Israel News for November 5, 2015

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More Terror
An Israeli border policeman, 20, was critically wounded on Wednesday in a car-ramming attack at the Halhul Junction in the West Bank. The attacker, a Palestinian resident of Hebron, was shot and killed. He was identified as Ibrahim Saqafi, 23.

Barriers Removed
Is the terror wave finally over? Jerusalem police seem to think it’s heading in that direction. They’ve removed several barriers near East Jerusalem Arab neighborhoods that were erected to prevent stones and firebombs from hitting Jewish targets. In some cases the police has substituted barriers meant to “hermetically seal” violent neighborhoods with security checkpoints.

According to a report in Yediot Ahronot the barriers in one neighborhood were removed as a result of promises by community leaders to maintain the peace. Police sources claim that they will reinstall the barriers if the situation gets violent again.

Jerusalem police arrested Sheikh Khaled Al Mughrabi on Wednesday morning, after videos of his sermons on the Temple Mount showed him inciting violence. Here is a snippet of the kind of stuff this holy man was saying, “We will pursue the Jews everywhere. They won’t escape us. The sons of Israel will all be killed.” A religion of peace? Not quite.

For further reading click here.

Synagogue Destruction
The High Court has postponed the scheduled demolition of the Ayelet Hashachar synagogue in Givat Ze’ev, which is near Jerusalem and over the Green Line. The demolition was to occur on Thursday, but Jerusalem police petitioned the court to postpone it, fearing violence by Jewish protesters which would escalate the tension in the capital. As a prelude, graffiti was found painted on the wall of the High Court building saying, “You don’t destroy a synagogue. We want a Jewish state.”

The courts have ruled that the synagogue was built on appropriated Palestinian land. The settlers claim that they bought the land from the Arab owner.

About 300 settlers moved into the synagogue compound on Tuesday night in protest of the demolition.

For further reading click here.

Facebook Blunder
Dr. Ran Baratz, the newly appointed head of Public Diplomacy and Media (hasbara) at the Prime Minister’s Office, has some explaining to do about a Facebook post he wrote last week, just before getting the job.

Responding to photos showing Israeli President Reuven Rivlin sitting in economy class on his flight home from a state visit to the Czech Republic, Baratz wrote, “I think it says a lot when the President travels in economy class, walking around shaking everyone’s hands. It mainly shows him to be such a marginal figure that there is no concern for his safety. I think he could be sent in a para-glider to the Syrian Golan controlled by ISIS. They’ll return him the next day with a request for negotiating their return to Iraq, if only we take him back.” He continued the mocking for a few more lines.

The president is understandably pissed. His office released this statement: “We view this gravely and demand an explanation of whether the words written by Baratz were known to the prime minister when he made his decision to appoint Baratz to this job.”

Baratz also had this to say about US President Obama on Facebook, days before PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, “Obama’s reference to Netanyahu’s speech – this is what modern anti-Semitism looks like in Western and liberal countries. And it comes, of course, alongside much tolerance and understanding toward Islamic anti-Semitism. So much tolerance and understanding that they are willing to give Iran an atomic bomb.”

More stupid social media posts by someone who should know better. Do we really want this guy in charge of the PM’s media and public diplomacy?

For further reading click here.

Israelis Heed Warning
It looks like many Israelis have taken the warning issued recently by the World health Organization against eating processed meats seriously. According to recent retail figures published in Globes, sales of processed meats in the last week have dropped by 27% on average. The hardest hit categories were frozen meats — 36% — followed by chilled products including sausages, hotdogs, and pastrami — 31%. The Israeli companies that manufacture and distribute processed meats felt the pain, big time.

If Israelis continue to be this health conscious, we could see a lot of healthy folks in the unemployment line. Or, the companies can start producing healthier products. That would be a win for everyone.

For further reading click here.

No Movie for You
El Al is investigating an incident that occurred on a recent flight from Moscow to Tel Aviv. The captain ordered the in-flight movie stopped after about 20 minutes, out of deference to a large number of Haredi passengers on board.

The flight’s service manager, Oshrat Rosenberg, explained to irate passengers that it is El Al policy not to screen films when there is a Haredi majority on board a flight. El Al released a statement saying, “We regret the incident, which doesn’t reflect the company’s policy in any way, and are looking into what happened in order to prevent such incidents in the future.”

The movie was a romantic comedy called “Aloha”. Doesn’t seem like such a big loss, at least as far as movies go. Easy solution: install wifi on all planes and stream movies directly to people’s personal devices.

For further reading click here.

Power List
Forbes magazine has released its annual list of The World’s Most Powerful People in 2015, whom they define as the “heads of state, financiers, philanthropists and entrepreneurs [who] truly run the world.”
First on the list of 73 is Vladimir Putin followed by Angela Merkel, Barak Obama and Pope Francis. Guess who’s number 25? You got it – PM Netanyahu. Donald Trump came it at 72. By the way, this is Putin’s third year year in a row at number one. That’s kind of scary, no?

For further reading click here.

Cantor Controversy
A while back we reported about the unrest in one of the largest and most prestigious yeshivas: the Ponevich yeshiva in Bnei Brak. The yeshiva is basically split into two factions, each of which supports a different rosh yeshiva (dean). Just to give you an idea of the seriousness of these groups, one is called “the terrorists” and the other “the enemies” or “the haters” (depending on how you translate the Hebrew).

Here’s the latest incident: it is customary for a son to lead services and say kaddish each day during the year of mourning for his parent. It is also customary for a son who is observing Yartzeit (yearly anniversary of a death) for a parent to lead the service and say kaddish on that day.

Well, at the evening service Rabbi Kahaneman (leader of the enemies), who is saying kaddish for his mother who passed a few months ago, approached the lectern from which to lead the evening service. One of the “terrorists” informed him that Rabbi Markovitz (leader of the terrorists) was commemorating a Yartzeit that evening and wanted to lead services. R. Kahaneman was stunned and hesitated. The “terrorists” then knocked off his hat and kippah, and began throwing “shtenders” (lecterns) in his direction. When R. Kahaneman picked up his hat and tried to approach the lectern again, he was threatened by the “terrorists”. He told his followers not to protest, so they didn’t.

Both sides argued for about 20 minutes before they reached a decision. Rabbi Markowitz led the service (which happens to be the halacha in that particular case). What a mess.
(Ok, it’s a slow news day.)

For further reading click here.