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Tuesday, Nov. 21 '17, ג' בכסלו תשע"ח


by Yoni Kempinski


Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci lauded President Trump’s handling of the US-Israel relationship, saying that Trump’s inauguration had begun a "new era" for the two countries.

Speaking with Arutz Sheva shortly after his address at a conference hosted by Arutz Sheva and the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce held at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, Scaramucci said he was optimistic about the US-Israel reliance, and explained his own personal support for the State of Israel.

"If you want to defend liberty, if you want to defend individual freedom, you have to be a fan and a supporter of Israel," said Scaramucci.

The former Trump Communications Director called President Trump a "great friend of Israel", and said that his election marked a "new era" in US-Israel relations.

"I also think that the [Israeli] ministers that I talked to tonight think so. The president has a very, very firm commitment to the State of Israel. I think that the alliance between the two countries has never been stronger."

"When you think about special relationships in the world, America has a special relationship with Great Britain, but it also has a special relationship with Israel. And I think it's a bilateral relationship that has a lot of symmetry to it...the United States needs Israel, and Israel needs the United States. It's a very harmonious relationship, and I think it’s going to continue to get stronger."

Scaramucci stressed that politics aside, the Trump presidency has been a great boon for Israel and Israelis, regardless of their views on specific policy questions.

"He's a great friend of Israel, and he will [continued to be] a great friend of Israel. And I think that all of the political parties here, regardless of what your political philosophy is, if you're an Israeli, you're happy that Donald Trump is in the White House."

In the full interview, Scaramucci also defended the Trump administration from accusations of anti-Semitism, discussed his plans to invest in Israeli start-ups, and even touched on President Trump's most controversial habit - tweeting.

by Mordechai Sones


Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked spoke on Monday evening at a conference held by Arutz Sheva and the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.

"I think that Arutz Sheva symbolizes right-wing, Zionist media, it is one of the leaders I would say, in the field of the Israeli media, and it's not an obvious thing in Israel unfortunately, but Arutz Sheva is definitely the leader. It gives us the power to act and to publicize what we are doing.

"It's a very unique time for us in the Ministry of Justice and in Israel. During the recent months we're actually changing the old rules, the old paradigm regarding the law in Judea and Samaria. We started from the Regulation Law, and we are doing a lot of very important things regarding the settlements in Judea and Samaria, we are finally building 300 units in Beit El, and just this week we approved building 91 houses in Ofra, something that was stuck for a long time. Haresha is another small village that will now be able to be developed after a recent decision of the Attorney General, and we are doing a lot of effort in the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Justice in order to strengthen our presence in Judea and Samaria.

"I think the government as a whole is doing a really important job, I know that the Minister of Transportation was here, and I'm sure that he spoke about the roads that finally this government approved a budget for those roads. I think that the fact that we have a very friendly administration in the United States is a huge opportunity not to stay in the old paradigm of 'two states'. We know that this solution will not help to strengthen the Jewish State. The Jewish Home, our party, calls always to think out of the box. When we speak with people from the Trump administration, we urge them to think out of the box.

"A Palestinian state is no longer the only solution for peace in the Middle East. We think that a valid peace can be born from a position of strength, from building and strengthening the settlements in Judea and Samaria, and from encouraging economic peace and economic development of the Palestinian Authority.

"So I think we are at a very historical point where we have a very friendly administration in the United States, a right-wing government here in Israel; I think this specific government is making breakthrough in a lot of subjects, in the Judicial system, in the educational system, in transportation; and the fact that you are sitting here in this event - I'd say the vast majority is from the coalition, Knesset members from the coalition, and some Knesset members from the opposition, and I will emphasize two things: One, I will say our appreciation for Arutz Sheva, and the other thing is our appreciation for our good friends from America, and the fact that when we combine forces - forces from Israel and forced from the United States - we can work together on the values we all believe in. Thank you very much."

by David Rosenberg

Thousands of anti-draft haredi protesters shut down traffic at major intersections in the predominantly haredi city of Bnei Brak in central Israel Monday evening with smaller protests in Jerusalem, following a series of demonstrations in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak Sunday night.

Organizers say the protests were planned following the recent arrest of haredi yeshiva students who had evaded the draft. Members of the Yerushalmi Faction said their spiritual leader, Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, had called on supporters to "shake the whole world in the struggle for the honor of the Torah."

The hard-line Yerushalmi Faction has urged yeshiva students not to recognize the IDF draft board’s authority to either conscript them or issue draft deferrals for active yeshiva students, instead calling on supporters to simply ignore draft orders.

As members of the Yerushalmi Faction have been arrested over the past year for failing to either report for duty or obtain draft deferments from the army, opponents of the draft law have organized road-blocking protests across the country, including a "day of rage" in October.

On Sunday, hundreds of protesters blocked the light rail line in Jerusalem, while demonstrators in Bnei Brak shut down traffic on Jabotinsky Street and Rabbi Akiva Street. Dozens of protesters were arrested, and operation of the light rail train suspended temporarily in the capital.

Protesters gathered in Bnei Brak again late Monday afternoon, blocking traffic on Hahalutzim and Jabotinsky streets and attempted to shut down Highway 4, one of Israel’s most-heavily used north-south traffic arteries.

Riot control police from the Yassam special patrol unit and mounted police units were deployed at the Geha Interchange on Highway 4 to prevent protesters from blocking traffic.

Demonstrators clashed with officers attempting to break up the protests, leaving at least a dozen civilians injured, along with several police officers. Authorities say 28 protesters have been taken into custody thus far in Bnei Brak.

Smaller protests were also reported in the capital, with several roads closed to traffic. Police have arrested five demonstrators in Jerusalem.

In a statement, Israel Police accused "haredi extremists" of engaging in "severe violence" in Bnei Brak and Jerusalem, claiming that physically assaulted officers and hurled firecrackers.

"Israel police will act with determination and zero tolerance against any attempt to disturb public order, endanger passersby and road users, and disrupt the lives of residents," the statement read.

Haredi demonstrator and mounted police officer in Bnei Brak
Yossi Zeliger/Flash90
Haredi demonstrators clash with mounted officer in Bnei Brak
Yossi Zeliger/Flash90

by Mordechai Sones

A Knesset committee hearing on sexual harassment in Israel was nearly derailed Monday when a shouting match erupted between participants.

Social Equality and Distributive Justice Committee Chairman MK Miki Zohar (Likud) opened Monday’s discussion on sexual harassment in suburban areas, explaining that the hearing would not shy away from difficult questions regarding the problem of harassment, including the disproportionate involvement of Israeli Arab men in harassment cases.

Some members of the Israeli left and the predominantly Arab Joint List party objected to the hearing, as well as to the participation by members of anti-assimilation organizations like Lehava and Yad L’Achim.

"There’s a certain mentality that exists in the Arab sector that makes it difficult for many [within the Arab community] to understand what sexual harassment is, and what it is not. I don't understand the Arab Knesset members’ anger regarding this discussion," Zohar said.

Zohar defended his decision to invite the representatives of the Lehava and Yad L'Achim anti-assimilation organizations.

"[The left] turned these organizations into enemies of Israel. And I have to ask myself, if in the State of Israel we allow freedom of expression for [far-left] organizations like Breaking the Silence, B'Tselem and Adalah, can it be that organizations like Yad L'Achim and Lehavah are prevented from speaking? The right side of the map has no right of expression?"

Later, Zohar explained why he requested that Lehava's director not personally participate in the discussion. "Bentzi Gopstein was invited as part of the invitation to Lehava. It came to my attention that if Gopstein participates in this discussion, it would derail the hearing. The question was whether to hold the discussion without him or not. And so I asked Lehava to send another representative. Lehava is not a one-man organization, so I don't understand the anger."

MK Yulia Malinovsky (Yisrael Beytenu), who recently initiated a hearing on harassment of women, girls, and boys in mixed cities and near Arab villages in the Committee on the Status of Women, a discussion that was disrupted by members of the Arab Joint List, said that the situation is quite serious.

"In order to deal with the problem, one must first recognize it. In Arab Muslim culture, there is an idea that to harass a woman is a source of pride, and if you deny that, you live in an ivory tower," she said. "It's no secret that this is what happens in areas where there's friction."

Malinovsky described the situation facing Jews in Jerusalem living in neighborhoods bordering Arab neighborhoods, where young girls cannot leave school unaccompanied.

"There’s a reason why they assigned two police patrols there [around eastern Jerusalem Jewish schools] permanently." Malinovsky also noted that in Nazareth Illit the municipality has begun fining offenders in an attempt to eradicate the phenomenon.

At one point a storm broke out in the hearing after a representative of the Rape Crisis Support Center claimed that this was not a separate phenomenon from the general sexual harassment problem.

The shouting exchanges in the committee threatened to shut down the discussion, and only after a protracted time did the committee chairman manage to impose order and enable the discussion to continue.


by David Rosenberg

A patient being treated at a hospital in the coastal city of Ashdod was arrested Tuesday morning after he stole a pistol from a hospital guard.

The man was being treated at the Assuta Medical Center in Ashdod Tuesday, when he stole a firearm from a local guard and fled the facility.

Hospital officials notified police, who dispatched a number of units to the scene.

Officers responding to the call spotted the suspect as he left the hospital, and pursued him on foot. One police officer fired warning shots in the air, ordering the suspect to surrender himself to authorities. The suspect was apprehended and placed under arrest shortly afterwards.

Authorities say the incident does not appear to be nationalistically motivated.

The suspect had been evacuated to Assuta earlier Tuesday morning from a gas station near the entrance of Gan Yavneh.

When MDA first responders arrived at the gas station to provide emergency care and to evacuate the man to the hospital, the suspect assaulted the paramedics, injuring one. The paramedic has been listed in light condition.

The suspect also attacked hospital staff in the emergency room at Assuta.

Police say that based on the initial investigation, the suspect is suffering from mental illness.

"Innocent lives were saved which could have been harmed by the suspect while he was armed and in a distressed mental state," a police spokesperson said.

by David Rosenberg

The commander of Lebanon’s military called on the army to prepare for a possible conflict with Israel Tuesday, ordering forces deployed near the southern border be placed on high alert.

In a tweet by a spokesperson for the Lebanese military, Commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces Joseph Aoun, Lebanon’s US-trained Maronite Christian army chief who entered the position this spring, called on soldiers near the Israeli border to be on "full readiness".

Aoun was quoted in the tweet as saying that the Lebanese army must be prepared to face "threats of the Israeli enemy and its violations."

Aoun’s comments come just days after Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil threatened Israel, claiming his country would defeat the Jewish state militarily if provoked.

"We should not be provoking Israel into a war simply because it is likely to lose it. We should restrain Israel from starting a war exactly because Lebanon is sure to win it," he told RT.

Lebanon’s saber-rattling comes following the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who stepped down earlier this month during a trip to Saudi Arabia, claiming in a recorded video message that his "life is being targeted".

Hariri, who has been backed in the past by the Saudi government, formed a coalition government less than one year ago, bringing in the Hezbollah terrorist group’s political wing in as a coalition partner.

Hariri has denied claims that he is being held captive in Saudi Arabia, and that he was forced to step down.

by David Rosenberg

Three Israelis were rescued by IDF units in the Palestinian Authority-controlled city of Shechem (Nabulus) early Tuesday morning, after they snuck into the city without approval from the local army commander.

IDF forces in Samaria escorted some 1,000 Israeli visitors into Shechem overnight, to visit the site of Joseph’s Tomb on the southern edge of the city, an ancient pilgrimage site which once housed the Od Yosef Chai ("Joseph Still Lives") Yeshiva and remains a popular place for prayer.

After the city was handed over to Palestinian Authority control as part of the Oslo agreements of the 1990s, Jewish access to Joseph’s Tomb became restricted, and visitors are now required to enter as part of army convoys, with groups of 1,000 permitted in roughly once a month.

Nevertheless, some pilgrims, including members of the Breslov Hassidic movement, have conducted regular visits to the holy site without army authorization, entering Shechem by car overnight, praying, and driving out, typically without incident.

On occasion, however, Israelis visiting Joseph’s Tomb have been the victim of terror attacks.

In 2011, Ben Yosef Livnat was murdered and five others wounded when three members of the local PA security force opened fire on a group of Jewish visitors.

Before sunrise early Tuesday morning, a group of three Jewish visitors entered Shechem by car, with no authorization from the regional IDF commander, an army spokesperson reported.

After the three exited their vehicle, however, local Arabs stole the car and torched it, leaving the Israeli visitors stranded.

The three contacted the army for assistance, and were safely extracted from Shechem by an IDF unit. There were no injuries reported.

Israeli police questioned the three visitors over their unauthorized entry into the PA-controlled city before releasing them.

by Arutz Sheva Staff


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