Israel News for 8-28-17

UN Visit
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres is on a four day visit to Israel. He visited Yad Vashem today and then met with President Rivlin and told him that he would be handling relations in the Middle East impartially and that he was devoted to implementing the principles in the UN Charter.

He said, “Impartiality means treating all states equally, and I am totally committed to that in my action and in everything I can do for the organization I lead,” he continued. “I do believe that in particular when you mention those that call for the destruction of the State of Israel that that is a form of modern anti-Semitism, but you also understand that I sometimes disagree with positions with the government of Israel or any other government, and that is absolutely normal in a society where many of your citizens have exactly the same expressions of opinions.”

Guterres will also meet with PM Netanyahu, Defense Minister Lieberman and opposition leader Herzog. He will meet Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Tuesday in the West Bank and visit Gaza on Wednesday.

In the Yad Vashem visitors book Guterres wrote, “As UN Secretary-General, I’m committed to combating anti-Semitism and any other form of intolerance that hasn’t yet been eradicated. I wish to praise every person who works and preserves this exceptional museum.”

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IDF Pardons
President Reuven Rivlin has called upon IDF soldiers with criminal records to file a special request to the President’s Residence seeking a full removal of prior convictions in a bid to optimize work prospects and facilitate greater integration into society.

Rivlin basically said that everyone deserves a second chance and that the crimes committed by youths were not indicative of how they would behave as adults, especially after serving in the IDF with distinction.

The president recently granted clemency to a number of soldiers who carried out their military responsibilities and careers with the utmost professionalism, thereby enabling them to turn a new leaf and facilitate greater integration in the workplace.

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New Fighters
Israel has purchased 17 more F-35 stealth fighters from the US, bringing the total number of planes to 50, which constitutes two fighter squadrons. Delivery of the planes will be completed by late 2024. The air force has already received five of the planes in recent months, with two more scheduled for delivery in the coming days and an additional two in October.

The 17 planes now ordered are Israel’s third purchase of Stealth fighters. For the first time, the price per plane will be less than $100 million, compared with $125 million per plane in the first procurement in 2011 and $110 million in the second in 2015. A defense sources estimated that the price in the current purchase would be just over $90 million per plane.

Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman said, “Completion of the deal for purchasing the stealth fighter constitute a significant and strategic addition of force for the air force. The two F-35 squadrons, the apex of technology, will help the IDF cope with the security challenges facing Israel.”

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Conan in Israel
Comedian Conan O’Brian is in Israel and having a blast. You can follow his trip and watch his hilarious videos on his Facebook page.

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