Israel News for November 23, 2016

Fires Rage
Hundreds of firefighters continue to battle fires raging throughout Israel. The fires are difficult to control due to extremely dry and unseasonably warm conditions along with strong winds.

One of the most dangerous fires has been raging for several days in the city of Zichron Yaakov. Several neighborhoods in the city have been evacuated and homes and property have been damaged. People will not be able to return home until at least Friday. Fires also are burning in several others areas of the country including near Nahariya, Kiryat Gat and Jerusalem. Dozens of people have suffered from smoke inhalation.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan tweeted, “It’s beginning to appear—in light of the multiple fire locations—that arson could be the cause of some of the fires. The police and the Fire Department will investigate.” Erdan is deciding whether to ask Greece and Croatia, which whom Israel has cooperation agreements, to send firefighting planes to aid in battling the fires.

To see images of the firefighting and fire damage click here.

Noise Bill Lives
The proposed legislation to prohibit mosques from using loudspeakers to broadcast their calls to prayer looked like it would not receive the backing of the Haredi coalition parties because they feared that the new law would also end up banning the sirens used to announce the entrance of Shabbat on Friday afternoons. But a compromise has been reached to include a clause in the law stating that the law would apply only between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. and thus, would not effect the Shabbat sirens.

Based on the new clause, Health Minister Litzman of the UTJ removed his appeal, allowing the legislation to come to a Knesset vote this week.

However, a Shas MK has raised objections to the legislation, claiming that it just serves to alienate and annoy the Arab population. He believes that an agreement can be worked out with Arab leaders based on existing anti-noise laws.

Arab Knesset members have condemned the proposed bill and have called on the Arab population to disobey it if it passes. The PA, Jordan and Turkey have also attacked the law.

[Alarm clock manufacturers are expecting a huge boost in sales if the law passes.]

For further reading click here.

Israel Accuses Iran
In a letter to the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon accused Iran of using commercial airliners, including Mahan Air, to transfer weapons to Hezbollah. The United States has sanctioned the Iranian carrier for providing services to the Quds Force, a special forces unit of the Revolutionary Guard, as well as Hezbollah.

Danon claimed that the Iranians packed weapons into suitcases that went on commercial flights to Beirut and Damascus. He wrote, “It is clear that Iran is still the primary supplier of arms and related material to Hezbollah, in blatant violation of numerous Security Council resolutions. The Security Council must condemn Iran and Hezbollah for the violation of its resolutions.” Danon did not provide any evidence to back up his claim.

For further reading click here.

Long Term PM
According to the Israel Democracy Institute, PM Netanyahu has broken David Ben-Gurion’s record as the prime minister who served the longest consecutive term in Israel’s history. Ben-Gurion was Israel’s first PM.

As of Tuesday, Netanyahu had served 2,793 days or seven years and 236 days. That includes three terms in office starting in 2009. Netanyahu also served as PM from 1996 to 1999 (but that doesn’t count for the record). If Netanyahu makes it to the 2019 elections, he’ll be the longest serving Israeli PM ever.

Israel doesn’t have term limits.

For further reading click here.