Israel News for March 28, 2016

Mazal Tov
Looks like Donald Trump will be attending the bris next week of his own grandson. His daughter Ivanka, wife of Jared Kushner, gave birth to a baby boy yesterday. They named the baby Theodore James Kushner. We’ll have to wait until next week for his Hebrew name. The boy makes Jewish grandchild number three for the Donald. How can he not be pro Israel?

Military Killing
On Thursday two Palestinians stabbed an IDF soldier in Hebron. Soldiers opened fire on the terrorists, killing one and seriously wounding the other. As the terrorist was lying on the the ground, only able to move his head, and surrounded by around 12 officers and soldiers, one soldier fired a shot into the terrorist’s head, killing him.

The IDF is investigating the apparently unlawful execution of the neutralized terrorist. The soldier, who is under military arrest, claims that he thought that the terrorist, who was wearing a heavy coat, had explosives that he was about to detonate. The IDF claims that the terrorist was checked for explosives moments before the soldier arrived and shot him.

PM Netanyahu defended the morality of the IDF saying, “Any challenge to the morality of the IDF is outrageous and unacceptable. The soldiers of the IDF, our children, maintain high ethical values while courageously fighting against bloodthirsty murderers under difficult operational conditions.”

For further reading click here.

Controversy Ends
After months of controversy over his appointment as Israel’s ambassador to Brazil, which was rejected by the Brazilian government, PM Netanyahu has appointed Dani Dayan as Israel’s Consul General in New York.

Dayan’s former role as head of the YESHA council, which is the representative body for the settlers in Judea and Samaria, was the primary reason for Brazil’s reluctance in accepting him as ambassador. The PM, along with the Foreign Ministry, had initially pledged to stand behind Dayan’s appointment and refused to appoint a replacement in his stead. But maintaining good relations with the largest country in South America (200 million) and the seventh largest economy in the world finally prevailed.

Dayan isn’t too upset about his New York city posting. He said, “Those who don’t want me in Brasilia, will get me in the capital of the world and to me that is a victory. I believe I can revolutionize Israeli public relations in the US, whose beating heart is in New York.”

Best of luck in the Big Apple.

For further reading click here.

Court Blocks Gas
Israel’s Supreme Court has ruled against the government’s controversial gas deal that would give control over most of Israel’s gas reserves to a conglomerate of two major gas exploration and development companies.

The court specifically struck down the “stability clause”, in which the state promises to make no substantial regulatory changes in the gas industry in the next 10 years, in particular in taxation, exports and ownership of the fields.

In their ruling the judges wrote, “The stability clause has been set without authority and its legality is repealed. This is because it has been passed in contradiction to the basic rules of administrative law in a way that prohibits restricting the considerations of the (Antitrust) Authority.”

PM Netanyahu rebuked the decision saying, “The High Court of Justice decision severely threatens the development of the gas reserves of the State of Israel. Israel is seen as a state with excessive judicial interference in which it is difficult to do business … We will seek other ways to overcome the severe damage that this curious decision has caused the Israeli economy.”

For further reading click here.

Power Ranking
The website Global Firepower, that analyzes data relating to modern military powers, has released its 2016 rankings of military powers. Israel ranked #11. The top 10 rankings went to (in order) the US, Russia, China, India, UK, France, South Korea, Germany, Japan and Turkey. The highest ranking Arab countries were Egypt at #18 and Saudi Arabia at #28. Iran ranked #23.

The rankings are solely based on conventional military power and do not take into account nuclear capabilities.

To see the entire list click here.

Judo Gold
Israeli judoka Or Sasson won the gold medal in the over 100 kilogram division at the Judo Grand Prix in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. Gili Cohen won a silver medal in her own weight class. You can watch Sasson’s winning match at the 1:49:45 mark of this video.

Soda Peace
As part of its unsuccessful campaign to persuade the Israeli government to grant work permits to 74 Palestinian employees, SodaStream created a video showcasing Israel and Palestinian employees harmoniously working together. While the video didn’t succees at getting those permits, it has served as a messenger of peace for Israel in the Arab world.

The company translated the original Hebrew video into English and Arabic after receiving requests from the Swedish and Jordanian embassies. The company then allocated a million shekels to market the video in the Arab world. Two weeks ago the company began airing the video in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The video has so far garnered more than 2.4 million views in those countries and 35 million views worldwide.

SodaStream is currently located in the Negev, near the Bedouin town of Rahat, and employs hundreds of Israeli Bedouin and Arabs.

To watch the video click here.