News Digest — 11/17/20

Core Community Returns To Sa-Nur In Northern Samaria, Evacuated In 2005 Disengagement

A few days ago, a large group of Jews arrived at the site of the Sa-Nur settlement in northern Samaria, returning to where the community existed until 15 years ago when it was forcibly evacuated during the Disengagement of 2005.

Around 100 people – men, women, and children – accompanied by MK Ariel Kallner (Likud) arrived and announced their intention to renew the Jewish community there.  They spent the night at the site and began to make it suitable for habitation.  The new core community consists, so far, of around 20 families, along with young couples, grads of elite army units, educators, students and other professionals.

The new settlers have already developed plans and mapped out the site, and are now working together with the core community of Homesh as well as the Samaria Regional Council.  People who were evacuated from the original community of Homesh and Sa-Nur are numbered among them.

“We came here now with the new core community members, and from here, we will issue our uncompromising message to the Prime Minister – that we oppose the evacuation and Disengagement of 2005, and that we now have the opportunity to correct the wrong that was done – if we are enabled to renew the community here,” Benny Gal (who was among those evacuated from the town of Homesh in 2005) said.

Sa-nur was evacuated during the 2005 Disengagement, together with Ganim, Kadim and Homesh.  Ever since that time, a campaign has been waged, headed by Yossi Dagen, to renew the settlements, and in the last seven years, a number of bills have been submitted to cancel the Disengagement from northern Samaria.  On several occasions, attempts were made to reestablish settlements, and their plans have been supported by Knesset members, ministers, and community leaders, who have also visited the area to protest the evacuation and demand that the communities be reestablished.



Israel Planning To Send Second Astronaut Into Space

Israel is planning to send its second-ever astronaut into space, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin announced at a Jerusalem press conference on Monday (16th).

Eytan Stibbe, a former fighter pilot, is slated to take off for space from Florida during the last months of 2021.

He is expected to spend 200 hours at the International Space Station.  Three months before taking off, he will undergo intense training in Russia, Germany and the US.

“This is a day of national celebration and immense pride,” said Rivlin.  “An Israeli pilot with a blue and white flag on his uniform, is proving once again, as we have proved here over the last 72 years, that even the skies are not the limit.”

“My dear Eytan, up there you will do Israeli experiments, some of which have been developed by our young people.  You will be the messenger of those brilliant brains, the present and future generations of Israeli research, and will help them understand how the world works when we look at it from afar.”

“You will be Israel’s representative in a human effort to understand the wonderful workings that allow life on this planet.  Go in peace, and return in peace, and do not forget to wave to us from up there.  We will be waiting for you here at home.”

Israel’s first astronaut, Ilan Ramon, was killed in the 2003 space shuttle Columbia disaster.

Ramon’s elder son Assef was later killed in an accident in a training flight, just three months after graduating from the Israeli Air Force Pilot’s course as the top cadet in his class.

Tal Ramon, Ilan Ramon’s younger son, spoke at the press conference and said his late mother would have been thrilled at the news.  Stibbe is a longtime friend of the Ramon family.

“I’m very excited because I know if my mother were standing here she would put up her hands in victory, and speak very proudly about our friend, a friend I remember from my very first memories,” he said.



Emiratis  Want To Speak Hebrew – Learn About Israel

Emirati authorities have confirmed that the first Hebrew language institute will open in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) next month to teach Hebrew lessons and Israeli culture/cuisine to Emiratis, businessmen and people living in the Emirates.

“The Educational Hebrew Institute (EHI) will launch its classes on January 3, 2021 with branches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.  This is following the huge demand shown by Emiratis and UAE companies doing business with Israeli entrepreneurs to learn the Hebrew language, said officials,” cited in Emirati outlet Khaleej Times.

The recently signed and ratified Abraham Accords have fueled a curiosity for knowledge and education centered around the Hebrew language in the Emirates.

Josh Samet, director of the EHI, said that the institute will “not only teach the Hebrew language, but also facts related to Israeli culture, the local Israeli cuisine, how to do business with Israelis and so on.  The best Hebrew instructors from Israel will be brought over to the UAE to carry out company training.”

Educators united with a singular vision founded EHI earlier in 2020 to teach students the conversational skills of spoken Hebrew in the most up-to-date way, utilizing fun and interactive methods.



Argentina Tightens Borders After Bomb Threat On Jewish Community

After receiving an anonymous tip about explosives entering the country ahead of a potential attack on the Jewish community, the government has asserted controls at Argentina’s border crossing with Paraguay, according to the Buenos Aires Times.

The Security Ministry stated that it was investigating a complaint delivered to Argentina’s Embassy in the United Kingdom, which was notified about the alleged entry of ammonium nitrate, a component used to manufacture explosives, by a person from the Republic of Paraguay.”

The anonymous tipster reportedly claimed the material was to be used “for a bomb in Argentina with a Jewish objective” and warned the explosive material was to be moved from the Paraguayan city of Encarnacion across the border to Posadas, Misiones Province.

Authorities have launched a series of measures to identify those allegedly involved.

The President of the Delegation of Argentine Israelite Associations (DAIA), Jorge Knoblovits, said that leaders had “already been informed and had knowledge” of the complaint.

“We watch over the safety of the Jewish people,” Knoblovits told the Jewish News Agency.

In addition, Knoblovits said that Security Minister Sabina Frederic had already stressed the government’s “willingness to increase protection” at Jewish locations.

Argentina’s Jewish community went through two fatal attacks in the 1990s.  In 1994, a bombing attack on the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires left 85 dead and 300 injured, according to the Buenos Aires Times.  That took place just two years after an earlier attack, which left 29 dead and 200 injured.  The terrorists behind both attacks have not been brought to justice.

Argentina has the largest Jewish community in South America, with some 300,000 members.



UAE Airline Etihad Removes Video About Israel

Abu Dhabi’s national airline, Etihad Airways, was forced to take down a video announcing the launch of a new flight route from Israel to the United Arab Emirates at the end of March.

The company also called on its passengers to visit the “Second Temple,” which provoked outrage in the Arab and “Palestinian” worlds.

According to a report on the Ynet website, a video published by the company shows a flight attendant displaying the main sights in Israel, and saying, “If you dreamed of visiting a place where every corner has a story – let me take you to Tel Aviv.”

The flight attendant then detailed the beaches of Tel Aviv and commended that visitors enjoy the sun and visit festivals and private galleries, and watch street art – while in the background image, among other things, “The Second Temple” also appeared.

A Muslim resident of Ramallah uploaded the removed video and wrote: “Etihad Airlines removed a video calling for a visit to Tel Aviv and showed (in Jerusalem) the temple instead of Al Aqsa, also showing the theft of Palestinian food as Israeli.  This is a video full of historical errors.”

No response has yet been received from the airlines.

In October, Etihad launched a website in Hebrew, as part of the preparations for its entry into the Israeli market.  

“The airline is trying to win the hearts of the many Israelis who are waiting for the signing of an agreement that will allow the exchange of tourists between the countries,” the website read.  

“Fly to Abu Dhabi or stop there on the way to over 50 destinations across Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and North America,” it added.