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Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-20-2019

Big Government
Israel’s cabinet has voted to allow the expansion of the number of ministers allowed in the government. The move is likely to make the PM Netanyahu’s job of forming a coalition a bit easier, as he will be able to dole out minister portfolios to his partners. The number of ministers is expected to increase from 18 to at least 26, which will cost Israel an extra 100 million shekel a year.

The PM advised his potential coalition partners to manage their expectations and come “back to reality”, in order to form a government before the deadline of May 28. He has yet to sign a deal with any party.

One of the PM’s demands for coalition partners is for them to commit to supporting a law that would grant a sitting prime minister immunity from being indicted. This has drawn criticism from members of his own Likud party.

For further reading click here.

Peace Move
The White House said yesterday that the US will hold an international economic “workshop” in Bahrain in late June to encourage investment in the Palestinian areas as the first part of President Trump’s soon to be released peace plan. The conference will bring together government and business leaders to help jump-start the economic portion of the broader US peace initiative.

White House officials have expressed the hope that the potential of significant economic benefits could convince the Palestinians to be a partner in the peace plan.

For further reading click here.

Polish Delusion
Poland’s PM Marek Magierowski said yesterday that the demand for the Polish government to pay restitution to Jews who survived the Holocaust would equate to “Hitler’s victory after his death” and doesn’t comply with the demands of international law.

He said, “We are told that Poland has to pay restitution, but we will not agree to it as long as we are in power. We are being unjustly treated. We are the victims and we are the ones who should be compensated.”

The United States has recently begun applying pressure on Poland, after President Donald Trump signed Act S.447 a year ago, which demands justice for uncompensated Holocaust survivors. Magierowski said if Washington was to demand restitution payments from Warsaw as part of Act S. 447, the Polish government would “redirect that demand to Berlin.”

[Am I missing something here? The Polish government stole Jewish (and non Jewish ) property after WWII and it refuses to return it to its rightful owners, or at least compensate the owners for their properties. What part of this are the Poles not understanding?]

For further reading click here.

The Winner Is
The Netherlands won the 2019 Eurovision song contest which was held in Tel Aviv on Saturday night. Italy finished second and Russia third. Israeli representative Kobi Marimi came in 23rd. [You can’t win ‘em all]

During the week long competition, a special anti-drone unit of the Israel Police downed 80 drones that entered the restricted airspace around the competition.

For further reading click here.

Tunnel Busting Rabbis
According to a report just released, the IDF reportedly used two Kabbalists, Rabbi Yehuda and Rabbi Moshe, to locate Hamas terror tunnels back in 2014. The rabbis were able to discover 31 tunnels, which the IDF destroyed several months later during Operation Protective Edge. The IDF officers who were involved in using the rabbis to find the tunnels have remained anonymous, for fear of being seen as to mystical or spiritual.

For further reading click here.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-17-2019

Gaza Update
According to a report on IDF Radio today, Hamas has ordered demonstrators to stay home today. One IDF source said, “Hamas is quieting the demonstrators so that Eurovision will pass calmly.” According to Palestinian media sources, the weekly protest has been canceled due to the current heatwave in Israel as well as the daily Ramadan fast.

Meanwhile, Israeli security forces are on high alert in Jerusalem’s Old City and roads are closed as thousands head to the Temple Mount for Ramadan prayers.

For further reading click here.

Coalition Challenge
PM Netanyahu has yet to form a coalition, and his 2 week extension to do so is quickly running out. One of the major stumbling blocks is former defense minister Avigdor Lieberman and his Yisrael Beytenu party, who is vehemently against draft exemptions for yeshiva students and attempts at what he views as religious coercion. THe draft exemption is a dealbreaker for the ultra-Orthodox parties. Negotiations with the other small parties who would make up the coalition are also not reaching fruition because, as the PM said, their demands are “impossible” and “entirely contradictory”.

For further reading click here.

Economy Booming
There was a sharp rise in GDP growth in Israel in the first quarter of 2019, the Central Bureau of Statistics reports. According to the first estimate the economy grew 5.2% on an annualized basis in the first quarter. This compares with 3.9% in the fourth quarter of 2018 and 2.8% in the third quarter of 2018.

Business output rose 5.8% on an annualized basis in the first quarter of 2019, after rising 3.9% in the fourth quarter of 2018 and 2.5% in the third quarter of 2018.

Imports of goods and services rose 6.7% on an annualized basis in the first quarter of 2019 after rising 12.2% in the preceding quarter. Exports of goods and services grew 4.9% on an annualized basis in the first quarter of 2019.

For further reading click here.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-15-2019

Nakba Day
Today is Nakba (catastrophe) Day, commemorated by Palestinians to mourn the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. The IDF has deployed extra troops along the border with Gaza in anticipation of violent riots. Tens of thousands of Palestinian demonstrators are expected to arrive at the Gaza border fence after noon prayers today. In accordance with the recent ceasefire agreement, Hamas is expected to restrain the riots and act as a barrier between the security fence and the demonstrators [but that doesn’t always work out so well].

The Israel Police is also preparing for the possibility that the confrontations in Gaza will spill over into Jerusalem and the West Bank, following a call by the various Palestinian organizations for protests in those areas as well. Hundreds of extra police and Border Police officers were to be deployed to three locations in the capital – the Old City, neighborhoods of East Jerusalem and the crossings between Jerusalem and the West Bank.

In addition to protests by Palestinians in the territories, Israeli Arabs also take part in demonstrations, some of which occasionally turn violent. The Nakba demonstrations are expressions of the aspirations of the Arabs (in and out of Israel) to take back control of the lands that some of their ancestors left in Israel. Nakba highlights the fact that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not based on Israel’s presence in the West Bank, but rather the essence of the conflict relates to Israel’s right to sovereignty in any part of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.

The Arabs believe that the entire land belongs to them and that the Jews have no legitimate right to be there. In their point of view, there is really no difference between Jews living in Beit El and Efrat, and Jews living in Haifa, Jaffa and Jerusalem.

And the point they make is true: the right of Jews to live in Tel Aviv is based on the same premise as the right of Jews to live in Beit El (West Bank). The Arabs consider the entirety of Israel as occupied territory, while we believe that it is (all) our biblical homeland. They believe that the Jews stole Jaffa and Haifa and Beersheva (etc) and built an illegal settlement on empty sand dunes, called Tel Aviv. That’s why giving away parts of the land will not solve the conflict.

The only true solution is for the Arabs to accept the right of Jews to live in the land between the Jordan and Mediterranean (the Land of Israel). Only then can there be true peace between the Arab and Jewish inhabitants of the land.

Madonna Arrives
Singing icon Madonna arrived in Israel last night ahead of her upcoming performance at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv this weekend. She arrived despite calls by pro Palestinian groups for her to boycott the event.

She said, “I’ll never stop playing music to suit someone’s political agenda nor will I stop speaking out against violations of human rights wherever in the world they may be. My heart breaks every time I hear about the innocent lives that are lost in this region and the violence that is so often perpetuated to suit the political goals of people who benefit from this ancient conflict. I hope and pray that we will soon break free from this terrible cycle of destruction and create a new path towards peace.”

For further reading click here.

UAE Rabbi
Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, the New York University chaplain, will be the first chief rabbi of the United Arab Emirates. Sarna told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the position is unpaid, and that he will travel four times a year to Dubai, where the UAE recently installed a synagogue, to lead services during holidays and life-cycle ceremonies. He said he will stay on as chaplain at NYU and as the executive director of the university’s Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life. There are apparently hundreds of Jews in the UAE, there for business reasons.

For further reading click here.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-13-2019

Gaza Open
On Sunday, Israel reopened its 2 border crossings with Gaza. On Friday, Israel lifted its ban imposed on fishing boats operating off Gaza.

Also, a Qatari envoy arrived in Gaza and is expected to transfer around $30 million, reportedly meant for the families living in poverty and those affected by the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Qatar’s Gaza Reconstruction Committee confirmed the payouts will begin on Monday, with each family in need receiving $100 in assistance. Payments will be distributed via the post offices in Gaza.

The payments apparently represent the first stage of the implementation of the agreement reached between Israel and Hamas after the latest ceasefire. Parts of the deal include the lifting of some restrictions on imports and exports entering and exiting Gaza and the expansion of the fishing zone.

Qatar’s Foreign Ministry earlier confirmed it will transfer $480 million to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Qatar said that $300 million will fund health and education endeavors in the West Bank, while another $180 million will fund humanitarian aid, renovation works to improve electrical systems and support UN initiatives in Gaza.

For further reading click here. https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5508171,00.html

Plea Deal
A deal signed Sunday between the State Prosecutor and an unnamed Jewish minor indicted for conspiring to the 2015 murder of a Palestinian family in a firebomb attack on their home defined the minor’s crime as arson motivated by racism, instead of murder. The defendant confessed to the crime, and the state requested a prison sentence of five and a half years.

For further reading click here. https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5507921,00.html

Polish Theft
Poland has canceled the visit of a delegation of Israeli officials from the Ministry of Social Equality, which was due to take place Monday to discuss restitution for property confiscated from Jews during the Holocaust. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in a political gathering Saturday that his country will not pay compensation for property lost in the Second World War and that Poland itself was a victim of the Nazis. [The fact that Poland was also a victim of German aggression does not give it the right to steal property.]

In what was described as the largest anti-Jewish demonstration in years, Polish nationalists marched to the American embassy in Warsaw, in protest of the so called JUST Act, signed into law by President Donald Trump last year requiring the State Department to report to Congress on the state of restitution of property stolen in the Holocaust in dozens of countries.

Poland is the only EU member that has not passed any laws regulating restitution for Jewish Holocaust survivors and their families. In other words, Poland refuses to return property to its rightful owners, who were primarily Jews, but also many wealthy non Jews who fled the country. That’s theft, anyway you look at it. And no country should be allowed to do that, especially one that is democratic.

Part of the Holocaust was the pillaging and theft of Jewish property. Until Poland passes a law for property restitution, the crimes of the Holocaust continue and Poland is complicit in those crimes.

For further reading click here. https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5508185,00.html

Trump Town
PM Netanyahu has chosen the fledgling settlement of Bruchim in the northern Golan to be renamed after US President Trump, in thanks for his recognition of the Golan as part of Israel. A draft plan already exists and offers 110 new homes be built in in the settlement, that will house both religious and secular residents. Ten people currently live there.

For further reading click here. https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5507855,00.html
 

Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-8-2019

Yom Hazikaron
Today is Yom Hazikaron, the day of remembrance for Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror. The day was marked by a two minute nationwide siren and moments of silence at 11am, in memory of the 23,741 soldiers who have fallen in defense of Israel since 1860 and 3,150 terror victims (4 of whom were just killed by the rocket attacks from Gaza).

Those who died in the service of the country include IDF soldiers, members of the Shin Bet security service, the Mossad, the Israel Police, the Prisons Service and those who died while serving in the pre-state underground militias and the Jewish Brigade in the British Army.

The Jewish Agency held a memorial service which also included the 12 Jews who were murdered in the Pittsburgh and Poway synagogue shootings.

The Defense Ministry said that it expected more than 1.5 million people to visit the country’s 52 military cemeteries and hundreds of military burial plots stretching from Kiryat Shmona in the north to Eilat in the south. This year, ceremonies were also held at some 50 memorials throughout the country.

During Yom Hazikaron, cafes and places of entertainment are closed and radio and television programming features sad songs. The names of all fallen are read over the course of the day on special television and radio programs. At sunset the day transitions into Yom Haatzmaut, Israel Independence Day, with a ceremony at the national military cemetery on Mount Herzl, Jerusalem, where the national flag is returned to full staff.

May Israel be blessed with peace and unity in the merit of those who gave their lives to ensure its survival.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-6-2019

Gaza Update
An Egyptian-mediated ceasefire agreement has apparently taken hold between Israel and the Gaza terror groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, after 3 days of fighting. The fighting began on Friday, when terrorists fired at IDF troops from Gaza, wounded 2 soldiers. The IDF retaliated with airstrikes at Gaza terror targets that killed 2 terrorists.

Since then, over 700 rockets and missiles were fired from Gaza into Gaza, killing 4 Israelis. Israeli forces hit over 350 targets in Gaza, killing 23, including a high ranking Hamas commander (in a targeted strike). IDF troops continue to mass at the Gaza border in preparation of a continuation of the fighting.

The Israeli killed were:

Pinchas Menachem Prezuazman, 21, was killed by shrapnel when a rocket fired from Gaza struck a building in Ashdod Sunday evening. He leaves behind a wife and a 1.5-year-old infant. He was a member of the Gur hasidic community. Three others were also injured by the shrapnel.

Moshe Feder, 68, father of 2, from Kfar Saba was killed when his vehicle was struck by an anti-tank rocket fired from Gaza that was aimed at a busload of soldiers. Moshe Agadi, 58, the father of 4, was killed in a rocket strike in Ashkelon and Ziad Alhamamda was killed when a rocket struck a factory in Ashkelon.

Scores of Israelis were injured in the rocket barrages.

US President Trump tweeted, “Once again, Israel faces a barrage of deadly rocket attacks by terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad. We support Israel 100% in its defense of its citizens…To the Gazan people — these terrorist acts against Israel will bring you nothing but more misery. END the violence and work towards peace – it can happen!”

The EU condemned the rocket attacks against Israel.

[Today’s summary was taken from a variety of news sources including YNET, Israel National News, and Globes]

Israel news summary

Yom Hashoah

Yom Hashoah
Today is Yom Hashoah, when we remember and honor the memories of the 6 million Jewish men, women and children who were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators. On the Hebrew calendar it marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising (although not the exact date).

Stores in Israel were closed last night. This morning a siren was heard throughout the country during which traffic stopped and Israelis stood for two minutes of silence. Names of Holocaust victims are read in the Knesset and memorial services are held throughout the country. The radio and television run holocaust programming and survivor testimonies throughout the day. In the afternoon, the 31st the March of the Living will begin in Poland, where participants, including survivors and dignitaries, will march three kilometers from Auschwitz concentration camp to the Birkenau death camp.

Yom Hashoah is also commemorated in Jewish communities throughout the world.

As the years pass and the survivors of the Holocaust grow fewer, it gets harder to remember and even harder to relate to this most horrific episode in human history. Six million is such an overwhelming number that it can make us forget that it consists of individual people, each with a story of living, happiness, love, suffering, survival and yes, death.

How can we relate to the tragedy of the Holocaust?

Perhaps one way is to take a moment during our normal course of life to try and imagine how it would feel. When you’re outside in the bitter cold, imagine how you would feel if instead of your warm coat and boots, you were barefoot and naked. When you’re sitting at the dinner table with your family, imagine how it would feel to know that you all could be arrested and put on a train to Auschwitz at any moment. When you’re looking at your young children, imagine how it would feel to hold their hands as you walk together to a pit to be shot, or to the gas chamber.

A million and a half children were murdered in the Holocaust. Many of them were accompanied by at least one parent who would never leave them, even if that meant giving up an opportunity to save themselves. What did fathers and mothers, who gave up the chance to escape in order to stay with their children, tell them in those final moments? How did they muster the courage?

Another way to relate to the Holocaust is to read the first hand testimonies of survivors. Sometimes the testimonies of the murderers and collaborators is even more effective — and the only ones we have. [yes, the “neighbors” their share of the killing. Sorry, but it’s true.]

Here are a few:

Testimony of Ukrainian women – witnesses to murder of Jewish population of Sataniv:

“The Jews were walled up under the marketplace in a cellar. The Germans had burned some straw to make smoke and smother them. Then, after closing the door, they had piled 2 meters of earth on top. For four days afterwards the Jews had tried to get out. People saw the ground of the marketplace moving. On the fifth day the silence was total.”

Testimony from the village of Berniki:
“We are going to tell the truth. You see the house down there on the left, the modern house? Well, down there he hid Jews during the war. He hid a lot. And each time he killed them during the night. He smothered them with quilts. When they were dead, he stripped them and took their bodies to the quarry to get rid of them.“

Source – “The Holocaust by Bullets” by Father Patrick Desbois

From the testimony of Joseph F., a German soldier stationed in Kerch, Crimea, who witnessed the mass execution of hundreds of Jews.

“I climbed up onto the embankment I have already mentioned and saw a heap of clothes, children’s shoes and hats lying right there. I also saw piles of watches. Trucks full of men, women and children were arriving. The trucks arrived at the road and after they stopped, the people were pulled out by Russian civilians overseen by an SS guard. If they didn’t go fast enough, they were hurried along with sticks until they were all assembled on the embankment.

On the other side of the embankment, the Jews had to take off their clothes. If they didn’t do this fast enough, their clothes were ripped off by the Russians and two or three SS guards. If the Jews hadn’t known before, now they discovered what was to become of them. Some moan too loud, but most of the older Jews clasp their hands and look toward the sky. It was always the same image; they clasp their hands the way we do at home to ask for something and looked up at the sky.

When the children had nice shoes, they were pulled off by the Russians and the SS. The firing squad was composed of five or six SS. Once they were in front of the shooters, the Jews had to jump into the anti-tank ditch and stand against the straight wall. From there, it all went very fast. As soon as they were all inside, there was firing and the people slid to the ground.

I noticed among the women a man who was obviously paralyzed. He was big and fat. He was dragged to the execution spots by two 12 to 14 year old boys. The two boys took him by the shoulders but had to keep putting him down because he was so heavy. When they put him down, another Russian would hit and push them.

Then I noticed a very handsome couple with two small children. The husband and wife were very well-dressed. You could see right away that they were fine people. This couple was in one of the groups that the Russian civilian was bringing toward the firing squad. The woman had a child of about one in her arms, and the couple was leading another child of three or four by the hand. Once they were facing the firing squad, I saw the man ask for something. He had probably asked for permission to hold his family in his arms one last time, because I saw him embrace his wife and the child she was holding. But at the same moment, the shots were fired and everyone fell to the ground. I watched those people all the way to the firing squad because they were such a handsome couple and they had two children.”

The soldier then continues to describe the murder of Jewish children.

“Most of the time the children knocked over by their falling mother’s sat on the ground or on their mothers bodies without really understanding what had just happened. I saw how they climbed on their mothers among the dead women. They looked around and definitely did not understand what was going on. I still have the image very clearly before my eyes; they looked up with their big eyes and scared expressions at the shooters. They were too terrified to cry.

Twice I saw an SS go down into the ditch with a rifle and kill the children, who were sitting on the dead or on their own mothers, with one shot to the nape of the neck. As I’ve said, they weren’t crying, but looking around in shock. I think he was aiming for the head with his gun. At least, he held the barrel not far from the head, because I noticed almost no space between the head and the barrel. The children I saw struggling to move here and there range from babies to children of two or three years.”

Source – “The Holocaust by Bullets” by Father Patrick Desbois

Testimony from the book, “The Death Brigade” by Leon W. Wells
“I worked at the firm of Feder and Daumen at 5 Zrodlanej street with my two daughters. One was 17, the other 15. After the liquidation of the ghetto we were hidden in the company’s building. The director of this firm took everything away from us. Then the gestapo came and brought us here; my two children and I. This was a few days ago. Today they took us, together with you, to the sands, and I was separated from my two daughters. I, as everyone else, went down to the ravine. After a long time, about 15 people were selected and taken to the place where we left the women and children in the morning. And they were all, and my two daughters among them, lying dead … shot. What girls, beautiful, intelligent, what I wouldn’t have done for them… they told us to make a fire, and we threw all the bodies into it, my children, too.”

“The SS shot a woman. The woman’s child is sitting next to her in a puddle of blood with her head on her dead mother’s breast, sleeping. An SS man wakes the child by whipping her. She must go with the other children to the sands. The child screams in terror, “mother, it hurts!” the child gets up and starts to run, and the SS man goes after her. The child yells, and the murderer decides to shoot her on the spot. He reaches for his pistol, and shoots.”

Conclusion?
If you’ve read this far, you understand why the Jewish People must have their own country with a powerful army to defend it, and why compromising its security is simply not an option.

You understand that when the Iranians threaten to annihilate us, and the Arabs (and Palestinians) threaten to push us into the sea — we take those threats seriously, because we’ve experience what happens when those threats are ignored.

You understand why we must always control our destiny in Israel and why we can never allow an armed Palestinian state to exist in our land. Doing so would be like walking to the execution pits or the gas chambers, and we will never again do that.

Finally, you understand why we must always remain vigilant to stamp out any trace of violence or persecution based on race, religion or personal beliefs and orientations.

The Holocaust has taught us what unspeakable horrors man is capable of, and it is a lesson that we must never forget, so that it never is allowed to happen again, to anyone, anywhere.

[Note: If you have problems with what I’ve written here, there’s an unsubscribe link at the bottom of this email.]

Israel news summary

Israel News for 5-1-19

New Knesset
Israel’s 21st Knesset was officially sworn in yesterday in opening day ceremonies. There are 49 new Knesset members, out of 120.

President Reuven Rivlin addressed the Knesset members saying, “We’ve been through a rough campaign season. We’ve slammed others and got slammed ourselves. Enough now. We must rise above, put our swords aside and clean the dirt. Political strategy can no longer be the only the sole compass.”

After all 120 MKs stood up and declared their commitment to serve, they all sang Hatikvah. The MK’s from the Arab parties refused to sing and left the room instead.

[ Can you imagine members of the US Congress refusing to sing the national anthem? What do you think would happen to them? ]

For further reading click here.

Switching Teams
The Likud is reportedly trying to convince several Blue and White Knesset members to switch over to Likud. One of the top targets is freshman MK Omer Yankelevich, the only female ultra-Orthodox lawmaker in the Knesset.

The Likud is hoping to recruit at least one Blue and White MK, thus enabling PM Netanyahu to form a narrow 61-MK coalition without former Defense Minister Avidgor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party.

For further reading click here.

Rocket Fired
A long-range rocket was fired from Gaza on Monday. It fell into the sea off the Israeli coast. The IDF blamed the Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza for the rocket attack, indicating the threat of possible action against him.

In response to the attack, the IDF restricted Gaza fishermen to a 6 nautical mile area until further notice.

For further reading click here.

EU Support
In response to a request by Israel, the EU has decided to increase its financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority by 22 million Euros.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said that the EU accepted Israel’s request, noting that “the European Union is and will remain the biggest and the most reliable donor to the Palestinians. European Union assistance to Palestinians has been more than €300 million every year for the last 15 years. This support will continue, because Palestinians have the right to live in dignity and because we Europeans know very well that this money is an investment in security for the Palestinians, for the Israelis, for the region and for ourselves.”

Israel made the request after the PA rejected hundreds of millions of shekels offered by Israel. The money was a portion of the tax revenues that Israel is withholding because the Palestinians are using the money to pay salaries to terrorists and their families.

For further reading click here.

Holocaust Stories
During the official Holocaust Memorial ceremony which will take place Wednesday evening at Yad Vashem, six Holocaust survivors will light six torches. The survivors are Bela Eizenman, Shaul Lubovitz, Fanny Ben-Ami, Menachem Haberman, Sara Shapira and Yehuda Mimon. Holocaust survivor Zipora (Feiga) Granat (née Gershenfish) will speak on behalf of the survivors.

To read their stories click here.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 4-29-19

Terror Foiled
The Shin Bet announced yesterday that it had arrested a suspected terrorist late last month who planned to carry out a suicide car bombing in Ma’ale Adumim close to the Israeli elections. The 23-year-old man from the village of az-Za’ayyem, near Jerusalem, told investigators he communicated over the internet with Hamas operatives in Gaza and was conscripted in Gaza. He was told to scout potential locations for an attack and report back to Hamas, who then decided on the final target.

The Shin Bet said that Hamas is constantly attempting to recruit operatives in the West Bank.

For further reading click here.

PA Rejects Cash
According to a news report released yesterday, Israel attempted to secretly transfer hundreds of millions of shekels to the Palestinian Authority as a partial payment in lieu of the tax payments that Israel withheld because the PA continues to pay salaries to terrorists and their families. But PA President Abbas rejected the cash transfer, saying the he would only accept the entire sum. Israel attempted the transfer in order to prevent the PA from economic collapse.

For further reading click here.

Prisoner Release
Israel has decided to release 2 prisoners as a goodwill gesture for the recent return of the remains of Zachary Baumel. Israel did not provide any details about the identity of the prisoners, but Russian officials claim that they are Syrian.

For further reading click here.

Lebanon Border
The speaker of Lebanon’s parliament has indicated that Lebanon is prepared to set a maritime border with Israel under the supervision of the United Nations. The move was reportedly encouraged as a result of talks with US Secretary of State Pompeo during his recent visit to Beirut. Israel and Lebanon do not currently have a mutually recognized maritime border, which has recently caused tensions to flare as a result of offshore oil and gas discoveries and exploration.

[Could this be part of the Trump peace deal?]

For further reading click here.

Balloon Buster
The IDF has developed a new weapon to counter the threat from incendiary and explosive balloons and kites launched at Israel from Gaza. The weapon is a smart rifle sight called Pegion (dagger) developed by a company named Smart Shooter from Kibbutz Yagur in cooperation with the Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure in the Ministry of Defense.

The sight improves fire from assault rifles carried by soldiers that make it possible to accurately strike targets moving at high speed. Such accuracy was unavailable until recently, because the sights previously mounted on weapons did not guarantee such accuracy against moving targets or in shooting at stationary targets following great physical effort.

The Pegion sight is an electro-optic system that makes it possible to follow a moving target in various scenarios, such as in the case of balloons and kites carrying explosives or incendiaries into Israeli territory. Based on the rapid mathematical calculations that it performs through computer software, it determines when the weapon on which it is mounted should shoot at the target, so that the first bullet fired at the target will strike it accurately.

The systems is built so that as soon as it is operated, it will not allow the soldier pulling the trigger to shoot at all at a target if it does not identify an accurate hit. Pegion is designed to hit targets at a range of hundreds of meters, with an emphasis on reducing potential damage to bystanders in urban warfare. Smart Shoot is currently developing a new and more advanced version that is believed to be lighter.

For further reading click here.

Israel news summary

Israel News for 4-17-19

Final Results
The final election results (for real this time) were released yesterday and presented to President Rivlin. In the end, Likud dropped from 36 to 35 seats and UTJ gained moved up from 7 to 8. It doesn’t change the overall balance of power between left and right, with the right wing block holding 65 seats and the left 45 (or 55 if you include the Arab parties).

Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked’s New Right party did not manage to cross the minimum threshold to enter the Knesset, despite their complaints of voting irregularities. Shaked announced that she’s quitting politics, at least for the time being.

President Rivlin will give PM Netanyahu the green light to form a new government, and the PM will have 42 days to do so. He is expected to hand out around 26 ministerial portfolios to satiate his coalition partners, which will make for one of the largest governments ever. But just a few of those portfolios will probably end up going to members of his own Likud party.

Avigdor Lieberman has pledged his Yisrael Beytenu’s 5 seats to join the PM’s coalition. But one of the main points of his party’s platform is to do away with IDF draft exemptions for yeshiva students, and the 16 seat strong Shas-UTJ ultra orthodox block will never let that happen. So how will they all coexist in a coalition? They’ve managed to do it in the past.

New Map
The US government has published a new map of Israel which, for the first time, includes the Golan as part of Israel. The map shows the West Bank as territory occupied by Israel.

For further reading click here.

Heart Print
Israeli scientists have printed a living heart using a 3D printer. The technology was developed by Dr. Nadav Nur and Dr. Assaf Shapira working at the life science lab of Prof. Dvir at Tel Aviv University in cooperation with the faculty of engineering and the Segol biotechnical center. They say that the technology will be widely available for use in 10 years.

For further reading click here.