Israel News for May 3, 2016

Terror Roundup
An 18 year old Arab terrorist stabbed a 60 year old Jewish man leaving a yeshiva in the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City last night. The man suffered wounds to his upper body but was able to run to a police post near the Lion’s Gate. The terrorist was captured.

The military court in Judea and Samaria has convicted a Palestinian of murdering Dafna Meir, who was stabbed in her Otniel home in January. The terrorist, who was a minor at the time, confessed to the murder.

IDF forces destroyed the home of the terrorist Zir Ziad Jamal Amar, who took part in murdering Eitam and Na’ama Henkin last October. The home of the other terrorist has already been destroyed.

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PM Term Limit
The Zionist Union opposition party recently submitted a bill in the Knesset that calls for imposing a two term limit for the office of Prime Minister. The bill is to be called up for discussion and voting in the upcoming Knesset summer session.

PM Netanyahu, who is currently serving his third term and will most likely continue into a fourth, is obviously against the bill and feels that it is directed at him personally. But sources in his own Likud party are saying that many party members are in favor of the term limits. The only Likud member who has openly endorsed the bill is MK Oren Hazan, who is considered a controversial figure in the party who routinely misses votes and was recently ordered to pay thousands of shekels worth of parking fines by a Tel Aviv court. He then pleaded with the court, claiming that he is broke. Oh well.

Even if the bill passes in its current form, Netanyahu will be allowed to serve six terms. Nevertheless, he is committed to defeating it. Democracy in action.

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Bennett Threat
Yesterday we told you about the possibility of a unity government with the Zionist Union and that members of the party would probably be offered cabinet positions in the new government. Yesterday, Education Minister and head of the Bayit Yehudi party Naftali Bennett warned that his party would leave the government if the Justice Ministry was given to the Zionist Union.

Bennett was quote as saying, “If they take the justice portfolio away, we’re out. We see the justice portfolio as a significant issue that parallels changing the government guidelines, and not just a job. It’s not a personal issue. If they take justice away from us, we won’t sit in the coalition.”

Who said a unity government was going to be easy?

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Rabbinic Court
Yesterday we reported that Israel’s Supreme Court ordered the Supreme Rabbinical Court to shutdown until seven permanent judges are appointed. Yesterday, the appointment committee succeeded in appointing one judge, Rabbi Eliezer Igra, who identifies with the National Religious movement. In other words, he is not haredi.

Although Igra was previously appointed as a temporary judge by Sephardic Chief Rabbi and head of the court R. Yitzhak Yosef, Rabbi Yosef opposed his current appointment to the permanent position. As the committee currently has a non haredi majority, it was able to push through the appointment, but only with the help of Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau, who voted for R.Igra. The committee suggested a number of additional candidates, which were all rejected.

Igra, the rabbi of Moshav Kfar Maimon in the Negev, ran for the office of Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi three years ago.

Don’t get your hopes up for a quick resolution to this issue. According to the Supreme Court ruling, the committee must appoint seven judges by Thursday in order for the rabbinical court to reopen. One down, six to go.

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Gaza Crossing
Israel has announced that it will reopen the Erez crossing, which connects Gaza and Israel, to commercial traffic. There is currently only one crossing point, the Shalom crossing, into Gaza for trucks. The Erez crossing has been closed to commercial traffic since 2000. The reopening is meant to reduce the traffic at the Shalom crossing, which is currently at around 600 trucks per day. Whether it also means that Israel will allow more banned goods into Gaza, including building materials and cement, which is what the Gaza’s claim that they need for an economic recovery, is yet to be seen.

Stopping the use of those materials for tunnel construction would probably be a good start in convincing Israel to lift the ban.

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Survivor Aid
In the lead up to Holocaust Remembrance Day (this Thursday), Finance Minister Moshe Kahalon has announced plans to increase annual financial support for Holocaust survivors and elderly welfare recipients by a half-billion shekels. The new plans will benefit 60,000 survivors living below the poverty line and will add NIS350 million earmarked for elderly welfare recipients.

The median age of Holocaust survivors in Israel is 82. One of the major problems in getting them the funds that they deserve is that many of them are simply unaware of the benefits they are entitled to and therefore do not collect them. An organization called Aviv for Holocaust Survivors has been established to keep survivors informed about changes that effect their benefits and to help them collect what they are entitled to.

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New Photos
The Israeli Government Press Office has released hundreds of thousands of photos taken since the founding of the state and posted them on its website for all to view. Additional photographers contributed to the collection as well, some of which took pictures from before the founding of the state.

To give you an idea of the uniqueness of this amazing historical resource, you can find rare pictures of men and women praying together at the Western Wall in 1910; a rare photo of the Mosque of Omar on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem from 1920; and a picture of 13-year-old Shimon Peres before he immigrated to Israel.

To see the site for yourself, click here.