Israel News for July 13, 2016

Terror Ramming
Three Palestinian men tried to ram their car into security forces who were dismantling an illegal weapons production facility in the village of a-Ram. Security forces shot and killed one of the men and wounded the other. The third man was arrested. No Israelis were hurt.

The IDF closed down a total of 16 weapons factories in the West Bank in a major crackdown yesterday.

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Chief Rabbi Clarifies
Rabbi Col. Eval Karim, who was appointed as the next IDF Chief Rabbi, responded to critics by clarifying his positions in a meeting with the head of the Manpower Directorate Maj. Gen. Hagi Topolanski yesterday.

Karim confirmed that he in no way sanctions wartime rape by soldiers, and that the statement he once made permitting it was made exclusively in a theoretical context. He also clearly stated that he was in favor of drafting women into the IDF, as opposed to a statement he once made prohibiting women from serving.

He also claimed that he permits soldiers from being present at events where women are singing, which seems to contradict a 28 page legal opinion he offered which prohibited women singers from performing at IDF events and permitted male soldiers from being excused from such an event.

It’s still unclear whether the rabbi’s clarifications will be enough to placate his critics, as more controversial statements of his come to light. Most of those statement were made in the context of responses to questions on the website

Examples of Karim’s controversial statements include his position that soldiers may refuse an order that goes against Jewish law, that wounded suicide bombers should be killed, and that the Torah prohibits women from testifying in a Bet Din (Jewish legal court) because “a woman’s sentimental nature does not allow her to withstand a cross examination at court.”

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Republican Platform
The Republican Party’s Platform Committee has unanimously agreed to omit references to a two-sate solution in its new platform.

The two-state solution has long been accepted by both the Democratic and Republican parties as well as by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). When the Republicans tried to omit the two-sate solution from their platform in 2012, AIPAC opposed the move. This time they didn’t.

The new platform says, “The U.S. seeks to assist in the establishment of comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East, to be negotiated among those living in the region. We oppose any measures intended to impose an agreement or to dictate borders or other terms, and call for the immediate termination of all U.S. funding of any entity that attempts to do so. Our party is proud to stand with Israel now and always.”

Other language on Israel “reject(s) the false notion that Israel is an occupier” and describes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and “indivisible,” both changes from the 2012 platform.

AIPAC spokesman Marshall Wittmann said, “We appreciate that both parties’ platforms have now included strong pro-Israel language which is reflective of the broad bipartisan consensus in support of the Jewish state.”

J Street called the new Republican platform language, “dangerous and irresponsible.” The left-leaning Jewish group said, “It breaks with over half a century of bipartisan US consensus on Middle East policy and disavows the important achievements of previous Republican presidents in seeking peace between Israel and the Palestinians. It would place the Republican Party to the right of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who continues to maintain that he supports the two-state solution.”

The Democratic platform, which was recently approved, does include the two-state solution saying, “We will continue to work toward a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiated directly by the parties that guarantees Israel’s future as a secure and democratic Jewish state with recognized borders and provides the Palestinians with independence, sovereignty, and dignity.”

The Republican platform will still need to be approved by the full Republican National Committee ahead of the convention in Cleveland next week.

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Hezbollah Missiles
Addressing a UN Security Council discussion relating to the security situation in Lebanon 10 years after the Second Lebanon War, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon presented evidence of how south Lebanon has turned into a Hezbollah stronghold.

Danon said the Hezbollah currently has 120,000 missiles pointed at Israel. That’s a larger missile stockpile than all of the European NATO countries combined. At the end of the Second Lebanon War Hezbollah only had 7,000.

Damon said, “Hezbollah hasn’t been stopped. They chose to establish their firing positions next to schools and other public buildings, thereby endangering the innocent civilian population. It is the responsibility of the UN security council to get Hezbollah out of south Lebanon.”

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Israeli in Gaza
A bedouin Israeli citizen has crossed the border fence into Gaza yesterday and is now missing. The man is a shepherd who lives with his family a few miles from the border. He is considered to be mentally unstable.

Security forces were alerted of the breach in the fence and raced to the scene but were too late to stop the man. He is thought to have been captured by Hamas. He is the third Israeli civilian to cross the border and be held by Hamas. The other two are a bedouin and an Ethiopian, both mentally unstable.

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Saudi Rankings
The Saudi Arabian based Center for World University Rankings has ranked theHebrew University of Jerusalem as the best university in the Middle East and #26th in the world (out of 25,000). Other Israeli universities to finish in the top 100 were the Weizmann Institute of Science, at 41, and Tel Aviv University, at 81.

Yes, the ratings agency is based in Saudi Arabia, and still…

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