News From Israel No. 78, July 11, 2018

No. 78, July 11, 2018

Inside Israel

Knesset Committee approves the bill to penalize Palestinian Authority (PA) for payments to terrorists. The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee approved the final draft of a bill to deduct the payments that the PA makes to terrorists and their families from taxes and customs fees collected by Israel for the PA.

Only 3% of Jewish Israelis view settlements as a roadblock to peace. 77% of the respondents agreed that in the next round with Hamas or Hezbollah, the military leadership should decide to “let the IDF win.” The survey found that 59% of Israelis see US President Donald Trump as the most pro-Israeli president ever.

IDF crowns first female tank commanders. For the first time in IDF history, four female soldiers became tank commanders after they successfully concluded a 16-month-long pilot course for tank commanders, the IDF announced.

New Orthodox wedding service to be launched. In a challenge to the Chief Rabbinate’s monopoly on marriage and divorce, new wedding service will use legal loopholes to circumvent the laws banning non-rabbinate marriage.

Earthquakes hits Israel’s north. An earthquake measuring 3.2 on the Richter scale was reported in the cities of Tiberius and Safed in the north of Israel on July 7. This was the third earthquake in the region in a week. An earlier earthquake was felt by residents of the Haifa and Western Galilee region and measured at 4.5 on the Richter scale. No casualties or major damage were reported. 

 

International

Gaza border. Over the last 2 weeks several incidents of Palestinians firing rockets into Israel have been reported. Overall, Palestinians have fired close to 300 rockets and mortar shells from Gaza into Israel since the beginning of the year. In 2017, 35 rockets and mortar were fired, compared to 15 in 2016, 21 in 2015, and 4,897 in 2014. Multiple fires in the Israel border communities were caused by incendiary balloons and kites flown into Israel from the Gaza Strip. The incendiary kites and balloons have been wreaking havoc in the area for the last three months and have burned more than 30,000 acres of land. See photos of the devastating results and the potential long-term ecological disaster of these fires.

Presbyterian Church continues trend of targeting Israel. At its biennial General Assembly last week in St. Louis, the Presbyterian Church USA, one of the largest mainline churches in American Protestantism, continued to express support for the anti-Israel BDS movement by passing a number of resolutions condemning Israel. In addition to anti-Israel resolutions, this year’s main gathering featured a verbal attack on a Palestinian human-rights activist who condemned the one-sided resolutions being considered against the Jewish state. https://www.jns.org/despite-signs-of-moderation-presbyterian-church-continues-trend-of-targeting-israel-at-its-general-assembly/

IDF provides aid to fleeing Syrians on Golan Heights. The IDF sent humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees fleeing renewed fighting in southwestern Syria. The aid, transferred to four different locations on the Syrian Golan Heights, included 300 tents, 13 tons of food, 15 tons of baby food, three loads of medical equipment and medicine, and 30 tons of clothing and footwear.

Netanyahu implores Europe to stop ‘appeasing’ Iran. Attending US Independence Day celebration, PM expresses bewilderment that P4 countries invited Iranian president to meet in Europe to discuss ways to circumvent American sanctions, despite the recent exposure of Iranian-led terror plot to strike France. ‘Stop funding the very regime that is sponsoring terrorism against you,’ he said.

Culture and Lifestyle

In sign of booming economy, almost half of Israelis going abroad. A record number of Israelis traveled or vacationed abroad in the last year, signs of a booming economy and the increasing number of low-cost airlines servicing the market. Nearly half the population, or 3.8 million Israelis, departed the country at least once last year. That stands among the highest rate of international travel in the world – a sign that more Israelis have discretionary income to spend.

Israel facing doctor shortages, rising life expectancy. A report published this week by the Ministry of Health reveals a mixed picture about the state of Israel’s health services compared to OECD countries, showing a declining number of doctors, a shortage of hospital beds, but a long life expectancy, one of the highest in the world. The report also shows that Israel is home to one of the largest populations, in the developed world, of smokers over the age of 15 at 19.6 percent. The average rate in the developed world stands at 16.4 percent.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg receives Genesis Prize lifetime award in Israel. US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg received a lifetime achievement award from The Genesis Prize Foundation (an award informally known as the Jewish Nobel) at a special ceremony held in Tel Aviv. “I am a judge, born raised and proud of being a Jew. The demand for justice, for peace, for enlightenment runs through the entirety of Jewish history and Jewish tradition,” she said.

Hevenu Shalom Alehem. Hevenu shalom alehem – a surprise welcome to Birthright Israel participants at Ben Gurion Airport.

Science and Technology

WATCH: UN Honors Israeli doctors for saving children’s lives around the globe. An Israeli medical charity Save a Child’s Heart won a UN humanitarian award for providing life-saving heart surgery to impoverished children around the world. Watch a short video on what they do.

Making tumors glow to guide surgeons. Tel Aviv University researchers have developed smart nanoprobes that turn on a florescent light in presence of cancerous cells. They will help surgeons remove more cancer cells, with the least possible damage to surrounding healthy tissue. The probes identify enzymes common in tumors.

Increasing recovery rates for stroke victims. Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv has radically improved the treatment of stroke patients, just by persevering for longer. Whilst the text book states that the first 8 hours after a stroke is crucial, Sheba extends this to 24 hours. Even a 93-year-old recovered.

In Depth

A look at the innovative tech that makes Israel a water superpower. The world is facing a growing water crisis as at least half of the global population of 7.6 billion is expected to be living in water-stressed areas by 2025. Israel, a nation that is 50 percent made up of desert, and with recurring droughts has over the years faced many water supply challenges. Israel has been able to conquer each and every one of these issues with the Israeli government, scientists and companies developed cutting-edge solutions.

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