigious charedi girls seminary will need to be a bit less discriminatory in their acceptance practices. The Jerusalem district court has ordered the seminary, Hayashan, to accept 21 girls into its ninth grade class that they had previously rejected. Most of the girls are from Sephardic families.

The story began when the 21 girls were rejected from enrolling in the school, even after the Jerusalem Municipality insisted that they be accepted. The school’s headmaster, Rabbi Levin, denies allegations of discrimination against Sephardim and claims that the girls just do not have the qualifications required by the school.

Aryeh Deri, the head of the Shas Sephardic-Charedi party, warned against a repeat of the discrimination case in the charedi town of Emanuel. In that case there were two girls schools, one primarily for Ashkenazim and one for Sephardim. Some Sephardic parents sued because their girls were denied acceptance to the Ashkenazic school. The case caused lots of strife and infighting within the charedi community. No one in the community wants that to happen again.

Rabbi Levin says that he will fight the court’s ruling claiming that it has no right to meddle in the affairs of the charedi education system.