Israel News for November 25, 2015

More Terror
A 20 year old Israeli man was stabbed and seriously wounded by a Palestinian at the Al Fawar junction near Kiryat Arba today. The terrorist was shot and wounded by soldiers at the scene.

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Obama Calls
According to a JTA report, President Obama called the parents of Ezra Schwartz Z”L on Monday to offer his condolences.

“The president offered his profound condolences and condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attack that took his life,” a senior administration official told JTA. “The president also underscored that Ezra’s studies in Israel strengthened the bonds between Israel and the United States and, as we mourn his death, those bonds only grow stronger.”

The President’s call comes amid protests from some Jewish groups and activists who were upset that he did not acknowledge and condemn Schwartz’s murder by terrorists on the day it occurred. A condemnation came a day after the murder from the State Department, not the White House.

There were further complaints when Obama, in remarks during a news conference in Malaysia on Sunday, singled out for mention two other Americans killed in recent terrorist attacks, in Mali and Paris, but did not mention Schwartz.

So now he called.

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Kerry Talks
Regarding the meeting yesterday between PM Netanyahu and Secretary of State Kerry, an Israeli diplomatic source said that the PM told Kerry that he would not freeze Israeli construction in the West Bank or east Jerusalem and that he would tie Palestinian building permits to international recognition of Israel’s right to build in those areas.

Netanyahu blamed the PA for taking an active role in the incitement, related mainly to Al Aqsa, that he believes is the primary cause of the current wave of violence, and that his first condition for the return to normal economic and security conditions was the end to that violence.

Kerry strongly condemned the violence and terrorism, and acknowledged Israel’s right to defend herself. He said, “I expressed my complete condemnation for any act of terror that takes innocent lives and disrupts the day-to-day life of a nation. Israel has every right in the world to defend itself and it has an obligation to defend itself, and it will and it is.”

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Getting Tougher
The PM and the Defense Minister are considering expelling the families of terrorists to the Gaza Strip. In the meantime, they’ve decided that in addition to destroying the family homes of terrorists, close family members will also have their Israeli work permits and their exit permits to Jordan cancelled. The hope is that these measures will persuade family members to prevent their relatives and offspring from committing acts of terror.

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No Draft
The Knesset yesterday passed the second and third readings of an amendment to the law passed by the previous government to impose restrictions on Haredim who do not register for the IDF draft. The amendment permits a six year delay in the law’s implementation and removes sanctions from those who avoid the draft.

The amendment passed by a vote of 49 – 36, as a result of political agreements between Likud and the Haredi parties.

Yesh Atid and the National Union of Israeli Students are both expected to submit a petition to the Supreme Court opposing postponement of the law’s implementation.

Yair Lapid, whose Yesh Atid party spearheaded the original law, said: “During a week full of security incidents, while there are funerals and people being evacuated to hospital, while security forces are stretched to their limit – this is when the Israeli Knesset will vote against IDF soldiers.”

According to a poll by the Smith Institute, 76 percent of the Jewish public opposes the main amendment to the bill, which postpones the drafting of yeshiva students by six years. The poll also shows that a wide majority of right wing voters are opposed to the bill.

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Israeli Predators
Does it make you feel good to know that you’re eating produce from fields treated with chemical pesticides? Most people would answer no. Well, Israeli knowhow might soon make chemical pesticides obsolete.

Some 600 million carnivorous spiders that were raised in Bio-Bee labs in Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu will be flown to agricultural fields in Colombia, to be used as natural pesticides. The tiny spider mites, marketed as Bio® Persimilis, are twice the size of the spider mites that harm crops.

The company says that the Israeli mite can eat large quantities of their harmful counterparts. When the Persimilis encounters a harmful mite, it chases after it, bites down into it, and sucks it dry. The natural predators are kept in refrigerated conditions until they arrive at their designated dispersal site; when they are released into the warm air, they begin reproducing and hunting at a rate of tens of thousands of mites per day.

Bio-Bee also recently exported 400 million fruit flies that were radioactively sterilized. The sterile flies from Israel were sent to agricultural lands on the border between Croatia and Bosnia to displace other fruit flies that were causing massive damage to the local crops.

These “natural” alternatives to chemicals sound amazing, but they’re still more expensive than chemical pesticides. Are you willing to pay more for chemical free produce? Lots of Americans are. Have you ever been to Whole Foods?

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