israelAM for July 22, 2015

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Hotovely vs. EU
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) plans to instruct the Foreign Ministry to work against funding provided by European governments to left-wing organizations in Israel. She wants to ban government funding of organizations who support a boycott of Israel, the right of return for Palestinian refugees or who conduct activities that slander IDF soldiers or advance legal procedures against them. “Under the guise of safeguarding human rights, these organizations actually work to undermine Israel’s right of existence,” Hotovely said.

Over 100 million euros have been donated to left wing Israeli organizations by European governments in the past few years. Hotovely, a right winger, wants it stopped and is willing to support legislation to make that happen. That’s what she told a delegation from the European parliament, the Dutch ambassador to Israel, and the foreign ministers of Spain and the Netherlands.

Is this a battle even worth fighting given all the other foreign policy issues facing Israel, like Iran and a Palestinian state?

Iran Nukes Good for Israel
Not everyone in Israel is against the Iran nuclear deal. Ami Ayalon, a former head of Shin Bet, the Israeli FBI, and former chief of the Israeli Navy agrees that while it isn’t perfect, the accord is “the best option” for dealing with Iran’s nuclear capability.

“When negotiations began, Iran was two months away from acquiring enough material for a [nuclear] bomb. Now it will be 12 months,” which Ayalon claims is significant. He also believes that without a deal the sanctions will fall apart in any case, leaving Iran with money to race towards a bomb without any restrictions. But he feels that President Obama needs to take a stronger stance against potential Iranian violations and make it clear that the US will use military force to prevent Iran for getting the bomb.

If the deal results in the US cracking down on Iran for their non-nuclear behavior, like supporting terrorism, it’s a good thing for Israel and the world. That’s a big if.

Housing Supply Rising
Defense Minister Yaalon has approved permits for the construction of a total of 906 new housing units in the West Bank Jewish towns of Beit El, Maale Adumim, Givat Zeev and Psagot. This is the first such approval in over a year.

Sticks and Stones
The Knesset has approved a law to crack down on people convicted of throwing rocks at moving vehicles. Under the law, stone throwers could face 10 years in prison, and up to 20 years if it is determined that they intended to seriously harm the occupants in a vehicle. Yes, stones can kill.

Arafat Dies Naturally
Two years after his widow demanded an investigation into the cause of his death, French experts have concluded that Yasir Arafat died of natural causes. Swiss experts had previously found traces of poisonous material in his body, but couldn’t determine conclusively whether they were related to his death. But the French are sure. For now.

A Sweet Payout
Microsoft just acquired Israeli cloud security company Adallon for $320 million. The company’s 3 founders, aged 27, 31 and 31 will each get $25 million from the sale. They are all veterans of the elite IDF 8200 intelligence unit. Pretty sweet payout for them, but does the IDF get its cut for training provided? It could help solve some of their budget issues. Something to consider.

Chicken for Shabbat
Until about 2300 years ago, chickens were used exclusively for entertainment (cock fights). Then the Israelites started cooking and eating them for dinner. That’s according to recent archeological findings at Tel Maresha in Israel, where they found piles of chicken bones with butchering marks on them. They didn’t find any traces of chicken soup. That doesn’t mean grandmas weren’t making it.