News From Israel

“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. 82, September 05, 2018

Call for Action
Israeli Charities on the Beth David website. A list of selected Israeli Charities has been published on the Beth David website. On the eve of the coming High Holy days, we encourage you to visit this list. Perhaps you will find a few organizations that resonate with you and will allow you to do the mitzvah of heling the people of Israel.

Inside Israel
PepsiCo buys SodaStream for $3.2 Billion. PepsiCo Inc. will pay $3.2 billion for Israeli at-home water carbonation product company SodaStream International Ltd. PepsiCo is committed, as part of the deal, to keep SodaStream’s operation in Israel for 15 years. SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum said that the company’s manufacturing facility in the south of Israel is set to hire some 300 new employees to meet growing demand.

IDF to expand rocket arsenal with unprecedented precision weapons. Avigdor Liberman announced that Israel’s Ministry of Defense ordered new precision rockets from Israel Military Industries (IMI). The precision missiles reportedly have a range of between 30 and 150 kilometers, with significantly improved accuracy capabilities that make them more suitable for the type of urban warfare the IDF could encounter in a future conflict with Hamas in Gaza, thereby reducing the likelihood of collateral damage.

Muslims reach near 18% of Israel’s population. While Muslims comprised 4.9% of Europe’s population in 2016, in 2017 they reached 17.8% of Israel’s population, with an annual growth rate of 2.5%. Muslim women are the most fertile in Israel: the average Muslim woman gives birth to 3.37 children in her lifetime (up from 3.29 in 2016), compared with 3.16 children for a Jewish woman, 2.10 to a Druze, and 1.93 to a Christian.

Israel aims to improve Palestinian economy. Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon is seeking to drum up American and European support for a plan to boost the Palestinian economy in the West Bank. After more than three years of meetings with Palestinian officials, Kahlon is pushing a plan to build joint industrial zones, ease movement out of the West Bank, and allow the Palestinian Authority to collect its own customs taxes.

Israel headed for 6th consecutive year of drought, experts say. Israel is likely to enter its sixth consecutive year ‎‎‎of drought ‎in 2019, ‎and even if the coming winter brings a good amount of rain, the damage to the ‎country’s natural water resources will take more ‎than one rainy season to repair, experts from the ‎Israel Water Authority warned. In the Sea of ‎Galilee, the country’s largest freshwater lake, the water level has fallen to alarming dimensions and is so ‎low that an island has emerged in ‎its center.

Poll shows Netanyahu’s favorability among Americans a highly partisan issue. The survey of attitudes towards various world leaders showed 64 percent of Republicans had a favorable view of the Israeli leader, while only 17% of Democrats felt the same. Among independents Netanyahu had a 30% approval rating.

Trump: Palestinians’ turn for a gift after Jerusalem embassy move. Addressing a rally in West Virginia, Trump said that the Palestinians would soon “get something very good” in return for the May embassy move “because it’s their turn next.” The president has made similar comments before. “We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table,” Trump wrote on Twitter in January, “but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more.”

Report: Abbas doesn’t recognize those around him. Palestinian Arab officials close to Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas claim that his health is worsening. According to the report, Abbas is suffering from severe memory problems and at times does not recognize those around him.

Former Jordanian PM: If we ever become stronger, we will take Haifa by force. Former Jordanian Prime Minister Abdelsalam Al-Majali told Jordan Today TV: “The Arabs do not have any power. If we ever have military power, will we let them [Israel] keep Haifa? We’ll take it. If tomorrow, we become stronger and can take Haifa by force, will we really decline just because we have an agreement with them?”

U.S. announces immediate end to UNRWA funding. The Trump administration has cut all funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), questioning the organization’s “fundamental business model” of servicing an “endlessly and exponentially expanding community” of declared Palestinian refugees. UNRWA claims that the descendants of refugees from 1940s Mandate Palestine qualify as refugees themselves– a definition that has allowed the number of beneficiaries to balloon in recent years. Commenting on this decision, Netanyahu said “This is a very welcome and important change, and we support it.” Netanyahu contrasted how UNRWA has perpetuated the refugee problem with how Israel provided solution to Jews uprooted from their homes.

Culture and Lifestyle
Israeli gymnast sets world record at World Cup, wins gold. Israeli gymnast Linoy Ashram broke the world record in the clubs-handling round at the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Challenge Cup in Minsk, Belarus, and went on to win the gold medal in the all-round phase of the competition.

Exodus’ survivor inspires son who sold SodaStream for $3.2 billion. Father of SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum is a Holocaust survivor and a Rabbi in a Conservative Synagogue in Israel. “Who would have believed, Dad, after you lost your family, that you would get to this moment to see a thriving country, to take the ashes of the Holocaust and turn it into a moment of glory and pride,” Daniel Birnbaum said.

In win for BDS, 2 performers pull out of Israeli music festival. Award-winning singer/songwriter Lana Del Ray, who initially refused to cave in to BDS pressure, cancelled her gig in Israel. Henry Laufer, an electronic musician known by his stage name Shlohmo, also abruptly pulled out. Dozens of other acts from around the world as well as in Israel will play a large range of music, from jazz to rap to pop for fans who attend the Meteor Festival in Kibbutz Lehavot Habashan in northern Israel.

Science and Technology
New Israeli breathalyzer can flag early onset of Parkinson’s disease. Researchers at Israel’s Technion Institute of Technology, led by Prof. Hossam Haick, have developed a device that can detect the early onset of Parkinson’s disease by analyzing the breath of users.

A promising cure for acute leukemia may be within reach. Research team at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has developed a new biological drug showing a cure rate of 50 percent for lab mice with acute myeloid leukemia — one of the most aggressive cancers. American company BioTheryX recently bought the rights to this promising drug.

Intel unveils 8th generation processors developed In Haifa. Chip giant Intel unveiled two new series mobility processors under its 8th-Gen branding, both of which were developed at Intel’s research and development center in Haifa. The new processors feature Gigabit WiFi, which the company says is 12 times faster than WiFi, and are optimized for connectivity in thin, light laptops and 2-in-1s (laptop/tablet hybrids) for the first time.

In Depth
Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy unprecedented advances in quality of life. “Those who accuse Israel of apartheid naturally fear that once exposed, the truth will prove their allegations are at best empty at and at worst incitement” the author of this article writes. Up until the last decade, the state was to be blamed for the neglect of the Arab communities. However, since 2009, the government has led a process of unprecedented advances in quality of life for Israel’s non-Jewish citizens.

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