Anxiety in Israel about possible embassy relocation
A lot happened in Israel this past week, most of it revolving around the election of Donald Trump and his pledge to relocate the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv. The pledge provoked outrage from Palestinians, criticism from John Kerry, and prompted a security briefing for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the possibility of violence if Trump moves ahead with the plan.
Trump gives hope to Israeli settlements
Meanwhile, right-wing politicians in Israel expressed an optimistic attitude about the Trump administration, with Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi saying it represented an opportunity for the U.S. and Israel to get back on track in their partnership. Lieberman said that annexation of Israel’s settlement blocs is inevitable but should be held off until the Trump administration is settled in. Lieberman also called on Palestinians in Gaza to overthrow terror group Hamas, pledging that Israel would support the Palestinians there if they do so.
A conflicting view from incoming U.S. ambassador to the U.N.
The Trump administration’s generally favorable view of Israeli settlements was apparently not shared by incoming U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley. In her senate confirmation hearing, Haley said she believes Israeli settlements can “hinder peace,” though she did express support for Trump’s pledge to relocate the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Haley also described U.N. Resolution 2334, which condemned Israeli settlements, as “harmful” and a “kick in the gut” to Israel.
Make Kashrut great again
In other news, Israeli legislators sparred over the Israeli rabbinate’s perceived monopoly on the kashrut certification industry. Some lawmakers accused kashrut supervisors of hypocrisy for enforcing laws they themselves do not observe. Others complained about the costs of the rabbinate’s kashrut and of massive fines on vendors without kosher certifications from the rabbinate. The director of the Chief Rabbinate, Moshe Dagan, said the organization is attentive to criticism and will work to address problems.
Demolitions spark violence
An Arab-Israeli lawmaker was wounded Wednesday and a 34-year-old Israeli policeman was killed in violence sparked over Israel’s demolitions in an Arab Israeli village. The man accused of killing Levi in a vehicular attack was subsequently killed, though residents of the village claimed he was innocent and was a respected teacher.
“The Israeli narrative is a lie. He was a revered school teacher,” a resident told AFP. “He has no relations with the Islamic Movement. He was in his car and they shot at him from everywhere.”
Pacemaker for President Reuven Rivlin
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin was outfitted with a pacemaker due to cardiac arrhythmia, according to a statement from the President’s office.
Rivlin, 77, was hospitalized at Jerusalem’s Shaarei Tzedek Medical Center and returned home Friday morning, according to Times of Israel.
The President was not sedated for the procedure, which was performed Dr. Aharon Medina, the head of the hospital’s electrocardiography department.