Israel News for May 31, 2016

Terror in TA
A 19 year old soldier was stabbed in the head and upper body by a 17 year old Arab terrorist using a screwdriver. The attack took place near IDF headquarters as the soldier was returning to his home. The terrorist was arrested.

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Only Son
The IDF has issued a new regulation that impacts the parents of only sons. Parents with only one son have always had the right to prevent them from serving in combat units. In the event that the parents gave their son permission to serve in a combat unit but later decided to change their minds and retract their permission, the IDF was required to retrieve the son from his combat role. If this happened during a war or combat operation, the IDF would have to send a team into combat to retrieve the son (something like what happened in the movie Saving Private Ryan).

During Operation Protective Edge in 2014, the IDF had to send forces as far as 2 kilometers into the battlefield on nine separate occasions to bring out soldiers whose parents had changed their minds. To avoid endangering the lives of the soldiers who would need to be sent in to retrieve the sons, the IDF has ruled that parents who permit their only sons to serve in combat can no longer change their minds and retract their permission.

Another new IDF regulation concerns private donations to IDF soldiers. Until now civilians could drive down to an army base or position and donate stuff directly to the soldiers. This was prevalent during Operation Protective Edge. Now all donations will have to go through special centers run by the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers (AWIS, also known as Ha’aguda Lema’an Hachayal).

The new regulation is meant to protect civilians from getting too close to the battlefield and also to prevent waste as a result of an overflow of unneeded or unused donations. The donation centers will be able to properly allocate donations to where they are most needed.

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Arab Peace Plan
In response to the Egyptian president’s call for Israel and the Palestinians to pursue negotiations based on a peace plan proposed by the Arab League, PM Netanyahu said yesterday that, “The Arab peace initiative includes positive elements that can help revive constructive negotiations with the Palestinians,” and that, “We are willing to negotiate with the Arab states on revisions to that initiative so that it reflects the dramatic changes in the region since 2002 but maintains the agreed goal of two states for two peoples.”

The Arab plan demands that Israel return all of the land captured in 1967, but it allows for the possibility of land swaps between Israel and the Palestinians.

Netanyahu’s speech came after the official swearing in of Avigdor Liberman as Defense Minister. Lieberman echoed the PM’s remarks saying, “President Sissi’s speech was very important; it creates a genuine opportunity that obligates us to pick up the gauntlet. I certainly agree that there are some very positive elements in the Arab Peace Initiative that will enable us to conduct serious dialogue with our neighbors in the region.”

Lieberman also said that he was in favor of a two-state solution as supported by PM Netanyahu in a 2009 speech at Bar Ilan University.

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Landmark Legal Decision
Tel Aviv Magistrates’s Court Judge Itai Hermelin has ruled that under certain conditions the operation of a brothel can be legal.

Hermelin imposed restrictions on the operations of a Tel Aviv brothel. However, these were subject to the state committing to avoid prosecuting sex workers who use their own apartments or locations that are rented by several women together for the purpose of prostitution, or at a location rented by one woman who then invites other women to share it.

The penalty for operating premises for the purpose of prostitution can be up to five years in jail. But the judges landmark ruling might help women avoid that punishment.

According to Israeli law, prostitution is legal, but organized prostitution in the form of brothels or pimping is prohibited. In other words a prostitute can sell her services on the street, but not in the relative security of an apartment.

In his ruling judge Hermelin wrote, “As long as prostitution is permitted in Israel – with men allowed to buy sex from strangers for money – it is incumbent upon the state to minimize the risks these women face.”

He added that “pushing these women onto the street violates their dignity in an unacceptable manner. As a result, interpreting the law in a way that criminalizes prostitution taking place in a building is unconstitutional and must be rejected.”

Based on testimony heard in the case, Hermelin also harshly criticized the police, writing that, “The attitude of the police was depicted as degrading and harmful, sometimes bordering on violent abuse. There were repeated descriptions of women being chased out of buildings naked during police raids, with abusive language being used by policemen.”

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Road Trip
If you’re looking to do a road trip from Tel aviv to Beersheva, you might want to make a few interested stops along the way. To check out what there is to see, click here.