Israel news cover

Israel News for October 11, 2016

Closing Jerusalem
Police will set up roadblocks on yom Kippur to block Palestinian vehicles from traveling from East Jerusalem to Jewish neighborhoods in the western part of the city. Palestinian vehicles will be able to travel between their neighborhoods as well as to the Old City and Temple Mount. Palestinian crossing points from the West Bank and Gaza will also be closed.

Call to Kerry
On Saturday night PM Netanyahu had a phone conversation with US Secretary of State Kerry in which the PM said that he expected that President Obama would not promote or support a UN Security Council resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian issue after the US elections and before leaving office. Kerry responded that the US administration has still not made any decision on the issue.

Netanyahu also explained Israel’s position regarding the planned evacuation of the Amona settlement outpost and the building of substitute housing for the displaced residents in the nearby Shiloh settlement. The US has condemned Israel’s plans to construct the additional housing units, claiming that it constitutes the establishment of a new settlement. Netanyahu reiterated to Kerry that the construction is part of an existing community on State owned land and not a new settlement. The US isn’t buying that argument.

The Security Council is set to meet on Friday for a special session to discuss Israeli settlement activity. While no resolutions will be voted on, the session will undoubtedly turn into a platform for condemning Israel.

What will happen after the US election is still the big unknown. In a statement released after her meeting with the PM in NY, Clinton said that she would oppose any unilateral steps against Israel at the UN. Based on that, sources in the Prime MInister’s Office believe that if Clinton wins, she will restrain Obama from proposing a UN resolution. Trump would obviously oppose such a resolution, but his winning might push Obama into pushing it through.

For further reading click here.

Controversial Police Rabbi
On Monday the Israel Police appointed Rabbi Rahamim Berachyahu as its new Chief Rabbi. R. Berachyahu is the chief rabbi of the West Bank settlement of Talmon and heads religious programming at a Jerusalem study center called “Believing in the Police,” which encourages men from the national religious community to join the police force and runs a special cadet program that combines police training with Torah studies.

Several female MKs have written letters in protest of the appointment, citing the rabbi’s ruling that prohibited gay and lesbian couples from living in Talmon. In his defense Berachyahu said that his ruling does not “remove our obligation, as individuals and as a community,” to treat members of the LGBT community “with sensitivity and humanity. A humane relationship between the Torah community and these people is in my eyes an ethical obligation.”

R. Berachyahu also remarked in the past that a male and female police officer should not serve together alone in a car at night, and that religious women should not serve in the police.

For further reading click here.

Flight Ad Rejected
The Port Authority of NY and NJ has rejected, at least for the time being, the displaying of a billboard ad that advises women not to give up their seats on airline flights.

The ad, sponsored by the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), which is the public and legal advocacy arm of the Reform movement in Israel, is aimed at women who travel on Israeli flights who are asked to switch seats by Haredi men who do not want to sit next to women for religious reasons. Instead of switching seats to accommodate the request, the ad urges women to keep their seats and explains that requiring a person to switch seats because of gender is illegal and that flight attendants are not allowed to ask a passenger to switch seats to enable segregation by gender.

The IRAC wanted to display the ad in the EL AL waiting area in Newark Liberty International Airport, but Port Authority guidelines prohibit ads that promote or transmit a religious or political message. The IRAC has hired a lawyer to convince the Port Authority to allow the ads.

For further reading click here.

Daring Rescue
In commemoration of the 43 anniversary of the Yom Kippur War the IDF has released a recording taken during a daring rescue mission led by Yoni Netanyahu, the older brother of the PM who was later killed leading the famous raid that rescued hostages in Entebbe.

The mission was to rescue Brig. Gen. Yossi Ben-Hanan, who laid wounded on the battlefield for over four hours, during which time he continued to direct artillery fire and also guide the rescue team to his location.

To listen to the recording click here.

Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins tonight at sunset and lasts until nightfall tomorrow night. It is the only time that the Torah mandates that we “afflict” ourselves. We accomplish that by refraining from eating, drinking, wearing leather shoes (they didn’t have Crocs back then), bathing for pleasure or engaging in marital relations. We spend our day asking God for forgiveness, but not nearly enough time asking the same from our fellow man. Perhaps this year we should make an effort to focus a bit more on how we treat each other and create an environment in which we can leave together in unity and peace? When we succeed at living in peace with each other, we’ll be much more prepared to make true peace with our enemies.

Wishing you all an easy fast and a Gmar Chatima Tova.