News From Israel

No. 80, August 8, 2018

Inside Israel

Terrorist attacks. A 31-year-old Yotam Ovadia, father of two small children, was murdered in a stabbing attack in the town of Adam near Jerusalem. In the attack, a 17-year-old terrorist from the Palestinian Authority-controlled town of Kobar killed Ovadia and wounded two others.   The Palestinian Authority declared him a “Martyr”, and will reward his family with a one-time monetary grant and monthly allowance. A Palestinian sniper from Gaza wounded an IDF officer as soldiers were dispersing a “bait” riot by children near the border fence.  Since March 30, southern Israel has experienced hundreds of fires as a result of incendiary kites and balloons flown over the border by Palestinians in Gaza. Over 7,000 acres of land have been burned, causing millions of shekels in damages, according to Israeli officials.

100,000 protest in Tel Aviv over anti-LGBT discrimination. Tens of thousands of Israelis packed into Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square to protest the exclusion of gay couples from a recently passed surrogacy law that has drawn accusations of LGBT discrimination in the Jewish state. The law extended eligibility for surrogacy to single women, but not to men, effectively preventing homosexual male couples from having a child via a surrogate.

Druze-led rally against nation-state law in Tel Aviv draws at least 50,000. An estimated 50,000-plus people, waving Israeli and Druze flags and calling for equality, gathered at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square to demonstrate against the controversial Jewish nation-state law. The nation-state law has been criticized as discriminatory toward Israel’s non-Jewish minorities. The legislation has prompted particular outrage from the Druze community, which takes pride in its service in the Israel Defense Forces. The legislation, proponents say, puts Jewish values and democratic values on equal footing. PM Netanyahu expressed the government’s position at the recent Cabinet meeting

Arab woman appointed Dean at Hebrew University. Prof. Mona Khoury-Kassabri has been appointed dean of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s School of Social Work, the first Arab woman to be appointed dean at the university.

Islands of Peace. There are 14 industrial areas in Judea and Samaria where Jewish Israelis and Arab Palestinians work alongside each other. They discover the “other” isn’t as they expected. And with jobs, these 15,000 Arabs add NIS 4.5 billion to the PA economy and can enjoy a normal and fruitful life.


Moody’s raises rating outlook for Israel. Despite growing security tensions, international rating agency Moody’s Investors Service has joined Standard & Poor’s (S&P) in raising its rating outlook for the government of Israel from stable to positive. “The rating outlook upgrade is further evidence of the strength and stability of the Israeli economy,” Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon said.

20 Rwandan children with heart disease to undergo surgery in Israel. 20 Rwandan children suffering from severe heart disease are going to Israel to undergo heart surgery, in partnership with the Save a Child’s Heart Foundation, with all costs covered. Future plans seek to help Rwanda set up a pediatric cardiology center.

Israeli exports to China hit record high. Israeli exports to China set a new record in the first half of 2018 and reached $2.8 billion, up 73% over the same period in 2017, the Israel Governmental Export Institute reported.

Senate approves $500 Million for U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation. The U.S. Senate approved the Defense Authorization Act for FY 2019 that includes $500 million for U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation and $50 million for counter-tunnel cooperation. The bill extends authorization for the U.S. War Reserve Stockpile in Israel by five years and allocates an additional $1 billion for U.S. weapons stockpiles in Israel. Senator Feinstein voted for the bill, while Senator Harris voted against it.

Culture and Lifestyle

7 fantastic reasons to put Beersheva on your travel itinerary. Nicknamed B7, the unofficial capital of the Negev is emerging as an alternative cultural destination to bigger sisters Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa. “You can really feel something is happening here,” says a newcomer to this city. “You see new buildings, new restaurants, and lots of exciting cultural developments.”

Israel’s new olim: Russian Jewish oligarchs. Russian immigration to Israel, which peaked in the early 1990s, has been on the rise lately propelled by the economic crisis in Russia. A drop in oil prices in 2015 kickstarted the new phenomenon, but U.S. sanctions shifted things into a new gear. With Roman Abramovich as a patron and dishes including caviar and hummus, Tel Aviv’s “Shallot” restaurant has become the stronghold of Israel’s newest super-rich.

Hanan Ben Ari wants you to ‘have a moment’. Watch the new song “Rega” by Israeli pop sensation Hanan Ben Ari.

Science and Technology

Revolutionary scent sensor could help sniff out your soulmate. Our phones can recognize our voices, faces and movements, so why not our scents? Thanks to Israeli startup NanoScent, your smartphone could identify, recognize and analyze scent as easily as it takes a photo. If you’re wondering why you would want a scent sensor on your smartphone, the possible uses are almost endless: from sniffing out true love, to detecting fertility or pregnancy, to analyzing nutrition, to alerting you it’s time to shower.

The future of urban driving: foldable electric vehicle. City Transformer, an automotive startup based in central Israel, has come up with its own solution for the urban traffic and parking problems – an electric city vehicle featuring a folding mechanism that allows it to be narrowed to as little as one meter (about 3ft.) wide. This feature allows the car to maneuver the city better and park more easily.

Africans visit Start-up Nation in search of Israeli agricultural innovation. A delegation from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) just completed a two-day visit to Israel to learn about local companies that specialize in agriculture technology that can be brought back to African farmers to upgrade their food production. The delegation met with various local companies who showcased their cutting-edge technologies in fields such as crop protection, field monitoring and micro-irrigation.

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 at colleges and universities across the United States.

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