Israel News for February 9, 2016

Terror Averted
This morning a Border Police patrol stopped a suspicious looking 16 year old Arab woman near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City, which is where Hadar Cohen was killed in a terror attack last week. When asked to show her ID, the woman pulled a knife and attempted to stab the officers. She was successfully subdued and taken in for questioning.

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Arab MKs Punished
The Knesset Ethics Committee suspended three Arab Knesset members who visited the families of slain terrorists last week in a show of support for the Palestinians. MKs Haneen Zoabi and Basel Ghattas were suspended for four months, and MK Jamal Zahalka was suspended for two months. They are all from the Joint Arab List’s Balad faction.

As an example of the across the board support for the suspension, Zionist Union MK Eyal Ben Reuven, who belongs to the party’s dovish faction, accused the three Arab lawmakers of “inspiring terrorism and encouraging the murder of more and more Israelis. The Israeli Knesset will not allow its members to exploit democracy in order to harm the State of Israel and its citizens.”

Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman called the punishment a joke and said that it would only make the MKs more popular with their constituents.

The Joint Arab List rejected the punishment and pledged to continue “fighting against the policy of racism and fascism, and for true equality and real democracy, which Netanyahu is doing his utmost to eliminate.”

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Airbnb Peace
A solution to curb the seemingly endless wave of Palestinian terror might come from the unlikeliest sources. One of those might be the famous travelers website, where people can rent out their homes or extra rooms to travelers who want to avoid staying in hotels.

Controversy has recently erupted over the website allowing Jewish residents of the West Bank to post listings, without indicating that the rentals are located in areas considered illegal by most countries, including the U.S. Their disputed status doesn’t seem to have been bothering both Israeli and foreign tourists, particularly Christians from Europe, Taiwan and South Korea.

The Palestinian Authority has condemned the company for “effectively promoting the illegal colonization of occupied land.” But leaders in the Jewish settlement movement have been encouraging more people to list their Judean and Samarian destinations on the site as well as on other sites, like and The goal is to counteract the anti-Israel boycott movements and, of course, to increase tourism at a challenging time. The extra money to be made probably doesn’t hurt either.

While most of the listings are located in heavily Jewish areas which most people acknowledge will be included as part of Israel in a final agreement, some are in outposts way off the beaten path. Interestingly enough, the more isolated they are the more they seem to be in demand by Christian tourists looking to experience the authentic biblical landscapes surrounding them. In a review on the Airbnb website, one visitor from Amerongen, Netherlands who rented a studio in the outpost of Havat Gilad, wrote, “For one who likes to taste a real Samaria community feeling, this is the place to be. The village is not protected by a fence, but that’s how they live here, and why can’t we?”

Davidi Perl, the council head in Gush Etzion, feels that the Airbnb trend is here to stay, despite the protests. “With the Internet, people see a nice area, it’s cheap, let’s go, they don’t care. They want to see everything, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Christian sights. It’s a global world now, and nothing will stop people coming.”

So how can Airbnb help curb the violence? Perhaps the more European and Asian tourists in the area, the less of an incentive the Palestinians will have to incite and carry out terror attacks. While Jewish lives might not matter much to the international community, the lives of EU citizens most likely will. And the fallout from killing Europeans is not something the Palestinians want. So the more non Jewish tourists, the less the potential of PA backed terror. Bring on the tourists!

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Defense Industry
The Israeli defense industry has been busy inventing, selling and deploying.

Israel Military Industries Ltd. (IMI) and US defense giant Lockheed Martin have reached the final stage of a tender published by the Polish Ministry of National Defense for the procurement of precision rockets. The deal is estimated to be worth half a billion dollars.

The Polish government is specifically looking to purchase long range rockets. The IMI is offering its Predator Hawk rockets, with a range of 250 kilometers and the ability to precisely deliver a 200 kilogram warhead to its target and its EXTRA rocket, with a 120-kilogram warhead and a range of 150 kilometers. Looking ahead to future business, IMI is planning to open an office in Warsaw.

Who would have dreamt that 70 years after more than four million Jews were murdered on Polish soil would Israel be supplying Poland with weapons?

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IMI has also recently completed development of a new coastal defense system based on precise long-range missiles, radar and drones designed to hit sea vessels far from the coastline. The system can hit targets up to 150 kilometers offshore.

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Another Israeli defense contractor, Elbit Systems Ltd. unveiled a new Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) called Seagull in Haifa yesterday.

Seagull consists of two unmanned naval vessels capable of being operated and controlled in concert using a single Mission Control System (MCS), from manned ships or from the shore. The USV can remain in the water for over four days. The unmanned system is especially effective in detecting and neutralizing sea mines and submarines.

Elbit systems EVP Elad Aharonson said, “I believe that Seagull is a breakthrough solution that will bring about a revolution in underwater operations and meet the growing needs in Israel and abroad in the maritime arena. Until now dealing with submarines was carried out by heavy craft such as missile boats and fighter aircraft and helicopters at operative costs of hundreds of millions of dollars. The USV lowers costs for these missions by many tens of times. It can seek out enemy submarines, pursue them over large distances and turn them into prey.”

The new system should come in handy protecting Israel’s new offshore gas fields.

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