Israel Briefs 3-20-12

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Knesset member says J Street statement encourages terrorists 

MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) of the Israeli Knesset has criticized the U.S. lobbying group J Street for recent comments it made on the violence between Israel and Gaza. The J Street statement criticized “rockets fired on Israeli cities and towns and airstrikes on Gaza that have killed over a dozen Palestinian civilians.”

“At a time when a million Israeli citizens have been living in bomb shelters for four days and four nights, have not gone to school or work and anxiously await the next siren, the terrorists firing on them are getting encouragement and support, not just from Iran and Hezbollah, but also from the left-wing Jewish American organization J Street,” Schneller said in response, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Later, J Street removed the reference to “over a dozen Palestinian civilians” from its website and added the note, “please note the original statement misstated the number of civilian casualties. We regret the error.”

—JointMedia News Service 

Victims of French shooting buried in Israel

Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor said Israel was honoring a request by the families of those killed in Monday’s shooting at Ozar Hatorah Jewish day school in Toulouse, France, that the victims be buried in Israel.

Palmor identified the four victims as Yonatan Sandler, 30, his sons Gavriel, 3, and Aryeh, 6, and 8-year-old Miriam Monsonego, the school principal’s daughter. There had been a disagreement in Israel over whether to pay for the flight and burial of their bodies, as Sandler was not a resident of Israel. The three children, however, had dual French-Israeli citizenship.

National Insurance Institute Director-General Esther Dominissini said on Tuesday said that despite original objections to the idea of paying for a non-citizen’s burial, the institute would pay for all four victims’ burials. Sandler and his family moved from Israel to France last year.

Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service

IDF technician puts himself at risk to fix Iron Dome

Two IDF Iron Dome operators received praise for intercepting 85 percent of the rockets that the system has tried to stop. Furthermore, one technician went out to fix a malfunction in the system even though he was in the path of a missile.

Career officer Sergeant First Class Eli Zada was fixing a malfunctioning battery when a siren sounded signaling a grad missile was approaching. Zada remained even though Air Force safety regulations require troops to move dozens of meters away from the Iron Dome battery because it emits strong heat and fire when it launches an intercepting missile.

One of Zada’s fellow officers managed to pick him up with a jeep, just moments before the Iron Dome fired—but not before the system was fixed. “It could have ended very differently without the resourcefulness of the technician who insisted on staying on the battery at great risk to his own life,” Air Force officials stated.

—JointMedia News Service

Israelis discouraged from visiting Turkey due to possible attacks

Israel’s Counter Terrorism Bureau has warned Israeli citizens not to travel to Turkey in response to incoming information on possible terrorist attacks on Israeli or Jewish targets in the country, according to reports.

While Turkey rejected a request from the Israeli government to provide extra security for Arkia Israel Airlines flights to Antalya, Turkish Deputy Minister of Tourism Ozgur Ozaslan said, “Antalia and Istanbul miss the Israeli tourists,” and urged them to return.

—JointMedia News Service

Intel Israel accounts for 40 percent of tech giant’s revenue

Israeli high-tech company Intel Israel Ltd. now accounts for 40 percent of Intel Corporation’s revenue and plans to hire 600 new employees in 2012.

Intel Israel’s exports totaled $22.4 billion in 1999-2011, and the company’s exports totaled $2.2 billion in 2011, said Maxine Fassberg, the company’s general manager, at Intel’s recent annual press conference in Kiryat Gat, reported Globes, Israel Business News.

Intel Israel developed of the Ivy Bridge platform for computer processors, which is about to enter the commercial market. Intel Israel has also founded 230 companies and hired 250 employees a year since 2006. “When we’re asked what is Intel’s added value to the Israeli economy, I think that this is a nice example,” Fassberg said. 

—JointMedia News Service

Palestinian music video mimics Psalms

Click photo to download. Caption: A Palestinian Authority TV music video of a song whose lyrics mimic Psalms. Credit: PMW.Palestinian Authority TV recently broadcast a song with lyrics that imitate the biblical Jewish longing for Jerusalem—but no Jewish holy sites or landmarks are shown in the music video, Palestinian Media Watch reported.

In a strikingly similar line to Psalms 137:5, the PA TV song says: “May my right arm forget me, may my left arm forget me. May the light of my eyes and the openings of songs forget me, if I forget Jerusalem.” Psalms says: “If I forget thee, oh Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill, may my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember thee.”

The PA TV music video includes Arab children playing, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, blended with scenes of riots, stone-throwing, and clashes with Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem.

—JointMedia News Service

Israel: Palestinian economy not ready for state

An Israeli government report says the Palestinian Authority is not economically stable enough for statehood.

In a report released on Saturday, the International Monetary Fund projected that if donor countries continued to withhold promised aid, and if last year’s budget deficit of $1.1 billion were to recur this year, the PA would find itself with a budget shortfall of $500 million.

Citing commitments to rein in expenditures and put forward a leaner budget, Palestinian officials foresee a $950 million total deficit and $330 million financial gap.

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service

Barak sells luxury home

Click photo to download. Caption: Ehud Barak. Credit: PD.Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday sold his high-end apartment in the Akirov Towers in Tel Aviv, handing the property over to a relatively unknown businessman and admitting that his prior residence created a disconnect with the general public.

The transaction occurred on the same day the government approved measures aimed at shoring up the availability of affordable housing units in keeping with the recommendations of the Trajtenberg Committee, a panel of experts appointed by the government to address the demands of social protesters last summer.

The new owner of the apartment is Teddy Sagi, an Israeli businessman, who bought the apartment for NIS 26.5 million (about $7 million). His associates have confirmed the purchase.

 “My wife Nili [Priel] and I decided that we needed to sell the apartment, having realized that living in such a place left large segments of the public feeling disconnected and estranged from us; we are now going to move to a smaller apartment, one that is less expensive,” Barak wrote on Facebook.

—Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service

Posted on March 19, 2012 and filed under Briefs, Israel.