News from Israel No. 59,  August 09, 2017

Inside Israel

Israeli cabinet decided to remove metal detectors from Temple Mount. The Security Cabinet decided to remove the metal detectors from the Temple Mount and the detectors were subsequently taken down, along with the existing security cameras. The government will implement security measures based on advanced technologies (‘smart checks’) and other measures instead of metal detectors at a cost of NIS100M (~$25M). Palestinian Arabs are celebrating Israel’s removal of security measures on the Temple Mount as a “victory.” A vast majority of Israelis, 77%, oppose the security cabinet’s decision to remove metal detectors, and feel that the government capitulated in this dispute.  Netanyahu defended his much-maligned handling of the Temple Mount crisis, telling his cabinet that he sees a bigger picture that not everyone is privy to.

U.S. demands that Abbas stop incitement over Temple Mount. Senior U.S. officials have demanded that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stop incitement regarding the Temple Mount and end calls for protests.

10,000 Israeli Arabs attend ‘celebrity funeral’ for Temple Mount terrorists. Some 10,000 Arabs gathered in the northern Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm to attend the late-night funerals of the three Arab terrorists who murdered two Israeli Druze police officers on July 14 at the entrance to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Ecstatic crowds set off fireworks, flew Palestinian flags and screamed praises for the “martyrs of Al-Aqsa”.

Netanyahu offers Wadi Ara for Gush Etzion. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposed a new peace plan to U.S. President Donald Trump via two of his top advisers, Jason D. Greenblatt and Jared Kushner. Netanyahu’s plan involves Israel annexing Gush Etzion in exchange for transferring the heavily populated Arab towns in Wadi Ara – the area known as the “Northern Triangle” – to the Palestinian Authority.

We want to separate synagogue from state,’ say 55% of Israel’s Jewish population. The survey, conducted for the Israel Democracy Institute, found that 55% of Jewish Israelis think that the way religious issues are handled by the state should change, compared with 33% who said they oppose changes. Activists for religious pluralism and the separation of synagogue and state have been advocating for a change in religion in the public realm for many years, with key demands including the institution of civil marriage, greater freedoms on Shabbat and the dissolution of the Chief Rabbinate’s monopoly on many aspects of religious life.

Poll: Likud still leading, Labor weaker. A new survey shows that Prime Minister Netanyahu can remain calm about his Likud party’s electoral future. According to the poll, were the national elections in Israel held today, the Likud would retain its 30 seats in the Knesset. The second largest party, according to the survey, would be Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid, which would win 20 seats, compared to its 11 seats in the current Knesset.


Public opinion poll: ‘No Palestinian state in five years’. Israelis and Palestinians by a small margin still support a two-state solution but most do not think it can happen in the next five years, according to an opinion poll published recently. Some 53% of Israelis and 52% of Palestinians support a two-state solution.

Senior Palestinian official seeks life-saving treatment in Israel. Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian official and vociferous critic of Israel, is suffering from severe pulmonary disease and seeking life-saving treatment in Israel. Erekat is notorious for his anti-Israel rhetoric. He has accused the Jewish state of committing genocide and war crimes and even equated Israel with the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group.

Haley: Time to get serious about disarming Hezbollah. U.S. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley told the Security Council that one of the chief sources of conflict and killing in the Middle East is Iran and its partner militia, Lebanese Hezbollah. “The United Nations…has passed multiple resolutions calling on Hezbollah to disarm. But Hezbollah openly defies these resolutions”.

Two Muslim-majority African states to send first-ever envoys to Israel. Senegal and Guinea are sending their first-ever ambassadors to Israel, as Israel continues to expand its outreach to Africa. Guinea and Senegal — both Muslim-majority nations in West Africa — have recently upgraded their relations with Israel. While both countries had existing diplomatic ties with the Jewish state, neither has ever appointed an ambassador to Israel

Democratic Socialists of America vote to endorse BDS. The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) voted to endorse a BDS motion at their biannual convention in Chicago. The vote, which took place during Shabbat, when many Jews would not be in attendance, passed in a landslide, with a 90% approval.

Culture and Lifestyle

Israeli actress is the most popular. Gal Gadot, the Israeli star of the film “Wonder Woman,” rose to No. 1 on The Hollywood Reporter’s Top Actors list, which is a ranking of the most popular actors on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Google Plus.

Israel’s National Trail. The Israel National Trail is one of the most beautiful trails in the world. It’s also a way to see places that regular tourists don’t see.  One day you’re by the water; next day, the woods and next day, the desert.

12 wonderful wineries to visit in Israel. Wine tourism is booming in Israel. Here are 12 winery visitor centers offering tours and tastings (some with chocolate and cheese).

Stories of love to warm the heart for Tu Be’av. The 15th of Av, also known as Tu Be’av, is sometimes called the Jewish Valentine’s Day. As Rabbi Shimon Ben-Gamliel has written: “Israel had no greater holidays than 15 Av and Yom Kippur. On these days, the daughters of Jerusalem would go out to dance in the vineyards.” And every unmarried man would come to choose a wife…

I was born to peace – Noladeti Lashalom. “I was born to the melodies and to the songs of all countries, I was born to peace – let it arrive”. A beautiful Israeli song!

Science and Technology

Japanese firm buys Israeli pharmaceuticals company for $1.1 billion. Japan’s Mitsubishi Tanabe acquired Israel’s NeuroDerm, the largest-ever purchase of an Israeli pharmaceuticals company and the biggest buyout by a Japanese company. The NASDAQ-traded Israeli company develops next-generation treatments for central nervous system disorders and has three clinical stage product candidates in development that offer a form of treatment for almost every Parkinson’s disease patient, from moderate to the very severe stage of the disease.

Mutation explains why some men live to 100. Israeli study suggests that making a slight change in the specific piece of DNA could possibly make people live longer. Although the presence of the mutation almost certainly ensured longevity, the lead author of the study Prof. Atzmon stressed that many other factors affect longevity and that many men without the mutation also live to 100 and older.

Israeli breakthrough could help millions with Parkinson’s. Israeli researchers have developed the first early detection method for Parkinson’s disease (PD). With Israel developing the first ever diagnostic test for PD, early detection and lifesaving intervention may become the norm for PD patients.

Israeli scientists offer rays of hope in fight against skin cancer. The number of people being diagnosed with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, has skyrocketed over the past three decades. And Jews are at higher risk than most. Here’s the good news: Skin cancer patients have greater reason for hope thanks to cutting-edge melanoma research being conducted in Israel and the United States.

In Depth

Trends among Arab Jerusalemites. Eastern Jerusalem Arabs assert their Palestinian national identity while showing an unprecedented demand for Israeli citizenship; campaign against any manifestation of normalization with Israel in tandem with a tremendous interest in learning Hebrew and an increasing preference for an Israeli matriculation certificate. More and more residents of eastern Jerusalem are choosing to adopt a much more pragmatic policy than in the past.



Rabbi Philip Ohriner

Edited by:

Alex Drukarev