Israel News for July 5, 2016

Palestinian MD
The first medical professional to treat the victims of Friday afternoon’s terror attack on a West Bank highway that killed Rabbi Miki Mark and wounded his wife and two children was a Palestinian doctor in private practice.

Dr. Ali abu Sharkh was driving to Jerusalem for Friday prayers at Al Aqsa with his wife and brother when he spotted the overturned car on the side of the road.

Dr. Abu Sharkh recounted, “We immediately stopped. There was a young Palestinian man with his wife who were trying to help the wounded. The first thing I saw was that Tehila (Mark’s daughter) was in a state of shock. I began to speak to her in English and she didn’t understand me. Then my brother began to speak to her in Hebrew and said to her ‘don’t be afraid, this is my brother, and he’s a doctor. He wants to help you.'”

Moments later a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance along with an IDF jeep arrived at the scene. The paramedics assisted the doctor while the soldiers called for an ambulance. After the Magen David Adom ambulance arrived, the doctor continued treating the wounded until one of the Palestinian paramedics told him that he should probably leave the scene since his presence there might provoke a hostile reaction.

The doctor explained, ”I carried out my duty. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about a Palestinian or a settler. My job is to save people because they are people.” When asked if he was criticized by his community he said, “Quite the opposite. All of my friends told me that I carried out my duties with honor. We are doctors, we don’t get involved with politics.”
Abu Sharkh also sent a personal message to Tehila, saying “I send her my condolences and am praying that her mother will get better soon.”

Tehila has subsequently been released from the hospital.

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Arab Housing
Following a court decision, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced a plan to build about 600 residential units for Palestinians in East Jerusalem’s Givat Hamatos neighborhood. The government had previously tried to prevent building Arab housing in the neighborhood.

Approval for additional Jewish housing in the neighborhood had not been approved, as a result of diplomatic pressure, since the new Jewish neighborhood would complete the surrounding of the Arab neighborhood of Beit Safafa, which would complicate any potential division of Jerusalem in a future peace agreement.

The minister for Jerusalem affairs, Ze’ev Elkin, criticized the plans saying that the 600 units for the Arab population must be balanced with construction for Jews on the same site.

He said, ”Anyone who cares about a Jewish majority in the capital of Israel can’t promote construction for the Arab population alone. I call on the prime minister to also approve construction in the Givat Hamatos neighborhood for Jews. Jerusalem needs this neighborhood and over 2,000 housing units urgently.”

Meanwhile, the PM and DM also approved a program for building 560 residential units in the settlement of Maale Adumim, outside Jerusalem, and 240 units in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Ramot, Gilo and Har Homa. They also reopened a tender, that was previously frozen, to build 42 housing units in Kiryat Arba.

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Terrorist Graveyard
According to sources in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Israel will set up a graveyard exclusively for the bodies of terrorists, in order to avoid returning the bodies to their families and the subsequent funerals, which lead to incitement and violence.

The PMO also announced, in response to the terror attacks last week, that Israel will immediately deduct the amount of money paid monthly by the Palestinian Authority to terrorists and their families from tax proceeds it collects on behalf of the Palestinians.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett criticized the moves as not being sufficient.

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Land Deal
A 6,000 square meter plot of land in the middle of Rishon Le’tzion that was purchased back in the late 1800’s was sold recently for 45 million shekels. The land is zoned for 22 homes with gardens. That equals NIS 2.045 million per lot. The sellers are undoubtedly thanking their ancestor for his wise real estate investment.

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General’s Driver
When Max, who served as the personal driver for former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Ganz, prepared to travel to the office where he would receive his official discharge from the IDF after four years of service, he got a surprise. Waiting to drive him there in a car outside of the Kirya (military headquarters in Tel Aviv) was General Ganz himself.

Ganz drove Max to the discharge center and presented him with a T-shirt that said, “End of the road” and “Thank you for proving there are good people with whom you can walk.” He also congratulated other soldiers on their releases and wish them success in their lives as civilians.

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