Israel Update: 21 March 2018

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A DIFFICULT WEEK IN ISRAEL

A Palestinian driver hit four Israeli soldiers with his car on Friday next to an army observation post, killing Capt. Ziv Daos, 21, and Sgt. Netanel Kahalani, 20, and seriously injuring the others. The perpetrator had recently completed a 17-month sentence for security-related activities. He admitted that he had intended to kill soldiers. https://www.timesofisrael.com/one-killed-3-hurt-in-suspected-car-ramming-terror-attack-in-northern-west-bank/

Adiel Coleman, a married father of four, was stabbed to death Sunday near the entrance to the Temple Mount, by a West Bank resident. According to eyewitnesses, Coleman tried to fend off the assailant until police forces arrived at the scene and shot and killed the terrorist.

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/israeli-man-succumbs-to-wounds-in-jerusalem-stabbing-attack-1.5913484

The Palestinian National and Islamic Forces coalition in the West Bank and Gaza had urged renewed mass protests Friday to mark 100 days since President Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital…On Thursday, Hamas issued a separate appeal to Palestinians to initiate clashes with IDF soldiers and settlers, saying the rage should continue until Trump’s decision is thwarted.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/palestinians-call-for-fresh-day-of-rage-to-mark-us-jerusalem-recognition/

Speaking on Monday, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said, “Three young Israelis were murdered over the weekend, in cold blood, by Palestinian terrorists, and the reaction from the Palestinian Authority was deafening. No condemnation. I saw his [Abbas’] response on my iPhone. His response was to refer to me as ‘son of a dog.’ http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-us-palestinians-20180319-story.html

ARRESTS

Romain Franck, a French national who was the driver at France’s consulate in east Jerusalem, and a Palestinian guard employed there, were arrested by Israeli authorities last month for using a vehicle with diplomatic plates to smuggle 70 handguns and two assault rifles from Hamas in Gaza to the West Bank, the Israel Security Agency said Monday. The investigation clearly showed that Franck had a financial motive and was acting of his own volition, unbeknown to his superiors.

https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5179187,00.html

P.A. PAYMENTS TO TERRORISTS

Micah Lakin Avni’s father, Israeli-American Richard Lakin, was killed in a terror attack on a bus in Jerusalem in October 2015. On Monday he told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that those who killed his father and their families will be given $3 million over the course of their lives by the PA… “The Palestinian Authority actually has a pay-to-slay law. Palestinians systematically pay terrorists to murder Jews.” “Your failure to report or condemn these crimes makes you an accessory to the murder of my father, and to the murder of many other Jewish fathers, mothers and children who the Palestinians pay to slay. I call upon this council, and upon all UN members, to stop funding the P.A. until they stop the murderous practice of rewarding terrorists for killing Jews.”

http://www.jpost.com/International/What-if-I-paid-to-butcher-your-fathers-terrorism-victim-asks-UNHRC-546539

KENYA

Former Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi returned home Saturday evening after a medical trip to Israel. He had been admitted to Ichalov Hospital in Tel Aviv the previous Sunday where he underwent a series of checks on his knee. Before flying back home, the former head of state, 93, visited historical sites in Jerusalem.

https://www.nation.co.ke/news/Moi-jets-back-from-Israel/1056-4346400-b43k66/index.html

HOMELAND SECURITY

The International Homeland Defence and Security Summit, organized by the Mississippi state government, was held last week in Biloxi. Representatives of 16 Israeli companies attended, along with a delegation from the Israel Defence Ministry. Gov. Phil Bryant told the conference, “If there’s anyone that knows about homeland security, it’s the Israelis. They have a tough neighborhood they live in.” …Beeper is a surveillance system – already deployed by the Israeli military and police departments in Baltimore and Houston – that can pinpoint where a gun is fired and instantly take video of who fired the weapon. Israel Aerospace Industries has two facilities in Mississippi.

https://www.jta.org/2018/03/14/news-opinion/israel-star-national-security-conference-mississippi

ECONOMY

A new report by the 35-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has found that the Israeli economy is one of the strongest in the world. Israel’s economy grew by 3.3% in 2017, helped by strong population growth and a robust high-tech sector, and the OECD forecasts 3.5% growth in 2018.

http://www.israelhayom.com/2018/03/12/israel-is-one-of-worlds-leading-economies-oecd-report-finds/

GAZA

The IDF destroyed two tunnels in Gaza overnight Sunday. One tunnel near Rafiah was sealed using a method that does not allow for any future rehabilitation.

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/israeli-army-two-gaza-tunnels-destroyed-overnight-1.5912118

In less than six months, the IDF has dealt with seven terror tunnels – six built by Hamas and one by Islamic Jihad.

https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5179528,00.html

On Dec. 20, 2017, IDF soldiers spotted a powerful bomb being planted by Gazan rioters near the Gaza border fence. Sappers neutralized the bomb without incident using lasers that caused it to heat up and explode from 100 meters away. A tour of the area afterward found that hundreds of pieces of shrapnel had penetrated the fence and landed on the Israeli side. https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5169466,00.html

SYRIAN NUCLEAR REACTOR

Israel on Wednesday formally acknowledged that its air force blew up a Syrian nuclear reactor in the pre-dawn hours of September 6, 2007

www.timesofisrael.com/ending-a-decade-of-silence-israel-reveals-it-blew-up-assads-nuclear-reactor/

James Jeffrey, a former senior American diplomat, said: “The Israeli authorities had been working with the U.S. government for months before the site was struck….Very early it was clear to us that this was a North Korean-enabled plutonium enrichment reactor that was clearly designed to advance a nuclear weapons programme.”  “It was a blessing for the Middle East and for humanity that the reactor was destroyed.”

http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Key-US-official-Bombing-of-Syrias-reactor-was-A-blessing-for-humanity-546641

TECHNOLOGY

Technology mogul and entrepreneur Elon Musk referred to Israel as a “technological power” during his visit to the country this week.

https://www.israel21c.org/tech-billionaire-elon-musk-tours-israel/

Israeli blood analysis startup PixCell has been awarded a 2.5 million euro grant by the European Commission to accelerate commercialization of its HemoScreen. The product is a portable, easy-to-use, blood analyzer that can be operated by anyone. It performs the most common blood test – a complete blood count – within 5 minutes, enabling physicians to diagnose and treat their patients during a single visit.

http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-israeli-blood-analysis-co-pixcell-wins-25m-eu-grant-1001228031

Israeli researchers have developed a “revolutionary” way to improve eyesight and do away with glasses and contact lenses, which they say can be done at home with a smartphone, a small laser device, and special eye drops.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/revolutionary-nano-drops-can-help-banish-eyeglasses-israeli-researchers-say/

Israel has become the first country in the world to grant medical device approval to a vaporizer for the use of medical cannabis extracts and formulations. The Ministry of Health has granted initial approval to the VapePod vaporizer developed by Kanabo Research, a Tel-Aviv-based medical cannabis R&D company.

https://www.israel21c.org/israel-first-country-to-approve-medical-cannabis-vaporizer/

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University have developed low-cost infrared sensors that can be used for night-vision glasses, smartphones, and self-driving cars. The technology could help replace heavy night-vision goggles used by soldiers with lightweight, low-power consumption glasses…Researchers at the university’s Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology have also developed small, pollinating drones to make up for a lack of bees; wall-climbing, spiderlike robots for search and rescue operations; and fruit-picking robots

https://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-researchers-develop-infrared-film-for-smartphones-self-driving-cars/

COMMENT & OPINION

Lior Akerman: A look at the textbooks used in Palestinian classrooms makes it practically impossible to remain optimistic about reaching any sort of peace arrangement in the near future. A 2017 study found that these textbooks consistently delegitimize Israel, encourage a violent struggle against Israel, and portray Israelis and Jews as the evil enemy… These textbooks, which are paid for by UNRWA, are used to teach more than half a million Palestinian schoolchildren. Complaints have been filed by Israeli organizations and the Israeli government for years now, but the situation remains unchanged.

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Palestinian-Authority-education-and-the-future-of-peace-545236