News From Israel

No. 77, May 16, 2018

Inside Israel
WATCH: Experience Lag B’Omer – The Jewish Festival of Fire! Hundreds of thousands of Israelis make the trek to the Tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a first-century rabbi, in Meron, in the Galilee, on Lag B’Omer. The Lag B’Omer celebration, marking the passing of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, was instituted by the great spiritual leader himself on his deathbed. It is marked by torches, song and feasting. Here is a historical background for this holiday

Gaza border riots. Palestinians in Gaza set fire to scores of acres of Israeli farmland, employing a new airborne weapon, which Israeli politicians have taken to calling “Kite bombs.” 200 acres of grain fields owned by the Negev Moshavim company have been burned and damaged by the recent kite attacks. In new videos, IDF accuses Gazans of faking injuries, taking small kids to riots.

Most Israelis do not believe negotiations with the PA will lead to peace. 70% of Israeli Jews and 67% of Israeli Arabs do not believe that negotiations between Israel and the PA will lead to peace in the coming years, according to the Peace Index survey. 91% of Jews and only 33% of Arabs said they were proud to be an Israeli.

Reaction in Israel to US withdrawal from nuclear agreementPresident Reuven Rivlin said that the United States’ decision constitutes an important and significant step in ensuring the security of the State of Israel, the security of the region and the security of the entire free world.

“Unsatisfactory” rating for public transportation in Israel. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) gave public transportation in Israel’s cities an unsatisfactory rating, saying that road congestion cost passengers an average of 60 minutes a day. Road congestion in Israel is the highest of any OECD country by a wide margin.

Israel’s Netta Barzilai wins Eurovision song contest! “Next time in Jerusalem,” jubilant Barzilai yells after victory; ‘Toy’ marks Israel’s 4th win; thousands jump in Rabin Square fountain to celebrate; PM calls her ‘best ambassador’ Here is the winning song

Abbas says Jews’ behavior, not anti-Semitism, caused the Holocaust. In a rambling speech, PA president gave a ‘history lesson’ in which he tried to negate Jewish connection to Israel and accused Zionists of cooperating with Hitler. He said that the Holocaust was not caused by anti-Semitism, but by the “social behavior” of the Jews, including money-lending. Later, facing the widespread condemnation and under intense pressure from diplomats, he apologized for his anti-Semitic rant.

Netanyahu: Iran ‘brazenly lied’ about nuclear program, continued work after deal. In anastonishing presentation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of lying about its nuclear program. In a speech broadcast live he revealed information that showed the Islamic Republic had for years worked on developing nuclear weapons, and continued to pursue such weapons even after signing the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. He said that Israel had obtained 100,000 secret Iranian files a few weeks ago in one of the “greatest achievements” of Israeli intelligence.

Israel attacks more than 50 Iranian targets in Syria after Iran targets Israeli bases. Iranian forces in Syria launched a rocket attack on Israeli army bases in the Golan Heights. In response, the IDF attacked more than 50 Iranian targets in what was described as “one of the greatest operations of the Israel Air Force in the past decade. “The Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force paid a heavy price. It will take the Iranians a long time to rehabilitate,” the IDF spokesperson said.

Netanyahu meets Putin in Moscow, attends victory day ceremony. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin at a parade in Moscow’s Red Square commemorating the 73rd anniversary of the Russian victory over Nazi Germany. President Putin hadpersonally invited Prime Minister Netanyahu to participate alongside him in the events of Russia’s annual victory day. Netanyahu said that in his the meeting with Putin, following the parade, “I wanted to clarify to the Russians what our considerations were in the various operations in Syria”.

Culture and Lifestyle
A Samaritan Passover. Week after Jewish Passover, the ancient Samaritan community gathered to slaughter and sacrifice sheep in observance of God’s miraculous rescue of His People from slavery in Egypt, and their journey through the desert to freedom. The entire sect, which claims direct descent from the tribes of Ephraim and Menashe, numbers less than 1,000 at this point.

The “secret” of Israeli longevity. National Geographic Travel suggests reasons for Israel’s consistent position near the top of the world’s longevity scale. It cites the combination of a Mediterranean-style diet, low alcohol consumption, strong family and cultural values, and an excellent healthcare system.

The Israeli Andalusian Orchestra. This award-winning Israeli orchestra founded in 1994 is located in Ashdod. The orchestra is composed of around 30 musicians and lyricists mainly of Tunisian, Moroccan and Russian origin and features traditional Sephardic Jewish-Arab and Andalusian music. Watch and hear their music here and here.

Science and Technology
Africa gains from Israel’s solar system. A charity that brought solar energy to poverty-stricken villagers is giving thousands of people a new lease of life. Organization “Israel’s Innovation: Africa” delivers solar panels to African villages and now they have electricity to pump water, to power refrigerators that can store medicines for doctors to treat the sick. “Things like this make me proud to be Jewish and proud of Israel,” the CEO of the organization said.

Israeli company sold in staggering $7.1 billion deal. Israeli flavor and ingredient producer Frutarom will be acquired by American firm International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (IFF) in a deal worth approximately $7.1 billion. The deal represents the second largest sale or “exit” of an Israeli company to date, only surpassed by Intel’s purchase of Mobileye for $15.3 billion in 2017.

US Health Authorities turn to Israeli universal flu vaccine maker to ward off next influenza outbreak. Hoping to keep the next possible influenza epidemic at bay, the National Institutes of Health announced its new Phase 2 clinical trial of investigational universal influenza vaccine — the M-001 vaccine candidate, developed and produced by BiondVax Pharmaceuticals based in Ness Ziona – which it hopes will prove protective against multiple strains of the virus.

99% success for freezing tumors. Israeli company IceCure reported clinical trial results with 99% effectiveness in eliminating cancerous breast tumors through freezing with liquid nitrogen without surgery. Of the 146 trial patients, the cancer re-occurred in only one.

In Depth
The status of Jerusalem in international and Israeli law. Most member states of the United Nations refuse to recognize Jerusalem as the united capital of Israel. This detailed study by a renowned expert on Jerusalem shows that Israel has valid legal status in the city.

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