News from Israel – March 15, 2017

No. 49, March 15, 2017

Inside Israel

Snapshot of the Israeli population: personal and social welfare. According to a report on quality of life published by the Central Bureau of Statistics, 89% of Israelis said they were satisfied with their lives; social gaps remain prominent.

2016, ‘One of Israeli economy’s best years’. Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon praised his country’s economic advances, saying, “It is safe to say that 2016 will be remembered as one of Israeli economy’s best years.” Israel’s economy grew 4 percent in 2016, exceeding the average growth rate of 1.7 percent recorded by other member states of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

IDF launches women into hi-tech.  For the first time, most of the commanders of the IDF’s elite tech C4I communications corps are women.  30% of students in their C41 programmers’ training course are women. The IDF’s role of introducing women to hi-tech is crucial for Israel’s continued economic success.

Israel’s doctor shortage. Ongoing healthcare crisis continues to worsen, with close to half of general practitioners nearing retirement age. In order to alleviate the situation, the Knesset is discussing ways tointegrate immigrant doctors educated abroad into the Israeli medical system.

Netanyahu to be questioned by police for 4th time. The investigation into Netanyahu’s alleged corruption continues as he faces a fourth round of questioning by police.

Sea of Galilee at lowest level in century after driest February. Parts of northern Israel experienced the driest February since records began, the Water Authority reported, with officials saying that the Sea of Galilee was now at its lowest level in a century.

International

A glimpse into Israel’s clandestine diplomacy. Veteran Israeli diplomat Dore Gold attempts to dispel what he considers to be false perceptions of Israel’s isolation.

IDF retaliates to rocket, gunfire from Gaza Strip. A rocket fired from Gaza landed in Israel’s south. A day later, an army engineering vehicle carrying out routine activities on the border was hit by gunfire. In response, IDF forces attacked Hamas positions in Gaza with artillery fire and airstrikes.

US, Israel discussing settlement restrictions – State Department. The United States is indiscussion with Israel about holding back on settlement construction, acting State Department spokesperson Mark Toner said. Regarding the peace process, Toner said the new administration is still “looking at the situation and looking at next steps.”

U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis meets Israeli Defense Minister Lieberman in Washington. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman was hosted at the Pentagon by U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Israeli officials described the meeting as “warm and friendly.” The two discussed strategic Middle East issues, including Iran, Syria, Lebanon and more. Lieberman said, “We need an active America in our region.” He also voiced Israel’s concern over the line being taken by the Lebanese president and the involvement of the Lebanese army in Hizbullah’s efforts.

Netanyahu discusses Syria with Putin. The Israeli PM visited the Russian president in Moscow. They discussed Israel’s security, the threat of radical Shi’ite Islam, economic issues, and Purim, amongst other topics. Putin extended his best wishes to the people of Israel for the holiday.

Culture and Lifestyle

Purim Sameach – Happy Purim! Jerusalem hosted a wide range of exciting events for Purim for the city’s visitors and residents.  The main municipal events included Purim Carnival – Israel’s largest street festival for children, Megila reading every hour in restaurants and cafes around the city, street parties in Tel Aviv, and many more. Here are some facts about Purim and the best Purim music videos

Israel in World Baseball Classic. Israel’s surprising squad in the World Baseball Classic had a great run wining first 4 games and advancing to the second round. It did experience its first loss, in a rematch with the Netherlands. Israel now must defeat powerhouse Japan on Wednesday to advance to the semifinals.

WATCH: The IDF celebrates women serving in the Israeli Army. The IDF produced a video for March 8, International Women’s Day, celebrating the young women who serve in the Israeli army to help protect the Jewish state.

Modest Fashion Day. Jerusalem’s “Modest Fashion Day” was Israel’s first major fashion show for Orthodox Jewish women who require conservative outfits. Israeli models hit the catwalk in front of hundreds of Orthodox women and fashionistas, wearing long sleeves and dresses down to their ankles.

Science and Technology

India turns to Israeli firm for help with water pollution. The government of India’s capital, Delhi, has turned to an Israeli firm to clean a major drainage stretch of one of the most polluted rivers in the country, the River Yamuna. Israeli firm Ayala Water and Ecology Ltd., known for its water purifying and desalinization technology, has been asked to formulate a detailed plan to clear up the drainage area.

Science brings good old flavor back to tomatoes. Supermarket tomatoes often look a lot better than they taste. That’s because modern commercial tomatoes have gradually lost their flavor as breeders tinker with their shelf life, firmness and disease resistance. Israeli researchers join international team mapping tomatoes’ chemistry and genetics to reintroduce taste traits lost over 50 years of breeding.

Bionic implant to restore sight. Israel’s Inomize has teamed up with Israel’s Nano-Retina to help build the tiny integrated circuits (ASICs) for Nano-Retina’s Bio-Retina. The implant is designed to restore sight to those suffering from retinal degenerative diseases such as Macular Degeneration. Non-cataract patients with Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) who cannot wait for the Nano-Retina implant can already be fitted with the Israel-developed Implantable Miniature Telescope from VisionCare. Trials are also starting shortly for post-cataract patients.

Israeli technology revolutionizes heart attack detection with one drop of blood. Israeli technology has changed the face of heart attack detection with a kit so small it fits in the palm of your hand. The results are available within minutes.

In Depth

Israeli experts claim Iran and North Korea working on nuclear warheads. Iran is circumventing the restrictions on its nuclear program under the nuclear agreement with the P5+1 countries by collaborating with North Korea on missile development and modifying missiles for nuclear weapons. They also work together on programs meant to upgrade gas centrifuges for uranium enrichment, the Israeli experts claim

Rabbi Philip Ohriner                                    Rabbi Leslie Alexander

Edited by:

Alex Drukarev

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