Israel News for April 24, 2017

Terror in TA
An 18 year old Palestinian terrorist from Nablus stabbed 3 men and 1 woman at the Herod’s Hotel on Tel Aviv’s seaside promenade yesterday. The terrorist was overpowered by hotel staff and police.

Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai has frozen all daily permits to enter Israel after investigators found that the terrorist had a similar permit. All permits will remain frozen and no new permits will be given until further notice.

This morning a 41 year old Palestinian mother of nine stabbed a female soldier in the shoulder at the Qalandya checkpoint near Jerusalem. The woman was arrested and under questioning revealed that she was attempting to commit suicide because of a domestic dispute. The female soldier was only lightly wounded.

To view security footage of the TA attack click here.

Chinese Workers
Israel and China have signed an agreement to allow 6,000 Chinese construction workers into Israel. However, reports say that the workers will be prohibited from working in areas considered to be across the “Green Line” (West Bank). The Israeli government is hoping that the workers will help alleviate the housing shortage in the country by facilitating more and quicker construction.

China considers Judea and Samaria to be occupied territories. But, business is business.

For further reading click here.

Holocaust Commemoration
Last night, Israel ushered in the beginning of the annual Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day with a state ceremony at Yad Vashem’s Warsaw Ghetto Square on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem.

The ceremony, the theme of which was “Restoring Their Identities: The Fate of the Individual During the Holocaust,” was attended by the president, prime minister, speaker of the Knesset and deputy president of the Supreme Court. Some 2,500 Holocaust survivors also attended, along with Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, members of the Diplomatic Corps and IDF soldiers.
President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev spoke at the ceremony. Esther Miron, a Holocaust survivor, spoke on behalf of the survivors. Six survivors lit torches commemorating the six million. The Chief Rabbis recited psalms and kaddish.

In his address PM Netanyahu said, “We have to be able to defend ourselves on our own against any threat against any enemy. From a helpless people, we have turned into a robust nation. From a defenseless nation, we have turned into a powerful country that can defend itself with one of the strongest armies.”

Netanyahu also cited newly released documents from the United Nations showing that the Allies were aware of the Nazis’ systematic extermination of the Jews at least two years earlier than previously known, and that if they had acted on that information at the time could have saved some 4 million of the Jewish Holocaust victims.

He said, “If the powers in 1942 had acted against the death camps — and all that was needed was repeated bombing of the camps — had they acted then, they could have saved 4 million Jews and millions of other people. When terrible crimes were being committed against the Jews, when our brothers and sisters were being sent to the furnaces, the powers knew and they did not act.”

In a video message to the World Jewish Congress, US President Trump said, “On Yom HaShoah, we look back at the darkest chapter of human history. We mourn, we remember, we pray, and we pledge: Never again. I say it, never again.”

He continued, “The mind cannot fathom the pain, the horror, and the loss. Six million Jews, two-thirds of the Jews in Europe, murdered by the Nazi genocide. They were murdered by an evil that words cannot describe, and that the human heart cannot bear.”

Trump also said, “Today, only decades removed from the Holocaust, we see a great nation risen from the desert and we see a proud Star of David waving above the State of Israel. That star is a symbol of Jewish perseverance. It’s a monument to unyielding strength. We recall the famous words attributed to Theodor Herzl: If you will it, it is no dream. If you will it, it is no dream.”

“We must stamp out prejudice and anti-Semitism everywhere it is found. We must defeat terrorism, and we must not ignore the threats of a regime that talks openly of Israel’s destruction. We cannot let that ever even be thought of. To all of you tonight, who have come from around the world, let it be known, America stands strong with the State of Israel.”

At 10am this morning a two minute ling siren was sounded throughout the Israel, and people froze in place silently. All traffic came to a halt as people stopped and exited their vehicles for the moments of silence.

Remembrance ceremonies will be held at different locations throughout the day.

For further reading click here.

Survivor Stories
The stories of the the six survivors who lit the torches at the official Yad Vashem ceremony last night are displayed on the Yad Vashem website along with a video of each one.

To watch the videos and read their stories, click here.

How We Remember
In Israel it is almost impossible to not remember and reflect upon the horrors and tragedy of the Holocaust. Especially on this day of remembrance, the Holocaust permeates every aspect of Israel’s existence. But for those living in the US, it takes effort to remember. Even if you try, the sheer numbers — 6 million — are simply overwhelming. How can anyone possible even begin to try to understand the suffering, brutality and horror inflicted upon millions of Jewish men, women and children in homes, schools, hospitals, on streets, in forests and in ghettos and concentration and death camps? It’s impossible.

The only way to attempt this awesome task is to start with individuals. The Holocaust destroyed ordinary individuals — the kind of people you see in your own family and community.

Think of the accomplished woman dressed in her finest business suit (is it you or someone you love?) being marched to her gassing. Imaging the accountant, professor, musician, storekeeper, carpenter or plumber being suddenly torn from their daily routine, herded into a forest and gunned down into a mass grave.

The sun shone, the birds sang and the local gentile population looked on (for the most part) as the Jewish populations of entire towns (like Teaneck, Lakewood, Monsey, Houston, San Diego etc.) were hunted down, collected in a central square and then forced onto trains heading to Auschwitz, Treblinka, Belzec, etc.

Distinguished rabbinic sages with long white beards and young yeshiva students immersed in Torah study alongside secular university students and communist activists went to their deaths with dignity and shared their final resting places in mass graves or ash piles.

If you’re willing to go one step further into a place that is almost too painful to even consider [if you can’t then please stop reading here]— take a look at your own young children or grandchildren (or nieces and nephews) and imagine those pure and innocent souls marching to their deaths — and imagine yourself helpless to do anything to help other than watch them…

Now you can begin, in the tiniest sense, to fathom the Holocaust, remember the tragedy and strive to ensure that it never happens again.

May the souls of the millions that perished in the Holocaust be elevated and may they finally find some form of rest knowing that the Jewish nation can now live securely in the homeland they prayed and yearned for.

Israel News for March 22, 2017

Gaza Infiltration
Three men were spotted approaching the border fence from Gaza last night, in a “no go” area. Idk lookouts spotted them and a tank opened fire at the men, killing one and wounded two. The IDF is investigating whether the three were trying to plant an explosive device.

For further reading click here.

Evacuation Plans
Israel is drawing up contingency plans to evacuate up to a quarter-million civilians from border communities to protect them from attacks executed by Hamas, Hezbollah or other Islamic militant groups. The mass evacuations would be the biggest in Israel’s history, part of a bigger plan where the army works with municipalities to keep civilians safe.

Elements of the evacuation plan, codenamed “Safe Distance,” were disclosed by a senior Israeli officer in an interview to The Associated Press. “In 2017, all of Israel is under threat,” said Col. Itzik Bar of the military’s Homefront Command. Preparations are underway for Israel to deal with “very high amounts” of incoming fire, he said.

The evacuation plan would apply mainly to communities adjacent to the borders. Evacuees would be housed in existing infrastructure, including hotels, schools and Kibbutz guest houses. Small core groups would stay behind in evacuated areas to maintain vital infrastructure and ensure that communities “function the day after the fighting.”

For further reading click here.

Terror Rights
This story might seem unbelievable, but keep in mind we’re talking about the UN. Ok, here goes.

Mohammed Aliyan, the father of terrorist Baha Aliyan, who murdered three Israelis in the east Talpiot neighborhood in Jerusalem in 2015, took part in a UN Human Rights Council meeting on Monday as part of a Palestinian delegation of families of dead terrorists and security prisoners.

Aliyan spoke about how Israel executed his son, refused to release the body and demolished his home. Since the terror attack Aliyan has launched a campaign to glorify his terrorist son. He speaks to groups and conferences in Israel and internationally about what he considers to be Israeli human rights violations and collective punishment.

For further reading click here.

Vietnam Visit
President Reuven Rivlin is currently leading an Israeli delegation on a visit to Vietnam. The delegation includes representatives of Israeli defense and technology companies. The purpose of the visit is to sign agreements to increase military and technological cooperation between the countries. Vietnam is a major purchaser of Israeli made military products.

For further reading click here.

Chabad Beijing
While on their official visit in China with the PM Netanyahu, Minister of the Environment Ze’ev Elkin and Health Minister Yaakov Litzman stopped by the Chabad Headquarters in Beijing to pray, eat and meet with officials of the Chinese Ministry of Religion [apparently even they have one of those]. Chabad of Beijing provided all of the meals for the Israeli delegation throughout its China visit.

For further reading click here.

Israel News Rivllin US visit

Israel News for February 13, 2017

Annexation Support
While addressing a pro settlement conference in Jerusalem today, President Rivlin blasted the new Regulation Bill recently passed by the Knesset which allows appropriating privately owned Palestinian land. Rivlin said that the law goes against international law. However, Rivlin made clear that he is in favor of annexing the West Bank on the condition that Palestinians living there would be giving full Israeli citizenship.

He said, “I, Rubi Rivlin, believe that Zion is entirely ours. I believe the sovereignty of the State of Israel must be in all the blocs [referring to the entire West Bank].”

He also said, “Applying sovereignty to an area gives citizenship to all those living there. There is no [separate] law for Israelis and for non-Israelis. It must be clear: If we extend sovereignty, the law must apply equally to all.”

Regarding the Regulation Law Rivlin said, “The issue of the expropriation of land must be a law [enacted] by the sovereign, correct and equal for all citizens, and not an extraterritorial law that is applied as needed. International law also applies to us.”

Rivlin himself owns land in the West Bank that he purchased from a Palestinian.

For further reading click here.

Embassy Move
Senator Bob Corker (R-TN,) the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in an interview to Politico’s Global Podcast that Trump at one point was “ready to move the embassy at 12:01 on January 20th. Maybe even 12 and thirty seconds.” Corker added that announcing the relocation of the embassy “was going to be their first move,” but that ever since entering the White House, Trump’s team has been going through an evolution and “they get a greater sense of some of the complexities that exist.”   

Corker said that the embassy move could still happen, but that it would have to be done only after consultations with the important Arab states in the region. “I think they got to communicate to the Arab world that this isn’t doing away with the two-state-solution. There’s a lot of communication that’s got to come with it.” He also said the administration could be waiting with the move until after Trump’s choice for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, is confirmed by the Senate. Friedman’s first confirmation hearing before the committee chaired by Corker will take place on Thursday. 

Corker said, “My sense is they’re still moving there, but they’re doing some of the things that need to happen,”

For further reading click here.

UNESCO Exhibit
In the aftermath of last year’s UNESCO’s resolution which conspicuously failed to make any mention of Jewish ties to the Temple Mount, Israel will be placing a permanent exhibit at UNESCO headquarters of a replica of the seven-branched Menorah featured on the Arch of Titus in Rome. The replica will showing Jewish slaves carrying the Menorah into exile to Rome and include a written explanation in English, French, Hebrew and Arabic.

Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama Hacohen said, “The decision to place the scene from the Arch of Titus—which depicts Jews, the Menorah and other holy symbols following the destruction of the Second Temple going into exile—in UNESCO presents an objective, historical truth engraved in stone by a non-Jewish ruler 600 years before the appearance of Islam in the world.”

Hacohen added, “The exhibit and the statue are not meant to be a competition for Jerusalem or to hurt another religion’s connection to their holy place. This is just an additional step in explaining the truth that we were expelled from the Temple Mount by force to the coalition of lies of the Palestinians and Arab countries who claim we were never there and have no holy connection.”
For further reading click here.

North Korea Fun
An Israeli tourism company has received an exclusive franchise for issuing official tourist visas for visiting North Korea, which only a few Israelis have visited up until now. Rimon Tours group subsidiary Tarbutu will offer visits to the tyrannical and closed country starting this spring and summer.

Tarbutu program manager Haim Peres said, “North Korea is without question one of the most fascinating countries in the world today. It is a closed country cut off from the world, including its neighbors. More is unknown than known about the country.”

According to figures from Tarbutu, only 100 Israelis have visited North Korea in organized tours. Up until now, Israelis have been granted tourist visas for North Korean only through parties in China. Now, however, KISTC, the North Korean national travel agency, is accepting tourist visas for Israelis.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated, “There is no travel warning for North Korea, and no specific ban on traveling there. We of course recommend extreme caution, since there are no diplomatic relations with North Korea, but it is not classified as an enemy country.”

Vacation and touring packages to North Korea will run in the $3,850-4,150 range, not including personal expenses, insurance, or tourist visas to China.

Passover in North Korea??

For further reading click here.

Survey Says
A survey by InterNations, the world’s largest network for people who live and work abroad, rated 43 different aspects of life abroad on a scale of 1-7. Expats rated everything from childcare and education, to children’s health and safety. Each country had to have at least 31 respondents who are raising dependent children abroad, for the nation to be included in the index.

Out of 45 countries in the index, Israel ranked number 3, behind Finland and the Czech Republic and ahead of Austria and Sweden.

To see the complete list with explanations click here.

Israel News for December 22, 2016

UN Vote
The UN Security Council is scheduled to vote today at 3:00pm on a resolution calling for an immediate halt to all Israeli settlement building on what it considers to be “occupied Palestinian land”.

The resolution, submitted by Egypt last night, demands that Israel, “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem”. It says that the establishment of settlements by Israel has “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law”, and expresses grave concern that continuing settlement activities “are dangerously imperiling the viability of a two-state solution”.

The Un Security Council has 15 members. The resolution requires 9 votes to pass, but can be vetoed by any of the councils five permanent members including the US, Russia, France, England or China.

Israel is urging the US to veto the resolution. PM Netanyahu tweeted late last night, “The United States should veto this anti-Israel resolution.”

Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Danny Danon, said on Israeli Army Radio: “In a few hours we will receive the answer from our American friends. I hope very much it will be the same one we received in 2011 when the version was very similar to the one proposed now and the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. at the time, Susan Rice, vetoed it.”

Danon said nothing would change on the ground if the resolution passes. But he said it could spur Palestinians to seek international sanctions against Israel and impede any return to peace talks that collapsed in 2014.

The fear in Israel is that Obama will use his last days as president to express his disapproval of Israel’s settlement policies by ordering the US to abstain from the security vote.

For further reading click here.

Berlin Victim
One of the twelve people killed in this weeks terrorist attack in a Berlin outdoor market was positively identified as Daliya Elyakim, 60, from Herzliya. Her husband Rami was seriously wounded in the attack and is being treated in a German hospital. Elyakim’s body will be flown to Israel for burial.

President Reuven Rivlin said, “It is with great sadness that I received word of the death of Daliya Elyakim caused as a result of the terrible terror attack in Berlin. I send my condolences to the family who is at this moment at the bedside of Rami, Daliya’s husband. He too was seriously injured in the terror attack, and we are praying for his swift and speedy recovery.”
He added, “We remain united and determined against murderous terror which is attacking every corner of the world. We will fight extremism and hate with all of our strength.”

For further reading click here.

A little Oil
We’re still looking for a little oil to help IsraelAM continue lighting up your life each morning with the news from Israel. So if you look forward to reading this email each morning and you feel more connected to Israel because of it, please show your thanks and support by donating. Even the smallest contribution can have a huge impact.

Click here to contribute!

Budget Approved
The Knesset today voted 60-48 to approve a nearly 1 trillion shekel ($260 billion) budget for the next two years. PM Netanyahu believes that a two year budget will provide greater stability for the government than an annual budget.

The largest budget item is defense spending, which is over $18 billion per year. Israel’s economy is expected to grow nearly 3 percent in 2016 and as much as 3.5 percent in 2017, while the jobless rate is very low at 4.5 percent.

Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlom welcomed the enactment of the new budget: “The budget passed today is a social budget that does not discriminate. The budget helps all parts of society, neither right nor left, or center. It is a budget of growth, reducing social gaps, increasing public expenditure, reducing taxes and continuing the momentum of all the government ministries with a stress on the social ministries.”

On the flip side, opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog said, “The Israeli government has tonight passed a budget which brings no good news for citizens. The budget is a harbinger of a difficult year for working families, young people, the elderly, for those who have not been dealt with kindly by fate and those unable to threaten and extort.”

For further reading click here.

No Trees
Jerusalem’s Chief Rabbis Yona Metzger and Shalom Amar sent a letter to hotels in the city saying, “As the secular year ends, we want to remind you that erecting a Christmas tree in a hotel contravenes halacha and that therefore it is clear that no one should erect [a tree] in a hotel.” The rabbis also reminded hotels that it was inappropriate to celebrate the new year on January 1.

Hotels that disregard the rabbinate’s directives might risk incurring some bad karma, but they cannot lose their kosher certification, thanks to Supreme Court protection.

Earlier this week the rabbi of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa told Jewish students to avoid entering the student union building on campus, where a Christmas tree was erected.

Rabbi Elad Dokow called the Christian tree a pagan symbol and said, “Halacha clearly states that whenever it is possible to circumvent and not pass through a place where there is any kind of idolatry, this must be done. So one should not enter the student union if it’s not necessary to do so.”

The Technion said that Rabbi Doklow was expressing his own personal opinion and not the policy of the institution. It said, “The union, it goes without saying, celebrates all the Jewish festivals and, concurrently, it allows students from other religions to express themselves with respect and tolerance. The different festivals are celebrated in a range of ways, including, in this case, a Christmas tree beside the Hanukkah menorah.”

For further reading click here.

Israel News for July 21, 2016

African Love
The Republic of Guinea, a Muslim country in sub-Saharan West Africa, opened diplomatic relations with Israel yesterday. After signing the agreement, Israeli Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold said, “Israel calls on all countries that have yet to renew their ties with Israel to follow Guinea’s example. This way, we can all act together for the benefit of the region’s nations.”

The agreement was signed in the wake of PM Netanyahu’s visits to several sub-Saharan countries earlier this month including Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia, with the aim of reestablishing and strengthening existing diplomatic and commercial ties.

Apparently, the trip worked.

For further reading click here.

Not So Fast
But wait, everything isn’t all rose on the African front. Last Saturday Palestinian Authority President Abbas arrived in Rwanda to address the 27th Summit of the African Union. Then he went to Sudan, where he signed several agreements with the government. Tomorrow he’ll be in Mauritania for an Arab League summit.

PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki announced yesterday that the Palestinian Authority and Sudan are coordinating to “restrain Israeli movements” in the African continent. He said, “President Mahmoud Abbas and his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir discussed developing a strategy for the African continent and coordinating to restrain Israeli attempts to make a breakthrough in Africa.”

So the battle for Africa is on.

For further reading click here.

Arrested Again
Yishai Schlissel, the man who killed one and wounded five in an attack on last years Jerusalem gay pride parade, was arrested in his prison cell yesterday for conspiring with his brother to attack the parade again this year. His brother Michael was arrested. Schlissel’s father denied that Michael conspired with his brother. But the rest of the Schlissel family has been banned from Jerusalem until after the parade, just to be on the safe side.

The parade is scheduled to take place this afternoon under the protection of over 2,000 police officers and security personnel, who are deployed throughout the city. Over 10,000 people are expected to take part in the parade. But as we reported yesterday, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat will not participate in the parade, to avoid hurting the sensitivities of the city’s religious population.

Rabbi Dov Lior, the Chief Rabbi of Hebron and Kiryat Arba, has called on people to attend a protest demonstration against the parade organized by the right-wing extremist Lehava organization. In a letter to Lahava leader Ben-Zion Gopstein, he wrote, “I find it proper to strengthen your hands for organizing the protest against the parade, which the Torah calls an abomination while harming the holiness of Jerusalem and (harming) its residents. You join the greats of Israel who protested against acts such as these and saved the people of Israel.”

Jerusalem’s Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar condemned the parade saying, “This desecration of God’s name in Jerusalem is an embarrassing phenomenon, it’s one of the most serious sins in the Torah.” He also attacked PM Netanyahu for supporting the event, saying, “It is simply horrendous that the Prime Minister supports these parades. It’s a huge embarrassment; he should come back and apologize in public. He cannot be the Prime Minister of Israel.”

Let’s hope that this year’s parade is not marred by any violence.

For further reading click here.

Israeli Victories
Israeli high school students won 10 medals at the International Physics Olympiad which took place in Zurich, Switzerland, and the International Mathematical Olympiad which took place in Hong Kong, China. The Israeli teams ranked 19th and 22nd in their respective competitions.

The top three teams in the Math Olympiad were the US, South Korea and China. The Syrian team, led by President Assad’s son, took home three bronze medals. The top three teams in the physics competition were China, South Korea, and Taiwan.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett praised the Israeli teams saying, “I am proud of the students and coaches for the effort, seriousness, and the honor they brought to the State of Israel.”

Meanwhile, the kids probably had to explain to their ambitious parents why they didn’t do better.

For further reading click here.