Israel News for October 27, 2016

Child Terrorists
Two eight year old Palestinian boys carrying knives were arrested by IDF soldiers at the entrance to Migdal Oz, in Gush Etzion. The boys told investigators that they had been dropped off at the settlement by a man who gave them the knives and instructed them to commit a stabbing attack. Since they’re under 12, which is the minimum age for criminal responsibility, the boys were returned to their families.

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Kotel Controversy
Israel’s Supreme Court has given the government a November 17 deadline to explain why it has not implemented its agreement to create a new non-Orthodox prayer space at the southern end of the Kotel.

The deadline was set in response to a petition submitted by the Reform and Conservative movements, the Women of the Wall and several other Israeli organizations. The petition demanded that the government either build a new egalitarian space at the southern part of the Kotel as promised in the compromise agreement or create separate egalitarian spaces at the existing Kotel prayer area.

Over the High Holiday period, government leaders reportedly received 20,000 emails from around the world urging them to follow through with their agreement to create the new Kotel prayer space. The emails were part of an organized campaign by the non-Orthodox movements to pressure the Israeli government into action.

The leaders of the world Reform and Conservative movements will be in Jerusalem next week attending the annual Board of Governors meeting of the Jewish Agency. The keynote speaker at the opening session will be Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who will undoubtedly be asked to explain the government’s position on the Kotel matter. The Reform and Conservative leaders will also participate in a morning prayer service at the Kotel, organized by Women of the Wall.

The Supreme Court will also be hearing an appeal by the Liba Center, a pro-Orthodox non-profit group, against the Kotel compromise agreement.

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Jerusalem Construction
The Jerusalem municipality and the government will be launching a massive eight year construction project around the area of the Binyanei Hauma. The project will include building 230,000 square meters in industrial space, 130,000 square meters of hotels, and 49,000 square meters in commercial, entertainment, and leisure space. There will be 24 new buildings, including 14 skyscrapers with at least 24 stories each and nine buildings with 36 stories.

There will also be major new transportation projects including a massive five story underground parking lot with 1,300 spaces, and two new light rail stations. The Central Bus Station and the Central Railway Station will also be renovated.

The projects are estimated to create over 40,000 jobs.

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Tefillin in Moscow
Israel’s Minister of Science, Technology and Space Ofir Akunis (Likud), who is leading the Israeli delegation to an international technology conference that began in Moscow yesterday, paid a visit to Moscow’s Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar. A photo of the visit was spread via WhatsApp. A friend of the minister’s who saw the photo immediately responded to Akunis saying, “Warm regards to Rav Lazar with love from Israel. There’s no way you’re getting out of there without the rabbi putting teffilin on you…”

What do you think happened next?

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