Israel News for October 7, 2016

Annex Territories
Speaking at a Jerusalem conference in memory of Hanan Porat, one of the original leaders of the Gush Emmunim settlement movement, Education Minister Naftali Bennett declared that Israel should annex Judea and Samaria (West Bank).

Bennett said, “On the matter of the Land of Israel, we have to move from holding action to a decision. We have to mark the dream, and the dream is that Judea and Samaria will be part of the sovereign State of Israel. We have to act today, and we must give our lives. We can’t keep marking the Land of Israel as a tactical target and a Palestinian state as the strategic target.”

Today Bennett tweeted that when he said “give our lives” he really only meant to “make a great effort for the cause.” But he did not walk back any of his comments about annexation or his critique of PM Netanyahu’s backing of a two-state solution.

In his speech Bennett said, “Like Hanan (Porat) said, we have no right to divide the land. Not with words, not with actions, not by silent acquiescence, not with quiet excuses. Not by politicians and not by jurists. The path of concessions, the path of dividing (the land), has failed.”

Bennett also spoke out against the Supreme Court decision to evacuate the settlement outpost of Amona, and promised to work for a solution that would avoid evacuating the settlement.

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Gaza Rockets
The second rocket fired from Gaza in a 24 hour span exploded in an open area in Israel yesterday. The Salafist group Ahfad al-Sahaba knaf Bayt al-Maqdis, which has sworn allegiance to Islamic State, claimed responsibility for the rocket fire. The group said the shooting was carried out as “part of the consistent jihad against the Jews” and following the arrest of four of its operatives by Hamas a few days ago.The IDF responded with tank fire into Gaza.

In the aftermath of the rocket fire, Defense Minister Lieberman stated yesterday that he had “no intention of launching a military operation.” He said, “At the same time, we won’t tolerate any firing and any provocation from anyone against citizens of Israel or violating the State of Israel’s sovereignty. No shooting and no flotilla.”

Lieberman reiterated that Israel holds Hamas responsible for all attacks emanating from Gaza. He said, “Hamas rules the strip with a firm hand, and when it wants to attain something or prevent something, it knows how to do that. So on the matter of various rogue elements: They can try harder.”

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Abbas Close Call
The 81-year-old Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, underwent an emergency heart procedure yesterday after suffering exhaustion and chest pains, but was given a clean bill of health and walked out of the hospital, waving to well wishers.

Abbas has recently come under heavy fire for attending the Shimon Peres funeral. Despite his age, he has not appointed a successor, which could lead to a serious power struggle if he is incapacitated. The most popular potential successor, Marwan Barghouti, is serving multiple life sentences in an Israeli prison for his role in deadly attacks on Israelis. There’s also the possibility that Hamas could step in and take control.

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Synagogue Revival
Tel Aviv has over 500 synagogues, but over the past 20 years, many of them have ceased to function or have been closed down due to a significant drop in the religiously observant population of the city. But a surge of French immigrants to Tel Aviv is changing that situation in a big way.

Between 80 and 90% of the news immigrating from France are either Orthodox or traditionally observant, and they are settling in the center of Tel Aviv in great numbers. That means they need places to pray, so they’re reopening or revitalizing dozens of closed or non-functioning synagogues — bringing them back to life. They’re also causing a surge in Kosher restaurants in Tel Aviv’s trendiest parts.

To read more about this exciting development, click here.

Secret Tailor
The Mossad, Israel’s version of the CIA, is looking for a new agent with a very special skill set: sewing. Yup, the Mossad is looking to recruit a tailor. Here’s the job description: “Hiring an expert in cloth and design to sew unique leather clothes. At least 3 years of experience in sewing leather and other materials is required. Candidate MUST have studied design. Candidate MUST have: good technical understanding, ability to work independently, a willingness to learn new things, creativity, vision, and think out of the box.”

In previous years the Mossad has posted wanted ads for an expert carpenter and a used car salesmen. So you don’t need to be a commando or computer whiz to serve your country after all. But are there still any Jewish tailors?

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