European Jewish Congress
Israel Press Review of 25/01/2017
Israeli Press Review
Israel Press Review of 25/01/2017

Major Headlines
  • Israel approves planning and construction of 2,500 homes in West Bank

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman approved the construction and planning of some 2,500 new housing units in the West Bank on Tuesday, Ha’aretz reports.

Overall, the marketing of lands for the immediate construction of 909 new homes have been approved, as well as the expediting of planning at the relevant committees for an additional 1,642 homes.

Click here to read the full article in Ha’aretz

  • Israel advises citizens in Egypt’s Sinai to leave

Israel on Tuesday advised its citizens in Egypt's insurgency-hit Sinai peninsula to leave the region, warning of the threat of an imminent attack, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Israeli holiday-makers are often warned of the risks they face in Sinai, which borders Israel, but the "Level 1" alert issued by the anti-terrorism directorate is its most severe warning.

It described the threat as "very high and concrete."

"The directorate warns of the possibility of attacks against tourist sites in the Sinai area in the immediate term," a statement said.

An Islamist insurgency in the rugged, thinly populated Sinai has gained pace since the military toppled President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's oldest Islamist movement, in mid-2013 following mass protests against his rule.

Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty in 1978 and the eastern coast of the peninsula is a popular international tourist destination.

Click here to read the full article in Jerusalem Post

  • Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians work to green the Middle East

Near rows of corn, spinach, carrots and nasturtium grow near the edge of Kibbutz Ketura in southern Israel’s barren Arava Valley. Nearby, a satellite dish lined with mirrors distils 400 litres of potable water per day, and food waste is converted into cooking gas in a tank loaded with sandbags.

The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies’ “Off Grid Hub” tests and models technology for communities that are disconnected from public utilities like water, electricity and sewage. It is part of the institute’s goal of improving environmental and human interests in the region through environmental cooperation. The tanks producing cooking gas are designed for use by Negev Bedouin, while the crops and water purification systems were developed with Kenya’s Turkana region, which has a climate similar to the Arava Valley, in mind, the Times of Israel reports.

The Arava Valley is a dry, desolate desert area stretching from the Gulf of Aqaba and Eilat to the southern tip of the Dead Sea. To the west is Israel’s Negev Desert; to the East are the jagged, rocky mountains surrounding Jordan’s Wadi Rum valley.

The Arava Insitute for Environmental Studies, established in 1996, is located about 25 miles north of Eilat on Kibbutz Ketura, a small community overlooked by sandstone mountains on the Jordanian side of the border.

The institute is a research and academic centre, hosting students from Israel, Jordan, the West Bank and elsewhere. The focus on the environment gives the students a platform to address and discuss the conflicts in the region.

“This is the only place that brings Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli students to study together. They share the same classroom, they share the same dining room, they share the same grass,” said Dr. Tareq Abu Hamed, the academic director of the institute and former Israeli Ministry of Science’s Deputy Chief Scientist and Acting Chief Scientist.

“We are not trying to convince any side,” Abu Hamed said. “We expose them to the reality of this region and we encourage them to talk about it.”

The programme has produced 935 graduates since it was established in 1996. About 29 percent are Israeli Jewish, and about 24 per cent are Arabs from Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories. Most of the rest are from the US and Canada.

The cultural exchange helps them with their environmental studies as well. Israeli students visited a West Bank village and saw the water management system the community had developed over hundreds of years

Click here to read the full article in Times of Israel

Wednesday, January 25, 2017
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