News from Israel
No.103, July 17, 2019
Budget deficit near 4% of GDP in June. Government spending was 10.4% higher than in the corresponding period last year, compared with a planned increase of 5.1%. The cause of the deficit is a jump in spending by government ministries, while state tax revenues are staying at the same level.
Ethiopian Israelis continue protests as family of victim calls for calm. Thousands of Israeli Ethiopians blocked key thoroughfares and clashed with police following the funeral of an Ethiopian teenager in Haifa. Solomon Tekah, 19, was shot and killed by an off-duty policeman in Haifa. The Ethiopians denounced what they say is continued racism and police brutality. The police investigation of the shooting incident revealed that the police officer shot at the ground, as he had insisted from the beginning, and did this in self-defense.
The first Arab chairman of an Israeli bank. Bank Leumi, Israel’s largest bank by market capitalization, has appointed Samer Haj Yehia as its Chairman of the Board of Directors. He becomes the first Arab chairman at an Israeli lender and is also on the board of both Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital and Israel’s Strauss Group.
Mossad Chief sees “one-time opportunity” to achieve regional peace. “The Mossad sees a rare opportunity to reach a regional understanding that would lead to a comprehensive peace agreement,” Yossi Cohen, head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, said. “There is a list of countries that recognize Israel, accept our existence and maintain cooperative relations out of mutual respect. These countries are not willing to tolerate Iran’s thuggish behavior.”
Mossad led IAEA to radioactive material at Iran site, proving it broke deal – report.The IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) has found signs of radioactive material which would violate the 2015 nuclear deal at an Iranian nuclear site identified to the agency by Israeli intelligence, Israeli Channel 13 reported. Top Israeli sources revealed to it that the IAEA is sitting on the information and has avoided making it public to date.
Hamas member details long history of Iranian support. Gaza-based political analyst detailed Iran’s long history of support for Hamas in a recent newspaper article. He said Iran provides a variety of combat equipment and missiles to the Gazan factions, while also training dozens of “resistance fighters in several combat specialties.” He highlighted Iran’s monetary support for Hamas’ Qassem Brigades, and added that Iran provides financial support for the development of missiles and tunnels.
What do Palestinians think? A recent poll conducted by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research shows that half of the Palestinian public continues to oppose the two-state solution. In the assessment of the most effective means of ending the Israeli occupation, armed action comes first followed by negotiations, and then popular nonviolent resistance. The poll showed that 67% of surveyed Palestinians believe that corruption is deeply rooted in the PA. Read more here.
Culture and Lifestyle
‘This is Home’: Jewish youth from around world sing their love for Israel. The song “A tribe of brothers and sisters” was first recorded in April with a variety of performers, including President Reuven Rivlin. The song then became a hit. Now Taglit (a.k.a. Birthright Israel) created an English-language cover of the song with roughly 100 young adults from around the world who are currently visiting the country.
11 Israeli books you must read this summer. From literary masterpieces to contemporary and up-and-coming works, check out our top reading choices for the holidays.
Travel tips: A definitive list of must-have apps for visitors to Israel. Welcome to Israel! Now that you’re here, in the innovation nation, there are a few apps you may want to help ensure an easier way to get around and make the most of your visit.
Science and Technology
Antidepressants raise risk of dementia in people over 60. Antidepressant exposure increases the risk of dementia by 3.43 among people over the age of 60, compared to peers unexposed to this medication, according to an international study led by Israeli researchers published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.
Israeli gene manipulation puts cow’s gas emissions behind us. An international research team headed by Israeli Professor Itzhak Mizrahi of Ben Gurion University has found that cow genes can be used to control rumen microbiomes in order to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases (mostly, methane) that animals emit. The negative effect on the climate of Methane is 23 times higher than that of CO2. The methane primarily comes from cow burps, and not cow flatulence, as is commonly believed.
Hebrew U. researchers produce chemical insulin that cuts frequency of injections substantially. The new process allows chemical production of high-efficiency human insulin. The hormone’s stability makes it possible to reduce the frequency of injecting it into the body to once every few days, as opposed to a number of injections per day currently. This significant change will affect insulin consumption and improve the quality of life of diabetes sufferers.
Archaeology shows Philistines, ancient enemy of Israelites, came from Europe. New evidence has revealed that the ancient people most known for their biblical conflict with the Israelites were immigrants to the region in the 12th century BCE. The evidence is based on the genetic analysis of the remains of 10 individuals who lived in Ashkelon during the Bronze and Iron ages.