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Israel Update: 15 September 2016
by Hazel Green
Israel is to expand its humanitarian assistance to internally-displaced Syrians who have been uprooted by the five-year civil war and are stuck in camps near the Syria-Israel border…In addition to treating rebel fighters wounded in the conflict, Israeli hospitals will now begin treating the sick. The first busload of patients, numbering around 60 Syrians — mostly children — is set to arrive at a hospital in Safed, northern Israel, soon. The initiative will see one bus a day crossing from Syria into Israel to receive basic medical care, with patients returning to Syria once they have completed their treatment,
Mortar fire from Syria has struck Israeli territory on several occasions. In response to the fifth such incident in just over a week on Monday (hours after a ceasefire was put in place) the IDF struck artillery positions belonging to the Syrian regime on Tuesday. Later Israel dismissed as false Syrian claims that an Israeli plane had been shot down.
Former Israeli president Shimon Peres’ condition has improved but he remains seriously ill in intensive care after suffering a major stroke on Tuesday.
Israeli P.M. Netanyahu rejected international criticism of West Bank settlement construction last Friday, equating it to “ethnic cleansing” of Jews and insisting the settlements are not an obstacle to peace, He said “No one would seriously claim that the nearly 2 million Arabs living inside Israel, that they’re an obstacle to peace,” Netanyahu said. “Yet the Palestinian leadership actually demands a Palestinian state with one precondition: No Jews. There’s a phrase for that: It’s called ethnic cleansing….It’s even more outrageous that the world doesn’t find this outrageous. Since when is bigotry a foundation for peace?”
Israel Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold told the City of David’s 17th Annual Archeological Conference on Thursday, “Our affinity to Jerusalem is a certain historical truth – not just a narrative,” as archeologists are scientifically proving the Jewish people’s connection to Jerusalem.
Gold addressed “the international attempt to disengage Jerusalem from Jewish history, focusing specifically on a UNESCO resolution adopted in April which ignored Judaism’s ties to its holiest site, the Temple Mount. He accused UNESCO of promoting the distortion of history.
He also referred to British documentation of a Jewish majority in Jerusalem in 1863.
Israeli government ministers met Facebook officials on Monday to discuss how to tackle incitement on the social media network. Over the past four months Israel submitted 158 requests to Facebook to remove inciting content and another 13 requests to YouTube.Facebook granted 95% of the requests and YouTube granted 80%.
52 U.S. police officers from seven states arrived in Israel for a week of counter-terrorism training. The leader of the delegation, Michael Safris, expressed respect for Israel’s efficiency and advanced tactics, coupled with its ability to enforce the law in a humane manner, despite dealing with countless depraved terrorists. The delegation is one of more than 200 from across the globe annually hosted by the Israel Police.
A delegation that included Hindu gurus, Buddhist monks, Shinto priests and leaders of the Sikh, Jain and Taoist traditions met P.M. Netanyahu and President Rivlin on Tuesday at a Jerusalem conference aimed at deepening Israel-Asia ties. Noting the antiquity of the faiths represented, Rivlin first voiced greetings in Arabic to the Muslim communities in Israel and throughout the world who are celebrating the festival of Id al-Adha.
A mortar shell fired from Gaza hit southern Israel and in response, the IAF struck Hamas targets.
Israel is a pioneer in the use of medical cannabis. Recently, the government approved a plan to relax some of the medical cannabis restrictions including increasing the number of doctors who can issue cannabis prescriptions, removing limits on the number of marijuana growers, making cannabis available at approved pharmacies etc. The Cann10 International Medical Conference was held earlier this week in Tel Aviv.
EID AL ADHA
Thousands of West Bank Arabs swam at beaches in and around Tel Aviv on Tuesday, after being granted permits to visit during the Eid al-Adha holiday… Palestinian Arab women in burkinis swam or played with children near bikini-clad Israelis and foreigners. 100,000 visiting permits for Palestinian Arabs from the West Bank were issued by Israel for the Eid holiday which started on Monday.
*And see Comment below
John Hilary, executive director of War on Want, will step down next month amid investigations by the Charity Commission into the organisation’s “campaigning and political activities” after growing controversy about the charity’s work against Israel. War on Want funds Israeli Apartheid Week, an event at universities that Jewish Human Rights Watch has accused of “targeting and harassing Jewish students and inviting anti-semitic speakers to campuses”.
Claire Lomas, 36 who is paralyzed from the chest down after a riding accident has completed the Great North Run wearing an Israeli exoskeleton. Lomas, who is 16 weeks pregnant, took five days to walk the half marathon in the ReWalk suit.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority have reached a deal to settle the Palestinians’ outstanding debt of $530 million to the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC)…The agreement requires the PA to collect unpaid electricity bills from Palestinian customers in the West Bank. And the PA will assume full responsibility for paying the IEC, which formerly had to collect from several different local electricity companies in the West Bank.
Two female IDF soldiers were rescued from Tulkarem (West Bank) after they mistakenly entered the area and had rocks thrown at their vehicle.
Israeli security forces uncovered over 200lb (about 100 kg) of bomb-making supplies in a West Bank village on Monday. In a separate raid, the army found two pipe bombs and two Molotov cocktails in a different village.
Doron Shaziri, 49, won a bronze medal at the Rio Paralympics in the men’s 50-meter rifle three positions final. He has won at least one medal in every Paralympics since 1996. Moran Samuel has won a bronze medal for rowing.
Exciting tributes, a new lead singer with plenty of charisma, and some affection for Hebrew were just part of Queen and Adam Lambert’s concert on Monday night, attended by over 50,000 fans in Tel Aviv.
For videos of the show including Queen’s version of Hava Nagila
featuring Brian May:
After a gap of several years, free opera performances are being resumed in Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park, with a new and unique production of Madame Butterfly lasting about 90 minutes.
COMMENT & OPINION
Khaled Abu Toameh: Sheikh Abdullah Tamimi (from Hebron) and his colleagues do not believe in boycotts and divestment. They are convinced that real peace can be achieved through dialogue between Palestinians and all Israelis — not just those who are affiliated with the left-wing. For Tamimi, real peace begins between the people and through economic cooperation and improving the living conditions of the Palestinians. This is more important than the talk about the establishment of a Palestinian state, which he believes, under the current circumstances, is not a realistic option. This notion goes against the ideas of the advocates of “anti-normalization”…..and those promoting BDS.
*Ron Kronish:This week during the Muslim holiday of Id al-Adha, I visited two malls in Jerusalem where I saw hundreds of Muslim families out shopping for the holiday. No one harassed them, no one even noticed. Israeli Muslims easily enter Jewish malls without fear and travel to vacation spots all over Israel without trepidation.They are Israeli citizens and feel comfortable here. They share the workplace with Jews and are part and parcel of the landscape and of civil society.
KYM September Meeting
by Hazel Green
The KYM (formerly Kingston Young Marrieds) social group marked Rosh Chodesh Ellul – the month in the Hebrew calendar which heralds the arrival of Rosh Hashanah – with an apples and honey blind tasting to a soundtrack ranging from Abba (“Honey Honey”) to Glenn Miller (“Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree”) and the “William Tell Overture”. To see photographs of the event, click Continue. Continue reading