Israel vandaag – 15 december 2017.
TRUMP WISHES THE JEWISH PEOPLE A HAPPY HANUKKAH.
TRUMP WISHES THE JEWISH PEOPLE A HAPPY HANUKKAH.
TRUMP WISHES THE JEWISH PEOPLE A HAPPY HANUKKAH:
USA President Donald Trump publicized a holiday greeting in which he wished the Jewish people a happy Hanukkah as the Festival of Lights got underway at sundown on Tues. 12 Dec. 2017. “Hanukkah is a time for Jewish families around the world to come together around the lighting of the menorah and celebrate the miracles of the past and promises of the future. Melania and I wish all of our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrating this meaningful holiday a happy and healthy eight nights in the company of those they love,” said Trump. “The miracle of Hanukkah began more than 2,000 years ago, when the practice of Judaism was made punishable by death. A small band of Jewish patriots rose up and reclaimed their Jewish identity by vanquishing a mighty army. In their pursuit to rededicate their holy temple, the Jewish heroes found only enough oil to light the temple's menorah for one night.
However, a miracle occurred and with God's grace the oil lasted for eight days. On this holiday, we are proud to stand with the Jewish people who shine as a light to all nations. We also stand with the people of Israel, the Jewish State, which has itself a miraculous history of overcoming the tallest of odds. We hope that those observing the holiday here, in Israel, and around the world have a wonderful holiday,” he concluded. In his remarks at the reception, Trump noted that this is an "especially special" Hanukkah, and mentioned his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (INN)
THOUSANDS LIGHT HANUKKAH CANDLES IN INDIA:
Thousands of members of the Bnei Menashe community from across northeastern India gathered on 12 Dec. 2017 to light candles for the first night of Hanukkah. The Bnei Menashe are descendants of the tribe of Manasseh, one of the Ten Lost Tribes exiled from the Land of Israel more than 2,700 years ago by the Assyrian empire. So far, some 3,000 Bnei Menashe have moved to Israel over the past 15 years, thanks to Shavei Israel, including more than 250 this year. Another 7,000 Bnei Menashe remain in India waiting for the chance to return home to Zion. (Arutz-7) Intercede according to scripture: "He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth." Isa. 11:12
LEADER OF HAMAS’ JUDEA & SAMARIA DIVISION CAPTURED:
IDF forces operating in Samaria early Wed. morning 13 Dec. 2017 captured the Hamas terror organization’s most senior member in Judea & Samaria, Sheikh Hassan Yousef. Yousef, 62, is one of Hamas’ founding members, and a top cleric in the Gaza-based fundamentalist Sunni movement. Israeli security forces raided Yousef’s residence, located just west of Ramallah. During the raid, IDF forces arrested the Hamas leader and searched his home for evidence. The arrest of the senior Hamas leader comes as part of a larger crackdown against terror activities in Judea & Samaria. A total of 32 Palestinian Authority residents were arrested in IDF operations overnight, including at least 6 members of the Hamas terror group. Yousef's son, 39-year-old Mosab Hassan Yousef, converted to Christianity nearly two decades ago and assisted Israel’s anti-terror operations, before moving to the United States. There he published a book, “Son of Hamas”, on his experiences as an agent for the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) over 10 years. (Arutz-7)
WOMEN JIHADISTS THREATEN TO STRIKE TEL AVIV:
In recent protest against Trump's recognition of Jerusalem, female terrorists from the Islamic Jihad threatened to "redeem Palestine". Footage of the women, whose faces were masked and who were bearing weapons, was posted on the Internet by the Lebanese U-News on 11 Dec. 2017 and was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). "Allah willing, we will redeem Palestine with our souls and our blood. Trump, Jerusalem is ours. As for the Arabs, no matter how much we talk, they remain asleep – especially Saudi Arabia and its allies. We, the people of Gaza, support Jerusalem," said one woman. "We will be in the front line for the liberation of the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the Zionists. We support the Intifada. The Intifada will continue until our victory and the liberation of the Al-Aqsa mosque, even if it takes a long time," said a second. (Koenig)
ISRAELI FOILS HAMAS PLOT TO KIDNAP ISRAELIS:
A Hamas plan to kidnap Israelis in the Judea & Samaroa during the Hanukkah holiday was thwarted by Israeli security forces, the Israel Security Agency said Wed. 13 Dec. 2017. A Hamas terror cell from the village of Tell near Nablus planned to abduct a soldier or an Israeli civilian from a bus stop in the Samaria region. Hamas member Muad Ashtiyya, 26, planned the attack, purchased weapons to carry it out, and recruited Mohammad Ramadan and Ahmad Ramadan, both 19, to join the cell. The cell members were in contact with Omar Atzida, a member of the Hamas command in Gaza. (Ynet) God’s answers to prayers that this terrorist plan was thwarted.
FALSE RELIGION RISING WITH ‘ROBOT’ MESSIAH:
Way of the Future, a new religion birthed with artificial Intelligence in mind, is setting up church and making news media headlines around the world. Anthony Levandowski, the Silicon Valley multimillionaire who developed the robotics team for Uber's self-driving program and Waymo, the self-driving car company Google owns, launched the first AI-based church to propagate a perverted religion. Levandowski filed papers to form the church in May 2017. According to Wired, the documents state this false church's activities will focus on, "the realization, acceptance and worship of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) developed through computer hardware and software The religion will seek to build working relationships with AI industry leaders and create a membership through community outreach, initially targeting AI professionals and 'laypersons who are interested in the worship of a Godhead based on AI.' The filings also say that the church 'plans to conduct workshops and educational programs throughout the San Francisco/Bay Area beginning this year.'" The Way of the Future is beyond humanism and evolutionist theologies. This makes a mockery of all religions and especially Christianity, using terms like Godhead.
Nevertheless, Levandowski is deceived and deceiving others. He has started evangelizing through the media and has set in motion a discipleship methodology. "What is going to be created will effectively be a god," Levandowski told Wired. "It's not a god in the sense that it makes lightning or causes hurricanes. But if there is something a billion times smarter than the smartest human, what else are you going to call it?" How about a robot. But a robot messiah? It's not beyond the realm of possibility in an age in which many people around the world are already worshiping technology. Former Facebook president Sean Parker recently expressed concern over what Facebook is "doing to our children's brains." He says he is experiencing "tremendous guilt" over his work on a platform that is "ripping apart the social fabric of how society work." Levandowski is taking idolatry to a new level by bringing official organization to technology worship. His false god reminds me of Rev. 13:15, "He was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed." (Charisma)
ANCIENT JEWISH TOWN FROM HASMONEAN PERIOD DISCOVERED:
Coins, pottery, and ritual baths recently uncovered revealed a Hasmonean-era Jewish town at the Susya in Mount Hevron. The findings are surprising in light of historical reports about Hasmonean activity to convert the Edomites who lived in the region, in year 112 B.C. The discovery a settlement site from the time of the Hasmonean Kingdom may shed light on this issue. To date, the heritage site in Susya has been known to visitors as a 1,500-year-old Jewish Talmudic town that was inhabited from the Roman to the Muslim periods. The new findings predate the town's known establishment by 600 years. The findings were uncovered during an excavation conducted by the Civil Administration's Archaeological Staff Officer in Judea and Samaria, under the supervision of archaeologist Achia Cohen Tavor. The site's diggers, students of the Department of Land of Israel Studies at Herzog College, were led by Dr. Itzhak Meitlis, an archaeologist and lecturer at the college. The new findings will be presented for the first time by senior lecturers at the professional conference The Book and the Desert which will take place this week at the Susya Tour and Study Center. (Arutz-7)
Israël vandaag - 17 december 2017.
Nearly Two Million Israelis Live in Poverty.
Nearly Two Million Israelis Live in Poverty.
NEARLY 2 MILLION ISRAELIS LIVE IN POVERTY:
According to a new report issued by the National Health Institute (NHI), more than 1.8 million people were living below the poverty line in Israel last year. Sources reported that Jerusalem was recorded as the poorest region in the country, with 55% of children living in poverty. Israel has a population of around 8 million. The NHI report affirmed that improvements had been made, including a 3.8% rise in overall standard of living. According to Israel’s welfare agency these improvements were due to increases in the minimum wage and child and elderly welfare allowances. Nevertheless, the welfare agency stipulated that further increases in salaries were necessary. Indeed, according to the report, Israel remains at the top of the poverty scale among OECD countries. According to information sources being poor meant taking home “NIS 3,260 ($920) or less; for a couple, earning less than NIS 5,216 ($1,480); and for a family of five, less than NIS 10,000 ($2,800).” (Kehilah News)
HAMAS FIRES ROCKETS AT ISRAEL, DAMAGES ONLY A UN SCHOOL:
Palestinian terrorists operating out of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip fired four rockets at southern Israel on 13 Dec. 2017, but all they managed to damage was one of their own UN-run schools. Two of the rockets were identified as genuine threats and intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system. A third rocket landed in an open field, and the fourth fell short of clearing the Gaza security fence and instead impacted a United Nations-run public school in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun. Despite the lack of casualties or damage on the Israeli side, the IDF launched a fierce retaliation, striking three Hamas military installations. Israeli officials insisted that if there would be no quiet for the residents of southern Israel, then there would be no quiet for the residents of Gaza. (Israel Today)
ISRAEL CLOSES BORDER CROSSING AFTER PALESTINIAN ROCKET STRIKES:
Israel announced the closure of its Gaza border crossings on Thurs. 14 Dec. 2017 in response to daily rocket fire from the enclave since USA President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital stoked Palestinian anger. Israeli aircraft struck three facilities belonging to Hamas before dawn on Thursday after the latest rocket attacks. The military said in a statement that “due to the security events and in accordance with security assessments” Kerem Shalom crossing - the main passage point for goods entering the Gaza Strip, and the Erez pedestrian crossing - would be shut as of Thursday. It did not say how long the closure would last. Some 15 rockets have been fired into southern Israel since Trump’s 6 Dec. 2017 announcement, and none of the projectiles has caused serious injury or damage. The attacks have drawn Israeli air strikes that have killed two Hamas gunmen. Two other Palestinians have been killed in confrontations with Israeli troops during stone-throwing protests along the border. (Reuters)
SOLDIERS CLASH WITH HUNDREDS OF PALESTINIAN RIOTERS:
Some 400 Palestinians last week clashed with Israeli security forces, burning tires and throwing stones and firebombs, the IDF said. Security personnel shot tear gas and stun grenades at the rioters. According to the Red Crescent, 361 Palestinians were wounded in violent clashes with Israeli security forces in Judea & Samaria and Jerusalem. The majority, 285, suffered from tear-gas inhalation. In addition, 59 were wounded by rubber bullets and seven from live bullets. Palestinians have rioted and protested against USA President Trump’s recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The IDF and other security forces will continue to act to thwart terrorist attacks and maintain security in the area, the army said. (Worthy News)
DANON: PA DOING ALL IT CAN TO AVOID NEGOTIATIONS:
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon on Wed. 13 Dec. 2017 criticized distorted statements by Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas. “The Palestinian Authority is doing all it can to avoid any chance for negotiations and is actively thwarting initiatives towards reconciliation,” Ambassador Danon said. “The international community must not allow Chairman Abbas to evade direct negotiations yet again. It must be made clear to the Palestinian leadership that they must stop their dangerous incitement which threatens the stability of the region,” he added. Abbas earlier on Wednesday blasted USA President Trump’s announcement in which he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Speaking in Istanbul at an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Abbas accused Trump of “giving away” Jerusalem to the “Zionist movement” by recognizing the city as Israel’s capital.
He added that the PA would no longer accept USA involvement in the negotiating process. The White House later criticized Abbas' comments, saying his inflammatory rhetoric has made peace harder to achieve for years. "It is better for the Palestinians to recognize reality and work for peace, not for radicalization, and to recognize another fact about Jerusalem: not only is it the capital of Israel, but we also maintain freedom of worship in Jerusalem for all religions and we are the only ones who keep this promise in the Middle East," Netanyahu said.
He added that Israel was not impressed by the threats of Abbas or his aides. "In the end, the truth will win and they will recognize that many countries will also recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and will also move their embassies there," Netanyahu declared. (Arutz-7)
IDF CRACKS DOWN ON INCITEMENT AT PA UNIVERSITIES:
IDF forces from the Etzion, Binyamin, and Yehuda brigades as part of the IDF's battle against incitement on 13 Dec. 2017 carried out three separate operations. In preparation for the events celebrating the anniversary of Hamas' founding, the IDF forces raided Birzeit University in the Palestinian Authority (PA) town of Birzeit and Al-Quds University in the PA town of Abu Dis. In Hebron, the forces also raided a printing house and a center for the dissemination of terror-inciting materials, confiscating inciting announcements, flags, posters, and other inciting materials. The same night, Border Police, Shabak, Israel Police, and the IDF arrested eight wanted terrorists in Judea and Samaria. All of the arrested are suspected of being involved in terror activity and violent disturbance of civilians and security forces. (Israel National News)
‘WHY DOESN’T HAMAS INVEST IN HOSPITALS AND SCHOOLS?’
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Major General Yoav Mordechai, was interviewed by UK media sources on Thurs. 14 Dec. 2017 and delivered a clear message to Gaza terrorists. Noting that 15 rockets fired from Gaza had exploded in Israel over the last ten days, Mordechai said, "We found two tunnels inside the sovereign territory of Israel. Israeli genius and the Jewish brain have found a solution to the tunnels and are continuing to find solutions. Just like there is an aerial Iron Dome, there is an underground Iron Dome and an offensive Iron Dome." He added that 13 terrorists were killed inside the two tunnels that were discovered under Israel's sovereign territory. "Over the last three years there have been incidents inside Gaza and 30 people were killed in 31 tunnels. Over the past three years, more than $150 million has been invested by Hamas in the tunnels. Why did not they invest in hospitals, or in schools?" said Mordechai, who then conveyed a clear message to Gaza, "Israel does not want escalation, but Israel will stand with all its might if Hamas continues to harm Israeli sovereignty and if it continues to fire rockets.” The BBC interviewer complained that the IDF's response to the rocket fire – which comes in the form of airstrikes on Hamas targets – was too exaggerated.
Major General Mordechai replied, "The question is who is responsible for the terror coming out of Gaza? The responsibility lies in Hamas in Gaza, and it is responsible for and clearly stands behind all the rocket fire that comes, no matter who fires the actual rocket – lone terrorists, jihadists or others. I want to convey a clear message: Hamas and the people of Gaza still remember the results of the war three years ago. I just heard the words of Ismail Haniyeh, who is the head of the terrorist organization. What has Hamas brought after 30 years? Only hunger, poverty, destruction and war," continued Mordechai, who noted that Israel has the full authority to protect its citizens. "Any rocket that is fired will be met with a harsh response. If Hamas wants escalation, it will continue to allow extremist organizations to fire at Israel. If it does not want escalation, it should stop the fire entirely, completely and immediately." (INN)
Israël vandaag - 19 december 2017.
Israel Upping Military Activity in Syria.
ISRAEL UPPING MILITARY ACTIVITY IN SYRIA:
According to Arab media, Israel has increased the frequency of its military activity in Syria, specifically, to prevent Iran from gaining a permanent foothold in the country. The Israel Air Force recently struck four Iranian facilities, including a well-publicized attack last month on an installation located in Al-Kiswah, just south of the Syrian capital where Tehran is believed to have been constructing a weapons depot. Additionally, Israeli jets targeted sites in Hisya, near Homs, Jamariya, west of Damascus, and Masyaf. The facilities are reportedly involved in military research, the production of surface-to-air missiles—which could threaten Israel’s air superiority—and function as personnel bases. The report says that Iran has started to build installations within civilian industrial areas, leading security experts to assume that Tehran is attempting to hide the existence of such centers in order to shelter them from attack.
The development is drawing parallels to Iran’s strategy in Lebanon, where its proxy the Hizbullah terrorist group has built offensive capabilities within towns and villages in proximity to the border with Israel. Jerusalem has repeatedly vowed to prevent Iran from establishing any military infrastructure in Syria, especially within the Golan Heights, which could be used to open up another front against Israel in a future conflict with Hizbullah. Concern is growing that Tehran could be compelled to strongly retaliate should its Syrian assets continue to be targeted. (Medialine) This is a very serious matter requiring ongoing intercession privately and in your prayer groups. Israel’s northern borders are endangered by numerous enemies. The strongest and potentially most dangerous are the Lebanon-based Hizbullah terrorist group - heavily backed by Iran – and Iran itself that is embedding its military resources in Syria. Iran has threatened numerous times to “wipe out Israel.” The scripture says: “Scatter the nations who delight in war.” Ps. 68:30
NEW JET IS A GAME-CHANGER FOR ISRAELI AIR FORCE:
After being deemed combat capable earlier this month, the F-35 “Adir” stealth fighter jet promises to create system-wide change in the Israeli Air Force (IAF). Israel is the first nation outside the USA to declare the initial operational capability of the American-produced F-35s. Brig. Gen. (ret.) Ephraim Segoli, a former commander of two combat helicopter squadrons - who today heads the Airpower Research Center at the Israel-based Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies - said that the F-35 “is not just a plane, but a system in its own right. It serves the entire air force, through its range of sensors and ability to communicate what it collects,” he told media sources. “This is not a platform that should be measured like other planes, in terms of how far it can fly, or how many bombs it can carry. It has a bigger contribution to make, through its many sensors, and ability to cooperate with the rest of the air force and distribute and produce intelligence data.” The IAF plans to build two squadrons of F-35 jets, comprising a total of 50 aircraft. The jets are based at the Nevatim Air Force Base in Israel’s Negev desert. Nine of the planes have arrived so far, and five more will join the IAF in 2018. (Algemeiner)
WHITE HOUSE SIGNALS WESTERN WALL HAS TO BE PART OF ISRAEL:
Senior Trump administration officials outlined their view last weekend that Jerusalem’s Western Wall ultimately will be declared a part of Israel, in another statement sure to enflame passions among Palestinians and others in the Middle East. Although they said the ultimate borders of the holy city must be resolved through Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, the officials - speaking ahead of Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to the region - essentially ruled out any scenario that didn’t maintain Israeli control over the holiest ground in Judaism. The issue is sensitive because the wall is beyond Israel’s pre-1967 borders. “We cannot envision any situation under which the Western Wall would not be part of Israel. But as the president said, the specific boundaries of sovereignty of Israel are going to be part of the final status agreement,” a senior administration official said. Another official later added by email, “We note that we cannot imagine Israel would sign a peace agreement that didn’t include the Western Wall.” The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details of the vice president’s upcoming trip. (Algemeiner)
FATAH CALLS FOR PROTESTS DURING PENCE VISIT:
Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction on Saturday 16 Dec. 2017 called for a massive demonstration this week to protest against a visit to Jerusalem by USA Vice President Mike Pence. The call came in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city and move the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. "We call for angry protests at the entrances to Jerusalem and in its Old City to coincide with the visit on Wednesday of USA Vice President Mike Pence and to protest against Trump's decision," Fatah said in a statement."We will not accept any changes to the 1967 border of east Jerusalem," said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Abbas. "This American position proves once again that the current USA administration is completely out of the peace process," he added. Saturday’s statements also came a day after a senior official in Washington said the USA expects the Western Wall in Jerusalem to be part of Israel. (Arutz-7)
UN CONSIDERS VOIDING TRUMP RECOGNITION OF JERUSALEM:
The UN Security Council is considering whether to render all decisions about the status of Jerusalem void, just days after USA President Donald Trump acknowledged the city as Israel’s capital. The 15-member UN Security Council is reviewing a draft resolution that would rescind such decisions and demand that “all states comply with Security Council resolutions regarding the Holy City of Jerusalem.” The draft does not mention Trump or the USA specifically. The one-page draft resolution affirms that “any decisions and actions which purport to have altered, the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council”. The resolution also instructs member states not to establish diplomatic missions in Jerusalem. The UN maintains that the status of Jerusalem is a “final status issue” that should be negotiated between the Israelis and Palestinians. The document was drafted by Egypt, and diplomats say it has broad support – though it will likely be vetoed by Washington. A UN Security Council resolution needs nine votes in its favor and no vetoes from the USA, France, Britain, Russia or China in order to pass. (WND)
ROCKET FIRED FROM GAZA FALLS ON TERRORIST’S HOME:
A rocket fired from Gaza on Friday evening 15 Dec. 2017 towards southern Israel missed its mark and fell on the Beit Hanoun home of a Gaza terrorist. The terrorist is the brother of Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri. On Friday, Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Major General Yoav Mordechai wrote on his Facebook page, "A rocket fired a short time ago from Gaza towards Israel harmed a residential building in Beit Hanoun. Once again, the terrorist organizations launch rockets at the residents of Gaza themselves. The terror operatives in Gaza are proving in an unambiguous fashion what we continuously stress: They are destroying the future of Gaza's residents with their own hands." Rockets fired from Gaza often miss their mark and explode within Gaza, damaging properties belonging to civilians. (Arutz-7)
MAYOR OF NAZARETH CANCELS CHRISTMAS IN THE CITY:
In true Grinch fashion, on Sunday 17 Dec. 2017, the Mayor of Nazareth officially canceled the annual public Christmas festivities and street celebrations in the city of Nazareth. Considering the large number of tourists who typically visit the city of Nazareth during Christmas, the decision will have significant economic impact on many of the Arab Christians who live in the city. The mayor explained that his decision is in response to President Donald Trump’s recent announcement that the United States officially recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and will move the American embassy to Jerusalem. The mayor told media sources, “The decision by Trump regarding Jerusalem has taken away the joy of the holiday, and we will thus cancel the festivities this year.” (Times of Israel)
AUSTRIAN GOVERNMENT TREATS ISRAEL AS JEWISH STATE FOR THE FIRST TIME:
The new Austrian government, headed by conservative Sebastian Kurtz, whose establishment was announced at the end of the week, includes in its platform a clear reference to the Jewish character of the State of Israel. This is the first time that an Austrian government has included such unequivocal recognition of Israel as a Jewish state alongside a commitment to continue efforts to reach a two-state political solution between Israel and the so-called Palestinians that will provide Israel with long-term security borders alongside a viable Palestinian state. So far among European countries, only the platform of the German government under Chancellor Angela Merkel has included a reference recognizing Israel's Jewish character. The platform of the new Austrian government also includes explicit reference to the recognition of Austria's guilt in the Holocaust and its responsibility for it. This, too, is a political precedent, accompanied by a clear reference of the need next year to respectfully mention, in the 80th year since the Anschluss, the annexation of Austria to the Nazi Reich - "one of the greatest tragedies in human history," that is, the Holocaust. The consent of the rightist Freedom Party to include these points in the new government's platform indicates the party's new policy regarding Israel and Austria's Nazi past. (Arutz-7)
Israël vandaag - 22 december 2017.
Shrinking Kinneret To Get Infusion Of Desalinated Water.
SINKING KINNERET TO GET INFUSION OF DESALINATED WATER:
Israel is preparing to pump desalinated water into the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). The state’s Water Authority recently started work on the $300-million project, which will take about two years to complete. With Israel apparently approaching a fifth consecutive dry year, the Sea of Galilee has dropped to dangerously low levels. This has increased the lake’s salinity and harmed the quality of the water, which constitutes a quarter of Israel’s potable supply. The Water Authority is also overseeing projects to pump out salt water from the lake, in order to maintain its ability to be used as drinking water. The Authority says it is currently extracting about 17,000 tons of salt each year. In October 2017 the Water Authority warned that the Kinneret was at a dangerously low level and expected to reach “the lowest level ever recorded.” (J.Post)
IMPOVERISHED SENIORS’ PENSIONS TO BE RAISED:
A new initiative by the Manufacturers Association of Israel and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beytenu party created sufficient funds to budget a raise in pensions for senior citizens in dire financial straits. Employers called on the state to raise monthly pensions for those of few financial means two weeks ago, so that a lone senior will receive NIS 4,700 ($1340) whereas a couple will receive NIS 7,800. ($2230). Should such a raise be enacted, it will improve the lot of some 200,000 seniors who have thus far had to contend with the National Insurance Institute's income supplements and an additional 150,000 who receive no benefits whatsoever. The President of the Manufacturers Association Shraga Brosh said the plan will bring real change to “Israel's most vulnerable population.” Brosh added, "We're finally underway.
This means taking Israel's most vulnerable population and removing it from abject poverty. It's a real change." It still remains to be seen whether the Finance Ministry does indeed consent to releasing the funds, and whether people who are self-employed—also included in the prospective purview of the increased National Insurance payments—will be willing to take a cut to their net monthly income. (Ynet)
STUDENTS UNEARTH 1,500-YEAR OLD MONASTERY AND CHURCH:
The remains of a 1,500-year-old monastery and church were discovered near Beit Shemesh, a city located about 19 miles west of Jerusalem. The Byzantine-era buildings, complete with mosaic floors and imported marble items, were discovered by over 1,000 students participating in an Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) excavation in preparation for the construction of a new neighborhood in Ramat Beit Shemesh. Binyamin Storchen, who is leading the IAA excavation, said, "We were surprised by how well the findings were preserved, as well as by the wealth and beauty we discovered. This wealth may prove that the large building, which served as a monastery, was an important center, and it could be that it was one of the main pilgrimage centers in the Judean plain.
During the excavation, we uncovered the remains of walls made of smooth and expensive stones, as well as impressive architectural items. These were specially imported from Turkey, and were brought by wagon from the port. In one of the rooms, we discovered a gorgeous mosaic floor, decorated with the images of colorful birds, leaves, and pomegranates." The monastery was deserted in the seventh century AD, for unknown reasons. Only a small portion of it has been uncovered. (Arutz-7)
ISRAELI BUS COMPANY INVESTS MILLIONS IN WIRELESS CHARGING ELECTRIC ROADS:
With this innovation, there is no need for batteries or cable charging. Israel transit service Dan Bus Company will invest $2.2 million in technology that turns regular roads into electric power sources. Electric buses in Tel Aviv currently need to be charged via cable at departure stations, but this could soon be unnecessary, reports Globes. ElectRoad has developed technology that powers vehicles from the road while driving, using conduction coils to wirelessly charge them through magnetic induction. With this innovation, there is no need for batteries or cable charging. It also boasts zero emissions, high efficiency, and low cost. The startup will be focusing on public transportation, and will begin with laying charger coils underneath designated lanes to power the buses traversing the road daily. Eventually, ElectRoad says it may even be possible to share energy between vehicles. (Reuters)
TRUMP ADMIN THREATENS REPERCUSSIONS FOR NATIONS THAT OPPOSE JERUSALEM DECISION: After the USA vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the nations of the world vowed to take the matter to the broader General Assembly, where there are no vetoes. The Trump Admin warned that these nations would do better to keep their mouths shut. USA Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said that when the General Assembly votes on the resolution on Thurs. 21 Dec. 2017, Washington "will be taking names" of those countries that vote in favor. At the UN we're always asked to do more and give more. So, when we make a decision, at the will of the Americans where to locate OUR embassy, we don't expect those we've helped to target us. On Thurs. there'll be a vote criticizing our choice. The USA will be taking names.
Haley expounded on her threat in a letter sent to fellow UN ambassadors, which read : "The president will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those countries who voted against us. We will take note of each and every vote on this issue.” After exercising America's veto power in the Security Council, Trump's fiery envoy berated the international community for putting forward such a resolution in the first place, calling it an "insult" that "won't be forgotten." The resolution doesn't call out the United States by name, but rather laments recent changes to an international status quo that has long denied Jewish historical and religious claims to Jerusalem. The upcoming vote in the General Assembly does not carry the same legal weight as that in the Security Council, but it also can't be vetoed. (Israel Today)
SAUDI ACADEMIC CALLS ON ARABS TO RECOGNIZE JEWISH CONNECTION TO JERUSALEM:
A Saudi academic has voiced backing for USA President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and called on Arabs to recognize the city’s sanctity to Jews. Abdulhameed Hakeem, head of the Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies in Jedda, told USA-based Alhurra television this week that Trump’s move, which touched off protests across the Muslim world from Tunisia to Indonesia, constitutes a “positive shock” to the peace process. Hakeem added: “We as Arabs must come to an understanding with the other party and know what its demands are, so that we can succeed in peace negotiation efforts, so that negotiations not be futile. We must recognize and realize that Jerusalem is a religious symbol to Jews and sacred to them, as Mecca and Medina is to Muslims.”
Hakeem – who in a March 2017 article for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy stressed that Israel and Saudi Arabia face a common Nazi-like threat in Iran – said the “Arab mind must liberate itself from the legacy of former Egyptian President Gamal Abdul-Nasser and the legacy of both the Sunni and Shi’a sects, which has instilled for political interests the culture of Jew hatred and denial of their historic right in the region.” (J.Post)
176 NATIONS AT UN CALL FOR PALESTINIAN STATEHOOD:
The General Assembly voted 176-7 on Tues.19 Dec. 2017 to affirm the Palestinian right to self-determination, one day after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas pledged to renew his quest for state membership in the international body. The vote is nonbinding and has no impact beyond underscoring international support for Palestinian statehood among most of the UN’s 193 members. The United States, Canada and Israel were among the seven that opposed the text; four states abstained. While the General Assembly approves a similar text each year, PLO Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour said this year’s vote had to be seen within the context of international opposition to USA President Donald Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. (J.Post)
POLAND TO INVEST $28 MILLION TO RESTORE WARSAW JEWISH CEMETERY:
The Polish government will invest $28 million to restore the Warsaw Jewish Cemetery, Polish Deputy PM Piotr Glinski told World Jewish Congress CEO president Robert Singer this week. Projects include involvement with the Auschwitz Museum, and the establishment of POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, as well as Jewish schools and educational institutions across the country. The decision to restore the cemetery was adopted by the Polish parliament with a vote of 416-4.
The Warsaw Jewish Cemetery was established in 1806 and with approximately 250,000 graves, it is considered the most recognizable of the 1,400 Jewish cemeteries in Poland, and one of the largest in Europe. Earlier this month, the World Jewish Congress released a statement urging Poland to put a stop to the excavation of an old Jewish cemetery in the town of Siemiatycze in eastern Poland, where human remains were dug up for the construction of an electrical substation and parking lot. (J.Post)