Israel News for July 18, 2016

Breaking News
Two Israeli soldiers were stabbed and wounded by a Palestinian on Route 60 between Hebron and Gush Etzion outside of El Arub Palestinian refugee camp. One soldier was stabbed in the head and the other in the head. Both were conscious was treated by paramedics. Soldiers in the area shot and neutralized the terrorist.

For further reading click here.

Terror Averted
A Palestinian man in his twenties was arrested yesterday morning at a light rail station on Jaffa Rd near Ben Yehuda Street in the heart of Jerusalem. After the man raised the suspicion of the rail guards and was questioned, he admitted that he was carrying explosives. The area was immediately evacuated and closed off, and a police bomb squad proceeded to find three pipe bombs in the man’s bag along with knives.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said, “At large attack was prevented this morning thanks to the vigilance of Jerusalem’s light rail guards. Our message to the public is to continue as normal, be alert and never give in to terror. We must hunt down terrorists everywhere without compromise and without restraint.”

For further reading and to watch a video of the arrest, click here.

Fight Against Terror
Shin Bet Chief Nadav Argaman reported to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committees that, between January and May of this year, the Shin Bet and security forces have prevented 240 major terror attacks including 11 suicide bombers, 10 kidnappings and over 60 shooting attacks, like the one at the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv.

He said that although the number of terror attacks have decreased recently due to preventative measures, the terror threats coming out of the West Bank are increasing. Argaman also highlighted the importance of giving Israeli work permits to Palestinians in the West Bank, and said that these permits help calm the situation and prevent attacks.

For further reading click here.

Drone Escapes
A drone from Syria penetrated four kilometers into Israeli airspace in the Golan yesterday. The IDF launched two patriot missiles at the drone. Both missed. Then a fighter jet fired a missile at the drone. It missed too. The drone made it safely back into Syria. Shrapnel from the Patriot missiles landed in a kibbutz, lightly injuring a girl and causing brush fires.

What happened there?

For further reading click here.

Divorce Mediation
A new law went into effect yesterday that’s meant to remove some of the contentiousness that often accompanies divorce proceedings. The law is called The Resolution of Family Disputes Law or the “divorce revolution”, and it mandates that couples seeking a divorce first attend four mediation sessions before proceeding with the process via legal channels. That means the lawyers stay out of the picture until after the mediation sessions are done. The hope is that couple can work out amicable arraignments, particularly regarding custody issues, through mediation instead of fighting it out through lawyers and in a courtroom.

Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked, who sponsored the law, said, “The new situation will offer an efficient alternative to litigation meetings over such sensitive and complex matters as family disputes. The new proceedings will benefit both the citizens and the system by encouraging mutually agreed upon compromises to be reached. Parental conflict can mainly harm the children, and it is our obligation to protect them. I am confident that this is what parents want most. At the end of the day, they continue to be their parents, even if they are no longer a couple.”

I wonder how the divorce lawyers feel about this?

For further reading click here.

Conversion Ruling Explained
According to a reliable rabbinic source, the recent Supreme Rabbinical Court ruling that did not recognize a conversion by prominent US Orthodox Rabbi Haskel Lookstein had nothing to do with disparaging the rabbi.

The source explained that about ten years ago the Chief Rabbinate reached an agreement with the Rabbinical Council of America, the main Modern Orthodox rabbinic umbrella, that all conversion would have to be done by the RCA bet din (rabbinical court) in order to be accepted by the Chief Rabbinate. The RCA set up a system of regional conversion courts to perform conversions throughout the country. According to the agreement, the conversions of individual rabbis would no longer be accepted, unless they were done through one of the these courts.

Apparently, the woman whose conversion was questioned by the Israeli court was not converted through one of the RCA bet dins. So even though the Chief Rabbis verified the “kosherness” of Rabbi Lookstein, the court followed the technicalities of the agreement and did not accept the conversion since it was done outside of the RCA bet din system.

Could the court have made an exception, given Rabbi Lookstein’s prominence and sterling reputation? Sure, but then what about other rabbis who might also fall into that category. Would the court then be required to evaluate and rule on the personal reliability of individual rabbis? No, that solution wouldn’t scale well. So the court stuck to rules of the agreement and nullified a conversion that was performed outside of the bounds of that agreement. It wasn’t an attack against a rabbi, but rather a defense of a rabbinic system.

Does the Israeli Rabbinate accept the reliability of Rabbin Lookstein? Absolutely. Will it accept a conversion that he performs outside of the RCA Bet Din? No.

BTW, Ivanka Trump’s conversion was done via the RCA Bet Din. End of story.