Israel News for October 22, 2015

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Soldiers Kill Jewish Man
Last night, in another tragic case of mistaken identity, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Jewish man at a bus stop in Jerusalem.

According to police, two soldiers were waiting to get on the bus when a man getting off the bus asked them to show him their identification. They got suspicious and asked him for his ID. An argument ensued and he allegedly attacked them and tried to grab one of their guns. A civilian security guard in the area saw the scuffle, wrongly identified the man as a terrorist and shot at him. Then the soldiers opened fire, killing the man.

The victim was an immigrant from Russia who had served in the IDF in the Nahal Haredi (Ultra Orthodox) Brigade and had worked as a security guard in a school. He was currently studying at a yeshiva in Har Nof, Jerusalem. The rabbis at the yeshiva interviewed by Walla News couldn’t believe how something like this could have occurred. They all described the victim as a quiet, well mannered person who evidently made a bad mistake by arguing with the soldiers.

Police and IDF investigators are sorting through numerous testimonies that include very different facts. In one account the man shouted, “I am ISIS!” (could it have been like, “what, you think I’m ISIS?”). In another, a girl screamed, “Terrorist! Shoot him!”

So many factors in this case point to a very tragic and deadly mistake. The soldiers were part of the reinforcements sent to bolster security on buses. They weren’t trained to do police work and handle this kind of situation. The security guard shot before positively identifying who he was shooting at. He probably should have let the soldiers handle the situation. Fear and hysteria took over. In a culture where arguing is commonplace and can often turn violent, this seems to be a case where mistakes were made and shots were fired when they shouldn’t have been. And a man is dead.

For further reading click here.

Terror Continues
This morning two terrorists tried to board a school bus in the Israeli city of Beit Shemesh. When people nearby shouted at them they got off. When police arrived they found them stabbing an 18 yr. old Haredi man. Police shot and killed one of terrorists and wounded the other. Both of the terrorists were 20 yr. olds from a village near Hebron who were working at a construction site in Beit Shemesh. They were wearing Hamas t-shirts beneath their clothing.The victim was “moderately” wounded.

A vehicle carrying five Israeli soldiers was stoned in Gush Etzion (West Bank) yesterday. When the soldiers got out they were hit by a Palestinian car. One of the soldiers was seriously wounded, 2 moderately and 2 lightly. The terrorist was shot and seriously wounded.

Earlier in the day a 20 yr. old female soldier was stabbed and seriously wounded, near the settlement of Adam. The terrorist then tried to stab another female soldier from the same unit, but she shot and killed him. Another terrorist who took part in the attack was arrested.

For further reading click here.

We’ve got good news and bad news about yesterday’s UNESCO vote to declare Jewish holy sites to be Muslim holy sites. The good news is that the Western Wall was removed from the resolution after strong protests from UNESCO’s director general and many countries. They also removed the part about Jerusalem being the “occupied capital of Palestine.”

Here’s the bad news. They did vote to declare the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron (where Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah are buried) and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem as being Muslim sites. They also condemned Israel for a bunch of things, as usual.

The resolution passed by 26 votes to 6, with 25 abstentions. The countries that voted against the resolution were the US, UK, Germany, Holland, Estonia and the Czech Republic. France was one of the countries that abstained. Hmm.

For further reading click here.

PM Backpedals
After making the outrageous statement in a speech on Tuesday that blamed the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem for giving Hitler the idea to exterminate the Jews, PM Netanyahu backpedaled, a little.

In a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the PM clarified that the mufti’s role during the Holocaust was to “call on the Nazis to prevent Jews from fleeing Europe and support the Final Solution.”

Even Merkel was taken aback by Netanyahu’s initial statement so much so that she felt compelled to place responsibility for the Holocaust squarely on Germany. She added, “We stand behind our responsibility and I don’t see any need to change our relation to history.”

So now we’re all clear on this. Hitler was responsible for killing the Jews but the Mufti certainly supported and encouraged his evil plans. Now what about all that Arab rhetoric about pushing us into the sea? Sounds like Jewish destruction to me.

For further reading click here.

Temple Mount Visits
Yesterday Walla News reported from Arab sources that Israeli diplomats told Jordan’s King Abdullah that Israel would reduce the number of Jewish and non-Muslim visitors to the Temple Mount. Both the King and PA President Abbas rejected the offer, claiming that it was insufficient.

They weren’t the only ones unsatisfied with the proposal. Knesset members from the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party called on the PM to clarify whether he instructed the diplomats to make the offer.

Education Minister and head of the Bayit Yehudi party Naftali Bennett said, “I don’t believe that the PM would offer such a proposal.” He added that if the terrorists gain concessions from their terror, then their next wave of terror will be even worse, and that in the Middle East, displays of weakness are not effective diplomacy.

The PM’s office responded that no such proposal ever existed. Good to know.

For further reading click here.

Kurdistan and Jews
Sherzad Omer Mamsani was recently appointed Jewish affairs representative for the government of the semi autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq. It shouldn’t be a very taxing job, since there are no Jews in the region (also known as Kurdistan). Mamsani’s main role will be to foster relations with the 200,000 to 300,000 Kurdish Jews, most of whom live in Israel.

Kurdish officials say that there are some 200 to 300 families in Iraqi Kurdistan who outwardly converted to Islam over the last decades but who continue to secretly observe certain Jewish traditions. Mamsani is one of those who claim to have Jewish roots. He’s visited Israel several times and has written about Kurdish – Israeli ties. That cost him a hand, lost in a bombing attack against him by Muslim radicals.

His goal is to reconnect Iraqi Kurds to Jewish culture and to relatives they may have abroad. “We work with the government to reunite families, and to help those Kurds who want to find out about their Jewish roots.” Another longer term goal is to rebuild destroyed synagogues in the region.

The Kurds seem to really like Israel. Could be because Israel reportedly purchased a large portion of Kurdish oil exports and because they’ve supplied the Kurds with military assistance, secretly of course. Maybe it’s also because there are no Jews in the country, which makes it a lot easier to be a Jew lover (although it didn’t seem to have worked in Poland).

Hey, anyone fighting ISIS is a friend.

For further reading click here.

High Rent
If you think New York City rents are high, wait until you hear what they’re charging in Tel Aviv. According to the Israeli branch of Sotheby’s International Realty, a Russian (non Israeli) just rented an apartment for $45,000 per month (that’s US dollars, not shekels).

The 3,444 sq.ft. apartment takes up a full floor at the top of the Remez Tower, a high end building in the city’s popular “old north” neighborhood. The rent doesn’t include the $1,000 per month management fee.

According to Isidora Fridman, an executive director at Sotheby’s Israel, a similar sized apartment on Fifth Avenue in New York City rents for $50,000 per month. But why would you want to live on Fifth Avenue if you could live in Tel Aviv?

For further reading click here.