Israel News for November 23, 2015

More Terror
In Jerusalem today two girls, aged 14 and 16, stabbed a 70 year old Palestinian man from Bethlehem in the head and back with scissors near Machane Yehuda. A policeman shot at them, killing one and seriously wounding the other. Another security guard who ran to help was accidentally shot in the hand.

In Northern Samaria, an 18 yr. old yeshiva student was rammed by a car and lightly injured in a terror attack near the settlement of Chomesh. The terrorist drove off and is still at large.

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Hadar Buchris
Hadar Buchris, a 21 year old woman from Tzfat, was stabbed to death by an Arab terrorist at a hitchhiking station at the same Gush Etzion junction where a terrorist shot and killed Ezra Schwartz and Yaakov Don on Friday. Soldiers shot and killed the terrorist, who was identified as 34-year-old Isam Thwabteh from Beit Fajar, a village near Bethlehem.

According to a witness to the attack, the Palestinian initially spoke with a soldier at the site before carrying out the stabbing. He had no previous record of criminal or terrorist activity.

Buchris was a graduate of the Nov Ulpana college in the Golan Heights. Ayala Eretz Hatzvi, a former teacher, said Buchris spent two years in national service in Moshav Hazorim and Sde Eliyahu after graduation. After a trip to India she moved to Gush Etzion and joined the girls seminary in Bat Ayin. “She was a lovely and beaming girl,” the teacher said.

Buchris will be laid to rest today at Har Hamenuchot in Jerusalem.

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Car Takedown
Earlier on Sunday, Israelis waiting at a bus stop near the Hawara checkpoint outside of Nablus were attacked by an Arab woman with a knife. In the words of Abigail Shomriyah, 21, who was waiting at the stop, “I turned around and saw a terrorist with a large knife and murderous looking eyes. It was a very large knife. I ran in the direction of the soldiers, she ran after me.”

The former head of the Samaria Council, Gershon Mesika, happened to have stopped to pick up some hitchhikers when he saw the attack occurring. He stepped on the gas and rammed his car into the terrorist, knocking her down. Then another by-passer got out of his car and shot her twice. Then a soldier shot her twice. The terrorist was killed. No Israelis were injured.

Would it have made more sense for them to have captured the terrorist, who was already on the ground after being hit by the car, in order to interrogate her to find out who else, if anyone, was involved in planning the attack?

In another incident, a Palestinian taxi driver rammed into an Israeli car near Ma’aleh Adumim and got out of the cab with a 20-centimeter kitchen knife and lightly stabbed an Israeli at the scene in the hand. Two other Israelis who saw this, shot the terrorist and killed him.

The IDF has recently added two infantry battalions to bolster existing forces in Hevron and Gush Etzion. The army has also started checking every Palestinian vehicle on roads used by Israelis in the Hebron and Bethlehem areas. Random checks were implemented in the rest of the West Bank.

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Berlin Retracts
Last week a major German department store based in Berlin removed all products made in the West Bank and the Golan from its shelves. The store claimed, on its Facebook page, that the wines had been temporarily removed so the importer could relabel them in accordance with new European Union rules that require products originating in the West Bank and Golan be distinctly labeled.

Prime Minister Netanyahu didn’t seem to view the move as temporary. He lashed out at the store saying, “This store was owned by Jews, and the Nazis took it away. Ironically, this store is now marking products from Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights.” He added, “It began with marking products, and now we have been told that the products have been removed – a boycott for all intents and purposes. We strongly protest this morally, factually, and historically unacceptable measure. We expect the German government, which opposed marking the products, to take action in this serious matter.”

Yesterday, the store announced that it was retracting its decision saying, “We acted too hastily and insensitively. We regret this mistaken behavior, which has led to misunderstanding, and we wish to apologize for it.” They also noted that they offer customers over 200 Israeli made products.

Question: if the store did actually just remove the products temporarily for relabeling, was the PM justified in calling the move a boycott and invoking Holocaust comparisons to bolster his point?

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Car Wars
The motto of car rental giant Avis used to be “we try harder”. It looks like that doesn’t apply to Israeli customers. According to a report in the NY Observer, the Avis branch on 76th and Broadway in Manhattan refused to rent a car to the Senior Vice President of Israeli pharmaceutical conglomerate Teva, Dov Bergwerk, and his wife.

The Israeli couple were renting a car to visit friends in Westchester when the Avis agent on duty, and her manager, refused to honor their reservation on the grounds that Avis did not recognize Israeli documents.

After he phoned customer service who confirmed that Israeli documents were acceptable, the Avis representatives changed course and argued that Bergwerk was being refused because he had argued about the way he was being treated in front of other customers (Ok, the arguing I believe, but in this case it seems like he had every right to argue in the face of anti-Israel discrimination).

Bergwerk said, “The agent stated that the Israeli license did not have the required info in English. I tried to demonstrate that the license had all the required info but she and the manager had no interest. Similarly, the fact that I have had many rentals at Avis and at this location was dismissed as having been ‘done by new employees.”

Avis had no comment on the incident. Do you think the employees were fired? Maybe it’s time to go with Hertz or Budget, at least on the Upper West Side.

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New Towns
The government yesterday approved five new towns in the Negev, despite strong opposition from the Finance Ministry, environmental organizations and some of the local councils.

Minister of Housing and Construction Yoav Galant, who presented the plan to the government, defended the plan saying there will be minimal environmental impact as the towns will be built using existing infrastructure. In response to the argument that they should be investing in the existing towns, he explained that the government would continue to support existing towns but the new towns would strengthen the Negev in general. “Establishing these five towns is essential in strengthening our hold on unpopulated areas in the Negev with great national importance”.

One of the towns will be called Daniel, after the four year old Daniel Turgeman who was killed by mortar fire during operation Defensive Shield last year.

Shai Hajiji, head of the Mirchavim Regional Council, welcomed the decision saying it presented an “attractive alternative to the increase in housing costs in Israel”. I guess that depends on if you consider living in the Negev as an attractive alternative.

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Iran Storms Temple Mount
In a simulated war game exercise, the paramilitary unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard stormed and “liberated” a replica of the Dome of the Rock. According to Iranian state media, thousands of soldiers participated in Friday’s exercise outside the holy city of Qom in central Iran.

The symbolic operations were backed up by Guard helicopters, drones and Tucano planes that bombed hypothetical enemy positions before ground troops captured the replica of the mosque set up at the top of a mountain.

Dream on.

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