terror on light rail

Israel News for November 10, 2015

More Terror
A 25 Year old Israeli security guard was stabbed and lightly wounded on the light rail in Pisgat Ze’ev, Jerusalem. The Palestinian assailants were 12 and 13 years old. One of them was shot and wounded by police and the other was subdued by passengers.

A man was lightly wounded in a stabbing attack near the Damascus Gate in the Old City. The terrorist was shot and killed by police.

The Israeli army arrested 24 Hamas activists in the Qalqilya area in the West Bank on Tuesday night.

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PM and Obama
PM Netanyahu and President Obama met yesterday at the White House, in their first face to face meeting in over a year.

In public statements the leaders emphasized areas of shared interest, including negotiations on a new security arrangement and the goal of peace between Israelis and Palestinians, despite the recent violence and terror.

Obama said he was focused on “how we can get back on a path toward peace, and how we can make sure that legitimate Palestinian aspirations are met through a political process, even as we make sure that Israel is able to secure itself.”

Netanyahu said, “We have not given up our hope for peace.” He reaffirmed his support for a two-state solution, though he gave no ground his longstanding conditions for achieving that outcome.

The PM said that the main theme of the conversation was a memorandum of understanding regarding increased American military aid to Israel. “We did not focus on an amount, but I presented our needs, and we hope he accepts our analysis of the regional changes. The region has turned upside down compared to the previous decade, the previous agreement was signed in 2007 and it is impossible to compare the Middle East now to what it was then.”

Netanyahu noted that a number of issues did not come up in the conversation, such as a construction freeze in Judea and Samaria (“My position on the subject is known and clear,” declared the PM), as well as the issue of the appointment of Ran Baratz as head of hasbara.

Even before Netanyahu arrived for the meeting, White House Middle East Adviser Rob Malley said, ”The president has reached the conclusion that right now – barring a major shift – the parties are not going to be in a position to negotiate a final status agreement.” White House spokesman Josh Earnest repeated that conclusion following the meeting.

So President Obama finally gets it.

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London Mayor Speaks Out
The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is visiting Israel, primarily to try and lure Israeli tech businesses to London. In Tel Aviv on Monday Johnson said, “I cannot think of anything more foolish” than to boycott “a country that when all is said and done is the only democracy in the region, the only place that has in my view a pluralist open society.” He said the BDS boycotters are “a very small minority.”
Let’s hope he speaks for the majority of Brits.

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New Tourism
Aryeh Deri, who recently resigned as Minister of Economy and is now Minister of the Development of the Negev and Galilee, is planning on spending 20 million shekels to develop religiously significant sites, to increase tourism to those sites.

Deri claims that the investment in the sites, which he says are visited by millions of Israelis and Jews from abroad annually, will create employment and contribute to the economy. One of the main targets of the development project will be tombs of Jewish sages in the Galilee.

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Iranian Hackers
Israeli network security firm Check Point released a report yesterday revealing that it uncovered a network of Iranian cyber hackers linked to Iran’s revolutionary guard. The group nicknamed “Rocket Kitten” by security experts, has mounted cyber attacks since 2014 on 1,600 targets globally. Targets include high profile political and defense figures in Israel, the US, NATO, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Venezuela. Check Point said they alerted European authorities, who have taken action to shut down the group. There was no comment from the FBI but the Shin Bet announced that they are aware of the issue and are dealing with it.

The Check Point report details how its experts burrowed inside the hacker group’s database, and constructed a map of malicious software tools and remote-controlled computers used by the group. The report includes several amusing anecdotes displaying the groups amateurism including how they infected their own computers with a virus that they created and then couldn’t remove. Nice try, Iran.

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Pot Bust
The head of the anesthesiology department in Wolfson Hospital in Holon, Dr Avraham Dotan (65), was arrested yesterday for taking bribes to issue permits for medical marijuana and on suspicion of running an illegal marijuana trading network, which made millions. His partner and ten other suspects were also arrested.

In an undercover investigation fit for hollywood, Israeli police joined forces with the Israeli Tax Authority and the Health Ministry to uncover a complex web of middlemen who were involved. Police raided the homes of the suspects, confiscating computers and documents. An additional 130 arrest warrants have been issued to people for receiving medical marijuana permits even though they were not medically entitled to them.

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No Deals
Recent figures released by the Finance Ministry show a slowdown in home purchases over the last few months. But don’t get your hopes up just yet. Four popular areas saw prices rise for all types of apartments: Tel Aviv, Rishon Lezion, Netanya, and Modi’in. The asking price for a 4-room apartment in Tel Aviv once again passed the NIS 3 million mark. Maybe it’s time to take another look at Beersheva or Carmiel.

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Cheap Tickets
Heritage trips to Eastern Europe from Israel might become a lot more popular. That’s because Ryanair, the Irish discount airline, is offering super cheap flights, if you’re willing to shlep to Ovda Airport (outside of Eilat). The airline began offering 10 Euro (about $11) one-way flights to Krakow, Budapest and Kaunas (Kovno – in Lithuania). Booking a flight back to Israel is a bit more difficult, but if you’re flexible it’s not a problem.

The reason why the fares are so low is that the Israeli government offers subsidies to get European tourists to visit Eilat. So Ryanair is getting 45 Euros per tourist it flies to Eilat, but has a lot of empty planes heading back to Europe. Why not fill those seats and make a few bucks?
So Israeli taxpayers are helping pay for the vacations of European tourists. The least they can get is a cheap flight to Europe. That is, if they can afford the gas to drive down to Ovda.

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Israel Events
Check out the AJC ACCESS NY Making Waves Gala on Nov. 17, which will highlight the 50th anniversary of German-Israeli relations and feature a special performance by Miri Ben-Ari.
Get Tickets and info at www.ajcnyc.org/accessnygala.