News From Israel – December 13th

“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. 66, December 13, 2017

Inside Israel
WATCH: November 29, 1947 – The miracle of UN’s vote to establish State of Israel. As Israel and world Jewry celebrate the 70th anniversary of the 1947 United Nations vote for the Partition of Palestine, this heartwarming, educational video truly captures the moment, relaying the overwhelming excitement and joy.

Recent terrorist acts. Children attacked on hike. A group of 25 children and 2 adult escorts were attacked by Palestinians while they were on a hike in Samaria (West Bank). A military source said the boys were on a bar mitzvah trip. Dozens of rioters arrived in vehicles, attacked the boys and lightly injured three of them. After firing warning shots into the air that went unheeded, one of the parents escorting the group fired at the attackers, hitting a 48 year old man who later died of his wounds. 

Israeli soldier stabbed to death in Arad. An Israeli soldier, Ron Yitzhak Kukiya, 19, who was waiting for a bus, was stabbed to death outside the mall in Arad. An eyewitness said, “Someone came up to the soldier from behind and stabbed him.”  Two Israeli Bedouin were arrested in connection to this attack

Israel’s Energy Minister: No coal, gasoline by 2030. Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources Dr. Yuval Steinitz presented his long-term vision for the energy sector in Israel. “By 2030, Israel will no longer use any gasoline or coal,” he said. “In the coming decade, we will become exporters of energy to Western Europe. This is of enormous economic importance”

IDF again misses ultra-Orthodox draft goal, gets record female combat soldiers. The Israel Defense Forces this year again failed to reach the goal for ultra-Orthodox military enlistment set by the government, falling 20 percent short of the target. They made up for it with a record number of women joining combat units, an army official said.

Israel’s poverty remains worst in OECD. Israel’s National Insurance Institute report shows a concrete improvement in poverty in Israel in most aspects: increases in the minimum wage and child allowances, plus other measures taken by the government. At the same time, the report states that Israel had 1,809,000 poor people in 463,000 families in 2016, including 842,300 children.

US recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In a historic move, President Donald Trump said the US recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and would move its embassy there, upending decades of a diplomatic consensus over the status of the city. Members of Israel’s cabinet and major opposition parties have praised the move. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video statement praising Trump’s action. But the Palestinians have warned this marks a potentially fatal blow to Trump’s burgeoning peace initiative, and Hamas has called for a new intifada– a violent uprising– in response. WATCH: President Trump statement on decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Following US President Donald Trump’s lead, Czech Republic announced it recognizes West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Saudi Arabian pundits take to social media praising Israel. Saudi pundits tweeted up a storm in defense of Israel over the last few weeks, with journalists and academics piping up with pro-Israel perspectives. For example, a Saudi journalist tweeted, “Iran is our top enemy, not Israel.”

151 UN states vote to disavow Israeli ties to Jerusalem. The UN General Assembly voted 151-6 to disavow Israeli ties to Jerusalem as part of six anti-Israel resolutions it approved in one day. The 6 were Israel, the U.S., Canada, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Nauru. All the EU member states voted against Israel.

Palestinian doctors trained in Israel to perform life-saving ultrasound treatment. Palestinian doctors have recently undergone a special ultrasound course at Israel’s Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva. The course was attended by 31 Palestinian doctors from Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and additional two doctors from the Gaza Strip. Most recently, a new branch of St. John’s Eye Hospital was opened in Hamas-controlled Gaza and corneal transplant surgeries are now being performed in the Gaza Strip by Israeli-trained Palestinian doctors.

House passes Taylor Force Act targeting Palestinian funding for killers of Israelis.The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill that would reduce U.S. funding for the Palestinians unless their official bodies stop subsidizing families of killers of Israelis. Palestinians currently receive about $280 million annually from the United States.

Culture and Lifestyle
Israelis shop till they drop on Black Friday. Following US, shopping on Black Friday has become a custom in Israel. The NIS 19 million ($5.5M) spent online is a swell from the NIS 11 million spent last year over the holiday weekend, which takes place on the last Friday in November, following the American holiday of Thanksgiving.

WATCH: What’s the best street food in Israel? Aside from the wonderful restaurants featuring quintessentially Israeli and international cuisine, street food is also delicious in Israel.What are the favorites on the street?

Tel Aviv Jazz Festival. The Tel Aviv Jazz Festival (Dec 6 – 8) features premiere productions, live shows, free performances and tributes to the great Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Thelonious Monk. The 20 performers from Israel and abroad include Ravi Coltrane, Daniel Jobim, Ester Rada and Dee Alexander.

All about the Facts! Narrative, shmarrative! This biting musical video parody, featuring the talented Latma team, will have you laughing out loud.

Science and Technology
Government initiates 1,600-megawatt rooftops solar project. Israel is lagging substantially behind the targets it set in renewable energy. Only 3% of all electricity in Israel is produced from renewable energy sources, compared with a 10% target for 2020. The project, which consists of privatization of electricity production, enables home consumers, local authorities, and businesses to produce more solar electricity.

Israeli ‘fat-melting’ injection claims to help battle obesity. Israeli startup Raziel Therapeutics has developed an injectable molecule that apparently melts away fat cells. The new synthetic small molecule was discovered by Professor Shmuel Ben-Sasson of Hebrew University almost by accident. Raziel is conducting phase 2a clinical testing on 32 US patients.

Newborns can be screened for autism. “One out of every 45 newborns this year will be diagnosed later in life with autism. The problem is that diagnosis is too late and based on behavior observations. The SensPD diagnostic process, now ready for clinical trials, is going to change all of that,” vows Raffi Rembrand, founder and CTO of SensPD.

Israeli device banishes finger-pricking for sugar levels in diabetes patients. For years, researchers have been trying to find a noninvasive, quicker and easier way to monitor blood glucose. Now, Caesarea-based startup Cnoga Medical Ltd. says it has come up with a way to track blood glucose levels without pricking or pain. The glucose meter uses a camera and algorithms to read changes in fingers’ color. The device has already received regulatory certifications from the European Union, Brazil and China.

In Depth
Is Israel losing support among minorities and millennials? According to a survey, Israel has pretty broad backing among American citizens, but is losing support among a range of growing demographics. As pro-Israel advocates tout “shared values” between the United States and Israel, fewer and fewer Americans actually think they believe the same things as Israelis. However, another recent study done earlier in 2017 paints a more optimistic picture.