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Sat. Sep 3, 2016 News from Israel

  • Major disruptions in train service following Netanyahu's decision to halt construction work on Shabbat
  • Funeral set for father of fallen IDF soldier held in Hamas captivity
  • NASA, SpaceX uncover details from rocket explosion inquiry

Train lines between Tel Aviv and northern Israel will not operate until Sunday evening, following a last-minute decision by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt construction work planned to take place on Shabbat in three locations. Netanyahu's decision came amid pressure coming from the ultra-Orthodox parties. The Ministry of Defense stated that it would operate alternate means of transportation for IDF soldiers on Saturday night and Sunday morning. So far, no solution has been announced for civilians who depend on the train service on a daily basis.

In response to the latest developments in the Shabbat crisis, the opposition is demanding an urgent Knesset assembly to discuss what they call "the harm caused to soldiers and civilians." Voices in the coalition, however, are trying to tone down statements that indicate a personal conflict between Netanyahu and Transport Minister Yisrael Katz. On Friday, it was reported that Netanyahu may be considering firing Katz, whom he blames for stirring up the crisis for political gain. The chairman of the coalition, MK David Bitan, said the way to solve this dispute is not by firing anybody, but by resuming conversation.

Herzl Sha'ul, the father of IDF soldier Oron Sha'ul, who was captured and killed by Hamas during Operation Protective Edge, will be laid to rest on Sunday in northern Israel. Sha'ul, who dedicated the last two years of his life to fighting for the release of his son's body to Israel, passed away on Friday after a long battle with cancer. He was 54 years old and is survived by his wife and two children.

A joint investigation team of NASA and SpaceX has provided first details about the rocket explosion on Thursday in Florida that destroyed an Israeli satellite. According to the statement, the explosion occurred eight minutes into the testing procedure, while the rocket was being fueled. As of now, the next launch in November is expected to take place as scheduled.

Labor Party Chairman Isaac Herzog denied on Saturday that he and Prime Minister Netanyahu met in his residence in Caesarea to discuss the possibility of forming a unity government. In an interview to Channel 2 News, Herzog said that although Netanyahu is his political rival, he has a responsibility as the leader of the opposition to meet with him without having to notify his party members every time.


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