News from Israel

No.101, June 19, 2019
Events
The “Settlements”: Israel’s legal right or road-block to peace? Beth David Israel Action Committee presents a talk by David Meir-Levi “The “Settlements”: Israel’s legal right or road-block to peace?”, 2nd talk in the series “Myths and Facts about Israel”. The talk will take place at Congregation Beth David on Tuesday, July 2, 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm. RSVP at IsraelNews@beth-david.org

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Inside Israel
Top Israeli minds increasingly being driven abroad. Israel’s brightest brains are increasingly being driven abroad, spurred by flagging labor productivity and the high cost of living, a Shoresh Institution study revealed. As Israel’s labor productivity falls further behind leading developed countries, as the income tax burden is increasingly placed on educated segments of the population, and as living costs continue to rise far beyond other countries, Israel’s ability to retain its most skilled citizens is declining.

With glitz and glamor, Tel Aviv celebrates the Mideast’s largest Pride parade. Tens of thousands of people were celebrating in Tel Aviv’s streets Friday as the famously gay-friendly city put on one of the world’s largest Pride parades. Rainbow flags flooded the streets, and organizers said some 250,000 people were expected to take part in the annual event.
52% of Israeli Jews want the state to make conversion easier. 52 percent of Jewish Israelis want that to happen, while 35 percent want conversions to be more stringent and 13 percent don’t know.

Gaza rocket hits Sderot Yeshiva. A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip Thursday night hit the Hesder Yeshiva in the town of Sderot; there were no reports of injuries. A Code Red alarm was heard throughout the region. Throughout the week, Gaza region communities have suffered from several fires, destroying acres of crops, caused by incendiary balloons sent from the Gaza strip. IDF warplanes attacked a number of targets in Gaza in retaliation for the rocket attack on Sderot.

More than an economic partnership: Jewish-Arab relations in the Jordan Valley. David Elhaiini heads the Jordan Valley Regional Council, comprised of 21 Jewish communities. Elhaiini reports excellent relations between the Jewish communities and their Arab neighbors: “We live together. When you have a worker who has worked together with you for years, you have a relationship. You become his friend.”

International
AJC Survey: 3/4 of US Jews say Israel is vital to a “long-term Jewish future”. 72% of American Jews polled in a survey this month said that “a thriving State of Israel is vital for the long-term future of the Jewish people.” The survey was conducted on behalf of the American Jewish Committee (AJC). Meanwhile, 35 percent disagreed either somewhat or strongly with the statement: “Caring about Israel is a very important part of my being a Jew.”

US envoy says Israel has the “right” to annex some West Bank land. In the interview published by the New York Times, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said that some degree of annexation of the West Bank would be legitimate. “Under certain circumstances, I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank,” he said.

Hamas ups pressure on Israel to gain concessions and cash. Hamas was behind 12 balloon-sparked brush fires near Israeli communities close to the Gaza border. Gazans also announced the renewal of activities by the “night units,” which hold riots at different locations along the security fence each night in an effort to maintain pressure on Israel. In response to the significant increase in arson balloon launches, Israel has stopped all fishing by Palestinians off Gaza’s coast.

Ex-top IAEA official warns of clandestine Iranian nuke sites. Iran may be hiding as many as five underground clandestine nuclear sites from the IAEA, former deputy director-general at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said. According to various understandings, Tehran at this stage should not be operating more than 10 advanced IR-6 centrifuges, but it is already operating 33.

Culture and Lifestyle
Israeli fertility rate highest in OECD. The total fertility rate in Israel in 2015 was 3.1 births per woman, the highest in the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development). An analysis of fertility trends from a historic and international perspective shows that the last time the fertility rates in Western European countries were as high as 3.1 was 1931 in Italy, 1914 in Germany, and 1889 in the UK and France.

In Israel, millionaires are the new normal. While Israel is far from the extreme wealth of most Gulf countries, and many of its citizens struggle daily to make ends meet, the class of incredibly wealthy Israelis is growing in an unprecedented manner. The country, which has a population of just under 9 million, has more millionaires now than at any other point in its history.

Science and Technology
Israelis spearhead early detection of Parkinson’s disease. An Israeli-British-German study reveals a novel method for detecting the aggregation of the protein alpha-synuclein, a hallmark of Parkinson’s disease. Earlier detection could enable more effective treatment for the incurable, progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting an estimated one million Americans and 10 million people worldwide.

Israeli diet is good for the brain. Israel has the lowest rate of diet-related deaths in the world. Now, the American Academy of Neurology medical journal has found that the Mediterranean diet, which is commonly eaten by Israelis, can also help preserve memory and thinking abilities.

New handheld sensor identifies allergens in food. In the US, food allergies trigger anaphylactic shock in someone every six minutes. Israel’s SensoGenic may have a way to cut those stats drastically. It’s the only such device capable of detecting and identifying all the common allergens — milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish — from a single food sample placed on a disposable pad and analyzed by the battery-operated biosensor unit.

In Depth
The top 12 ways Israel is feeding the world. Food security is a critical concern as the global population expands and natural resources dwindle. No other single country – certainly not one as young and as tiny as Israel – has contributed more breakthroughs to this area than Israel. From drip irrigation to hardier seeds, Israeli innovations help fill hungry bellies everywhere, particularly in the developing world.

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