Israel News for August 26, 2016

Terrorist Attacks IDF
An Arab terrorist opened fire on an IDF position adjacent to the town of Ofra in Samaria this afternoon. Soldiers shot and killed the attacker. No soldiers were injured. Additional IDF forces were deployed to the area following the attack, sealing off it off and conducting searches for any possible additional terrorists.

Source: Arutz7.

No Immunity
Last month Israel arrested Waheed Borsh, a Palestinian engineer who worked for the UN Development Agency (UNDP) in Gaza for allegedly aiding Hamas by using UN resources to build a marina for the Hamas navy and for granting Hamas members preferential treatment in reconstruction projects.

On Wednesday the UN sent a letter to Israeli officials demanding diplomatic immunity for Borsh. Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon responded, “Israel rejects the claim that a person assisting a terror organization recognized by the international community such as Hamas could enjoy immunity.”

Nachshon added, “It is outrageous that a man assisting a terror organization could benefit from UN immunity. It is clear that immunity is not a license to commit acts of terror.”

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Arab Construction
The Ministry of Construction and Housing has allocated 1.4 billion shekels over the next four years for housing solutions in Arab communities. The goal is to enable the building of tens of thousands of new housing units as well as the construction of public buildings.

Minister of Construction and Housing Yoav Galant said, “We are working in close cooperation with the leadership in Arab sector communities. Prosperity in the Arab sector is an interest of Israeli society as a whole. The measure comes on top of a series of housing solutions being formulated by the Ministry of Construction and Housing for all population groups and sectors in Israel. The process will ease the housing crisis in communities in the sector.

He added, ”In the next 20 years, Israel will need one million housing units, including 200,000 for the Arab sector. We are therefore devising long-term solutions that will facilitate a substantial improvement in housing conditions by increasing the number of housing units, planning high-density construction, and developing new public in according to community needs.”

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Shabbat Crisis
Last night the Haredi Shas and United Torah Judaism (UTJ) parties threatened to leave (and topple) the coalition government. The issue at hand relates to major government construction projects that are taking place on Shabbat.

One of the projects is ongoing roadwork repair on the Ayalon, which is the major highway entering Tel Aviv from the south. The other project is the construction of new railway lines between Ben Gurion Airport and Modiin and between Bet Yehoshua and Atlit (in the north).

After prolonged negotiations between the Prime Minister, Transportation Minister and the Haredi parties, a compromise agreement was reached. The Ayalon roadwork can continue, because doing the work on weekdays would constitute a danger to human life due to heavy workweek traffic. However, the train work may not be done on Shabbat, since the work doesn’t interfere with traffic or constitute a danger.

In addition, a committee to coordinate between the Transportation Ministry and Shas and United Torah Judaism was formed. The group includes the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, the Director-General of the Transportation Ministry, the Police Commissioner and ministers from the Haredi parties or their representatives.

For further reading click here.

Trump Office
The Donald Trump campaign has opened a new office in Ramat Gan, near the diamond district. The office will serve Tel Aviv and the entire central coastal region. Two other Trump offices are located in Jerusalem and Modiin. A fourth office will soon be added in the West Bank, and a fifth may also be added.

In the 2012 US Presidential election, around 85% of the ballots cast in Israel were for Republican Mitt Romney. Trump representatives are hoping to replicate those results.

Seems like a lot of work for 80,000 votes, but the campaign is assuming that a good number of those will be from voters hailing from important swing states like Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The campaign has released a Hebrew language poster that reads, “Trump: In Israel’s Interest.” The campaign also launched a Hebrew language Twitter feed. Can Trump tweet in Hebrew?

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