No.118, February19, 2020
Israel ranked eighth most expensive country in the world. Israel is ranked eighth among the countries with the highest cost of living in the world, according to CEOWORLD business magazine. The magazine said that the country is more costly to live in than Hong Kong, U.K. and U.S., but cheaper than Switzerland, Japan and Luxembourg. Ranking is calculated using cost of living, rental prices, store prices, restaurant costs and purchasing power.
Jerusalem’s construction boom. With its long-anticipated construction boom, Jerusalem is experiencing a 10-year-high building rate after decades of relative economic stagnation, infrastructure deterioration and population impoverishment. This year, 10,000 new housing units were approved, along with 3,000 additional permits for construction, according to the municipality. But how long can Jerusalemites expect to live in a traffic-snarled and noise-filled building site?
12 soldiers wounded, 1 seriously, in a terror car-ramming in Jerusalem. The soldiers were on a tour of Jerusalem when they were attacked. The soldiers were standing on the sidewalk when a car rammed them suddenly at high-speed. The vehicle then quickly fled the scene, prompting a large-scale manhunt by Israeli security forces. The terrorist was arrested by Israeli security forces later that day.
Gantz commits to annex Jordan Valley if elected. Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz vowed to annex the Jordan Valley if he wins the premiership in the upcoming elections. “The Jordan Valley is Israel’s eastern defensive barrier in any future conflict. Israeli governments that spoke of the possibility of returning the area [to Jordanian control] were making a grave strategic and security mistake, and we see this strip of land as an inseparable part of the State of Israel,” Gantz said.
IDF strives to shorten future wars. The Israel Defense Forces rolled out its five-year plan to restructure and refocus the military for the threats it believes it will face in the near future. The guiding principle of the plan is to take full advantage of the areas in which the IDF has superiority – air power, intelligence and technology – in order to ensure that Israel maintains a significant edge over its foes. To do so, the IDF must significantly improve its ability to identify enemy targets and strike as many as possible as quickly as possible.
Israel and Sudan reach milestone after historic summit. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the leader of Sudan and said they began talks on normalization. For Israel, the meeting marks a major step toward improving ties with both Arab and African countries.
UN blacklists companies with ties to Israeli settlements. The United Nations published its long anticipated controversial blacklist of businesses that operate in Jewish areas over the pre-1967 lines, in east Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. Israel is the only country against which such a list has been compiled. President Reuven Rivlin said, referring to the companies on the list, “I am proud that these are Israeli businesses, patriots who contribute to Israeli society, to economy and to peace.”
Grand Mufti of Jerusalem issues fatwa against the U.S. Peace Plan. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, issued a fatwa prohibiting dealing with the U.S. peace plan. He said that whoever negotiates on the deal is a traitor to God and His Messenger, and to the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem and Palestine. “Whoever plans or supports this brute aggression, or is silent about it, deserves the curse of God, his angels and all people.”
Ambassador Friedman: In Israel’s “best interest” to wait on annexation of settlements. U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said that it is in the best interest of the residents of the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria to be patient for annexation. According to Friedman, a committee will be formed to convert the “the conceptual map into a detailed rendering” in order for the U.S. to formally recognize Israeli sovereignty over the settlements.
Culture and Lifestyle
Nearly half of Israeli Arab academics avoid applying for jobs at predominantly Jewish companies. According to the study, conducted by The Hebrew University, Arab candidates are afraid of encountering prejudice or failing to get the job for non-professional reasons. 65% also said they feel their own community would have trouble accepting them working for such a company.
Israel to send its first ever Ethiopian contestant to Eurovision 2020. Israelis chose its first ever Ethiopian contestant to represent the nation at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Eden Alene, 19, won “The Star is Born” reality show claiming a ticket to the Netherlands in May. “Think about where we were when the Ethiopians first started making aliyah and look at where we are now,” she said.
Orthodox mother of 5 from Israel wins Miami half-marathon race. A haredi Orthodox mother of five won the half-marathon at the 18th annual Life Time Miami Marathon and Half Marathon event. Beatie Deutsch, 30, who moved to Israel from New Jersey in 2009, is known for running in a skirt, sleeves that fall below her elbow and a headscarf.
Snow storms rage in Israel’s north as cold front batters on. Sub-zero temperatures cause snow across many Golan Heights communities to pile on. Light snow was falling in Hebron. Unusual cold and rainy weather reigns across the rest of the country. See the pictures of winter in Israel here.
Science and Technology
Was the Bible right? Inscription may confirm ancient Israel’s borders. A newly-discovered Hebrew inscription might confirm that the border of ancient Israel reached areas that some archaeologists were previously skeptical about, thus confirming the Biblical tale. A Hebrew inscription was in fact discovered for the first time in the site of Abel Beth-Maacah, mentioned in the Bible and located on the border with Lebanon and not far from the border with Syria.