temple mount

Israel News for May 26, 2017

Temple Mount
More than 1,000 Jews visited the Temple Mount on Yom Yerushalayim, marking the 50th year since east Jerusalem was liberated from Jordanian control and reunited with the rest of the city. It was the largest Jewish group to visit the holy place at one time since the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. One of the prominent rabbis leading the group was Rabbi Yaakov Medan, the head of Yeshivat Har Etzion.

Police arrested 15 Jews for bowing and/or singing Hatikva.

To watch a video and hear some of the rabbis words (hebrew), click here.

Meanwhile, the Jordanian government condemned the presence of Jews on the Temple Mount. A statement from the Jordanian government slammed Israeli authorities for “allowing Jewish extremists to storm Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif,” which they said “violated the sanctity of the mosque and offended the feelings of Muslims around the world.”

Jordan’s Minister of State for Media Affairs Mohammad Momani stated, “Al Aqsa Mosque is for Muslims alone,” Momani said in his statement, adding that “Jordan will utilize all its legal and diplomatic options to protect holy sites, Quds Awqaf employees and worshippers at the mosque.”

For further reading click here.

Missing Soldiers
Jason Greenblatt, US Special Representative for International Negotiations, met yesterday with the parents of IDF soldier Hadar Goldin, whose body is being held by Hamas in Gaza.

According to a statement released after the meeting, “Mr. Greenblatt expressed outrage at the inhumane actions of Hamas for holding their son’s body’s hostage. Mr. Greenblatt shared his sincere hope and prayer that their son’s remains would soon be returned.”

Greenblatt tweeted, “Met with Leah & Simcha Goldin to express my deep sympathy on the loss of Hadar. Shame on Hamas for their inhumane actions. #PrayForHadar.”

For further reading click here.

Gaza Power-less
Every month, Israel provides the Gaza Strip with 125 megawatts of electricity, which costs NIS 40 million on average. Israel takes that sum out of the tax money it collects for the Palestinian Authority. As a result of a power struggle with Hamas, who rejects PA rule in Gaza, the Palestinian Authority has decided to cut their financial contributions to Gaza by about 30%. As a result of that, Israel has decide to cut back the electricity it provides to Gaza accordingly. [That’s what happens when you don’t pay your electric bill.]

For further reading click here.

Kosher Shot
Earlier this week Israel’s Milk & Honey (M&H) distillery launched the country’s first-ever malt whisky. The distillery’s first 391 bottles of single malt whisky will go on sale later in June.

For further reading click here.

Startup Nation
The Startup Nation is alive and well, producing companies and technology that are changing the world. Business Insider put together a list of “The 25 coolest tech companies in Israel” with a brief description of each one.

To read the entire list click here.

Israel News for January 24, 2017

Obama’s Gift
According to an AP report, the Obama administration released $221 million of aid to the Palestinian Authority last Friday, just hours before the inauguration of Donald Trump.

Congress had initially approved the Palestinian funding in budget years 2015 and 2016, but at least two GOP lawmakers — Ed Royce of California, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Kay Granger of Texas, who sits on the House Appropriations Committee — had placed holds on it over moves the Palestinian Authority had taken to seek membership in international organizations. Congressional holds are generally respected by the executive branch but are not legally binding after funds have been allocated.

The Obama administration had for some time been pressing for the release of the money for the Palestinian Authority, which comes from the U.S. Agency for International Development. According to the notification sent by the administration to Congress informing them that it would release the funds on Friday, the funds will be earmarked for humanitarian aid in the West Bank and Gaza, to support political and security reforms and to help prepare for good governance and the rule of law in a future Palestinian state.

Quite a farewell gift.

For further reading click here.

Embassy Move
In a meeting with Israeli Minister of Regional Cooperation Tzachi Hanegbi at a conference of Mediterranean countries in Spain yesterday, European Union Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini stated that the EU countries will keep their embassies in Tel Aviv, despite Trump’s promise to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. Whether the US will actually move the embassy has not yet been determined.

For further reading click here.

Giuliani in Jerusalem
Former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is part of a White House team responsible for strengthening the US governments cyber security, arrived in Israel today. Giuliani is traveling to Israel for his law firm, Greenberg Trauring, and while there he is expected to meet with Netanyahu.

For further reading click here.

Government Pot
The Ministries of Agriculture and Health will provide NIS 8 million in funding for 13 medical cannabis studies. The studies, which will be financed through a fund operated by the chief scientist unit, will deal with biochemical and medical aspects, as well as improving medical cannabis crop yields.

The Ministry of Agriculture today said that funding the studies was a pioneering step for Israel that could enable researchers to conduct basic and applied research for five years, during which tools and infrastructure would be developed to facilitate the next generation of cannabis plant products for medical use.

Among the biochemical and medical studies approved by the Ministries of Agriculture and Health are identification and specification of new ingredients in strains of medical cannabis, the use of cannabis and its effect on vision, involvement of cannabis in the development of colon cancer, treatment of multiple sclerosis using cannabis, the use of cannabis to prevent rejection of transplanted organs, and a test of the plant’s ability to delay the development of harmful bacteria.

The 13 cannabis studies to receive state support will be conducted by drug companies, universities, research institutes, and hospitals. Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel said, “The program shows that agriculture is important in all aspects of life.”

For further reading click here.

Road Fatalities
After the fatal car accident that killed four people in northern Israel Monday, Giora Rom, the head of the Israel National Road Safety Authority said that Arab drivers in Israel are the cause of the high rate of road deaths in the country. He said, “The problem here is wild driving that hikes up the high percentage of casualties in the Arab sector.” He added that, “they are 20% of the population in Israel but accounted for a third of road deaths in 2016 and half of all deaths since the new year.”

For further reading click here.

Jerusalem Biography
If you want to learn the history of Jerusalem from a book that will keep you enthralled from beginning to end, you must read Jerusalem: The Biographyby Simon Sebag Montefiore. It’s the kind of book that you’ll read more than once and keep on your shelf as a go to reference. I personally love it. I think you will too. To read more reviews and get the book, click here

Israel News for December 13, 2016

Breaking News
A Palestinian women attempted to ram her car into soldiers at the Qalandiya checkpoint near Jerusalem. After soldiers fired in the air the women emerged from her car holding a knife and screaming “Allahu Akbar”. The soldiers quickly arrested her without any injuries.

For further reading click here.

Embassy Move
Kellyanne Conway, a senior aide to Donald Trump, confirmed in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that Trump intends to fulfill his promise to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv To Jerusalem.

Conway said, “That is very big priority for this president-elect, Donald Trump. He made it very clear during the campaign, Hugh, and as president-elect I’ve heard him repeat it several times privately, if not publicly.”

Presidents Bill and Clinton and George H. W. Bush both promised to move the embassy during their campaigns but then backed down during their presidency. But Conway expressed confidence in Trump’s ability to follow through on his promise saying, “It is a great move. It is an easy move to do based on how much he talked about that in the debates and in the sound bites.”

In 1995 Congress passed a law mandating the embassy move but included a presidential waiver that lapses every six months. Each president since then has exercised the waiver, with President Barack Obama doing so as recently as last week. The waiver requires that the president assess that moving the embassy would pose a national security risk to the United States.

For further reading click here.

Israel Gets Aircraft
Israel yesterday received the first two F-35 stealth fighter aircraft to be sold to any country outside of the US. The aircraft cost $110 million each and are first of 50 planes Israel has ordered at a total cost of $5 billion. That will come out of the $38 billion military aide package Israel received from the US, and go right back into the US economy.

While the F-35 is not faster and cannot carry more missiles and bombs as the F-15 and F-16 jets that Israel currently flies, it can fly undetected. Israel generals call that a game changer, since it will allow the aircraft to be mostly invisible to enemy aircraft and ground-based antiaircraft batteries.

Israeli officials say the F-35 will be used for all its air force missions, including in possible future confrontations with Iran and the militant groups Hezbollah and Hamas.

The F-35s were greeted by PM Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and senior IDF officers, MKs, businessmen and other officials.

Netanyahu thanked the US administration for its staunch commitment to Israel security and added, “Our long arm has now become longer and mightier.” He also said, “I want to be clear: Anyone who thinks of attacking us will be attacked. History has taught us that only strength brings deterrence, only strength brings peace and respect.”

Carter reiterated that Israel is the first country to receive the aircraft and said, “Together, we will dominate the skies. With the turmoil in the region, we’re more dedicated to Israel’s security today than ever before.”

For further reading and to watch a video, click here.

New Kotel Bill
A new bill has been submitted to the Knesset, which would place the entire Kotel area under the jurisdiction of the Chief Rabbinate and prevent any form of prayer that does not conform to Orthodox practice. The bill is supported by the Ultra Orthodox parties along with some members of Bayit Yehudi and Likud.

The bill would destroy the compromise agreement reached by the government and the non Orthodox Jewish movements to form an egalitarian prayer space at the southern end of the Kotel, near Robinson’s Arch. It would also impose a fine of around $2,500 or a six-month prison sentence on participants in egalitarian prayer services or on women who use a tallit or tefillin.

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky slammed the bill saying, “This bill makes a mockery of all the efforts made by recent governments to ensure that the Western Wall is a place that unites, rather than divides, the Jewish people. This bill’s passage would have grave consequences for the relationship between Israel and Diaspora Jewry. Based on the Prime Minister’s strong personal commitment to strengthening the Israel-Diaspora relationship, it is my fervent hope that this damaging bill will be summarily dismissed by a majority of the coalition and of the Knesset.”

For further reading click here.

PM Trip
PM Netanyahu embarked today on a two day visit to Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. The PM remarked, “These are two large and significant countries in the Islamic world and our goal is to strengthen diplomatic, security and economic relations with them.” Both countries have vast natural resources.

For further reading click here.

Snubbing Sweden
Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström will be visiting Israel and the Palestinian Authority, but Israeli leaders will not be around to meet her. Wallström has become famous for her pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel comments, and the government is letting her know that they won’t stand for them.

Wallström asked to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu and with other Israeli ministers but the official response she received was that the Israeli officials could not fit her into their schedule. The Swedish foreign minister decided to go ahead with her planned visit and meet with officials in the Palestinian Authority.

For further reading click here.

Israel News for April 5, 2016

Electric Bill
Have you paid your electric bill? Well, the Palestinian Authority hasn’t paid its for a while. Israel provides electricity to the West Bank through several Palestinian distribution companies. The PA currently owes the Israel Electric Company close to $460 million. So yesterday the company cut power to Bethlehem by 50% after doing the same in Jericho a few days earlier. Last year, it briefly cut off power to parts of the West Bank several times. It has also deducted money from regular tax transfers to the Palestinians to help cover the debts.

The PA gets hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid every year in addition to the taxes it collects domestically. Now they need to pay their electric bills.

For further reading click here.

Jordanian Workers
If you’re planning a vacation in Eilat, there’s a good chance you’ll here Arabic spoken by the hotel staff. No, they won’t be Palestinians. Israel has just authorized 500 Jordanians to work in hotels in Eilat ahead of vacation season. They will join the 400 Jordanians already working there. The workers will go home to Jordan every night.

According to the Tourism Ministry the Jordanians will primarily be employed in cleaning, dishwashing and room service. The Ministry said that efforts have been made to encourage Israeli workers to fill the jobs in Eilat including giving them bonuses, free lodging and day care. But “surprisingly”, Israelis aren’t interested in the jobs.

Lucky we made peace with Jordan.

For further reading click here.

Affirmative Action
While discrimination against Sephardim is alive and well in the Ashkenazi Haredi community in Israel, there now seems to be a solution, at least for some Sephardim.

Rav Chaim Kanievsky, recognized as the premiere posek (halachic authority) in the hared community, received a question that read as follows: “Can a man whose children are not being accepted into an Ashkenazi yeshiva change his Sephardi family name to an Ashkenazi sounding name so that his kids will be accepted?”

Rav Kanievsky answered, “This is not considered trickery. The main thing is that the kids get into yeshiva.” Problem solved, as long as you don’t look Sephardi.

For further reading click here.

Meat Bust
After an investigation by the Israel Police, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Health, nine people were arrested yesterday for smuggling meat from the Palestinian territories into Israel.

Here’s how it worked. A Palestinian importer bought meat in South America that was intended for the Palestinian Authority and imported it via Haifa’s port. From Haifa the meat was stored in the Palestinian town of A-Ram outside of Jerusalem, and from there it was smuggled into Israel through various checkpoints under substandard conditions that are contrary to Ministry of Health regulations. The meat was brought to a storage area in Atarot, where it was repackaged with forgeries of kosher certifications, expiration dates and veterinary authorizations. From there it was distributed to popular restaurants and shops throughout the country.

The investigators will now try to determine whether restaurant owners were involved in the fraud.

For further reading click here.

Deja Vu
If your stomach is feeling particular strong today, you might be able to handle this story about the “kosher” restaurant in Lviv, Ukraine (formerly known as Lviv and Lemberg – depending on who ruled the city). Before WWII the Jewish population of the city numbered 110,000, which was one third of the entire population. Then the Nazis took over in 1941 and, with the enthusiastic encouragement and assistance of the local Ukrainians, murdered almost all of them. There are currently 1,200 Jews living in Lviv, but the memory of the Jews seems to still be on the minds of the locals.

One of the ways that they commemorate their city’s Jewish past is with a small restaurant called The Golden Rose, named after a 16th century synagogue that stood next door until it was blown up by the Nazis in 1943. The restaurant has Jewish art and symbols on its walls. The waiters wear Hasidic hats with peyos attached and joke about Jewish stereotypes. The menus have no prices, because Jews like to bargain. You get the picture. You can also find these types of eateries in Krakow and Kiev, and probably other places in the blood-soaked “Old Country”.

Is it politically incorrect to say that I hope they all finally get what they deserve? Oh well.

To read more about one reporters experience in this Lviv restaurant, click here.

War Against Toys
Toys R’ Us, the iconic US based toy store chain, is under attack in Jerusalem by, guess who — the Haredim. The toy store chain is implementing a global campaign to do away with gender categories of toys. In other words, no more grouping or categorizing of toys based on gender. The Jerusalem branch has come under fire from elements in the Haredi community who are threatening to boycott the store and “excommunicate” it, claiming that the new policy threatens modesty and is a bad influence on its youth. According to one boycott proponent, “Toys R Us is trying to change creation, confuse the genders, and go against human nature as God created it.”

Personally, I always found the super heroes in tights thing extremely confusing. Would making them wear pants solve this whole gender dilemma?

For further reading click here.

Israel News for February 26, 2016

Terror Attack
A 47 year old security guard was found unconscious with several stab wounds to his upper body early this morning at the Ma’ale Adumim mall south of Jerusalem. The wounds were apparently made by an ax. Security forces suspect the attack was nationalistically motivated and have closed off the city to all Palestinian workers until Sunday. The victim was rushed to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, where he is fighting for his life.

For further reading click here.

Terrorist Payback
Palestinian terrorist Naif Hassan Omar Zaid, 51, was convicted of murdering yeshiva student Eliyahu Amadi in Jerusalem’s Old City back in 1986. He was sentenced to life in prison, but escaped while being transferred to a hospital during a hunger strike, and has been living in Bulgaria for the past 22 years. In December 2015, Israel demanded Bulgarian authorities extradite. Since then, Zaid has taken refuge at the Palestinian Authority embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital city.

This morning local media reported that Zaid was found dead at the embassy. The Palestinians claim that he was assassinated by the Mossad. Israel claims no connection to the attack.

Everyone agrees that the terrorist is dead. Good enough?

For further reading click here.

PM vs. Cameron
Yesterday we reported that British Prime Minister David Cameron criticized Israeli construction in East Jerusalem. PM Netanyahu has responded saying, “My friend David Cameron, who is undoubtedly a friend of Israel, probably forgot some basic facts about Jerusalem. Only Israeli sovereignty is preventing ISIS and Hamas from setting fire to the holy sites in the city, like they do elsewhere across the Middle East.”

He added that, “Only Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem guarantees the rule of law for everyone, something that doesn’t exist in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Libya or other parts of the Middle East, including the Palestinian Authority and Gaza.”

So there.

For further reading click here.

Kotel Controversy
While 150 Reform rabbis held an egalitarian prayer service at the site of the soon to be opened southern section of the Kotel, the Chief Rabbinate Council sharply criticized the Chief Rabbi of the Kotel, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, for endorsing the compromise agreement that permitted the establishment of the new section.

Just before the release of the critical statement by the Rabbinate, the Chief Rabbi of the Old City of Jerusalem, Rabbi Nebenzahl, issued a letter supporting Rabbi Rabinowitz, concluding it with a strong endorsement saying, “I trust him with all my heart to work to save the remains of our Holy Temple and to act with sanctity and purity worthy of praise.”

Meanwhile, the Council of Sages of Agudas Yisroel, the political faction representing the Chasidic communities in Israel, released a statement instructing their representatives to cooperate with the government only on condition that it passes legislation to preserve the status quo, which grants control of official religion (Judaism) in Israel exclusively to the Orthodox. The Council of Sages is comprised of prominent Chasidic Rebbes of the communities of Ger, Viznitz, Sanz, Boyan, Belz, Slonim, Biala, Modzhitz and Sadigora.

Despite the harsh words, there have been no threats by the religious parties to leave the government, which would cause it to fall. Not yet.

For further reading click here.

Marriage Dilemma
All Jewish marriages in Israel must be registered by the local Rabbinate and must be conducted by rabbis approved by the Rabbinate. Jewish couples must meet certain religious requirements in order to be registered and married by the rabbinate.

Tzohar, a religious zionist rabbinic organization whose members are approved to perform weddings by the Chief Rabbinate, has become an attractive alternative for couples when seeking a rabbi to perform their wedding. The Rabbinate doesn’t like that very much, because it feels undermined. There’s also the matter of the income lost by Rabbinate representatives who don’t get the chance to perform as many weddings (and collect as many gratuities) as they used to before Tzohar came on the scene.

The ongoing friction between the Israeli Rabbinate and Tzohar might be the cause of a new obstacle for engaged couples who want to get married. Over 100 couples from the Haifa region who registered to get married in recent months through Tzohar and not directly through the rabbinate have received judgments from the Rabbinate claiming that they are ineligible for marriage either because they are not Jewish, they have been previously married or that they are illegitimate (Mamzer). These claims have been proven to be false.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs has promised to investigate the situation.

Trouble in Egypt
The Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram reported yesterday that the Egyptian parliamentarian Tawfik Okasha had dinner on Wednesday with Israeli ambassador Haim Koren and the two talked politics. Okasha reportedly discussed several local and regional issues with Koren, including the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the construction of the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

The dinner sparked outrage on social media by many users who criticized Okasha for “hypocrisy” since he has made his opposition to “an American-Zionist conspiracy to destabilize Egypt” a hallmark of his one-man television show, which airs on the local Faraeen TV channel.

Mostafa Bakry, an MP and TV presenter who also subscribes to the American-Zionist conspiracy theories, slammed Okasha’s actions as “unforgivable treason” and a “shame”, according to Al-Ahram. Veteran radio host Hamdi El-Konayesi also blasted Okasha and said his behavior was “unacceptable”.

The report of the “scandalous” meeting appeared just hours after President Reuven Rivlin accepted the credentials of Egypt’s new Ambassador to Israel, Hazem Ahdy Khairat, marking the end of a more than three-year period without any Egyptian Ambassador to Israel.
At least we still have the peace treaty, for the time being.

For further reading click here.

German Bestseller
Guess what the newest bestselling book is in Germany: Mein Kampf. A new annotated edition of Adolf Hitler’s notorious autobiography, which served as the foundation for the Final Solution, was released last week for the first time in 70 years by the Institute for Contemporary History.

After World War II, the government of Bavaria, which owned the copyright, forbade its publication. But the copyright has expired and there’s nothing to stop the book’s publication and distribution.

According to Dr. Efraim Zuroff, Director General of the Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, “Over the years, those who really wanted to read the book could find a copy despite the ban, the book has even been translated into Hebrew. However, in this scientific edition, the text does not stand alone. The Institute that issued the book certainly does not support the Nazis, they are serious people and the book definitely came out in good hands.”

But still, it’s Mein Kampf. And it’s sold out. Think about it.

For further reading click here.

Israel News for November 3, 2015

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More Terror
In Netanya on Monday evening, a 22 year old Palestinian stabbed a 70 year old Israeli man, seriously wounding him. Police shot the attacker and arrested him.

Earlier on Monday, a 19 year old Palestinian from Hebron stabbed an 80 year old woman and two men aged 35 and 26 in Rishon Letzion. Police arrested the terrorist.

In both terror attacks the police had to protect the arrested terrorists from angry mobs.

In a recent interview with Yediot Ahronot, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid insisted that the only solution to the terror is for Israel to completely separate from the Palestinians. He didn’t explain the logistics of such a separation, but he was clear that it cannot be a unilateral separation but rather one that is agreed upon by both sides. He also said that Saudi Arabia would be open to helping this occur. In Lapid’s vision, the IDF would be permitted to enter the Palestinian zone whenever necessary.

Has Lapid forgotten that the Palestinians want their own state, complete with sovereign borders and a military to defend them, with Jerusalem as its capital? Lapid is offering them basically what they already have, surrounded by a hermetically sealed wall to keep them out of Israel. Does he seriously think that they’ll accept that, or that Saudi Arabia will help convince them to? Seems like some very wishful thinking.

Watch the interview here.

Returning Bodies of Terrorists
Despite the cabinet’s decision not to return the bodies of terrorists to their families, the IDF has decided to return the bodies. Palestinian clan leaders and activists have been carrying out a campaign consisting of private discussions with Israeli military officials as well as organized protests to convince the Israelis that not returning the bodies will cause more unrest and violence. The campaign seems to have worked.

Five bodies were recently returned to families in the Hebron area. The bodies were given elaborate funerals and official Palestinian Authority ceremonies and honors. As a result, Israel is now demanding that all funerals of returned terrorists take place at night, so as to minimize the attendance and fanfare.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said on Sunday morning that returning the bodies will continue if there’s a guarantee that the funerals will be kept low key. Otherwise, he’ll have the bodies buried in Israel.

For further reading click here.

Jail Time
The Knesset yesterday approved a law to impose a minimum prison sentence of 2 – 4 years on rock-throwers if there is evidence proving intent to harm. The law was approved by a vote of 51-17.

The law also approved fines and law suits against families of minors convicted of throwing rocks for nationalistic reasons or as an act of terrorism. In addition, National Insurance benefits (including child support) will be revoked from parents of such a minor.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, the architect of the law, said Israel needed to find creative solutions to stop the recent wave of terror, adding the law will “force parents to take responsibility and pay the price for their children’s actions”.

If being killed or going to prison is not enough of a deterrent for these kids, maybe hitting their parents where it really hurts will be.

For further reading click here.

Police Ban Visits
Several weeks ago PM Netanyahu banned members of knesset from visiting the Temple Mount. But it seems that the police didn’t get the message, or maybe just ignored it. That’s changed.

On Monday, acting Police Chief Commander Bentzi Sau placed a temporary ban on all MKs from visiting the Temple Mount. This comes in the wake of the unauthorized visit of Joint List MK Basel Ghattas to the Mount last week, which several ministers and public officials claimed was a direct incitement to violence.

For further reading click here.

No more fireworks
Economy Minister Aryeh Deri signed an order yesterday banning the import of garden fireworks to Israel at the request of Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan. The fireworks are frequently used in attacks on Israeli security forces during violent demonstrations on the Temple Mount and in Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem. They have also been used in attacks on Jewish homes in these neighborhoods. The police say these fireworks can be lethal and the harm they can cause far outweighs any economic damage to the importers.

Fireworks are commonly used at Muslim wedding celebrations. We’ll take dull Muslim wedding over terrorism any day.

For further reading click here.

Netanya Expands
If you’re thinking of moving to Netanya, or if you happen to own land there, you might be in luck.
Construction is beginning on a new neighborhood in the western part of the city that will include 3,000 housing unit, over 2 million sq.ft. of commercial space, public buildings and a park.
Owners of plots of land included in the building plan made a nice return on their investment. Lucky them.

For further reading click here.

Stray Cat Strut
In these times of ongoing terror and heightened stress, it’s comforting to know that Israel’s cabinet is totally focused on dealing with the crisis. Well, maybe not all cabinet members.

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel is focusing his attention on solving what he believes to be a major issue for Israel: stray cats. If you’ve been to Israel you know that there are stray cats just about everywhere. The Environmental Protection Ministry spends over one million dollars annually on neutering and spaying stray cats, in an attempt to control their numbers.

Ariel, who is a member of the religious Bayit Yehudi party, believes that neutering or spaying animals is against Jewish law. He therefore suggested that Israel’s cat population be transferred to a foreign country. His idea didn’t go over very well with just about everyone, from politicians to animal rights groups.
Ariel subsequently retracted his proposal, but still wants to end the government’s neutering program and instead use the money for research into the stray problem.

Is he serious?

For further reading click here.

Israel Film Festival
The Other Israel Film Festival, taking place from November 25 – 12, presents dramatic and documentary films, as well as engaging panels about history, culture, and identity on the topic of minority populations in Israel with a focus on Arab citizens of Israel,, who make up twenty percent of Israel’s population. The festival will present the films Colliding Dreams, Censored Voices, Dégradé, Jeruzalem, Mussa, Oriented, Partner With The Enemy and more.

For more info click here.

abbas and terror

Abbas Incites Palestinians With Huge Lie

Despite calling for calm just over a week ago, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, gave a 5 minute address on the official “Palestine” television station that was far from calming.

Abbas called on the “Palestinian heroes” to continue their struggle for peace, and for all Palestinians to unite in their nationalistic cause. He referred to Palestinians minors killed in the recent wave of violence and said the blood of our youth are on the Israeli governments and settlers hands. He held up a picture of Ahmed Manasra, the 13 year old attacker who stabbed a Jewish boy a few days ago, and claimed that he had been killed by the Israeli government. I guess Abbas wasn’t informed that Manasra was only wounded. He obviously wouldn’t lie about something like that, right?


Footage of Manasra was released Thursday morning showing him alive and kicking, well maybe not kicking but eating hospital food. His doctors at Hadassa Ein Kerem reported that his condition is improving and he should be released from hospital over the next couple of days.


Abbas told Palestinians to protect the sanctity of the Haram Al Sharif (Temple Mount) and to resist Israel’s efforts to change the status quo, which prohibits non Muslims from praying there. He called for international protection of Haram Al Sharif and the Palestinians. He said “Israeli incitement is threatening the stability and could ignite an all out religious war”.

PM Netanyahu called Abbas’ words “inciting and lies”. He explained why, but we already know the answers, and the Palestinians aren’t interested in hearing them.

So much for calm.

For further reading:

police in tel aviv

Israel News for October 15, 2015

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Breaking News
Acting on new intelligence reports, Shin Bet and Police officers closed off several major roads in Tel Aviv and arrested two Arabs from East Jerusalem in Givatayim (bordering Tel Aviv) on suspicion of planning to carry out a terror attack.

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Two More Terror Attacks
A 72 year old woman was stabbed and moderately wounded yesterday evening on Jaffa street near the central bus station. A bus driver helped her onto his bus and closed the doors on the terrorist, who then tried to stab a policeman but was shot dead. The entire bus station was shut down while police searched for accomplices. The terrorist was a 23 year old resident of East Jerusalem who was incarcerated from 2012-2015 for terror related crimes.

Earlier in the day, a 19 year old Palestinian from Hebron brandishing a knife charged at police near the Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem. Border policemen shot and killed the assailant. Two people were lightly wounded from the gunfire.

Israeli security forces have begun taking measures approved by the cabinet yesterday to beef up security. The IDF deployed 300 soldiers to reinforce police in cities across Israel. Authorities also erected concrete barriers and checkpoints at the entrances of some Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, where many of the terrorists come from.

A senior IDF official said that closures of Arab neighborhoods is not a good long term solution, since terrorists still find ways out while the rest of the population remains stuck at home and grows angrier.

Abbas Speaks Out
Despite calling for calm just over a week ago, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, gave a 5 minute address on the official “Palestine” television station that was far from calming.

Abbas called on the “Palestinian heroes” to continue their struggle for peace, and for all Palestinians to unite in their nationalistic cause. He held up a picture of Ahmed Manasra, the 13 year old attacker who stabbed a Jewish boy a few days ago, and claimed that he had been killed by the Israeli government. I guess Abbas wasn’t informed that Manasra was only wounded. He obviously wouldn’t lie about something like that, right?

Abbas told Palestinians to protect the sanctity of the Haram Al Sharif (Temple Mount) and to resist Israel’s efforts to change the status quo, which prohibits non Muslims from praying there.

PM Netanyahu called Abbas’ words “inciting and lies”. He explained why, but we already know the answers, and the Palestinians aren’t interested in hearing them.

So much for calm.

For further reading:

Israelis Against Closures
There’s one group of Israelis who are adamantly against closing off Arab neighborhoods with roadblocks and checkpoints. No, they aren’t leftists. In fact, they are probably further to the right than most.

We’re referring to the Jews who live in the Arab areas of East Jerusalem, who feel that the closures are sending the message that Jerusalem is not united, but is split into two separate cities: East and West. That defeats their whole purpose of being there — to demonstrate that Jerusalem is one united city.

The Jewish residents of East Jerusalem aren’t surprised by the recent violence, and they aren’t taking any extra security measures. They claim that they live under these same circumstances on a daily basis, so they’re already well prepared.

The residents are used to hearing nightly calls from the mosque loudspeakers relating to Jews, Israel and Netanyahu — in not very positive terms, to say the least. They also get their share of molotov cocktails thrown at them. But they’re determined to stay put.

For further reading:,7340,L-4711552,00.html

Gun Control
In many instances during the recent wave of terror, civilians have assisted police in subduing or apprehending terrorists. Yesterday, Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan approved regulations to make it easier for Israelis to obtain and carry guns, in light of the security situation. He said that citizens trained to use guns strengthens the fight against terror. Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat urged citizens licensed to carry guns to do so. Gun sales are soaring.

So what they’re saying is that the more Israelis carrying guns, the safer everyone will be. As strange as that sounds to American ears, it seems to be true in Israel, where so many people are already armed but gun violence (in non criminal circles) is almost non existent. Gun control proponents, take note.

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Building Fences
The current fence separating Gaza from Israel hasn’t been very effective recently. Gazans have stormed the fence and broken through it on several occasions. Now the Israeli government is planning to build a new fence, similar to the one that runs along the Egyptian border. The new high tech fence will replace the existing barbed wire one and will extend along the entire 40 mile border with Gaza. Good luck breaking through this one.

Knives for Sale
The Rami Levy supermarket chain is taking it’s own security precautions to the next level. The chain will be checking all customers and employees entering the store, for weapons. It will also remove all knife displays in the store. Customers will have to get their knives at the customer service desk.

There is Hope
Just when it looks like Jewish Arab relations are doomed, a glimmer of hope arises. Hundreds of Arabs and Jews from the Jezreel Valley in the Galilee demonstrated together on the main road of the Bedouin village of Zarzir. They carried Israeli flags and signs and chanted, “end the violence”. A similar demonstration took place in the Negev.

When extremists are removed from the equation, peace is possible.

For further reading:

Israel News for August 27, 2015

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More Terror in Jerusalem
A 56 year old Arab resident of Hebron arrived in Jerusalem’s Old City yesterday carrying an axe and a knife. His intent was to kill police officers. At around 7pm he confronted two border policemen and swung his axe at them but missed. When they chased him down and attempted to restrain him he stabbed one of them. The officer was lightly wounded. Hamas claimed credit for the attack.

The assailant was imprisoned in 1989 for murdering Israel Prize winner Menachem Stern. He was released in 2013 with hundreds of other prisoners in the Gilad Shalit deal.

Late last night, molotov cocktails were thrown at a border police jeep in the mixed Arab-Jewish Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Tor. No one in the jeep was injured. The Arabs continued throwing rocks at firemen who arrived to put out the fire and prevent it from spreading to nearby homes.

In an unrelated development, the IDF and police have decided to beef up security on highway 443, one of only two major highways that connect Jerusalem to the center of the country. This is in response to several terror attacks along the route including the stabbing of a motorist at a gas station and multiple Molotov Cocktail attacks.

Rockets from Gaza
A rocket fired from Gaza landed in an open area in the Eshkol Regional Council near the Israel-Gaza border causing no injuries or damage. Last week the IDF moved Iron Dome batteries into the area, but there was no alert sounded. Two other rockets were fired a couple of days ago from different areas of Gaza, but both fell within Palestinian territory.

While Hamas is still actively supporting and promoting terrorism in Israel, it does not want to start a war with Israel by firing rockets. So it seems like there are other, even more extreme elements running around Gaza trying to start trouble by goading Israel into another war. Ironically, Hamas is working hard to prevent them from doing that.

Good Times in Ramallah
Times are good in the Palestinian Authority. Well, maybe just for President Mahmoud Abbas. He’s building a $13 million mansion on a hilltop in Ramallah, his capital city, according to an announcement by the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction (PECDAR).

The mansion, which will be over 15,000 square feet in size and include two helipads and a separate 13,000 square foot mansion for administrative personnel, is being financed by the PLO budget, which in turn is largely funded by US donations.

Over the past two decades it’s estimated that the US and Europe have donated over $25 billion dollars to the Palestinian Authority. It doesn’t look like that money has gone to help improve the conditions of the people living there. So where did all the money go? Hmm.

Bennet and Allergies
Dozens of parents of children with life threatening allergies protested outside an education conference in Holon where Education Minister Naftali Bennet was speaking, to protest government budget cuts which eliminate shadows for their children in school.

The parents say the shadows prevent their children from being exposed to foods which could put them at risk. They’re threatening not to send their children to school for the new academic year if they do not have shadows to protect them. They say that sending their kids to school would be putting their lives at risk.

Shabbat Fines Dropped
In yesterday’s issue we reported on the kosher restaurant in Tel Aviv that was being fined by the owners of the Sharona shopping center for closing on Shabbat in alleged violation of their lease agreement. Well, the center owners have decided to drop the fines (it had nothing to do with our reporting!) in a show of what they call “communal responsibility”.

But it doesn’t end there. The Sharona owners say that they will pursue their breach of contract case in the courts. The restaurant owners, a couple in their 40’s, say that even though they are personally not religiously observant, they firmly believe that keeping their shop closed on Shabbat is the right thing to do and under no circumstances will they work on Shabbat. They say they would rather close their business, which is what they might have to do if the Sharona owners press their case.

Bottom Line
The shop owners signed an agreement pledging to keep their store open 7 days a week. Even though their agreement with God is more important in the grand scheme of things, in a court of law, a contract is a contract.