Israel News for February 24, 2016

Terror Attack
According to an IDF spokesman, a Palestinian man attempted to stab Israelis at a hitchhiking stop at the Gush Etzion junction. The terrorist was shot and wounded by an Israeli civilian. An Israeli man was also accidentally hit by the gunfire and seriously wounded. Both he and the terrorist were evacuated to hospitals in Jerusalem. The wounded Israeli man is in his early 20’s.
Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel from Bayit Yehudi asked Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon to close the roads in the area to Palestinian traffic.

In Jerusalem’s Old City today, police arrested two Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem after discovering two pipe bombs and ammunition in their food stand near Herod’s Gate. The bombs were diffused.

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Gaza Port
With talks between Israel and Turkey to restore their broken relationship continuing, the issue of a seaport in Gaza has resurfaced. Turkey plans to invest $5 billion in rebuilding Gaza, and wants to include a seaport as a central component.

Israel has consistently refused demands to permit a seaport in Gaza due to the obvious security concerns of the possibility (or probability) of Hamas importing weapons via the port.

Senior IDF officers are in favor, in principle, of a Gaza seaport, especially if it comes with a Hamas pledge for a long-term cease-fire. Some government ministers also support the idea, including Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel from the right wing Bayit Yehudi party. They believe that the seaport will drastically improve economic conditions in Gaza, which will lead to a drop in violence.

PM Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yaalon are opposed to any seaport in Gaza. Ya’alon is, however, willing to examine two alternatives, including opening a special quay in the Port of Ashdod for Gaza shipments or establishing a port in Al Arish, across the border in Egypt, where Egyptian security officials would check merchandise first, after which it would be taken overland to the Nitzana crossing and from there through the Kerem Shalom crossing into the Gaza Strip after examination by Israel. Both of these alternatives are currently deemed unacceptable to the Palestinians.

Another possibility that is supported by Yaalon is to build an artificial island off the Gaza coast that would have a seaport and airport. Israel would have security oversight over the island.

Anyone have any other ideas?

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Leaving Jerusalem
Central Bureau of Statistics figures published yesterday show that in 2014, Jerusalem led the country in negative migration, which means more residents moved out than moved in. The numbers don’t reflect the recent terror wave that has hit Jerusalem particularly hard. They also don’t reflect a surge in aliyah from France.

According to the figures, 10,351 new residents moved to the city while 17,091 residents left. Most of those leaving were young, with 6,421 of them aged between 15-29. Only 4,393 of the new incoming residents were in that young age range, while 2,917 of the new residents were aged 30-64. The high cost of housing is assumed to be one of the main reasons why younger people leave the city.

Despite the outflow, the Jewish population is still growing in Jerusalem due to higher birthrates in the religious and Haredi communities.

Some of the cities showing positive migration include Petach Tikva, Netanya, Ashkelon and Rehovot.

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No News
Everyone knows the old saying, “no news is good news.” That seems to apply really well to Israel. While we try very hard to include positive and “feel good” stories when possible, most of the news that we end up writing about isn’t so happy, to say the least. But unfortunately, that’s just the reality so there’s not much we can do but tell it to you as straight as we can. We hope you appreciate that.

On the flip side, sometimes there just isn’t much news to report on at all. As much as we search, we’re sometimes left without anything more to say. So we don’t. Today is one of those days. So remember that, “no news is good news”, and please share our newsletter with anyone you know who might be interested. See you tomorrow.