“News from Israel” presents a compilation of news stories from major Israeli and other publications. To see the source and to read the full story behind a headline, click the hyperlink in the corresponding news item.
No. 110, October 23, 2019
Culture and Lifestyle
Science and Technology
Netanyahu relinquishes government effort. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informed President Reuven Rivlin that he is returning the mandate he received to form a government, since he was unable to do so. A statement from the president’s office issued in response says President Rivlin will pass the mandate to forming a government to Blue and White leader MK Benny Gantz.
100,000 attend Sukkot Priestly Blessing at Western Wall. US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman was among the 100,000 who attended the annual ‘Birkat Kohanim’ – Priestly Blessing – at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The mass gathering at the Western Wall, which takes place twice a year, once during the intermediate days of Passover and once during the intermediate days of Sukkot, is a modern-day tradition, notes the Temple Institute. Watch this video.
60% of Israelis: US Jews should not influence religion and state decisions. Although 89% of Israeli Jews say they see a “moral importance” in Israel’s relationship with the American Jewish community, more than half (60%) say they oppose the American Jewish community influencing decisions related to religion and state in Israel, according to a new study. Additionally, the study showed that 78% of respondents said they do not have either an excellent or very good understanding of the differences between the religious streams of US Jewry.
IDF soldier lightly hurt as settlers hurl stones at troops. A group of some 30 settlers threw stones at the IDF patrol and slashed the tires on their vehicle during an incident close to the settlement of Yitzhar in the northern West Bank. Two days earlier, Golani military police arrested a youth from Yitzhar on suspicion of setting a fire in the valley between the hills of the settlement and the nearby Palestinian town of Huwara.
Violence spikes in Arab sector. Against the backdrop of violence in society – the phenomenon of violence against women and homicides within families, as well as cases of violence in the Arab sector – the Blue and White Party appealed to all factions in the parliament to hold an urgent discussion in the Knesset on the government’s response toward violence in society. Arab MKs from the Joint List met with Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and acting Police Commissioner Moti Cohen to discuss ways of combating violent crime among the country’s 1.9-million Arab sector.
Pompeo and Netanyahu meet as the U.S. seeks to assure Israel focus stays on Iran “threat”. Pompeo said he and Netanyahu discussed “all the efforts we’ve made to push back against the threat not only to Israel but to the region and the world from the Islamic Republic of Iran.” The secretary underscored U.S.-Israeli efforts to counter Iran, in an apparent attempt to ease concerns in Israel that Tehran could exploit a U.S. military pullback in Syria.
Netanyahu condemns Turkish invasion: We are prepared to assist “gallant Kurdish people”. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he “strongly condemns the Turkish invasion of the Kurdish areas in Syria and warns against the ethnic cleansing of the Kurds by Turkey and its proxies… Israel is prepared to extend humanitarian assistance to the gallant Kurdish people.”
5,000 Christians show their support for Israel at Jerusalem’s 64th Sukkot march. “The whole world is learning that the gentiles can come celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles with the people of Israel,” said spokesman David Parsons of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. The Jerusalem municipality organized and funded the march and entertainment events, with participants coming to Israel from 100 nations.
PA erases references of Israel, Jewish people and peace from school textbooks. References to Israel, the Jewish people and peace have been removed from 2019-20 Palestinian Authority textbooks, according to a recent study. The study finds “a systematic insertion of violence, martyrdom and jihad across all grades and subjects.”
Hamas would win PA elections in the West Bank. Senior security officials from Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority (PA) confirm that security coordination and intelligence cooperation are operating with “Swiss clock” precision. Senior Palestinian officials say recent polls indicate clearly that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would beat Abbas for the presidency by a considerable margin. One official told Israel Hayom: “There will not be a general election in the Palestinian Authority, certainly not so long as Abbas is alive.”
Culture and Lifestyle
9 great photos that show the beautiful, diverse ways Israelis mark Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is one of the most unique days in Israel. Everything comes to a close – stores, TV, roads and the radio all shut off for the 25 hours of the Jewish Day of Atonement. Whether by fasting in synagogue or taking to the empty roads on bikes, Israelis observe the most standstill of Jewish holidays in personal style.
Sukkot in Israel 2019. Sukkot in Israel is a time of vacation – the first and last days are national holidays when most businesses will be closed (similar to a regular Shabbat), whilst the intermediary days are normal business days except for the fact that many Israelis take the time off work. The result is that there are loads of activities for Sukkot across Israel so it is a great time to be visiting. Here is a selection of the events in Israel for Sukkot in 2019.
Twenty-five reasons to live in Israel. A quarter of a century ago, the author of this article with his wife and two young children immigrated to Jerusalem from Berkeley. He writes, “So, on this, the silver anniversary of our Israeli citizenship, we present 25 reasons to make aliyah.”
Science and Technology
What’s fueling the foreign appetite for Israeli food-tech? It wasn’t a hunger for signature dishes like hummus and shakshuka that lured investors, corporate executives and officials from 45 countries to Tel Aviv for AgriFood Week events including FoodTechIL and AgriVest. They were craving new innovations in agriculture and food technology, collectively nicknamed agrifood-tech. In the world of food-tech, tiny Israel punches way above its weight.
Positive results in human trial of ALS treatment. Israeli company Kadimastem a biotechnology firm that develops cell therapies, said it has received “promising interim results” from a first group of patients treated with its new therapy for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a fatal neurodegenerative condition that causes the loss of muscle control.
US Army chooses Israeli system to protect tank crews’ lives. In recent days, Israeli defense corporation Rafael made a dramatic announcement, stating that it delivered the first batch of Trophy Active Protection System to the US Army. The system will be eventually installed in four American M1 main battle tank brigades, for both the US Army and Marine Corps. The fact that the world’s most powerful military chose an Israeli active protection system to protect the lives of its tank crews is historic.
Diaspora philanthropy isn’t what it used to be. Less of the money donated by North American Jews is reaching Jewish causes let alone Israel. “Globes” examines the reasons. A recent study on Jewish philanthropy in North America found that in 2015, 9% of all donations were directed to Israeli purposes, 32% were allocated to Jewish purposes in the US itself, and the other 58% to non-Jewish purposes.