Israel News for August 17, 2016

IDF Raid
A large IDF force entered the al Fawwar refugee camp in Hebron on Tuesday to arrest terror suspects and search for illegal weapons. Palestinians attacked soldiers with molotov cocktails, improvised explosives and rocks. IDF forces responded with crowd control measures and confirmed that 23 Palestinians were wounded.

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Terrorists Busted
The Shin Bet announced that it has arrested eight people who were part of aWest Bank terror cell recruited by Hezbollah. The suspects were arrested at the beginning of June 2016 before they were able to carry out an attack, and have been indicted by the Judean Military Court. In addition to collecting intelligence on Israeli patrols, the suspects also practiced shooting with hunting rifles, and practiced building IEDs.

An investigation revealed that Hezbollah attempted to recruit Israeli-Arabs and West Bank Palestinians via several different pro-Palestinian Facebook pages.

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Illegal Entries
According to IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, there are currently between 50,000 and 60,000 Palestinians that enter Israel illegally every day, without work permits. He said, “Among those in possession of legal permits there were no terrorists in the latest wave of terror and I don’t think there were any even in the last decade.”

He stressed that there are still 100 kilometers without a security fence, near Jerusalem and Hebron, which need to be secured in order to stem the flow of illegals. He also said that we “need to increase the punishment against those who employ the illegal aliens, those who provide them with lodging places and those who transport them.”

There are currently approximately 800,000 valid entry permits in Israel. In order to obtain a permit, a person must be 22 years old, married, with no security or criminal background. Enforcement against the Israeli employers who employ the illegal workers is recognized as being deficient and in dire need of improvement in order to solve the problem of the illegals.

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Yeshiva Surge
According to the latest figures from the Jerusalem Institute of Israel Studies and the Israel Democracy Institute, the number of full time Haredi yeshiva students rose 8 percent in 2015 to 108,390, 67% of whom are married. The change comes after a consistent decline from 2012 to 2014, when the number of ultra-Orthodox men studying Torah full-time decreased by 8 percent.

The recent surge is attributed to an increase in government funding as a result of the Haredi political parties being part of the coalition. Under the previous government (2012-2014), which included Yesh Atid, the state cut its support for yeshiva students who didn’t serve in the IDF by about 50 percent. That government had also passed a law which granted a full military exemption to 20,000 men, who as a result no longer needed to enroll in a yeshiva to avoid being drafted.

With the entrance of the Ultra Orthodox parties into the government in 2015, the state increased the yeshivas’ budget from 564 million shekels in 2014 to 1.1 billion shekels in June of 2016. That budget doesn’t include guaranteed income payments to married kollel students.

On the other hand, more Haredi men are entering the work force than ever before, reaching over 50% for the first time. The non Haredi workforce participation rate is 91%.

Think about this for second: there are over 100,000 adult, full time yeshiva students in Israel. That’s a first in Jewish history, by a long shot. Who said we aren’t in the messianic era?

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Campus Outreach
The Diaspora Affairs Ministry, headed by Naftali Bennet, has allocated 250 million shekels ($65.6 million) for a two year project to “strengthen Jewish identity and the connection with Israel” among university students around the world.

The budget, a third of which comes from the government and the rest from Jewish groups and philanthropists, will be divided equally between Chabad, Olami and Hillel, which operate on hundreds of university campuses.

Bennet said, “The activities on campuses throughout the world are the real answer to the growing anti-Semitism and the delegitimization of Israel on campuses. For the first time since the founding of the state, the State of Israel understands that it’s not just the state of Israeli citizens, but the state of all Jews throughout the world.” He added that the activities of the project will not be focused on religious law, but many in the American Jewish communal world are skeptical, particularly because Chabad and Olami are both Orthodox organizations.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry claims that it wasn’t informed about the initiative, and that it is simply a political gift to Bennet and his Bayit Yehudi party.

In any case, students on campus will hopefully get the opportunity to strengthen their Jewish identity, thanks to the Jewish State.

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Judoka Sent Packing
The Egyptian Olympic delegation sent home the judoka who refused to shake the hand of his Israeli opponent after losing his match to the Israeli. The Israeli, Or Sasson, went on to win the bronze medal.

The International Olympic Committee, which set up a disciplinary commission to investigate the incident, said the Egyptian’s conduct “was contrary to the rules of fair play and against the spirit of friendship embodied in the Olympic values.”

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