Israel News for September 27, 2016

Bus Collision
Early today a bus collided head on with a car near the Bedouin town of Hura in the Negev. Twenty three people were injured, including a 7 month old baby.

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Facebook is Sorry
Facebook has apologized for temporarily disabling several pages related to Palestinian media agencies last Friday. The agencies, the Quds News Network and the Shehab News Agency, have millions of likes and are “critical” (to say the least) of Israel.

Facebook released a statement saying, “The pages were removed in error and restored as soon as we were able to investigate. Our team processes millions of reports each week, and we sometimes get things wrong. We’re very sorry about this mistake.”

Palestinians accused Facebook of censorship and blamed Israel for being behind the closures.

Israel has been in discussions with Facebook to try and get the company to stop incitement on the site.

For further reading click here.

Saudi Editorial
The English language Saudia Arabian daily newspaper the Saudi Gazette published an editorial on Sunday saying “that the Palestinians “should not be too quick to dismiss the invitation extended by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to address Israel’s parliament.”

The editorial said, “Netanyahu’s gesture was quickly rejected by the Palestinians as a ‘new gimmick,’ but the invitation is reminiscent of the one issued by former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to visit Israel — and the rest is history.”

Given that the Saudi Arabian press is under the firm control of the royal family, the editorial could possible reflect a change in Saudi Arabian policy.

For further reading click here.

Surprise Meetup
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is on a business trip in NYC this week. Yesterday he happened to run into Jonathan Pollard, who was having coffee at a Manhattan cafe with his wife. This was the first time any Israeli official has met Pollard since his release from prison last year.

The mayor had awarded Pollard a medal as an “honorary citizen of Jerusalem” prior to his parole, which Pollard never received. So on Monday the mayor removed his own Jerusalem pin from the lapel of his jacket and pinned it to Pollard’s suspenders. He said, “If Jonathan cannot come to Jerusalem, then Jerusalem will come to him in New York or anywhere else in the world.”

To watch a video of the incident, click here.

Bibi on Broadway
While PM Netanyahu was in NYC this past week, he managed to catch a performance of the hit Broadway show Hamilton. But just before the performance two women approached him, shouting “free Palestine”. They were pushed aside by the PM’s robust security detail, the same one that apparently accompanied him to the bathroom of a Manhattan restaurant in full force.

Netanyahu received applause as well as boos from the theatre crowd. The boos might have been more related to the balagan (big mess) he caused at the theatre (with the huge security detail) than to the fact that he was the Israeli PM. Getting seats at a hit show is hard enough as is!

One theater goer wrote,  “It isn’t enough that it is hard to get tickets to a Saturday night show. Netanyahu’s arrival turned the theater into an airport.”

The PM’s Office had no comment as to whether the PM enjoyed the show or not.

For further reading click here.