Israel News for August 24, 2016

Party Time
The Israeli embassy in Washington will be throwing a Rosh Hashanah party this September that is budgeted at $25,000, and many Israeli diplomats are not pleased. Embassies traditionally throw two annual parties, one for Israel Independence Day and the other for Rosh Hashanah, with the former being much more extravagant. But with budget cuts throughout the Foreign Ministry, many at the ministry are claiming that the US party is not justified.

The budget for the Rosh Hashanah party includes $13,000 for catering, $9,000 for a marquee tent and $1,000 for alcohol, balloons and music. The ministry defended the expenditures by saying that the previous ambassador’s home was much larger, which precluded the need for a tent.

But let’s get real. This is Israel’s most important embassy in the most important capital in the world. And if you’ve ever thrown a party in the US, $25,000 really doesn’t sound unreasonable at all. In fact, it’s downright cheap!

The complaints are probably coming from diplomats stationed in less high profile diplomatic postings around the globe who are being squeezed by the ministry budget cuts. But this is Washington DC, so get over it.

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Drone Partnership
Following a meeting in Tel Aviv between Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and his Kazakh counterpart, Imangali Tasmagambetov, the Kazakhstan defense ministry announced that it would produce drones based on Israeli technology and that Israel would train the drone operators.

The Republic of Kazakhstan is located in Central Asia and was a part of the former Soviet Union. Over 70% of the population is Moslem. It is a large exporter of crude oil and uranium, and has huge reserves of other valuable minerals.

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Palestinian Protests
Hundreds of Palestinians staged violent demonstrations in Nablus (Shechem) to protest the death of a suspect arrested by Palestinian Authority police. The suspect, Ahmed Izz Halawa, was seized during a raid following the shooting death of two police officers in the city. He then died, mysteriously, in custody. Nablus governor Akram Al-Rjoub claims that he was beaten to death by police. Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Al-Hamdallah has promised a full investigation, describing the incident as “rare”. Halawa was a senior member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a militant group linked to the Fatah party.

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Eilat Threatened
As a result of an apparent pipeline leak, 200 tons of crude oil spilled into the Gulf of Aqaba from Jordan’s Aqaba port yesterday, which is adjacent to Eilat. Most of the oil is reported to be drifting south towards the beaches of Jordan and Saudi Arabia, but at least some of the oil could hit Israeli beaches.

Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection have begun preparations to aid in cleanup and containment, but has yet to receive a request for assistance from Jordan, where officials said they were responding to the incident themselves. The leak from the pipe has been stopped.

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Polish Holocaust Denial
Last week the Polish cabinet approved a bill that mandates three years in prison and a fine for anyone claiming that the Polish people or state were responsible for the Nazis’ crimes or collaborated with them. The bill is expected to be approved by the Polish parliament. Are you kidding me? This is nothing short of Holocaust denial. Yad Vashem scholars agree.

Poland is the only European country unwilling to approve restitution for property lost during the Holocaust. Now it’s looking to deny its role in the murder of its 3,000,000 Jews altogether. Will the world stand by silently and let them erase their guilt? Probably.

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