Israel News for July 19, 2016

IDF Permits Demonstrations
The IDF has modified its rules to permit soldiers and officers to participate in non-political demonstrations. According to the new rules, conscripts and officers up to and including the rank of major are permitted to take part in public activities, provided that they do not pertain to IDF actions, party political matters, or matters of state. The permitted activity must take place on the soldiers’ own time and out of uniform. The demonstrators must not be able to be identified as IDF soldiers.

The new rule allows soldiers and officers to march in the upcoming gay pride parade in Jerusalem this Friday.

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Flag Law
The Knesset yesterday passed a new law that increases the penalty for desecration of the Israeli flag to a maximum prison sentence three years and a a fine of 58,400 shekels ($15,100). The previous maximum sentence was one year and the fine was 300 liras — which in today’s currency would be around zero.

No more flag burnings in Mea Shearim?

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Soccer Solution
Defense Minister Leiberman has proposed a new solution to fight Palestinian terror, and it’s not the kind of hard line tactic you’d expect. The DM said, in a meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Security Committee of the Knesset, that he would establish ten new soccer fields in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority, to give Palestinian youth something more productive to do than throwing ricks at Jews. Makes sense, right?

Building soccer fields is part of Leiberman’s overall strategy of rewarding Palestinians that do not engage in terror and punishing only those who do (as opposed to collective punishment).

Hey, whatever works.

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Mexico Trade
Israel’s ambassador to Mexico said that trade between the two countries could triple in the coming years. Israel is currently Mexico’s biggest trading partner in the Middle East and 42nd globally. In 2015, total trade between the countries was $841 million.

Mexico’s exports to Israel include cement, fruit, cars and crude oil. Israeli exports to Mexico include pharmaceuticals, chemical based products and technology. Over 200 Israeli companies have offices in Mexico, and that number is expected to rise. Around 50,000 Jews live in Mexico.

Will Israel be sharing wall building technology and expertise with Mexico in the near future? We’ll find out soon.

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South Tel Aviv Torah
A small yeshiva is opening in the Neve Sha’anan neighborhood of South Tel Aviv. In recent years the area has become the home to thousands of refugees from Sudan and Eritrea. Many Jewish residents have moved, and those who remain feel besieged in their own homes by the foreign population and accompanying rise in crime and racial tensions.

The head of the yeshiva, Rabbi Achiad Ettinger, said, “Our mission is to become a center of Torah learning that also contributes to the community.” He added, “All we can do is take positive action, create a connection with the local population, and provide a social presence. We are creating social programming for the youth of the neighborhood, we study Torah with them, and we plan to bring young, idealistic couples to the neighborhood to give the community psychological strength.”

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Gaza Tunnel
A tunnel collapsed in Gaza last night, killing at least one Islamic Jihad terrorist and leaving another four either wounded or missing. Nine days ago another tunnel collapsed on members of the terror group. Digging terror tunnels is a dangerous business. May they continue to gain martyrdom.

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US Aliyah
Two thousand Jews from America and Canada will be making aliyah this summer, with the help of the Nefesh B’Nefesh organization. The first group of 218 landed in Israel early today.

Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, greeted them at the airport. He said, “The immigrants arriving from the United States and Canada are coming not out of distress but rather out of excitement to take part in the largest national project of the Jewish people. We must ensure that the State of Israel remains a place in which every Jew feels at home, a place that ignites Jews’ imagination and strengthens their identity and security.”

“And your children will return to their borders – V’shavu Banim L’gvulam”

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