Israel News for September 22, 2016

Anti-Terror Raid
Police conducted massive raids in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Shuafat and Isawiyah in search of weapons and terror and criminal suspects last night. Twenty three people were arrested for various crimes including rioting, popular terror, illegal possession of fire arms, drugs or property.

For further reading click here.

Obama Netanyahu Meet
PM Netanyahu and President Obama met for a half hour at the UN General Assembly yesterday. According to a senior American official, Obama raised “profound U.S. concerns about the corrosive effect that that settlement activity, that is continuing when the occupation enters its 50th year, is having on the prospects of two states solution.” Netanyahu pushed back.

A senior Israeli official described the meeting as positive and said that it actually lasted for over an hour. He said that Netanyahu reiterated that the settlements are not the root of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Netanyahu also discussed his belief that it’s possible to leverage the developing ties between Israel and the Arab world to advance the peace process with the Palestinians.

At the outset of the meeting Netanyahu remarked, “The greatest opportunity is to advance peace and this is something that I and the people of Israel will never give up on.”

Netanyahu thanked Obama for the new military aid agreement saying, “The military aid deal fortifies Israel’s security and makes sure it can defend itself by itself against any threat. Israel has no better friend than the U.S. and the U.S. has no better friend than Israel. It is an unbreakable bond based on common values and interests.”

Obama also referred to the agreement saying, “It is important for America’s national security that we have a safe and secure Israel that can defend itself. The aid deal provides assurance that the cooperation between us will continue and it allows Israeli planners the kind of certainty at a moment of very little certainty in the region. We want Israel to have all the capabilities it needs.”

The issue of whether Obama would try to push through a Security Council resolution related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was not brought up by either leader.

Finally, Netanyahu referred to Obama’s post presidential life saying, “I know you will continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself and to live as a Jewish state. You will always be a welcome guest in Israel.”

For further reading click here.

University Ranking
The Times Higher Education World University Rankings, which rates the 980 leading institutions for higher education in the world, were released yesterday. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem was the only Israeli institution to make the top 200, coming in at 178 (same as last year). Tel Aviv University ranked in the 201-250 slot, the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa ranked between 251 and 300, and Bar Ilan University ranked between 401 and 500. Ben Gurion and Haifa universities ranked between 501 and 600.

Oxford University took first place with Caltech coming in second and Stanford coming in third, followed by the University of Cambridge, MIT, Harvard and Princeton. Imperial College London came eighth, followed by ETH Zurich. Berkeley and University of Chicago tied in tenth place. Columbia and NYU came in 16 and 32 respectively.

The World University Rankings is published by Britain’s Times Higher Education and uses data from Thomson Reuters.

To view the entire rankings list click here.

No More Horseplay
Last month Finance Minister Moshe Kahalon announced that slot machines and betting on horses would be banned next year under legislation contained in the Budget Arrangements Law. He called the 460 million shekels ($121.8 million) generated from betting on horses every year by the Council for Organized Sports Betting, popularly known as Toto, as “tainted money.”

But the British company that manages the Toto’s horse betting system has cried foul, since their contract is effective through 2018. It is lobbying hard to get the ban removed from the legislation before it gets approved by the Knesset later this year. The companies basic argument is that betting on horses isn’t really such a bad thing.

The government is planning to offer the company a settlement. The company currently makes around 20 million shekels per year from its Israel operations.

For further reading click here.

Chicken Dilemma
As we reported last week, the recent Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha caused Muslim workers to take a few days off which, in turn, caused the temporary shutdown of many slaughterhouses, where Muslims constitute the vast majority of employees. That caused a fresh chicken shortage in stores, which experts say will continue throughout the High Holidays and Sukkot. The Israeli Poultry Farmers’ Association has recommended that people buy turkey or frozen chicken, which there is no shortage of.

For further reading click here.