Israel News for April 20, 2017

Gaza Sisters
Two sisters entered Israel from Gaza yesterday in order to receive their cancer treatments. Luckily, security forces at the Erez Crossing searched them. They discovered explosive making materials hidden inside medical supply tubes. According to the Shin Bet, an initial investigation indicated that the explosives were sent by Hamas and were intended to be used in terrorist attacks in Israel in the near future.

The Shin Bet stated: “This is a continuation of the attempts of the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, led by Hamas, to take advantage of the humanitarian infrastructure and medical assistance that Israel provides to the residents of the Gaza Strip to carry out terrorist attacks in Israel.”

For further reading click here.

Soccer Crisis
The latest diplomatic crisis facing Israel is playing out on the soccer field. The Palestinian soccer federation has asked FIFA, the international football (soccer) association, to ban Israeli teams that play across the “Green Line”. That includes teams from Ma’aleh Adumim, Ariel, Kiryat Arba, Givat Ze’ev, Oranit and the Jordan Valley — all of whom play in low level leagues.

FIFA’s bylaws bar any country from setting up teams in another country’s territory, or letting such teams play in its own leagues without the other country’s consent. The Palestinians want this clause used against the settlement teams and argue that if Israel doesn’t suspend them from its leagues, Israel itself should be suspended from FIFA.

FIFA is set to meet in Bahrain next month. Israeli diplomats have been ordered to work on convincing their host countries to prevent FIFA from taking action against the “settlement” teams or from suspending Israel from the international league.

For further reading click here.

Less Taxes
Starting next week, buying a smartphone in Israel will be a lot cheaper. Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon has signed an order canceling the import tax of mobile telephones as part of his “Family Net” tax cut plan. Currently, importers must pay purchase tax of 15% on the import of mobile phones and smartphones as well as 17% VAT. For example the cheapest iPhone 7 model in the iDigital chain, which currently costs NIS 3,749, should now cost only NIS 2,868. Samsung’s Galaxy S7, which currently costs NIS 2,799 should be reduced to NIS 2,141.

For further reading click here.

Iran Passes
The Trump administration has notified Congress that Iran is complying with the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal and has extended the sanctions relief given to the Islamic republic in exchange for curbs on its atomic program. The certification of Iran’s compliance, which must be sent to Congress every 90 days.

Despite the sanctions relief, Iran remains on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism for its support of anti-Israel groups and is still subject to non-nuclear sanctions, including for human rights abuses and for its backing of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government.

At the same time, in a letter sent late Tuesday to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the administration has undertaken a full review of the nuclear agreement.

For further reading click here.

Hamilton Advice
The Haredi magazine Mishpacha wrote about how much PM Netanyahu enjoyed seeing Hamilton on his last trip to NYC. In fact, Netanyahu said he made a suggestion to producer Lin-Manuel Miranda on how to improve the play [of course]. The PM said that he read that when Alexander Hamilton was a child in the Caribbean, his tutor was a Jewish woman who taught him to recite the Ten Commandments in Hebrew. Later in life, Hamilton expressed admiration for the Jewish people, saying they have a “unique destiny” that is “part of God’s greater plan.” That, Netanyahu said, should go into the play.


Israel News for January 19, 2017

New Missile System
After years of research and development, the Ministry of Defense Homa Administration (Israel Missile Organization), part of the Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure, and the US Missile Defense Agency delivered the first new Arrow 3 advanced air defense system interceptors to Israel air force air defense units.

The Arrow 3 can intercept ballistic missiles carrying nuclear warheads while they are still in outer space. That means if someone (like Iran?) launches a nuclear missile at Israel, the Arrow 3 can intercept and destroy it before it reenters the atmosphere, thus avoiding any damage or fallout from the explosion. In the event that the Arrow 3 misses, the Arrow 2 missile defense system will kick into action and get the job done. Of course, there’s always Iron Dome as a last resort.

For further reading click here.

Funeral and Protest
Hundreds attended the funeral of Sgt. Maj. Erez Levi, the police officer who was killed in yesterday’s terror car ramming attack in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran. Levi leaves behind a widow and two small children.

Police were in the village to carry out demolition orders on several illegally built structures when the terrorist rammed his car into them, killing Levi and injuring 5 others including another police officer and an Arab MK. The terrorist was shot and killed. Several Arab MKs participated in the protest and violence against police in Umm al-Hiran.

Many Arab communities have called a general strike today to protest the demolitions. The Arab Monitoring Committee also announced three days of mourning as an expression of solidarity with the family of the car rammer, claiming that he was not a terrorist but just someone killed intentionally by police.

For further reading click here.

Trump Forgets Not
Donald Trump spoke to Yisrael Hayom reporter Boaz Bismuth in Washington yesterday who asked him, “You haven’t forgotten your promise about the embassy in Jerusalem?” Trump replied, “Of course I remember what I told you about Jerusalem. Of course I haven’t forgotten and you know I’m not a person to breach promises.“ Trump added, “I can’t wait to start working with Israel. At the end of the week the relationship between us begins in earnest.”

For further reading click here.

PA Vacation
If you’re using the travel website to plan your next vacation getaway to Israel, you might end up in Palestinian territory. That’s because several luxury hotels in the Palestinian Authority are getting rave reviews on the site.

One of the leading PA hotels is Movenpick, a 170 room five-star hotel in Ramallah, which received a near-perfect rating of 9.6 from the website. The rating weighs indices such as cleanliness, service, diversity of facilities and services, and meals.

Another five star Ramallah hotel, the Palestine Plaza, received a 9.0 rating. It’s 100 rooms are located on the 15th to 20th floors of the tallest building in the PA.

If you’re looking for a more pilgrimage oriented experience, the Jacir Intercontinental, a five-star hotel in Bethlehem, rated 8.9. The 250-room hotel offers its guests a tennis court, heated swimming pool, spa, and nightclub.

A night in one of these hotels can run you anywhere from NIS 440 to over NIS 1,000 per night. Tourists are coming from abroad as well as from Israel.

Apparently things aren’t as bad as you think in the PA.

[But I’d recommend sticking with Tel Aviv and Jerusalem over Ramallah and Bethlehem, for so many reasons…]

For further reading click here.

Israel Books
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Israel News for January 18, 2017

Ramming Attack
A Bedouin, believed to be a member of the Islamic Movement terror group, rammed his car into police early this morning in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in southern Israel. Israeli police officer Sgt. Maj. Erez Levi, 34, was killed. Five people were wounded including another policeman and Arab MK Ayman Odeh, the head of the Joint List party. The terrorist was shot dead.

The police and security forces had arrived at the village to carry out demolition orders against several illegally constructed homes. Residents of the village also fired on the police, who returned fire. Police described the attack as similar to the one in Jerusalem last week, where a terrorist rammed his truck into soldiers.

For further reading click here.

Stabbing Attack
Last night a terrorist holding a knife charged at soldiers manning a checkpoint near Tulkarm. The soldiers from the Home Front Command’s Shahar Battalion warned him to stop. When he did not, the battalion’s deputy commander, a major, shot at the terrorist and killed him.

To watch a video of the attack click here.

Ma’aleh Adumim
MK Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi) announced in the Knesset that the Ministerial Committee on Legislation will debate a bill, on Sunday, to annex Ma’aleh Adumim. The city of over 37,000, considered to be a settlement, is located just minutes to the east of Jerusalem along Highway 1 in the West Bank (Judea).

Right-wing lawmakers believe there is enough support in the Knesset for its passage, given that the government and many Israelis hold that Ma’aleh Adumim will be part of Israel’s final borders in any final status agreement with the Palestinians. The debate on the annexation bill taking place days after the inauguration of Donald Trump is no coincidence.

But will Trump support annexation? Does it fit into his negotiation strategy? Is pushing the issue just days into his new administration such a good idea?

For further reading click here.

Brazil Approves Ambassador
After a year and a half without one, Israel finally has an ambassador in Brazil. The Brazilian government approved Israel’s appointee Yossi Shelly, a close confidant of PM Netanyahu. Brazil refused to endorse Israel’s original appointee, Dani Dayan, because of his history as a settlement leader. Dayan is now serving as Consul General of Israel in New York.

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement following Shelly’s nomination, saying that it marks a new chapter in the two countries’ relationship, and that the nomination is sure to strengthen their ties in the fields of trade and commerce.

For further reading click here.

Traffic Fines
The Knesset’s Economic Affairs Committee approved an order yesterday to increase punishments for serious crimes, including traffic violations. Drivers who run a red light will now be fined NIS 1,500. However, failing to yield to pedestrians will only cost drivers NIS 250. Last year 376 Israelis died in traffic accidents. Will stricter fines help?

For further reading click here.

Israel Books
If you’re searching for book on Israel, Click here. We get a small commission for anything you buy on Amazon for a full 24 hours after you use the link. In other words, if you end up buying a computer and lawnmower, we get the commission on that too. It’s a great way to support us while getting great deals on your shopping. And it doesn’t cost you a cent! So please use this link for all your Amazon shopping.

Israel News for September 15, 2016

IDF Hits Gaza
In response to several mortar shells that fell near the Gaza border fence in Israeli territory, the IDF hit Hamas military targets near the border with airstrikes. No injuries were reported. Israel holds Hamas responsible for all military activity within Gaza, even though the mortars wee probably fired by a splinter terror group not directly affiliated with Hamas.

For further reading click here.

Peres Condition
Simon Peres remains in serious condition in Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer three days after suffering a stroke, but has regained consciousnesses. Dr. Ze’ev Feldman, Director of the neurosurgical unit in the hospital, said, “the fact that he returned to consciousness is extremely significant and may enable a recovery in the future and a return to fuller functionality, as opposed to a person who remains unconscious and cannot communicate. His situation is still serious but stable and the danger still exists considering his situation and age.”

PM Netanyahu visited Peres in the hospital last night and remarked, “I was impressed that there is an exceptional team taking care of an exceptional person. Peres has great vitality, he is young and energetic and there is hope.” He asked that everyone continue to pray for Peres’ recovery.

For further reading click here.

Bullets for US
Israel Military Industries (IMI) manufactures bullets primarily for the IDF and NATO armies. But over the last year IMI sales to the American civilian market has skyrocketed to NIS 250 million from only NIS 30 million two years ago. Apparently Americans are stocking up in expectation of the implementation of new gun control regulations. In fact, all weapons and ammunition manufacturers operating in the American market have also seen their sales go up.

For further reading click here.

Sewage Treatment
Israel’s sewage treatment plants produce hundreds of millions of cubic feet of water for use by farmers for irrigation. But they have been dumping the wastewater, or sludge, into the Mediterranean. In 2015, the Dan Region Wastewater Treatment Plant (Shafdan) channeled 39,000 tons of sludge into the sea. The sludge is one of the greatest pollutants of the Mediterranean.

To solve this problem the plants will begin treating the sludge and turning it into hundreds of tons of fertilizer, which will be given to farmers for free. The process will also create energy.

For further reading click here.

Salt Please
Over two thirds of Israel’s drinking water comes from desalination plants. In some areas 100% of the water is desalinated. While that might be solving the water crisis, researchers are finding that drinking saltless water might be causing iodine deficiencies, which can lead to Thyroid disorders including hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism and thyroid cancer.

But it’s more than just drinking water. Desalinated water is also used in agriculture for watering plants and animals and for industrial processing of food products.

This could be a business opportunity for iodine supplements. Or maybe it’s just time to start adding more salt at dinner?

For further reading click here.

Chicken Crisis
There might be less chickens on Shabbat tables this week. That’s because there’s a four day Muslim holiday this week (Id al-Adha) and many of the workers at slaughterhouses in Israel are Muslims who took off for the holiday. Some slaughterhouses were closed for the festival.

Supermarket chains said that because they last received supplies of fresh chicken on Monday, many of their stores have already run out. Stores that still have chicken are expected to run out by this afternoon.

For further reading click here.

Belated Bar Mitzvah
Yisrael Kristal, a Holocaust survivor living in Israel, will finally celebrate his bar mitzvah — 100 years late. Kristal is 113 years old, the oldest man in the world. He was born in 1903 in the town of Zarnow, Poland and missed his bar mitzvah celebration as a result of World War I.

Kristol was deported to Auschwitz in 1944, where his wife was killed. His two children were killed previously in the Lodz ghetto. After the war Kristol remarried and moved to Haifa in 1950. He has two children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

When asked at the time he was certified as the oldest living man what his secret was to long life, Kristal said: “I don’t know the secret for long life. I believe that everything is determined from above and we shall never know the reasons why. There have been smarter, stronger and better-looking men than me who are no longer alive. All that is left for us to do is to keep on working as hard as we can and rebuild what is lost.”

For further reading click here.

Israel News for September 14, 2016

Peres Condition
Former Israeli President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres is in serious condition, fighting for his life, after suffering a stroke yesterday. Peres is 93.

In a statement this morning, Prof. Yitzhak Kreiss, Director of Sheba Medical Center, said “Mr. Peres made it through the night safely. His condition is stable. Serious, but stable. We are moving him to the intensive care unit of the neurology department for further treatment and observation. He is still under the supervision of a multidisciplinary team of experts and will undergo another assessment in the afternoon. We are in close contact with the family, which has accompanied him and not left his bedside. We are sharing all decisions with the family.”

Israel’s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau called on the public to pray for Peres, saying “Mr. Peres has earned many credits in his many years of service to the people of Israel (in working to) strengthen the security of the State of Israel from its day of formation, and it is appropriate for everyone to join the prayer for his recovery at this time.”
The Sephardic Chief Rabbi, Yitzhak Yosef, also called for prayers for Peres, saying “to his credit is the saving of the world of Torah by establishing the exemption (from IDF service) to yeshiva students and his great appreciation to the Torah.”

For further reading click here.

US Israel Defense Pact
The US and Israel will sign the agreement by which the US will give Israel $38 billion in military aid over the next 10 years. The previous aid package was around $30 billion. PM Netanyahu had reportedly requested $45 billion.

The new agreement will include aid for missile defense, which in the past has been granted by Congress in addition to the regular aid package. The agreement stipulates that Israel will have to spend all the money on purchases from US contractors. In the past Israel has used around 26% of the aid money on purchases from Israeli contractors. Israel will also no longer be able to use the money on fuel purchases. In the past Israel was permitted to spend up to 13% of the aid on fuel.

So the new aid package could hurt Israel’s defense industry and will force Israel to find hundreds of millions of dollars within its budget to pay for fuel, which cause cuts in other government programs. But it is still the largest US aid package to any foreign country and a 20% increase from the previous aid package.

The fact that the new agreement is being signed by a liberal Democratic President is seen as a significant show of bipartisan support for Israel, and it might help Hillary Clinton, who can claim allegiance to Obama’s policies.

David Makovsky, director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said, “I think President Obama sees this as vindication of his belief that there’s an iron-willed distinction between his commitment to Israel’s security and whatever policy differences might exist between the two countries.” He added, “By ensuring that a liberal Democrat has signed this deal, it’s a way of locking in bipartisan support.”

PM Netanyahu will be attending the UN General Assembly in NY next week, where he is expected to meet with President Obama.

For further reading click here.

Electricity Deal
Israel has signed an agreement with the Palestinian Authority which gives the PA control over distribution of the electricity provided by the Israel Electric Company (IEC). The PA currently owes the IEC 2 billion shekels, which has caused the EIC to intermittently cut power to the Palestinian territory. Under the terms of this agreement, the PA will give Israel a one-time payment of NIS 570 million and Israel will forgive NIS 500m. of its bill. The remainder will be paid out in 48 payments.

The US has agreed to cover NIS 100 million of the PA bill.

For further reading click here.

Israel Attacks Syria
In response to several mortal shells fired from Syria into Israeli territory, the IDF conducted airstrikes against Syrian government artillery positions. Yesterday the Syrian army reported that it had shot down an Israeli aircraft, but the report was false and all Israeli planes returned safely. But the Syrians did fire surface to air missiles at the Israeli jets, which is the first time they’ve done that.

For further reading click here.

Satellite Launch
Israel Aerospace industries and the Ministry of Defense successfully launched the Ofek 11 satellite into space yesterday from Palmachim Airbase near Rishon LeZion. The Ofek 11 is an observation satellite and will be used primarily by the IDF and security services.

But there might be some problems with the launch. Officials said, “There are indications according to which things aren’t working as we expected, and so we are trying to stabilize (the satellite). There are things that make us worried. The satellite orbits the earth once every hour and a half. It’s possible that some systems are not in the correct condition.”

For further reading click here.

Kids Friendly Israel Day Trip to the Dead Sea Area

It was early August, just after Tish B’av, and we decided to take a day trip with the our three young children, aged 6, 4 1/2, and 2, from our home base in Modiin (which is a city about a half hour drive from both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem). We first considered going up north, but since the rest of the country was thinking the same thing (everyone goes north in the summer — not that it’s much cooler up there) we chose to be contrarians and head south, to the lowest place on earth: the Dead Sea.

We had spoken of the salt filled sea (which is really a medium sized lake by American standards) often to the kids, and about how they could float without even knowing how to swim, and about the mud — you know, all that fun stuff that attracts tourists from around the globe. And yes, it is the lowest place on earth, which also means that you’re not supposed to get sunburned there.

We decided to head to the northern most Dead Sea beach, Kalia, which is only around a twenty minute drive from Jerusalem (or around an hour from Modiin). We left Modiin at 7:30am and made it to Kalia at 8:30am. The goal was to beat at least some of the heat and the crowds. We succeeded at both.

kalia beach dead sea

The entrance fee to the beach, which is owned by the Kalia resort, is 55 shekels for an adult and 45 for a child. The beach has clean bathrooms, changing facilities, showers and a cafe/bar — and a gift shop, of course. The cost didn’t bother me one bit when we got to the actual beach and saw that there were only about a dozen people there. In fact, I’m happy to pay for the opportunity to go anywhere fun in Israel without having to struggle with crowds.

There were plenty of chairs and umbrellas on the beach, so we settled in, left our stuff and walked into the shallow, roped off, Dead Sea waters. The heat wasn’t bad, since it was early. The water felt great. We loved it! After a couple of hours a group of Chinese tourists arrived. One of them, a middle aged man, asked if he could take photos of my son and I floating on our backs. He even provided me with a magazine to hold up as if I were reading it while floating on my back. I’m assuming that at some point we’ll end up on the guy’s Facebook page with a funny caption that will go viral throughout the Far East — hey, any publicity is good publicity, right?

Of course, what’s a Dead Sea excursion without mud? So we dug up the mineral rich mud (there’s plenty of it!) and covered ourselves with it. My skin still feels great, two weeks later! We all had an amazing time!


The Fresh Pools of Ein Tzukim

We left Kalia Beach at around noon and then drove 5 or 10 minutes south to the Ein Tzukim Nature Reserve, which is billed as the lowest nature reserve in the world. The reason we chose to go there was because of the swimming pools — no not the chlorine filled kind — these are pools of water that you can swim in.


We paid 29 NIS per adult and 15 NIS per child at the park entrance. The attendant suggested we hang a left at the end of the road and head to the group of pools that she said were less crowded than the popular ones closer to the entrance. We followed her advice and were happy to find that she was right. There several pools in a beautiful oasis-like setting. The kids swam and splashed for a few hours. It was the perfect end complement to the Dead Sea experience.

It was a fun day for all! So if you’re looking for a day trip to do with the kids, go south and enjoy!

Israel News for March 8, 2016

Terror Foiled
A female Palestinian in her 50’s attacked Border Police officers with a knife in Jerusalem’s Old City today. She was shot and fatally wounded. None of the officers were hurt.

For further reading click here.

Netanyahu and Obama
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, US President Obama wants to make a significant move which he believes would put the Israeli-Palestinian peace process on a more promising track before he leaves office.

One option would be to propose and support a United Nations Security Council resolution to serve as a blueprint for Israeli-Palestinian talks. In the past the US has vetoed these types of resolutions. Another option would be making a major speech defining his vision for a two-state solution.

According to the WSJ report, one possible scenario would be that “the US would push Israel to halt construction of settlements in the Palestinian territories and recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state… Palestinians would in turn be asked to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and end claims on a right of return for Palestinian refugees.” That scenario would entail establishing two states based on the 1949 armistice lines, with land swaps to reflect population changes since then.

Sounds very similar to proposals that the Palestinians have rejected in the past. Would they accept them now? Not likely.

Meanwhile, PM Netanyahu has declined an invitation to meet with Obama in Washington, which he previously had accepted, and cancelled his upcoming trip to Washington. Netanyahu will also not be speaking at the AIPAC convention later this month. The PM claims that he cancelled his trip to avoid getting embroiled in the heated US election campaign. He may also be placing his bets on the hope that the next US President, Republican or Democrat, will be more favorable to Israel. He’ll just have to stall a bit longer.

For further reading click here.

Israeli Wages
According to a report by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, the average Israeli wage at the close of 2015 was 2.3% higher than it was at the end of 2014.

Among the highest salaries earners in 2015 were employees of banks and financial companies with an average monthly salary of NIS 17,225. Employees of government companies earned an average monthly salary of NIS 17,225. The average monthly salary of hospital workers including doctors and nurses was NIS 15,611. The average salary of government employees was NIS 13,245, while the average salary of local authority employees was NIS 8,236.

Now for the big bucks. The average monthly hi-tech salary was NIS 23,640, which was primarily earned by developers and programmers.

The average monthly industrial wage also rose by 2.3%, to NIS 13,442. There is a big shortage of skilled workers, which is driving up wages in the sector. Workers in the electronic control devices sector averaged NIS 22,913, per month while workers in the mining and quarrying sector made NIS 22,851. Workers in the consumer and telecommunications electronics sector averaged NIS 21,335 per month.

Not so bad after all.

For further reading click here.

Ancient Discoveries
Archeologists of the Israel Antiquities Authority excavating at the City of David in the Jerusalem Walls National Park have discovered two 2,500 year old seals inscribed with Hebrew names in ancient Hebrew lettering. One of the seals was inscribed with the name of a woman, Elihana bat Gael and the other of a man, Sa‘aryahu ben Shabenyahu.

According to the archeologists, “Finding seals that bear names from the time of the First Temple is hardly a commonplace occurrence, and finding a seal that belonged to a woman is an even rarer phenomenon.” The seals used in the First Temple period were usually attached to rings and used for signing documents.

For further reading click here.

Getting Married
There are only two ways for Jews in Israel to be legally and officially registered as married. The first is by registering and marrying through the official Rabbinate of the city or district where the marriage will take place. The alternative is to marry outside of Israel and then register the marriage with the government. While civil marriages conducted abroad are not recognized by the Rabbinate, they are recognized for taxation or other legal issues by the government. There is no way to get married in a civil or non-Orthodox ceremony in Israel — if you want it to be recognized as legal.

In order to register for marriage via the official Rabbinate, couples must prove that they are single and Jewish. For the overwhelming majority of Israeli born Jews, this is not an issue. However, for Jews born outside of Israel or for converts, this can become a frustrating and difficult process, particularly if the correct paperwork cannot be obtained or if the overseas rabbi providing the documentation is not recognized by the Rabbinate. In addition, in order to be registered by the Rabbinate, all couples must attend several premarital classes taught by Rabbinate approved instructors, which many secular couples view either as an imposition (at best) or as straight out religious coercion.

But there apparently is a much easier alternative to the Rabbinate. Jewish Israeli couples, from secular to more traditional, are flocking to the three officially recognized rabbinical courts of the ultra-Orthodox Edah Haredit to register for marriage.

Despite the ongoing controversy around the formation of alternate rabbinical courts and services by National Religious rabbis (like Tzohar) who feel that the official Rabbinate is far too stringent in certain areas of Jewish law (like conversion), the utra-Orthodox Edah Haredit has always maintained a separate rabbinical court system that is recognized by the State and the Chief Rabbinate.

It turns out that the ultra-Orthodox courts are much more easygoing than the official Rabbinate when it comes to registering couples for marriage. Why this is so isn’t really clear, but couples aren’t asking. They’re going, registering and marrying, hassle free.

Who would have thought?

For further reading click here.

Israel News for October 29, 2015

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More Terror
A Palestinian attempted to stab a soldier in Hevron today but was shot and killed before harming anyone.

A 23 year old Palestinian stabbed a soldier near Hevron today. The terrorist was shot and killed.

An Israeli woman was stabbed and moderately wounded in a supermarket parking lot in Gush Etzion yesterday. Soldiers arrested the attacker.

Haredim Beg Arabs
Aryeh Erlich, the associate editor of the Haredi magazine Mishpacha, published a special message in Arabic for the Arab population.

The basic gist of the message, loosely translated, is: “We, the Haredi community, take no part in going up to the Temple Mount. We are fiercely against doing so.” He goes on to explain that halachic reasons forbid Haredim from visiting the Mount.

He concludes with, “If you have information that Israel is trying to change the status quo on the Temple Mount — which to our knowledge is incorrect — the Haredi community has no connection to it. So please, stop killing us.”

Readers, including Haredi ones, have slammed the magazine for pleading with terrorists not to kill “them”, implying that they should rather kill other Jews.

Terrorists don’t differentiate between religious levels of Jews, and treat all Jews equally. Maybe Mishpacha Magazine, and some in the Haredi community, can learn a lesson from that.

For further reading click here.

Lynching Defense
In an interview with Walla! News, Ron Cohen, the Israel Prisons Authority Officer, defended his role in the alleged lynching of an Eritrean man mistakenly identified as a terrorist during a terror attack in the Beersheva central bus station earlier this month.

Cohen said, “I kicked him in the back, we threw a bench on him so that he couldn’t move. I’m not embarrassed nor do I regret what I did. I did it all in order to neutralize a terrorist, who only later turned out not to be a terrorist.”

Cohen is one of two prison authority officers, along with two other men, accused of participating in the lynching. According to his account of the events, he was walking by the station when he heard shots. He ran in and saw the Eritrean man on the floor, wounded and surrounded by police and soldiers. Then there was more shooting and the police and soldiers ran off in the direction of the shots. When the Eritrean started to move, Cohen and the other men around feared that he might have a weapon and would try to attack, so they “neutralized” him. Cohen reiterated that he was under the impression that the man was a terrorist and that he acted in order to safeguard the people around him.

Police investigators have determined that the Eritrean man died of the gunshot wounds he sustained.

Cohen feels that he is the one being lynched by law enforcement and treated like a criminal for doing the right thing.

For further reading click here.

Non Terrorist
The Arab woman who tried to stab a police officer at the central bus station in Afula earlier this month and was shot and wounded by police will apparently not be tried as a terrorist.

The prosecutor in the case has determined that the 30 year old mother from Nazareth, Isra Abad, was mentally unstable and wanted to commit suicide by forcing police to kill her. This is proven by the fact that Abad stood right next to a young Haredi man in the station and had the opportunity to stab him but instead decided to confront the police at the scene, draw her knife and scream “terrorist!” at them. The police then shot her in the legs, lightly wounded her.

The woman’s father, a local Sheikh, claims that the police could have subdued her without shooting at her six times and that the case reveals how police discriminate against Arabs.

Watch the video and judge for yourself.

Life and Death
A Magen David Adom (MDA) paramedic asked Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the chief Rabbi of Safed, a halachic (Jewish law) question: Is she permitted, according to Jewish law, to treat and save the life of a terrorist before treating a Jewish victim? The question was based on the policy of MDA which requires paramedics to treat terrorists and victims equally.

Rabbi Eliyahu answered that she should ignore her orders and treat the Jewish victim first and that she should continue treating the Jew even if it means that the terrorist will die. There is no mitzvah (commandment) to save the life of a terrorist.

He added, “they desperately want to ascend to heaven as martyrs (shahids), so why prevent them from doing what they so desire?”

The rabbi also said that even if there is no Jewish victim, the paramedic should wait until the terrorist is checked for explosives or other weapons before treating him/her.

The MDA responded to the rabbi’s ruling in a statement saying, “paramedics treat all wounded when they arrive at the scene without discriminating or weighing other factors. This is our duty…”

Question for you: if you came to a scene and saw a wounded victim and a wounded terrorist, who would you treat first? That’s what I thought.

For further reading click here.

Taxpayer Beware
As if taxes in Israel weren’t high enough, the state comptroller has discovered that the Israeli Tax Authority has failed to refund billions (yes, that’s Billions) of shekels to taxpayers over the last three years.

His findings show that the Tax Authority is great at collection, with this year’s collection already above projections by NIS 9 billion. But if someone overpays, it doesn’t bother informing them and simply “holds on” to the money in the state coffers.

The Tax Authority also didn’t inform the public about a new tax deduction which could have saved taxpayers millions.

So basically, if you’re a taxpayer in Israel, you better be on your toes and on top of your case. Taxpayer beware.

For further reading click here.

Walmark Reverses
Yesterday we reported that Walmart was selling an IDF uniform costume for kids on its website. Well, if you didn’t get it already, you lost your chance. After several US Muslim groups threatened to boycott the retailer and after taking lots of flak from some customers, Walmart halted sales of the costume. You think they’ll be back on sale for Hanukkah?

For further reading click here.

Israel Events – NYC
If you’re in New York City, check out a huge Kumsitz on the red steps in Times Square to raise awareness and support for Israel in these tense times. Invite your friends and bring your flags!

There are already over 1000 people confirmed to be there. It should be an amazing and super meaningful experience.
This Sunday at 6:00pm, the Red Steps in Times Square, NYC.

For details check out this Facebook page.

jewish divorce israel

Israeli Woman Refuses to Accept Divorce and is Fined

The High Court of Justice approved sanctions placed on a woman who refused to accept a Get (Jewish divorce) from her husband.

According to Jewish law, in order to be considered divorced and permitted to remarry, a husband must willingly give his wife a divorce document called a Get. If he fails to do so, the woman may not remarry. A woman whose husband refuses to give her a Get is called an Agunah (chained).

The Israeli rabbinical courts, which have jurisdiction over all marriage and divorce cases, have the power to impose financial sanctions and other punitive measures, including incarceration, against the uncooperative husband. In most cases monetary sanctions are enough to persuade him to give the Get. Unfortunately, not always.

There’s another requirement for the divorce to be “kosher”: the wife must willingly accept the Get from her husband. Since polygamy in Judaism was banned over 1000 years ago (at least for Ashkenazim. The Sephardic ban took effect with the establishment of the State of Israel), until the wife accepts the Get, the husband cannot remarry.

A 2008 case brought before the rabbinical court revolved around a wife who refused to accept the Get from her husband. The court imposed monetary sanctions against her in the amount of 2,000 shekels per week (to the state) to persuade her to reconsider. She didn’t. The husband then took her before the secular court, which upheld the decision of the rabbinical court and placed a judgement against her.

The woman refused to pay the sanctions and brought her case before the High Court, claiming that the Rabbinical Court had no authority to sanction her.

Yesterday, High Court justice Miriam Naor said she disagreed – confirming the Rabbinical Court decision and imposing the NIS 2,000 weekly fine on the woman.

Hopefully this will finally get her to accept the Get and allow her husband to remarry.