Israel News for April 25, 2017

Religious Threats
On Monday the Supreme Court ruled to approve an amendment passed by the Tel Aviv municipality to allow select supermarkets to remain open on Shabbat. The existing regulations prohibit all commercial establishments from operated on Shabbat.

In response, the spiritual leader of Shas (the sephardic UltraOrthodox Knesset faction), Rabbi Shalom Cohen, has threatened to quit the governing coalition. Members of Haredi parties have also quit their posts on the Tel Aviv municipal council in protest. Minister of the Interior Aryeh Deri (Shas) is attempting to promote a law in the Knesset to bypass the Supreme Court’s decision.

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German Ultimatum
PM Netanyahu has presented German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel with an ultimatum: either he cancels his meeting with Breaking the Silence — an Israeli NGO that publishes the testimonies of former Israeli soldiers who report on human rights abuses in the West Bank and Gaza — or the PM will refuse to meet with him.

German officials said today that Gabriel will not change his schedule. Gabriel said, “It’s difficult for me to imagine that the meeting will be canceled, because this would be very regrettable.”

Explaining his planned meeting with Breaking the Silence, Gabriel said, “In no country in the world can you get a reasonable and comprehensive impression if you only meet with government representatives. You have to meet, as we did yesterday, with writers, with artists and students, and also with critical organizations.”

He added, “These are topics of the daily political news circle on which we need to form a political view. Therefore I find it totally normal to talk to them. I can’t imagine that we would stop doing this in the future only so we could meet with government officials.”

President Reuben Rivlin will meet with Gabriel as scheduled.

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Doctor Incentives
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Health Minister Yaakov Litzman have agreed on guidelines for financial incentives which will encourage doctors to move to outlying areas and communities.

The grants will be allocated in accordance with published criteria and according to the requirements of hospitals, clinics and the healthcare system. Hospital directors will be given flexibility to allocate grants according to their local requirements. The goal is to strengthen the general state of healthcare in the “periphery” of the country.

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Balfour Petition
On November 2, 1917, British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour sent a letter to Lord Rothschild – head of the Zionist Federation – expressing British support of a Jewish State in Palestine. While this represented the first political recognition of Jewish nationalism by a world power, it was a reflection of the philosophical, practical, and spiritual meaning behind the historical link of the Jewish nation to its ancient homeland.

The Israel Forever Foundation is working on a monumental drive to to collect 1 million signatures by the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration on November 2, 2017 to be presented to world bodies, organizations, and heads of state, to remind the world that Israel was established with the full backing and support of the international community.

To sign this important petition click here.