Israel News for August 10, 2016

Gaza Tunnel
A tunnel being dug from Gaza into Israel collapsed yesterday, injuring ten Islamic Jihad terrorists. Dangerous job, digging terror tunnels.

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Lebanon Supplied by US
Yesterday the US gave an entire ship load of over $50 million worth of weapons to the Lebanese army, including 50 armored Humvees, 40 Howitzers and over 1,000 tons of ammunition.

U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth H. Richard told reporters at Beirut’s port, “This year alone, we provided over $221 million in equipment and training to the Lebanese security forces. I’d also like to point out that Lebanon is the 5th largest recipient of United States foreign military financing in the world.”

Let’s hope those arms don’t find their way into the hands of Hezbollah to be used against Israel.

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Finnish Ship
In 2012 the Israeli navy intercepted and impounded a Finnish flagged ship off the coast of Gaza that was attempting to break the blockade. Now Israel’s Supreme Court has ordered the ship released and awarded the ship’s owners 40,000 shekels in court costs. The ship owners will now sue for damages.

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Olympic Medal
Israel won its first medal at this year’s olympics when judoka Yarden Gerbi defeated Japan’s Miku Tashiro to win the bronze medal in the women’s 63kg weight class.

After winning, Gerbi said, “The medal is for all of Israel, for everyone who supported me and cheered me on. I’m waiting for someone to wake me up. I gave my soul and it paid off. Whoever said you can’t succeed in Israel, is wrong.”

Geri lost to Brazil’s Mariana Silva earlier in the day, in a controversial match in which the Israelis claimed that the referee unfairly favored Silva in an overtime call that could have won Gerbi the match.

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Trump Advisor
Donald Trump’s advisor for Israel affairs, David Friedman, visited Jerusalem this week and met with senior officials from the Prime Minister’s Office. To keep things even, a Netanyahu advisor traveled to Washington to meet with Hillary Clinton’s advisors.

PM Netanyahu has made it clear that Israel will remain neutral regarding the US elections and meet with each side equally.

Friedman is considered to be a right winger on Israel issues, is a major contributor to organizations that support West Bank settlements and is president of the American Friends of Beit El.

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Nazis Identified
German prosecutors say they have tracked down eight people who allegedly worked at the Nazis’ Stutthof concentration camp during World War II. The suspects include four men who worked as guards and four women who worked as secretaries or phone operators.

Prosecutors are now considering whether they can be charged as accessories to murder. Over 65,000 people were murdered in Stutthof.

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New Tax
The government is seeking to pass a new law that would impose a tax on owners of three or more apartments that could cost owners up to a maximum of around 20,000 shekels per year. According to the Ministry of Finance, there are around 50,000 people who own at least three apartments.

The tax is meant to be a way of pushing investors out of the market, thus increasing the supply of homes and lowering purchase prices. On the other hand, the owners of these apartments rent them out, so selling the apartments will decrease the rental supply, raising rents. The owners might also decide to pass on the tax to their tenants by raising the rent.

It’s complicated.

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Lots of Cars
According to the latest estimates, around 300,000 new cars will be sold in Israel next year (and they’ll all be on the road at the same time as you’re trying to get home from work). That’s despite the massive taxes which more than double the purchase price. And don’t forget the high cost of gasoline.

On the other hand, gas prices are coming down and public transportation isn’t getting any better, so the car deluge looks like it will continue. Oy.

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