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ISRAEL - Israel reports

By Gilberte JACARET


-Palestinian woman attempts to stab cop in Hebron, is shot.
-Three hurt in stabbing attack in central town in Ra'anana.
2 killed, 7 wounded in Tel Aviv shooting attack; gunman on loose

2 people in serious condition; gunman at large as police launch massive manhunt after pub, cafe on Dizengoff Street hit with automatic gunfire

Times of Israel By JUDAH ARI GROSS

"In a packed event at New York's 92d Street Y on Thursday, Bernard-Henri Lévy, one of France's top public intellectuals, called for forces of the liberal Left to unite in confronting the growing threat of violent jihad. In particular, he criticized those who have abandoned internationalist liberalism in favor of opposition to America and Israel, or who draw a distinction between ISIS's attacks in France and Palestinian attacks against Israelis.
« Daily stabbings are a form, or cousin, of beheadings. Beheading without the big weapon. Beheading with the weapon you find. But it is the same thing. Those who stab in Tel Aviv have seen, definitely, the propaganda of ISIS, praising beheading, praising the spilling of blood of Jews because they are Jews. And they have read how the propaganda of ISIS declares a total war on the spirit of cities. And Tel Aviv is like New York, like Paris. »

Olmert to go to jail for 18 months after Supreme Court cuts sentence

Justices overturn one bribery conviction but uphold another for disgraced former prime minister, who was originally slated to serve 6 years for his part in the Holyland scandal

Sara Netanyahu to be grilled by police Thursday
BY RAOUL WOOTLIFF December 31, 2015

PM's wife suspected of falsifying expenses; police investigation goes ahead despite her plea to attorney general

Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, will be interrogated under caution Thursday afternoon by the Israel Police's high-profile crime unit over allegations of spending irregularities at the prime minister's official and private residences.

The investigation by the Lahav 433 unit is scheduled to take place around 4:00 p.m. at the unit's headquarters in Lod, and will go forward despite a request by the family's lawyer to close the probe.
In order to avoid the expected heavy media presence, Sara Netanyahu has been given special permission to enter the compound in her official car, Army Radio reported.

The questioning will focus on a number of alleged financial blunders connected with the residences of the prime minister.

Last week, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein rejected an urgent request by Netanyahu's attorney for a meeting ahead of his decision on whether to order an investigation into her conduct.

Weinstein in July had ordered a criminal investigation into the cash management at the prime minister's official Jerusalem residence. He said at the time, however, that neither the prime minister nor his wife were considered suspects.

The decision to launch the investigation followed a recommendation from State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan, after allegations were raised in a February report by State Comptroller Yosef Shapira that detailed lavish spending by Netanyahu and his wife at their official residence in Jerusalem and private home in Caesarea. The report also alleged possible criminal misdeeds.

The investigation highlighted multiple suspected irregularities, including in the hiring of electrician Avi Fahima, a Likud Central Committee member. A committee charged with overseeing residence expenditures — and which included the Prime Minister 's Office legal adviser — had ruled against the hiring of Fahima, but he was employed nonetheless.

In the Fahima case, the state comptroller report criticized Sara Netanyahu for ordering the electrician's services at the public's expense without any external audit of the need for those services, or any confirmation that they were carried out.

For several months in 2010, the comptroller found, Fahima did not produce receipts for his labor, and allegedly received fees far higher than those that appeared in his initial cost estimates.

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View of the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem on June 23, 2009 (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

The report also alleged that between 2009 and 2013 Sara Netanyahu pocketed thousands of shekels of refunds for recycling of empty bottles from the Prime Minister's Residence. What has become known as "bottlegate" is also expected to be included in Thursday 's questioning.

The report on the expenditures came out in the midst of an election campaign and found that the residence operated for years without an audited budget. It raised questions about the use of public funds , which were spent on — among other things — the upkeep of the Netanyahus' pool at their private home.

The report also noted that, beginning in 2013 — when criticism led to heightened awareness of the issue among the prime minister 's staff — a systematic, audited budget was instituted and expenditures declined precipitously.

Separately, several former employees at the official residence have leveled allegations of ongoing abuse by Sara Netanyahu, who they claim is prone to excessive drinking. Two erstwhile employees, former house manager Menny Naftali and maintenance worker Guy Eliyahu, have filed civil lawsuits against Prime Minister Netanyahu and his office over the alleged abusive conduct.

Jewish leaders met with Pope Francis in Rome on the 50th anniversary of the Nostra Aetate

By Sam Sokol, published in the Jerusalem Post October 28, 2015

"Yes to the rediscovery of the Jewish roots of Christianity. No to anti-Semitism," the Pope said.

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Later, Francis said, "Since Nostra Aetate, indifference and opposition have turned into cooperation and goodwill. Enemies and strangers became friends and brothers."
The landmark document inaugurated historic changes in the Catholic Church's relations with other faiths. Its 600-word section on Judaism – approximately one-third of the document – rejects the long leveled charge against the collective Jewish people that Jews are guilty of killing Christ
"True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ; still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today... Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures," that document read.
The Jewish leaders were part of a delegation of representatives of the World Jewish Congress in Rome, there for a meeting of its governing board.
The meeting focused on the situation of Jews around the world, as well as the current tensions in the Middle East, the refugee crisis in Europe and the Iranian threat.
In St. Peter's Square, Francis effusively greeted a Jewish leader from his native Argentina.
"You're still alive?" the pope greeted Julio Schlosser, head of the DAIA umbrella organization of Argentina's Jewish community, giving him a hug
Prior to the public audience, the pope received WJC president Ronald Lauder in a private audience and met with representatives of the American Jewish Committee.
The AJC issued a statement on Wednesday praising the document as having "transformed Catholic-Jewish relations."
"AJC is proud of the singular role it played in advisement, research and creation of an environment facilitating the Nostra Aetate achievement," said David Inlander, chairman of AJC's Interreligious Affairs Commission.
Speaking to a mixed audience of Christians and Jews in June, Pope Francis said that over the past fifty years "we are able to see the rich fruits which it has brought about and to gratefully appraise Jewish-Catholic dialogue."
"Our fragmented humanity, mistrust and pride have been overcome thanks to the Spirit of Almighty God, in such a way that trust and fraternity between us have continued to grow. We are strangers no more, but friends, and brothers and sisters. Even with our different perspectives, we confess one God, creator of the universe and Lord of history. And he, in his infinite goodness and wisdom, always blesses our commitment to dialogue."
"Christians, all Christians, have Jewish roots," the pope asserted. "The Christian confessions find their unity in Christ; Judaism finds its unity in the Torah. Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the word of God made flesh in the world; for Jews the word of God is present above all in the Torah"...

Algerian troops march singing "Kill the Jews"
The Times of Israel, Dec.25, 2015

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A recent video of the Algerian National Gendarmerie in marching drills shows the troops chanting about killing, slaughtering and skinning Jews.
The troops march in formation to an Arabic marching call, responding in turn to lines shouted by an officer.
"Oh, Arabs... sons of Arabs... march on... and turn your guns towards the Jews... in order to kill them... slaughter them... and skin them," they alternate saying.
The clip was posted online on November 1, Algerian Revolution Day, and was recently translated to English by the Middle East Media Research Institute. It didn't specify when the clip was filmed.
"Long live our free Algeria," they sing. "Its land will belong to the Muslims forever."

The EU won't change its mind on labeling of Israeli settlement products
Written by Yossi Lempkowicz
Tuesday, 15 December 2015 08:29

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Although the labeling issue wasn't on the formal agenda of a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council Monday in Brussels, it was raised during the general debate.

BRUSSELS (EJP)---Despite Jerusalem's strong protest against what it calls a ''discriminatory and double standard'' measure, the European Union won't change its mind on the decision to put special labels on Israeli exports from the West Bank and the Golan Heights.
Although the labeling issue wasn't on the formal agenda of a meeting of the 28 EU Foreign Ministers Monday in Brussels, it was raised during the general debate.
On November 11, the European Commission announced that it was issuing an ''Interpretative Notice on indication of origin of goods from the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967'' which contains guidelines for EU members states to label products from Israeli settlements and exported to the EU market.
These products, the EU said in its notice, cannot bear anymore the label 'Made in Israel'' as the EU ''does not recognize Israel's sovereignty over the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967, namely the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and does not consider them to be part of Israel's territory.''
Following the EU announcement, which provoked the ire of Israel, Jerusalem told EU's ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen that it was suspending its diplomatic dialogue for a number of weeks.
Foreign Ministry officials later clarified this decision pertained mostly to Palestinian and human rights related issues, but that the dialogue would continue on other topics.
But Israeli Prime Minister and acting Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went even further when he instructed two weeks ago the foreign ministry to suspend contacts with the EU on issues related to the Middle East peace process ''until completion of a reassessment of the involvovement of EU bodies in everything that is connected to the diplomatic process with the Palestinians.''
Speaking to reporters after Monday's Foreign Affairs Council, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said: ''Let me add two short points that were not part of the discussion or of the agenda but were still debated among us. One is related to the Middle East Peace Process, especially after the adoption of the technical guidelines on indication of origin. We had an exchange of views in this respect with the ministers and we commonly decided that it was important also for me to pass this message publicly that the Council and the European Union stay united on these technical guidelines on indication of origin which is in no way a boycott and should in no way be interpreted as one.''
She stressed that the EU Council of Foreign Ministers was ''completely united in our continued engagement in the Middle East Peace Process and in broader bilateral relations with Israel. There is full unity and solidarity among Member States and among European institutions on that.''
Some EU countries, including Hungary and Greece, have recently stated their opposition to the labeling of Israeli settlement products.
Israel considers the EU's labeling decision ''politically motivated'' as it discriminates against the products of one country, Israel, while there are some 200 territorial disputes around the world, such as in Western Sahara and northern Cyprus, for which the EU didn't issue labels.
Many in Israel fear that the labeling is only the first step leading to a total boycott of Israel, particular given the active role of Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) in getting the labeling passed.

An Israeli Gas Pipeline to Turkey? Bad Idea
by Daniel Pipes National Review Online, The Corner
December 20, 2015

News that the Turkish and Israeli governments are about to renew full diplomatic relations after years of tensions causes me to smile cynically – and to worry again about Israeli gullibility.
The two states enjoyed close relations in the 1990s, when a common world outlook led to a strong military bond, growing trade, and exchanges of people and culture. Writing in 1997, I characterized this bilateral as having "the potential to alter the strategic map of the Middle East, to reshape American alliances there, and to reduce Israel's regional isolation."
It flourished for another five years, until the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, or AKP) won the Turkish elections of 2002 and proceeded to move Turkey in an Islamist direction. Among many implications, this meant distancing Ankara from Jerusalem and, instead, warming relations with Hamas in Gaza.
Under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Turkish government took one step after another to degrade Israelis and diminish relations between the two states, peaking with its indirect sponsorship of the Mavi Marmara ship to Gaza in 2010. In response, the Israelis did all they could to make things work again, even apologizing and offering to pay compensation for the Turkish casualties aboard the Mavi Marmara. Until now, they were rebuffed.
Then, on Nov. 24, Erdoğan made the disastrous mistake of shooting down a Russian plane that had veered into Turkish airspace for 17 short seconds. This action came, it bears noting, against the backdrop of some 2,244 violations of Greek airspace by Turkish military aircraft in 2014.

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When two bullies clash, the bigger, tougher one prevails.

The almost-unprovoked aggression raised the extreme ire of Russia's President Vladimir Putin. What happened next reprised the school yard scene of a lesser bully foolishly annoying the greater bully. Erdoğan more than met his match in Putin, who showed himself a skilled risk-taker and willing to pay a heavy economic price to win his point.
Erdoğan quickly realized he had riled the same bear that had beaten the Turks in war time and again over the centuries (1568–70, 1676–81, 1687, 1689, 1695–96, 1710–12, 1735–39, 1768–74, 1787–91, 1806–12, 1828–29, 1853–56, 1877–78, 1914–18). He then did what lesser bullies tend to do, scurrying to former friends – NATO on a larger scale, Israel (and Egypt) on a smaller one – eager to patch up differences with them.
A Wall Street Journal report of the Turkish-Israeli negotiations in Switzerland indicates a Turkish readiness to close on the Mavi Marmara dispute, to end Hamas activities on Turkish soil, and (most important) to discuss a pipeline carrying natural gas from Israel to Turkey.
The last makes good sense from Ankara's viewpoint, for Israeli gas would diminish its dependence on Russian gas; but this step hardly serves Israel's interests. Once the Russian threat has passed, Turkish Islamists (will likely be around for a good long while) will resume their old ways, including the bitterly anti-Israel dimension. (Already, since negotiations began, Erdoğan has met with Khaled Meshaal, a Hamas leader.) Because a gas pipeline renders Israel hostage to Turkey into the long-range future, this looks like an imprudent step.
Despite an Israeli reputation for toughness, Jerusalem tends to be too optimistic (think of the Oslo Accords of 1993 or the Gaza withdrawal of 2005), creating major problems for Washington. Therefore, however tempting an Israel-Turkey gas pipeline may appear, Americans should advise and work against such a step.
Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2015 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.

China looks to Israel to get its civil aviation industry off the ground
Chinese sign deal with IAI to build development center in Shantou in effort to expand local aircraft manufacturing
BY DAVID SHAMAH December 25, 2015,

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Israeli and Chinese officials at the signing ceremony for the opening of a new Israel Aerospace Industries technology center in Guangdong. (Courtesy)

Just a few days after the Technion broke ground on a research center in Guangdong, a second Israeli institution — Israel Aerospace Industries — announced that it, too, was establishing one in the southeastern Chinese province.
The agreement signed on Tuesday in China between IAI with the Shantou Municipal Government of China, the Guangdong Airport Authority and other Chinese partners will help, Chinese officials hope, turn the region into a center of development for China's aviation industry.
While China has excelled in manufacturing in general, to the extent that it has long been called "the world's factory," the Chinese have had less success in building a civil aviation industry — the crown jewel of manufacturing, worth hundreds of billions of dollars annually.
While Chinese-made products dominate electronics, apparel, plastics, and many other fields, the country has done far less well in manufacturing planes for civilian use, whether in China or abroad. In 2014 alone, for example, China imported over $100 billion in planes and parts from the US, but managed to export only $3 billion worth of Chinese-made products abroad.
It's a problem the Chinese see as an acute one for future economic growth. Already the world's second largest market for civil aviation, domestic carriers in China are expected to increase their number of passengers by 7% annually over the next two decades, according to US government forecasts. Between 2013 and 2015, construction began on over 100 new airports in the country, and with those new airports comes a need for new planes to carry passengers between them.
By 2020, China's top three airlines — Air China, China Southern and China Eastern — already among the top 10 carriers worldwide – expect to nearly double their fleet, and according to aircraft manufacturer Boeing, the country will spend nearly $800 billion on new aircraft in the next 20 years. As of now, almost all of that will be imported from Boeing or Airbus, the world's biggest aircraft makers.
As to why the Chinese have not been able to make a go of it in aircraft manufacturing, there are a number of theories. A study by the RAND Corporation, for example, attributes it to a lack of skills in aerospace technology, such as avionics and engine design. China has tried various programs – educational and incentive-based – to get workers to train in these fields, but it seems that just as a group of engineers masters the technology, things in the field change, so China is always technologically a generation or two behind – meaning that it can't compete in the world market, or event in its own market.
Can a deal with IAI – one of the world's most advanced companies in avionics and engine design — help change that? The Chinese certainly hope so. As part of the deal, IAI will evaluate and provide recommendations to the local government of Shantou on how to develop local industries in parts production, aero-assembly lines and aviation technical education. In addition, IAI will build a professional training facility and civil aviation development center in Shantou.
The agreement was signed by Science Minister Ofir Akunis and IAI officials on behalf of Israel. Also in attendance were former president Shimon Peres, former Science Minister Yaakov Perry, Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav and Technion President Peretz Lavie. Chinese signatories and attendees included Guangdong Province Governor Zhu Xiaodan, Shantou Mayor Zheng Renhao and Li Ka-Shing, a Hong Kong business investor and one of China's richest men.
The deal is Li Ka Shing's second major involvement with Israeli tech in under a week. Last week, he attended the cornerstone laying of the Technion Guangdong Institute of Technology (TGIT), a technology university that will be operated jointly by the Technion and Shantou University. Li Ka Shing gave $130 million to the Technion to build the research center in China.
TGIT will begin offering undergraduate programs in civil and environmental engineering and computer sciences in the academic year beginning in November. Next year, the new joint project will conduct life sciences research using big data analysis to tackle medical and social issues, including improvements in clinical diagnosis procedures. By 2020, the institute will offer courses in other engineering-related fields, from mechanical to aerospace engineering.
Commenting on that deal, Lavie described the partnership as a major breakthrough and an opportunity to strengthen ties between Israel and China.
"When you combine the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of Israel with the unbelievable scale of China, you have a great partnership," he said.
The IAI deal, too, is a source of high hopes, not just for China, but for Israel as well – giving the company a huge market that it can develop and manufacture for, said Gadi Cohen, head of IAI's Civil Aviation Group, who led the initiative with the Chinese partners.
"The cooperation agreement with the City of Shantou is part of IAI's strategy to locate additional civil aviation growth drivers worldwide and particularly in China," he said. "We are confident that these and other initiatives will open new business opportunities for us and our Chinese partners."

Israel-Indian missile system Barak 8 carries out successful trial in Indian Ocean
Jerusalem Post, Dec.28,2015

"Trial will benefit both the Indian and Israeli navies," CEO of IAI says.

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Illustrative Barak 8 system. (photo credit:ISRAEL AEROSPACE INDUSTRIES)
The Israeli-Indian developed Barak 8 missile system carried out two successful interceptions from an Indian Navy ship over the past day.

Israel Aerospace Industries said that the weapons system successfully hit its target and completed a series of three tests that demonstrate its readiness.

Yossi Weiss, CEO of IAI, said the interceptors were fired from the heart of the Indian Ocean from an Indian Navy ship, striking their targets successfully.

Weiss described the trial as a "most impressive technological achievement" that will benefit both the Indian and Israeli navies, both of which are expected to receive the system in a fully operational mode soon.

The Indian ship used to fire the interceptors is significantly larger than the Sa'ar 5 type Israel Navy corvette used for a similar recent trial of the Barak 8.

The Barak 8 missile system is designed to protect naval ships and offshore gas rigs from hostile aircraft, missiles and rockets.

The system's advanced digital phased-array radar, dubbed Barak Adir by the Navy, is produced by Israel Aerospace Industries, the primary contractor.

IAI also makes the system's fire control station, while the interceptor missile is produced by Rafael.

The project has been in joint Israeli and Indian development in recent years, and is officially due to become operational in both navies within one to two years, he said.

In November, Boaz Levi, IAI corporate vice president and general manager of the systems, missiles and space group, said the Barak 8 radar can detect threats at over 100 kilometers, adding that it could become fully operational in a matter of months.

Once airborne, the missile continues to receive data from the radar system, which predicts the threat's trajectory, and enables the missile to adjust its own path before destroying the target.

The missile deploys its own electromagnetic sensor as it approaches the target, guiding it on its last phase.

The Barak 8 radar can track multiple targets simultaneously, Levi said, dividing its energy to cover half a sphere around a naval ship.

The system is "already installed on at least one Israel Navy ship, and on an Indian Navy ship," he said.

Palestinians: Save Us from the Good-Hearted Westerners!
by Bassam Tawil • January 1, 2016

 Every Palestinian knows in his heart that we do not want a state of our own alongside Israel, but rather instead of Israel. This includes all the land of Palestine and Israel. It means that Jews have no right to exist on even one speck of it.
 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas claims he wants to reach a peace agreement with Israel. But at the same time he and his henchmen incite the Palestinians to stab, run over and shoot Israelis to death, while he idealizes, glorifies and finances -- with the funds he receives from the West -- the terrorists and their families.
 The Palestinian people are already almost totally radicalized, even in the West Bank. They do not seem concerned about living under an Islamist regime run by Hamas or Islamic State.
 Abbas's goal is now, with the help of the international community, to impose a solution on Israel. The solution he seeks – a full withdrawal to the 1967 lines – would pose an existential threat to Israel. It would also just be a matter of time before the Palestinian state will be run by Hamas or Islamic State.

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is regularly fêted by good-hearted Westerners such as France's President François Hollande (left) and top European Union officials like Federica Mogherini and Jean-Claude Juncker (right).

What can be done with these Americans and Europeans? They always seem pining for a dialogue between the Israelis and the Palestinians that would end in a peace agreement, yet oddly all of them seem aware that the Palestinians have not, in all honestly, met Israel's most minimal demands: the cessation of incitement (agreed to even under the Oslo accords -- and requiring no funding!) and the recognition of Israel as a Jewish State. Many throughout the world still view Israel as potentially the next -- and 22nd -- Arab state.
As hard as it is to say it, the Jews have a point. There is a legitimate concern that without such a stipulation, there will be two Palestinian States: the West Bank and Israel – actually three if you count Gaza.

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