Israel News for September 8, 2016

Chabad and IDF
The Chabad Lubavitch Hassidic movement recently negotiated an agreement with the IDF which stipulates that 85% of Chabad yeshiva students will be drafted, while 15% will receive exemptions to study and work as emissaries. Those students drafted will also receive a two year deferral to allow them to study at a yeshiva in Crown Heights, NY (Chabad headquarters).

Haredi draft opponents are furious about the agreement. Last night a group of about twenty anti draft extremists broke into the home of the Chabad Rabbi Moshe Havlin, who serves as Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Gat. They broke furniture and shouted and cursed at the rabbi and his wife. The rabbi’s wife fainting during the attack and was hospitalized. Police arrested three of the demonstrators and are investigating the incident.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman responded to attack by saying that the anti draft elements have crossed a red line and must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law as a warning to those who incite violence against Haredim serving or seeking to serve in the IDF.

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Secular Protest
A group of secular activists is calling on people to gather at a location in the heart of the Haredi city of Bnei Brak next Shabbat to protest the attempt to force stores in Tel Aviv to close on Shabbat.

The event organizer wrote on Facebook, “it is impossible to keep quiet any more to the status quo interruptions. It is impossible to reduce the movement of people on Shabbat and on weekdays due to Haredi political whims. I call to you to come to Bnei Barak (address omitted) next Shabbat, with music, megaphones and lots of spirit to prove to everyone that the secular community are not suckers and quiet. You have crossed the line and now the border protection (secular folks) will come to you.”

Another step towards brotherly love and harmonious existence.

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Israel Attacks
Israeli warplanes attacked a Syrian government military position today after several mortar shells fell in Israeli territory yesterday. The mortar rounds were apparently stray rounds that mistakenly ended up in Israel as spillover from the fighting going on between rebel and government forces in Syria. But Israel is adamant in that it will not not accept any violation of Israeli sovereignty and that it will hold the Syrian government responsible for all military actions in Syria. There were no reports of casualties from the Israeli airstrike.

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Music BDS
British composer and producer Brian Eno, who has produced albums for bands including U2, Cold Play and Talking Heads, has demanded that the Israeli Batsheva dance company stop using his musical compositions in its performances.

Eno has been a supporter of the BDS movement for several years and is one of over 1,170 British artists to sign the Artists Pledge for a cultural boycott of Israel that was launched in February 2015 by Artists for Palestine UK.

The dance company was scheduled to perform a routine using his music at a dance festival in Italy this week. Eno wrote, “To my understanding, the Israeli Embassy (and therefore the Israeli government) will be sponsoring the upcoming performances, and, given that I’ve been supporting the BDS campaign for several years now, this is an unacceptable prospect for me.”

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Israeli Wages
According to figures released by Israel’s National Insurance Institute, the average monthly wage rose 2% in 2014 to NIS 9,939, with men earning an average of NIS 11,826 and women NIS 8,026. But half of Israel’s employees earned NIS 6,426 or less a month.

An average Tel Aviv family earned NIS 25,444 per month, ahead of Haifa (NIS 22,901), Rishon Lezion (NIS 22,453), Petah Tikva (NIS 21,663), Netanya (NIS 17,852) and Jerusalem (NIS 12,492).

The towns with the highest income in Israel were Kfar HaOranim and Savyon, with average monthly per capita incomes of NIS 19,332 and NIS 19,026, respectively. The poorest towns in Israel were Modi’in Ilit and Jisr az-Zarqa, with average per capita monthly wages of NIS 5,573 and NIS 5,690, respectively.

All salary figures are gross (pre-tax).

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