Israel Briefs 11-29-11

The latest news of importance from Israel. 

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(Click photo to download. Caption: IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Benny Gantz meets with two surviving children of the Fogel family earlier this year. The Fogel parents, and three of their children, were murdered by Palestinian men in March's Itamar massacre. Credit: Israel Defense Forces.)

Palestinian man convicted in Fogel murders, joining his cousin

Amjad Awad, 19, became the second Palestinian man convicted of the murder of the Fogel family Monday, according to Israeli media reports. This comes after the conviction of his cousin Hakim Awad for the same crime earlier in the year. Hakim was given five consecutive life sentences.

In March of 2010 the two men entered a home in the West Bank village of Itamar. They murdered Ehud Fogel, 36, Ruth Fogel, 35, Yoav, 11, Elad, 4, and 3-month-old Hadas. Hakim held down the children as Amjad stabbed them to death. Hakim also shot Ruth Fogel.

Three of the Fogel children—Tamar, 12, Roi, 6, and Yishai, 2—escaped and survived. Amjad confessed to the murders last month. He was also convicted of five counts of murder, two weapons trafficking counts and one conspiracy to commit murder charge.

—JointMedia News Service


Rockets Launched Into Galilee

Residents of the northern Galilee were awakened by the sound of explosions when at least three rockets fired from Lebanon struck the region on Monday night. There were no reported injuries, while one rocket caused minor property damage.

Northern District police spokesman Chief Inspector Yehuda Maman issued a statement saying, “Around 1 a.m., explosions were heard in the Western Galilee. The IDF and Israel Police searched the area and determined that one rocket exploded near a town and two more rockets hit a moshav [an agricultural community] in the Western Galilee. One hit a chicken coop and the other didn’t detonate.”

Northern District police combed the area throughout the night in search of more fallen rockets, after residents reported hearing additional loud explosions.

“Anyone who was sleeping was awakened by the blasts,” said Galilee resident Shlomi Levy.

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service


Israel to test response to WMDs

Israel plans to hold exercises in the next few months that will simulate a response to an attack from weapons of mass destruction, the Jerusalem Post reported. Specifically, the exercises will handle response to biological, chemical and radioactive attacks.

The Israeli Defense Ministry will continue its annual “Orange Flame” exercise, which simulates a biological terror attack. the exercise will test not only the resources of the Defense Ministry, but also those of  hospitals, local authorities, the police, fire fighters, the Environmental Protection Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, and the Water Authority and others.

“The aim of the exercise is to improve and increase the capabilities of the State of Israel to handle an unconventional terror attack,” said Assistant Minister of Defense for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense, Brigadier General Ze’ev Snir, according to Defense Professionals.

A new operation called “Dark Cloud,” will also be held in January. It will simulate an attack by a radioactive “dirty bomb.” This simulation, which is the first of its kind, will take place in northern Israel.

—JointMedia News Service


Israel passes measure to fight obesity

Israel is officially fighting obesity. The state’s socio-economic cabinet has unanimously approved a new proposal that will promote a healthy lifestyle among the public. The plan will go into effect in two weeks, Haaretz reported.

The development of this plan is significant because according to the Israeli Health Ministry, 37 percent of adult Israelis are overweight and 15 percent are categorized as obese. Only 35 percent of Israelis aged 18 and older exercise regularly. Among Arabs, it’s only 22 percent. The cost of obesity in Israel is an estimated NIS 5.8 billion a year.

“The proposal was formulated in an all-encompassing manner in order to advance and better the quality of life for Israeli citizens,” said Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman.

First on the agenda is amending the age limit for working out with weights, resistance machines and aerobic exercise machines. In terms of nutrition, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development intends to promote the production of hybrid fruits and vegetables with a higher concentration of healthy nutrients. It will also restrict the sale of unhealthy, low-nutrient foods in schools and make mandatory the calorie labeling of all food items.

—JointMedia News Service

(Click photo to download. Caption: The iPad 2. Credit: Apple.)

iSurgery: Newest tool at Israeli hospital is the iPad

The Interventional Cardiology Institute at Rabin Medical Center (Beilinson Hospital) has developed new technology that allows a patient and his or her family to watch on an iPad as an angioplasty is performed. The development is the first of its kind.

The special project was initiated by Professor Ran Kornowski, head of the Interventional Cardiology Institute at Beilinson Hospital’s Cardiology Division, with the goal of enabling patients and their families to watch the heart procedure as it is being performed.

"This is a harbinger of a new era of medicine,” Kornowski said.

The medical personnel at Rabin Medical Center say that in addition to helping the patient understand his own procedure, the iPad application allows doctors to consult with medical staff from different departments, anywhere and at all times of the day, as well as allowing them to conduct measurements and check health levels directly on the screen of the device.

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service

Peres: ‘Vietnam could become key anchor for Israel in Asia’

On the eve of his return from a historic visit to Vietnam, President Shimon Peres hailed his hosts, saying that Vietnam could become a key economic partner for Israel in Asia.

“I was welcomed, with honor, by the Vietnamese leadership, who are ready to embark on a new chapter in strategic relations with Israel. Vietnam could become an important anchor for Israel in Asia,” Peres said before boarding his return flight to Tel Aviv.

Peres is the first Israeli president to visit the Southeast Asian nation. The Vietnamese media reported that trade between the two countries totaled a mere $220 million last year, but was continually on the rise. Israeli exports to Vietnam have tripled over the last two years, significantly boosting each country’s strategic importance to the other.

On Nov. 23, Peres and his Vietnamese counterpart Truong Tan Sang announced an upgrade in diplomatic and economic ties between the two countries. The agreement with Vietnam, which for decades has been seen as sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, is being viewed by analysts as a turning point in Israel-Vietnam ties.

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service


Netanyahu honors innovators

Israeli scientists and entrepreneurs earned a special nod from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday when he awarded the Prize for Initiative and Innovation at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The prize, which is now in its second year, goes to an elite group of individuals who have contributed to technological innovations and advancement in Israel.

A total of NIS 170,000 ($50,000) was divided among a string of recipients.

One prize went to Avichai Kremer, founder of the non-profit organization Prize4Life. Kremer created the organization in 2007, after being diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's disease). Another prize was awarded to Inas Said and Jimmy Levy for their efforts in founding Nazareth-based Galil Software, a pioneering hi-tech company in the Arab sector. The company develops software and employs more than 150 engineers.

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service


Barak defends Israeli ‘libel law’

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak defended a new libel law that recently passed in the Knesset. The law raises the maximum amount of monetary damages in a libel suit to 300,000 (about 78,000 US dollars) shekels, according to Israeli newspaperYedioth Ahronot

The controversial law, which has been dubbed “the silencing law” is particularly damaging to the media, journalists say, because an accused can be found guilty without damages actually being proved, The National reports.

“In other words, I can get sued for writing that the author of the bill is more dangerous to Israel's future than Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah combined,” Dimi Reider, an Israeli journalist, wrote in the +972 Magazine Nov. 22, according to the source.

Yet Barak argued that “Some journalists can be trusted not to embarrass people publicly, but there are others (who cannot be trusted),” in a conference in Tel Aviv before the passing of the law. He did agree that the law may need to be amended.

—JointMedia News Service


Bridge demolition delayed due to Arab pressure

In an unexpected move, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday delayed plans to demolish the Mughrabi Bridge, a ramp that connects the Western Wall plaza to the Temple Mount, due to concerns expressed by Egypt and Jordan, Channel 2 news reported on Sunday.

Channel 2 reported that the plan to tear down the temporary ramp, which had been approved last March, had been scheduled for last Sunday.

Large numbers of security forces were to be deployed to the Temple Mount area, the Old City, and East Jerusalem and Israel Defense Forces units were preparing to go on high alert in the Palestinian territories. However, the operation was put on hold after Egyptian and Jordanian government officials both reached out to their Israeli counterparts and expressed concern that the move could ignite violent protests in their countries, which could then spill over into the West Bank.

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service

Posted on November 29, 2011 and filed under Israel.