Israel News for March 3, 2016

Terror Attacks
This morning an Israeli policeman, who was directing traffic on Route 90 near the Arab village of Al-Auja in the Jordan Valley, was stabbed in the shoulder by a 14 year old Palestinian girl. The attacker fled, but the wounded policeman managed to arrest her. She was taken in for questioning by the Shin Bet.

Earlier today, a police vehicle came under fire near the Rahelim Junction, east of the settlement of Ariel in the Samaria region of the West Bank. The vehicle was damaged but no one was hurt.

Last night a group of Palestinians approached the guard post at the entrance to the settlement of Har Bracha, which is located on Mount Gerizim near Nablus (Shechem), and stabbed two IDF soldiers. The IDF is still searching for the terrorists. Mount Gerizim is mentioned in the bible as the mountain upon which a slew of blessings were enumerated in a solemn ceremony — hence the name Har Bracha, which is hebrew for “The mountain of blessings”.

Also last night Yaakov Siman, a farmer from moshav Talmei Bilu in the Negev, was attacked by an Arab shouting “Allahu Akbar” and carrying an electric saw and a knife. The attacker hit Siman in the head with the saw and then tried to stab him. Siman struggled with the attacker and was wounded in his hand. The attacker fled and is being searched for by police.

Unfortunately, a busy 24 hrs.

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Civilian Awards
Israel will soon be granting “decorations of valor” to civilians who gave or risked their lives while fighting terrorists. The idea came from Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben Dahan, who discussed it with Minister of Internal Security Gilad Erdan. They weren’t sure if about the legality of the idea until they found the Decorations Law, passed in 1972, which specifically allows the granting of decorations to police officers, guards, and “citizens who acted bravely and risked their lives or who carried out an irregular courageous act.” According to the 1972 law, the police commissioner and minister of internal security are authorized to grant such a decoration.

Minister Erdan told Yedioth Ahronoth, “Since the start of the current terror wave, many citizens and of course police, have acted with great courage and wisdom in many situations, risking and sacrificing their lives to prevent attacks and save human lives. My moral obligation is to act swiftly to grant them the appreciation and honor they deserve on behalf of Israel and its citizens. These people are examples for our youth and many citizens.”

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Bus Scandal
Four senior executives from the Egged bus company have been questioned on suspicion of negligent homicide after a bus driver previously found guilty of causing an accident was allowed to return to the driver’s seat, which led to the deadly collision on Highway 1 that claimed the lives of six people.

The investigation focuses on suspicions that the executives knew about complaints made by passengers against the 402 line driver, Chaim Biton, and about his past traffic violations and the car accidents he was involved in.

It seems like this was one tragedy that could have been avoided.

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Egyptian Booted
Last week we told you about the Egyptian Parliament Member (MP) Tawfik Okasha who had dinner with the Israeli ambassador to Egypt and was widely attacked by Egyptian officials and media. Yesterday more than two thirds of the Egyptian Parliament voted to remove Okasha on grounds that his conduct breached the confidence the parliament gave him to carry out his job as a member of the state assembly.
Does this mean Israeli Egyptian relations are crashing? Not necessarily. Egyptian sources say that Okasha is not liked by the Egyptian elite for many reasons having nothing to do with Israel, so this might just be an excuse to get rid of him.

Ok, I feel a bit better now. But I’d still hold off on that Sinai vacation.

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Mosque Volume
If you live or work near a mosque in Israel, you’re painfully familiar with call to worship that is blasted out from huge loudspeakers in the mosque’s minaret. It happens five times a day, including in the early morning hours before sunset and late at night. With all due respect to the worshippers, it’s pretty annoying to the non Muslims.

Back in 2011 Anastasia Michaeli (Yisrael Beytenu) proposed a law banning the use of the loudspeakers. The law failed to pass. Now Motti Yogev (Bayit Yehudi) is proposing a similar law and claims that he has the support of both the Likud and Kulanu parties.

The bill will be presented to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday, which will decide whether the coalition will support the bill. If it decides to support, then the law has a good chance of passing.

Don’t throw out your earplugs just yet.

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Druze Gals
Druzenet is a Druze Israeli company that produces and services complex parts for the defense industry. The company is opening a new NIS 12 million plant in Isfiya, in the Carmel mountain range, that will produce parts for assembling Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd.’s unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The plant will employ 30 Druze women in engineering, management, and operations jobs.

Druzenet CEO Anwar Saab said, “The Druze have undergone a significant change over the past decade. Druze young people are being employed in all economic sectors, from the most traditional to high tech.”

The Druze rock! Go Druze!

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Happy Birthday
Today is my birthday! (And yes, I still got up early to write this newsletter.)

According to some rabbinic teachings, the context in which a concept is mentioned in the Torah for the first time defines its character. The first time a birthday is mentioned in the Torah is in Genesis, when Pharaoh celebrates his birthday and remembers what his butler and baker did that landed them in prison. Based on this, a birthday is a time for reflecting on the past and evaluating the actions you’ve taken and whether they are worth continuing or modifying. Rosh Hashanah, the birthday of the world, is a prime example of this concept.

Back in July I (and my wife) decided to create a daily email to help keep English readers informed about the Israel news and thereby strengthen their connection with Israel. IsraelAM continues to grow and we’ve got big plans for the future. For now our objective is to get as many readers as possible. So for your birthday present to me, get more people to sign up! And I’ll keep getting up early to keep you informed :)