Israel News for September 13, 2016

Syrian Claim Rebuffed
The Syrian army released a statement today claiming that it shot down an Israeli fighter jet with a surface to air missile. The IDF denied the report and said that the Syrians shot at the plane but missed.

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Lieberman Against Settlers
The settlement “outpost” of Amona, near Ofra in Samaria (West Bank), is home to 40 families. In December of 2014 the Supreme Court ruled that it was built on private Palestinian land and ordered residents evacuated by the end of 2016.

Let night, Defense Minister Lieberman referred to the issue while addressing students at Ariel University saying, “There’s no chance to leaving Amona where it is built today because of the High Court of Justice’s ruling, because most of the houses are built on private Palestinian lands…The law enforced in Amona will apply to everyone—also on Palestinian squatters in Susya. We will respect the court’s decision as a country of law.”

The Prime Minister has also stated that he will follow the court’s ruling and evacuate the settlement. The PM’s and DM’s positions have caused consternation within the Likud party. Likud MKs Yehuda Glick, Yoav Kish, Oren Hazan and Amir Ohana, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotolevy and Judea and Samaria Council Head Avi Roeh hosted an emergency meeting with residents of Amona and Ofra yesterday to protest the scheduled demolition of their homes.

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IRS in Israel
Israel’s Supreme Court yesterday upheld a law that gives US tax authorities access to Israeli bank account information. The court ruled that the Israeli law, passed as part of an arrangement with the United States Treasury Department, did not violate Israel’s Basic Laws of Human Dignity and Liberty. Petitioners had claimed the the law violated their privacy rights.

According to the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which is intended to hamper money-laundering schemes and tax evasion by US citizens, foreign banks must report all accounts held by American citizens (including dual citizens) or Green Card recipients, make all American customers sign declarations regarding their income and taxable status, and keep the US Treasury Department updated on all accounts for US citizens holding more than $50,000 on a regular basis.

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Lost Soldiers
Two female soldiers driving in the West Bank mistakenly ended up in an Arab village near the Palestinian city of Tulkarm. When the two soldiers approached the Palestinian village, they called the police’s emergency response hotline. The responders advised them to continue straight ahead in order to return to Israeli territory. A plain-clothes Palestinian police officer identified them and told them to go in another direction. After ignoring his advice and choosing instead to stick with that of the police, they were eventually identified by locals, who threw stones at their vehicle.

A Palestinian police officer called Palestinian police forces, and the two soldiers were evacuated to a nearby Palestinian police station. The Palestinian forces then contacted Israeli Civil Administration officers and transferred the two IDF soldiers over to the Israeli authorities.

It’s still unclear how the soldiers ended up in the village. According to one version, they entered their destination in Waze, but the app shut down mid-journey. According to a second version, they typed in their destination as Beit Lid, which is a military base, but Waze directed them to the Arab village with the same name (Beit Lid).

The IDF prohibited soldiers from relying solely on Waze when traveling in the West Bank, after two soldiers ended up in a Palestinian refugee camp back in February as a result of using the app.

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Matchmakers in Schools
Israel’s Education Ministry has decided to train and install counselors in religious high schools to help students in the “process of choosing a spouse.” The counselors will essentially serve as dating coaches and matchmakers. One of the program’s goals is to create a database of possible marriage partners, with names supplied by both the counselors and the students. Some educators don’t think that schools should get involved in matchmaking and feel that the programs budget would be better spent on teaching “personal development, healthy sexuality and relations between the sexes.”

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A Light unto the nations
Speaking at an event marking the 40th anniversary of the Tali Foundation, which funds Jewish enrichment studies in secular schools, Education Minister Naftali Bennett said,“Studying Judaism and excelling in it is more important to me than studying math and sciences.”

Bennett added, “Even as a high-tech power that exports knowledge and innovations to the world, we must be a spiritual power and export spiritual knowledge to the world,” he said. “This is the next chapter in our Zionist vision. That’s how we’ll return to being a light unto the nations. From Zion shall come forth Torah and the word of God from Jerusalem.”

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