News From Israel

No. 70, February 07, 2018
Inside Israel

Unemployment levels drop to lowest since ’70s. The unemployment rate in Israel dropped to 4% in December 2017, marking a 0.3% decrease since the previous month and the lowest rate since the end of the 1970s.

African asylum seekers protest deportations outside president’s house. Dozens of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers protested outside President Reuven Rivlin’s residence in Jerusalem against planned forced deportations of African asylum seekers to third countries said to be Uganda and Rwanda. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the tens of thousands of Africans who are living in Israel illegally are not legitimate refugees or asylum seekers, but instead are illegal economic migrants.

Number of Israeli Arabs in higher education jumped 79 percent in seven years. The number of Israeli Arabs studying at Israeli universities and colleges climbed 78.5% in the past seven years, the Israel Council for Higher Education reported. At the University of Haifa, 41% of students are Israeli Arab, followed by 22% at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology. Israeli Arabs constitute about 20% of the total population.

IDF unveils new initiatives to benefit Palestinian civilians. At a special forum in Europe, the IDF presented Israeli projects that benefit Palestinians, maintain regional stability and encourage economic development. These projects include: connecting Gaza to a natural gas infrastructure that will double the electricity supply, developing the solar energy in the Gaza Strip for the use of purification plants and hospitals, establishing a large desalination plant for the benefit of the Gazans, and developing a supervised industrial zone to provide work for Gazans.

Partisan divide over Israel in the U.S. at historic level, poll finds. The Pew Research Center findings show Republicans more sympathetic than ever toward Israel, with Democrats increasingly divided, now equally likely to support the Palestinian cause. Overall, 79% of Republicans sympathize with Israel in the survey compared to only 27% of Democrats.  The full text of the Pew Report is here.

Two major U.S. surveys rank Israel among most powerful, innovative countries. Web-based publication US News and World Report, named Israel as the 8th most powerful nation in the world. Meanwhile, Bloomberg News listed the Jewish state as the 10th most innovative, hailing its high-tech industry and technological advances.

Poll: Under 50% of Palestinians, Israeli Jews support two-state solution. Support for the principle of a two-state solution among Palestinians and Israeli Jews stands below half, according to a recent public opinion poll. 47% of Palestinians and 46% of Israeli Jews said they back a two-state solution. Taking into account Arab-Israelis, however, the total number of Israelis in favor of two states stands at 53%.

Netanyahu: “The Palestinians should have all the powers to govern themselves but none of the powers to harm us”. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Our position is that Jerusalem should remain united under Israel’s sovereignty with complete religious rights for those of all faiths…  The Palestinians should have all the powers to govern themselves but none of the powers to harm us. Israel will retain the overriding security control, but other than that, the Palestinians will be able to govern themselves.”

Netanyahu visits Moscow. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin that the lesson of the Holocaust is to “stand up to murderous ideologies,” and called for Israel and Russia to work together to “promote security and stability” in the Middle East. Netanyahu and Putin discussed the situation in Syria, Iran’s growing presence throughout the Middle East as well as its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Culture and Lifestyle
Women running banks is the norm in Israel. Three of Israel’s top banks (Leumi, Israel Discount and First International) are currently led by women. So is the Bank of Israel. At Leumi 40% of top management are women. So is the supervisor of banks, the director of the capital markets, insurance and savings authority and others.

In pictures: Israel’s winter wonderland. A winter storm brings with it frost-covered trees, blocked-off roads and kids at play.

12 of the hippest emerging Israeli bands. There are so many Israeli musicians producing top-quality ear candy that keeping track of them all is a near impossible feat. “Diversity here makes Israeli music stand out … people should move here for the music,” one critic said. See and listen for yourself.

Science and Technology
Lab-grown chicken startup. If a piece of chicken was created in a lab, independently of an animal’s body, would it still taste like chicken? Yes, says SuperMeat, an Israeli producer of lab-grown poultryextracted from the stem cells of a live chicken. The Israeli food startup also says it would help provide solutions to some of the world’s biggest food issues like the high cost of production, pollution from animal emissions, animal cruelty, and world hunger.

Israeli scientists discover earliest modern human fossils outside Africa. A jawbone with teeth recently discovered in Mount Carmel’s Misliya Cave dating back 177,000 to 194,000 years, proves Homo sapiens were present in the Levant/Eretz Israel at least 50,000 years earlier than previously believed, Israeli scientists announced. “This finding completely changes our view on modern human dispersal and the history of modern human evolution,” said Prof. Israel Hershkovitz of Tel Aviv University.

Vitamins before and during pregnancy may cut autism risk. Study of 45,300 Israeli children reveals statistically significant link between maternal vitamin use and lower chance of ASD (autism spectrum disorders) in offspring. Previous studies on the specific link between vitamins, folic acid and autism have had inconsistent results, and the authors of the current study state that the reason for the association they observed remains unclear.

IBM sets up its largest lab outside US.  Multinational IBM has inaugurated a new cybersecurity laboratory in Beer Sheva – its largest outside of the United States. The lab will focus on researching systems to detect insider threats – one of the biggest current causes of data security breaches.

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