Israel News for December 6, 2016

Attack Thwarted
IDF forces arrested arrested several Palestinians next to Highway 60, south of Bethlehem, as they were preparing to throw Molotov cocktails over the security fence at passing vehicles. The IDF also arrested 10 suspected terrorists in the West Bank overnight.

To watch a video of the molotov cocktail arrests, click here.

Regulation Bill Passes
After the compromise agreement reached between PM Netanyahu and Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennet that removed Amona from the Regulation Bill, the bill passed its initial reading in the Knesset by a vote of 60-49 last night.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog ripped up the bill during his speech shouting, “This is another dispute that will be remembered in the history of the state. This is a bill for the creation of a bi-national state. This is a deal of rhinos. You know that it endangers IDF commanders, state leaders and the state’s character. You know that this is contrary to the opinion of the Attorney General. This bill is a black day for the Knesset.

The Attorney General spoke out against the original “pre-compromise” version of the bill, but is still unsure as to whether the new version will be upheld by the Supreme Court.

MK Benny Begin (Likud) was the only member of the governing coalition to oppose the bill. The bill still must pass three more readings in the Knesset to become law.

In its current version the bill would permit settlements that were formed with government support to maintain possession, but not ownership, over Palestinian owned land. The land owners would receive compensation. This would in essence legalize almost all of the settlements and remove them from the threat of evacuation.

The bill would not, however, prevent the evacuation of Amona, which is scheduled for December 25th. The government is planning to petition the Supreme Court for a 30 day postponement of the evacuation in order to provide Amona residents with housing on nearby land, as recommended by the Attorney General.

The adjacent land parcels have been assumed to be unclaimed land, although several Palestinians have just this week filed ownership claims over the parcels.

For further reading click here.

Shorter Army Service
Last year the government shortened the mandatory IDF service for men to 32 months from the previous 36 months. Now the Knesset is in the process of passing a bill that would further shorten IDF service for men to 30 months. The bill has already passed through three readings, with just one more to go. The bill is meant to stimulate the economy by enabling thousands more men each year to join the workforce.

For further reading click here.

Strange Partnership
Israel recently signed a contract with a German company to manufacture four new warships for the Israeli navy. It turns out that the shipyard where the warships are being constructed is operated by an Abu Dhabi-based company. Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which has no diplomatic relations with Israel and prohibits Israeli passport holders entry into the country.

A third of the UAE company is owned by a Lebanese Christian businessman, who assisted Israel in its search for missing Air Force navigator Ron Arad in the 1980’s.

So an Arab owned company is helping the Germans build warships for Israel. Who would have thought?

For further reading click here.

Netanyahu in Gold
An artist has erected a 13 foot tall gold (painted) statue of PM Netanyahu in Rabin Square, just outside the Tel Aviv municipality building. The statue is meant to replicate similar types of statues of dictators in other countries.

The artist, Itay Zalait, remarked, “The most important thing is to make people think and to not take things for granted. To imagine – without saying its good or bad – how does it feel to live in a country where a statue of the leader is in the center of the town? Right now this feels like provocation but it could become reality.”

The Tel Aviv municipality has ordered the statue removed, since it was placed there without authorization.

For further reading click here.