Israel News for May 6, 2016

Gaza Fighting
Early this morning the IAF launched airstrikes against Hamas military targets in Gaza in response to mortars fired at IDF soldiers operating near the border fence. The airstrikes followed several strikes yesterday, which in turn were in response to mortar fire from Gaza. No IDF casualties or damage were reported.

On a visit to Gaza division headquarters, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said, “We will not be deterred by these threats by Hamas and will continue operations in light of the violation of our sovereignty, until we find and expose every last tunnel.”

The Prime Minister called a meeting of the security cabinet this morning to discuss the recent escalation of violence on the Gaza border.

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Terrorist Corpses
Israel’s Supreme Court called on the government yesterday to return the corpses of terrorists to their families. The court’s decision is only a recommendation, not a ruling, so the government can choose to reject it.

Supreme Court Vice President Elyakim Rubinstein urged “the police to coordinate with the families and return the bodies of their sons before Ramadan,” the holy Muslim fasting month that begins in early June.

The court also called for the bodies of the dead to be removed from mortuary freezers 48 hours before they are handed over so they are not delivered frozen. Previously families have complained of having to wait for their sons’ bodies to thaw before being able to bury them.

Arab civil rights groups had petitioned the court on behalf of nine families of terrorists whose bodies have not been returned by security forces, some for more than six months.

The chief proponent of the policy to not return terrorist corpses is Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who says that it prevents funerals for terrorists turning into political demonstrations and acts as a deterrent. However, many senior IDF officials believe that the policy serves to enflame tensions with the Palestinians and leads to increased violence.

For further reading click here.

Job Drop
Israel’s employment market is not looking as rosy as you might expect, for the “startup nation”.

According to figures published by the Manufacturers Association, 2,225 industrial workers have been laid off since the beginning of 2015, amounting to 0.5% of the total industrial labor force. These layoffs were mostly in the high tech sectors, such as electronic components (1,205 workers laid off), electronic equipment for consumption and communications (865 layoffs), electrical equipment (835 layoffs) and machinery and equipment (785 layoffs).

According to an analysis by the Manufacturers Association, had the public sector not hired many new workers and expanded disproportionately to the population, unemployment in Israel would have reached 8%.

Ironically, one of the major reasons for the drop in jobs is because other countries are embracing Israeli companies and offering them attractive conditions to set up production facilities there. So love of Israel is causing the loss of Israeli jobs.

For further reading click here.

Yeshiva Demonstrations
Hundreds of haredi yeshiva students and supporters launched demonstrations to free a yeshiva student arrested by military police because he allegedly failed to report to an army enlistment center to arrange an exemption from military service.

This doesn’t sound like news, except for the fact that the student, Moshe Hazan, was arrested in Eilat, attempting to enter a nightclub while dressed in secular clothing. Oy. It seems that Hazan wasn’t reporting to his yeshiva in the town of Elad either. Oy Oy.

But the demonstrations went on in any case. Protesters tried to block a number of major highways, which led to confrontations between yeshiva students and police. In Beit Shemesh, a policeman sustained head injuries from a rock thrown at him. A number of people were arrested in the demonstrations, including at least 13 in Bnei Brak and six at the Nitzanim junction. In Jerusalem, protesters impeded traffic in the area of Shabbat Square, and police reported that 10 people were arrested for disturbing of the peace.

Should yeshiva students who don’t attend yeshiva and go to nightclubs be exempt from military service? Hmm.

To view a photo gallery of the demonstrations and arrests, click here.

No Nitrates
Israelis are taking seriously the warning issued by the World Health Organization that the nitrates used in processed meats as a preservative can cause cancer.

Sales of hot dogs and deli meats have plunged over 30% this year resulting in a 90 million shekel loss by manufacturers. Producers will have to make fundamental changes in their businesses in order to survive. One major producer has already released a line of nitrate free products.

Good news for Israeli health. Bad news for hot dog and cold cut makers. You choose.

For further reading click here.