News from Israel – January 19, 2017

No. 45, January 19, 2017

Inside Israel
Jerusalem ramming attack. Four soldiers were killed, and 17 wounded, after a flatbed truck driven by an Arab terrorist rammed into a group of conscripts adjacent to the Armon Hanatziv promenade in southern Jerusalem. The attacker was identifies as a supporter of the Islamic state. Two of the four Israeli soldiers killed in the truck-ramming attack were American citizens. The official Palestinian Authority daily wrote that the killer “died as a Shahid” (i.e., a Martyr who died for Allah). Mahmoud Abbas did not condemn the terror attack.

Police question Netanyahu in graft investigation. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was questioned hours by police at his residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem over suspicions he received illegal gifts from two businessmen.

IDF soldier convicted of manslaughter in divisive Hebron shooting case. An IDF soldier accused of unnecessarily killing a Palestinian terrorist who was already wounded and subdued was convicted of manslaughter. The trial of IDF Sgt. Elor Azaria has divided the nation, as was evidenced by the violent clashes between police and Azaria supporters outside the courtroom. Several people were arrested for inciting violence against IDF chief and the panel of three IDF judges who convicted Azaria of manslaughter. Majority of Israelis support pardon for Azariya.

Israeli opinion on Obama and Trump. According to a recent survey conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute, a majority of the Jewish public (57%) thinks that during the years of his tenure the attitude toward Israel of Barack Obama was unfriendly. Some 69% expect the attitude toward Israel of Trump, the incoming president, to be friendly.

Israeli Arabs and Western values. The latest polls indicate that there has been a gradual shift in Israeli Arabs’ attitude toward Western values. They have evolved into a multi-cultural society, which, while sharing a strong religious and nationalistic common denominator, incorporates a growing strong Western-style liberalism.

International
US House passes motion repudiating UN resolution on Israel. Passed with vote of 342-80,House Resolution 11 calls Security Council’s anti-settlements measure a ‘one-sided’ obstacle to peace.Most of the local Representatives voted against this resolution, including Pelosi, Eshoo, Speier and Lofgren.

US senators introduce bill to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, move embassy. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R), Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) and Nevada Sen. Dean Heller (R) have introduced legislation that would commit the United States to moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move US presidents have opposed for decades but which President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly signaled he is willing to do.

Israel signs to take 20,000 Chinese building workers. The agreement paves the way to bring professional construction workers to Israel from China. As of now, there is a new quota of 20,000, with 6,000 slated to arrive in Israeli in the first six months of 2017.  This will help to alleviate a housing crisis in the Jewish state, the Israeli government said. Nearly 9,000 foreign construction laborers currently work in Israel, all of them from East European countries.

 ‘Waning US Jewish support of Israel is a national security threat’. Waning support for Israel among US Jews is a “national security threat” for the Jewish state, the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) Jewish Religious Equality Coalition (J-REC) Chair Dov Zakheim said at a meeting about religious pluralism held by the Knesset’s Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee.

Partisan gap in Mideast sympathies is widest in four decades. For the first time in Pew Research Center surveys, Democrats are about as likely to say they sympathize more with the Palestinians (31%) than with Israel (33%). By contrast, Republicans continue to overwhelmingly say they sympathize more with Israel (74%) than the Palestinians (11%).

Culture and Lifestyle
Tel Aviv, one of the friendliest dog cities, holds “Kelaviv”, the largest festival for dogs ever!Tel Avivians love their dogs! Welcome to Kelaviv (Kelev means dog in Hebrew) – the ultimate party for dogs (and their loving owners!) Here you will find sushi crafted for canines, dog-massage therapists, doggie-stylists and so much more that will make you want to wag your tail for joy.

Tel Aviv Dance communities. Like everything in Israel, dance is done with a distinctive flavor and flare, expressing itself in a way that is somehow unmistakably and endearingly Israeli. Here is a briefreview with videos of three of the most diverse dance cultures in Israel to lure you: Israeli Folk Dancing (Rikudai Am), Drum Beach (Hof HaTufim) and Holy Lindy Land.

Most Arabs say life is good in Israel.  The 2016 Israeli Democracy Index, produced by the Guttman Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research, reveals some interesting facts.  55% of Israeli Arabs identify themselves as “proud citizens”.  Also, 60.5% of Israeli Arabs categorize their personal situation as “Good” or “Very good” and another 31% as “Not bad”.

Serving faithfully: US religious girls in the Israeli army. Every year, hundreds of young Jewish American women choose to leave the Orthodox homes they grew up in and make aliyah in order to defend the State of Israel. ‘It’s a great mitzvah and an honor to serve in the IDF as a religious soldier,’ one explains; ‘I wanted to be part of the huge power defending Israel,’ says another.

Science and Technology
6 Israeli startups that want to change your everyday life. A new wave of Israeli companies is inventing more technologies to improve day-to-day life, and 16 of these innovators were in Las Vegas last week to present at the Consumer Electronics Show, one of the world’s premier technology trade shows that draws more than 150,000 attendees.

Dual action treatment for aggressive breast cancer.  Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have made a breakthrough in treating triple negative breast cancer. This cancer lacks three receptors that serve as targets for anti-cancer drugs. However, inhibiting molecules EGFR and PYK2 significantly reduces the size of tumors.

Rehabilitating the Dead Sea region.  Israel’s International Cooperation Ministry has established and dedicated a new NIS 4 million Dead Sea Research Institute.  Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian Authority scientists will work together at the Institute, to study the Dead Sea and find ways to rehabilitate it and the region around it.

15 Israelis making a mark on Silicon Valley’s tech scene. It is estimated that there are 10,000 to 15,000 Israelis working in Silicon Valley today. “Some of the best talent from Israel is coming here. They are starting wonderful companies in Silicon Valley and they’re collecting talent around them which is not just Israeli”

In Depth
A Walk of the Land – The Israel National Trail. A few sample pictures from the Israel National Trail.

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