Israel News for March 23, 2016

AIPAC Apologizes
In response to Donald Trump’s comments in his speech to AIPAC referring to President Obama as the worst thing to ever happen to Israel, the President of AIPAC, Lillian Pinkus, along with other leaders of the organization, apologized to the President.

She said, “From the moment this conference began, until this moment, we have preached a message of unity. We have said, in every way we can think of: Come together. But last evening, something occurred which has the potential to drive us apart, to divide us. We say, unequivocally, that we do not countenance ad hominem attacks, and we take great offense to those that are levied against the president of the United States of America from our stage.”

Pinkus, her voice choking at points, added, “While we may have policy differences, we deeply respect the office of the President of the United States and our President Barack Obama. There are people in our AIPAC family who were deeply hurt last night and for that we are deeply sorry. We are deeply disappointed that so many people applauded a sentiment that we neither agree with nor condone.”

The people Pinkus was referring to who were “deeply hurt” seemed to be very well hidden among the thousands of AIPAC members who gave Trump several standing ovations and bursts of rousing applause during his speech.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the conference. He said that he hoped the United States would continue to reject any move towards a UN Security Council resolution backing Palestinian statehood and that he was prepared to negotiate a two-state solutions with the Palestinians “without preconditions” but that PA President Abbas was against the idea.

For further reading click here.

UN Returns
United Nations peacekeeping forces are set to return to the Syrian side of the Israeli-Syrian border. The troops had been stationed there from 1974 until 2014, when they were forced to leave as a result of the ongoing Syrian civil war and the rebel takeover of the Syrian Golan Heights.

Since their withdrawal the forces have been stationed on the Israeli side of the border, primarily monitoring Israeli troop movements. Israel is anxious to get the UN forces back on the Syrian side. The current cease fire agreement in Syria has finally made that possible.

While the UN troops do not add anything to Israel’s defense capability, they do provide first hand reports to the Security Council regarding the conflict and the danger it poses to Israel.

For further reading click here.

Dairy Wars
Since March 10th, Israel has banned Palestinian made dairy products from entering Jerusalem. Yesterday the Palestinian Authority retaliated by banning products made by five major Israeli companies including Tnuva, Strauss, the Jafora-Tabori beverages company, Soglowek, and Tara Dairy.

Sales in the PA by Tnuva, Strauss, and Jafora-Tabori are each believed to amount to hundreds of millions of shekels, while sales there by Soglowek and Tara are fairly small.

So if the Palestinians are forced to buy Palestinian products and the Israelis, Israeli products, won’t that just leave the companies in the same revenue position they were in initially? Hmm.

For further reading click here.

Supreme Court
Last week we told you that the Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court had sentenced the father of a man who had refused to give his wife a divorce for over 11 years to 30 days in jail for supporting his son in his refusal. The court was praised by many for its bold stand against husbands refusing to grant divorces.

Yesterday the Supreme Court ruled that the father must have the opportunity to appeal to the Supreme Rabbinical Court and cannot be jailed in the interim. He is, however, still banned from leaving Israel.

For further reading click here.

Purim Begins
The holiday of Purim begins tonight with the reading of the Megillah (the Book of Esther) and continues tomorrow with a repeat performance along with more fun stuff including lots of eating, drinking, giving charity and exchanging gifts (of food). Stay tuned for our special Purim issue tomorrow.
Today is the Fast of Esther (good opportunity to drop a few extra pounds).
Happy Purim!!!