Israel News for April 4, 2016

Meir Ettinger
Meir Ettinger, the grandson of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, has been held in administrative detention by the Shin Bet for seven months for allegedly leading the “Price Tag” acts of violence perpetrated by settler youth against Palestinians in the West Bank. No official chargers have yet been brought against him.

Ettinger’s wife gave birth to a son last week, but the Supreme Court ruled yesterday that he will not be permitted to attend the bris. The court upheld the ruling of a Beersheba district court that prohibited Ettinger from leaving prison to attend the event, claiming that there is a security risk to releasing him.

Ettinger’s wife refuses to hold the bris in the prison, but the family has offered to hold the event near the prison and follow any security guidelines ordered by the Israel Prison Service (IPS).

The Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Israel David Lau sent a letter to the director of the IPS asking that he do everything possible to allow Ettinger to attend his son’s bris. But the courts have ruled.

The IPS routinely releases prisoners serving sentences for violent crimes on weekend furloughs. Why is releasing Ettinger, who has not even been charged for a crime, to attend his only son’s bris, such a problem?

For further reading click here.

Ryan in Israel
US Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is visiting Israel, as part of a bipartisan delegation, on his first official trip abroad as Speaker. He denied the possibility that he would run for president if chosen as the republican nominee in a contested convention. Regarding Israel he said, “I’m proud that my first trip as speaker is a return to Israel. At this critical moment, it is essential that we reaffirm the historic alliance between our two nations and work together to address the mutual security threats that we face.”

You never know.

For further reading click here.

Tsunami Threat
As if Israel didn’t have enough problems, you can add Tsunamis to the list. Apparently, the Mediterranean Sea is a vulnerable region for tsunamis. Around 25% of all recorded tsunamis in human history have taken place in the Mediterranean. About every 100 years a significant tsunami takes place in the sea, and around every 250 years a tsunami strikes the shoreline of Israel. Tsunami warnings are received in Israel once every three months on average. The last such warning was received on April 15, 2015, due to an earthquake off Cyprus that measured 6.1 on the Richter scale. Another warning was received the day after, due to an earthquake near Crete of the same magnitude.

But don’t worry. This morning Israeli emergency crews participated in the country’s first tsunami simulation to practice effective responses in case a monster wave ever hits. The exercise, named “Nachshol Kachol” (Blue Tidal Wave), included evacuating people from the beaches of Ashdod and Ashkelon to safe gathering points.

Still want that beachfront villa?

For further reading click here.

Pot Meetup
You might be surprised to hear (or not) that the first international conference of the marijuana industry is being held in Tel Aviv. That’s probably because while personal use of cannabis without a prescription is forbidden by law in Israel, cannabis research in the Holy Land is among the most advanced in the world. In fact, since 2014, US companies have invested $50 million in Israeli companies engaged in research and development of the cannabis plant. That’s not that much, considering that the legal marijuana market in the US is projected to reach $23 billion annually by 2020.

Could this be Israel’s new technology cash crop? Will the start up nation become the light up nation? It could, at the very least, reduce the sky high stress level of most Israelis. Nothing wrong with that.

For further reading click here.

Single Malt
Whiskey aficionados will now be able to turn to Israel for their single malts. And of course, it’ll all be certified kosher. The new distillery, called Milk and Honey, is located in Tel Aviv and will be exporting over a million bottles very soon.

To watch a video report about this, click here.

Trump Bris
Donald Trump’s grandson had his bris on Sunday without having his grandpa at his side. Trump was busy campaigning in Wisconsin. In any case he likes to be the center of attention, which would have been difficult at the Orthodox bris. In any case, Mazal Tov to the Trumps and Kushners! We couldn’t find the Hebrew name of the young prince, but if you want to see photos of the royal family heading to the bris, click here.