Israel News for September 25, 2015

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Security Cabinet
The PM’s office announced that the security cabinet has decided in favor of setting a four year minimum sentence for stone and firebomb throwers. The new regulation will be in place for three years.

The Attorney General, Yehuda Weinstein, recommended issuing the order for one year, but the cabinet sided with Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked’s three year proposal.

The minimum sentence will only apply to adult suspects. Judges will also have the latitude to deviate from the minimum sentence. Currently, the maximum sentence for stone and firebomb throwers is 20 years.

The cabinet also took measures against the parents of stone throwers who are minors. The measures include revoking stipends of parents whose children are sentenced to prison. The cabinet will examine the legality of fining parents of minors aged 12-14, and imposing bail on parents of minors under the age of 12.

Regarding rules of engagement for police, security cabinet rules that police officers can open fire whenever their lives or the lives of civilians are in danger.

“Until recently, police officers would open fire when their own lives were at risk,” Netanyahu said. “From now on, they will be allowed to open fire – and they will know they have a right to do so – when anyone’s life is in danger.”

Further Reading:

No Calls Taken
Don’t you hate it when you know someone is not taking your calls? Well, that seems to be what’s happening when PM Netanyahu calls Jordan’s King Abdullah to discuss ways of defusing tensions on the Temple Mount.

According to Haaretz sources, the King has told guests in recent days that he refuses to take phone calls from Netanyahu, to prevent Israel from using them to give the impression that the two nations are coordinating their reactions to the ongoing violence on the Temple Mount (he didn’t say Temple Mount). The London-based Rai al Youm newspaper quoted sources from within Jordan’s royal palace who confirmed the phone snubbing.

The King recently hosted Arab Israeli Knesset members to discuss the Temple Mount violence and the claims that Israel has been coordinating with the Hashemite kingdom. During the meeting, Abdullah said that Al-Aqsa Mosque was open for Muslims only and cannot be shared. “I’ll say once and for all, there is no partnership, no division, Al-Aqsa is a Muslim place of worship.

The king also spoke with US Vice President Biden and asked him to act against “the ongoing Israeli policies at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and end the aggression.”

Although traditionally viewed as the protector of the Jerusalem holy places, Abdullah doesn’t really have any power to pressure Israel or the Palestinians to do anything. But having him on their side would be a huge PR victory for Israel, which is probably why Netanyahu keeps dialing his number. Will he ever answer? The chances of him choosing to partner with Israel in anything related to Al Aqsa and be seen as a traitor by the entire Muslim world are about as good as … fill in your own scenario.

Maybe the PM has the wrong number?

Further Reading:

No Refugees
PM Netanyahu’s policy of not accepting any Syrian refugees into Israel has some unlikely fans. The Druze living in the Israeli Golan, who used to be Syrian citizens and who never really made their peace with Israeli rule, are totally against Syrians leaving their homeland.

To quote Salah Abu Salah, 62, a Golan Druze elder whose words echo the sentiments of many here, “Anyone who abandons his land is not worth a cent in my eyes. Where you are born is where you should die. That is something I learned from my grandfather, who learned it from his grandfather. We must fight until our last breath for our land.”
So wherever they are, the Druze are there to stay.

Further Reading:

Pride Labels
While the European Union decides how to implement a policy of requiring Israeli products from East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan to be labeled as such, one Israeli winemaker is proudly getting a head start.

Bazelet Hagolan, a boutique winery in the Golan Heights, recently unveiled new labels bearing the Israeli flag for its bottles for export. “I’m proud of this flag, and I’m Israeli and I’m not ashamed,” said winery owner Yoav Levy, calling on other Israeli wineries to follow suit.

Levy’s winery manufactures 80,000 bottles a year, of which 20% is exported to North America and Europe. He says he’s been getting lots of positive feedback from customers and that business is looking up.

Is this a pro Israel message, or is the wine just too good to pass up? There’s only one way to find out.

Further Reading:

Happy Birthday Mossad
Yesterday the Mossad celebrated its 65th birthday with a good ol’ fashioned birthday bash. For some reason most of the attendants were kept anonymous, but we do know that Prime Minister Netanyahu, Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz and the Mossad Chief Tamir Pardu were there to celebrate.

Pardu revealed that the Mossad has more female employees than ever. Women comprise 40% of the agency, 24% of whom are in key positions. He also said that the Mossad employees are younger than ever, with 23% between the ages of 22-32.

In his speech the PM thanked the Mossad agents saying, “what has occurred over the past 100 years is nothing short of a miracle. But we know that miracles have their limits. God and history do not hand them out freely. We need to play our part in them time after time. And I trust in you to continue this work.”

Further Reading:,7340,L-4703846,00.html