Israel News for November 1, 2016

Terror Shooting
Yesterday, a Palestinian Authority police officer approached an IDF checkpoint at the entrance to Ramallah and opened fire with a Kalashnikov automatic rifle. Three soldiers were wounded, one moderately and two lightly. The terrorist was shot dead by soldiers. He was identified as Muhammad Turkman, a 25 year old from Jenin who worked as a guard at the Palestinian Legislative Council building in Ramallah. He apparently walked to the checkpoint after finishing his work shift, without revealing his plans to any of his co-workers.

Last night IDF forces raided Turkman’s home, arrested his brother and confiscated the family’s work permits that allow them to enter Israel.

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Amona Request
The State Attorney General has petitioned the Supreme Court to postpone the evacuation of the Amona settlement that is scheduled to take place on December 25th. In its petition, the state claims it is seeking to carry out the evacuation peacefully and without incident, but that it is unable to provide alternative living solutions for residents within the next two months.
The state emphasized that if the court rejects the request, it will be prepared to carry out the evacuation by the date set in its ruling.

The Amona residents oppose any relocation and have pledged to fight for their homes.

Right wing Knesset members are pushing a so-called “regulations bill” that would legalize Amona and other illegal outposts in the West Bank. In its request for extension, however, the state emphasized that it is not seeking to legalize the outpost in its current location. The extension request included a statement saying, “The attorney general expressed his opinion that there is a legal impediment to promote the above-mentioned bill proposal in light of the illegality it entails, being contradictory to international and national law.”

Left wing MKs and officials blasted the request for extension, claiming that the government has already had nearly two years since the court’s initial evacuation order to figure out the logistics of the evacuation and that it is just stalling to try and eventually legalize the settlement.

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Hospital Rush
Israelis are apparently getting sick a lot these days. All the major hospitals in the country are reporting that their emergency rooms and departments are reaching the 200% capacity level. Wait times in some places are as long as six hours.

According to Dr. Mickey Halberthal, the deputy director of Rambam Medical Center, “This is a catastrophe, and it isn’t even winter yet. We are calling on people to exercise judgment and to seek assistance from their healthcare providers and their clinics before going to the hospital.”

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Kotel Train
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz has announced his intention to extend the soon to be completed, new Tel Aviv-Jerusalem high speed railway to the Kotel, via a tunnel that would end just outside the Old City.

The new railway line is expected to cut commuting time between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to 28 minutes from 78 minutes. The trains will reach speeds of up to 160 kph (100 mph) and depart every 15 minutes in each direction carrying up to 1,000 passengers.

Construction work is expected to be completed by the end of 2017 and train will begin operations for passengers in time for Passover 2018.

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Impure Runways
The Israel Airport Authority has began making repairs and upgrades to the runways at Ben Gurion Airport. While that’s good news for future travelers, it’s bad news now for Kohanim (members of the Jewish priestly class).

For the next two weeks, one of the runways that will be used as an alternate to the one under repair will cause planes taking off to fly a flightpath that will take them directly over a cemetery in Holon, which Kohanim are forbidden to do.

Knesset member Uri Maklev (UTJ) is working with Ben Gurion Airport and a committee of rabbis (and kohanim) to find a solution. In the meantime, Kohanim leaving Israel, who want to avoid passing over the cemetery, will have to do so via Jordan or by cruise ship from Haifa. But they’ll be able to get refunds on their El Al tickets already purchased or postpone them for later dates.

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