Israel News for January 8, 2016

Terror Attempts
Three Palestinians tried to stab soldiers at the Gush Etzion junction yesterday. They were shot and killed before causing any injuries. Another Palestinian who attempted to stab a soldier near Hebron was also shot and killed before causing any harm.

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Hamas Busted
Security forces announced that they had arrested six members of a Hamas terror cell in December. The arrested were residents of Hebron and Jerusalem and were planning to kidnap and murder an Israeli and use his body as a bargaining chip for the release of terrorist prisoners. Investigators revealed that the terrorists had begun advanced preparations for the attack, including a hideout for the body of the kidnapped victims. Two of the terrorists were also planning to plant a bomb under the podium at one of PM Netanyahu’s speeches.

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Terror Declaration
While security forces continue the manhunt for the terrorist who murdered three and wounded eight in Tel Aviv last week, the government has still not officially classified the attack as a terror attack. That’s unacceptable to the family of Shimon Ruimi, who was killed in the attack while participating in a birthday celebration at the cafe where the terror occurred.

Ruimi’s mother, Iris, and other family members expressed their anger and frustration at the situation to President Reuven Rivlin, who came to pay a condolence call at the family residence yesterday. Iris said, “My son was murdered simply because he was a Jew; he came to celebrate with friends. I thought it would automatically be called a terrorist attack. There are facts here – an Arab killed a Jew.” Rivlin was sympathetic, but couldn’t give the Ruimi’s the declaration they were seeking.

It seems as though the police will need to apprehend the attacker to conclusively determine his motive before officially declaring him a terrorist.

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High Court
The High Court of Justice accepted a petition filed by women’s groups against the president of the Rabbinical Court and the Religious Services Ministry. The groups had requested a change in the requirements to become a Rabbinical Court director, which included the possession of a rabbinical ordination recognized by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel even though the position is strictly administrative. Since women cannot receive ordination, they were excluded from the position. That, the petitioners claimed, was discrimination.

The High Court gave the Justice Ministry 30 days to create new requirements that will allow women to be equally considered for the court director position.

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Food Waste
Leket Israel, an organization that rescues food that would otherwise go to waste and distributes it to the poor, issued its first “Food Waste and Rescue in Israel” report.

The report found that food waste in Israel totals 2.5 million tons annually, amounting to 35% of the domestic food production. The financial value of the food wasted in Israel for 2015 stood at NIS 18 billion, which is 1.6% of Israel’s GDP. Broken down, the figures come to NIS 616 per month per household. About 75% of the food wasted is fruits and vegetables.

About half of the food wasted could be rescued, which means that is was still fit for consumption. Rescued food in Israel totals 1.3 million tons annually, a value of NIS 8 billion.

The report claims that every shekel invested in food rescue provides NIS 3.6 worth of food for the needy, making food rescue cheaper than the alternative support, subsidies, or allowances by as much as 75%. Food rescue also provides significant environmental benefits.

Leket Israel CEO Gidi Kroch said, “the central motive for food rescue is not charity or tzedakah, but an financial alternative to food production, that is worthwhile for the market. That is, alongside the important contribution to reducing inequality in the market.”

Kroch added, “According to the figures, there is no doubt that food rescue should have a higher priority than the alternatives. To fully fund the gap in food consumption among the food insecure population without food rescue would cost NIS 3 billion per year.”

“Food rescue allows for an equal social goal, at a much lower cost of NIS 840 million annually. Essentially, food rescue can reduce the food security gap while saving 75% of the costs.”

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