Israel News for April 13, 2016

Anti McDonalds
Health Minister Yaakov Litzman,of the Haredi UTJ party, has declared war on McDonalds. It has nothing to do with Kosher issues (Israel has kosher McDonalds branches). Litzman is at war with all fast food, because of health reasons.

Speaking at the Israel Heart Society’s annual conference Litzman said, “There’s no need to eat junk food. McDonald’s out. Not in our country. There’s no need to eat McDonalds.”

About 600,000 Israelis suffer from diabetes, with some 90 percent suffering from type 2 diabetes which causes severe damage to health. It is caused, among other things, by a poor diet, obesity and lack of exercise.

Litzman added, “Children should be educated not to eat junk food. Not to eat so many sweets. It’s right for diabetes and it’s right for the heart. That’s what we’re going to do in the coming year – prevention.”

McDonald’s responded to Litzman’s comments saying, “We are sorry that the health minister chooses to express himself in a non-scientific manner and chooses populist remarks that make headlines but don’t reflect what is happening across the chain. McDonald’s Israel carried out a comprehensive health reform over a decade ago that is highly respected in the European community. We hope that it isn’t the operation of the chain on Shabbat that is at the base of Minister Litzman’s irresponsible, unfounded and unscientific attack on McDonald’s.”

No, I don’t think this has anything to do with Shabbat. Just unhealthy food.

For further reading click here.

Temple Mount Wedding
According to the Temple Institute, an organization dedicated to preparing for the establishment of a third Temple on the Temple Mount, a Jewish couple recently had their marriage ceremony performed on the mount. No, there wasn’t any sushi or even chicken and certainly no band. The wedding party consisted of 13 Jews, one of whom distracted the Waqf guards while the others concealed the bride and groom. Then the groom surreptitiously placed the ring on his bride’s finger and whispered the traditional phrase, “Behold you are betrothed to me with this ring, according to the laws of Moses and Israel.” Mazal Tov!

This is apparently the first time a Jewish marriage ceremony has taken place on the Temple Mount since the destruction of the Temple in the year 70 CE. The question is, were weddings ever performed on the Temple Mount, even when the Temple existed?

A full video of the event has not been released, but if you want to see a photo of the actual ring placing ceremony, click here.

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Poland Trip Scrapped
Zeev Dagani, principal of the prestigious Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium, has decided to stop sending students on the traditional annual heritage trips to Poland because he feels that the trip has an “ultranationalistic” influence on the students.

It seems that seeing the concentration camps and experiencing the places where the holocaust occurred instills the students with a bit too much Jewish pride and Israeli patriotism for the principal’s tastes. Instead of the trip, the school will institute a more intensive holocaust education program and a trip around Israel to see the effects of the holocaust and speak with survivors.

For further reading click here.

Travel Warning
Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau yesterday issued travel warnings relating to credible threats against Israeli citizens in more than 30 countries. But when you see the list you’ll realize that, other than Turkey, the countries listed aren’t the kind of places you’d be planning to travel to anyway.

The countries on the list include Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan and Somalia, Algeria, Djibouti, Mauritania, Tunisia, Burkina-Faso, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Malaysia, Mali, Pakistan, Niger, Turkey and Togo, Bahrain, Egypt Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, Azerbaijan, Morocco, Oman, Kenya and Nigeria.

So are you cancelling your Pesach travel plans?

For further reading click here.

Demolition Stopped
The Prime Minister’s Office has blocked the demolition of an illegally built Arab house in an apparent attempt to avoid increasing tensions among the Arab population before the Pesach holiday season.

The home in question was built illegally in 1992, adjacent to a local market. In 1974, the land around it was declared to be part of a national park, which put it under the jurisdiction of the Israel National Park Authority.

Aref Tutunji, the owner of the home, which houses 11 people in just three rooms, expressed his approval of the government’s decision to stop the demolition, saying, “The Palestinian press wanted me to speak against the state of Israel, but I won’t badmouth the state. I was hospitalized for a year in an Israeli hospital and the state pays for my children’s education. I won’t argue with police officers if they come over to demolish (the home), but I ask one thing from the state: I just want my home.”

A government official said that the demolition was not cancelled permanently, just postponed. He added, “These days, everyone needs to make calculated decisions in order to not enflame the region.”

For further reading click here.

Demolition Accomplished
In contrast to the last story, the government wasn’t worried about increasing tensions before Peach when it demolished the home of a Jewish couple in Beit El yesterday that was built without the required permits. The couple, Uri and Inbal Aloni, had built their home next to their horse ranch, which provides services for special needs children. By the way, Inbal is currently in the advanced stages of pregnancy.

Double standard?

For further reading click here.

More Rain
Israel is getting hit, or blessed, with more rain, which will continue throughout the week. You can’t really complain about rain in Israel.

For further reading click here.