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. 92, January 23, 2019 
Obstacles and Opportunities: Israel, the Palestinians, and the United Nations. Featuring Dr. Einat Wilf, former Member of Knesset, Labor and Independence Parties. Dr. Wilf is considered one of Israel’s most articulate representatives on the international stage, with her opinion articles regularly published in international publications and frequent interviews for television and radio programs around the world.   Tuesday, January 29, 2019, 7:00 pm. Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Rd, Los Altos Hills, CA 94022. The event is free, but registration is required. Register here.
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Inside Israel
Culture and Lifestyle
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In Depth
Inside Israel
Settler population growth rate at lowest point in over 23 years. The growth rate in the settler population has slowed under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to its lowest point in over 23 years and possibly its lowest point ever, according to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics. The current Jewish population of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) is estimated to be close to 450,000.

59% of new immigrants not considered halakhically Jewish. More than half of allimmigrants to Israel in 2018 under the Law of Return were not halakhically Jewish. The Law of Return allows for any person who has one Jewish grandparent to immigrate to Israel and gain citizenship. Jewish law stipulates, however, that a person is Jewish only if their mother was Jewish.

Muslim Arab woman competing in Likud Party primaries. Dima Tayeh, from Kafr Manda in the Galilee, made headlines by announcing that she was running in the Likud party’s primaries. “There is no other country in the Middle East that respects its citizens and gives them as much equality as possible and democracy for all,” she said. Her family denounced her as disloyal to her people.

IDF’s new chief of staff takes helm. Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi has become the 22nd chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). He replaces Gadi Eisenkot, who had served at the helm since February 2015. “To defend our national home, we need a sobered outlook, a fit military force, the willingness to use that force, discretion and determination,” Kochavi said.

Winter weather brings snow to Jerusalem for first time in years. Snow began to fall in Jerusalem and on the mountains of central Israel on Wednesday, January 16, evening. The heavy snow continued to fall in the capital throughout Wednesday night. Rain showers and strong desert winds accompanied by thunderstorms and hail spread Wednesday night from northern Israel down to the northern Negev Desert. Worshipers at the Western Wall broke intospontaneous song and dance last week when the white stuff started floating down.
Gaza border. Some 13,000 Palestinians were rioting at several locations along the Gaza security fence, hurling grenades and stones at IDF forces, and trying to cross into Israel. A Palestinian woman was killed during clashes with IDF forces, the Palestinian health ministry said. Jason Greenblatt, US envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, condemned Hamas for its “instigation of violence, putting lives, both Israeli and Palestinian, at risk,” and making “cynical use of Gaza’s citizens” while driving the territory backward.

Israel strikes Iranian arms in Syria. “Israel attacked an Iranian weapons depot at the Damascus International Airport, reflecting our consistent policy and firm determination to prevent Iran’s military buildup in Syria,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said during a tour of the IDF’s Galilee Division. “If necessary we will intensify these attacks”.

A year of medical support for Palestinian Arabs. Project Rozana raises funds to help Israeli hospitals treat sick Palestinian Arab children. Here is Rozana’s latest report on its work using Israeli excellence in healthcare, to benefit the Palestinian Arab community.

BDS Is anti-Semitic, aids terrorists, says Arizona Attorney General. Arizona’s Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed a brief in late December stating that the BDS campaign was motivated by anti-Semitism and aids terrorist groups such as Hamas. Brnovich told the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that a state law enacted in 2016 “prohibits all state contractors, who receive taxpayer money, from discriminating on the basis of national origin” and that BDS was not protected under freedom of expression.

US official cautions Israel over Chinese investments. US deputy secretary of energy saysChina’s involvement in Israel, such as the construction of Haifa port, could harm Jewish state’s intelligence-sharing ties with Washington. There was no immediate official Israeli comment on Chinese investment.
Culture and Lifestyle
Dental treatments now free or subsidized up to age 18, over 75. The dental care reform taking effect this year 2019, will cover or subsidize dental treatments for anyone up to age eighteen. In addition, anyone older than 75 will receive free or low-cost treatments. For those under 18, checkups and treatments will cost from 0-45 NIS maximum ($0 – $12).

Hidden gems of Haifa. The best-kept secrets in this beautiful northern Mediterranean beach town are intriguing, full of cultural significance and are great fun. They include the Israel Railway Museum, the Vortman Winery, Pnina BaCarmel Spa and Tel Shikmona.

The newest smash-hit song in Israel. Israeli pop icons Static and Ben-El teamed up with Israeli superstar Eden Ben Zaken and singer/rapper Stephane Legar to record a new song, “Yassou.” The song promises to become one of the biggest hits in Israel this winter, possibly even for the entire year. Read more about these performers and hear their songs.

Age is no barrier in dance for these golden girls. A dance performance by women in their 60s, 70s and 80s, celebrates its first year’s run in Tel Aviv and proves it is never too late to follow your dreams.
Science and Technology
CES 2019 to showcase best of Israeli innovation. A record-breaking delegation of Israeli innovators is joining more than 180,000 hi-tech professionals and 4,400 companies in Las Vegas as the four-day Consumer Electronics Show (CES) – the world’s largest technology gathering – gets underway. This year, an unprecedented 22 Israeli companies from fields including cyber, mobility, consumer products and retail will represent the “Start-Up Nation” at the Israel Pavilion.

Mexican drug baron El Chapo brought down by Israeli technology. The drug baron El Chapo, considered the most-wanted man in the world, was captured with the help of a phone interception system known as Pegasus, created by the Israeli company NSO. The president of Mexico called on Christmas Eve 2011 to personally thank NSO. “I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas present. With what you gave us, we can finally eradicate the cartels!”

Medical tourism. Around 30,000 foreign patients travel to Israel each year, eagerly seeking Israel’s top class, innovative medical treatments. This has major benefits for Israel’s economy, medical R&D and international esteem. The government has also stepped in to ensure that it does not delay treatments for Israeli citizens.
In Depth
How Israel swims against tide of worldwide water crisis. If residents, farmers and tourists in the Holy Land never worry about the tap running dry, that’s only because Israel invests huge amounts of money and brainpower to stay one step ahead of a worsening worldwide water crisis. A visit to the country’s largest desalination and wastewater-treatment plants reveals smart technologies and policies to keep the water running.

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