Israel News for September 2, 2015

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ISIS and the Israeli
In a totally unexpected turn of events, an Israeli 21 yr old male was apprehended by Turkish police for allegedly attempting to join ISIS forces in Syria.

The man flew from Israel to Crete, then to Izmir, Turkey and then to the Turkish city of Adana. From there he traveled overland to Iskenderun, near the Turkish-Syrian border.

The man’s family, who had been in contact with him throughout his journey, figured out that something was very wrong with their boy and contacted the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) for help. The MFA alerted the Israeli embassy and consulate in Turkey, who then asked the Turkish authorities for help. The Turks found the man and returned him to his family, who had flown to Turkey. The man and his family returned to Israel on Monday.

Why in the world would an Israeli Jew want to join ISIS? The MFA has implied that the man was mentally imbalanced, which is really the only answer that makes any sense. The good news in all of this is that Turkish and Israeli authorities worked together, which is a hopeful sign that relations between the two countries are warming up again.

Flags at the UN
Last week we reported about a resolution drafted by the Palestinian mission to the UN permitting observer states to fly their flags alongside member nations at the UN headquarters in New York City. The Palestinians had explicitly included the Vatican, the only other observer state, in their resolution hoping that doing so would pressure the General Assembly to approve it.

The Vatican protested their inclusion in the resolution, even though they recognize the State of Palestine. So the Palestinians rewrote their resolution, removing the Vatican, and are now seeking General Assembly approval to allow non-member observer states to raise their flags.

Israel’s UN Ambassador Ron Prosor is urging UN leaders to reject the resolution. He wrote letters to the UN secretary-general and the General Assembly president accusing the Palestinians of “attempting to swiftly change longstanding U.N. tradition in order to score political points.”

The United States is on Israel’s side. U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said, “We continue to believe that Palestinian efforts to pursue statehood or endorsements of statehood claims through the U.N. system that are outside of a negotiated settlement … (are) counterproductive,” adding that this includes raising the flag.

A spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general, Stephane Dujarric, told reporters yesterday that the U.N. will abide by whatever the General Assembly decides.

Despite the usual support the Palestinians get at the UN, in this case the UN leadership doesn’t seem too eager to anger their host nation, the US, by raising the flag of a state that it doesn’t recognize, in its largest city, which also happens to have the largest Jewish population and be very pro Israel. That might be going too far, even for them.

Gay Pride Report
The special committee investigating the gay pride parade stabbings last month submitted their final report to Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan yesterday. The report recommended reprimanding the police commander of the Jerusalem district, Moshe Edri, and dismissing three senior officers.

Erdan accepted the committees recommendations and will decide whether to take even harsher steps and dismiss additional officers.

Charedi vs. Charedi
For the first time ever, the state prosecutor has indicted a charedi man for assaulting a charedi soldier. The incident took place two weeks ago when a soldier serving in one of the charedi integration programs in the IDF went to a shul with his father in a charedi neighborhood of Jerusalem.

The soldier, in his army uniform, ran into 34 year old Ahron Tavi Korlansky, who proceeded to yell derogatory phrases at him. He also began inciting the other men praying in the synagogue. When several of them joined him in his verbal assault, Korlansly approached the soldier and began punching him in the chest and trying to grab his beret from his shoulder. When the soldier’s father tried to help his son, the men punched him too.
Korlansky also shouted threats and derogatory remarks at police officers who arrived at the scene and at the officers who questioned him at the police station.

Quite a piece of work. Hopefully he only represents a tiny fringe of extremists in the charedi community. Unfortunately, many in the community share his views, although they would not express them violently.

PM’s Dietary Dilema
Officials from the Charedi UTJ party are furious at the PM’s alleged dietary habits.They claim that Netanyahu ate at a non-kosher restaurant on his recent visit to Italy, which is totally unacceptable for the leader of the Jewish state. The established tradition is that Israeli ministers and diplomats do not eat non-kosher food at official or public events.

An official in the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that Netanyahu “was invited to a restaurant by the Italian prime minister (Matteo Renzi), but he did not eat forbidden foods.”

This isn’t the first time that the PM has caught flack over his kosher dining habits. Last year he was accused of eating at a non kosher restaurant with billionaire supporter Sheldon Adelson in New York City and at an exclusive seafood restaurant in New Jersey.

But in Netanyahu’s case, walking and talking like a duck doesn’t necessarily make him a duck. Several Orthodox Israeli officials were also at the Seafood restaurant with the PM, and no one is claiming that they ate non-kosher. So just being in a non-kosher venue doesn’t mean that he actually ate there. Maybe he just had a salad.

Let’s give the PM the benefit of the doubt. That seems like the kosher thing to do.

Shops Get Smashed
Running a retail business is hard enough as is. Getting your shop smashed by oncoming traffic makes it almost impossible. In three separate incidents over the past couple of days, drivers have lost control and smashed their vehicles into store fronts.

In the latest incident, yesterday in Hadera, a bus hit several cars before plowing into a store on a main street. The day before that, in two separate incidents, cars ended up crashing into a restaurant and retail shop.

Are Israeli drivers that bad, or are they just a tad too eager to get their shopping done? It might just be a bit of both.