Israel News for March 10, 2016

Abbas and Biden
It seems like Palestinian Authority President Abbas has finally buckled under pressure to condemn terror attacks — well, sort of.

After US Vice President Biden demanded that the Palestinians condemn terror attacks, specifically the one in Jaffa yesterday that claimed the life of an American tourist, Abbas yesterday released a statement offering condolences to the family of Taylor Force, the American killed. So he didn’t actually “condemn” the terror attack, but he did feel bad about the American’s death, at least while Biden is in town. Apparently the wounding of over a dozen Israelis didn’t bother him. In fact, the killings of other American citizens by Palestinian terrorists in the past didn’t seem to cause him any grief either. Could it be because those Americans were Jewish while Taylor Force was Christian? Hmm.

Senior Palestinian officials said that Abbas made it clear to Biden at their meeting that any peace settlement must be based on UN resolutions. He also objected to the demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. The official said, “We have no expectations of the Americans and are disappointed with Biden and the administration’s statements and call to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.”

Even the current US administration realizes that the Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state in order for there to be any real peace negotiations. I think.

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Iranian Missiles
According to the Iranian news agency Fars, Iran launched two ballistic missiles yesterday at targets 1,400 kilometers away. The missiles reportedly bore the writing “Israel must be wiped out” in Hebrew. Israel is about 1,800 kilometers from Iran.

Brig. General Amir Ali Haji Zada, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s air corps, said that Iran’s missiles belong to the Palestinian people, the Lebanese people, the Syrian people, the Iraqi people, the Islamic world, and all of the oppressed people of the earth.

At a daily press briefing with reporters, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said it would not be a surprise if there are additional missile launches over the next several days. He said, “We will continue to redouble our efforts with our allies and partners in the region to try to limit Iran’s ability to continue to develop their missile program.” That’s comforting.

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IDF Nuts
The IDF has decided that it will no longer draft Israelis with peanut allergies. This comes in the aftermath of the death of Shalev Hazan, a soldier who died during basic training as a result of a severe allergic reaction after eating some granola that contained nuts.

Until now the list of life-threatening allergies that would be cause for exemption from military service included severe allergies to protein, sesame and a few other basic foods. Now, in the wake of work done by the Medical Corps, young people with severe allergies to nuts will also not be drafted automatically, but be issued a medical exemption that says they are not fit for military service, with what the army calls a “profile 21.”

The allergy sufferers will be given the option of volunteering for army service. Those who choose this option will be stationed in units located within a certain distance of a hospital, and where the dining hall could be outfitted to suit the soldiers’ food sensitivities, or where arrangements have already been made for other soldiers there with food allergies.

In recent months the IDF had already started posting signs in army dining halls with warnings about various ingredients, like nuts, peanuts and grains, in the food being served. It has also issued EpiPen syringes to affected soldiers and to all medics, to be used in the event of a severe allergic reaction that threatens cardiac activity.

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Biker Laws
If you’re a biking enthusiast in Israel, we’ve got some good news and some bad news for you.

The bad news, at least for younger riders, is that the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee, chaired by MK Eitan Cabel, yesterday approved an increase in the minimum age for riding electric bicycles from 14 to 16. Electric bikes will only be allowed to go a maximum of 25 Kilometers (about 15 miles) an hour.

The regulations also state that riders of all ages of any type of bicycle must wear helmets and, after dark, illumination jackets. Riding is only permitted on roads and bike paths (no sidewalks, thank you) and only one person is allowed per bike.

Electric Bike importers were not pleased with the new age restrictions. Israeli Bicycle Importers Forum manager Gadi Mintz summed up by saying, “Raising the riding age is a death sentence for the electric bicycle sector.”

The good news is that the Ministry of Transport will invest NIS 250 million in the coming years in building a network of bicycle paths connecting all the municipalities in the Greater Tel Aviv area. That could lead to fewer cars on the roads, less traffic and less pollution. If you’ve ever sat in traffic on the Ayalon, you’ll understand.

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Prison Teshuva
Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is finding religion while serving his 1 year and 7 month prison sentence for accepting bribes. Olmert is said to be putting on tefillin each morning, studying Torah with another inmate and participating in afternoon and evening prayer services daily.

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Musical Weapon
On Tuesday evening, Yishai Montgomery had sat down near the beach in Jaffa to play his guitar. Then he was attacked by the terrorist who had just killed Tyler Force and wounded close to a dozen others. Yishai smashed his guitar into the terrorist’s head. Stunned and confused, the terrorist fled and was then shot and killed by police volunteers.

Yishai’s guitar didn’t make out too well either. But Ed Dvir from Philadelphia heard about the incident and set up a GoFundMe account to buy Yishai a new guitar. In less than 24 hours 213 people from around the world have contributed to the campaign, raising close to $5,000.

Rock on, guitar hero!

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