News From Israel – September 6, 2017

No. 61, September 06, 2017

Inside Israel

Chief Rabbinate challenges Supreme Court’s jurisdiction to rule on Western Wall egalitarian section. Israel’s Chief Rabbinate said the country’s Supreme Court lacks the jurisdiction to rule on the “intrareligious” struggle involving egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall. The brief said the court does not have the authority to make decisions on the topic of religion, and noted that it would not attempt to make religious decisions for Israel’s Muslim and Christian communities.

High Court asks state to reconsider Kotel agreement freeze. Hearing petition by Reform and Conservative movements and Women of the Wall, Chief Justice said that state’s handling of affair ‘raises questions,’ urging government to reconsider decision to halt implementation of plan to build egalitarian prayer area at the Western Wall.  In its response to the petition, the state said that efforts will be made to create different avenues to satisfy the petitioners’ demands.

Tel Aviv residents: Enough procrastination on infiltrators! Tel Aviv residents protested the Israeli government’s failure to properly deal with South African illegal infiltrators who come to Israel for economic reasons. Israel is dealing with 39,000 African illegal aliens. There are also 18,000 people, mostly from the Philippines, who work as assistants to the elderly or disabled, but stayed longer than the allowed time period. Another 79,000 – mostly from Georgia and the Ukraine – arrived on tourist visas, overstayed illegally, and did not return to their homelands.

Central Bureau of Statistics reports Muslim growth rate still highest in Israel. Israel’s Muslim population stood at 1.52 million people – 17.7% of the general population – at the end of 2016, according to data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics. The total Muslim fertility rate has dropped in recent years, with the average Muslim woman having 3.29 children in 2016. In contrast, the average Jewish woman bears an average of 3.16 children, the average Christian woman has 2.05 children and the average Druze woman has 2.21 children.

In IDF first, chief medical officer hails from Druze community. Brig. Gen. Dr. Tarif Bader was sworn as the Israel Defense Forces chief medical officer, marking the first time in the country’s history that the position is manned by a Druze officer.

Unemployment falls to new low of 4.1%. Unemployment in Israel fell from 4.3% in June to 4.1% in July, the Central Bureau of Statistics reports. The rate of participation in the labor force in the 25-64 age bracket rose from 79.8% in June to 80.1% in July.


Netanyahu meets with Putin, expresses concern over Iran’s role in Syria. Iran’s growing role in Syria poses a threat to Israel, the Middle East and the world, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin during talks at Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi. “We cannot forget for a single minute that Iran threatens every day to annihilate Israel,” said the Israeli prime minister.  Putin presented Netanyahu with the first Bible ever printed with the commentary of medieval French Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki, known by the acronym “Rashi,” during their meeting.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres visits Israel. As António Guterres kicks off four-day tour of Israel with visit to Yad Vashem and meetings with Israeli leaders, PM Netanyahu warns the UN secretary-general of Tehran’s military ambitions in Syria and Lebanon, which he says ‘Israel cannot accept…the UN should not accept’; Guterres assures President Rivlin that he intends to be more even-handed with Israel, equates calls for its destruction with anti-Semitism.

UN spends 4 times more on Palestinian refugees per person. A Palestinian refugee receives a budget four times larger than a Syrian, Iraqi or African refugee. The findings of the study seem to reinforce Israel’s traditional argument against the split between the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides assistance only for Palestinian refugees.

Iran needs only 5 days to restart nuclear program. Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), warned that the Islamic Republic would need only five days to ramp up its uranium enrichment to 20 percent, a level at which the material could be used for a nuclear weapon.

Israel sends special crisis unit to Houston. A team of Israeli mental health professionals arrived in Houston to help victims of Hurricane Harvey. The response effort was organized by the Israel Rescue Coalition, which is comprised of hundreds of volunteer responders primarily specializing in search and rescue operations.

Culture and Lifestyle

Unique outdoor weddings are a hit among Israeli lovebirds. “Nature weddings,” as they are sometimes called, are an increasingly popular option for young Israeli couples seeking unique nuptials. In recent years, an industry has emerged around the bespoke outdoor events, offering an alternative to the traditional wedding hall blowout.

Israel’s culinary revolution. It was not so long ago that Israel was a pariah state regarding food. Today there is no lack of specialist dairies, boutique wineries, regional olive presses and artisan bakeries that have sprung up all over Israel. The large producers and major brands have also responded, so production of cheese, wine, bread and olive oil in Israel today is unrecognizable from that of even 15 years ago.

Watch the desert turn green. Once every few years, the Judean Desert experiences a rare and natural phenomenon during which there are a few days of rainfall followed by a period of strong sunlight. The end result is a breathtaking display of nature.

World’s biggest Klezmer Music Festival celebrated in mystical city of Safed. A festival featuring the “Klezmer” style, also known as Jewish soul music, has kicked off on five stages in the mystical Israeli city of Safed (Tzfat). Enjoy watching!

Science and Technology

Israeli technology aims to replace doctors’ visits. An Israeli tele-medicine company is looking to replace some of the billions of face-to-face doctor visits, with a new device that allows patients an accurate self-examination from home. The device is called Tyto and allows patients to measure their own vital signs — heart rate or temperature — as well as to conduct examinations of organs that require more accuracy, such as ears, throat and lungs.

Which bread is better – white or whole wheat? Scientists from Israel’s Weizmann Institute, Sourasky hospital and Tel Aviv University have proved that everyone can have entirely different blood-sugar reactions from eating white and whole wheat bread. It is the bacteria in the gut that determines the reaction.

Eat a purple potato if you know what’s good for you. Are you ready for violet-colored potatoes? Researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science have figured out how produce betalain pigments in plants and flowers that don’t normally have them. If you’re thinking, “Who needs violet tomatoes?” you should know that red-violet and yellow betalain pigments contain healthful antioxidant properties

Curing glaucoma in the blink of an eye. Israel’s Belkin Laser has developed an innovative laser ray system that can treat glaucoma in just one second every year, instead of daily eye drops. There is no need for direct contact of the equipment with the eye. This video gives more detail.

In Depth

WATCH: Why Anti-Zionism = Anti-Semitism. Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. It is the modern-day mutation of the world’s oldest hatred. But is it fair to go so far as to state that anti-Zionism is a manifestation of anti-Semitism? If you aren’t sure, then watch the video to understand.