terror lynching

Israel News for May 19, 2017

Palestinian Lynching
A Jewish man (father of 8) and his wife were driving to their home in Itamar (Samaria) when they stumbled on a Palestinian demonstration (about 200 people) on the main road, Route 60, that passes through the village of Hawara. Palestinians surrounded the vehicle, banged on it and tried to open the doors. The car lurched forward into the crowd. Then a Palestinian ambulance moved in front and blocked the car from moving forward.

As the crowd threw rocks at the car and tried to force the doors open to lynch the passengers, the driver fired in self defense. One attacker was killed and another wounded.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett said, “An Israeli citizen was cruelly attacked by a group of Arab terrorists who threw stones at his vehicle and tried to him. In order to prevent a lynch, he opened fire on his attackers and killed one of them.” He added, “Every one of us, as parents to our children, as citizens, would have acted this way. The Israeli government needs to provide security to Israeli citizens everywhere, including in Samaria and Judea.”

To watch videos of the incident click here.

IDF Prepares
The IDF is preparing for a possible increase in unrest and terror activity in the West Bank during June as a result of the upcoming Muslim holiday month of Ramadan as well as other recent events. The IDF is assigning hundreds of combat soldiers to reinforce existing forces in Judea and Samaria.

For further reading click here.

Trump Video
The White House has released a short video depicting President Trump’s upcoming overseas visits. The video, set to music, features white maps of the various countries Trump will visit. The map of Israel does not include the West Bank (including east Jerusalem) or the Golan. On the flip side it also doesn’t indicate any Palestinian territory or state.

The President’s Israel itinerary does not include a speech as Masada, as was originally planned, because the White House was told that the President’s helicopter would not be permitted to land on the historical site. Instead the President will deliver his speech at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

A White House official has also said that no joint meeting between Trump, Netanyahu and Abbas is planned, although such a meeting will be included in future plans. The official confirmed that Trump has decided not to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, at least for the time being.

PM Netanyahu and Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer met yesterday with Trump’s envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, to prepare for the upcoming visit.

To watch the video click here.

Massive Sandstorm
A massive sandstorm blew in from Sinai and hit Eilat yesterday, covering the city with sand and dust and shutting down the airport.

To view images click here.

Cheaper Shoes
Israel’s Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon has canceled the 12% customs duty imposed on shoes. Cancellation of the tax will cost the state treasury about NIS 188 million in lost revenues.

Kahlon said, “We are talking about a further step in the implementation of our family tax cut plan. Cancelling the import duties will bring down the price of shoes in Israel and is good news for consumers and families. We see the huge gaps in prices between Israel and abroad, and we are not prepared to reconcile ourselves with them. We will carry on with our policy of cutting import duties in all sectors that will not harm domestic industries. We’ll lower prices for consumers and make life easier for working families.”

New Hamashbir Lazarchan Ltd. (TASE:MSZB) department store chain owner and CEO Rami Shavit said, “From Sunday we will already put down prices even though we paid import duties on the goods currently in the stores. We will sell the new goods that are yet to arrive at even lower prices because of additional cuts. We welcome Kahlon’s measure and are happy that he has cancelled this distortion that for years has harmed our competition with online sales. An average Israeli family today buys 8-14 pairs of shoes per year so this is a major saving on their pockets.”

How about removing import taxes on all clothing to bring prices down?

For further reading click here.

Dog Walking Ban
Hamas has banned dog walking in Gaza. Hamas spokesman and leading religious figure Ayman al-Batniji explained, “In recent weeks, the phenomenon of young men walking with their dogs in the streets has widely spread. It is neither of our culture nor of our traditions. Children and women feel scared when they see dogs.” He added that it is Hamas’ “duty to maintain the safety of citizens.”

The ban reportedly only applies to populated areas such as cities, markets and beaches, while allowing residents to walk dogs in the countryside. No specific penalty has been announced for violating the ban.

Perhaps Hamas is looking to Iran for inspiration? Iran bans keeping dogs as pets outright. The punishment for breaking the ban can entail hefty fines, lashes and also confiscation of the pet, which will subsequently be killed.

For further reading click here.

Kotel Elevator
The Cabinet is expected to approve a plan to build an elevator from the Jewish Quarter in the Old City to the Western Wall plaza. The elevator shaft will be about 108 feet long and will be a Godsend for those who have difficulty walking up and down the massive existing staircase.

It’s about time!

For further reading click here.

Prison Paradise
Former Chief Rabbi of Israel Yona Metzger has begun serving his 3 and a half year sentence at Israel’s VIP prison, where former PM Ehud Olmert and other VIP’s are also incarcerated. In a recorded phone conversation Metzger described the wonderful conditions at the “prison”

To read the transcript of the conversation, click here.

boy israeli flag

Israel News for May 12, 2017

Moving Right
According to a study just published by a respected Israeli think tank, Israel’s younger population (aged 15-24) is moving to the Right. The study found that 67% of Jewish youth in Israel today define themselves as Right-Wing, while only 16% associate themselves with the Left. Only 40% categorized themselves as secular, while the rest claimed to be religious, including 15% who classified themselves as Haredi (ultra-orthodox).

Most of the young people believe that the number one problem the government must deal with is the cost of living issue. They also are losing trust in the courts, the police, the Knesset and even the IDF.

For further reading click here.

Soccer Vote
FIFA, the international soccer federation, decided to postpone until next year a vote on whether to prohibit Israeli teams based in the West Bank from competing in the international league. FIFA regulations prohibit a member’s association from holding competitions on the territory of another member’s association without the latter’s permission, and the PFA considers the West Bank to be Palestinian—not Israeli—territory.

PM Netanyahu reacted to the decision saying, “We won another victory in Israel’s battle for its international standing. We thwarted an attempt to undermine Israel’s standing in FIFA. This is an important achievement. We will continue to defend the State of Israel and will continue to strengthen our international standing.”

For further reading click here.

Ancient Pigs
Archeologists have recently determined that the ancient Philistines, who migrated to the Israeli coast from the Aegean (Cyprus, Turkey, Greece), brought pigs with them — herds of them. Pigs are easily transportable, as opposed to cows, are low maintenance and provide a tasty meal for those not bound by Jewish law — or Moslem law.

You won’t find many pig farms in the area today, but if you know where to look you can find your swine delights in specialty delis, usually in areas with large Russian immigrant populations.

For further reading click here.

Conversion Bill
The Interior Ministry, headed by former Shas leader Aryeh Deri, has submitted a bill to the Knesset that would require the State to recognize only conversions under the auspices of the Chief Rabbinate.

This would apply to conversions performed in Israel. Conversions performed by Reform, Conservative or Orthodox rabbis abroad are recognized by the State for purposes of the Law of Return. But in order to register for marriage with the Israeli Rabbinate (which is the only way to get married in Israel) the conversion must be performed by an Orthodox rabbi who is on an official Chief Rabbinate list of acceptable rabbis.

In 2016 the Supreme Court ruled that the State must recognize conversion performed in Israel by private Orthodox rabbis. The proposed bill would change that.

For further reading click here.

Kabbalistic Wedding
On Saturday night, hundreds of thousands of Jews will celebrate the “hilullah” of Rabi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi), the second century sage who is believed to have authored the Zohar, the cornerstone text of the kabbala (Jewish mysticism), in Meron (near Tzfat), where he is buried. The Aramaic word “hillulah” literally means wedding, but it is used to commemorate the Rashbi’s day of death, during which he is believed to have revealed the deepest secrets of Kabbalah to his close circle of students (a good reason to celebrate).

The day is also Lag B’omer, the 33 day in the traditional counting of the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot. During that time period the 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva (the Rashbi’s teacher) were stricken by a plague and died as punishment for their lack of mutual respect and brotherly love. But on the 33rd day, Lag B’omer, the dying ceased.

The celebration at Meron is highlighted by the burning of a huge bonfire that is lit by many prominent Hassidic Rebbes, with the Boyaner Rebbe leading off the festivities. Thousands of smaller bonfires are also lit in the Meron area and throughout Israel — and barbecue, marshmallows and amores are often not far behind.

It’s also customary for young boys to get their first haircuts at Meron (after letting it grow until age 3), so barbers eagerly join the crowds and do a brisk business — as do vendors of all sorts of cabalistic amulets and charms.

Ten of thousands of people are camping out at Meron for Shabbat. Hundreds of buses carrying thousands more will be making the trek after Shabbat ends. Some rabbis have demanded that the celebration be moved to Sunday night so as to avoid potential desecration of Shabbat by people either traveling to or preparing for the event on Shabbat. But they were ignored. Tradition stands.

Any event that can bring together hundreds of thousands of Jews from different religious walks of life is something to celebrate. May the merit of Rashbi and the Jewish unity at Meron bless Israel and the Jewish People with peace and success.

Israel News for February 16, 2017

Trump Meeting
The long awaited meeting between Netanyahu and Trump took place yesterday. What happened behind closed doors is unknown, but from the press conference held after the meeting, it seems that the leaders discussed some sort of strategy for achieving a new kind of peace agreement which would involve the participation of moderate Arab nations in the region who are all afraid of Iranian expansion.

It also seems that Trump is approaching the Middle East peace process with a very open mind — like a true negotiator. It’s still unclear what exactly his plan is, but judging by Netanyahu’s smiles and hard to contain excitement during the press conference, it seems as though the PM is totally on board with it.

One of the reasons for the excitement is undoubtedly the fact that the two-state solution is no longer the stated objective of the US administration. When asked directly whether he supported the long standing US policy of a two-state solution Trump replied, “So, I’m looking at two-state and one-state and I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one. I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two but honestly, if Bibi and if the Palestinians — if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.”

In other words, while the two-state solution is apparently no longer US policy, it isn’t off the table either. US policy is now — whatever works best to reach a peace agreement. It’s all about the negotiation. Makes sense, considering that traditional diplomacy based on preconceived notions and requirements hasn’t gotten very far.

When asked whether this new US policy goes against his own statements in which he supported the two-state solution, Netanyahu replied that he still is in favor of a two-state solution under the following 2 conditions:

1. That the Palestinians clearly and definitively accept the existence of Israel as a Jewish State.

2. That Israel maintains military control over the western bank of the Jordan river.

Even if the Palestinians would accept the first condition, which at the moment seems unlikely, especially given that Hamas rules Gaza and has growing influence in the West Bank, they will not accept the second condition as it would negate the full sovereignty of their state.

Most people believe that Netanyahu never really supported the kind of two-state solution envisioned by the Palestinians or the prior US administrations, but that he said he did in order to seem in line with the US. But that’s no longer necessary, which is probably one of the main reasons for his enthusiasm and near giddiness at the press conference.

Regarding settlements, Trump turned to Netanyahu and said, “I’d like to see you hold back on settlements for a little bit,” implying that this was necessary as part of Trump’s negotiating strategy. What holding back on settlements for a little bit really means is unclear. Does it include building in East Jerusalem, or in established settlement blocks? Trump did not condemn or criticize Israel for recently approving the construction of around 5,000 new homes in the settlements.

When asked about moving the US embassy to Jerusalem as he promised, Trump replied, “I’d love to see that happen” and, “We’ll see what happens.”

So the hawkish Right Wing elements in the Israeli government are probably not as ecstatic as they initially were when they assumed that Trump would immediately move the embassy and that he would turn a blond eye to unlimited settlement expansion and possibly even annexation. But the PM seems pleased with the direction things are going in.

Trump emphasized that Israel would have to be flexible in any future talks saying, “As with any successful negotiation, both sides will have to make compromises.” Then turning to Netanyahu, he asked, “You know that, right?” Netanyahu responded with a smile and emphasizing, “Both sides.” Trump then remarked jokingly that the PM didn’t sound too enthusiastic about that and that he was a great negotiator. Netanyahu replied, “It’s the Art of the Deal.” Smiles all around.

When asked about rising anti-semitism in America and about those “who believe and feel that your administration is playing with xenophobia and maybe racist tones,” Trump first reiterated his amazing victory in the elections and said that he would do everything in his power to stop “long-simmering racism.”

He then said, “As far as Jewish people, so many friends — a daughter who happens to be here right now, a son-in-law and three beautiful grandchildren.” He added, “You’re going to see a lot of love.” [Awesome!]

Netanyahu praised Trump for taking a tough stance on Iranian violations of the Iran nuclear agreement (which Trump made sure to emphasize that it was the worst deal that he had ever seen) as well as hailing him as the greatest friend that Israel has ever had. Trump also praised Netanyahu as well as the PM’s wife Sarah, whom he thanked for her friendliness towards Melania and asked to stand for applause during the press conference.

Regarding the potential for a peace agreement Trump said, “I think we’re going to make a deal,” adding, “It might be a bigger and better deal than people in this room even understand.” Let’s hope and pray.

PA President Abbas, the UN Secretary General, some left wink Israeli Knesset members, many liberal Jewish groups and others voiced their continued support of a two-state solution as the only path towards peace.

To watch the entire press conference click here.

Israel News for January 17, 2017

New Law
The Knesset yesterday passed a law that recognizes verdicts by military courts in the West Bank as admissible evidence in legal procedures in Israeli civilian courts. This is expected to Israelis much and time and money when suing Palestinians in Israeli courts, who have already been convicted in military courts in the West Bank.

Opposition members blasted the new law as the first step in annexing the West Bank. The Attorney General had also warned that the law could have severe international repercussions as it could be a violation of international law.

For further reading click here.

Drone Crash
An IDF Skylark drone crashed in southern Lebanon yesterday, near the Israeli border. The IDF is investigating the circumstances of the malfunction that caused the drone to crash. The Lebanese army is searching for the drone.

For further reading click here.

Corruption Scandals
There are several investigations and potential investigations into various corruption allegations relating to PM Netanyahu. The PM denies all of the allegations and nothing conclusive has been made public by police, nor have nay charges been filed. So until there’s something conclusive to announce, we’re going to leave this whole affair on the back burner. No sense speculating about things that might not be true, right?

Car Share
The Tel Aviv municipality is getting into the car rental business…sort of. The municipality announced today a plan for a car-sharing venture called Autotel in which 260 cars will be distributed around the city and will be available to be rented by the minute.

Autotel will be a subscription service available any Israeli resident or tourist. Tel Aviv residents will get a special digital card that will give them automatic discounts on usage fees.

The service will be ordered through a special app that will display to the subscribers a list of the available vehicles in their proximity, and enable them to order a car up to 15 minutes in advance. Monthly subscriber fees will be NIS 40-50. The per-minute rate has not yet been set, but the municipality said that it would be 30-40% cheaper than taxi rates.

Subscribers will receive an electronic card that will open the cars. Another option is to type a code in the app. The car can be taken from where it is parked and parked at a another location in the city, in contrast to current carsharing ventures, which require that the vehicle be returned to the location from which it was taken.

The municipality will allocate 520 special parking spaces. The cars will also be allowed to park in spaces on the city streets with blue and white markings and even in space reserved for people living on that street.

A telephone assistance center will operate 24 hours a day to handle any technical problems with the service or the cars. The service will be available in Hebrew and English.

For further reading click here.

Jonah Tomb
Did you know that the what is traditionally believed to be the tomb of the biblical prophet Jonah is located in the Iraqi city of Mosul? In 2014 ISIS blew up the shrine when they conquered the city. Now Iraqi forces have retaken the tomb in their offensive to reconquer Mosul. According to the biblical account, Jonah travelled to Nineveh, which is located on the outskirts of Mosul, to warn its residents to repent. Apparently, they could use a refresher.

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 December 28, 2016

Secret Leaked
An Egyptian news backed by the government has published a secret report, apparently leaked by Palestinian officials, documenting a December 12th meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Advisor Susan Rice and a Palestinian delegation headed by senior PLO member Saeb Erekat in Washington.

According to the report, Kerry and Rice told Erekat that the Obama administration was prepared to cooperate with them in the Security Council given that the resolution against Israeli settlements was a “balanced” one. Kerry and Rice were reportedly both severely critical of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accusing him of wanting to destroy the possibility of a two-state solution.

Kerry said that he could present ideas for a possible permanent solution on the condition that the Palestinians would endorse them upon their publication. Rice was critical of Kerry’s plan, since she felt that incoming president Donald Trump was categorically reject it. She called Trump dangerous and said that she was convinced that he would stick to everything he said during the campaign relating to settlements and moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Kerry and Rice then asked the Palestinians how they would respond if the US embassy was moved. Erekat responded that they was annul their recognition of Israel, dismantle the PA and place responsibility of administrating the West Bank on Israel, and enlist Arab and Muslim countries to help move the embassy out of Jerusalem.

Kerry and Rice advised the Palestinians not to take these drastic actions, since they would just be viewed by Trump as provocative. Instead, they told the Palestinians to prevent terror attacks, which harm their negotiating position. They also advised them to seek the help of Jewish businessman Ronal Lauder in order to establish a connection with Trump.

Finally, Kerry and Rice asked the Palestinians to keep their meeting secret.


For further reading click here.

Kerry Speech
John Kerry is scheduled to speak at the State Department today at 11am EST. He will discuss the US abstention and the accusations made by Israel that the Obama administration drafted and forced the resolution to a vote. Kerry is expected to lay out the administration’s vision of a two-sate solution. What the repercussions of that will be is unknown. Another UN resolution?

In a related event, the Jerusalem municipal council has cancelled a meeting this morning during which it was expected to approve the construction of 490 housing units in the Ramot and Ramat Shlomo neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem. The meeting was cancelled at the request of the PM.

For further reading click here.

Diplomatic Drama
What happened in the hours before the UN Security Council vote last Friday? PM Netanyahu called New Zealand’s Prime Minister to try and get him not to continue sponsoring the resolution. New Zealand was one of the four countries to push the resolution after it was withdrawn by Egypt. The other countries were Senegal, Malaysia and Venezuela.

In his conversation with the New Zealand PM, Netanyahu is reported to have said, “This is a scandalous decision. I’m asking that you not support it and not promote it.” He added, “If you continue to promote this resolution from our point of view it will be a declaration of war. It will rupture the relations and there will be consequences. We’ll recall our ambassador to Jerusalem.” New Zealand ignored his “request”.

Western diplomats have revealed that Great Britain played a major role in the drafting of the resolution, by softening it to make sure it would be acceptable to the US. They claim that the British encouraged New Zealand to push forward with the resolution despite the pressure against it. The UK also worked with the Palestinians and the Gulf States to lobby for the resolution.

A few hours before the vote Netanyahu called Russian President Putin to ask him to help prevent the vote. Less than an hour before the vote the Russian UN ambassador unexpectedly asked for a postponement of the vote until after Christmas, claiming that more discussion was required and that the vote was happening much too quickly. His request was rejected.

So it looks like the Russians were the only ones to at least make an effort to stand with Israel this time around. Of course, they voted for the resolution.

For further reading click here.

Hanukkah Treat
In our attempt to share videos to help inspire you or just brighten up your Hanukkah, we couldn’t not share this viral hit from the singing group The Maccabeats as they apply their unique twist to the award winning Broadway musical Hamilton. To watch the video click here.

Israel News for December 26, 2016

UN Vote
On Friday the UN Security Council voted 14-0 to condemn Israeli settlement building in the West Bank. The resolution, which was withdrawn by Egypt after pressure from Israel and Donal Trump, was reintroduced by Venezuela, New Zealand, Malaysia and Senegal. In an unprecedented move, the US did not use its veto power, allowing the resolution to pass. Israel had feared the Obama would take action against Israel in the UN in his final days in office, and this is exactly what happened.

Senior Republican leaders lashed out at Obama’s decision to abstain from the vote. Donald Trump vowed that things would be much different after he takes office.

Ambassador Samantha Power explained the administration’s vote this way: “Today, the Security Council reaffirmed its established consensus that settlements have no legal validity…. President Obama and Secretary Kerry have repeatedly warned – publicly and privately – that the absence of progress toward peace and continued settlement expansion was going to put the two-state solution at risk, and threaten Israel’s stated objective to remain both a Jewish State and a democracy … This resolution reflects trends that will permanently destroy the hope of a two-state solution if they continue on their current course.”

But while the Obama administrations claims that it was just voicing its opposition to the building of new settlements, the reality is much different.

According to the text of the resolution, “any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem have no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.” 

That means that everything built in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, including the Western Wall plaza, is illegal. It also means that all the Jewish neighborhoods located in “East” Jerusalem, and the roads leading to Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital, are illegal.

Did Obama not fully understand the contents of the resolution, or does he truly believe that Israel has no right to any property located over the “Green Line”, including the Western Wall (which is clearly over the line)?

PM Netanyahu remarked, “Over decades, American administrations and Israeli governments have disagreed about settlements, but we agreed that the Security Council was not the place to resolve this issue. As I told John Kerry on Thursday, friends don’t take friends to the Security Council.”

Apparently the Obama administration wasn’t such a friend after all. Quite a goodbye gift from the outgoing president. Best of luck to you too.

For further reading click here.

Israel Reacts
In the wake of the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity, Israel has taken action against the UN and the countries that voted against her.

Israel will cut its $8 million of funding to the UN and also work to cancel appointments of anti-Israel UN officials and impede the functioning of UN relief agencies operating in the West Bank and Gaza who are anti-Israel. Israel is hoping that the Trump administration and its new pro-Israel UN ambassador Nikki Haley will help facilitate its moves.

PM Netanyahu also summoned the ambassadors of the 14 countries who voted for the resolution for a “talking to” and ordered Israeli officials not to hold meetings with representatives of those countries, including England, France, Spain, Japan and Russia.

For further reading click here.

Special Rep
Donald Trump has appointed Jason Greenblatt, the Trump Organization’s chief legal officer, as special representative for international negotiations, with a focus on Israel-Palestinian peace talks, trade agreements and the diplomatic ties between the United States and Cuba.

Greenblatt, an Orthodox Jew and Yeshiva University graduate, has said that he believes in a two-state solution as long as it is reached through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and not imposed by the UN or any other foreign element. He also firmly believes that settlements are not an obstacle to peace.

While Greenblatt admits that he has no professional foreign policy experience, that doesn’t seem to bother him or Trump. Judging by the development in the peace process over the last 20 years, it doesn’t seem as though the experienced diplomats have done such a great job. Perhaps the lawyers and businessmen can do better? The next US presidents is doubling down on that belief.

Greenblatt is expected to start shuttling between Jerusalem and Ramallah soon after the inauguration to try and restart negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

A Teaneck resident and father of six, Greenblatt visits Israel often with his family and has even written several Israel travel guides. Greenblatt is also a loyal reader of this daily email newsletter. We wish him the best of luck in his new position and are confident that he will apply his staunch support for Israel and his negotiation skills to achieve great things.

For further reading click here.,7340,L-4898600,00.html

Rebbe Lights
If you need some inspiration when saying the blessings over your Hanukkah menorah, this might help. To watch how the Rachmastivka rebbe does it, click here.

Israel News for December 23, 2016

No UN Vote
The UN Security Council vote on an Egyptian sponsored resolution to condemn Israeli settlement building in the West Bank was postponed indefinitely after Egypt abruptly withdrew their proposed draft.

According to Western officials, the Obama administration was prepared to allow the US to abstain from the vote, allowing the resolution to pass. This was confirmed by US officials. The Israelis found out about this and implored the White House to veto the resolution.

When they felt that the US would still abstain, they reached out to Trump, who tweeted his Facebook post that said:

“The resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed.

As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations.
This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis.”

Earlier in the year, when referring to negotiating a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, Trump told CNN, “I don’t like the United Nations getting involved in the negotiation. This has to be a deal between the Palestinians and the Israelis. This has to be that. You can’t force a deal down the throats of both but you know it will be a bad deal for Israel if they do that. So … if the United Nations forces a deal, I would veto that deal immediately.”

Israel put a lot of pressure on Egyptian president al-Sisi, who then spoke with Donald Trump. Egypt then withdraw the draft resolution. An Egyptian spokesman said, “The presidents agreed on the importance of affording the new U.S. administration the full chance to deal with all dimensions of the Palestinian case with a view of achieving a full and final settlement.”

Trump also attempted to convince the White House to veto the resolution.

The resolution can still be submitted for a vote by another country. New Zealand, Venezuela, Malaysia and Senegal had expressed interest in the resolution and will be meeting today to decide whether to push for a vote.

There was no comment from the White house or State Department regarding the United State’s planned abstention.

For further reading click here.

Terrorists Captured
The Shin Bet has busted a terror cell with more than twenty Hamas terrorists from across the West Bank. The cell, based around Nablus, was recruiting and training terrorists to carry out suicide bombing attacks in Jerusalem and Haifa. The cell established a bomb-making factory in Nablus and acquired M-16 assault rifles. Most of the terrorists have previously spent time in Israeli prisons.

A Shin Bet spokesman said, “The Shin Bet investigation unearthed a well-organized, structured Hamas cell. Had it not been discovered, it would have carried out grave terror attacks. Thanks to excellent intelligence and operational activities of Shin Bet and IDF forces, the cell was discovered in time. This investigation reveals, once again, the efforts that Hamas is investing into creating terror infrastructure in Judea and Samaria to carry out attacks against Israelis.”

For further reading click here.

Amona Extension
The Supreme Court has accepted a government petition and granted a 45 extension to the scheduled Dec. 25th evacuation of Amona. The new date is Feb. 8, 2017. The court stressed that “this is a final and last extension, even if no alternative solution is found.”

Amona residents welcomed the decision saying, “Now, the responsibility is entirely on the state and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who committed to erect in the next 45 days homes on the mountain for the residents of Amona, and preserve the town. The ball is in their hands.”

The government plans to relocate most of the families to a nearby plot of land on the same mountain. Some of the families will be relocated temporarily to housing near Ofra.

For further reading click here.

Israel News for November 18, 2016

Attack Thwarted
Kosovo police announced yesterday that they prevented a slew of simultaneous terror attacks by ISIS against various targets including the Israeli national soccer team. The team played a qualifying game in Albania on Saturday.

For further reading click here.

Settlement Solutions
Due to the controversial nature of the bill currently making its way through the Knesset, that would legalize the Amona outpost, the Attorney General and Justice Minister are examining other possible solutions to achieve the same effect but that would not go against the ruling of the Supreme Court and would not stir up international condemnation.

The first solution would be to declare the settlers “protected persons” in an area considered by international law to be a war zone. This would give Israel the authority to carry out operations in the territories to protect the interests of the settlers, including the expropriation of land. The Palestinians are already classified as “protected persons.” The classification was created by the Geneva Convention to protect the local population in an area under occupation, giving the occupier the right to act only for security reasons or for the benefit of the “protected persons.” Applying it to Israelis living in the territories would be a stretch. It would also implicitly acknowledge that the West Bank is occupied territory.

The second solution would be to implement a compensation plan like the one used in Cyprus that was accepted by the international courts. Cyprus was divided between the Turks and Greeks in 1974. In 2005 a system was implemented to set compensation for the assets of people who were left in the other part of Cyprus following the division. To obtain compensation, a person had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the asset was owned by them in 1974, that they were forced to abandon it due to circumstances beyond their control, and that no one else had any ownership claim on it. This solution would allow the government to take ownership of the privately owned land while compensating the proven owners.

The third solution would be to move Amona to adjacent plots of land that have been classified as abandoned property. That would entail evacuating the current settlement.

Government officials have said that moving the settlement to the adjacent land is the most realistic solution in the case of Amona and similar cases. The Attorney General is expected to present his recommendation soon.

For further reading click here.

Israel News for November 9, 2016

Terror Attempt
A Palestinian tried to stab an IDF soldier with a screwdriver and was shot and wounded by soldiers at the scene. The soldier who was stabbed was wearing a bulletproof vest, which protected him from the stabbing. He was not injured. The attack took place at a checkpoint outside of the town of Huwara in the northern West Bank.

For further reading click here.

PM Congratulates Trump
Prime Minister Netanyahu released a statement congratulating Donald Trump on his victory saying, “President-elect Trump is a true friend of the State of Israel. We will work together to advance the security, stability and peace in our region. The strong connection between the U.S. and Israel is based on shared values, shared interests and a shared destiny. I’m certain that President-elect Trump and I will continue to strengthen the unique alliance between Israel and the United States and bring it to new heights.”

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) congratulated Trump on Facebook: “Warm wishes to the president of the strongest and biggest global power: Donald J. Trump!”

In an announcement to the press, Herzog added that “the U.S. elections are a continuation of a global trend of rejecting the old ruling elites and a wish for a clear and emphatic change. Trump’s election is the continuation of a social, economic and political tsunami which we’ve seen in many countries, which will also bring about a change in Israel.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett expressed his hopes in a Trump presidency saying, “Trump’s victory is a tremendous opportunity for Israel to immediately announce its intention to renege on the idea of establishing Palestine in the heart of the country, a direct blow to our security and the justice of our cause. This is the president-elect’s outlook as it appears in his platform, and that definitely should be our way. Salient, simple and clear. The era of the Palestinian state is over.”

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked called Trump, “a true friend of Israel.” She added, “I am certain Trump will know how to lead the free world to success in the goals of the global war against terror. This is an opportunity for the American government to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel. This will symbolize the close relationship and courageous friendship between the two nations.”

Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely echoed those sentiments saying, “Congratulations to the new President Donald Trump. I look forward to the fulfilling of the promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. That would be an important historic move.”

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat also referred to Trump’s promise to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, saying, “Mr. President-elect, you were always a staunch supporter of the city of Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel and the beating heart of the Jewish people, and for that I thank you. I’m certain that throughout your term you will continue strengthening the status and sovereignty of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. Embassy to the city.”

Will Donald Trump be the president who finally follows through and moves the embassy to Jerusalem?

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Israel News for September 16, 2016

Terror Attack
A terrorist in his 20’s drew a knife and charged at Border Police officers near the Damascus Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem today. The officers shot and killed the attacker before he could cause any harm. The terrorist was a resident of Jordan.

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Aid Deal Slammed
On Wednesday Israel and the US finalized the largest ever military aid deal ever offered to Israel by the US, totaling $38 billion dollars over 10 years. But not everyone in Israel is satisfied with the aid package.

Yesterday former Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak slammed the deal in several interviews and in an op-ed in the Washington Post. In the op-ed Barak wrote, “The damage produced by Netanyahu’s irresponsible management of the relations with the White House is now fully manifest. Israel will receive $3.8 billion a year — an important contribution to our security but far less than what could have been obtained before the prime minister chose to blatantly interfere with U.S. politics.” 

Barak continued his critique of the agreement in interviews with various news outlets, claiming that Israel could have gotten $45 billion if Netanyahu had stayed out of American politics.

The Likud, Netanyahu’s party, responded to Barak’s criticism by accusing him of attempting to make a political comeback saying, “publishing an article ridiculing Israel’s policy in the American media on the day the largest aid agreement in the history of the United States was signed is only more proof that what Barak cares about is not the good of the country and not Israel’s security, but only Barak’s good.”

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UN Chief Blasts PM
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon blasted PM Netanyahu’s Facebook video in which he accused the potential eviction of all Jewish settlements from the West Bank by the Palestinians as “ethnic cleansing.” The UN chief called the remark “unacceptable and outrageous,” and reiterated his position that Jewish settlements in the West Bank are in violation of international law and are an obstacle to peace.

Ban also condemned rocket fire toward Israel from the Gaza Strip, and criticized the Palestinian Authority for incitement against Israel and for its hero-worship of terrorists. He called on the Palestinians to stop this “shameful behavior.”

Finally, Ban wished Shimon Peres a speedy recovery and praised him for his work in trying to make peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

For further reading click here.

Kotel Poll
A recent poll commissioned by the Jerusalem Post found that 61% of Israelis favor creating a separate egalitarian prayer space at the southern part of the Western Wall near Robinson’s Arch, while 39% are opposed. While 83% of Orthodox respondents oppose creating the site, 82% of secular Israelis and 59% of those who define themselves as traditional support it.

Polls in general show that younger Israelis tend to be more conservative on matters of religion and state and more right-wing on diplomatic issues. This could reflect a higher birthrate in religious families.

For more of the poll’s findings click here.

Afghan Treasure
The National Library of Israel recently purchased a large collection of 250 documents from the 11th century that were found in a cave in northern Afghanistan. The documents in the collection, called the “Afghan Geniza”, were part of the personal archive of a Jewish family of traders that lived on the Silk Road in the Afghan city of Bamyan (that’s where the Taliban blew up 2 huge statues of Buddha).

The collection includes private letters, business documents and religious text, including pages of the Talmud, and reveals important information about Jewish life in Afghanistan in the 11th century.

The National Library is working to digitally scan all the manuscripts and upload all of them to the internet.

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