Israel News for March 16, 2016

US Accusation
The US accused Israel yesterday of “expropriating land” in the Jordan Valley. In January Israel reclassified 370 acres as State land. The vacant and barren land is located near Jericho, within the boundaries of the Megilot Regional Council, and borders both sides of Route 1 as it heads down to the Dead Sea.

In a press conference US State Department spokesman John Kirby said, “This decision is, in our view, the latest step in what appears to be an ongoing process of land expropriations, settlement expansions, and legalizations of outposts that is fundamentally undermining the prospects for a two-state solution. We strongly oppose any steps that accelerate settlement expansion, which raise serious questions about Israel’s long-term intentions. And as we’ve repeatedly made clear, we continue to look to both sides to demonstrate with actions and policies a genuine commitment to a two-state solution. Actions such as these do just the opposite.”

The land will primarily be used to build road side stands, restaurants and a gas station along the highway. Some of the land will also be used for home building in the settlement of Almog.

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Ammonia Threat
Last month Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah threatened to target the large ammonia plant in Haifa, which he claimed would result in thousands of casualties. Yesterday, a senior IDF officer reassured the public that, “Even in the worst case, a missile strike on the ammonia tanks will not be disastrous; certainly, there is no ‘atomic bomb’ scenario like Hezbollah threatened.”

The officer claimed that the IDF has planned for a scenario in which the ammonia tank sustained a direct hit by a 100 kg warhead. He said, “The scenario – which assumes a full tank containing 12,000 tons of ammonia – envisages the possibility of a large leak that is carried by the wind towards nearby residential neighborhoods. Even in that scenario, it would require several minutes of exposure to the ammonia cloud before any injury is irreversible. Anyone who finds shelter – such as in a house or a car – within ten minutes will not suffer serious injury. There will mostly be cases of burns and nausea. People will be hurt, but it is doubtful they will number in the dozens; there will not be hundreds of casualties, and there will definitely not be mass casualties,”

He added that in the event of a conflict, the tank’s ammonia could be emptied or significantly reduced. It would also be possible to deploy an early warning system and a missile interceptor in the area.

In any case, Israel is planning to relocate the ammonia plant to a location in the Negev, away from major population centers.

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High Pay
If you’re looking for a high paying job, you might want to consider some Israel related not-for-profit organizations. For example, the CEO of the Friends of the IDF in the United States earned a total of $700,000 in 2013. The organization raised $72 million in donations that year, 9 million of which went to salaries and another 9 million for expenses.

Some other high earners include the CEO of Taglit (Birthright Israel) who earned $505,000 plus $70,000 for expenses and the CEO of the Friends of the Weizmann Institute who made $462,000 plus another $82,000 for expenses.

If you’re willing to make a little less, there are a lot more to choose from. And if you’re really shooting for the stars, Yeshiva University will be hiring a new president soon.

By the way, according to his most recent pay slip, Israeli Prime minister Netanyahu took home a whopping 17,546 shekels ($4,500) after taxes last month. That equals $54,000 for the year. Of course, he doesn’t have to pay for housing or many other living expenses…but still, it’s a pretty demanding job. More demanding than running a charity or a college?

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Special Request
After we send out this IsraelAM daily email, Natalie and I get to work building websites, writing content, and doing SEO and marketing for all sorts of companies. We also spend a lot of time prospecting for new clients. You can check out our website at So here’s our request: if you need our services or know someone else who does, please let us (or them) know. We’d greatly appreciate it!

Nazi March
As they do every year, hundreds of senior citizens who served in the SS during WWII will march through the streets of Riga, Latvia in an annual parade. The SS veterans participated in the massacre of thousands of Jews and fought against the Soviet army.

The Latvian government officially opposes the parade but permits it on the grounds of free speech. Several government ministers from right wing parties will participate in the parade. Similar parades are held in the Ukraine and Lithuania. What a surprise. A counter demonstration by anti-fascists is planned.

So just to recap, hundreds of men who served in the SS and took part in the “final solution” will be parading freely through the streets of the Latvian capital. What more can I say?

We can only hope that they meet their maker and get what they deserve very soon.

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