Israel News for August 22, 2016

Rocket Attack
Yesterday afternoon Hamas terrorists fired a rocket from northern Gaza at the Israeli town of Sderot. Code Red warning sirens sounded at 2:30pm. The rocket miraculously landed in between two residential buildings, causing no damage or injuries.

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Israel Responds
Israeli aircraft and artillery pounded Hamas military positions in northern Gaza throughout the night, in response to the rocket that was launched from there yesterday. Officers say that this was the strongest IDF response since Operation Protective Edge.

Former Israeli Navy commander-in-chief, Maj. Gen. (res.) Eliezer Marom explained, “this is definitely a slightly harsher response than usual for rocket fire at Sderot. Israel is showing that ‘we won’t tolerate any rocket fire from the Strip. Hamas, you are currently in control of Gaza, so you are responsible for stopping all rocket fire—no one else.'”

Marom also stressed that the unusual Israeli response perfectly corresponds to Avigdor Lieberman becoming the minister of defense, saying, ”The minister of defense is changing the game a little. It’s not a dramatic change, but this series of strikes, coming in two waves, and hitting meaningful targets—as opposed to just hitting Hamas training sites which are basically just sand dunes—is in fact a change, a change which and I think is welcome and correct.”

Despite the powerful bombardment, officials claim that Israel is not looking to escalate the conflict with Hamas and will continue allowing thousands of trucks to enter the strip daily.

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Turkey Israel
The Turkish Parliament has ratified the rapprochement agreement recently signed between Israel and Turkey, officially restoring full diplomatic relations between the countries. PM Netanyahu praised the ratification.

With the deal ratified by Turkish lawmakers, the process of normalization is set to begin, including the removal of sanctions both parties have imposed on one another, an increase in the level of diplomatic relations and an exchange of ambassadors.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s state-run news agency reported that police have detained five people who tried to break into Israel’s consulate in Istanbul to protest Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip. The five entered a business center housing the consulate early Monday and were detained by police who were called to the scene. Security around the building was increased.

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Cairo Delegation
The Egyptian media reported that an Israeli delegation met with Egyptian officials in Cairo yesterday to reportedly discuss restarting the frozen Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and other matters of mutual interest. Egypt has been in the forefront of trying to broker a peace summit between Israel and the Palestinians.

Egyptian media also reported that Egyptian President al-Sissi said that Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed a willingness to host Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for talks in Moscow. European leaders have failed to bring the two sides together.

Al-Sissi said, “Egypt supports these efforts and both sides are urged to participate and respond positively to the initiative for the sake of finding light at the end of the tunnel for Palestinians and establishing their state alongside Israel.”

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Farmers Wanted
Israeli consumers are facing skyrocketing vegetable prices as a result of a shortage of produce growing farmers in the country. Perhaps they’ve traded in their tractors for the chance to work at startups to get their shot at startup nation success?

Whatever the reason, the prices of tomatoes, watermelons, squash and sweet potatoes are just some of the popular veggies that are becoming more expensive by the day. And have you tried buying an avocado in Israel lately? Forget about it! That salmon avocado roll you cherish might soon become a memory.

According to estimates there are about 8,000 farmers in Israel, which is about half of the number a decade ago. Instead of produce, farmers are currently growing flowers and seeds, which are more profitable and easier to manage.

Produce was one of the few things you could claim were cheaper (and tastier) in Israel. Oh well.

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Medal Miss
The Israeli Rhythmic Gymnastic team missed their chance at bringing a medal home to Israel when it finished sixth in yesterday’s final at the Rio olympics. Israelis had high hopes that the girls might snag a medal. But sixth in the world is pretty darn good. Russia took the gold medal.
Israel ended up winning two bronze medals in Rio, both in Judo. You can’t be great at everything (despite what your mother said).

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