Israel News for August 19, 2016

No Nuke Vote
The annual International Atomic Energy Agency’s general conference, which will be held next month, usually includes a vote, sponsored by the Arab League, to condemn Israel’s alleged nuclear program. This year the Arab League has indicated that it will not demand that vote. Sources say that the Arabs apparently will call for a debate regarding the safety of Israel’s nuclear facilities, which they feel might be more effective, given the consensus of all nations regarding the issue.

Senior Israeli diplomats noted that the Arab states’ decision was exceptional. The Arab states, led by Egypt, have been advancing resolutions on Israel’s nuclear facilities nearly every year since 1987. During this decade alone, a vote on such resolutions was taken in 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2015. Over the last three years Israel foiled the resolutions by recruiting more and more countries to vote against them.

Two reasons have been given for the Arabs’ change of heart. The first is that they finally realize that they won’t be able to gain a majority of votes. The second is that the issue has traditionally been led by the Egyptian delegation, and the Egyptian Foreign Ministry is now headed by Sameh Shoukry, who visited Israel. One Western diplomat explained, “Apparently Shoukry understands that advancing this move against Israel’s nukes is illogical, doesn’t serve Egyptian interests and will undermine other issues it is trying to advance with Israel.”

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Stun Grenade
The IDF disciplined a platoon sergeant and two other soldiers based on a surveillance camera video that showed the soldiers pulling up alongside four Palestinians in the northern West Bank and allegedly throwing a stun grenade, which exploded a moment after they drove off. The Palestinian men were able to escape before the grenade exploded. The sergeant was sent to jail for 10 days and two other soldiers were also disciplined for acting “contrary to military standards.”

To watch the video click here.

Early Warning System
There are about 3,000 early warning sirens throughout Israel that warn Israelis of missile attacks. But apparently, not everyone can hear those sirens. So the IDF Home Command has developed an early warning kit for private homes that will be sold to individuals. There are already early warning apps and text message warnings available.

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Haredi Concern
Haredi leaders are concerned about plans by the Jerusalem municipality to develop the areas around the light rail with shopping and entertainment centers. Several Haredi neighborhoods border the light rail, and Haredi leaders don’t like the idea of exposing their community to the dangers of modern urban living. The Haredi newspaper Hamevaser quoted the leaders saying, “the establishment of such busy centers, markets, and entertainment along with a leisurely and academic lifestyle, within walking distance of haredi neighborhoods creates a spiritual danger for our souls and for our children’s souls.”

Another issue that is angering Haredi leaders is the fact that some Haredim are visiting the Temple Mount, which is considered forbidden by all Haredi rabbinic authorities. The Haredi newspaper Yatid Neeman accused these people of not being real Haredim and of inciting the Arabs against Haredim, in addition to Jews in general.

For further reading click here and here.

Airport Stress
Yesterday was the busiest day of the year at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport, as 40,000 people took off on 240 flights, with a similar number of arrivals.

This writer was part of that “balagan” (chaos), which is why we missed yesterday’s daily email. Apparently all of the top Israeli talent is working at startups, because the airport staff and security and check-in process leaves a lot to be desired. Add to that the usual Israeli chutzpah and stress, and you’ve got the perfect storm of airport frustration and madness.

As if all that wasn’t enough, a plane from El Al’s low cost Up Airline en route to Kiev with 182 passengers blew out one of its tires upon takeoff and had to circle the airport for an hour and a half to burn off fuel before making an emergency landing back at Ben Gurion. No one was injured.

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Israel Celebrates Love
Yesterday was Tu B’av, the Jewish version of Valentine’s Day. According to the Talmud, on the 15th day (Tu) in the Hebrew month of Av (today), the single Jewish women would gather in a designated field and dance, while the single Jewish men would watch. Sort of like a huge singles mixer. But it was far from a superficial scene. The women would wear borrowed white garments, so as not to embarrass those who couldn’t afford the latest designer fashions. And they would sing these words from Proverbs 31:30, “Charm is deceptive and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears G-d shall be praised.” Now that’s serious.

The men and women would meet and well, the rest is history.