News From Israel – March 21, 2018

“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. 73, March 21, 2018

Call for Action
Urge your senators to sign the Corker-Menendez letter on Iranian aggression and nuclear ambitions. Iran—the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism—remains the greatest long-term threat to U.S. and Israeli interests in the Middle East. Please, urge your California senators and representatives to support bipartisan efforts to confront Iranian aggression and nuclear ambitions.

Inside Israel
Netanyahu resolves political crisis. Netanyahu agreed to extend the IDF draft exemptions for the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) men. Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party, a key secular partner in the ruling coalition, said it will vote against the proposed solution, but Netanyahu still has the required 61 votes to pass the bill.

Poll: Half of Israel’s Arabs don’t recognize country’s right to exist. Almost half of Israel’s Arab minority doesn’t recognize the country’s right to exist, according to the University of Haifa’s Index of Arab-Jewish Relations for 2017. At the same time, the poll showed a worsening of Jewish attitudes toward the Arab minority. Despite the deterioration in the willingness to integrate, the figures also show a great openness of both Arabs and Jews to maintain relations.

2019 Israeli budget increases spending on unprecedented scale while lowering taxes. “This is the most social-welfare minded budget in the state’s history, which reflects our social values and our national priorities,” said Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon. The budget greatly increases spending on healthcare, education, defense, and welfare.

WATCH: Are Israel’s gun laws tougher than America’s? With debates over gun control dominating public discourse in recent weeks, many pundits in America are citing Israel as an example of proper gun control. Sharon Gat, owner of an Israeli gun range, explores some of the myths surrounding Israel’s gun laws.

Special 2014 Gaza war report finds IDF complied with international law. In the most important legal report to date on the war crimes allegations from the 2014 Gaza war, the state comptroller has ruled that the IDF followed international law. The comptroller, however, criticized probe delays, some actions of the military intelligence and efforts in educating soldiers.

Pence: America stands with Israel, always. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence addressed the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, DC. “The alliance between the United States and Israel has never been stronger. I’m here to convey a message from the President: America stands with Israel. Today, tomorrow, and always,” he said.

Schumer: Settlements not an obstacle to peace. US Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer speaking at the AIPAC Political Conference said Israeli settlement building was not an obstacle to peace with the Palestinians, instead blaming the failure to reach a peace accord on the Palestinian refusal to accept the Jewish state. “The fact of the matter is that too many Palestinians and too many Arabs do not want any Jewish state in the Middle East. So that’s the reason there is not peace,” he said.

Poll: Americans remain staunchly in Israel’s corner. Americans’ stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is as strongly pro-Israel as at any time in Gallup’s three-decade trend. Currently, 74% of U.S. adults view Israel favorably and 23% view it unfavorably, whereas 21% view the Palestinian Authority favorably and 71% unfavorably.

Palestinians increase payments to terrorists to $403 million. The Palestinian Authority increased its payments to terrorists and their families in 2018 by nearly $56 million, compared to 2017. There is a PA law that says 7% of each budget must go to paying terrorists, or to their families, if they’re killed in the act. The families of those involved in killing Israelis receive five times the average Palestinian income each month for the rest of their lives.

Report: Saudi crown prince meets senior Israeli officials in Egypt. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with senior Israeli officials during his visit to Egypt to discuss the normalization of ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, London-based Arab paper reported.

Culture and Lifestyle
Israel again ranks 11th happiest country. 2018 World Happiness Report— which ranks countries according to criteria such as GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity and absence of corruption — ranks Israel 11th. The United States came in at 18th.

Israel has highest birthrate in Western world. The Jewish state has the highest birthrate in the Western world, with an average of 3.11 children per family. Israel’s birthrate is substantially higher than the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) average, which stands at 2.1 children per family.

Israel’s Eurovision entry early favorite to win song contest. Israel’s entry for the 2018 Eurovision song contest has soared to the top of the betting charts immediately after its release, making the country the favorite to win this year’s competition with odds of 3-1 on several betting websites. Watch … and prepare to be surprised!

Buffs pour into Tel Aviv for world’s largest whisky exhibition. Whisky Live took place at the Azrieli Mall in Tel Aviv. This is the event’s fourth year in Israel and is part of the so-called Israeli whisky revolution. The exhibition is a celebration of the growth and blossoming of the Israeli market and the increase in knowledge and appreciation from locals.

Science and Technology
Israel wants to lure U.S. scientists with $100,000 grants. To address growing local demand for tech talent and attract foreign students to Israeli academia, Israel partnered with media magnate Mortimer Zuckerman to finance a program aiming to convince dozens of post-doctoral students in American universities to relocate to Israel.

Israeli technology is helping to grow crops in India. From increasing tomato yields in Tamil Nadu to helping farmers grow crops in the deserts of Rajasthan, the Indo-Israel Agriculture Project over the last decade has been a fruitful one. Israel has set up 23 centers across India to share its unique knowledge on agriculture using less water and other innovative techniques.

Israeli startup freezing cancer in its tracks now tackling kidney, liver, bone tumors. Cancer researchers and medical technology companies over past decades have worked to find forms of cancer treatment that are less invasive but equally impactful. Since 2006, Caesarea-based IceCure Medical has advanced the concept of cryoablation, a process which uses extreme cold to freeze and destroy diseased tissue used by medical experts for years, to develop technology that would freeze cancer tumors

Edited by:

Alex Drukarev

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