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      Israel News for January 22, 2018

      Pence Visit
      US VP Mike Pence landed in Israel yesterday and was greeted at the airport by Israel’s Tourism Minister Yariv Levin and US Ambassador David Friedman.

      Earlier in the day Pence met with Jordan’s King Abdullah in Amman. The king warned Pence that the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would destabilize the region, fuel radicalism and hurt chances for reaching a peace agreement. He said that the only viable solution was a two-state solution. Pence said, “the United States of America remains committed, if the parties agree, to a two state solution.”

      Today, Pence met with PM Netanyahu in Jerusalem. Later today he will address the Knesset. Tomorrow Pence will meet with President Rivlin, and visit Yad Vashem and the Western Wall. In protest of Pence’s visit, the Palestinian Authority announced a general strike for Tuesday.

      For further reading click here.

      Abbas and EU
      PA President Abbas will meet with EU ministers in Brussels today and urge them to recognize the state of Palestine as a way to respond to the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. But diplomats and officials in Brussels say recognition for Palestine is not likely.

      For further reading click here.

      Drug Battle
      Israeli and Egyptian forces engaged in a large gun battle last night with around 30 smugglers attempting to move a large quantity of drugs across the border into Israel from Sinai. At least one Israeli smuggler was killed and a large quantity of drugs was confiscated. The smugglers used high caliber machine guns. Most of the smugglers escaped.

      For further reading click here.

      Rabbi Banned
      Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has instructed the IDF not to invite Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef to IDF events and ceremonies because of his support of comments against the army made by Rabbi Shlomo Aviner and Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu last week (check out Friday’s email).

      For further reading click here.

      Tax Cuts
      Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon today signed the orders for the abolition of customs duties on a range of imported products. The measure will come into effect over the next few days, under a temporary order valid until December 31, 2018. It will cover selected items of clothing and textiles, light fittings, home electrical products and their parts, refrigerators, freezers, heating and cooking stoves, food mixers, and more. Duty will also be abolished on perfumes and cosmetics, toys, and sports accessories.

      The Ministry of Finance estimates the loss of revenue as a result of the abolition of customs duties at NIS 543 million, which is in addition to the loss of NIS 245 million resulting from the abolition of purchase tax on electronic products announced last month.

      For further reading click here.

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