News From Israel – May 30, 2017

No. 54, May 30, 2017

Call for Action
Sign a letter to UCSC Chancellor Blumenthal about the disruption of pro-Israel events on campus. The letter was prompted by a series of incidents that actively suppressed Jewish and pro-Israel students’ freedom of expression and assembly. If you have any connection to UCSC — as an alumnus, student, faculty, staff or parent of UCSC student, sign this letter.

Israel Coffee Klatch survey. Some time ago Beth David started a new program – monthly Israel Coffee Klatch events. The content of the events is “coffee, questions and conversations about the state of our Jewish state”. Whether you attended those events or not – please, take a moment to fill out thisQUICK Israel Coffee Klatch survey to help us better plan future klatches.

Inside Israel
Jerusalem jubilee festivities. The president and prime minister were joined by the US ambassador in the capital to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem reunification in the Six-Day War. The official semi-centennial took place on Jerusalem Day, observed this year on May 24. At a ceremony Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remarked: “With the bravery of our soldiers and with the love of our people, Jerusalem was reunited and so, today, I say to the world with a loud and clear voice—Jerusalem was and always will be the capital of Israel.” Explore videos, photos, and links to resources about Israel’s capital.

Ministers okay economic package for Palestinians ahead of Trump visit. The security cabinet of top ministers approved the measures presented by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, including increasing building permits for Palestinians living in Area C of the West Bank (the part of the West Bank under full Israeli control), the opening of the Allenby Bridge crossing between the West Bank and Jordan 24 hours a day and development of West Bank industrial zones near Jenin and Tarkumiya (west of Hebron).

Nearly two-thirds of Israelis support equal prayer rights at Western Wall. Participants in a pollwere asked, “Should everyone be allowed to pray at the Western Wall in an equal manner?” to which 62% of respondents said yes. A government resolution approved last year to create a state-recognized egalitarian prayer area at the southern end of the Western Wall has been frozen due to the fierce opposition of the Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) political parties.

Thousands on Left rally for two-state solution. Fifty years after Israel captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem in the 1967 War, left-wing Israelis turned out in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv for a Peace Now-organized rally against what they termed Israel’s “dangerous path toward a binational state.” Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) said: “The only response … is two states for two peoples.”

78% of Israelis say peace not possible. Some 78% of Israelis believe there is no chance of reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians, despite the efforts of US President Donald Trump. Despite skepticism that negotiations can succeed, a majority of Israelis want talks to restart, with 58% saying they are in favor.

Life expectancy in Israel—one of the highest in the world. The report, issued by the World Health Organization shows that Israel holds a high place in various health indicators, with life expectancy and the chance of surviving heart disease, cancer and diabetes is among the highest in the world. Life expectancy for men in Israel is 80.6 years, ranked fourth in the world, while life expectancy for women is 84.3 years, eighth in the world.

Trump in Israel says there is ‘rare opportunity’ for Mideast peace. US President Donald Trump reaffirmed his commitment to Israel and vowed to make an effort to solve the Middle East conflict upon arriving at Ben-Gurion International Airport. Trump was welcomed by President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and nearly every cabinet minister. Later, Trump visited the Western Wallin Jerusalem. His visit was the first-ever by a sitting American president to Judaism’s holiest site.  He also met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, where he again stressed his desire to achieve a conflict-ending deal between Israel and the Palestinians. Trump added that he believes an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal “will begin a process of peace all throughout the Middle East.”  During his 28-hour visit he made no statements regarding a two-state solution, or moving US embassy to Jerusalem.

Arab states offer Israel improved ties in exchange for peace concessions. Various Arab Gulf nations are reportedly prepared to improve ties with Israel if Jerusalem takes what they deem as significant efforts to relaunch the stagnate peace process with the Palestinians. Israel would be expected to freeze settlement construction as part of steps toward normalizing ties.

New US envoy: America won’t demand a settlement freeze. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed new U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. “We have no demand for a settlement freeze,”Friedman said. “The United States is not going to impose upon the parties its views of how to live together. They are going to come up with that on their own.”

Israelis send medicine and other medical aid to Syrian children. The group Just Beyond Our Border raised over NIS 2 million ($0.5M) in crowd funding campaigns to buy medical supplies for children suffering in Syria’s civil war; ‘This is our time to make a statement that the Syrian people are not our enemies. They’re our neighbors, and as people we need to take care of them,’ says one member

Birthright Israel launches biggest season ever .The Taglit-Birthright Israel program is launching the largest season in its history, with 33,000 Jewish youngsters from 33 countries to visit Israel this summer on free 10-day trips. 131 groups are expected to land in Israel this week.

Culture and Lifestyle
Spring time is festival time in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv. From nighttime food tours and a rave party in the capital, to urban design and philosophy debates in the White City, anything goes in the month of May.

Israel celebrates Lag Ba’Omer. Israelis from all over the country marked the celebration of Lag Ba’Omer (May 14) with bonfires and pilgrimages to Meron in the North. The event commemorates the death of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, a Mishnaic sage, mystic and leading disciple of Rabbi Akiva in the second century CE.

The harp strings that will tug at your heartstrings. Prizewinning Israeli harpist Noa Gabay will represent Israel at the Focus on Youth event at the 13th World Harp Congress in Hong Kong this summer. Read and see more of the performances of this beautiful and wonderful musician.

Christian docudrama about Six-Day War becomes U.S. box office hit. The CBN Documentaries docudrama “In Our Hands: The Battle for Jerusalem,” recounting Israel’s Six Day War and its conquest of East Jerusalem, debuted in the United States to sold-out audiences. Produced for the Six Day War’s 50th anniversary, the film combines interviews and a reconstruction of historic events from the war, telling the story of the IDF’s Paratroopers Brigade’s capture of the eastern part of the city.

Science and Technology
Israeli researchers claim breakthrough with new anti-wrinkle cream. Israeli researchers and a cosmetician say they have made a breakthrough in fighting wrinkles and sagging skin by finding a way to insert a water-absorbing acid into deep layers of skin without the need for injections. The product, called Prophecy, will start marketing in Israel in the next few weeks and globally in September.

This Israeli car battery can charge in five minutes. Aiming to transform an electric-vehicle industry hampered by slow charge times and low mileage, the Israeli start-up StoreDot has unveiled a battery that can be fully charged in just five minutes.

New ‘life-changing’ Israeli heart treatment could benefit millions. Researchers at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Sheba Medical Center have developed a new method for treating atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. The treatment prevents heart failure by reducing inflammation in the cardiovascular system and plaque in the arteries.

Israeli scientists announce new treatment for ALS. Scientists at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev discovered a breakthrough treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. This could also have major implications on the life expectancy of other neurodegenerative disease patients with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

In Depth
Six-Day War: 50th Anniversary Resource Primer. This mini-site has gathered background information from a wide variety of sources to give a deeper understanding of how circumstances developed over the weeks and months leading up to the war. The site presents the timeline, recollections, analysis, gallery, movie clips, cartoons, and maps.