Israel News for February 9, 2017

ISIS Attacks Eilat
Last night at around 11:00pm four rockets were fired at Eilat from Sinai. Three of the rockets were intercepted and destroyed by the Iron Dome missile defense system. One rocket fell in an open area causing no injuries or damage. Four individuals were reportedly treated for shock.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack and released a statement saying, “A number of rockets were launched at Jewish centers in Eilat, known as Umm Rashrash. The Jews and Crusaders should know that the war of the apostles will not save them in any way.”

Meanwhile, the Egyptian military reportedly attacked a tunnel on it’s border with Gaza, killing two and injuring five. The tunnel is alleged to be controlled by ISIS and used to smuggle weapons. ISIS reportedly controls all of the tunnels used for smuggling weapons on the Egyptian-Gaza border.

Earlier Wednesday evening, a mortar shell fired from a tank in Syria exploded in open territory in the Golan Heights along Israel’s northern border, prompting the IDF to attack a Syrian army post in retaliation.
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German Trust
In response to the Knesset’s passage of the Regulation Bill, which legalizes the confiscation of privately owned Palestinian land that has settlements built on it, the German Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying, “Many in Germany who stand by Israel and feel great commitment toward it find themselves deeply disappointed by this move. Our trust in the Israeli government’s commitment to the two-state solution has been fundamentally shaken.”

The statement concluded with, “In view of the many reservations which the Israeli attorney general, among others, has affirmed once more, it would be good if the bill could soon undergo a critical legal review. We hope and expect that the Israeli government will renew its commitment to a negotiated two-state solution and underpin this with practical steps.”

The EU, UK and France have also issued statements against the new law. The US has remained silent. It’s still unclear what the US administration’s official position is regarding the two-state solution. The truth is, we’re not even sure what PM Netanyahu’s real position is on the issue. Things should hopefully clear up after Trump and Netanyahu meet on Feb. 15th.

The Regulation Law is expected to be challenged in the Supreme Court and overthrown on the basis of its being contrary to international law. The Attorney General has stated that he will not defend the law before the court.

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Russian Promise
Russian Ambassador to Israel, Alexander Shane, said that his country is working to prevent the transfer of Russian weapons to Hezbollah. According to Shane, Israel presented red lines to the Russians about events in Syria, the most important of which were the transfer of modern, advanced weapons to Hezbollah and the establishment of an anti-Israel base with Iran in the Syrian Golan. He said, “Russia promised Israel that Russian weapons will not make it to Hezbollah.”

As Hezbollah is a proxy of Iran, impeding Hezbollah could be a way for Russia to show the US that it is working against Iran, even though it is clearly cooperated with the Iranians in its Syrian campaign.

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Foreign Ministry
Israel’s Foreign Ministry has been facing budget constraints, which has led to embassy and consular closings. Over the past year, the Israeli Foreign Ministry has closed four missions—El Salvador, the Caribbean Islands, Marseille and Philadelphia—leaving the country with 98 embassies, consulates and diplomatic missions in addition to four representative offices. That leaves Israel’s total diplomatic missions at 102, which is one less than the number of diplomatic mission’s of the Palestinian Authority. Additionally, while Israel only has representation in 78 countries, the Palestinians are represented in 95 countries.

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Haredi Protests
Earlier this week hundreds of Haredi protesters, members of the radical Jerusalem faction, engaged in violent protests in Jerusalem over the arrest of a yeshiva student for desertion from the IDF and against serving in the IDF in general. Sixty seven people sere arrested and several policemen were injured. In response, Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beytenu) has begun work to cancel the draft deferment agreement and financial subsidies with two yeshivas, whose students were the prime agitators in the protest riots.

Lieberman said, “I do not agree under any circumstances for riots and incitement against IDF soldiers to become part of our daily routine. The very existence of these protests against the draft undermines the authority of the state and we will not allow this phenomenon, or the intimidation of those who wish to draft, to occur. We will work within the framework of a range of possibilities open to us at the Ministry of Defense and other government ministries to work against those who participate in such actions against the IDF to ensure they receive no relief or benefits.”
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Airport Bus
Starting next week Bus No. 485, operated by the Afikim company, will travel directly from Jerusalem to Ben Gurion Airport. The line will operate 24 hours a day, cost NIS 16 and have wireless internet. The bus will make several stops in Jerusalem before heading directly to the airport. There is currently no direct bus service from Jerusalem to Ben Gurion. The new railway line connecting the capital with the airport is not expected to be completed for at least another year.

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Chassidic Dance
Dancing at Chassidic weddings is strictly gender segregated. But there’s one exception in which the bride and groom actually do a dance together. If you don’t believe me, here’s a video of a bride a groom doing their dance, while the Bobover Rebbe joins them — sort of.

To watch the video click here.