Israel News for January 18, 2017

Ramming Attack
A Bedouin, believed to be a member of the Islamic Movement terror group, rammed his car into police early this morning in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in southern Israel. Israeli police officer Sgt. Maj. Erez Levi, 34, was killed. Five people were wounded including another policeman and Arab MK Ayman Odeh, the head of the Joint List party. The terrorist was shot dead.

The police and security forces had arrived at the village to carry out demolition orders against several illegally constructed homes. Residents of the village also fired on the police, who returned fire. Police described the attack as similar to the one in Jerusalem last week, where a terrorist rammed his truck into soldiers.

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Stabbing Attack
Last night a terrorist holding a knife charged at soldiers manning a checkpoint near Tulkarm. The soldiers from the Home Front Command’s Shahar Battalion warned him to stop. When he did not, the battalion’s deputy commander, a major, shot at the terrorist and killed him.

To watch a video of the attack click here.

Ma’aleh Adumim
MK Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi) announced in the Knesset that the Ministerial Committee on Legislation will debate a bill, on Sunday, to annex Ma’aleh Adumim. The city of over 37,000, considered to be a settlement, is located just minutes to the east of Jerusalem along Highway 1 in the West Bank (Judea).

Right-wing lawmakers believe there is enough support in the Knesset for its passage, given that the government and many Israelis hold that Ma’aleh Adumim will be part of Israel’s final borders in any final status agreement with the Palestinians. The debate on the annexation bill taking place days after the inauguration of Donald Trump is no coincidence.

But will Trump support annexation? Does it fit into his negotiation strategy? Is pushing the issue just days into his new administration such a good idea?

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Brazil Approves Ambassador
After a year and a half without one, Israel finally has an ambassador in Brazil. The Brazilian government approved Israel’s appointee Yossi Shelly, a close confidant of PM Netanyahu. Brazil refused to endorse Israel’s original appointee, Dani Dayan, because of his history as a settlement leader. Dayan is now serving as Consul General of Israel in New York.

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement following Shelly’s nomination, saying that it marks a new chapter in the two countries’ relationship, and that the nomination is sure to strengthen their ties in the fields of trade and commerce.

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Traffic Fines
The Knesset’s Economic Affairs Committee approved an order yesterday to increase punishments for serious crimes, including traffic violations. Drivers who run a red light will now be fined NIS 1,500. However, failing to yield to pedestrians will only cost drivers NIS 250. Last year 376 Israelis died in traffic accidents. Will stricter fines help?

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