Israel News for September 19, 2016

Terror Attack
A terrorist stabbed and seriously injured a male and female police officer near Herod’s Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem this morning. The male policeman managed to shoot and seriously injure the terrorist. The 47 year old policeman was evacuated in serious condition and the 38 year old policewoman in critical condition. The terrorist, a resident of East Jerusalem in his 20’s, is in critical condition.

This is the sixth terror attack in the past four days. PM Netanyahu held an emergency meeting with security officials last night, to work on preventing a new surge of attacks before the High Holidays.

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Hebron Attack
Also today, two terrorist attempted to stab Border Police stationed near The Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. The officers shot at the attackers, killing one and critically injuring the other. One police officer was lightly injured in the hand.

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Defense Firms Hit
While the recently signed military aid package signed between the US and Israel is the largest ever, many defense manufacturers and contractors in Israel might be forced to close down and layoff thousands of employees because of it.

According to the agreement, which will take effect in 2018, the US aid will not be able to be used to purchase military equipment from Israeli companies. Purchases will only be permitted from US companies. The current aid package allows Israel to spend up to 26% on purchases within Israel.

Avraham Bar David, the chairman Manufacturers Association of Israel Merkava tank industries forum, which includes 212 small and midsize companies, explained, “Enterprises producing small components as subcontractors of the large companies will be the first to suffer. Once Israeli procurement is done in the US, these companies will either switch to other fields or close down. Not only will the country lose many jobs, it will also lose priceless know-how accumulated here over many years. A few years after these companies close down and the state needs new development, it is liable to find itself in a hopeless plight. If the state wants to retain this know-how and enable it to continue developing the most up-to-date and best products for its defense needs, it will have to find alternative sources for the billions of shekels that will not be available because of this agreement.”

So in order to save these companies from going under, Israel will have to add billions of shekels to its already huge defense budget. Where is that money supposed to come from? Not so simple.

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Duty Free
There’s nothing that gets international airline travelers more excited than the words “Duty Free”. This is especially true for Israeli travelers, since the “duty” or taxes on most imported products in Israel is so high. For example, an electronics device that costs $200 in Israel might only be $150 in “duty free”. Get the idea. Unless you’re traveling out of the country, you can’t take advantage of duty free pricing. But that is about to change.

The Ministry of Transportation has announced that the new Ramon Airport scheduled to open in Timna (outside of Eilat) in April 2017 will permit Israeli’s to buy duty free when flying to an from Eilat, without ever leaving Israel. The Minister of Transportation said, “The purpose is to strengthen Eilat, and make Israelis prefer it to overseas destinations. I’m convinced that a great many Israelis will prefer Eilat as an alternative to other places.”

In fact, it might even be worth taking the inexpensive flight to Eilat just for the duty free savings!

Ramon Airport in Timna is the first civilian airport built in Israel since independence. The new airport, which will replace the old Eilat Airport, will be Israel’s second international airport, mainly for flights to and from Europe and internal flights. The terminal will have a capacity of two million passengers annually, with parking facilities for wide and medium-bodied airplanes, operations areas, roads, and a parking lot for 600 private vehicles.

The old Eilat Airport, which is located right in the middle of the city near the hotel district, will become a very valuable piece of real estate.

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