Israel News for September 29, 2016

Peres in State
The casket of Shimon Peres is laying in state outside of the Knesset in Jerusalem as dignitaries and thousands of ordinary Israelis pay their respects. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein were first to pay their respects, followed by a procession of Knesset members. Former US President Bill Clinton also paid respects.

The funeral will take place Friday morning. Many world leaders and dignitaries are expected to attend including US President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, former President Bill Clinton, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, Prince Charles, French President François Hollande, German President Joachim Gauck, King Felipe VI of Spain and the presidents of Ukraine, Poland, Belgium, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Latvia and Mexico.

Peres will be buried on Mt. Hertlz, in between former prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Yitzhak Shamir. His wife is buried in Moshav Ben Shemen. The shiva will only last until Sunday afternoon and be terminated by the onset of Rosh Hashanah.

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Arab Reaction
The reaction to the passing of Shimon Peres by Arab leaders has been muted, save for a couple of exceptions. Today Bahrain’s Foreign Minister tweeted, “Rest in peace President Shimon Peres, a man of war and a man of the still elusive peace in the Middle East.” Bahrain has no official diplomatic relations with Israel.

Yesterday PA President Abbas tweeted in Arabic, “Shimon Peres’s death is a heavy loss for all humanity and for peace in the region.” He also sent a condolence letter to the Peres family in which he said that Peres had been partner to the “peace of the brave” signed by former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in 1993 and that he had striven for peace until the day he died.

Representatives of Egypt, Jordan and Morocco are expected to attend the funeral. A Jewish adviser to the king of Morocco will represent his country, but it is still not known who will represent Egypt or Jordan.

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Flag Tribute
In an extremely rare show of honor to a foreign leader, President Obama has ordered that American flags at all government buildings and grounds and all military installations, bases and ships be flown at half-mast tomorrow in tribute to Shimon Peres.

The last two foreign leaders to receive that honor were Nelson Mandela in 2013 and Pope Joh Paul II in 2005.

Upon hearing of Peres’s passing, Obama released a statement saying, A light has gone out, but the hope he gave us will burn forever. Shimon Peres was a soldier for Israel, for the Jewish people, for justice, for peace, and for the belief that we can be true to our best selves — to the very end of our time on Earth, and in the legacy that we leave to others. For the gift of his friendship and the example of his leadership, todah rabah, Shimon.”

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Victims Compensated
In 2001, 23 people were killed and 250 injured when the dance floor at the Versailles wedding hall in Jerusalem collapsed. The construction method used to build the floors of the hall were banned prior to the construction after being proven to be unsafe.

In addition to this, the Versailles hall was designed to be a two-story structure, but a third story was later added. The story on which the wedding party took place was therefore intended to be a roof, and was not designed to carry the same load as the other floors.

After years of lawsuits and disagreements regarding the allocation of compensation, the State has finally agreed to distribute all of the compensation funds without any admission of guilt.

According to the compensation outline, whoever wasn’t physically injured will receive NIS 50,000 plus interest, while those more than 20% handicapped with receive NIS 6,000 for every additional percentage of disability. The estates of those killed in the incident will be compensated with NIS 75,000 along with an additional NIS 10,000 for every year of expected decrease in life expectancy. Upon passing of victims, NIS 10,000 plus interest will also be provided for funeral expenses.

The three owners of the hall were convicted in 2004 of negligence and wrongful death and sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

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Startups of the Year
The Israeli business publication “Globes” has named WalkMe, the enterprise guidance and engagement platform, as Israel’s most promising startup for 2016. The Globes also named 15 other Israeli startups as the most promising for 2016. The startups are divided into five different industry groupings including medical technologies, cyber securities, internet technologies, big data and transport.

To see a list of the companies and what they do, click here.