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Israel Update 19.9.19




At the time of writing (Thursday afternoon), the Blue and White party has won 33 seats to the Likud’s 31, according to an update from the Central Elections Committee on Thursday morning, with 96.5% of the vote in Tuesday’s elections counted. Neither party appears able to muster the 61 MKs required for an outright majority. Current PM Netanyahu called on Blue and White Chairman Benny Gantz to meet with him to form a broad unity government. Read more here


Blue and White leader Gantz dismissed Netanyahu’s offer of a unity government that includes all the religious right-wing parties, insisting that the next coalition should have himself as prime minister and be committed to liberal policies on religious issues.      Read more here




Seven Gazans were reportedly wounded Wednesday when a rocket barrage from the Gaza Strip, aimed at Israel, fell short and exploded near a house inside Gaza. On Wednesday evening, a mortar shell was fired at Israel but also appeared to have landed inside Gaza.Read more here


The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine announced Saturday it had downed an Israeli drone over Gaza. An IDF spokeswoman denied that IDF aircraft were involved in the incident. Gaza sources later reported that the UAV was an Iranian-manufactured aircraft operated by Islamic Jihad.  Read more here




Increasingly frequent clashes between Israel and terrorist groups based in the Gaza Strip have been taking their toll on residents of communities adjacent to the border, where the number of people diagnosed with fibromyalgia has increased exponentially over the past few years.According to the Israel Trauma and Resiliency Centre, there has been a significant increase in the number of Israelis suffering from symptoms of traumatic stress.  Read more here


An Israeli soldier who specializes in locating Gaza terror tunnels has moved to Kibbutz Kerem Shalom bringing 28 other young Israelis with him, Kerem Shalom is a small community ringed with protective concrete walls abutting Israel’s border with southern Gaza, near the border with Egypt and threatened by rockets, tunnels, and arson balloons. Gazan rioters burning tyres often cause heavy smoke to drift into the community, and residents hear explosions going off during weekly border protests. “There are Fridays when you can’t go outside of your apartment because of tear gas,” As a result, the community was underpopulated.   Read more here


Incendiary balloons launched from Gaza have been drifting over the border into Israel for two years, leaving huge patches of blackened crops that scar the landscape and cause enormous damage for Israeli farmers.
One said, “As a farmer, when you grow crops and see them burn right before harvest time, it does something to your heart… You have been preparing the field since October, fertilizing the ground, sowing it, treating it against diseases and pests, and then the day before harvest, everything is on fire.” Read more here




Reportedly, Moscow has prevented three Israeli air strikes in Syria recently. A source claimed that during August, Moscow stopped an air strike on a Syrian outpost where a S-300 missile battery is placed. Another two air strikes were also blocked. According to a Russian source, President Putin told Netanyahu at their recent meeting that Russia will not allow any damage to be done to the Syrian regime’s army or any of the weapons being given to it. Read more here


Israel has been hitting targets in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq to try to prevent Iran from moving military supplies to its Lebanese ally Hizbullah. Israeli officials say allowing a foe to obtain missile technology that could overwhelm Israel’s defences is unacceptable.   Read more here




Recently the IDF Chief of Staff said: “The enemy is organized in brigades and platoons, armed with missiles, rockets, and advanced weaponry, and is operating from inside densely-populated urban areas, with a civilian population that it sees as living flak jackets.””The changes in the enemy demand that the IDF make changes and adjust its forces and methods of warfare, so urban areas cannot shield the enemy…a country that allows terrorism to entrench itself in its territory will be seen as responsible for it, and suffer the consequences.”…”When the Israeli homefront is under threat by thousands of missiles and rockets, we won’t hesitate to strike a massive blow to eradicate those threats. We will attack and preserve our values, but a main tenet of those values is the need to protect our citizens. Read more here




71.5% of Arab Israelis are satisfied with their life in Israel, according to a poll commissioned by the Moshe Dayan Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University. Read more here




The number of West Bank Palestinians working in Israel has almost doubled in the past five years, according to official Palestinian figures. Israel said the number of permits for employment in Israel had risen 160% since 2012.  The employees’ salaries help the Palestinian economy and contribute to calm in the West Bank.Waiting times at the checkpoints between the West Bank and Israel have been cut from 30 minutes to only a few. Read more here




Israeli startup VeganNation hasleased some 15,000 acres (60.7 square kilometres or 23.4 square miles) in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest for a ten-year period to protect the land from deforestation and wildlife poaching.The startup also announced partnerships with four local soccer teams from cities near the entrance to the rainforest to raise environmental awareness. An additional four top-tier national teams are set to sign on to the initiative. Read more here




Monaco’s Prince Albert II has installed a made-in-Israel Watergen machine in his palace to produce clean drinking water from ambient air. The GEN-350 model, a medium-scale atmospheric water generator, can produce up to 900 litres of high-quality drinking water daily for hundreds of palace workers.Watergen’s technology pulls ambient humidity from the air, cleans it and cools it to dew point to cause condensation then adds minerals to bring the water to drinking quality. Read more here



The initial IsraAID (an Israel humanitarian NGO) action plan includes distributing relief supplies to all residents of Grand Bahama, providing urgently needed water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) support, meeting immediate protection needs and providing psychological first aid.IsraAID also is coordinating relief efforts on the island in partnership with the Grand Bahama Disaster Relief Foundation.  Read more here




The International Judo Federation on Wednesday accused Iran of violating the Olympic Charter and suspended the Islamic Republic from participation in all world judo competitions. The decision is based on the case of Iranian judo gold medalist Saeid Mollaei, who was forced to give away matches to avoid a potential contest against an Israeli athlete. Read more here


Saeid Mollaei, has been in hiding in Germany since he left the Iranian judo team last month. Read more here




A groundbreaking study has found that ancient tin ingots found in Israel were mined in England. The enigma of the origins of Bronze Age Levant’s tin supply has been solved through isotope and chemical composition analysis that shows that the 13th–12th century BCE tin bars most likely came from Cornwall. Read more here



Bezzo Pizza in Tel Aviv ranked seventh on Big 7 Travel’slist for “The 50 Best Slices Of Pizza In The World,” outranking some New York and Italian pizza shops. Read more here




Matti Friedman:No single episode has shaped Israel’s population and politics like the wave of suicide bombings perpetrated by Palestinians in the first years of the 21st century, and every election since has been held in its shadow. The attacks, which killed hundreds of Israeli civilians, ended hopes for a negotiated peace…The Palestinian leadership pretend that none of it ever happened, and few of the foreign journalists covering the country right now were here at the time. Why are moderate Israelis afraid to pull out of the West Bank? Why is there a separation barrier? Why is the word “peace” pronounced with sarcasm? If you weren’t in Israel then and can’t access the national subconscious now, the answer will be elusive.I remember standing at a bus stop when I heard a suicide bomber blow himself up and murder 11 people one street over, at Cafe Moment. My mother passed through the Nahariya train station right before a suicide bomber struck there, and my sister was in a cafeteria at the Hebrew University campus when Palestinians blew up a different cafeteria. I’ve got many more memories like that, and so does the Israeli electorate.  Read more here


Michael Oren:. The (nuclear) deal enabled Iran to maintain key parts of its nuclear infrastructure, to preserve its blueprints for producing atomic bombs, and to develop the intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of carrying them. With many of the deal’s provisions expiring in less than a decade, Iran could have eventually made hundreds of nuclear weapons and mount them on ICBMs. Overnight, Iran would become a global power.The Israelis, of course, would not have sat by passively while Iran nuclearized and threatened their existence. But Iran had another plan: to surround Israel with tens of thousands of terrorist rockets and proxies. Any Israeli attempt to stop an Iranian nuclear breakout would inevitably be met with devastating fire from Lebanon, Syria, Gaza, Iraq, and Iran itself.  Read more here