News From Israel

o. 84, October 4, 2018

Inside Israel

WATCH: Sukkot in Jerusalem and beyond. There’s a party in Jerusalem and EVERYONE is invited! Watch this entertaining film featuring the joyous festival of SUKKOT, the Feast of Tabernacles, as celebrated in Jerusalem.

Palestinians riot near Gaza security fence. The following is a list of headlines appearing in Israeli newspapers over the last 2 weeks regarding the situation on the Israel-Gaza border: Hundreds of Palestinians rioted near the Gaza security fence during Yom Kippur, throwing firebombs, a hand grenade and an explosive device at IDF soldiers… Four fires broke out in Gaza border communities due to incendiary balloons launched into Israel by Palestinians in Gaza… Twelve fires broke out in Israel towns surrounding the Gaza Strip throughout the day after incendiary balloons were launched from the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave…  20,000 gather at border, throwing hand grenades, rocks, burning tires and sending arson balloons into Israel, causing at least 16 blazes near Israeli towns near the Gaza Strip. IDF responded with tear gas, live fire and air strikes. Haaretz daily quoted Israeli security sources as saying that Hamas is preparing for war, bolstering its forces significantly over the past few weeks.

Tel Aviv elections: First-ever all-female list seeks to narrow gender gap. For the first time ever, an all-female list of candidates is contending for slots in Tel Aviv’s City Hall, with a view to balance out the gender gap in representation on the city council. The founder of the list, Shelly Harel, decided to bring together a group of women after observing that only 8 of the 31 city council members are female and none of them lead a party.

Israel 6th for health care efficiency. Israel is among the world’s six leading countries in health efficiency, according to Bloomberg’s latest Health Care Efficiency Index. The Bloomberg index has three components, each of which is assigned a different weight: life expectancy (60%), national per capita health care spending as a proportion of GDP (30%), and per capita spending on health in dollars (10%). Note that US ranks 54 in this index.


Downed Russian plane was Syria’s fault, Netanyahu tells Putin. While responding to an Israeli airstrike, Syrian missile defense systems shot down a Russian plane carrying 15 Russian soldiers over the Mediterranean Sea. Moscow blamed Israel for the incident, claiming that they were not briefed in time about the planned strike. Netanyahu expressed his regret, but insisted that the blame rests with Syria, offering Israel’s full cooperation to Russia in investigating the incident.

Iran at the UN General Assembly. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani accused Israel of “blatantly threatening others with nuclear annihilation” and said the Jewish state constitutes “the most daunting threat to regional and global peace.” Responding to accusations against Israel, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon noted that “Rouhani is financing global terrorism and trying to preach about morality to Israel…Had it not been for Tehran’s financial support, Hamas could not have dug terror tunnels into Israel and Hizbullah would not have built huge stockpiles of weapons.”  US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denounced a European Union plan to set up a way to preserve business with Iran and avoid renewed American sanctions. He accuses EU of “solidifying Iran’s ranking” as top state sponsor of terror.

Netanyahu: Palestinian State would remain under Israeli security control. Prime Minister Netanyahu said after a meeting with President Trump that the U.S. accepts that if a two-state solution is achieved to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel will retain overall security control of the West Bank. “Israel will not give up on security control west of the Jordan [River] as long as I am prime minister… The question is, what is a state? Will it be Costa Rica or Iran? I am ready for the Palestinians to have the power to govern themselves without having the powers to threaten us.”

U.N. Secretary-General: Denying Israel’s right to exist is antisemitism. Attempts to delegitimize Israel is a form of antisemitism, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. Modern antisemitism, the UN leader said, expressed “itself in attempts to delegitimize the right of Israel to exist, including calls for its destruction, using the pretext of the situation in the Middle East to target Jews and Jewish symbols.”

Report: Palestinian textbooks claim entirety of Israel as Arab Land, call Jews ‘sinful and liars’. Palestinian Authority textbooks encourage children to view the entirety of Israel as Arab territory, and teach them to seek the land’s liberation even at the cost of martyrdom, according to a new report by a Jerusalem-based research group. Palestinian nationalist and Islamist ideologies that reject Israel’s basic legitimacy saturate lessons for children as young as six, with various science, math, and humanities exercises all reinforcing this overarching narrative.

Culture and Lifestyle

WATCH: IDF Cantor and Choir chant Yom Kippur prayer. The Cantor and choir of the Israeli Defense Forces sing U’netaneh Tokef, a moving prayer recited on Yom Kippur. The famous prayer is about God determining who will die and who will live in the coming year. Included are scenes from the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

A million visit Western Wall. More than one million people visited the Western Wall (Kotel) in Jerusalem during the past month. See the photos of the many thousands that went to the Kotel for special prayers on the day before Yom Kippur.

Was beer invented in Israel? Archaeologists working in the Raqefet cave south of Haifa have found what they believe is the world’s oldest site for alcohol production. They discovered equipment, used by a people called the Natufians, for brewing a beer-like beverage some 13,000 years ago.

Science and Technology

Medtronic buys Mazor Robotics for $1.6B. US med-tech company Medtronic has acquired Mazor Robotics $1.6 billion. This is the largest amount ever paid for an Israeli company in the medical sector. Based in Caesarea, Mazor develops robotic guidance systems for spinal surgery.

 “Ultra-Personalized” therapy for melanoma. Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann and Technion Institutes have found that each melanoma patient has a different profile of neo-antigens (mutated peptides) on their tumors. Doctors can then extract and grow the T-cells best suited to target the neo-antigens on both primary and secondary cancers.

Developed in Israel, digital glasses offer hope to visually impaired. Israeli company ICI Vision has developed digital eyewear with the potential to give millions of legally blind people the ability to see. Groundbreaking digital eyewear now under development projects images only onto the healthy parts of eyes with retinal damage.

Israeli exports expected to reach $54.5 billion by year’s end. Europe was Israel’s largest export market in the first half of 2018, with a 37% share, followed by North America (28%) and Asia (26%), Economy and Industry Ministry says. Exports to China, in particular, have soared, reaching $2.8 billion in the first half of 2018 – up 73% from the same period last year. Exporters have become a leading force in Israel’s economic growth.

In Depth

The Volunteers: Answering the Call of History. This video presents the stories of volunteers from around the world who came in 1948 to help build and defend the State of Israel.

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