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Thu. Oct 13, 2016 News from Israel

  • UNESCO casts doubt on Jewish – Western Wall connection
  • Israeli and Palestinian Spiritual leaders meet in Jerusalem
  • Bob Dylan awarded Nobel Prize for Literature

Israeli officials were enraged by the passing of the UNESCO resolution put forth by the Palestinians denying all historical connection between Jews and Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. The document called Israel "the occupying  force" many times.  Jordan and the Palestinian Authority submitted the resolution. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, "To say the Jews have no connection to the Western Wall is like saying the Chinese have no connection to the great wall or the Egyptians have no connection to the pyramids." Israel and the US worked for the last few months to prevent the vote, but were unsuccessful. There were 26 abstentions, 24 supported, and six - including the US - who voted against the resolution. President Reuben Rivlin stated: "No organization in the world can say there is no connection between Jews and Jerusalem. Any such body that does so simply embarrasses itself."

On Thursday, there was an important meeting between the chief rabbis of Israel and top religious leaders from the Palestinian Authority in the President's residence in Jerusalem.  They released a united call to stop the violence and harm of innocent civilians.  This meeting included the highest levels of religious leaders of the two sides ever convened.

The Israeli State Attorney's office submitted an indictment on Thursday against three Israeli Arab residents of Taybeh, accusing them of various state security offenses including joining ISIS and smuggling weapons. They are also accused of conspiring to dig a tunnel from north east Taybeh to the West Bank, under the separation barrier in order to smuggle the weapons.

Yet another controversy broke out between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the Bayit Hayehudi party. This time it was regarding the Amona settlement in the West Bank. The state has decided to turn to the Supreme Court to request a 6 month delay in evacuating the settlement. This followed a meeting between Netanyahu and Bennett. The Prime Minister, Defense Minister and Attorney General were surprised to hear Bennett’s briefing to the press on Thursday when he stated that the decision to appeal to the Supreme Court derived from pressure by the Bayit Hayehudi party. The decision had been made days earlier.  “Once again, Bennett takes credit for a decision that had already been made,” stated an Israeli government official.

Two Israeli Border Policemen were injured on Thursday, when a driver ran through the a-Zaim checkpoint near Jerusalem. The driver attempted to flee the scene but Israeli security forces apprehended him. It was initially believed that this incident was a terror attack. However, after the driver was interrogated at the scene, it was determined that the act was criminal as the driver had stolen the car.

Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry Director-General Dr. Dore Gold announced his resignation on Thursday, citing personal reasons for leaving. Gold informed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also the Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister, about his decision. Gold has been serving as director- general since June 2015 and has been working with Netanyahu for 25 years. It was reported that the resignation may stem from a conflict between Gold and Netanyahu. Gold felt that he had not been included in major, sensitive decisions regarding Israeli policies.

Legendary singer Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. This was one of the most controversial awards, since the award was granted to a singer for the first time. Israeli singer Aviv Gefen was ecstatic, "It's a holiday for me.  He has been and remains a musical mentor.  He proved to me that even with a terrible voice, if you have something to say , you will be heard.  His father, Yonatan Gefen, translated many of Dylan's songs into Hebrew, especially songs of protest against the Vietnam War.

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