Israel Update: 17 August 2017
Following devastating and deadly mudslides on Monday, the first international aid to arrive in Sierra Leone on Tuesday was food sent by Israel to provide 10,000 meals for the thousands of displaced people.
Israel has also promised to send in further assistance, including medical assistance and other help depending on the needs of Sierra Leone, where more than 300 people have died in the flooding and mudslides.
Also on Tuesday, the Israeli aid agency IsrAID said that it had a team on the ground who were “providing relief and psycho social support” for those affected.
A female Palestinian assailant who carried out a stabbing attack in Jerusalem on Saturday had attempted to stab an ultra-Orthodox man before stabbing another person, said to be an Arab East Jerusalem resident, injuring him lightly. It is thought she mistook the victim for a Jew as his shirt displayed Hebrew lettering. The attacker was overpowered and arrested by police officers at the scene.
Israel will join Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, as well as four European countries, for a first-of-its-kind joint drill of their respective emergency services. The Middle East Forest Fire exercise, or MEFF, is due to take place from October 22 to 26 in Jordan and Israel, and will include rescue forces from Italy, France, Spain and Croatia.
Israeli security forces thwarted a large terrorist attack last Thursday when five Palestinians from Hebron were arrested just outside Jerusalem. The five had left suicide notes expressing their plans to commit a terrorist attack in Israel.
THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY & NORTH KOREA
PA President Abbas on Tuesday congratulated North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un on his country’s “Liberation Day” andexpressed his appreciation for North Korea’s “firm solidarity in support of the rights of the [Palestinian] people” and for the “historic relationship between Palestine and North Korea.”
A rocket was launched from Gaza at the Israeli city of Ashkelon early last week. In response, the Israeli Air Force targeted Hamas infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.
UNRWA has sealed a Hamas tunnel it found two months ago that the terrorist group had built under its two of its boys school in the Gaza Strip.
120,000 children and teens attended Hamas summer camps in Gaza. This year’s theme was “Marching on Jerusalem.” In addition to Quran lessons, sports and technology activities, games and entertainment, the camps also offered extensive military indoctrination and training, including weapons training Former Hamas education minister Osama Al-Muzaini said: “Jerusalem…is part of the Islamic faith, and its liberation is first a religious duty and then a national one.” He said the camps’ goal is “to train the generation of victory and liberation, which will have the honour of liberating Jerusalem.
According to the recently published 2017 Nature Index, which ranks the world’s top institutions for inspiring new inventions based on the number of cited articles produced by their researchers, Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science,ranked 6th, is the only non-U.S. institution listed in the top 10.
Israeli startup OrCam has developed a finger-sized, battery-powered device called MyEye that attaches to the side of a user’s glasses. Using optical character reading technology and artificial vision software, MyEye reads printed text from newspapers, restaurant menus, books, product labels, money notes, and mobile text to its user. The user only has to point to a piece of text to activate the device. MyEye immediately takes a picture and reads out the information. The device aims to revolutionize the lives of the blind and visually impaired.
Nour Darwish, a 23-year-old Arab-Israeli music student received a surprise call to take on the lead role of Cleopatra in Handel’s opera “Giulio Cesare in Egitto,” opening the fourth Israeli Opera Festival, when the lead soprano fell ill. Acknowledging that some in her community frowned upon her endeavour, she said it was not a problem for her, since she regards singing as a divine gift and enjoyed full support from family and friends in a potentially daunting move into professional opera.
Israel’s High Court of Justice ruled on Wednesdaythat a woman can serve as the director general of the state’s rabbinic courts.
India is deploying a smart Israel-developed fence along its volatile border with Pakistan that sends a “quick response team” to the site of any detected infiltration attempt. The system of smart fences and surveillance methods is from the state-of-the-art technologies being used in Israel.
Israel’s first whiskey distillery is preparing to launch its first single malt whiskey.
Renault-Nissan announced last week that it was opening a smart car incubator in Tel Aviv. Israel has become a focal point for development of smart car tech. Among the car companies that have smart car R&D centers in Israel are General Motors, Daimler Group (BMW), Volvo, Honda, China’s SAIC Motors – as well as Intel, which although not an auto manufacturer, is now at the locus of smart car technology development, thanks to its recent acquisition of Israel’s Mobileye
Short-wavelength blue light – the kind of light emitted in large amounts by laptop, smartphone, tablet, and other device screens – is harmful to sleep, a new joint study by the University of Haifa and the sleep clinic of Tel Aviv’s Assuta Hospital confirms. The blue light that ruins your sleep if you stare at screens before bedtime can be countered with a filter, says an Israeli study that examined how the quality and quantity of slumber is affected by short-wave light.
COMMENT & OPINION
According to IDF Brig.-Gen. Lior Carmeli: “We are changing our concept from ‘cutting the grass’ to ‘weakening the roots'” of terror in the West Bank….”With a situation of ‘cutting the grass,’ you are always cutting it down, but it grows back…We are working every day so that the grass doesn’t grow at all.”…”Weakening the roots” means arresting the inciters before they influence potential attackers and acting against the wider circles that support the attackers.”… “There have been a number of examples of parents who have turned in their children before they committed terror attacks – particularly to the Palestinian Authority security forces – out of fear that their homes would be destroyed.” (Translated from a Hebrew website)
Alan Baker: According to the mandate of the “United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East” (UNRWA), refugee status extends to cover all future generations of Palestinians. With refugee status now applying to the fourth generation of Palestinians, this definition has exploded the number of registered refugees from 700,000 in 1949 to 5,000,000.
Unlike UNRWA, the much more successful model for international refugee relief – the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) – seeks to resettle refugees, not perpetuate their camp existence. The UNHRC operates on the basis of the 1951 Refugee Convention, which does not say a word about passing refugee status to descendants.
Any attempt to reach a final Israeli-Palestinian peace must require a complete suspension of UNRWA funding and financing with a view to dissolving the agency and dismantling the refugee camps. New housing should replace them. Funding should be transformed into direct assistance to the appropriate agencies to carry out this task. If the goal is to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict once and for all, then UNRWA’s current configuration makes a final peace impossible to achieve.