Israel News for November 17, 2015

More Homes
PM Netanyahu yesterday approved the construction of 436 new homes in the neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo, which is located in the northern part of East Jerusalem near the Arab neighborhood of Shuafat. The homes had initially been approved in 2008, but were frozen due to negative fallout from the US. Something must have happened during Netanyahu’s recent visit with Obama to change that. The Jerusalem municipality is seeking approval for an additional 1,000 housing units. Perhaps the US president is busy with more pressing matters, like ISIS and upcoming elections?

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Islamic Movement
The PM’s office announced today an order by the security cabinet outlawing the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel. That means any organization or individual belonging to the northern branch or found assisting the organization in any way will be committing a criminal offense and is liable for imprisonment. The government also has the right to confiscate all property belonging to the organization.

Police and Shin Bet forces confiscated Islamic Movement property, shut down its offices and 17 non-profit organizations and movements that operate on behalf of the group, and froze all of their bank accounts.

In a statement the PM said, “The northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel undermines the state. It incites violence against innocent civilians, it has close ties with the Hamas terrorist organization, and is undermining the country in order to establish an Islamic caliphate in its place. As someone who is responsible for security of the state, I will not allow it.”

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Swedish Blunder
The Swedish ambassador to Israel was called into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by Director General Dr. Dore Gold to clarify a statement made by Sweden’s Foreign Minister that seemed to partially blame Israel for ISIS terror.

In an interview with Swedish TV following the Paris terror attack, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström was asked if she is concerned about the radicalization of Swedish youth who fight with Islamic State. Wallström replied, “Of course we have cause for concern, not just in Sweden but throughout the world, because there are so many being radicalized. And again, it reminds us of the situation in the Middle East, where the Palestinians see that there is no future for them and have to either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence.”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Emanuel Nahshon blasted the statement.
“Anyone who engages in a foolish attempt to connect attacks by extremist Islam with the difficulties between Israel and the Palestinians is misleading himself, his people and international public opinion.The words of the Swedish foreign minister are shocking in their chutzpah. The Swedish foreign minister is systematically and unilaterally biased against Israel and is exhibiting genuine hostility when she points to any connection between the attacks in Paris and the problems between Israel and the Palestinians.”

The Swedish Foreign Ministry responded to Israel’s protest by tweeting that the foreign minister “has not said that Israeli Palestinian conflict is linked to tragic events in Paris. Sweden condemns all acts of terrorism.”

A spokesman for the Swedish Foreign Ministry said that the interview “did not imply that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had anything to do with the tragic events in Paris. We condemn all acts of terrorism. As democracies, we now must unite and fight on our shared values.”

Upshot
While it doesn’t seem as though the Swedish foreign minister did directly connect Israel as the cause of ISIS terror, by mentioning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the context of the ISIS attack, she put the idea in people’s minds. Guilt by association. Was it a stupid mistake, or did she intend to create the association?

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Father Denies Snitching
Yesterday we told you about how the father of the terrorist who murdered Rabbi Yaakov and Netanel Litman on Friday told authorities that his son was guilty in order to save his home from demolition. That’s what the Shin Bet says.

Now the family of the terrorist is denying the story, claiming that the father did not snitch on his son. They admit that the father was detained at an IDF checkpoint, but deny that he willingly gave security forces any information.

I guess it was just a coincidence.

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Soybean Oil
Israeli inspectors stopped a truck carrying soybean oil from Hebron to the Gaza Strip for a routine inspection. When they tested the oil, they discovered hundreds of gallons of a chemical used to make rocket fuel. Well, what do you know!

It appears that this wasn’t an isolated incident. Israeli authorities have thwarted more than 500 attempts to smuggle illicit goods from Israel into the Gaza Strip since the beginning of 2015. In addition, more than 280 trucks have been confiscated since 2014.

No rocket fuel = no rockets fired into Israel.

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French Aliyah
New immigrants who arrived in Israel from France yesterday said that although they planned their Aliyah long before the murderous terror attacks on Friday, the current situation makes life impossible there for Jews. “There are police and soldiers next to the synagogues. It’s an abnormal situation” one immigrant said. Another explained that life in France is “very dangerous for the Jews. Everything is closed. People don’t go out.”

The number of Jewish immigrants from France has risen by 10% in the past year with a sharp rise following the Kosher supermarket terrorist attack in January. According to the Jewish Agency the reaction to Friday’s attacks appears different, and there has not been a significant increase in the number of Aliya related calls, but it is still early.

There are currently around a half a million Jews in France.

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Hadassah Funds
Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, raises a heck of a lot of money for Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. For the past few decades they’ve taken 7% of the money raised to cover their overhead expenses. Now they’ve announced that they’ll be doubling that overhead charge to 14%, despite the tough economic state the hospital is currently in.

Sources close to Hadassah insist that the extra money will not be used for increasing executive salaries, stressing that the National President and the rest of the leadership carry out their work on a completely voluntary basis. The sources claim that fundraising is a specialist job requiring highly skilled professionals. Fundraising also includes flying Israeli doctors and researchers from Hadassah to the US and putting them up in hotels, hiring halls for fundraising events and conferences, and catering. It’s an expensive process. But the huge sums that Hadassah raises for the hospital seem to justify the added costs.

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