Israel News for July 15, 2016

Gaza Post
If you’re planning to mail something to Gaza, forget about it. Israel is halting postal services to Gaza because people have been trying to smuggle weapons, drones and other illegal equipment into the zone. Just this year there have been 315 attempts at smuggling in contraband via postal packages.

Does Amazon deliver to Gaza?

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Parade Cancelled
Organizers of the Gay Pride parade in Beersheva have cancelled the parade in the city, after the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the police to divert the parade from the city’s main street because of security concerns. The parade organizers apparently felt that it was main street or no street. So instead, they will hold a protest rally outside of the Beersheva municipality building.

Beersheva mayor Ruvik Danilovich said, “I regret their decision to cancel the parade, I hope to work together to expand cooperation with the LGBT community. The gay community is in integral part of the social fabric of Beersheba, as such the community has the freedom to act in accordance with its world view.”

The Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem will take place next Friday and is estimated to draw over 10,000 marchers and spectators. The parade was marred last year by the murder of Shira Banki and the wounding of 6 others. The parade route will be extended this year.

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Foreign Engineers
The Israeli “startup nation” high-tech industry is suffering from a severe shortage of at least 10,000 engineers. To help alleviate the shortage, the Prime Minister’s Office has authorized a special team to recommend a solution which would allow companies to hire foreign workers.

Sources say that according to the plan, foreign employees will receive “specialist visas” enabling them to move to Israel for two years, with the possibility of a further extension of up to three more years. Children and spouses of the holders of specialist visas will receive permission from the Immigration Authority to work in Israel.

The Immigration Authority would create a database of 1,500 Israeli companies who would submit requests that would be expedited by the authority, cutting out much of the existing bureaucracy. No quota for foreign tech workers will be set.

In order to maintain the average salary level of Israeli tech workers, the foreign workers will receive a minimum gross salary of 20,000 shekels per month.

Netanyahu, who is also Minister of the Economy and Industry, will endorse the team’s recommendations.

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Flags on Temple Mount
Dozens of people have begun posting photoshopped images of themselves holding Israeli flags on the Temple Mount. The trend is gaining momentum on Facebook. Some of the images contain famous video game characters, butterflies and other funny things.

The trend began after an Israeli named Haim Brosh shared a photoshopped picture of himself holding a flag in front of the Dome of the Rock, under the words “Carry a flag to Zion.” He was detained by police, who thought the image was real. It is illegal to have an Israeli flag on the Temple Mount (at least for Jews). Brosh was released with a warning, although it’s unclear what the warning was for.

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Soccer Diplomacy
During his recent visit to Israel, the Egyptian foreign minister met with PM Netanyahu in the PM’s residence in Jerusalem. After their meeting they apparently watched part of the Euro Cup Finals match on TV. Netanyahu posted a photo on Facebook and Twitter with the caption, “Tonight Sara 7 I hosted Egyptian FM Sameh Shoukry in our Jerusalem home. We made time to watch the #Euro2016Final.”

The posts sparked outrage from the Egyptian public, condemning the fraternization with the Israeli leader. Yesterday the Egyptian government denied that the foreign minister watched the game with Netanyahu, saying that he just stumbled into the room where the game happened to have been on. “The Egyptian foreign minister doesn’t watch soccer games during a formal and important visit such as this.”

Imad ad-Din Hussein, an editor from the Egyptian in the daily newspaper al-Shorouk, wrote, “I would understand if our foreign minister would watch a game, a movie or a play with an Arab official, who is a friend… But not an Israeli official.”

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