Israel News for May 9, 2017

Wild Turkey
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Istanbul last night. The meeting came after Erdoğan admonished Israel for its attempt to pass a bill curtailing the Muezzin calls to prayer via loudspeaker, and called for Muslims to go to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the hundreds of thousands to show solidarity with the Palestinians and protect the site’s Muslim character.

According to the Palestinian Ma’an news agency, Hamdallah updated Erdoğan on the Palestinian political situation with Israel and about “Israeli violations.” He also provided details on the ongoing hunger strike of Palestinian security prisoners.

Hamdallah said that Erdoğan “confirmed the necessity of unifying efforts to protect Jerusalem against attempts of judaization,” and that he called on Muslims to increase their visitation to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Erdoğan stressed that the only solution to the Israel Palestinian conflict was to pressure Israel to establish a Palestinian state in the “occupied territories”.

He slammed Israel saying, “Israel keeps getting away from punishment which leads it to escalated aggression against Palestinians,” and that all peace making attempts will fail “unless Israel is held accountable for its crimes.”

After the meeting, Erdoğan spoke with Israeli Foreign Ministry Director General Yuval Rotem and Turkish Amassador to Israel, Kemal Okem to “clarify” his comments.

Israel issued an official statement in which it said that it was “worried” about Erdoğan’s anti-Israel statements that, “we don’t want an escalation. We can end this crisis.”

Don’t forget, Israel and Turkey signed a reconciliation agreement last year, normalizing diplomatic and economic relations.

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Embassy Omission
The US Embassy in Saudi Arabia posted a State Department video on its website highlighting President Trumps upcoming Middle East trip to Saudi Arabia and Israel. But then it apparently removed the video and posted an edited version which left out any mention of Israel.

Representative Elliot Engel (NY), a senior Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson complaining. In the letter Engel wrote, “At a time when the United States should be encouraging the governments of the region—and their people—to promote tolerance, respect and mutual recognition this video implies that the US accepts Saudi Arabia’s public rejectionist position toward Israel.”

He also wrote, “This video plays into a rejectionist narrative and thus has no place in any social media—or any other form of communication—associated with the United States government.”

The video was subsequently taken down and the original video, including Israel, was reposted.

A State Department official said that the embassy had taken the video from the social media account of a private Saudi citizen without realizing that Israel had been edited out. He said,“Upon learning this, the U.S. Embassy immediately corrected the error, took down the video, and loaded the correct version to its social media accounts. The Embassy expresses its regret for this inadvertent mistake.”

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Abbas Willing
PA President Abbas told reporters in Ramallah today that he would be willing to meet with PM Netanyahu if the meeting was organized by President Trump. He said, “We told him [Trump] that we were ready to collaborate with him and meet the Israeli PM under his auspices to build peace.”

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IDF Shabbat
According to Israeli law, the IDF must observe the laws of Shabbat and Kashrut (kosher), unless there is a pressing military reason not to do so. Religious soldiers on a tank base in the Golan have complained that two weeks ago, on Shabbat, a group of tourists led by an influential tour guide arrived at the base. The base commander, after speaking with the tour guide, ordered a tank to maneuver outside of the base as a show for the tourists. This violates the Shabbat rules.

Also on the same base, all of the Shabbat food was negligently left out and spoiled. So the kitchen staff entered the kitchen, locked the door, and cooked new food — on Shabbat (cooking on Shabbat is prohibited).

One of the religious commanders on the base complained to the base commander and to the base rabbi. The IDF is investigating the incidents.

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Fidget Peace
If you have young kids you know what a fidget spinner is. For those who don’t know, it’s a small propeller-like spinner that kids hold with two fingers and spin. And spin…and spin. Pretty simple concept. The toy is said to apparently reduce stress. It turns out that the inventor, Catherine Hettinger, came up with the idea during a trip to Israel in the 1980s, during the First Intifada, as a way to distract the “young boys throwing rocks at police officers.” She first considered designing a “soft rock that kids could throw,” saying that, “It started as a way of promoting peace.”

Maybe the fidget spinner is the answer we’ve been waiting for to bring peace to the world?

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