israelAM for July 28, 2015

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Police vs. Settlers
At least 50 protesters were arrested in Beit El last night as hundreds of Border Police cleared 2 vacant buildings slated for demolition later this week. Around 250 youths from the area faced off against the police to prevent them from evicting squatters who had barricaded themselves in the buildings.

The buildings, known as the Dreinof structures have been under dispute for years, since the land was seized by the IDF from it’s Palestinian owners and incorporated into Beit El in 1979. The Israeli Supreme Court rejected claims to rescind the seizure order on 2 separate occasions. But the structures were constructed without the proper permits.

Even though the civil administration in Judea and Samaria subsequently granted the building permits, the supreme court ruled in favor of a petition to demolish the structures. Demolition of the 24 apartment units in the 2 buildings still under construction is to take place on Thursday. The Beit El Local Council is preparing to file a petition to the Supreme Court hoping to cancel the demolition order. Meanwhile, the police was ordered to clear the buildings in advance, to prevent people from barricading themselves in the buildings to prevent the demolition.

No matter which side you take, the battle hopefully will be fought and resolved in the courts without further violence.

High Five to Charedi Minister
The use of marijuana for medical purposes has been legal in Israel for a while on a very small scale. Now, getting it will be a whole lot easier.

Deputy Minister of Health Yakov Litzman, of the Charedi UTJ party, just announced that medical cannabis will be available in pharmacies in Israel, and that more doctors will be allowed to prescribe it. That means that pot will be treated like any other prescription drug. Of course, it will all be strictly regulated and controlled to prevent abuse.

The new policy will make it easier for tens of thousands of people with pain and other chronic symptoms to get relief.

Who said Charedi politicians aren’t progressive?

Huge Israeli Drug Deal
Speaking of drugs, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. has acquired the generic division of Dublin based Allergen for $40.58 billion in the largest acquisition ever by an Israeli company. Teva is already the leader in the global generic drug market. This will make it even stronger.

According to Teva’s announcement, it will also become one of the world’s 10 leading pharma companies. In other words, one of the biggest drug dealers in the world. Pretty cool.

Opposition Takes a Shot
Opposition leaders made their predictions about the future of the current government. Isaac Herzog of the Zionist Union, the opposition leader, predicted that the government would fall by March. “The government’s time is limited,” Herzog said. Yair Lapid, the leader of Yesh Atid, also predicted that the government would collapse sometime in 2016. When that happens, “Yesh Atid will run for the leadership of the country and I will run for prime minister,” Lapid stated. A Zionist Union spokesman responded: “On the day after Tisha Be’Av, someone should tell Lapid that since the Temple was destroyed, prophecy was only given to fools.”
Looks like the opposition needs to learn to play nicely together before taking on the government.

Unholy Rapist Indicted
Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg of Safed was indicted Monday for raping, sodomizing and/or sexually assaulting 12 women. He was also charged with aggravated fraud, obstructing justice and criminal threatening. Investigators believe many more women were victimized, but they have declined to come forward. According to the indictment, Sheinberg allegedly committed the crimes both in personal meetings with the women and in video chats during which he asked them to strip.

The incidents took place mainly during the last decade, when Sheinberg served as a community rabbi and head of a yeshiva in Safed. This story needs to be told as a warning to prevent crimes like this from being repeated.

Farewell to Plastic
The Knesset is trying to push through a bill to reduce the use of plastic bags. Businesses would need to stop carrying the really thin bags entirely, and customers would have to pay for the thicker ones.

Israelis use about 275 plastic bags per capita each year, totaling approximately 2.2 billion bags annually for the entire country. A survey conducted by the Environmental Protection Ministry last year indicated that more than 70 percent of Israelis support an end to free plastic bag distribution.
Good news for the environment.

The French Homecoming
Over 200 immigrants from France are set to arrive in Israel today, bringing the total of French immigrants this year to 4,260. This is an 11% increase over last years numbers. Over the last 5 years over 20,000 French Jews have made Aliyah.

“And your children shall return to their borders,” — Jeremiah 31:16

Have an amazing day, and we’ll see you bright and early tomorrow with more Israel news!

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