Israel News for May 16, 2016

A terrorist stabbed a 26 year old Haredi man on Hanevi’im Street in Jerusalem this morning. The man was walking with his family near the Damascus gate of the Old City when he was attacked. He was wounded while attempting to fight off the attacker. The terrorist fled the scene but was pursued by police and arrested.

In an unrelated story, a 36 year old terrorist carrying Israeli police uniforms was arrested on Saturday at a checkpoint in the West Bank. Police received a tip off about the man, allowing them to prevent a likely terror attack.

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In the wake of Israel’s Independence Day celebrations last Thursday, Arabs on both sides of the Green Line commemorated Nakba Day on Sunday. Nakba, which means catastrophe, refers to the Arab defeat during the 1948 war, during which hundreds of thousands of Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes, many with the intention of returning after an Arab victory. Every year on May 15th, Arabs in Israel and the West Bank commemorate their defeat and displacement, and mourn the creation of the State of Israel.

At 12pm, a 68-seconds-long siren sounded in Palestinian towns and villages, marking the 68 years that have passed. Cars stopped and pedestrians stood still in the cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem during the commemoration. Following that, Palestinians rioted in several locations with clashes breaking out near the checkpoint at Rachel’s Tomb.

Arab students (subsidized by Israeli tax payers) held a ceremony to commemorate Nakba Day at Tel Aviv University on Sunday afternoon. Activists from right-wing NGO Im Tirtzu protested nearby against the ceremony, waving Israeli flags.

There apparently were no concerts or barbecues.

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Likud MK David Amsalem and Kulanu MK Eli Cohen are proposing a bill in the Knesset to give Israeli workers one long weekend per month. Israelis currently get Fridays and Saturdays off, but Sunday is a regular work day. The hours lost during the long weekend would be spread out over the rest of the month. The proposal calls for a three year trial period, during which time the possibility for a standard four day work week would be discussed.

The average working week in Israel is 43 hours, three hours more than the EU average, but productivity is 30% lower than in the EU. The hope is that more time off will increase productivity during working hours.

Manufacturers Association of Israel president Shraga Brosh told Galei Tzahal (Army Radio) that such a bill if enacted would cost the Israeli economy at least NIS 1.5 billion annually and should only be introduced as part of a comprehensive package to raise productivity in the economy. He didn’t say what that would look like.

Don’t forget, Israeli workers also get all of the Jewish holidays off — but another day off a month can’t hurt, can it?

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Early this morning, souther Israel was struck by a a 4.9-magnitude earthquake. The quake was felt throughout the Negev region, with tremors detected from Eilat to Be’er Sheva. No injuries or property damages were reported.

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The yeshiva student arrested two weeks ago while attempting to enter an Eilat night club, wearing secular clothing, was released from jail today. The man was arrested by military police for avoiding the draft by claiming a yeshiva exemption, which they claim is fraudulent given the man’s seemingly unorthodox behavior. But his behavior didn’t seem to phase extreme Haredi elements who launched protests and demonstrations on his behalf.

After he left jail, wearing the standard yeshiva uniform, he was warmly greeted by family and rabbis and proceeded to complete a tractate of the talmud (siyum). Has he repented, or will we be seeing him around Israel’s hot night spots in the near future? Doesn’t seem like it would make much of a difference anyway, at least regarding his army service.

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The Supreme Rabbinical Court (Bet Din) in Jerusalem has taken another step towards helping women whose husbands are refusing to grant them divorces. The court ruled that rabbinical courts in Israel have the power to prevent non Israeli citizens from leaving the country if they are found guilty of refusing to grant a divorce.

Here’s the case: an American Haredi couple with three children were living in Lakewood. About a year ago the husband left his wife and moved to New York, while refusing to grant her a Get (divorce). The man recently took a short trip to Israel. While in Israel his wife (who apparently is living in Israel) brought a claim against him in the local rabbinical court in the city where he was staying. She also asked the court to prevent him from leaving the country. The man claimed that the court has no power to against a non citizen. The court agreed with the man that the rabbinical court doesn’t have the power to prevent a non Israeli citizen from leaving the country.

The decision was then appealed to the Supreme Rabbinical Court, which ruled that they do in fact have the power to prevent a non citizen from leaving the country. Now the court will continue proceedings against the man to “persuade” him to give his wife the divorce.

Don’t mess with the Bet Din.

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