News From Israel

No. 76, May 2, 2018

Inside Israel
Israel halts to commemorate fallen IDF soldiers, terror victims. Israel came to a standstill on April 17 to mark Yom Hazikaron, its national Memorial Day, and to commemorate the 23,646 fallen IDF soldiers and victims of terrorist attacks. It is one of the most somber dates on the Israeli calendar. Places of entertainment shut down. Radio and TV stations air documentaries about the fallen soldiers and terror victims.

Israel celebrates 70 Years of Independence! Seventy years ago, the Jews achieved one of the most remarkable and inspiring accomplishments in human history, creating a modern Jewish state in their historical homeland, the Land of Israel! Here is a moving rendition of the National Anthem of the State of Israel from the 68th celebration at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem in 2016.

Israel allocates millions to boost hi-tech in Arab sector. Israel’s Parliamentary Committee for Arab Affairs approved a NIS 20M ($5.6M) investment for implementing a new program to establish hi-tech industrial parks in Israeli-Arab cities. The plan was drafted by an inter-ministerial team led by the Prime Minister’s Office.

10 students killed after being swept away in flash flood. Students from a pre-army preparatory school were hit by the flood while they were hiking in Nahal Tzafit west of the Dead Sea. All victims were 18 years old. Army prep schools offer Israeli teens graduating from high school the opportunity to spend a year preparing for their mandatory military service. Police arrested the principal of the pre-military academy and one of the group’s guides on suspicion of negligent homicide in the death of the students.

Israel scraps deportations of all African asylum seekers, extends visas. In dramatic turnaround, the Israeli government informed the High Court of Justice that it had scrapped its controversial plan to deport tens of thousands of African migrants from the country, after Israeli authorities failed to cement an emigration deal with a third country. The government statement said existing deportation orders were canceled and the migrants with expired temporary residency permits will be able to get their visas renewed.

Natalie Portman refuses to visit Israel to accept prize, citing ‘recent events’. The Genesis Prize Foundation, which awards what it calls the “Jewish Nobel,” said it was “very saddened” that the Israeli-American actress would not take part in the ceremony. The foundation said that Portman’s representative notified it that “recent events in Israel have been extremely distressing to her and she does not feel comfortable participating in any public events in Israel”.

Gaza border riots Gazans protesting along the Gaza border have begun attaching firebombs to kites to fly over the fence into Israel in a new tactic as the riots enter their fourth week. “We are flying kites to burn the farmland,” the protesters said. According to the initial analysis, 26 of the 32 (about 80%) Gazans killed were terrorist operatives affiliated with terrorist organizations, primarily Hamas. Israeli UN Ambassador Danny Danon told the Security Council “There is nothing peaceful about terrorists firing over the fence at our positions” from Gaza. Israel had an obligation to protect its citizens and do so while minimizing civilian casualties. “Israel will never apologize for defending our country….It is Hamas that is fully responsible for every Palestinian injury and death.”

In first, European Parliament condemns Hamas for terror, use of human shields. Resolution still slams IDF’s use of live fire against Gaza marches on border and calls for lifting of Gaza blockade, but Israel says ‘unprecedented anti-Israeli clauses were cut’.

US drops ‘occupied’ from West Bank terminology. US State Department dropped the term “occupied” referring to the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Golan Heights, in the annual report on human rights violations around the world. Most of the rest of the report is similar to prior years, cataloging human rights abuses by the Israeli Defense Forces, Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority.

Business ties to Arab world skyrocketing, says venture capitalist. As Israel marked Independence Day, the country was benefiting from ever-growing business ties with the Arab world, according to one Israeli executive who has helped pave the way for the budding rapprochement. “It’s taken 70 years but we’re starting to see signs of normalization,” said former Labor MK and venture capitalist Erel Margalit.

Culture and Lifestyle
17 Israeli songs to get your Independence Day party moving. Those who can’t make it to Israel for the festivities can celebrate from anywhere in the world, thanks to ISRAEL21c’sIndependence Day Spotify playlist.

Science and Technology
Israeli scientist working on Alzheimer’s vaccine. Alzheimer’s disease, affecting some 47 million people worldwide, for now remains an irreversible and fatal brain disorder. Taking a proactive approach, an Israeli brain researcher is developing a vaccine against this devastating disease.

Acetaminophen use during pregnancy linked to increased autism and ADHD risk. Hebrew University researchers have found for the first time a link between mothers’ prolonged use of drugs containing acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) during pregnancy and an increased risk of autismspectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the children who are born to them. Yet, given the significant limitations of existing studies, the researchers believe the results should be interpreted with caution.

Israeli scientists identify early breast cancer more accurately. A screening method that detects breast cancer more accurately and earlier has been developed by Ben-Gurion University and Soroka-University Medical Center researchers. The biomarkers are identified by using commercially available breath and urine tests.

Printing the perfect burger from cellulose. Israeli food tech company Chef-it is developing a machine that can instantly “print” food from a cartridge containing plant-based proteins, fats, and flavor components, and cellulose, a common fiber that can be manipulated into a variety of textures. Chef-it’s technology uses infrared light to simultaneously cook the food as it prints. A current prototype can print a veggie burger in 10 minutes.

In Depth
Israelis want a solution to the African migrants’ crisis, though few want them to stay. When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu walked back an agreement with the United Nations last week to resettle abroad at least half of the African migrants seeking asylum in his country, it did not play well with the majority of Israelis. But don’t assume that means the public wants the migrants to stay in Israel, pollsters warn.

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