settlements israel

Israel News for June 7, 2017

New Settlements
Speaking at a ceremony yesterday commemorating the Six Day War and Israeli settlement of Judea and Samaria, the Prime Minister reiterated his pro-settlement stance saying, “No one will be uprooted from their home, I’m doing everything to protect the settlement enterprise. We decided to build in all parts of Judea and Samaria and we are building both inside and outside the settlements.”

Netanyahu’s remarks come in the wake of a plan proposed by Minister of Housing and Construction, Yoav Galant (Kulanu) to build 67,000 new homes in Samaria to deal with the housing crisis in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.

As part of the plan, the Yesha Council commissioned a panel of experts to map out the total amount of vacant land available for construction in the area between Karnei Shomron in the north, through the city of Ariel and up to Modi’in.
The panel ultimately determined that the western area of Samaria could immediately accommodate the construction of some 67,000 housing units, which could house at least 340,000 people. The target price of a four room apartment in the area would be around NIS 1.2 million (pretty cheap), which would in turn lead to weakened demand and pricing in the Tel Aviv region.

It’s unclear how all of this talk of settlement building will jive with President Trump’s request that Israel reduce its settlement construction activity and the Israeli government’s recent slashing in planned construction.

For further reading click here.

Gaza Clashes
IDF troops fired warning shots across the border into Gaza as dozens of Arab demonstrators threw rocks and rolled blazing tires at the border fence from Gaza. Hamas claims that one demonstrator was killed by the Israeli fire. The IDF spokesperson claimed no knowledge of any casualties.

For further reading click here.

Palestine Apparel
Sears has decided to remove a line of clothing from its website that features pro-Palestinian messages including “Free Palestine”. Sears claims that the clothing was uploaded by a third-party seller (Spreadshirt Collection) on the Sears website and that it pulled the clothing due to feedback it received. Sears said that it was unfairly singled out on this issue,” since the offending items are widely available on Amazon and Walmart. The company has 200 employees in Israel.

At the end of the day the massive outcry against the apparel in the press and on social media has probably done much to publicize the items and shoot sales through the roof. As the saying goes, all PR is good PR.

To buy a Free Palestine shirt, click here — – just kidding!!

For further reading click here.

Book Fair
Hebrew Book Week kicks off in Israel tonight with fairs in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Rishon Lezion. For ten days, thousands of books, both old and new titles, will be offered at discounted prices at the fairs as well as in book stores across the country. In addition, cultural events are for all ages will be held in public libraries and at the fairs. This is the 56th anniversary of the book week.

Meanwhile, according to data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), around 24% of Jewish adults in Israel and 49% of Israeli Arabs don’t read books at all.

According to the National Library, some 7,300 books were published in 2016, 89% of them in Hebrew and 3% in Arabic. Almost 40% of commercial books were released in Israel by the big publishing houses, with 46% released by some 200 smaller publishers.

For further reading click here.

Israel News for October 20, 2016

Terrorists Arrested
The Shin Bet and police have arrested 5 terrorists from the Palestinian village of Ni’ilin who shot at IDF soldiers on Yom Kippur. The arrests occurred just hours after the attack, but were only cleared for publication yesterday. No soldiers were injured in the attack.

Israeli forces also shut down a printing press in a-Ram that was publishing posters praising the terrorist that killed two Israeli’s in Jerusalem last week.

To watch a video of the attack and arrests, click here.

Women March
Last night thousands of women participated in a demonstration called the “March of Hope” outside of the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem. The event was organized by Women Wage Peace, which includes both Israeli and Palestinian women and which has organized similar demonstrations in different parts of the country.

For further reading click here.

PM Warns Settlers
In a meeting with residents of Ofra and the outpost of Amona, which is meant to be evacuated by the end of the year, the Prime Minister urged them not to make any “mistakes” during the final weeks of the Obama administration that could provoke the outgoing President to support a UN resolution unfavorable to Israel.

The PM warned the settlers that other US Presidents have used the period just before leaving office to advance initiatives contrary to Israel’s interests.

For further reading click here.

Jewish Congressmen Protest
A group of Jewish US members of Congress signed a statement yesterday condemning the recent UNESCO resolution that denied any Jewish historical connection to the Temple Mount and Western Wall. The group included Nita Lowey (D-NY), Sandy Levin (D-MI), David Cicilline (D-RI), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Susan Davis (D-CA), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Alan Grayson (D-FL), Steve Israel (D-NY), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Jared Polis (D-CO), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), John Yarmuth (D-KY), and Lee Zeldin (R-NY).

The statement concluded by saying, “Such brazen disrespect and failure to recognize the legitimacy of Jewish existence in the ancient Jewish homeland only serves to distort history, inflame tensions, and impede peace between Israelis and Palestinians. We commend the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, Lithuania, and Estonia for voting against and the 26 countries that abstained from supporting such a biased and counterproductive resolution.”

For further reading click here.

Seeking Blessings
Thousands lined up in Bnei Brak yesterday to receive a blessing from Rav Chaim Kanievsky, one of the most senior Haredi rabbinic leaders.

To watch a video and see photos of the event, click here.

Over 30,000 people visited the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron yesterday. Prayers services were lead by Assisted Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Dahan, who also addressed the crowd and reiterated the Jewish connection to all of the Land of Israel.

To watch a video of the minister click here.

Israel News for September 7, 2016

Prayer Banned
Jews are already banned from praying on the Temple Mount. Now Israeli police has extended the ban to include the entire Muslim quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City. Police have recently arrested a number of Jews found praying outside the entrances to the Temple Mount. At a court hearing on Monday, Police claimed that the ban on Jewish prayer extends to the entrances of the Temple Mount and even to the entire Muslim quarter, because it is considered “disturbing the peace,” unless coordinated in advance with police.

According to police, “Prayer is permissible anywhere in the Jewish Quarter, but the moment you come without permission and pray in the Muslim Quarter, that causes a public disturbance. Inside the Muslim Quarters and the entrances it is forbidden to pray.” The judge agreed.

Ba careful where you pray in Jerusalem. You could get arrested.

For further reading click here.

Building Collapse Arrest
Police have made an arrest relating to Monday’s building collapse in Tel Aviv which killed four workers. Rescue forces are still searching for three missing workers who they hope might still be alive in the rubble. The identity of the individual arrested is being kept secret. The investigation into the causes of the collapse is continuing.

For further reading click here.

Shabbat Train
Last Friday, just minutes before the onset of Shabbat, PM Netanyahu ordered a halt to the work on the railroad by Israel Railways as a result of pressure from the Ultra-Orthodox parties who claimed that the work was a blatant violation of the Shabbat laws by a government organization. The sudden stoppage in work caused major cancellations and chaos in the normal railway schedules on Saturday night and Sunday, which in turn resulted in angry commuters and heavy traffic jams.

Yesterday Israel’s Supreme Court issued an interim ruling saying that the Prime Minister does not have the authority to prohibit the railroad company from doing infrastructure work on Shabbat. The court ruling was in response to a petition submitted by Meretz MK Zehava Galon. The court ordered the train company “not to heed any provision regarding infrastructure and maintenance work given to it by the Prime Minister, until a final decision is made on the petition.”

The government claimed that the PM did not cancel the permits and that only the Transportation Minister has the authority to cancel permits. The government said, “The permits were not cancelled and remain valid. Therefore, Israel Railways may make use of the permits as long as they have not been cancelled.”

What will happen this coming Shabbat is yet to be seen.

For further reading click here.

Election Poll
According to a new poll released by Israel’s Channel 2 News, if new elections were held now, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid’s party would grab 24 seats, more than double the 11 it garnered in the last election. PM Netanyahu’s Likud party would only get 22, down from the 30 it got last time. That would make Lapid the new Prime Minister, assuming he could put together a coalition. But that might not be so easy, considering that the Zionist Union would potentially drop from 24 seats to just 13 and Finance Minister Moshe Kahalon’s party would drop from 10 seats to 6.

That means Lapid, who is considered to be a “centrist”, would have a hard time forming a non right wing government. On the other hand, Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi party is estimated to jump from 8 seats to 14 while Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beyteinu will potentially go from its current 6 to 10. Add the Ultra Orthodox parties to the mix and Netanyahu will probably still have the upper hand in forming a right wing coalition. But anything can happen in Israeli politics.

For further reading click here.

Second Temple Discovery
Archeologists have reconstructed sections of the flooring of the Second Temple from tiles dumped in the trash by Waqf authorities, who administer the Temple Mount area. The archeologists are part of the Temple Mount Sifting Project, in which they sift through the debri discarded by the Waqf in search of valuable artifacts. Much of the debris is from excavation and construction projects carried out on the Temple Mount by the Muslim authorities that Israel views as illegal.

Archeologists have found over 600 colored floor tile pieces, of which about 100 have been confirmed to be from the Second Temple period. The tiles are consistent with tiles found in other Herodian palaces from the same period. Many sources, including the Talmud, confirm the existence of magnificent colored tile floors in the Temple.

To see photos of the restored tiles click here.

Israel News for August 26, 2016

Terrorist Attacks IDF
An Arab terrorist opened fire on an IDF position adjacent to the town of Ofra in Samaria this afternoon. Soldiers shot and killed the attacker. No soldiers were injured. Additional IDF forces were deployed to the area following the attack, sealing off it off and conducting searches for any possible additional terrorists.

Source: Arutz7.

No Immunity
Last month Israel arrested Waheed Borsh, a Palestinian engineer who worked for the UN Development Agency (UNDP) in Gaza for allegedly aiding Hamas by using UN resources to build a marina for the Hamas navy and for granting Hamas members preferential treatment in reconstruction projects.

On Wednesday the UN sent a letter to Israeli officials demanding diplomatic immunity for Borsh. Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon responded, “Israel rejects the claim that a person assisting a terror organization recognized by the international community such as Hamas could enjoy immunity.”

Nachshon added, “It is outrageous that a man assisting a terror organization could benefit from UN immunity. It is clear that immunity is not a license to commit acts of terror.”

For further reading click here.

Arab Construction
The Ministry of Construction and Housing has allocated 1.4 billion shekels over the next four years for housing solutions in Arab communities. The goal is to enable the building of tens of thousands of new housing units as well as the construction of public buildings.

Minister of Construction and Housing Yoav Galant said, “We are working in close cooperation with the leadership in Arab sector communities. Prosperity in the Arab sector is an interest of Israeli society as a whole. The measure comes on top of a series of housing solutions being formulated by the Ministry of Construction and Housing for all population groups and sectors in Israel. The process will ease the housing crisis in communities in the sector.

He added, ”In the next 20 years, Israel will need one million housing units, including 200,000 for the Arab sector. We are therefore devising long-term solutions that will facilitate a substantial improvement in housing conditions by increasing the number of housing units, planning high-density construction, and developing new public in according to community needs.”

For further reading click here.

Shabbat Crisis
Last night the Haredi Shas and United Torah Judaism (UTJ) parties threatened to leave (and topple) the coalition government. The issue at hand relates to major government construction projects that are taking place on Shabbat.

One of the projects is ongoing roadwork repair on the Ayalon, which is the major highway entering Tel Aviv from the south. The other project is the construction of new railway lines between Ben Gurion Airport and Modiin and between Bet Yehoshua and Atlit (in the north).

After prolonged negotiations between the Prime Minister, Transportation Minister and the Haredi parties, a compromise agreement was reached. The Ayalon roadwork can continue, because doing the work on weekdays would constitute a danger to human life due to heavy workweek traffic. However, the train work may not be done on Shabbat, since the work doesn’t interfere with traffic or constitute a danger.

In addition, a committee to coordinate between the Transportation Ministry and Shas and United Torah Judaism was formed. The group includes the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, the Director-General of the Transportation Ministry, the Police Commissioner and ministers from the Haredi parties or their representatives.

For further reading click here.

Trump Office
The Donald Trump campaign has opened a new office in Ramat Gan, near the diamond district. The office will serve Tel Aviv and the entire central coastal region. Two other Trump offices are located in Jerusalem and Modiin. A fourth office will soon be added in the West Bank, and a fifth may also be added.

In the 2012 US Presidential election, around 85% of the ballots cast in Israel were for Republican Mitt Romney. Trump representatives are hoping to replicate those results.

Seems like a lot of work for 80,000 votes, but the campaign is assuming that a good number of those will be from voters hailing from important swing states like Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The campaign has released a Hebrew language poster that reads, “Trump: In Israel’s Interest.” The campaign also launched a Hebrew language Twitter feed. Can Trump tweet in Hebrew?

For further reading click here.

Israel News for July 11, 2016

Terror Attack
A terrorist waiting in ambush at the side of the road near the settlement of Tekoa, in Gush Etzion, opened fire at a vehicle containing a Jewish couple with six children in the back seat.

Eitan and Tamar Finkel were returning home with their kids on Saturday night, after visiting Tamar’s parents in the nearby settlement of Metzad, when they spotted a terrorist at the junction aiming a machine gun at them. Then they heard gunfire and their windshield exploded. Eitan managed to continue driving and find a military jeep. That’s when he realized that his leg was bleeding. He had been hit in the leg, but his wife and children were unharmed.

Finkel later said, “I was hit by one and the rest of the family came out without a scratch on them, it was a miracle. If the terrorist hit me, he could’ve hit everyone. That was his plan, to hit the driver, or the wheel to stop the car and then shoot everyone.”

For further reading click here.

Hamas Soccer
The parents of Oron Shaul, whose body is being held by Hamas in Gaza, petitioned the Supreme Court to prohibit Hamas prisoners in Israel from being allowed to watch the Sunday night Euro Soccer final. The petition was filed against the Israel Prison Service, the Internal Security Ministry, the Office of the Prime Minister, and the Prime Minister himself. It claimed that permitting Hamas prisoners to watch the game “is a decision which the public can not accept… there is no rational to this, it’s illogical, and it hurts the sensibilities of the general public. The decision is disgusting and repulsive.”

The Court rejected the petition. Justice Ori Shahem wrote in his ruling:

“There is no legal way to prevent security prisoners from watching the Euro Cup final on Channel 2, which is a public station. The petitioners didn’t use any factual or legal basis in their request to restrict the prisoners from watching the game. The court is not under the impression that preventing the prisoners from watching the Euro Cup final will put pressure on Hamas to release our soldiers and citizens held in captivity. Therefore, we do not see it fit to prevent the prisoners from watching the game. The conclusion is reinforced by the timing of the request. The date and time of the final game has been well known for a long time, while the request was filed on the day of the game.”

I assume they’ll be allowed to watch the Olympics too. Can’t no TV be part of their punishment? I hope they don’t get cable.

For further reading click here.

Crowdfunding Success
The family of Sgt. Elor Azaria, the ID soldier on trial for shooting to death an already-neutralized terrorist in Hebron, raised over NIS 400,000 last night through a crowdfunding campaign on the Israeli website, to fund Azaria’s legal expenses. The campaign was organized and launched by former right-wing MK and journalist Sharon Gal.

Likud Transportation and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said in a radio interview that he and his wife would seriously consider donating to the fund.

Azaria is facing manslaughter charges and is being defended by a team of expert attorneys. The trail has been ongoing for several weeks in a military court. The IDF offers all soldiers free legal defense, but the family chose to hire their own team.

For further reading click here.

Democratic Platform
Supporters of Hillary Clinton voted down a proposed amendment to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) platform by Bernie Sanders supporters, which would call for “an end to occupation and illegal settlements.” The proposal was voted down 95-73.

The committee also rejected an amendment to “rebuild Gaza which the UN warns could be uninhabitable by 2020, and where poverty and hopelessness undermine peace and security for both Palestinians and Israelis”. Another amendment to remove the military option from the Iran non-compliance language failed 67-98.

So while the “cooler heads” of the Clinton camp have prevailed, the Sanders camp has displayed significant strength and influence in the party.

A draft of the approved 2016 DNC platform released last week said, “We will continue to work toward a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiated directly by the parties that guarantees Israel’s future as a secure and democratic Jewish state with recognized borders and provides the Palestinians with independence, sovereignty, and dignity. Israelis deserve security, recognition, and a normal life free from terror and incitement. Palestinians should be free to govern themselves in their own viable state, in peace and dignity.”

On the Republican side, Trump adviser David Friedman has stated that Trump would consider the two-state solution as one option in the search for a solution to the conflict — not the only option.

For further reading click here.

Polish Massacre Site
About 150 people commemorated the 75th anniversary of the massacre of the Jewish community of Jedwabne, Poland by their Polish neighbors. Most of the towns 1,500 Jews were brutally murdered in a pogrom launched by the local Polish population, with over 300 being burned alive in a barn. The story of the massacre was brought to light in a 2001 book by historian Jan Gross called, “Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland”.

The commemoration at Jedwabne was led by Poland’s Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich and attended by Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League. The mayor of Jedwabne did not attend the event, nor did any of the townspeople.

Polish Undersecretary of State Wojciech Kolarski represented Polish President Andrzej Duda at the event and laid a wreath at the monument for the victims. He said, “To be clear about what happened here: Polish citizens killed their own Polish compatriots of Jewish origin in a way that damaged a long tradition of living side-by-side. There can be no justification for that.”

The fact that many Poles played an active role in the persecution and murder of Polish Jewry during the Holocaust is widely denied by Poles today. Deniers include government official, intellectuals — the kind of folks you’d expect to know better. Regarding the ordinary people…well, you can figure that out for yourself.

May the memory of the victims be a blessing for us and may we never forget them, and how they died.

For further reading click here.

Israel News for July 5, 2016

Palestinian MD
The first medical professional to treat the victims of Friday afternoon’s terror attack on a West Bank highway that killed Rabbi Miki Mark and wounded his wife and two children was a Palestinian doctor in private practice.

Dr. Ali abu Sharkh was driving to Jerusalem for Friday prayers at Al Aqsa with his wife and brother when he spotted the overturned car on the side of the road.

Dr. Abu Sharkh recounted, “We immediately stopped. There was a young Palestinian man with his wife who were trying to help the wounded. The first thing I saw was that Tehila (Mark’s daughter) was in a state of shock. I began to speak to her in English and she didn’t understand me. Then my brother began to speak to her in Hebrew and said to her ‘don’t be afraid, this is my brother, and he’s a doctor. He wants to help you.'”

Moments later a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance along with an IDF jeep arrived at the scene. The paramedics assisted the doctor while the soldiers called for an ambulance. After the Magen David Adom ambulance arrived, the doctor continued treating the wounded until one of the Palestinian paramedics told him that he should probably leave the scene since his presence there might provoke a hostile reaction.

The doctor explained, ”I carried out my duty. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about a Palestinian or a settler. My job is to save people because they are people.” When asked if he was criticized by his community he said, “Quite the opposite. All of my friends told me that I carried out my duties with honor. We are doctors, we don’t get involved with politics.”
Abu Sharkh also sent a personal message to Tehila, saying “I send her my condolences and am praying that her mother will get better soon.”

Tehila has subsequently been released from the hospital.

For further reading click here.

Arab Housing
Following a court decision, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced a plan to build about 600 residential units for Palestinians in East Jerusalem’s Givat Hamatos neighborhood. The government had previously tried to prevent building Arab housing in the neighborhood.

Approval for additional Jewish housing in the neighborhood had not been approved, as a result of diplomatic pressure, since the new Jewish neighborhood would complete the surrounding of the Arab neighborhood of Beit Safafa, which would complicate any potential division of Jerusalem in a future peace agreement.

The minister for Jerusalem affairs, Ze’ev Elkin, criticized the plans saying that the 600 units for the Arab population must be balanced with construction for Jews on the same site.

He said, ”Anyone who cares about a Jewish majority in the capital of Israel can’t promote construction for the Arab population alone. I call on the prime minister to also approve construction in the Givat Hamatos neighborhood for Jews. Jerusalem needs this neighborhood and over 2,000 housing units urgently.”

Meanwhile, the PM and DM also approved a program for building 560 residential units in the settlement of Maale Adumim, outside Jerusalem, and 240 units in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Ramot, Gilo and Har Homa. They also reopened a tender, that was previously frozen, to build 42 housing units in Kiryat Arba.

For further reading click here.

Terrorist Graveyard
According to sources in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Israel will set up a graveyard exclusively for the bodies of terrorists, in order to avoid returning the bodies to their families and the subsequent funerals, which lead to incitement and violence.

The PMO also announced, in response to the terror attacks last week, that Israel will immediately deduct the amount of money paid monthly by the Palestinian Authority to terrorists and their families from tax proceeds it collects on behalf of the Palestinians.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett criticized the moves as not being sufficient.

For further reading click here.

Land Deal
A 6,000 square meter plot of land in the middle of Rishon Le’tzion that was purchased back in the late 1800’s was sold recently for 45 million shekels. The land is zoned for 22 homes with gardens. That equals NIS 2.045 million per lot. The sellers are undoubtedly thanking their ancestor for his wise real estate investment.

For further reading click here.

General’s Driver
When Max, who served as the personal driver for former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Ganz, prepared to travel to the office where he would receive his official discharge from the IDF after four years of service, he got a surprise. Waiting to drive him there in a car outside of the Kirya (military headquarters in Tel Aviv) was General Ganz himself.

Ganz drove Max to the discharge center and presented him with a T-shirt that said, “End of the road” and “Thank you for proving there are good people with whom you can walk.” He also congratulated other soldiers on their releases and wish them success in their lives as civilians.

For further reading click here.

Israel News for June 30, 2016

Terror Attack
This morning a Palestinian terrorist scaled a security fence, broke into a house in Kiryat Arba, near Hebron, and stabbed a 13 year old girl to death while she was sleeping in her bed. The town’s civilian security patrol arrived at the house moments later and broke down the door. The terrorist stabbed one of the patrol members in the face before being shot and killed by the other security guard.

The 13 year old girl was Hallel Yaffa Ariel. The 31 year old security guard suffered serious wounds and was evacuated to Hadassah Ein Karem hospital in Jerusalem.

The terrorist was identified as Mohammed Tra’ayra, 19, from the nearby village Bani Na’im. He is a relative of the man who carried out a car ramming attack in Kiryat Arba in March. The IDF has surrounded the village and is searching it and interrogating relatives of the terrorist.

Over the weekend Tra’ayra posted a message on his Facebook page saying, “Death is a merit, and I desire to claim my merit.” His sister praised him in an interview on Palestinian TV, calling him a martyr and saying that he will enjoy his beard in heaven. She also called for divine retribution against the Jews.

The funeral for Hallel Yaffa Ariel will be held in Hebron later today. May her memory be a blessing.

For further reading click here and here.

Attacked in Ramallah
Nine Israeli left-wing activist illegally entered Ramallah to celebrate the nightly breaking of the Ramadan fast at the home of a Palestinian who is working to strengthen ties between leftist Israelis and Palestinians. But before they could get to the house, the Israeli’s were attacked by locals throwing rocks and firebombs. One of the cars burst into flames.

Eight of the Israelis were able to escape back into Israeli territory via the Qalandiya checkpoint. The ninth was rescued by PA security forces and questioned, before before being released to Israeli authorities near Beit El.

All nine are being questioned by security forces for violating a military order prohibiting entry of Israelis to areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority.

For further reading click here.

Take Two
Several months ago the Brazilian government refused to accept the credentials Dani Danon, whom the Prime Minister had appointed as ambassador to Brazil. The Brazilians objected to Danon because he had been a leader in the settlement movement. After a long standoff the PM backed down and appointed Danon as Israel’s UN Ambassador.

Well, it looks like the Prime Minister’s second try at appointing an ambassador might not be much more successful. This time the PM has appointed Yossi Sheli, a former business who was indicted and found guilty of perjury and fraud in 2008. In 2012 he signed a plea bargain agreement in which he admitted to a lesser charge and was forbidden from serving in public office until June of 2015. To top off his impressive resume, Sheli has zero diplomatic experience.

Sounds like the perfect choice.

For further reading click here.

Mein Kampf
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has been publishing Mein Kampf, the infamous manifesto by Adolf Hitler, since 1933. Since 2000, the company has donated the proceeds from the sale of the book to combat anti-semitism. Last year the company announced that they would widen their scope and include cultural organizations as recipients of the funds. This caused an outcry from Jewish advocates. It worked.

Going forward, the proceeds from Mein Kampf will be donated to Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Boston for “direct support of the health and human services needs of [Holocaust] survivors.”

By the way, between 1979 and 2000, the company kept all the proceeds for itself. Apparently, business is still business.

For further reading click here.

Israel News for June 22, 2016

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

For further reading click here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

For further reading click here.

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

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

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

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

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

For further reading click here.

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

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

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

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

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

For further reading click here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Israel News for February 12, 2016

Terror Averted
Police today arrested an Arab man at the Beersheba central bus station based on intelligence information that he was planning to carry out a terror attack.

In Gush Etzion, a young Israeli woman reported that an Arab driver tried to run her over while she waited at a bus stop. She wasn’t injured.

For further reading click here.

Arab Police
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan promised, yesterday, that the police will increase their manpower in the Arab sector and boost law enforcement and police recruitment within the wider Muslim community across the country.

The police will be forming a new branch to focus exclusively on issues facing the Israeli Arab community. The plan includes the construction of what police hope will be more than 10 new police stations in Arab communities, as well as the recruitment of more than 1,300 police officers from the sector over the next five years.

The new branch is expected to be headed by Deputy Chief Jamal Hakrush, the deputy head of the Coastal District who previously served as the deputy head of the Traffic Police. Hakrush is from Kafr Kana, an Arab town north of Nazareth, and will be the first Moslem to serve as a deputy commissioner in the police.

According to data from 2015, although Arabs make up only about 21% of the population of Israel, 59% of murders, 55% of attempted murders, 58% of arsons, 47% of robberies and 32% of property crimes reported to police take place in the Arab community.

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Shin Bet Head
PM Netanyahu appointed deputy Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman as the next Shin Bet head yesterday. The 55-year-old Argaman, a resident of Rosh Ha’ayin, will replace Yoram Cohen in May of 2016.

Argaman was drafted into an elite IDF unit in 1978. He joined the Shin Bet in 1983, served as head of Shin Bet operations between 2003-2007 and then spent four years as the Shin Bet representative in the U.S. He was loaned out to the Atomic Energy Commission between September 2014 and September 2015, before returning to serve as deputy Shin Bet chief after Roni Alsheich was named Israel Police commissioner.

Government officials from across the political spectrum praised Argaman, including the PM, President, Defense Minister and opposition leader. To sum it up, President Reuven Rivlin said Argaman is, “the right man in the right place.”

May he be blessed with success in protecting the State of Israel.

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Mikvah Verdict
Yesterday the High Court of Justice issued a decision permitting Reform and Conservative religious courts to perform conversion ceremonies in public Mikvahs. The specific case related to the use of the Mikvahs in Beersheba. Since immersion in a Mikvah or a large natural body of water, is a Jewish legal (halachic) requirement for completing a conversion, the Conservative and Reform conversions have been forced to perform their immersions in the sea.

The ruling came in response to an appeal by the Israel Religious Action Center, the advocacy arm of the Reform movement in Israel, which represented both non-Orthodox movements.

Mikvahs in Israel operate under the auspices of the Orthodox-run religious councils, and Reform and Conservative converts are often prevented from using them when questions about their affiliation arise.

The state had argued that since Reform and Conservative conversions were done outside of the official Chief Rabbinate, the state was not required to accommodate them.

The court ruling stated, “From the moment the state set up public Mikvahs and made them available to the public – including for the purpose of conversion – it cannot discriminate among those who use them.”

The Reform and Conservative movements praised the court’s decision as a step in the direction of full acceptance of the movements by the government. But while their converts are registered as Jewish by the population registry, they are not accepted by the Chief Rabbinate and therefore cannot legally marry in Israel.

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Super Bandage
An Israeli company called Core Scientific Creations (CSC) has developed a super bandage called WoundClot that stops severe bleeding within minutes without the need to apply pressure on the wound, while enhancing the blood’s natural clotting process.

According to CEO Yuval Yaskil, uncontrolled bleeding is the number one cause of death on the battlefield. While the traditional protocol for treating such bleeding includes applying pressure on the wound, Yaskil says that in some cases like stab wounds to the neck or head trauma injuries, pressure does not work. That’s why WoundClot was chemically treated to stop bleeding and enhance clotting while maintaining its own stability for 24 hours, enough time to get patients to a hospital.

Dr. Shani Eliyahu Gross, Vice President and CTO of CSC, explained, “When it is exposed to liquids, this product starts to absorb enormous amount of blood and then it transforms into a gel state.” She added that the more blood absorbed in the bandage, the quicker the clotting process will proceed.

Yaskil said that CSC is providing WoundClot to the Israeli police and the IDF and is selling it to hospitals. WoundClot prices range from under $10 to around $100 for larger surgical products. The “super bandage” is meant to replace other products or procedures that can cost up to thousands of dollars.

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Watch: PM Netanyahu vows never to leave Hebron

PM Netanyahu made a statement at a cabinet meeting today in response to the death of Genady Kofman who succumbed to his wounds yesterday after being stabbed by a Palestinian in Hebron on December 7.

In his statement the Prime Minister sent his condolences to the family and said “to all those who would uproot us from the Tomb of the Patriarchs – except for a few years in the previous century, we have been there for almost 4,000 years and we will stay there forever. You cannot defeat us.”

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