Aryeh Deri: Ultra-Orthodox Jews must honor Israel’s Holocaust Day

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Times of Israel

    Interior Affairs Minister and head of the Shas party Aryeh Deri, speaks at El Hama’ayan Passover conference at the Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem on April 13, 2017.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, who heads the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, said on Monday that ultra-Orthodox Jews must honor Holocaust Remembrance Day, and not doing so is a “desecration of God’s name.”

Some members of the ultra-Orthodox community refuse to commemorate Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day because it was instituted by a secular Israeli government and is not rooted in the Jewish religious tradition.

In an interview with Israel Radio, Deri, head of Israel’s largest ultra-Orthodox political party, rejected this view and stressed the importance of remembering those who were killed by the Nazis and never forgetting the horrors of the Holocaust.

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Tel Aviv stabber was in Israel on one-day ‘peace’ pass, official says

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Times of Israel

    Magen David Adom paramedics arrive at the scene of a suspected terror attack outside of a Tel Aviv hotel on April 23, 2017

The Defense Ministry suspended single-day work permits for Palestinians to enter Israel Sunday, hours after a Palestinian teen injured four in a stabbing attack on Tel Aviv’s beachfront.

The attacker, identified as an 18-year-old from the Nablus area of the West Bank, apparently entered Israel with one such pass, as part of a group known as “Natural Peace Tours,” which is supposed to forge relationships between Palestinians and Israelis, a defense official said. He was not named

The ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said the one-day permits granted to different organizations and groups will be “frozen” until an investigation of the matter can be conducted, the official said.

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Lebanese PM asks U.N. to help seek permanent truce with Israel

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Reuters

    Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri speaks during a news conference as UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major-General Michael Beary (L) listens at the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) headquarters in Naqoura, near the Lebanese-Israeli border, southern Lebanon April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Ali Hashisho

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri asked the United Nations on Friday to help Lebanon and Israel move toward a permanent ceasefire and end what he called Israel’s “continuous violations” of Lebanese territory.

Israel and Lebanon’s Shi’ite Hezbollah group fought a month-long war in 2006 that concluded with a cessation of hostilities but without a formal peace deal.

“I urge the U.N. secretary general to support efforts to secure, as soon as possible, a state of permanent ceasefire. This is long overdue and my government is committed to move this agenda forward,” Hariri said.

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In the West Bank, a $1.4 Billion Bet on Better Times

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Bloomberg

    The $1.4 billion Rawabi development, 25 miles north of Jerusalem

When Bashar Masri wants a sense of the ebb and flow of Israeli-Palestinian relations, he has two options: He can glance out the window or check his bank statement. Masri’s office overlooks Rawabi, a new town 25 miles north of Jerusalem that’s endured years of delays he blames on the Israeli occupation. And the ups and downs of his bank balance reflect the money backers in Qatar are willing to devote to the project—a barometer of the faith Gulf investors have in the Middle East peace process. “Rawabi was built knowing today’s politics and the high risks involved,” Masri says, sitting at a desk cluttered with maps and blueprints in the prefabricated building where he manages the development.

The project offers stark evidence of the perils of doing business in the occupied territories. Rawabi was conceived in 2010 as a magnet for upwardly mobile Palestinians eager to leave their dusty villages and crumbling cities. It was expected to take five years and cost $750 million to build, but the opening date has been repeatedly pushed back, and the final price tag is likely to hit $1.4 billion, as Masri says he’s battled Israel over water hookups, links to the electric grid, and access for construction vehicles. While violence in the West Bank and war in Gaza have halted construction on several occasions, the goal is to create something that’s “occupation-proof,” says Masri, 56, a scion of a wealthy Palestinian family. He estimates his investors will sustain a $100 million loss if there’s no progress toward peace but could turn a profit if the two sides reach a resolution. “We are building Rawabi to survive under the current difficult circumstances,” he says. “But obviously we hope for better days.”

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Watchdogs: ‘culture’ of anti-Israel bias persists despite newspapers’ admissions of error

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JNS


Recent admissions by The New York Times and The Washington Post of errors in their coverage of Israel are rare exceptions to the “culture” of anti-Israel bias that permeates both newspapers, media watchdogs say.

The Times admitted April 16 it was wrong not to mention Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti’s five murder convictions in the biographical line of his recent op-ed. In March, the Times acknowledged that an unsigned editorial erred in claiming the U.S. has always viewed Israeli settlement construction as “illegal.”

Meanwhile, The Washington Post April 17 published a rare correction on its op-ed page. The one-paragraph item stated, “The March 28 Richard Cohen op-ed, ‘Will Israel Win the West Bank but Lose its Soul?,’ incorrectly stated that Israel reserves some roads for Jews only. The country closes some roads to virtually all Palestinians, but they are open to all Israeli citizens and to other nationals, regardless of religious background.”

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At UN debate, Arab states heed Haley’s plea to focus more on Iran

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JTA

    U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaking at a Security Council meeting in New York City, April 12, 2017

A number of Arab states heeded the plea by Nikki Haley, the U.N. ambassador to the United Nations, to focus more in a Middle East debate on the threat posed by Iran than on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Haley, this month the president by rotation of the U.N. Security Council, convened a council session on the Middle East.

“How one chooses to spend one’s time is an indication of one’s priorities,” she said in her opening remarks.

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Israel says Assad’s forces still have several tonnes of chemical weapons

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Reuters

    Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with AFP news agency in Damascus

Israel’s military said on Wednesday it believes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces still possess several tonnes of chemical weapons, issuing the assessment two weeks after a chemical attack that killed nearly 90 people in Syria.

Israel, along with many countries, blames the strike on Assad’s military. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said French intelligence services would provide proof of that in the coming days.

A senior Israeli military officer, in a briefing to Israeli reporters, said “a few tonnes of chemical weapons” remained in the hands of Assad’s forces, a military official told Reuters.

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Nikki Haley urges UN to shift its criticism from Israel to Iran

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Times of Israel

    United Nations Security Council meeting, April 20, 2017

It’s high time the United Nations Security Council set its sights on Iran, rather than Israel, United States Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said during the Security Council’s monthly meeting on “the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.”

“Every month the Security Council convenes a meeting on the Middle East. We have lots of meetings on specific countries and conflicts in this region but this debate is our opportunity to talk about the Middle East as a whole. Regrettably, these monthly meetings routinely turn into Israel-bashing sessions. That’s the way the Security Council has operated for years. It’s a formula that is absurdly biased against one country. It’s a formula that is painfully narrow in its description of the conflicts in the region,” said Haley, who is this month’s president of the Security Council.

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Israeli troops kill Palestinian who rammed West Bank bus stop: army

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Reuters

    Israeli policemen stand guard at the scene of a Palestinian ramming attack at the Gush Etzion Junction, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem

Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian driver who rammed his car into a bus stop in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday injuring a pedestrian, the army and a hospital spokesman said.

An army statement said the car rammed a bus stop at Gush Etzion Junction, a busy intersection near a cluster of Israeli West Bank settlements, injuring an Israeli civilian. Troops responded by shooting at the driver.

Pictures from the scene showed a car that had collided with the back of a bus standing in a bus stop.

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Extracting water from air, Israeli firm looks to quench global thirst

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Times of Israel


Water-Gen Ltd., an Israeli company whose technology captures humidity in order to make drinking water out of air, is not likely to experience the cash-flow squeeze that afflicts many fast-growing companies.

That’s because Russian-Israeli entrepreneur and billionaire Michael Mirilashvili, who is also the vice president of the World Jewish Congress, bought control of the company last summer, and because it has high-profile advocates. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mentioned it in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” about Israel’s high-tech prowess. At the AIPAC conference last month, Harvard Law professor and Israel advocate Alan Dershowitz took the stage to showcase its technology. In September, the company presented its solution at the United Nations.

Not bad for a firm that employs some 30 people, mainly engineers, in the central Israeli city of Rishon Lezion. It was set up in 2010 by entrepreneur Arye Kohavi, a former combat reconnaissance company commander in the Israeli Army who previously set up a firm that developed e-learning software.

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