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. 94, February 20, 2019 
Myths and facts about Israel: The question of “occupation”. Beth David Israel Action Committee presents a talk “Myths and facts about Israel: The question of “occupation” with David Meir-Levi, at Congregation Beth David on Thursday, March 14, 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm.RSVP at
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Inside Israel
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In Depth
Inside Israel
Ending long wait, Israel welcomes 82 Ethiopian immigrants. A group of 82 Ethiopians immigrants landed in Israel, the first of some thousand members of the Jewish community to be allowed to move to the Jewish state under a cabinet decision made in October 2018. There are about 8,000 Ethiopian Jews still in Ethiopia, most of whom are ‘Falashmura,’ meaning their ancestors converted to Christianity, often under duress, generations ago.

Palestinian suspect in woman’s murder arrested outside Ramallah. The Shin Bet and Israel Police arrested a Palestinian man near Ramallah suspected of brutally murdering Ori Ansbacher, 19, in Jerusalem’s Ein Yael forest. The grisly murder of the smiling young woman from Tekoa, who was a national service volunteer in the Ye’elim youth center in Emek Refaim, sparked national outrage.

Israel to penalize Palestinians for terror payments by withholding tax fees. Israel will deduct more than half a billion shekels it collects in tariffs for the Palestinian Authority because of payments the PA makes to terrorists and their families, the security cabinet decided. Security officials told the cabinet that in 2018 the PA paid out NIS 502,697,000 ($140m) to terrorists imprisoned in Israeli jails, their families, and to security prisoners who had been released.

Leading pollsters review the current Israeli-Palestinian climate. 62% of Palestinians approved of the recent attacks on Israeli soldiers and settlers in the West Bank. Only 42% favored the Gaza “marches of return”. Support for the two-state solution among the Jewish public is only 46.8%, the lowest it has been since 1998. 63% of Jews believe that the majority of Palestinians have not yet come to terms with Israel’s existence and would destroy the country if they could.

Palestinians get 20,000 permits for medical treatment in Israel in 2018. More than 20,000 permits were granted to Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria to enter Israel and receive treatment or support a patient who was receiving treatment – an increase of nearly 3,000 from the year before. The program has also built invaluable ties between Israelis and Palestinians that are often not reported by the media.
US Senate passes anti-BDS bill. The U.S. Senate approved in a 77-23 vote a bill that codifies $38 billion in defense assistance to Israel and which clarifies that states have the authority to pass their own anti-BDS laws and to withhold state contracts from companies boycotting Israel. The act also includes separate measures to aid Jordan’s government and Syrian civilians. Both California Senators voted against the bill. Only Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar among seven declared or likely presidential candidates voted for the measure.

Ilhan Omar accuses AIPAC of paying politicians to be pro-Israel. US congresswomanIlhan Omar, a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) supporter, pointed an accusatory finger at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), saying the organization is paying American politicians to be pro-Israel. Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel said that it is “shocking to hear a Member of Congress invoke the antisemitic trope of ‘Jewish money.'” Democratic leadership said they condemned the remarks, in a statement released by House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California.

Sources claim U.S.’s peace plan complete, Greenblatt denies. The US administration has finished the final draft of the “Middle East Peace Plan,” and have briefed President Donald Trump on its contents, senior administration officials said. Special Representative Greenblatt denied the reports on twitter, claiming the sources gave wrong information, and that the plan “[is] not there yet.”

Israel, Arab states come together at conference against Iran. Prime Minister Netanyahu traveled to Warsaw to attend summit on peace and security in the Middle East, which focused on the Iranian threat; for the first time since the 1991 Madrid Conference, an Israeli PM set in the same room as representatives from many Arab nations.
Culture and Lifestyle
Kibbutzim increase startup investments. Israeli Kibbutzim, formerly socialist rural communes, have invested NIS 110 million (approximately $29.9 million) in Israeli startups in 2018, a 45% rise compared to the year before. Initially founded in the early 1900s as communal agricultural settlements, the kibbutzim have undergone vast privatization processes over the past few decades. Replacing their original socialist values with the bottom line, many kibbutzim have also swapped agriculture for industrial factories and real estate deals.

Israel National Library launches free Israeli music app. Feel like listening to a good old Arik Einstein song or discovering music from the next superstar? Shiri offers everything from Sasha Argov to Zohar Argov.

Netflix picks up Mossad film. Netflix has purchased the global distribution right to the upcoming Mossad thriller The Red Sea Diving Resort. The film, starring Chris Evans, tells the story of a group of Mossad agents in the 1980s who helped smuggle thousands of Ethiopian refugees to Israel
Science and Technology
Picking out the bad apples. Israeli startup Clarifruit develops a produce monitoring mobile app that scans fruits and vegetables and analyzes their condition to determine whether or not they are ready to go to market. The goal, the company said, is to cut down on food waste and provide an alternative to expensive and time-consuming manual testing.

New Israeli study shows medical cannabis eases autism symptoms in children. A new Israeli scientific study has shown that the use of medical cannabis in children under 18 diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) can relieve common symptoms such as seizures, disruptive behaviors, depression, and restlessness.

Watch: Israel brings cutting-edge solar tech to rural AfricaIsraeli solar technology is bringing light and electricity to the far reaches of Africa, helping to improve lives on the impoverished continent of 600 million people.
In Depth
Watch: Israel Palestinian conflict: The truth about the West Bank. Israel’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Danny Ayalon explains the historical facts relating to the Israeli Palestinian conflict. The video explains where the terms “West Bank”, “occupied territories” and “67 Borders” originated and how they are incorrectly used and applied.

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