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Israel Update 23.5.19





Last week’s Update mentioned fires started in Israeli communities by incendiary devices, sent from Gaza.T his 9  second video of a massive fire in an Israeli wheatfield shows the horrifying reality of the Gazans’ terrorist attacks on Israeli agriculture and the environment. See video here


At least 11 fires were sparked in southern Israel by balloon-borne incendiary devices sent over the security fence from Gaza yesterday.

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A bomb tied to balloons floated into an IDF base in southern Israel on Saturday. Although rockets are no longer raining down on Israel, Gazan terrorists continue to release fire balloons, which burn crops and nature reserves. This bomb was one of 30 simultaneously released into Israel. Read more here


The committee in charge of the “Great March of Return” demonstrations in the Gaza Strip cancelled weekly protests due to be held last Friday partly because of the heat during the Ramadan fast. (Note by HRG: More evidence that the weekly riots on the Gaza border are orchestrated and not spontaneous)   Read more here




The most recent round of fighting between Gaza and Israel was a battle between Israel’s Iron Dome air defence system and Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets. Israelis sustained four civilian deaths and 150 injuries. Palestinian rockets have been upgraded significantly over the years, with some short-range rockets now carrying dozens of kilograms of explosives, causing more casualties and damage…Iron Dome achieved an interception rate of more than 90% for rockets launched at inhabited areas. “No other system, worldwide, can even come close to the interception percentages of the Iron Dome,” said a senior source at Rafael, which developed Iron Dome jointly with IAI. “The number of deaths would have been hundreds of times higher without it.” Read more here




A former Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade commander, who was previously granted amnesty, and an east Jerusalem lawyer have been indicted in a West Bank military court for firing at Jews on several occasions in recent months. A senior Israel Security Agency official said:”This is a serious incident involving a senior official in the Palestinian Prisoners’ Ministry and an Israeli lawyer working in the Palestinian Prisoners’ Office who carried out serious terrorist attacks using an official Palestinian Authority vehicle.”

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Students at Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium school have developed a low cost method to produce spirulina, an edible algae that is rich in vitamins and nutrients, but is high priced when sold as a supplement in health food stores.In six years, students and staff have helped set up local spirulina production in South Africa, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where up to 1.5 million children suffer from malnutrition.

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While Florida’s Governor accompanies a business delegation to Israel, the state’s agriculture commissioner has her own agenda to import ideas that can help Florida farmers. Nikki Fried said that Israel has “some of the most advanced technology and research for agriculture, for citrus greening, for blue-green algae, for water technology, for security, for medical marijuana. There’s no place in the entire world that has such type of innovation and approaches to things.”

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The Venezuelan refugee crisis is currently one of the world’s most serious humanitarian emergencies, and with 1.2 million Venezuelan refugees already in neighbouring Colombia, Israeli humanitarian aid agency IsraAID has dispatched an emergency response team to  Colombia’s border with Venezuela. On May 17, IsraAID’s team distributed relief materials and conducted hygiene-promotion activities for 500 newly arrived Venezuelans at the border crossing.

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Watergen,an Israel-based company that creates clean water out of air, is  providing a source of freshwater for more than 120 children living in an orphanage in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. The GEN-350 atmospheric water generator can produce up to 900 litres of water per day.

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Among current projects of the IDF’s Medical Innovation Branch is one using virtual reality glasses which allow paramedics treating wounded soldiers on the battlefield to get guided treatment from a doctor in a hospital. Another innovative technique involves placing a bar code on the injured individual to track medical information. When Syrians came to Israel for medical treatment, IDF paramedics attached the bar code to the wounded, then transferred all relevant medical information to doctors at Nahariya’s hospital, who were then able to plan ahead to receive the patients an hour and a half before they arrived.
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Israel, a a small country of 9 million people – a mere 0.1% of the world’s population – provides care to children of all nationalities with heart disease, is the first at the scene when natural disasters strike in foreign countries, and assists people worldwide to recover from any extreme crisis they face. Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Myanmar and Guatemala are just a few of the countries which have received aid from Israeli emergency teams.

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Mars, the maker of M&Ms and Snickers, is teaming up with Jerusalem Venture Partners to create a research and development centre in Israel dedicated to commercializing tech solutions in the food industry.

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The German Parliament last Friday passed a nonbinding resolution that designates the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel as anti-Semitic. ”

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Germany yesterday for the first time voted against an annual anti-Israel resolution passed in the World Health Organization. Others voting against were the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Guatemala, Honduras and Hungary.

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An interview with Alon Day,the only Israeli NASCAR driver

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Comment from two UK sources:

The Sun: The real winner of Saturday night, though, was Israel itself. How many other places in the Middle East could host that many people waving rainbow flags? Read more here

The Independent: It’s not been plain sailing: rehearsals have seen numerous technical mishaps, but the Israeli broadcasters pulled off an incredible show when it mattered! And it’s rare that long-suffering Eurovision fans get to escape the Nordic nations, and enjoy sunshine and a beach. There’s a lot of sunburnt foreheads on display.However, none of this takes away from the general splendour of this year’s competition. One of the best Eurovision Song Contests in recent memory.

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Daniel Sugarman: Aisha was indeed a five-year-old from Gaza. She did have a brain tumour and was allowed into Israel to access medical treatment. That, however, is where the fact ends and fiction begins. Cogat (Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories), the unit of the Israeli Defence Ministry that deals with civilian matters in the territories, revealed that it had been perfectly willing to allow Aisha’s family members to accompany her. They decided not to – they were the ones who asked a family friend to accompany Aisha during her treatment. And Aisha did not die in Jerusalem – she received treatment there before being taken back to Gaza, where she sadly passed away. But by the time that information was released, the original story that the child had died in a hospital in “occupied Jerusalem…crying, unable to speak and alone because “Israel refused to grant permission for any of Aisha’s family members to accompany her,” had been read and shared around the world. Read more here




Honest Reporting:A BBC documentary, “One Day in Gaza,” examining the events of May 14, 2018, along the border with Israel, confirmed Israel’s version of  events.Despite a number of flaws, the film ” proves that Israel was not facing unarmed protesters, but was dealing with violent rioters and armed terrorists concealed in large groups of civilians.
In the programme a Hamas official admitted that Israeli shooting only commenced as a direct response to armed Palestinians firing on IDF soldiers.One Gazan woman says, “We line up like a human shield so the men could advance further.”

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David Harsanyi:.After World War I, Jewish migration was exceptionally beneficial for the Arabs living in the area. Rarely mentioned in the Israeli-Palestinian debate is that significant Arab migration into a largely empty land was spurred by Jewish economic development. Jews were not displacing Arabs, they were attracting them.Yet, as the British Peel Commission noted in 1936, “the Arabs have benefited by the development of the country owing to Jewish immigration, [but] this has had no conciliatory effect. On the contrary…with almost mathematical precision the betterment of the economic situation in Palestine meant the deterioration of the political situation.”…Peace can be had easily when Palestinian leadership stops embracing the anti-Semitic terrorism that’s rationalized and girded by historical fantasies

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Walter Russell Mead: A well-connected Palestinian I spoke to in Ramallah explained that the one-state option is popular among younger Palestinians in part because they think the Israeli state is better-governed than the West Bank under the PA – with better administration, less corruption and more responsiveness to public opinion. They would like some of that good governance for themselves.  If true, this is a sign that at least some Palestinians are beginning to think in more realistic terms. If the Palestinians were ready to promote reconciliation and close economic links with the Jewish state, there is no limit to the prosperity that the Palestinians could achieve.

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Maurice Hirsch and Nan Jacques Zilberdik: Figures …prove that even after Israel deducted from tax transfers the amount the PA spends on salaries to terrorist prisoners, the PA would have still received more money in the first two months of 2019 than it received on average per month in 2018…the PA’s financial crisis is not the result of the deduction of the funds by the Israeli government. It’s a direct result of the decision of the PA to insist not only to continue to encourage terror and reward terrorists but also to demand that the State of Israel be a partner to this policy.

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A new study of EU members’ relations with Israel has been published. The bloc of critical countries, of which Ireland is the most active, also comprises France, Sweden, Belgium, Ireland, Spain, Denmark, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia and Finland. The countries more supportive of Israel are Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Greece and Cyprus.

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A special issue of the Israel Studies journal (Summer 2019), published by the Association for Israel Studies, was titled “Word Crimes: Reclaiming the Language of the Israel-Palestinian Conflict by Donna Robinson Divine. Its focus is how language is used to delegitimize Zionism and the State of Israel. It was a long overdue attempt to begin a discussion about the way academia has become a hostile environment for anyone other than those who believe Israel’s creation was a crime.  Read more here


Defeating Denormalization: Shared Palestinian and Israeli Perspectives on a New Path to Peace. (A series of essays) Dan Diker editor.

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