tillerson Israel

Israel News for May 15, 2017

Embassy Diplomacy
In anticipation of US President Trump’s visit to Israel on May 22, the Egyptian and Jordanian Foreign Ministers joined with the Secretary of the PLO’s Executive Committee Saeb Erekat to declare that East Jerusalem should be the capital of the Palestinian state. They stressed the two-state solution as the only way to arrive at peace in the region.

The question of whether Trump would fulfill his promise to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem was posed to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson yesterday on the Meet the Press news show. Tillerson replied, “The president I think rightly has taken a very deliberative approach in understanding the issue itself, listening to input from all interested parties in the region in understanding what such a move, in the context of a peace initiative, what impact would such a move have. The president is being very careful to understand how such a decision would impact a peace process.”

When pressed on the issue Tillerson said, “Well, I think it would be informed, again, by the parties that are involved in those talks, and most certainly from Israel’s view, on whether Israel views it as helpful to a peace initiative or perhaps a distraction. It think the president is being very measured as to how he goes about this, and appropriately so.”

In other words, Tillerson said that Israel might be the one who is holding back the transfer of the embassy because it doesn’t view the move as helpful to advancing the peace process.

Reacting to the implication, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement saying, “Israel’s position has been expressed many times to the American administration and to the world … The transfer of the American embassy to Jerusalem not only will not harm the peace process, but will promote it by correcting a historic injustice and by smashing the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett called on Netanyahu to “make it clear that we expect the US administration to transfer the embassy to Jerusalem and recognize the united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty.”

There are no indications that Israel is pressuring or lobbying Trump to keep his promise regarding the embassy. Is it because it understands that Trump has already made up his mind that moving the embassy would not help the peace process at this time, or is it because Netanyahu himself realizes that very same thing?

From Tillerson’s words, it seems like it might be a combination of the two.

For further reading click here.

Terror in Jerusalem
On Shabbat, a 57 year old Jordanian citizen attacked a policeman in Jerualem’s Old City. The terrorist charged at the officer with two knives and stabbed him in the neck and head. The policeman managed to shoot and kill the terrorist.

In response to the attack, the Jordanian government issued a statement in which it, “condemns as heinous the crime committed against the Jordanian citizen and demanded Israel to reveal the full details of the crime.” The statement also said, “The Israeli government, as the occupying power, bears responsibility for the shooting of a Jordanian citizen in the occupied East Jerusalem on Saturday, which led to his martyrdom.”

The Prime Minister’s Office responded, “It is outrageous to hear the support that the Jordanian government spokesman gave to the terror attack. It’s about time that Jordan stops this double game. Just as Israel denounces terror attacks in Jordan, so must Jordan denounce terror attacks in Israel. Terrorism is terrorism, no matter where it is.”

To watch a video of the attack click here.

Party Cancelled
Israel’s new ambassador to Nigeria, Guy Feldman, decided to cancel the embassy’s official Independence Day reception and instead, use the money to help Refugee children in the country.

The ambassador created a soccer league for children in refugee camps as a result of being displaced by the terror group Boko Haram. The embassy bought uniforms and balls and arranged coaches and judges. Ambassador Feldman said, “Our intention was to bring a message of hope to the children, which is also the Zionist message.” He named the league, “Israel cares—Kids’ Football League.”

For further reading click here.

Israel News for July 28, 2016

State Dept. Angry
The US State Department responded with anger to a recent announcement of building tenders for East Jerusalem by the Jerusalem municipality.

The statement said, “We strongly oppose settlement activity, which is corrosive to the cause of peace. These steps by Israeli authorities are the latest examples of what appears to be a steady acceleration of settlement activity that is systematically undermining the prospects for a two-state solution.”

Reports indicate 323 units are planned for East Jerusalem and 770 for Gilo, which is an established neighborhood in southern Jerusalem. There are also plans to build 531 units in Ma’ale Adumim, 19 in Har Homa, 120 in Ramot, 30 in Pisgat Ze’ev and 42 in Kiryat Arba.

The Sate Department claimed that, “More than 650 Palestinian structures have been demolished this year, with more Palestinian structures demolished in the West Bank and East Jerusalem thus far than in all of 2015.”

The statement added that, “We remain troubled that Israel continues this pattern of provocative and counterproductive action, which raises serious questions about Israel’s ultimate commitment to a peaceful, negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.”

The Jerusalem Municipality apparently feels that the elections in the US present an ideal opportunity to do some building with minimal repercussions from the White House.

For further reading click here.

Kaine for Israel
Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, who is also the Democratic nominee for Vice President, signed a letter along with 35 other senators from both parties calling on Congress to add $320 million for missile defense to Israel’s military aid package.

The letter wrote, “Amid growing rocket and missile threats in the Middle East, it is prudent for the United States and Israel to advance and accelerate bilateral cooperation on missile defense technologies.”

For further reading click here.

Hamas Praise
Ismail Haniya, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, called the family of the terrorist who murdered Rabbi Mark and was killed in a firefight with IDF troops seeking to arrest him yesterday. He praised the terrorist as a hero and martyr. What do you expect?

One of the terrorists captured in the raid, who is suspected of participating in the murder, worked for the Palestinian Authority and was arrested by the Shin Bet a few days after the murder, but was then released. An investigation is expected.

For further reading click here.

Saudi Denial
A few days ago we reported about a visit to Israel by a Saudi delegation lead by retired general Anwar Eshki, who met with Israel’s Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold in Jerusalem. Today, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry denied that it played any role in the visit and referred to Israel as “occupied territory.” However, since Saudi government permission was most likely necessary for the delegation to make their visit, the Saudis might not be that clueless after all. Wink wink.

Since we’re talking about visits, the official Iranian news agency reported that an Iranian general recently visited the southwest Syria city of Quneitra, located near the Israel-Syria border. The area has been the scene of recent fighting between rebel and government forces. The Israeli Air Force attacked a military outpost near the city this week in retaliation for a mortar that was fired into Israel.

For further reading click here.

Police Wanted
The Jerusalem district police is looking to hire 1,200 new officers, but so far only 200 have taken the bait. The police is offering higher salaries and better benefits, but the prospect of working in East Jerusalem in these turbulent times is apparently not very attractive. Anyone interested?

For further reading click here.

Israel News for June 22, 2016

Red Alert
When rockets are launched from Gaza into Israel, residents hear a “red alert” siren. Now residents will hear the “red alert” in the event of an active tunnel discovery. The only difference is that in addition to the siren, residents will also receive an SMS message saying, “Due to terrorist digging, residents are requested to go into their homes and switch off the lights until further notice.” An IDF official noted that, “it’s important that the civilians understand that not every alarm means terrorists have penetrated into Israel.” Good to know.

For further reading click here.

PM Tricks
Back in November of 2015, PM Netanyahu appointed Dr. Ran Baratz to be the head of PR at the Prime Minister’s Office. But because of Baratz’s tendency to post negative Facebook messages relating to public figures including Israeli President Rivlin, Barak Obama and John Kerry, his appointment was opposed by many ministers and officials.

To make it official, the Civil Service Commission, which has the last word in the matter, refused to approve Baratz’s appointment. But did that stop the PM? Of course not.

To get around the hurdles before him, Netanyahu has made Baratz a senior consultant in the Prime Minister’s Office with a salary of just 5% below what he would have made as PR director. He’ll also be performing the same duties including formulating PR strategy, writing speeches, and assembling briefings.

The current PR and media director Boaz Stempler will continue in his position, although it’s unclear how both he and Baratz will function together, since they pretty much have the same job.

The reaction from government officials: “The Prime Minister is making a mockery of civil service rules, and sending ministers a message that says they can act just like him.”

So, two salaries for one job and the PM wins again. Gotcha.

For further reading click here.

Believe it
In 2013 Police Commander Ilan Mor was found guilty of sexually harassing two subordinate junior female police officers. Mor reached a plea bargain agreement with the Justice Ministry and was fined 4,000 shekels and reprimanded by an internal Police tribunal.

Soon after his conviction, Mor was sent to study at the prestigious National Security College, which also trains senior staff in Mossad and the Shin Bet security service. He was then appointed as head of the traffic police.

But wait, it gets better. Mor was recently appointed to be the Israel Police representative in the US. That was just too much, even for Israel. Hundreds of civilians wrote letters of protest to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan. Zazim, a nonprofit organization campaigning for social and political change, launched a campaign against the appointment.

Yesterday the police announced that Mor met with Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich and declined the posting on “family and medical grounds.” Alsheich accepted Mor’s position but asked him to remain with the police force.

So Mor, a convicted sex offender continues to be commander of Israel’s traffic police. Believe it.

For further reading click here.

Arab Poverty
According to new data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, 82 percent of East Jerusalem’s 300,000 residents lived below the poverty line in 2014, up from 76% in 2013. In 2006 the poverty rate was at 66%. The general poverty rate in Israel is 22% and the poverty rate in Jerusalem is 48%.

Reasons offered for the huge poverty rate in East Jerusalem include the separation barrier, which cuts Jerusalem off from the West Bank impeding commerce between the two areas. Another cause is thought to be the surge of violence that began in 2014, which cause a drop in tourism and loss of jobs.

However, some officials claim that flaws in the polling mechanism are adding to the increased poverty numbers. They say that the sample size is too small and many residents refuse to take part in the survey. Nevertheless, there’s still a huge poverty rate in East Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem municipality says it has launched several projects aimed at improving the situation, including setting up professional training centers and hiring 20 additional social workers to cover East Jerusalem.

“There’s been an improvement in the welfare and education systems, and I hope that within two years, we’ll see results,” said Boni Goldberg, head of the city’s social services department.

For further reading click here.

Fighter Unveiled
American aircraft maker Lockheed Martin will present the first of 33 F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter jets to Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Leiberman and Israel Air Force (IAF) chief of staff Brigadier General Tal Kelman in Fort Worth, Texas today. The aircraft is called “Adir” or mighty in Hebrew.

The F-35, with its stealth abilities and the most advanced avionic systems, is viewed by Israel’s defense establishment as Israel’s plane of the future. Israel will be purchasing an additional 17 planes, making 50 in total.

Price of each plane: $85 million. Price to fly the plane for 1 hour: $35,000.

Israel’s first two F-35s will be flown to Israel by US pilots on December 12 2016. The following day, Israeli pilots will fly the aircraft in Israel’s skies. More aircraft will follow after Israeli pilots undergo training in the US.

For further reading and to see video of the new plane, click here.

Civilian Heroes
Citations were presented to 13 Israeli civilians who risked their lives to fight terror, by the Shaurat Hadin organization. To read their stories click here.

Israel News for June 17, 2016

Jerusalem Terror
Terrorists threw four firebombs at a home in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Armon Hanetziv today. The firebombs were thrown from a street in neighboring Jabel Mukaber. Shortly after the attack, Police arrested four Arabs, all from Hebron.

For further reading click here.

PM Contender
Former Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon has declared that he will run for Prime Minister in the next election saying, “Last month I resigned from my position as defense minister and Knesset member, and made it clear that I would return to public service. I intend to run for the leadership of Israel in the next elections.”

In his speech at the Herzliya Conference Yaalon said, “The State of Israel and its citizens deserve a stately leadership that stops cynically zigzagging (on its position) every other day. We deserve a leadership that doesn’t choose the corrupt system of divide and rule. I can’t stand the fact that the leadership in Israel of 2016 is busy fanning the flames, inciting, intimidating and dividing Jews and Arabs, the right and left wings, and different sectors of society. It does all of this just to survive, stay in government for another month or another year.”

He said that Israel did not face an existential threat to its survival from outside enemies, including Iran. “The State of Israel is the strongest in the region. I can confidently say that at this time and in the foreseeable future there is no existential threat to the state of Israel. I say this as someone who knows every last detail of the security situation in Israel, and who knows the power and strength of the IDF and its intelligence capabilities. The Iranian nuclear project likewise does not pose an immediate threat to Israel and the countries in the region.”

Yaalon added, “The leadership in the State of Israel should stop scaring civilians and giving them the feeling that we are on the brink of a second Holocaust.”

For further reading click here.

Moskowitz Passes
Dr. Irving Moskowitz, the American Jewish philanthropist donated tens of millions of dollars to Jewish settlement efforts in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, died yesterday at the age of 88.

The Moskowitz Foundation he founded in 1968 along with his wife, Cherna, was a major supporter of El’ad and Ateret Cohanim, two organizations involved in moving Jews to live in predominantly Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. It also was a major donor to the One Israel Fund, which supports projects in Judea and Samaria.

Moskowitz was born in New York City in 1928, the ninth child of Jewish immigrants from Poland. He grew up in Milwaukee, where he earned his medical degree, later moving to California, where he created a business building hospitals and ran a legal gambling business. He later moved to Miami Beach.

He will be buried in Jerusalem. May his memory be a blessing.

For further reading click here.

Israel vs Facebook
An Israeli judge has approved a $400 million class action suit against Facebook for violating users’ privacy by using their private posts to determine which advertisements they should see, without obtaining their knowing consent to this policy. The suit also accused Facebook of violating Israeli law by not registering its database in the national database registry.

Facebook argued that its terms of use, agreed to by users, explicitly requires all suits against it to be heard by one of two specified California courts. It also claimed that its relationship with users is governed by California law, which would preclude Israeli courts from hearing such suits.

But Judge Esther Stemmer rejected these arguments, despite acknowledging that legal precedent does award jurisdictional priority to the courts stipulated in the users’ agreement.

She said, “Perhaps the time has come to examine the issue from a different angle, from the customer’s standpoint, especially when he’s the customer of huge international corporations that deal with customers all over the world.”

Stemmer added, “It’s not clear that Facebook’s right to litigate in one single place in the world, as stipulated in the uniform contracts it had users’ sign, overrides the right of all the users to readily obtain legal remedy in their own countries.”

The judge charged Facebook 10,000 shekels for court costs and gave it 90 days to respond to the suit.

For further reading click here.

Syrian Kosher
Many of the rebel groups fighting in the souther region of Syria near the Israeli border might be going kosher. Well, not exactly, but they have been eating Israeli made food products including rice, flour and sugar. It’s unclear how the products are getting to the rebels, but they’re probably brought back by wounded soldiers treated in Israeli first aid stations and hospitals near the border. The rebels bring their wounded and leave with food, medicine and other Israeli aid.

Of course, the Arab press and social media is condemning the groups for collaborating with the evil Zionist enemy. Meanwhile, the Syrian rebels are enjoying the fruits (and medicine) of the Holy Land.

For further reading click here.

Israel News for May 24, 2016

Terrorist Neutralized
A female terrorist attempted to stab Border Police officers at a checkpoint north of Jerusalem yesterday.

According to the investigation report, at around 2:30 p.m. an Arab woman drew the suspicion of Israeli forces at the checkpoint, who called on her to stop. When she did not heed their instructions and continued approaching, officers fired in the air, as per protocol. She then drew a knife and ran towards them. Officers opened fire, fatally wounding the terrorist. Paramedics confirmed her death soon after. No officers were harmed.

For further reading click here.

Returning Bodies
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan instructed police today to stop returning the bodies of terrorists to their families for burials. The decision comes after last night’s funeral of terrorist Alaa Abu Jamal, which turned into a pro-terror rally and incitement when 200 East Jerusalem residents crowded outside the cemetery calling out “Allahu Akbar” and “In blood and spirit we will avenge you, shahid.” Border Police prevented the crowd from entering the cemetery.

Abu Jamal had been an employee of the Bezeq phone company when he ran over pedestrians at a Jerusalem bus stop with his car, and then exited his vehicle and hit his wounded victims with an ax, killing 60 year old Rabbi Yishayahu Krishevsky.

The police had delayed the return of the bodies of East Jerusalem terrorists for six months, until the families signed agreements to hold the funerals at night with a small number of participants, in order to avoid the funeral stunning into venues of incitement.

Explaining his decision, Minister Erdan said, “I was just shown the outrageous images from the funeral last night in East Jerusalem, in which the conditions set by the police were violated and the commitments made by the families were broken. The terrorists’ families lied to the High Court of Justice. It’s a shame the High Court believed them and pressured the police to return all the bodies by Ramadan.”

For further reading click here.

Egyptian Peace Summit
While the French are working on their peace summit that will not include the Israelis or Palestinians, the Egyptians are quietly working on their own peace initiative meant to bring both parties together.

In the last few days the Egyptians have been pushing hard to organize a summit between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who will lead the summit in Cairo.

Al-Sisi said on Egyptian television, “I say to the Israelis and ask the Israeli leadership to allow the broadcast of this speech at least once or twice. There is a real opportunity for peace even if in the short term there is no real basis given the conditions in the region.”

Maybe France should leave peace in the Middle East to the people that actually live there and understand how to get things done in that part of the world?

For further reading click here.

Open Door
With coalition talks with Yisrael Beiteynu still in process, PM Netanyahu told the opposition, at a special Knesset meeting commemorating Theodore Herzl, that he was still open to forming a unity government with them. Responding to opposition leader Isaac Herzog’s claim that Netanyahu had closed the door on a unity government the PM said, “I haven’t closed the door. The door is open. There is still an opportunity to unite the nation. There is an opportunity for national reconciliation. I call upon you and your members not to miss this opportunity, and to join the national effort.”

The deal bringing Yisrael Beiteynu into the government was supposed be signed and sealed already, but Finance Minister Moshe Kahalon is preventing the deal from closing by refusing to commit the funds necessary to fulfill the party’s demand to increase the pensions of immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Kahalon insists that he has already proposed a plan to increase pensions of the elderly across the board and that he will not discriminate by favoring any one group.

Yisrael Beiteynu leader Avigdor Liberman claims that his pension condition is a deal breaker, and that he will not join the government without it being fulfilled. But sources in Likud are saying today that Liberman has, in fact, accepted Kahalon’s proposals and that a final deal is imminent.

For further reading click here.

Electric Road
The Tel Aviv municipality has installed a strip of “electric road” which can charge electric cars as they drive on it. The strip of road in northern Tel Aviv is part of a trial being conducted by startup ElectRoad, which has developed technology designed to power and charge vehicles by means of cordless power transfers as they drive.

Oren Ezer, the entrepreneur behind ElectRoad, said the process of turning a road into a “smart road” is relatively simple, despite the complicated-sounding nature of the technology. Grooves are carved into the asphalt and a chain of copper loops inserted. The chain is connected to a power converter at the side of the road.

Electric cars fitted with the company’s technology have contacts fitted onto their undercarriage that receive electricity when driving over the smart road. The smart road is designed to give the vehicles enough energy to power them, as well as to charge their batteries.

If the electric road works, it will mean that electric car batteries can be smaller and much less expensive, since they’ll be able to be recharged automatically, while driving.

For further reading click here.

Israel News for March 11, 2016

Illegal Aliens
Police arrested over 250 Palestinian workers living in Israel illegally yesterday as part of a major initiative to stop the current wave of terror. The terrorists who perpetrating stabbing attacks on the Jaffa boardwalk and in Petach Tikva on Tuesday were both illegal Palestinian workers. Most of the Palestinians arrested were currently employed in Israel.

In the wake of the Jaffa attack the government has decided to close breaks in the security fence around Jerusalem and to construct additional fencing in an area near Hebron. The government will also promote new legislation to punish those who employ or give lodgings to illegal aliens.

There are estimated to be thousands of Palestinians living and working in Israel illegally. Since the courts are usually lenient with the illegal Palestinian workers, police are cracking down harder on those employing or lodging the illegals, by shutting down building sites, restaurants and other venues that employ the Palestinians and by impounding the vehicles used to transport them.

For further reading click here.

Terrorist Shooter
The Police Internal Affairs Unit has opened an investigation into the actions of the police volunteer who shot the terrorist who stabbed 11 people, killing one, in Jaffa on Tuesday night. The civilian volunteer is suspected of continuing to fire at the terrorist after he was already neutralized.

A video of the incident shows the attacker lying on the ground while bystanders yell to shoot him in the head and congratulate the volunteers. A gunshot is then heard and one of the volunteers yells that there’s no need to shoot because the terrorist was already neutralized.

The video ends several minutes before the terrorist died so it’s unclear whether the shooter actually hit him and, if so, if it was the last shot that killed him.

To watch the video click here.

Rabbi on Shooting
In the wake of the police investigation into the shooting of the Jaffa terrorist by the civilian police volunteer, Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, the Chief Rabbi of Ramat Gan and a prominent leader of the Religious Zionist movement, has said that Jewish law prohibits killing a terrorist who is already neutralized.

The rabbi said, “We have to make a clear distinction here between war and civilian actions. In civilian actions, if someone comes to kill you need to prevent the killing, (as per the Torah precept) ‘don’t stand idly by your neighbor’s blood,’ but if it’s possible, do that by harming one of his (the terrorist’s) organs.”

“While sometimes a person is unable to consider things in an organized manner during a time of action – they must act spontaneously within seconds – if there is a possibility to consider and time allows, you must first wound but not kill. It is also forbidden to just kill a non-Jew if it is possible to avoid the killing and it is possible to wound – all of this is under civilian conditions.” Rabbi Ariel added that in war, killing the enemy is permissible under all circumstances.

Is terrorism akin to being at war?

For further reading click here.

BDS Victory
As a result of intense pressure from the BDS movement, cosmetics giant Ahava has decided to relocate its manufacturing plant from the settlement of Mitzvah Shalem, in the West Bank, to a site near Kibbutz Ein Gedi, which is within Israel’s pre-1967 borders. Ahava is following the example of SodaStream, which relocated last year from the West Bank industrial zone of Mishor Adumim to the Negev in the face of massive BDS pressure.

The new Ahava plant will be more advanced and will include a visitors center. All the Palestinian workers currently employed in the West Bank plant will likely lose their jobs, as was the case with the Palestinian SodaStream employees. Another BDS victory, and another defeat for Palestinian workers. On the bright side, there will be new jobs for Israeli workers.

In a related story BDS is claiming another victory after British security company G4S announced that it is selling its business in Israel. G4S provides security equipment and has contracts with Israel’s prison system. It employs 8,000 people in Israel. The company claimed that its decision is purely commercial and has nothing to do with BDS pressure.

For further reading click here.

Abbas Rejects Biden
According to a report in the Jerusalem based Al-Quds Palestinian newspaper, PA President Abbas rejected a U.S. Peace initiative presented to him by U.S. Vice President Biden at their meeting in Ramallah yesterday.

According to the source, the new American initiative to restart peace talks included designating East Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state and halting settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in return for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and giving up the demand for a Palestinian right of return.

Abbas has apparently decided to play it cool and wait for a better offer.

For further reading click here.

Israel News for February 25, 2016

Victim Buried
Thousands of mourners attended the funeral of Air Force reserve Captain Eliyav Gelman in Gush Etzion last night, who was accidentally shot and killed by soldiers firing at a terrorist who was attempting to stab him.

To watch a video of the funeral, click here.

British PM
British Prime Minister David Cameron strongly criticized Israeli construction in East Jerusalem during a session of the British Parliament yesterday, saying, “I am well known for being a strong friend of Israel, but I have to say the first time I visited Jerusalem and had a proper tour around that wonderful city and saw what had happened with the effective encirclement of East Jerusalem, occupied East Jerusalem, it is genuinely shocking.”

Cameron added, “we do not support illegal settlements, we do not support what is happening in East Jerusalem and it’s very important that this capital city is maintained in the way that it was in the past.”

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat rejected Cameron’s comments and said that the PM was unfamiliar with the realities of the situation. Barkat said, “The situation of the residents of the city is significantly better than those in the countries which surround us and, needless to say, than the situation during the British Mandate in Israel.” He added that citizens in Jerusalem have a right to live wherever they choose, irrespective of race, religion or gender.

Barkat invited Cameron, who he said was a “true friend of Israel,” to join him for a personal tour of the city. “I invite him to come and see how we have minimized the social gaps in eastern Jerusalem and I invite him to promote connections, developments, and local cooperation together with us instead of building walls and conflicts in the heart of Jerusalem.”

For further reading click here.

Yehuda Glick
Police have dismissed charges against Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick, who was accused of assaulting a Muslim woman on one of his visits there. The charges were dropped after police determined that the testimony of the plaintiff, Zoya Badrana, was fabricated.

As a result of the initial indictment, Glick was barred from entering the Temple Mount by a Jerusalem judge who said that his presence there was “inflammatory”. The dismissal of the charges against him might be sufficient grounds for overturning the court’s ruling.

After his acquittal Glick commented, “There are many here who should do some soul searching, but at this time I’m not interested in that, only in thanking God.”

For further reading click here.

Knesset vs. LGBT
A day after marking its first ever LGBT rights day, the Knesset yesterday defeated a number of bills aimed at improving the gay community’s status. Several opposition members joined the coalition in voting against the bills.

The bills, proposed by opposition members, included recognizing widowers in same sex couples, banning conversion therapy, recognizing same sex marriage contracts, and training health professionals to deal with gender and sexual inclination issues

Opposition MKs from Yisrael Beiteinu and most of the Arab MKs did not come to vote for the bills. Several other opposition members made mutual agreements with coalition members to absent themselves from the vote.

MK Amir Ohana (Likud), the first openly gay right-wing lawmaker, left the plenum without voting, while MK Sharren Haskel (Likud), head of the LGBT Knesset caucus, voted against the bills.

For further reading click here.

Haifa Scandal
Otot is an NGO that operates a hostel for homeless children in Haifa, as well as in other major Israeli cities. The Haifa hostel is located in the lower Hadar neighborhood, which apparently is not the safest place to be. The group decided to look for a better location after a number of girls staying at the hostel were sexually assaulted, cursed at and mugged in the neighborhood. A few years ago some residents threw stones at the hostel, ruined its plumbing and injured one of the girls.

Otot found a building in the central Carmel that belongs to the Rotenberg Foundation, a private foundation established in 1942 that deals with education and social affairs. The foundation agreed to rent the premises to the NGO as a hostel, and Otot has already raised some 1 million shekels in contributions for renovating the building.

About four months ago, Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav found out about the agreement between the foundation and Otot and informed the foundation chairman, David Rotenberg, that he objects to the plan. As a result, the foundation suspended the decision to rent the building to the NGO pending the mayor’s consent.

In recorded conversations with MK Merav Ben Ari (Kulanu) who tried to persuade Yahav to change his mind, the mayor is heard saying, “Let them go to Kiryat Ata… Why do I have to give you a place in Haifa? Heaven forbid if they come here… If you want to continue with this there will be a world war.” He also said, “I have the autistic [children], I [should] have the homeless? What’s the matter with you?… I don’t want them in my city, let them go to Kiryat Ata.”

Talk about political correctness. Is this guy for real? Does he think he’s running for President of the U.S.?
For further reading click here.

Tech Shortage
The High Tech industry in Israel has been a major contributor to economic and job growth in the country. However, the industry is doing so well and growing so quickly, that it’s running out of skilled employees to hire. The limited labor supply has also driven wages up, which is great for employees but not so great for the companies. The situation is forcing companies to move, or consider moving, operations overseas to places with larger and cheaper skilled labor pools.

PM Netanyahu, who also serves as Economy Minister, wants to solve the problem by allowing companies to import skilled foreign workers. The plan, raised in a meeting this week with ministry Chief Scientist Avi Hasson, would begin by issuing work visas to hundreds of foreigners, mainly software engineers.

A forum of Israeli technological colleges has said that the answer is not to import workers, but rather to encourage more Israelis to study science, technology, engineering and math.

So if you’re a computer scientist or software engineer, Israel needs you.

For further reading click here.

Israel News for November 2, 2015

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More Terror
On Sunday afternoon a Palestinian driver rammed his car into three Border Police officers near the Palestinian village of Beit Anun near Kiryat Arba, which is near Hebron.

Two male and one female officers, all in their twenties, were injured in the attack. One suffered severe wounds to his head, while the other two were lightly injured.

Soldiers opened fire at the car, but the driver fled the scene. Hours later he turned himself in to the police claiming it was an accident. He was arrested and transferred to Shin Bet custody for interrogation.

Earlier on Sunday, a Palestinian man attempted to stab an IDF soldier during clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians, also near Beit Anun. A Border Police officer shot and killed the assailant. None of the soldiers were wounded.

PA President Abbas has ordered military funerals for all terrorists. He also ordered a financial grant to be given to the families of terrorists, and permitted the waving of the Hamas flag at funerals. So much for trying to restore calm.

For further reading click here.

Haredim Go Arabic
On Friday we reported that the Haredi magazine, Mishpacha, published a message in Arabic pleading with Arabs not to murder members of the Haredi community, since they are not permitted to visit the Temple Mount. This message unleashed a storm of protest from everyone with a sense of Jewish unity. Some people tried to defend the magazine by saying that the message didn’t really mean what it said. Well, those folks are gonna have to rethink their apologetics.

The Badatz, which is the ruling council of the Edah Haredit (the Haredi Community), has launched a campaign to get the message across to the Arabs that Haredim don’t visit the Temple Mount and therefore should not be harmed. The campaign is being spearheaded by a group from the Satmar hasidic sect and will include advertisements in the Arabic press in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

There’s nothing ambiguous about this campaign. The message is clear: if you’re going to murder Jews, please make sure they aren’t Haredi. They really are not to blame.

Besides the obvious, disgusting and divisive message that the Haredi leadership is sending, do they really believe that Arab terror is based on Jews visiting the Temple Mount? Does anyone believe that Arab terror would stop if Jews stopped visiting the Mount?

The terror didn’t start only after the 1967 Israeli reunification of Jerusalem. The underlying goal of Palestinian terror is to drive the Jews out of the entire land of Israel. That includes Haredim.

The targets of Palestinian terror are Jews, regardless of whether they pray three times a day or go to the beach on Saturday morning. No PR campaign will change that.

The Haredi leadership is still living in an era when the Jews of Israel lived in ghettos and were defenseless and at the mercy of their Arab rulers. Times have changed. Israel no longer begs for Arab mercy. Neither should the Haredim. Doing so divides the Jewish people and weakens it in the eyes of its enemies. Just stop.

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Deri Resigns
Economy minister Aryeh Deri of the Shas party has resigned from the cabinet. Deri was seen as a stumbling block to the approval of a deal to develop Israel’s recently discovered offshore gas resources by private companies.

The deal had been stalled by the anti-trust commissioner who ruled that the government was giving too much power and control to a conglomerate of private energy companies at the expense of the citizens of Israel. Deri, as Economy Minister, had the power to overrule the anti-trust commission but refused to do so. With his departure, PM Netanyahu will take over the Economy Ministry portfolio and will push the deal forward.

Is this a good thing for the people? PM Netanyahu thinks it is. Let’s hope he’s right.

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Shalom Chaver
Saturday night marked the 20 year anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Approximately 100,000 people gathered in Rabin Square, where he was murdered, to commemorate the event and pay tribute to his memory.

In an effort to give the event a non-partisan appeal, no sitting politicians were invited to speak. Former President Bill Clinton addressed the crowd and encouraged them to carry on Rabin’s legacy saying, “He refused to give up his dream of peace in the face of violence.”

In a video message, President Obama called Rabin a leader who “understood the dangers Israel faces, but he also said the Palestinians are not to be ruled over forever by force.”

“Yitzhak speaks to us still,” Obama said. “Let us demonstrate that we oppose violence and extremism of any kind, and let us exhaust every opening for the peace we know is just and possible.”

Shalom Chaver.

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Henkin Memorial
Hundreds of people participated in a service to commemorate the one month anniversary of the murder of Rabbi Eitam and Naama Henkin. The couple was shot to death by Palestinian terrorists while driving with their four children on a highway in the West Bank.

Rabbi Yehuda Henkin, the father of Eitam, presented a new book that his son had just completed on the Laws of Shabbat. Naama’s mother, Hila Armoni, spoke about raising her grandchildren and the challenges of dealing with their feelings of sorrow and loss.

The warmth and solemnity of the evening was disrupted when Rabbi Meir Mazuz, the head of the Yeshiva Kisey Rachamim (seat of mercy) in Bnei Brak, addressed the crowd and said that the murder of the Henkins was Divine punishment for the gay pride parade in Jerusalem earlier this year. He also warned people not to visit the Temple Mount.

It’s unclear where the Rabbi got his insight into the cause and effect of Divine punishment. Maybe he should check back with his sources.

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Tough Girl
Everyone knows Israeli women can be tough. Now it’s been proven in the ring. Israeli kickboxer Nili Block won the World Kickboxing Championships in Belgrade, Serbia on Saturday, after defeating her Croatian opponent in the finals of the women’s under 60kg category.
Do not mess with Nili!

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Israel Events
On Sunday, November 22, the Ma’aleh Adumim Youth Orchestra will perform at Carnegie Hall. The orchestra, part of The George W. Schaeffer Music Conservatory in Ma’aleh Adumim, is composed of musicians who are handpicked from school music programs and invited to continue their musical education, and are taught by the some of the country’s leading artists. The event is organized by the Bnai Zion Foundation. Proceeds from the event will benefit Ma’aleh Adumim.

For more info click here.

Israel News for October 21, 2015

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New Terror Attacks
A Palestinian driving a car with Israeli license plates rammed into a police officer at a checkpoint near the settlement of Ofra in the West Bank. The officer was lightly wounded and the assailant fled on foot to the nearby village of Silwad.

Earlier this morning a Palestinian woman approaching the settlement of Yitzhar wielding a knife was shot and wounded by IDF troops.

Two Palestinian terrorists, aged 15 and 17, stabbed an IDF soldier near Beit Hashalom in Hebron last night, lightly wounding him, before a fellow soldier managed to shoot and kill both of the assailants.

Earlier yesterday, a terrorist tried to ram his car into Israelis waiting at a bus stop at the Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank, but was stopped by the concrete blocks placed there for just that purpose. He was, however, able to lightly wound a 20-year-old IDF soldier and a 21-year-old Israeli civilian. The terrorist then left his car with a knife drawn and tried to stab the injured Israelis. Thankfully, an IDF soldier stationed in the area shot and killed him.

Near the Gaza border fence, dozens of Gazans clashed with IDF forces, who fired tear gas and live ammunition. One Palestinian was killed and 14 wounded.

According to a high ranking IDF officer, the man killed was part of a sniper cell that was preparing to fire on IDF forces. The cell was responsible for several recent shootings at Israeli vehicles.

Meanwhile, in Tel Aviv special anti terror police squads are raiding building sites in search of illegal Palestinian workers. The raids are meant to calm the fears of the Israeli public and scare the hell out of Arab workers to dissuade inciters and potential trouble makers. We’ll see how well this strategy works.

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UN in Jerusalem
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon paid a surprise visit to Jerusalem yesterday to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in an attempt to end the wave of violence. In a press conference with PM Netanyahu, Ban said that he deplored the terror attacks against civilians and hoped to find a way to end the violence. Was he referring to attacks against Israeli or Palestinian civilians? Anything is possible at the UN.

The PM told Ban that PA President Abbas “has joined ISIS and Hamas in claiming that Israel threatens the al-Aqsa mosque,” which he said was a blatant lie. He said that Abbas has incited the violence by saying that he, “welcomes every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem” and that he has not condemned a single one of the attacks.

The PM also reiterated that Israel has always protected the holy sites of all religions and is maintaining the “status quo” on the Temple Mount, whereas the Arabs are breaking it by bringing in explosives and preventing Jews and Christians from visiting.

For its part, the executive board of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is set to vote on a resolution proclaiming the Western Wall as part of the Al Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem. The Unesco director general, Irina Bokova, reportedly appealed to the UN agency’s organizing committee to postpone the vote after meeting with Israeli and Palestinian UNESCO envoys. The vote was meant to take place yesterday but was postponed until today. Several countries are attempting to postpone the vote further. But the fact that this resolution is even on the table says it all.

What’s next, the Vatican? No, they probably wouldn’t go that far.

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Silwan Synagogue
Enforcing a ruling by the High Court of Justice, police evicted Arab squatters from the historic Yemenite Great Synagogue in the predominantly Arab neighborhood of Silwan, which is adjacent to the Old City of Jerusalem near the Temple Mount. Silwan is located above the ancient City of David, which is where Jerusalem was in the time of King David. The area now includes an archeological site.

The Yemenite synagogue was built in 1885, three years after 144 Yemenite Jewish families established a village in the area. The Jews were forced to leave in the late 1930’s due to Arab riots and violence. In 2004, Jews began to purchase property in the old Yemenite village from the Arab inhabitants and move back in.

The case to evict the Arab squatters from the legally purchased synagogue lasted for seven years until the High Court’s ruling in February and the final forcible eviction.

The synagogue will be renovated and its main sanctuary will be called Heichal Yonatan, in honor of Jonathan Pollard.

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No Vigilantes
A Tel Aviv judge ordered police to arrest a man who kicked an Arab woman who was subdued and held on the ground by several people who saw her assault a man and thought that she was a terrorist.

A video of the incident taken by a witness shows one man kicking her in the head as she lay on the ground, her hands held behind her back. The woman wasn’t carrying a weapon and was sent for psychiatric evaluation. The judge said, “Even if the accused were a terrorist, it is unacceptable for Israeli citizens to kick in the head persons who pose no threat.”

Police released a statement saying, “We wish to emphasize to the public, required to be more vigilant these days, that when a danger is over and the suspect is disarmed or incapacitated, there is a strict prohibition on using violence — citizens are expected to refrain from taking the law into their hands.”

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Christian Victim
One of the victims of the stabbing attack on bus #78 last week was a Dutch Christian woman, Marike Veldman. She left her home in Holland 37 years ago to volunteer in Israel, and never left. A few years after settling in Israel she opened a foster home for Arab children in East Jerusalem where, over the years, she raised 20 children.

Recounting the terror attack, Veldman said that she saw two men, “laughing, exchanging maybe a joke or something, and then all of sudden they got up and started screaming ‘Allahu Akbar,’ and then one of them started stabbing me and he stabbed me several times, I yelled ‘Jesus help me!’”

Feldman was moderately wounded in the attack. She says that although she pities the attackers and understands their frustrations, she feels that their actions were pure evil.

Regarding Arabs she said, “Right now I’m afraid of them. I have a lot of Arab friends, but it will take me some time to trust them, and I need to heal.”

Feldman said that we will not leave Israel. “The terror must not control my life.”

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PM Blunders
Talk about rewriting history. In a speech to the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem yesterday, PM Netanyahu made a statement that’s caused just about everyone to say WTF. He basically said that it was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini who, in late 1941, gave Hitler the idea to exterminate the Jews. Before that, Hitler just wanted to expel them.

Granted the Mufti was an evil fellow who absolutely was in favor of wiping out the Jewish people, but have you read Mein Kampf? Hitler’s war against the Jewish people was one of the foundations of his ideology, if not the primary one. Netanyahu must know that. Everyone does. So why did he say what he said?

We’ll probably hear some sort of apology later today. I doubt he’ll try to explain his way out of this one. He better not.

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Israel News for October 19, 2015

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Terror in Beersheva
Yesterday, a terrorist entered the central bus station in Beersheva, stabbed a soldier, grabbed his gun and started shooting. The soldier, Sergeant Omri Levi, was killed and 10 other people, including five police officers, were wounded. Security forces shot and killed the terrorist, who was identified as Mouhand al-Okbi, a 21 year old Bedouin Israeli citizen from the Negev town of Hura. He had no prior criminal record.

The Bedouin leadership condemned the terrorist attack, saying it is wrong, unacceptable, and harmful. Israeli Bedouin serve in the IDF with distinction and live peacefully with their Jewish neighbors. But there have been isolated instances of radicalization and suspected connections with terror groups among some Bedouin youth.

In a tragic twist, a security guard mistakenly identified an Eritrean man as the terrorist and shot him. A crowd then gathered around the wounded man and began assaulting him verbally and physically. He later died of his wounds.

This latest terror attack comes in the wake of five stabbing attacks, in addition to numerous rock and molotov cocktail throwing incidents, over the weekend. Not surprisingly, Hamas praised the attack and encouraged more.

Later in the week the Knesset is set to vote on a law to allow police to stop and frisk anyone for any reason. The current law allows police to frisk someone only if they have a reasonable suspicion that the person is carrying a weapon or some other object intended for use in committing a crime.

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Police Build Wall
Israeli police put up a tall concrete barrier, basically a wall, to separate the Arab neighborhood of Jabal Mukkaber from the adjacent Jewish neighborhood of Armon Hanetziv in Jerusalem. The wall is meant to stop rocks and firebombs.

The new wall looks a lot like the one that separates the West Bank from Jerusalem in many areas. Some Israelis don’t like that, because they feel it sends the message that parts of East Jerusalem are really not part of a united Jerusalem. If it’s only temporary, then they can live with it. But if it becomes a permanent fixture, it could cause a real identity crisis for a “united” Jerusalem.

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Terror hurts Arabs
The recent Palestinian wave of terror is having an unexpected victim: Arab workers. In a move that many view as unfortunate but unavoidable, a growing number of municipalities are banning Arab workers from entering schools during school hours. Some are only barring cleaning and maintenance workers, while others are barring all Arab workers. Some of the larger municipalities include Tel Aviv, Hod Hasharon, Nes Tziyona, Modiin, Givatayim and Rehovot.

As an example, Rehovot city officials announced that, “minority workers will not be allowed entry to educational institutions.” They added on their website that, “The contractors responsible for building sites near educational institutions will be contacted and asked to position a guard at the educational institutions near their building sites.”

Arab Knesset members and groups promoting equal opportunity for Arab workers are calling the moves racist and discriminatory and are demanding that the government take action.

This is truly an unfortunate situation where no one is to blame and everyone loses. The municipalities are acting based on fears that any parent can understand. Considering the totally random “lone wolf” terror spree, parents are nervous about having their kids in close proximity to Arabs, even if the chance of something happening is a million to one. On the other hand, innocent Arabs are suffering simply because they happen to share similar origins with the attackers.

There isn’t a simple solution. Putting the lives of children at risk, even if that risk is minute, doesn’t seem to be the answer. Ending the violence does.

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Corpse Returned
Last week we reported that the Security Cabinet had decided that Israel would no longer return the bodies of terrorists to their families. Well, on Friday the IDF returned the body of Iyad Al-Awawda, who dressed up as a press photographer and stabbed a soldier near Kiryat Arba.

There seems to be a major debate between Internal Security Minister Erdan, who is in charge of the police and the architect of the “no return” regulation and Defense Minister Yaalon, in charge of the IDF. Erdan wants to prevent Palestinians from turning the funerals of terrorists into tools of further incitement. Yaalon feels that holding the bodies will only make things worse.

So at this point it really depends on who controls the body. If the terrorist is killed by police, then the body won’t be returned. If the IDF does the job, then it will.

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Hasidim Enter Tomb
Thirty Breslov Hasidim entered Joseph’s Tomb Saturday night, a day after it was torched and damaged by Palestinians. The Hasidim were following the orders of their leader, Rabbi Berland, who is currently in hiding in South Africa for various improprieties. Palestinian Authority police arrived at the scene and beat five of the Hasidim, including three minors. IDF forces arrived and detained the five and escorted the rest out of the area.

The Chief Rabbi of the Kotel and Holy Places, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitz, condemned the Hasidim for trying to enter the tomb. He said that they put their lives in danger as well as the lives of security forces. He said that every effort should be made to stop them from repeating their act.

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French Reprimanded
France has recently been pushing for a resolution in the UN Security Council that would recommend the deployment of international troops on the Temple Mount. Israeli officials blasted the proposal and reprimanded the French Ambassador to Israel. US Secretary of State John Kerry said that the US opposes the idea too. Even the Jordanians are against it. That daily dose of red wine might have finally gotten to the French.

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Israelis Save Syrians
Members of an Israeli sailing club based in Ashdod were sailing the waters off the coast of Greece on a leisurely cruise. They spotted a 15 year old boy wearing a life vest floating nearby and pulled him in. Then they saw 10 more people and saved them too.

It turns out that the people were Syrian and Iraqi refugees sailing from the Turkish coast to the Greek island of Kastellorizo. Their boat capsized Saturday evening, and they were in the water for 12 hours until being rescued. Four people didn’t make it, including a 6 month old baby.

The Israeli captain said, “After we told them that we Jews from Israel, they kissed us and thanked us.”

There is hope.

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