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. 107,September 11, 2019

Shtisel. Beth David Israel Action Committee presents “Shtisel”, one of the most popular Israeli TV shows with English subtitles. The event will take place at Congregation Beth David on Thursday, September 19, 7:30 pm. Cost: $5/person. RSVP online or call the office at 408-257-3333.

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Inside Israel
Culture and Lifestyle
Science and Technology
In Depth

Inside Israel
Israeli public opinion. According to a recent survey, most of the Jewish public prefer formation of a government under the Likud following the coming elections, while the Arab public would prefer a center-left government. The general Israeli population places economic and social issues at the top of their list of priorities for the coming government. Achieving peace with the Palestinians as a single issue is least important among the Jewish public and most important among the Arab public.

Enrollment in schools grows. The number of students in Israel’s schools in the 2019-2020 school year is expected to increase compared to the last year. During the following 4 years, the number of students in the Jewish public school system is expected to increase by about 11%, whereas the increase in Jewish-religious public school system is expected to be 13%, and in the independent haredi schools close to 17%.

Netanyahu vows to annex Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he intends to annex Israeli settlements in the West Bank, reiterating an election promise made five months ago but again giving no timeframe. “This is our land,” said the defiant PM during a visit to a school in the West Bank. Meanwhile twenty-five former Israeli senior security and defense officials sent a letter stating that “any unilateral annexation of territory or extension of sovereignty to the West Bank will put Israel’s security and safety along with the well-being of its citizens at risk.”

Terrorism. The Lebanese-based terror group Hezbollah fired anti-tank missiles at IDF base and vehicles in the North. – Five rockets were fired from Gaza and air raid sirens were heard in Gaza border communities as well as the city of Sderot; no injuries were reported. IDF retaliated by striking Hamas targets in Gaza. – During a weekly riot on Gaza border, explosive devices, Molotov cocktails and grenades were thrown at Israeli forces. Border fences were damaged in many places and several attempts to breach the border were made. IDF responded with live ammunition, killing 2 and injuring 76 rioters, according to Palestinian Health Services.

Rivlin: Jewish Hebron not stumbling block to peace. “Hebron is not an obstacle to peace. It is a test of our ability to live together, Jews and Arabs, to live decent lives side by side,” President Reuven Rivlin said during observance of the 90th anniversary of the massacre in which 67 Jews were murdered. “Here in Hebron, the City of the Patriarchs, in a cave that was bought for full price, our right to this land was established as just and moral, a right to property which is and will always be uncontestable.”

Iran helping Hamas build a standing army. During a visit to Tehran a month ago, a senior Hamas delegation discussed with Iranian leaders the development of closer ties that also included the establishment of a standing army in the Gaza Strip, reports the Israel Hayom daily. The proposed Iranian-backed military force would be a joint Hamas-Islamic Jihad army.

Report: Beirut strike will delay Hezbollah missile program by at least a year. The target of a drone attack on a Hezbollah facility in Beirut two weeks ago that has been attributed to Israel was an expensive and rare industrial mixing machine used in the creation of solid fuel, and the raid set back the terror group’s plans to develop long-range precision missiles by at least a year, according to Hebrew media reports.

In first, UN Anti-Racism Committee slams Palestinians over antisemitic school textbooks. The UN’s anti-racism committee issued an unprecedented criticism of the Palestinians, calling on the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah to rein in antisemitic statements from PA officials as well as antisemitic material contained in Palestinian school textbooks.

Palestinians begin process of issuing building permits for Area C. The Palestinian Authority has reportedly begun the process of issuing building permits to all areas of the West Bank — even those in Area C where Israel maintains security and administrative control, according to the Oslo Accords.

Culture and Lifestyle
Which Israeli cities have the happiest residents? A survey published by the Central Bureau of Statistics indicated that 84% of Israelis were happy with their area of residence. One-third of Israelis live in the same community in which they grew up. Kfar Saba (north of Tel Aviv) and Tel Aviv were rated highest in satisfaction. The survey also indicated that only 56% of Israelis were satisfied with the level of cleanliness in their communities.

A first: Israeli judoka wins World Championship. The Israeli national anthem, “Hatikva,” was played in the Japanese capital as 27-year-old judoka Sagi Muki stood on the podium. For the first time, an Israeli male judoka has won a gold medal at the Judo World Championship.

Whiskey bar and museum. The Whiskey Bar & Museum is one of the largest complexes of its kind anywhere in the world, combining a bar-restaurant and a whiskey museum in one unique location. You’ll find it in Sarona’s historic Templer tunnel, which was home to a local winery in the 19th century and, until a decade ago, served the covert needs of the Mossad.

Science and Technology
Israel is on road to become a global automotive technology hub. While Israel has no domestic automotive manufacturing activity, in recent years it has become a significant attraction to multinational automakers. According to McKinsey’s analysts, this is in part due to the country’s high expenditure on research and development, and its proficiency in both cybersecurity and artificial intelligence technologies, which are vital for the autonomous and connected vehicle industry.

Tel Aviv’s tech hub ranks 6th in the world. Tel Aviv has more startups per capita than any other country. It ranked sixth in Startup Genome’s 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER). It was 2nd overall for cybersecurity and 3rd for Artificial Intelligence. Jerusalem also received an honorable mention.

Israeli-made innovative cancer treatment gets FDA stamp of approval. The world’s first drug to prevent proliferation of cancerous cells, developed by Israeli scientist Dr. Sharon Shacham, just received FDA approval. During a pivotal trial that led to XPOVIO’s approval, 40% of leukemia patients saw their tumors shrink, while patient life expectancy increased by three to five times thanks to the treatment. The drug is currently undergoing advanced clinical trials for patients with myeloma, lymphoma, sarcoma, uterine cancer and brain cancer.

In Depth
How Israeli elections work. Quite remarkably, Israel has been through 20 smooth transitions of power. And despite the dispersal of the Knesset following Benjamin Netanyahu’s inability to form a majority coalition in April, the mandate to govern has been returned to where it belongs in a democracy: the voters. Here is a primer on the Israeli election system.

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