European Jewish Congress
Israel Press Review of 23/08/2016
Israeli Press Review
Israel Press Review of 23/08/2016

Major Headlines
  • Israel to expand Jewish settlement in Hebron

Israel is planning to expand the Jewish settlement in the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron after a more than ten-year freeze on building, the i24 news website reports.

The expansion is still in early stages of planning and has yet to pass through administrative stages ahead of construction, the website said, citing a report in the Israeli liberal daily, Ha’aretz.

Sources familiar with the project told Ha'aretz said the expansion would involve only a small number of homes.

Responding to the report, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said that "authorities in the area are examining returning some of the land for civilian use," but that "plans for civilian building have not yet been submitted or approved."

Israel argues that the land in question is private property owned by Jews before the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. The land currently belongs to the Israeli Defence Forces' Mitkanim outpost.  

"The land has always been known to belong to the Jewish community,” Noam Arnon, a spokesman for Hebron settlers said. "If they live there again, I’m sure every justice-loving person will rejoice."

Hebron, a powder keg in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is a city where some 500 Israeli settlers live among Palestinians behind barbed-wire, observation towers and under army protection. Jewish settlers began living in Hebron proper in 1979 after establishing the settlement of Kiryat Arba on the outskirts of the city. No new housing units have been built in the Hebron settlement since the early 2000's. 

Click here to read the full article in i24


  • IDF attacks target in Syria following mortar shelling

Israeli Air Force jets on Monday evening attacked a Syrian missile launch site connected with the Assad regime after a mortar fell on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights, the Jerusalem Post reports.

The IDF said it views the Syrian regime as responsible for any attacks emanating from its territory and said it would not tolerate any violations of Israeli sovereignty or danger to Israeli citizens, even as it appeared that the shelling was a misfire from internal battles within Syria in its ongoing civil war.

No injuries or damage were reported in the incident and there were no warning sirens as the shelling clearly fell in an open area. 

Click here to read the full article in Jerusalem Post


  • New high-speed Jerusalem-Tel Aviv train set to revolutionise Israeli travel

For many Jerusalemites, 28 will become the new 75 – 75 being the average number of minutes it presently takes to travel from the capital to Tel Aviv by bus, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Moreover, the country’s first electric high-speed rail line connecting the two cities – scheduled to be fully functional by March 2018 – will revolutionise transportation in the capital, considerably buttress economic growth and reduce pollutants, a Transportation Ministry official said on Monday.

Batsheva Segez, a ministry spokeswoman, said the NIS 6.8 billion project – which features five tunnels, eight bridges and 57 kilometres of tracks – will reduce travel times between the cities to 28 minutes.

It will also have a stop at Ben-Gurion Airport, long a costly and troublesome destination for travellers who must use private taxis or a sherut (communal minivan) to get there.

“This is beyond a transportation revolution,” said Segez.

“It will improve the economy, the environment, and it’s fast. It will allow people to live in Jerusalem and work in Tel Aviv and help bring government workers and entrepreneurs to the capital with ease to improve the economy.”

Segez said the majority of construction for the project, which commenced in 2010, is completed. The first electric high-speed train in the country will operate with a nominal carbon footprint, she said.

“The tunnels and bridges are finished, and now we are just finalising infrastructure, electricity and ventilation,” Segez said. “This will be the first electric high-speed train in Israel, which will lower pollution dramatically by not using diesel fuel.”

The twin trains, which will travel up to 200 kph, will be able to carry up to 4,000 passengers an hour each during peak periods, six days a week. While official operational hours have yet to be announced, more than 100,000 passengers could be serviced within one business day.

“It will be closed on Shabbat, but otherwise will function during normal hours with no traffic, reducing commute times from up to an hour and 15 minutes, to 28 minutes,” Segez said.

Built 80 meters below ground level adjacent to Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station, the capital’s subterranean station is one of the world’s five deepest, and it will feature the longest tunnel in the country.

Click here to read the full article in Jerusalem Post


Tuesday, August 23, 2016
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