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Israeli Minister Sees Gaza-Style Measures for US-Mexico Border

By Reuters and Israel Hayom

The United States could apply some of the security measures used for Israel's border with the Gaza Strip to its frontier with Mexico, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said. Erdan last month hosted his U.S. counterpart, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, one of the aides to President Donald Trump who has been tasked with making good on his vow to clamp down on illegal immigration. To that end, Trump says the United States needs a wall along its 3,200-kilometer (2,000-mile) border with Mexico. But he has been stymied by domestic dissent and uncertainty about funding. During her visit to Israel, Nielsen inspected the high-tech fences Israel has used to seal off the 245-kilometer (152-mile) Egyptian frontier as well as its 60-kilometer (37-mile) border with Gaza, a coastal enclave controlled by the terrorist group Hamas. "She told me there is certainly a lot to learn here, and I reckon that some of this will certainly be implemented in what the United States is setting up on its border with Mexico," Erdan told Israel's Ynet news in an interview near Gaza's border. Among Israeli technologies that he said Nielsen had looked at was an underground wall designed to block Hamas attack tunnels and early-warning systems for foiling incursions. The U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem had no immediate comment. After her border tour on June 12, Nielsen said in a speech in Jerusalem: "Border security is national security. Our Israeli partners know that better than anyone, and I was fortunate today to see the incredible work they're doing to keep their territory and citizens safe." The Gaza-Israel border has seen weekly riots since March 30. Hamas has made every effort to bring the Gaza masses right up to the fence. Hamas is calling the protests "million-man" demonstrations, although in fact only a few tens of thousands are showing up.

Two Missiles from Syrian Battle Drop into Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee)

By DEBKAfile & IsraelNationalNews.com

One of the two errant Syrian missiles which dropped into the water of the Sea of Galilee Wednesday, exploded near the eastern shore, which was packed with holidaymakers and swimmers. No one was hurt. They triggered alert sirens across the Golan and the lake area, having apparently strayed a distance of 8km across the border into Israel from the battle raging against ISIS in the Yarmuk region of southern Syria at the Syrian-Israeli-Jordanian border junction. Earlier, the air raid siren went off in the Golan Heights. Residents of the Golan Heights reported hearing explosions. Spillover from the Syrian Civil War caused the siren, the IDF stated, after first calling the sirens a false alarm.

Israel Kills 3 Palestinians in Gaza After Israeli Troops Came Under Fire

By VOA News, IsraelNationalNews.com & YnetNews

The Gaza Health Ministry said three Palestinians were killed Wednesday in Israeli strikes east of Gaza City. The Israeli military said it was "targeting Hamas military posts in the Gaza Strip" after Israeli troops on the border came under fire. A Palestinian sniper also wounded an Israeli officer. The latest clash comes days after Gaza's Hamas leaders and Israel agreed to a cease-fire in an attempt to de-escalate hostilities. The cease-fire was broken last weekend when a Palestinian sniper killed an Israeli soldier. Israel retaliated with a massive offensive that raised fears of another war between Israel and Hamas, which have fought three wars since 2008. A military source said the sniper who wounded IDF soldier hid behind a protest by children. The source said the incident took place when a military force encountered a children's protest. A sniper used the children as cover and fired at the soldiers. The incident took place about 400 meters from the spot where Staff Sergeant Aviv Levy was shot by a sniper from Hamas last Friday, which caused a significant escalation in the area and Hamas's initiated response to a ceasefire. The IDF Spokesperson's Office reported that the IDF responded by firing artillery from tanks seven positions of the Hamas terrorist organization along the Gaza Strip. At least three terrorists were killed and several wounded in the IDF's offensive. The army said the riot was deliberately staged by children on Gaza border to lure IDF troops to disperse the unrest and place them within range of a sniper. The sniper fire led to a retaliatory strike by the IDF that killed at least three Hamas terrorists. The IDF attacked some 60 terror targets across the Gaza Strip with both tank and aircraft fire. So far, 15 targets were bombed at the Hamas Zaytun battalion headquarters. The headquarters were destroyed, while arms depots, training facilities, observation posts, the battalion situation room, the battalion commander's office and other infrastructures were hit. The three Palestinians killed were from Hamas's military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigade, while at least 120 Palestinians were reported wounded in the IDF's retaliation.

Jewish Heiress Clare Bronfman Arrested for Involvement in Alleged Sex Cult

By JTA

Seagram heiress Clare Bronfman and three others were arrested in upstate New York for their ties to an alleged sex cult that reportedly pretends to be a self-help organization. Bronfman, 39, daughter of the late Canadian-Jewish billionaire and philanthropist Edgar Bronfman, was charged in Albany with racketeering conspiracy in a case involving the group NXIVM, The Associated Press reported. Bronfman has denied the allegations against her. After her arraignment, Bronfman was released on an $100 million bond. According to the Albany Times-Union, Bronfman and the others recruited and groomed sexual partners for NXIVM founder Keith Raniere using "harassment, coercion and abusive litigation to intimidate and attack perceived enemies and critics of Raniere." Raniere himself was arrested four months ago in Mexico and charged with sex trafficking. "NXIVM was not a criminal enterprise but instead was an organization that helped thousands of people," her attorney, Susan Necheles, said in a statement. "The charges against Clare are the result of government overreaching and charging an individual with crimes just because the government disagrees with some beliefs taught by NXIVM and held by Clare. This is not how things should be done in America. We are confident that Clare will be exonerated." According to prosecutors, Bronfman used her wealth to finance NXIVM's activities. Previous court filings indicated that Bronfman gave away millions of dollars to support the group, including paying for Raniere's private air travel at the cost of $65,000 a flight, according to The Times of Israel. Bronfman in a website post last year called the secret society a "sorority" that "has truly benefited the lives of its members and does so freely. I find no fault in a group of women (or men for that matter) freely taking a vow of loyalty and friendship with one another to feel safe while pushing back against the fears that have stifled their personal and professional growth," she wrote. Bronfman's father, who died in 2013 at age 84, was a scion and longtime head of the Seagram's Company, at one point the largest distiller of alcoholic beverages in the world. Edger Bronfman was president of the World Jewish Congress for many years and was a major supporter of an array of Jewish causes, including JTA, where he was a board member.

US Politician Resigns After Fake `Mossad' Scene with Sacha Baron Cohen

By the Jerusalem Post

Jason Spencer, the Georgia state representative who appeared on this week's episode of Who is America with Sacha Baron Cohen, is set to resign. A spokesman for Spencer told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution late Tuesday that the politician was resigning his seat in the state legislature. In the episode of the Showtime series which aired on Sunday night, Spencer participated in a training exercise with "Erran Morad," a man he believes is a former Mossad agent. During the training, Spencer bared his ass, yelled the n-word repeatedly, mocked Chinese tourists and threatened to cut off the penis of a burqa-clad "terrorist." After the show aired, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal tweeted that "The actions and language used by Jason Spencer are appalling and offensive. There is no excuse for this type of behavior, ever, and I am saddened and disgusted by it."

But until Tuesday night, Spencer appeared determined to remain in office. The Georgia state lawmaker, who was elected in 2010, lost his primary vote earlier this year and was not going to run again in November. But, as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution pointed out, if he had remained in office through January, he would "become eligible for taxpayer-subsidized health insurance for life." After the show aired, Spencer said Cohen, posing as Morad, took advantage of his concern over threats against his family to manipulate him. "In posing as an Israeli agent, [Cohen] pretended to offer self-defense exercises," Spencer told a Washington Post reporter on Monday. "As uncomfortable as I was to participate, I agreed to, understanding that these `techniques' were meant to help me and others fend off what I believed was an inevitable attack."

Report Finds Tel Aviv Among 5 Most Expensive Airbnb Cities

By Israel Hayom

Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are among the world's 10 most expensive cities for Airbnb vacations, financial news agency Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. The Bloomberg Index released Tuesday analyzed Airbnb rates around the world based on the "average daily cost of lodging in private dwellings." Airbnb is an American company that operates an online marketplace and hospitality service for people to lease or rent short-term lodging. It includes holiday cottages, apartments, homestays, hostels and hotels. Bloomberg ranked Tel Aviv as the fourth most expensive city, with hosts asking an average of $183 a night. Jerusalem ranked ninth, with rentals averaging $173 per night. Three other Middle Eastern cities made the top 20 list as well: Dubai came in fifth, at $185 a night, Riyadh was ranked 11th with $171, and Kuwait City ranked 15th, with $155. "Miami and Boston took the top two spots in the average daily cost of lodging in private dwellings for the second straight year. Airbnb owners asked for $205 a night and $195 a night, respectively, in the two cities," Bloomberg said. "However, the Middle East has been climbing in the annual index and this year has five destinations among the top 15 priciest global cities: Tel Aviv and Dubai at Nos. 4 and 5, and Jerusalem, Riyadh and Kuwait City also near the top. Dr. Yoav Kerner of the Ben-Gurion University in the Negev told Bloomberg that "pricey Airbnb listings in Israel may have more to do with the high cost of housing in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem." According to Kerner, "Since Airbnb owners want a premium over what they could earn renting out their units for a full year, which drives up short-term rental costs." Mally Bitzur-Parnas, the CEO of the global consulting firm Tefen Israel, told Israel Hayom: "More than a third of those who rent out their apartments in Tel Aviv have three or more dwellings. They ended up joining Airbnb because of the red tape and the government's efforts to fight real estate investors. This results in everyone joining Airbnb." Real estate law expert Shmuel Kamil told Israel Hayom that "despite the high value of property in central Israel, their return on investment is about 2% of the property's value after costs are deducted." He added that "hotel rooms in Israel are very pricey, mainly because of regulatory requirements that add costs. This creates incentives for owners to rent out their apartments through short-term rental sites, which can generate a yield of 4% and much higher than that." He said that "property rights and freedom of contract would bring about fair prices that benefit both sides and despite the many costs associated with renting out dwellings – including maintenance and cleaning – the short-term rental market is a very attractive option for vacationers. The Bloomberg Index has found a clear correlation between the prices of real estate in the prices charged by owners."


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