Israel News for September 22, 2015

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Traitorous Politics?
PM Netanyahu recently appointed Dani Dayan as Israel’s new ambassador to Brazil. The Left is in an uproar, because Dayan served as Chairman of the Yesha Council – the umbrella organization of Jewish settlement municipal councils in the West Bank – from 2007 to 2013.

In announcing Dayan’s appointment, Netanyahu said that “Latin America is one of Israel’s key destinations as part of the efforts to develop new markets that will contribute to increased economic growth in Israel. I am convinced that Dani Dayan will bring his vast experience to the position and will deepen the relations between Israel and Brazil.”

Several former ambassadors and left-wing activists met with the Brazilian ambassadors to Israel and the Palestinian Authority to convey the message that acceptance of Dani Dayan’s appointment would be tantamount to granting international legitimacy to settlements. If a host country doesn’t accept the appointment of a new ambassador, then the appointment cannot go through.

So basically, these Israelis are trying to foil their own government by appealing directly to a foreign government because they disagree with their government’s decision. Doesn’t sound too kosher.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon blasted them on his Facebook page for slandering Israel and called their attempt “shameful, dangerous and despicable.” He added that, “Someone who has a political dispute with someone else ought to keep the argument about it at home, and not act in malicious ways that end up hurting Israel and its citizens first and foremost.”

Ministers from the Left and Right strongly criticized the unprecedented move by the activists. The only defense that the accused could offer was that they had no choice, since they have no power within the Israeli government.

So much for democracy.

Further reading –

Israel and Russia
PM Netanyahu met with Russian President Putin yesterday in Moscow to discuss Russia’s recent military buildup in Syria and how it might affect Israel. After the meeting the PM said that the two sides agreed to establish a coordination mechanism to prevent misunderstandings and unintended confrontations between the Israeli military and Russian forces deployed in Syria.

Netanyahu added that the bulk of the conversation with Putin, which lasted two and a half hours, was dedicated to the security situation on Israel’s northern border. He noted that he made it clear to the Russian president that Israel will continue to take action to prevent the transfer of lethal weapons from Syria and Iran to Hezbollah and to thwart Iranian attempts to carry out terror attacks against Israel in the Golan Heights.

The PM said that Putin made clear that he will “ensure that whatever intentions Russia has in Syria, it will not be a partner to Iranian aggression” against Israel.

Putin said, “We never forget that in the State of Israel reside many former Soviet citizens, and that has a special implication on the relationship between our two states. Every Russian action in the area has always been very responsible. We are aware of the artillery against Israel and we condemn it.”

The PM said that he briefed the U.S. administration on the details of his trip to Russia and the issues that were discussed with Putin. But with the Iran deal in place, making friends with Russia to make sure they don’t join up with the Iranian’s is the prudent thing to do. If you can trust Russia.

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Palestinian Poll
The Israeli right might not be the only ones against a two state solution.

A recent poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, a leading research group in the Palestinian territories, found that 51 percent of Palestinians oppose the two-state solution while 48 percent support it. That’s down from 51% pro and 48% against three months ago.

If new elections were held in the Palestinian territories, 35 percent said they would vote for Hamas and 35 percent for Fatah.

Asked what the most effective way of establishing an independent Palestinian state next to Israel would be, 42 percent said armed action and 29 percent said negotiation. Three months ago only 36 percent said armed action.

Finally, 78 percent of Palestinians think the chances of getting their own state in the next five years are “slim to non-existent”.

The statistics don’t bode well for a peaceful solution to the conflict anytime soon. It just looks like the Palestinians are becoming more radicalized and viewing violence as their only solution.

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Supermodel’s Charedi Chupah
Supermodel Bar Rafaeli’s upcoming wedding to businessman Adi Ezra this coming Thursday is causing quite a stir in the charedi community. Why you ask? Because Rabbi Dovid Grossman, the Chief Rabbi of Migdal Ha’emek and the founder of the Migdal Or organization, will be officiating at the ceremony.

Hardly anyone in the charedi community ever probably heard of Bar Rafaeli. But now that one of the most prominent and beloved charedi rabbis is going to be doing the honors, everyone’s interested in stirring up some controversy.

Some charedi commentators are decrying the fact that R. Grossman will be denigrating himself by officiating at the wedding of a woman who doesn’t exemplify the qualities of modest dress and lifestyle that they believe is incumbent upon all respectable Jewish women.

Other charedi pundits say that R. Grossman is just fulfilling his rabbinic duty by performing a Jewish wedding, regardless of who the bride and groom are. In fact, rabbis in Israel perform weddings every day without discriminating against the lifestyles of the couples they are marrying.

R. Grossman, famous for his outreach to the non-observant community, doesn’t seem very worried. In a recent interview on a charedi radio station he said that Bar told him that during her time under the chupah (wedding canopy) she would like to feel close to God and distance herself from her “Bohemian” lifestyle”. How can he deny her that?

Further reading –

Jews Flock to Kotel
The recent tense security situation on the Temple Mount and East Jerusalem didn’t keep Jews from asking God for forgiveness on the eve of Yom Kippur. Tens of thousands of Jewish men and women gathered at the Kotel to say selichot (prayers for forgiveness). The prayers were led by Chief Rabbis of Israel David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef, Chief Rabbi of the Kotel Shmuel Rabinovitz and other senior rabbis and laymen.

The worshippers included religious and non religious, Ashkenazim and Sephardim, charedi and secular. It was a beautiful display of the unity of the Jewish people and the nation of Israel.
May we all merit blessings and forgiveness for this Yom Kippur, and a new year filled with health, happiness and peace.

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