News From Israel

“News from Israel” presents a compilation of news stories from major Israeli and other publications. To see the source and to read the full story behind a headline, click the hyperlink in the corresponding news item.

No. 69, January 24, 2018
Inside Israel

Israeli rabbi killed in West Bank drive-by shooting. A resident of an outpost near Nablus, in central Samaria was killed while driving close to his home, in a drive-by shooting attack. Rabbi Raziel Shevach, 35, was married with six children, ages 11 to eight months. Hamas and the Palestinian Fatah faction, led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, glorified the murder in a post on Facebook. US Ambassador David Friedman said in a tweet “An Israeli father of six was killed in cold blood by Palestinian terrorists. Hamas praises the killers and PA laws will provide them financial rewards. Look no further to why there is no peace.”

Israel unveils plans for 40-Mile underground wall around Gaza. Israel unveiled its plans for a vast underground wall around Gaza. A senior IDF official said he was confident that once the barrier was complete, attack tunnels would no longer pose a threat.

54% of Israeli judges are women. With Esther Hayut as the new president of Israel’s Supreme Court, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked noted that 54% of judges in Israel are female. Israel has had three women presidents of the Supreme Court

Artificial islands to relief Israel’s overcrowding. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refloated an initiative to construct artificial islands in Israel’s territorial waters as a solution for Israel’s limited territory. The islands may accommodate many shoreline facilities such as desalination and power plants, which are taking up space in the country’s already limited coastal zone.

High Court requested update on upgrades to Western Wall egalitarian section. The High Court of Justice is requesting that the state notify the court by April 15 regarding progress on upgrading the current egalitarian section at the southern end of the Western Wall. This request further illustrates the court’s seeming willingness to accept a plan by the Prime Minister’s Office to improve the physical structure and facilities at the current egalitarian section, known as Robinson’s Arch, without implementing the critical clauses of the now-frozen 2016 government resolution on the Western Wall.

Israeli PM Netanyahu warmly greeted in New Delhi on arrival for week-long India state visit. In a sign of respect for the Israeli leader, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally welcomed Netanyahu on the tarmac upon arrival in New Delhi. Modi tweeted: “Welcome to India, my friend PM Netanyahu. Your visit to India … will further cement the close friendship between our nations”. Israel and India signed multiple agreements in the areas of energy production, cyber cooperation, space and aviation, direct mutual investment and cinema production.

Israeli leaders condemn statements by Abbas. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaking in Ramallah said, “Israel is … a colonialist enterprise… Whoever has [weapons] – go ahead and fight Israel. I’m with you, and I will help you”. President Reuven Rivlin lashed out against comments made by Abbas: “What we heard from Mahmoud Abbas was terrible.” “Abbas revealed with his fiery and intransigent speech that the real reason for the lack of peace in the Middle East is the Palestinian refusal to recognize a Jewish state in any border”, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.  The transcript of the Abas’ speech is here.

PLO Central Council suspends Oslo Agreement. The Central Council directed the PLO Executive Committee to “revoke recognition of Israel until it recognizes the State of Palestine in the 1967 borders and reverses the decision to annex East Jerusalem and expand settlements,” according to the official Palestinian news agency. The Council rejected any recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Additionally, the Council affirmed “the determination of the Palestinian people to resist by all means possible and to bring the Israeli occupation and apartheid regime down.”

Palestinian Authority paid terrorists nearly $350 million in 2017. The Palestinian Authoritypaid terrorists and their families over $347 million last year, according to its own records, the Defense Ministry reported. Terrorists who are Israeli citizens receive a special bonus, which, when added to the amount PA pays for the most severe crimes, comes to over $2,900, more than the average Israeli income of around $2,700 per month.

US cuts UNRWA funding. The United States will give United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, $60 million in aid but will withhold a further $65 million “for future consideration,” a US official said. Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon commented on the American decision saying: “It is time to end the absurdity of UNRWA. It has been exposed as an organization that uses its funds for anti-Israel propaganda, eternalizing the Palestinian refugee’s status and spreading hate.”

Trump administration plans to move US embassy to Jerusalem by 2019. The Trump administration is accelerating its transfer of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, US media reported, with a plan to have the facility ready by the end of 2019. Transfer will be expedited by converting existing consular building in West Jerusalem, instead of building a new structure.

Culture and Lifestyle
Israel’s 70th celebration to reflect ‘Heritage of Innovation’. “Israeli society … is creative, looks to the future, thinks outside the box, and is a trailblazer in research, medicine and agriculture, thereby providing a vital contribution to all of humanity. The government decided to highlight this unique contribution from Israel to the world under the headline ‘Heritage of Innovation’,” Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev said.

Israel celebrates over 3,000 years of the Hebrew language. Israel on January 8 marked Hebrew Language Day, celebrated on the birthday of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the father of modern Hebrew. The revival of the spoken Hebrew language is an extraordinary story, unparalleled in history. A language with roots dating back more than 3,000 years, it was brought back to life after centuries during which it effectively lay dormant, and it’s now flourishing in the 21st century.

Video: Jerusalem’s Winter Noise Festival. Jerusalem’s Winter Noise Festival features artists, musicians, and small businesses lighting up Monday nights and awakening the streets of Jerusalem with numerous festivities.

Adon Olam by the IDF Rabbinical Choir. Yes, it is the IDF Rabbinical Choir … in a very informal setting. Watch here.

Science and Technology
Kibbutzim invest in hi-tech. 2017 saw a 46% increase compared to 2016 in kibbutz investments into startup ventures, totaling some NIS 76 million. 24 kibbutzim invested in 19 startup companies. Kibbutzim are also renting space for local entrepreneurs to set-up new businesses.

Gal Gadot Is Huawei’s new CEO—Chief Experience Officer. Gal Gadot, the Israeli actress who played the title role in the 2017 Warner Bros. movie “Wonder Woman,” is the new celebrity sponsor of Chinese telecommunications company Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. Ms. Gadot will join Huawei’s marketing efforts as the company introduces its Mate10 Pro mobile phone to U.S. market.

Navy’s new defense system can mislead enemy missiles. In response to an incoming missile,the system launches chaff rockets to create a “wall” of hundreds of metal wires which mislead the enemy missile into thinking this is the Israeli ship, diverting the missile before it hits the ship. An additional new defense system allows naval vessels to disrupt the frequencies of enemy missile radars.

In Depth
Students for Justice in Palestine unmasked. The Students for Justice in Palestine network serves as the leading student arm of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement in the United States. SJP is not as they claim, a “grassroots” student organization; it is a terror-affiliated anti-Semitic network that currently operates with autonomy and impunity at colleges and universities across the United States.

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