Israel News for November 22, 2016

Terror Attack
A Palestinian attempted to stab a security guard at the Qalandiya checkpoint today. The terrorist was shot and wounded before causing any harm.

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Jewish Demolition
The Supreme Court is discussing whether home demolitions should be applied to Jews convicted of murdering Arabs, based on a petition by the family of a 16 year old youth who was murdered by Jewish extremists in July, 2014. The petition calls for the demolition of the homes of the convicted murderers. If demolitions are meant to deter further acts of terror, then shouldn’t they be applied to both Arabs and Jews equally?

Justice Neal Hendel said, “What does it matter to me if it is an Arab or a Jew?. If we say that we are prepared to employ this policy against a specific group of people and not against another it raises certain problems.”

Elyakim Rubinstein, vice president of the court, said, “It is said that in Arab society there are more supporters and that the deterrence will be infinitely stronger. But still, since there are extremists in Jewish society that have done these kinds of terrible things, even if the deterrence is carried out on the assumption that it will influence a small number people, it will still save lives.” He added, “If five attackers in the Jewish society planned five separate attacks and three of them are deterred from doing so because they don’t want to lose their homes, we have achieved something.” 

The State differentiated between the propensity for terror in the Arab population and an isolated incident in the Jewish population. But Justice Zvi Zilbertal rejected the argument saying, “If it’s possible to prevent one murder through preventative action, will they do it only after 20 murderous attacks are be carried out? When we’re talking about human life, it is not the quantity that counts.”

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Court Blocks Rabbi
Based on a petition by Meretz, the Supreme Court has postponed the inauguration of the IDF’s new Chief Rabbi Col. Eyal Karim until he provides the court with a clear explanation regarding his positions on women serving in the IDF, homosexuality and other seemingly controversial statements he made. Chief Judge Miriam Naor, said, “We want to hear what he has to say. What his position was then, what it is now and if he has changed his mind.” To read more about R. Karim’s background and his positions, click here.

The Chief Rabbinate condemned the courts decision. A forum of former IDF rabbis also condemned the court, saying “This is a bad decision that will be remembered as disgraceful. There’s no end to Meretz’s abuse of any Jewish characteristic in the IDF. In a biased manner, they took the rabbi’s words out of context and distorted them. It’s very regretful that the High Court’s judges are cooperating with these elements who seek to weaken the military rabbinate while also weakening the entire IDF.”

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) showed his full support for the rabbi, saying, “Dear Rabbi Karim, don’t allow this attempt to silence you and don’t go back on halachic rulings you believe in.”

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Forest Fire
Hundreds of residents of Neve Shalom, near Latrun, have been evacuated from their homes following a forest fire raging in the area. The fire broke out overnight Monday and rapidly spread due to strong winds in the area. There are no reported injuries thus far. 140 firefighters along with aircraft are battling the blaze.

Warnings against lighting fires in open areas have been issued throughout the country, due to the extremely dry conditions, unseasonably warm weather and high winds.

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PM Forbids Trump Contact
The Prime Minister has issued a directive prohibiting ministers from having any contact with Trump’s advisors or team. This comes after Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel met with a number of Trump advisors. Bennett attended an event of the Zionist Organization of America in NYC on Sunday, where he allegedly spoke with several Trump advisors.

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Food Labeling
The Ministry of Health’s “Committee for Regulation to Promote Healthy Nutrition” has submitted its food labelling recommendations. The new regulations require food manufacturers to mark food products containing high levels of sugar, salt or fat with a red warning label. Food manufacturers will also be required to state the number of spoons of sugar in each food product, and will be prohibited from advertising products marked as unhealthy to children. The new regulations do not cover fast food restaurants.

According to Ministry of Health figures, Israel has one of the highest rates of sugar consumption in the world. It ranks second in diabetes mortality among men and third among women (behind Mexico and Turkey). Israeli children consume more sweetened beverages than children in America (over 10% more).

Israel also has one of the world’s highest rates of salt consumption, almost double the recommended maximum quantity, and even higher among children.

The new regulations are set to take effect in 2018. The Health Ministry hopes that companies will use the next year to try and improve the quality of their products.

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