Israel News for October 9, 2015

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Following a quiet morning in Israel a 16 year old religious youth was stabbed on Shmuel Hanavi street in Jerusalem. The attacker was apprehended shortly after by a fireman who was driving by. This was the same road as the tractor terrorist attack in 2014 and close to the location of yesterday’s stabbing.

Shortly after a 47 year old policeman was stabbed in Kiryat Arba close to Hebron. Patrol policeman had stopped the suspect for questioning when he drew his knife, stabbed the policeman and tried the grab his gun. Police shot the terrorist and he is in a critical condition.

These were the ninth and tenth Israelis to be wounded in stabbing attacks in the last 24 hours.

In Afula a female terrorist tried to stab a security guard and passersby at the entrance to the central bus station. She was shot and wounded.

There were also riots in the Shuafat refugee camp earlier this morning following the funeral of the youth killed in yesterdays violence.

Earlier today, an Israeli stabbed three Palestinians and one Bedouin man in Dimona, in a revenge attack. The prime minister strongly condemned the attack, saying violence against innocent Arabs is unacceptable.

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Terror Continues
The terror spree continued yesterday.

As we reported yesterday, a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem stabbed and seriously wounded a 25 year old ultra orthodox yeshiva student near the light rail on French Hill in Jerusalem. He then tried to grab the gun from a security guard nearby, but following a scuffle fled the scene. Members of the Yasam anti-terrorist police unit apprehended the terrorist.

Police forces entered the Shoafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem to search the home of the attacker. They were attacked by a mob of thousands of young Palestinians throwing rocks and firebombs. Nine police officers were wounded, but the police was able to gain control of the area and complete their search. During the violence police shot and killed a 20 year old Palestinian man and wounded six others.

Later in the afternoon, a 19 year old Palestinian man from East Jerusalem stabbed five Israelis with a screwdriver near the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv. The terrorist tried to flee but was shot and killed by an IAF officer.

Then a Palestinian stabbed a 25 year old Israeli man near Kiryat Arba. The man was seriously wounded. Security forces are searching for the attacker.

Finally, last night a 20 year old Palestinian man repeatedly stabbed a 21 year old soldier in Afula. The terrorist was subdued by citizens and police. Bystanders tried to attack the terrorist. Three police officers were injured protecting him.

PM Netanyahu called for a unity government, but opposition leader Isaac Herzog rejected his offer and called for him to resign.

Let’s all pray for the terror victims and for the terror to end.

Jews Demonstrate
Hundreds of right wing Jewish activists demonstrated in Gan Sacher park in Jerusalem against the recent wave of Arab terror. Four men were arrested including Bentzi Gopstein, the leader of the extreme right wing Lehava group.

The demonstrators were permitted to march to the Kotel via the Zion Gate. They chanted slogans including, “Kahana Chai”, “Mohammed is dead” and “Death to the Arabs”. Some tried to attack Arab taxis. Several men were arrested along the way for disorderly conduct.

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Clarification on Temple Mount
Yesterday we reported that the PM had banned government ministers and Knesset members from visiting the Temple Mount, but that the ban did not apply to Arab officials. That caused a storm of protest from right wing ministers including Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel.

Well, the PM’s office issued a clarification saying that the ban applied to both Jewish and Arab ministers and Knesset members. In fact, a senior Israeli official said Thursday that Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah had planned on visiting the Temple Mount, but Netanyahu ordered the police to prevent him from arriving at the site out of a concern that his visit could fan the flames.

The Joint Arab List responded that party members would ignore Netanyahu’s announcement and continue visiting the Al-Aqsa mosque as individuals and in groups.
So now, everyone’s upset. Business as usual.

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PM Halts Construction
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to withdraw his plan to build 538 housing units in Itamar, a community in Northern Samaria (West Bank), due to intense international pressure. Instead, the prime minister will promote a master plan for Itamar that retroactively approves existing buildings, but does not allow for the construction of new ones.

Itamar was established in 1984 without a municipal plan that would allow construction. So basically, all the construction in the community for the last twenty years is technically illegal. It was only after the horrific murder of the Fogel family by terrorists in 2011 that the government finally decided to work on advancing a proposal for a municipal plan.

In the initial plan presented to planning agencies three years ago, the state sought retroactive approval for 137 existing homes as well as an expansion of the settlement by thousands of dunams through the construction of 537 new housing units, to be built with Defense Ministry approval.

A year and a half ago, Netanyahu ordered a general suspension of the planning process and of approval of new homes in West Bank settlements over his concern that the United States would decide not to exercise its veto power on resolutions aimed at Israel in the UN Security Council. As a result, the plan for Itamar also stalled.

After the murder of the Henkins last week and protests by settlers, the PM decided to push the municipal plan through, but not the part about the new 538 homes.

Even though the settlers are not happy with the shelved construction plans, the legalization of the existing homes is still a statement of support for the settlement movement by the PM. So basically, neither the right nor the left is happy.

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Tables Turned
The High Court of Justice approved sanctions placed on a woman who refused to accept a Get (Jewish divorce) from her husband.

According to Jewish law, in order to be considered divorced and permitted to remarry, a husband must willingly give his wife a divorce document called a Get. If he fails to do so, the woman may not remarry. A woman whose husband refuses to give her a Get is called an Agunah (chained).

The Israeli rabbinical courts, which have jurisdiction over all marriage and divorce cases, have the power to impose financial sanctions and other punitive measures, including incarceration, against the uncooperative husband. In most cases monetary sanctions are enough to persuade him to give the Get. Unfortunately, not always.

There’s another requirement for the divorce to be “kosher”: the wife must willingly accept the Get from her husband. Since polygamy in Judaism was banned over 1000 years ago (at least for Ashkenazim. The Sephardic ban took effect with the establishment of the State of Israel), until the wife accepts the Get, the husband cannot remarry.

A 2008 case brought before the rabbinical court revolved around a wife who refused to accept the Get from her husband. The court imposed monetary sanctions against her in the amount of 2,000 shekels per week (to the state) to persuade her to reconsider. She didn’t. The husband then took her before the secular court, which upheld the decision of the rabbinical court and placed a judgement against her.

The woman refused to pay the sanctions and brought her case before the High Court, claiming that the Rabbinical Court had no authority to sanction her.

Yesterday, High Court justice Miriam Naor said she disagreed – confirming the Rabbinical Court decision and imposing the NIS 2,000 weekly fine on the woman.

Hopefully this will finally get her to accept the Get and allow her husband to remarry.

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Oil’s Well that Ends Well
If you’re one of those cynics who likes to wonder why God told Moses to lead the Jews to Israel instead of to one of the oil rich Arab lands, you’re time might be up. It looks like there’s oil in the rocky earth of the Golan. Lot’s of it.

Afek Oil and Gas, an Israeli subsidiary of the U.S. company Genie Energy, recently confirmed the find but won’t be sure exactly how much oil is there until they actually extract it.

According to a September 2014 Times of Israel report on the Golan exploration, Genie Energy is chaired by Howard Jonas and counts among its more notable investors the “former US Vice President Dick Cheney, Michael Steinhardt, Jacob Rothschild, and Rupert Murdoch.”

The reserves could potentially produce billions of barrels, which would far exceed Israel’s annual oil consumption of 240,000 barrels.

The only problem is that with oil prices at a low, the cost of extracting the oil from the rocky soil might make it economically unprofitable. Also, the oil fields proximity to the Syrian border might make create an “explosive” situation.

But let’s stop being so negative. Between the offshore gas and the Golan oil, Israel might be a natural resource rich destination after all. So, looks like Moses didn’t take a wrong turn after all.

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