Israel News for September 17, 2015

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Here We Go Again
Remember Mohammed Allan, the Palestinian prisoner who conducted a 66 day hunger strike and stopped after the High Court temporarily suspended his administrative detention? Well, the good news for Allan is that he finally got well enough to be released from the Ashkelon hospital he was recovering in. The bad news is that he was rearrested moments after his discharge.

Allan was arrested and held in administrative detention for being an Islamic Jihad terror operative. The administrative detention law allows authorities to detain suspects without formally charging them or bringing them to trial. The reason for the law is to protect sources and witnesses who would be in danger if formal charges detailing the specific crimes of the suspect were released.

Allan went on a hunger strike to protest the administrative detention law. His health condition reached the critical stage where the government considered force feeding him to save his life, which would be legal according to a recently passed Israeli law. To avoid that, the government offered to release him if he went into exile for four years. He declined the offer, and the case went before the High Court.

The court decided to temporarily suspend his administrative detention. Allan and his supporters considered that a victory and Allan ended his hunger strike. He continued to receive medical treatment and nourishment at the Ashkelon hospital where he had been detained.

At the time of the case, the government had made it clear that the only way they would agree to release Allan was if it was determined that he had sustained severe brain damage from his hunger strike, which would make him no longer a security risk.

Thanks to his good luck and skilled Israeli doctors, Allan didn’t suffer brain damage, or at least enough to no longer deem him a security risk. So as expected, he was rearrested before being released. In response, Allan has resumed his hunger strike.

It is unlikely the government will agree to release someone they believe to be a terrorist. Besides the obvious security risk, it would be a signal for other prisoners to go on their own hunger strikes to get released. The question now is whether the government will end up force feeding Allan, if his health deteriorates to it’s previous levels again.

Stop Stoners
Alexander Levlovich, 64, was driving home from a Rosh Hashanah dinner with two passengers on Sunday night. As he was driving through Arnona to his Armon Hanetziv neighborhood, both of which are located in East Jerusalem, his car was stoned, causing him to lose control and slam into a pole. Yesterday, he was buried.

During a tour of Levlovich’s Jerusalem neighborhood of Armon Hanetziv, PM Netanyahu told reporters that “we’re changing the policy to a war on stone-throwers, not just in Jerusalem and the roads leading to it, but also in the Galilee and the Negev.”

The PM, the Defense Minister and the Internal Security Minister all want to allow the police to use snipers against stone throwers, just like the IDF does. The Attorney General is looking into the matter for the PM, to determine if it’s legal. The ultimate goal: to put a stop to the stoning attacks.

Meanwhile, there were three days of violent riots between police and Arabs on the Temple Mount resulting in numerous injuries on both sides.

Iceland Slams Israel
The city council of Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, has adopted a motion to boycott Israeli-made goods. According to the motion, the boycott will be in place “as long as the occupation of Palestinian territories continues.”

Does Iceland actually buy stuff from Israel? It doesn’t really matter. It’s the thought that counts.

Chief Rabbis Speak Out
Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi David Lau and Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef released a joint statement warning Jews to steer clear of an upcoming conference in Jerusalem organized by the International Christian Embassy saying that a major purpose of the event and the organization is to convert Jews to Christianity.

The statement said that, “even though it may be that the conference organizers are friends to the State of Israel, in practice the event constitutes a spiritual danger and undermines [the state’s] Jewish character.”

Seems like the chief rabbis are just doing their job. The evangelical Christians have stated clearly that one of their missions is to convert the Jews in order to hasten the coming of their messiah. So shouldn’t rabbis warn Jews to avoid the risk of being converted? (No offense to our Christian readers) Isn’t the primary job of a rabbi to protect and enhance Judaism and Jewish spirituality? Go rabbis!

Shaked’s New Diggs
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) is doing pretty well, at least in her standard of living. She just purchased a 2700 sq. Ft. House in North Tel Aviv for 6.7 million shekels ($1.74 million), which is comparable to buying a 5000 sq ft house in a trendy Manhattan suburb. She’s selling the Tel Aviv penthouse that she’s lived in for the past few years, if you happen to be in the market. Before getting into politics Shaked worked as a software engineer and then as marketing manager for Texas Instruments in Israel. Shaked is 39, married with two children. Her husband is a fighter pilot. Go Ayelet!

Israeli Salad Woes
Despite the high prices of food in Israel (especially if it’s imported), you could always depend on getting inexpensive tomatoes and cucumbers that taste way better than anything produced in the US. That’s probably why Israeli salad consists primarily of, you guessed it: tomatoes and cucumbers. That might have to change.

Due to the intense heat wave and natural price inflation around holiday time, cucumbers have doubled in price and tomatoes have jumped 87% since the beginning of September.

In an attempt to make Israeli salad available even to the poorest consumers, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel permitted veggie imports. But his announcement came just 4 business days before the start of Rosh Hashanah, which didn’t leave enough time to import anything. Israeli salad lovers (which is just about everyone, right?) are so mad they probably will not be granting Ariel forgiveness, which could be a big problem for him come Yom Kippur.

Save the Israeli salad!!