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. 117, February 5, 2020
Arabs in Israeli Society. Israel Action Committee presents a talk by Matan Zamir, Israel’s Deputy Consul General to the Pacific Northwest. Tuesday, February 11, 7:30pm, at Beth David. Ages 13-21: free, ages 22+: $5/person. Reservations are required by today (2/5). RSVP online or call the office at 408-257-3333. Refreshments will be served.
Culture and Lifestyle
Science and Technology
Leaders of 49 countries attended the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem. The Fifth World Holocaust Forum commemorated the 75th anniversary of liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. The official events of the Forum started on January 22 with a dinner at the President’s Residence. Among the participants were presidents of 10 countries, two kings, a Grand Duke and two crown princes, including US Vice President Mike Pence, Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Israel’s AG files indictment against Netanyahu. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement that he would withdraw his bid for immunity from prosecution removed the last potential obstacle to an indictment in three corruption cases. Four hours later, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit filed the indictment in Jerusalem, opening the case against the prime minister. It’s the first time in Israeli history that a sitting prime minister faces indictment.
IDF strikes Gaza, imposes punitive measures following rocket attack. Following the fourth consecutive day of rocket and incendiary balloon attacks from Gaza, Israel hit multiple Hamas targets, halted cement imports and reduced work permits. The Israeli military reported that it had hit a Hamas “war room” and underground facilities “in response to high-trajectory fire and the launch of incendiary balloons from Gaza into Israel.”
A third of Israeli youth do not enlist in IDF. New data shows that 32.9% do not enlist at all and another 15% do not complete their military service. The disturbing trend is even more severe for women, with 44.3% being exempt from their military service. While there is a range of circumstances behind the increase in exemptions, a large number is said to be because of recruits coming in with medical documents claiming they have mental illnesses preventing them from serving.
Women powering increase in Haredi incomes. Israel’s Democracy Institute (IDI) has reported that ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) women are increasingly pursuing higher education and integrating into Israel’s workforce. It resulted in a 10% rise in the income of Haredi families in 2017 compared to 5% for non-Haredim.
The “Deal of the Century”: what are its key points? Three years in the making, the “Deal of the Century,” US President Donald Trump’s peace plan, has finally been revealed. The full text of the plan, officially called “Peace to Prosperity. A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People” can be found here. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, UAE welcomed Trump’s peace plan. Palestinians from across the political spectrum have strongly rejected it. Defense Minister and head of the right-wing, religious Yamina party Nafatli Bennett rejected the plan, saying Israel should never recognize a Palestinian state.
Abbas: Palestinians will cut all ties with Israel, US; “Israel is not a Jewish state”. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced that he has decided to sever all relations with Israel and the US in protest against President Donald Trump’s recently unveiled plan for Mideast peace. In his long speech he also said: “They want me to recognize Israel as a Jewish state… I know that it’s not a Jewish state.”
Western world nations support terror-linked Palestinian NGOs – report. A new report issued by the research institute NGO Monitor found that eight Palestinian Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) which receive support from Western nations maintain ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization. NGO Monitor claimed that the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, France, Ireland, Norway, and Belgium funneled millions of dollars to these groups. US, Canada and Japan were also among the donors.
Rashida Tlaib retweets false claim Israelis killed Palestinian boy. US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib retweeted a claim that “Israeli settlers” had “kidnapped and executed” a Palestinian boy. In fact the boy was found by Israeli emergency services dead in a cistern after going missing a few days earlier. Nevertheless, some Palestinian social media accounts incited against Israel, leading to small clashes in East Jerusalem.
Culture and Lifestyle
Israel’s unlikely Olympic baseball team dreams big for the Tokyo Games. “Nobody gave us a shot … and we shocked the world,” Team Israel coach Eric Holtz says of the qualifying process. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and we as a team couldn’t be prouder to represent Israel.”
“My life here is so wonderful,” director Quentin Taran tino says about living in Israel. Film director Quentin Tarantino spoke to a leading Israeli newspaper in a full-length interview about his new “wonderful” life in Israel with his wife, Israeli singer and model Daniella Pick, who is pregnant with their first child. His time in Israel so far has been “great” he said, adding, “I love the country, and the people are really nice, very nice to me, and they seem excited that I’m here.”
Israelis get more e-friendly and smarter. Some 12 percent of Israelis now use bikes, electric bicycles, and electric scooters on a regular basis. Israelis became more connected in 2019 as 72% are now Internet-enabled, 90% use WhatsApp and 82% shopped online last year.
Science and Technology
In 10 years, Israel wants nearly half its electricity to be solar. Within a decade, 43% of Israel’s electricity could be solar, according to a report released earlier this month by Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection. By 2030, this capability could be reached solely by relying on solar panels installed on buildings, greenhouses, and built infrastructure, without encroaching on open areas and fields, the report said. Israel will be able to produce 80% of its electricity using only solar panels by 2050, enabling it to reduce its emissions drastically, the environmental protection ministry stated in its report.
A thriving 1st-world economy in a 3rd-world sea. Israel possesses assets and innovations that can solve many of the problems that plague its Arab neighbors. If peace can possibly be achieved between Israel and the Arab world, the potential for mutually beneficial, practical and economic relationships is huge.
Treating genetic diseases. Israeli-founded Emendo Biotherapeutics, based in New York, utilizes protein engineering for precision gene editing, to treat certain genetic disorders and diseases. It has seven treatments in early stages of development. Emendo has just raised $61 million of funding.
New video: Israel’s critical security needs for a viable peace. What are Israel’s defensible borders? The Jordan Valley and the mountains that dominate it create a steep 4,200-foot virtual wall opposite any force attacking from the east. Any future peace arrangement must include Israeli control over key parts of the West Bank mountain ridge, demilitarization of the West Bank, and continuing Israeli control of its air space.