Israel News for January 13, 2017

Syria Attack
The Syrian military has accused Israel of launching a missile attack against the Mezzeh military airport on the western edge of Damascus and warned Tel Aviv of repercussions.

Residents of Damascus reported hearing several explosions that shook the capital. The Mezzeh airport compound located on the southwestern edge of the capital had been used to launch attacks on rebel-held areas near Damascus and has come previously under rebel fire. The base allegedly houses Iranian Revolutionary Guard units.

Israel declined to comment on the accusation.

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Mattis and Jerusalem
President-elect Trump’s pick for Secretary of Defense James Mattis was questioned during his senate confirmation hearing yesterday. When asked by South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, “What’s the capital of Israel?” Mattis replied, “The capital of Israel that I go to, sir, is Tel Aviv because that’s where all their government people are.” When Graham pressed him saying, “Do you agree with me that the capital of Israel is Jerusalem?” Mattis responded, “Sir, right now I stick with the US policy.”

Mattis said that he supported a two-state solution and said, “I think ultimately we’re going to have to promote peace between the Palestinian and the Israeli authorities there, and that’s going to take time to build that kind of trust, and we should be a partner in trying to build that resolution between those peoples.”

When asked whether he would support moving the embassy Mattis said, “I would defer to the nominee of Secretary of State on that, sir.”

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Gaza Aid
As a result of the relative quiet along the Gaza border in recent months, the Defense Ministry has decided to increase humanitarian shipments and open another border crossing with a conveyor system to transfer materials to Gaza. It will also increase the number of workers allowed to enter Israel. The ministry stresses that these measures can be reversed immediately if the situation along the border changes.

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Meanwhile mass demonstrators erupted in Gaza against Hamas because of a lack of electricity that is severley effecting the population and crippling the economy.

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Netanyahu and Inauguration
The Prime Minister’s Office has dispelled the rumors that Netanyahu was invited to attend the inauguration of Donal Trump. The PM was not invited and will not attend. Foreign leaders do not usually attend US presidential inaugurations.

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Gap Year
Speaking to a room full of hundreds of high school seniors at a Bnei Akiva (religious youth group) conference, Education Minister Naftali Bennett advised the students to postpone their military services for at least a year to study Torah in a Yeshiva or another pre-IDF Torah learning center. He said that he regretted his decision not to do so. Bennett also urged students to continue daily Torah study throughout their lives.

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