This Israel News Brief is brought to you by James Jeremy Marlow, former Head of Comms & Press at EU Parliament, Broadcast Journalist, Media Trainer and Consultant and a valued supporter of the ZF who has spoken at several ZF events.
Please note that this news brief is accurate up to Thursday night, 20th August 2020.
- Shock has fallen upon Israel Thursday evening after a 16 year old intoxicated girl, was raped by around 30 men in a hotel in Eilat. Demonstrations have taken place across the country against the brutal attack, with questions being asked about how such a moral breakdown in Israeli society could take place. Testimonial has indicated that men lined up one by one in an orderly fashion and took turns to rape the 16 year old girl, as eye witnesses failed to intervene. Prime Minister Netanyahu tweeted, “This is shocking. There is no other word. This is not only a crime against the girl, this is a crime against humanity itself, that is worthy of all condemnation and those responsible must be brought to justice.” Benny Gantz said in a tweet, “From yesterday afternoon, I have been trying and failing to understand what is a man standing in a crowded line, with dozens of others, on a way to a room where a young disoriented girl is lying down, trying to prove.” Police have so far arrested two men, both aged 27, for being involved in the alleged gang rape. The police has set up a special team to investigate the case.
- Police were out in force Thursday night as rival pro-Netanyahu demonstrations took place across from the Prime Minister’s Balfour Street residence in Jerusalem. Some 3000 supporters of Netanyahu were given the Paris Square, as the anti-Netanyahu groups were earlier on Wednesday removed from outside the Prime Minister’s residence, including the protest tent that had been there for several months.
- Questions continued on the news networks Thursday night on whether Netanyahu gave his consent to allow the United States to sell F35 stealth fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates, now that a peace and trade deal has been agreed. Netanyahu vehemently denies he agreed to any deal and insists he has always opposed the sale of advanced weapons to any country in the Middle East, even those that make peace with Israel. The Defence establishment claims if a deal was done by Netanyahu, they knew nothing about it. However President Trump at a press conference, confirmed that America could sell the F35 jets to the UAE as “they certainly have the money.”
- Rumours continue about the establishment of ties with another Arab state in the near future. The public broadcaster Kan, spoke with several figures who suggested that although the subject could not be discussed openly, Bahrain is likely to be next, while Kuwait would probably be the last. When Saudi Arabia was mentioned, the reply was the Saudi Kingdom is in no rush to make “official” peace with Israel, due to huge political concerns in the Kingdom, namely the Islamists and hardliners.
- The Health Ministry said another 1637 people tested positive Wednesday, 19th August, for the Corona virus, out of some 27,500 tests carried out. They reported there were currently 23,913 active Covid 19 cases in Israel, of which 403 are in serious condition with 110 on ventilators. The number of deaths since the start of the outbreak rose to 789. The Corona virus cabinet has still not decided whether a full lockdown will come in the coming weeks but the idea of preventing hundreds of thousands of Jewish people attending synagogue services on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is being discussed.
- The terror balloons continued to be flown into Israel as IDF tanks continued to strike targets in Gaza. Hamas sources say the Egypt liaison with Israel continues, but the Egyptian delegation left Gaza earlier this week after failing to get an agreement from Hamas to stop the violence. Egypt says that Hamas in Gaza has no desire for a full military war with Israel at this time, but Hamas say if their demands are not met, it could lead to war. On Wednesday, 28 fires broke out in the Western Negev caused by incendiary balloons and at least another 15 fires occurred today. Some of the balloons are booby-trapped with explosives, if they are touched.
- Thursday evening in Jerusalem, the funeral of Rabbi Zalman Nechemiah Goldberg zt”l 88, took place at Shamgar. Rabbi Goldberg was the son-in-law of the great Posek, Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and was himself a very well respected Posek, answering complicated Halachic questions from all over the world. He was the Rosh Kollel of Sadiguah – Yeshivat Daas Moshe and a Dayan on the Beit Din Hagadol. Born in Minsk in 1932, he moved to British Palestine when he was 5 years old. Rabbi Goldberg has most probably broken the world record ordaining thousands of Rabbis all over the world.
- The unemployment rate fell by 1.2% but the employment bureau attributed this to brand new programmes launched for those needing to re-enter the labour market. However they noted the number of people registering as unemployed, was higher in July and August than May and June. The number of jobseekers stands at 850,000.