Israel Update: 1 March 2018

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Prince William will travel to Israel this summer in the first-ever official visit by a member of the British Royal Family in the 70 years since Israel’s Independence, during which time nearly every other country in the world has been visited by a representative of the Crown. He will also visit the Palestinian territories and Jordan. The Prince’s great-grandmother Alice of Battenberg (Princess Andrew) is buried at Gethsemane on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives.




Israel has increased the number of work permits for West Bank Palestinians by 20,000, bringing the number to 100,000 at a recent ministerial meeting… Israel agreed in the talks to help the Palestinians prepare for an audit by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and meet its criteria for receiving economic aid. The IMF is demanding far-reaching economic reforms and full transparency from the PA as a condition for receiving aid.


Most of Jerusalem’s population don’t remember a divided city. Some 85% of Jerusalem’s Arabs and 75% of its Jews were born into a unified city. This has been translated into a fabric of normal coexistence that is a blend of different lifestyles. Jewish and Arab doctors and nurses work together to serve both populations in the city’s hospitals and health clinics. Arab and Jewish drivers drive the city’s taxis and buses, and the light railway serves both communities. Jews and Arabs mix at Jerusalem’s restaurants, cafes, and shopping malls, both as consumers and employees. A growing number of families in east Jerusalem are currently choosing to send their children to schools where they follow the Israeli curriculum. Seven years ago, a survey of east Jerusalem Arabs found that 35% preferred to live as citizens with equal rights under Israeli sovereignty. In the latest survey, that figure had reached 52%.




When Palestinian rioters in the West Bank inadvertently burned down a local factory while confronting IDF soldiers near Nablus, Israeli firefighters arrived at the scene to help Palestinian Authority responders put out the fire.




Tel Aviv University researchers have discovered molecular biomarkers in the blood for preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication that is a leading cause of maternal deaths. Their findings form the basis for a simple blood test that would predict preeclampsia.


An Israeli research team at the Weizmann Institute has discovered a way to grow a miniature version of the human brain that undergoes wrinkling in a similar way to a real brain, opening the way for future research into disorders such as microcephaly, epilepsy and schizophrenia.


Scientists at Kaplan Medical Centre, Israel, have reported a breakthrough in successfully detecting prostate cancer cells with high sensitivity using Micromedic Technologies’ (based in Tel Aviv) CellDetect noninvasive diagnostic test, developed over the past two years.



A computer mouse for amputees. Israel-based startup 6Degrees developed an armband that replaces the computer mouse, enabling users with disabilities to control devices through arm movement,7340,L-3733096,00.html




The UN force in Lebanon has accused Hezbollah and the Lebanese Army of hampering their work, including spying on them.  A chief warrant officer for the French contingent said: “In the evening we never leave the barracks because the Lebanese forces are not friendly. However, that is when things happen.”…A Finnish commander noted that “Indonesian peacekeepers are constantly reporting Israeli movements to various Lebanese actors,” and that some of UNIFIL’s civilian employees “do not hide their Hizbullah membership.”


War between Israel and Iranian proxy forces is imminent, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators has warned after a recent trip to the Middle East. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said of talks with Israeli officials, “When they tell you we want help to deal with the blowback that might come from attacks on civilian targets where Hizbullah has integrated military capability, that was pretty striking.” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said, “The tempo in terms of potential for conflict in Syria has gone up; the technologies Iran is projecting into Syria and southern Lebanon has gone up; Iran’s willingness to be provocative, to push the edges of the envelope, to challenge Israel, has gone up.”



The new US Embassy in Jerusalem will open in May 2018 to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel declaring independence. Initially, the embassy will operate out of the US’s current consular premises.




MK Anat Berko, a criminologist, represented Israel at a meeting in Vienna of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. It was the first time that Israel participated as a full member of the Ad Hoc Committee on Countering Terrorism.


Israeli security forces have thwarted a terrorist attack on the Temple Mount. Three Arab-Israelis were indicted on Monday for plotting the attack in the name of Islamic State,


The Israeli Defence Minister said Tuesday that the IDF has been carrying out massive operations in the West Bank to thwart planned terrorist attacks, particularly in and around Hebron. “We are thwarting 20 to 30 terrorist attacks each week, facing ever-increasing terrorist efforts”


Jordan’s security forces uncovered a plot last November whereby and

a terror cell affiliated with Islamic State planned to attack Israeli businessmen, the U.S. embassy in Jordan, and other Western and Jordanian targets in Amman. 17 members of the cell were arrested.




Every week, 33 million flies are scattered from airplanes onto orchards and agricultural farmland surrounding Gaza by Israel’s Agriculture Ministry in order to combat the Mediterranean fruit fly. The sterile male flies mate with female flies infesting the crops, thus preventing the creation of the next generation of fruit flies. The technique is an environmentally friendly and chemical-free pest control method.




Marcus Sheff: The new PA school curriculum is packed with wording, imagery and ideology likely to create prejudices, misconceptions, stereotypes, misunderstandings, mistrust, racial and national hatred, and religious bigotry.. The PA curriculum rejects negotiations with Israel to achieve Palestinian statehood. According to the textbooks, the only solution is victory via resistance and defeating Israel once and for all.


Bret Stephens: A Palestinian state is a terrific idea in principle – assuming that it resembles the United Arab Emirates. But Israelis have no reason to believe that it will look like anything except the way Gaza does today: militant, despotic, desperate and aggressive. Israel’s foreign critics are demanding that it replicate on a large scale what has failed catastrophically on a smaller scale. Any successor to Netanyahu will have to pursue essentially identical policies


Danny Danon (Israel’s Ambassador to the UN): Israelis are an optimistic people. We weathered four bloody wars with Egypt while waiting for a leader of Anwar Sadat’s calibre to come forward and courageously visit Jerusalem. It took decades of talks with Jordan until King Hussein entered into a “peace of the brave” with Israel. We have no doubt that the day will come when the Palestinian people will be blessed with such leadership as well…This will be a leadership that ends the despicable practice of incentivizing murder by paying monthly salaries to terrorists. It will be a leadership that educates its people towards tolerance instead of peddling anti-Semitism. It will need to be a leadership that recognizes that Israel is the national homeland of the Jewish people.


Bassam Tawil: Senior Hamas official Ismail Radwan last week made it clear that the conflict with Israel is not about Jews living in settlements in the West Bank. The Palestinians see all of Israel as one big settlement that needs to be uprooted. All the Jews, they say, are “settlers” who need to “go back to where they came from.” Anyone who follows the news on Palestinian media outlets will see how all Jews, whether they are living in a West Bank settlement or in Tel Aviv, are referred to as “settlers.”It is time to listen carefully to what the Palestinians are saying – in Arabic – to understand that the conflict is not about Jerusalem and not about settlements.


Daniel Kryger: Israel is the Ultimate Anti-Imperialist State

European imperialism in the Middle East was preceded by Islamist imperialism. The Jewish state is the only indigenous fragment that survived the onslaught of Islamic imperialism.



The “Jerusalem Roast” Purim Edition includes several “news” items:

Your Soundtrack for Purim from D.J. Antithesis, aka Kingston’s own Samuel Green, on TLV1, an internet radio station broadcasting from Tel Aviv