Israel News for March 14, 2017

PM Meets Greenblatt
PM Netanyahu met with US envoy Jason Greenblatt for over five hours in Jerusalem yesterday. The men discussed settlement construction and the peace process.

According to the PM’s Bureau’s statement, Netanyahu and Greenblatt reiterated both countries’ “commitment to promoting real and viable peace between Israel and Palestinians, which will strengthen Israel’s security and regional stability.”

Netanyahu told Greenblatt that he believes that under Trump’s leadership, peace between Israel and all of its neighbors, including the Palestinians, could be advanced, and that he is looking forward to working closely with the U.S. president to achieve that end. 

Greenblatt reiterated Trump’s commitment to Israel’s security and to aiding Israel and the Palestinians in reaching a peace treaty through direct negotiations. 

According to the statement, “The prime minister promised Mr. Greenblatt that he is totally committed to fostering prosperity in Palestinian economy and sees it as a way to improve the possibility of reaching peace.”

Today Greenblatt is scheduled to go to Ramallah to meet with PA President Abbas and other senior Palestinian officials. On Thursday Greenblatt will meet with opposition leader Isaac Herzog.

Accompanying Greenblatt on his trip is Yael Lempert, who held the Israel portfolio for the National Security Council at the White House during the Obama administration and has remained in the position under President Trump.

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PA Office Shut
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has ordered the closure of a Palestinian Authority agency office that was carrying out surveillance and registering of Arabs who sold land to Jews. The agency was operating in the Best Hanina neighborhood of Jerusalem and was recording the names of Arabs wishing to sell homes and land to Jews and passing them to PA security services in Ramallah.

Erdan said, “The activities of this Palestinian Authority agency are part of a plan to undermine our sovereignty in Jerusalem and terrorize Arabs who sell real estate to Jews. We will continue to act with determination to prevent any Palestinian government foothold in Jerusalem.”

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Huge Purchase
The U.S. chipmaker Intel will pay $14.7 billion to acquire the driverless technology firm Mobileye in what reportedly is the largest-ever purchase of an Israeli high-tech company.

In a joint announcement Monday, the companies said the combination “is expected to accelerate innovation for the automotive industry and position Intel as a leading technology provider in the fast-growing market for highly and fully autonomous vehicles.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel called Mobileye CEO Ziv Aviram to congratulate him, calling the deal in a tweet a source of “Israeli pride.” Aviram reportedly told Netanyahu that the company and its research would remain based in Israel.

Mobileye and Intel already are collaborating with BMW on a project that will see the production of 40 self-driving test cars. They are scheduled to hit the road later this year. The sale is expected to close in nine months, according to the companies.

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Kipa Tailor
Have you heard the one about the Gaza tailor who makes Kipot (skullcaps) and exports them to Israel. It’s no joke. Abu Shanab, a 61 year old Gaza resident, has added an additional production line in his clothing factory to satisfy increased demand from Israel. The labor costs in Gaza are quite a bit cheaper than in Israel.

Abu Shanab said, “We make all kinds of clothes and recently began making the skull caps worn by Israeli rabbis and Christian priests.” He added, “In the foundation of our religion, we believe in Christianity and Judaism, we believe in the prophets Musa (Moses) and Issa (Jesus), so we have no problem making headwear even if they are for Jews or Christians.”

Abu Shanab said he is also in talks with an Israeli buyer to produce the long coats worn by ultra-Orthodox Jews.

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Government Dressup
To celebrate the Purim holiday, many government officials and members of Knesset dressed up in costume. To see a few of them, click here.

The Brigade
If you need some inspiration along with the history of the beginnings of the IDF, then you must read The Brigade by Howard Blum, which tells the story of the Jewish brigade that served in the British army during WWII. Many of the future leaders of the IDF got their training and first combat experience in the brigade. The Jewish soldiers of the brigade did a lot more than fight the Nazis. Click here to read more and by the book.

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