Israel News for February 2, 2016

Home Demolition
Israeli security forces are preparing to demolish the home of Amjad Sukkari, the Palestinian Authority police officer who shot 3 Israeli soldiers near Beit El on Sunday. The home is located in the West Bank village of Jami’in, near Nablus (Shechem).

Hours before the attack, Sukkari posted a message on his Facebook page in which he indicated his intention to carry out a terrorist attack. “Every day, we hear about a death,” Sukkari wrote, referring to the death of Palestinians who carried out attacks against Israelis. Forgive me, I might be the next one.”

In another post published shortly before the attack, Sukkari quoted from the famous Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish: “We have on this Earth what makes life worth living. Unfortunately, I don’t see anything worth living for as long as the ‘occupation’ is suppressing us and killing our brothers and sisters.”

On his way to carrying out the shooting, Sukkari took a “selfie” of himself and posted it on his account together with the sentence: “By God’s will, your morning will be one of victory.”

Sukkari did not fit the usual profile of terrorists — young and disenfranchised. He had four kids and a good job as bodyguard for the PA prosecutor-general in Ramallah.

The Palestinian police released a statement following the attack saying, “with great pride, the members of the Palestinian police eulogize the brave martyrdom of their colleague, Master Sergeant Amjad Sukkari, “Abu Omar”, who committed the operation at V.I.P checkpoint in Beit El.”

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Compromise Opponents
We reported yesterday on the historic compromise agreement between the Orthodox and Conservative and Reform movements, ratified by the Israeli cabinet, to established a separate section of the Western Wall for non-Orthodox Jewish prayer services.

While the Orthodox establishment is not pleased with the new situation, it begrudgingly agreed to the compromise in order to avoid continuos conflict at the site and because the section of the wall given to the non Orthodox groups is not really a part of what Jewish law considers to be the sanctified area of the Kotel.

But now there is opposition emanating from a different quarter: the Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority along with the Waqf, that administers the Temple Mount, has declared that establishing a new prayer area at the southern part of the Western Wall violates the “status quo” and is an attempt to undermine Al-Aqsa Mosque and to “Judaize” Jerusalem’s Old City.

According to Palestinian Waqf and Religious Affairs Minister Sheikh Yousef Adeis, the entire Al-Aqsa complex, including its walls and gates, is holy to Islam, and the Western Wall is considered part of its walls. In addition, the prayer area at the Western Wall was built on a Palestinian neighborhood which was uprooted by Israel after the 1967 Six Day War, and therefore any Israeli construction in the area is seen by the Palestinians as part of the same Israeli aggression.

So just when you thought everyone was satisfied…

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New Attorney General
Avichai Mandelblit became Israel’s new Attorney General yesterday, replacing Yehudi Weinstein. Mandelblit, 53, is married, has six children and lives in Petah Tikva. He wears a kippah. At the swearing in ceremony he said, “The legal system will stand behind everyone who is harmed by state institutions, and everyone will be equal before the law.”

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After three years of failed efforts, emergency response victim identification organization ZAKA he’s been granted official advisory status by the United Nations. The vote by the UN Committee on Non Governmental Organizations was unanimous, despite the membership of states hostile to Israel like Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, Sudan, and Pakistan.

Another Israeli NGO, AlManarah, the Association for Persons with Disabilities, was also granted recognition by the UN.

Official recognition by the UN grants ZAKA the right to participate in official hearings of all UN arms and thus influence the conversation in the global union’s various committees.

The Israeli embassy played a major role in lobbying support for the successful vote. Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said: “This is a very significant victory for Israeli diplomacy. ZAKA is an organization that reflects Israel’s moral values and its acceptance by the UN represents conclusive proof to the world of this fact. ZAKA received the status it deserves.”

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Real Estate
Looking to buy an apartment in Israel? Here’s some information you’ll want to know. According to a report in Walla News, the city with the cheapest apartments is Tiberius, with a four room property going for NIS 761,604. Next in line is Kiryat Ata at NIS 886,462, followed by Acco at NIS 908,971. Beersheva comes in fourth at just over a million shekels, followed closely by Karmiel.

If you’re looking for an investment, Tiberius will bring you the highest yield of 4.3%. Cheapest price, highest yield. Something to think about.

On the flip side, the most expensive cities to buy that four room apartment are Tel Aviv (of course), Givatayim, Ramat Hasharon, Jerusalem and Herzliya.

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King Returns
For kosher diners who took great pleasure from being able to eat in one of the iconic American fast food chains, at least when they were in Israel, there is reason to rejoice. Burger King is coming back to Israel.

After a six year absence, the burger franchise is set to open its first branch in Tel Aviv this week, and will open a total of 50 branches in the next five years at a cost of around $12 million.

Strongly enough, you can thank the French for bringing back all the healthy benefits of American fast food to the Holy Land. French businessman Pierre Besnainou and a group of investors own the rights to the new franchise. Is it because of the “French Fries”?

Burger King originally entered the Israeli market in 1993. Its 55 franchises in Israel shut down in the summer of 2010. Most reopened as the Israeli franchise Burger Ranch.

In response to the opening of the Burger King, Burger Ranch announced that it would partner with the discount Israeli coffee shop chain Cofix to build specialized Cofix branches adjacent to Burger Ranch outlets, offering less expensive choices.

By the way, the new Burger King in Tel Aviv will not be Kosher. But don’t worry, there will be plenty of kosher Whoppers coming soon.

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