News From Israel – December 27, 2017

“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. 67, December 27, 2017

Inside Israel
Finance Ministry announces $227 million tax cuts on consumer items. Fighting high cost of living requires “bold steps,” says Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon. Plan cuts customs and sales taxes so as to reduce prices of electrical items, clothing, and perfumes. Tax cuts on this scale have not occurred since 1990s, Kahlon says.

Israel’s ailing Teva to cut 25% of global workforce in recovery effort. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. said it plans to cut 14,000 positions globally – over 25 percent of its total workforce – over the next two years. The drug-maker said the number of layoffs in Israel would total some 1,700 employees. The reorganization plan has encountered fierce opposition from Israeli politicians, and the powerful Histadrut labor union called for a one-day general strike throughout the country.

Palestinians keep protests within bounds. Despite some fiery rhetoric, Palestinian demonstrations against Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem have been nowhere near the scale of the two intifadas. All in all, they have involved a few thousand people on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip.

IDF trains soldiers to deal with provocations by Palestinian civilians. After a video went online showing two Palestinian women hitting and kicking IDF soldiers in an effort to provoke a reaction out of them, a senior IDF officer explained the challenges soldiers serving in the West Bank face on a daily basis while dealing with the Palestinian population. The two young women were later arrested, and the army has instructed its forces to arrest such provocateurs on the spot.

Israel’s first Arab Rhodes scholar loves her country and is trying to change it. Lian Najami, Israel’s first Arab Rhodes scholar, has become a sought-after public speaker on behalf of her country. Her message: Arab Israelis, who make up some 20 percent of Israel’s citizenry, can succeed in the Jewish state. She has held herself up as living proof

Israel strikes 40 Hamas targets over two weeks in response to rocket fire. Israeli jets have struck more than 40 Hamas targets over the past two weeks, following days of almost constant rocket fire aimed at communities in southern Israel that border the Gaza Strip. “The State of Israel must not accept the situation in which children and families are in bomb shelters,” said Labor Party chairman Avi Gabbay.

U.S. expects Western Wall to be part of Israel. The U.S. expects the Western Wall in Jerusalem to be part of Israel, but specific boundaries are subject to final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), a senior administration official said. “We cannot envision any situation under which the Western Wall would not be a part of Israel”.

Mahmoud Abbas says that Israel does not have right to exist. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas threatened to cancel his agreements with Israel, appeared to accuse Israel and/or Jews of falsifying history and religion, and asserted that Israel does not meet the criteria for statehood and thus that the international community should reconsider its recognition of Israel.

Bahrain and Saudis distance themselves from Palestinian Authority fight with US. Bahrain distanced itself from the Palestinian campaign against Trump, calling it a “side issue” and insisting that the world keep its focus on the “theo-fascists” of Iran. And the Saudis appear to be pushing the Palestinians to curb their battle with the White House for similar reasons.

Act accusing Israel of mistreating Palestinian children is introduced in the US Congress. 19 members of the House, including the South Bay representatives Ro Khanna, Anna Eshoo and Jackie Speier, introduced H.R.4391 -“Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act”. The Act calls on the State Department to prevent United States from supporting the alleged “Israeli military’s ongoing detention and mistreatment of Palestinian children”. The legislation was a results of lobbying by anti-Israel organizations disseminating misinformation produced in part by the Palestinian non-governmental organization Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P). Read thedetailed critique of the proposed act and the related analysis by Alan Dershowitz

Culture and Lifestyle
Beautiful musical rendition of traditional Chanukah prayer. A group of talented friends from Ra’anana, north of Tel Aviv, began singing Shabbat songs “a capella” almost 10 years ago on Friday nights, a time when Jews traditionally refrain from using musical instruments. Their newest music video, Hanerot Halalu – this time accompanied by piano – is a modern rendition of a prayer about the holiness of the Chanukah lights, traditionally sung during the menorah lighting. Watch here.

Haredi grandmother gives birth to 20th child. A haredi (ultra-orthodox) grandmother’sdelivery of her 20th child was no big deal to her, but it was an exciting event for the maternity department staff at Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem. The delivery, a boy, was a natural birth. It was the 42-year-old woman’s 19th delivery, according to the Hadassah hospital. Her 18th was a set of twins.

Science and Technology
Technion becomes first Israeli university to open campus in China. The Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology (GTIIT) is a result of a 2013 partnership between the leading Israeli school and Shantou University in China’s southern Guangdong province. “China offers the Technion a broad platform to realize its academic excellence,” said GTIIT’s chancellor, Li Jiange. “We in turn must learn from the Technion and Israel what innovative thinking is.”

Light and water flow to rural Africa due to Israeli tech. Israeli-led NGO (Non-Government Organization) applies Israeli solar technologies to bring clean water and electricity to rural African villages. “Innovation: Africa” organization installed solar technology in schools, orphanages and medical clinics in some 150 villages in Uganda, Malawi, Tanzania, South Africa, Ethiopia, DRC, Senegal and Cameroon, bringing clean water and electricity to more than 1 million people.

Edited by:

Alex Drukarev