Newsletter : 18fx0914.txt
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Report: Israel, Saudi Arabia Inks Iron Dome Sale but Israel Denies the Sale
By Israel Hayom & DEBKAfile
Saudi Arabia has procured an Israeli-made Iron Dome defense system, the Persian
Gulf-based Alkhaleej Online website reported Thursday, saying ""the deal marks another
step in the warming ties" between Jerusalem and Riyadh.
Israel's Defense Ministry denied the news report that Iron Dome anti-rocket systems had
been sold by Israel to Saudi Arabia at America's request, and were posted on the southern
Saudi border with Yemen. The reports claimed that the Israeli air defense batteries were
deployed to protect the kingdom against further ballistic missile attacks by
Iranian-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels on Saudi cities, including the capital Riyadh, and
Iron Dome is designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells
fired from distances of 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) to 70 kilometers (43 miles). The system
was developed by Rafael Advanced Defense ?Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries and has
been sold to several other countries, including Azerbaijan, India and Romania.
Israel and Saudi Arabia do not maintain formal diplomatic ties, and the Saudis have so
far refrained from pursuing arms deals with Israel to avoid criticism in the Arab world.
According to the report, the deal was brokered by a third party, most likely the United
States, to spare Saudi Arabia such criticism. Washington played a key role in mediating
the sale with a series of secret meetings, overcoming Israel's initial objections, the
Saudi sources told the website that the sale was the result of understandings reached
between it and Israel and that their clandestine ties have fostered sufficient trust to
pursue an arms deal of this kind. Alkhaleej Online reported that initially, Israel had
refused to sell Iron Dome to the Saudis, saying that any such sale to an Arab nation would
"seriously compromise Israel's security and regional interests." According to the report,
the deal is expected to be finalized by December.
"If Iron Dome succeeds in intercepting the rockets that pose a threat to the kingdom,
there will be talks with Israel to acquire additional military systems, and this will open
the door to military agreements between the two nations," a diplomatic source said.
UN Says Gaza Could Become Uninhabitable by 2020
By VOA News
A UN report finds Israel's decade-long blockade of the Gaza Strip is making it
impossible for the Palestinians in the enclave to develop their economy. The UN Conference
on Trade and Development warns this tiny territory could soon become unfit for humans to
live in by 2020 if current trends are not reversed. UNCTAD has released its annual report
on its assistance to the Palestinian people.
The report finds unemployment in territory stands at 27%, the highest in the world. It
says women and young people are most severely affected. UNCTAD Coordinator of the
Assistance to the Palestinian People, Mahmoud Elkhafif, said the deteriorating economic
situation hardest hits the agricultural sector.
"There is a study indicating that the Gaza sector lost between 35% and 45% of the
productivity in the agricultural sector," said Elkhafif. "And as we know, the agricultural
sector is the cushion for the economy, which basically absorbs the unemployed. And, you
can imagine the impact."
The report blames declining economic prospects in Gaza and the West Bank largely on
Israeli restrictions on movement, which make it extremely difficult for Palestinians to
work in Israel and on the steep drop in donor support. The report warns living conditions
in Gaza to continue to worsen. It says the territory's longstanding electricity crisis has
deepened, with households receiving only two hours of electricity a day. It says only 10%
of the population has access to adequate drinking water.
UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General, Isabelle Durant calls the situation unsustainable. "It
is unsustainable because electricity, because water, because poverty, because young people
and women are completely forgotten in this social development process, even cultural
development process," said Durant. "So, I am not so optimistic, even if I know that it is
not new. Of course, it is not new. But, it is every year a little bit more difficult."
To ensure a sustainable recovery, authors of the report say Israel must lift its
blockade completely and the economies of Gaza and the West Bank must be reunified. UNCTAD
says the economy of the territory could grow by up to 10% simply by removing Israeli
restrictions on Palestinian trade and investment.
House Supports $38 Billion Aid Package for Israel
The US House of Representatives passed a measure that would codify into law the $38
billion defense aid package for Israel over 10 years that was negotiated in the final days
of the Obama administration, JTA reported on Thursday.
The US-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018, which was approved on
Wednesday, gives the defense package the imprimatur of Congress, which would keep any
future president from reneging. The $38 billion deal negotiated in 2016 is the most
generous ever to Israel. The Senate approved the act in early August. In the House, the
measure was introduced by two Florida representatives Ted Deutch, a Democrat, and
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican.
AIPAC said in a statement that the legislation "seeks to ensure that Israel has the
means to defend itself, by itself, against growing threats most significantly
Iran's presence on its northern border." In December of 2016, the US Senate voted in favor
of a defense policy bill which includes more than $600 million for missile defense
cooperation with Israel.
This aid is separate from the memorandum of understanding signed between Israel and the
US in September of that year, and which grants Israel $3.8 billion annually beginning in
2018 and through 2028. After the memorandum of understanding was signed, Republican
senators said they would seek to overturn part of it so that Israel can receive even more
Rabbi: Anorexics Must Eat on Yom Kippur
By Israel News Faxx
Anorexia patients must eat on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), even if they are in
advanced stages of treatment, Schneider Hospital's Rabbi Dr. Tomer Mevorach said. In an
article published by the Zomet Institute, Mevorach explained that anorexia is actually a
psychological disorder which reduces food intake, influences body weight, and is
characterized by a fear of gaining weight and an obsession with body weight. Anorexia
typically influences teenage girls. It can be difficult to treat, and if left untreated
can be fatal.
According to Mevorach, anorexic patients fall into the category of "mentally ill for
one issue," and their therapy includes both the physical and mental aspects. Initial
therapy includes physical treatment to reverse the life-threatening malnutrition.
Therefore, patients in this stage are considered "ill and in danger of their lives" and
there is no question they should eat.
Eating "not via mouth" is not forbidden on Yom Kippur, but it is also not required
unless there is a medical reason for it. Eating small amounts at a time should be
seriously considered, since there may be physical and mental consequences to such a
Patients in later stages of treatment, during which the focus is on the psychological
aspects and creating healthy habits, present a greater challenge regarding Jewish law,
especially when it is no longer clear that there is a risk to the patient's life or that
there may be such a risk.
However, Mevorach suggests several solutions to allow these patients to eat as well,
since the price of not eating may come at a high psychological price. He also warns of
situations in which the patients believe their situation is better than it is, especially
if they are eating due to external pressure and not an internal desire to eat.
Was Beer Invented in Israel? World's Oldest Brewery Found in Northern Israel
Archaeologists have found what they believe is the world's oldest site for alcohol
production, a study said Thursday, adding the beer-like beverage may have been served in
ceremonies some 13,000 years ago. The site is located in the Raqefet cave south of Haifa
in today's northern Israel that also served as a burial site for the Natufian people.
"If we're right, this is the earliest testament in the world to alcohol production of
any kind," Dani Nadel, an archaeology professor at the University of Haifa and one of the
authors of the article published in the "Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports," told
AFP. "We know what the Natufians did in the cave. They buried some of their dead on a
platform of flowers and plants, and apparently also produced a soup-like liquid, an
According to Nadel, the liquid was "different than today's beer" and probably much
weaker, "but fermented." Three small pits, or mortars, were discovered that had been
carved into the surface of the Raqefet cave. Two of the small stone mortars were for
storing grains, and the third for pounding and brewing grains ahead of fermentation, the
study found. The mortars were some 40-60 centimeters (16-24 inches) deep.
The location of the mortars in the burial caves implies the drink was "apparently
connected to the ceremonies or some social event," Nadel said. According to the article,
published with researchers from Stanford University in the United States, the beer-making
innovations "predated the appearance of domesticated cereals by several millennia in the
The Natufians were hunter-gatherers who lived in the eastern Mediterranean region
15,000 to 11,500 years ago, and began settling down rather than moving from place to
place. They were "the last in the region who lived differently than the villages we're
familiar with," Nadel said. The efforts put into producing the alcoholic beverage showed
the importance of the drink in the Natufian culture, he noted.
Man That Refused to Grant Divorce for 29 years to Stand Trial
By Israel Hayom
An Israeli man who has refused to grant his wife a divorce for the past 29 years was
indicted on Wednesday over his refusal. It is the first time the state has launched a
criminal prosecution against a man for refusing to grant his wife a divorce under Jewish
In what is considered one of the most severe divorce disputes in Israel's history, Meir
Gorodetsky has already been in jail for the past 17 years on orders of the rabbinate for
refusing to grant a gett a Jewish divorce bill to his wife, Tzviah
Gorodetsky, who as a result has been an agunah, or "chained woman," for 29 years.
In an unprecedented move, the Center for Women's Justice, which aims to "end injustices
perpetrated against women in the name of religion," established its own private court in
June to annul the marriage and free Tzviah Gorodetsky. But the Chief Rabbinate, which
controls Jewish marriages and divorces in Israel, does not recognize private marriage
annulments and therefore Grodetsky is still considered married.
Last week, Israel Hayom learned that the High Rabbinical Court was insisting on
criminally indicting Meir Gorodetsky, even though Tzviah Gorodetsky has said she wants the
case closed and would not oppose his release from prison, simply to put the entire matter
behind her. According to the rabbinical court, the significance of the criminal
proceedings would be to label divorce refusers as criminal offenders who were violating
the public's interests and principles, and that bringing an offender to justice would
serve both as a deterrent and as retribution.
However, the Center for Women's Justice was outraged by the indictment, saying the
rabbinical court had recommended the measure "for the wrong reasons, and only to counter
the private court's ruling to annul the marriage
. The rabbinical court decided to do
everything besides accept the private court's ruling," the center said in a statement.
Nasrallah Bursts into Tears in Front of Thousands
Hizbullah's Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah burst into tears in front of thousands
of people on Tuesday while delivering a speech during an annual Ashura ceremony. The
speech, which was given by the terror movement's leader in the Dahieh suburb south of
Beirut, criticized the custom among Shi'ite believers of cutting the faces of children
during mourning services.
Nasrallah's remarks were made about the practice among Shi'ite Muslims to self-harm
until drawing blood as a way of repentance and showing remorse for their sins. "The whole
world sees what is happening here today and I ask you all to restrain yourselves and to
distance yourselves from anyone who seeks to create a negative impression about us," he
said before breaking down into tears.
For Shi'ite Muslims, Ashura is a day of mourning commemorating the death of Husayn ibn
Ali, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad at the Battle of Karbala. During the mourning
period, many zealous Muslims engage in self-harm, and it has become a commonly adopted
custom to whip each other and inflict other damage on each other's bodies for their sins.
Nasrallah also spoke about the ISIS terror movement in his speech, condemning their
actions and accusing them of harming the Islamic religion. "ISIS leaves an impression that
causes the most harm to us. Islamic scholars condemn them," he said. "We say to Husayn,
peace be upon him, as our imams and sages have said throughout history: `To the small
trifles of the world, all in the hands of Allah."
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